The Real Housewife of Santa Monica

Archive of ‘Maddie’ category


We braced ourselves for the start of kinder this year. After all, we knew how pre-school had gone two years prior. She only cried every day for 1.5 years of pre-school.

M likes to stay home. She likes to stay inside and play, color and read books. But with M turning six in late Sept. it really seems it’s time to get moving!

The day before school M, B and I made identical rainbow loom bracelets.

The school counselor gave me this strategy to help M adjust. Whenever she got sad she could look at the bracelet and think of Bea and me wearing them. (Big thanks to our neighbors who taught Maddie how to make them!)

M was in high spirits on the walk over.

Still smiling outside her classroom.

We stepped out quietly after she sat on the rug. I thought about her all day. All the kindergarteners looked shell-shocked at pickup.

I took M to get her toenails painted and for a hotdog.

When we got home there was a huge package awaiting us from Valerie!

Blurry but you get the idea…

Talk about timing.

We all survived the first week.

Day 2 – walking home

Day 3 – walking home

Day 4 – pickup

If you ask her if she likes school the answer is, “No.”

Malibu…with kids

A few months ago a friend of mine suggested my kids & I join her one Friday morning at Malibu Country Mart. If I’d been drinking coffee it would’ve come out of my nose I laffed so hard. Not only do I hate driving & try to do as much as possible without getting into my car but I also don’t own any Lululemon yoga wear. I totally blew that off thinking, “Malibu? That’s like me going to the Valley!”

Anyway, a few weeks ago I found myself driving G’s truck to Malibu Feed Bin for some haystacks. We were having a little barnyard animal themed joint birthday party for the girls and I thought they would make up for what we lack in patio furniture, plus they’re cute!

Malibu Feed Bin
Photo from:

This place is easy to find – right on the side of the PCH. I pulled in ready to get in & out in no time but it’s way too much fun so we ended up looking around! Inside (I couldn’t take pix as I was trying to keep Bea from gettingherfingersbittenoffbyaratbreakingglassesswipingdogtoysandpocketingtinyplasticfarmanimals.), they have cages of bunnies, rats, chinchillas, hamsters & I *think* a cockatiel? WOW! The girls were fascinated!

After admiring the caged animals we paid for our hay. Incidentally, I keep calling it “hay” but it was actually “straw” – a distinction that matters to people who allergic to one but not both of those! We got 4 strawstacks for $10 each. They are about 3′x1.5′ and about 1′ high if my memory serves me. Anyway, it was lots of fun for the kids to see the animals – then I drove around back to pick up the stacks.

After that I decided to finally check out Malibu Country Mart and let the girls burn off some steam. I didn’t know exactly WHERE the park was so I just found the shadiest parking spot I could and decided to explore. Next time I’ll explore with a stroller instead of a sweaty kid who gets out of a Teva sandal quicker than I can say “heat rash.”

When you drive in off of the PCH, park in a lot on the NORTH side. That’s where the playground/main food area is.

It’s basically a playground surrounded by shops (expensive shops) & restaurants. Lucky for us there are a couple of casual places to eat. And a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

There are some cheaper counter service places too. And plenty of tables under umbrellas.

After eating, we headed to the playground.

It was HOT.

My only complaint: I only found 1 single bathroom. THere was a line for it, of course. There probably is a bigger bathroom somewhere but I didn’t have time to research that! I don’t believe there was a changing table in there either (not the end of the world if your child can stand on her/his own but if you have a newborn it might be challenging.)

After eating, we went to the baby swings since they were in the much-coveted shade.

The fancy people were eating behind the swings.

Sometimes when we’re out we’re having such a nice time that I keep on STAYING out past that sweet spot. Past the time of goodness. This was one of those times. M lost her s— on the swing & tried to kick me.

Time to go!

The First Days are the Hardest Days

…don’t you worry anymore.
– Grateful Dead

I listened to that song over & over & over again when I started an ill-fated & short lived boarding school stint. Now with M starting school for the first time, it keeps looping in my head. On a side note, does anyone know what “Uncle John’s Band” is actually about?

My “you could do MORE if you really wanted to be a good mother” voice (inspired by Pinterest) made itself heard the first morning of pre-school. You know what I’m talking about

It seemed simple: Maddie would hold up this adorable sign:

in her perfect outfit, with hair in two neat pigtails & a cheery smile on her face.

[I am unable to find the origins of this pic - seems the blog it came from has been taken down.]


Oh well, Maddie has never been able to go with the flow and that’s what I secretly like about her. But it can make all our lives harder at times. Like yesterday for example.

As we waited outside the classroom for the teacher to let the children in, I had that sick feeling I always had on the first day of school. I tried like hell not to project it but I’m sure I failed.

M seemed to be in relatively good spirits.

Do I look as ill at ease as I felt?

As we walked in the teacher gave each child a name tag (masking tape, actually) to wear on their shirt.

Bea ran right in and took over the play kitchen.

Bea, you are not a student here.

I’ll spare you the details except to say that after staying on a bench for 30 minutes with Bea who was in desperate need of a nap, I finally gave M a hug goodbye. She was really good about it, even gave me a kiss (which she doesn’t do), then thought better of it, grabbed my hand and let out a shriek from the bowels of hell. I felt like I was in Sophie’s Choice as she was wrenched from my arms and I walked out with Bea. I wept in my car for a minute, then headed home.

When I arrived later the teacher told me that she cried “often & LOUDLY” adding, “She’s got some lungs on her!”

Egads. I know. You think I don’t know that?

When M saw me through the window, wouldn’t a normal person come running & try to get out of there as soon as possible? What does M do? She smiles at me and yells, “NO!” and runs back inside to play in the kitchen.

Frog Pillow had a very important seat.

On the way out M showed Bea how to drink from the water fountain.

When we got home M pronounced pre-school fun.

“Do you want to go back tomorrow?”


Colorado – Part 1

Before I start I want to announce or rather pre-announce the launch of my new blog page. In 2008 Cox-Fitz Chronicles was started as nothing more than a birth announcement for Maddie’s arrival. G made it at the start of the 3 day labor. He’s amazing! Well, G’s gone & done it again. He’s set the stage for MY new spin-off blog:

Real Housewife of Santa Monica.

Sorry, no link…YET!

It still needs some work – but SOON. Also – Cox Fitz Chronicles isn’t going anywhere – that will be the family blog. After all, I doubt perfect strangers want to watch 6 minutes of a toddler trying to nurse a doll.

Anyway, here’s my latest, non food-related blog posting. We just had a fun & active vakay in CO with our good friends & their good friends who are really cool. 6 adults & 6 kids. Wowza!!!! The casualties were: my favorite old belt (black with heart buckle if anyone finds it), my cheapie Banana Republic glasses, M’s brand new hoody (green with daisies), and my Patagonia jacket. I don’t care about any of it but the belt. Never having had a waist, this was the only belt with the tenacity to hang on to the untenable & keep my jeans from falling down.

Come back to me (belt)!
[- Cold Mountain]

Speaking of mountains, poor Colorado is raging with fire right now. Worrisome. Downright disastrous for wildlife, the 600+ families who’ve lost houses not to mention the exhausted firefighters. Aggh. Well, we didn’t know about the fires when we planned our trip, and we DO feel for everyone involved!

We headed out of LAX at a decent morning hour. G does not avail himself of coffee.

I thought my dad would be pleased to see this sign so I emailed it to him right away since he is “done” with flying and can also get pretty annoyed with the train at times. (He doesn’t like sitting near or talking to people.)

The Denver bathroom had these totally rad cans for trash & recyclables (composting).

Paper towels only!

Then next to it this one:

Trash ONLY!!! No paper towels. (Dummy!)

Am I really posting pix of the airport bathroom? Yes, yes, I am!

We headed right over to our friends’ Mark & Trish’s house in Denver. The girls had a blast playing with their little boys & Trish introduced me to a Moscow Mule. (And no, Chris Lynch, Root Beer is perfectly safe off his leash near this mule.) Very few pix b/c someone had to rescue Bea from the screen door each time she got pinned behind it.

Anyway, here’s a pic of our lovely hostess, Tricia with the Bea-dozer.

They live in a really progressive neighborhood which was built in the old Denver airport when they up & moved it. All the houses have porches and it’s totally walkable with a terrific park for the kids. They even uncovered a creek that had been under the runway of the airport! Amazing. My kids, being unaccustomed to nature, walked straightaway into the boggy mud with socks & shoes on causing me to yell at them a whole bunch which didn’t bother them any.

After a delicious meal, a few MM’s (Moscow mules) and an amazing strawberry rhubarb pie, we put the kids to bed and accidentally conked out ourselves. Nice work! Bed by 8:30PM the first night of vacation. Way to party! Forget “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” with us it’s “I’ll sleep now or I’ll be dead.”

After a stroll around the farmer’s market we bid our friends adieu and headed to Littleton to see my mom’s cousin, Harriet. (I believe Harriet is my first cousin once removed?) I hadn’t seen her in over 10 years and the last time I did it was at my brother’s wedding when my mom was still alive.

It was a wonderful visit. Harriet’s daughter Jennifer & her daughter Kelsey joined us along with Harriet’s husband, Arne. It was 90 degrees in the shade of their porch (which surprisingly didn’t feel very hot). We felt totally welcome there. There’s something about being with family that makes you feel that way. I was so grateful that the girls could visit some family, particularly someone who knew MY mom really well since we have none but my dad on the west coast.

Mark it with a B

I cut myself a sliver of this blueberry pie (don’t women always seem to cut themselves “slivers” of pie?), then Bea started acting up so I handed it to G instructing him to bring it in (I couldn’t carry Bea & open the door.) Thinking I was done with it, he tossed it.

Nutritionally & calorie-wise my body had NO NEED for that pie. But I really wanted it.

Harriet and I talked about my mom a lot and, for some reason, here came the waterworks. My mom died in September 2001 – just 8 days after the Twin Towers fell. You’d think I’d used all the tears I had by now. It must be having little girls that makes me feel strangely protective hearing Harriet talk about my mom’s (at times) lonely childhood. Yet it was equally touching to hear about how much Harriet and her sister Teddy loved & cherished my mom, who was younger.

While you’re growing up, it’s hard to think of your mother as a full person. Only after she died did I start finding out more about her life pre-Me.

Harriet told me that when she was small, she got to crying so much that the only way her parents could calm her down was to put her in the bathtub and run water over her. I guess the shock of the water snapped her out of it. Later, when she was grown, she shared this with my mom adding that she thought this was the reason she avoided confrontation as an adult. My mom told her that her parents had done the same thing to her adding, “It didn’t bother ME a bit!”

Harriet’s point was that two people can share the same parents but come out of childhood very different.

Harriet describes my mom as having been “spirited.” I know she didn’t avoid confrontation. Whew – that’s for sure. I suppose if you’re an only child to two people who are REALLY into each other, it might be hard to know where you fit. Unasked questions…unTHOUGHT of questions…

We left the special luncheon knowing we need to go back and make a little more time to visit properly. When you are hauling along two toddlers you are really conscious about out-staying your welcome so it probably hurt nobody to leave when we did.

The next day we headed to Breckenridge.

Thank gosh for naps.

It was beautiful. G has skied there quite a bit and even spent some time there with his family during the summer. I love the idea of Jack & Patsy strolling around the little town, window shopping & having a glass of wine in the afternoon sun.

We went to the Motherloaded Tavern.

The next day we strolled around the river side.

Then we got back into the car & headed to our final destination: Buena Vista.

Pictures of one's feet are all the rage in the summer.

Stay tuned & pray for photo editing talents to visit me in the night so I can make these posts more concise. I might even slip in a quick cocktail post to break it up a bit.


Loving (almost) 4 year old Maddie but missing 2 year old Maddie.

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