Sunday, September 15, 2013

Always Remember

  • At bedtime, Griffin sitting alone in the yellow glider chair, finishing his milk. I knelt down on the floor in front of him, smiled at his little face and asked "Do you want more milk?" He grinned, then scooted forward in the chair until my neck/upper torso was between his chubby, bruised-up little legs. Then, sighing happily, he collapsed upon me, wrapped his entire body around mine like a koala bear, nestled his head (the hair on it I cut - badly - today) into my neck and shoulder, cooed happily, and said "It's okay, Mommy - it's okay."
  • Yesterday on the playground, Carter climbed up on the high slide, the freestanding one that curves in a corkscrew down to the ground. There was a birthday party and the park was filled with older, aggressive children, playing a spirited game of tag (or something similar - I heard shouts of 'castle' and 'king'). A group of them, shouting, bumping and boisterous, climbed to the top of the slide where Carter was standing, watching, a precious Hot Wheels car clutched tightly in each hand. I watched him watch them, wide-eyed and fascinated, so awed by their older-boy world of new games and adventure. I was so worried they would knock him down, or that he would be afraid amidst the bustle of larger, rougher children, but when I called his name he just said "I'm not scared, Mommy" and stood right there in the thick of it, watching the action.

    My heart broke a little, watching him. Seeing him grow, knowing he doesn't need me like he used to. My heart. My heart, standing up there at the top of the metal stairs and the corkscrew slide. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


My boys have a new favorite game, in which one brother lies on the couch while the other one completely covers his body with pillows, then proceeds to faux-search for him around the room. The game culminates in the searching brother feigning exhaustion and climbing up to "accidentally" sit on the pillow-covered brother, at which point pillow-boy springs up and squeals. Then they switch and do it all over again. Sometimes we get looped in and either Mommy or Daddy are covered with pillows and climbed on. My favorite part is the commentary:

"Where's Griffin? I can't find him! Is Griffin in this box? (cue Griffin giggling under his pillow tower) No....maybe he's in the closet! (opens and shuts door) No....Oh my goodness (he seriously says that), I am so tired from looking for Griffin, I think I'll have to sit down and relax on this big comfy couch..."
I was watching them play this game for the umpteenth time this morning and I suddenly realized that they are BIG and OLD and why am I not writing anything down?!?

I watch my boys play and think "I'll always remember this," but I won't. I mean, I will, in that vague, dreamy haze of memories gone by, but that's not enough. I must do better - journal more, blog more, take more pictures, capture it before it all floats by into 'they were small once...'

Driving home from school last night, Carter said "Mommy, Griffin always wants to do everything that I do."
"I know he does, Carter - that's because he loves you so much and he wants to be just like you."
Carter said "Yep, I know - and I love him too. I missed you today, Mommy!"
(and then I melted into a big puddle of Norman Rockwellian maternal bliss right there at the corner of Melrose and La Brea)

These boys - they love each other.  They play together, chase each other, share toys (sometimes), crawl around barking and pretending to be doggies together, resist bedtime with every ounce of their stubborn little beings together, whack each other in the head with cars, hide under Mommy's skirts together - oh, my crazy, darling boys. There are no words to do you justice.

But I'll keep trying.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

To Wean or Not To Wean

A week or so ago we went to an Oscar party at the home of some friends. The kids were playing, the food was plentiful, and we were happy to commingle with fellow movie-lovers. Somewhere between Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Screenplay, Griffin decided he wanted a snack. He looked up from his toys and made a beeline straight for where I sat relaxing on the couch, sandwiched between two women I had met about 20 minutes prior. He climbed over two people's legs, shoving aside anything in his path, until he had made his way into my lap, at which point my gigantic 17-month-old toddler proceeded to slap my chest with the palm of his hand while chanting "BOOPBOOP! BOOPBOOP!" and staring, ravenous and open-mouthed, at my cleavage.

Charming, eh?

My kid is a boob monster. Anywhere, at any time, he'll drop whatever he's doing to grapple onto my body and have himself a nurse. I can no longer change my clothes in front of him without risking a boob attack. The other day I made the mistake of picking him up in the midst of my morning routine, while I was still shirtless. FOOLISH, PAIGE. Immediately the BOOPBOOP-ing began, as he somehow managed to fold his massive 80th percentile body in two in order to latch on for a swig.

Carter was not this child. Carter loved bottles and didn't particularly want to have anything to do with nursing after eight months or so. It was only through sheer insane determination - lugging my pump everywhere we went and pumping bottles for his every meal - that he did not wean completely at that point. The only times he would deign to nurse was at night and first thing in the morning - attempting to nurse him at any other time of day would only elicit howls of protest, like my nipples were made of razors and MOMMY HOW COULD YOU?

Griffin is at the other end of the spectrum. This is the kid who rejected bottles every single day for months - MONTHS - until I thought I would surely lose my mind. Then I went back to work and by damn, you will take this bottle and LIKE IT, MISTER. And he did, finally. But if there's a spare boob around? Forget it. Don't even try to shove that piece of silicone in my mouth - I'll take the real deal, thankyouverymuch.

But this shop is closing, sir. Inventory done all dried up, my friend. Mommy would like the ladies back.
I ultimately nursed Carter til he was 18 months, until I was three months pregnant with Griffin, so I have been either pregnant or nursing (or pregnant AND nursing) for over four years straight, and I AM TIRED.

So here I am, ready to wean my not-so-weanable son. When it was time to wean Carter, I first cut out the AM feed and after another month or so I just told him that Mommy's boobies do not have milk anymore, but you can have this lovely bottle. TA-DA! Weaned.

With the Finster, it will not be this easy. It will be What the?!? Get that accursed bottle outta my face! Now hand over the BOOPBOOP and nobody gets hurt.

Mind you, I love nursing. After the rocky beginning - the tears and the stress and the pain, MY GOD, the pain - nursing successfully is one of my proudest mothering accomplishments, so it's hard to stop, even if it's time. Our twice-daily nursing sessions are a brief time of total peace, calm, and contentment - all the stress of the day drops away and there is only me and my little boy. Sometimes I think To hell with it! Weaning sounds like a pain in the ass - I'll just keep nursing forever! Yay, hippies! WHEEE!!

But it's almost time.

Godspeed, boobs. Godspeed.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Feelin' Festive

I am not a particularly spontaneous person by nature. This is something I am working on, because
spontaneity intrigues me. I aspire to be that fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants girl, who will drop anything at
anytime and GO GO GO because yes, tacos at midnight sound like a great idea so why the hell not?? (Not a good example, as tacos at midnight are probably not a great idea. Unless they are paired with tequila, in which case they are an excellent idea). But that's not really me.

Sure, I am prone to random outbursts of song, and sure, I'll occasionally wander into a room and decide that NOW is the time to bust a mean tap dance, but that doesn't count. I am a planner. My brain exists two steps down the line, and to get from here to there I dot my i's and cross my t's and NO I can't go to lunch with you, I brought leftovers from home today and disrupting my predetermined lunch routine is upsetting, now stop giving me that weird look.

Yeah, I'm working on it.

Fortunately, one of the most spontaneous aspects of my non-spontaneous self is in the kitchen - like last year, when I got it in my head that I HAD to make a King Cake for Mardi Gras. My boss usually orders them straight from the real-deal bakeries in New Orleans, and I don't remember if I'd gotten the baby the year prior or if I was just being masochistic OR if I'd just lost my damn mind, but the night before Fat Tuesday I decided that I was going to attempt a King Cake. The fact that I'd never worked with yeast be damned! Bring it, King Cake!

I ultimately made two - one with brown sugar cinnamon filling, one with cream cheese - and they were such a hit at the office that I decided to make it an annual tradition. I may not always be a seat-of-my-pants girl, but I am a girl who will find ANY excuse to celebrate.

With both Mardi Gras and Valentine's Day this week, I have been in baker's paradise - King Cake! Lava Cakes! Cupcakes!

My week, in photos:

Brown sugar cinnamon, I think I love you

Forming the circles - kindly disregard my messy counters


My precious...

Hello, lovelies.


I would like to curl up and sleep in there, in cinnamon swirly heaven

Dive in. It's the right thing to do.

I know, Griffin. I totally agree.


Inspecting Mommy's handiwork

Cupcakes for coworkers - mini and big

Chocolate lava cakes for Carter's teachers

Heat and eat for molten goodness

Cupcakes for Griffin's teachers - in awesome red mini loaf pan!

Carter's Valentine's - from free printable online!

With organic TJ's lollipops attached

For the LOML - nothing says I love you like BOOZE. 

Pinned Image
Griffin's Valentine's - also printed fo' FREE from online

He's a lover, not a fighter.
 Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Baking Therapy

As promised, I am feeling much less exhausted, harried and poo-covered this week, save for another epic incident involved my recently potty-trained three-year-old and his first bout with - ahem - upset tummy. But the details of that delightful experience are best left unsaid, because this post is all about FOOD.

Every weekend morning can find me in the kitchen, baking something for my family. Just writing that sentence made me feel so retro...I guess that explains why Carter went through a phase some months back when he would yell "Mommy! Put your hair down and get in the kitchen!" Oh, my charming little chauvinist. 

After the chaos of the work week, baking calms and centers me. I got really into vegan baking years ago when I was a vegetarian newlywed - I loved the challenge of making things delicious without using any animal products. Cut to five years later - I'm no longer a vegetarian but since I'm now baking for my boys I try to keep it as healthy as possible, so I still make a lot of vegan recipes or alter existing recipes to up the nutrition. Lately I'm obsessed with coconut oil and trying to put it in everything. It has a very mild flavor and it's amazingly good for you - if you don't trust me, trust the folks over at Dr. Oz

Carter doesn't get television during the week, so on Saturday and Sunday mornings he gets to watch his favorites on the iPad - Super Why, Dinosaur Train, Curious George, the Toy Stories, Cars, etc - while I bake, Max sleeps or works on the computer, and Griffin putters about and entertains himself.

On Friday morning, I made the boys' favorite - French Toast from Weelicious - I use whole wheat bread (not sticks), top it with a drizzle of maple syrup, and they pack it in. Yesterday morning was doughnuts - I used my standard baked vegan doughnut recipe, but adapted it slightly, substituting white whole wheat flour for regular and coconut oil instead of the vegan butter:

1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/4 scant t. nutmeg
pinch cinnamon
1/2 c. soymilk
1/2 t. vinegar
1/2 t. vanilla
egg replacer for 1 egg (I use Ener-G)
1/4 c. coconut oil

Mmm...vegan doughnutty goodness
Preheat oven to 350ยบ F.
In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients with a whisk to mix thoroughly. Combine wet ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium low heat and mix JUST until coconut is melted.  
Add wet to dry and mix until just combined to form a very soft dough.  At this point, I scoop the dough into a ziploc, snip the tip and pipe it directly into the doughnut pan to create uniform circles, which can be tough with just a spoon. Quick, easy, and mess-free!
Bake for 12 minutes til tester comes out clean (my oven is really hot, so they are always faster for me). 
Cool and drizzle or dip with a powdered sugar/soymilk glaze and top with sprinkles if desired - I used Valentine's colors to kick the week off on a festive note.

This morning I made a Blueberry Buttermilk Breakfast Cake, adapted from this recipe from Cooking Light:
  • 1 1/2 cups soymilk
  • 1 1/2 T. vinegar
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1 cup  white whole wheat flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • large egg
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Combine soymilk and vinegar - whisk and let sit five minutes (you are creating buttermilk). Add oats and let sit while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
  • Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
  • Combine sugar and oil in a large bowl. Add vanilla and egg; beat until well blended. Stir in oat mixture; beat until well blended. Add flour mixture, beating just until moist. Fold in blueberries.
  • Spoon batter into a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray or lightly greased with coconut oil. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes (my oven was 23 minutes) or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares. Eat and feel fabulously healthy and pleased with yourself.

    I really should have more kids just to have more people to bake for. Hmm. I'll have to get on that (cue Max screaming and heading straight to the doctor for an emergency vasectomy). 

Thursday, January 31, 2013


A couple of days ago I sat down to blog for the first time in 1,870 years. Apparently I have been having a tough time lately, because THIS is what came out. I'm feeling much better now, but the insanity should be documented regardless.

Somehow it all got really hard recently.

For a long time, it was damn, I am totally rocking this whole working-mom-of-two thing. Sure, it had its challenges, but I grabbed them by the balls, knocked them around, and sent them packing. I had it all under control(ish).

Then, about two months ago, everything just seemed to get really HARD. It started when Griffin stopped sleeping through the night (which he had only tenuously begun to do, as he still just wants to be in our bed attached to my person all night long and I will NEVER co-sleep again so help me) because we went out of town for a week at Thanksgiving and totally SCREWED his sleep training. Then he got a horrible week-long stomach bug and a lingering cold for umpteen weeks on end. That was December.

January has been a sassy little bitch of a month, too. It's always a busy time at work, and I've had sick kids all over the place - especially the Finster, who lately seems to fall victim to every damn germ that crosses his sweet path. Between his school, Carter's school, the playground, the library, etc. the poor kid is inundated with evil bugs that want to ravage his little self. So the new year began with the plague striking our family and one by one we all fell victim to heinous colds. Then Griffin's fifteen month ped check-up revealed a double ear infection and respiratory virus requiring puffer treatments (we had NO idea - "he's the happiest sickest baby" per our pediatrician), and on and on it went. He still isn't sleeping through, and every time we decide that TONIGHT is the night to sleep train, he begins vomiting out of nowhere (yes, that was last Friday - all over his room - cue a tummy bug and high fever all weekend) or the coughing and sniffling begins and it all goes to HELL. Not to mention that I've been feeling completely off due to lingering lady issues, and my GOD doesn't the world just profoundly suck when your vagina is sick? (TMI? Well, I don't believe in TMI, bitches. If you don't want to read about my vagina then you should not be on this blog).

Then there was the poo incident, which will go down in the annals of time as one of the most traumatic momming experiences of my life. Little G was on antibiotics for his ear infection, which causes upset tummy (despite the probiotics I was pumping into him), which in turn caused EXPLOSIVE diarrhea ALL OVER THE CAR SEAT. It seemed that everything in my car was coated in poo that morning. My entire baby was covered in poo. MY HANDS were covered in poo. His hands, sweater (one of my favorites, with the sweet rocking horse), pants, shirt and back were covered in poo. I didn’t even REALIZE it was poo – I thought we surely must have somehow spilled chili into the car seat. There was POO under my FINGERNAILS. I did not even have wipes, diapers OR a change of clothes for him, so I had to force him screaming into the carseat to ride in the SEAT OF POO from Carter’s school's parking lot (where this all happened, so I was this crazy poo-covered woman using random clothing items - pulled from a Goodwill donation bag found in the backseat - as rags to alternately wipe down her poo-coated child and the poo-coated seat while attempt to prevent said poo-child from racing away into oncoming traffic, all whilst fancy non-poo-covered parents walked their kids into the children's center - stay away from that lady, Little Johnny. She's not our kind) to Griffin's school, and then lead him by the hand (I could not pick him up for fear of POO) inside, where I used baby wipes to scrub his entire little body to remove the POO. I had to go home at lunch and switch out the car seat because there was POO EVERYWHERE – in the buckle, underneath the breastplate, coating the straps, on the seat. EVERYWHERE.

But I digress.

I am tired. Profoundly, deeply, incomprehensibly tired. Last Thursday I let Griffin cry it out and he slept ALL NIGHT for the first time since mid-November. It was like my whole world opened up in Technicolor - I was Dorothy in Oz, and everything was bright and shiny and hey, there's a huge lollipop, hand it over, munchkin person. I felt amazing. Then the next night the barfing began, and it all went to shit. Again.

My New Year's resolution was to do more for myself in 2013 - take time for me, nurture myself more, the same old shit I've been saying for three years, because no matter how hard you work to keep it all together, when you look in the mirror and see a tired, ragged face with flat, stringy hair, cracked hands and dry cuticles looking back at you, it's a bummer. I used to be pretty - or more importantly, feel pretty, feel like someone who deserved to treat herself well and nurture her body and mind. So I'm trying. I got my nails done - twice! I bought some new clothes. I went to lunch with friends instead of sitting in my office ALL DAY eating leftovers at noon. I am trying to carve out the ME time, because something needs to change.

For the past few weeks, I feel like I have been a stellar employee and a crap mom. Kicking ass at the office, and grasping at straws at home. I am edgy with my kids, I've lost my temper with them - which I rarely have before - muttering curse words under my breath out of sheer angry desperation while trying to get Griffin back to sleep (for the 80 zillionth time in one night). I don't like this me.

I am pretty sure that I will stop feeling like utter crap once the sickness goes away, the baby starts sleeping through, and I am no longer an exhausted shell of a woman with a 25-lb toddler using me as a human pacifier all night long. I'm still baking, so that's reassuring. If I ever stop baking, you will know something is terribly, terribly wrong. And I'm getting more organized at home, which feels good. But my god, so tired...

I will write another post soon (before another seven months goes by) which is not like this. I will write about my beautiful, perfect, sweet-natured boys and my truly awesome husband, and I will show pictures of their lovely faces to document them for all time on this little site, and in thirty years I will look back and read these words and remember how insane this all was. And I'm sure I will laugh at my silly 33-year-old self - oh girl, that's nothing. I've been covered in poo more times than I can count - as I get in my flying car to go have a lunchdate with my fabulous 60-something girlfriends and reminisce about when our children were small and we were very, very tired.