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August 2013

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Aloha, Hawaii!

In just a few short days, we will be heading to Oahu for a much-deserved, long-needed vacation. Aside from a few weekend adventures and a jaunt to the Midwest, this will be our first trip as a family of three. We are renting a condo on Waikiki Beach, and this is what we plan to do:

NOTHING.

And it will be everything we ever thought it could be!

To be more precise, we plan on walking ourselves down to the beach and playing around all day. We haven’t booked any excursions or activities. No romantic dinners for two (unless we eat them on our lanai after putting Alexa to sleep). We might go for long, leisurely family strolls. We might take a ridiculous amount of naps. We might listen to ukulele music 24/7, cliches be damned! This is going to be the ultimate laid-back vacation.

A Week in the Life: 33/52

I thought I didn’t take many photos. I was wrong. Consider yourself warned!

Here’s what we were up to this past week:

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» A typical Saturday morning around here. H doing sit-ups, Alexa and I playing airplane. Mako Mermaids on Netflix (she loves the opening credits in particular).

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» I came home the night before and found this masterpiece on our media cabinet. It’s chalk, so whew.

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» Daddy’s little girl.

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» The one shot in which she is somewhat facing the camera. She’s such a squirmy worm!

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» Maxin’ relaxin’ at a park overlooking the ocean.

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» You probably can’t tell that there were bees buzzing all around these pretty flowers.

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» This shady little playground attracted every toddler in a mile radius. After I took this photo, Alexa was surrounded with new playmates, and they all worked together to create “lunch” out of the wood chips on the ground.

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» TCB man, TCB. (Side note: the tracking of the letters is killing this designer.)

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» In which I enjoy a hot cup of tea. This is a shock because I don’t do hot beverages. I suppose I adjust my stance when H prepares a cup for me. He’s so nice to me.

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» Helping Alexa build the tallest tower ever. I had to build her a foundation because she has yet to earn a degree in architecture. I had to keep adjusting it because neither have I.

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» Golden hour in all its glory.

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» My super simple smoothie. A kid-pleaser.

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» Pre-bedtime snuggles.

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» She insisted on the silver handbag.

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» Light/dark.

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» Rearview.

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» Alexa presented me with the crown jewels.

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» This dress, you guys. Seriously adorable.

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» Clouds on the ceiling.

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» Tricking my little sailor girl into posing for her 2.5-year photos with her owl. Post coming soon!

*This is a weekly project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone this week. See past weeks here.

Gif Me a Break

I had so much fun sharing some of the gifs I’ve collected in a blog post last week that I thought I’d do it again. Shall we?

When I daydream about winning the lottery, I’m like:

When I hear local meteorologists talking about an imminent heat wave, I’m like:

When I get an email from my dentist’s office that it’s time for a cleaning, I’m like:

When I look at the clock, see it’s 2 a.m. and realize I’m not in college anymore, I’m like:

When I try on my new super hot swimsuit, I’m like:

I’m so excited I ask H to take a photo under the terrible lighting in the living room. When I look at that photo, I’m like:

I’ll look better in natural light. Right?

And Now for My Book Report

Book Reviews • 30/50 • Little Gold Pixel

Read Part 1 and Part 2 on my quest to read 50 books.

This is my summer reading report. My teachers would be so proud of me!

The links lead to the full book reviews I wrote.

The Wednesday Wars / Gary D. Schmidt » I cannot say enough good things about this book. Seventh-grader Holling Hoodhood, ridiculous name aside, makes the perfect narrator to navigate through a school year in the 1960s. Innocence, life lessons, Shakespeare. He’s like a less-cynical Kevin Arnold, “The Wonder Years” in novel form.

The Smart One / Jennifer Close » “If I could draw this book, it would be a flat line.” I was drawn in by the promise of a smart novel about a dysfunctional family. Instead, I was greeted with insanity after insanity with no promise of resolution. All the male characters were one-dimensional, and most of the female characters needed a good therapy session.

Everything is Perfect When You’re a Liar / Kelly Oxford » I’m not exactly sure what Kelly’s claim to fame is (besides writing tweets). Little matter. Her memoirs are funny, a little inconsistent, maybe, but funny. It helps that we’re roughly the same age, so I identified with her teenage misadventures and her foolhardy search for Leo DiCaprio. The good essays make up for the “eh” ones.

Delirium / Lauren Oliver » You know me and dystopian fiction. Like a moth to the flame. This flame is particularly ridiculous: In a world where “love” is illegal. Gag, right? Still, I read it, and it was enjoyable, mostly. Except for the ending. Which leads me to …

Pandemonium / Lauren Oliver » The second book in the trilogy, which was better than the first book! I love it when that happens. Oliver’s writing is very fluid, which makes even the obvious a pleasure to read. The plot wasn’t exactly a mystery, probably because I read these kinds of books far too often, but I am eagerly awaiting the third and final installment to become available from the library. I think I’m No. 67 on the list.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home / Carol Rifka Brunt » OK, you guys. 1980s coming-of-age tale that will bring you to your knees. It’s astounding. So astounding I still cannot write a decent review of it.

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls / David Sedaris » I do fear Mr. Sedaris is out of stories. Occasionally good, often not.

Here I Go Again / Jen Lancaster » Mean girl goes back in time to rectify the wrongs she did in high school, and hilarity ensues. Most of the time. Jen is really good at writing herself, but sometimes it feels like she forgets that this is a novel and not her usual memoir. The protagonist is despicable, but I found myself hoping she would straighten things out in the end. It is lighthearted, a good beach read. Just don’t sit around picking apart the many plot holes, and it’s enjoyable.

I’ve Got Your Number / Sophie Kinsella » I will read anything Sophie Kinsella writes. She manages to make texting work within the novel (so many have tried and failed). Her protagonists are always so enjoyably flawed. The love interests are always just right. Some people say formulaic, I say awesome. Don’t fix what isn’t broken! Write 100 more like this. I’ll read ’em.

The Execution of Noa P. Singleton / Elizabeth L. Silver » I’m still letting this novel sink in after finishing it yesterday. A death-row inmate is approached by her victim’s mother weeks before the execution. The mother has had a change of heart and wants to appeal for clemency. Or does she? Twists, turns, history unveiled, and all to get to the crux of the matter: Did Noa do it? What does her middle initial stand for? Will her execution be suspended? I haven’t enjoyed suspense like this since Gillian Flynn. Good writing, and so much to think about afterward.

In this list of 10 books: two are chick lit, two are coming-of-age, two are memoirs, two are dystopian fiction. The three best: The Wednesday Wars, Tell the Wolves I’m Home and The Execution of Noa P. Singleton

There you have it. I’ve read 30 out of 50 books so far this year.

What have you been reading? I’m always on the lookout for a good read.

2.5 Years Old.

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Dear Alexa,

When you were 2.5 years old and we stayed home one Sunday, here’s what your day looked like:

1. Opened your door first thing in the morning, came into our room and said, “Daddy, Mama, why you sleepin’?”
2. Climbed on me and gave me sloppy, wet kisses until I woke up and we had a tickle party.
3. Located the Kindle, turned it on and put on an episode of “Super Why” all by yourself.
4. Cooked breakfast in your play kitchen while I cooked breakfast in the real kitchen.
5. Built towers with Legos while I tried to create the perfect base for your architecture. You get a very intense look of concentration when you are building something important.
6. You move on to the plastic beads, create a big circle “necklace” and bestow it to me.
7. Pretend like you are in “Super Why,” jumping out from behind corners and asking, “Which letters did you find?” and proclaiming, “Hip-hip hooray! The Super Readers saved the day!”
8. Colored in your Hello Kitty coloring book.
9. Drew on your chalkboard. Asked me to draw certain letters for you: P, B, K, X
10. Sat on my shoulders, and I danced you around the room. Same with Daddy. You said you were on a “mountaintop.”
11. Pulled out four puzzles. Tried to put together the most difficult one first.
12. Played with your airplane, stuffing as many passengers aboard as possible.
13. Took a break on my lap, where you sat still long enough for French braids.
14. Resisted nap time by tearing apart your room. It looked like a tornado hit.
15. Ate an ice cream sandwich with minimal drippage.
16. Blew bubbles outside and chased them.
17. Asked to brush your teeth. You do a pretty decent job. I swoop in to help “get the meanies (aka germs) out.”
18. You bring a basket of play food into the living room, where you proceed to place an egg, broccoli, meat and kiwi in a pot, then “feed” us.
19. “Tag, you’re it!”
20. Drank a smoothie out of a big-girl cup, with a straw. No spillage.
21. Read the following with me: “Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?” and “My First Colors,” where you mimic the appropriate sounds and are able to identify all the items in the colors book
22. Sit-ups with Daddy.
23. Piled books on the ground, then read a few to yourself.
24. Read night-night books with me, reciting your favorite parts. (“All owls think a lot!”)
25. Smiled sweetly when I kissed you goodnight.

You are changing so much, so fast. I thought you might get a kick out of this in the future.

Love you so much, my silly goose,
Mama

A Week in the Life: 32/52

Here’s what we’ve been up to this past week:

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» Bananas are a hot commodity in our house. I’m lucky to get one before they’re all gone.

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» The beginnings of a rock genius.

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» Shadows at our favorite park.

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» Patterns on patterns.

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» My weekly selfie, in which I note that it’s time for a haircut.

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» These will be framed.

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» Snuggling.

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» Bubbles!

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» My favorite wand.

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» Sometimes a filthy car window makes the best light filter.

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» Eggs, milk, fruit, honey, miscellaneous.

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» She’s 2.5 years old. And when did I stop counting in months!?

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» She makes me stop and notice the beauty in the small things.

*This is a weekly project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone this week. See past weeks here.

You Can Never Have Too Many Photos

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I tried to take a photo on my iPhone this morning, but it wouldn’t let me. It told me to delete some stuff because apparently 2,000 photos is too many.

Denied!

This is the second time in eight months that I’ve had to clean off my camera roll, and it always leaves me feeling antsy. I need backups for my backups. There was that time I lost all our Hawaii vacation photos. And then the time last year when I lost most of the photos from my mother-in-law’s visit.

So I dusted off the external hard drive and moved over several thousand photos. Let out a long sigh and relaxed my shoulders.

Oh, but what’s this? A folder from 2011 full of little baby Alexas. And a folder from her first birthday. I’ll just admit it. I spent the past hour looking at old photos and half-baked ideas and illustrations and sniffling.

Check out this rough silhouette of Alexa that I started last December. It needs some cleaning up, but I love that I did this. It reminds me of the shadow drawings from my childhood, in which our silhouette was projected onto a wall and someone traced around them. Anyone else remember those?

This girl is growing so fast. I think she just went through another growth spurt, if the most recent photos are telling the truth. Her legs are getting longer and lankier, her face is thinning out. I will kiss what’s left of her baby cheeks, even though she rarely lets me anymore. She giggles and pushes me away. I will tickle her belly while she still finds it hilarious. I will steal her nose while she stills thinks I’m a magician. And I will take thousands of photos until my my backup-backups need backups.

Gif Me a Break

Don’t you love it when you find the perfect gif to sum up a situation?

Quick aside: Speaking of gifs, which pronunciation do you prefer (soft g or hard g)? Apparently the correct way is the soft g and I confess, I’m not used to it yet.

Anyway …

When I wake up full of energy and with minimal shadows under my eyes, I’m like:


When I realize there is an unpleasant diaper that awaits me, I’m like:

When I’m in a hurry to get to the office (one of the top floors), it’s like:

When I get unfavorable feedback on my work, I’m like:

When I’m the only one who wants to eat ice cream, I’m like:

When I stop by Target for “one, maybe two things” I’m like:

When my keys get stuck in the deadbolt in the dark, I’m like:

When H talks about his new paleo-esque diet void of carbs and dairy, I’m like:

Haha, just joking. But seriously, H, you’re doing a great job. I did not do so well without bread.

Link Love

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I planned to write something profound here today, but then I fell down a rabbit hole of links.

Thought I’d share:

» Seven creative ways to decorate rocks. I decorated some rocks last summer at a craft event, and I can vouch that it is a soothing, relaxing act.
» I love the story about this 1950s street photographer.
» Haim has come a long way since I saw them open for Julian Casablancas in 2009. Big fan of this new song.
» This movie is right up my alley. Anyone know where I can track it down? Do not want to buy a $30 DVD, kthanks.
» Enjoying Jo’s new series about motherhood around the world. Fascinating stuff.
» Foxes + triangles = best toddler leggings ever?
» I must have a calcium deficiency because I can’t stop thinking about ice cream.

A Week in the Life: 31/52

Here’s what we’ve been up to lately:

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» Going thrifting and having lunch with the amazing Sara.

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» And getting to know the intimate details of her cat Baby’s tongue. I must’ve been super boring company because she wouldn’t stop yawning!

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» Alexa claimed my beach hat as her own. I had to hide it out of reach to keep it from falling victim to crayons and chalk.

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» Sometimes I miss Steppin’ Out.

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» Determined to go up that slide like the big kids do.

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» I spy a belly.

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» Super papa to the rescue, with water for our sand castles.

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» The most relaxing beach day I’ve had since Alexa was born. She slept, I slept, H slept. We had a family nap for two hours, and it was awesome.

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» Hot pink and gray day.

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» Checked out a farmers market close to work and found my coveted black plums. I love them so, even if the blood-red flesh does remind me of biting into a heart. The stand pictured above totally turned me onto beet chips (roasted and salted). Red things for the win!

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» Post-work grocery run.

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» H’s birthday was Thursday. He took the day off to go for a solo hike in the Santa Monica Mountains near Malibu.

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» Lots of abandoned structures along the path, including a burned-out mansion.

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» Afterward he rewarded himself with a dip in the ocean. Happy birthday, H!

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» Fonut Friday.

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» High, wispy clouds.

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» Short, wispy bangs.

*This is a weekly project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone this week, with a few pics from H’s iPhone, too. See past weeks here.