Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Parenting Encouragement Book and Blog Reviews

Parenting is hard! I know that’s not a news flash for many, and the wealth of books, blogs and resources out there to try and guide each of us on the journey is a testament to how lost parenting can make us feel. There are hot topics that seem to be found in too many parenting article headlines, and there is judgement, real or perceived. Honestly, sanctimommy is even a term! Enough! We’re all in this together. Let’s instead become a village of moms, dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles together. Let’s support each other. Let’s lift each other up.

Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up.
1 Thessalonians 5:11

In my quest for encouragement and resources, I’ve found some inspirational women on Instagram to brighten my feed and have been wading through a variety of books, articles and blogs. Below are some of my better recent finds. Do you know or have you read any of these? What were your thoughts? Please share here in the comments.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Lil’ Chica’s Nautical First Birthday Party

Lil' Chica greeting her guests.

I’m still adjusting to the idea that my sweet little baby is now a toddler. She’s had no trouble adjusting to the new title and is toddling and climbing all over the place! Lil’ Chica started walking just before her first birthday and has her big bro’s constant shadow, as best as she can keep up. To celebrate her first year we threw a big party. After all, we had celebrated with Lego mania for Lil’ O’s first birthday, so it was only fair to do something similarly big for our little girl.

Party Planning
Husby and I aren’t big fans of princess stuff, but I need a theme to keep me focused. I love all the nautical stuff that’s in style right now, and don’t anticipate ever having an opportunity for an overtly themed nautical shindig for adults, so I figured Lil’ Chica’s first birthday was just the thing. I’ve always wanted to run with this theme and she’s too little to tell me otherwise. First birthdays really are more for the parents.

The catch this time around, though, was that we needed to also make it fun for Lil’ O, who is now three and a half and full of opinions. To help with the fun factor, I invited some of his closest friends from preschool and went on a Pinterest hunt for something fun for the older kids. When I stumbled upon this pin from for a homemade sailboat, I knew we were in business. Let the pinning and party planning commence!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Farm-to-Fork Dinner

Last weekend, to close out my birthday celebration, I got to check off an experience from my bucket list. Yippee!! Ever since I learned it was a thing, I’ve wanted to have a lovely, gourmet, communal outdoor farm-to-fork meal. I pictured a long rustic, yet polished wooden table set for a full dinner for anywhere between 30 and 100 people. This vision was very likely inspired by some piece of marketing by some winery or other that we toured before kids.

Despite the winery influence to my daydream, all the pairing dinners that we heard of by us were inside, usually in a barrel room, and lacked the rustic charm I’d envisioned. Them, a couple months ago I heard of a dinner that seemed to fit the dream perfectly. Our current CSA* (they deliver to our door!) was hosting a farm-to-for dinner at a local farm with proceeds benefiting the San Diego Food Bank, a cause I truly believe in and want to support in a more hands-on way in the future. So, we eagerly purchased our tickets, arranged for my parents to watch the kiddos and ventured to the farm.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Reflections on the Past Year

There’s so much to do, and so little time that it’s often hard to stop and reflect. In preparation for the start of my 34th year, I wanted to think back on some of what I’ve learned with balancing now two littles with my hubby, working, managing the house, and trying to keep my adult relationships (family, friends, preschool teachers and parents, church acquaintances, etc.) all intact. I’ve always wanted to have a list that matches the number of years for that birthday, and had the realization this year that it was only going to get harder as I keep adding a year. So, then, this is the year! Here we go! So, 34 years, 34 personal truths. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Grilled Cheese Bar Birthday Party

Birthday celebrations are fun, but can sometimes bring challenges. In my family for birthdays we tend to get together for dinner – either out to eat at the birthday person’s place of choice or dining in with a favorite meal – give gifts and eat cake. It’s a great formula for birthday success! This year, I felt home bound by our adorable kiddos. Dining out is just not much fun these days, so I didn’t want to get everyone out just to be forced to wrangle kids in an unfamiliar-to-them environment and be stressed through all of dinner. But, what to eat?! After much deliberation and restaurant take-out research, I landed on a favorite childhood meal, but with a twist.

Enter the grilled cheese bar. My mom makes a mean grilled cheese, so I wanted to take advantage of her mad skills, plus see how we could adventure to make new, maybe more adult grilled cheese combinations. I Googled this grand idea, and sure enough, it’s a thing! Bloggers and celebrities have shared the idea, so I took what I thought would work best for our family and pitched the idea to my family. Thankfully, they were game. And, we had quite the spread!

Grilled Cheese Bar Spread

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Gear Up! Nursing Essentials

Breastfeeding is hard. There, I’ve said it. It’s true. It’s a challenge and it’s not for everyone. No judgement here. I didn’t end up breastfeeding Lil’ O, but have been able to stick it out with Lil’ Chica. It’s different for every mom, every child, every life situation. Part of finding balance is picking our battles. For those determined to give breastfeeding a try, bravo.

If your breastfeeding journey is like mine, and I sincerely hope it’s much easier, you may benefit and find encouragement in gearing up for the task. Through much trial and error, here are the products I’ve found to be essential on my journey. I hope other moms find this useful.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Rocky Road of Breastfeeding – My Breastfeeding Trials & Triumph

Lil’ Chica is now eight months – eight months! – and through some strong determination, coupled with the grace of God, I am still breastfeeding her. It has been far from easy, but she and I persevered. If I’ve learned anything from this, it’s that stubbornness can sometimes be a virtue. My crazy goal was to breastfeed her for six months. We’re already passed that, so everything now is bonus.

Sometimes struggles turn into personal journeys. We persevere, we grow, we learn.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Staying Positive – This Week’s Pick-Me-Ups

This week has been the usual grind of kid care, house chores, errands and more. So much to do! Maybe it’s that we’re getting into a pretty set rhythm, so it feels like we’re just coming up for air, but I feel so behind! And, so tired. Now that we’ve managed the basics, there are hobbies to pick back up, blogging to do, Lil’ Chica’s first year baby album to compile, family memories to capture, and friends to catch up with. Phew!

I’m trying not to get overwhelmed or bummed out by it all. In that effort, here are some of the fun things that are getting me through this week.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Celebrations: Lil’ Chica’s Baby Dedication & Lil’ O Turns 3

So much to celebrate! We’ve just concluded a jam-packed two weeks of festivities, complete with Grandparent’s Day at Lil’ O’s new preschool, Lil’ Chica’s baby dedication at our church, and all the birthday celebrating we could muster for Lil’ O’s transition to the big three. (I should probably stop calling him a toddler now, hmm?)

G'pa, Lil' O, G'ma and Meema. G'dad behind the lens. Of course.
OH Grands Visit
As they do each winter, Husby’s parents, Meema and G’pa, came to visit, fleeing the Ohio winter and celebrating Lil’ O’s birthday. This time around, since we had lots of advance notice, they extended their trip slightly so they could attend Grandparent’s Day at Lil’ O’s school. They joined my parents, G’ma and G’dad, giving Lil’ O his full cadre of grandparents at his whim for the morning. The program was reportedly a bit long for the preschoolers, but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and the special day.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Returning to the Kitchen

When a new baby arrives, all eyes are on that adorable babe. And, for new parents, all their attention and energy go to that little wonder. It’s amazing and utterly exhausting. At least this is how it was for Husby and me with both Lil’ O and Lil’ Chica.

We’ve just recently crossed the line with Lil’ Chica (now a whopping five months!) that we can reintroduce our own hobbies. The precursor to this has been the return of regular sleep. Hallelujah! I’d still like more, but I can mostly count on a six hour stretch at night; and, compared to those early days and nights of two hours max at a time, six hours is simply glorious. Now that Lil’ Chica is mostly on a schedule, I also know what windows of time are available to me to get anything done.

The laundry, tidying and cleaning is unending, but Husby and I have gotten to a balance that we can start to think beyond basic home and kiddo care. For him it’s the return of his MBA classes this week. For me, it’s mostly the idea and goal of cooking more. I’ve been happily reading a Christmas influx of cookbooks and dreaming up how I can more regularly return to the kitchen. Cooking dinner falls exactly when I’m nursing Lil’ Chica, so I’ve been out of commission and we’ve all been relying on multi-talented Husby to get dinner on the table each night. I’ve cooked up some breakfasts and other things, but dinner has been eluding me. No more!