Watching Clarkies

We watched the Clark’s kids a few weeks ago. Aria took Zac, so we just had Ben, Rocco and Emily. Not gonna lie, 6 kids is rough. But fun too. There were some serious good times. One of them? Dressing a little girl. Emily came equipped with her own fully stocked suitcase of clothes and accessories. It was awesome. I will let the pictures tell the story. But one story – I went to the store with all 6 one time. It was quick, I only needed like 3 things and was only inside the store for 10 minutes. However, I got stopped 3 times …. by surprised people watching me roll past with a baby in my front carrier (Emily), one in the front of the cart, and two hanging on to each side of the cart. They kept asking, “Are these all yours?”

This was day one … I think hour one.

The Babies. They were the hardest because they both needed the same things at the same time. They both needed to eat at the same time, to get carried in from the car at the same time … I don’t know how mothers with multiples do it. I assume the babies just cry more.

These two look like they could pass for brother and sister, no?

At the store. Hilarious, right?

Look at those boys. Cute in their matching jammies, right? Funny story – I told Ben his jammies looked nice and he said, “They’re kind of small on me, but momma said that I had to bring the ones that matched”. LOL. Weedy, your terrible.

This is me prepping the night before for crème brulee French toast. It’s so good. And so unhealthy.

For the first half of day one I didn’t know where Emily’s bag was, so I was changing her and using diapers and stuff out of her diaper bag. Then I found THIS. It was comprehensive, to say the least.

They didn’t need it, but I gave them both a bath. The only thing better than a soft, squishy Emily? A wet, soft, squishy Emily :)

And now for Emily’s outfit changes:

Braving the wild of our backyard.

I’d do it again.

Northern California trip

About 3 weeks ago, Daniel and I took a trip up to northern California, back home. The trip from here to there is about 7 hours. Not bad. We had watched Clark’s kids so they could go to Las Vegas alone and so they watched ours so we could take this trip. We left on Friday around 2 pm and came home Sunday night around 8 pm. It was heaven.

Daniel and I were originally taking the trip to get furniture from Daniel’s mom, then we decided to make it fun and celebrate my birthday a week early. We stayed at my parents’ house the first night, Friday night, then we spent half of Saturday with Daniel’s mom and Grandfather. But the other half of Saturday was spent playing. We went to eat cinnamon rolls at Cinnaholic in Berkeley right next to campus, we went shopping in Emeryville, then we ate that night at an AWESOME bbq place called B-side BBQ and to top it off …. had a black and tan ice cream sundae at Fentons. We ended the night in the hot tub at our hotel and slept in the next morning. Soooooooo, good.

Sunday morning we were headed home, but had to eat breakfast ….. so we thought, “if we’re going to be buying breakfast and breaking the Sabbath, why not break it by eating a really yummy breakfast??” So, we went to Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland. The wait was ri-diculous. So much so, that I would probably never go back. But their specialty is waffles and fried chicken (southern thing). The waffles were dropped straight from heaven. In fact, they almost didn’t make it down to earth because they were so light and airy … they drifted down to our plates :) They were made with cornmeal and they were crunchy on the outside and so fluffy and airy on the inside. It defied all physical laws. And they served the waffles with this really awesome apple syrup. The apple sausage was also stand out, as was the toast. for real. Who does toast that good? Anyway, it was a fun find, in a terrible part of Oakland, but fun. We waited for 2 hours. At an hour and a half we thought, “we’ve been waiting THIS long … should we really leave now??” Anyway, it was a super fun weekend. I forgot how much I love being with Daniel all. the. time. There was not a moment where I was wishing someone else was in his place. Even at Anthropologie.

Oh yeah – red letter day!!!! I finally bought something at Anthropologie! I’ve been gifted things from there but never bought anything. I know, crazy. So I got a delicious coconut milk mango candle, a shirt and a sweater. Very exciting stuff. So that was that.

Car snacks. I guess food is a big deal for me. I’ve spent quite a few words (and you will see pictures) on food. When we travel with the boys, we always have dumb stuff like graham crackers and fruit snacks and bananas. But when Daniel and I do road trips, the car snacks are much better :)

Turkeys roaming on Grandfather’s front yard.

We actually didn’t eat here, but I love that some of the best food is in tiny little huts like this. We searched Zagat for food ideas before we went and found a TON of highly ranked food in Oakland and Berkeley. It’s like they know how to do food here.

My cinnamon roll. At Cinnaholic you get a cinnamon roll and then get to choose the toppings. I had a mocha, almond chocolate roll. Soooooooo yummy. I want one now. right now.

The view while eating my cinnamon roll. It was a perfect day in Berkeley.

At B-side BBQ

One of the highlights of this place? The random pickled veggies on the side! It was vinegar and cloves and pure flavor.

At Fentons


thankful tree

I have been meaning to do this for years and I finally got to it this year. Christina really got me going because she called me and said, “I know where you should put your thankful tree in your new house”. Awesome. Sooo, I kept looking online at thankful trees and they were pretty puny. Little gatherings of sticks in a vase …. but not me. I always go big. I took a wall and 3 days to really finish it.

Anyway, last night for Family Home Evening, we sat around our table and I cut out leaves from paper and the boys and Daniel wrote things they were grateful for. They really got into it. I HAD to stop them so we could eat treat and get to bed. It was fun and easy and I love that it looks like Fall inside my southern California house now :)


“you’re doing it wrong”

Please tell me you’ve seen “Mr. Mom”. In this movie, Michael Keaton is staying at home while his wife works and as he tries to learn the ropes of being a mom, he drops off his kids at school. He enters the wrong way and people keep yelling at him (including his kid) “you’re doing it wrong!”. That’s how I felt today. I must be doing something wrong. It shouldn’t be this hard.

It’s Veteran’s Day and so nobody had school today. I woke up with a plan. I was going to make this a very productive and wonderful day, not one of those laze-about-do-nothing-wastes-of-a-day. But within the first 45 minutes of the day I should’ve realized that I needed to simply put on a movie for the boys and crawl back into bed and hide. Just getting my boys to do their normal everyday stuff was awful! Getting dressed, making their beds …. it was painful! All I heard myself saying was, “stop, no! Are you dressed yet? What are you doing? Why would you hurt him like that? You go on time out. You clean up. Don’t touch the baby. Stop. Switch, you go on time out and you get dressed. Do I have to do it like this? Can’t you get dressed without me?” …. awful. For 45 full minutes. No let up.

Daniel sweetly texted me this morning that he missed me and I texted back that I was losing my mind and it was only 8:30 am. He said I should forget about clean rooms and just go on a bike ride. So I took his advice. The boys had already finished cleaning their room, so we hopped in the car and ran some errands, then came home and I asked if they wanted to go for a bike ride. Yes! Yipee! Noah was in and Liam sounded mildly happy about it too, so we got home and I gathered some waters, pumped up tires, found helmets for everyone and we were off! … except for Liam.

Liam started saying that he didn’t know how to ride and his steering wheel always got all wiggly. I kept reassuring him that it would be great! So we started on our way. It took 10 minutes and some serious coaxing and positivity from Noah and me to get Liam around the first corner. By the time we got down the street and to the train tracks (we live right next to the train tracks), Liam was in tears.

I used a myriad of tactics with Liam to get him on his bike and going. I started with positivity and encouragement, “Wow, look at how far you got that time? Good job!”. Didn’t seem to help. So I tried sounding confident, “you can do this, just get on and let’s go! Come on, you can do it!”. But that proved fruitless. So I said, “Well, Noah and I are going to go on this bike ride and you can either choose to come or walk your bike the whole way. You’re choice.” He chose to cry very loudly and walk/trip next to his bike, then scream, “Stop! You’re going too fast! I can’t keep up”, to which, I responded, “that’s because you’re not actually riding your bike, get on and ride!” Seriously, it was not going well.

I’m sorry to say it ended in many tears from Liam and me losing it and yelling/threatening him that if he didn’t be quiet, get on his bike, and ride I’d punish him. Yes, it deteriorated quickly from a “fun break on a holiday” to “the worst bike ride ever”. But after the negative encouragement, Liam got on and did it. Then we got back to our block and I made him ride around the block twice and he didn’t fall once. He turned, slowed down and sped up and he did great. But he was just not confident that he could do it. Oh man, learning that lesson, that way, was terrible. I must be doing this wrong, right? Happy little bike ride? … fail.

Then we got home and had some downtime of just reading. During that time, I fed Ray and put him down for a nap. I was picking up my room when they were done with reading. I told them they could watch cartoons. I was still stressed out from the morning. It’s funny to see what I did to release pressure … I cleaned my bathroom. What??! I know. I don’t know why. That’s just what I found myself doing. Then I put on Jillian and worked out like a maniac.

Then I felt like an hour of TV time was plenty and we needed to get back on track for the day – we still had plans. The bike ride was a disaster, but we could come back from this. I decided we would try It’s a learning site. So I set up Noah and Liam on different computers and felt good about this. Here we go – learning! I would only say this was successful in the fact that we did it. Was it pleasant? no. Did the boys learn something new? I don’t think so. Did I go crazy running from the front room to the family room trying to help them navigate the site? yes. Did both of them complain? yes, differently though – Noah said he was bored and Liam said it was too hard. Yet I had them working at different levels … sigh. I must’ve been doing it wrong. Learning moment? … fail.

At this point, I kind of gave up and let them play games on the computer while I showered. Now it’s 4 pm and I have no more plans. Motherhood always seems to kick my trash and I don’t know why. I must be doing it wrong.

But right now, the house is quiet, the boys are upstairs playing and Ray is crawling around and coming up to me and smiling. Maybe I should leave well enough alone and make a bunting for our thankful tree. hmmm.

Huntington Gardens

So, in October, we went to Huntington Gardens which is, surprisingly, not anywhere near Huntington Beach. Once every month they do a free day. But you have to be really on the ball and get your free tickets a month in advance and they sell out in like 20 minutes. We went through all the trouble and made it happen and then even took our kids out of school early to go! Then the saddest thing happened. I really have a hard time writing it … Aria somehow locked her keys in her house and was stuck, outside of her house, without keys to her car and she couldn’t get in her car and come. We had free tickets for her and Christina and I were there and Aria was stuck. It was terrible. It kind of soured our enjoyment because Aria wasn’t there that day. We kept thinking and saying things like, “Aria would love this” or “Luca would go crazy for this!” It was a sad day, but it was also sooooooo beautiful. I took a ton of pictures, so I am going to minimize the commentary and let the pictures speak for themselves:

They had all these stations set up for kids to do little experiments and enjoy nature. Very cool.

Liam and Rocco.

Ben, Liam and Noah checking out this massive leaf.

The Children’s Garden. It was awesome. It was fenced in and felt so safe for the kids. All of them loved it and we spent half our time here.

But Ray spent ALL of his time at this little fountain area. genius.

Entering the Chinese gardens

It was unbelievable really. The views were breathtaking. The pictures don’t really capture it.

There was some scene in “The Wedding Planner” with Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey here. Weedy was pretty pumped about it.

There you have it. Aria, we HAVE to do this again!!! And you will be there next time!