Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Zoe, You're 1 of a Kind!

"I love you, baby, trust in me when I say it's okay" ~ Lauryn Hill

I refuse to believe that today is the day. That you have been in my life for an entire year already. For only a year now. Forever and hardly at all. My heart aches more than expected because you are very nearly a toddler. Your infancy has cruised right out the front door. You are becoming more and more your own independent lady. Which probably seems ridiculous to most at only one year old. Just 12 months. But I'm already starting to see the ways in which you will go your own way.





















Along with cutting a few teeth, you've amassed an impressive amount of accomplishments in the last 12 months. You love to eat and get pretty worked up when you see me eating something that I'm not sharing with you immediately. You know how to sign "more" and even attempt to say it on occasion, but you'd rather bellyache your way into getting more. You have a few good words under your belt and try to say Elroy ("elyelyelyel"), which is most awesome. You crawl and climb and cruise and downward dog and are way more mobile than your brother was at this age, so I'm constantly in awe and in a state of panic.


While you have yet to grow much hair, the hair you do have looks like spun gold. I'm sure you find it amusing when I attempt to fasten a clip to those tiny strands, but just bear with me. I'm not one for those poufy headbands. Also, how the heck did I get another golden-haired child? Dominant traits, schmominant traits. Your bright hazel eyes are filled with so much wonder and you watch and mimic and watch some more. It's incredible to witness your daily discoveries.

It's tough to not be with you for the majority of most days. Sometimes I feel sick about it, and your clingy-ness when I'm home fills me with an odd blend of guilt and gratefulness. I was very lucky to have spent so much QT with Q in his first year. We had plenty of time to bond. But I'm just glad that you want to be close to me when I am home. Even if it can get challenging. Even when you shriek and cry giant crocodile tears when I leave the room just for a moment.

But as you grow older, you grow more confident in your abilities. You leave the bedroom we're in to tackle the staircase. You head into the dark bathroom and straight to Elroy's litter box. Oh yes, you keep me on my strangely flexible toes (which of course you've inherited). You splash and explore in the bathtub and the kiddie pool without fear. You want to do whatever your big brother is doing, despite him pushing you out of his way repeatedly. You read yourself books and "talk on the phone" with whatever is handy.



Thank you for making the last year so beautiful, my little ZoZo. It's hard to imagine life without you and I look forward to many more years of celebrating your special day. I love you more with every moment.

Zoe, it's your 1st birthday. Happy Birthday, Zoe!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

ZZ To The Top: Zoe's 11 Month Day

"You've got to move, you've got to move"~ Santogold

Hello Zo Zo! It's been a while since I've written you from this venue. Let's just say I've let life catch up to me. Sorry for skipping the big 10 month day post-- you know that we still celebrated in our own silly way. And life keeps speeding by and you're 11 months old now. What the what?!

So a lot has happened in the past couple of months. Not only do you crawl now like your tiny booty is on fire, but you're pulling up to standing on the regular. You've gone ahead and made like Tom and started cruising around a bit. You're so proud of yourself, and your dad and I are proud too. As if we have something to do with these milestones. 

I like to think that your first word was "mama" or "mum mum mum" but that's apparently up for debate. You also say "go go go" as we run around with wands playing Harry Potter with Q. You may have said "daddy" once or twice. And in the past few days you've started saying "ball" in a ridiculously adorable voice. 


You're a champion eater and are thrilled to finally be partaking in all of our family meals. You prefer feeding yourself, grabbing the spoon after being fed a couple of bites, so we typically give you lots of finger foods. Favorites include peas, carrots, zucchini, blueberries, TJ's O's, avocado, rice and black beans. You do not like bananas and are still considering cheese and yogurt. You still nurse or drink a bottle of breastmilk 4-5 times a day, but those teeny sharp teeth can hurt something fierce when you clamp down. Which reminds me, you now have three teeth and I think the fourth is not far behind.

I'm having such a blast watching you grow and your face light up as you discover something new that thrills you. You're so very observant, always watching the world with interest. Always watching your brother go wild. Loving his goofiness and not loving the way he snatches toys out of your hands. You, Daddy and Q kick off the evening regularly with dance parties, which you adore. You kick your legs and throw one of your hands up. I love walking in from work and joining the festivities. Keep dancing, baby girl! I promise not to be one of those scary stage moms.

You're 11 months old today. Just one more month until you're a year old. No need to rush through these last days of monthdom. Happy 11 month day, Zoe! I love your face, your toes, your arms, your scent, your barely-there hair, your voice, your laugh . . . well, every bit of you.


Friday, July 06, 2012

Up, Down, All Around Madness

"Upside down, boy, you turn me inside out and round and round"~ Diana Ross

Hello! Yes, I'm still alive. Just barely. It's been almost a month since I've posted and I realize that's kind of ridiculous. Mostly it's ridiculous for me to expect anyone to read this barely breathing blog. But here we are. Or I am. Anyway.



I've tried to post recently. I wanted to write about the month I took-- or planned to take-- off from sugar. But let's just make it a very short story -- I failed after a couple of weeks. I've wanted to write about the ups and downs of Q and Z over the last few weeks. The challenges and joys. The tears, the fears, the hopes, the mania. But I've been so exhausted-- mostly it's mental and emotional exhaustion. And finding the energy to write outside of work has been daunting. But I miss it. 

So I will try to write a general recap of the last month. The highs and lows.

Highs:

- I took Q to his first movie in a theater to see Brave with his Poppa. It was awesome to experience it through his eyes. We got popcorn and M&M's, which I think were more exciting to him than the movie itself. And after the preview and the animated short (which I preferred to Brave), he only lasted about 20 minutes in and fell into a deep sleep that we had to wake him from to leave. Still, it was great. 

 - Z is on the move! Over the last week I've watched her go from frustrated attempts at crawling forward only to end up in reverse to full-on crawling across the room. She's not moving too quickly yet, which I'm trying to cherish, but it is all kinds of adorable. Q barely crawled and it wasn't until he was 13 months, so this feels very novel. 

- I'm in the process of transitioning from a contractor position to a full time hire with promotion, which is great but also a bit stressful. Still, I'm looking forward to some of the perks that full time employment affords!

- Q is making incredible progress with his speech. His sentences have grown more complex and his pronoun usage has become more accurate than not. I'm impressed on a daily basis lately by his growth. Speech therapy is pricey but so worth it.



Joy ride
Lows:

- Q has regressed some as far as aggression toward his sister and other kids. He's had a hard time at summer school. I'd like to write more in depth about this because it really deserves its own post, but I realize that he needs some extra love and attention right now. Which is tough when I'm working so much, which leads me to . . .

- Working mom guilt. Sucks mightily. I miss my little loves and I feel like I'm missing out. And maybe they're suffering for it? I don't know.

- T and I desperately need a date night. Can someone plan a date for us and arrange for sitters? Yes, we need more than one sitter. Unless it's our nanny. She's amazing. But I hate to ask her to be here more than she already is. 


They both had ear infections here, but they were lil troopers.
More than anything, I'm looking forward to our little getaway in a couple of weeks. I don't know that I've ever needed a change of scenery and some relaxation more. I'm hoping it will also refresh my brain. Going to the mountains, breathing in the clean air, going offline completely. Even though it's never easy vacationing with the littles, I've promised myself that I will not stress. I will find a way to truly take it easy and let things roll off my back. Counting down . . .


Monday, June 11, 2012

Cloud Nine: Zoe's 9 Month Day

"You strange as angels dancing in the deepest oceans, twisting in the water, you're just like a dream" ~ The Cure

Oh, it's fine being nine. I guess I can deal with it. With the clapping and the nonsensical chatting and the utter cuteness. I wish I could make more time to soak up this month. Never enough hours in the day to cuddle and giggle and sniff. We only have an hour or two at most when I come home from work before you go to bed and it's just not fair. 'Tis the life of a working mama.


video 

You have such a personality, Zo Zo. You're silly and opinionated and affectionate. You're curious and fun-loving and very vocal. You're flirty and confident in Mama's arms, but you're not so sure when out of them. You adore your brother but need your space too. You want to crawl but get very frustrated with not being able to do it, like, now. I'm not going to push the crawling. I'm just going to appreciate the calm before the storm.


You just got over your bajillionth cold and are in such a better mood for it. I wish I could keep the illness at bay and keep you smiling. Those two bottom teeth are like sweet little pearls. Must capture them on film! But you're going to be one tough cookie by the time you hit preschool. At least that's what I keep telling myself.

I love you at nine months and at every month. Happy 9 Month Day, Zoe!


Thursday, May 31, 2012

TobdogodboT

"I want to thank you for letting me be myself, again" ~ Sly and the Family Stone 

Tomorrow is T's birthday. I never feel like I do enough for this man of mine on special occasions. And of course this year I've been particularly preoccupied. But I have been thinking about his birthday a lot and hemming and hawing over his gift. I ended up telling him that I was indecisive about it and that I'd let him make the decision on his birthday. So . . . surprise? Ugh, I suck at this. I think it's because I want to get him something kind of extravagant and unnecessary, but then I know there are more practical things he actually wants for the house. We just decided to hire someone to do some work on our side yard (lingering French drain issues, to make a long story short), and I was like, "Happy Birthday!" I was kidding. Anyway, he gets to choose his gift tomorrow. 

In the meantime, I'd like to thank him for growing old older with me. For bearing with my moods. For making me laugh. For sharing in the goofiness. For supporting me as I figure out this career path. For being so generous with his love. For blessing me with these little beauties.


First thing in the morning. Don't they look sniffable?


And for staying by my side. I can't really ask for much more in life. 

Lub, oil and filter forever, Tobdad. Happy Freakin' Birthday!



Thursday, May 24, 2012

To Do's and To Don'ts

"Let's chill, let's settle down"~ Guy

Lately overwhelmed is the key word for my life. I work like a mad [wo]man for 8 hours straight, barely taking the time to wolf down some lunch, and then I come home, feed my family, inhale some dinner, play with my babies, put them to bed, and do some more work. I might fold some laundry or do a few dishes before bed. Downtime is hard to come by. Blogging time, even harder. But I miss it. I miss the life musings and the venting and the laughing at myself and the time to reflect. I miss reading other blogs and connecting with other mamas. I miss the release.

I've also begun to experience the inevitable guilt that seeps under your skin as you spend more time away from your family. For some reason, it was unexpected this time. That prickly sensation just beneath the surface slowly trickling into my heart. Creating teeny hairline fractures chipping away gradually. I thought I was meant to be a working mom. I am meant to be a working mom. But the transition to working at home half the time to working outside of the home most of the time has proven tougher than I could have anticipated. Working part time is ideal, I think, especially when you have really little ones. At the same time, I feel deep down, past all of that liquid-y guilt, that this is what I'm meant to do. To be outside of the home so that I can be a better mom when I'm inside of the home. To foster a career that I'm passionate about. To be that example to my kids that we should pursue our passions in life. I'm doing something creative and it feels wonderful to reignite that part of my brain.

But some days I feel like margarine spread ever so thinly over a piece of a lukewarm toast. Today was one of those days. A day of not good enough. I beat myself up more than I should have, cried a little, and then poured myself a glass of wine. I asked myself if I was doing the right thing for my family, the right thing for me. And I knew that I was. It's not easy, though. Why is it that when we have so many blessings right in front of us it feels like they're just out of reach?

That's why I'm very grateful for the long weekend ahead. It came just in time. Maybe I'll actually potty train Q this weekend. Maybe I'll figure out how he's getting home from summer school every day. Maybe I'll plan some ways to incorporate more of his speech therapy at home. Maybe I'll teach Z to clap. Maybe I'll teach her to sign. Maybe I'll pack up some of the clothes she's outgrown and donate them.

Or maybe I'll just find some time to enjoy my family without all of the pressure. Perhaps this is one of those times that knowing what not to do is better than trying to cross another item off of the To Do list. Perhaps doing it all is not all it's cracked up to be.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Eight is Enough: Zoe's 8 Month Day

"Slow down, baby..."~ Mary J. Blige

Eight is a great number. Let's just hang out at 8 months for a while, Zoe. You're growing way too fast and time is seemingly racing by my window in a blurry haze. It's going by so fast that I can't seem to post on your actual month day anymore. Can we just freeze time already a la Evie in Out of this World? I'll touch my fingertips together and freeze this month.



This month of throaty babbles like having my own mini monster. This month of starting to wave bye-bye and excitement at the very prospect of communicating with us. This month of reaching out to grab a toy and falling forward and beaming with pride at getting the toy regardless. And my very favorite-- this month of swaying back and forth in your highchair to music. You're dancing, my ZoZo! You're a maniac, maniac in the highchair.



As you've become more interested in every sound and sight, you're less interested in nursing. Don't get me wrong-- you enjoy a good meal. But you want to take a minute or five to check things out and expect the boob to be at your disposal, which isn't always feasible. So your weight gain has slowed, but your doc says that's normal especially once babies get more active. And you're digging the solids, no doubt about it. But I'm a little sad as it seems that working full time has contributed to a decline in my supply as well. I guess I shouldn't make predictions at this point. I should just cherish this moment. This beautiful month.

Zoe, it (was) your month day. Happy month day, Zoe!




Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Bye Bye, Baby (aka I lost my youth in 2012)

"Get it together, see what's happening" ~ Beastie Boys

It's been a tough week. Aside from the whole fam being sick (as if that's something new and different), I've learned via Facebook (because that is sadly my news source of late) that we've lost two great men that remind me of very different times in my days of yore.

MCA of the Beastie Boys passed away on Friday and, upon hearing the news, my heart dropped to my stomach. He was one of those guys who seemed like he'd always be around, probably still dropping records at 72, still making the rest of us look lame in comparison. I remember the first time I watched a Beastie Boys video on MTV, sitting on my parents' bed in awe of their antics. I was about 9 or 10 and they were more than memorable. I immediately believed in their coolness. And they made appearances at key moments in my life from then on. Like when my best friend and I used to listen to Ill Communication on repeat in her car in high school. Like when I was in Puerto Vallarta for our graduation trip and the clubs had "Girls" and "Brass Monkey" on constant rotation even though the songs were several years old. Or when T and I went to see the Beastie Boys at the Oracle Arena when Mixmaster Mike opened for them. When I heard about MCA dying from cancer-related causes, of course I thought about my mom and the ugliness of that disease taking too many of the good ones from us too soon. 

Then, today I heard about Maurice Sendak, which of course takes me further into my youth. But he's also very much in my present. Just last night Q and I read Where the Wild Things Are and we named all of the wild things. There was Stuart and Gretchen and Hank. Oh, and Birdie. Maybe they really do have names, but we had our own fun. One of my favorite Christmas memories is discovering his version of The Nutcracker. I don't remember who gave it to me or to my family, but it was just there one day among the Christmas books. I devoured that thick picture book, relishing in the elaborate illustrations and detailed backstory. And T and I started our own Christmas tradition of sitting his Max doll atop our tree every year because he shines so much brighter than your average star. While Maurice Sendak lived until 83, it's still very sad to say goodbye to such a brilliant light. Someone who celebrate childhood with such a, well . . . wild rumpus. 

Rest in peace, MCA.

Rest in peace, Maurice Sendak.

Thank you for all of your artistry and for creating such beautiful memories. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Funky Fridays

"Look out, weekend, 'cause here I come" ~ Debbie Deb

Fridays once held the promise of a relaxing break. Just the beginning of an escape from the workweek. A party or two. A drink or five.  Brunch at noon the next day. Lazy strolls through shops. A power nap. Some spontaneity, perhaps. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Fallen from the tree of youth.

Even though my weekends are now the oranges to yesterday's apples, I look forward to them with the same enthusiasm. I get two full days with my loves. My T. My Q. My Z. I get to cuddle and carry and fill my nose with their scents. I may not get much rest, but I get a whole lot of excitement. Life with two little ones is filled with possibilities. With new journeys. Always with something to ooh and ahh over.




And T and I are going on a long overdue date tomorrow night. To a show no less! So there's that little hint of yesterday's fun. I keep thinking we're going to pass out in the corner of the venue before DJ Shadow even comes on. No, not from one too many drinks. Just from sheer exhaustion. But I'm excited for a rare night alone together, listening to good music. And then waking up without a hangover and getting outside with my brood. 

When I think about my weekends now, I don't get too nostalgic for the "good ol' days". Of course I think about them and miss them at moments, but I mostly think about more moments like these. Soaking up the sun while I soak up time with my incredible family. Or, fun pict-nic! As Q would say.

One of the first decent family photos we've taken since Z. Even with Q's eyes closed and Z looking a bit awkward, I love it.



Monday, April 23, 2012

The Write On Project: You Can't Be Contained

"Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky tacky" ~ Malvina Reynolds

I'm happy to be over at The Write On Project for the second time as I was quite inspired by this month's theme-- boxes. Boxes are everywhere you look, everywhere you want and don't want to be. I'm stepping out of my little box on the blogosphere today and it feels a bit uncomfortable, but I hope you'll join me. Come visit, comment, and perhaps find some inspiration to write your own post.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bumpy Babes in Guidoland: Zoe's 7 Month Day

"And what we wish shall be, like a breathe of fresh air, safe and secret powers that no love can spare"~ Bonobo feat. Bajka



I'm a few days late for the celebration, but you understand, ZoZo. You weren't quite in the mood to ring in your 7th month on Wednesday when you awoke at 4am writhing in pain. And when I went to change you and found your legs covered in a bumpy, miserable rash, I knew you were not loving life. I immediately traveled back in time to waking up moaning in discomfort from particularly nasty outbreaks of eczema and my mom doing what she could do to comfort me. So I felt your anguish and finally understood what my mom must have gone through. I wondered if I had passed down my cursed skin problems or if I fed you something your body could not tolerate.

So we spent the morning of your 7 month day at the doctor's office discovering that you had some extra-nasty version of the coxsackie virus. And apparently the rash was more blistery and painful than itchy. My poor ladybug. Well, at least we could treat you for pain. And I coated your blisters in Aquaphor with the hopes that you'd experience some relief. The doc said this could last about a week, so I took a deep breath and told myself you'd be okay. Of course you are, my little trooper. The first couple of days were rough, but then you either felt better or adapted because you slept through the night on Friday and woke up with a smile.

But there was a lot more going on in your 7th month of life than illness. You had your first Easter, which gave me the opportunity to gift you some pretty spring/summer outfits instead of chocolate and junky toys. You of course adored all of the colored eggs, paper grass, and watching your big bro get amped on the sweets."Waaaaah," you called after him with glee, sounding surprisingly similar to Wario from Mario Cart.

You're still quite the talker, with an increased variety of sounds escaping your cute mouth every day. Your toes have become a new favorite toy, and you want to grab at pretty much everything else. There's no wearing glasses for mama lately. I'm constantly trying to reel you back in from stretching to reach something. You know, Q's toys, my food, knives. Q never needed to explore so much with his hands at this age.

While a consistent nap schedule has yet to be settled, you're a wonderful night sleeper, Miss Zoe. And I'd much rather you be a better night sleeper than day sleeper, but I feel for our amazing nanny who never knows if or when you'll nap. At least you two have a blast together.

Regardless of all of the snot-filled days and blistery nights, you are still my happy bird. My lovely ladybug. My vocal daughter who everyone says will be a big talker. I love our chats now and I look forward to every instance of girly fun in our future.

Wishing you many months of health and fun discoveries. Love you to the moon and back. Happy 7 month day, Zoe!

Saturday, April 07, 2012

What About Your Friends?

"Keep smiling, keep shining . . ." ~ Dionne Warwick

I'm barely a month into my new full-time gig and I'm already seeing what tends to go off kilter when attempting the balancing act of working outside of the home. Of course I was most concerned with Q and Z adjusting to me being away more often. But there were adjustments I didn't anticipate in the mad rush to find childcare and prep myself for a new work world. Ones that proved to be more difficult than I could have imagined.

First, I forgot to prepare T for the hour or two every evening that he would have the kiddos alone. You know, what we like to call the "unhappy hour" that hits right around dinnertime. And of course I started the job the same week that daylight savings time kicked in, so it was extra fun for him. Poor guy. Bad wife! But he is adjusting well now and figuring out what works and what doesn't when juggling the two littles before mama walks in the door. And he's been an awesome partner and source of support for me during this transition. I'm sure I need to do more to hold up my end of the partnership, though.

Some of the besties helping me celebrate my bday last month.


Second -- and what's really been on my mind lately -- is feeling too guilty to spend my Saturdays and Sundays away from the kids. Or my weekday evenings. And honestly, it's more than guilt. I miss my babies and want to soak up all the time I can with them when I'm not working. I hope beyond hope that Z will hit a milestone on the weekend so that I can be there to share it with her and that Q will be down for extra cuddle time. But somehow this spring has sprung full of events. And not the kind with bouncy houses. What I took for granted when I worked from home and had more time with my kids is that I was better able to balance time with friends. Well, let's be real here. It wasn't ideal, but it was manageable. Now I find myself declining invites to spa days and wine tastings. By the way, where were these invites before I started this job? Everything comes down all at once, it seems.

My friends have always been such a central part of my life. I'm incredibly lucky and grateful to have the group of friends that I do. My mom used to regularly remark on how special my group of friends was. We love each other like family, and that's why it's so difficult to find the weeks flying by without much QT with my BFFs.

So, friends in real life, if you're reading, let me take a moment to apologize. Please know I haven't forgotten about you. I think of you often. I even make plans in my head to call you after the kids go to bed. But then there's the laundry to fold and the dishes to do and the TV goes on and my head hits the pillow. It's not an excuse. It's just my current reality. And it won't be forever. I'll get more settled in my routine and hopefully not be so freakin' exhausted. Before we know it, we'll be complaining about how the kids don't want to be around us at all. How embarrassing we are. (Muahaha, I can't wait to embarrass them.) But I do plan to see you before then. That is a promise.


Monday, April 02, 2012

Guest Post: A Lesson in Worth for New Bloggers


"You got to know what your love is worth" ~ Del the Funky Homosapien

I'm so happy to welcome Jessica from Mommyhood Next Right to my blog today. We have been bloggy friends for over a year now, and it seems we have had parallel experiences as moms. Q is about a year older than her Nya, and we were pregnant with our second at the same time. Zoe was born a month before Annah. We may live across the country from each other, but it feels like we are next door neighbors many ways. When I read her blog, she always inspires me to write more often. And I think this post will only continue in that vein. Plus, I believe her tips can be applied to many passions in life -- not just blogging. Be sure to visit her blog for some precious photos of her little ones and for some very genuine insights on motherhood, writing, and more.

I wrote a post in February on my blog called Facebook Friends. It’s a post about one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned as a blogger. No, I take that back, as the lesson I learned has less to do with blogging and more to do with me, or the “me” that existed long before my days of blogging.

That lesson begins with something of my past, something of a Valentine’s Day “surprise” of roses and dozens of balloons. That lesson continues with hundreds of Facebook friends that weren’t really my friends at all and ends with something of my present: It (or the lesson from the post) is the one I’d like to share with all new bloggers. Oh, wait, not just new bloggers, but maybe I’d share this lesson with all women, men, and children who have ever convinced themselves that popularity can be a ticket to self-satisfaction, to happiness, to security.

So what’s the lesson? I know. You’ve waited long enough. The lesson that I’ve learned is that in order to be the kind of (fill in the blank) that you admire, you must know your worth and live from that place. What can the “fill in the blank” be? Well, anything from blogger to dancer to human being to parent.

As it pertains to blogging specifically, in knowing your worth, you must know and believe that you can be a fabulous blogger. You must know and believe that you have something to say and that others want to hear what you have to say. You must know and believe that you don’t need to cajole others with promises of something in return in order for them to want to hear what you have to say.

You must know and believe that you are worth more than a Facebook friend that you don’t really like, a coupon or free product that you hate or can’t use, a Facebook "like," a follower who offers you nothing more than a follow back. You are worth more because you are. Just because you are.

To be a better blogger, to become a better blogger, you must understand your worth first. You must recognize your worth and decide to blog from that place. You must choose to:
1.     Write what you’re passionate about, because writing about crap that you hate really sucks.
2.     Write when you can. If that’s only once a week, then so be it! Really.
3.     Write because you want to write.
4.     Like, follow, tweet the people you are truly interested in liking, following, or tweeting. Make the kinds of connections that matter to you.
5.     Value your work and your integrity because really, in this blogosphere, it’s all you have.
6.      Proofread your work. Promote it. Love it because it's yours.

Yes, it’s that simple. Know your worth, new bloggers. Know your worth. That’s all.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Neverending Snotty and Big Boy Beds

"I can dream about you if I can't hold you tonight" ~ Dan Hartman

I hear that it's spring. I've even heard the occasional bird chirping between rainstorms. So, yeah, we finally got our winter in the Bay. And Q and Z have had seemingly endless colds. It's like a snot factory up in Guido. And all over my sweaters and pants and hair and somehow my socks. The poor kiddos, their little noses are chapped and I think they've forgotten that those two holes are for breathing out of. Everybody's testy. Everybody's tired. Welcome to my first real cold season with kids. Thank you, preschool!

With all the rain and us being cooped up in the house, Q learned how to climb out of his crib. Okay, pull your jaw off of the floor. I know that we've managed an extended crib stay, but as they say, it wasn't broke, so we didn't want to fix it. But that beautiful 3 hour nap couldn't last forever. Now we are lucky to get any nap at all. Unless it's passing out cold on the floor at 5:30pm. Just the kind of nap you're not really down for. Because waking up with carpet face and your parents taking photos of you is enough to send you into an hour-long tantrum.



So, we gave up on pushing the nap and decided it was finally time for the big boy bed. We piled into the car and boarded the Sleep Train (Bay Area peeps, you know what I'm talking 'bout) and ended up with a nice, firm twin mattress and box spring. Low-riding close to the floor, tricked out with a spoiler safety rail. We figure we can pick out a fancy bed frame and headboard later. So far the robot comforter and sheet set seems to be exciting enough for our Q. We're on night 3 and I don't want to jinx anything, but let's just say there have been minimal escape attempts. Mainly because he's so wiped out by the time his head hits the pillow. I've also made a big deal about how lucky he is that he gets to sleep in a brand new big boy bed!!! We'll see how long that one lasts.

Z seems to like her big girl crib well enough, but she has yet to transition to two naps. She's still taking a few mini naps a day. We're lucky if we get one in the morning that lasts over an hour. I'm sure the eternal snot nose and cough has something to do with it. My poor little bird.

In the meantime, I dream of a sun-filled spring with clear sinuses (please don't let the kids get my seasonal allergies) and the occasional afternoon nap on the weekend for the whole fam. And next time we hit the Sleep Train it will be for mama and daddy's real deal big boy bed -- aka the California king.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

{Sponsored Video} Q's Kind Nums: The Mac of Cheese

"Return of the mack, you know that I'll be back" ~ Mark Morrison

As I've established here before, Q is not a big fan of the savory end of the food spectrum. But when he does feel like something a bit less sweet, he of course goes for the classic kids' favorite -- macaroni and cheese. Hey, I don't blame him. M&C is still one of my favorite comfort foods. I even spent some time scouting out the best mac and cheese at restaurants around San Francisco (funny enough, one of the best is at a restaurant called Q and I discovered it pre-Q). If I saw M&C on a menu, I felt compelled to try it. After the influx of upscale comfort food restaurants, it seemed that cheesy, warm goodness was all over the place.


But it's a different time in my life. Not so much restaurant hopping. More cooking at home. Now I must admit that I often go for the boxed variety due to lack of time and pure laziness (I try for the organic white stuff, not the bright orange -- promise!) But when I have a bit more time and I want to impress T too, I make some M&C from scratch that's pretty amazing. It's not my recipe -- props to my dear friend Robyn -- but it's my favorite! And the key to some seriously yummy homemade M&C is excellent cheese. My first pick is always Tillamook Sharp Cheddar. Sometimes I go with more of the Medium if I'm trying to please Q's palate and a bit of the Extra Sharp if I want to please myself.
 
Here is Robyn's homemade mac and cheese:


2 large eggs
1 12-oz can evaporated milk
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce (sometimes I use some locally made peppery salsa and more of it)
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp mustard
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
4 tbs unsalted butter
12 oz (about 3 cups) Tillamook Sharp Cheddar
 

Bread crumb topping (optional)
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
pinch salt
1 1/2 tbs melted unsalted butter


If you're going for bread crumbs, start them first. Heat oven to 350 degrees; mix bread crumb ingredients together in small baking pan; bake until golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Set aside.


Mix eggs, 1 cup evaporated milk, pepper sauce, 1/2 tsp of the salt, pepper, and mustard in a small bowl. Set aside.


Bring 2 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Add remaining salt and macaroni. Cook until almost tender but still slightly firm to the bite. Drain and return to pan over low heat. Add butter and toss to melt.


Pour egg mixture over buttered noodles along with 3/4 of the cheese; stir over low heat until thoroughly combined and cheese starts to melt. Gradually add remaining milk and cheese, stirring constantly, until mixture is hot and creamy, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately, topped with toasted bread crumbs if desired.


Now if that didn't get you hungry, watch this video from Tillamook to give you even more of a cheese tease. I want to be friends with these guys. They seem hilarious. Plus they'd always have my favorite cheese on hand. And Q would be all about that bus.




Let me know if you try the recipe and what you think. With all the dreary weather (and stress!) around these parts, it's the perfect time for some comfort food.

This post is sponsored by Tillamook.

Friday, March 16, 2012

R&B and Rain Themes


"Blame it on the rain that was falling, falling" ~ Milli Vanilli

Aside from quoting the most profound songwriters of our time, I've been a bit preoccupied lately. I'm just finishing the first week at my new job, adjusting to the new demands of the workday and a new schedule, and seeing my family less. All the while it's rained more than it has the entire winter. It's as if Mother Nature decided to save all of her winter up until the very end of the season just to psyche us out. But of course I think it all coincides a little too perfectly with this huge transition in my life.

There's always a touch of bitterness when encountering the sweetness of an opportunity to move your life forward. You mourn for the life you once had. Even when change is what you craved. Because the adjustment can be challenging.  Oh, how I miss my babies every day. How I doubt my abilities in my new position. How my heart races when I'm stuck in traffic trying to get home to feed my loves. And the rain tumbles from the grey sky.

But then you realize that the rain is washing away the old to make way for the new. A simple cleansing process. A spring cleaning, if you will. It's uncomfortable and cold and wet and windy. It doesn't do your hair any favors. Is it too late in the season to buy rainboots? Should I just weather the storm in my old gear and wait for the deluge to give way to sandal season? You know, I should go ahead and buy a decent pair. There will always be rainy days in my future. It's a worthy investment. Preparing for that in-between time.

While this week has been challenging and I've come close to questioning my decision, I know in my heart of hearts that all of the struggle is worth it. Yes, New Edition and Missy Elliot, I can stand the rain. Rather, I'll try to pay closer attention to it. In the end, I know that the sun will find its way out from behind the clouds. But sometimes it's looking back at what happened before the sunburst that makes the moment that much more enjoyable.

In other words, I survived my first week at the new job. Woo hoo!


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Peekaboo, Pretty Baby: Zoe's 6 Month Day

"My cherie amor, pretty little one that I adore" ~ Stevie Wonder

Six months, Zoe. Half a year! How can it be that you are no longer my teeny newborn? Okay, you were never teeny, Notorious Z.O.E.. But you were once more fragile, more in need of being attached to mama. Now you are so much more aware of the world around you and you're desperate to interact with it.

Don't you die over the Missoni for Target knit leggings?
So what's the latest and greatest with you, ZoZo? Let's see. When you're feeling goofy, you stick your tongue out and grin around it. Which is pretty much most of the day. We're not sure what that's all about, but no complaints here. You also love to practice talking. Lots of "wah wah wah" and "yah yah yah" and "bah bah bah" lately. Sometimes you're most vocal at 4 in the morning. You're lucky you're so cute. And that's all I'll say about that.

We've taught Q how to play peekaboo with you, which has become an awesome distraction tactic for the both of you. Sometimes he covers his face with one hand, snack in the other, food falling out of his mouth, but you still light up like the morning sun every time he does it. "Baby like peekaboos," Q tells us. Yes, Q. Yes, she does. Especially when you do it.

At your 6 month pediatric visit, you weighed in at 16 pounds, 5 ounces (75th percentile), and I've now become a terrible mother because I forget your length but know it's in the 85th percentile. You're healthy and doing well, despite having caught just about every one of Q's colds this winter. You seem to be getting over your stranger anxiety, although it does take you a while to warm up sometimes.



We've finally let you try some food. We knew you were ready a couple of weeks ago because you were basically drowning in your drool every time we ate in front of you, trying to dive into my plate, and grabbing every morsel in sight. So, I thought, enough with the torture, let's feed this child some solids already! You've only tried baby oatmeal, peas, and squash so far, but you love it all. Oh, how glorious it is to feed your child at this stage! Before they get all opinionated and defiant about it. (I still love ya, Q.)

But my favorite recent development? The open-mouthed kisses you land on my cheek. It's been a most lovely 6 months, baby girl. I'm cherishing every moment and feel so lucky to be your mama. Happy 6 Month Day, Zoe!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Currents of Change

"Let it go, let it flow, move on with your life and act like ya know" ~ Jean Grae (aka What What)


I fancy myself an adaptable person. Someone who can float along with the current. I'm a fish, but I try not to be very salmon-y -- no fighting the flow over here. But while I am one to float on float on, I also find comfort in staticity. Or stability. Over the last three years, I have gotten quite comfy with my flexible work schedule, with co-workers who feel like family and who allowed me to spend precious time with Q and Z. I worked from home twice a week and went into the office on the other days, with plenty of help from family and an awesome part-time nanny. 

But next week everything changes. Well, not everything exactly. Just my life. That's all. I start a new job working full time in SF. I'm beyond excited for the chance to further my copywriting career. It's an amazing opportunity. Plus, I get to work with a manager who was a great mentor to me in a previous job. And it's just excellent timing in the job-sphere of my life.



Then there's the mom-sphere of my life. You know, taking care of my family. Only the most important part of my world. That's where I'm losing sleep. Figuring out the ideal childcare for both Q and Z while wondering how even more change will affect Q and choking up at the thought of missing many of Z's firsts and hoping that she doesn't get more attached to the nanny than me and on and on. Then the pervasive mom guilt creeps into my stomach and radiates toward every appendage until I'm quaking with anxiety.  

Oh yes. Change is fun. I'm being sarcastic and I'm being truthful. Because while all of this is challenging, I'm up for it. Everything is seemingly falling into place already. It feels destined somehow. While in an ideal world, I'd only work part time until both kids were in school, this opportunity has drifted into my life right now. And I need to go with it. I'm planning to kill it on my first day. That's my goal every day thereafter. Just attack the workday and float into the night and the weekends.

Because like the wise Dre Dog once said, I'm a Pisces, but I'd rather be a killer whale.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Missing Movies & A Date Night Idea

"Let's go to the movies, let's go see the stars" ~ That song from Annie (yes, I did just quote a song from Annie)

As far as dates go, I'm pretty easy to impress. Especially now that leaving the house at night (or at 11am) without children feels indulgent in and of itself. Take me to dinner and a movie and I'm one happy mama. Never mind that it's the ultimate date cliche.

I inherited my love of movies from my parents, and they used to throw a fun Oscar party every year with mostly my friends. So when this year's Oscars came around and I had only seen one of the nominated movies, it made me feel so out of the loop. Clearly I have other things going on, but I'd still like to see more movies in the next year. If at all possible.

Our most recent date night involved watching Bridesmaids at home, which was awesome. T actually stayed awake for the whole thing and that's saying something. So, this seems like the perfect flick for a future date night, especially since it's basically a Bridesmaids sequel (the synopsis below was not written by me, btw):

Friends With Kids is a daring and poignant ensemble comedy about a close-knit circle of friends at that moment in life when children arrive and everything changes. The last two singles in the group observe the effect that kids have had on their friends' relationships and wonder if there’s a better way.  They decide to have a kid together - and date other people.

Jennifer Westfeldt wrote, directed, and stars in the romantic comedy Friends with Kids. She plays Julie, a Manhattanite whose biological clock is about to run out, so she convinces her longtime platonic best friend, Jason (Adam Scott) to father a child with her. They seem to have a much easier time juggling the responsibilities of new parenthood without the complication of being in a relationship with each other, which is in contrast to the two couples they are closest to. As their friends' marriages implode, Julie and Jason's happy equilibrium topples over as well when he falls for a hot young artist (Megan Fox) and she begins dating a successful businessman (Edward Burns).

There are big laughs and unexpected emotional truths as this unconventional 'experiment' leads everyone in the group to question the nature of friendship, family and, finally, true love.

Friends With Kids stars Adam Scott ("Parks and Recreation"), Jennifer Westfeldt, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd, Megan Fox and Edward Burns.  
Written and directed by Jennifer Westfeldt (Kissing Jessica Stein).  
Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions will release Friends With Kids on March 9, 2012.




Hint hint, Mr. T.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Q's Kind Nums: Mealtime Mayhem

"It's a war of the hearts" ~ Sade

How I've begun to dread dinner on Guido Street! 'Tis the War of Wills. I realize that it's usually called a battle, but a battle is a one time thing. Around these here parts, it's an almost daily occurrence. And lately I feel like the stubbornness has reached its zenith (please tell me that this is the worst of it). Not only does Q not want what we're serving, he throws food off the table, climbs on top of it grinning maniacally, chucks torn up napkins at Z, and screams when we kick him out of the kitchen. Sounds fun, yes? And hopefully only slightly to the left of typical 3-year-old behavior.

I read some seemingly great advice on retreating from the battlefield and creating a healthier, happier atmosphere around mealtime. No more kind nums (or any snacks, for that matter) on demand. Scheduled sit-down snack times. Family meals of sharing food, eating what we like, and politely refusing what we do not like. T and I choose when and what we eat. Q (and Z) decide how much to eat of what's offered or to not eat at all. No pressure should mean that Q ultimately will feel empowered to decide for himself, learn to self-regulate with foods that make him feel well and avoid too much of what's not so good for him.

Being fed by his future wife (if only she were around for every meal)


So this is what we're trying now and it looks to be a lengthy learning process. But what these articles fail to address is the child who will throw food that's placed on the table across the room. How can I offer food family-style if it always ends up on the floor? At this point, we ask him to help clean up the food or he has to leave the kitchen. And he hates being forced out. We're getting pretty tired of the wasted food and the mess.

And later when he repeatedly tells me he's "really hungee, mama" and makes his eyes all huge and watery like Puss 'n Boots while begging for ice cream, I feel like my heart is ripping in half. I know I should stick to my guns, but why does it feel like torture? Perhaps because I am going against my maternal instinct to nourish my baby. As mothers, we provide. We feed. It's what we do. But ice cream isn't the ideal sustenance, and I know he needs to learn to eat at dinnertime so that he can fill up on food that will nourish him. But what if he asks for something semi-healthy, like the little spinach pizzas he likes, after dinnertime? This is when I don't know if I should be teaching him the importance of dinnertime and eating something of what's offered, or just feed him already because he's hungry and I don't want to deprive him. Ugh. We have a pediatrician appointment coming up, so I will certainly raise this issue with his doc.

It all comes down to another learning process that I must embrace along with my baby. Learning to relinquish some control and to trust my child completely. Getting over pushing my own eating agenda onto my kids. More than having them eating only the healthiest, all organic, sugar-free food, I want my kids to have a positive relationship with food. I want them to enjoy eating. I want mealtime to be fun for all of us.

Mamas and papas, how do you get your kids to sit down for dinner and eat what you've prepared? Do you make something separate for your picky eaters? I'd love to know what mealtime is like at your home.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mamasay Memories: 3 Years is a Lifetime

"Only the lonely (dum dum dum dumdy doo wah)" ~ Roy Orbison 

It's been a lonely three years without you, Mom.  So much has changed beyond you not being in our lives anymore. I've become a mother and somehow have managed to do it without calling you on a daily basis. I often wonder how different my life would be, how different Q's life would be with you in it since he is the one who has grown so much in your absence. 





But you make your presence known to us at random moments. Sometimes they seem opportune. Like when Q, Z, and I stopped to look at some balloons that evening while wandering on State Street in Santa Barbara. We were standing outside of one of your favorite stores, Coldwater Creek. I glanced up at the sign and immediately thought of you. I remembered when you had first started to lose a bit of weight, but we weren't sure why. You hadn't been diagnosed yet and we knew you weren't well, but we tried to embrace something positive in the situation and went shopping for some better fitting clothes. I had fun pretending I was Stacy London from What Not to Wear and you humored me. 

Q tugged on the balloons tied to the sale sign, watching them attempt to break free. Scared that they would break free and float up, up and away. One, two, three balloons, we counted. "Three balloons just like you're three years old, Q." Just like the three years you've been gone, Mom. 

I noticed the saleslady watching us and she looked annoyed. I told Q to be gentle to the balloons. It was almost closing time and the store was empty. After a few moments, she walked out and offered us the balloons. 

"Oh, only if you no longer need them." 

"We leave them out overnight and someone usually takes them anyway." 

She snipped them from the sign and handed them to Q. He was elated. As he stood there with his mouth hanging open, I told him to say thank you. He whispered it to her. 

"You're welcome. Enjoy them." 

I couldn't help but think that was your doing, Mom. What seemed like a simple gesture became something of a small miracle in my eyes. When I told T about it later, he came to the same conclusion on his own. You were there with us for a moment on that perfect evening in Santa Barbara. The day after I melted down and wondered if it was even worth it to take my two small children on such a trip. But of course it was. 

Q was afraid that he would lose the balloons, so I tied them, two red and one pink, to the stroller. And we floated down the street.

Perhaps I've grown more in your absence than I give myself credit for. We hold tight to your memories and they lift us up when we need it most. Someday I want Q to know that it's okay to let a balloon go sometimes. We can enjoy its splendor even from afar.





Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Nod to Nostalgia

"I reminisce for a spell, or shall I say think back . . . " ~ Pete Rock & CL Smooth

I love the little tricks the world plays on your brain to take you back in time. As I was driving across the Bay Bridge yesterday morning, the sun hit my face and cast its light on the city just so and there I was -- suddenly a kid again, hanging with my grandma in Noe Valley, strolling on 24th Street. A time of easy warmth and comfort. Just for a moment.

This occasionally happens when I'm driving. You know? Sort of paying attention but sort of not. Letting my mind drift back in time a bit. The way the cityscape looks one particular afternoon. It reminds me of being in Milan 12 years ago and giggling with two of my best friends over red wine and the best pizza we ever had the pleasure of stuffing into our mouths. 

And of course music does this for me regularly. I was sadder than I expected to be upon hearing of Whitney Houston's passing. I mean, she was an incredible talent, but I wasn't her number one fan or anything. Still, I thought back to listening to The Bodyguard soundtrack when I was in high school and attempting to belt out her songs in the safety of my bedroom. My little haven. The place where I danced with abandon and sang as if I could.

Or when I see a childhood friend's teenage daughter posting on Facebook about how she's "trouble" and I reminisce on our own forays into trouble as youths (who am I, Officer Krupke? Shout out to Tuesday's New Girl!). One being our girl group that we first called "Resistible Rockers", then "Irresistible Rockers" after our parents clued us in, and then, ultimately, "Trouble". Mind you, we weren't actually a band nor we were very deviant. We just choreographed dance routines together. "Ridiculous" would have been more appropriate.

So, I wanted to say thank you, nostalgia, for letting me escape. You seem to tap into my brain when I most need the respite. When I'm drowning in mama-doubt. When my neck is tense with fear about my future career. When I'm feeling less than. And when I could use a good laugh.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mooning Over You: Zoe's 5 Month Day


"Moon river, wider than a mile, I'm crossing you in style some day" ~ Johnny Mercer

My lovely ZoZo, it has been a beautiful 5 months with you. You came to us on a full moon and every month when the moon waxes to roundness I'm reminded of you. How much you've bathed us in your bright light. Your eyes twinkling like the stars. Your full-bodied giggles. Your excitement for every new discovery. You're entering one of my favorite ages. These next few months. So much yet to discover.

Even though you're not a fan of tummy time, you've started rolling from your tummy to your back. You grunt as you attempt to roll from your back toward your favorite owl toy. It's incredible to watch, especially since your big bro was content to be stationary for so long. You're already pulling all of the toys dangling over your bouncy chair and look so proud when we praise you for making the froggy play music. You still are fascinated with fingers and hands. But you're very favorite thing is to watch Quincy dance and sing his made-up songs to you. He waves your hands back and forth and you laugh and laugh.


You're developing some stranger anxiety, especially just after you've woken up from a nap. You cling to me koala-style, which doesn't bother me one bit. I know this phase will be over quickly. Plus, we now have some tricks to get you to smile.  Even if you're a bit fussy, tossing you in the air grants us open-mouthed grins. We have had conversations consisting entirely of raspberries and other such spitty sounds just to see you smile.

Little red riding hood. (Can you spot big bro's hand?)


As you've just gotten over a particularly nasty cold, you're sleeping through the night again. And I mean the entire night. As in from 7:30 to 6:15 the other night, and you probably would've gone longer but I awoke in a panic and rushed into your room to check on you and of course woke you up. Keep on keepin' on, baby girl. 


I look forward to many more moons with you and I love you more by the minute. Zoe, it's your 5 month day. Happy 5 month day, Zoe!





Friday, February 10, 2012

Communicating

"Ma Bell, I got the ill communication" ~ Beastie Boys feat. Q-Tip

One of the parents at Q's preschool invited me to post over at The Write On Project and I was happy to join them for a bit of new inspiration. They select a different topic every month and anyone can submit a blog post inspired by said topic. This month's topic? Communication. I thought, hey, I know a little something about that. I went to school for it after all.

So I took a trip back to UCSB.

Come visit, leave a comment, and submit your own post if you're so inclined!

Also, be sure to visit the awesome editors and creators of The Write On Project, Jared at Lick the Fridge and Mitchell at Thoughtful Pop!


Thursday, February 09, 2012

Music to Make You Melt

"Soothing rhythms stoked the fire in my belly" ~ Esthero

Once again, I'm long overdue for a music post. And not for a lack of good tunes. Both T and I have come across some aural treats lately. It's just that I've been, ahem, distracted by other silly priorities. You know, like child-rearing and working. As always, when the stress becomes all-consuming, music offers the perfect escape. I think we could all use some warming up this winter in the form of heart-pumping tracks and cozy, fireside melodies. You know, a little something to thaw out to.

On the heart-pumping tip, here's M.I.A's new banger "Bad Girls". This video takes ghost riding the whip to the extreme and I love it.




Now for something a little dreamier. T and I have been listening to this track on the daily -- DJ Shadow featuring Little Dragon with "Scale It Back". I like how moments in the video parallel the lyrics, but really the video has nothing to do with the song. And how brilliant is the pairing of DJ Shadow with Little Dragon?




This artist I embarrassingly found when watching Gossip Girl. Yes, guilty pleasure #980. But Zee Avi is pretty amazing. Apparently she has a big following on YouTube under the name KokoKaina.



And for future reference, I'm beyond excited to peep this track since Andre 3000 is one of my favorites.

Stay warm...

Monday, February 06, 2012

An Argument for Impractical Mama Style

"I just don't belong here. Hey, look at that girl." ~ Esthero

So I've come to the conclusion that I will never fit in among the other preschool moms. When I was dropping Q off the other day, I saw three moms talking in a circle -- three who volunteer regularly for the school and who I'm sure are very nice ladies. A circle of black yoga pants, quilted vests, long-sleeve tees/exercise tops, their hair in ponytails. The parts of me that will always want to belong (thanks, middle school) and dress appropriately for an occasion (thanks, Dad) tell me I should be wearing this uniform. But now that I'm in my 30's and more or less comfortable with my style, I know that's just not me. I rarely exercise, so it would be misleading to wear such gear. But I'm sure this uniform is super practical since most moms spend the majority of their time running around, multitasking, and schlepping, which tends to cause a decent amount of sweating. No? Just me?


Anyway. I enjoy fashion too much to be practical. When I picked up a heap of clothing from the dry cleaners the other day, I was ecstatic. See, I usually wait much too long to take my things to the dry cleaner, so it's like rediscovering my wardrobe. Ooh, a silk blouse! Oh yay, my cashmere dress! And one of the main reasons I was excited to go back to work was the ability to wear these dry clean only garments with nary a grubby, 3-year-old hand or a spitting-up baby in sight.


Except I forgot about pumping. And getting distracted by work while pumping. And staining the aforementioned silk blouse while pumping and reading. I guess no matter where I am, I am still a mom who should dress more practically.


Hold up. Wait a minute. I am not succumbing that easily.


My Typical Mom Uniform




If one of the very few things I do for myself in this season of my life is getting dressed with some semblance of passion, then I say, yay mama! It's a part of me that I want to hold onto tightly. My interest in fashion doesn't have to change just because I'm chasing Q down the street with Z bouncing around in her Ergo. I find my version of workable mama style in slouchy cardigans, stretchy skinny jeans, and striped tees. My wedge boots don't even click-clack that loudly. I've never been a Nike girl, even in my hip-hop dancing days. And I'll take Alexander Wang over Lulu Lemon, thank you.

Now I'm not saying that I'm one of those super put-together ladies who looks like she stepped out of the pages of Vogue. One, I'm not willing to get up that early. Two, I'm just not that much of a perfectionist when it comes to my appearance. Three, I do hail from California where we tend to dress a bit more on the relaxed side. Also, I probably didn't take a shower that morning. A hasty application of concealer still reveals the dark circles under my eyes. I am still a mom after all.

But when you see me at the next preschool drop-off, please don't think me any less of a mom for not rocking washable knits. I'm boldly going forth in cashmere! Watch me hold my head up high. Watch me rack up dry cleaning bills at an alarming rate. Hey, I never said this move was a smart one. It's more about happiness.