Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Pity the Fool

Messing with my kid on April Fool's Day brings me such profound and abundant pleasure. Each year, as he gets older and I can worry less about doing long-term psychological damage, I can get more elaborate and a teeny bit grosser.

I started simple--just the old Jell-o in the juice glass. This one didn't really fly because he never gets juice at home, so he was pretty suspicious about why I was suddenly being all generous with the sugar.

This one went into his lunch, so I'll have to report back on it. I bought a container of mini-Oreos and fed them to Josh.

Mmmm, beef jerkey.

Right into the Oreo container. Ha ha, enjoy your beefy dessert, punk.

I bought a giant Tootsie roll and Josh heated it up in the microwave & formed it into a couple of turds. We left them on Dash's chair for him to discover at breakfast. 

I was going to pretend to eat it to freak Dash out, but--even though I knew it was just a Tootsie Roll--I was just too grossed out to put it in my mouth. Dash was more than happy to enjoy some poop-shaped candy, however.

Plastic praying mantis in the shoe is always a good time (I was upstairs when Dash discovered this, but his shriek was incredibly gratifying).

And this was my masterpiece. I had seen a tutorial for how to make a head in a jar floating (ha ha, floating) around the interwebs at Halloween, but I liked it better as an April Fool's prank. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, and Dash's sheer shock at finding that horrible thing in the fridge this morning made my heart all warm and full. 

Happy April Fool's, peeps!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


This boy. This boy who loves reading and baseball and swimming and climbing. Who hates homework and showers. This boy who is the best of his father and the best of me.

Hart Tigers Spring 2014
Pitching his first season of Hart Spring baseball for the Tigers.

This boy who loves broken jokes and tigers and radishes. Who is an only child but has built a band of brothers around him.

photo 1
He learned to sew so he could make his Daddy a special pillow for his birthday.

Who worries about everything but is brave despite. Who wakes from nightmares and asks to be pinched.

photo 3
Portrait of me: Queen Elizabeth the 3rd.

Who has my barking laugh and his father's taste in music. This boy is light and love and a little bit sweaty rust smell. He is more than I ever imagined was possible and a blessing upon us. Oh. This boy.

photo 2
Receiving his basketball trophy from his coaches at the Fire Dragons team party.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Tri is the Magic Number

I know I'm always going on about how much our lives have changed since Josh & I got married, bred & moved to the deep suburbs, but I just can't help it. When Josh & I first were dating, we'd spend entire 48-hour periods drinking cheap rum and wandering around my Los Feliz neighborhood in search of kitschy tiki glasses and ironic t-shirts. Now he does triathlons while Dash & I scamper from point to point, trying to guess his times and screaming encouragements at him. I like it. I like it a lot.

We headed into La Quinta (La Keeeeeeeentah) on Friday morning. Since we'd only be staying one night this time, we had Josh's annual Hog's Breath birthday dinner before the race.

Aren't we a beautiful family?

Hi Honey! How many triathlons have you done so far?

After tomorrow?


This is possibly my favorite tradition. I'm starting to take bets on when Dash'll be taller than Josh in one of these.

The next morning we hauled our asses out of bed at 5:30 to head out. Don't you wish your husband was hot like him?

One of these humans is about to swim in freezing cold lake water with a few hundred other people who paid lots of money for the privilege. 

The other is about to eat some Cheetos.


In case you were wondering if Josh & Dash were related at all.

Swim: done. Boom.

no bike pic, again. but here's what we can assume he looked like:

I love this picture so hard! It's the moment Josh saw Dash & me, and realized that Dash was going to run to the finish with him. Look at how happy he is!
My boys.

(Dash's blue lips are from his snow cone, not from being cold. In case you were concerned.)

And, despite the fact that he keeps getting older (So. Much. Older.) and is constantly going on about how unprepared he is, he just keeps getting faster. Jerk.

But really, we're so proud of our old man. He even got his own Team Engel shirt this year.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Be His

We made valentines for Dash's class last night. I downloaded the adorable cards from I Heart Naptime here. We just printed them, cut them out & Dash addressed them.




Here he demonstrates.

One of Dash's class friends is a non-sighted girl. I normally wouldn't single her out, but I thought that since the Valentines this year were so visual, we would try to do something she could appreciate as well. I found a Braille translator online and printed out "I'm a sucker for you." (Get it? The candy is a sucker! Yay!)

Then I dabbed over each dot with a toothpick dipped in white glue to give it dimension. I honestly have no idea if it'll work. I'm not sure how much dimension is required, but I'm hoping she gets a kick out of the card either way. Dash also added some dimensional foam sticker hearts, so failing everything else, she can feel those.

Female Ladies

(I don't know. My husband calls women female ladies. And now I do, too. Because he is funny and I just want to be like him.)

I'm not sure if I've mentioned here that I've been working with our local Girl Scout troop (and yes, I could check, but isn't it more fun if I just go on endlessly about it?). Laura Verlaque, of Our Beloved Verlaques, is one of the troop leaders, and when I found that out I just kinda started hanging around her house, insinuating that I knew all sorts of useful skills a young woman may want to learn. Eventually she just felt sorry for me and let me help out. She even gave me a pin and made me an official Girl Scout, which made it approximately 60% less creepy that I don't even have a daughter, much less a troop member, of my own.

OK, all of this is to say: I've been working with them on what may be my most favorite project ever.

The troop has been studying the varying and evolving roles of women, and for their Bronze Award project they decided to make a story quilt depicting eleven inspirational women from Southern California.

The final list (once we eliminated Taylor Swift) was:
  • Julia Child
  • Sally Ride
  • Billie Jean King
  • Eva Fenyes
  • Clara Shortridge Foltz
  • Bridget "BiddyMason
  • Shirley Temple Black
  • Judy Baca
  • Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
  • Ellen Ochoa
  • and Flossie Wong-Staal

Each girl selected a woman to study and to represent on the quilt. I drew out simple line portraits of each woman on plain white fabric, taught the girls a basic embroidery backstitch, and they were off and running--embroidering each woman's portrait and name onto their panels. After the embroidery was finished, they embellished each panel with something to symbolize their woman (Julia Child got pearls, Sally Ride got reproduction NASA patches, you get the picture), and even used a little blusher (that's my doll-making trick) to give their faces some dimension.

Once all of the portrait panels were completed, I made a final panel describing the quilt. I also asked each girl to sign her name, and I traced and embroidered over their signatures. Then all that was left was the stitching the panels together, batting, backing and binding, and voila! A story quilt for the ages (and especially for March, when it will hang in the lobby of the kids's school for Women's History Month.)

Here are some close ups of a few of the panels. I can't tell you how proud and grateful I am to have had the opportunity to help the girls create such a gorgeous and meaningful project. Yay girls!





Monday, February 10, 2014

Love Letters

Are you familiar with DoSomething.org? They're an organization that facilitates and inspires young people to do good work in their communities. I learned about their Love Letters program through the Art Bar blog. The Love Letters campaign encourages young people to hand make and send a card to an older person who may be lonely and isolated on Valentines day. The letters will be delivered via Meals on Wheels.

This weekend we invited Our Beloved Verlaques over for some Valentines Day crafting for the Love Letters program and it was, as you can imagine, pretty adorable.




The deadline for sending in the cards is February 15, so there's still time to participate if you're so moved.