Monday, November 29, 2010

gratitude cont'd

One more thing to be grateful for . . .

The skies over Southern California during an autumn Saturday afternoon:
Los Alamitos Bay, November 2010

I took this photo with my iPhone and did not edit it one bit. Gorgeous.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I wanted to publish this post on Thanksgiving but life had other plans. So here we go . . .

I'm grateful for

A husband who is patient and kind and makes me laugh every single day.

A healthy, happy, spirited little boy who calls me Mama.

My Dad's sobriety and his willingness to grow.

Family that calls me to talk. To really talk and to listen. And to be the wonderful family (both blood and the married into kind) that they are.

My health. Every day I wake up without pain and suffering. Without worry or fear of serious illness.

A roof over our heads.

Cars that get us from point A to B.

Beautiful memories of my Mom.

Friends that stand by me.

Southern California's sunshine.

A job that challenges me.

Another night to kiss my boys goodnight and tuck into a warm bed.

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

skipping rocks at Carmel Beach

That's how we spent Thanksgiving.

And driving the coast to Big Sur. And staying in a "quaint" motel (which means no TV, no phones (including AT&T cell service), no room service and sometimes, no heat). We star gazed late at night, wearing our coats and hats, watching our breath and listening to Charlie say "wow" every 5 seconds. We ate breakfast at Friar Tuck's in Carmel. Watched sea lions in Monterey. We jam packed our Thanksgiving weekend into a 3 days instead of 4 because my boys fell very ill Friday night. Begging for mercy (and Sudafed), we packed up at the crack of down this morning and hit the road.

Now for the photos . . .

Our scenic drive was chocked full of views like this.
the view from LA to Big Sur

We stopped in San Simeon, near Hearst Castle, for a picnic by the sea. Charlie chased birds.
bird chasing in San Simeon

And then strolled on the pier.
enjoying the view at San Simeon pier

We lounged around the Big Sur River Inn, teaching Charlie to skip rocks in the river.
Rich relaxed in the chair.
Chillin' at the Big Sur River inn

And then he snapped 50 photos of me, with my hat like this. And didn't say a word to me about my hat looking like this.
Seriously, he couldn't tell me my hat looked like this?

After a turkey dinner at the Country Inn restaurant associated with our little inn, we slept hard and woke up very early. And Charlie was very loud which prompted us to drive to Carmel early to spare the neighbors.

Hence the Carmel Beach rock skipping experience.
Skipping Rocks at Carmel Beach

And saw a surfing bull dog.
the surfing bulldog, Carmel Beach

We stopped for a small lunch on our way back from Monterey at the gorgeous (thank you, Charlie Lee) Rocky Point restaurant. This was our view as Rich ate chowder, I enjoyed a glass of wine and Charlie snoozed in his stroller.
the view from Rocky Point, Carmel

On the way back to the motel, we stopped so Charlie could say hi to the cows he had been waving and screaming at through the car.

(Now I know why they say "Happy cows come from California". Look how these heifers live, oceanside!)
Happy Cows Come from California

But Charlie wasn't as enchanted with the cows up close.
Charlie's a bit scared of cows

This morning's drive home was, in typical Phee fashion, full of adventure. Charlie was sick (as in puking-in-my-car-that-I-spent-Wednesday-evening-cleaning) which meant we had to pull over on Coast Highway, along a cliff, and wash vomit off him with bottled water and wipes.
my sick little traveler

So now we're home. This was our first family trip, just the 3 Phees. It was successful. We really unplugged from the world and did something new. Spent some time somewhere beautiful. And there are plenty more photos at:

The Phees

Friday, November 19, 2010

a day off

Today is a vacation day for me.

Which means Charlie and I are home, just the two of us (plus one hairy dog, piles of laundry and a full pot of coffee).

Some snaps of our day so far. All taken with my trusty iPhone.

Dancing to Yo Gabba Gabba. While I fold some laundry and take a quick conference call for work. Talk about multi-tasking.

day in the life

Cook, nap interrupted. If Charlie weren't here, all she would do is nap. Who am I kidding? If Charlie weren't here, all I would do is nap. 

day in the life

My spotless white sink. It's a personal, compulsive, weird thing of mine. Don't ask. 

day in the life

Charlie taking a nice long soak. And yes, those are my PJ pants. At 11 am this morning. Check back at 2. I'll still be in them. 

day in the life

Bathtub artwork. This drives Rich nuts because he's afraid Charlie will use real crayons on our real walls. He was right. Anyone have tips for removing yellow crayon off of my tan paint? 

day in the life

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

the hubby's birthday

Today is Rich's birthday.

Which is usually my favorite time of year because for a few short months, we are the same age. And he can't call me an old lady during that time period.

But his birthday is off to a slow start this year. He's stuck in L.A. traffic. Charlie is sick (fever, whiny, won't eat), I've been battling a migraine, and there are other things going on that don't exactly brighten his birthday landscape.

But I'm trying to cheer him up with meaningful cards and his favorite wine . . .

(Of course, his gifts are late. Somewhere in shipping land.)

Here's to the rest of his 33rd year picking up speed!

Happy, happy Birthday, baby! You get better with age.


Rich's Birthday

Rich's Birthday

Rich's Birthday
That's Children's Tylenol spilled down the front of Chazzy's Mackinac Island sweatshirt. Gross, I know.

Monday, November 15, 2010

if you blog, get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly

Well, I blog. And I’m a Shutterfly nut. So I’m going to share with you my Shutterfly nuttiness and if you’re a blogger (Kim Berki – I’m pointing at you!), you could get 50 free holiday cards. Nice deal for a Monday, eh?

(To cut to the chase and see the free details: Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly… sign up:

I have a long history with Shutterfly. Love their stuff, quality paper, excellent customer service.

In trying to plan ahead for Christmas this year, I’m deciding between Mod & Bright
Shutterfly Mod and Bright

Or the Wonder Trees Noir layout
Shutterfly Wonder Trees Noir

I want something that doesn’t scream red and green. I’m also trying to decorate our tree this year in this sort of modern and bright theme. We are having a California Christmas so I figured, let’s make it bright and sunny. Thoughts? Votes?

Oh yeah, who wants to take our family pic?

Mod & Bright Marce

P.S. Browse all of the Holiday cards here:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

tinkle, tinkle, little frog

Warning: this blog post contains mention of pee-pee in the toilet. If you find that disgusting or annoying, keep on movin'.

Tonight, at 7:00 pm Pacific time, Charlie peed in his little frog shaped toilet. The toilet that's been hanging out in our bathroom for weeks, the one that I keep tripping over, the one that Charlie treats like a toy / step stool / occasional hat.

We've been asking him lately if he's "gone". Or "has to go". Tonight he looked at me and said "I go poopies". You would've thought someone lit my pants on fire the way I jumped up, grabbed him and sat him on that little plastic frog.

And sat. And sat. He looked like he was waiting for a bus, really. Just mother and son, sitting in the bathroom. Even at almost 2, he understands it's a bit awkward.

But finally, there was a trickling noise. I wasn't sure if it was him or the washing machine on the other wall but sure enough, my little boy peed in his toilet! Pooping wasn't in the stars for him tonight but that's ok. The Phee Parade of Celebration wrapped through the house, cheering and singing (and the occasional howl from Cook). Charlie was so overtaken with emotion that he plunged both his little hands into aforementioned frog toilet.

Parade over. Sudsy washing and clothing change commences. Rich controls his gag reflex. (He's getting better. He managed to only dry heave on Friday night when Charlie ate one of Cook's dog treats . . . and then spit it all over the kitchen floor.)

There is much to celebrate in our little home tonight. And get your stomaches ready, because the peeing and pooping stories are just taking hold.

The Proud Parents of a Pee-er


Friday, November 12, 2010

please, Verizon, refund my $4.99

Rich and I just wasted 1 hour, 23 minutes watching the movie with the worst plot line: Grown-ups. Shame on you, Adam Sandler.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I'm a big ol' FP

As part of my leadership program, I took yet another Myers-Briggs analysis. Myers-Briggs and I have a loooong history. I took my first one in high school, Mrs. Boyden's Civic's class. I've taken almost every 4 years or so and I don't stray far from my temperment. But as I get older and a bit more honest with myself, my ratings get a bit more stronger.

If you're interested in the real me, read below. And if you contest any of these descriptions, feel free to let me know. I'm sure Rich has some thoughts on all of this.

Myers-Briggs Type Summary Chart

Myers-Briggs Type Summary bullets

Myers-Briggs Type Relationships

Myers-Briggs Type Self Portrait

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Halloween 2010

Per the usual, we celebrated Halloween with the Morads.

Halloween collage

And Chazzy wore his skeleton PJs.

skeleton collage

And the tradition continues of Gigi + Charlie + holiday PJs.

Halloween 2010

one month to go


This is a belated birthday letter to you. You are now 23 months and 3 days old. You are *this close* to 2 years old. This is the point where most mothers write "I can't believe how fast it went" or "I can't believe what a big boy you are". But I'm not going to write that. Because i've really slowed down and enjoyed your moments. So it's exactly the right moment for you to be almost 2. And I'm glad you're turning into a big boy. You're a sweet, spirited, interesting little character. You light up our lives.

At nearly 2, you're a talking maniac. Some of your favorite phrases are "me eat" and "airplane" as you point to the many planes that cross our airspace from LAX. You've developed a love of books - last night you fell asleep with one in your bed. You're animated like your Pops. Talking, laughing, slapping your knee and laughing at the right moment. And today, when I told you to close the bathroom cabinet door, I swear you rolled your eyes. I don't know if that's possible at 23 months and 3 days but if it is, you did it.

You're wearing size 24 months, sometimes a 2T. You go to bed between 9 and 10. You should probably be going to bed closer to 8:30 but we're spoiling you. (There's a bit of that going on around here.) You're still coming to bed with us early in the morning . . . and as of now, we're not fighting it. We're actually enjoying it.

And allow me to dedicate an entire paragraph to your Yo Gabba Gabba addiction. You can literally watch 6 episodes in a row. You'll sit on the couch, stand for Dancie Dancie, sit on the floor for the cartoon portion then return to the couch. And heaven help anyone who gets between you and the LG. It's all that you watch. There's nothing else you're interested in except for the occasional Dancing With the Stars.

Chazzy, we love you. Happy, happy birthday.

All our love,
the folks

23 Month Birthday

save the daylight

And my sanity.

I decided to day would be a great day to catch up on work. In the office. Early in the morning.

Except that I forgot it was daylight saving. So I ended up in my office at 5:40 this morning. Which means I'm going to be sleep walking by 7 pm tonight.

But on the bright side, this greeted me in the office kitchen a few minutes ago -

november sky

Friday, November 5, 2010

a very serious dragon

At my Halloween work event, a professional photographer took pics of the kids.

And Charlie was a very serious little dragon.

a very serious dragon

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I'm lucky.

Katie knows what to say and when to say it. And how to remind me of the things I need to be reminded of.

Like how confident and happy and passionate I am when I'm taking photos. Especially on a day when I felt none of those things.

Thank you, Katie. Love you.

photo taken by Katie Morad