The natural order of things

My dad tells me I am the youngest child of the youngest child of the youngest child of the youngest child. So that makes my little boy the fifth youngest child of the youngest child (I’m sure there’s a more proper way to say that). Being the baby of four kids, I definitely took my fair share of being picked on. So I guess I resonate with my youngest when I see him snubbed by his sister or bossed around.

And of course there are those fun picture opps that she can’t resist the urge to ruin while he flashes a cute, unknowing smile.

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Our Fall “girl date”

As a follow-up to my post on ‘being all in’ with my daughter, I wanted to share our recent “girl date” as we like to call it to the beautiful Irvine Park Railroad and Zoo. As luck would have it, the weather was gorgeous and Fall-like, which is unheard of lately in Southern California. We set off around 10am and had about five hours to explore the scenic grounds, eat lunch, see the animals at the zoo, visit the pumpkin patch, have some snow cones, and take a train ride. I know she needed to have her mama all to herself, and I needed the connection time with her too. She recently transitioned to elementary school and it’s hard to be away from each other for longer periods during the day.

We started out just exploring the park and looking at the pretty Fall colors.

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Easy Summer Activities

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When I first discovered Pinterest, I thought it might just be the answer I’d been looking for to help pass time on those endless stay at home mom days.  Yet every time I tried one of  the DIY projects for toddlers I had pinned, it was a big letdown.  There was the popsicle stick velcro project and then the food coloring/dropper in baking soda pin.  And this one that didn’t work at all ’cause I’m sure I did something wrong.  And how can I forget the felt Christmas tree I spent hours crafting for her to play with all season that she barely cared about.  The point is it feels like a decent amount of effort to run out and buy the supplies, prep it all, and then my daughter does the project for ten minutes.  Doesn’t seem worth it.

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Behind the Orange Curtain

Last Sunday I drove up to LA for a bridal shower honoring a dear friend.  Driving those familiar freeways, the same thing happened that always does when that gorgeous Los Angeles skyline comes into view.  My heart does that thing where it practically skips a beat.  There is just something about that city.  Los Angeles will always have a special place in my heart – some of my fondest memories are from the years I lived there.

I love its diversity, art, food, architecture, culture, and people.  As averse as I was to moving to Orange County after I got married, I now realize there is no shortage of those very same attributes behind the Orange Curtain.

And the truth is, I really adore living here.  I never thought I could grow to love it so much!  It is certainly beautiful and scenic.  And if it’s one thing we have, it’s culinary masterpieces. It seems everywhere you look, a new restaurant is popping up by a renowned chef. Continue reading “Behind the Orange Curtain”

I Simply Remember My Favorite Things

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I took my 4-year-old daughter to see ‘The Sound of Music’ not too long ago.  Despite the start time being at her approximate bedtime, I forged ahead, excited about the experience we would share together.  ‘The Sound of Music’ was one of my favorite movies as a child, and every year at Christmastime, I share that tradition with my daughter.  So when the chance came up to see it live, I jumped.

I made the mistake of not really making her eat a full dinner before the play, thinking there would be snacks at the theater.  When we arrived, I regretfully realized I was wrong.   Continue reading “I Simply Remember My Favorite Things”

Life Lessons

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I love having friends with kids older than mine.  Granted, I have a stepson who is in middle school, but I have not parented him from the beginning which is a little different.  I love when a girlfriend with three children older than mine assures me, “I promise – it does get easier.”  It does?  When might that be?  When they’re able to bathe on their own?  Get their own breakfasts and get ready for their day by themselves?  For about five minutes last week I turned on HGTV and watched a renovation show I used to love.  During those few moments I had this vision of myself getting to do some of my own projects someday or watching a 30-minute show in peace…while the sun is still out.  Those days have been gone for so long, I can’t even remember them. Continue reading “Life Lessons”

Happy Every Day

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I was all set to write a Mother’s Day post that included sentimental thoughts on parenting as well as my hopes and dreams for my children.

Then today happened.  And I found myself wishing that maybe I could spend Mother’s Day alone.  I know…awful.  But not.  Because this job is hard.

By 8am they had both tested my patience so badly that I almost cried trying to get the three of us out the door and by 8pm, I felt like I had run a marathon.  Ok, maybe a couple marathons since my husband pointed out that a marathon would take me around five hours. Continue reading “Happy Every Day”

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of a Shower

There are certain things promised to us as human beings and also, as Americans.  But once you become a parent, I believe you give up many of those rights, whether you realize it at first or not.  One being a long, hot shower.  Not that any of us should be taking long showers, especially in drought-ridden California…but maybe just a shower a day?  Or…a shower every couple days?  Is that too much to ask?  Apparently so.  And the days I do manage to get one usually involve a screaming toddler on the other side of the shower door, so I have to finish in lightning speed.  Real relaxing.

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Picky Eaters Unite

Besides the age-old childrearing question of how sleep is going, there is the topic of toddler eating (or perhaps I should say toddler not eating).  As a child, I was a prime example of picky eating.  So I’m not sure why it surprises me when my kids sometimes often won’t eat what I serve them.  My 4-year-old daughter has never been a great eater, even though I had high hopes because I did Baby Led Weaning with her.  She started out strong (as most do) and then around a year stopped eating almost all fruit and most carbs.  Kind of the opposite of most kids who prefer white starchy foods.  To this day, if I make her a peanut or almond butter sandwich, she will just scrape the protein off and forgo the bread.  So as you can imagine, my nearly 2-year-old son has been a breath of fresh air this past year as he’s explored new foods with a vigorous appetite.  But since he’s plateaued in weight, he’s slowly but surely becoming more choosy in what he eats, while my 4-year-old is branching out a little more.  But, mealtime is still a struggle for both more often than not.

The last thing I want is to cater to them but I do want and need them to eat – and sometimes in a somewhat timely fashion.  It seems like such a simple thing to me…it’s food, just put it in your mouth.  Chew it, swallow it and go onto the next bite.  Why does it need to be complicated?

Just.  Eat.  Something.

It’s an endless battle I tire of fighting.

When I find myself getting really frustrated, it helps to flash back to a scene at my aunt and uncle’s house when I was roughly 4 years old.  I was told to eat everything on my plate or I wouldn’t be able to play with my cousins.  I remember being so repulsed by the sight of the food on my plate that I refused to give in to their awful demand of eating it.  I sat in that chair bored out of my mind for the entire night, which felt like an eternity to me.  But nothing in the world was worth eating that meat, green beans and potato salad staring back up at me.  I don’t even remember feeling starved or upset they wouldn’t give me something else.  I would have gladly gone without dinner as long as I didn’t have to eat that.

So knowing how I felt as a child, you would think I’d have a little sympathy for my own kids when they refuse to try something new I set in front of them.  But I rarely do.  Some days I am aggravated beyond belief.  Especially if it’s something they ate days before – this happens all the time with my youngest.  One day he eats a cup of strawberries.  The next day he spits them out with a disgusted look on his face.  Same with grapes, pineapple and watermelon – and it even happened the other day with his beloved peanut butter crackers.  Loves them one day and hates them the next…it’s such a mystery to me.

When they tried corn at the Thanksgiving meal at my daughter’s preschool celebration last year the teachers said every kid in the class tried it but mine.  And that her reasoning was, “My mom doesn’t let me eat corn.”  Which is, of course, not true.  I don’t really even consider corn a vegetable, but it just shows how picky she is that she wouldn’t even take one bite!

My best friend always reminds me how her son refused to eat anything but a baked potato for dinner every night for 18 long months, and guess what?  As a teen, his palate has obviously expanded and he eats like a normal, healthy person now, enjoying salads and a wide array of fruits and veggies.

Everything I have read on this topic says the best thing you can do for your kids is model good, healthy eating.  So I try to not get too worked up…I can’t control what they eat.  I can only control their choices. And if that means that sometimes they skip a meal because they won’t eat what I serve them for dinner (which usually includes foods I know they like), then they must not be that hungry after all.  Or they truly are not feeling it that day and just want to play.

Either way, I am pretty convinced they will turn out just fine.

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