Playing Catch-up

I feel like we’ve just been running from one house to the other, having appointments with contractors, making phone calls to get quotes, etc. and I haven’t really posted much. So, I’m combining last week into one post of randomness.

Here’s Finn enjoying his ice cream cone on Friday. (At Ezra’s request we went to Baskin Robbins after school.)

Finn tackles the sugar cone

Here he shows off his physique complete with tool belt. He was doing some important work around the house.

Finn has a job to do

Ezra put up this sign … on his closet. Not sure what that’s about.

Ezra's sign

And here are a few from the new house. The boys like to sit on the stoop for snack time.

The boys have a snack on the stoop

Finn pretending to be a tree in the front jungle … er … yard.

Finn as a tree

They discovered this weekend that the giant windows in the living room actually open and they can get out that way. Ugh.

The boys discover that the window opens

Let the Cleanup Begin

This has been a crazy week of home ownership. In addition to removing the seller’s left-over junk, we’ve had three painters, four contractors, a roofer, a plumber, and a gardener come to have a look around and give bids on work that needs to be done. There is a lot of deferred maintenance. It’s exciting to be in the process of bringing the house back to life, but frustrating due to the waiting involved.

Yesterday our plumber came to fix some problems in the upstairs bathroom. One of them (a leak) had caused the kitchen ceiling below to bubble up so that it looked like a blister. Here’s Bruce popping it to let the water out.

Bruce pokes a hole in the ceiling

We were expecting a huge gush of water, but instead got a trickle. Not very dramatic, but probably a good thing. It turned out it was a simple problem to fix in the bathroom, too, so that’s a relief.

While we were waiting for appointments, we all did a little gardening. There was at least a year’s worth of oak leaves on the ground so Finn, Bruce and I started sweeping. Finn liked the shoveling the best.

Finn shovels leaves

Finn shovels leaves

Ezra’s Belize

Friday Ezra brought home this picture he drew last week. He’d told me about it earlier in the week — he was worried he wouldn’t have time to finish it. His view of Belize includes palm trees, sand, a bright sun, himself and a crab. I’m not positive, but I think the class was asked to draw their best day ever.

Ezra's Belize

Dumpster Madness

Friday afternoon brought some excitement to our new house — a giant dumpster. The boys were stunned and fascinated to watch how the truck dropped the dumpster in the driveway.

Giant dumpster!

Bruce and I were thrilled to know that the previous owner’s junk would be hauled away quickly. The next day, the seller came back with some hired help to load it up. Believe it or not, they filled it.


The driveway, garage and backyard are now debris-free. The dumpster will be gone tomorrow. Things are moving right along.

New House

After four months of drama, we closed escrow yesterday on our dream house. It’s a bit of a wreck at the moment — lots of deferred maintenance, overgrown landscaping, and, irritatingly, trash left by the previous owner. But we will plug away. Here’s a shot of the exterior that I took a few weeks ago.

Left side front

And here is my favorite picture of the house. It was taken in the 1930s (the house was built in 1927) and was featured in the brochure for the Historic Highlands home tour in 2003. We hope to restore the house to its former beauty.

House in the 30s

MLK Hike

All three Moision boys had Monday off for Martin Luther King, Jr. day, so we decided to take a hike in the canyon in Monrovia. It was slow going for the boys at first with much complaining, but once they realized there was a stream it was all good.

Checking out the rocks

Getting their feet wet


On Friday morning Finn asked if we could go to Target to see if they had a doll that had long hair he could cut. My mantra lately whenever the boys ask for toys is that we just had Christmas and their birthday are coming up, so we can put whatever they’re asking for on their birthday lists. This was not OK with Finn. So Bruce had the idea that they could make Finn a doll. That sat better with Finn and they made a plan to go to the yarn store so they could make a long-haired doll. Seventeen dollars later (mainly due to the race car buttons Finn insisted on), they headed home to make the doll.

By the time I got home, they had cut out the doll from cardboard, used an old shirt for material for the clothes, sewn on shoes and buttons, and Bruce was starting on the hair. Finn was thrilled and couldn’t wait to show me. Rapunzel started off with painstakingly sewn-on orange hair, which Finn promptly cut off (the whole point of the long-haired doll, after all).

Rapunzel 1

After a couple more rounds of this, Bruce decided to sew loops on and attach long hair to the loops so that new long hair could be put on more easily after each haircut. Here are two more shots of Rapunzel in all her glory.

Rapunzel 2

Rapunzel 3

Another Lost Tooth!

Ezra’s second tooth came out on Thursday but he didn’t even notice. He came home from school and was telling me what he learned about Martin Luther King, Jr. that day, when I noticed the hole in his mouth was even bigger. He was very surprised to hear the tooth was gone. He thinks he lost it at school, but I’m guessing he probably swallowed it.

Second tooth: gone

(Note Finn trying to pull his Angry Bird plush toy through the slats in his chair. Crazy kid.)

He was worried about the Tooth Fairy, but I told him if he wrote a note and explained what happened she’d probably leave something under his pillow. We all forgot about it Thursday night, but Friday he wrote a note:

Ezra's note for the Tooth Fairy

A little demanding, perhaps, but he did draw hearts and teeth. She must not have been too offended because she responded with her own note last night. She couldn’t find the tooth at Aveson but will keep looking. And she left him four quarters. He loves coins so life is good.

Kids and Treasures

We went to the [hopefully] new house on Tuesday for the much-delayed City Occupancy Inspection and the boys had fun running around in the front yard. The landscaping is a bit of a mess right now with lots of overgrown plants and debris from the last storm that blew through. The two palm trees dropped lots of fronds, some of which are piled up near the street for the City to pick up. Ezra found two small fronds, though, and used them as a horse and sword, making him a knight. Finn found a rubber band and was in heaven. They do enjoy the simple pleasures.

Kids find treasures in new house front yard

“Mommy, I’m trying to read.”

Friday was Ezra’s first day back at school after Christmas break and they did some switching around between the two Kindergarten classes. The teachers put the kids into different reading groups based on their reading levels, and switched some kids to the other class. I was a little worried that the changes would make him anxious, and, in fact, he expressed some confusion about it Sunday night at bedtime. So, when I picked him up from school on Monday I was very interested to hear how his day went, if he was feeling better about the changes, and if he could tell me who was in his group. (Unlike his friend Lucy, who gives her mom a full rundown of the entire day, Ezra doesn’t talk much about school. I think it’s a boy thing.)

Anyway, he still couldn’t remember who was in his group, but said he felt a little less confused than Friday. When I pressed him for more information, he said, “Mommy, I’m trying to read.” I looked in my rearview mirror and he did have a book. And then he started reading out loud. It was awesome. I didn’t even care that it was a not-entirely-age-appropriate comic book. Needless to say, I stopped asking questions and let him go on with his reading.

Ezra reading

Rest in Peace, Bernie

Jamma’s dad, Bernon Morningstar, passed away yesterday after 14 months of ups and downs. My heart is with Jamma today and I wanted to post this old picture I found last year of her and her dad. There is some discrepancy as to whose motor home it is (since the hideous orange interior was apparently quite popular), but I think it’s ours. I’m guessing my dad had driven it down to the Rose Parade route that year and partying with the out-of-town relatives ensued.

Jamma and her dad

Christmas Tree: Dead

Our tree was so incredibly dry this year that I couldn’t wait to get it out of the house. I think it has something to do with the fact that neither Bruce nor I ever watered it after the first day we put it up. We’ve been a little distracted.

So Bruce enlisted Finn’s help to carry it to the curb.

Dead tree

Finn and Bruce take out the tree

Happy New Year!

We went to the Heffernans’ [now annual] East Coast New Year’s Eve party, where we all ring in the new year at 9:00 and then head home to get to bed at a decent hour. The kids ran around like crazy people for a while, but then they started to crash. This picture was taken at 7:48; I thought we were going to lose some of them.

Looks like we're losing the kids

But they rallied! Noise makers helped … well, helped the kids. Not so much the adults and they were banned for another half-hour. Finn really liked this blower.

Finn starts to celebrate

Kai spent at least an hour, maybe two, making this awesome robot with Bruce.

Kai and his robot

Then we gathered around the TV to get ready for the countdown and watch the ball drop.

Getting ready for the countdown

And then … Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year!

Later I realized that Bruce and I hadn’t prepped Ezra and Finn for New Year’s Eve festivities, when Ezra asked what “all that counting” was about. Oops.

Superhero Moves

I asked the boys to show me their superhero moves the other day and here’s what I got. Ezra’s kicks and Finn’s wiggles are my favorite.