Sunday, December 15, 2013

I Called It!

Remember how I predicted this would happen??

Yes, that is one of my Ikea cardboard "ornaments."  Miss Chelsea has eaten the tops off of 3 ornaments and pulled countless others off of the Christmas tree.  But -- it doesn't bother me one bit.  We're suppose to enjoy the tree with all of our senses, so why not add taste to that list???

Here's how the tree turned out:

I really think this might be my favorite tree we've ever decorated. There are the Ikea ornaments, paper gingerbread men that Nate and I made, ornaments Nate made at school and a few sentimental favorites.  All of that has created a colorful, festive tree.  I love it so much.  We have it lit every day from 7am until Lee and I go to bed. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Wait, did November even happen?  Because at Halloween, I blinked and suddenly it's December 3rd.  What a blur.  Am I the only one to feel this way?  The end of the year goes into hyper speed and I don't like it. 

Chelsea had her first ride on the Griffith Park Carousel. 
It's a rite of passage in our house.  

I think Nate isn't particularly happy that Chelsea gets to play with his "younger" toys that I've been saving in the garage.  I hear "hey, that's mine" a lot.  He pushes her around the yard in this police car a tad too aggressively....oh boy.

The ONLY good think about living near an airport is that on holidays such as Veterans Day, you get to see some pretty cool planes fly above your house.

Old house meets new paint.  Yippee!  We went from terrible tan (I guess that's what it was) to gorgeous gray.  I channeled my inner-gardener and prettied up the front too.  Isn't that bench divine?  My talented hubby made it for me.  We needed a place for kiddos to remove their sand-filled shoes after school.  Love it!

The nice thing about gray walls is that
 it makes a nice backdrop for portraits!

Our new backyard adventure: T-Ball!

Turkey Day!  

Man boils oil.  Man slowly lowers turkey into hot oil.  
Turkey cooks in 45 minutes. Best. Turkey. Ever.

New fried turkey fans.

We made a "thankful" tree and added leaves to it every night to show that, even when you're having a not-so-hot day, there's always stuff to be grateful for.  The leaves said things like: Churros, running water, our health, playing baseball, family time, Jesus, etc. Nate's pointing to his favorite leaf that said Darth Vader and Samurai.  Oh-kay....

Here's a preview of how I'll be decorating my toddler-friendly Christmas tree this year.  I found cardboard drink coasters at Ikea that resemble Christmas bulbs (99 cents for 10).  Thanks to my trusty hole punch, I now have unbreakable ornaments!  Chelsea will still probably put them in her mouth -- I wonder what Swedish cardboard tastes like??

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


I'm not doing a very good job at writing these monthly posts in a timely manner.  November is coming up!  Oops.

The big story in October was obviously the 1st birthday of Miss Chelsea Cook.  As per tradition, we had a relatively low-key birthday party with just immediate family.  It was a warm day so we ate hamburgers outside and (thankfully) Chelsea made a mess of her cake outside too.  

Halloween was not our typically Autumn holiday this year.  We did attend a fun Halloween carnival at Nate's school and did other Halloween type things but for the actual holiday, we were in Las Vegas!  I know, I know.  Not exactly what you'd think of for a kid-centered holiday.  But we made it as family-friendly as possible with our friends and their kids (a total of 6 under 5 1/2 years old). The trip was less about the location and more about us all being together at a resort where we could entertain the kids in the pool. Too bad the water was on the chilly side! 

Party clothes for the birthday girl.

Spice cake with pale pink buttercream frosting.  I was trying to be creative with the design and it turned out kinda weird.  I do like my Lisa Leonard "Happy Birthday" pewter decoration.  It'll be a new tradition for family birthdays.

Present time.

This was Chelsea's first time having something truly sugary and I wasn't sure if she'd like it (she doesn't like fruit.  Go figure).  Anyway, I was going to give her a small portion but everyone encourage me to give her a bigger piece.  Girlfriend went bonkers for that cake!  She ate the entire piece that was bigger than any other piece I served the adults.  It went all over her clothes as you can see.  We had to hose off her chair and change her clothes.   Flies kept landing on her cake-covered hands.  It was pretty gross.

Chelsea and Grandpa play with her new toys

Chelsea is a little afraid of tall Uncle Eric.  Nate was too.  He got over it.

One of the school projects this year is that each child gets to bring home Corduroy for the weekend (the plush bear from the Don Freeman classic book of the same name).  Nate was SO excited when it was his turn.  Corduroy watched a Dodgers playoff game, went to Home Depot and Griffith Park, and helped us plant some lettuce in our garden.  The collage above was what we added to the binder that was returned to school after the weekend and Nate had to give a brief "talk" to the class about his time with Corduroy.

A few weeks after I washed her birthday outfit (thank you Tide Spray!  You performed a miracle), I put it back on Chelsea for a little birthday photo shoot.  She wasn't particularly cooperative and I couldn't find a decent background with adequate lighting so this is what I got.  Not bad.

Knight Nate dressed up for the school Halloween carnival

 Nate played every game they had.  It was fun to see him interested in that part of it.

All packed and ready for the 4-hour drive to Vegas.  We rented a crib for Chelsea when we got there.  That saved us a lot of space!

And inside the car, Nate is all ready for a movie marathon.  I seriously think this is his favorite part of traveling.  Poor Chelsea gets stuck being bored for 4 hours.  She slept about 20 minutes on the way there -- she is not a car sleeper.

Woo hoo, we made it!

Swimming in the lazy river with Daddy.  Would have been perfect if it had been about 10 degrees warmer outside.

Because Nate is interested in Egypt and King Tut, we visited the Luxor hotel.

At The Bass Pro Shop, the Cook men compared facial hair with the Robertson Clan.

Family photo at Bass Pro Shop.  This was our last stop before we headed back home.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


I love to take similar photos of my kiddos and compare them side-by-side.  Check this out:

 Nate and Chelsea at about 1 year, wearing the same shirt. 

We loved these PJs that had cassette tapes on them.  It was a keeper so almost 5 years later, we put it on Chelsea and plopped her onto the top of the washing machine (new washer).  She's a wanderer so we had to keep a hand on her back. 

I took a picture of Nate watching Obama's first inauguration and then, of course, had to get a picture of Chelsea watching a presidential speech.  It was just a way to capture history in my kid's lives...

Self-portrait with a baby in a sling via the bathroom mirror.  Classy.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


September continued the sizzling late Summer heat that debuted in August.  We kept the air-conditioning on 24/7 and took dips in the inflatable pool after school and on the weekends.  It also brought about:

A trip to the Los Angeles County Fair!  We took Nate out of school on Wednesday, Sept. 11th and drove out to the fairgrounds.  I had done extensive research online to know which areas of the massive fair would be entertaining for a 5-year old and walkable for those of us pushing a stroller.  We had SO much fun!  And the weather was a dream -- perfect, balmly, mid-80s.  We really lucked out on that one....

I joined the Parent's Committee at Nate's school and volunteered for a leadership position.  Not sure what I was thinking when I raised my hand and -- bam -- added to my workload but it'll be fun to socialize with the other moms (and dads!) and I feel so strongly that this is the best preschool in our city, that I was compelled to give back.

Seasonal allergies!  Achoooo!  I think the Pepper Berry and Oak trees in our neighborhood are making all of our noses tickle. Poor Nate got it the worst but taking a Singular pill at night seems to be working great.  In fact, we're all feeling much better.

I've really been good about meal planning this month.  Yea for me!  Pinterest has really become my go-to for great recipes.  We've had some really winners and I'll hopefully share them here soon (famous last words).

The month in photos:

Crazy girl on a Slip N Slide.

Nothing builds up a young immune system like sucking on an old, dirty screen door.  Ewww.

Yeehaw!  Hello L.A. County Fair!

First stop on this hot afternoon.  Need to keep Daddy hydrated (wink wink)

Boy, are these horses HUGE.  I'm talking the size of a small dinosaur.

We saw this a lot.  The fair is a giant ball of noise and was a little much for Nate. 

I loved the indoor pavilions with the kids contest submissions.

Our boy LOVES the giant slide.  A lot.  He rode it about 6 times.

Required eating - funnel cake!!!!

A dream come true for Lee.

Ninja warriors together at last.

Had to get a picture with the Zoltar machine.  "Big" is one of my favorite movies!

Nate loved the dress-up area.

Our last stop -- dinner!  Just kidding.  Who would actually eat that??  Photo-op only.