Archive for Family

10 Aug 2014

What Just Happened

No Comments Cooking/Baking, Family, Nutrition

All I know is Summer Break just started, and now it’s over. And a lot of shit happened in between.

Garrett became even more confident, more independent, and more sassy than I thought he ever could (before turning seven).

I had six days to myself when G went to Oregon to stay with Grandma Farm.

I got about 1/4 of the things done that I wanted to get done in the six days I had to myself.

Russ and I drove to Oregon to spend some time with the fam, and grab our boy. The drive up was amazing and reaffirmed everything I already knew about my marriage: It’s awesome. I’m lucky. My husband is the coolest dude ever. We kick ass on a road trip.

Oregon was lovely as always.

Russ, G and I drove to San Francisco to spend four nights in the city by the bay, where I had never been. I managed to bust my foot so bad that after the first day I needed crutches to walk, and my boys spent the last day without me. They went to Fisherman’s Wharf and a freaking Giants/Dodgers game. I lay in the hotel room, my foot up on pillows, eating car snacks for dinner. We were out $100 for my seat at the game.

G decided to spend the last week of his break at gymnastics camp, improving his grip strength, flip ability, and foam pit technique. I caught up on doctor’s appointments and paperwork, then I started to freak out about school starting and how unprepared I feel (again), and how much I feel like I have to do before we’re back on the hamster wheel and I officially become the PTA Treasurer. (Really, really bad idea.)

Last school year, G complained that I was making too many sandwiches. All of the sudden he was sick of them. That came crashing back to me a few nights ago, so I made a list of 10 lunches I can make for him, only two of which involve “sandwiches”. I’m hoping it will help me be more organized and less “WHAT AM I MAKING MY KID FOR LUNCH?” And I’m counting on it making him happier at lunch time.

I posted the fact that I was making menus on Facebook and Twitter and everyone laughed at me. A few people private messaged me asking for my menus. So, I’m going to post them here for those people. And… When I say “a few”, I mean “two”.

This will give you all a chance to laugh at me openly by leaving a comment here, or to secretly print these menus to accomplish the same thing I hope to accomplish this year.  The choice is yours! Either way, we all know I’m a nut bag.

Hope your summer has been wonderful. Mine truly was. I’m sad it’s over, but looking forward to the adventure of First Grade. And I’m GOING to blog this school year. Because if I can make a 10 day rotating lunch menu… I can write a few sentences each day. Right?? RIGHT????


PITA PIZZA, carrots, individual hummus cup, pretzels, grapes

HOT DOGS, string cheese, baked snap peas, dried fruit, trail mix

CHICKEN SALAD, wheat thins, cucumber, banana muffin, raisins

PB&J SUSHI, celery & ranch, cheddar cheese, apple sauce, graham crackers

SALAMI & CHEESE, ritz crackers, carrots, popcorn, cantaloupe

WONTONS, crispy rice roll, cucumber & ranch, banana muffin, grapes

MAC & CHEESE, celery & cream cheese, dried fruit, baked snap peas, animal cookies

CHICKEN NUGGETS, carrots, hummus, goldfish, cantaloupe

TURKEY SANDWICH, pretzels, apple sauce, muffin, celery & ranch

BAGEL W/ CREAM CHEESE, CINNAMON & HONEY, raisins, cucumber, trail mix, animal cookies



15 Jan 2013

If HE has nitrates, I want nitrates!!!!!

6 Comments Cooking/Baking, Family, Nutrition

This is my second attempt at this post. You see, it’s a very complicated subject; one that must be dealt with with such finesse, such a delicate hand, that I’m not sure of my exact approach. I’m sure by now you’ve guessed what the topic is.

That’s right. Lunchables.

Here is me trying to make my long, boring post more readable. Bullet points:

I pack very healthy, very tasty lunches for my son. Organic fruits, sandwiches with organic sunflower butter or nitrate-free turkey, snacks with no corn syrup or hydrogenated oils.  He FREQUENTLY tells me how delicious these lunches are.

Now kids are bringing Lunchables to school.

G wants Lunchables.

I can not seem to convincingly talk my son out of wanting me to purchase Lunchables. I tell him I will make better versions of the same, exact thing. This falls on deaf ears.

Lunchables are packed in bright packages and include juice and candy. The teachers won’t even let the kids at school eat the candy that comes in the Lunchables! I explain this to G. G does not care. He says he can eat the candy after school.

Side note/bullet point: Except for one breakfast, in the car, on the way home from Central California… G has never been to McDonald’s. I know he will go one day, probably soon. Probably with me. But so far I have substituted In N’ Out for Mcdonald’s. It’s not the BEST. But I think it’s much BETTER.

I am trying to apply this philosophy to his lunches. I add fun snacks, like cheddar bunnies or organic fruit gummies. I let him have bad stuff, too. I promise I do. He gets treats. He gets candy. (Real candy made by Hershey’s and Jelly Belly’s!) He gets lollipops. He gets desserts. I don’t shield him from that stuff because I don’t want him to leave for college and shove so much junk in his face that he ends up in a sugar coma for 12 weeks.

I just think there’s a better way to do things. And I don’t want to give him crap to eat just because other people do. And please know that I do not, in any way, believe that these parents love their kids any less than I love mine. They don’t. This just isn’t their main focus. It is, however, one of mine.

So, what do I do? Do I let him have one Lunchable a week? Do I fight the good fight and make Lunchables so taboo that one day he goes out and robs a convenience store with a shiv? Do I show him sickening pictures of the inside of a human body filled with Nitrates, Corn Syrup and Nerds???? Do I start my own pre-packed lunch company called Edibles, filled with delicious, organic food? Do I PRETEND to start this company, just so G thinks he’s getting his own brand of pre-packed goodness to take with him in his Batman lunchbox?

GARRETT-ABLES!!!! Read that out loud. It sounds like “Garr-Edibles”.

I just became a possible millionaire. And it’s all thanks to Lunchables and a very boring first post on the topic.

Feel free to discuss.

07 Jun 2012

Proud Aunt

11 Comments Family, Personal Crap

Today my 14-yr-old nephew graduated from his very prestigious, private middle school, and Russ and I were there. There were only 17 kids in his graduating class, so they each got to give a speech, most of which were fantastic and funny and heart-warming. His was lovely. He was poised and eloquent and funny (the trait everyone in my family finds most important), and as he was speaking I pictured him at 2-yrs-old, naked, dancing in the foyer of my brother’s house to the Blues Clues song. The same people were there then: His grandmas and grandpa, and my father who has since passed. I was there, Russ was there, and of course his parents. I will always remember how hard we were laughing, and clapping to him dancing. And that was 12 years ago.

So, of course today I thought of Garrett and how, in a flash, he’ll be in middle school and high school and college. I thought of all the things he’s showing an interest in now, and how he can play with a friend in the backyard for a good hour or so without coming in the house. I thought of how seriously he’s taking his karate and how much he wants to learn how to play guitar and soccer. And how each day he’s a little bit more his own person.

I also thought about how there’s a good chance he will not go to prestigious, private schools, partly because we might not be able to afford them, and partly because I’m just not sure that’s the route we’d choose to go. And I wonder if the “less” prestigious schools will be enough for him, and if I’ll just give up in a couple years and find the best private school there is, and do whatever it takes to get him in there. I thought about the choices we have to make for him before he can make his own, and how much I hope and yes, even pray, that we make the right ones.

I felt so proud watching my nephew. I tried to imagine what my sister-in-law was feeling, watching her baby boy all grown up. He’s chosen to go to boarding school for high school, half-way across the country. Just thinking of that made me weep today. In September he’ll be there and we’ll be here, and Garrett won’t get to see his cousin as much anymore. His cousin who he looks up to so much. His cousin who, just moments ago, was 2-years-old and dancing in the foyer, naked.

30 Apr 2012


12 Comments Family, Personal Crap

12 years ago today, I got married.

12 years ago today, I was 28 years old.

12 years ago today, I wore a princess dress.

12 years ago today, I vowed to love and cherish.

12 years ago today, I exchanged rings with the kindest man I know.

12 years ago today, I danced to YMCA.

12 years ago today, I couldn’t believe how lucky I was.

12 years ago today, I had a huge zit on my chin.

12 years ago today, I had my bags packed for Maui.

12 years ago today, my face hurt from smiling. (And the zit.)

12 years ago today, I sat in a hotel room at 2AM, eating burgers and reading wedding cards with my new husband.

12 years ago today, I was not yet a mom.

12 years ago today, my dad was still alive.

12 years ago today, I shared the most important day of my life with many people I no longer speak to.

12 years ago today, I was just a kid.

So many things have changed in the last 12 years. But the constant is how much I love the man I said “I do” to. We have been through some rough patches, we have lost some people by choice and others by fate, we have gained new friends who bless us daily, we have become parents and that has changed us. Through it all, we have not only sustained… We have flourished. And we are lucky, and we are blessed. And we work at this thing every day.

12 years ago today, was the beginning of the best part of my life. I am grateful beyond words. I would fall to my knees and thank God and the Universe every day, if my knees weren’t 40 years old. Somehow I got to marry someone who not only made this world a better place for me to live in, but made ME better. (And, I wasn’t so bad to begin with!)

I wish I could re-live that day, 12 years ago, over and over. And I wouldn’t change a thing about what has transpired since. And now that I see my husband, my partner as a father… It makes me think I was a pretty brilliant 28-year-old, marrying a man with the qualities to not only be my rock, but to raise a son who will be the same kind of man his daddy is. And that is also changing this world for the better.

12 years ago today, I won.

Happy Anniversary, baby. 12 years ago today, we danced to “Fly Me to the Moon”. And these 12 years have flown by. Let’s do it all again. What do you say?

23 Apr 2012


14 Comments Family, Personal Crap

So, remember the last post where I told you my husband and I had a fight about my “issues”? Well, my “issues” are that I use quotation marks too frequently. HA! Kidding. That’s not the case at all. My “issues” are that I’m a control freak. I guess that’s just one “issue”. But since it permeates every second of every day and affects almost everything that goes on in my life… It’s plural.  “Issues”.

I recognize that these issues are completely common among every woman that I know. As a gender, we enjoy knowing what’s going on at every moment and we enjoy even more when we know how whatever is going on is being handled. It’s what we do. It’s how we get through our days. It’s why we have purses filled with “just in case” supplies. It’s why we leave 30 minutes early to allow for traffic. It’s why our families don’t go hungry when the fridge is empty… We froze a few meals, just in case.

So, yes. I’m a control freak. And I feel it serves me well in most cases. It makes me look like a super mom or a super friend or a super daughter a lot of the time. But when it comes to my relationship with my husband, and probably my son, it doesn’t always serve us well.

Russ pointed out to me that I try to control everything. Everything. I second-guess things he does, I question stuff that doesn’t need to be questioned, I make suggestions to fix things that aren’t broken. I am not good at letting him, and probably my son, do things the way they do them. That’s not good for a marriage, and I’m pretty damn sure it’s not good as a parent.

I also think that my need to do everything exactly the way I need to do them is part of the reason I have such poor time-management skills. I take G to school and I hit the ground running. But by the time I’ve worked out, shopped, done laundry, and caught up on calls and emails, it’s time to pick him up again. I’ve done nothing creative, nothing to serve my career, and often nothing to feed myself in the way that allows me to feel whole. This is my fault. If I passed ANYthing off to my husband, and allowed him to do it the way he would do it, it would open up time and space for me that I am sorely lacking. That I’m sure we all, as a gender, are sorely lacking.

Holy shit, that is one humongous revelation. Not only am I making my husband feel like he doesn’t know what he’s doing half the time, I’m also robbing myself of precious time and energy. I’m honestly just realizing, as I write this, that my husband pointing this out to me might be the best thing that’s happened to me in a long time. And, by the way, I knew he was right the second it came out of his mouth. It was just hard to hear, and to process. But I absolutely knew he was right.

So now what do I do with all of this new information? I put myself and my husband to work. I pass some things off to him and I embrace the way he does them. I stop micromanaging every freaking thing he does, from making lunch to buying birthday cards. I let my son throw things around a little more and I help him pick it up when there’s time. Holy shit, guys! This could change everything. This might make my marriage EPIC, and it might just make my son like me 20% more than he already would have when he’s an adult.

Are you WITH ME?? I think you’re with me. I even think you might be letting go a little bit, too. Am I right? (Seriously, I need to know. Am I right?) Whoops. As you were.

18 Apr 2012

Bliss and B.S.

14 Comments Family, Personal Crap

One of the things I find fascinating about marriage is how it can change from Bliss to B.S. in a matter of days, or moments. The reality is that living with someone day in and day out… FOREVER… Can be challenging.  I personally find the challenge to be pretty spectacular. But it is a challenge, nonetheless.

Last Friday night my husband and I had a date night.  It was pretty much perfect. We went out for sushi, had a great talk, laughed, flirted… All the things you do before you’re married with kids. It was lovely. After dinner, we stopped by Trader Joes to pick up a few items we needed, then arrived home to see G-Man still awake and in his pajamas. After sending my mom home and getting the little rascal to bed, Russ and I enjoyed some fantastic, uh… Adult time, then settled in to watch three glorious episodes of Breaking Bad.

Earlier in the day, we had looked on-line to find a movie and realized we were missing the perfect opportunity to watch our favorite show. It was one of those moments where you know you’re with the ideal mate, who finds it just as exciting to sit on the couch with you, as staying out late.

Much of Saturday was spent reveling in the fun we had the night before.

Sunday was far less fun. Sunday was spent arguing. Sunday was the day I found out I have things I need to work on. Sunday sucked. (Yes, I will share my “issues” with you later.)

Sunday night as I was getting ready for bed, we hashed it all out. It was a productive, yet painful conversation and it helped us both to understand what we were dealing with. It was one of those moments where you again realize you’re with the ideal mate because he’s willing to do whatever it takes to talk it over, work it out, and make it good again.  It wasn’t fun. It was marriage.

I read a quote from Heidi Klum about how her divorce to Seal was a curveball, and how she had pictured her life as a happy couple with tons of kids and “a beautiful garden and trampolines and swings and things.” I think this image of marriage and family is a killer of marriage and family. Yes, I want the swings and trampolines and fun vacations and a giant playroom and love and beauty and, and, and… But THIS is not what it’s about. You have to work at a marriage and at being a parent. So much of it is easy and fun and lovely, but so very much of it is not. And when you’re exhausted and impatient and nearly 15 years in… It’s work. All of those “things”, all of those “extras” are part of it, if you’re lucky. But you don’t get to keep any of it if you don’t do the work.  Not to imply that Heidi and Seal didn’t work at it. I don’t know their deal. I just know that the whole “Princess and Prince riding off on a white horse” fantasy is just a fantasy,  (no matter how many times you publicly renew your vows.)

Our 12-year anniversary is in 12 days. It’s been a marriage filled with a ton of B.S. But, because we are lucky and we work at it, there’s been two tons of bliss.

03 Apr 2012

Flawless G

6 Comments Family, Personal Crap, Toddler

It has come to my attention that many of you who read this blog think I’m some sort of “great” mom. I realized I write a lot of stuff that makes me look like I’m super in-touch with my kid, and that I do and say all the right things all the time. You know that’s not true, right?

I mean, everything I write here is true. But I don’t tend to sit down and write right after I’ve made a huge mistake, or had a horrible day, or lost my patience.

I thought it was only fair to let you know that today I lost my patience. It was a good day, but I have a sore throat and I haven’t been getting enough sleep and I haven’t had a second to exercise since last week. So I’m bitchy and tired and a little bit sick. This morning we had a three-hour play date at the house of a friend from school. They had a blast and I loved talking to the mom, but after three hours of repeating myself, answering questions, putting costumes on G and taking them back off, walking up and down the stairs, and in and out the back door… I was tired.

Then we came home and I had about 10 minutes before my friend dropped off her two girls so she and her husband could get something done. These girls are delightful. They are well-mannered and lovely and awesome. But after four hours of the three of these kids, who after dinner stripped their clothes off and did some tribal chanting for 20 minutes… I was BEYOND tired. I had played cash-register and legos, taken them for a walk, made them dinner, got them numerous drinks and snacks, and played stomp rockets with them.

After they left, I was done for the day. Done. G had done absolutely nothing wrong, but I was finished with the day. I couldn’t talk anymore or listen anymore, or repeat myself or clean up one more thing. I yelled a little and so did he. We talked about how we both get frustrated with each other when we’re tired (okay, that was the in-touch part), but when the clock struck 7:23 and I wanted him to brush his teeth and get in bed… There was no discussion.

I told him he had done nothing wrong but I couldn’t say one more word and was done. He didn’t question it. It was like he totally got it and was just as done as I was.

Then he asked me if I was getting up with him in the morning or if Daddy was. I told him I would and he gave me a big smile. Then I told him I was banning all fun in the morning and if he had any fun, he’d get a time out. This made him giggle. Then I told him no giggling and I tickled him until he almost passed out. Then I told him there was seriously no more talking and turned out the light. Then he told me he loved me and I told him I loved him and that we were really, really done talking now.

He was asleep in 30 seconds. I should go to sleep, too. And yes, I realize the above paragraph makes it sound again like I know what I’m doing. But I wanted you to know that a lot of those great moments come AFTER moments of failures, or simple mistakes, or total impatience, or or or…

None of us are perfect. We all fuck up daily. But maybe it’s in the small, quiet moments of redemption when we are at our best. That last-ditch effort at being perky or kind or loving.

It is G-Man who brings those moments out of me. He is the one who knows what he is doing. He gives me the chance to be great at something. Actually, he gives me many chances every day. With him, I have a reason to tickle someone at my most exhausted. Without him, I’m just exhausted.

01 Apr 2012


8 Comments Family, Personal Crap, Toddler

It happened. Mark it down. At four years, six months and fourteen days… My son got bored.


It’s truly the first time I’ve really seen it happen. He was so sick of everything it was palpable.

“Who can we call???”

“Where can we go???”

“Pleeaassee mom!! I want to GO somewhere!!”

I called a few people. But when I got a response it was already 6:30, which is dangerously close to bedtime and we’d have to turn around and come right home.

“Sorry, buddy. It’s not gonna happen tonight.”

This didn’t go over well. He cried. Then he threw a paper airplane at me.

“Go to your room”, I snapped. (I mean, it was a paper AIRPLANE. The fuselage could have caught on fire and maimed me for life.)

He cried harder but obediently walked to his bedroom, turning dramatically around half-way there to say, “I’m sorry, Mommy.”

This damn kid. He’s too much.

A few minutes later I went to him. He was on his rocking chair, legs crossed with a book sitting on his lap. He was flipping through the pages, looking at hippos and memorizing their behaviors.

We looked at each other, and I remembered something I had promised myself when I was seventeen and had just gotten my heart broken, only to have my parents tell me it would be alright and to come watch Jeopardy with them.

I promised myself I would always remember what it felt like to be a kid. I promised I would remember the pain and anguish and confusion and that I wouldn’t turn into an adult who forgot they were once young.

“Garrett, I remember how awful it feels to be bored.”

“When you were young or old?”

“When I was young. I remember getting so sick of my house and wanting to go anywhere…”

“Because you hated your house?”

“No! Because I was so bored.”

“Oh yeah. I’m really bored.”

“Well, I know. And I’m sorry. And I totally understand how bad it feels.”

“I’m really sad about it.”

“I know.”



“This book has a lot of pages. Like a hundred.”

“I know! Let’s look at the last page and see how many.”

“Whoa! 32! That’s MORE than a hundred.”

“Well, it’s not more, but that’s okay. Do you want pancakes for dinner?”

“Can we go somewhere?”

“Not til tomorrow.”

“Okay. I have to pee.”

“Well, let’s go do that.”

The ironic part is, since G-Man came along I don’t think I’ve been bored for one hot second. Today we played with legos, watched TV, played video games,  did a craft project, grocery shopped, and went to the bird store to look at parrots. But I remember how that wasn’t enough sometimes. And I’m so grateful I remember. I hope he really, really knows that I do.

09 Feb 2012

Tonight, Here.

8 Comments Family, Personal Crap

I want to post real fast just so I don’t forget that…

Tonight Garrett made us watch the Madonna Super Bowl half-time show (again) so we could all dance in front of the TV. And that he made us pause it so he could get a drum and play along with the marching band. And that he gave me a microphone so I could sing along, and Russ got a maraca.

Then we showed him “Material Girl” and “Get Into the Groove” and we sang along and danced a little more.

And that I did the magic spell over G’s cup of water to make sure he wouldn’t have any dreams. Not just bad dreams, mind you. This kid doesn’t want ANY dreams. And that he smiled so warmly when I did the spell that I almost melted. And that he laughed when I took a sip because I rolled across the room when the drink pulled all the dreams out of me. And that when he took a sip he said, “WHOA!  That knocked all MY dreams out, too!”

And that I’m lucky. And happy.

And that even though I’m stressed and a little worried about “stuff”…

Wonderful things happened under my roof tonight.

I just didn’t want to forget.

01 Feb 2012

His Choice

12 Comments Family, Toddler

This was my conversation with G as I brushed his teeth:

G:  Brian wouldn’t let me play with new friends today.

Me: What do you mean?

G:  I needed to play with Ben and Cody, and Brian told me I couldn’t.

Me: You mean the teachers told you you needed to play with different kids?

G:  No, I just thought it’d be good to play with some new friends.

Me: And what did Brian say?

G:  That I needed to keep playing with him and not the other friends.

Me: Well, did you tell Brian that it’s YOUR choice who you play with and that you’d still be his friend even if you play with other kids?

G:  (Slapping his forehead for effect) Oh! I forgot to say that!

Me: That’s ok. Sometimes it’s hard to remember what to say.

G:  I think he confused me.

Me: Do you want to practice for next time?

G:  OK.

Me: Ok, I’ll be Brian and you be you.

G:  “I want to go play with other kids.”

Me: “No! You have to stay here!”

G:  “I think it’s good to play with other kids. You’ll still be my best friend.”

Me: “No! You have to play with me.”

G:  (blank stare)

Me: Tell him its your choice and you can do what you feel is right.

G:   “It’s my choice!”

Me: Good!!

G:  Ok, I’m going to tell Brian tomorrow! He has to let me play with other friends. It’s my choice.

And then I melted and thanked God for these moments with this kid.