Thursday, March 28, 2013

TT Sixteen Candles

This weeks topic, write a letter to your 16 year old self! Jen herself is gonna deliver these letters in her time machine, I wonder if it's a Delorean ala Doc Brown or she has a hot tub time machine. Anyway, I was a little wary of this topic because like Emmett Brown told us in Back to the Future:

Dr. Emmett Brown: No! Marty! We've already agreed that having information about the future can be extremely dangerous. Even if your intentions are good, it can backfire drastically!

Being that I'm very loyal to Theme Thursdays, I had to try. Here goes...

Dear 16 year old me,

This is going to come as a big shock, so I suggest you sit down. I'm writing you this letter 19 years from now, you just turned 35, today. I know you thought surely you would be dead at this decrepit old age, but I assure you, you are very much alive.

I don't want to tell you too much about what your future holds or how much we change or how much we stay the same. I do however want you to know that overall you have done well. We are a decent woman, we haven't done too many stupid things, and we have been rather lucky that some questionable choices have turned out not so bad.

I want you (me) to trust yourself, trust your instincts. Go for it, you'll rarely regret the things you do, but you'll always regret the things you don't do. Especially when it comes to making you better or pursuing your dreams. Think about your future, think about it now, before you know it, you might be 52 at your sons high school graduation. Maybe. Get ready for it. 

I'm sorry if you found this letter too vague. Life is full of ups and downs, and while I would love to warn you and help you (and by you I mean me) avoid the downs, I don't want to ruin the authenticity and surprise of the the good. 

Honestly I'm afraid if you "avoid" any of the bad, or make "smarter" choices here and there you(I) might miss out on my life now, and while not "perfect" I wouldn't want to change our life today.

Enjoy your life. Remember trust yourself.

Sincerely, Old you

This post is part of a multi blogger collaboration, to read others letters to their young selves or to add your own letter click the TT button.

Monday, March 25, 2013

My Hubby, Wes Anderson & Me

The Hubby has brought many things into my life. Most notably, Love, Drama, and Animal. (I had to capitalize them all because they are all big deals) There is something else he brought into my life. Wes Anderson

Now I'm sure I would have stumbled upon him at some point. When it comes to Indy films, I don't live under a rock like I do with almost all other sorts of pop culture. But who knows when that would have happened? It would have likely been years down the line.

He first introduced me to this man:

Max Fisher

The Hubby has a certain affection for this character because, while not a child writing prodigy, he too felt a certain love for his school. He felt at home. Within family. At his peak and in his element there. He wasn't so much a writer as an artist, but his school was his playground and where he did a lot of growing.

He was friends with teachers there, still is with some.

I'm not sure what other similarities he feels they share. The hubby had terrific luck with the ladies and was considerably older than Max.

I loved this movie so much, that the hubby decided that I had to watch his first film.

Bottle Rocket

I loved this movie. It's one of my favorite's. I love the dialogue. I love the look. I love the rhythm and the music.

Then this movie came out:

Quality time.

The Royal Tenenbaums. This movie was also beautiful. The color pallet, the shots, the cinematography! It's simply striking. The characters are rich, exaggerated, and fun. The story is over the top, but the family dynamics are real and touching. At this point I had become as big a fan as my husband. The attention to detail is impeccable. We started a family tradition that continues to this day. After enjoying a delicious Thanksgiving dinner the hubby cooks, and having a few cocktails we watch a Wes Anderson film.
Can I just say if nothing else, this film is beautiful. 

When this movie came out, we went to go watch it with my brother. Another person the hubby shared Wes with. I enjoyed this movie, like all of the previous films it was breathtaking on so many levels. The hubby and my brother though, they loved this movie. The hubby once again identified with the one of the characters. Steve Zissou and the hubby are kindred spirits. 

Then the following year this:

The Darjeeling Limited
This movie is about three brothers on a trip to visit their mother before attending their father's funeral. It was honestly just gorgeous. The soundtrack, splendid, maybe, possibly the first soundtrack I ever asked for. This became my favorite Wes Anderson movie. Which is kind of impossible, to pick a favorite I mean. It's just that the colors in this film are so vivid. The story is touching. The rhythm as usual was pitch perfect. I was transported into another world, and I love movies that can do that.

Then a few years later, as if made for us this movie opened on Thanksgiving day:

It couldn't have been more perfect. This movie was awesome. I remember thinking, one day when I have kids I will show them this movie. Now that Animal is here, I think when he's old enough in a few Thanksgivings we'll watch this together and a new Wes Anderson fan will be born. The hubby was livid when this did not win best animated film.

Then when my son was a few months old, this movie came out:

ah, young love
This movie was the most age appropriate coming of age story that I've seen in a long time. The opening song in this movie was absolutely awesome. I know I just keep gushing on and on about this director and his films, but I really love them.

When this movie came out I heard a reviewer saying, that this movie was ok, but like with all Wes Anderson movies it would be divisive, with two camps. One camp where Anderson fans would  love it and gush all over it. The second camp would be full of people that (not Anderson fans) would hate it.

I was shocked by that.

I was under the impression that there were two kinds of people. Wes Anderson fans, and people who had never seen a Wes Anderson film.

Thanks to my hubby, I'm in the fan category.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

TT Fun With Taxidermy

This weeks topic is...


When I read that out loud Wednesday night as I realized that I needed to start thinking, and writing like a week ago, the Hubby offered that I could write about his mother's funeral. I thought that was very sweet of him to volunteer such a personal moment. I didn't feel like I could.

Instead I thought I would share this:

I plan on being cremated.

I would look smashing in this!

I would like my friends and family to get together, share stories, hopefully good ones and then for my hubby, son or immediate family to take those ashes and spread them somewhere scenic, preferably the ocean or a mountain side.

Who wouldn't want to spend eternity here?
Let's face it I'll be dead, and what the hubby does once I'm gone is anybody's guess. If he could, he might have me stuffed and have me placed sitting on our couch holding my cell phone as if I'm scrolling through Twitter. Most likely he would want to bury me and that freaks me the fuck out, but I'll be dead. So for once he wont get an argument from me.

So natural. Just like I would look spending eternity on my phone

This post is part of a multi blogger collaboration, to read on or join in please click the TT button :)

Stoli with Pomegranate an Amateur Review

SO this would not usually qualify for my cheap drink reviews, but two weeks ago this bottle was on  sale for 5.99 at Trader Joe's. As soon as I drove back to work I regretted not buying two more bottles. This was a limited item sale. I kicked myself immediately after driving away and tweeted this picture with those exact sentiments, as soon as I stopped driving, but enough about what I SHOULD have done.

I'm gonna be honest, I have always been partial to gin and tonics. The hubby on the other hand is all about the vodka tonics and Stoli is his shit. We always have a bottle in the freezer. So I bought this for him. 

I opened the bottle and it smelled sweet and delicious. I got excited. I made a vodka and ginger ale. It was rather tasty. But the following weekend I had vodka tonics and YUM, I may be a convert. This vodka costs 16.99 at BevMo, but it's super good (90pts for those of you who care about such things and 80 proof). My bottle's gone. It's a tragic turn of events as it is my current favorite spirit. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Dropping The Ball

Since I started writing again, I've made time for it every weekend.

I love it.

It's me time.

It helps me clear my head of the non stop chatter that is my mind.

It helps me feel connected, to other moms, to other writers, to the world (even if only a handful of people read).

This weekend was a marathon of getting shit done.

I bounced around from one commitment to the
next, only stopping to play and enjoy family time. While it was happening I was rather happy that I was getting plenty of time with Animal and the Hubby (I'm still glad about that) but I was a bummed to see that I didn't notice till my eyes were shutting from exhaustion that I hadn't even noticed that I hadn't carved out ANY time to write.

I'm gonna work harder to find it.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

TT Fat Kids

I wasn't a fat kid, but once I hit puberty I started packing on the pounds. It was tough to be a fat girl. There was no such thing as torrid, and few places carried anything over a size 11, so I started buying men's jeans. I was lucky though. I was (am) pretty awesome. I was (am) outgoing, talkative, amusing, friendly, opinionated and nice. People liked me. I had friends, and boyfriends, and people didn't make fun of me (to my face or to my knowledge anyway). Even with all that, it was hard. I can't imagine what it would have been like if people had teased me. If I had been bullied. I would have been destroyed.

After high school, I started making changes. I cut out soda. I drank fat free milk. I ate less garbage. I started working out. Slowly, over the years, I got healthier. I educated myself and immersed myself in fitness books, magazines, and websites. I started running. Lots and lots of times I started running. Until one day miles and miles behind me, I was a runner.

It wasn't easy to make those changes, small and slow as I made them. My parents made fun of me when I switched to fat free milk. "Would you like a glass of milk, or are you going to have a cup of dirty water?" my mom would ask. 

When I switched to cascade fresh non fat yogurt, with no artificial flavors or added sugar (except fruit) I gagged the first few times. My dad would say, "Why eat that if you don't like it? Food is one of the pleasures of life. You should enjoy it". I explained I would like it eventually; I just wasn't used to it yet. It was hard for them to understand. They weren't obese like me. Maybe they even took it as an insult that I would question the food they worked hard to provide and prepare. Food was one of the first things I bought for myself when I started working.

I don't want that for my kid. I don't want for him to struggle with weight like I did. So, for years before I even considered parenthood, I decided that I would do whatever it took to help any offspring I might have avoid that fate.

One of my reasons for breastfeeding was statistically breastfed children are less likely to be obese.  I waited to introduce solids until six months, for the same reason. In fact, nearly all of the food choices I have made up to this point in my son's life are to help him be more likely to be healthy. 

I joined weight watchers, because I know I have to be healthy in order to be a good role model, and because he is more likely to continue these habits if they are family habits. So even though I don't like to cook, I do. Even though I love to eat fast food, I don't. Even though I'm tiered and don't want to spend every weekend at a park when I could be watching TV, I will be. For the next oh, ten years or so, I'll be at the park playing with my son.

People are willing to admit that we have a problem in this country when it comes to our ever widening waistlines, but not so much that it's a serious problem within our families. That it's putting our children at risk. That it's putting our country at risk. It doesn't seem that many of us are willing to take responsibility over this problem and resolve to change it. If not in our country, in our home, at our own kitchen tables. 

When I child is fat, It's not their fault. They can't do it alone; We have to help them. We have to be their (and our own) advocates. It wont be easy, but we can do it. Our children deserve to be healthy. It's our job to make that happen.

This post is part of a multi blog collaboration, to read about some other hot topics, or to add your own rant thoughts, just click the TT button.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Musical Moments

Last weekend we stopped by a friends house. He's a DJ and apparently into keyboards. Animal (like most children) loves to make noise music. He had so much fun playing with this keyboard. So much in fact, that our friend gifted it to him.

Now what? What should I try next...
Every morning after Animal nurses, he runs to the keyboard, turns it on and starts jamming out. When he gets a beat going he likes, he steps back and dances, smiling in delight.

I love to watch him experiment with sound. I love to see him dance. I love to see the wheels turning as he tries to figure out his next move. I so want for Animal to love and appreciate music. The hubby loves music, can't live without it, and I remember feeling that way in my youth. I still enjoy music a lot, but it's not the constant in my life the way it was when I was young. I hope Animal takes after his dad in this capacity. 

Got it! Check this out!
I used to play the violin. I couldn't get past beginner. It's something I regret (leaving it I mean). There are musical people in both our families and I so hope that we discover it's a passion for him. I can't really explain why, but music I think is essential to the human experience. It's an art everyone can relate to. I think people that have music in their lives have a calm and inner peace they can come back to always. 

Since I don't have that, I guess I don't know that that's true. Just something I think. Something I believe. Something I want for Animal.

Do Re Mi

Saturday, March 9, 2013

HELP ME! Help Someone Else

Ok guys, remember I wrote about some heavy shit I was thinking about?Well...


I received this email from a friend, her brother is doing the super awesome Aids/Life Cycle, have you ever heard of it?  AIDS/LifeCycle is a fully supported, 7-day bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money and awareness in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Every year, this landmark ride through beautiful California delivers a life-changing experience for thousands of participants from all backgrounds and fitness levels united by a common desire to do something heroic. I have always wanted to participate, but I went to a meeting once and the amount of money you are committing to raise, is just completely daunting to me. So I have never signed up. Also I like a fun bike ride as much as the next guy, but 7 days? Not for me. Here is my chance to contribute to this amazing thing that I care about thought I, and I thought maybe I'm not the only one that would like to help me, help someone else do something to help his fellow man. If you are interested in donating to this young man who is actively trying to make difference in someone's life Click Here (also you can see for yourself what this money will do).


When Animal was born I had this moment some 24 hour cycle shortly after he was born (there are no such things as days and nights for the mother of a new born) where I realized he had used 20 diapers in 24 hrs. He usually averaged 12-16, but this day 20. We were so fortunate to have so many wonderful family and friends that gifted us with so many newborn and size one diapers that we only had to purchase two newborn packs (because he was a little guy so long) until he turned 2 months old. I can't tell you what a God send that was because I was on maternity leave and making considerably less and my hubby's company cut his hours, because he "he missed (2.5 days) and would be missing more" he had already asked for some holiday time, and since the company pays for health insurance for full time employees it "wouldn't be worth the cost, with him missing so many hours". Assholes. Anyway, it got me thinking, we were struggling, but I would be back to work soon. We have family that would help us out if we needed it. What does a parent do when they don't have anyone and they don't make a decent living? I got so depressed thinking about it as I nursed my son. Every time I changed his diaper I would want to cry for all those families that don't know how they're going to pull the money together to buy another pack of diapers. I promised myself that if I ever had extra money I would buy diapers to give to Sacred Heart (who could pass the diapers on to families in need). I want to do more. We have a tight budget here (in my home I mean), but it doesn't keep me from wanting to help.

I have an idea, but I need some help. I don't know how to execute such a thing. 

When I run the half marathon in October, I would like to ask people to help me, help someone else by purchasing a pack of diapers, any size. Or simply contributing an amount to purchase a box. If 100 people give one dollar, that's a lot of diapers and most of us can do a dollar right? Anyway I would deliver the boxes to Sacred Heart, or possibly find other organization's that help out moms, families, children in need. How can I organize this? How do I ask? Do I make fliers? Send email? Just ask? I was thinking of contacting one of the places I was thinking of making the donation of diapers to and maybe they could help me figure it out, but I thought I would come to you all first. Maybe one of you or someone you know has done this sort of thing before and know how to do it. If you have any suggestions, please email me.


I'm going to run the half, with my running partner (my dad). We log a lot of miles gearing up to this event, and truth be told this event is leading to us running our first full marathon. Last year my dad logged over 500 miles, and we plan to run more in the coming year. He wants to ask people to sponsor his miles, in any monetary way they like. A dollar a mile, 5 bucks for every 50, you get the idea. So that he can give 100 percent of that money to someone, some family in need for something tangible that will make a difference in that moment for that person. Or maybe a struggling food bank. He needs ideas too. 

Thanks. If you can help us brainstorm and get this off the ground in the next few months, we would both like to start when we register for the half mid May, we would be so grateful.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

TT Parenting Style

Parenting Styles. That's the topic this week. I've mentioned before that I'm not comfortable with labels. I certainly wasn't embracing the label that seemed to me getting thrown at me once I became a mom.

I'm a, do what works, kind of mom.

I don't think there's a "right" way or a "wrong" way to raise a child (as long as you don't neglect their needs and love them). As a seasoned child care provider I have had a chance to see many styles in action. I have my favorites and my not so favorites.

My least favorite are the parents who let their children do what ever they want. Let them treat others however they want. I don't like the kind of people that produces, unruly, ill mannered, little terrors. I have never understood these parents. No one (including them it seems) wants to be around their little darlings, so why not do themselves, and their poor child, a favor and draw some clear boundaries for them? I just couldn't fathom it.

I am not that kind of parent, but I can understand those parents a little bit now. For one, they (mostly) don't have my vast experience or knowledge of how children grow and develop. Secondly, we are all different people, they may not of the patience to deal with the amount of testing a child can procure (or for the sometimes insane amount of tantrum that can come forth from such a small human) or know the rewards that come from letting their child have the meltdown and sticking to their guns. Lastly, parents are tiered, often second guessing themselves consistently (or not nearly enough), and if you work full time like the hubby and I do, it sucks to have to spend the little time you get with your small love, disciplining them.

I get it. I do, but that isn't me.

I have been described as a loving, firm but fair teacher. I think that sums me up pretty well. I love my kids, and I love my son, but I am firm and (mostly) fair (I am human after all).

All of the children in my care know I love them. I think it comes across not only through the love and affection I bestow upon them of course, but I firmly believe that it comes across in the limits I set and that they know what the answer is (once they have asked once) always.

For children, limits, rules and boundaries make them feel safe and secure. Nothing makes a child happier than knowing they are loved and that they are safe and secure. Nothing. (Unless they're a toddler, then playing with a remote control or cell phone could top the list. Wait, no because they still have to feel loved, safe and secure to really enjoy that remote or phone)

I read a question on twitter this week, Are you the mom you thought you would be?

I am honestly not. I am in the sense of being loving and setting limits, but my son has a mind of his own and test me every day. EVERY. DAY.

I hoped I would be a crunchy granola lite kind of mom, but I just didn't think I had it in me. A natural birth, breastfeeding, no kid tv till two, making baby food, cooking meals staying away from junk food, being active with my son, sort of mom. That was gonna be way too hard for me.

Those were some lofty ideals, thought I.

I could never do it.

 I kinda admire the moms that could, and I don't have anything against the moms that don't. Those things just fit better with the kind of person I am. No matter who you are, this is the key, YOU have to be true to the person YOU are. Kids can smell a phony a mile away. They don't respect phonies (and can you blame them).

One of the coolest things about being a mom for me, was discovering that I could do all those things. I could be that mom. I CAN be the loving, limit setter I am, AND the crunchy granola lite mom I wanted to be. I don't even mind that it's not easy, that I'm tiered. I'm the mom I didn't think I could be.

Other people would say to me, "You're gonna be a great mom". I didn't believe them. I didn't think I would be, but I am.

This post is part of a multi blogger collaboration. To read about this weeks theme or to add your two cents, click the TT button!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Thoughtful Guys

Beautiful Flowers

Delicious and Healthy meal
A favorite 
My husband is a thoughtful guy. When he decides he's going to make a romantic gesture, he really thinks about it. He thinks about the person (mostly me) and what that person wants (or better yet needs). He plans every detail about how he will execute said gesture down to the last detail. He will not relinquish or outsource any part of his gift.

perfect pairing
When the hubby buys me flowers, he doesn't just go down to a florist and grab an arrangement. He picks all the flowers, and all the greenery that will go in the arrangement. The bunch pictured above was from this Valentine's day, when he gave to me he said, "I'm sorry I know they don't really pop". So weird to hear a guy say, but really it was the least fun color pallet he's ever gifted me. Super beautiful still, and I'm old fashioned in this way. I LOVE flowers.

Next my hermit husband spent some time talking to the sommelier (not sure if that's the right term since he doesn't wait on table) at Whole Foods. To pick a bottle of wine that I would really enjoy and a bottle that would compliment the meal he had decided to cook. When I got home with our son he was putting the finishing touches on a scrumptious (but calorie conscious) meal (because I'm on weight watchers).

This wasn't the first or only time he was thoughtful. He does that sort of thing randomly.

Once I came home from a staff dinner on a night we were going out to a club with some friends and I wondered how I would have time to both get ready and find something to wear. When I walked in the door, the hubby surprised me with a whole new outfit, including the perfect scarf and heels to compliment the great ensemble.

I came home one day and found Christmas lights strung up over the head of the bed in the shape of a heart.

On my birthday one year he declared that it was my birthday for a week. Everyday for a week, he did something sweet and kind to celebrate my birthday.

When I come home from work, he's waiting outside the garage to get Animal out of the car seat and carry him upstairs.

Most nights since he gets home just a little bit before Animal and I, he's picked up the living room so it doesn't look like a tornado has just struck it (like when we leave in the morning). He's often also made Animals crib for him and layed the boppy on the chair where I nurse our son so that our bedtime routine is prepped.

When we realized one night that Animal's PJs were getting snug and most of the Pjs I had purchased were 2T instead of 18 months like he needs, he ran out and bought him several pairs that same night.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who is lucky enough to have a unselfish partner, but because I'm only good at day to day (boring) thoughtfulness and a disaster at trying to be clever and smooth. I wanted to say thanks and to tell you a little about the thoughtful guy I'm fortunate enough to be married to.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Beep Beep

My Car by Byron Barton is Animal's favorite book. He brings it to me at least 10 times a day. Then he crawls in my lap and puts his head against my cheek as I read.

I have this moment where I float over my body and watch the two of us. I try to take mental photographs of these moments. I know someday I'm going to wish I could have one of these moments back.

Right now though, there's this part of me that is like, "Ahhh, not again". I have read this book like a 100 times already, just this week. I have it memorized and honestly I kind of think, why isn't Animal "reading" it to me. I'm sure he knows exactly what's coming next.

I've told you all about my frustrations with his non existent vocabulary.


He doesn't say "no" anymore. He still says mom, randomly, not to me. He says "Da!" which I'm 99% sure he is saying to the hubby, because he points to our bedroom door every morning and says Da, when we walk by, and when the hubby finally stumbles out of bed, Animal stops nursing sits up, says Da and starts babbling to his father.

He also says "gua, gua", when he wants water. Short for agua, water in spanish. He says "ello" about 30% of the time when he pretends to talk on the phone or when he's really excited at meeting someone his age at the playground. Occasionally he'll say "nom, nom" when we're about to eat. That's the extent of his vocabulary at this point.

Unlike a few months ago, I'm not so worried or stressed about it anymore. It is what it is. He's going to be talking soon enough, or I'll see some signs of a problem in the next year and will take the appropriate action then. Thankfully Animal will soon be an age I know well and I can stop second guessing myself at every turn and milestone.

So, besides The Car, he also loves for me to sing the wheels on the bus, and I am noticing a slightly disturbing (to me) trend. When I sing or read "beep, beep" Animal is watching my mouth closely and is mouthing along. The words are not escaping him yet, but he's paying close attention. I know soon enough he will try to actually vocalize the words. I should be thrilled to see this.

Instead, all I can think is "Fuck, he's going to be going around going, Beep, Beep!, How is that going to help him communicate!?!"