06 Oct 2010

We Suck at Pics

2 Comments Family

My husband and I are obsessed with our kid, as any parents will tell you.  But most of those parents are also obsessed with taking really high-quality pictures of their kids, posting them everywhere, and creating a library of memories to look back on when everyone is old and the only joy they have is to remember the joy they used to have.

We take pictures and videos with our iPhones and, although they’re good, they’re not great.  And a lot of them are blurry, because it’s impossible to take really good photos with the iPhone unless your subject keeps absolutely still.  The problem here is twofold:  One, we’re lazy.  We’re not the kind of people who bring a big camera everywhere with us so we can capture those perfect moments. Two, we want to be those people, but so far we haven’t felt justified in spending the money on one of those fantastic, digital cameras with the different lenses and the wh0osiwhats.  And, if we do get that camera… Won’t we still be lazy?

SO, maybe the real reason I started this blog is to force myself to cut out some spending, save up some money for the camera, and start taking some really great pics of my really great family.

Or, I can just post a bunch of pics that look like this:

05 Oct 2010

Potty Training

5 Comments Toddler

Oh. Dear. God.

Isn’t it odd that humans have to teach baby humans how to use the bathroom?  I mean, animals just go.  They pee and poo wherever they want to from the time they’re born until they die.  But not us.  We do our business in a diaper until someone decides it’s time for us to put our business in a cold, white, porcelain receptacle so it can be flushed away into the mighty sea.  And then we end up in diapers again, but that’s another story.

We started potty training Garrett when he was two-and-a-half.  He had all the signs of being ready; holding his urine for long periods of time, waking up with a dry diaper, telling us he was peeing or pooing, and even occasionally using the potty.  We watched Elmo’s Potty Time religiously, read Once Upon a Potty about twice a day, and even watched this silly video that seemed to entertain him over and over again.   So, based on a good friend’s suggestion, we picked a weekend and decided not to leave the house for at least 48 hours.  We gave Garrett the Spiderman underwear he had recently picked out, and told him we were done with diapers.  Then the horror music started and we had one of the worst weekends ever.

Garrett was terrified to use the bathroom.  He hated the whole concept.  There seemed to be a fear of losing control, of growing up, of us no longer taking care of him… My happy boy turned into a fearful, sad mess. I cried a lot.  He cried a lot.  We held each other.  I punched a wall.  He kept asking if I was going to leave him. It was hell.  He used the potty the whole time, but I could see all of his security being flushed down the toilet with his poo-poo and pee-pee.

Although physically ready, Garrett was clearly not emotionally ready, so I made the decision (with only about 55% approval from my husband), to put him back in diapers.  As soon as we did it, I was scared I made the wrong choice.  Surely he’ll NEVER use the toilet now!  I’m the worst mom ever!  He’s going to be doing calculus with a full diaper!  Then I thought, “Who am I kidding?  Garrett’s never going to do calculus!  I failed algebra II twice!”  Seriously though, I was scared that we had emotionally scarred our son and that he was never going to be able to use the bathroom like a normal person.  I even scoured the internet and found thousands of posts from moms saying their kids were three, four and five and still terrified of using the potty.  Cue horror music again.

Okay, here comes the good part. Read more

04 Oct 2010

Pumpkin Bread MADNESS

6 Comments Cooking/Baking

I was so excited at the store the other day when I saw, for the first time in months… Pumpkin Puree’!!! I love making and eating pumpkin bread so much, I think it’s my favorite thing about Fall. Plus, Garrett loves it and it’s a hit with my friends. (I’m insecure, so if I do ANYTHING my friends like, it makes me feel good about myself. For a minute. No longer.) Anyhoo, I’ve been using the same recipe for a couple of years (printed out on a piece of paper), and I really wanted to post it here but I can’t find it online again! So I’m going to type it up for you here, with my additions. Let me know how it works out!!

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree’ (Remember to use puree’, NOT pumpkin pie filling!!)
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs, beaten (or 1/3 cup liquid egg whites)
1/4 cup water (This ingredient is SO important)

My additions:
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 mashed banana
1 tbsp flax meal

Preheat oven to 350.
Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda, and spices.
In a separate bowl, combine oil and sugar. Add water, eggs, vanilla, flax meal and stir.
Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until combined well. I use a beater on medium. You don’t want to over-mix.

Pour into well-greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on rack before taking out of pan.

Some tips:
Always double the recipe and make two breads! One goes so quickly, and this bread freezes well!

Yesterday I had my biggest bread success. My oven runs a tad hot, so the outside of the bread often gets well done and the inside is a little undercooked. SO, I baked at 350 for 46 minutes, then lightly covered with foil and baked four more minutes. Then I turned the oven off and left it four more minutes. I don’t know why… But it worked great!

The above picture is NOT the bread I baked, but it’s a reasonable likeness. I forgot to snap a photo before I cut it up. I suck.

04 Oct 2010

Juice it up, Juice-Face!

No Comments Nutrition, Toddler

Here’s a quick tip I learned from my sister-in-law many years back:

Get your kids used to watered-down juice.  I’m pretty sure Garrett gets sugar from sources I’m not even aware of. Plus sugar pops up in foods where you don’t even expect it, like milk, crackers, and even peanut butter (which is why I buy organic peanut butter with NO sugar!).  From the time my kid could say “appa ju”, I’ve been giving him 40% juice and 60% water.  I do it with everything from appa ju to lemonade to orange juice… See the pattern here?  Of course, if we’re running out the door and I only have time to grab a juice box, then I forgive myself.  But he only gets 40% of his dessert that night.

Kidding!!  I’m not THAT big of a nutrition freak.

03 Oct 2010

Final Countdown

5 Comments Toddler

This isn’t some cryptic post about the end of the World or a countdown to some awesome event I have coming up.

This is the song from 1986 by Europe which my son has become obsessed with.

It started about a year ago with this video of Spongebob set to the song.  We happened upon it accidentally while looking up random Spongebob videos to entertain Garrett.  We watched this video about 10 times a day for at least a couple months.  Garrett sang it at the top of his lungs at the grocery store.  We danced to it as a family in the living room.  Then the novelty wore off for all of us.

About a year later, Garrett’s interests had turned toward dinosaurs.  So as good 21st Century parents, we took to our laptop, got on YouTube and typed in “dinosaurs”. Randomly, this video popped up.  Are you kidding?  There’s a video with pictures of dinosaurs set to the same song???  It began again.  Only this time it’s been going on at least THREE months and we dance to the song nightly.  Garrett likes to sing the types of dinosaurs to the beat of the song.  Instead of “It’s the final countdown”, he sings, “It’s a pterodactyl!” He even enjoys the occasional viewing of the original Europe video.  He watches with his mouth agape, seemingly taking in every 80’s-Hair-Band-Rocker move. Then he mimes a guitar solo and Russ and I create pretend pyrotechnics behind him.

Long story short, we’re saving up for guitar lessons, hair gel, leather pants, and a paleontologist’s kit.

02 Oct 2010

Three-Year-Old Birthday Party

No Comments Toddler

In the decade leading up to having my son, I went to plenty of kids’ parties that I felt were way too lavish for someone who’s still pooping in their pants.  So when it came time to throw our own parties, I’ve tried to keep things within my own budget… both mentally and fiscally.  Last week was Garrett’s third birthday party.  With that in mind, I’ve come up with a few suggestions for making children’s party planning as stress-free as possible, while still giving your child a day to remember.

PICK A THEME:  Whatever they love at the moment, go with it! Once you have a theme, it’s easy to build around. Originally our theme was Iron Man, but I found there was not a whole lot of Iron Man-themed stuff readily available, so I coaxed and prodded until Garrett agreed that a dinosaur party was the way to go.  He freaking loves those extinct giants! Then you can go to a site like celebrateexpress.com. We were able to get the plates, cups, silverware, napkins, balloons, streamers, party favors all at one place.  It was affordable and everything had a dinosaur on it!

MAKE THE ADULTS FEEL SPECIAL: Order food for the adults, and make something to eat for the kids. We order sandwiches, empanadas, and a big salad from a local place called Portos.  If you’re local to Los Angeles, you have to try it. It’s amazing, and they also make the cake!! If you can consolidate your errands that day by getting a bunch of stuff at one place, do it!  Then, I made a giant mac and cheese for the kids. Here’s the recipe I use, and I double it.  (Yes, I realize it’s Rachael Ray.) Since Read more

01 Oct 2010

Scared Sh**less

2 Comments Uncategorized

I’m just going to tell you this.  I’m a friggin mess.  There’s so much to learn with this blogging thing, I wish I would’ve just continued the blog I started in 200 and friggin 5! (that’s 2005), because then I’d be ahead of the game!  Instead, I’m starting all over, a newbie, a scared, pathetic newbie who doesn’t know the first thing about new-fangled blogs, twitter, flickr, or any of it!!!  I want to curse here so badly but I don’t know if I should.  Scary Mommy curses, but does that mean I can?  I want to write stupid, meaningless posts that probably won’t mean anything to anyone, but I don’t know if I’m allowed to.  What are the rules?  Who MAKES the rules?  I just want to sit and write what I’m passionate about:  My family.   And I know there are 30, 000 other people doing it, but I’m still going to do it, okay?  And even though I want to say, “I don’t care if you like it! I’m doing this for me!  Suck it!”, I can’t say that because I do care.  I want you to read this blog, and I want you to get something out of it.

So here’s what I’m going to do.  I’m going to lock myself in the bathroom for four minutes and I’m going to cry.  (Think Holly Hunter in “Broadcast News”.)  I’m going to sit on the toilet and cry all of my mascara off, and I’m going to fight every urge to tell myself I’m not good enough and I should just quit right now.  I’m going to tell myself to stick to this because it’s what I’ve wanted to do for ten years and that it’s okay if it takes a year or two to get off the ground.

Then I’m going to put on more mascara, powder my nose (literally.  I have a shiny nose), and pick Garrett up from school.  Oh shit.  I’m already crying.  Oh shit.  I just said shit.  I guess I’m cursing in this blog.

01 Oct 2010

School Lunches!

4 Comments Nutrition, Toddler

Now that Garrett is in preschool, I have to make his lunch every day.  Let me rephrase that.  I ENJOY making his lunch every day!  Sometimes dinner is dictated by what I want G to have in his lunch box the next day, sometimes his lunch is dictated by the previous night’s dinner, and SOMETIMES I forget to make his lunch until we’re just about to leave for school.  These are the days when he better be happy with a turkey sandwich, whatever fruit and veggies are available, and some mini rice cakes.  I highly recommend Quaker Oats True Delights. G calls them his special treats.

If you are a mom that is just about to start the lunch-making process, or you’re just in need of some fresh ideas, please do yourself a favor and check out these two sites:
Weelicious.com is chock full of kid-friendly, earth-friendly, and mostly figure-friendly recipes.  This site will simultaneously make you love your kitchen and hate yourself.  Why will you hate yourself?  Because the site is run by Catherine McCord, a model-turned-chef who just seems to do everything right when it comes to feeding her kids.  She even gets them to Read more
01 Oct 2010

Mom Quote

3 Comments Uncategorized

Tonight my mom said, “I’m thinking of getting a mug and training it in a litter box.”

She meant pug. Either way, it’s not a good idea.

30 Sep 2010

Little Things to Make a New Mom’s Life Easier

8 Comments Newborn
Let’s face it, when you have a baby, it’s like half of your brain comes out with the placenta.  I believe this is God’s way of protecting you from thinking too much about the fact that you are now responsible for a little human who relies on you for everything.  With this in mind (or half a mind), I compiled a list of the things that made my days a little easier that first year:
SEVENTH GENERATION CHLORINE FREE WIPES:  Not only are these better for the environment, they’re much better for butts.  Because there’s no chlorine in these wipes, they’re much gentler on your babies bottom and you’ll find there’s less diaper rash, too.  I even used their chlorine-free diapers for a year.  But diapers are a very personal choice.  Keep trying until you find the ones you love.
SNOT SUCKER:  Every single new mom you meet will tell you to beg the nurses at the hospital to let you go home with at least one of their snot suckers.  I’m telling you, I would’ve given up Garrett’s college fund to get my hands on one of these, if I hadn’t already had one.  There is NO OTHER snot sucker that actually works.  I promise.  So, take one home!  You will need it every day.  If you forget or you have a mean nurse, you can get one on line.
COTTON PADS:  For years I used these to remove my eye makeup, but I found they also worked great for quick baby cleanups as well.
ALCOHOL SWABS:  I used (and still use) these to clean and disinfect EVERYTHING! From thermometers to nose suckers to small toys and everything in between… I even use them to clean my cell phone!
AQUAPHOR: I believe this stuff was originally created to heal burns, but I use it for everything.  It’s good for chapped lips and noses, diaper rash, and dry skin.  It’s like a less greasy version of Vaseline.
FEEDING PILLOW:  These things make feeding your baby so much more comfortable!  I breast fed, but this is also helpful for bottle feeding.  A lot of people love The Boppy but I returned mine and got My Brest Friend.  It wraps around you and velcros on, so you can even walk around with it if you have to.  (Just make sure you’re holding on to the baby!)  Garrett and I were always very cozy and comfortable during feedings… Well, except for all the harsh boob sucking.
FEEDING APRON:  If you do choose (and are able) to breast feed, I believe in a bit of modesty.  This feeding apron really helped me out.  I was able to feed Garrett in private and I could check on him without lifting the apron up.  They cleverly made it so you (and no one else) can see in through the top!
FACE AND BODY CLEANING STUFF:  I am not kidding.  This is the shiznit!  I used this once at my friend’s house and was instantly hooked!  This Mustela Physiobebe No Rinse Cleanser smells yummy and removes any grossness from your baby.  No rinsing required!  Oh, here’s one of the reasons you’ll need those cotton pads!
CLOTH DIAPERS:  No, Silly!  Not to use as diapers… To use as burpies! You will use these all the time.  Throw one over your shoulder and keep it there!  Perfect for spit up, throw up, spills, and everything in between.  You’ll use about five a day, so get a lot!  Now we use them as rags to clean the house!
SIDE SNAP SHIRTS:  When Garrett was a newborn, I’d do anything to avoid putting a shirt on over his head because I always felt like I was going to break him!  These side snap shirts are hard to find, but worth the hunt.  You’ll be saying “Hallelujah” every time you put one on your baby.
CHANGING PAD COVER:  You’ll definitely want to put one of these over your changing pad.  It makes it more comfy and extends the life of the pad.  It’s washable and I believe you can find ones to match your room’s decor.
CHANGING PAD PAD:  Yup.  You need these too.  These keep you from having to take the cover on and off all the time to wash.  Instead, just change these out every day or two and wash them!  They’re easy and clean and they keep your changing pad cover from wearing out.  I’d even pack one in your diaper bag in case you run into a yucky public changing situation!
DIAPER CHAMP:  A lot of people like the Diaper Genie, but I was quite happy with my Diaper Champ.  I put a trash liner inside and it rarely smelled.  Of course, you’ll want to change the liner frequently and put super stinky diapers in baggies.
DIAPERS.COM:  This site saved me.  I never ran out of anything, because if I was low I’d put in my order and it would arrive two days later.  Shipping is free over $49 and the prices are as good or better than anywhere else!  I know!  I couldn’t believe it either!

Let me know if these tips help, and please post some of your own!