Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Why I'd rather poke my eyes out than apply for a job, Part 2

Being an adult, a college-graduated adult with a family, is frustrating. My husband will agree with me on all counts because he experienced the hardship of finding a job in our current economy. It took him 3 years to finally land an interview that he could accept and even then, it was a very low-paying, entry level job.

I, on the other hand, have been applying left and right for any kind of job: degree related, non-degree related, full time, part time, stopping short of McDonalds because while I'm desperate, I do still have an immense amount of pride. I wrote a while back about how hard it is to find a job but eventually being hired for part-time work in a natural baby boutique that focused on cloth diapers and attachment parenting - the position fell through, unfortunately. So to say I'm holding this recent job interview for a registered nurse position at arms' length is actually quite an understatement.

I'm still waiting to hear back on if I've been chosen for the nurse residency program and with the Thanksgiving holiday having landed smack dab in the middle of the interviews (my interview was 2 weeks before Thanksgiving; they're just NOW finishing them this week), the waiting game has been excruciating and as each day passes, my confidence (which was really high at the start of the wait) has dwindled down to me expecting an email saying I wasn't chosen.

Have you heard of everything happening all at once? Like how I actually got an interview with what sounds like a promising hospital in another state (the move would be significant), and as I get closer to hearing something, Gary is offered a job promotion. He will be traveling a lot if he does take the offer but we will be able to remain in California and he will be making a lot more than now. I probably won't be able to work because he would be gone all the time and childcare out here is ridiculously expensive, but at least his salary would be just enough. I was expecting the "everything happening at once" bit to be just by me, but it seems like what we will be contending with is whether we stay in California so Gary can accept the job promotion or move out of state so I can finally start working in the field as a registered nurse.

At least, that's what I'm hoping. All of that is dependent upon the hospital calling me back for either a second interview or a job offer. Both of which I would gladly accept as a step in the right direction, even the second interview... I just want an answer or something before I poke my eyeballs out!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Happy December!

I can't believe that the last month of 2012 is finally upon us. It seems like just yesterday when I was holding Daniel in my arms length-wise and nursing him every two hours on demand, completely consumed by everything about him; now, I'm holding this huge toddler on one hip with tripping-induced scratches on his face while nursing a slight red wine-induced hangover with a cup of coffee in my first mother's day mug and finally reveling in gaining parts of my life back. How much life can change in just a year!
My little monkey this time last year - just a few weeks old!

As we near the Holiday season, I stress a little bit more on gifts to give (and decide on giving, to boot). We probably won't be get Daniel much this year since his birthday is only a month before Christmas and he is LOADED on gifts until at least his second birthday. Plus he's only one and won't remember any of this, so the gifts he gets for Christmas this year will be from our parents and other extended family members (and are, hopefully, in the form of clothes or books... NO TOYS!).

I am so looking forward to Christmas. With all the gifts Daniel recieved last year, it felt like they were gifts for me too! As for gifts we are giving, I've been working on hand-made gifts for the ladies of our family but are at a total loss as to what to give our male family members. That fantastic color to the left turned into a pretty yet simple infinity scarf, perfect for my mom! My favorite part about the Holidays is gift-giving so I'm glad that I have some kind of craft that I can make gifts for those I love. Crochet has been such a great skill to have! I'm already planning out what I'm going to make for people next year!

What is your favorite part of the Holiday season?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Best Black Friday and Cyber Monday Cloth Diaper Deals at DiaperJunction.com

Holy moly friends, Diaper Junction has a PHENOMENAL sale in store for us for Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

Save BIG this weekend with these great deals on name brand cloth diapers, baby carriers, cloth diaper detergents and more!

Double Reward Points ALL Weekend Long
Free Shipping on ALL USA Orders over $35
Free Gift Bag (while supplies last) when you order $79 or more! Gift Bag valued at $50+ and includes
  • Diaper Rite Wetbag
  • Rumparooz OS Pocket Diaper
  • Diaper Rite OS Pocket Diaper
  • $10 Stash Cash

Discounts you will LOVE on the brands you adore!
GroVia Newborn All In One Diapers – Buy 2 Get 1 Free
GroVia One Size All In One Diapers – Buy 2 Get 1 Free
GroVia Shells – Buy 2 Get 1 Free
GroVia Soaker Refills – Buy 2 Get 1 Free

Plus, Save 10 – 40% off
Boba Baby Carriers
TaylorMade Slings
Discontinued Kiwi Pie Diapers
Green Sprouts
Planet Wise
Best Bottoms
Aden + Anias
Select Bummis BabyLegs
Fuzzi Bunz
Fuzzi Bunz
Diaper Rite
and more!

Thanksgiving through Monday November 26th at midnight!
Shop this holiday weekend and save at DiaperJunction.com!

*Plus, Flash Giveaways all weekend long on Diaper Junction's Facebook Page!

I don't usually partake in Black Friday but how can I resist when I don't even have to leave my house? I can't, that's how. I placed an order already during their pre-sale event - for $35, I snagged a new fitted diaper, doublers (finally!), cloth diaper wipes, and a new wet bag! I can't wait for my fluff mail and will be excited to see what else I can buy this weekend!

Year One

A year ago today, Daniel, you were born. A very superficial vein in between your eyebrows and a shock of dark black hair are just some of the features I distinctly remember noticing about you the moment I laid eyes on you. Immediately after you were born, the nurse gave you to me all fresh and covered in new baby goo (eww huh!?) and I just held you, I had never been so happy in my life before that moment! I remember counting each and every one of your 10 perfect fingers and 10 tiny toes, over and over, in awe of how perfect a little person could come out of someone as imperfect as me... but 10 months before, you decided to make me your mama so I won't complain! I was so happy because as much as you looked like your papa and uncle Joey when you were born, you had my toes. You definitely have my toes. My sweet little boy, you cried wail so distinct, as if to say "I'M HERE! LOOK AT ME!" and look at you we did. Your papa, bah-chan and I and when they joined us, your ji-chan and uncle too. A room full of the culmination of love and adoration we all started feeling the moment I discovered you chose us as your family.
The aftermath of you finally coming into this world and into my arms is a bit of a blur for me, I'm sorry to admit. But your papa remembers it vividly, recalling how you were born so quietly and cried only when the doctor did something to make you startle (probably a pinch on your cute little butt or something). You screamed and screamed until you came to me, naked and completely confused by everything except one thing: mama had you right then. Because at that moment, papa said you stopped crying. You knew you were home.
You were an average-sized baby at 7 lbs 10 ounces and 18 inches long, but it was your hair that made you seem so much older than you really were. Soon enough though, at the amazement of everyone who met you, your weight and height were exceeding the charts. At this moment, you look so much older than your 1 year of age not just because of your long dark hair (that we've already cut twice now) but because of your size - if I were to take a guess, since we haven't been to the doctor in a few months and aren't due for another visit until you actually turn 1, I would say you probably weight about 24 pounds and are 33 inches tall.

I know why you grow so well, you are a healthy young boy with a voracious appetite. When we first started giving you solid food at almost 6 months of age, you didn't like it at all. I was so nervous! I thought you would hate solid food forever! But little by little, you got used to having food in your mouth and all of the sudden, I realized you were even trying to feed yourself! Now, you have at least 3 meals a day, snacks in between and you still nurse 4 or 5 times a day - you are a eating, drinking machine! I think what did it for you in the beginning was avocado, boy that was your favorite. Whenever we went out to dinner, we would order you a little plate of avocado and you would be a happy camper. Now, I'm not really sure you have a favorite because you eat everything we give you with great vigor. It makes me so happy to see you thrive and love life through food; the world will be a delicious place for you, Daniel.

You learned to walk early. I remember so vividly the day when we were visiting your Japan ba-chan and ji-chan when you learned to stand on your own for the first time - it was a snowball from there. A month later, you look your first steps at 9 months and you've been racing towards toddlerhood ever since. But I know you aren't in a hurry to grow up because as far away as you dare to venture away from me, you turn to find me and run back just as quick. My little boy you will always be.

You are such a social boy, always smiling at others and so, SO curious. Everything makes you laugh, it's such a joy to hear your happiness spill from your lips. It makes me want to cry, that's how beautiful it is to me. I love the way you grab my face with your little hands and force me to look down at you when I'm wearing you in the baby carrier, the way your eyes search for me in a room to make sure I'm still there. I'll always be there, sweet boy. It reminds me to walk slowly, move meaningfully, look intently at you and cherish you because you don't know about the ugliness of the world yet, rightly so. You only know of the world your papa and I have been able to show you so far and hopefully, it's been enough. I fear that, daily... but when I see how happy and well-rounded you are, I fear a little less and feel much more pride.

We are in for a long, eventful voyage - your life will be long, beautiful, and ever changing; some days, you will think the world of me and then next second, I may be your worst enemy. No matter what the condition, I will always always love you with every single cell in my body, every breath I have taken and will ever take for the rest of my life. You are my pride and joy, every time I look at you I am taken aback by the beauty and perfection that I have been allowed to have as my sweet little boy, my first born. One day, you will know how it feels to fall absolutely, deeply in love with a child of your own... but not too soon, please. Let me enjoy being your mama first.

I love you.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Pancakes, the missing food group

I want to take a minute and talk about how so many moms, who once couldn't care less about the nutrition label or ingredient list on so many of the processed foods they consumed before, suddenly have a kid and realize "why AM I eating food made of things I can't pronounce?" or that the 200% sodium content in their Top Ramen they had for lunch and dinner is probably really bad for them? Overnight it's organic this, free-range that, the current hot ticket item GMO-free labeling, whole grains or if the child is REALLY lucky, GLUTEN FREE -  extra points for how many likes you get on the status update you posted from Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. While I'm not that extreme, I will admit that I am completely guilty of choosing healthier options for Daniel now that he's around... and I'm actually benefiting, too.

One thing I adopted since becoming a mother of an early toddler who could eat table foods (which is AWESOME by the way, such a money saver!) is making my own foods for my entire family, not just Daniel. Biggest example: bread. I love bread. I could live on sandwiches or anything bread-related. The best thing about this bread maker I received from a friend is it makes dough too. PIZZA! Just the fact that I know every single ingredient I'm putting into my little bread-baking pod makes my head rest easy at night.

Just because it's healthier for everyone, I bought whole wheat flour and one evening threw together batch of ingredients for whole wheat bread. I was so excited to share a healthy slice of whole wheat bread in the morning with Daniel and as I knocked the loaf out of the baking pod, I noticed how incredibly heavy and dense the small loaf was. I didn't slice the loaf, I carved it and looking back, I should have used a chainsaw. A few bites in and I was completely turned off; the next time I made bread I followed the White Wheat recipe, MUCH better result! Half white flour and half whole wheat makes a loaf with the density of white bread with the sweet, hearty taste of whole wheat. It's perfect.

I have fond, fond memories from childhood of Saturday morning pancake breakfasts made by my mom where I would eat so many (which was only like, 2) and I would be so full I felt like I  might puke. I felt that way when I made these pancakes, it was so nostalgic! Being the budding penny-pincher that I am and just because I had every single ingredient on hand already, I went for a simple pancake recipe that I could throw together on the fly. Daniel and I had breakfast from mixing bowl to dining table in less than 20 minutes! I also recently made this for a Saturday morning breakfast for us + Gary, I had just shy of double the yogurt the recipe calls for so once everything was incorporated, I added a generous splash of milk. Worked like a charm!

6 ounces plain Greek yogurt
1 egg
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Cooking oil for your cooking surface (I used olive oil Pam)

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately, incorporate together and mix well. It will be incredibly thick, add a splash (2 to 3 tablespoons) of milk to this mixture to loosen it up if desired. On a greased skillet at medium high heat, add 1/2 cup of batter; flip pancake when bubbles appear on the surface. Make sure the batter isn't too think as it won't cook through as easily. Top with your choice of condiments and enjoy with your little one!

(Adapted from the Greek Yogurt Pancakes recipe by Everyday Belle)

The addition of the whole wheat flour gave this recipe a nice richness in taste that I don't think would have been there if I used only white flour. Word of caution though, like I said above about the density of whole wheat bread, using whole wheat flour in this recipe creates fairly dense pancakes so if you don't thin it out w/ a fluid, you need to keep the batter in a thin layer on the skillet. I didn't put anything on top of the pancakes when I gave Daniel his; Greek yogurt has a bit of a tanginess, but the pancakes were actually sweet because of it. Just right for plain pancake bits!

Enjoy! We sure did!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Guest Post: Papa Gar-Bear

Guest posting is something I have considered for my blog for a little while now, so you can imagine my excitement when Gary asked me tonight if he could write a little something for this here place in cyberspace. Here's a first-hand look at the other, better half of my life, the father of my child and the pillar of strength I lean on. Take it away, papa!

Hello followers. For those of you who got a bit excited for the next update from Julia, I'm sorry to disappoint you. But, as one of the main characters in Julia's story, I figured that it would be nice to give you all my perspective on things every once in a while as well. So, please bare with me.

I guess I'll start by first explaining the title of the post. When I was younger, I was well known for my seriousness, and my bit of an easy temper. Growing up as the oldest of three...with the words, "you're the oldest you're supposed to be looking out for your siblings," constantly being recited to me, I ended up having a protector type personality ingrained into me. My siblings and I are close. Closer than most siblings, I like to think. We are all pretty close in age, having about 2 years in between each of us. (I'm currently 27, brother is 25, and sister is 23). But without boring you with too many details, the three of us have all the same friends, and we hung out as a large group quite often. The catch was, that even though we were out as friends, I was still an older brother. So, when I noticed something I didn't like, I would be very vocal about it; not only to my siblings, but to my friends as well. So, I ended up with a reputation amongst my friends and siblings of having two sides to me. First, there was Scary-Gary. Which, I'm sure you can imagine who that is. Then there is Gar-Bear. The guy who wasn't out as a big brother, but as someone who was much more chill and fun to be around. Over the years, I like to believe that I loosened up a lot and became more of the Gar-Bear that my friends and siblings saw in me. Then, Julia and I got the news that we were expecting. Suddenly, Gar-Bear graduated, and out came Papa Gar-Bear...a nickname that my little brother was very quick to coin. I guess its better to be Papa Gar-Bear than to be Scary-Daddy-Gary or something.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up

I know I keep saying I'm not going to be blogging as often because of a certain other passion of mine at the moment, but you know how you always have plenty to say when you should be doing something else and nothing to say every other time? Yeah.
  • NaNoWriMo
  • My mom coming up to see us today, the look on D's face when he saw her, and how he held his arms out for her to hold him before she even made it through the gate of our apartment complex.
  • His year-old portraits. Seriously, who told him he could grow up so fast? (Before you say anything, yes he's just barely turning one, yes he is very big for his age, and yes he is wearing Vans.)
  • Having creative friends. It's always nice to have someone to be my soundboard and a resource.
  • Pugly Pixel. Seriously, is there anything better than this little gem on the web anywhere? I think not.
  • Same vein, different arm: Stubtle Patterns. Great resource for blog designers.
  • Nutella Hot Chocolate. Yup mhmm. As always, thanks Pinterest!
  • Finally, finally being okay with saying something is out of my hands... and feeling good about it. 
Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 2, 2012

NaNoWriMo Day 1 - Recap

Image courtesy NaNoWriMo.org
I definitely will not be blogging every day of this month in regard to NaNoWriMo but I wanted to take a little bit of time while the boys are snoozing to reflect on the first day of National Novel Writing Month!

I started writing a scene from a running list of ideas I have on a text file in my hard drive. Sometime this year, I started having really vivid dreams and would sometimes wake up remember quite a bit. I started writing some of them down; the initial scene I wrote today was from that list. When a writer tells you that a book often writes itself, they are not kidding. This scene took a few paragraphs for me to get a sense for where it was going but after the dialogue started it took a really intense turn and I was so nervous for my character! When I finished that scene, I was fine with how it ended because it is how I imagined it should. It is going to be a nice segue to the next chapter, which we'll see how it decides to write itself!

By the end of the afternoon, I had down 2,586 words - to achieve a goal of 50,000 words over the course of 30 days, I need to write 1,700 words a day. So for a first day, a first book, and first challenge I've taken seriously, I think that's a pretty decent start. Now let's just see if I can keep it up!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Whatever-It-Is Day!

Image courtesy NaNoWriMo.org
Funnily enough, there are some days where I have no stinkin' idea what day it is, what time zone I'm in or even what planet I am currently on. Oh, motherhood, you tricky thing you. Today I scared a friend into thinking that tomorrow is Friday, a major deadline for him... just kidding Wil!

Any who. While many of you will be celebrating this day as Halloween (or All Hallow's Eve), I am (quitely) celebrating this day as NaNoWriMo Eve! NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is a great yearly event celebrated in November that dedicates an entire month to, you guessed it, writing a novel. The goal is 50,000 words, which may sound daunting to you but in reality, I sat down one night (I think the ONLY time I dedicated to the year I participated) and in an hour or so, penned about 2,500 words. But if you are a follower of my blog, you know that I have quite a few hurdles to overcome if I want to be successful in this year's NaNoWriMo!

First hurdle: lack of sleep due to my maternal circumstances. It is quite understood in the NaNo communities, you will probably lack for sleep through the month of November as you work to meet the 50k word goal. I lack sleep anyway so during the day I am more or less a zombie because we're still working on getting Big D to sleep through the night. I've weaned him off nursing during the sleeping hours because at almost a year old and getting three square meals a day with nursing in between, there is no reason for him to need to snack at midnight. He needs to learn to sleep from dusk to dawn like the rest of humanity loves to do, with that said, he still wakes up crying at least once around 1 am, which on most nights he has learned to just collapse into a heap on me (we co-sleep) or if he can't calm himself down, Gary will give him some water we have on the ready. After crying for an hour, water is a welcome gift and that usually does the trick, but we are still so tired from being woken up at all and THEN having to deal with a crying child. We're getting there though, nobody ever said sleep training... or ANY training... is easy.

Second hurdle: job hunting. Oh, vicious, illusive job hunting. Almost every moment I spend alone while Daniel naps or sleeps, I spend on my computer combing the internet for jobs to apply to. The search itself is so time consuming that by the time I find something, Daniel is awake already. It's really quite frustrating and with everything that's going on in my home financially, I'm not entirely sure I can let it slide for another month. Such is life.

Third hurdle: and perhaps the easiest to set on the back burner but still gives me inner grief - blogging. As my blog title suggests, yes, I am a bedtime blogger and naptime, too. When little man is out for x amount of hours, I take full advantage of it somehow. Along with my household responsibilities, I attend to my blogging ones because a blog won't keep itself (obviously!). I love blurb writing, like when I recap what happened during the week when I didn't have much of worth to write about or my Mama Moments posts when I talk about Daniel's little moments that send my mama heart soaring. But on a new blog such as mine with a very small group of followers composed mostly of people I already know, that kind of blogging doesn't always do the trick. But I guess I just came back from an unofficial month-long hiatus anyway so what is one more for good measure?

I'm sure there are a thousand and one more reasons for me not to dive right in, or even knee-deep, in NaNo2012, but there is only one reason TO do it and I have it - desire. I want to. I REALLY want to. I want to be a writer and Gary constantly tells me I have to practice to be any good at it. Of course! I get plenty of practice on my blog but it's just me rambling 99.99% of the time; I have no idea if I'm actually any good at it as a craft, an art. And that last little bit really doesn't matter, if someone has the desire to do anything, they should do it. I had an intense desire to learn to snowboard for YEARS, from childhood, but just tried it about 5 years ago and wouldn't you know that I took to it like a fish in water once I actually tried it? Yeah. Kind of like that.

I just have to try.
Halloween 2010, the first and only year I've participated so far.
Will you be participating in NaNoWriMo this year?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

In love with fall!

Last days of summer.
Despite the above-average heat during the beginning of fall, we're still taking advantage of all the fun festivities this season has to offer. Actually, I take that back... in the beginning of the month, it was beautiful. Beautiful, idyllic fall conditions: crisp, cool air with a hint of moisture coming from the clouds up above. We took advantage of the sweater weather by taking Daniel to his first pumpkin patch!

It turned back into summer time temperatures early the next week though, and has been warm pretty much ever since. While I accept that Southern California will never have the turning-of-leaves, brisk fall air-type autumn weather that I dream of experiencing sometime in my life, the heat has been nice compared to the extreme weather conditions that other parts of the country will be experiencing. Can't complain!
In our favorite fall pieces, plaid!
Since Halloween falls on a Wednesday this year and since I have no idea what kind of activity there will be during that time for families, Gary will more than likely be at work function after leaving the office, etc., we donned Daniel in his very first Halloween costume and went to a family friendly Halloween festival hosted by a community center of a nearby town yesterday. Very cute and served its purpose; our little social butterfly got to play outside with other kids in costume!

Happy Halloween from Daniel Duck!
Gary's parents bought Daniel this adorable Donald Duck outfit while we were visiting them in Japan this year; at the time, it was obviously way too big for him so when we got home, I stored it away. Four months later, we were talking about what he would be for Halloween this year when that outfit came up. I pulled it out and wouldn't you know, it fits perfectly. It was meant to be! I couldn't get over how cute he looked in it and Gary was pleased because his favorite Disney character is Donald.

After Mister Duck went to bed last night, Gary and I sat down and finally carved our pumpkins from the visit to the pumpkin patch. He drew the lines on the pumpkins and while I was putting Daniel down for the night, he was busy sawing away at his (on the left). When I came out of the room, I was surprised to see Totoro's face screaming at me in the dark! I then carved mine (on the right, obviously), best pumpkin I've ever carved in my life!

Have a happy Halloween all and to all my friends who will be in the thick of Hurricane Sandy over the next few days, stay safe and dry!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Weekly Wrap-up

Little Man has been talking about a storm lately, using his voice with inflection when he's discovering something (like when he sees the cats at my parents house) and lots of syllables strung together. He's super stuck on b-sounds and has been saying something that sounds like "bi-ha-bi-ha-bi" a lot. It almost sounds like he's telling us to "be happy", which is something Big Man and I need to hear right now.

Other great things about this week:

  • First real minus-baby outing for me in a LONG time happened this past Sunday evening: coffee chit chat w/ a new friend. I can't stand small talk and I have a hard time meeting people because of that, however, when you meet someone through your kids it tends to be a totally different story: immediate connection! Another thing we have in common is that we all just moved here recently. Add coffee and it's just meant to be.
  • Being a bit more thrifty doesn't have to mean "a Top Ramen every night budget" (thanks anyway, AllState). We use WIC, a great social service that really helped me stay nutritious in the early days of life with Little Man and now helps us keep him fed too. They allow me to buy tofu (score!) and things like dried beans (never used them) and quick oats (which I've learned that I suck at preparing...). I'm going out on a limb tonight and trying my hand at making Black Bean Burgers. Sidenote: if you know of any new mom who's brood (or singlehood) is being hit hard at the wallet, tell her to give WIC a try. They support new moms up to their baby's first birthday but will continue to support infants and children! I was apprehensive at first, thinking it was something like food stamps but after giving it a try (after my mom said "you pay taxes, which pays for it, so take advantage of everything!"), I'm so glad I did. I also believe they will give supplemental food/coupons to primary care givers of infants and children as well, i.e. single dads or grandparents with custody.
  • Kendra over at The Darling Blog has these great social media icons available on her blog for free, so I'll be getting those plugged into my blog ASAP! Check them out! They come in a variety of colors and have just the right amount of flair without taking away from the blog itself.
  • Fall weather! It's finally upon us, even us less autumn-weathered folk in the Southern California coastal regions! I've been using this homemade pumpkin spice syrup in my coffee every. single. morning.
  • I don't like to talk too much about finances on the internetz but in this case, it's simply a caveat to what I really want to say. We are penny-pinching HARDCORE; I'm looking for part-time work too, mostly in the off-hours when Big Man is home from work or on weekends. With that said, as I was throwing the cloth diapers into the dryer I thought to myself "Thank goodness for these, I can't imagine how much money we'd be throwing away (literally!) if we used disposable diapers!". Some of the snaps on the diapers have been on the fritz lately, though. Time to fix them!
  • I had the wonders of Greek yogurt masks shared with me recently, so I bought a small container of plain Chobani yogurt just to give it a try; what did I have to lose, if it didn't work I could just eat it! I've been using it daily since and I have to say, I love it! So far, no adverse effects!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

On Where I've Been

This past month has been a huge blur of events for our little family. I swear we've been to San Diego almost every weekend for one reason or another: birthday parties, actual births, fun events and just general hanging out with my family. Then during the week, chasing after a very active early toddler who turned 11 months yesterday (at 2:45 in the afternoon to be exact), discovering that our son is very stubborn (weaning off nursing slowly, cutting out midnight nursing completely), nap training during the day, and making new friends too.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A (very, very hot) Day at the Park

Lately, I've been feeling really stuck at home and I suspect it's because it's been in the 90s to 100s degree temps all over Southern California and we've been staying home. I mean, I guess it's better this summer than LAST summer, since I was very much pregnant last summer and would have been homicidal if I had to deal with this summer's heat in that state. Anyway. The boys and I went down to San Diego yesterday for a birthday party for a good friend of mine, a sweet friend I met through another. Since Daniel was born, she would visit us occasionally to give us company and bond with the Little Monster. I'm so glad we were able to make it to her celebration, an intimate occasion at a park near her home.

On our drive down, there were tell-tale signs of fires that ended up being in San Diego (just to give you an idea of how big these fires were, I saw them from about 50 miles away). There is a nuclear power plant on the San Diego side of the county line, a couple of miles east of the freeway dividing the plant from the hills was where the fires were. One, all I could see was smoke in the distance while the other was fairly close to the freeway - maybe half a mile. As we drove by, I realized they weren't very big fires but were in isolated areas so perhaps had been burning for quite a while. Still, it was very reminiscent of the wild fires in San Diego from the previous decade, both of which I dealt with.

I really had no idea just how hot it was outside yesterday until we got out of the car in San Diego. Wow. Easily 100+ degrees and it was just past 2 pm. Friends from east county (where it gets significantly hotter than near the coast, which is where we were) said it was 90 degrees by 9 am. With a hot breeze and the bright, cloudless sky, the sun felt like it was burning us through our clothes. Friends set up the party under a huge shady tree which made things much, much more bearable. Nothing a little sitting under the shade with cool drinks couldn't remedy.

Right away, Daniel was a hit with my friend and all of her guests. He did fantastic on the drive, hardly making a peep until right before we got there (which was quieted by his dad paying attention to him, haha) so when we finally got to the picnic spot and set him down, he was very happy. He walked, talked, and made his rounds to everyone there. Such a socialite.

His first real interaction with 'doggie'! What a lover.

With the birthday girl. Don't forget the birthday open mouth/kiss to the chin!

We ended up taking his tank top off because it was so warm, we loaded him up with water and kept him in the shade. His little cheeks still got apple red though, from the heat. 
Via my instagram
Great photos I got from another friend's boyfriend. About the middle shot, please rest assured that Daniel was in fact laughing his little upside-down tail off. That's just the kind of kid he is. He also likes being flung in the air by his very tall father. A dare-devil, this boy. AWe were in San Diego for about 5 hours, made a pit-stop at my parents house and drove home. Daniel, after all the intense activity and heat, fell asleep within minutes of us driving away from the park and snoozed all the way home.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

DIY Fun: Homemade Diaper Wipes & Solution

Over the weekend, I decided that we would be making the switch to homemade baby wipes. We visited my grandmother on Sunday and while there, we ran out of wipes. We would have had to go all the way to Target while we were there, buy wipes, and then go home in order to clean our son's behind - after months of using throw-away wipes, the process of cleaning our son suddenly seemed long and drawn out. So I insisted that he be cleaned with some water and paper towels (luckily my grandmother buys Viva paper towels, which the diaper wipe-making circles rave over). Of course on that day, my usually one-every-other-day pooper decided he wanted to poop not once, but almost 3 times while we were out (the second change was really more like a smear). Hmph...

We were down to our final package of wipes here at home as well (we bought an economy-sized box of about 10 regular sized packages back in June) and with our final wipe used today, I was bound and determined to make my own solution and wipes. After looking through several websites on how-to, I realized that I had everything to make the wipes here at home. See, already saving money! I bought a jar of coconut oil some months back as a skin protectant for D if he ever broke out in redness (it's safe to use with cloth diapers), so I looked for a recipe to use coconut oil with. The recipe called for:
  • 8 oz water 
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon baby wash

I heated the water in the microwave to a boil (about 3.5 minutes in my unit) to make dissolving the oil easier; I mixed the water and oil in a mason jar I had set aside. Once the oil and water were incorporated, I added the wash. The solution was a bit too sudsy and oily for my liking so I added additional water until it was about 12 ounces total. 

I then got the idea to reuse the wipes tub we have by cutting a paper towel roll in half and soaking it in the solution I just made. My grandmother gave us several rolls of Viva to take home (she shops at Costco, so... towels a plenty), so I used one of those. My ceramic knife cut it in half very easily; I maneuvered the cardboard from the middle without really ruining the towel around it. When I added the solution, I noticed it wasn't quite enough; I quickly made another 12 ounces.

After the 24 ounces of fluid soaked into the paper towel roll, I decided that it was too much (lol) and was also too soapy. I added plain water, squeezed out as much excess solution as I could, and closed the lid. I tried the wipes with a diaper change after his afternoon nap and I have to say, I'm pretty happy with the result. I don't think there's too much soap on the wipes and I love the coconut oil softening and protecting his sensitive bottom! 

I also made a jar of 12 ounces water/half a table spoon of each baby oil and baby wash to use with the FuzziBunz brand diaper wipes I received as a gift along with my cloth diapers. We only have 10 of those to use, so I prepped 3 of his old flannel receiving blankets so upcycle into some DIY wipes. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to back them with yet, or how I'm even going to do it (I don't have a sewing machine yet). That will have to be a project for another day!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Why I'd rather poke my eyes out than apply for a job.

Update 09/16/2012: I got the job!!!

Let me start this off by saying that I had the greatest pleasure of having a wonderful interview today. It was comfortable, I felt right at home, and all I can say is I sincerely hope I am given the opportunity to be employed by them!

Being a mom has its ups and downs and sometimes, after a long day of wiping tears, chasing crawling WALKING behinds, and cleaning (oh, the cleaning), something tells me that I would enjoy - or at least cherish - motherhood much, much more if I was able to return to work at least once or twice a week. As a former student/full-time employee who had so much to do every single day, suddenly being home all the time (but not really) has me ready to return to a workforce.

I am a healthcare provider by trade, working as a Certified Nursing Assistant for a hospice inpatient center during the last 7 years; during my time as a CNA, I received my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Finding a job as a registered nurse here in California has been, for lack of a better word, awful. Even with tons of experience, a fairly decent GPA and a degree in a field that is supposed to be in high demand, I can't even land an interview with a small community hospital.

7 months after I graduated, we found out Daniel was upon us. I slowed down my job search then, since I wasn't have any luck anyway. I didn't want to stress out about anything while pregnant and the benefits my current position gave me were enough to make me want to stay. Over the years, my coworkers became my family and I enjoyed being there to let them to watch my pregnancy progress. When Daniel was born, I spent just one month back at work before Gary found a job in a different city and we had to move. And now, we're here.

And I'm right back to square one.

I've been applying everywhere, for everything: registered nurse, nursing assistant, retail, barista, various writing positions... I've even signed up for online opinion survey websites. I heard once that finding a job you want is a lot easier when you have a job; well, how nice for those already working! Where does that leave those folks without jobs. You know, folks like me? Sigh. And then, once you've interviewed (which for me, has been a grand total of 2 times in the last 9.5 months), there's the whole "we'll call you by such and such time"...

At least the volunteer position I applied for with a local children's hospital emailed me like, that DAY to tell me my application had been declined... which is a whole other can of worms I may open up here on day. Really? Denied to VOLUNTEER? WTF. I'd be lying if I said "I didn't want to volunteer for you anyway!" but really, come one!

I keep reassuring myself that I have a bigger, better, sweeter, more beautiful reason to stay home right now than be at work: my little boy. So remembering that I'm giving him the best give ever by being home with him everyday, I feel a lot better. Something will happen for me, I know it will. It will happen when it's supposed to happen. I'm just getting a tad bit sick and tired of telling myself that...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

What I Loved This Week

This and this. Different perspectives are always good, especially when it changes yours.

Speaking of perspective, mine was DEFINITELY brought front and center by this engaging article about toddler discipline.

Buffalo Wild Wings, I won't be shamed by this. We ate there twice this week.

Slowing down and enjoying my son's leaps and bounds in mobility - his walking has improved dramatically in just one week!

A few of my Facebook blog-related groups. Without these groups, I'm not sure I would have the accountability or motivation to update this place!

Nothing says fall quite like crocheted cozies, even in (sunny, hot, and anti-fall weather) Southern California.

BRAIDS! (and other hair styles that require long hair... I wish my hair would grow faster...)

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Friday Fuzz: The Best Cloth Diaper for Night Time

Night time diapering can be a bit of a challenge compared to daytime diapering, especially when you get to the point in your child's life where midnight diaper changes are no longer necessary (but sometimes it's the only thing that will get your little one to go back to sleep; entirely different subject all together). How does one find the best cloth diapers for night time when there are so many different styles and options out there?

We started cloth diapering D when he was 3 months old and at that time, I found it necessary to double up at night or else he'd have a leak (which usually happened on the big bed, since we were doing mostly co-sleeping during much of his first year). Since incorporating fluids and fluid-rich fruits and veggies into my sons diet on top of the 'round the clock nursing he still prefers, D takes in a lot of H2O - and it's going to go somewhere. During the day, we have his diaper routine down pretty much to a science: a FuzziBunz one-size pocket diaper with two inserts (a regular and large size) does the trick without the bulk. At night though, we would put three inserts into the FB pocket - one regular and two large, usually. If anyone has actually looked and handled a FuzziBunz diaper, you will know that they are known for their trim, "just enough" design that handles the business without the bulk of a conventional cloth diaper. So you might also know how incredibly difficult it is to stuff even two inserts into the pocket, let alone a third. We persevered, though, and made the super-stuffed FB diapers work for both day and night.

One morning when he was 8 months old, he woke up with a leak. The same thing happened almost every day that week. At that point I thought it might be build-up in the inserts (which it was and has since been resolved thanks to changing our diaper detergent) but I was ready to try something new. This was the turning point that led me to a different type of cloth diaper - a fitted diaper. I went with a Bamboozle diaper by TotsBots, a non-toxic, eco-friendly diaper made of bamboo rayon and hidden microfiber core. It also comes with a bamboo doubler that snaps into the diaper; both dry very quickly, much quicker line-dried than in the dryer too.

Bamboozle fitted diaper by TotsBots

I purchased two with a Thirsties Duo cover and can I just say how much of a difference this night time system has made on our night time diaper regime? It is SO much easier to put these on him than trying to stuff a pocket diaper with extra inserts, making sure to smooth everything out so that it leaves no creases or a way for pee to escape, and then making the elastics adjusted for daytime use work for three inserts. And the double makes a HUGE difference in how much fluid these fitted diapers can hold. Throwing him in one is super easy with the aplix closures that ensure a snug fit underneath the diaper cover.

While I think any diaper is worth a try, I personally think the Bamboozle fitted diaper by TotsBots is the best cloth diaper for night time. There is a whole movement of natural fiber being used in cloth diapers. Little For Now has a great article about the vast benefits of bamboo fiber as diapers - did you know that bamboo can absorb up to 3 times its weight in water? Not to mention the other benefits, such as its natural antibacterial properties and great sustainability due to its fast growth. The process of creating bamboo textiles is also very eco-friendly, something I feel very good about when I put these on my baby boy's booty. I look forward to putting this diaper to the test for travel when we go on a mini-trip to Las Vegas next month!

This is a sponsored post for The Diaper Junction. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Adventures in Shopping Land

Image courtesy Crappy Pictures
Yesterday was errand day for Daniel and I; we had to go deposit some checks at the bank then afterward, went to everyone's favorite trashclass all-in-one store Target and even ventured into Babies R Us.

Fortunately, the photo on the left was NOT us yesterday. I got in and out of there with a quickness, making it through the booby trap of life that is Target with just 3 things: Daniel's topical antibiotic prescription for his fingers, a pretty new nursing bra for me, and hand soap refill. That's it. It was a miracle. It would have been more though, significantly more. While I was waiting for D's prescription to be filled, we wandered around innocently and headed to the baby stuff (insert ominous "dun dun duuuuun" here). We want some cute little magnetized toys for him to play with on the fridge while I'm in the kitchen and he's in there with me. Can you believe there aren't any at TARGET?! I was shocked. So really, the photo to the left actually did happen: what just happened, I thought Target has everything!

We had some time to kill before we had to pick up Gary from work so I drove us to Babies R Us, which was quite an adventure in and of itself on this day. Upon entering the second double door after the first entrance (in the area with all the shopping carts), a toddler was standing in front of the automated door crying his little behind off. I'm not quite sure how but little guy got trapped between the two doors (he was too small to trigger the motion sensor to open the door). His dad came out the exit and around the front to rescue him but not before sweetie probably thought he was stuck in shopping cart limbo forever.

This should have been my first cue to leave.

So Daniel and I continue through, finding some alphabet magnets in the cheapo bins up front ($3, so I bought them for later down the line since I think he's still too young for them) and migrating to the toy section. Of course I stopped in shoes and clothes, wanting everything in sight but unable to bring myself to buy anything (husband, you are LUCKY!) and when we finally made it to the toys, I came by another shock. They don't have magnetized baby toys either! WHY?! We did make it out with one of these bad boys though, it's been a long time coming and I wish I had known about it sooner...

So we check out with our two things when I realize, I haven't peed the pee I've had to pee since we left the house to go to the bank 2 hours earlier. I take my baby-wearing, diaper bag holding, shopping bag carrying self to the bathroom. In the back of the store. With a 22 pound, 30 inch tall child strapped to my front and me being at least 6 inches wider on the side thanks to my diaper bag, I thought the smart thing to do would be to use the handicap stall. Oh no, said the cockroach in the bathroom. Avoid avoid. In fact, had I not had to pee my entire life away into the toilet, I would have waited until we got home. But I had to pee, and I was feeling brave, so I willed the cockroach to stay away from my feet while I occupied the next stall. I did my business in record time, gathered our stuff and made my way to the sink when the unthinkable happened next:

I felt the little bugger get between my flip flop and my toes and squish wetly against me.

I die inside every single time I think about it. I kicked my foot wildly, fighting the intense urge to scream bloody murder because of the person in the stall next to where I was standing, and send the nasty thing flying towards the door. Still dieing over here... I felt an all-over shudder and I even got sick to my stomach when I heard the funniest sound that ever did come out of such a disgusting situation: my son, laughing. HE LAUGHED AT ME. And at that point, I laughed back as I retorted "Don't laugh at me, you little butthole. That was gross!". At least he was able to get me out of that funk. Hands washed, bathroom exited, cockroach spotted suffering from injuries sustained when IT ran into ME, when Gary calls to be picked up.

Nice timing.

My little monkey trying on his dad's t-shirt last night.

Target photo courtesy crappypictures.com. Fisher-Price Apptivity Case photo courtesy toysrus.com

Blog Building Hiccups

I have been meaning to get on here for days to finalize my blog theme and finally open this place up for business... but alas, "meaning to" does not equal "done did" by any stretch of the imagination. There is only one explanation for my inactivity: sheer laziness. Last week, I was on the edge of a breakdown with how tired I was and how much sleeping I did (but still felt exhausted). I let things slide because of it: laundry piled up in the hampers (now I have mountains of clean clothes in my living room, which isn't much better), D lived in paper diapers for a few days (yes, it got that bad), and my small home is in utter disarray. D has been teething something fierce for a few weeks now. He had one tooth on the bottom pop up quite unexpectedly (the third tooth; second to right) and then early last week, G noticed that FOUR of his top teeth were coming in, at the same time! The front tooth and second top tooth on the right are coming in a bit quicker but the other top two teeth have broken gum and are coming in. Yup, so as you can imagine, sleep has been a distant memory these past few weeks while the Tylenol and teething tabs have made an appearance. My sweet boy will have at least 7 teeth by the time 10 months rolls around; I'm hoping the 4th tooth on the bottom, second to the left, will start coming in soon to even things out but so far, there isn't even a white area at the gum line.

And the other night, G said "I'm going to miss seeing his toothless smiles." I know. Our boy is growing too fast. Too fast for me to even enjoy some of the other things in life out of fear that I'll miss something in his.

So along with getting my blog set up, I've been grappling with the idea of opening my own Etsy store and selling some hand-made crochet items for extra money. I've come up with a pretty good, cute idea that I've been scouring the internet for to see if I'd be infringing on anyone else's wonderful idea - nothing. It's honestly the most simple pattern ever, anyone who can do a single crochet and sew can achieve it. There are those people out there who either can't crochet or don't want to, so my shop is mainly for them. There are a couple other things I would like to sell through my Etsy store, including baby blankets. It is my sincere belief that any new mother should have at least ONE handmade blanket for their new child; I made one for myself (which I plan on selling because we never used it) and received 2. Not everyone has the patience or the skill to make a blanket, so I would like to offer an option for those who would rather purchase one. Granted, unlike my first idea (that I don't want to let go of into the public yet), Etsy is SATURATED with baby blankets. I think mine will stand out, though. My style and color choices aren't usually run of the mill. Small and soft they may be, baby blankets can still be beautifully crafted and rich in color.

Lovely bamboo yarn with variegated color scheme in pink, peach, green, and brown with scalloped cream border in yarn by same maker.
I love making baby blankets because the yarn is soft to the touch, not so big so they work up quickly, and can be made in a variety of different ways - simple or elaborate - but still look so wonderfully beautiful in their own way.

Anyway, so that's where I'm at. Expect to see a lot more changes here! I plan on big things for this space!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Our little fish! Adventures in San Diego

We had a fun-filled weekend in San Diego seeing family and friends! Our trip started early Saturday morning, where after 4 short hours of sleep I rushed around the house getting myself, our overnight bag, the diaper bag, toy bag, and Daniel ready to go. Woo! We were on the road by 8:30 am, which is no small feat for us. Our first stop of the day was a yummy breakfast at the Park House Eatery with my good friend from nursing school and her boyfriend. We caught up over delicious food and said our see-ya's when it was time to head down further south for a baby shower! My lovely friend Stacy had a gender reveal/baby shower and we had such a lovely time; they had it at their community pool, and we know how much munchkin loves the water! The weather had been less than stellar the few days before and our drive down was a little crummy too, so I didn't bring his swim shorts or a cloth diaper for the pool. I brought plenty of extra outfits for him though, so Gary took him in the pool in his shorts he was wearing while Gary wore some soccer shorts. 
They had an awesome spread at the baby shower but I was still so stuffed from breakfast that I could only enjoy a little bit. They had Filipino roast pig (the whole shebang!) and all the yummy sides to go with it. When it was time to reveal the gender, Stacy took a big wrapped and decorated box off the table (ah ha! That's what it's for!) and counted to three, openend the box and 3 pink balloons floated out from within - it's a GIRL!!! Stacy's future step-son, who's almost 5, didn't even know what the gender was so this was a big surprise for him as well (and apparently, a good one as he was hoping for a little sister!). It was lovely to see her in all her glowing pregnancy, baby bump glory - I haven't seen her since he told me she was pregnant almost 7 months ago! When we we got out of the car, Gary and Daniel were the first to see her as I collected our things from the trunk of the car; Gary saw her and said "Wow, you're pregnant!" and with that, I ran around the cars to see her. She looked absolutely lovely!
After the shower, we headed to my parents home. My mom and brother were home waiting for us to get there so we could join my dad at his church for a community function - a fair with lots of different ethnic foods, bake sale, carnival games, "garage" sale, beer garden and live music where all the benefits go to the church. Gary and I chose the same thing like we usually do; a combo plate of Filipino food (I love it!). I wish I took a picture because it was just as beautiful as it was yummy. My parents got the same while my brother got a huge Italian sausage in a roll covered in peppers, onions, and marinara sauce (like I said, LOTS of different ethnic foods!). All the while, Daniel was fast asleep against my back in the ERGObaby carrier, allowing me both my hands and none of us had to wait to eat while we shuffled him around. Good stuff!

I swear, that night was the first night in a while where I felt rested, even with waking up at 5:30 when my parents emerged from their room (why do parents always wake up so early?!?!). The only time I really remember waking up was when I heard Daniel crying; I woke up and found him sitting up on the side of the air mattress. Gary was sleeping on the couch above us, so I guess Daniel rolled off and woke up. I gathered him up into my arms, where he was soothed instantly and fell back asleep. We slept for another couple of hours before my parents were awake. Unfortunately, my mom and brother had to work and my dad went back to the church to volunteer for the final day of the fair; Gary and I did a lot of lying around, catching up on TV, and shortly after lunch I gave my best friend a call to see what she was up to. I am hardly ever in San Diego on a weekend and wanted to see her so badly; fortunately, she was free so we hung out with her and her husband for a few hours while we waited for my dad to get back from church. Daniel did a lot, and I mean A LOT, of crying this weekend because of his teething, so after a while I just couldn't handle it anymore. He needed distraction. My mom, Gary, and I took him to the park a short walk away and let him explore the playground there. Gary swung him in the swing, I went down the slide with him a few times, and he sat on the grass with my mom and I, practicing standing up on his own and walking while Gary recorded it. We got some great video and photos of him from this weekend, it'll be fun to watch in a few years when this weekend is a distant memory.

Oh, the drive home was pretty painful. Daniel would not stop crying until Gary took him out of the carseat. Ugh. I really hate when it comes down to doing that while we're driving, especially on the freeway in the dark. But probably 15 minutes later, Gary was able to put him back in the carseat and he slept the rest of the way home. We hit traffic, so it took a little bit longer to get home than usual. Usually not too bad, but last night I was having a hell of a time keeping my eyes open; I swear every single light from the cars on the other side was blinding, making me blink and increasing my sleepiness. The traffic actually helped keep me awake though, so for that I am thankful.We made it home, with Daniel waking up and crying just as we got off the freeway. Since we bathed him and put him in his pajamas at my parents house, all we had to do when we got home was go lay down on the bed and go back to sleep. Which I did, too. It was such a long weekend that once I lied down on the bed with him, every ounce of motivation to unpack and wind down disappeared.

Thank you, Stacy, for the adorable photos!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mama Moments #2

Recently, Daniel learned how to blow bubbles in the tub. He's been blowing raspberries for months but just realized that if he tips his chin down eversoslightly, his lips will touch the water while he blows and creates the most exciting discovery!

A few nights ago, he started sticking his tongue out at me... :P

Daniel had been using his toy walker to cruise around on his feet recently, which is SO cool to watch him learn to coordinate himself and all. He is such a quick learner though, that child of mine, which leads me to my final moment of the evening...

Last night, on his 9 month and 1 day of life, he took his very. First. Steps. On his own!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Inside My (diaper)Bag

Ladies (and perhaps even some gents out there in BlogLand) love to blog about what's inside their bag; I've stopped carrying a purse since my son was born. For simplicity's sake, I stuff a few items for myself into our trusty Uhaul diaper bag when we leave the house. Everyone has their own preference for diaper bags - what style they like, is it actually a "diaper bag" or a bag big enough to be one, every little aspect about it is different for everyone. What works fabulously for me will fail miserably for the next parent.
I took a chance with this diaper bag. My maternal grandmother wasn't going to make it to my baby shower, as she had planned for months to travel to our country for her nephew's wedding. She goes back every couple of years and my shower just happened to fall on the tail-end of her travels. No big deal! So she made sure to order my gift before she left, and she even let me choose it. She looked at my gift registry at Babies R Us and noticed that we had two diaper bags on our list; she wanted to buy me the one I really wanted so she waited until we were all at my parent's house (she doesn't have internet at home).
I went with a deceptively spacious (unknown at the time of purchase) J.J. Cole bag with matching accessories - pacifier pod, bottle holder, diaper/wipes pod with changing pad. I was drawn to it because it's fairly unisex pattern and I love the green accents. I went crazy with green things while I was pregnant to stay as gender neutral as possible until Gary said "our kid is going to be sick of green." So I decided to go with a less green alternative.
Just the various odds and ends I manage to stuff into the bag, including cloth diapers. I keep a small stack of paper diapers in it, just in case. Tissues, plastic bags, sippy cup leash, snacks, even a few extra pens and his immunization record stay in my bag at all times. I've recently started keeping my cosmetics case and small cross-body purse in the diaper bag, too. And that little gem of a scarf in the last photo is actually my nursing cover! It's a beautiful, BREATHABLE scarf with a hole at the neck that comes to about my belly button. It's so much cooler than the regular covers out today (Uddercovers, Bebe Au Lait, etc.) for both my little miniature heater and I.
Everything in with lots of room to spare! This doesn't count the extra bag I take along with at least one carrier (wrap or Ergo) and some toys. Kids are so needy!
Is there something you keep in your diaper bag you must absolutely have, not found here?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A day in life without photos

Most days, I am without a doubt glued to some kind of image-capturing device. Whether it's my smart phone, digital camera, or anything else we have in the house, I usually snap at least one photo of any of my favorite subjects (which my friends on twitter or instagram will attest that it's either food or my son, usually the latter). Today was not one of those day. Today, my camera was on my desk at home and my iPhone was tucked away in my purse while Daniel and I enjoyed the company of my mom's visit.

We enjoyed a much-welcome break in the heat wave we've been experiencing throughout Southern California and visited a local mall for lunch and some light shopping. She bought Daniel two adorable new outfits for when he fits 12 months and wanted to buy me an outfit too... I just couldn't bring myself to let her. Not that I didn't want the new clothes, because God KNOWS I do. I've just been feeling so blah about myself lately and I want to change that. Physically, I'm not where I want to be post-baby and I'm not ready to buy any new clothes for this body I'm not happy with. I did let her buy me a few things from a couple local Asian markets (food and such) and we ran into our old manager and assistant manager from the San Diego store she works for and I used to work for. Our old manager is now the DM for Los Angeles while the assistant manager is now the head honcho at the store we went to today. Manager met the baby a couple times since we've seen him around, but DM met him for the first time (and truthfully, I haven't seen him since I quit 7 years ago). As strange as it is knowing my mom is a grandmother, he said it's even weirder to know that I'm a mother now. Ha! He then proceeded to fill my son's precious ears with such blasphemous ideas, such as giving me attitude like I had when I was a 20 year old. Psh.

Hahaha. What an interesting day it turned out to be with that reunion.

When we got back to the humble abode, we just enjoyed watching Daniel have a happy day, smile and laugh and basically be the most adorable human being on the planet. I was supposed to go to San Diego with her tonight to spend some time with my family while Gary is away... until she found mold growing on the wall in the back of the cabinet next to the dishwasher this morning. Half of the kitchen is on the living room floor, where my brother would have slept while Daniel and I snoozed in the guest room he's currently occupying. Plus, a construction zone with potentially harmful mold spores floating around is no place for a 9 month old.

Photo courtesy of my brother's Facebook
I'm hoping that is fixed by next weekend, so we can visit them like I wanted to. I'm looking forward to my good friend Stacy's gender reveal baby shower, I'm rooting Team Blue hardcore but would welcome another future girlfriend for Daniel if that's the case! Haha! (just kidding, Stacy!!!) I have several things to share with her, including a modest stash of prefolds I'll be lending her until my next baby go-round, as well as a test drive of our small collection of baby carriers. It's always nice to be able to touch and feel and see a product before you actually purchase something. I think this is especially true for quality baby carriers, as they're usually an investment.

And with that, I turn off my music-fueled me time to join my sweet prince in our family bed.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Adventures in the Kitchen: Nutella Mug Cake

Gary is away on business and baby is down for the night, so I decided to experiment a little bit in the kitchen to kill some time and satisfy my craving need for something sweet. I googled a recipe for Nutella mug cake, as I have Nutella on hand and know that you can use apple sauce instead of egg or oil in sweet baked treats. I typically have tons of unsweetened apple sauce on hand, as I make it home made for Daniel.

One mug (one of my favorites, a gift from a friend when I was going through a rough spot a few years back), less than 10 ingredients, 5 minutes or so to single-serving bliss. I omitted the cocoa but added peanut butter, should have thought about tweaking the dry ingredients and amount of olive oil I used but hey, we're experimenting remember?

So I mixed the wet and dry ingredients separately, popped it in the microwave for a few minutes, wished it luck and despite the intense heat the little cup of cake "batter" endured, so hot it did not do:


Oh yeah. Still raw, a term I use loosely since there aren't any raw ingredients in this besides the milk. I proceeded to eat it as-is, mixing it into this delightfully messy, gooey mass of sweet goodness, but I got to thinking, maybe I can rectify this none-cake? So I cut the batch into two 8 ounce tea cups, added a tablespoon and a half of flour to each cup, one ice-cube size amount of apple sauce to each and zapped it.

Eureka! Cake!...? I took one tiny nibble and it's grainy, duh, I already partially cooked it once. My name may be Julia, but my last name is not Childs.

Verdict: INCREDIBLE taste, potential for greatness and I am definitely trying this again. But after working on it for an hour for naught, I have come to one single conclusion...

This was way easier.