I can't tell you how many days I have intended to sit down and write a blog post since Miles' birthday, nearly two months ago. It's certainly not for a lack of content that I haven't written, but rather time. However, the events were beginning to stack up like planes on a runway, so I thought it best to find the time, sit myself down, and get to blogging.
Since Miles' birthday, we have celebrated several holidays (St. Patrick's Day and Easter), and squeezed in Spring Break (that's a post unto itself). All events were documented with a deluge of photos, only a small portion of which I have included in this post.
So without further adieu, here is a peek at our comings and goings over the past two months.
In early March the kids had Crazy Hair Day at school and this was Miles's take on this whacky school tradition. I always say that it pays to have long, thick, and luxurious hair. Lucky you, Miles!
On March 9, we celebrated my half birthday (we'll find any excuse for a party at our house). My contribution was the homemade mac and cheese (one of my favorites) and Catherine's was the artfully arranged salad and homemade glazed German chocolate bundt cake. She has taken to baking cakes lately, which we are all quite pleased about.
St. Patrick's Day is one of our favorite holidays. Garin says that it's his favorite meal of the year and I would be hard-pressed to argue. I slow-cooked the corned beef for eight hours in Irish beer, along with the carrots, baby potatoes, cabbage, and parsnips. This year I made homemade Irish soda bread after discovering that Trader Joe's had run out. It had been many years since I had made my own, but after doing so, I can definitively say that there is no going back. No offense Trader Joe's, but my homemade version was much more popular with the kids. Catherine made the festive green-colored cake with cream cheese frosting and baby shamrocks. One of our favorite parts of the evening is always the upbeat Irish music, which we tune into on Sirius XM's St. Paddy's Day radio.
On St. Patrick's Day weekend, we attended the Pt. Magu Air Show. If I wasn't already convinced that I was a naval fighter pilot in my former life, I certainly was after attending this event. This was my first official airshow and all I could think was, how have I missed out on this all my life?! The kids enjoyed it, but I was on fire. As the Thunderbird jets soared overhead at Mach 1 (over 1000mph), I jumped up and down and screamed with excitement. I thought Garin was going to die from embarrassment, but that didn't deter me in the least. I am fully expecting an invitation from Tom Cruise for me to appear in the sequel to Top Gun Maverick, not as his love interest however, but as his wingwoman!
Check out this TikTok video with some great footage of the Thunderbirds performing at the airshow:
Graham and I started Spring Break out right with a Friday night Mommy-Boy Date Night. Graham looked dapper in his new linen sports coat and I was quite proud to have him as my date.
I must admit that it took me a few days to get into the swing of things for Spring Break after not one, but two canceled trips, which left me feeling really disappointed. The first trip, which I had booked and planned ten months ago was to Yosemite National Park. Unfortunately, I had to cancel just a week before because the park was still mostly closed due to the unprecedented snowfall this season.
Feeling despair after canceling that trip, I tried to salvage our 10 days off by quickly planning another trip to Washington DC, which I was fortunate enough to land decent flights and a hotel for at the last minute. However, once those were booked and I got online to make reservations for the museums and attractions we had hoped to see, I quickly came to the realization that almost everything we wanted to see was sold out for that week. As I canceled a second trip, just two days prior to our scheduled departure, I fell into a pit of despair.
Knowing that I had four kids at home to entertain for 10 days, I had to recover from my pity party rather quickly and regroup. I hunkered down and started to plan our staycation in LA, which was no easy feat, given that we have been nearly everywhere multiple times. I felt as though I was planning a third Spring Break trip, as I struggled with a daily itinerary to keep everyone entertained.
.Our first outing was to the LA Zoo, where we have a membership. How can you help but feel anything but happy when you are with all those beautiful animals? We also went to visit my mom that day at the cemetery to bring her flowers for her birthday, which was a few days later. We ended our day by eating fantastic Mexican food at Don Cuco's in Burbank. It was some of the best Mexican food I have had in Los Angeles. Thank you Gigi and Teddy for the recommendation!
On Sunday, after the Palm Sunday service at church, we spent the afternoon and evening cooking and baking. Every year we have a birthday celebration for my mom, decorating the table with sunflowers and making some of her favorite foods (lamb chops and cake). Catherine decided to take on a rather ambitious cake project, making a three-tiered carrot cake which I decorated with a sunflower. The kids all made handmade birthday cards for her. The evening was lovely and I know my mom would have enjoyed it.
Garin and I attended the new Auschwitz exhibit on Monday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. As expected, it was a difficult exhibit to take in, but worthwhile. While being both comprehensive and informative, the exhibit handled this painful subject matter with the utmost sensitivity and dignity Nothing was sugar-coated, nor exploitative either. I was encouraged by the large crowd in attendance, realizing that people aren't shying away from the difficult subject matter, but rather coming together to face this tragic and unthinkable chapter in history. I left with a feeling of gratitude for having the opportunity to bear witness to these atrocities, despite how difficult it was to do so.
On Tuesday we took a trip downtown for lunch at the Grand Central Market. With so many delicious choices, we had a difficult time choosing where to eat. With long lines, we had to make a unanimous decision, so as not to be standing in line for lunch all day. We collectively decided to try the Pupusa restaurant, which was delicious. After lunch, we rode the Angel's Flight Railway, which opened in 1901. Although only a short ride and nowhere near as exciting as a roller coaster, as an Angeleno, you have to do it at least once in your lifetime, so you can say you have.
On Wednesday we headed to the Getty Villa in Malibu. It was a picture-perfect day at the ocean, 65 degrees, a light breeze, and not a cloud in the sky. The Villa specializes in J. Paul Getty's antiquities collection, so it is a bit tedious for those who are not lovers of that genre, but the setting and garden are so stunning that I always find it well worth the visit, especially when you luck out and end up with the weather we had.
On Thursday we went to Natural History Museum to see the annual Spring Butterfly Exhibit, which is always a big hit. We haven't been in many years, so it was really fun to once again, experience the butterflies in all their colorful glory. We headed into the museum afterward to see a few exhibits, before going to lunch. Lunch was an outing in itself, as we went Philippe the Original, which has been around since 1908 and claims to have invented the irresistible French Dip Sandwich (I am not quite sure why it is called a French Dip if it was invented in Downtown Los Angeles). No matter, it is one of the best French Dip sandwiches I have ever had, not to mention all the delectable side dishes such as old fashion macaroni and potato salad, the most divine pickled beets, and perfect kosher pickles. And don't get me started on all the options for dessert. We opted for chocolate and banana cream pie. It's a good thing Phillipe's isn't close by or I might have to join weight watchers.
On Friday we stayed home and worked. It was miserable. The only joyous moment was our delicious Thai food dinner out. At least the day ended on a happy note.
On Saturday we were on the move again, thank Heaven. We started the morning by visiting my mom and grandma at the cemetery again, bringing them each a perfect bouquet of pink tulips for Easter. From there we grabbed some lunch and headed to Descanso Gardens to see the bounty of spring blooms. And they did not disappoint. The blossom trees and tulips were other-worldly. The Clivia were in bloom, creating a vast sea of orange and green for as far the eye could see. It really set the mood for Easter, the next day.
Easter Day was lovely, but a bit ad hoc, although it may not look like it. Given that we were supposed to travel, returning in the evening on Easter, I made the incorrect assumption that I had escaped Easter duty this year. Not so fast. Given that, I think we did a pretty good job of pulling off a wonderful Easter. We started the morning at church with a lovely service and lots of scrumptious homemade sweet treats on the patio to follow. We then came home and hit the ground running. Garin was on hide the Easter egg duty, while I did most of the cooking, with Catherine and Graham as my sous chefs. They did the peach cake all by themselves! You may be asking where Miles fits into the equation. As Graham likes to say, "Miles, can you just try to be helpful?" Miles rollerbladed in the backyard and slyly stole jelly beans as Garin attempted to stuff them into the plastic eggs. I suppose that is his version of being helpful.
Ending Note: At the beginning of break, we went to the library and took out a slew of great movies to watch. We managed to get through a good number of them, watching one nearly every night together after our long days out. Relaxing with the kids was wonderful, but my favorite part was Fitzy curling up on my lap and snoring. I could think of no more relaxing way to spend our break than watching a movie with a warm cozy pug on my lap.