Friday, January 29, 2016

The Little Things

In my latest Toddlerville post I mentioned a few of the more trying aspects of living with a two and a half year old, but Ez and Declan both teach me so much about getting joy from the little things in life. I love watching them play and explore and seeing their little faces light up when they discover a new skill. Here are a few of the things that may seem like no big deal but bring a smile to their faces, and therefore mine too:

  • Finger nails scratched down the side of the couch. Apparently Declan is part cat.
  • Finding the perfect wooden surface to chew on. He's part woodchuck too.
  • Climbing up every single slide at the playground.
  • Making a soccer goal. Still a cause for celebration even when there's technically no goalie.
  • Finding at least a dozen ladybugs. And a few hummingbirds too, for good measure.
  • Riding the rocking horse at the park completely unassisted.
  • Kit kats.
  • Dance break! (Octonauts style)
  • Spotting motorcycles. Or fire trucks. Or buses. Notice a theme here?
  • Raspberries and tickle fights.
  • Stealing one of brother's toys. (This is a two way street.)
  • Matching pjs. Ok, this one's just for me.
  • Swing sets and sunny days.
  • Midweek lunches with auntie.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Declan's 6 & 7 Month Updates

Dear Declan,
You have the twinkliest eyes I've ever seen. It makes you look really jolly or really mischievous, depending on your current mood. You put those eyes to good use, always surveying the room, honing in on big brother and watching his every move with a little grin on your face. I suspect you're going to be my little secret agent when you're old enough to tattle. You're so eager to be mobile, you think you're ready to walk but mama isn't ready for that so please slow down. Your expressions are priceless and your sense of humor is really coming through lately. You think your daddy is hilarious, even if he does nothing more than look in your direction. You bounce up and down and scream excitedly whenever your brother enters the room. And you save your best coos and sweet smiles for me. Your daddy, brother, and I love you more than you'll ever know.

You can go from sitting to crawl/plank position and pull up to standing.

Somehow you're moving all over the room without actually crawling. Mostly through a system of sitting then laying down and then sitting back up. Not exactly the most efficient method, but it gets the job done.

With all that movement it's kinda crazy that there's still no back to tummy rolls.

You're "eating" solids.

Car rides are no longer torturous.

Grabbing everything within reach.
Chewing everything within reach.
Staying up all night.
Long naps.
Crinkly paper.
Trying to walk.
Being out and about.
Meeting new people.
The Parenthood theme songs.
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
Chewing food.
Spitting out food.
Trying to eat my hat.
Stroller rides.
Tickles from daddy.

Sleeping at night.
Sleeping in the crib.
When Ez leaves the room.
Not being able to reach something.

Every time you're on the changing table you do these really funny fake exaggerated shivers.

If there is an electrical cord within a twenty foot radius you will somehow scoot yourself over to it.

Banging things together like a little drummer makes you really happy.

You have an obsession with grabbing people's faces. Sorry to break it to you, but that's actually kinda rude. And painful.

Sometimes you get so excited that you just have to let out an ear splitting scream. Usually it has to do with watching your big bro run around.

I use the term "eats " loosely, because I'd be surprised if even 10% of the food we give you actually ends up in your stomach. You're really fond of chewing stuff up and spitting it back out. And despite that disgusted face you make after your first bite you always go back for seconds and thirds. Here are a few of your favorite things to munch on:

Bell peppers 
Green beans 
Carrot sticks 
Butternut squash 
Sweet potatoes
Brussels sprouts 

Monday, January 25, 2016


I haven't really posted too much from our weekends lately, even though we've been up to some fun stuff. Like our first hike of the year and Declan's first hike ever two weekends ago.

Last weekend we took a little train trip to Palo Alto with my mom for some lunch and shopping, or a lengthy game of tag between the clothing racks in Ez and Gangy's case. By the way, Ez has never slept so well in his life so can you please come chase your grandson around every night? Thanks! 

This past weekend I dropped the boys off with my parents and brothers on Friday so I could have some alone time, which mostly consisted of drinking iced tea at B&N while answering emails and browsing books uninterrupted. The bookstore is my happy place. There was a mom next to me wearing a baby about Declan's age with a son about Ez's age running around which made me both miss my kids and also made me all the more grateful for those few hours of alone time. Of course I couldn't resist buying Ez a Planes book. I'm pretty sure he has me brainwashed. I got back to a very lukewarm reception. Apparently nobody noticed or cared that I was gone. I expected that from Ez, but Declan didn't even pretend to be excited to see me. That made it a whole lot easier to leave them again, this time for dinner with some of my oldest and dearest friends. It was so fun to catch up and we've already made plans for another girl's night next month. We're not really the selfie types. Pictures just aren't as cute without kids in them, so this is the only picture I got from the evening:

On Sunday we looked at a possible wedding venue. I'll save that for another post, after we've looked at some more places, but it's gonna be hard to beat this beauty:

We've also had quite a bit of rain these past few weeks, which means Uno games, Friday Night Lights binges, and a few slippery park trips. 

How bout you? How was your weekend? Anyone dealing with the Jonas blizzard? Hope you're all staying warm!

Friday, January 22, 2016


It's been four months since my last Toddlerville update and that's more than enough time for the entire landscape of Toddlerville to change. For example, we've moved past the lick every public thing that has been touched, sneezed on, and coughed on by 25,674 people phase that we were in just under a year ago. Thank God. But now we're in the No phase. Like hardcore NOs to everything and sometimes it feels like all that gets said in this house is some variation of no. Anyone else there too right now? And while we're at it, please tell me some of these scenarios look a little bit familiar too. #momsolidarity

When in order to clean a tiny corner of your house you have to let your child destroy the other 98%:

When a trip to the store requires the same amount of precision and planning as a covert military operation. And let's be honest, it's a doomed mission from the get go. Ez inevitably hones in on a toy car in 2.5 seconds flat. Or at the very least toothpaste with Lightning McQueen on it. And then he of course wants me to "open it??!" immediately. That leaves three parental choices. Option 1) Break it to him right then that we aren't paying for it or opening it. Not now. Not ever. Obviously this method only works when we didn't really want to shop, we just wanted to walk into the store and walk right back out dragging a flailing toddler behind us. Option 2) Pretend like we'll eventually pay for it and hope that his nonexistent toddler attention span will work in our favor today. Or, Option 3) Just agree to pay for it. When we're done shopping, of course. All three options lead to the same result: a whining toddler asking you to "pay for it??!" at least twenty times per aisle leading to the inevitable meltdown two aisles before checkout with a full cart and the choice to either suck it up and wait in line with a screaming toddler, or abort mission and go home without any necessary provisions to get through the week. 

When your vocabulary dwindles almost as quickly as your toddler's vocabulary grows. I blame this on the fact that in order for my toddler's vocabulary to grow we have to repeat the same words and phrases over and over and over again which results in a never ending cycle of the same conversation day in and day out. And don't even get me started on the repetition of story time. Ez's current favorite book is Go Dog Go, which I'm going to go ahead and label as top five most annoying children's books of all time. The bright side is that at least one of us is getting smarter...

When this makes you want to both laugh and cry:
Between diaper deficiencies, rudimentary understanding of utensils, and a complete toddler-imposed ban on napkins there's just so much laundry. And stain removal. And why do kids clothes even come in white? I don't remember the last time I saw the bottom of the hamper, and I don't have any expectations of seeing it for the next 17 and a half years or so.

When the answer to everything is No. Say No first, ask questions later - that's the two year old motto. Almost every time I ask Ez if he wants water or a snack I get an emphatic NO! in return, shortly followed by "wawa?" Sigh. Learn how to say yes! And heaven forbid I offer him water when he's not thirsty, because I don't just get a simple no thanks. It's a full on screaming "NO!" complete with flailing arms. The indignation. How dare I try to rehydrate him? Sometimes I catch him saying no to himself for no reason at all. Like he's just practicing for the moment I ask him something. On the flip side, I find myself saying no all day long too. And I really hate it. But it's either that or let him practice WWE moves on Declan. Or play soccer on the stairs. Or open the fridge and try to climb the get the point.

What stage is your toddler at? I'm starting to get a little glimpse of threenager antics and the mood swings ain't pretty. But we're also getting to the stage where Ez says so many cute and funny things. And along with the mood swings come lots of extra snuggles, so the pros do outweigh the pull your hair out moments. And on the days that they don't then there's always this must read article:  Top 6 Wines That Pair With Your Child's Crappy Behavior. So what are we drinking tonight? ;)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Watching... Friday Night Lights. We just finished Parenthood over the weekend. I ran through our entire tissue stockpile during that last season. So many tears. But also so many feel good moments, and just so good all around. It's my favorite show ever. Friday Night Lights has a lot of the same actors and Joe says it's his favorite show ever, so we're about three episodes in and I'm loving it so far. Oh, and Bachelor just started. Ben got stuck with all kinds of crazies this season. Should be interesting. Is it sad that my show goals are the most planned out part of 2016? Don't answer that...

Reading... Mrs. Hemingway from the blogger book exchange last month, and Mastery by Robert Greene. I'm loving them both. My goal is to read more than one book a month, which was my 2015 average.

Listening to... Disney channel theme songs. Impossibly catchy and always stuck in my had. PJ Masks we're the PJ masks...cuz the right time... TO FIGHT CRIME! Someone needs to come de-brainwash me. Please.

Planning... our wedding! A lot of you may think we're already married, since we're the definition of an old married couple, but nope. Wedding planning has never been my thing, and if it weren't for my mom taking it upon herself to scout locations where they take care of every last detail Ez and Declan would probably be in college before we tied the knot.

Thinking about... our honeymoon - the only part of the wedding planning that really appeals to me. The problem is that I've never been anywhere and I want to go everywhere, so narrowing it down will be the hard part.

Working on... losing the baby weight. I gained the same amount each pregnancy and it took me a year to lose after Ez, but at the rate I'm going it'll take two years this time around. I could blame it on being older, or spending so much of the last three years pregnant, but if we're being honest here I'm thinking my love of all things chocolate and aversion to the treadmill are probably to blame.

Looking forward to... seeing all kinds of family this year that I haven't seen in way too long. I miss having all my sisters in one place.

Trying... to spend daily one on one time with Ez. He's been super clingy and snuggly lately and we all know that won't last. We've been spending Declan's naptime doing puzzles, flash cards, playing memory, reading, and of course, playing with his new Radiator Springs set. His mood is dramatically better if he gets that mama time each day.

Loving... that feeling of renewal and motivation that the new year brings.

Wearing... sweaters and leggings. Every day. It's my winter momiform and I wish I could wear sweaters all year long.

Craving... Mexican food and a good margarita. 

Wishing for... more sleep. Although part of me knows that once Declan starts sleeping through the night I'll miss it just a teensy tiny bit. If he could narrow it down to just one nighttime feeding, I'd be happy.

Splurging on... sweaters. Macy's was having too good of a sale to pass up. We're talking $80 sweaters for $15.

So there's a little slice of life at this moment. Anyone care to share honeymoon destination recommendations? Or favorite books or shows? Something tells me we'll go through Friday Night Lights way too fast...

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Personalized Valentine's Gift Ideas

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 

Since we share finances it's hard to surprise Joe with gifts. For Christmas I tried really hard to keep his gift under wraps. I bought a gift card at the grocery store and then bought his gift so it would just look like I'd bought groceries. I was patting myself on the back for finding a loophole to surprise him. But then his present arrived with a giant picture of what was inside on all sides of the box while I was away and he was home. So all my sneakiness was for nothing. Thanks Amazon.

For Valentine's Day I prefer a more DIY gift approach. Maybe not homemade, per say, but something personal that takes a little time and effort. A few of these ideas are gifts from the past few years, and the others are cute ideas I found while browsing Etsy. Such a dangerous place.

1. 101 Quizzes for Couples - This book has some fun, light-hearted questions, ie: Friends or Seinfeld? as well as more in depth questions, like "What's one trait you hope I'll pass on to our kids?" It really covers all the bases, from jobs, to bucket lists, to how you like the bed made, to sex, to raising kids. Turns out you can cram a lot into 101 quizzes. And for the most part there are no wrong answers. Except maybe the "What's my most annoying quality?" question. That one's a trap, fellas!

2. Illustrated Portrait - We have a love of caricatures over here, but there are so many great artists, on Etsy or elsewhere, that have amazing styles for illustrated portraits. It's definitely a fun addition to a gallery wall.

3. Your Love Story - You can create your own illustrated love story using Love Book. They have templates for characters, backgrounds, possible page ideas (like: I love your abs), or blank pages so you can write your own story. Such a cool idea, and under $40 too.

4. Heart Collage - I may be slightly addicted to these heart collages. I made one for Declan's room using his birth and newborn photos. I also made one for each of the grandparents for Christmas using pictures of Ez and Declan from the past year. It's already heart-shaped and if you made one with just the two of you without <gasp!> the kids, it's a pretty cute Valentine's gift.

5. Photo Book - You probably think I work for Shutterfly with as much as I plug their brand, but nope, I just love their stuff. I should probably own their stock based on how much stuff I buy from them. I know there are plenty of great photo book companies out there, but since I've already got tons of my photos on Shutterfly, I'm in too deep to switch brands. I made this particular book pre-kids, and it's a bunch of our date photos all in one place. Ez loves to look through it too.

6. Couple Magnets - These are adorable. You send the artist of picture of the two of you and she creates personalized felt magnets. I kind of want some for all four of us.

7. Scrap Book - For the most part I like to purge my belongings, but when it comes to sentimental things I'm a bit of a hoarder. I have a tendency to hold onto stuff like ticket stubs, wrist bands, brochures, and maps for no good reason. After I'd brought my little bag filled with date memorabilia along on three different moves, I finally decided to compile it all into one scrap book and give it to Joe last Valentine's Day. I just bought a fairly cheap photo book with the self-sticking pages, some heart stickers and red and silver washi tape, printed out some photos, and went to town. I'm no scrap-booking expert, but it's fun to be able to look back at all the mementos that wouldn't make their way into a Shutterfly photo book:

Anyone else like to DIY for Valentine's Day? 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Ezzyisms - 32 Months

It's been 5 months since my last Ez update and wow has he changed. I'd noticed how rapidly his vocabulary has been growing, but until I looked back at old video clips and pictures I didn't realize just how much older he looks. His little neck is growing longer, which makes a huge difference in looking more little boy and less baby/toddlerish. We recently had to go up a size in shoes and a lot of his pants are starting to look like  Urkel highwaters. So the evidence of his growth has been there, but it still took me by surprise once I started watching all my old videos of him.

Ez loves learning activities. He constantly wants to do flashcards or puzzles or read together. And he picks up on things so fast. It's amazing how sponge-like toddler brains are. The connections he makes surprise me everyday. Like when he sees the words Star Wars he'll point and say Storm Trooper. Even when there are no Storm Troopers in sight. Or when he sees fireworks he associates them with Disneyland. 

I say this pretty much every time I post an update on Ez, but he's my best little helper. Whether it's cleaning up his toys or helping me with laundry, he's always willing to drop what he's doing and help out. He also rushes to the rescue whenever Declan is upset, handing him toys or goofing off to try and get a smile.

His current favorite things include all forms of transportation, along with road signs and what sounds various vehicles make. His favorite toys are his Radiator Springs table and his three thousand toy cars, trucks, bulldozers, motorcycles, and planes. Recently he's moved from the Cars movies onto Planes. I frequently catch him playing by himself and narrating everything,which is just the cutest thing ever. I can't understand half (ok, most) of what he says, and I'm pretty sure a lot of it is made up words, but it means something to him and I love pausing what I'm doing to listen to his imagination at work. 

Classic Ez sayings:
- "What sound maaake??" In his world everything makes a sound, including stop signs, fruit, get the point.
- "I don't knooow!" and "you tell me!" are what I usually reply to his what sound make questions, so of course he repeats those all the time. In the same tone of voice.
- If he doesn't know what sound something makes, then he'll just whisper the name of the thing three times softly, for example: What sound does a bus make? = bus, bus, bus. You can also see it in the video below, it's one of my current favorite Ezzyisms.
- After he demonstrates whatever sound for me he'll say "good <car, plane, train> sound" to himself. He's quite fond of patting himself on the back ;)
- "Da da daaa" - when we're racing his Doc and Lighting cars, trying to mimic the music from that scene in the movie.
- "C'mon go" or "c'mon a down down down" or "play cars?" when he wants us to get down and play with him.
- "Ride?" if he wants to ride in his stroller.
- "Unwrap it" or "open it" when he finds something he wants at the store.
- "Baby brother cry cry" to let me know when Declan is upset.

Worst/funniest things he's repeated:
- "Jesus Christ!" After Joe changed a particularly smelly diaper.
- "What sound does Daddy make?" followed by a farting sound.
- or "Daddy poohed" if Joe farts. (Sorry Joe! One day you'll be happy I recorded all this.)
- He may have possibly said damn, although I'm not sure where he heard it. He said it right when he dropped something, so the timing is suspicious.
- "Goodbye babe!" to Joe when he leaves for work.

This is in no way a complete list of what he says. His vocabulary grows each and every day. He repeats everything we say, and it's both funny and scary to have such an accurate mirror held up to us. This is definitely the stage of parenthood where I feel like I need to walk on eggshells so I don't impart any bad habits on him. Of course I can't do that 24/7, so I'll just apologize in advance: Sorry for any bad habits you learn from me, Ez! I hope you don't turn into a nail biter...

Here's a little video I've compiled of silly Ez clips from the last 5 months:

And here's Ez showing off all his vehicle sounds:

I can't believe this is going to be the year of potty training and threenager antics. Lord help us.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Versatile Blogger Award

As moms we post a lot about our kids, or our roles as parents, but it's not too often we share a whole post just about ourselves, so I've loved reading the Versatile Blogger Awards floating around blogland. It's always fun to get a little more insight into my favorite mom friends in this community. The lovely, crafty, and completely sweet Crystal over at Mason's Mama was kind enough to nominate me for the Versatile Blogger Award way back in November, but with all the holiday madness that followed it got put on the back burner. Now that we're in a new year I thought it'd be a fun to start off with a few random facts about me. Thank you so much, Crystal! 

The rules of accepting this award are 1.) thank the blogger that nominated you, 2.) link back to their blog in your post, 3.) share 7 facts about yourself, and 4.) nominate up to 15 other bloggers.

1. I'm a pescatarian.
Starting in 2007 I gave up meat, then I briefly tried veganism, and eventually settled on eating fish because there are so many health benefits. Joe's a pescatarian too. Ez and Declan can eat whatever they want, as long as they cook it themselves ;)

2. I've moved 15 times in the last 15 years.
And I did several of those moves using only my Mustang for everything except the furniture. We're talking lots of trips back and forth. On the bright side, I'm forced to declutter every year. On the downside, packing sucks. Those last few miscellaneous boxes take forever to unpack.

3. Two of my sisters and I tried to run away from home when I was about 9.
The details of why are a little fuzzy but I think we were unhappy about being punished for something. We packed my sister's guinea pig and some money in a backpack and left, on our way to grandma's house. About fifteen minutes later we practically ran back home when we thought we heard a rattlesnake and decided the guinea pig was snake bait. I'm so not looking forward to the day Ez and/or Declan decide to run away from home.

4. I started journaling when I was seven.
And I've kept it up on and off ever since. Especially when life is stressful, I find it helps me sleep if I write down whatever's on my mind before bed.

5. I once got two speeding tickets in the same day.
In the same hour, actually. This was back when I was 17 on a road trip to LA with two friends to visit Irvine's campus for orientation. I had to go to juvenile traffic court and both the judge and my mom were so confused about why there was so much paperwork for just one ticket. I just sat there silently hoping they wouldn't realize it was two tickets. But they did. I drive considerably slower now.

6. I have so many clothes I broke my closet.
To be fair, the weight wasn't evenly distributed, and I had a bunch of the heavy stuff like coats and maxi dresses and belts all on one end of the rod, but that's still pretty bad. Joe and I both purge our closets several times a year. But we also both love to shop and have way too many clothes. So many that we've never even attempted to share a closet. That would just never work.

7. I had a habit of bringing random pets home and begging my mom to keep them.
She always said no. The first time it was a kitten which I somehow snuck home from my dad's house to my mom's on a 40 minute car ride. My sisters and I all pretended we were playing "cats" and would randomly meow to mask the actual cat meowing in the car. My little brother found the kitten right away and ratted me out. I think he was about three at the time. The other time I brought home a stray dog. And now that I think of it I think there was one more cat incident too...

* Bonus fact: I had to go to the pre-kid era just to find a picture of me all by myself. 

I nominate:
Courtney @Sweet Turtle Soup
Chrissy @Simple Joys Blog
Amanda @Tickled Pink
Sarita @It's My Girls' World
Sarah @Foxy's Domestic Side
Sara @Running From the Law

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Our Weekend: Alcatraz

Pretty much every time we visit San Francisco we try to get tickets to Alcatraz and they're always sold out. Finally we planned ahead and got tickets for this past weekend, which turned out to be a little cold and drizzly, but we had a great time anyway.

I visited Alcatraz a long time ago, but other than the infamous escape I didn't remember too much about it. This time around we just explored without the audio tour, since Ez and Declan weren't about to let us listen to anything besides them. 

We started with the exhibit on the aging prison population, which sounds boring but was actually really interesting and thought provoking. There were quotes from all kinds of prisoners, ones who were remorseful and ones who weren't, some who claimed to be framed and some who you could completely understand why they did what they did.

Then we checked out the cells and dining hall. I feel like the cells look slightly bigger in the pictures than they did in person. It was pretty claustrophobic inside and Ez refused to even stand in one with me. I led him in and he ran right back out yelling no. That's his current favorite word and he says it all the time for no reason at all, but this time I couldn't blame him. They were tiny and dirty and depressing.

Next we wandered around outdoors, checking out the dilapidated buildings and the gorgeous views. Around this point it started drizzling and getting pretty chilly so we headed back to the gift shop, then down to the dock to wait for the boat. 

Ez was a champ and walked almost the entire way, making sure to stomp in every puddle he came across. If you've ever been to Alcatraz before you know there are some steep hills, so I'm really impressed that Ez was able to hike them all on his own. 

Ez's favorite part of the day was the boat ride. Hands down. We told him we'd be riding a boat before we left the house and the entire car ride there he kept saying "we're gonna ride a boooat! What sound make??" On the boat ride back he insisted on spending the entire time at the helm in my arms pointing out every other type of boat in eyesight. Cruise ship. Yacht. Sail boat. Cargo ship. That boy knows his transportation. 

Afterward we got some fried fish at a nearby restaurant where the boys were surprisingly well behaved considering we woke them up early and walked them around in the rain for several hours. 

In case you're wondering how Alcatraz is for kids, I think it's pretty stroller friendly. There's also a tram if you absolutely can't walk up the hills. There's no food for sale on the island and you're not really supposed to eat in the prison area, but I gave Ez a Larabar while we were walking around because it was either that or a major meltdown. We were there about two and a half hours and overall both kids enjoyed themselves and were well behaved as long as they weren't hungry. I noticed a lot of older kids really into this scavenger hunt type booklet where you visit certain areas and then answer questions and at the end you get a badge. That was a little beyond Ez's age range though.

All in all a great day and I'm still pinching myself that we live close enough to San Francisco to just pop in whenever we feel like it.