July 30, 2012

Every Boy Needs a Dog

A is very lucky to have Moose in his life ;) They have been friends on and off from the beginning. A has always been interested in Moose. Now that A has food to throw on the ground, Moose is now interested in A too!

It is often hard to find pictures of A without Moose involved, he is always there, either in the background or fighting for attention. I love that A has a buddy. I loved my first dog, Mudhead and will always remember her. I hope A always remembers Moose.

For more cuteness with babies and their pets, head on over to Toddle Along Tuesday co-hosted by Growing Up Geeky and Aidan with EOS.









Donation Update

Happy Monday!

It's half way through the year. This year, I am trying to donate on a monthly basis, instead of waiting until the end of the year. Here is my initial post explaining how I am trying to donate locally in my community and to make sure and support organizations that I use.

So an update...

May - Los Angeles Zoo: Always good to support your local zoo!
June - SAMO Fund: a local non-profit supporting Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
July - Botanic Garden:  Since I run here weekly, I thought I should support them!

Still looking for ideas for the rest of the year! In August, I am planning on donating to my local food bank.


July 29, 2012

Little Pirate

This book was a hand-me-down from a good friend (thank you!). 

A LOVES it. It has flip-up panels and a cute story. What he really loves, however, is the last page. It is a big fold out page. It gives you things to search for like a "ball" and you have to find them. Sort of like "Where's Waldo?" I was so impressed the first time when A picked out the ball right away. I am always amazed when he learns new things and surprises me!

Apparently there is a whole series of these books. So much fun!


July 28, 2012

The Liebster Blog Award

What a nice surprise! Early this week, when I sat down to check my blog, I saw that I had been nominated for a Liebster Blog Award!  I am so excited - thank you to Renee at Mother Daughter Book Reviews for nominating Crazy Casa K.  It made my week!  Please make sure and visit her blog - she is a fellow book lover and mom. She even has some great book giveaways!

The Liebster Blog Award:
The Liebster Blog Award is given to bloggers by bloggers. It is a way to acknowledge each other and say “you’re doing a great job.” It is for blogs with 200 or less followers, so it’s also a great way to spread the word about smaller blogs and get them more readers and followers! When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer 11 questions from the person(s) who nominated you. You pass the Award onto 11 other blogs (make sure you tell them you nominated them!) and ask them 11 questions. You’re not allowed to nominate the blog(s) who nominated you! 

11 Random Facts About Me:
1.  I used to be a venomous snake zookeeper.
2.  I have been to 47 states - can you guess which ones I am still missing?
3. In my real life, I am a park ranger, and I love it!
4. In high school I played the clarinet, bassoon and saxophone.  I was also valedictorian...a little nerdy?
5. I am an incredibly fast reader. The last flight I was on I read 2 books and 5 magazines.
6. I spent two years in the Peace Corps Panama - I lived in a brick house with windows that were really just holes in the walls. I had an outhouse, chickens and no privacy whatsoever.
7. Donuts are my downfall. I love them. I could eat them for every meal.
8. I met my husband in Yosemite National Park. 
9. I used to speak German, then I learned Spanish. My brain can apparently only comprehend one foreign language at a time. 
10. I think flip-flops are the best thing ever. I would wear them every day if I could. I would go barefoot if I could. Enclosed shoes are a very bad idea.
11. I secretly want to write a novel.

The Questions That I Was Asked:
1. How long have you been blogging? I started blogging when my son was a few months old in July of 2011. That means I have been blogging for a year now, wow!
2. What’s the last movie you’ve seen? The Amazing Spider-man. We were planning on going to see Batman this weekend, but I am feeling a bit nervous about it...does that make me weird?
3. If you could witness any past event, what would it be? When humans first walked on the moon!
4. Donut or cupcake? Donut, Donut, Donut. No contest. Icing is actually really gross.
5. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? On a beach somewhere. Warm, swimming and snorkeling right outside my door!
6. What would you name the autobiography of your life? Just Getting Started
7. If you could be reincarnated as any animal, what would it be? Definitely a bird...not sure what kind. A macaw, perhaps? A has really been obsessed with birds lately - so anything that he likes, I end up paying more attention to. They really are pretty amazing, smart, long-loved and they can fly! Imagine, flying!!
8. What is the most embarrassing song on your iPod/MP3 player? Other than "The Itsy Bitsy Spider?" It would have to be "Fire Burning" ...(Somebody call 911!). What can I say, it gets me exercising!
9. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV? Hockey, hands down. Let's go Caps!
10. Which celebrity (artist, musician, athlete, author, etc.) would you switch lives with for one day? For a day? Not sure, someone who has a beach house on a secluded stretch of beach where I can sip a mojito, read some books, swim in the ocean and look good while doing it :) (Yes, I love the beach)
11. Where’s Waldo? When did I get so old? It's hard to see! I'm much better at A's "Where's Elmo?" book!






















My Nominations:
Please check out these great blogs (in no particular order).  These are all blogs that I’ve come across recently that are really interesting! I’ve tried to choose blogs that seem authentic and tell great stories. I really like to feel like I get to know fellow bloggers, and these are some of the best I've come across. There are so many good ones to choose from! Please show these bloggers some love by giving them a quick visit and saying hello.

Questions for My Nominees (Come on now, be a good sport!):
1. What kinds of blogs do you enjoy reading?
2. What is your favorite book?
3. What songs would be on the soundtrack to your life?
4. Most embarrassing moment?
5. Why did you start blogging?
6. What Olympic sport would you win a gold medal in (in a perfect world)?
7. What motivates you?
8. Perfect Vacation Spot (I need some ideas!)?
9. If you could meet any famous person (artist, writer, actor etc.) who would you choose?
10. What song gets stuck in your head that you just can't get out? (it's there again, isn't it?)
11. Favorite National Park? :)

Thank you again for the nomination! I am honored to be nominated and hope you find some great new blogs to read!

July 27, 2012

Photos in my home

This week on the home tour is showing off the photos displayed in our home. When you first enter, our favorites are in the front hall :)

Ever since A was little he has loved staring at the family photos in the living room. When he is overtired, crying, or when he was really little and just wouldn't stop crying, we could just point to the photos in the front hall. One of the first things he learned was to identify pictures of Mommy, Daddy and Moose! He can also identify iguanas and blue-footed boobies.



We also have photos on top of our bookshelf...many of the frames decorated by my talented little sister!


At the end of the hallway, is one of my favorite displays of photos! My super creative cousin, Emily, made a memory box of mementos and photos from our wedding. I love seeing it at the end of my hallway every day!


More family and friend photos when you turn the corner towards the master bedroom...I need to update these!


And lastly, A has taken to pointing at this poster and saying "dada!" It was the only "photo" that I could find in the office...I think it's adorable that A thinks it's his dad :)


Thanks for letting me show off my photos. Check out how other's display photos in their homes over at Kelly's Korner!

July 26, 2012

He's 18 months old!

How is it possible that A is 18 months old? How is it possible that my baby is a little boy...

We had his 18 month old appointment this week. My boy is 1.5 years old. He is also 2'11" (heehee). Almost half his dad's height! He is still long and lean. 97% for height and 15% for weight. The doctor says he is healthy and no more shots until he is 4...yay!

He's babbling more and has a vocabulary of, well, 15 words or so :) We've had some great times recently. Including visiting his great grandma (GG). We even got a picture of four generations. With an almost 92 year age difference!

Four generations on my side of the family!

I want you!

Learning about lightsabers with grandpa



Long and lean?



July 25, 2012

Summer Swim Lessons


We started A in swim lessons last summer when he was 7 months old. He wasn't a huge fan...so we waited until this summer at 18 months, and he loved it! The perfect way to spend a Sunday morning!



July 24, 2012

My Dream Job

My first dream job was to be a ballerina, then a teacher, then the President of the United States. At some point I wanted to be an environmental lawyer, and finally, a public land manager. Which is pretty much what I am currently doing!

I think my current job is close to being my dream job. How lucky is that?

My amazing job had a very long title. Suffice it to say, that I get to run public programs, educational programs and outreach at a National Recreation Area. I work with amazing people. I have an amazing and supportive boss, co-workers and staff. I get to be creative and interact with dedicated and interesting people from all over the world.

I still consider myself fairly young (35 is still young, right?) and early on in my career (officially I can retire in 2034). So I can't be at the pinnacle of my career just yet. My dreams have always been to run a National Park. But the further up the "ladder" I go, the scarier that seems...I do think that the older I get, the less I realize that I know!

I love working for the National Park Service, I want to continue my career in the Service. I love my job now. I would love to work one day at a remote park, one of the iconic ones perhaps? But for now, I am incredibly fulfilled by the job that I have. Amazing really.

What's your dream job? Head over to Toddle Along Tuesday to share...or see what other's are saying!

My latest greatest work accomplishment
Ranger Me :)




July 23, 2012

NYC - full of life!

I was in New York City last week. It is an amazing, vibrant, huge, overwhelming, hot, humid, dirty, fascinating city. As I walked down the streets I saw every type of human on this earth, doing an incredible range of crazy things.

As a blogger, my mind was reeling. So many ideas for things to write about. So much that I wanted to share with you, so many crazy colors and people and stories. I thought, if only I lived here, I'd have so much more to write about! Then I realized you probably get used to wherever you are. The people on the streets of New York City were just going about their business not even noticing the craziness around them.

Parks on abandoned railroad tracks, musicians, artists, homeless people, flies in drinks, tasty food, sundresses, suits, history, future. Overwhelming. Beautiful but too much humanity for me. I need some space, less humidity, more green, more hills. Nice to visit, glad to leave.

Some photojournalistic evidence of my overstimulating week!




July 22, 2012

Little Blue Truck

My son loves cars. He loves trucks. He loves trains. He loves anything with wheels.

He loves the trash trucks that go by on Fridays. He makes everything move like a car, with or without wheels. He can make a car sound and loves to say "up" and "down" as he pushes his trains over hills.

He also loves farm animals. He has pictures of them in his room and like to say good night to all of them before he sleeps. He can say "moo" and "duck." He goes to the nearby farm to see sheep and goats and cows nearly every week. A close second in his heart only to vehicles.

So when I saw "Little Blue Truck" at the store, I couldn't help but buy it. Farm animals in a little blue truck...what could be better?

Once I opened the book, I liked it even more. A fun story about helping out friends and the importance of helping those in need :) Written in rolling prose with lots of animal and car noises thrown in - it is a huge hit in my house. There is a moral to the story and A loves it when the big dump truck says "HONK" very loudly! What could be better?

So if you have a car and farm-animal-obsessed child like mine, I strongly recommend this book!

July 21, 2012

Nail polish from Julep

So, I am not normally a nail polish person. More of the crunchy, granola no make-up type girl. During the summer, however, I tend to paint my toes. I don't really like my toes and since I LIVE in flip flops and sandals, I need pretty toes :)

So one of my friends introduced me to Julep Maven. It is a subscription service with a focus on nail polish, though I've also gotten lip gloss and other mani/pedi products. You can easily skip boxes online or cancel anytime. It's normally $19.99 a month.

The best part? You can get your first box for a penny. 2-3 nail polishes and/or one other product for a penny! Just enter PENNYINTRO during check out. Basically, free nail polish. There is even a quiz to check out your style type (I'm a sucker for quizzes - particularly disney princess quizzes!).




July 20, 2012

To old friends!

I just wanted to say that one of best things about this blog is connecting with friends, both old and new!

In the last couple of weeks, it has warmed my heart that two friends have reached out to me and told me how much they enjoy reading my blog and reading about my life. That's why I do this - to connect with   my favorite people. I enjoy writing and sharing my experiences and hearing from you.

So Elena and Colleen, it means the world to me that you reached out and let me know you are reading! Sometimes I get discouraged and wonder if anyone is listening :) I love that you are part of my life and blog. I hope to see you both soon - thank you for telling me about your lives too!


July 19, 2012

Hot, Humid and Delayed

I am still recovering from my trip to NYC.

I finally got home this morning at 4 am. Apparently lightning and thunder and planes don't mix.

I have so many great ideas floating through my head that I really want to share with you, but my brain is still fuzzy from days of 95+ degree temperatures and the same percentage humidity, and not sleeping at all last night!

A had a wonderful time without us, though. His grandparents spoiled him - lucky guy!

So more soon!

Grandpa and A bonding at the duck pond while Mom and Dad were in NYC!

July 16, 2012

Cantaloupe Thoughts

I woke up yesterday morning and the first thought that came to mind was "Cantaloupe."

I have no idea why. I don't have any in my house. I don't need any, I have some very tasty watermelon in the fridge. I lay there for a few minutes, racking my brain. Why on earth would that word pop into my head?

There are plenty of things for me to be thinking about, thoughts that constantly swirl around in my head. Work deadlines, worries about how I am balancing motherhood, work, my marriage. Thinking about life insurance, wills, all the work that needs to be done around the house. Thinking about whether A is behind in any major areas, worrying about when he should start pre-school, what sport he might be good at. Worrying about jobs and the housing market. Dreaming about vacations and girls weekends.

Weekends...hmmm. My mother is visiting this weekend - she hates cantaloupe. It's her birthday today (Happy Birthday Mom!). No, that isn't why.

I'm not hungry. I did plant some in the garden recently...

I really have no idea. And now I've wasted minutes thinking about cantaloupe. Perfectly ripe, juicy cantaloupe. Yum. In reality, it was so much nicer to wake up thinking of delicious fruit rather than the unending to-do list waiting for me. So though I don't understand my brain, I am glad it conjures up images of cantaloupe sometimes :)

July 14, 2012

Bamboo Layette - Estella NYC

I try to be as sustainable as possible - with food, clothing, anything I can do. So when I was approached to review Estella NYC's Bamboo Layette set, I jumped at the chance. I would love to have a closet full of organic cotton or bamboo clothing for A!

I was not disappointed. It is the softest piece of clothing in A's wardrobe. We received the long-sleeved baby romper. It is a beautiful color and stretchy enough to fit snugly, yet still let him move around and play. A is a super long baby, so the legs were a little short, but other than that it was a perfect fit. Both for my very active little boy, and for my "green" sensibilities.

Please check out their bamboo layette - you won't be disappointed!


Perfect for playing!

Good-night sweet boy!

The romper is even softer than A's favorite blanket!


*Disclosure - I was not compensated for this post. The company sent me a sample, the opinions are 100% my own.








July 13, 2012

My Favorite Vacation - Galapagos


I have had some amazing vacations in the past few years, and fully expect to have a spectacular vacation this fall. So as I look forward to my next vacation...in less than 2 months! I started reminiscing about the other amazing trips I've been lucky enough to take.

So what can I say? Favorite vacation? The Galapagos. There are almost no words to describe how amazing this place is. Stunning. Just the wildlife was so incredible...blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas, penguins oh my!




 






July 12, 2012

What, a mantle?

After a couple weeks off from the home tour, welcome back! This week I'm showing off my mantle.

Growing up, never had a mantle...in the first home that I own, I have a mantle (Yay!) It is mostly a depository for cards - for whichever holiday happens to be upon us! While it is not perhaps the most elegant mantle in the world, I really love seeing the cards and occasional art from my nephew. It feels homey to me and I feel loved!

Amazingly, the details along the edge of the mantle almost identically match our bookshelves. It was like it was meant to be :) This room has changed the most since we've been here - it feels like it is growing with us!
Serious Mr. Train

I also love our fireplace, but at the moment, it is just a back drop for A's trains :) But wait, It seems to have been a backdrop for someone else's trains too...hmmm. It's also the backdrop of my bump photos from my pregnancy (so I'm going to share one of those too!)


December 2010


And of course, it is the centerpiece of Christmas in our home...so it always makes me think of happy holiday memories!


I also love putting dried flowers on the mantle in the spring/summer, it smells beautiful and adds that extra loving touch!


For more mantle ideas check out Kelly's Korner home tour!







July 11, 2012

My Gorgeous Son!




How on earth did I get so lucky! Thanks to my awesome cousins for the photos!!!

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