Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Merry Christmas - Part Three

Our post Christmas celebration included a trip to Saratoga to visit my mom's family.

Great Grandma loved spending time with her grand and great grand kids. This is my brother, his wife and their daughter Evey.

Every year my family spends the afternoon of the 27th (my Grandma's birthday) playing bocci ball at a local in door court. The whole family gets in on the action - and Andrew's no exception!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Merry Christmas - Part Two

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with Brandyn's family in Fresno.

On Christmas morning, Andrew woke up early, and found that Santa had left one VERY special present for him - unwrapped under the tree - a xylophone.

Andrew received a lot of very nice gifts - but I think he enjoyed playing in the boxes and paper more than anything!

Andrew loved all the time he got hanging out with his cousins.

And, of course, we squeezed in a little nap time too. Andrew had trouble going to sleep... so obviously, I had to help him.

Merry Christmas - Part One

A very merry Christmas it was at the C Family house! I'm so behind on our blog updates and so much has happened over Andrew's first Christmas - that I want to document it all! So a three part series. The first showing our pre-Christmas at home, then actual Christmas in Fresno with Brandyn's extended family and finally a post-Christmas with my extended family.

The first weekend in December we picked up a tree.

Andrew helped with the lights!

And with the decorating.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Baby Sign...

So Andrew's day care uses sign language to help communicate with the babies. Ms Stephanie is helping us learn too. So far Brandyn and I are using "milk," "all done," "eat/food," and "more." We make the signs when we talk to Andrew so that he can hopefully learn to use them back to us and tell us what he wants/needs before he can actually talk.

Yesterday I tired to add a new sign to our repertoire - "stop." Which looks like this... (try to ignore the scary looking guy... they were the only pictures I could find.

baby sign language stop baby sign stop

As soon as I did the sign... Andrew started busting up laughing. And then I remembered... I wasn't thinking at all about my future in baby sign when I spend 20 min. making Andrew laugh with my impression of "Who's gonna get chopped!" I guess I created the "monster" who laughs at his mom trying to tell him to stop!! My bad.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wrapping up the year!!

About this time last year, I got ambitious and wrote down my goals for 2009. As the year comes to a close, and I look back at my goals, I think I did OK. I was able to get some accomplished... and others... I'll just move over to 2010 and make them top priority!!

My list of 2009 Goals:
- Begin composting at home. Done! We have a large bin/barrel that my parents gave me for Christmas last year in our backyard to collect our scraps. And with all that Andrew has been eating - the peels, rinds, and cores - have been great contributions to the compost!
- Grow a few of vegetables/fruits/herbs in our back yard. Nope. Need to move this one over to 2010. Something I definitely want to make a priority!
- Cut my hair and donate to Lock of Love. Done! And I can't believe I didn't blog about it! At the end of August, I cut off 10 inches - and STILL have enough left for a pony tail! :)
- Participate in the March for Babies. Nope. After MUCH consideration, I decided that walking a long distance, only 6 short weeks after having a baby, was probably not a good idea. But 2010 March... here I come!
- Get back on the healthy living/eating bandwagon. Done! I'm back to meal planing, Weight Watchers recipes, and packing my lunch! Since returning to work in June... I'm down 15 pds... and counting!
- Become a mom! ;) Done!! ;)
- And my optimistic goals for breastfeeding. First... 3 months (while I'm on maternity leave)... then I'd LIKE to get to 6 months... and I'd really LOVE to get to a year. Let's see how it all goes. Done!! (Sorta). I made it to six months.

Now... to think about the rest of my 2010 goals!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Music Class!!

As a working mom, I often feel like I miss out on all the Mommy and Me classes and fun activities. So when I heard about this music class offered on Friday mornings - I jumped at the chance to step out of my home office (I work from home on Fridays) and head to class!

The class was 45 min long, with lots of singing, dancing and playing instruments. While Andrew bangs on his drum at home all day long... he was less interested in making music... and much more interested in watching everyone else. You can tell by his inquisitive gaze!!!


We had a fabulous Thanksgiving with loads of family! My Mom hosted, as she always does, and the house was packed with 18 Aunts, Uncles and Cousin!

Here's Andrew with the Turkey - they are the same weight!!!

Andrew had a GREAT time playing with his cousin Evey.

A few days later, cousins Leslie and Alex came for a visit too! Here's Aunt Shelly trying to wrangle the two boys. They are about 6 months apart in age. LOOK OUT!!

Our visit to the country side included the most beautiful clear and vibrant rainbow I've ever seen. It even had a DOUBLE arch - can you see it!?!

Monday, November 30, 2009

So very thankful for the opportunity to be a parent!

Parents have hundreds of ways of describing what it means to be a mom or dad. But most conclude that its "indescribable." I agree.

Having just come away from the Thanksgiving holiday, where I spend four days cuddling and cooing with Andrew... and four nights listening to him breathe from the crib in the room we shared... and hearing his "baba, dada, gaga" at a too early 5:45 am... I'm on a Parent Love High.

I find myself amazed at how different parenting is than how I imagined it. I could never predicted that after a long weekend of sharing the same room with Andrew, instead of reveling in the peace and quiet of my own room... I'd feel restless. I could have never guess that night after night, once Andrew has gone to sleep... I wouldn't be able to resist sneaking into his room to stare at his sweet peaceful face. I could have never imagined the feel of his unconditional love, his beautiful innocence, his pure joy and happiness. I could have never know that when I look into my baby's eyes I'd see Brandyn, I'd see my baby brother, I'd see my parents, I'd see myself.

This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for Andrew.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Keep them doggies movin'!!

While Andrew is not quite crawling yet, he sure is movin'! You'll note that while I was banging one of his favorite toys together... that was NOT what he was after!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Mommy Yard Stick

I recently attend a Self Confidence workshop, conducted by a friend of mine who's "testing out" her skills as a coaching/workshop leader and dreaming of a new career. During the workshop... we discussed how women "judge" each other - mostly mothers - and how detrimental that can be to the individual, to women kind, to ourselves.

The more we talked, the more I realized that I judge MYSELF. That while I'm perfectly happy with the choices I've made for myself, for my family, for my son... I often look at how other women are doing things... and think they are doing them BETTER. Why!?! Why do I do that to myself. I'm perfectly satisfied that I stopped nursing, that I hired a house cleaner, that I spend quality "me" time without my baby, etc., etc., etc. I should NOT feel guilty about any of those things. *I* made those choices... and I feel that they are the right choices for me.

So, I'm making a promise to myself. I vow to ONLY "measure" myself against ME... to not let others "make" me feel guilty for those choices... and to feel confident in the choices that I've made.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Trick or Treat!!

Andrew is of course too little to care about Halloween or Trick or Treating... BUT... we took him out anyway! Well, just to two houses anyway! To Aunt Jennifer's - where he got to see Fireman Jacob. And to our neighbors house. They were so sweet they said "We hoped you would bring him by - we have something for him!" And they gave him a toy - too cute!!

Here are a few pictures from Halloween and our visit to the pumpkin patch!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The extra money I saved making baby food...

Was negated tonight when I realized my blended died. Guess I know where all the saved money is going.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More thoughts on being a mom... from MY mom...

Last week I shared an anonymous letter on "Being a Mother." My mom read it and felt that it was a little off the mark. And so I share her thoughts. And maybe its just because I am her daughter... but they made me cry.

Wonderfully said, but I thought this mother focused more on the fears of a mother, which is true, we do think of often. However, like childbirth, those negative thoughts disappear so fast, or we would not have a second child. Now as Alison’s mother, I look at her with so much pride, as the beautiful woman she has become, and can’t believe that she is a mother too.

I revel in all my memories of Alison as a busy baby, discovering how to put colored blocks inside each other at my suggestion, before she could even speak words. And, oh, those quiet times, I’d just hold her in my arms and stare at her. I saw the world through different eyes just walking down our country road while Alison discovered a frog or a dragonfly. We shared rainbows and streams, wearing boots. She became my best companion, as I was in awe of everything that she was learning.

And when she reached that age that I knew that she would learn more from her peers than from her parents, I stepped aside and followed her in her new adventures with her friends as her Girl Scout leader. Wow, what great times they had! And they did not know it, but it was the best ten years of my life! Crafts, camping (especially in the rain!), canoeing, pie making, visiting professionals who work during the night, bowling, fair parades, “bridging” on the Golden Gate Bridge, bartering in Tijuana, spending the night in a miniature golf course, make-up parties; I got to do it all with her.

And when it came time to let her go, and we packed her off for college… I knew it would be hard, but I also knew that she would become my best friend. And she is!

Oh, that you would be so blessed, to have a wonderful daughter as I do! I love you, Alison!

I love you too Mom, and I can say, the feeling is mutual - I am blessed to have an amazing and wonderful mother.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Choppin' Broccoli!!!

My sister-in-law Katie, handed down to me loads of baby toys, clothes, etc. Among the boxes of goodies was a cook book and baby food making kit. On first glance, I thought - no way!! I am not a hippy, feed my baby only organics, baby food makin' mama! BUT, Katie and the the book, assured me that it is very easy. Sooooo... I gave it a shot! They could not have been more right!!

The basics steps... 1) chop up veggie or fruit 2) microwave with a little water and covered with Saranwrap 3) blend it up! 4) freeze in ice cub trays!!

This weekend I made a few batches. In one hour I made 10 servings (2 - 1 oz frozen cubes) of peas, and 15 servings of butternut squash and carrots!!

The best part... the price!!!

10 servings of peas - $2.79 ($0.27/serving)
15 servings of butternut squash - $2.90 ($0.19/serving)
15 servings of carrots - $3.78 ($0.25/serving)

The Earth's Best brand of baby food sold in most stores runs about $1/jar. So... this weekend alone... I saved about $30 by making the food myself. Woo hoo!!! (Now... where can I spend all this saved money!!!)

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Being a Mother..."

As evident from my blog... there seems to be nothing more that I love to discuss... than that of "being a mother." While I have so very many things to say about the topic... I seem to never be able to put my exact thoughts into words. Thankfully, other people can. Thank you Catriona... for turning me onto this beautiful letter. (Warning... grab a Kleenex... seriously).

Being a Mother...

We are sitting at lunch one day when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of "starting a family. "You think I should have a baby?"

"It will change your life," I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral.

"I know," she says, "no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations ..."

But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my daughter, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes. I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.

I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking, "What if that had been MY child?" That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her.

That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.

I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of "Mom!" will cause her to drop a soufflé or her best crystal without a moment's hesitation.

I feel that I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her baby's sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her baby is all right.

I want my daughter to know that every day decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy's desire to go to the men's room rather than the women's at McDonald's will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom.

However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.

Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself. That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give it up in moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years-not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs.

I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor.

My daughter's relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks. I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child. I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.

I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving. I hope she will understand why I can think rationally about most issues, but become temporarily insane when I discuss the threat of nuclear war to my children's future.

I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike.

I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for the first time. I want her to taste the joy that is so real it actually hurts.

My daughter's quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes.

"You'll never regret it," I finally say. Then I reached across the table, squeezed my daughter's hand and offered a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings. This blessed gift from God ... that of being a Mother.

Please share this with a Mom that you know or all of your girlfriends who may someday be moms.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Am I talking to myself?

I joined a blog challenge. The challenge poses questions each week for you to address in your blog. Its to help inspire people to actually write in their blogs (not that I any excuses). The first question... Why do you blog?

I was first inspired to write my blog by my good friend Catriona. Catriona and Mike left the Bay Area almost four years ago to buy a house and raise their family in Florida. In order to stay in contact with their friends and family in CA, they started a blog. I love catching up with the adventures of their beautiful daughters Reilly and Brooke! Even though they live 3,000 miles away... I feel so close and connected with their daily lives.

I originally started my blog to do the same. So that family (all the way from Fresno to Ireland) and friends (from the Bay Area to Florida!) could watch my belly, our baby, and our family grow. I have LOVED knowing that you are following our adventures and I love reading your comments and advice. My blog has turned out to be a communication tool that crosses divides.

While family and friends inspired me... I was surprised to find how much *I* have benefited from my writings. Blogging... has helped me organize my thoughts... take time to consider who I am... where I am... and where I'm going. I love looking back to the beginning of my pregnancy and reading about my mind set at that time. I love looking back at when we first brought Andrew home... and how amazing those first days were.

What started out as a "letter to family and friends" has turned out to be... "a story of my life." I hope I can keep it up... for years to come!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Is this REALLY Camping?

The A, B and Baby C family loves camping. With Brandyn and I both growing up less than an hour from the Sierra mountains... and with both of our many years in Scouting... I think it in our blood. And it seems we've passed that love onto Andrew too... only... we all had a few different ideas.

Brandyn's idea of camping: pack minimal supplies in a large back pack... sleeping bag... a minimal amount of food... no tent or matches needed.

My idea of camping: a tent... a near by bathroom (with showers)... an iPod or boom box... deck of card/dice... good food... and a packed cooler full of beer!

Andrew's idea of camping: two diaper bags, 10 onesies, 4 pairs of pajamas, two baby carriers, a container of formula, a white noise machine, a baby monitor... a variety of toys... and a pack n' play.

How did we combine all our ideas... at Lair of the Bear! (Believe it or not... you don't have to be a Cal Berkeley Alum to attend!). The camp is what Brandyn calls... luxury camping... and what I call... perfect. They have preset tents/cabin... clean bathrooms with showers... a "mess hall" with three meals a day (prepared and cleaned up after by someone else!)... games (pin pong, shuffle board, tennis, etc)... activities (including pottery, tie-dye, lanyards, etc.)... and a great/entertaining campfire (complete with the Cal Fight Song!).

We went courtesy of my parents and were accompanied by my brother and his family! We all had a great time! Especially Andrew - who just loves being outside, watching the trees and the chipmunks!

I'm Andrew's Mommy...

Why is it that when a woman has a baby... all of a sudden... her name disappears and its all about the baby! Before I had one of my own... I thought this loss of identity thing was ridiculous!!!

And now... I have to admit - I'm guilty!!! About a month ago... I introduced myself as "Andrew's Mommy" (and cringed as I heard the words coming out of my mouth). And about a week and a half ago we were camping (more on that later)... it was a family camp - with loads of other kiddos - babies included. I met a nice women about my age, with a little girl about Andrew's age, and we chatted for a little bit. Our conversations went something like this...

"Oh, what a cute little girl. How old is she?"
"What's her name?"
"How's she doing/sleeping at camp?"
"Nice talking to you."

No, I did NOT ask her name. No, I did NOT ask where she lived. No, I did NOT ask if SHE was having fun camping, etc., etc., etc. Did I think that she had nothing else to talk about besides her baby? Or have I forgotten how to talk about anything else besides... BABIES!

Further evidence to support my below theory that I am obsessed with everything Mommy. Time to find a new hobby!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mommy is my new hobby...

I've found a new hobby... and its everything... MOMMY. Seriously, I'm obsessed. I find myself running around soaking up ANYTHING and EVERYTHING I can find on being a mom. While I'm still working on keeping the ME in my life... I've found a new hobby to add to that list.

Last three books I read:
- Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay
- It Sucked and Then I Cried
- I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids (Currently Reading)

Last movie I watched:
- How to Photograph Your Baby

Last three podcasts I listened to:
- Manic Mommies
- New Moms, New Babies
- Pregtastic

Whooooo's gonna get CHOPPED!!

The other night... Brandyn and I were watching a Food Network Marathon of "Chopped." The show invites 3 chefs to prepare "surprise" ingredients... and "chop" one person each round until at the end of four rounds there's one winner! Anyway, the SHOW is not the point of my post. We were watching TV and playing with Andrew. I turned to Brandyn and said "I wonder who's gonna get chopped?" and I motioned an ax sign with my "chopping" hand slamming down into other hand. Out of now where... Andrew started laughing hysterically, which of course, made Brandyn and I laugh hysterically too!! This game continued to entertain us for at least the next 20 min!! (We caught the "end" of the fun on video. The video is a *little* long... I'm still working on my editing skills!!).

Unfortunately... my attempt to recreate this game on the following days... did not garner the same response! Guess you had to "be there"!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

How to Photograph Your Baby

Some people have heard me go on and on about the various podcasts that I LOVE to listen to on my commute to work. One of my favorites is "New Moms, New Babies" (a spin off of my other favorite, Pregtastic). A recent episode of New Moms, New Babies featured guest photographer Nick Kelsh. Nick, a famous baby and family photographer, gave lots of easy tips for armatures on how to take great pictures of your baby - without a fancy camera... or being a professional. At the end of the episode, there was a contest, to win a copy of Nick's DVD "How to photograph your baby." I entered... and I WON!! One week later... THIS arrived in the mail!!

The DVD really provides all kinds of great tips from... get closer to the baby... to turn off your flash... to change the ISO setting (sounds confusing... its not, trust me!!)

So... using Nick's tips... I set out this afternoon to get a few pictures of Andrew!



And a few of my favorites.

What do you think???

(P.S. Let me know if you wanna borrow the DVD... not ONLY was it VERY informative... but it was funny to boot!).

Monday, August 24, 2009

Family Vacation - Seattle

Last week we went on a trip to Seattle. It was a pretty big deal (a little stressful) for us to pack all Andrew's gear and board the plane with a 5 month old, but it was well worth it. We planned... we prepped... we packed his whole dresser up... and the trip was a success. Here are a few pictures from our adventure.

Andrew on the plane. (He road as a lap baby!).

"The Family" at Pike's Market. My mom and dad were with us on the trip. We stayed in West Seattle at a condo of their good friends Sharon and Larry. It was a BEAUTIFUL little condo... walking distance to great restaurants (and a bakery) and the grocery store (and a liquor store).

The Seattle Music Experience (museum).
First Starbucks... of course we had to stop there.

The Seattle Space Needle.

And there was lots of "down" time back at the condo, where Nana and Papa kept Andrew well entertained.