December 30, 2011

My Baby's Got Soul

I can't believe at one point I was worried that T didn't dance.

He only started barely dancing at 11 months (and this was a rare occasion).

This last week he's been a dancing maniac.

Sweet Toddler Moments

It is 2am and I'm up. I think I went to sleep at like 7pm with T.

Whether it is food poisoning or a stomach virus, yesterday I felt horrible. Stomach cramps, my back hurt, and apparently, I walked hunched over (since T kept following me hunched over taking tiny little steps).

I just woke up, hungry and dehydrated.

T was rolling around and making some noise, so I kept my eyes shut to let him work it out himself. When he finally settled, I opened my eyes to find his big beautiful sparkly eyes looking at me - two inches away.

We sat there just gazing at each other for a moment, and then I smiled. He broke out into a smile too and we both stayed there until we simultaneously shut our eyes and he went back to sleep.

The beauty of that moment and how much I felt like a "mama" then was pretty magical.

When T was born I was not instantly in love. And, I didn't have post-partum. I just didn't really know who he was yet.

The first thing I said after he was on my chest in our birth pool, covered in vernix was, "who are you?"

I truly felt that way for the first couple of days. I was taking care of him, doing everything to bond, and I felt "bonded, but how can you love someone if you haven't figure out who they are yet?

It may have even taken months before I truly loved who he was as a person.

When he was 9 months old and going to daycare I had a meltdown and said (in a fit of tears one night), "He is my SOUL!" I couldn't imagine anyone else understanding what he wanted or knowing when to be soft or when to play rough. I couldn't imagine how he would feel when mama wasn't there to translate his emotions to the world or put him to sleep when he needed it. I wasn't there to protect him.

I still feel this way.

We just know each other.

I dread the day he tells me to leave him alone (though I think I said that to him yesterday - this clingy mama thing has GOT to go).

And the day he goes off to college.


We had a sweet moment, my boy and I.

Back to bed for a few more hours of rest.

December 25, 2011

All I Want for Christmas is My Entire Pinterest List

So, YAY, Bubbs got a job. A job in town, with no travel, and no nights and weekends (well at least not too many).

It is also a job that we sort of thought was a "dream" and a "long shot." It is essentially the opposite of what he did before (and what I do now), including going from wearing jeans to wearing a suit and working out of the garage and his car to working in a cubicle (UGH!). But, it is a new challenge, new financial security, and a guarantee that we can have family dinners most nights of the week. Even if they are twenty minutes of cooking, two minutes of eating, and two hours of cleaning.

I ran into an acquaintance from High School the other day. She's a a jeweler, a free spirit, and someone looking for a new adventure. She asked about my job and if there was a career path there. I answered something like, "it isn't boring, I have a lot of flexibility, and I have a defined benefit retirement plan. I don't really want to "move up" to have more responsibility. I want to retire at 60 and go wine tasting with my husband in Spain."

And, surprisingly, I truly feel that way. My family and my leisure is more important to me than saving the world. GRANTED, my job does help people. We both work for non-profits. But, I don't need to take on the world for my ego anymore. And I especially don't need to do it at the expense of my family.

Bubbs is totally on the same page with this new job.

Our plan is to continue to live on one income. We'll have to pay for daycare out of his salary - but otherwise, we're putting the rest away.

To be clear. I can't believe it, but I really loved him staying at home.

Our house was always TRASHED when I got home.

My guilt over time with the family vs. time working was IMMENSE.

There were quite a few things I wanted to buy but didn't - so we didn't see our teensy savings drop.


We were the happiest we've ever been. After the first few weeks, all the normal "who does what" bickering stopped. Now, we were all in this battle together - our family against the world.

The boy was happy and we both felt closer to him. We realize that the more time we spend with him, the less frustrated we get with his antics. Which I would think would be the opposite.

Hopefully, we can take these memories and lessons and keep living like this.

I am excited for an hour in the morning to do laundry and dishes before I start work when he's already at daycare for the day.

I think we realized we like living on one income - it wasn't nearly as hard as we thought - and we were eating well and covering all of our needs.

But, as soon as I heard...I started shopping on my pinterest for things I had pinned that just weren't in the budget :)

Like these prints for the kitchen:

Source: via Mama on Pinterest

Or these pretty winter scarves:

Source: via Mama on Pinterest

Or these boots:

December 23, 2011

Making Jams for the Whole Family

I have this idea that for Christmas, T will get a few things each year.

1) a book
2) a toy or fun gift
3) a new pair of pajamas to open on Christmas Eve

Starting this year.

I made pajamas for the whole family.

I'll start this off by saying I have MINIMAL sewing skills. I don't really care about details.

This project takes about 30 minutes.

The fabric I chose was from the scrap bin from the discount fabric store around the corner. I should have ordered some cute stuff online, but didn't and ran out of time.

So this is what we got.

The legs don't match because the scraps were too small :)

Take a pair of pants that fit well. Fold them in half.

Fold your fabric in half with the "bad" side facing out (the side without the pattern on it).

Place the pants on the fabric and cut around the pants leaving a 3" border. Repeat.

You should now have four panels that look like this:

Take two of the panels, put them together so they match up ("bad" side out).

1) Sew the short (curvy) ends together first (labeled "A" and "B" in the above picture). This will create two pieces - the front of the pants and the back.

2)Put those two pieces together with the "bad" sides facing out. Sew the outside of the pants together

3) Folding the middle seams down flat, sew the inside of the legs together.

4) Fold up the bottom of the legs (about two inches) and making sure not to sew them closed, sew the hem on both feet.

5) Fold the waist down (about three inches) and making sure not to sew it closed, sew the hem on the top stopping with about an inch still open.

Don't forget to fold down the seams or it will be really bumpy.

Fold the pants right side out!

Measure your waist or where you want the pants to sit. Cut a piece of elastic about 3-4 inches shorter than your measurement.

Attach a safety pin to one end and feed the safety pin through the 1" hole you left in the top hem. push the safety pin in as far as it will go, bunching up the fabric, then pulling the fabric back...move it forward again, until you have it all the way through.

Remove the safety pin and do a BUNCH of stitches through the ends to make it a complete circle.

Sew up that last 1" of the waist that you left un-sewed before.


Things you can do differently to have WAY better results:

1) Buy enough fabric

2) Use thread that either matches or contrasts in a cute way

3) Take your time so your stitches aren't totally crooked

4) Order your fabric in advance so you aren't stuck looking like your kid is from the 80's.

But - I think they are cute, and next year I'll learn from my mistakes.

Overall this took about 40 minutes and $5.00.

Xmas day you'll get photos of them on the boy!

Our Driftwood Christmas Tree

Our driftwood tree had a hard time finding a home this year in our new house.

He's not too sturdy, so he had to be away from toddler hands.

And, he's too tall for the dining room table and most other surfaces in the house.

He lives on the piano - and we like him there.

December 22, 2011

Our Meat CSA

We started a Meat CSA with Gleason Farms - based just an hour north of us.

There are pick ups once a month and we bought a 1/2 a share. It give us 10 lbs of meat a month which is a little more than we were already buying.

We got:
a chicken
a lamb leg steak
ground beef
new york steaks

It is perfect to keep us at one big meat dish a week, plus left overs.

The lamb leg was a little difficult to figure out what to do with. There was a large bone in the middle (so I couldn't cut it into two smaller steaks) and all "leg and lamb" google searches had me roasting an entire leg of lamb. Anyway, I ended up doing what I did last time with lamb and once again, it was magical.

Cut it all off the bone and trimmed off any fat (saving the bones and scraps in the freezer for a stock at some point).

Made a rub of:

Rubbed each piece thoroughly with the rub.

Heated up a cast iron pan and put the oil in once heated (am I seriously the only person who didn't know it made a difference if you put the oil in when the pan is hot or cold?).

When hot hot hot, put the lamb pieces in and let them get browned, then flip.

Take them out when browned on all sides (but keep them as rare as possible inside by not covering and keeping the heat high).

(totally gross looking I know - ugh - I have to get more patient with food pics - I just can't wait to eat it...)

Let them sit for 3-4 minutes before eating.

We ate it with roasted broccoli (toss in salt, pepper, vegi oil - and roast at 450 for about 20 minutes - till you can easily pierce it with a fork) and quinoa with peas.


December 20, 2011

No Santa for Us.

I've bought T his gifts.

A radio flyer wagon off craigslist (the ATV version with a trailer and cooler attachment),

A pair of mittens and hat (edited 12/21 -oops gave it to him this morning because we were going for a job and it was cold),


An Elmo Stuffed Animal.

It KILLS me to wait until Christmas because I know he's going to freak over the Elmo.

I also have an urge to do the Santa thing. The magic of it all. To see the sparkle in my boy's eyes. And for the memory for ME.

But, we're not going to lie to him.

I'm not quite sure how we're going to deal with it yet, but we will.

I'm of the mindset that I'll teach my child to ask questions and offer him information about a lot of ideas and let him pick. But I won't lie to him.

My sister posted an amazing post on this very thing (and that Elf book thing everyone's doing).

She's hilarious.

December 19, 2011

Too Many Pictures Tuesday

Watching airplanes at Coyote Point. My pants are rolled up because we rode bikes. I swear.

Baby Giraffe riding horsey on Mama Giraffe. For some reason he only does this in the hallway.

Free trimmings + glass ornaments that aren't safe with a monster toddler in the house= pretty Christmas on the Expedit

Last years neutral stockings don't go with our new house, but new homemade stockings for our little family will have to wait until Mama has more time...I wonder if I'll ever get around to ironing these ones...

Our suitcase before our trip. 10 points if you can find the two bottles of wine. Yes, that is a Blue Uke.

We did train town on Sunday. I swear T had more fun than me.

He mostly rode the carousal. I was not made for holding him up on this thing. I actually got dizzy and scared. Seriously.

Ahhhh so good to have that out of the way - those pesky individual pics.

Soon to come - our adventures with a Meat CSA and what to do with cuts of meat you don't think really exist.

December 17, 2011

Sanibel Island with a Toddler

There's been silence here. Because I've been in paradise with my family. And. My kid has been A-Mama (ing) (like with an italian accent) me like no body's business.

A few thoughts on our trip:
The Go Go Babyz wheely travel thing was AMAZING. I don't think we could have gotten through our trip without it. Hints: leave it ON when you install the seat on the plane and ask for a seatbelt extender the minute you get on.

Bringing a cooler with food was also fantastic. We had T's soymilk with us along with cheese and other goodies which saved us when things got crazy.

Airlines and Aiports for Toddlers:
San Francisco (SFO) and Southwest were amazingly easy child-friendly experiences. Continental and Ft. Meyer's airport was not. At all. I guess I missed the memo when Continental and United merged, but I specifically bought Continental tickets because I have vowed I will NEVER buy United again after multiple horrible experiences AND bad customer service (or NO customer service) - and then we get to the airport and we're getting on a United plane. LAME.

The way there he was an angel. It was exhausting for us, but he was great as long as he had one of our undivided attention.

The way back coincided with his bedtime and went about three hours past it. So he was horrible. He was tired and couldn't get comfy and then vomited all over everything - including the Ergo, so I had no way to hold him without my arms DYING. Plus, we had a really scary bathroom experience where I had to grip my kid and the walls to ensure we didn't go flying across the plane when major turbulence hit. I have never been more scared in my life. And guilty. NEVER get up - even with a major diarrhea explosion diaper - if the fasten seatbelt sign is on.

Anyway, back to paradise:

We were in Sanibel Island, Florida with my in-laws. We rented the Zyreep (like syrup with a Z) beach house at the Island Inn.

The entire place was fantastic. The roads are flat with separate bike lanes so you can cycle anywhere you need to go. We rented a bike with a baby seat for the week and T LOVED to ride.

It is lush and clean.

And it was 80 degrees. Even when it was a little cloudy or overcast, or those days it sprinkled, it was totally fine.

Thank goodness we got a house, though. I'm not sure T could have handled a hotel room at this point. The kitchen was stocked really poorly (no can opener or salad bowl), but overall good decision.

Amazingly they had all of our favorite grass fed, organic stuff at the local grocery store. Even un-sweeteened organic soy milk (which can be hard to find even in San Francisco). I was able to call ahead and have groceries delivered INTO our house - next time I'll order even more stuff.

Some strange things about Florida:
A lot of people are super bossy. Old ladies telling me what to do with my son. Telling me that I'm playing with him wrong or right. Telling us what bags we have to check. Just generally all up in our business!

I had to let it go and thank GOODNESS they were old or I might have actually put some in their place.

The worst was on the plane after he threw up and we were both still covered in barf. One women comes up with a plastic alligator and says that she thinks maybe he just needs to play with something. The darts of evil must have come out of my head. Like I didn't bring toys for my kid?

Apparently, hippy San Francisco parenting is not appreciated. At one point, I let T go wading in a little water when we were waiting for the touch tank aquarium tour to start (which by the way he was way too young for since he just wanted to splash in it).

I took off his pants and the looks we got were pretty telling that that was taboo. When we were getting out and I was going to re-dress him - a very nervous fast talking man made it VERY clear that we were to use the bathroom to change his diaper (even before any diaper changing started). He must have thought we were all going to get naked or something.

There appeared to be a lot of judgement there, and when I finally talked about this with my in-laws (and bubbs) they explained that much of the South is that way.

I was sure to be aware of other people's feelings and tried to keep him dressed when we were out of our little rental house. Plus, I realize that we probably judge here too, just not over the same things.

Getting to the point: my son would prefer to be naked over dressed. All the time. Floridians would prefer he be fully dressed, socks, shoes, even in 80 degree weather.

Isn't his beach hair amazing?

We slept family style on the very comfy king sized bed...

Bringing the monitor was key and we sat in the yard, eating cheese and drinking Riesling while reading the Times while the baby slept. Which we NEVER get to do.

The amazing skies from our front yard (we had a house within an inn with a few different types of accommodations).

Dude regressed a bit when it came to a bottle - he was kinda obsessed with his bottle and we let him be, since we figured he was in a strange place with new people. He drank it in the sun by the pool.

Why is this picture hilarious to me?

These colors, turquoise and magenta, are all over Sanibel. They are also the colors we're going for in our backyard. Meant to be?

The nature that just washes up on shore was interesting even to me. And usually, I kinda could care less about shells.

Grandma taught T about picking up shells and throwing them in the water on day one. But he would get sad when they would go away and want US to go find them again.

Despite the fact that he hadn't seen her since he was a year old (and such a different baby), upon seeing his Grandma, T ran to her and pretty much didn't let her go the entire time. He would call her name from bed when he woke up in the morning. Well, he would call, "AANNNNMA!"

We made Cioppino - which is a treat in itself - but then my brother in law made home made garlic bread - which was EVEN more amazing. We had homemade bread the entire trip.

Pizza dough from scratch.

I am seriously in mourning for the sunshine and was so easy to just bring the boy outside and let him run when he got whiny.

Bubbs rented a paddleboard for an afternoon and T hated when he would go out, but loved to carry the paddle.

How amazing are these beaches?

I was totally floored that bromeliads grow wild here (you know, plants that don't need soil) - in SF they only grow in these cool hangers and at plant shows, but in this "hiding place" they were covering the trees.

Fashion Police: I swear I used to think these hats were child abuse. I know it is horrifying. But my kid wears it and it protects him from the sun.

The pool was his obsession. The best game was blowing bubbles and stealing mama's sunglasses and throwing them into the water. We were all perma-prunes by the end of the vacation.