The Year of Color {Yellow} Edition

This month's Year of Color snuck right up on me. I kept telling myself I had all the time in the world to come up with some really fabulous yellow stuff, and then boom, it was yesterday.

So, instead of spreading out our fun like we've been doing the past few months, the kids and I did all the yellow things in one afternoon. I thought it might be kind of stressful, but it turns out we all had a lot of fun, learned some new stuff, and not once did I hear the whiny, "I'm boooooooored," or the high pitched screech that can only be made by a 21-month old when she's not getting her way.
I really wanted to find a yellow wall, but that just didn't happen. I settled with the three of us in yellow threads instead. It also needs to be noted that Julia was in a particularly good mood and gave me some good stuff for our pics.

I wanted to find a book dedicated to yellow. But, total procrastination left me with no such luck. However, the kids library is chuck full of books with yellow covers. So, I set the kids to work, and had them pull every single yellow covered book they could find. We spent a good portion of our afternoon snuggled up on Marcus' bed reading some favorites that have been somewhat forgotten.
The particular book we're reading in these photos is Wacky Wednesday by Dr. Seuss, and Marcus absolutely LOVES it. He loves trying to identify all the "wacky" things on each page.

To keep our afternoon moving along smoothly, I figured a boxed cake mix and some sprinkles would be easy enough. I wasn't wrong. Marcus helped me add all. the. sprinkles. to make a batch of Funfetti Gooey Bars.
With kids you cannot go wrong with sprinkles and white chocolate chips. Full confession: these are a bit too sweet for my liking, but these two had exactly zero issues consuming every last morsel of their bars.

If I had to guess, this was Marcus' favorite activity of the afternoon. I can't say I blame him, as I was pretty amazed by it as well. 
We made our own "quicksand" with a super easy recipe of two parts baking soda (I used a half cup) to one part water (a quarter cup), and I tossed in a few drops of yellow food coloring so it would coincide with our theme. We mixed up the concoction until it felt like a solid in our hands, but when left in the mixing bowl it looked like a liquid. We added the quicksand to a cylinder tube we have from another experiment kit, and then went about the house looking for objects we wanted to sink in the quick sand. 
We were pretty optimistic about the number of things we were going to sink. In total we collected 10 items, but ended up only sinking four. Such is life with little kids. 

Our submerged items ended up being a kids spoon, a green crayon, a domino, and a C battery. Before dropping them individually in the quick sand we guessed which items we thought would sink the fastest. Marcus chose the spoon and I selected the C battery. 
Quicksand Reference
It took the spoon 1:13 to sink, the green crayon 1:40 to sink, the domino 1:02, and the battery only :47. 

To date, I think this may be our favorite experiment, and I wouldn't be surprised if this one happens again in the future. 

Lastly, our craft. I really wanted Julia in on this because the baking and experiment portions are just a little too much for her yet. This one, however, she could totally do, and she actually wanted to do it after seeing Marcus have a go at it first. 
Bee Handprint inspiration

Little bumblebee handprints! A few swipes of yellow and black washable paint along the palms and fingers (exclude the thumbs), a quick dot with a permenant marker for the eye, and few yellow wings snipped out of construction paper, and the kiddos had the cutest little craft done in under five minutes. BAM! That's my kind of craft.

That wraps up May! Don't forget to drop your link if you're joining us this month for all the yellow things!

Next month (6/16) is PURPLE!


Fueled by Pixie Dust

It's been a minute since there's been any talk of my journey as a runner (it's still so weird to consider myself a runner, I'm not sure I'll ever feel comfortable with the term). But, the last race I ran was November of 2014

Eight months ago I decided it was due time to pull up my boot straps and get to work really pounding the pavement. 

I'd been longing for a finish line, as well as some motivation to push me past my typical three to four mile runs to which I'd become complacent. The Disneyland Pixie Dust Challenge sounded like a swell idea. A 10k (6.2 miles) on Saturday morning, followed by a half marathon (13.1 miles) the Sunday after. Before I knew what I was doing, I was all signed up.

When it was time to train I stuck to my running schedule like it was my only ticket to heaven. I didn't miss a single run. Most of the time I was pushing one, if not both kids, in the jogging strollers. Thankfully due to friends and family, my long runs were spent solo. I cannot fathom pushing a double jogger for anything over four miles. 

Race weekend came and my nerves, per the usual, we shot to hell. I will never understand why I get this way. It's not like I'm going to win the damn race, and it's not like I'm planning to break any records. But, alas, my stomach was still a ball of knots. 

Saturday - 10k
My alarm went off at precisely 4:25am. I was out the door by 4:40, and in the F Corral (the. very. last. corral) by 5:10. Thanks to the lack of races I've run in the last three years I had no official race times to get me in a better corral. Whomp whomp. Lesson learned. 

The start gun went off at exactly 5:30, and it wasn't until 6:00am that Corral F finally made its way over the start line. 
I took my pace nice and easy, yet still spent what felt like most of the time ducking and dodging around walkers. 
Instead of running for time I spent the 6.2 miles looking for the course photogs. If you can't PR you might as well get some good pictures out of those miles!
I tried to keep a few mental notes while running the 10k:
1) I could not believe just how many people were actually participating. Though it was kind of annoying trying to get around people just to have space to move, it was pretty awe-inspiring to see so many showed up to log 6.2 miles before breakfast. 
2) Never, ever, in any race I've ever run have I experienced more mindful runners, particularly at water stations. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE threw their water cups in the trash cans. Usually water stations are littered with empty cups.
3) People were stopping to take pictures with characters. There were LONG lines of people waiting to get pics with Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Hook, and several of the Lost Boys. It blew my mind, and I just kept on running.
4) The costumes! Of course there were guys dressed as Pan - tights and all -, about six million fairy wings that were reminiscent of Tinkerbell, Lost Boys at every turn, so many Mr. Smee's, a Rufio or two, and even a handful of people in full crocodile suits. But, the one costume that took the cake (or should I say churro)? A SPARKLY CHURRO COSTUME. It was worn a lot like those giant banana costumes, and it. was. amazing. I hope that chick, whoever she is, won some sort of costume award. 

Finally, after a pace which I'm almost too embarrassed to even mention - 1:05:07 (9:57/mile pace [I don't even run that slow when I'm pushing BOTH kids!]) - I crossed the finish line and completed the first portion of the Pixie Dust Challenge. 

Sunday - Half Marathon
More of the same Sunday morning. 4:30am alarm, out the door by 4:40. In Corral F by 5:20. I was completely blown away by the number of people participating in the half. This was, by far, the largest half marathon I've ever participated in. It was a sea of people for as far as the eye could see.
I should mention, that not a race has gone by where I haven't been completely overwhelmed with emotion as I'm waiting for the start. There is something about the sun rising over so many people all joined together with a common goal. Those moments alone also leave me with a lot of time to reflect on how grateful I am for my family for supporting me, my friends who've helped care for my kids when I just couldn't push a jogger one more mile, as well as my body for allowing me to run.

Again, a 5:30 gun start, but Corral F didn't get to the start line until 6:05. After the 10k I knew I should run for the experience, the atmosphere, and not the time. But, I just couldn't help myself. For a solid 6 miles I spent ducking, dodging, and just trying to break out of the heard and find some space to open up my stride.
 I noted more of the same from the morning before. People were so courteous with their water cups, and the lines to take photos with characters was insane.
I just kept an eye out for those race photogs.
I also apparently only have one race face/pose: arms up, jazz hands, mouth wide open... But really, what else is a runner supposed to do? I made one pathetic attempt at jumping up in the air, but quickly nixed that idea and decided to just leave my legs to running.
After the first frustrating six miles, miles 7, 8, 9, and 10 were pretty smooth sailing. It was the dreaded last 5k that played mind games, as is the norm with me and the half marathon distance. But, the mind won over the legs, and like a beacon of light, the finish line appeared just when I didn't think I could go another tenth of a mile.
I spotted Scott, Marcus and Julia at the finish and the tears immediately welled up in my eyes. Seeing my favorite people in the world, at one of my favorite places in the world, doing one of my favorite things in the world, at the end made the finish oh-so sweet. 
Crossing a finish line never, ever gets old, no matter how many times it's been done. 

And while this is certainly not my best time - 2:04:09 (9:08/mile pace, I was REALLY hoping for a sub-2 time) - there wasn't a single regret in completing the Pixie Dust Challenge. 
This week I've spent allowing my body to rest a bit. I think it's deserving of a few days off and a few easy recovery runs. And then it's back to work. I like the idea of another half or two before the year is over. I wouldn't mind running this particular race again next year, but in a better corral assignment. But, really? Truly? I'm seriously toying with the idea of a full marathon, I think I need to go ahead and get that out of my system already...

Until I decide which race is next I'll be over here admiring the Pixie Dust Hardware.


The Sweetest Museum

It's no secret that the place to be in Los Angeles (maybe even all of California?) right now is the Museum of Ice Cream. Tickets are going like hot cakes. When I tried to see if I could get ticket for the kids and me there were literally two available days in May, with very select times. Naturally, I snagged those as fast I could.

Aside from all the photos of the museum floating around social media, I wasn't really sure what to expect. And, I was worried the kids wouldn't enjoy it as much as I was hoping.
Welp. I was blown away. And, the kids *loved* it. None of us wanted to leave.
Every. single. thing. in the place was begging for patrons to look, feel, *sniff*, taste, and photograph.

We arrived early (by a solid 30 minutes), and got right it. The gentlemen who started our tour deemed Marcus our group leader. Though shy about it initially, Marcus thought this was the grandest responsibility of all time.

From here, I'm going to let the photos do most of the explaining with bits of narration along the way.
The first stop, a ring on the tele. I had to briefly explain to Marcus that these were in fact phones, and ones we actually used once upon a time.
After the phone booth, Marcus led our group into the museum.
This room paid homage to a couple of notable spots in Los Angeles: Venice and Hollywood.
This is also where we were treated to our first batch of ice cream. The flavor was very different from anything I'd ever tried, an Earl Gray Tea flavor, with bits of biscuit chunks in the ice cream. Julia and I loved it. Marcus had a few bites and called it good.
I had to document a bow in Julia's hair. If there's not a photo it didn't happen.
To the swings and banana forest!
Though we didn't actually test it out, apparently the bananas on the wall were scratch-and-sniff, and smelled like... bananas!
Marcus loved the swing. Julia was too busy concentrating on her ice cream to care about anything else.

Neither kid knew what to think about all the bananas, but it certainly captivated them for a bit.

The mint room may very well have been my favorite. I can't quite put my finger on why...
We were encouraged to touch the different mint leaves and smell the mint our fingers after we touched the plants.
We were also handed our second creamy treat. Mint Mochi. This was easily my favorite, and the kids didn't let any of their goodies go to waste either.
I'm kicking myself for not getting a photo (fail), but there was a machine where the kids could try to win a prize. Though neither kid won a thing, they were drawn to that machine/game like moths to a flame.
A brief stop to see massive melting Popsicles...
Giant gummy bears? WITH edible gummy bears? Julia's little life was practically made complete in this room.
The ice cream cone exhibit - paired with cookie dough that reminded me very much of Oreos - didn't wow the kids, so we didn't stick around for very long.
Without a doubt, the sprinkle pool was the main event for Marcus and Julia. Neither could get over how different it felt to move through the sea of colorful sprinkles. It should also be noted that it took LOTS of convincing to keep Julia from trying to eat these by the fist full. We were allotted just a few minutes in the pool, and when our time was up neither kid moved too quickly to get out.
The very last stop in the museum was what I would consider a lounge area. There was a swing that looked like an ice cream sandwich (pictured above), a ping pong table to which Marcus and I made a feeble attempt to play, and a few very hip sitting areas. The mother of all ice cream treats was served here: an ice cream sandwich. But, not just any old ice cream sandwich. The "bun" portion of the sandwich was made with pink pancakes! Both kids insisted on trying to finish their entire sandwiches. 
After we ate our way through the museum we headed outside to burn off some of that sugary goodness with a few games that were set up in a courtyard. The hula hoops were the crowd favorite, second only to a giant connect four game where the peg holes were made to look like ice cream cones.
As with the rest of the masses, I couldn't pass up the pink exterior of the building.
On our way home I asked the kids if they would ever want to go back to a museum with ice cream. I received a resounding yes. 

Funny thing.... Tickets for August opened up... And, we will have grandparents in town for Julia's birthday, who expressed an interest in all things ice cream... And there just so happened to be a enough tickets available, on just the right day, at just the right time, for just the right amount of people in our party...

And, just like that, a birthday party theme may have been born...