March 27, 2014

Mini trip: Berkeley!

Another work conference for the tax lawyer in our fam took us to Berkeley(/technically Oakland too, I think?)!

We stayed: at The Claremont. THE most gorgeous place around. When we pulled up I had to double check that we were actually allowed to be there. It looked like a castle but more friendly than that. And fancier. Also, hello! Berkeley is gorgeous. I'd never been before and color me impressed.

We ate: at Pizzahhh (we always get pizza when we go somewhere new and this didn't disappoint, so good!) and King Yen Restaurant (again, a solid choice). I love reading Yelp reviews and I cannot lie.

We played: at the hotel pool(s!!). Seriously this hotel was amazing and their pools were so fun for the kids. It wasn't that warm out yet but everything was heated and my kids don't care about weather. Bronson would've spent the whole trip in the pool but watching Ev near water lost its appeal for me a lot faster than that. I kinda hate taking kids to the pool by myself. Grinchmom.

I had way too many adult meltdowns on this trip because so many things went wrong (parking issues, car trouble, weather stuff, GPS fails, etc.) but I'm fairly sure that the kids had a blast in spite of it all. Most importantly, Ev slept like a champ in her bathroom suite so that was fantastic.

I told Toph I refuse to go on any more of these work trips but let's keep it real, I'll cave at the first mention of out of town pizza and hotel TV. Whatevs.

March 4, 2014

day in the life (that happened to be Valentine's)

7:30ish: Ev's awake and wants to claw my face off, remove my earrings, pull all my hair out or eat breakfast asap. I choose to throw some food and books her way so I can get up and ready.

8:30-9:30ish: Bronson's up thanks to Ev and they play in their room for a hot minute while I get his breakfast together and straighten up the apartment a little bit.
I made him a special heart breakfast! Because love and Valentine's day and mom guilt.
 He loved it so much he said, "Next time just cut everything into square shapes."

9:30-11:00ish Bronson plays Legos and watches some Lego YouTube reviews, while Ev waddles around pausing every so often for a photo op. She also naps somewhere in here.

11:00-1:00ish We have a friend over to play and it's glorious! All the kids are busy AND happy together. I get to juice up some produce that deserves it, make Toph a little Valentine's gift, and make up a dessert recipe (that turned out really great! wish I'd written it down). I feed the kids some non Valentinesy lunch too.

1:30-4:30ish: I pack up the kids and we walk to the gym only to find out the child care isn't open on Friday afternoons (log that away for future reference) so it's back home. There's more Legos (I got B a new small set for Valentine's), chocolate chip eating, another short nap and general mayhem until Toph's home.

5:00-7:00 Ev goes down for some quiet time in her bed (with books and toys), Bronson gets a show, Toph catches up on some sportball basket throw, and I hit the gym alone.
Toph's forever Valentine right there^

7:00-11:00ish: We don't have a sitter this year so we're attempting a nice dinner at home sort of sans kids. The plan is to get the kids fed, pajama-ed and off to their room for bed or playing. I shower the gym away and then get going on the plan!
[pretend there's a nice picture of Topher and me right here]


Basically, we ended up having a really delish candlelit dinner (courtesy of Toph!) that was interrupted a hundred times by B and Ev. They didn't both fall asleep until after 11 so ... yay. 

Happy Valentine's day!

March 1, 2014

She Reads// Winter Reading

I was trying to get a picture of the toilet but we got in the way.

Way back in November, when my fall reading list wrapped up, the end of February seemed years away. And yet, hello March! I still miss Christmas. 

Here's what I read during December, January and February:

Harriet the Spy (I'm not sure how many times I've read this now. What a weird little book. I love it. The movie came out when I was 9 and I checked out that orange Nickelodeon VHS copy from our library more than a few times. The book was written in 1964 but I think they did a pretty good job pulling the story into the '90s for the movie. My favorite character is Golly, obviously.)

Steelheart (Toph picked this one for us to read together and I actually liked it a lot more than I thought I would . So the writing was pretty hokey, it read like something aspiring to go straight to theaters, but the story was really interesting. It sparked a fun book club discussion and we're both excited for the next book in the series to come out.)

The Middlesteins (This was my first real attempt at an audiobook. When I saw that it was supposed to take 6 hours of listening to finish I wasn't sure how I'd fit that in, but it actually went really quickly. I listened to it all in about three days, who knew there was so much dead air in my day to day? I listened while walking to the gym, cooking dinner, cutting up fabric for quilts, driving to the store, on the elliptical and sometimes at night right before bed. I could give or take the actual book, although I  did like how it was told from each character's perspectives, but it was nice to use the Overdrive app for once.)

My Most Excellent Year (This one just missed all the marks for me. It felt too young (and not in a nice or nostalgic way) there were so many cliches, it was confusing because the characters went by like 3 names apiece; I just wasn't into it. If it hadn't been for the brief Julie Andrews bit near the end it would've all been a waste for me.)

45 pounds (more of less) (I liked this one! I don't hate everything! Nothing too deep involved but it was a nice, quick, feel good read.)

When You Reach Me (Seriously just had to Google this because I had no recollection of it at all. Blush blush. Now I remember. So I listened to this one too, and I'm not sure if it's because I didn't really know the plot of A Wrinkle in Time beforehand, or because I did listen to it, but I just never really got into it. All the reviews on Goodreads raved over it and claimed "the twist" was just amaze but I was like, "Ok yeah, I see that what you did there. The end." I might've liked it better had I read it myself.)

Why We Broke Up (Pure hatred. From the moment I picked it up I was over it. I'm still mad at myself for reading the whole thing, honestly. It's not just that the characters were all idiots (they were) or that the story itself was ridiculous (it was) but the actual physical book was so dang heavy! It was an angry arm workout just to lift it. I've written pages in my head about this book and how stupid it was but every one's lucky because I'll keep the finer points to myself.)

I'll Be There (Ok so even though this turned into a crazy episode of I shouldn't Be Alive about halfway through, the overall thing was enjoyable. It was kind of like a reversed version of Eleanor and Park with less angst and more dumpster diving? I liked it.)

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie (A well written, funny, tear jerker that took about an hour to read. Go for it.)

The Catcher in the Rye (I expected to loathe this. I really did. I didn't love it but i didn't hate it either. Yeah, Holden got on my nerves eventually and I kept waiting for the ball to drop plot wise, but overall I'm glad I finally read it because you just never know about those books they force you to read in HS. I mean, some are truly duds and others are gems camouflaged in over analyzing or forcing meaning for some writing assignment. This one landed somewhere in between for me, much closer to dud than gem, but I did take some notes and a few quotes jumped off the page at me.)

The History of Love (Now this one I excepted to love. I really did. But. I don't know. I loved how everything was intertwined in the end and how the story unfolded through each character, but it just all seemed kind of  ... over done? I'm not sure. I just kept imagining how I'd describe it to someone and I felt really dumb. Like it was trying too hard? (And I just finished it this morning so it's pretty fresh.) I always feel kind of jerky when I don't like certain books but I think it's ok too. There are so many books I absolutely love, I have to balance it out with a few that aren't my favorites.)


                I'm heading to the library today without Bronze and Ev and I might never come home. 
Happy spring!