Tuesday, May 6, 2014

new blog location

I've moved our blog to a new platform. You can now find us, and regular updates, here.

www.the4phees.com 


I've brought some of the old posts over from this blog but am still in the (long) process of doing so.


Thank you for reading!

Friday, March 7, 2014

My Dad is My Friend

I often wonder how many people can say that. I’m lucky, I know that. I’ve known that since I was a kid, specifically regarding my open and trusting relationship with my folks. There isn’t anything I can’t say to him, there isn’t any level of vulnerability that he can’t handle. As I get older and face issues that I witnessed him face (or assumed he faced) in his late 30s, it’s reassuring to know I can pick up the phone and blurt out my question. Or cry my statement. Or yell my anger. He listens. He answers. He helps. He is my friend.



What has been changing lately is that he is sharing with me, being vulnerable with me. He is going through new experiences in his life – good experiences – and he brings them to me. The joy I feel when I pick up the phone and he blurts out his question, makes his joke, voices his concern, it is a relief. Because I can answer. I can help. I am his friend.



Dad, right around the age I am now. 1990, 1991. 






Monday, March 3, 2014

what's going on: kids edition

I’m trying a new method to keep the family, and me, updated on the kids’ milestones. Let’s give this a whirl.

Charlie, 5 years old | March 3 2014

Status Report: 46 inches tall (I only know this because Ama and Papa Phee measured him this past week when they were visiting our home.) Wearing a size boys 6, shoe size 12 toddler. He weighs enough to hurt my back when I pick him up.

Enjoying: his “mans” (little superhero figurines), especially the ones that Ama keeps in her purse for restaurants, fixing things with Papa, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (creamy pb, strawberry jelly only thankyouverymuch.)

Annoying: bedtime. This kid hates bedtime and shnookers his way out to the living room 8 times a night to ask us to turn down the TV or [fill in the blank]. He ends up sleeping on our floor most nights because Rich and I are struggling with strong discipline at bedtime.

Saying: Charlie has become the counselor and nurturer in our home. If anyone is upset or doesn’t feel good, he rubs their back and talks you through it. “It’s going to be ok. You’ll feel better. Would you like water or an ice pack?” When my in-laws left and Alice was confused the next morning, he held her hand and explained that they flew on an airplane back to Mi-tch-ni-gan and we would see them soon. She said “ok” and he helped her climb out.







Alice Linda, 2 years old | March 3 2014

Status Report: ? inches tall (I’ll have to check her medical records.) She just graduated from a size 2T to 3T. Her shoe size is pushing from a 7 to 7-1/2. Alice’s hair keeps lightening up but the curls remain.

Enjoying: her babies. Alice loves to play with her baby dolls, to pretend to change their diapers, put different clothes on them (we only have 2 outfits), and push them in their stroller. She also enjoys being outside. She would rather be outside than inside, hands down.

Annoying: See “saying” below.

Saying: Alice has started talking in small sentences, mostly questions. Her most frequent question is “what doing?” Except she asks about 6 – 7 times in a row. While tugging on your pant leg. Followed by more questions. If she’s tired it’s whining. The good news is if she’s happy and energetic she literally uses her new little voice to sing and say “I happy” which melts this cold, cold heart of mine.





Thursday, February 27, 2014

put a pin on it

Rich and I had this conversation last night that mostly consisted of listening to Pharrell's new song Happy. Have you listened yet? If not, here. You're welcome. The conversation stuck with me this morning.
 
There are things I do, things I read, look at, listen to, watch, consume that make me happy. Some that make me sad (but that's a different post entirely.) This is my blog and I can share if I want to. I'm going to start with my favorite source of happy these days outside of my 3 favorite Phees: Pinterest.
 
For those of you who aren't familiar with Pinterest, it is primarily used by women, highly addictive, aspirational and visual. Works best with a smart phone or tablet. Did I mention addictive? The concept is you have a virtual pinboard to post online anything to so you can return later to retrieve it. Retrieve can mean cook, make, purchase, read, look at, wear, etc. Signing up is free, you are NOT required to have a Facebook account and browsing other folks' Pinterest pages does not require you to have an account at all.
 
I have an obscene volume of pins in my collection that you are welcome to view here. My username is marciphee, extremely complicated and original. My most popular boards, to me, are recipes (that Rich mostly cooks or I make on the weekends), clothing, home goods and organization/cleaning.
 

 
 
I also have boards for kids' activities (aptly named "keeping the ankle biters entertained"), inspirational quotes, career planning, etc. Essentially every role of my life is covered in Pinterest. Many friends and family are also on Pinterest and for those I know well, their Pinterest boards seem to reflect their character and lifestyles accurately. Because of this, I find Pinterest to be a fascinating snapshot into other people's lives. I'm nosy curious.  
 
 
These are some of my most recent pins that make me happy -
 
 


This Great Lakes t-shirt. Because it needs to be on my body asap.


 
 
 


 
TOMS shoes for Rich. I'll make him look at them some night when we're on the couch watching TV. I'll shove my phone in his face and say "look, look, do you like?". If the answer is yes, I click to order.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
I follow JC Penney's official Pinterest board. I'm old school like that. They just posted these striped throw blankets that are well priced and look like some of the more expensive alternatives from West Elm or Pottery Barn. I'm not in the market for these right now but eventually when we re-do our living room, I might want one for our new dark grey sectional couch that I'm dreaming of.
 
 


 
 
Do you remember Spirograph as a kid? I do. I want my kids to play with it so now it's pinned. That means maybe someday I'll order it from Amazon.  


 
 
I saw this and wanted to post for two reasons. 1. It's pretty. I try to only post items that are visually appealing to me because I want my Pinterest board to be purdy. 2. It was all about modern baking and making donuts with cake mix and I don't bake but my sister-in-law Robin does and OMG she must have this pin. (Robin and I are Pinterest lovers. We communicate in the language of pins. She pinned this to her board after I pinned it.)
 



 
 

I will slowly introduce more happy to this blog. Because life is short and hey, did you see those sparkly donuts above? I mean, c'mon?!
 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

sometimes you forget

Sometimes you see someone every day. Wearing the same things, saying the same things, doing the same things.

And you forget that they will continue to surprise you. You forget how handsome they look in a suit jacket and a dress shirt. You forget.

Today I was reminded.






Wednesday, January 22, 2014

December life in photos

December was a slow month. The stomach flu hit hard for me, then for Rich. The kids seemed to escape the worst of it but overall it wasn't the healthiest month for us.

It was, however, a month of mixed bag weather. We had cold (for L.A.) temps and rain early in the month.

Leaves falling everywhere.


Pouring rain and 50 degrees on Charlie's birthday party with his school mates. The kids didn't care - they wanted to jump in that Power Ranger jumper anyway.







Well, except for this kid. She didn't want to.


Rich totally surprised me with his Christmas spirit. He hung Christmas lights, laid out a runway for Santa's reindeer, helped decorate the tree and led the Elf on the Shelf effort.




Speaking of Rich and Elf on the Shelf, here's one example of what the kids woke up to in December. (And yes, we keep our crayons next to our liquor decanter. Don't you?)



My delicate climate flowers. It was 55 degrees this particular morning and they were irritated by the cold. I tried explaining that I had to walk to the bus stop when it was 20 degrees out, sometimes less, but they weren't interested.



Shopping for a Christmas tree in 75 degree weather feels strange. Like eating a full dinner at 6 in the morning or wearing your underwear on the outside of your pants. It's just not right. But hey, palm trees! Sunshine!





The end result is the same. Pretty tree, bright lights, special ornaments, too many gifts and needles in your carpet. Merry Christmas.



These are the only two photos I managed to take of the kids Christmas morning. The memories I'm preserving for these two . . . I'm sure they'll thank me some day.





Our Michigan State Spartans beat Ohio State in a win that took them to the Rose Bowl. Big moment in our house. We're not huge football fans or incredibly involved alumni but this was fun.



I traveled to Sioux Falls, South Dakota the second week of December. It was zero degrees when I landed. Everything looked like this. I wanted to remind my kids, who were bundled up in sweatshirts and saying "it's cold out" back in California that the rest of the country is in a deep freeze. But I didn't. I let them have a bit of childhood bliss.



First backyard campfire ever in Southern California. We have lived here almost 12 years and this was a first. A big first. S'mores were eaten.



Temps rose into the 80s. It was 82 degrees on Christmas day. No need for shoes.



These hair clips were made with love by my sis-in-law, Robin. Alice loves them and and just think they are so cute in her hair with these buffies (e.g. ponytails).




Disney on Ice. Scored some free tickets from work and took the kids. Charlie was utterly silent with his eyes glued to the stage. Alice danced and jumped up and down. Typical of their personalities. A reminder to Rich and I that we should take the kids to events more often.



Visited the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles with our friends Tom and Michelle. It was our holiday get together with them and maybe just maybe we should turn it into a tradition. It went smoothly. No melt downs and no one threw up.









One of the best parts about December is the light traffic and some light days at work. I was able to soak up this view on my way from the office to home. Not too shabby, December. Not too shabby.

Digital Playdate: December 2013

digital playdate header

Sharing my friends' kids in one spot, once a month. View all past playdate posts here.

This will be the end of my "once a month" project. I'm thinking up a new project (maybe once a quarter? maybe force the mamas into the picture? I don't know yet) but this series is ending. I'm so glad it's up and I hope my far away friends appreciate it as much as I do.

Month #12.

My high school friend, Kim's daughter. Maddie, 2 years old. 




My childhood friend Lynn's daughters Ella, 9 years old and Abby, 6 years old.






My post-college / pre-California friend, Crystal's sons. Jack, 5 years old and Ryan, 3 years old. 







My sister-in-law Misty's daughter, Kayle, 13 years old. 




 



My college friend, Lesley's son Harper, 6 years old and daughter Isla, 4 years old.  





 

My sister-in-law Robin's sons. Aidan, 5 years old. Will, 2 years old. 








My high school friend, Jen's (Kitchka) son Owen, 7 years old and daughter Lily, 5 years old. 




 



My high school friend, Jen's (Lundgren) son Jameson, 3 years old and her daughter Autumn, 15 months old. 

 





My son Charlie, 5 years old and daughter, Alice 2 years old.




Friday, January 3, 2014

2014: listen

Last year I joined the One Little Word movement. (See my post from last year here. And if interested, just search #onelittleword for other people's intentions for the year.) Last year, my word was "less". Overall, it was a success. I ate less. I fought less. I cried less. I was sick less. I bought less. I slept less. I suffered less. I opened up my life for more.

This year, my One Little Word is listen.



Listen to my body, my health will be better for it.

Listen to my husband. Really listen to him, not sort of listen as I get the kids dressed or scroll through photos on my phone.

Listen to my children. Really listen to them, not sort of listen to them as I clean the kitchen or put away laundry.

Listen to my friends and family, not ignore the call or text.

Listen to the birds and the noises outside, not the drone of the TV inside the house.

Listen to that little voice that tells me to stop, to be quiet, to rest, to go, to say yes, to take a risk, to say no. It is always, always right.

Here's to a new year full of joyful sounds and peaceful quiet.




Thursday, December 19, 2013

November life in photos

November was the month of EVENTS. Birthday celebrations for our family (Rich and Charlie), more family birthdays (my sis in law), baptism, neighbor kid birthdays, Thanksgiving, volunteer events at work, photo sessions for a little extra cash and on and on and on.

It felt like endless November.

One of Charlie's friends had a birthday party at Golf N' Stuff.






You know? Golf N' Stuff from the original Karate Kid movie. Here, take a trip down memory lane.




Alice Linda turned 2. She's not a baby anymore. Well, she's still my baby but she's doesn't look or behave like a baby. With the exception of the constant companion sippy cup of milk. I won't make her give it up. Ever. Maybe she'll take it on her first date to Golf N' Stuff in 14 years.






Our dear friends' son, Cole, was baptized at Our Lady of Angels in Los Angeles. Beautiful baby boy, beautiful ceremony, beautiful cathedral.









My Charlie is growing into such a big boy. He's catching up with his Dad.



And he is oh-so-serious. 



Other tidbits from the month -

Kick ass sunsets as I drive home (the only benefit of daylight savings).



I darkened the red in my hair a bit. I like it. I didn't like it the first week. I like it now.



Alice went to the ER late at night for croup. Scared the hell out of me, turned out to be no big deal.



I started listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving was over. I couldn't help myself. It was a long month. Charlie also loves Christmas music and was pressuring me to do it. So he's to blame as well.



December is rockin' around the Christmas tree. And Target. And school holiday programs. And work. And the flu. And more birthdays and birthday parties. I'll update next month.

Happy holidays from the 4 Phees.

xo

Digital Playdate: November

digital playdate header

Sharing my friends' kids in one spot, once a month. View all past playdate posts here.

Month #11.

My high school friend, Kim's daughter. Maddie, 2 years old. 




My childhood friend Lynn's daughters Ella, 9 years old and Abby, 6 years old.






My post-college / pre-California friend, Crystal's sons. Jack, 5 years old and Ryan, 3 years old. 




My sister-in-law Misty's daughter, Kayle, 13 years old. 





 



My college friend, Lesley's son Harper, 6 years old and daughter Isla, 4 years old.  





 

My sister-in-law Robin's sons. Aidan, 5 years old. Will, 2 years old. 









My high school friend, Jen's (Kitchka) son Owen, 7 years old and daughter Lily, 5 years old. 




 



My high school friend, Jen's (Lundgren) son Jameson, 3 years old and her daughter Autumn, 15 months old. 

 





My son Charlie, 4.5 years old and daughter, Alice 2 years old.




Wednesday, December 4, 2013

conversation starters

I'm a big fan of those games like Scruples that ignite interesting conversations. Or any sort of ice breaker "get to know you" exercise.

With the holidays in full swing, these might be fun to print out or pull up on your phone and ask away with your friends and family. I plan on doing so.

These are some of my favorites.

Cheers!


Conversation Starter

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Digital Playdate: October

digital playdate header

Sharing my friends' kids in one spot, once a month. View all past playdate posts here.

Month #10.

My high school friend, Kim's daughter. Maddie, 2 years old. 


Kim, October 2013


My childhood friend Lynn's daughters Ella, 9 years old and Abby, 6 years old.

Lynn, October 2013n

Lynn, October 2013



My post-college / pre-California friend, Crystal's sons. Jack, 5 years old and Ryan, 3 years old. 


Crystal, October 2013


Crystal, October 2013

Crystal, October 2013

Crystal, October 2013



My sister-in-law Misty's daughter, Kayle, 13 years old. 



Misty, October 2013

Misty, October 2013
 



My college friend, Lesley's son Harper, 6 years old and daughter Isla, 4 years old.  


Lesley, October 2013


 

My sister-in-law Robin's sons. Aidan, 5 years old. Will, 2 years old. 


Robin, October 2013

Robin, October 2013

Robin, October 2013



My high school friend, Jen's (Kitchka) son Owen, 7 years old and daughter Lily, 5 years old. 


Jen K October 2013


 



My high school friend, Jen's (Lundgren) son Jameson, 3 years old and her daughter Autumn, 1 year old. 


Jen L October 2013


Jen L October 2013


My son Charlie, 4.5 years old and daughter, Alice 23 months old.


kids with pumpkins_Oct2013 (40)


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

October life in photos

October felt long. Not a bad month, necessarily, just long.

I've been photo bombing Rich and Alice's selfies. (Adorable flower clip made by Aunt Robin.) 
October life

We decorated the front window with googley eyes. 
decorations_October 2013_10142013 (2)


We have these straw hats. And we wear them. All at once. (You should feel sorry for our neighbors.)  
October life

October life



October life

October life


Rich has been taking Charlie on all sorts of adventures. Long Beach Aquarium, busting out of school early to see movies, pumpkin patches. I hope Charlie remembers these days, weeks and months with his dad. 
October life

October life

October life


Alice has a thing for hats. (She has a thing for stuffed animals, too, but mostly hats.) 
October life

October life

October life


Alice is also my mischievous one. If she's quiet for more than 30 seconds, I can count on catching her doing something she shouldn't be. Like playing with her lamp. 
October life

Charlie is my serious one. Even his Batman face painting is serious business. 
October life

Giulietta's 5th birthday party at Build-a-Bear. He and G are exactly 8 weeks apart in age. 
October life


October was also pretty cold, windy and we even had some rain. 
October life


AYSO soccer season ended this month. He loved it and will definitely play again next year. No activities planned between now and the New Year but maybe some swim lessons in the spring. 
October life


More than a few late nights in the office means this is my view on the way home. I come home to a happy home of two kids and Rich. So you know, these lights lead me where I belong. 
October life


Snuck in a pedicure. Same color for the last 11 years. I'm a real daredevil. 
October life


Exploring local eats. This place is awesome. Charlie wants to go every time we drive by. 
October life



October ended with Halloween and November kicked off with Alice taking a trip to the ER for croup. The holiday season is go, go go.

Happy holidays!




Monday, November 11, 2013

Halloween 2013

Charlie is finally of the age where he appreciates Halloween. Costumes, candy, decorations, spooky music - all of it. It's a reminder to celebrate the holidays. Stop and smell the candy corn once in a while.

My company hosts a huge Halloween event for the employees and our families. The kids were pretending to write some documents and take some calls in my office.

Halloween 2013

After a costume change for Charlie (he wore last year's dirty old Batman costume to my office event), Optimus Prime made an appearance for neighborhood trick or treating.

Halloween 2013

Halloween 2013

My sister-in-law Robin did two things for me this Halloween: (1) she sent me a link to CostumeExpress.com's major sale last summer so I could score these costumes on the cheap and (2) made the kids really nice-we'll-use-these-every-year treat bags.

Alice was a little devil. Appropriate as she's entering her terrible twos.

Halloween 2013

She understood enough to follow the big kids up to the door for candy. Other than that, she came along just for the wagon ride.

Halloween 2013

We trick-or-treat with our neighbors (not all pictured here). We have for years. Love it. Although this year, there weren't as many houses in the Halloween spirit.

Halloween 2013


Halloween 2013


At the end of the night, we take most of the kids candy when they aren't looking and give it to the obnoxious teenagers who come to our door. Saves us a week long sugar hangover with the kids. (Yeah, we're mean parents.)

First major holiday down of the season. Two more to go. Plus two kids' birthday parties and Rich's 36th birthday. We stay busy November through December.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

89 hours, 1 minute

Rich has been gone (visiting a friend in Ohio) for 89 hours and 1 minute as I write this post. Which means he will be home in 21 hours and 59 minutes THANK GOD. This is the first time in my history of motherhood that I have parented truly alone for any extended time. When Charlie was an infant, Rich traveled for a night or two. But that was cake. Fill a bottle, change a diaper, rock a tiny swaddled cuddle bear.

No, this, THIS almost-5 year old and almost-2 year old wrangling event that has been going on here was not cake. There have been good moments, yes. Some feet kicked up, smooshed together on the couch watching Monsters University or sitting at the dinner table being polite and grateful. Charlie stepped up to the plate and helped load the car, carry dishes to the sink, made sure Cook didn't run away (because she tried - and I empathized with her). Alice wanted to sit on my lap and brush my hair and was a chatterbox.

However, the operations of a small household, two small children, 3 large piles of laundry, 1 anxious dog, soccer practice, getting myself to work fully dressed and showered, packing lunches, remembering share toys, putting shoes on, taking stickers off are non-stop when your partner isn't there to step in. Or carry the load.


while Rich was away

Rich carries the load. I'm the Vice President to his Chief Operating Officer of our Home and Kids. He's got this thing nailed. Did I mention he's really, really patient with the kids? The way I lost my shit today with yelling, eye rolling and empty threats demoted me to mail room of our Home and Kids. I plan to turn in my self assessment in 21 hours. Maybe 45 hours - after I've decompressed.


September Life


Some of the more challenging moments in no particular order:


  • Alice learned how to climb out of her crib for the first time. Just came walking out into the living room like she owned the joint. 
  • Alice created a poop Picasso in her crib Saturday during nap time. In her crib, on the sheets, her stuffed animals and on herself. I cried. Really hard. 
  • Charlie was in a bad mood this morning and slammed the bathroom door. Alice's fingers were in that door. 
  • I hit my head, hard, on the corner of the bathroom counter as I was coming up from cleaning candy corn vomit from the floor. Vomit that I didn't know was there but that ants knew was there. I cried. Really hard.
  • We have ants. 
  • Alice drew all over the living room wall in purple crayon. I left it. 
  • There's a neighborhood cat that continues to shit in my driveway. This morning, as I was loading the kids in the car, I stepped in it. 
  • Charlie learned the word "testicles" and has decided to use it in public. 
While this may read as a whiny rant from a tired woman with no real right to complain, it isn't. It's a love letter to my husband. Come home, babe. Come home. 

Below are some photos from the past 89 hours. No editing, no captions. Just life. 



while Rich was away

while Rich was away

while Rich was away

while Rich was away

while Rich was away

while Rich was away

while Rich was away