Chef Henry saves the day.

I’ll be honest, I’ve come online to post something several times recently and every single time I’ve had to close the laptop and walk away because I had a physical reaction as I began to type. As soon as my fingers touched the keys I’d become nauseous or light-headed. Psychosomatic, much? Yeesh. Actually, the other day, even after I walked away, it took a lot of water and deep breaths to feel even a little better. Thankfully that was the day Henry took a mega epic 4 hour nap and I had time to regroup before he woke up.

So instead of talking about my dad this time, let’s just talk about fun stuff: Henry!

My kid is super into cooking/watching me cook/pretending to cook. He barely cares about cars, he’s just now kinda getting into his toy train, but his play kitchen? ALL. DAY. LONG. I pull him out of his crib in the morning, and he goes straight for it. He really likes to make me “soup.” He doesn’t say “soup” but I call it that because he just puts a little of everything into a pot and stirs. I’ll say, “Henry, can you go make mama soup?” And he’ll run in there and throw some things in the pot and bring it to me.

(Note: If you look at our YouTube channel, that is not me or my husband subscribing to Elmo or Surprise Egg channel. Henry’s latest obsession is stealing my phone and YouTubing it up in a corner. I have no idea how he finds this stuff. I swear I’ve never helped him search for anything.)

We got a learning tower for the kitchen because I could no longer carry his 27 lbs of love on my hip as I tried to prepare dinner. Next to the play kitchen, this has been the second best purchase we’ve ever made. I let him help me cook his dinner tonight, stirring the noodles and adding the vegetables (holding his hands so he didn’t accidentally touch the burner) and he ate that meal with more gusto than I’ve ever witnessed. I kept stressing to him that he made it, what a good job he did making it, etc. I’m aiming to having the next Gordon Ramsey here, guys. I love food (obviously) so if he can start taking over cooking in a few years, then yes, I will nurture this interest.

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For Halloween, we bought him an Elmo costume. He fucking hated it. I had to add that expletive in there because 1) he really fucking hated it and 2) it was a fucking waste of money. Ahem, sorry. Can you tell I’m a little annoyed by Elmo the costume right now? So I bought a chef’s play uniform. At first, he hated it. I seriously almost canceled Halloween. I was sooooooo fed up. But then, all of a sudden, he loved it! Even the hat! I tried to take it off and he made it very clear that no, he did not want me to take off the hat! I couldn’t believe it.

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He was the cutest chef ever and OMG. Once he got the hang of trick or treating, he was in his element. I thought he’d get freaked out by the crowds and going to people’s doors. NUH UH. He was as cool as a cucumber and SO HAPPY. Holding his Elmo bucket (at least we could use that) in one hand and a death grip on his Tootsie roll pop in the other, he strutted up and down those streets like a pro. This town does Halloween right. I mean, they go all out. So some houses were super crowded at the door and I’d hang back at the street while Chris took Henry up there. I would hear “Awww, what a cute little Chef! Chef Henry!” (He had a name tag that said Chef Henry). And then I’d hear from my child, “GAGAGAGAGA!” or “CACACACA!” or “YAYAYAYAY!” He likes to mix it up. Which I think is his way of saying “Thank you” or “This is awesome, I love candy.” I can’t be sure. Anyways, it was a blast.

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His talking has improved a little since then. When we were driving today, he was pointing out of the window “tee…tee” which I’m pretty sure he meant “tree” since there were some of those all around us. And I’ve been able to understand a few other words here and there too. His signing has improved and picked up drastically. Tonight I put him to bed, but he kept breaking out in nasty sounding coughs, which usually means I need to give him some albuterol. So I brought him out here with us to hang out for a little while and do his breathing treatment. After, he ran to the kitchen and signed “more crackers, thank you.” THREE signs together. That was a first. I was so proud that he took it upon himself to high-five me. HA!! My kid is cool.

We’ve been thinking a lot about baby number 2. It’ll happen (hopefully) but not for a while still, I think. I’m still not fully recovered postpartum-wise from this guy! I want to get back 100% and then see what happens. But also, this kid has been so wonderful and joyful and EASY (how many toddlers do you know that runs to the bed while laughing like a maniac when I tell him it’s nap time?) that I just know the next one will be a challenge. And that’s fine, I like challenges, but for now, I just stare in amazement at this little dude, who is growing up way too fast. I snapped this last pic in Target the other day. I actually had a list of things to get and he was so patient. I let him hold the list and I’d ask him what we needed next and he’d pretend to look at it and tell me in his language that no one but he understands. He also didn’t want to let go of the first aid kit I bought to keep in the car. The Terrrget lady had to scan it while it was still clutched in his baby death grip.

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Things are pretty bad right now, I’m not going to lie. I cry a lot. I can’t sleep. I feel like I’m failing in many ways. But that kid up there? Well that just proves that everything will be ok. That I didn’t fail at one thing. That love is all around me. My dad lives on through us.

I’m blessed.

Updates and stuff.

Sorry for the lag in posts. I don’t get on the computer very often, and when I do it’s for fun stuff like deleting 2000 spam emails and paying bills.

I recently wrote a little column for the mother’s group newsletter that does a good job of explaining my feelings toward moving here and how I deal with transitioning. I’ll post that for your enjoyment soon.

Some updates before Henry wakes up from his 9 am nap (the result of waking us up at 5 am):

  • Henry is 19 months old and stranger danger is in full effect. He dislikes most people except me at the moment and other kids at the park. I’m hoping it passes soon so I won’t feel so guilty about maybe hiring a babysitter so Chris and I can enjoy some wine in this beautiful county of Sonoma.
  • Speaking of parks, that’s what we do most days. That stretch from nap time to bed time is looooong and I like to get him good and worn out. The only downside is since school is out, a lot of day cares and summer programs hang out at the parks too so I usually single out one or two “big kids” to watch out for Henry since he insists on climbing the jungle gym solo while other, larger, wilder children are jumping around on it. Not good for my nerves, at all. So far, it’s been alright though. 
  • I’ve made a couple friends and Henry’s had several play dates. I’ve already seen a change in how he plays and interacts with us, and I have a couple friends now, so it’s positivity all around in that regard.
  • I am very, very homesick. That will probably never change. 
  • Still homesick, but very happy we moved here if we had to move anywhere. I love the people, the scenery, the food, the atmosphere, the farmer’s markets, the proximity to San Francisco, all of it. It’s great. 
  • There is more that I can’t think of right now (got awoken at 5 am, remember?) I promise I will start writing with more substance. Someday. Here are some Henry play time pics to make up for it.

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F.U.N.

Well this week has just been a ball of fun.

Last Thursday, Henry and I met up for another play date at a park. As I was getting him out of his car seat, I noticed his nose was runny. Shit. His eye was watery too though, so I thought it could just be allergies. The next day, Friday, he was pretty normal and I didn’t notice anything amiss, except he was fussier than usual. On Saturday, we dragged him to the car dealership so we could sign off on our new SUV and I could tell he was just not feeling good AT ALL. Then came Sunday. Oh, Sunday. The poor kid was miserable. My champion sleeper who usually goes 11-13 hours a night only got about 9-10 and woke up at 5:30 screaming. I felt so bad for him the whole day as he struggled to nap, only getting 20-30 minutes here and there, where he usually takes 1.5-2 hour naps. On Monday, I noticed a bad red rash ALL OVER his body so off to the pediatrician we went. The verdict was double ear infection and roseola. After a couple day on antibiotics, he’s finally feeling better. If you can’t tell, this is the first time he’s been this sick. He’s had fevers before, but nothing like this. The kicker? Chris and I are sick too. FUN TIMES UP IN HERE.

Did I mention that Chris was in a car accident and our insurance company wanted to total it? Yeah, so hello car payments again. We needed a larger vehicle anyway, but my cheap ass wasn’t ready yet. I paid off that car in 2011 and I was so proud of myself. It was my first newish car (4 years old when I bought it) and I actually cried when I saw the photos of it all crumpled up and getting ready to be stripped for parts. I’m way too sentimental.

The cherry on the fun cake happened this morning when I finally put batteries back into our scale. I knew I gained some weight since moving here but I didn’t know how much. People. No. I shouldn’t have done that. Or maybe it’s good because that’s it — no more excuses. I’m losing this weight. I’ll write about it here to keep me motivated so get ready for that. We don’t have money for a gym membership so it means lots of walks with Henry, some floor exercises during nap time, and NO MORE ICE CREAM. We eat a lot of ice cream.

Henry is 18 months old today! I love that he’s still happy, even when sick. He’s the real reason I need to get healthier. I need to be around for as long as possible.

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Play dates, Alicia Keys, and Xannies.

I did it. I went on the play date. And it was awesome. The woman I met was super cool and we had a ton in common. We’ll be meeting up again on Monday, and I’m looking forward to it. Henry doesn’t care either way, but I’m sure he will be excited to play with some new toys.

I am officially a member of the Mother’s Club so I’m going to start flashing that card around and getting discounts on some baby music and tumble classes. Henry LOVES music. I know all toddlers do, but do all toddlers stop whatever they’re doing/playing with when a song comes on and run into the other room to listen? I don’t know. Maybe. I’m not a toddler expert. But he does and it’s really cute. When he was 6 or 7 months old, I used to play this song for him in the car on repeat because it was the only thing that soothed him. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that his favorite thing to do now is steal my iPhone and navigate his way to this video:

(Before you ask, it’s a video that came with the album download and also, this is not the exact video, but almost identical. Funnily enough, there’s another AK video on there he watches a lot too. What can I say? Cultured.)

After the opening piano segment, he rewinds. And rewinds. And rewinds. I really want to foster this love of music and piano and get him in some toddler music classes, which he did a little of back in ABQ and had fun but I think he’d get more out of it at this age.

I was messaging a friend today that I was a little worried about Henry because he’s such a calm, mellow kid who prefers to sit and read books or play on the floor as opposed to running around like a maniac, which I assumed all toddlers did. I could feel her silent judgement through the phone as a I typed and then just felt stupid. What kind of weirdo worries about that? I’m seriously considering getting on a low dose of xannies because I get anxiety over every. stupid. thing. these days.

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This face!

Time to go binge watch Orange is the New Black while Henry naps. Enjoy your weekend, y’all.

The slide.

Last week I was the uppity up. Now I’m kinda on the down slide, but I’ll claw my way back up, don’t worry.

What’s this all about? Well, let’s talk about insecurity because I am just rife with it today. The prospect of meeting local moms for play dates this week is exciting and terrifying. I’ve never really felt like this before, like people won’t like me when they meet me. But when I think of moms, I don’t think of someone like me. I think of bake sales and clothes from Ann Taylor Loft and Talbots. Soccer moms. Moms who do lots of crafts. Moms who cook out of cookbooks and make gluten-free muffins for breakfast. I could go on, but these false images of what all of these moms are like (obviously false since I’m a mom and have friends who are moms who are nothing like this) are paralyzing me. What it really boils down to is good old fashioned low self-esteem. I’m still working in losing weight (I’ll be fighting that battle for the rest of my life); my skin has never been dryer (tell me how it’s possible to move from the desert to 20 minutes away from the ocean and haver DRYER skin??);  I have no new clothes and refuse to buy anymore until I’ve lost weight because if I could lose 20 lbs, I’d have a whole new wardrobe and I’m cheap; post partum hair loss is making a second appearance (not as bad as the first time, but still sucks); and to top it all off — I’m still nervous about this whole situation away from my friends and family and life that I loved.

I’m probably not making sense. That’s ok, this is just a brain dump. I need to get out of this rut. I have a play date on Thursday and maybe even one tomorrow. Chris was in a car accident last week, so we are down one car until we get the rental. He’s fine, thankfully.

Henry is awesome though, and for that I’m beyond grateful. For real. He’s such a sweet, fun, easy going boy. No complaints in the toddler department.

So let me wallow just a little longer and then get my shit together. Not to say there won’t be more wallowing. The goal is to get the wallowing down to weekly or monthly events instead of daily or hourly.

Trains and tantrums.

My social media experiment worked and also did not work. See, I didn’t tell people I was deactivating so I made some friends get all panicky (since they know I’ve been bummed lately and all). So I reactivated, but deleted all the apps from my phone. So now I’m just checking it when I can get on an actual computer, which is not a lot since Henry does not like me being on my laptop. Not unless he can punch every key, I mean. The Facebook detox worked because I barely picked up my phone today, except to text a few friends occasionally and checking work email (just to see if I had any). But before, I had my phone glued to me, checking it constantly for….nothing. Really. Nothing. So, maybe I’m making progress in kicking this addiction.

So yesterday I decided to put Henry in the car and just drive. I needed to see what else this town had to offer. I found out there is a post office, a Starbucks, and a chinese place like 2 blocks away. That is very handy. Then we drove to Trader Joes. As I got out of the car and walked toward the store, I saw a little toy store next door. The door was open and it looked so inviting, I had to take Henry in. The place is adorable and had all kinds of toys out for the kids to play with. Henry played with trains and a toy kitchen and had a blast. As a matter of fact, I had my first public toddler meltdown when it was time to leave (after an hour). He did that limp noodle move when I tried to pick him up.

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Am I the only mother who finds these things kind of humorous? I’m sure it won’t be so funny later on, but right now, I have a hard time not laughing when he pulls that stuff. However, I know it’s not cute to anyone else, so we do exit the premises with the quickness as to not disturb the peace. We never did make it into Trader Joes. Henry snapped this pic of me as I was putting him in his car seat (the phone was my only line of defense in getting him to sit still).

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I also emailed the local mother’s club for info on joining. Joining this group will take me waaaaaahaaahaaaay out of my comfort zone as I usually don’t like group settings with strangers and have bad experiences with other moms in general. HOWEVER. I need to get out this house, I need to make friends, my kid needs playmates and most importantly, having a support system is necessary and it seems that’s what this group excels at. I guess I’ll keep you posted.

**Please excuse the photos in this post. I was playing around with Afterlight to edit them and it (I) need some work.

17 months.

I can’t do Yoda poses anymore. My climbing/running/crazy toddler won’t sit still long enough and when I attempt to make him, baby rage comes out and he throws Yoda across the room and does this:

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A far cry (pun intended) from this little ball of joy just one short year ago:

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I’ll just try again when he turns two. They always mellow out by age two right? (hahaha) But in all seriousness, and despite the above picture, Henry really is a sweet, good baby. Here’s some new fun Henry facts:

  • He loves getting out of the house. It doesn’t matter where we go, just as long as it’s not in the house. Lately, I don’t even bother with putting him in a cart or carrying him if we’re going to a bookstore or Target for one or two things. He will easily and happily walk along with me and hold my hand. When I tell him to not touch something, he stops touching it. In short, it’s fun to take him places and I like hanging out with him. Really.
  • He can climb stairs by himself (and give me about 14959 heart attacks in the meantime)
  • He can do things on the iPad and iPhone that I don’t even know how to do. But it is cool to just hand him the iPad and watch him swipe to turn it on and find his apps. Today, he started tracing letters with his fingers in his alphabet app. People who try to tell me tablets aren’t beneficial for toddlers, I’ll show them Henry tracing his ABC’s at 17 months old.
  • There’s not much on the speech development front, though he is always “talking.” When actual intelligible words are formed, I will never get a word in edgewise, so I’m not rushing it. However, he understands EVERYTHING we say. It amazes me sometimes all that he understands.
  • He eats everything. Anything you give him, he will try. Oh, sorry, no. Except meat. He has all his teeth (minus the 2-year molars) and can bite through an apple core (yes, this happened) but he won’t eat meat. Half of a caesar salad? Yes. Chicken? No.
  • He is very snuggly. This is my most favorite development. I love when I’m in the kitchen cooking or doing dishes and I just feel these little arms wrap around my leg.
  • When we moved into this apartment, we decided to scrap the home office and just give Henry a full room. This was the best decision I’ve ever made. He LOVES his room. It has really fostered a new independence in him and he doesn’t need to be entertained all the time anymore. I love peeking in there to him reading or stacking blocks or whatever kids do. On a bittersweet note, he loves his room so much that he no longer wakes up in the middle of the night wanting to get in bed with me. He’s sleeping 11-12 hours a night, on his own. I’ll be honest, I miss it.

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I feel like I am forgetting so many things, but what more can I say? He’s amazing. An average toddler to most, but my world, and I feel so lucky to have him. I thank God every night for him and try to steal as many snuggles, kisses, and laughs as I can every single day.

It just keeps getting better with him, really, tantrums and all.

Getting out there.

Henry slept like crap last night (I honestly think he ate way too many bell peppers and they gave him indigestion. Remind me to write another post about how much my kid loves bell peppers). So after his 2.5 hour long nap today, we decided to get out of the house as a family. The farmers’ market started today and I really wanted to get some local honey and spices. So we get downtown and it’s super packed. Like, not the market, but the streets. Turns out there was a car show to commemorate American Grafitti, which was filmed here, at least partially. It took us for-ev-er to find a parking spot and I almost ALMOST told Chris to just give up and go home. My stomach was kinda hurting anyway. But then someone pulled out of a spot in front of us and in Chris went. I didn’t mention to him that my stomach was hurting.

I’ve been having stomach issues since
Henry was born. I’ve seen a doctor and was told it was hormonal, but Henry is now almost 17 months old (tomorrow), soooooo I dunno. Part of me fears it’s related to the c-section. But what’s crazy is since we moved here, I haven’t had any issues. Not one. I was thinking about that this morning, and then as soon as we are walking through a crowd of 1,000 people, it acts up. So yeah, it was miserable at first but thanks to a kind young man at 7-11 who let me use their employee bathroom (which looked like a prison toilet) all was ok and I was glad I didn’t bail.

There’s a few things I know about this town:

1) There’s a nice Target nearby
2) There’s a nice Safeway nearby
3) Construction on the 101 can be heard very loudly during nap time (we are not that close to the freeway either)
4) From what I’ve seen, it’s beautiful
5) Everyone I’ve met has been super nice.

EVERYONE in this town is so nice! It almost throws me. Like, I can’t be anti-social here. People just come up and talk to me. They genuinely want to know about me, this new person in town they’ve never seen with the cute baby. They all tell me I have a cute baby! Even moms with their own cute babies! It’s weird and great. If for no other reason, I’m glad we got out and talked to people.

So. I think I’m gonna like this place. At least, I’m feeling more confident about it today and hopefully even more tomorrow. I just need to muster the courage to get out there on my own without the comfort of having Chris standing next to me. He’s super outgoing and that makes it easier to strike up conversations.

You can see a pic of Henry on the swing at the Farmers’ Market in Instagram link on the side bar. Follow me on there too, if you want, PS.

Ok, here’s another swing photo:

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A little bit of whine in wine country.

I have written several posts since arriving in California, and I end up typing a looooong diatribe of nonsense and whining and I scrap it.

There is so much good in my life but I’m having a really hard time getting over the homesickness and worry. I think that’s just part of my personality. I will always and forever be worried about money and always and forever miss something and/or someone. Anxious and nostalgic, that sums me up. Sounds like a party to be around, right? I’m sure Chris just loves coming home to this mess every night (he’s very sweet to me).

I miss my mom. I miss my friends. I miss everything. I’m super lonely. But here’s the thing that’s been getting me lately: I’m INCREDIBLY SUPER DUPER LUCKY. I have a healthy, happy, funny, amazing toddler who is my world. I’m blessed enough that I get to stay home with him every day. Sure, money is tight. Like, stretched to the penny, but we make it work. What set off a panic attack tonight was getting health insurance for myself and Henry (Chris’s is 100% paid through his new job — again, grateful). But just looking in our already tight budget and trying to fit that extra necessary expense is stressful.

So anyway, this town is beautiful and I love it. I just need to put on my big girl panties and get out there and discover more of it. I’ll get on that after just a little more wallowing, ok?

In the meantime, here’s a little bit of what everyone comes here for, pics of the kid and other misc. I promise I’ll get back to normal soon.

BiscottiSharing some really great biscotti with chocolate mousse and hazelnut whipped cream with daddy. My inlaws took us to a great little italian place for Mother’s Day.

MD FlowersMother’s Day flowers. Our allergies have been going insane but they’re too pretty to throw away yet.

CarouselCan you see us? Henry looks unimpressed, but lemme tell you, the kid had a blast. There were very vocal protests when it was time to get off. This was at Pier 39 in San Francisco.

mmmm yeahYESSSSS!!!!

mom san franLunch with a view. I miss my mom.

Henry ThroneHenry on his new couch. Yes, his. We’re allowed to sit on it sometimes (like when he’s asleep).

Henry SlidingMy big boy. 

 

Real problems.

Chris got the job offer, we’re going to discuss is over the weekend but really. I mean, option a) take good job in the Bay Area but be a little broke on one income for a while or b) stay here and be unemployed until unemployment runs out and then do….what?

We sat down tonight and did a spreadsheet of our bills vs income. It’s doable, but tight. I don’t know why that panics me so much seeing as how we’d done the exact same thing here last year. I guess it’s because I won’t have a support system at all. Maybe that’s the root of all my anxiety. I can’t just run over to my mom’s with the baby to watch Real Housewives and eat dinner. I can’t go to Natalie’s house on the weekend and paint my nails while we chat. And any part-time job I get will have to be on the weekend, meaning I’ll never get to see my husband.

I’m being too negative aren’t I? There are much bigger problems in this world, I know. Oh, poor me, my husband got a great job in a beautiful area but I might get lonely sometimes. Drones are blowing up people in the Middle East and I’m crying about moving two states over. I need to get over it.

So I’ll start looking at it as a new adventure, a fresh start, and I know everything will work out for the best.

Someone in New Mexico better send me green chile though.

Henry break! This is his “Daniel Tiger is doing what?!?” face. If he’s not watching the show, he’s carrying around this book. Obsessed is an understatement at this point.

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Oh! And after doing baby sign with him forever, he can now do “all done,” “more”, and “fan.” I’m really working on getting “food” and “drink” down. Those would be super useful.

Side note: after he finished eating tonight, he did the sign for all done. He had pasta, so it was straight in the bath with him. As he approached the bathroom, he turned around, did the sign for all done again, and ran in the opposite direction. We had a good laugh over that.

Night guys.