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It is HOT.

20 Jul

While most of the country was experiencing a crazy heat wave in June and early July, temps here were pretty mild. Now we’re officially baking. Despite spending most the day snoozing comfortably in the air-conditioned house, Venus continues to struggle with the heat. This dog must have a night gig that we don’t know about. What is she so exhausted from?

Drama.

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Aside

Happy 2nd Birthday Baby!

18 Jul

Dear Myles,

Love is not a strong enough word to describe how I feel about you. You are the best thing I’ve ever done. Every single cliché about a mother’s love is 110% true. You amaze me on a daily basis. I laugh when you laugh, I cry when you cry (when there is actually something wrong) and I believe that my life is infinitely better with you in it. You are everything I never knew I wanted.

I don’t think anyone could possibly love you as much as I do but you father and grandparents will tell you different.  You have brought so much joy and love to all of our lives. It has been so fun to watch Grammy and Grandpoppy with you (because they were never like this with me). But the 8am Tootsie Rolls need to stop. Period.

You are such a special child. And I’m not just saying this as your mother. There is something so different about you from other kids. You’re so observant and intense. Everyone says you have an old soul. You are so smart and so full of personality. You talk all the time and the things that come out of your mouth are the funniest, most random and sometimes very poignant.

Here are some of your favorite things (that change almost daily):

Favorite foods: tomatoes, cucumbers, spaghetti and chicken meatballs, blueberries, mango, waffles

Favorite toy: anything that isn’t actually a toy like our shoes, the remote, our phones. But you also love your little suitcase and a Radio Flyer scooter that you call your skateboard.

Your favorite tv shows: Yo Gabba Gabba and the Fresh Beat Band. Elmo is coming in at a close third.

Your favorite person: Daddy (your very best friend)

Your favorite place to go: anywhere you can run around freely and you’re quite the people watcher

Your favorite book: Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother Too and Llama Llama Red Pajama

You also love to sing, dance and play your guitar or “rock out” as you call it.

These past two years have been a joy. It’s also been exhausting, hard work and an enormous challenge trying to balance being the best mom I can with working and keeping some semblance of being my own person. But you are so worth it all.

We probably have thousands of pictures but here are just a few of my favorites from the past 2 years.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY PRECIOUS PUNKIN’! I LOVE YOU IMMENSELY. THANK YOU FOR THE BEST 2 YEARS OF MY LIFE.

only a few hours old and already “looking at people sideways”

one week later….

7 months

one year

two years!

Save or Splurge: kids’ table & chairs

15 Jul

The time has come to reclaim our family room and create a designated space for Myles to play and keep all of his toys. Part of my vision for his “play corner” is a table/chair set where he can eat, color, play, etc. While it needs to be toddler friendly, I want it to function well in the space and not scream “kiddie table.”

I regularly peruse the Buy Modern Baby blog for inspiration. She posted some very cute options but at this time I’m looking for pieces that are a little more budget friendly. But I absolutely love these oversized number tables. They would be a cute addition to any playroom. These Tambino tables retail for $185. The oversize number 2 is my favorite!

via Tambino.com

 

I found these adorable table & chairs at the Land of Nod. The table is $149 and the chairs are $69 each. I love the bright, fun colors of the chairs paired with a white table. Great contrast!

White Here, White There, Anywhere Table @ Land of Nod

 

White Parker Play Chair @ Land of Nod

 

I found a nearly identical set at IKEA. The SUNDVIK table and chairs are $39.99 and $19,99, respectively. Unfortunately, this set does not have has many bright color options. It comes in white, espresso and grey/brown. However, any toddler chair could be paired with this table to add color and I’m sure the chairs could even be painted.

SUNDVIK children’s table

SUNDVIK children’s chair

Watch for the play corner reveal to see if I decided to save or splurge!

How Did You Celebrate the Holiday?

8 Jul

No, not the 4th of July – friday was National Fried Chicken Day! There was a segment about it on the Today show therefore it’s a totally legit holiday! It was the perfect excuse to defrost the loads of chicken in the freezer and fry it up. In my opinion, everyone should know how to fry chicken. It’s a classic dish that even the healthiest of people will indulge in every once in a while.

I have several family recipes that I’ve tweaked over the years and I’ve come up with a few “secrets” of my own. For starters, I believe in the double dip – dip your chicken in the egg wash, seasoned flour and repeat. My other requirements are seasoning/flavoring the egg wash and for added crispness, I add some panko bread crumbs to my flour mix.

Since I’m one week strong into bootcamp and trying to improve my eating habits (as well as my family’s), I balanced out all the golden fried goodness with the warm quinoa salad over spinach. It was perfection and so easy to make! I’ve just recently started buying quinoa and so far we’re all really liking it!

the double-dip egg wash & flour method

cast iron skillet – my favorite way to fry!

golden fried perfection!

paired with a warm quinoa salad. baby spinach topped with quinoa and sauteed corn, tomatos & mushrooms. Light and tasty!

Speaking of Birthdays….

5 Jul

America almost had to share her birthday with Myles. My original due date was July 4. But my strong-willed son made is debut in dramatic fashion, 11 days late and via emergency cesarean. His first birthday was quite the ordeal – our “ONE-derful” Celebration took me months to plan and while it wasn’t crazy expensive, it certainly wasn’t a drop in the bucket. I stressed out for several weeks leading up to the party, the day of and for a couple of weeks after (about sending pictures and timely thank-you cards). The turn out was nice, the kids had fun, Myles was fast asleep by the time we were singing happy birthday. Nonetheless, we sat him in front of his cake, sang and posed for pictures while he slept. (How is it that he’ll wake up at the sound of a pin dropping at home?)

Now with his 2nd birthday just 10 days away, I have no plans. And I have zero desire to throw a party. Is this wrong? Am I a bad mom? I’m bombarded daily with the cutest and most creative images of kids’ parties on Pinterest. Typically, I love throwing a party for any reason. But this just feels different. I’d much rather do something simple and intimate with immediate family. Why not save the pomp and circumstance for when he’ll actually remember and actually understand that it’s his birthday.

Some days I am fine with this decision. Other days the guilt is overwhelming. Are kids’ birthday parties a right of passage? Is it ok to just be practical and put any money we would spend on a party into his savings account?

But just in case I have to throw something together at the last-minute, here are my top two inspirations:

Yo Gabba Gabba – Myles favorite show
via Pinterest

The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Myles’ favorite book
via the Hostess with the Mostess

Training Day 2: a walk in the park

23 Jun

The 5k training resumed with another brisk walk. I know, I know, this can hardly be called training. But this time I took a long walk, at least the equivalent of a 5k and the whole family came along. Myles snoozed away, Venus was exhausted about 3 blocks in. You can’t see her in the picture below because she laid down as soon as we stopped. But what’s better is that we discovered an awesome park just blocks away from home that we never knew was there! I’m a creature of habit and we usually walk the same route around the neighborhood but today we walked about 3 blocks in a different direction and stumbled across the park!

So training day #3 will include a run (for real this time) to the new park, a few laps around and back home. I can do this!

Enjoy your weekend!

Red Tricycle Goodness

19 Jun

I’m a BIG fan of Red Tricycle Los Angles. This site is full of family fun including local activities and events, helpful articles and sometimes some great contests! I love the variety of activities they detail and that many of them are free or at least low-cost. We probably wouldn’t have discovered Underwood Family Farm and the awesomeness that is picking your own fruit if it wasn’t for Red Tri! Even if your city isn’t featured, there is still plenty of good stuff.

Right now they’re running a contest where you could win the ultimate family vacation. With Disneyland ticket prices now skyrocketing to $87 each this is actually a pretty valuable prize package. I know what you’re thinking, “I never win anything.” I used to think the exact same thing until we won an Orbitz Stroller System at an event at a local baby store. So now I enter everything because it really is true that you have to be in it to win it.

So yes, I was hesitant to share this contest with anybody – I don’t want to decrease our chances of winning =) – but it’s so easy to enter and the prizes are great so what the hell. Check it out and enter by clicking here.

Good luck!

Anybody else a Red Tricycle fan?