Crosby, Cars and Turning Two!

10 Oct

Oh wow, my baby boy turned two.  When did that happen?  The time is flying by, too fast.  His days are ful of joy and his personality is flourishing.  He loves anything with an engine, particularly the Pixar movie CARS.  He asks for it every day, we don’t show it, but he always asks.  It was an obvious choice to theme his 2nd Birthday Party after his favorite movie.  Obvious and smart,  the kid, well let’s just say he LOVED IT!

It was actually quite easy and not expensive.  I image searched the characters he loves from Cars and quickly was able to make labels for food, drink and activities.  Of course I didn’t take photos of everything, like Lizzie’s Bumper Sticker station.  Doesn’t matter, because the party was a total success and my big boy kept saying “This is fun!”  What more could a mommy ask for?

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We got a big Mater standee and had everyone pose for a photo in front or next to it. Here is my family, you can’t see baby girl in my belly, but I love that she is there too!

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We had a water table and a sign that read “Red’s Splash Zone”

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A few push cars and ride alongs under the “Sarg’s Auto Supplies” sign.

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“Ramone’s House of Chalk”

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Orange cones created a race track around the back yard.  The kids had to watch their speed around the Hudson Hornet Curve, the Sheriff was waiting!IMG_7281

We even themed the food.  At Flo’s Cafe we served turkey and cheese sandwiches cut out into the shapes of cars and trucks.  Fresh cut watermelon & strawberries, guacamole, salsa and chips.  Mater’s Taters (Pringles),  Luigi’s Tires (chocolate donuts), Sally’s Cozy Cones (carrots) and red light cherry tomato’s.  To drink we had Fillmore’s Organic Fuel (lemonade), water, soda and beer for the grown ups!

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I even decorated this cake!  Me!  I can’t believe it.  Seriously, if I can do this, you can do it too!

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Even the trash had labels!  “Chick’s Trash” and Rust-eze Recyclables.”IMG_7274

All in all I’d say the day was a huge success.  There was ton of playing, lots of kids, great adult conversation and no major meltdowns by anyone!  How terrible can things really be if there is cake and cupcakes… and sneaking extra cupcakes!

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Happy 2nd Birthday Crosby!  Gosh do we love you!!!IMG_7288

*Out of respect to our friends I have not posted photos of their children who are equally as cute and amazing as my little guy.

The truth about (my) pregnancy, baby #2.

26 Sep

I am just about 28 weeks pregnant, again.  I feel guilty for not having posted about this pregnancy.  For not sharing the ups and downs like I did with my first.  Truth is, it is veeeery different.  But also, I am also running around with, playing, exploring and teaching my kick ass toddler… all the time, so finding a moment to write is not easy.  How all those mom bloggers do it amazes me.  I guess they don’t need time to sleep, or bathe or talk to their husbands, or watch Friday Night Lights for the first time ever and wonder why didn’t they watch it when it actually was on the air.  Nonetheless, I am here, writing now, finally.  Tiny victory.

We, my hubs and I (obviously), had discussed having a second baby pretty early on.  We agreed to wait until Crosby was a year old before we even attempted to broach the subject in a real manner.  No Irish twins for this lady, my mind and body would reject me and I would suffer a long evil range of horrors which in turn you would be subject to reading.  Anyways…  In January we started to try again, try – not try I should say.  Then again in February with a little more focus on timing.  In March I clearly said, “not this month, I don’t want a Christmas baby.”  In April I was thinking, somethings amiss.  I think I should have my period, but I don’t.  So I took a test, it was a very faint line, was it a line?  Was it a bad test?  Wait, we think I am pregnant, but was I?  I sent Kurt out to get another test, the expensive test, you know the one that clearly says “Pregnant” or “Not Pregnant.”  Sure enough, I was pregnant.  Of course, as life would have it, the more relaxed you are, the less you think about making a baby, the more likely you (really meaning me – especially if you know my story) will get pregnant.  I was truly shocked.  I mean, how?  Well I know how.  But I really was cautious, wasn’t I?  No.  no I wasn’t.  The best part was I suddenly did not care if this was a Christmas baby, because  hot diggity dog we were doing this again!  AND by the end of 2013 there would be a new fresh baby in our family!  How perfect is that?!  It’s perfect.

First Trimester:  Okay first of all, WHY DON’T WOMEN TELL OTHER WOMEN HOW HARD IT IS TO BE PREGNANT WITH A TODDLER?  That’s just mean.  Is it that we don’t want to reveal that we think it’s hard?  Because news flash, it’s freaking hard! No, it’s terrible!  Throwing up while you simultaneously smile at your toddler who is terrified at what is happening and just wants to play cars.  Feeling exhausted beyond words and NEVER getting to nap because you can’t sleep when a one year old is awake and nobody else is around.  I just have to be honest.  The first trimester was miserable.  With the exception of  less worry about what the hell is happening to my body because I am just too focused on my kid in front of my face to worry about me or the kid inside of me.  Thankfully and surprisingly I had no food reactions or aversions.   I mostly just had a need for an obscene amount of Rocky Road ice cream, the good kind by Bryers.  Trimester one is not for the weak.  It’s a lesson in strength, perseverance and legitimate badass momness.  And if you’re a mom who is all “It’s not that bad,” you’re a liar who LIES!

Second Trimester: Hey now, this one is a bit easier.  More energy, like “they” say.  This did not happen in the first pregnancy.  But this go around I felt energetic and capable of functioning.  Also my brain didn’t feel like it was escaping me completely.  It did, but either I didn’t care or I am so used to only living moment to moment that I didn’t notice too much.  I was still throwing up, but just once a week as opposed to every day.  This, to me, is a beautiful vacation.  That alone is what makes this pregnancy a billion times easier than my first.  Though I don’t get to say “You better be a damn good baby” every time I throw up.  I also don’t get to say, silently in my own head to myself, “Yay I am not gaining too much weight.”  Truth- I am gaining weight.  The kind you are supposed to gain.  Blah blah blah… I’m gaining weight!

Third Trimester:  I only just entered this phase.  The lethargy is kicking in again.  So is the need for Rocky Road ice cream.  Oh and what is up with the acid reflux?  It is just an evil EVIL unnecessary obstacle for pregnant women to overcome.  The babe moves a lot.  Getting busy all up in my uterus.  It’s actually a wonderful feeling.  Though sometimes it feels like a gas bubble moving through me but without the release of a fart.  That part is weird.

I am excited to meet our little girl.  Yes, a girl!  This Christmas we will complete our family (because I am not doing this pregnancy thing again – honey’s getting snipped snipped fo’ sho).  I look forward to watching my son hold my daughter and give her kisses like he gives us.  Living in the endless giggles and adventures we will all share.  I know this will be hard, but what’s an adventure if it doesn’t make you overcome some element that you just never thought you’d experience?  I dreamed of a family.  That dream, that adventure, is so much better than I ever imagined.  That’s probably why moms don’t tell you it’s hard to be pregnant with a toddler.  They know what comes next.  They know it’s totally worth it.

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Photo Credit: Blake Gardner, http://www.BlakeGardner.net

Coconut Curry Crockpot

20 Sep

When I try a new recipe and it tastes this good, I have to post it so you can try it too!  Seriously though, I love myself so much when I make a crockpot meal.  I come home from a day at work to a meal that is delicious and ready.  The house smells all tasty and at dinner all our tummies are pleased.  But honestly, the best part of it all is it allows me the time to play with my kid out in the yard instead of cooking in the kitchen.  Once or twice of week making crockpot meals are a life saver! I am so happy to add this to the rotation.  Hope you enjoy!

I was scanning Pintrest and saw a version of this.  It was simple with just chicken and onion.  I thought, it seems like it needs a little something more and I want to try.  So I did.  This is the amazing result!

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Recipe:

1 Package of organic chicken breast (you can use chicken thighs if you like)

1 onion, chunky chopped

1 potato, chopped

1 sweet potato, chopped

Green beans (as many as you like)

Carrots (as many as you like)

2 cans coconut milk

Curry powder (4-8 teaspoons, depending on your preference of spice)

1 cup water

Salt to taste

How To:

Layer potatoes and onion on the bottom, veggies then chicken on top.  Mix the coconut milk with the curry powder and pour on top until it covers all the food.  If you need more liquid, add 1 cup water.  Make sure to add salt to taste, I missed this step and added it after, which worked, but it did need a little salt to finish the flavor.  Cook on low for 7 hours or high for 4 hours.  You can chop or shred chicken and return to the crockpot.  Serve over rice and viola!  DELICIOUS!

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I promise, if you like curry, you will love this dish.  Easy and family approved, both my 2 year old and my husband loved it!

 

Oh my gosh, I just thought, add some fresh ginger and this would probably be even more amazing!  Yum!

Steubenville changed how I parent.

30 Mar

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Picture a beautiful day.  My son, almost a year and a half and his little girl friend who is exactly one year older than him are playing outside.  Laughing and giggling, having a great time.  My little boy hugs her and tries to kiss her and she says “NO Crosby!” and runs away.  I pull him aside and say “When a girl says no, you have to stop.  We don’t touch girls when they don’t want to be touched.”

And there is was.

Steubenville.  The rape case that brought awareness to the country, had just changed the way I parent my 17 month old.

There is no way he could fully understand what I meant by that statement.  Nonetheless, I made it.  I knew what I meant.  I also knew I would repeat that a million more times.  I was always going to teach my son about appropriate consensual love and anything other than appropriate consensual love, which is rape.  I knew when he was born I would have to teach him.  I am a parent who wants to make sure my kid grows up to know the difference between right and wrong.  I also don’t want a rapist as a kid.  I will do whatever I have to in order to ensure that respect and awareness is always present with him.

We all know what happened in Steubenville was wrong.  On so many levels, so very very wrong.  In my eyes it starts with neglect from adults teaching their children, really teaching their children.  The teens who saw the rape happening and didn’t stop it, who saw a person in trouble and didn’t help them.  All the alcohol that was freely available.  The parents who kicked out drunk kids who were not staying the night instead of calling their parents and saying “get your kid, he/she is drunk.”  Meanwhile thousands of  blasts about a person in need though texts, tweets, Youtube videos and photos… they were all wrong.  But the worst thing of all, was that a girl got raped and not one single person cared enough, or had enough self respect and overall love for all humans to stop it.  To say “No!” and to know that whether she could say no or not, any one else could have.  ANY ONE could have said NO!

So here I am, a mom of a 17 month old boy, already using specific language to hammer in the rights and wrongs of rape.  Before this I said “When anyone says no, you have to stop.”  The simple truth is we don’t touch anyone when they don’t want to be touched or don’t give consent.  That is common sense, or at least I thought it was.  It will be common sense for my son.

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The “me” in mom(me)

19 Feb

Oh how I have loved being Crosby’s mom.  Everyday is an adventure full of play and discovery.  He’s beginning to communicate with more ease now, though his words are not plenty, his intention is and we have a language we all understand… for the most part.  He laughs all day throughout the day and makes incredible faces at the bits my husband and I do.  If  you are ready to be a parent, then being a parent is the most gratifying and challenging part of everyday.  This was a great move on my part… you know… making a human and then following through with the raising a good human.  Oh God I hope I raise a good human!

Honestly the hardest part for me was letting go of the things that had occupied me in the past.  Not that I felt any less of myself or a person.  I was never upset or angry that I wasn’t able to easily do those other “me” things.  I simply missed that freedom I had to be me.

A friend of mine said to me one night “I see more of you now that you have a baby than I did before he was born.  You go out more.”  I thought about it and it was true.  Now that Crosby is here, my husband and I make a stronger effort to be social.  We’ve actually gotten really good at going out.  We get a sitter (or one of us stays home) and we have a night out with friends.  Sometimes our friends come to us and we host.  We at least put forth an effort to go to anything we are invited to, babysitters dictate absolute freedom.  This all became doable once Crosby started sleeping through the night.  At first we were just happy he was sleeping all night.  We got rest, caught up on our favorite TV shows, reconnected with each other.  Then like a brick we realized that he would never know if we left.  And that’s it, HE DOESN’T KNOW WE ARE GONE!  It’s perfect.  I have zero guilt.  Not that going out should ever be accompanied with guilt but if I am going to be honest, and that’s the point, I do have guilt when he is awake and I am gone.  Until now!  Our sitters have the easiest gig ever, they show up, he’s already asleep, they watch TV and eat our food and we pay them.  We pay them for our sanity, our freedom and our opportunity to each be “me” again.

I bumped into a new dad at iO West the other night.  His baby girl was two months old and you could see on his face that he was a proud daddy and a tired daddy.  A mutual friend mentioned that I had a baby boy and he and I started chatting.  He was shocked that both my husband and I were out.  I simply explained to him that it gets easier and that soon enough he and his wife can escape the trenches together and not worry about it.  He genuinely looked relieved and hopeful.  We had a long chat about the early days being “keep it alive” verses what is my current “you’re fun now.”  It’s important to know that you can get back that part of you that feels youthful, individual and independent.

My sister-in-law and one of my very best friends runs marathons.  I always say marathons and she always corrects me that they are shorter than marathons.  I say if she’s running in the cold frigid air of Wisconsin in the winter, I’m calling it a marathon.  She’s amazing.  I can barely do a sit up every day and she’s out there running her heart out.  She told me that one race she was grunting and even though she wanted to start walking she didn’t, she just kept running.  Why?  Why not walk?  Because this is her “me” time.  This is what she does for herself.  This is how she honors her soul, her spirit, her being.  By running (short) marathons.  She’s a great example to her three boys.  A strong woman who despite the crazy cold, the marathon length and the physical difficulty of it all, keeps going and honors her “me.”  I’m not a runner but I get it.  I get that drive and passion.  It’s what keeps us parents humans and not just jungle gyms, cooks, teachers, snot wipers, punching bags…. And don’t we all want to set that example?  That we are more than just a person who carries sunblock, diapers, wipes, snacks, hand sanitizer, hats, change of clothes, toys, sippy cups… We are still our own person with our own interests and our own passions.  Pushing a human out of our bodies didn’t change that.  It only reminded us that prioritizing and including time for ourselves is just as important as making a home cooked dinner every night and reading books to our babies before bed.

My version of it all is improvisation.  I still teach improv almost every day of the week.  Performing was a different story.  I attempted to go back to short form about 6 months after Crosby was born.  By the end of the show I noticed my boobs were engorged.  By the end of notes all I could think about was why didn’t I bring the pump so I could pump on the way home!  It seemed too much too soon.  In addition, I played with strangers.  I had been gone long enough that the cast had changed and I didn’t know them.  I love playing with new people, but that night I wanted to play with friends.  I needed to know that leaving my baby to do improv was worth it.  That night I wanted to feel like me again, instead I felt like a mom who shouldn’t be doing this.  I was simply heartbroken.  If I lost performing improv, then I lost my creative outlet.  So I waited a few more months.  I began showing up to Secret Lab rehearsals, a long form experimental show the College Team does at CSzLA.  Eddie, the director, had me play and participate.  That joy was flooding back.  I didn’t care if I wasn’t in front of an audience.  I was having fun.  I was playing again.  Then I auditioned for Mannerhouse Manor, a British style-Edwardian era-fully improvised- Downton Abbey like-long form.  And I was cast.  And it saved me.  I was back in the swing.  Nothing about this show had anything to do with my being a mom.  It was me, being me, playing with friends in Edwardian England.  Quickly Christmas came and I was asked if I wanted to participate in the ComedySportz LA Holiday shows.  Just like that I was in two more long form shows that were fantastically fun, easy, playful and my heart, my soul, my spirit began to feel whole again.  Mannerhouse Manor is almost done with this run and I find myself grateful for the journey back that is brought me on.  I wonder what other improv shows I have yet to experience that will allow my adventurous spirit to play.

I find I am a happier mama. Not that I wasn’t happy before.  I hadn’t realized I could be even happier!  I still have all my time with my boy.  He’ll go to bed and I will go to rehearsal or do a show.  My “me” in Mom(me) is appropriate, balanced and makes me stronger for my family.  Taking care of me doesn’t take anything away from my family, it adds to the overall happiness, joy and creativity I need to be individually fulfilled.

It took about a year, but I stayed patient and positive and it led me to my  marathon.  For those of you who are in the trenches, I hope you know that in due time your soul, your spirit and your being will find your “me” again.

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1st Birthday – Mission: Crosby

9 Oct

It was my son’s first birthday.  We got this amazing rocket ship and our theme was set.  I mean, it’s 9 feet tall, we had to have a ROCKET THEME PARTY!  I painted on it and we were off!  I wish I had taken pictures before people came, but alas I did not. So the food is half empty and the place is a mess, but you get the idea.  It was a blast.  Get it, a blast!

My husband and my son, next to our giant rocket ship.  My husband hung black table clothes and cut out white stars to create a fun backdrop.

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My husband, mom and I baked cupcakes and made fresh frosting the night before.  These turned out delicious and cute!

I had purchased this rocket cake pan.  This was the third attempt!  I gave up on cake and instead did brownies, used fresh strawberries and raspberries as the fire and blueberries as the sky.  Sprinkle with powder sugar and it turned out fantastic!  Sometimes doing it simple is far better than making it complicated!

Rocket Fuel – Simply Lemonade!

Space Punch – Sangria for adults!

Meteorites – my dad’s homemade meatballs.

Star clusters- star shaped pasta.  I didn’t get a good photo of this one!

Moon Rocks – garlic bread.  Freshly made of course!

Cupcake time!

Family photo opportunity!

Everyone who came got a photo with the rocket ship.  There is no gravity in the rocket so you just float.

To believe this you must ignore my hands holding him up!

Me and my big boy!  One year old and all grown up!

I actually took this photo the next day.  We had take home bags for all the little kids.  A pair of rocket shades, stickers, puffy stickers and milky way candy.  Those shades are hilarious by the way!  The rocket sign and labels I made.  I just found a rocket image online for free and made labels for everything from the food to “The Black Hole” aka trash etc…

We all had space themed clothing.   A NASA tank for me, My husband had an Astronaut shirt with every mission and name of every man who ever walked on the moon and my son had two outfits (one before cake and one after cake).

This was a wonderful day.  We all had fun.  I’ll post the individual pictures of our friends in front of the rocket separately so as to not share with the entire world!  Thank you to my mom and my husband for all their help and to all our friends who came to celebrate this occasion with us.  All of you have been our support system, our local family when our family is so far.  You all have encouraged us, loved us and been the best to our son.  Year one down… let the adventure in laughter, love and joy continue!

Sunset love!

7 Sep

This post is all about the gorgeous sky and the sunset that took my breath away.  These masterpieces, painted by God and changing moment by moment.  It was wonderful.  Enjoy!

View from my front yard.

Total love of the colors, hues and the way they blend.

The two men I love the most in this world.

I’m a lucky mama to have this guy in my life and fill my heart.

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