Monday, February 23, 2015

Baby Space

I'm always one for simple home modifications when it comes to rearranging a house to meet the shifting needs of a growing family. Meaning pieces of our home are constantly evolving to suit whatever stages are at hand. So sometime shortly after Christmas when I started to see that the baby was in need of a designated playspot of his own upstairs in the loft alongside his brothers favorite things, I decided it was time to build him one. I had already spent a good portion of the vacation organizing and arranging the older boy's new toys, donating the discarded and rotating bins to suit each of their current tastes. As of now, mainly build of tech decks, miniature skateparks, legos, blocks, and two hefty baskets filled with the ever popular magna tiles. I decided to use the two wooden brackets and plywood shelf I got from Ikea to claim the small corner spot near the stairs to host a few of Haye's new gifts which turned out to be a really quick and cheap way to entertain a curious crawler delighted to find a low place to pause for playthings. Perfect for practicing standing skills and lined with an always revolving rotation of fun new trinkets all hand picked by mama.

And the best part is, when he's finally through with the novelty of it I've already decided it would probably make a great little place to pile a few more plants.



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Off Days

Somehow I always forget that February comes crammed with all these president day holidays. Mondays with no school that I usually catch wind of long after everyone else, and naturally feel obligated to fill with something fun and educational. Out of the ordinary and equally satisfying for each of the boys. 

First off day I surprised them with an afternoon to the Natural History Museum in L.A. which they had visited once before, a couple years back but thrashed about and complained so much the whole time I swear I'd never be back. Though I assumed, looking back, they were too young to fully appreciate such a thing. I figured now a couple years older, things might be totally different.  
I was wrong. 

Though there were sprouts of interest that sprang from each of them here and there as we wandered around the expanse of the building, for the most part it was just a wild rush of over anxious boys chasing each other through those big beautiful viewing rooms being scolded for touching things they shouldn't touch being "too loud" and racing around corners they should't be. All in all the peak of their delight came with the wide open space in the play area filled with exotic, cutely animated taxidermy where they spent 35 minutes rolling around a bunch of neon colored pleather poufs and dog piling util their cheeks were flushed and their limbs finally exhausted. (Not pictured)

We eventually made it outside to the sunny spot in the cafeteria patio quarters where we were rewarded with canned Modelos and decent salads, where we let them loose after lunch to burn the remainder of their energy in a patch of rolling hills far away from the halls of facts and knowledge they had so carelessly rushed through. (Not pictured) 

Lesson being: I need to remind myself that the enlightening museum jaunts that I carry around in my head are never what actually manifests. I don't know if it's just my kids, or their age, or their plain lack of manners, or the fact that for the most part, boys in a group become purely, instinctively physical beings no matter where you take or place them, but man they just seem most content to just knock one another around all day long. Slowly, I'm coming to accept this about raising boys. 

Second Monday off I was smarter. This time a picnic with two of my other friends (and their GIRLS!) creekside, with just enough water to keep things interesting and nothing even remotely valuable to forbid them from. The fact that our current weather is making a sweet mockery of February certainly helped too. We arrived around noon, to a cool 78 degrees with the sun hanging slight on our bare shoulders all afternoon, which was incredible. 

Aside from Leon's notorious meltdowns - it was the rocks, or the water, or the breeze, I don't know - all the rest of the kids ran rampant around a big open field, with endless sticks to gather, rocks to collect, and a shallow stream to splash around in. Though the sad fact of an abandoned doll found near the creek that my boys found and then tied to a tree to stone should probably mentioned. If only in case it may or may not be apparent in any photos here, should you look hard enough. My apologies in advance. 

Needless to say, I'll be sticking to more outdoor activities next time I aim to fill one of these sporadic off days. Does it mean I won't be dragging them around anymore reserved museum type environments in the near future? Of course not. But at least I'll be more clear as to who the afternoon is actually planned for instead of assuming they might actually prefer to do anything other than tackle each other to the ground in the dirt all afternoon long till their bones ache and their clothes are entirely wrecked and filthy. 


TRIP ONE





TRIP TWO






Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine

Well I've come to accept the fact that with four kids all holidays now come loaded with more work and responsibility than probably seems fair. When it was just Arlo, way back in the day I use to really cherish the time we sat around the table cutting out his little preschool Valentines for a class of 12. It was simple, leisurely and fun. This year with three in school and each with greatly varying tastes, it just about wiped me out. Our Valentine prep took an entire afternoon, creating three set of custom cards that everyone was happy with. As usual, I gave them options based on what I already had on hand to keep it as easy as possible. Construction paper, watercolor, oil paints, glue and masking tape. I thought it would be fun for Arlo to make a college from all his old skateboarding magazines and I was right. He really enjoyed picking and cutting out the images plus it was super quick and the end result reflected him completely, which I think he was pretty proud of. Our only hiccup being the sleepy kitty nestling, what Arlo believed to be a stout Christmas tree. A bit I overlooked entirely but was thankfully caught by dad who looked it over just as I was about to photo copy, immediately wondering why I "let him" include the cat. Lesson being: Thrasher magazine as art source for third graders calls for close attention and more vigilant censorship than I guess I realized. Otherwise, you end up the topic of conversation in the teachers conference room at lunch as the parent who sent their kid to school with a kitty & a blunt Valentine. We also had a couple cute stick figure sketches tossed  out of the mix who appeared to be drinking tall cans. Next time, National Geographic. . .

Leon decided easily on a self portrait, painted with watercolor which I have to say couldn't have turned out any cuter. And secretly my favorite. Rex, per usual, aimed to copy Arlo's choice but wound up in tears claiming, while comparing their end results, that Arlo's was "way cooler" and that I always help Arlo to be "cooler" and really, the pathetic state of his "not cool" cards was all my fault. Rolls of smarties tapped to the back helped ease his pain. A little. Though when I picked him up from Preschool and asked "did everyone like your Valentines!" He answered bluntly, and not suprisingly "NO."





The natural highlight of the day by far, was Leon's utter devotion to the day of love in general. After his older, wiser brother informed him over breakfast at some point last week that you do in fact have to ask a girl to be your Valentine before you can readily assume them as such, Leon started stressing about the fact that he hadn't yet asked Journey to be HIS. So the next day, directly after school he asked her in front of me and her mother to which she thankfully, happily obliged. So went the five day fretting that followed, worrying about what to get her. What color she likes, what candy she prefers, ect. When he finally made a decision he tucked a googley eyed pink stuffed giraffe and a Hello Kitty box of chocolate in his bag and sat in the jeep 45 minutes early Friday morning while the rest of us went about our normal rushed before school preparations. Mike noticed him out the window, waiting anxiously by himself there in the backseat. Backpack on, brown bag filled with gifts by his side. Possibly, one of the sweetest thing I've ever seen. And something I hope I might never forget. 


Hope everyone else has a lovely weekend ahead. We are off to the beach, no concrete plans in sight but with three of the four boys heading to their grandmothers for the night we figured getting out is a must. Also, word is, I have a special, handmade gift waiting for me in the garage I've yet to see. Though a few accidental "hints" from Leon (who felt terrible about spilling every single one of them) leads me to think it's something I'll love.


Enjoy the day,
J

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

100th Day Of School




All I'm saying is that if you are a teacher reading this now and your school doesn't partake in the 100th day of school "dress like a 100 year old" you really need to try and change that.

Honestly, it might be my favorite day of the year yet.

Oh, and probably stick with the gray hair spray option over the baby powder trick.
Poor Leon, stuck in a cloud of white dust all afternoon. . .

Monday, February 9, 2015

Scenes From a Weekend

Celebrating five, in the backyard with family.

Tacos, skateboards, doughnuts, and one giant girafffe stuffed piƱata.
Perfectly low key, for our bright eyed five year old who's ever anything but.



Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Of The People

Last week my friend Lyndeez came down the mountain a couple hours away to come stay the night. We went thrifting, out to lunch and spend the rest of the evening half philosophizing in pajamas and more drinking pre made bottle based margaritas while glued to the hysterically funny show Broad City on Amazon that I was recently turned onto by another dear friend. The following morning we were able to catch up a bit more over breakfast and after a long lazy morning I asked to photograph her and a few of her jewelry before she hit the road. To which she sweetly obliged.

Old spoon rings are my favorite. Always have been. A couple of her art deco versions I liked best. And the primitive bronze cuffs are pretty amazing too. There's something about raw, handmade jewelry I find so appealing. The rough edges and noticeable effort behind each piece just get me.
Good stuff.



Of The People, available online Here.



And if you haven't yet, you have to check out BROADS. Think GIRLS, only rougher around the edges and unapologetically, prefectly silly. Also, ideal for adult slumber parties.
(and laundry days)