Saturday, December 29, 2007

Look what Grayson got for Christmas



Mama's got a bone to pick with Santa. Just because it was on the wish list, didn't mean the man in red needed to deliver ...

Pedigree, history and parentage are all unknown, but to one certain 6-year-old, this scruffy looking mutt is definitely best in show.

Next on the list is finding a suitable name for this dog of dubious descent to call his own. Contenders include: Otto, Farley, MacIntosh, Ruff, Scruffy, Rufus, Artie, Honus, and Speed Bump (Rob's contribution). All suggestions (except those referring to car tire obstacles) will be considered!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas in Bakersfield




Let me tell ya, the Bakersfield Zoo knows how to do Christmas. More than 2 million lights make it look like Disneyland, Central Valley-style! Perhaps a little more dirt, a few more flies, and with that signature bovine scent. But still something to see if you happen to be passing through on your way to another Christmas destination. And the apple dumplings weren't too bad either...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Letter

WHAT WE LOVED IN 2007

GRAYSON: The quarter vending machines at the movie theater, raviolis, holding my breath for a really long time, spikey hair, recess
JANICE: Family bike rides, "Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, Thanksgiving in Oregon, the Westmont students and alumni who care for my children
ROB: Lots of rental cars, Wrigley Field, riding Space Mountain with Grayson, the Fat Tire brewery, "Travels with Charley" by John Steinbeck, victory over the gophers in the yard
LUCIE: Mom's high heels, doggy kisses, my big brother, Tic Tacs, Chapstick

Wishing you lots to love about 2008,

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Six-year-olds and Santa


Six is a magical year for Christmas. Reindeer on the roof, sleighs that fly around the world, jolly men who vaporize into your house looking for cookies, not to mention the sack full of presents! This is the stuff of six-year-old fantasies. Even cookie baking is a grand adventure, for you never know when the gingerbread men are going to make their move and come bursting from the oven. Luckily they only bake for 8 minutes, which isn't too long to have a sentry stationed at the oven door. And even that, it seems, isn't enough. One minute our gingerbread cookies were cooling on the rack, and the next they were arranged on a plate on the table. How this could have happened, we may never know. The fact that I was holding a spatula just seconds after the miracle occurred doesn't diminish the mystery one bit. This miracle on Wagner Street has led to some interesting bedtime ponderings: if the gingerbread men hadn't been decorated with eyes yet, how did they see where they were going? Did they prop each other up to get on the table? Do gingerbread men have knees?? O ye of little faith ...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Lions and tigers and .... dolphins!


Las Vegas is not my scene. I don't own a velor track suit, or ride in a motorized scooter, or dance on poles. There is one place, though, where I definitely fit in: Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden. No, not because I like over-styled gay men with thick accents. I just like their animals!

As part of the conference I am attending, The Mirage offered us a behind-the-scenes after-hours tour of the Siegfried & Roy dolphin habitat and white tiger garden. While the boys' fascination with all things white is somewhat mysterious, the animals themselves are spectacular. The lions absolutely glowed bright white against the green sod and black night, glaring at us with disdain in their obvious superiority. You could literally see their white breath as they panted in the cool night air. The snow white tiger was standing on his two hind paws, scratching his chin on the uppermost branch of a tree. This was only 10-feet away from me, and the tiger stood at least that tall with his massive jaws and paws. I couldn't help but think of poor Roy's throat...

We were sitting poolside as the dolphins ran through their repertoire of tricks. Afterwards, they swam along the side of the tank and examined us with their sideways eye as we leaned over the edge to stare back. I could've reached out and touched any of them, except for the mama dolphin who kept her 6-month-old calf a safe distance away.

I finally found my niche in Vegas, even though the entertainment still isn't fully clothed.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Attention Santa: North Pool


A copy of Grayson's handwritten wish list (with some mommy notes for clarification), which he intends to hand deliver to the big man himself tonight at Westmont's Christmas Tree Lighting. Ah, the innocence of childhood. Sigh. (Click on the picture to enlarge.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Two Poems

A couple of poems by my two favorite poets:

"Fall Leaves" by Grayson

Brown leaves,
Orange leaves,
Listen to that crunching sound.
Feel the fuzzy leaves.
Dry leaves,
Falling to the ground.

"The Lanyard" by Billy Collins

The other day as I was ricocheting slowly
off the pale blue walls of this room,
bouncing from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one more suddenly into the past --
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sickroom,
lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips,
set cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift--not the archaic truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hands,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving Day


Happy Thanksgiving from our home-away-from-home at the Ashland Springs Hotel with a stand-in family from the displaced members of the cast and crew of "Calvin Marshall." May all of your pumpkin pies be as good as ours was. Yuuummmm ....

Rolling!


A few shots from our day on the set of Gary and Anne's movie, and Grayson's big acting debut. What a long and interesting day it was, filled with memories and even a little bit of star power. Rob got pulled into the action for his 15-seconds of fame as coach of the "Pirates." Oh, and I totally want a craft services truck to park outside my house at meal times and offer my family their choice of delicious fillet mignon, seared ahi tuna or spinach raviolis. And while I'm making a wish list, a hair and make-up or wardrobe trailer would be nice as well. Grayson would be happy with the school bus stocked with snacks of every shape and sugar content, which is where he and the other little leaguers spent their time "shopping" between takes.

Lucie had 10-hours of playing in dirt mounds and eating snacks discovered under the bleachers, and couldn't have been any happier even if the temperatures had been above 34 degrees.

I do worry that all of the attention will go to Grayson's head, though. Even this morning, when there was a knock at our hotel door (housekeeping), Grayson's off-hand remark was "It's probably one of my fans." Maybe it's already too late.

More pictures from the previous day's filming at: http://www.dailytidings.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=44274

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Baby, it's cold outside!






Grayson and Lucie's first ever snow day atop Mount Ashland! Grayson did belly flops in it, slid down it, tasted it, threw it and caught it on his eye lashes, all while grinning from ear-to-ear. Lucie, on the other hand, was absolutely terrified of it and froze solid, screaming "Off! Off! Off!" when the frightening white stuff stuck to her boots. Perhaps her non-stop outgoing disposition only functions at sea level? Or at temperatures above 20 degrees? Or maybe she was just worried that it would ruin her new pink boots?

It was a magical afternoon spent huddling together as a family unit, not another human in sight, on top of a mountain with fresh powdery white snow covering the landscape. The kids have never looked more huggable than bundled up in their thrift store snow clothes, hats and mittens with bright pink cheeks and eyes (and runny noses) aglow.

Tomorrow is Grayson's film acting premiere. Stay tuned for details coming to a theatre near you ...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Topless Dancers

Today, mosh pit in the kitchen. Next step, Spring Break Daytona Beach. Regardless, their joy makes me laugh every time.

I would've titled this post "Bring in da funk!" but we've decided not to say "funk" anymore after Grayson's school journal entry on dancing was brought to our attention at the parent-teacher conference. The teacher related her concern when she saw his drawing with the "funk" word misspelled as f-u-c-k surrounding two dancing stick figures labeled "mom" and "dad." Luckily, the drawing came with a story attached that explained the error and we all had a good laugh. But Rob and I, sitting in those tiny little chairs at the tiny little desks, remained horrified nonetheless.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Breakfast with Friends


For Dayna, my bestest friend from high school, who brought her husband and two amazing kids over for breakfast, served with mugs of really hot coffee and a table full of memories.

HERBED-BAKED EGGS
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan
6 extra-large eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Toasted fresh bread or brioche, for serving

Preheat the brioler for 5 minutes and place the oven rack 6 inches below the heat.

Combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and Parmesan and set aside. Carefully crack 3 eggs into each of 2 small bowls or teacups (you won't be baking them in these) without breaking the yolks. (It's very important to have all the eggs ready to go before you start cooking.)

Place 2 individual gratin dishes on a baking sheet. Place 1 tablespoon of cream and 1/2 tablespoon of butter in each dish and place under the broiler for about 3 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Quickly, but carefully, pour 3 eggs into each gratin dish and sprinkle evenly with the herb mixture, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place back under the broiler for 5 to 6 minutes, until the whites of the eggs are almost cooked. (Rotate the baking sheet once if they aren't cooking evenly.) The eggs will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven. Allow to set for 60 seconds and serve hot with toasted break.


CRISPY BROWN-SUGAR BACON
1 pound hickory smoked bacon, slices
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper

Cut bacon slices in half; combine brown sugar, bread crumbs and pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge bacon in sugar mixture, shaking off excess. Twist each bacon slice, if desired. Place bacon in a single layer on a lightly greased baking rack in a foil-lined baking pan. Bake in a 425° oven for 20-25 minutes or until crisp. Let bacon cool before serving.

Happy Veteran's Day


Just your typical balmy 78 degree November Veteran's Day in Santa Barbara ...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Like an orange on a toothpick


How embarrassing is it when the pediatrician has to come back for a second set of measurements, not believing his nurse's initial encounter with your kid's giant cranium?? Yep, if there was ever any doubt whether or not Lucie is a Wagner (as if the appetite wasn't enough), the numbers are in:

Height: 25%
Weight: 27%
Head Size: 75%

The visit concluded with a reprimand to mom for missing the last two check-ups (second child syndrome) and a four immunization overload.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Der Mom

I was travelling for work one night this week, and found the following sign taped to the front door when I got home. I only wish computers allowed me to do backwards Js and Ys for the full effect.

* * * * * * *

Der Mom
I hoP theet You hAD a vAre GooD tim. I Louv You. Mom.
NAYm: GrAYson
rot it: GrAYson. OL uv it. no HELP at alL.

FLip

Mom
JOKS

Wut DuZ A CAW DO Win A Frmr melks it?
it screms. end.

if You neD ene Help at tol jist cum to GrAYson.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tricks and Treats




Grayson's Halloween costume arrived from Jedi headquarters (aka Grandma's house) last week with strict instructions for Jedi training (Grandma can work "eat your vegetables" into just about anything). Since then, dressing up has turned into serious business. All smiles disappear when the robe has been donned. I suggested that he try wearing it while doing his homework so that he could think "just like a Jedi." I was sharply corrected, "It isn't 'like' a Jedi, Mom. I AM a Jedi."

I was extra glad when Halloween morning arrived with yawns and stretches and (before even opening his eyes) this quip, "I've got three words for you, Mom: Trick. Or. Treat." The highlight of the holiday was definitely the light saber battle which took place between Obe Wagner Kenobee and Darth Mills Vader on the front lawn.

Lucie caught on to the trick or treat routine right away. There was no need to carry a sack from house to house; the candy never made it off the front porch. She popped them straight into her mouth, wrapper and all, and then took off waving her arms and screaming "More tick! Tank oo! More tick! Tank oo!" to the next house. One family sent a representative to hand out candy at the door while the rest finished up dinner at the table. Our hungry little lady bug used the candy mob as a distraction to bypass the door guard, gain entry and inspect the dinner offerings instead. If only she would've stuck with the sack, she might've gotten away with the pot roast. Next year we'll work on the car keys.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Pumpkin Spice Cake

In anticipation of the upcoming holiday, I suggest that you bake this cake recipe from my friend Shawna. It is guaranteed to warm up the house with the scent of pumpkin and spice, and cake always makes me more thankful.

PUMPKIN SPICE CAKE
1 box plain spice cake mix
1 box (3.4 oz) vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup- 1 can pumpkin (depending on flavor preference)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

(1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13x9 pan.
(2) Place cake mix, pudding mix, pumpkin, oil, water, eggs, cinnamon, and ginger in a large mixing bowl. Blend on low for 1 minute. Scrape down sides and beat for 2 more minutes. Pour into prepared pan and smooth with rubber spatula.
(3) Bake for 32-35 minutes, until cake springs back when lightly pressed with fingertips or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Frost with either buttercream frosting and top with chopped nuts, or use prepared vanilla frosting with a tablespoon of maple syrup blended in.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Little Bit of Gala






Blogging isn't the only activity I've neglected this month. Bedtime stories, homemade meals, folded laundry, and quiet evenings at home have all been sacrificed for the monster called HOMECOMING. I don't know that I'd go so far as saying it was all worth it, but I do have to admit that it was one heck of a good time. Here are a couple of trophy pics to show off; two of the Friday night Gala at Fess Parker's DoubleTree, and the other of the Saturday afternoon picnic (both of which fed more than 600 guests). I'll spare you details of the 31 events that took place in-between these bookends...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Lessons from my week in retirement

I spent last week living with my Grandma at a retirement community, caring for her as she recovered from a heart attack. I always dreamed of retirement and the luxury of having nothing to do all day, but the reality was a forced routine that brought order to help pass the long days. In-between trips to the mailbox and the trash can, there were moments of absolute sweetness: Grandma teaching me how to make homemade cinnamon rolls, our Anne of Green Gables DVD marathon, holding hands during doctor appointments, trying out new hairstyles on her pin-curl perm, keeping company for a 3am bowl of cereal.

Here are some other lessons I learned from my week in retirement.

(1) Empty Cool-Whip buckets are perfect containers for bringing a meal to a friend.
(2) Meals don't have to be fancy with dessert and wine; a bowl of leftover meatball soup does the trick.
(3) Men don't become any less honery with age; one husband, dissatisfied with how long it was taking his wife to unfold her arthritic body from the car, gave her a honk from the bicycle horn attached to his walker. I could see his body trembling with laughter from across the road.
(4) Age doesn't diminish a wife's ability to bawl a husband out.
(5) Iced water causes diarrhea. (?)
(6) Bowel movements are an appropriate topic of conversation.
(7) Never underestimate the entertainment value in watching a building being constructed. It's like old people tv.
(8) Plastic milk crates make great seats for watching the construction. They can be moved along the sidewalk to keep pace with the crew and guarantee front row seats.
(9) There is no finer ending to the day than to sit on your front porch and chat up the neighbors.
(10) Especially if your neighbor brings a plate of homemade cookies.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Do Do Do






Janice sports a shorter do, Grayson works a more colorful do, and Lucie finally has a do!

Friday, September 21, 2007

In Memory of Captain Holly


Eight years ago today, my beloved first pet, Captain Holly, died. He was a blue parakeet and a gift from my first boyfriend in high school. (Which was only one of the reasons for the love-hate relationship he shared with Rob.) He slept at the foot of our bed when Rob and I first got married. He sat on the mascara wand when I got ready in the morning. He even had his own stocking on the hearth at Christmas. Although I never convinced him to say anything other than his beautiful bird songs, he was a big part of my life for 12 years. Sometimes Grayson and I will go into pet stores and look at the parakeets to see if we can find the one that looks most like Captain. None of them ever capture his essence; they all know they are birds. Captain, I think, felt blessed to be the only flying member of the family.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Shiver Me Timbers

I'm sure all you scurvy dogs are aware that today is "International Talk Like A Pirate Day." In honor of the holiday, you mateys can have your landlubber name translated on this site to a pirate name:

http://gangstaname.com/pirate_name.php

You'll be walking the plank if you don't refer to my own seafaring crew for the next fortnight as:

Janice: Pirate Jen the Cash-Strapped
Rob: Cap'n Fruity McBeerbong
Grayson: "Tripod" Maurice Scarr
Lucie: Pirate Yvette the Sword Test Dummy
Harry Fish: Not-so-keen-on-the-women Ron

I only hope there is buried treasure ahead. Yarrr!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Happy Birthday, Harry!

In honor of Harry Connick, Jr's 40th birthday today, I post this clip for your viewing pleasure:

Monday, August 27, 2007

First Day in First Grade


The first day of school was marked by equal parts joy and emotional instability. And Grayson was just as bad.

I was prepared for his clothing crisis, after experiencing similar traumas on every major holiday in recent history, and successfully talked him off the ledge with lots of gentle but confident words and a final push out the door. (Although the complaint, that he was trying too hard to look cool, not normal, was a new and dramatic twist.)

The teenage angst continued on the walk to school. I was walked ahead, he followed behind at a safe distance. He refused to pose for pictures in front of the sign. He didn't want to be shown the bathroom location, or hear about whether his backpack contained milk money or a juice box. He was calm, cool and in-control. If he owned a Fedora, it would have been tipped at a jaunty angle with one eye looking out at the ladies.

Until we reached room 3.

Thin little arms cinched my waist like a belt. Size 12 Converse scaled my legs like a coconut tree. It was as if he was planning to exercise some of womb re-entry option. His very own desk was located, with his name already on both it and a math book. Friends were pointed out, the teacher introduced. The grip eventually relaxed, and the seal was broken. Officially, he became a first-grader.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Fiddler on the Roof

Rob: "We got a new Netflix movie today. Fiddler on the Roof."
Janice: "Oh good! We can all watch it together tonight!"
Grayson: "But how are we going to get it down?"
Rob, Janice: "Huh?"
Grayson: "If Dad put the movie on the roof, how are we going to get it down?"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Lucie Diet

Lucie's taste for strange and dangerous items has hit an all-time low: I found her chewing this morning on the caulking that bonds the toilet to the bathroom tile. Does the hospital's hepatitis ward take advance reservations?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Toyphobia? I don't think so.


While browsing in a toy store at the Third Street Farmers Market in Los Angeles this weekend, a reporter from KNBC introduced herself and asked me a few questions about the Mattel toy recall. I'm pretty sure we weren't able to deliver the sound bytes she was hoping for.

In her best hyper-end-of-the-world voice the reporter asked, "How can you be shopping for toys at a time like this? Aren't you fearful for your children's safety with yet another toy recall announced this week???"

Channeling the blase attitude Santa Barbarans are known for, I responded, "In the last three-weeks, my daughter has chewed on an acrylic fingernail she found underneath a lounge chair at a hotel pool, eaten a marshmallow dug up at the beach from a leftover bonfire, and sucked the moisture out of a used Swifer floor wipe. Really, toys in the mouth aren't even on my parenting radar." As if on cue, Lucie grabbed the microphone away and started gnawing on the foam covering. Rob says I should have concluded the interview by insisting the microphone be swabbed for led-based paint.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Heat in Fresno

Here's a little "Grayson-ism" from our vacation this summer.

Our one night pit-stop in Fresno included a Westmont event, featuring Dr. Michael Shasberger, a noted conductor, musician and professor. Dr. Shasberger stayed at the same hotel, so we picked him up for the event and planned to drop the kiddos off at a sitter along the way. We had briefed Grayson on Dr. Shasberger's prominence and stature and asked him to use his best manners during the brief car ride there. He assured us that he fully grasped the situation and could be counted on to act accordingly. I was still a little nervous, though, as Dr. Shasberger opened the door to our jam-packed minivan and brushed aside the Cheerios from the passenger seat.

"Hi, Dr. Shasberger," I said.

"Oh, who do we have here?" he asked.

"This is my daughter, Lucie, and my son, Grayson," I said.

"Well hello, Lucie. And hello, Grayson," he said.

And Grayson replied, "Hi, Dr. Shasberger. I'd shake your hand, but I can't right now because my butt is sweaty."

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

In Case of Emergency

You might find it helpful someday to know (although I pray not) that cell phones can dial 9-1-1 with the keypad locked. It's true. Just ask Lucie. Or the 9-1-1 operator she babbled to for two minutes, ten seconds this morning before I caught on that there was actually someone on the receiving end of the conversation.

Now she is on the lookout for any unattended phone, anxious to enter that magic three-digit combination and get the urgent sounding voice back on the line.

Friday, August 3, 2007

For Grayson


My little Gentleman, the one with the freckles across his nose, is six.

You are a better person than I am; holding the door for ladies, crying over your own greed, making your sister laugh. Your unique perspective on life makes everything fun. I'm endlessly proud of your artistic talents, your prowess on the monkey bars, and the many skills you learned in kindergarten this year. You can melt me with a look.

I am so thankful that you haven't outgrown the need to crawl in bed with me every morning and snuggle your way back to sleep, or that you still follow me to the driveway and blow kisses as I leave for work. I'm holding on to these moments for a lifetime, my little man.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Voicemail

Transcript of a voicemail I had to leave at my office on Thursday:

"Hi Mary, this is Janice and I'm running about 5-minutes late for our 9 a.m. meeting. I couldn't find any shoes this morning; all I could find were potatoes where my shoes used to live. I finally figured out that Lucie had done some re-organization, and checked the potato basket only to find Grayson's pajamas. Some empty soda cans were in Grayson's pajama drawer, and finally, my shoes were stashed in the recycle bin. So I'm on my way in. Don't worry -- Rob will be on time because along the way I discovered his shoes in Grayson's closet. They had tortillas in them, but they cleaned up quickly. Poor Grayson, though; his only clean t-shirts were in the refrigerator. Anyways, I don't have potatoes on my feet and I'll see you in a few minutes. Bye."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Abnormal Traffic Patterns

After last night, I would definitely cast my ballot in support of widening the hallway to our bedroom. Or, at the very least, installing a carpool lane. What we actually need is a toll road to curb the traffic going in and out our bedroom door at 3 o'clock in the morning. Passage during working hours, completely free. Encouraged, even. Passage between the hours of 9pm and 6am, strictly forbidden. $10 fine for each violation. Those feet better hurt $10 bad before you consider walking through that door for a 4am foot rub.

My new bedtime routine will now include clearing a path between my room and each of the kid's beds, to make stumbling in the dark as efficient as possible. I'm training to do it without even opening my eyes, in a vain attempt to speed-up the going back to sleep process. The bruises are healing nicely.

I'll also be recycling any toys that have a history of performing their song and dance routines after dark - grandparents be forewarned. The irony of being woken up by "Rock a Bye Baby" (for the fourth time) is completely lost on me in my current state of exhaustion. If you happen to find that a Glo-Worm has been launched into your yard, still playing its snappy tune, it isn't ours.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Top 15 Moments from a 3-Week Road Trip





























15. Spending an afternoon being useful to my blind Grandma
14. Making my 4-month-old nephew, Noah, smile
13. Eating pizza on the sand during sunset at Seaport Village, San Diego
12. Requesting songs from the mariachi band with Aunt Grace
11. Introducing the kids to ballpark wieners at the Padres game on Fourth of July
10. Watching Grayson hit a single on the Petco kid's field
9. Laughing at Lucie's "Ooooo!" every morning when she re-saw the fountain in the hotel lobby
8. Sitting in the hot sand at Hotel del Coronado while the kids played on the rocks
7. Grayson's "YES!" after going on nearly all of the fast water slides at Knott's Soak City
6. Drip castles at La Jolla
5. Pina coladas delivered poolside in Palm Springs
4. Lucie keeping the pool deck clear of all those pesky flip-flops (and cluttering up the pool with a sea of floating shoes)
3. Rob and Grayson winning the "Fastest Slide" competition
2. Afternoon naps
1. Lucie's ruffled bikini-clad bottom