September 27, 2012

300

Today marks my 300th blog post! At milestones like these, I like to think about my blogging journey and reevaluate my priorities in writing here. I started this blog as a personal journal back in 2007. It wasn't anywhere close to organized, just random thoughts and details of my life. It wasn't until Miles was a few months old that I really became more of an organized blogger. I'm consistently surprised at how many people actually read (I mean, there are thousands and thousands of blogs out there on the Internet) and comment on the things I write about.

I would say that the friendships I've made are one of my favorite aspects of blogging. You don't have to have identical lifestyles or backgrounds to build a great connection with new friends, wherever they may be in the world. I'm so happy to have met you girls (you know who you are)!




As I look toward the future of my little corner of the blogosphere, I hope to get to know you all better and to share with you bits and pieces of my life and inspirations. Thank you so much for following along with me!

Here's to another 300 posts!

September 26, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

This week should actually be called What I Wore at Disneyland Last Weekend. But, it's better than doing nothing! Also, I want to show off the cute Hanna Andersson romper Miles wore today. It's such a keeper.

The outfit:

Sunnies: Chanel
Hoodie: Roxy
Jeans: Gap
Shoes (not seen): Simple

Miles looked so cozy and ready for fall in his new hooded outfit this morning. He was crawling around in our front yard, picking up leaves and trying to eat grass (such a boy). I can't wait for the weather to really cool down so we can add hats and boots to an outfit like this!

If you haven't already, take a look at all of our Disneyland photos on my most recent post here!




September 25, 2012

A Whole Lotta Disney

This last weekend we took Miles to Disneyland again. Yes, this makes the second trip in two weeks. This is officially "Disney season"- from September to around May, when (1) the weather is tolerable (although this weekend was ridiculously hot), and (2) there aren't so many people. This time Parker's parents went as well and it was two days of ninety-degree weather but a whole lot of fun. It's so fun to see Miles happy and I really enjoyed this family trip.


We started off at California Adventure,


(with a stop to the new Starbucks inside the park),


We went to Disneyland next, where Miles fell asleep during the Pirates of the Caribbean ride,



and Parker was so excited to show Miles the fireworks (even though he was extremely sleepy). 


As soon as the fireworks ended, Miles fell right to sleep in Parker's arms.


After breakfast the next morning, we headed back to Disneyland for a while and finished the trip by riding It's a Small World.



I love you, Miles! It seemed like you had a great time and we'll go back again soon.

September 21, 2012

Perspective

I read a lot of blogs, as I'm sure a lot of you do too. Some of my favorite topics to discuss- or, let's be truthful, debate- are pregnancy and birth. There is a lot of joy in these topics, a lot of laughter and a lot of "Are you serious?!", the-human-body-is-insane moments (like a few weeks ago, when my friend Morgan told me she had read that you can get varicose veins in your Queen Victoria! I mean, really?!). A lot of the time, though, there are disagreements and generalizations and a lot of putting-down about the many ways a woman can choose to birth. It's kind of a pet peeve of mine, as you might remember from this post.
{Photo credit}
Right now, I'm in the process of getting my DONA certification to be a birth doula. This involves a lot of reading and preparation, and I am soaking it up like a sponge. Part of the reason I decided to become a doula is because I love being present at a birth and supporting the mother as she's going through her labor journey. I've been to two (not including my son's) births so far and they were awe-inspiring experiences. Another big reason is because I've been in search of that "Eureka!" moment, where I come to the realization of where I'm meant to be, career-wise. I've tossed the idea of being a midwife back and forth in my mind quite a bit (I don't think it could ever get old), but I'm learning that who you work with (or the community of people you work with) is a very important consideration. The truth is, I don't believe that natural, unmedicated birth is the only "right" way to birth. I don't believe that if you had an epidural or a C-section that you've somehow failed. I do believe that a woman should not be rushed or bullied into or away from the birth she feels is right for her, and I do believe a woman should feel safe and as prepared as she can going into her labor- whether this is at home, at a birth center, or in a hospital. Does that first "I don't" mean I'm not meant to be a midwife? I don't know. All I know is I'm taking this one step at a time and doing a lot of self-evaluation along the way.
{Photo credit}
Here's a quote I've been loving this week, from The Littlest:
"more and more i feel like where and how we birth is just another way to divide mothers against mothers. i have many friends who have had c-sections and feel guilty that they never labored, many friends who had their babies in in their living rooms. is one superior to the other? not a chance. both stay up nights on end comforting a sick child, wipe away tears, give every bit of their resources and energy to make their little ones feel like the most important thing in the world."
Have a great weekend!

September 20, 2012

One and Done?

Since Miles was born, I've spent a lot of time musing over whether or not having more kids is right for us. As I was sitting here thinking about only children, a lot of funny images came to mind, like:






All stereotypes aside, I think there's a tendency to put a negative spin on only children- a friend of mine even said, "How sad!" when I told her I wouldn't mind if Miles was our only baby. I do know families with only children who are perfectly happy that way (and they're not just on TV, as a couple people have suggested to me). 

My own history may have a lot to do with it. I have three siblings, and a lot of times growing up I felt crowded or like I was fighting for attention from my parents (I'm not saying I wish I didn't have siblings because I love them all to death, but as a child it was a source of angst). Once Parker and I decided we would start trying to have a baby, it wasn't all easy breezy. There were many months when I longed with my whole being to see two lines on the pregnancy test but was disappointed. I finally got to the point where I realized that month wasn't my time (I had a few of these realizations after some good long cries). We dealt with losses, too. So, when Miles was born, I felt like my prayers had been answered. I still feel that way.

Part of me is also scared. I've seen friends go from one kid to two kids (and some even to three!) and it seems like the level of crazy goes up by...a lot. Miles is a very small amount of crazy. I like that. Some of my other worries come from concerns about finances. If Miles wants to go to an Ivy League school and he has the grades to get him there, I want to be able to help send him- I don't think that's an unreasonable concern (and, again, has a lot to do with my own experiences).

I'd love to hear from the mamas out there. If you're the parent of an only child, how did you come to your decision?



September 19, 2012

Wednesday Pinspiration: Home Decor

Pinterest is like a dream come true (and the enemy of all productive tasks) in my life. When I was younger, I used to hoard magazines in my room and clip my favorite articles and photos- usually of my favorite outfits or Johnny Depp (definitely not my style anymore)- and hide them. As I come across new favorites, I still clip or type them up and save them for inspiration. Pinterest makes this a lot easier as far as pictures are concerned, and my favorite category by far is home decor.

Home decor is always a challenge for me. It's a balancing act between styles I love and styles that fit my reality, like a husband who doesn't necessarily have the same taste, styles that are baby-friendly, and the fact that I'm trying to decorate my small family home on the coast of California, not a French chateau. I tend to like stark colors like black, white, grey, and brown with other colors thrown in for accents. Is it weird that one of my requirements for a style to work is whether or not I can picture my husband walking through in his pajamas holding a box of Mike N' Ikes?

Here are some of my favorites:

Ivanka Trump's bedroom (via Elle Decor)
(via Ryann Ford)
(via TrĂ¡nsito Inicial)
(via Lonny Magazine)
(via Daniella Witte)
What's your home decor style?

September 17, 2012

Foodie Love: Sweet Potato Muffins


As we edge closer and closer to the official first day of fall, I'm already beginning to dust off my favorite autumn and winter recipes and just had to share this one with you. This one is courtesy of my friend Chef Rick Manson, who is the executive chef at the Far Western Tavern (featured by Sunset Magazine as one of the top ten steakhouses in the West) here on the Central Coast. When Chef Rick closed his namesake restaurant early last year, I was heartbroken (his restaurant hosted my yearly birthday dinners, date nights with Parker, and our wedding rehearsal dinner, to name just a few events). These muffins were in his bread baskets at the restaurant (along with the best yeast rolls ever- still trying to get the recipe for those!) and they were always a fantastic start to what would surely be a delicious meal.

As I was baking them this morning, I was loving the smell of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice in the house- it definitely had me feelin' fall! Here's the recipe for these amazing muffins:




Chef Rick's Sweet Potato Muffins

Ingredients
1/2 cup granulated sugar
7 ounces butter, softened
3 eggs
1 pound sweet potato, baked and pulp removed from skin (note: I baked the sweet potato in a foil lined baking dish for an hour at 400° F but I would recommend maybe another fifteen minutes to make sure the potato is nice and mushy)
2 cups all-purpose flour
Can the oven bake any faster?!
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. In a bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar at medium speed for about 3 minutes or until mixture is light and fluffy.
2.  Add the eggs and sweet potatoes and mix for 3-4 minutes or until the mixture is smooth, stopping the mixer to scrape down the bowl once or twice.
3.  Sift the remaining ingredients together in a separate bowl then add them to the sweet potato mixture.  Beat only long enough to blend the ingredients.  Over beating will result in tough muffins!
4. Spoon the mixture into 12 greased muffin cups.  Bake at 350° F until golden brown and tops spring back when gently touched.  Remove from pan.  Muffins are absolutely delicious served warm or at room temperature.

If you try this recipe, I'd love to hear what you think.
Also, what are your favorite fall recipes? 

September 16, 2012

Our Week (In a Nutshell)


This week I've been in full school mode. Between my homework and one active little eight-month old who hasn't wanted to take naps of any sort, I've been one busy mama and I like it that way. 

You might be surprised to know that I'm not the world's best housekeeper. Okay, so it's not exactly a secret. I don't want to blame it on Miles (because he's pretty much the most easygoing baby ever) so let's be real- I'd much rather be watching Real Housewives of {Any City Except New Jersey} or scouting Pinterest for yet another way to buy craft supplies and not use them (you guys, I really tried- I am not a crafter) than do any sort of cleaning. I will tell you the best way to get motivation to clean, though- watch an episode of Hoarders and then you will be extremely surprised to find that you want to throw away everything (but maybe that's just me). This week I've started doing one of my twice-yearly closet sweeps, and I even have Miles's newborn through six month clothes all ready to give to a friend due with her first baby in November (please tell me I'm not the only sap who got emotional while cleaning out their baby's closet for the first time?). As I've been cleaning out my closet, I'm making space for my favorite fall clothes. Sweaters, dark-hued denim, corduroys, and clogs (I do have a soft spot in my heart for Swedish clogs!) as well as my favorite UGG boots are front and center in my closet now!


 This morning, Miles and I went to my sisters' soccer game and cheered them on alongside my mom and brother. I'm discovering that it really startles Miles when people clap and cheer- his bottom lip sticks out and he bursts into tears! It's heartbreaking! Toward the end of the game it didn't bother him as much, and he sat with Ernie on his bike to watch his aunties play. As we walked back to our cars after the game, Miles was nice and cozy in his sling- he really loves it!

You can tell it's not WIWW since I was going "mama casual" this morning!
I'm looking forward to tomorrow- Parker and I are going on a lunch date and then we're going to just head home and relax while Miles enjoys the afternoon at his grandparents' house! It's so nice to be able to have time to ourselves (wink wink).

I hope you're all having a great weekend!

September 13, 2012

Fall Finds for the Little Guys

I love shopping for Miles almost as much as I enjoy shopping for myself. Fall and winter are my favorite seasons, so it's just about too much fun for me to handle! Anyway, I'm excited to show you some of my top finds for Miles to wear in the coming months. I've been happy to find that there are plenty of great outfits for baby boys, even if it takes a little digging.

1. Rocks Bretagne Sweater, BlaBla Kids
2. Erin Boots in Sand, UGG Australia 
4. Cozy Hoodie Sweater Romper, Hanna Andersson
5. Pima V-Neck Onesie in Charcoal, Ever/After Clothing 

September 12, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

I think I've given up on trying to catch a well-timed and effortless-looking photo for WIWW (via The Pleated Poppy)- thus the cropped head in this week's photo. Miles isn't old enough to take my picture (he'd much rather gum my iPhone to baby drool oblivion), and he's the only one around the house with me on most Wednesdays now that my sisters are back in school. So, it's back to the old mirror trick for me because for some reason I love to proudly show you all that I don't go "mama casual" (AKA yoga wear) every day... mostly just from Thursday to Tuesday.

The outfit:

Sweater: Gap
Jeans: Earnest Sewn

September 10, 2012

Our Weekend (In a Nutshell)

Since most of last week was spent sick in bed, I'm going to focus last week's recap mostly on the weekend- when all the fun happened!

On Saturday afternoon, we set off on a trip down the coast for my husband's cousin's wedding and a trip to Disneyland (our first as a family!). I always get a little nervous going on long drives with Miles- what if there's traffic? What if he gets really fussy? What if he cries the whole time in the traffic? Then I start thinking about the hotel and worrying if he'll sleep well. These are the crazy, maternal thoughts going through my mind. All that worrying was for nothing, though, because Miles travels like a champ. He even slept great in his portable crib in our hotel room. Speaking of our hotel room, let's talk about that a minute. Something you should know about me is that I love staying in hotels (I am not a camper). We've stayed in lots of different ones in Anaheim for our trips to Disneyland, and I have to say that the Anaheim Hilton is probably my favorite place to stay in the Disney area. There was a great deal going on- I'm a sucker for a good deal!- and we stayed in a beautiful room on the top floor. It was actually more like a suite than just a room, and it allowed us to set up Miles's portable crib so that he would be able to fall asleep in his own little area while we could talk, watch TV, and enjoy our view of the fireworks (an amazing view, by the way!) without disturbing him. It couldn't have been more perfect for the three of us!

On Sunday, we drove down near San Diego for the wedding of my husband's cousin Chris and the lovely Angel. She was absolutely gorgeous and looking radiantly happy the entire day. We arrived a bit early and I got to see a sweet moment between Angel and Chris- they weren't going to see each other until the ceremony but Chris stood outside the room Angel was in and they held hands through the doorway for a minute as the photographers snapped some photos. I am such a sap- I almost cried right then and there. Parker could sense this and said, "Keep it together...you can do it..." He had to keep saying it throughout the evening but what can I say? I was loving all the love floating around.

On Small World. Isn't his face hilarious?
That brings us to our Disneyland trip! I have to tell you that my husband was so excited to show Miles everything. We stopped by City Hall to get Miles his "first trip" badge and then got on the train and rode to New Orleans Square. As we got in line for Pirates of the Caribbean, we met another young family with a toddler son whose name was also Miles! That was pretty fun and distracted Parker and me momentarily from not being so nervous about taking Miles on his first ride. We had no idea how he would handle it, but again, Miles is a champ! I think he was a little concerned once we were sailing past pirates and ships with cannons in our little boat because as I was holding him he just completely clung to me as he looked around (normally he is very independent and not at all a cuddler). Towards the end of the ride, though, he became more interested in looking around and not staying quite so attached. After Pirates, we went and rode Small World. Miles was so confused and I don't blame him- I'm sure it must be a crazy trip for a baby! We finished our first Disneyland experience as a family with a train ride back to Main Street, where I got a pretzel (obvi) and we did a little shopping before heading to Downtown Disney to eat lunch at the Rainforest Cafe.

We're back home now and, although tired, I'm so happy to have had a great weekend with my husband's family and also our own little family unit. I'm looking forward to more Disney trips in the coming months!

September 7, 2012

I'm Alive!

Not to be dramatic or anything...
You guys have no idea what kind of week I've been having. Well, you might if you follow me on Twitter. Anyway. I have been so sick. The sort of sick that gives me a 102° fever and doesn't let go for five days, with a raging headache and my whole being just feels like one useless blob. The kind that makes my husband say, "You just lie down- I'll take care of the baby." (AKA "Don't touch our child while you have the plague!") And the kind that scares the pants off me when my doctor sends me to the hospital for a lumbar puncture because she thinks I have meningitis. Not cool.

Thankfully, I do not have meningitis. I did have to have a needle poke around in my back and that was no fun but the doctor was great and talked me through the whole thing while Parker stood outside nervously (he knows how much I hate needles). Afterward, he got me Olive Garden to celebrate so that was nice.

Back to my main point: I'm alive! And I'm happy to be back and blogging again. Have a great weekend!

September 3, 2012

Our Week (In a Nutshell)

This week started out wonderfully but ended with our house feeling a little sick and feverish. (Side note: I hate when Miles isn't feeling well! I just want to do whatever it takes to make him feel better.)

I received my order from B.Impressed and I have to say- I am impressed. The cards were beautifully packaged and designed and I'm looking forward to surprising my friends with this gorgeous stationery. If you haven't done so already, please check out her shop on Etsy!

Other highlights: Miles turned eight months old this week, we went to cheer my brother on at his BMX race (he's ranked third in the state now!), and visited with family for Labor Day weekend.

How was your holiday weekend?