Thursday, November 27, 2014


Another year with this guy makes me more thankful than words can express. He's such a silly, cynical little monkey, climbing on everything, giving the best scowls, chattering away, and cracking us up daily. 

I'm thankful for Joe, the love of my life and a better partner and father than I ever could have imagined pre-Ez. He takes great care of us and I always know we're his #1 priority. 

I'm thankful that for the first time ever Ez will get to visit with ALL his grandparents this month. He's got such a special relationship with all of them and I love watching their bond.

Most of all I'm thankful for family and all the everyday comforts we enjoy daily that make us so blessed. Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy today with your loved ones. And pie. Of course ;)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

It's the Little Things: Routine

Happy Thanksgiving Eve! I keep thinking I have everything I need from the grocery store, and then I think of one more annoying but slightly necessary ingredient that I forgot. I went to 4 different places yesterday (Marshalls for pie tins, Kohls for a baking dish that Marshalls didn't have, the grocery store, and Target) and I just realized I forgot Cool Whip for the pie :( 

Today I'm linking up with Jess & Ashley for:

Vacations are lovely, but one of the nice parts of coming home (besides seeing Joe) is getting back into a routine. Ez and I don't have any strict schedules, but I try to make a point to take him to the park or outside to play at least once a day. Between me not feeling great the week before our vacation, and the cold weather in Massachusetts, we hadn't had any park dates in a long while. We also made it back to Gymboree for the first time in two weeks yesterday, and Ez was giddy from excitement. He definitely missed that place. As you can tell from the pictures below, Ez is happiest when he's exploring outside. #toddlerlife

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Flying With a Toddler: Part 2

You might remember from my Traveling Cross Country with a Toddler post that I was a little apprehensive about spending 8 hours crammed into a tiny airplane seat with Ez on my lap. I even called Southwest to see how much it would cost to get Ez his own infant-priced seat, which is supposedly discounted, but was actually going to be $200 more than my ticket. WTF?? So obviously that was a no-go. It turns out I didn't need to worry at all. Ez did great AND he had his own seat on all four flights (for free)! It was basically best case scenarios the whole way. One thing that could have been a real hassle but wound up working to our favor was the crazy cold, snowy weather in Denver, where we had a layover. A lot of people on our flight wouldn't have been able to make their connecting flights and wound up waiting till the next day to fly, which means more empty seats for us! And then the flight from Denver to Boston had a ton of empty seats, probably for the same reason. 

As you can see from the picture below, it was cold in Denver. Like -10 degrees cold. A friend who lives in Denver says that only happens a few times a year, so I guess we're just lucky like that ;)

For the past few weeks, Ez has been all about airplanes. Whenever he hears one he stops what he's doing and points up at the sky and then waves. It's the cutest thing. I wasn't really sure if he would understand that we were actually flying on a plane, but I think he did. We sat near the wing and he loved watching out the window during takeoff and landing. 

I know moms seem to be split 50/50 on whether it's better to go for the aisle or the window seat with a lap child. On our first flight I went for aisle, because I figured we'd have a little more space if someone sat next to us, and maybe Ez could stand or walk around in the aisle if he got too antsy. Well, no one sat in the middle seat and all he wanted to do was look out the window. He was practically climbing over our patient neighbor to watch during takeoff. So the next three flights we sat by the window and that kept Ez occupied for the first 20 minutes or so before we actually took off. 

Another tip I had read was to not pre-board. I ignored that. We flew Southwest and it's first come first serve seating, so I actually paid extra so we could be in Boarding Class A. A little something I've learned from previous flights is no one wants to sit next to the toddler. That way anyone who sat next to us was choosing to sit next to a kid, and therefore hopefully liked kids and didn't mind random screaming. (Ez didn't do any tantrum screaming, but he does sometimes randomly scream out of excitement. I find it kinda cute, but I know I'm a little biased.) I also just plopped Ez in his own seat and I figured that if anyone was wandering up and down the aisle seatless right before takeoff I'd move him to my lap, but thankfully that never happened. 

During all of our layovers I had Ez running laps in the terminals. Gotta wear that boy out! It's funny because Ez actually made some friends in the airport, a girl a little older and her sister who was about 1, and their mom kept asking them to stop running while I'm there being the bad influence encouraging Ez to run as much as he could. 

Clearly my strategy paid off:

Ez slept almost the whole way from Burbank to Denver. And then from Denver to Burbank he stood in front of his seat and played with his puzzle and cars for about an hour and a half. At that point we had to use the airplane changing table - a turbulent, cramped experience that I hope none of you ever has to experience. Also, Ez happened to get diaper rash that day, which he almost never gets, so that made the experience even more fun, with him screaming and squirming on the 1.5 foot flimsy folding "table". That diaper rash was probably the worst part of the whole travel experience, but thankfully it went away in about a day and a half. After the diaper changing fiasco we read the one book I brought a few times, watched about half an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and then Ez entertained himself reading the emergency flight instructions. Then the flight was over! I'm not gonna say it flew by, but there were no meltdowns, Ez didn't throw anything at other passengers, and all the flight attendants commented on how well-behaved he was. That's my boy :)

One more tip I learned about Southwest: they don't carry milk, so bring your own! Thankfully I had time during all the layovers to pick up a bottle. 

Another tip I read a lot from other mommy travelers was to fly in the morning, while kids are typically on their best behavior. I didn't really have too much of a choice in our flight times, because I'm all about getting the best deal. That meant flying out at 2:00 pm and arriving in Boston at 1:00 am on the way there. That worked out fine since Ez took his afternoon nap on the plane. If he hadn't napped, I'm sure the flight would have been much less pleasant. On the way home we left Boston at 8:00 am, but in order to beat traffic and get there on time we were up by 4:30 am. That could have been awful, but it wound up working out great because Ez slept on both flights. He slept almost the whole way from Boston to Denver, the longest flight, and he took a shorter nap from Denver to Boston. AND we got three seats to ourselves on the last flight. See? Best case scenarios the whole way. I wish I had tips on how you could pull that off every time you travel with kids, but I'm pretty sure we just got really lucky and our next flight will probably be completely different. I mean, I always fly Southwest and I've never been on a flight with empty seats in the past 5 years. Normally we're all packed in like sardines.

While Ez was sleeping I started the first Game of Thrones book and enjoyed the view:

Gorgeous, right??

Monday, November 24, 2014

Favorite Vacation Moments

As much fun as it was to sightsee in Boston and Providence, my favorite part of our vacation was spending time with family. We spent most of our time gathered in the living room, and at all times there was at least one person on the floor playing with Ez. Having at least five extra sets of hands to play with was heaven for him. He definitely got used to having someone retrieve anything he threw or dropped, because who could turn down that cute little dimpled face? (Only someone who sees it on a daily basis and knows when they're being played - aka, his parents.) He seemed a little let down when we got home and he was stuck with me all day long. No one jumping up to fetch one toy after another. No new-to-him toys to play with. And, worst of all, having to - gasp! - entertain himself while I do boring stuff like cook or clean. 

Here are a few of my favorite snapshots from the trip:

1. After-lunch walk in Providence. As you can tell from the pictures, it was cold! Like in the 30s. (And yes, my coat is buttoned wrong in that picture. That's what happens when you're trying to put on 17 layers between two people.)

Ez is obsessed with leaves, but he was so top-heavy from the sweater + jacket + hat that he tipped over every time he bent over to pick up a leaf. Of course I was standing by taking pictures of the whole incident while someone else rushed to pick him up and dust him off. Priorities.

2. Lots of laughs, books, trains, cars, and snuggles. It was so snug and cozy inside by the fireplace (some might even call it sweltering) and as you can tell from the pictures below, Ez had a blast getting to know everyone.

3. A stray shot from our Boston trip. (Which I already wrote about here & here.)

4. The last night with the girls. Aka, Ez's 1st slumber party. In the first picture he and Hailey are taking a ride on some blankets down the hallway. In the last pictures Ez, Hailey, Caitlyn, and Wayne are in the middle of an intense stuffed animal fight. Ez was cracking up and squealing, it was hilarious. I wish I had video, but my camera was in the other room and it was one of those moments where I didn't want to miss a second to go retrieve it.

Needless to say, both of us are already looking forward to our next visit!

Friday, November 21, 2014

All Ez Wants for Christmas...

It's that time of year again already! Last year Ez mostly just loved unwrapping presents and couldn't care less about what was inside. I think he'll still be into ripping the wrapping paper to shreds, but he's definitely at the age where he notices toys at the store, so I think presents will be a much more exciting part of the whole Christmas festivities this year. Here are a few of things Ez needs or wants:
  1. Ez had a blast playing with Hailey's wooden train track set when we visited family last week. This Ikea set is relatively inexpensive and would be a good start to the collection. Just got word Ez is set in the train department - he's gonna love it!
  2. Melissa & Doug puzzle organizer. He's got quite the collection of puzzles and it would be nice to have them all in one spot.
  3. Melissa & Doug Bug Collector game. Puzzle + magnets rolled into one - what toddler wouldn't love that?
  4. Cold weather pajamas are always in demand this time of year. I especially love this polar bear set from Carter's.
  5. An extra hooded towel never hurts, and this shark one is too adorable.
  6. Gotta boost our Disney collection! (Little Mermaid on Amazon.)
  7. Ez is rapidly approaching the max weight limit for his car seat. And I'm not really sad to see the old one go, that thing is a pain and the straps are constantly getting tangled. This Evenflo Maestro Harnessed Booster seat got good reviews for being easy to adjust, so hopefully Joe won't threaten to smash it every time we strap Ezzy in. Looks like Santa is taking care of this one as well!
  8. See Kai Run shoes fit Ez's Fred Flintstone feet the best, but right now he only has sandals, and should probably go up a size too. Anything size 6 or above (he only lasts in one size for three months, tops). This pair matches most of his clothes. But all of their boy's shoes are super cute.
  9. Ez loves Doc McStuffins and this little Stuffy's Doctor Kit is so cute.
  10. Bout time for Ez to be introduced to the world of tee ball! I'm a little nervous about giving him a bat, but I know he'll love it. (Toys R Us tee ball set)
Other things Ez always loves/needs include:
  • anything that goes - ie: cars, trains, planes, etc.
  • board books
  • clothes (pants" size 2T, tops: 2T or 3T) & socks
  • passes to Magical Playground, West Covina or Jump'n Jammin, Arcadia
  • passes to the LA Zoo

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ezzy Meets Grandpa & Oma

Our East Coast trip was all about family time, and one of the sweetest things was watching Ez meet his grandpa and oma for the first time. Grandparent relationships are so special, and I really want Ez to have a close relationship with all of his grandparents, so it warmed my heart to see the grandparents immediately get on the ground to play catch and trains and cars with him. Normally Ez takes awhile to warm up to strangers, but he took to them right away, like he'd known them his whole life. My dad was chasing him around the house and lifting him up in the air like he was still a young sprightly man. Ez even fell asleep in their arms a few times over the weekend, which he never does, so that just shows how comfortable he was with them. Not to mention how worn out he was from the constant playing. 

No more letting 2+ years go by between trips! We're already looking forward to our next visit :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It's the Little Things: Sister Time in Providence

On Sunday I left Ez with the grandparents so Bianca, Daniela, and I could check out a vintage bazaar at Brown University. Brown is a beautiful campus. I'm a little obsessed with New England's brick buildings paired with fall leaves, in case you couldn't tell by the overload of pictures. Providence is definitely what I imagine when I think of a college town. 

There were a lot of cute old clothes and interesting hats and jewelry at the bazaar, but I had limited suitcase space so I got a cheap pair of sunglasses and a ring, neither of which were vintage. 

After shopping we wanted brunch. Apparently so did everyone else in Providence because there was over an hour wait at the first three places we tried. Thankfully we grabbed the last three spots at the bar, because by that point we were starving. 

It was so much fun catching up and having an afternoon of girl time. I haven't seen Bianca since 2010, and obviously a lot has changed in 4 years. We both went from being single to having families in that period. Daniela came to visit a little over a year ago, but when a toddler is involved a year is basically a lifetime. 

I'm so proud of my sisters. Daniela is working on her rotations to become a doctor, which is what she wanted to do since she was a kid. She's got a crazy schedule, but somehow she makes it all seem easy. She also patiently answers the whole family's medical questions, although I'm sure that gets old pretty fast ;)  Bianca is working on her phd for forensic psychology and is currently traveling all over the world conducting interviews for research. 

While we were out enjoying ourselves Bianca's boyfriend, Wayne, gave us quarter-hour updates on Ez. He had a great time bonding with his grandpa and Oma. And apparently he did not notice or care at all that I was gone, which is good...I guess?? 

Linking up with Ashley and Jess for: