Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Naptime Naughtiness

 "Freedom, you've got to give for what you take" ~ George Michael

On these lovely days when I'm at home and not working, Q's naptime brings a couple of hours of unfettered bliss. Well, that is when I'm not feeling guilty for lacking in productivity. You see, there are the things I should be doing while Q takes a nap, and then there are the things I usually end up doing. And it goes a little something like this (hit it!) . . .


Should Do:


- Clean my closet (It's a nightmare in there right now. My once beautiful walk-in closet is not so pretty anymore, so I keep the door closed, of course.)
- Clean the kitchen floor (sweeping and mopping is much easier without little feet in the way, but it's oh so unappealing)
- Work out (I did this yesterday! Wahoo! But it had been over a week since the last time.)
- Research preschools (I've done this before and we've even visited . . . one. But clearly more needs to be done because we have not settled on any plan.)
- Fold laundry (ugh)
- Take a shower (well, I prefer to do this as well, but often I while away the hours in front of some sort of screen)
- Plan Q's birthday party that is a week and a half away (I suck at mama-hood and life)



Prefer to Do:

- Eat a decadent lunch all to myself
- Watch bad TV like the Millionaire Matchmaker marathon (I kind of hate most of the people on there, so it's beyond me why I get sucked in.)
- Play around online, shop, read blogs, check Facebook 9 times, etc.
- Play games on my iPhone, like Words With Friends or Angry Birds (I recently discovered the latter and wow, addicted much? And yes, I realize I'm late to the party.)
- Read a book or magazine (currently reading Mockingjay and it's bittersweet because that means I'm almost done with this series)
- Take a nap (this is a rare but absolute pleasure)
- Write meaningless, procrastinating lists on my blog


Clearly I need help. What do other mamas out there usually do during the kiddos' naptimes? I can't be the only indulger out there . . . right?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Little Lord A-Leapin'

"All I want for Christmas is Q!" ~ Mariah Carey (as interpolated by Flyrish)


Our Christmas card image, 2010; photo by Kelli Yon

I'm on vacation this week and next. Pretty great, right? Two whole weeks of L-words. Being at home alone with a toddler is sooo relaxing. He gives me unparalleled head massages that consist of pulling my hair until my eyes tear up. Oh, and he's incredibly helpful with the Christmas prep. He wraps gifts (well, he rips the wrapping paper off of the tubes and runs around wielding them as weapons). He's my baking assistant (I pick him up repeatedly so that he can watch the stand mixer do its thing). And, he's my sidekick as I sweep and vacuum to get ready for our Christmas Eve gathering (I now have several bruises on my shins).

But, there is a silver lining. Q and I have a ton more bonding time, and he's honestly been a sweetheart compared to the Q of a couple months ago. Cuddly time by the fire. Fun outings all bundled up. Building forts. Sharing cookies. Turning the Christmas lights on together (and off and on and off and on . . .). He's such a bright light this Christmas -- I kind of wish I could pin him to the top of the tree. For several reasons.

May you all have a joyous lord a-leapin' or two in your lives this holiday season!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mamasay Memories: Terri Duterte Memorial Scholarship Fund

"Meet me on the highway, Meet me on the road, As long as you've got to travel, don't you want someone to help you carry your load" ~ Carole King

UPDATE: It seems I was mistaken and there is a way to donate online. Yay! Just go here and make sure to put "Terri Duterte Memorial Scholarship Fund" in the "Donated on behalf of" box.


When my cousin called me last spring out of the blue, I sat there all slack-jawed. Why would I be so shocked at a call from my cousin? One, I don't talk with very many of my 20-plus cousins on the phone. Two, this cousin had relayed the most incredible, generous, heartfelt idea to me. He wanted to start a scholarship fund in my mom's name. I was blown away. I didn't realize the impact my mom had made on her nephew. Just wow. (Also, why didn't I think of that?) In any case, I thought it was a brilliant idea and managed to mumble some sort of thank you as soon as my mouth started working again. Then my cousin got my sister and Dad on board, and after a bit of brainstorming about what the scholarship would entail, the Terri Duterte Memorial Scholarship Fund was born.

My mom was a Language Arts teacher at a middle school in Pacifica, California, and teaching about literature and writing was her passion. But she also taught an elective class called AVID, otherwise known as Advancement Via Individual Determination, which became very special to her. AVID is a program that helps students who have the desire to go to college but fall in the academic middle. Perhaps they would be the first in their family to go to college or they don't have access to college prep resources. Through this program, my mom taught middle school students organizational and study skills and helped them to develop long-term plans, both academically and personally. We felt it would make the most sense to grant her scholarship to an AVID student. We're really looking forward to rewarding this scholarship in 2011!

So, I don't usually make pleas for cash on this blog (I could start if you like it! I'm all about making my readers happy, of course.). But if you're thinking about giving this holiday season to some sort of charity, think about giving to the Terri Duterte Memorial Scholarship Fund. She was such an amazing teacher and all-around person. We only hope to further her impact by giving a young person the ability to go to college who may not have had the opportunity to do so otherwise. 

We don't have a fancy website or an easy way to donate online at the moment, but hopefully we can get that going for next year.  For more information about AVID, please visit avid.org.

How to Donate to the Terri Duterte Memorial Scholarship Fund:
Make an easy donation online:

http://www.avid.org/don_donatenow.html


Or to go old school, please mail checks to:
Steven Baratte
Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications
AVID Center
9246 Lightwave Ave.  Ste. 200
San Diego, CA  92123
Checks should be made payable to “AVID Center - Scholarship Fund”. Please be sure to write “Terri Duterte Memorial Scholarship Fund” in the memo field so that the donations are applied appropriately.
I would love to know if you have donated to the scholarship fund. Please let me and my family know by sending us an email to TDMScholarship@gmail.com. We can't thank you enough for your generosity and interest in donating to the Terri Duterte Memorial Scholarship Fund.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Boo-yah! I'm Baking

"It's like candy, you sure are sweet -- sweet! You're so dandy."~ Cameo  

If your holiday baking has been more lackluster than festive and you've been perusing the interwebs for some exciting, new recipes, look no further! Flyrish departs from her typical mama whining, self-deprecation, and attempts at clinging to the semi-hipness of her youth to bring you some yummies for Santa's tummy.

For the last few years, I've given baked goods to extended family or friends who I run into around this time of year. I realize that I'm not very novel with this idea, but I think it's nice to have some affordable (and delish) options for those extra gifts that always seem to arise, whether they're for a teacher, a neighbor, or that random pop tart who shows up at your house on Christmas Eve. Oh yeah. It's always good to be prepared for a pop tart. (Note: I need to write a post about pop tarts and the awesome words/phrases my friends come up with.)

I typically make Caramel Shortbread Squares ( my friend Susan's amazing and easy recipe, see below) and these Peppermint Bark Cookies. But last weekend I baked Persimmon Cookies for the first time and they were a  sweet change of pace. Spicy and festive. A lovely option if you have a bunch of persimmons, which I fortunately had from the abundant orchard of Toby's brother and sister in law. Here's the recipe I used (from allrecipes.com):


Persimmon Cookies (yields about 3 dozen) 

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe persimmons, pureed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup raisins (this yields a very raisin-y cookie; I plan to cut down to 3/4 cup next time)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (I substituted chopped pecans)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  2. Dissolve baking soda in persimmon pulp and set aside.
  3. Sift flour, spices and salt together, set aside.
  4. Cream together butter or margarine and sugar until fluffy, beat in egg and persimmon. Stir in dry ingredients. Stir in nuts and raisins.
  5. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. 


Caramel Shortbread Squares

 Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Another 1/2 cup butter (What? I didn't say this was healthy.)
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 and 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
Directions 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Mix together 2/3 cup butter, 1/4 cup sugar, and flour until evenly crumbly. Press into 9" square baking pan and bake for 20 minutes.
  3. In a saucepan, combine rest of butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk. Bring to a gentle boil and continue to boil for about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove pan from heat and beat mixture vigorously with a wooden spin for about 3 minutes.
  5. Pour over baked crust. Cool until it begins to firm.
  6. Melt chocolate (double boil method is best) and pour over caramel layer.
  7. Chill & cut into squares. It is rich, so smaller is better. I get about 45.
Enjoy! (I will try to remember to take photos for next time.)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Michies Mix: Foolish Friday

"It's Friday, I'm in love" ~ The Cure

I realize I haven't posted about music in a while, so here's a mini mixtape for your listening pleasure. Speaking of, I totally owe someone a mix (since the summer, I'm ashamed) and should be making one for Christmas presents. Here's some of the ish I'm feeling right now -- possibly a preview for some of you mixtape recipients.









Have I mentioned on here how much I adore Esthero? Love. Favorite. And she is finally coming out with another album at the end of the month. Not in time for Christmas (boo hoo), but just in time to start 2011 off with some magic (woo hoo!). While we're all holding our breath, there's this. And this from her archives that I had never heard before. It makes me want to hop into my very own DeLorean and go back to Santa Barbara, circa 1997.

And continuing the theme of reminiscing on college days, this is hilarious and so not mom-ish.("Y'all like Twitter and we like beer!") What? I went to a party school. But I swear I learned more than how to do a keg stand. I can write real good, too.




Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Flyrish 'Fitted: Hanging for the Holly-daze

"Oh by gosh by golly, it's time for mistletoe and holly" ~ Frank Sinatra

  


Cardigan:  Alexander Wang (from several seasons ago, a steal on ebay)
Top:  Madewell
Jeans:  Earnest Sewn
Shoes:  Steve Madden

Last weekend we did a lot of decorating and lounging around the house. It was rainy and chilly out, so it was the right time to pull out some cashmere. I adore this cardigan because it's made of a heavyweight cashmere and keeps me so cozy while still being breathable. Plus, the pockets are perfection. The Madewell top looks like a shrunken sweatshirt and has become one of the easiest choices for lazy days. I've had the jeans for 5 years and I still love them. And the lace-up ankle boots? They're pretty much my favorite pair lately -- a great wedge heel, lightweight, and little bit tomboyish = love.

P.S. Isn't our tree all kinds of pretty?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

23 Months: No Mo' Month Days

"Every day in every way, it's getting better and better; beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy" ~ John Lennon


My fiery, strong-willed, goofy, stubborn yet sensitive Q. You are 23 months old today. This means we've had almost 2 years to get to know each other. From sleepy, suckling newborn to smiley, stationary baby to late-blooming toddler who is becoming very much a little guy-guy (as T would say). From laid-back, roll-with-the-punches young woman to head-spinning, lovesick, lunatic of a mama. My, how we've grown in such a short time.



Recently, T and I cut your hair. Well, we attempted to. T ended up buzzing all of your hair off, while I hyperventilated across the room. We aged you three years with that cut. Suddenly, we lived with this little boy who talked like a baby. I guess we thought you were up to the challenge -- as if your height didn't make it hard enough for you at the playground. But at least now you're a Brad Pitt/Jason Bourne hybrid, making all the girlies swoon.



You're a tough guy. But you're also so tender. Like one of those Sour Patch Kids. Cuddle-time has increased lately, much to my absolute delight. Those are the fleeting moments I know I have to hold tight to. To keep the soft feel of your small, slightly pudgy hands and your warm, doughy scent in my memory. A place to go when I'm not appreciating you enough.

Stop photo-bombing me, Meem!

The holiday season is so much brighter this year, thanks to you. You're in awe of our Christmas tree and make a fuss if the lights aren't plugged in. Last year the presents intrigued you -- mainly the ribbons and the boxes, but this year I know it will be excitement galore. Your face will light up much brighter than our tree when you walk into the living room on Christmas morning. Then you will tear open the wrapping to reveal special surprises. "Mo'?" Yes, there's more.

In a month's time we will be celebrating the big 2 years! I plan to bake you your first chocolate cake. I plan to bring all of your favorite people together. I plan to pat myself on the back and cry and hope for many more birthdays with you healthy, laughing, loving.

But for now, it's your month day, Quincy. The last one I will write about. Happy 23 Month Day!


Thursday, December 02, 2010

A Wee Bit Wishful

For some reason, my holiday wish list this year goes on and on like some Taio Cruz song (I, too, want to celebrate and live my life!). I don't get myself. Santa should be making gifts rain down on Q, not on his Meem. Alas, there are too many pretty, tempting treats out there. Here are a few that make me want to throw my hands up in the air sometimes, saying ay-yo, baby, let's go . . .


RACHEL Rachel Roy
Alexa Chung for Madewell


ShopNastyGal.com  

For holiday entertaining -- West Elm

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cuddles > Crashes

"Hooray hooray, I'm your silver lining" ~ Rilo Kiley

T and I took an extended Thanksgiving weekend even though we stayed in town. It was much-needed. T had been working a ton of overtime in the last couple of months, so on top of feeling like a single mom, I sort of just missed the guy. And Q certainly was ready for a little QT with his daddy. I had visions of us cuddled up by the fire, sipping on our respective bottles. Perhaps a date for Mommy and Daddy. Some fun frolics in the holiday air.

But, lo and behold, the weekend didn't turn out quite as I had envisioned it.

First on the menu, a financial setback. The ramifications of this issue sent my already prickly emotions on overdrive. Let's just say the holidays are not what they used to be for me. Yep. I lost it. All in front of poor Q, too. I went to the darkest place possible. We wouldn't be able to have Christmas. We would be eating rice and beans for every meal. I could no longer shop online on Black Friday! Darkness, I tell you. But then T got everything sorted out and, while we will have to make some adjustments, it won't be quite so bad. He pulled me out of my personal Black Friday hellhole. I think I forgot to mention how thankful I am for him when I wrote my Thanksgiving gratitude list. So, I am grateful that he deals with my insanity and manages to still want to kick it with me sometimes. And then I checked the calendar. Oh. Right. Bloating should follow shortly hereafter.

Then Q kicked off the holiday season with a nasty cold. Not that the cold itself was so terrible. It was more his attitude. Usually he breezes through a cold, blissfully unaware of his snot-coated face. But this time everyone and everything ticked him off. He refused every Thanksgiving goody I threw at him. Including my homemade pumpkin cheesecake. And he basically scowled at every relative who smiled at him. As the weekend progressed, he began to resemble an angry Rudolph.

Then my face broke out. Hello? I am a mother. I am 30-something. Not 13-something. Why does nobody tell us these things about adulthood?

Fortunately, there were some highlights, including an escape to the movies with one of our favorite couples to view Harry Potter 7.1. Q also started calling me "Meem", "Maim" or "Mimi". And there were some scrumptious cuddles by the fire. Plus, we got a gorgeous tree for our first Christmas on Guido. It smells divine up in here. Okay, the weekend wasn't half bad. Dwelling on the bad just makes for better storytelling.



Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mamasay Memories: Random Reminders

"She's gone, oh I, oh I'd better learn how to face it" ~ Hall & Oates

I'm feeling quite list-y lately, so another list seemed right for this here topic. I've also been missing my mom quite a bit now that the holidays are in full swing. In years past, one of my favorite aspects of the holidays was getting to spend more quality time with my family. With my sister who would come home from Vegas or Long Beach. With my dad who always got a tree before everyone else and became a kid again once the Christmas lights went up. With my mom who simply loved this time of year.

Her birthday fell two days before Christmas, but she never really complained about it. She never wanted to throw herself a big party. Her favorite thing to do on her birthday was to read curled up on the couch and then go to a movie and grab a bite to eat with the family. She was someone who didn't need much to entertain her. But she certainly was fun to be around. And oh so cozy. You'll see what I mean with this list of random things that remind me of my Mamasay.


1. Carole King
My mom had a clear, strong singing voice, and she loved Carole King. Whenever I hear one of her songs, I think of my mom and how she had one of those naturally beautiful voices, too.


2. Constant Comment tea
Coziness in a cup.


3. Cinnamon raisin toast
Coziness in a slice. 


4. M&M's
Her simple pleasure.


5. Sigourney Weaver
My mom had a thing for Sigourney. Mostly she just liked saying her name in a sing-song way. Those who knew her know what I mean. She would yell it out randomly. Si-gour-ney Wea-ver!


6. Shirley Maclaine
The Apartment was my mom's favorite movie. My mom thought Shirley was the coolest.


7. Meet Me in St. Louis
If this movie was on, she couldn't pass it up.



8. Hall & Oates
We listened to that album a lot in my house when I was a wee one. My Sis-O sang "Maneater" at 2. Yeah, all that stuff about apples staying close to the trees they fall off of is true.


9. Lifetime movies
Our shared guilty pleasure. They actually used to be Monday night movies on basic network channels, but then that delicious trash moved to Lifetime. Like that one about the Stolpa's who got stuck in the snow. I'll stop here before I offend someone. And date myself even more.

And I'm stopping at 9 because whenever she wanted to exaggerate slightly, she would use the number 9. As in "you already told me 9 times." So, I guess the number 9 is really my 10th random reminder, but we'll just pretend there are 9 for her sake. It was her go-to number.



I miss you, Mamasay.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Gratitude List

"Thanksgiving is a special night. Jimmy Walker used to say Dynomite" ~ Adam Sandler

I know, I know. How novel of me to talk about being grateful on Thanksgiving week. Well, it's been a while since I've written a gratitude list, so I thought it apropos to create one at this time of year when we celebrate all things turkey. Or Tofurkey for me and mine.



1. Yes, I'll say it. I'm grafeful for Tofurkey. T and I actually enjoy it. Q enjoys the stuffing inside. We had our own Tofurkey Day on Saturday. Since we don't want to shame my Filipino family on the actual holiday.

2. I'm thankful that my mom and dad created a Thanksgiving song. One year they woke up on Thanksgiving and thought, hey, why doesn't Thanksgiving have any songs? So they made one up (this was pre-Adam Sandler, obviously). The lyrics are as follows:

Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!
We're going to have Thanksgiving!

I wake up on Thanksgiving every year and it's like I can hear my mom's voice singing that silly song. Now I have a Thanksgiving song to pass on to Q. And to all of you! You're welcome.

3. I'm grateful for the woman at the checkout stand who said that Q looks just like me but with blue eyes. It was a special moment. See? I'm not the nanny!

4. I'm thankful for our fireplaces. That's right. Two fireplaces! The ultimate in cozy ambiance for the holidays. I can't wait to sit by the roaring fire on Christmas morning. Or tonight for that matter. Because I can. You rule, Guido.


5. I'm grateful that more of my lovely friends are getting knocked up. Oh, the understanding they will soon possess. And the playdates that are more for us than for the little ones!

6.  I'm thankful for Giada de Laurentiis and her even-I-can-make-them recipes. I made her cranberry cornmeal cake with caramel sauce this weekend that turned out to be oh so yummy. Such a festive dessert for the season, too. It wasn't quite as moist as I had hoped, but it's something to work on. Totally my bad and not Giada's.

7. I'm grateful that I finally purchased my very own domain name. One that is more in tune with the actual title of this blog. Welcome to flyrishfoibles.com.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Birthday Brouhahas

You know it doesn't make much sense, there ought to be a law against anyone who takes offense at a day in your celebration" ~ Stevie Wonder

So, I have a couple of birthday parties to plan in the next few months. Two very different parties for two very important people in my life. Fact: I am not great at event planning. Fact: I wish I was better at it. Fact: Because I love a good party. I think this final fact is the reason I volunteer to host them . I have grand dreams of throwing a perfectly fabulous gathering in which every guest is glowing with utter enjoyment. Perfect food. Perfect decor. Perfect music. The perfect blend of a relaxed yet fun atmosphere. But then I get bogged down in the details and become so stressed out that I'm whimpering to T about napkin options. And then I proceed to lower my party planning expectations. And I'm like, let's just do something that doesn't require me having an anxiety attack.


Party #1: Q's 2nd Birthday

He turns 2 in early January, and I feel for the poor guy because I'm already like, ugh, so soon after the holidays? We're hosting Christmas Eve for the first time this year (I know), and only a couple of weeks later I'll have to whip up some sort of fiesta for a guy who likely won't remember it. His 1st birthday was . . . hmm, how should I put this? A clusterf@#%. We had just moved into Guido, so we had a combined housewarming/1st birthday celebration. We rushed to unpack and organize in time for the party, and let's just say by the time party day rolled around I was a bit tuckered out. I have a large extended family. I felt terrible when I realized that I had somehow forgotten to invite a few family members and family friends. Yet we still hosted around 50 people. I also forgot to take a family photo on that day. For shame! Not surprisingly, I want to keep things simple and small this time around. Something we can relax and enjoy as a family. Without feeling guilty for not concocting some uniquely-themed blowout.

Q's 1st birthday: Poppa delivers the 1st cupcake


Party #2: Sis-O's 30th Birthday


My Sis-O (D) turns 30 in February. D lives in Vegas and wants to keep the festivities in town. Oh, what ever will we do in that humdrum place? This party will not be in my home. This party will require an awaycation. This party will consist of grownup games. The extent of my hosting will be picking up the table service tab. Is it wrong to be a wee bit more excited for this one?


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Flyrish 'Fitted and the Benefits of Beautifying

"Fish in the sea you know how I feel, River running free you know how I feel, Blossom on the tree you know how I feel" ~ Nina Simone


Here's another one inspired by GGC. It was an unseasonably warm Saturday in November, but I refuse to let the weather completely dictate my fashion -- I still like to dress according to season. Which I know is kind of ridiculous in California since we don't have real seasons. But bear with me, people.
Welcome to my bar

Dress: H&M (only $5 on sale last year!)
Cardigan: Madewell (in love/obsessed with this brand lately; it's hard to see the details on the cardigan, but they are great -- like gunmetal stud buttons)
Leggings: Forever 21
Boots: BC Footwear
Boombox necklace: Rachel by Rachel Roy (my favorite, a gift from T)



Other things of note:
I trimmed my own bangs for the first time. Yay me! I did a decent job, which is pretty shocking. Decent but not perfect. That's okay. It was my first time. I'm just proud that I didn't cut off all of my lashes or jab my eyeballs out. 

Also, I treated myself on Friday to some waxing and makeup at Benefit. One of my besties works there as an esthetician and she is amazing. I love visiting her. One of the goodies I picked up was That Gal. I forgot how in-freakin-credible that stuff is. It's this brightening face primer and it makes you look more awake, healthier, fresher, smoother, dewy-but-not-shiny, smarter and more interesting! Okay, I don't know about the last two, but it's seriously impressive. And I'm not getting paid to say this either. If I was, that would be silly because, ooh, look, 20 more people now know about this product. Not worth it.

Anyway. Fun beauty weekend for mama. And I'm feeling good like Nina Simone.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My So-Called Stained Life

"I always feel like somebody's watching me" ~ Rockwell

Every day it stares me in the face. It mocks me with its splotches and marks and imperfections. It follows me into almost every room. And even when it doesn't follow me, it never leaves. I can see it out of the corner of my eye. I can feel its presence. It lies in wait. And sooner or later, it is underfoot once again.


When we first saw Guido, I felt deep in my heart that it was the house for us. I knew when I looked at the website. I got that fluttery, warm excitement you feel when you first fall hard for someone -- or something. And in person it was even more incredible. Our dream house. One aspect was not ideal but it was not a deal-breaker for us -- the wall-to-wall carpet. Ecru-hued berber carpet. In fact, at the time I figured it was perfect for Q to learn how to crawl and then walk. He could take some tumbles and the carpet wouldn't be too painful for him. Heck, I grew up in a carpeted home. It was cozy to me. Hardwood floors were beautiful, but they were, well, hard. And my big-headed baby could use a little extra padding in life. What I didn't anticipate was just how quickly the stains would build up. Seriously, I see a new stain everyday. And we don't wear shoes around the house! But, we do have a toddler who tends to hide bits of food in the crevices of his fingers and toes. We do eat in the family room sometimes. We're not as anal as we should be about it. I try not to let it bother me. But I do feel ashamed that we have been in the house for only 10 months, and this brand new carpet looks 5 years old.

Creepy!


I tell myself that we'll do something about this mess once we're done with toddlers. But then I'm sure older kids can be just as stain-producing. T thinks the answer is to buy our own steam cleaner. Maybe he's right. Maybe one day we'll change the flooring. Maybe we'll just move the furniture around to hide the stains. Like the other day when I flipped the couch cushions over. Voila!

But in the meantime, this marred carpet has become more of a mirror than a floor. Revealing my flaws, reveling in my foibles. It reminds me on regular basis that I'm not one of those Martha Stewart types. That I may never be a domestic goddess. That I could be a better mom. That I'm lazy. That my work ethic needs some working on. That I don't deserve certain luxuries. That I'm riddled with Catholic guilt. Stop talking to me, dirty carpet! Your stains are like tiny daggers to my soul! Or like the uncut nails of a certain toddler on my arm.

But really, I don't want to be like Martha. That's not me. If my carpet is a window to my soul, then you'll see who I am next time you come over. Just look down. I have some scars. I have some sunspots. Sometimes I conceal. Sometimes I don't. I try to be my best self. And sometimes I don't. Real talk.



Monday, November 08, 2010

22 Months: Two More Months Till . . .

"A present from you -- strawberry letter 22" ~ Shuggie Otis


Hello, my love. It's your mama again. I know I've been complaining a lot lately about how challenging you are, and I realize I'm not shedding the best light on my baby. You see, I come here to vent and write through the tough times. But really, you give me the best of times. 22 months of beautiful memories and more made every day. I can't tell you how grateful I am. Just look at how you radiate warmth, shooting sparklers from your denim blue eyes. You have always been my sunshine baby, and you always will be. Even though you are becoming more of a little boy and less of a baby with every passing minute.




Your vocabulary expands with your ever-lengthening body. Less baby chub and more words. As the holidays quickly approach, I'm excited to hear what festive words you will embrace. You already call out to the mini "punks" on our table -- AKA pumpkins. You still love to play chase and hide and seek, and when your chaser is nowhere to be found, you throw out your hands and ask, "Go?" Your daddy calls you the master of the one syllable sentence. But I know it won't be long until  full-fledged sentences come spewing out like today's drool and we can't get you to shut that toothy mouth of yours.

Pensive (G)Q



I can't help thinking that in only 2 more months you will be 2 years old. My heart hurts just a little to say bye-bye to your babyhood. But I'm also so excited to watch you grow and learn. To help you grow out of your aggression. To watch you make friends. To hear you find your voice. But for now, I promise to be more patient with you.

When you're not beating me to a bloody pulp, you are my sweet boy. The other night we cuddled and watched some of Fried Green Tomatoes together -- a movie I used to watch with your Gram (my Mamasay). She passed on her love of literature and movies set in the South to me. Maybe I'm passing that on to you, too. You called out "choo choo" when the train went by the Whistle Stop Cafe. I melted and inhaled your sourdough smell. In the moment and loving it.

Quincy, it's your 22 month day (well, yesterday actually, but later is sometimes greater). Happy 22 months, Quincy!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

415 For Life

"When the lights go down in the city, and the sun shines on the bay, oh I want to be there in my city" ~ Journey

San Francisco, how I love thee! Your denizens may consider me "bridge and tunnel" now that I live and love in Oakland*, but you will always be my first love. My first urban love, anyway. I can't think of anything more appropriate for my 100th blog post. It's a celebration, b!tche$!

Sometimes I forget how much San Francisco means to me. But the sheer euphoria and energy in this beautiful city this week hit refresh in my brain. I admit that I'm not the biggest baseball fan, but I've always had love for the Giants. When both of your parents grew up in SF with a fierce loyalty to their hometowns and its teams, it's only natural that you would follow suit. My great grandparents on my mom's side came here from Ireland and instantly fell in love with the city. My Poppa (great grandpa) was a cable car conductor. How much more San Francisco can you get! My Gram (mom's mom), who I tend to channel from time to time, loved everything about San Francisco and always had the game on her TV and on her radio. And my Papalut (dad's dad) moved here from the Philippines in 1951 and developed a deep love for the Giants and the Niners, which of course trickled down to his six kids. I mean, it's in my blood. Red and gold blood. Orange and black blood. So, you can't really call me a bandwagon fan. I've been here for years.



I have awesome memories of when the Niners won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1988 and 1989, and we would all be watching at Papalut's house. When they won, we piled into my aunt's convertible VW Bug and drove around high-fiving everyone on the street. Now, 20+ years later, I get to share this joy of an SF victory with Q. The Giants are the World Series Champions! Really! We're not dreaming!
I took Q to the Giants victory parade, and it was one of the most amazing events I've ever witnessed in SF. We were lucky enough to watch from a friend's office high above the crowd. Q got caught up in the mood and yelled and waved his orange pom-pom and cheered along with us. He had no clue what he was witnessing, but the revelry was contagious.

T is all about Oakland teams since that's where he grew up, so I figure Q will want to be like Daddy and root for the A's and Raiders some day. But I won't hesitate to remind him that SF is in his blood. That when he was just a wee thing, the Giants made our collective hearts burst. That San Francisco united in feeling like, at this memorable moment, we ruled the world of baseball. That what we had known all along -- that our city was the best place to be -- was proven to the rest of the world.

You've really got a hold on me, San Francisco. No matter where I go, you're always with me. And I have the Giants to thank for reminding me not to take you for granted.

*Don't you fret, Oaktown. Your love letter is coming soon  . . .

Thursday, November 04, 2010

D to the I to the SCIPLINE

"Don't need a man that'll treat you funny, you need a man with sensitivity" ~ Ralph Tresvant


So, I'm thinking I need to hit the books again. A little brushing up on this child-rearing stuff, if you will. I had two to three baby books on my nightstand at a time in Q's early months. So many questions, so many books. Crusty eyes? Let me look that up. And now for a little cross-referencing. Ah, yes, it seems to be normal. Those books were my saviors. I'm not the type of mom who feels comfortable calling the pediatrician for every little concern. I don't want to be that parent. Perhaps it's to my detriment at times. But so far so good. (Great. I'm so jinxing myself and my child.)


At this juncture in Q's life, I'm less concerned with a little rash here or a bump there. It's more in the vein of "am I completely ruining any chance at my son being a well-adjusted kid?" I don't know if Q's pediatrician can really answer that question. And for some reason, I've taken a break from relying on books. Of course his health is my first priority, but I've realized that he's a pretty tough guy. So tough, in fact, that he hurts me on a daily basis. What? I've never mentioned that before? And amazingly, despite how much I complain, I can live with scratched up arms and bitten thighs. But he needs to learn that this is not acceptable behavior when interacting with others. We're trying to be consistent with explaining that it's not okay to hit/scratch/bite/pinch, to be gentle, to high five and hug instead. To be a little more Ralph and a little less Bart. We've tried timeouts, which last a whopping 30 seconds and which seem to make no impression on him as he claws his way out of the corner. This has been going on for a couple of months now. I don't know if I'm just being impatient with his ability to process all of this "discipline," but I need to rally the troops. I need my trusty nightstand companions again.

A couple of books have been recommended to me recently. One is the series by Louise Bates Ames with a book specific to every age (such as Your Two-Year-Old: Terrible or Tender). My only concern with that series is it seems pretty dated as it was written in 1980, but a friend said wonderful things about it. Another  book is How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. They are sitting in my Amazon shopping cart as we speak. But I figured I might as well survey any of you lovely readers who may have come across a stellar book. A book that will turn me into a parent who can turn my child into a sensitive, empathetic creature. Are any of you familiar with the aforementioned books? Or do you recommend others? I will build a library of these books if need be. A tower next to my bed. Books make me feel more capable. And it's all about confidence in your own abilities in the end, isn't it?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Half-Assed Halloween

 "Anything can happen on Halloween . . . your sister could turn into a bat" ~ Tim Curry

Happy All Hallow's Eve, folks. I can't believe it's already the last day of October. We were supposed to take Q to the pumpkin patch, weren't we? We were supposed to carve pumpkins, me thinks. We were supposed to make a creative and uber-cute costume for our little monster. Well, with T working a ton of overtime and me working two full-time jobs (Q definitely qualifies as full-time), these traditional Halloween rituals sort of fell to the wayside. I know, excuses. I admit that Halloween has never been my favorite holiday. I do love scary movies and I'm never one to pass on a "fun size" candy bar, but we've established here before that I'm not crafty and I think Halloween is all about flashing your crafty side.

Instead, Q will don a generic Darth Vader costume that's a size too small, with a hat he refuses to keep on. We're sort of trying to put a creative spin on it by making him MC Vader, but so far he's not digging the gold chains either. We're taking him to a party with our friends. Fortunately, he thinks they're all there for his amusement.



I wish I had more motivation to make this a fun holiday for Q. I tell myself he won't really remember this Halloween anyway. There's always next year, right? To become a better parent, I mean.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mamasay Memories: Girly Fun

"Oh, girls just wanna have fu-un" ~ Cyndi Lauper

I miss my mom in countless ways. I really could go and on listing all of the things I miss about her. She was the perfect mom for me and my sister. Truly. Nothing and no one can fill the enormous hole her passing has left in my life. But as the song goes, I get by with a little help from my friends.


I figure a nice way to keep her thriving in spirit is to share memories from time to time. I understand that people feel uncomfortable broaching the subject of my mom for fear of upsetting me. But I love to talk about her. It's not painful for me on most days, and if it's hard to talk about, I will tell you. And if I end up crying a bit, that's okay too. She was such a positive force in my life and in the lives of all she encountered, it brings me more joy than sorrow to remember her. The sheer number of people who attended her viewing blew me away, but it revealed how loved she was and what a positive impact she had made. And that I wasn't just a biased daughter who thought the sun shone out of her mom's ass eyes.


One of the things I miss most about my mom? We used to have this time together we called "girly fun." It probably started when I was in middle school. I was having friend drama, feeling so uncool and worthless -- as we all do at that age -- and she kept me sane. Not only sane, she kept me smiling. The name "girly fun" is somewhat misleading because we didn't do a spa day or go shopping or do each other's hair and makeup. We did that stuff sometimes too, but our girly fun was simpler. We would just curl up in my bed and gossip and talk and vent and giggle. I'm sure I did the majority of the venting, but, boy, did we love to talk! My dad would peak into my room on occasion and ask what we were doing, and we would say, in unison, "We're having girly fun," and crack ourselves right up. He would roll his eyes and move on. But it was the best. The best! We had these moments throughout high school, when I'd come home on breaks from college, and even in her last years when she was sick. I would crawl into bed with her. We would talk and talk and then take a nap together.


I hope I can always have that sort of cozy, safe time with Q and with his future sibling (no, I'm not pregnant -- but if things go as planned, he will one day have a sibling). Not girly fun necessarily, but just that sense of security and warmth. Cozy fun maybe? Of all the lovely gifts my mom had given me, girly fun was one of the best. And it's one I'd love to pass on.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Darling Decals

"They come, they come to build a wall between us" ~ Crowded House

So, remember back when I was complaining about the lackluster walls at Guido? Yeah, still haven't done anything about them. I'm very indecisive when it comes to displaying art. And when it comes to just about everything else, but that's besides the point.


I've been perusing Etsy for wall art again and came across these cool wall decals. Has anyone tried them before? I've never seen anything like them in person, which makes the idea of them all the more appealing. They're supposed to look like they were stenciled and painted onto the wall, but really it's just a matte vinyl. And apparently they're easy to remove. That's where I get skeptical. Anyway, I like!


Here are a few that I'm considering.


Cute for Q's room, yes?
From WowWall



For our family room or living room, which both have very tall ceilings so there is a ton of wall space. You can select the color of the tree and one or two shades for the blossoms.

From walldecors

These starbursts would be perfectly mod and dreamy in our bedroom.

From urbanwalls

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Flyrish 'Fit

"You know my steez" ~ Gangstarr


I'm going to try something new on my blog. Most of you already know that I love clothes and shoes and all things fashion. But the world of fashion bloggers can be very intimidating. I adore looking at their editorial photos, their expert mix of high/low fashion, and their youthful glow, but at this point in my life, I don't think I have the time, energy, photographer boyfriend, lack of under-eye circles, or, more importantly, standout style to ever count myself as one of them. Anyway, I have no problem writing about fashion. It's revealing photos of myself in my clothes that makes me feel, well, silly.

But I have been inspired by one of my favorite bloggers to post an outfit that I feel is representative of my uniquely Flyrish brand of style. Now, I don't know how unique I really am since I do love to follow a good trend now and again. I'd like to think that I'm not a slave to fashion, but I always want to be current or a step ahead if possible, yet find what works for me. Or what I think works for me. I mean, I know I am far from a model when I'm 5'3" on a good day, can't smize for the life of me, and my clothes are often accessorized with Q-inflicted stains. Sheesh, can you tell that I'm not in my comfort zone?

Anyway. Let's break out of my blog's comfortable bubble.



I wore this to a friend's birthday party. The dress was a great find at H&M -- my go-to store for trendy-yet-versatile items on the cheap. The boots are from Aldo and the tights are Urban Outfitters. The fish charm necklace is vintage and the long necklace (added later) was made by my dear friend Lisa, designer of Piecemaker Jewelry. Love her stuff to pieces.


Also, fresh haircut and color! Getting used to bangs all over again is somehow not as easy as it seems. I want to try styling my hair in messy bob fashion a la Alexa Chung. Such a mom-friendly style but not mom hair. And that, my friends, is the gist of my style lately. Trying to be chic and not look like the stereotypical mom while still being comfortable. I don't always succeed, but I try.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Major Mom Moment

"We are young, heartache to heartache we stand, no promises, no demands, love is a battlefield" ~ Pat Benatar

How do you know you're the world's best mom?

When you have been too lazy to fully childproof your bathroom and your toddler grabs an eye pencil sharpener from your drawer, proceeds to slice his finger on it, and then bleeds all over the house. All over several of his toys. All over the cream carpet. And you realize how long he was bleeding while you were on the computer, as throughout the day you discover more blood stains. Serious award-winning mom stuff right there.

I thought about taking pictures of the bloody toys, but I don't want to frighten people off. I must cling desperately to my 20 followers. Although it would be kind of apropos for this time of year. Toddler Frightfest 2010! Blood-smeared dumptrucks! Blood-stained stacking cups!

The best part about it all is that Q kept running over to where I was sitting, grabbing my hand, and bringing me over to show me the toys. All the while doing this strange laugh and saying, "No, no, no." He's a mischievous, little imp, that one. He also hates wearing a band-aid.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Q's Crowning Glory: Our Birth Story, Part 2 of 2

For Part 1, please go here

"And it burns, burns, burns, the ring of fire . .. the ring of fire" ~ Johnny Cash

January 7th, 2009; 9:55pm:
Dr. Grossman:        Okay, you are fully dilated and we're ready to start pushing!


Me:            Thank God!

Felicia:       You're going to need to hold your legs up.

Me:            Seriously? I can't stop shaking.

Dr. Grossman:    That's perfectly normal. You can do this.


I am flanked by T and Felicia. Everyone is ready to go. Especially our little guy. Biggest deep breath I've ever inhaled and now to hold and push . . .

10:08pm:
My body is burning up, but the real fire is centered all in one place. Guess where! The world around me goes fuzzy.


Dr. Grossman:       Here comes the head! You're doing great. Do you want to feel it? We can get a mirror, too.

Me:            Um . . . um, okay. I don't want to see it, though!

Felicia:       You should look at this, Toby!

I am in the most surreal place as I reach down to feel my almost-born baby crowning. My legs trembling, breath ragged. I touch the head for an instant, wanting to deliver this baby already. The feel hardly registers. I want to see this baby and hold this baby, not feel its head! I start pushing again. I did not know I could push with such intensity. Then I swear I hear a thud from Toby's jaw hitting the floor as our son's head fully emerges.

10:15pm:
Dr. Grossman:      One more big push, Micheline.

Me:           Hhhuuuuuuuuggggghhhhh

Felicia:       So good, almost there! He's coming!

Dr. Grossman:       Here he comes! He's a big, healthy boy!

[the incredible sound of our baby crying softly]

Toby:        Oh my god.

Me:          [whimpering] [laughing] [whimpering]

Felicia:      Did you want to cut the cord, Toby?

Toby cuts the cord and they place him right on my chest. I am in another world. I can't believe I am finally holding my little boy. My whole body is still trembling. A combination of adrenaline and overwhelmed emotions. He is looking up at me, searching for me. Searching for comfort and nourishment. The golden light in the room reveals the warm accents in his hair. I can already see some of his daddy in him. Toby clasps my arm and bends close to me as we gaze at him in wonder. Were you really just inside me, little guy?

Before we know it, our newborn is whisked off to be cleaned and measured and weighed. Toby gets to watch everything and look at our boy from every angle. I get to deliver the placenta. Our baby sucks on Toby's finger. I get stitches from some minor tearing. I am still overflowing with adrenaline. I am overjoyed. We did it! He's here! My body is exhausted, but I am very awake. I can't believe it happened so quickly. And I did it. I am so proud of myself.

He is 8 pounds, 3 ounces. I was the exact same weight when I was born. He is 21.5 inches long. He is tall! And everything looks normal. He is healthy. I breathe the biggest sigh I have ever breathed.

10:25pm:


My parents come in as I am nursing our son for the first time. It is amazing. Completely unreal. My mom can't hold back her tears. Nor can I. We talk about his hair. How beautiful and perfect he is.

Me:         He looks like Toby, right?

Mom:      He really does!

Dad:        Does he have a name yet?

We say we have narrowed it down to a couple of possibilities, but we're not sure yet. Maybe we'll sleep on it.

Felicia hangs around to see that I'm doing okay with breastfeeding. I'm getting the hang of it. We thank her -- not enough, there's just no way to express how much she has helped us. She has ushered us into the world of parenthood in the most peaceful way imaginable.

January 8th, 2009:


Our boy's first day of life has been dreamlike. He has slept a lot. His temperature is always on the cool side when they come to take his vitals. We cuddle skin-to-skin. We decide that this baby needs a name that reflects just how cool he is. Kye is my cousin's name and the first person who responded when I texted that our little guy had arrived. He was meant to have his name. Toby sends off an email announcement with Q's first photo.



Welcome to the world, Quincy Kye! Please be good to your parents -- they're new to this game and are figuring it out as they go along. Try not to beat them up too much, and they promise to only pummel you with kisses and love.