February 29, 2012

February 28, 2012

Milk - you'd think it was easy....

Overall, A is very, very easy. The one thing (other than not much sleep over the last year...) that hasn't really been what I expected, is that he has a slight milk allergy. He gets eczema when drinking cow's milk...and goat's milk. So...this is what our fridge looks like!


I've been drinking raw milk, the husband drinks lactose free and A switches off between almond, soy and coconut. That means we have up to five different types of milk in our fridge at one time (oh, and some beer!). This is definitely not what I expected :)

Normally, kids outgrow milk allergies when they are still pretty young, so I hope this is the case with A! It'd be cheaper and I could buy milk by the gallon. But for now, I'm discovering that oatmeal with coconut milk is awesome...and that soy milk and yogurt can taste really gross (but some brands are not so bad). Luckily, the allergy isn't so bad. He seems totally fine with milk baked into food (like cheese crackers). 

So for now, our fridge is very full of milk. If you come over, we have any kind you'd ever want :)

February 27, 2012

Trying out Pinterest...

I'm a little behind the times in terms of pinterest...I know if I start really getting into it, I may never get out again! But I thought I'd share some of my all time favorite pins...not that I have that many :) Feel free to follow my fledgling pinning!

  Follow Me on Pinterest


                                                                                 Source: hilton.com via Mrs. on Pinterest
                                 Source: 6impossible-things.tumblr.com via Mrs. on Pinterest
                                                                  Source: latimesblogs.latimes.com via Mrs. on Pinterest



                                                                               Source: hgtv.com via Mrs. on Pinterest




                                                                        Source: meggyolks.tumblr.com via Mrs. on Pinterest

Check out some other pinners here...at the perpetual pinners blog hop!





February 26, 2012

Mom Blog Monday Blog Hop!

I'm very excited to be the featured blogger this week on:

Mom Blog Monday Blog Hop!

Are you a Mommy blogger?
Do you blog about your kids?
Do you blog about great things for Mommies?
Do you wanna meet other Mom Bloggers?
So Easy Being Green
With the announcement that Google will soon be pulling the plug on GFC, Mom Blog Monday is beginning to evolve! They will be rotating Social Media Outlets each week, featuring different ways to follow some of your favorite {and new} Mommy Blogs!

The rotation will follow this sequence: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, RSS/Email
Just follow the 3 Co-Hosts: The Not-So-Secret Confessions of a First Time MomLuxury Living Frugal Style, and So Easy Being Green… the first three blogs on the linky! Then follow Spot #4 which is the featured blog of the week! (me!)

Feel free to grab the button and put it somewhere on your blog or in a blog post! This helps spread the word. However, you aren’t required to. Please be sure to link up to the correct Social Media of the Week and leave us a comment so we can follow you back!

THIS WEEK’S FEATURED MEDIA IS FACEBOOK!

This week's featured blogger is…



Crazy Casa K
Crazy Casa K


Hi! I'm Mrs. K, mom to an adorable 13 month old little guy and a recent transplant to Southern California suburbia. Join me at Crazy Casa K, as I figure out how to navigate this new landscape while balancing motherhood, work and life...hope to see you soon!


February 24, 2012

National Park No. 2: Yosemite

Last July we decided to visit Yosemite. My first bit of advice - don't go in summer!! The traffic was amazingly bad. However, the scenery was amazingly good...so, good and bad.

So the first National Park in this country was the second one A visited - Santa Monica Mountains, of course, being his first!

A was quite the trooper - hanging out in the car seat for the hours in the car to get there and home. We stayed in 3 different places. We really enjoyed the Queen's Inn in Oakhurst...A slept inside while we enjoyed dinner on the patio watching the sunset.

The two hikes I enjoyed most with a 6 month old - McGurk Meadow and Mariposa Grove. Gorgeous trees, stunning flowers, everything Yosemite should be. Since we had a small one in tow, we also did something we'd never done before...hung out by the river. There were tons of families picnicking, swimming and not trying to do the super strenuous hikes (like I used to do!).

Of course, lunch at the Ahwahnee is  must - even with the crazy squirrels.

Oh, and don't forget to get your baby a National Park's passport :)

Cool hike! Baby-backpacks are awesome.

Please get me out of this car seat!

Water!!! Hanging out in the river.

Loving a hike - even with lots of mosquitos.


Cameras are cool! Crossing McGurk meadow.


Relaxing (staring at the fan) in the hotel after lots of hiking!


February 23, 2012

Crazy List

Though priorities shift as life changes, we still have to come up with new and exciting reaches, adventures, things that we dream about.

So, in this crazy life of mine, I would love to do the following:

1. Make it to all 7 continents - including a cruise to Antarctica
2. Trip down the Amazon
3. Seeing the reindeer in Lapland
4. Sled-dogging!
5. Live somewhere where snorkeling in part of my every day life
6. Africa - I almost think I need a few months...Egypt, Morocco, Zambia, Madagascar, South Africa...the list is endless.
(Is there some travel in my life, I hope?)
7. Stay in one of those huts over the ocean
8. To write a book
9. Live in a world that is cancer free - do what I can to help make that happen
10. Go back to my Peace Corps village in Panama and introduce my Panamanian Family to my husband and son!


There are so many more places that I want to go and things that I want to do, but there are only so many that I can put out there in the universe right now.

What's on your list of things to do in this crazy life?

February 22, 2012

Priceless Memories

Sometimes there are memories that you cannot capture on film. In this day and age of digital cameras, photos are easy to take. So our little one's lives are very well documented. But there are moments when a camera is just not possible, and sometimes that makes the memories, even a bit more special. 

One such memory happened this weekend, on our first camping trip. We set up A in his own little corner of the tent - with his own sleeping bag and warm blankets. He woke up about midnight, crying. I leaned down to comfort him and he jumped into my arms. He immediately fell asleep, his warm little body finding comfort in my arms. He rarely falls asleep in my arms, at least not since he was an itty bitty baby. So I brought him into sleeping bag and he cuddled up and let out a sigh of contentment. 

I was lying there with this amazing child in my arms, my amazing child. Content. There were two owls in the tree above us hooting back and forth. As I cuddled my son, perhaps the only time in my life he will cuddle up with me in a sleeping bag, he laughed in his sleep. Perhaps the sweetest sound I've ever heard. Does life get better than this?

February 20, 2012

A Wonderful Father

As fathers go, A is really lucky. He has a good one...and one with a sense of humor. From day one, he has been brightening the mood, posing A for some great photos, making him laugh, making me laugh. We are both so lucky that he is in our lives. Sometimes I'm too serious for my own good - too worried and cautious with A - and having someone to show me the lighter side is invaluable. I am one lucky girl!


One of the first of many silly poses...my rocker babe



Doing Daddy's Work

A for president! (nope, daddy's not hiding behind there)


Using a carseat box as a lemonade stand...

Our first camping adventure, Daddy teaching A how to play soccer...



Getting to know Moose


I thought I'd spend a little time introducing you to my other "baby" - Moose. He's been with me since the fall of 2004, when I adopted him from the Durham, NC animal shelter. I got him when he was 6 months old, and the cutest thing imaginable. I was helping my friend look for dogs at all the shelters in the triangle area. At the Durham shelter, I saw this puppy - and my heart was stolen. He pounced on toys with his little paws and so wanted to give everyone kisses. How could I leave him there?

He had a pretty awesome life in North Carolina - living on a acre of land bordering Duke Forest. He had chickens to harass and another dog to keep him company. He was the sweetest puppy- and is the sweetest dog. I made the right choice bringing him into my life. He has been with me since graduate school - and I love his loyalty!

He's driven across country with me three times - and is a wonderful travelling companion. He may not love being on the car for so long, but he is so very patient.



He is an eager and happy hiking buddy - perfect for a park ranger. His excitement is catching and his positive attitude is something I always strive for.


He's a good sport when Mr. K dresses him up, puts tape on him or plays other jokes on the poor guy.


He never complains, even though I have taken him from his favorite past-time...playing in the snow.


He has eventually adjusted to having another small being in the house. I know it has been hard on him. Less walks, less napping in the bed with me, less attention. But he is always happy to see me at the end of the day and always knows when I need some extra attention. He is the best dog. I am so lucky!






February 19, 2012

1,2,3...The Toddler Years

I have a toddler! It's crazy...I catch myself calling him a baby, but he really isn't. He toddles. He walks, runs...he's 13 months old. Waaaaa...my baby is getting too big.

Anyway. Since I now have a toddler, I decided I needed to read up on this new creature in my home :)

First stop: "1,2,3...The Toddler Years" by Irene Van der Zande with Santa Cruz Toddler Care Center staff.


I would say, that as a mother, the first 5 chapters were particularly relevant.
- Let Me Choose
- My Feelings Should be Free
- Stop me when Enough's Enough
- I Can Understand More Than You Think
- Let me Work it Out for Myself

It was a great reminder that my little guy is his own person, that he has ideas, feelings, urges, likes, dislikes, you name it - separate from mine. That I need to start acknowledging and respecting his desires and exploration while setting safe limits. Also good to remember that he understands more than I think her does!

It's hard to let them work it out when they get frustrated, but lately he's even more frustrated if I try to intervene. The hardest part is setting limits, following up on saying no, even as he smiles at me. This book gave some great tips and talked through some examples.

The rest of the book seemed more aimed at caregivers, still great information, but didn't hit home nearly as much as the first five chapters. I love their philosophy, however, and it gives me hope that when I send A to pre-school, that I will be able to find some loving and experienced caregivers. I just wish I lived closer to the Santa Cruz Toddler Day Care Center!

It's a good, quick read for those of us with a new toddler! Always good to get new ideas and perspectives on raising kids :)


February 16, 2012

Goodbye faithful Jumperoo

It is time.

We have been friends for so long now. But A has outgrown his all-time favorite toy. It is a little bid sad for me - which is why I haven't yet dragged it out of the house. But it is time.

In honor of the best toy of all time...A and the jumperoo though the ages :)








February 15, 2012

California Winter

Loving the sunshine

Did you know there were birds up there????


February 14, 2012

Classical Music Moments

Between my office and Calabasas there are only a few radio stations that come in clearly - one of these is the classical music station. Since I drive this route nearly daily now, I end up listening to KUSC nearly every time. Amazingly, it almost always stirs memories.

When I was in high school, I was in band (yes, admitting to geekdom here). I loved it.

One of the things I miss the most is almost indescribable feeling you get when you are one piece of the bigger whole. When the group you are playing in speaks with one voice, and you are but a small part of something greater. It gave me goosebumps then- and now when I listen to a crescendo or finale of a great recording, I get goosebumps again.

Great classical music is one of the best stress antidotes. Sometimes the stress of being a working mom gets to me. So I take a deep breath - I breathe in and out, slowly. I have found that listening to classical music and breathing deeply calms me down. I can feel the musicians breathing as one, making something together that they cannot do alone. I strive to do just this - in my life, in my work, with my family. I think we are better together, making something together that we cannot do alone.




February 13, 2012

The Little Gym

A is an amazing kid (not that I am biased or anything) - playful, loving, active and so smart. I want to make sure that he has every opportunity to learn and grow and have lots of fun. As he gets older, I've come to the realization that he is excellent at entertaining himself, but he LOVES other kids - and I think he'd learn a great deal - like sharing - if I signed him up for some classes.

So Saturday we tried out our first "Gym" Class. A loves physical activity - running, throwing - anything active. I thought this might be a good fit. We headed out for an 8:45 am morning "bird" class (10-19 months) at The Little Gym in Thousand Oaks.

He was a little shy at first, but Miss Mel (I think!) and the other kids brought him out of his shell. He was shaking bells, pushing hula-hoops around the room, finding knobs and levers and hanging from the rings, shortly thereafter. He loved being able to explore unimpeded. He ran to his heart's delight, played with a variety of balls (his favorite toy!) and bobbed his head to the music. Overall, a huge success.

One thing I did notice, was his hesitancy (ahem, brief tantrum) when it was time to return toys to Miss Mel. Clearly something we need to work on. What better way than to do it in a group while singing (even if it seems that we have to repeat "The little gym" over and over again in every song).

I must say, I'm intrigued. A had a wonderful time. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable. My only concern...the price. I guess I'll try and keep my eye out for a coupon? deal? I really want him to enjoy and learn - but one of the challenges of being a modern day mom - managing to find (and pay for) all these amazing opportunities!

I was too busy enjoying the class with A - so I didn't take any photos - but here's my active little guy running to the car for our new adventure!




February 12, 2012

Bossypants

So funny.



I thought that there was no way that it could live up to the hype. It did. You should read it - now. Due to a shipping mix up, I had to wait 6 months to read it - and yes, it was worth the wait.

I admit, I thought it would be more about her daughter...perhaps because I am so often in the world of mommy blogs :) But in fact, it was more about her history, career and life before the little one. I loved how she gave credit to others - even if she downplayed her own talent.

My favorite part, was of course, the "Mother's Prayer for her Daughter" - even thought I have a son.


Excerpted from Tina Fey’s book, “Bossypants“:
Mother’s Prayer for Her Daughter
First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.
May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the the Beauty.
When the Crystal Meth is offered, may she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half and stick with Beer.
Guide her, protect her:
When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the nearby subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock N’ Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.
Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes and not have to wear high heels.
What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You because if I knew, I’d be doing it.
May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.
Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, for childhood is short — a Tiger Flower blooming
Magenta for one day — and Adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.
O Lord, break the Internet forever.
And when she one day turns on me and calls me a beeotch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, for I will not have that $hit. I will not have it.
And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 a.m., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.
Amen.

February 11, 2012

In case you really like me....

Please vote on top baby blogs :)

Amazingly, I'm currently at #31 (wait, now I'm 32!) - so some of you must like me! 

Thank you for your votes...


Click To Vote For Us @ the Top Baby Blogs Directory! The most popular baby blogs


Vote For Use @ Top Mommy Blogs

February 10, 2012

It's Friday!

It has been a very very long week at work.

 A hard week at work means I am so tired.

 But I love coming home to A's smiling face every day. It makes everything better.

 Hopefully I can recharge this weekend. Breathe in, breathe out.

Now I get to spend the whole weekend with this little guy - I am so lucky :)


February 7, 2012

An awesome husband...

...knows just how to celebrate your birthday!

He gets you a card signed by your 1 yr. old son (yep, really!) and a balloon picked out by your adorable son. He buys you a coldstone creamery peanut butter chocolate ice cream cake (with a candle even). He gives you gorgeous earrings (made of 2,000 year old Roman glass).

He takes you on a beautiful hike, makes a yummy picnic lunch and goes wine-tasting with you.

Just in case you were wondering - I have an awesome husband :)

Enjoying my hike!




February 6, 2012

Evolution of a Runner

I wanted to be just like my dad when I was little. I am certain that I started running because my dad was a runner.

I ran in elementary school, middle school and high school. I ran "sprints" until the girls I was competing against ended up being a head taller than me. Then I started running longer distances. By high school I was running cross-country. Now, my father may remember differently, but my memory is that I had to choose one one sport in high school - so cross country it was.

Many a morning was spent running. I can still smell the early morning desert air. I also remember my first high school race. It was horrible. Close to 120 degrees F...running through sand and washes and strange neighborhoods. Most people dropped out, but I, stubbornly, finished the race. Then I got mad at my dad for making me run :) I said I'd never run again. But I did. I ran all four years of high school. Donning lovely running shorts and enduring incredibly hot races and cold morning runs. I'm certain that being captain of the cross country team helped with my college admission...

Once I got to college, I quit running. I didn't run again until just a couple of years ago. I was totally burnt out. I loved going to the gym, took kick boxing and zumba. I rollerbladed, biked, hiked but studiously avoided running.

But now, it's fun again. I took an eleven year hiatus. Not sure if moving back to Southern California made me nostalgic or if it was just time, but I started running again. I entered quite a few 5k's, and I was training for a 10k when I found out that I was pregnant. So I stopped again, vowing to run once A was a little older.

Well, now that A is one, I finally signed up for another 5k. I finally made it out the door to run. I am finally running and not just reading about it. Though I do strongly recommend reading Run Like a Mother for motivation...the authors have great voices and made me feel like I could make this work somehow - working, being a mom, running...

Most days I have no idea how I am going to finish all the things I have to do in a day. How work and home life are going to co-exist and how I will also make A's life better. But when I do manage to find time to run or even walk, I feel better. I may not be able to run as often as I could in high school, but it means more when I do now.

I have come around to enjoying running again. I hope that I can inspire A like my dad inspired me. Maybe one day he'll write about how he wanted to be just like his mom.

Me and my dad - in his running socks ;)
Running at age 8
Excited to be sponsored by Bud Light?


Rocking the black socks



February 4, 2012

Novels about Hawai'i

I tend to read lots of books about anything new in my life. When I found out I was pregnant I must have bought and read 10 books on expecting a baby, 10 more on labor, 10 more on the first year of life...and so on. So when we decided to go to Hawaii for this year's vacation, you got it, I started reading books about Hawaii. I found two by the same author that I just fell in love with...

     

Alan Brennert is now one of my favorite authors. His stories are sweeping, magical, compelling and beautiful. I read Moloka'i first, having come across it accidentally in Target, and couldn't put it down. So then, of course, I inhaled Honolulu as well. I passed them on to both of my parents and they fell equally in love with the stories.

Both books are told by a strong female character who encounters her fair share of tragedy and triumph through history. Not only did I enjoy the stories, but I learned a great deal about the history, particularly of Korean picture brides and Hansen's disease.

You won't be sorry if you pick up these books, I promise.


February 3, 2012

National Park No. 1: Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area


As a park ranger, I find it my duty to expose my child to National Parks. I only hope this doesn't scar him later in life, you know how children hate things to spite their parents...

Of course, the first park we took him to was Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. I don't think he remembers much of his first trip - he was less than a month old. We took him to Paramount Ranch, an old movie ranch in the heart of the mountains. I bet you have even seen a movie that was filmed here :)

He's so tiny you can't even see him!
So itty bitty
Gorgeous sunset just for him
His first hike




He's been back since and his second trip was also with family. We seem to take friends and family from out of town here. It has an old movie set and also fairly easy hiking with great views. Sweeping views, gorgeous oaks and even a creek. Of course, everyone want's to get pictures in the jail!

Our latest visit shows a whole new A - 11 months old, walking and falling all over the place. As you can see, it was shortly after he'd had his worst spill yet (poor little nose). But it doesn't seem to bother him! It is a great place to take kids, lots of open space to roam and excellent photo ops.


video


A little bigger in the Ergo! (poor nose)

Running to the Sheriff's office
 Hopefully he'll continue to enjoy the park as he gets older!

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