Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ground Hog's Day

I'm in a funk. I feel like I am in a perpetual state of sameness and it is driving me bonkers. I am stuck in a mommy rut. Blah.

I hate complaining about being a stay at home mom because I love it and it's what I always wanted, but man it can be monotonous. I think it has a lot to do with having a baby. This age is hard. For us, it's all about the schedule. Every 3 hours Penelope nurses, plays, and takes a nap. Throw in some snuggles, poop, and barf and you have a pretty good picture of what my life looks like. Every. Single. Day.

Since she naps so frequently, I feel tethered to my house. Getting out and about usually entails taking a walk or going to the park. These activities are endlessly fun for Beatrice, but sometimes I want to do other stuff. I need different stimuli! I try to mix it up and throw a trip to Target or Ikea into our routine, but for the most part I feel stuck in my house doing the same thing I did yesterday. And the day before. It makes for one bored mommy.

My other mommy friends have all experienced the same thing. Having little ones on a napping schedule means a lot of time at home. I try to remind myself that it is a short season and once the first year is over, there is more wiggle room in the schedule. It's getting through that first year that is the hard part. One can only look at the same 4 walls for so long! One year, max. 

Don't get me wrong, I love my babies and being at home with them. I just need to spice up our routine a bit. We need more than walks to the park added to our activity repertoire. I have been googling and have some fun ideas planned for the weeks to come. Beverly Hills adventure day, anyone? I'm hoping that just one activity out a week will jazz things up. 7 months is a long time to do the same thing over and over again.

Do you ever feel stuck in a mommy rut? How do you break the monotony of your days?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Weekend Adventure: Beach Bums

We had one of those weekends that was totally exhausting and relaxing at the same time. It was just the right amount of rest and activity-ing that makes me feel all accomplished and refreshed, totally ready for the week to come. Oh, and between the 4 of us, we have been to the beach 3 times in the last 4 days. Beach bums, we are.

The weather has been perfect. Blue skies, highs in the 70s, coastal breezes, sunshine. We were outside 90% of the weekend. Today, we headed to Redondo beach with some friends. There are tons of shops and cafes near the beach, but we went straight for the sand. It was prime sandcastle weather and the kids had some digging to do.

Beatrice wanted to take her shirt off to be like her best buddy, Isaac. That's the cool thing about being 2: you can totally go shirtless at the beach.

It was kind of an idyllic day. So idyllic that I barely took any photos. The toddlers played for nearly 3 hours, the babies slept, the parents relaxed and talked. Dolphins were swimming, birds were fishing, surfers were surfing. I love that this is becoming a normal thing for us. California, where have you been all my life? Hanging on the west coast the whole time. Okay, cool.

We came home and finished up some projects around the house while the girls napped. We had a great weekend. I'm gonna sleep good tonight!

Friday, January 27, 2012


Yesterday I went to the beach with some friends and their kids. It was great. Lots of moms, lots of kids, lots of lounging, lots of playing, lots of sun. In the midst of all of the lounging, playing, and sun, I felt kind of guilty about being a stay at home mom. I get to go to the beach while JD is at work. Seems a little unfair, ya know?

But today, he sent me this:

He and his coworkers went to the beach to build office morale. I don't feel so bad about being a stay at home mom anymore.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


California has a lot of threatening phenomenons going on. Earthquakes, wild fires, landslides, and tsunamis are just a few of the things that can cause harm in this crazy state. And while I am aware that those are all plausible dangers, I don't dwell on the probability of them happening to me. What I do dwell on happening to me is far more likely. I know because I've seen it happen half a dozen times since I have lived in California. What could it be, you ask?

Giant, dead palm branches falling out of the sky, of course.

There are palm trees everywhere in Southern California. Everywhere. They are gorgeous and really make California feel like California. The thing with palm trees though is they are really, really tall so when they shed a dead branch, it has a million miles to fall before it crashes to the ground. And those dead palm branches are heavy, causing the potential for a lot of damage to whatever is beneath when it falls. Because they're shaped like a fan, they never just fall straight down. They fly and swerve, searching for their unsuspecting target. You never know where they might land, hence my fear.

I have dodged them falling/flying while driving down the street and playing at the park. Both times I was totally freaked out thinking about them landing on me or my children. Then we had a really windy rainstorm and I noticed something terrible, an accident waiting to happen if you will. See for yourself:

My car is parked directly under a palm tree. This isn't good. Not only is my car in danger of giant, dead palm branches demolishing it, we are all in danger of demolition every time we get in and out of it. Eek! Every night I say a little prayer that I don't wake to find my car crushed underneath a pile of dead palm branches and so far, it is still in one piece. I think I will start praying for a new parking spot tonight.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Pillow

For as long as I can remember, I have always woken up with a crick in my neck. I tried fluffy pillows, flat pillows, pillows stuffed with synthetic fibers, pillows stuffed with goose down, double stacked pillows, and no pillows at all, but nothing helped. Apparently my neck is very finicky and a good pillow is hard to find. My brother the chiropractor suggested I invest in an ergonomic pillow. I say invest because those suckers are not cheap. Mine cost $100. My mom and aunt had recently switched to the contoured, foamy pillows and raved about how glorious and un-cricked their necks felt in the morning, so I decided to give it a whirl.

After the first night on that pillow my life was instantly changed for the better. I never had another crick in my neck. Ever. That pillow was worth every dollar because I immediately felt so awesome compared to years of waking up feeling terrible. It took me a few nights to get used to the weird shape and firmness of it, but I adjusted super quickly. I loved my pillow. I traveled with that pillow. I sang the praises of that pillow to anyone who would listen. Me and that pillow? We were tight. For 3 years it cradled my head and neck in such a way that changed me physically for the better. I could have loved that pillow for life. And I would have, if it wasn't stolen from me.

Someone stole my freakin' pillow, y'all!?!? Because I never spent a night without that pillow, I never packed it with our things when we moved to California. I brought it with me for the 2 months that we lived with my brother and sister in law. While Penelope and I were in the hospital, I got a call notifying me that if I wanted my car in California by the time I arrived the following week, it had to be shipped within 12 hours. I was stuck in the hospital so I called my sister in law to toss the last of our bigger items in my backseat and trunk so we wouldn't have to take them on the airplane. My pillow was among those items. As soon as the car arrived in California a few days later, I asked JD to find my pillow. My neck was already hurting without it. He looked and looked, but never found it. He checked the trunk. He checked the floorboards. He checked the backseat. It was gone. Someone stole my pillow. 

I can't even tell you how I feel about this. Firstly, it is hilarious that someone stole a pillow. I joke that someone's neck must be in pretty bad shape to cause them to burgle another person's pillow. Secondly, I feel kind of violated and icky that someone took something from me, out of my car. But mostly, I just want my pillow back! My neck hurts. For 3 months now, I have been in constant neck pain because I can't find a replacement for my perfect ergonomic wonder. There has not been a single day that I haven't thought about that awesome piece of foam. I miss it. I don't think I can live without that pillow! 

If you have chronic neck pain, seriously consider buying one of those awesome pillows. But bolt it to your bed or something because they are a hot commodity and you never know when someone might steal it from you. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Do Not Covet Your Neighbor's Roses

We live in a really beautiful community. The lawns are impeccable. The trees are perfectly pruned. The shrubs are hearty and trimmed in all sorts of fun shapes. But the flowers? Oh the flowers are unrivaled. They bloom bigger and brighter on the west coast for some reason. Maybe they like the ocean. I am especially in love with the roses. Everyone has them in their yards and I have to restrain myself from snipping off a few blooms when I walk past. I have a serious case of flower envy because everyone's roses look great except for ours. And I don't know what to do about it.

I wouldn't say that I have a black thumb, but I don't know much about rose bushes. I'm not sure how to revive the 2 sorry plants we have. Do they like sunlight? Lots of water? Fertilizer? How do you prune one? It's all so confusing!!!! Something must be done because the state of our plants is a sad one.

These are my neighbors roses.

Beautiful, right? And they keep blooming.

These are my roses.

Pathetic. I have 2 sorry blooms on an almost dead plant. Oh the shame!

I need horticultural help here, people! They must be transplanted, but that's as far as my plan has gotten. What can you tell me about growing enviable roses? I'm embarrassed by my plants and I'm pretty sure stealing your neighbor's rose bush is frowned upon in the state of California. I just want roses that my neighbors want to steal. Is that too much to ask?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Peach Bread

We are big bread eaters in this family. We love sandwiches, toast, bread pudding, mmmm. I make some sort of homemade bread on a weekly basis. I love fruit bread because it makes a great breakfast and dessert. Plus, it's got fruit in it so I feel good about serving it to Beatrice. Yesterday, I had a hankering for peach bread. So I made some. Then I ate some. And today, because I am still eating some, I am sharing the recipe with you so you can eat some too!

Peach bread is like banana bread, but with peaches. And cinnamon. It is moist and dense and really yummy with cinnamon butter or peach preserves. This recipe yields 2 loaves. Would you judge me if I told you we ate an entire loaf in less than 24 hours?

Peach Bread

1 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c butter, softened
2 eggs
2 c pureed peaches, with some larger bits included (I threw a bag of frozen peaches in the blender for a few seconds to achieve puree + bits)
2 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl, combine sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, then the peach puree and bits. Add the dry ingredients a little at a time, making sure to blend well before you add more. Stir in the vanilla. Pour the batter into 2 greased loaf pans and bake at 325 for 55 minutes. 

Make this today!!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Weekend Adventure: Los Angeles Zoo

We headed to the Los Angeles Zoo today. We kept hearing that the L.A. Zoo is nothing much compared to the mack daddy of all zoos (the San Diego Zoo), but we were pretty wowed today. The L.A. Zoo is big, has tons of animals, and was really pretty. After getting lost and being completely exhausted once we found our way out, I don't know if we can handle the San Diego Zoo. This one whipped us pretty good.

At one time in my life, the zoo was my happy place. But I have come to realize something: the zoo is a smelly place. It smells of animals. More specifically, it smells of poop. Ew.

These guys were stinky.

Them too.

Koalas are cute, but smelly.

I had to hold my breathe a lot today. But, that's not the zoo's fault. It's the nature of wild animals to smell like poop. Thankfully, the zoo compensated for it by filling the air with the delicious scent of churros! Have you ever had a churro? Oh my goodness, they are like warm, cinnamon donut sticks. We see them everywhere we go, but haven't tried them until today. They are amazeballs. I would have posted a picture of me eating my first churro, but JD and I were both busy devouring it and couldn't be bothered with anything else. 

This zoo has a lot more animals than the Nashville Zoo. Beatrice and Penelope loved checking them all out.

The zoo has tons of monkeys. We had a good time looking at all of them, but none delighted us more than this mama and baby gibbon. I'm not gonna lie, after watching them for a good 10 minutes or so, I took Penelope out of the stroller and put her into the Bjorn. I wanted my baby monkey hanging onto me too.

We had a great day. The L.A. Zoo is super fun.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

By Myself

Yesterday, I took the girls to the beach by myself. After a migraine that thwarted a much needed girls night out, a failed shopping trip earlier in the week, and feeling generally lonely, I was pretty down. I needed to go to the beach. Going always snaps me out of whatever bad mood I'm in and makes me feel refreshed and happy. The beach is good for my mental health. The only problem was, I have never taken the girls to the beach by myself. I was scared.

I was mostly scared of the water. Beatrice has no fear of it. Quite the opposite, actually. She loves it and runs for it as soon as she sees it. It terrifies me that she has no grasp of the power those waves possess. I was afraid that she would run for the water while I was nursing or something and I would have to choose which child to tend to. Or that I wouldn't have enough hands to grab her if she needed my help. I decided that having my hands free at all times was the way to go.

My other fear was not being able to lug all of our beach gear and 2 babies from the car to the beach by myself. Typically, we require several buckets and shovels, a blanket, drinks and snacks, camera, and a bunch of other stuff to do/sit on/eat/drink. I decided that I would pack light and only bring the necessities. Also, I had to fit it all in a small beach tote that I could easily throw over my shoulder.

So I packed our bag and threw on the Bjorn and we went to the beach. And you know what? It was pretty awesome. We arrived late in the morning on the most beautiful of days. Instantly my mood lifted. Penelope fell asleep in the Bjorn, Beatrice never ran for the water, I managed to get us to and fro with ease. It was a wonderful day. And I'm totally psyched knowing that I can do this by myself. 

Easy peasy.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Support System

Today, the bloggity blog is being featured on Table For Four. Thanks to Nicole for asking me to write a little something for her fun blog! Here is my post:

Before my family moved to California a few months ago, 2500 miles away from all of our friends and relatives, I accepted very little help when it came to my daughters. Sure, I took my mother in law up on babysitting every 8 weeks or so while I got my hair done, but I never took advantage of the free childcare for the 22 months that I had it. To be honest, I never thought I needed it. I stay at home with my girls and using a babysitter seemed like I was abusing the system a little. I mean, watching the kids was my job after all. Letting someone else watch them made me feel a little guilty. Plus, it feels awkward to accept help when it comes to my kids. I feel like I should do it all, all the time.

Then I moved to the other side of the country. I found myself with no mother in law, no mom, no grandmother or sisters in law or best friends close by to help with my girls. I sort of panicked. Who would be available for my hair appointments or, God forbid, when I got sick? Who would I call when I ran out of milk and needed someone to drop some off? I suddenly realized that the support system I took for granted back home was really an essential part of this whole parenting gig.

I did the only rational thing one could do when they find themselves in this predicament: I insisted that we move back home at once. Naturally, that didn't go over so well with JD. So, I prayed. I prayed for new friends that could be my California support system. Friends that could watch my kids when I am in a bind, friends to commiserate the terrible 2s with, friends to recommend pediatricians and grocery stores and kid-friendly places. And friends to be friends with, too.

Almost immediately, I made some friends and my support system was established. Having these women has made adjusting to our new life out here so much easier. I don't feel like I am completely alone each day. If I run out of milk or get sick, someone in my support system would have my back and come over. With milk. I have learned to treasure this help because most of the time, having a support system is not about the kids. It's about the mom. Sometimes the mom needs a break. Sometimes the mom needs to know that there are others who care enough about her to make themselves available to help out. Sometimes it is enough to know that there are people there to help, even if you don't need it.

So for the first time in my 26 months of motherhood, I am utilizing my support system. I now know the value of having people available to help a mama out. And not just for babysitting, but for encouragement and advice too. And fellowship. Sharing experiences is a huge part of the parenting journey. Having a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on is just as vital as having a trustworthy babysitter. That's what the support system is all about. And I have learned that having one and utilizing it makes all the difference in the world, whether you live near your family or 2500 miles away.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Look at this sky.

It's pretty much the perfect sky to represent perfect weather. I have tons of photos just like this. California is paradise.

I was afraid I would miss the seasons Tennessee has to offer. I will never forget my first Tennessee autumn. Seeing the trees seemingly combust in bright orange and red was amazing after a childhood spent in perpetual Florida summers. I didn't know trees could do that. Heck, I didn't know there were trees other than palms and pines. I quickly fell in love with the snowy winters, the balmy springs, and crisp falls. Humid Tennessee summers are unbearable.  Nobody likes those.

But then I moved to Southern California and fell in love with the mildest of climates. Here, it rarely ever escapes the 70s, there is a constant coastal breeze, and the sky. Oh my, the sky. I think I fell in love with the sky first. It's so, so blue.

And for the winter lover in me, the temp drops considerably at night calling for fleece jammies and the heat to be turned on. California is cold at night.

I find myself going outside all the time. We are obsessed with the perfect weather. Us and the rest of California's residents. Love, love, love the mountain and the beach in the same view. Perfection, I tell you.

It only took 3 months, but I am officially hooked on California's weather. It really is perfect.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


My baby is a terrible sleeper. There, I said it. I don't like admitting it because it feels like a reflection of my mothering, like she doesn't sleep because of me or something I'm doing wrong. Also, I want to pretend we are not really up all night, every night. And admitting it seems like accepting it, and IT IS UNACCEPTABLE to be up this much. But, here I am, letting you all in on it because honestly, I need help.

It all went downhill when we moved. She was sleeping 7+ hours a night and taking really good naps up until we relocated to California. I don't know if it's the climate or the house or what, but sister girl hates to sleep. She much rather prefers to take catnaps on me all day and night long. This does not work for me. I need sleep. Consecutive hours of uninterrupted sleep. Right now, I am up and down anywhere from 1 to 4 times a night for no apparent reason other than my baby likes to see me every couple of hours.

Naturally, this lack of sleep is taking its toll on JD and me. We are desperate and at the end of our rope, so to speak. We have tried everything to get this kid to stay asleep. We swaddle, we unswaddled, we rock, we let her cry, we put her in the bed, we put her in the swing, we hold her, we cover her with a blanket, we try white noise, we try total silence, we beg, we cry, we pray and nothing seems to change. Penelope is a terrible sleeper.

JD and I are not 100% sure if our family is complete yet. I always felt like we would have 1 more child, but 4 1/2 months of no sleep might be enough for me to say no more. I wish I were joking, but this child is wearing me out.

Penelope, I'm begging you to sleep through the night. Please, mama is tired and although I love my daily coffee IV, this much caffeine is not healthy for anyone.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Staying In

We didn't do any adventuring this weekend. Not away from home anyway. After my mom's visit and moving, we needed a weekend of downtime. So we stayed close to home and enjoyed the perfect weather we've been having.

We are blessed to live in a beautiful community with tons of outdoor fun. There are about 15 playgrounds within walking distance that overlook the ocean, walking trails, and manicured lawns for frisbee, kites, and lounging.

And ball. We like to play ball.

We like to play ball so much, we play with multiple ones at the same time.

Penelope and I are more into lounging on the lawn.

We also spent time making our new place home. I cooked a bunch, I finally cleaned, and we did enormous amounts of laundry. JD and Beatrice took care of some outside chores too.

We took a long walk, went to church, and drank a good deal of coffee this weekend. It was just what we needed. Now that we're all rested up, we will be back to adventuring next weekend.

Happy weekend out there!