Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mommo, Boppo, and Gabby Come for a Visit!

We had been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Ant's mom and dad last weekend. No sooner did Bill bring in the dog crate than Vinny was luring Gabby into it. When she wouldn't go for that idea, he decide he'd go in. Silly boy.
Tom and Weez arrived to a feast of steak and wine...Mommo and Boppo arrived to cold cut sandwiches. Good thing they are easy to please.

Bill really wanted to go to Malibu, as he had been there years ago on a business trip and he wanted Joan to see it. So our first stop was the campus of Pepperdine. Upon passing through the gate, the guard asked if anyone in our group was interested in attending Pepperdine, and after catching a glimpse of this view, we said, about 16 years!
Not a bad view, I'd say. Whew! Pepperdine University sits high atop the cliffs overlooking the Pacific. The buildings weren't much to look at, but I am pretty sure you don't go to Pepperdine to look at the buildings.
Then we continued along the Pacific Coast Highway (or as we super hip Californians refer to as the PCH, brah) hee hee...couldn't help myself...anyway, we stopped to put our feet in the sand at a crowded beach. Apparently some famous movies have been shot here...Can you name them?
So then we made our way back to a little shack for some fish and chips. Very yummy, very local, and very beautiful. While we didn't spot any celebrities or find the Two an a Half Men house for my dad :) we did see some amazing gates. Yes, gates. Gates that looked more expensive than most houses. Of course we couldn't see the houses themselves because they are hidden and face the ocean anyway, so all we can see are...the gates. Oh well. After all, they were nice gates. I'm sure some very beautiful and very famous people lived in thoses houses, we'll just never know...

Anyway, here we are at the fish and chips shack. YUM!
Happy Birthday Daddy!
Vinny helped make Anthony's favorite Italian Creme birthday cake and as soon as we got home from Malibu we had to frost it. It was hot that day, so we opted to not bother frosting the sides of the cake. Vinny made sure to taste test...quality control of course.
He is such a good helper, and hopefully one of these days he'll know his way around the kitchen pretty well. He even put the candles in the cake all by himself. I love how crooked they all are.
"Bye Gabby, Mommo, Boppo"
Boppo took one last walk with Vinny before heading back to Arizona. Vinny hasn't really understood the big goodbye up to this point, until that day. As I held him under the "tunnel" and we watched Bill and Joan drive away, he slowly lifted his arm and pointed his finger up (it's their little thing they do, the #1 sign), and quietly whispered "Boppo" as if confused about why he was driving away. He looked so sad. It's not easy living far away from family, and that's more apparent now than ever. Thankfully this fall will be busy with travel and we will get our fill of family in the next couple months. It's a good thing time flies!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Out and About in Monrovia

Movie Day
The movie theatre here in Old Town shows older movies for a buck every Tuesday morning, so I took Vinny to see Marmaduke. He loved it, and it was pretty cute. The voice of the dog is Owen Wilson, which Vinny recognized as Lightning McQueen right away. So do you think he likes going to the movies, or what? He looks like a pro.
Later, we ran around the fountain across the street at the library and had some fun snapping some pictures.
These days he's laughing and running, no-stop. He's hit or miss with naps, but when he does crash, it's hard, and he sleeps for at least 3 hours!
A new favorite thing to do is drive the car, so getting in and out of the car has become an even longer process.
Street Fair
The main street in Old Town shuts down every Friday Night for the street fair. Local restaurants serve up burgers and bbq, venders pedal their crafts and jewelry, and a farmers market opens to the public with the freshest fruits and veggies we've tasted our days of stopping at roadside fruit stands back home. Vinny warmed up to the bouncehouse the second time through and he really loved petting the bunnies and chasing the chickens in the petting zoo.
21st Century Child
Yes, he's figured out the iPhone. He can access my iPod and play his Mickey Mouse shows (a Godsend while he rides in the cart during grocery shopping) all by himself. In fact, he insists with an emphatic "I do it." I have a few toddler apps for him, too, so he can tap on shapes and read along with interactive books. He calls it the Mickey phone, which cracks me up.
Mean Jean Junior
Shoe shopping is not a favorite activity for Vinny. It must run in the family. I, too, so I'm told, hated it. My grandfather dubbed me Mean Jean (my middle name) for kicking the poor sales guy. Anyway, Vinny was in desperate need for some new sneaks, and with lots of bribery, we found success. A bagful of Disney Store toys, new Lightning McQueen jammies, and a ride on the big carousel later, we had "cool shoes." With laces. Joy. With feet as wide as Vinny's, I think our days of velcro are over.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Our "New House"

Finally some pictures! I'm not even going to lie...the house is never this tidy...but Bill and Joan were on their way to visit for the weekend, and with Vinny actually napping, I could really clean it up! So I snapped some pictures while I had the chance!

This is it!
It's little, but it meets all our needs, and we are really enjoying it.
We are right at the top of the cul-de-sac, and here is a view of our little neighborhood. Dotty lives in that little grey house obstructed by the post, and she is the last standing original resident...she's been in that house for 56 years! We were glad to finally meet her the other day. She got a kick out the fact that she has never seen Vinny walk anywhere. Nope. He'd rather run!
There's our little "tunnel" as Vinny calls it. What's nice is that all the traffic goes the opposite way of the cul-de-sac so it's pretty quiet...although, cars race around that corner pretty fast. Even though they're going the other way, it's still pretty annoying.
Going through the "tunnel." Watch out...don't want to hit your head. I'm telling you, he cracks me up.
The Inside
That's pretty much all of it. Told you it was small.
But we were able to fit most of our things that we took with us, and actually think it looks better here than in the big house. Cozy is what we're calling it. We really do love it.
Through the kitchen is the laundry room and powder room, just like my mom and dad's house. Then off that is our bedroom with another door that leads out to the backyard.
The guest room awaits you...
The main bathroom:
Look who's up...

Vinny's playroom! We got so lucky finding a house, first of all (we would have never made it in an apartment), and a house with 4 bedrooms! Vinny loves to play in here and watch the "little TB" as opposed to the "big TB" in the living room. But he does his fair share of TB watching in there, too.
That door leads to the back yard...the best part of this house!
The Backyard
And this would be how we spend every night. While the days are warm, in the mid 80's, the nights are cool and beautiful! Coming from Phoenix, they are down right chilly for summer! We still pinch ourselves-it's been 12 years since we could actually open the windows and truly enjoy real summer weather during real summer months!

So this is the upper level, right off Vinny's playroom:This is the lower level with the patio and grill:
Those shrubby things are geraniums. Geraniums? Can you believe it? In the ground, not in a pot for a brief stint around memorial day! And the pictures didn't really give justice to the numerous white rose bushes that burst with color, and especially pop at night under the moonlight. It's like a secret midnight garden that can truly be enjoyed round the clock.
Vinny loves to run across the grass non-stop. He says, "ready, set, go" every time he takes off for another sprint. And when in a rush, it's just "set-go!"
And here is the best part. Sure, renting has it's drawbacks, maybe even stigma (though coming from the abysmal real estate market in AZ, what's the difference, really?) But I tell you, when Antonio and his brother show up with their mowers and trimmers and take care of business every Wednesday, I sit back and think, "Hmmm, 'gardeners included?' Renting is highly underrated...this is a treat!" I still need to get out there and give the beds some TLC with weeding and thinning, but oh my goodness, having someone else do all the heavy lifting every week is so great.
Gotta sneak in this cutie!
So, I posted this a while back on Facebook...we often hear a rooster cockadoodle-doing throughout the day, and funny enough not at the crack of dawn, more like dusk...anyway...turns out his owner had a termite problem, and while their house was under wraps for fumigation, this guy escaped backyard and explored the neighborhood for a few days. Vinny thought it was great fun. He went up to the rooster and said, "Hi roosey, I Ninny." We need to work on that V sound...
I thought I heard a putty cat...and yup, right there in our back yard shrubs, this guy appeared. He scooted quickly through the fence...not sure who he belongs to yet.
And thankfully we still have lizards to keep Vinny interested, too. One night, while we were sitting out back, we looked up to find a spider weaving her web across two fan palms. It was the coolest thing to watch! We tried to get a picture, but it just didn't capture the beauty of her web, nor her skill. I'm still on a mission to capture the elusive parrots that fly all over Monrovia and roost right in the tall trees behind our house...I'll save that for another post...

He's Got the Cutest Little Baby Face: First 2 Months

Vincent's First Few Days at Home

Vincent Joseph is Born

Murphy and Lucy