My life in May

Well I sure have let almost half a year go by since my last post. I swear it doesn't feel like it's been that long, but looking back a lot has happened...

Most major news - The Hubs lost his job at the bank RIGHT before Christmas. How's that for gratitude for his 10 years of indentured servitude? It was pretty rough for several weeks there but we made it through. He is now back in the shipping industry managing the pre-load sort (i.e. working at 0'dark:30), making a bunch more money, and generally being a whole lot happier, if a little more tired, than he ever was at the bank. I'm happy. He's happy. Life is good. And he got to tell a bunch of his former coworkers, as he was getting off work at noon one day and making a stop at the bank, how much happier he is since he left! So that was a nice little perk.

As for me, I'm still working for my dad and things are going pretty well. I've been working a few hours a day, 3 days a week, and actually earning a regular paycheck! It's nice to have that extra income and help build my dad's company, which will be mine when he retires one day. I do marketing, research, packaging, office work, grunt work, you name it. But I'm learning every part of the business and it's actually kind of fun. Hopefully all our hard work brings in a bunch of new business soon!

Cadence just turned 5 a couple of weeks ago. I can't believe it. She is turning into such a big girl with such a huge personality. I don't know where she comes up with half the things that come out of her mouth, or where she got all this confidence, but it's pretty cool to watch. She's losing her first tooth right now, just a tad ahead of schedule thanks to the noggin of a 2 year old friend of the family. But according to the dentist she probably would have started losing teeth in the next 6 months anyway judging by how close her permanent teeth are to erupting and the fact that her front baby teeth have like zero roots left. Unfortunately the 2 teeth adjacent to that one wiggly front top tooth are also a tiny bit wiggly so I'm predicting a jack-o-lantern smile before Halloween! My poor cute girl! LOL Well, awkward years build character I always say. 

Max is doing great, he'll be 2 in July but insists that he is already 2. And judging by his attitude he might as well already be in the throes of the terrible twos. He is a champion tantrum-thrower, complete with dramatically falling to the floor whenever I tell him "no." Oh and he tells ME no 10 times more often than I say it to him. It's a great time. But man he is so snuggly and sweet when he's not throwing a fit. What they say about little boys loving their moms is totally true in his case, so the trade off could be worse! He will be starting preschool in the fall, and if Cadence wasn't almost guaranteed to be going to PM kindergarten I could actually get a few hours to myself a couple of days a week, but I think that's unlikely to happen. Still I think Cadence will like having some one-on-one time with mom on the mornings that Max is in school (and I will too!).

My HS class is having our...gulp...20th reunion in 3 weeks and I managed to get myself roped into being on the planning committee. This is what happens when you try to be polite and half-heartedly offer to help, BTW. Now I'm in charge of finances, WEE. But, I do like planning parties and I'm glad it's happening. We had a small class of about 120 students so everyone knows each other, but we've never had a reunion before. There have been one or two prior attempts that fizzled out, but I think now that it's been 20 freaking years more people are interested and motivated to attend. We'll see. About half of the planning committee doesn't seem to want to do anything useful and I feel like we are WAY behind. So we'll see if it actually ends up happening! 

Tomorrow is Hubs' and my 11th wedding anniversary and we're taking the afternoon to go to a nice lunch and do some local wine tasting. Haven't done that in ages and I love me some wine! I'm excited to have an adult day while someone else is responsible for my kids! Then Sunday is our annual Mothers Day pool party with Hubs's family. Should be fun even though it's not going to be very warm out, lots of food and more wine and all the cousins running around wild... Hopefully this weekend will be mellow and a lot less traumatic than last weekend with the whole bumped tooth fiasco.


The Thomas Fire

So last week was a doozy. Monday night I was putting Max to bed and kept hearing the Hubs's phone buzzing over and over again in the living room. In my mind I was like, "OMG you guys and your group texts are getting out of control!" Well it was a group text, but when I finally came out and took a look (Aaron was putting Cadence to bed and I'm unabashedly nosy), that's when I learned about the fire. And it moved so fast, by the time I skimmed the messages - which had been going back and forth for like 20 minutes - the fire had already made it from one end of town to the other. When Aaron came out we turned on the scanner, texted our families, and got on social media to see what was happening. Meanwhile, the power went out all over the city and didn't come back on until the next morning.

My parents live adjacent to the neighborhoods that were worst off, and I spent the entire next day watching their house on the news while they were evacuated. The houses directly behind theirs went up but theirs, and amazingly their whole neighborhood, stayed safe. Also amazingly, only one person died in the fires. Even though there was very little time to escape, people left as soon as they were told and saved their lives as a result.

Now we're starting to deal with the aftermath. Most of the evacuations have been lifted. Hundreds of homes are completely gone in our city alone (the fire is still burning and has hit at least 4 cities now, ours was just the first and hardest hit).  So many people are displaced and lost everything. For most, insurance will pay for them to rebuild of course, but I feel for the people who were renting and weren't insured. Not to mention just the thought of losing all your possessions. Some friends of my family who lost their house also lost all of the photos they had of their daughter who passed away several years ago. There was just no time to even think about what to bring with them when they had to flee. Hubs works at a bank and has been talking to lots of people who fall into that category and he says it's really emotional. I can only imagine. It's bad enough just watching these neighborhoods that I've known my entire life disintegrate overnight and seeing friends go through this incredible loss. I'm suddenly very grateful for my tiny house that is still standing.

So we're all trying to get back on track now that it's been a week since the worst has passed. The air quality here is horrific though. You can't go outside without a mask and schools have been closed going on two weeks. At first the east winds were pushing the smoke out to sea (let me tell you that was the first time I truly appreciated the Santa Ana winds!), but now the winds have died down and we're all just living under a huge cloud of smoke, with ash raining down. Here in our house, the kids have had colds and coughs, and Max seems particularly sensitive to the smoke. We were able to borrow an air purifier from my parents and that helps. But boy does it suck being stuck indoors all the time! Aaron and I have been meaning to drive around town and survey the wreckage but it just hasn't worked out. Even being in the car you can still smell and taste the smoke.

Nevertheless, we're trying to get into the Christmas spirit. Our tree and lights have been up since right before the fire, decorations are out, and I'm mostly done shopping. I'm looking forward to the festivities even though it's lots of running around! It's been too quiet this past week or so. I will say it's been amazing to see our community come together, and so, SO many people helping out. I wish I could do more but at least was able to bring some clothes and toys by for an old friend who lost the home she and her family were renting, along with all their stuff. I hadn't seen her since high school, and although the circumstances suck, it was nice to reconnect.

I have all the confidence in the world that our city will recover just fine. I know there are people already making plans to rebuild. It's going to look a lot different around here I'm sure, but this tragedy actually brought our community closer, so I really think it will be even better than ever once it's behind us.


Holiday countdown

Now that Halloween is over it's nearing time for our annual holiday marathon to the New Year! In the past the craziness of the holiday season has been a bone of contention for me, but in my old age I've come to accept it, and dare I say even enjoy it. Well, most of it anyway. Don't get me wrong, I still daydream of vacationing in Hawaii instead of rushing from house to house to house for Christmas, but with two little kids who love visiting their cousins and grandparents, for now it's better to just suck it up and play along.

But first a little rehash of Halloween! I was pretty excited for it this year. I even decorated the house right around the first of the month. Cadence was super excited too, and dressed up as Mal from Disney's Descendants. She's obsessed with those movies, which honestly is fine with me. At least it's a change from the nonstop stream of cartoons that we watch on repeat, and some of the musical numbers are enjoyable (my personal fave is "Did I Mention," it's just so catchy). Also I'm not gonna lie, I'm relieved to see her admire a female character for once. Not that I have a problem with her mostly being attached to male characters, only wanting to listen to male singers, and preferring boys in general, but I do have a problem with her overall disdain for girls. I'm not sure what brought that on, but it had been going on for months and finally seems to be fading a little. Now she's been telling me she's playing with the girls AND boys at school, likes purple and sometimes pink (before those were relegated to "ew" girl colors and therefore to be hated), and might even be willing to wear a dress from time to time. So anyway, she was Mal, we sprayed her hair purple, and she wore her costume to school two days in a row and was totally stoked.

Max was a puppy, because I figured this was probably my last year of getting choose his costume myself and I wanted him to be something snuggly. He was so cute! He loves dogs too so he was actually pretty happy in his costume. He of course refused to wear the hat/puppy face so I painted a nose and whisker spots on his face (which were mostly rubbed off in the first 30 minutes but whatever). He can't say "trick or treat" yet but he can go "woof woof!" when you ask him what sound a dog makes, so that was pretty adorable. And he caught on to the idea of trick or treating pretty fast and had a blast. We went out with the kids' cousins and a couple other families as usual, and it was exhausting as usual, but fun.

Now we get a little holiday break for a couple weeks, and in the meantime we have some more house projects to do. Nothing major, but we're getting a new screen door to replace the retractable one we've had for a while. I didn't realize when we bought it that the bottom would be loose enough for the cats to easily squeeze underneath and escape, so for the past few years we've had 2 very classy cinder blocks on our front porch to block them in when the door is open. And now the screen has torn so even the cinder blocks don't keep them contained anymore. (I'm just starting to realize how white trash my life must sound...) So hooray, soon I will have a nice screen door and NO CINDER BLOCKS to step over! That should probably take my trashy-meter down at least 10%. Also we're going to do a little hot-spot cleanup on the side yard finally. And I'm going to secretly get rid of like 30% of my kids' toys and clothes before Christmas. Shhh!