Monday, October 31, 2011

Three Decades Old

Happy Birthday, to the Pizza Guy of my life.

I love you, dude.  So do your Pumpkin Pie & your Num-num-nummy.

This year I chose to make a key lime cake.  Sounds exotic, right? It took me awhile to find a recipe that didn't call for lime Jell-o.  I really wanted to do it from scratch and not have artificial flavors. I used the recipe from King Arthur Flour without the raspberries.  Thanks to my neighbors who let me use limes off their tree. The birthday boy got to choose whether or not I colored it.  He chose colored, so I added just one drop of green so it didn't look overly fake.  The outside is just whipped cream.  I also just halved the recipe because between the trick-or-treating, the leftover sugar cookies from the preschool's way too politically correct "Fall Harvest Celebration", and birthday cake...we have enough sugary sweets in our house.  The cake ended up being delicious.

Yep 30 candles on a 6 in cake.
Makes him seem old.

Trick or Treat

We carved pumpkins last night.

 Here's what they look like tonight all lit up.

The 31st always is a whirlwind of celebrations around here. We started the day off with a Googleween party.  The girls wore their costumes.  I wore some butterfly wings, but didn't get a picture taken of me.

Jake dressed as a redneck, moonshine and all.

Oh wait, you want to see it without night vision?

Ya, when I was looking at the pictures to vote on costumes, I didn't recognize him either.  Somehow he pulls this off way too easily.  Note the hair sticking out from behind his neck - he was real proud of that one.
Here he is sporting the redneck look while taking out the trash.
circa July 2010

After preschool we baked a cake, ate a birthday dinner of superb pizza, and got ready for Trick or Treating. 

 Examining the loot.  Sorry the picture of Nor is blurry; it is really dark in our house and the shutter speed was really slow.
Just as we were going to quit handing out candy one more person knocked on the door.  It was an old man in a mask giving candy to us.  He scared the girls quite a bit, but after he pulled of his mask, they started to warm up to this guy they call "Grandpa" or "Tappa" (Nor's word for grandpa).  It was so fun to surprise the girls and Jake that my dad is in L.A. for a work conference and was able to come down for a visit.

Then to wash all the Halloween paint off we had a glowing bath.  So fun.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Aquarium of the Pacific & Venice Beach

My mom came to visit for a week.  It is great having her here.  We have done a number of things, including some wild goose chases, but I have taken very few pictures except on Saturday.  Saturday we went to the Aquarium of the Pacific with Jake's cousins and then headed to Venice Beach.

She really thought she had scooted back far enough to be in the shell
and kept waiting for me to take the picture.


Proof I came on the trip.


One of my favorite animals at the aquarium was the Japanese spider crab.
In this position he was bigger than Helen.

The beach part of Venice beach was nice. The beach had millions of tiny clams to dig up.

The street walk of Venice beach was weird. The street part had too much smoking-Rastafarian-hippyness and trash-being-sold-as-art for me.  The part that got me the most was when a guy coughed on me and Helen.  I felt the saliva drops on my body the rest of the night.  My mom said it took her back to the 70's.  I am now kinda glad I only lived 6 months in that decade.  Not my thing.  The fruit was tasty though.


We didn't get ice cream,
just took this to distract her from the fit she was throwing.

A fast ride before we got in the van to head home.
Check out Jake's picture of the sunset on Venice beach on his Google+ profile.  Monday's whirlwind of celebrations to come next.

Monday, October 24, 2011

House Guests Welcome...Most of Them Anyway

We've now been settled in our home for 3 months and we like it here.  The neighborhood feels more and more like home.  Jake also let me know the other night when I was giving him directions that I know my way around town more than he does.

We have had a few guests try to stay at our place, but we've kicked them out as fast as we could, mainly because they are not of the Homo sapiens species.  Shall we explain?

First of all there are the ants.  I almost curse them almost every day.  If they get in my sugar one more time...!  Okay, I get it, I am solving that part of the problem tomorrow by buying some more airtight containers.  We win most battles (only two sugar incidents count as losses - one of them being as I was whipping up Norah's birthday cake).  Alas, I fear the war is not over with these guests.  Seems everybody we talk to has the same battles going on.  "Oh, ya, ants."

Then there was this lil fella.  He was first spotted by the girls who called him a snake, for lack of a better word on their part.  I spun around pretty fast when they said that.  We don't know that he was a gecko or not, his legs were pretty stinkin' small for his body size.  you could barely see them.  I'm sure he was harmless, but I don't like reptiles in my house, thank you very much.

 We kept an eye out for where he was until Jake got home and caught him. We let him go outside.

Not long after the lizard, we had our third encounter with our third type of guest.  The first time went something like this: Norah brought a glob of something and said "Yucky."  I couldn't figure out what it was.  It looked like a bad snot glob but it had a definite pattern in the parts that weren't squished.  I thought maybe it was a worm of some kind, hoping it didn't crawl out of her bum.  She had happened to take off her own diaper the same morning she brought it to me.  Jake didn't think it was alive, just something gross. I found the second one on the floor in the living room, again on a morning Norah tried to change her own diaper.


The third encounter was when Jake stepped in one.  We were cleaning his foot and discussing whether it was poop or snot or what the heck it could be, what it came from, and how it got in our house, when it moved.  I watched it as it started to move on the carpet.  Ya that was exciting (not in a good way).  Jake told me to put it a plastic bag and call the extension office.  I left a message with the extension office, but before they could get back to me I figured out what it was through a google search (a lot easier when you have a whole, un-squished one). They are called hammerhead worms.  They are gross.

We had one more encounter when I stepped on one.  They haven't come since it cooled off a little outside and Jake sprayed for bugs.  Don't know which did the trick, just glad they aren't in our house anymore.  I still scan the living room floor every morning though.

On the brighter side, we would love to invite all of our families and friends to come stay with us.  We have an office a guest room with attached bath that we can set up for you when you come.  We serve meals as long as you eat whatever we are having for dinner.  We also have a couch and lots of floor space if you bring your own sleeping bags.  There are a lot of wonderful attractions including the beach with warm sunshine and a 10-letter D word that my kids don't know about yet.  We'd love to have you come!

Here is what the office/guest room looked like last seen on the blog:

And here it is now.  Normally the air mattress isn't blown up and the chair and nightstand are in that spot against the wall.  And I usually have some sort of project going on my desk.  The only thing left that I really want to do to this room is paint the chairs and get a shade for the floor lamp (it was a hand-me-down from the last tenants).

We are having our first guest try out our digs this Thursday.  We can't wait to see you Grandma Nani!  We'll get a full report from her on how our accommodations are.  Pretty sure she'll give us at least 3 stars. ;)

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Kids: they dance before they learn there is anything that isn't music.
~William Stafford

Helen started dance classes awhile back (kinda around the same time I took a coincidental hiatus from blogging).  She goes once a week.  They practice tap for the first part and then finish with ballet.  Helen loves it.

When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor.
It's to enjoy each step along the way.  -Wayne Dyer 

and we'll end with a courtesy.

Dancing is like dreaming with your feet!  ~Constanze

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