Tuesday, April 30, 2013


"Why, Mom? Why did you dress me in this jumpsuit?"


"I hate you, MOTHER!"


Monday, April 29, 2013

my kids: photo series 4 of 12

April 2013 photos of my kids. The entire series is viewable here.

Alice, 17 months old.
Charlie, 4 years old.

This month was going to be my month to nail the "monthly" photos of the kids. Yup, I had it all lined up. Their cutest pajamas. Pigtails in Alice's hair. Positive attitude radiating from Charlie. Exactly one hour before sunset.

And this was the very best I could do. Out of 20 - 30 shots.
pajamas gone wrong

The rest looked like a variation on this -
pajamas gone wrong

Or this.
pajamas gone wrong

Then Alice started screaming. Naturally, because that's one of her favorite pastimes.
pajamas gone wrong

So I tried moving them off the steps but they wouldn't stand facing me.
pajamas gone wrong

Charlie tried to make her jump.
pajamas gone wrong

And then he really, really had to go pee.
pajamas gone wrong

Then back up on the porch to pose before he went in to relieve himself.
pajamas gone wrong

Then Rich made a cameo and let me know how he felt about being excluded from these photos. Classy, isn't he?
pajamas gone wrong

Icing on the expectations-not-met cake, Alice climbed into the flower beds. After having had a bath, wearing clean pajamas and her delicious smelling baby lotion.

pajamas gone wrong

Oh yeah, dig into that dirt girl. Why not? I'd love to bathe you again. And clean underneath your fingernails.
pajamas gone wrong

What's that you see? Oh? Poop from the neighbor's cat? Lovely.
pajamas gone wrong

Maybe May will be my month. Maybe.

letting go

I like my surroundings to be neat. Tidy. Organized. Clean.

messy room

When they are not, it is symbolic of other things in my life that are out of balance.

messy room

Clearly, I'm not balanced.

messy room

There are a lot of balls in the air right now. Work and marriage and kids and health and friends and travel and well, you know, threatening influencing your child to clean his room isn't one of those balls.

messy room

messy room

And since reviewing these photos in details, we have decided he is far too young to play with legos this small. Because he becomes overwhelmed when it's time to clean them up. So they are gone for now. He can have them when he leaves for college.

messy room

Sunday, April 28, 2013

are we there yet?

How about now? Now? What about now?

Or view the video here: http://youtu.be/mQj1XPWgOP4

Monday, April 22, 2013

pictures and words

A quick update. A few photos. Life in the fast lane.

Alice loves Cook. LOVES. Follows her around yelling "Bah bah". Hugging her. Combing her hair. Putting necklaces on her. Cook is a brave soul.

Alice and Cook

Charlie really digs this train table that was handed down to us from my friend Jenny. He keeps asking Rich to come in and help him break it down and set it up again.

train tables

This kid has a serious head of hair.

wild hair

I've spent a lot of time on airplanes this month.

Los Angeles, view from the window seat

Charlie had his beautiful, wavy red locks chopped off because they were bothering him. This is him post-haircut. He's making his "what the what???" face. I love it that he loves to wear skinny jeans. And Toms. Charlie's a cool dude.

what the what?

I'm closing in on 11 years with Experian. 11 good, good years. This photo is the annual selfie from my sales conference.

I want to express my gratitude for 11 years of goodness with Experian. So much goodness.

Charlie started a pee wee soccer clinic. He didn't understand why none of the kids would share the ball with him so he stood in the field and cried. The coach patted him on the back and told him to toughen up. I had to restrain myself from toughening up the coach.

"No hands! No hands!" Soccer clinic.

Again with the travel. This is LAX. Late at night. I've been spending more time there than usual.


Boca Raton, Florida for a work related conference. So pretty.

My drink is enjoying the view. Boca Raton.

Back home to all sorts of this. Home is wherever I'm with you.

Sunday Funday.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

my kids: photo series 3 of 12

March 2013 photos of my kids. The entire series is viewable here.

Alice, 16 months old.
Charlie, 4 years old.

St. Patty's Day. I had these great ideas for dressing them in Kelly green, painting shamrocks on their faces, filling the house with balloons. Instead, this is as good as we managed that particular Sunday. Alice has been grumpy (I don't even know if that's the right word to use) so dressing up and photos have been far down the list to keeping everyone sane. You can see here that Charlie is trying to soothe her. 

St. Patty's Day, 2013 

We don't have a big back yard. It's bricked in and half of it is covered by swimming pool. They like to play on the little wooden porch just off the back slider. And share snacks. This is a common pre-dinner spot.    

patio life

Sometimes they aren't in the mood to play together. So they just give each other space. If only adults knew how to do this.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Digital Playdate: March

digital playdate header

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

Month #3.

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

"Happy 2nd Birthday!"

Maddie, March 2013

My childhood friend Lynn's daughters Ella, 8 years old and Abby, 5 years old.

"Ella's beautiful pride filled red face! We took this to send to dad to let him know she completed 2.25 miles!"


"Family roller skating night"


My post-college / pre-California friend, Crystal's sons. Jack, 4 years old. Ryan, 3 years old. 

Jack and Ryan, March 2013

My sister-in-law Misty's daughter, Kayle. 12 years old.

Kayle, March 2013

My college friend, Lesley's son Harper, 6 years old and daughter Isla, 3 years old.  

"Ready for Easter festivities!"

Harper and Isla, March 2013


My sister-in-law Robin's sons. Aidan, 5 years old. Will, 17 months old. 

"Frosting fiasco!"

Aidan and Will, March 2013

My high school friend, Jen's (Kitchka) son Owen, 6 1/2 years old and daughter Lily, 4 years old.

"March Madness!"
Owen and Lily, March 2013

My high school friend, Jen's (Lundgren) son Jameson, 3 years old  and daughter Autumn, 6 months old.

"Sticker fun"

Jameson, March 2013

"She finally likes her exersaucer"

Autumn, March 2013  

My daughter, Alice 16 months old.

"Alice really likes to climb and sit in this chair. Anything that makes her happy these days is on repeat in our house."

She is cracking herself up sitting in this chair. It's the simple things.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter 2013

This Easter was a little different for us. Usually we (a) host a small gathering for others without family here or (b) make a special dinner for 'just us' then go across to the Morads for some festivities. This year, a Mom of one of Charlie's friends (yes, we're at that stage now - he has a social life) invited us to their place for an orphan Easter. A small gathering of other families that don't have blood relatives in the area.

So we said yes. It was a nice afternoon of getting to know new people, watching a gaggle of kids play in a backyard, eating deviled eggs just like I would have in Michigan. (Except no one could ever and will ever make a deviled egg like my Aunt Barb. Ever. Hands down the best.) It's funny how I'm still making new friends, and how I'm still nervous to get to know [read: be vulnerable] new people, at 36 years old. I hope I'm always making new friends. 

The weather surprised us. Usually it's gor-jusssssss. This year, it started out grey and a bit cold but finally warmed up to 70 and sort of sunny. Aside from the weather and the change of venue, it felt like Easter to me. A recap below in photos.

I hope everyone is enjoying the start of spring.

The Phees

"Tickle, tickle!"

Easter 2013

We didn't see our Morads on Easter but we did spend Saturday afternoon dyeing eggs at their place.

easter egg dyeing, Easter 2013

Bird's Nests desserts as a dish to pass for Easter. Recipe pinned on my Foodie board.  
Original recipe via The Curvy Carrot.

bird's nest dessert

At our lovely hosts' home on Easter. This is what happens when I tell Charlie to "smile big or there won't be any iPad when he gets home". 

Easter at the Clecklers 

While the big kids were in the living room decorating Egg Hunt bags, Alice sneaked into the playroom to hoard all the toys. 

... Alice snuck into the empty play room so she could hoard all of the toys.

Instead of baskets, I do buckets. I mean, the Easter Bunny does buckets. He's a rebel, that Bunny. Note: Not all of those toys were given to him on Easter morning. One toy, a Hershey bunny and a kite (thanks for the kite suggestion Katie!). I just can't manage two Christmases in our lives. 

a boy and his basket, Easter 2013

Bright and sunny when we finally made it outside for photos. This little girl can not sit still. So the best I could do of her in her pretty dress (Target, Cherokee brand) was an on-the-go shot.

Easter 2013

Mama hen and her chicks.

Easter 2013