Wednesday, January 23, 2013

by the book

Or not by the book, as the case may be. Little Miss J has never been the textbook baby. With respect to the success stories you read in those sleep books, I am convinced this actually means that your kid wasn't that difficult in the first place. If after three nights of CIO you child self-soothes or all you need is some white noise for your child to drift off to sleep, you don't have a problem. Trust me. If you are desperate enough to put a vibrator in your child's crib because some woman on some message board told you that the only thing that worked for her kid was a vibrating "back massager," then come talk to me.

I have an entire library of sleep books - you name it, I probably own it in print or on my Nook. I made myself literally crazy and at least 50 shades of unhappy by trying to get Little Miss J to behave like the babies in those books or like my friends' babies. I was convinced that SOMETHING would work. There was, however, no magic trick in those books, and despite my diligent sleep log I ended up with a baby in my bed for the better part of a year.

We managed to have a crib sleeper that self-soothed for a few short months. Heavenly. The dream was shattered with Little Miss J learned how to get out of her crib. I would have to check Facebook to see when that was, but as I recall it was much earlier than most of her little friends. Once she was in the toddler bed, we were doomed. She cramped myself in the toddler bed with her for a couple nights. I put up a baby gate, which she promptly climbed over. We stopped short of locking her in her room.

Little Miss J is still not a great sleeper, but it has gotten better. We had to buy her a really nice full-size mattress, but now she only sleeps in her bed. One of us still has to lie with her until she falls asleep and when she wakes in the middle of the night we have to go lay down with her to talk her off the ledge. Oh, and Carl Rove must be in the room curled up next to the bed. Our path was not defined by any sleep training method, we forged our own and this is where we are. Despite being unable to implement any of these "tried and true techniques," I have one happy, healthy and well-loved and adored Little Miss J - and that is success in my book.

Monday, January 21, 2013

today was a good day

To quote Ice Cube. Gus and I had a date day and it was really just what I needed. With no family nearby to help with childcare, we have definitely let our own relationship suffer. I felt a tiny bit of guilt leaving Little Miss J at daycare while we enjoyed some adult activities, but it really was the perfect day. We started off at Bouchon Bakery where we literally had the best quiche I have ever tasted. I don't think I will ever make quiche again because I have no idea how they  make it THAT delicious. We dined alfresco despite it being a bit chilly in the morning.

Next stop was Domaine Chandon for a bit of bubbly, because it's acceptable to drink champagne at 10:00 a.m. Plus there was a 2 for 1 tasting if you check-in on Yelp. Don't mind the woman in the background with the extremely Botox-ed face.

Next, because Gus really wanted to go to a local vineyard to learn about a California wine I took him to one of my favorites, Pride Mountain. It's a pretty small/medium sized place that makes 18,000 cases per year. We learned that they had started out just growing grapes and selling them to places - including Mondavi, who used them for his Opus One. In a surplus year, the owner figured he'd try his hand at making his own considering his grapes were being used for Mondavi's top of the line. The estate lies on the Napa/Sonoma border with some grapes in Napa and some in Sonoma. Despite not having a reservation we managed a couple spots on the tour with a progressive tasting. Since it is one of my favorites, I'm glad Gus also enjoyed it and we walked away with a couple of bottles and our name on the list for their Cab-Franc when it comes out in August.

To cleanse our palates, we landed at Dean and Deluca for some yummy sandwiches that we ate outside in the sunshine. Roast beast on ciabatta with mesculun, carmelized onions and manchego. I love manchego. Gus had an Italian with salami, fresh mozzarella and roasted red peppers. Also delicious.

Our third stop was for some more bubbly. We hit the Silverado Trail and landed at Mumm Napa, where we shared a tasting since Gus was driving and enjoyed the beautiful day.

On our way back through Yountville, Gus had to revisit Bouchon for the macarons - one pistachio, one caramel and one raspberry for Little Miss J. Oh, and a chocolate eclair for good measure. As we each ate our respective macaron, Gus tried to convince me that Little Miss J wouldn't like one. Pretty sure it's because he wanted to eat it.

Our last and final stop was a quick trip to the outlet mall for some shopping. A good way to end a date. We still managed to pick Little Miss J up from daycare before we would have had we gone to work and she was pretty happy with her "surprise," as she called it. "DEE-LICIOUS!"

It has been,  all in all, the perfect day. It felt like we were on vacation, but really we had just driven an hour. It's not that I have forgotten how much I love to spend time with my husband, but it was a good reminder that our lives are not always about pottytraining, pull-ups, and trying to come up with the best plan that will minimize the chances of toddler meltdowns.

Oh, and can I add how freakin' fantastic it is to be able to take a shower and not be wondering what your toddler might be getting into?

bouncin' round the room

We've had some quiet weekends so far this year and I've been feeling a bit cooped up. Last Saturday, I made it my mission to change all that. We started at the gym, where Little Miss J played basketball and climbed on the playground at the kids club. Last time we tried to leave her at the gym daycare, she cried the whole time so we never actually got the chance to workout. She really wanted to go to the kids club this time, but was a bit hesitant to let us out of her sight. She warmed up quickly though, and Gus and I were able to get in a workout. I had tried to get us to storytime at the mall, but we were running late so we skipped it and played outside at our house instead.

I had made a reservation for her to play at Bounce U for later in the afternoon. Little Miss J talked about going "jumping" all day.

As you can see, she had a great time. Both she and I worked up a sweat. After the jumping we headed to the mall. We had to walk by the play area to get to the food court and it took a bit to convince her that we would go play after we ate.

After a quick bite, Little Miss J was ready to run, jump, climb and play. She would climb on top of these things and jump off. Gus and I watched with our breath collectively held. We thought about what would happen if she face planted, but wanted to give her the freedom to try things. So yes, I was the mom that would have been regrettably sad had her child broken her face at the play area - but thankfully we came out of there in one piece.

I thought after all that running around that I'd get a good night's sleep out of Little Miss J. She crashed in the car on the way home from the mall, but woke up promptly at midnight requesting water. Oh well. We tried, and Little Miss J had a great day nonetheless.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

happy birthday to me!

A decade ago, birthdays involved deciding which bar to go to, what to wear, who to invite and where to have an after bar. 35 brought a much quieter birthday. Little Miss J did interrupt my shower to yell "happy birthday, umma" and made me a Lego cupcake. Gus actually managed to wish me happy birthday in the morning before work without having to be reminded - likely because I had to cry about the fact that he didn't do so without a reminder last year. Lovely flowers showed up at my door courtesy of my dad and Amy.

Saturday we wrangled up a babysitter and headed out with R squared (Rachael and Randy) to Moxie, which was recommended by my friend and neighbor, Julie. On a side note, Julie is my Angie's list. I've gotten referrals for doctors, vets, and pretty much everything else from her. She has lived here forever and knows everyone. Plus she's just an awesome friend in general. I wasn't quite sure what to think of the restaurant when they seated us, and then proceeded to ignore us until R squared arrived - but in the end the service was actually good and they kept our wine glasses full the entire night long after the bottle that R squared brought was gone. Their food was good with the specials outnumbering the menu. We had crab cakes and spare ribs to start and then I had sea scallops and Gus had lobster ravioli. Dessert was a Kaluha cream chocolate cake, which was way yummy. It was fun to spend a birthday with Rachael after so many years. She was around 10 years ago probably trying to help me decide which bar to go to and who to invite!

like umma

Last month I coaxed Little Miss J into her Christmas dress for breakfast with Santa by telling her it was red and she would be "like Umma" because I was wearing red pants. Since then, she will often say that she is doing something "like Umma or Appah." A couple of Fridays ago, I was wearing jeans to work and while we were picking out her clothes she surveys my outfits and picks out her jeans saying, "I wear these, like Umma." I take an unreasonable amount of pride in the fact that she wants to do something, like me. The fact that it also provides an avenue for me to get her to wear clothes that match does not escape me. But there is literally, nothing cuter than hearing her say she is doing something "like umma."

And because, according to Stacey, no blog post about Little Miss J is complete without a photo - here she is eating a banana popsicle that was promised to her if she put on her Dora underwear rather than a pull-up.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

happy new year

I love the new year. It's like a clean slate, and despite rarely ever keeping them I love New Year's resolutions or at least the thought of them. 2012 was a great year with a move to California, new jobs for both of us, and finding a cute little home in a great neighborhood with some absolutely awesome neighbors.

We rang in 2013 at home with a little Chunglund party complete with Gus's homemade Top the Tater and some crab dip, which was not as good as Auntie Sarah's. After seeing the picture below, my mother-in-law called Gus to make sure we didn't actually give Little Miss J wine because - well, you know, you aren't supposed to do that and she just wanted to make sure we knew this. LOL.

We suffered a bit of a setback in the early days of 2013, when at six weeks I suffered a miscarriage. Thankfully, I am feeling pretty good both emotionally and physically. Having a wonderfully supportive spouse definitely helped and we have added it to our list of crappy things we've been through and come out alive from.

I started a 21-day detox cleanse last week and have learned that brown rice pasta, Larabars, and raw cacao are all quite delicious. We joined a new gym, which is closer to our office and I've been trying to get my workout in at lunch. It's been a nice way to clear my head.

We are looking forward to a healthier, happier new year!