Thursday, September 16, 2010

Baby Blessing Ceremony

Needless to say I tend to walk on the unconventional side of things.  I myself am not a very religious person, however I am deeply spiritual and a firm believer in ritual and family traditions.  After much discussion, my other half and I decided it was time to bless our daughter.  With the upcoming 2nd birthday, and a financial crunch, we also decided to make a day of both events.  A baby blessing ceremony followed by a small birthday celebration, just a few close friends and family.  I already had it all planned out in my head.  I tend to build these very elaborate pictures of events in my head (possible career change, perhaps).

I decided on a whimsical garden theme.  To be held in a family members lovely manicured and lush green backyard.  Decorations to include tissue paper flowers, tissue paper puffs to be hung from the patio,  sparkly butterflies for the trellis and trees, lots of tulle and oh yeah, a trellis.  Beautiful pastels, primarily pink and purple with dabs of green, yellow and blue.  Her dress, a whimsical fairy type dress with an illusion style tulle skirt and fitted raw silk top, and hints of pink, perhaps in a pinned flower or ribbon.  A beautiful sermon, presentation of the godmother, baby blessing, followed by a lovely dinner, and cake and an outdoor movie for the handful of little princesses to watch while holding their handmade wands. Oh so perfect!  In my head at least. 

Thus far we have hit the roadblocks of not being able to find an affordable minister that we like.  So again, being unconventional, my sister and I decided to get ordained and officiate the ceremony ourselves.  We drafted a sermon of beautiful, personal, and heartfelt words.  

Second roadblock, finding the perfect dress for my baby.  It's almost impossible to find a reasonable priced one in the style that I'm looking for, but I am determined not to settle until the last minute crunch (now upon us).

The rest is still in the works.  We will have to see how it all turns out...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Simple Moments: Tired, Hungry, and Hot baby

It is the simplest moments in life that make everything all worth it.  At least that's what we are told throughout our lives.  But it for me it wasn't until I became a mom that I really understood it.  I'm talking really, deeply, in my soul and heart understood what that meant.

Having a soon to be two year old, who began her terrible twos a few months back, has been quite a challenge.  Especially when her favorite word is "no".   No, no, no, no, no.  On one usual day I packed up my little warrior and headed out to tackle some errands. The closer it got to snack and nap time, the more the little tiny monster inside her started to creep out.  She gets that from her mommy.  If I'm hungry and sleepy, get out of the way and save yourself dear friends.  She began to get really fussy continously trying to get out of the shopping cart, and telling me "no, momma. bye bye."  Her que for it's time to go now.  I quickly grabbed the last few things and headed for the checkout.  Watching as judging eyes stared at me as if I was such a horrible person for letting my daughter sob. Obviously they weren't all parents, and those that were should be ashamed of themselves for judging. I quickly scanned the crowd looking for that one connection with those motherly eyes offering sincere condolences.  I found one, with three little ones of her own, fighting eachother in the shopping cart.  Ahh, good I wasn't totally alone. It also didn't help that it happened to be over one hundered degrees outside (gotta love the high desert).  I raced to the car with a sleepy, hungry, and hot baby which as we all know equals total meltdown. Sometimes for both child and parent.  Even while munching on her snacks that I pre-packed, she lost it.  Screaming the highest pitch she could possibly reach.  My consoling attempts were useless.  I just had to get through the next 20 minutes, get her home and into a nice cool bed.

I pushed myself through the front door of my house holding four very uncomfortable market bags, a screaming baby with snot dripping all down her face onto me, and all the while I was frustrated, flustered, and sweating like a polar bear in Texas.  (This was one of the many euphemisms I learned during my few years living in none other than, the land of the ever so uniquely strange, Texas.) None the less, I was finally home and in desperate need of a spare set of hands and a cocktail.  Neither were readily available.

After cleaning us both up, and a nice cold cup of milk for baby, we rested our heads on the softest, coolest pillows ever (or at least it felt like it at the moment).  Finally, calmed she turned ever to me and ever so softly said "I la yuuu momma." Shortly followed by a big smile and, "I did poopy."  We both simultaneously broke out into a giddy laugh and my heart smiled so big and hugged this memory tight.  The rest of the days events didn't matter one bit.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Does Living Simply = More Happiness?

In the wake of recent financial difficulties, as many of us our finding ourselves in these days, I have begun the difficult journey to revamp my spending and living habits.  I have struggled for many months now trying to let go of the emotional strings attached to so many useless material items that I have acquired over the years, as well as those items that I have every so slyly brain washed myself into believing that I must have them in order to bring more joy into my life.
With these changes I discovered that I am an emotionally driven and compulsive spender!  It is quite embarrassing to admit it.  But it's true!  I found myself considering a $120 purchase with only half that actually in my bank account.  I literally tried to rationalize that it was OK.  A reel of pathetic thoughts replayed in my mind: I needed to buy it, it had many great uses, it will make me happy, I can overdraft and pay the bank back in a week when I get paid again, no big deal.... I need it....I want it.  And yes, I actually bought it.  Soon after I was tormented with buyers remorse.  The guilt was so overwhelming, it brought me to tears.  I was guilty that I not only had wastefully spent money I didn't have, but even more guilty that I was actually thinking like this.  I was a responsible mom and partner, an upstanding citizen, and yet at that very moment I could have sworn to you that this purchase was life or death.  How much more pathetic could I be.  Is this the type of person I want to be?  No wonder I never had any extra spending cash, I was wasting it away all the while complaining about how broke I was.   I decided then and there that this twisted relationship with shopping was over.  

Little did I know at the time how difficult this break up would be.  A real emotional roller coaster set into over drive.  Still feeling quite overwhelmed by the urge to shop, I started with baby steps.  If I felt an overwhelming urge to spend I would go online and do a little window shopping, actually putting items in my cart.
Then I would review my choices and truly deliberate if I really needed it.  I would compare it against other things that were more important to me.  For example,  I would say do I really need these lovely comfy sandals for my long work days (see the rationalization kicking in there), or would I much rather use that money to go out on a date with my honey, or buy something useful and educational for my daughter?  I would then slowly and thoughtfully empty my cart, as I determined each item was unnecessary.  It helped me to gain a real perspective on what's important.  What would really bring me joy.  I had to accept that I didn't have the same cash flow I did five years ago, and that deciding what to do with an extra $20 took some real heartfelt thought.

The struggle still exists daily, however I think my train of thought has begun to transform enough that I have found a renewed sense of strength in having control over my spending habits, and a new sense of multiplying the joy in my life by creating a life that is much more simple.  It may sound cheesy but waking up extra early with my family on a Sunday, enjoying a quick breakfast followed by some delicious coffee (for the adults), hitting some local yard sales with only $10 on hand and extra family and friends in tow, followed by a cool down at a local park, makes for such a satisfying a fulfilling day!  Who would of thought trading in shopping sprees could be so good for me! 

P.S.  After I wrote this I found this very interesting related article.  Do you think that you could cut down to only having 100 material items in your life? Sounds like a hardcore challenge... 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Just Plain Rude, Workplace Drama

As if the life of a working parent isn't stressful enough, there are those days with the added "joys" (I mean that in the most sarcastic way possible) of workplace rudeness.  I'm really not quite sure what makes people think that it's ok to be unethically rude to their co-workers and or employees.  I don't know if any of you have ever had one of those bosses that makes you want to pull your hair right out of your pretty little head, lord knows that I have.  Yet, I drag myself out of bed at an ungodly hour, every morning, and put a bright and shiny smile on my face every day, and get my job done (and done well, I might add) every single day!  Usually, the day goes by fairly ok, and I get to go home to by beautiful family and loose no sleep over my days work.  Usually.

On one of the unusual days recently, I was scolded as if I were a five year old child for a simple and fixable clerical error on a letter I sent out.  I had the joy of listening to the Chair of my department, who while in a position of some power is not my actual boss, yell at me over the phone in the wee hours of the work day.  Talk about a rude awakening.  She kept referencing an email I'd never seen and going on about an error that I had no idea had occurred.  In response to her five minute rant, I kept quiet, reviewed my copies of the letter and responded with a simple "I see the error, I will take care of it right away and notify the recipients."  Three seconds later I was hung up on.  Then a mere two seconds later my bosses phone rings.  Her office is right next to mine, and I'm not quite sure if she's figured out that I can hear all her conversations pretty clearly through our cheap office walls.  Jumping right on the Chair's rant and rave band wagon, she sent me a very short and rude, the apparent theme of the day, email demanding to see the letter and demanding that I apologize to the Chair without even talking to me about the situation first.  She simply assumed.  We all know what happens when you assume...  Apologize for what, no person in their right and sane mind could say considering the Chair was the one yelling at me and speaking to me as if I was an imbecile.  I stood my ground, and explained to my boss that in fact it was the Chair who had been rude, detailing some of the events, and that I refuse to respond to that type of unprofessional treatment.  She left it at that and become rather nice to me shortly after, and I can only hope she realized her wrong doing. My boss reviewed the corrected letter, gave her stamp of approval to send them out, only to find out shortly after that she too had made a mistake with the letters.  I know I shouldn't, but I did take a little joy in seeing that happen to her.  Now it was my job to fix her mess, track down the letters that were already on their way to the post office, and redo them yet again, only to hear her on the phone with the Chair taking credit for fixing the mistake and not giving credit to me where credit was due.  A true follower pretending to be a leader.  As the day went on, not a single apology to me, or acknowledgment of how things should have been handled differently.   A real modern day stand off of good (myself) verses evil (them).  And let me tell you this hard working women takes great pride in her work, and I will not allow myself to forced into submission. 

At the end of the day I drove home blasting a feel good, screw you, kinda song.  It made me feel better.  I opened my door to the sweet sounds of "Mommie, mommie, mommie, your home!"   This is all that's really important, as I'm quickly reminded by my beautiful and energetic little girl.  Those crazy people at work can keep their bad attitudes because I am going to let their negative energy bounce right off of me and right back to them.  This is a huge feat for me considering in the past I would have probably chosen to hand them their self esteem on a silver platter, torn to shreds.  Come on' like y'all don't think about doing that sometimes! 

Lesson of the day:  Be the bigger person and don't let the workplacedrama get the best of you, you'll be a better person for it.  Hold your head high and stand for what you believe to be right. :-)

Monday, July 26, 2010


Feeling Good by Nina Simone:

Birds flyin' high you know how I feel
Sun in the sky you know how I feel
Breeze driftin' on by you know how I feel
Its a new dawn, its a new day, its a new life for me
yeah, its a new dawn its a new day its a new life for me ooooooooh

Fish in the sea, you know how I feel
River runnin' free you know how I feel
Blossom on the tree you know how I feel
Its a new dawn, its a new day, its a new life for me
And I'm feelin good

Dragonfly out in the sun you know what i mean dont you know
Butterflies all havin' fun you know what I mean
Sleepin' peace when day is done that's what I mean
And this old world is a new world and a bold world for me

Stars when you shine you know how I feel
Scent of the crime you know how I feel
Your freedom is mine, and I know how I feel
Its a new dawn, its a new day, its a new life for me
(Free styling)

Need I say more... :-)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Today I am grateful. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Family Loss - Family Change

We recently have been faced with the loss of my father-n-law.  He was diagnosed with inoperable kidney cancer that had already begun to spread throughout his body, and passed away less than five weeks later.  And while it has been a very sad and difficult time, most especially for my spouse and his mom, there is some sense of peace that he is no longer suffering and is in finally at rest.

I personally know two people who have died from cancer, and quite a few others who have faced it or are still battling it within the last couple of years.  Those numbers are alarming, considering this does not extend out very far into our rather extensive family.   Who knows how many more cases in our family that I don't know about.  As I talk with people giving their condolences, they too are sharing stories of someone they know in a similar situation.  Every single person can name at least one person, many times a handful of people, they know who has battled or is battling some form of cancer.  That just makes it even scarier for ourselves and the generation of our children.  I recently was watching a show that stated our children are the first generation estimated to not live longer than their parents do.  In 2010, this is where we are at! 

According to the 2010 American Cancer Society statistics in the US, men have slightly less than a 1 in 2 lifetime risk of developing cancer; for women, the risk is a little more than 1 in 3.  Within those numbers are incidents where people have been able to fight it and continue to live a long and healthy life, had it been caught early.  Many, like my father-n-law, never feel the need to see a doctor or get a check up when they claim to be feeling perfectly fine.  However, with it's high rate of prevalence in so many different places of the body, you never know who will be faced with cancer and will be shocked when it hits very close to home.  It is crucial to keep up with your individual health care.

It is a scary thought of having to face such a difficult hurdle in life. Yes, as a family we personally strive towards better healthy lifestyle habits.  But we all give in every now and again to things that might now be so good for us.  This experience has been a real wake up call for us to get ourselves into gear so that we don't leave our daughter well before our time and to ensure that she too has the healthiest happiest life possible.  This does not include lots of TV watching, video game playing, high sugar drinks, high stress lifestyles, and lack of communication within the family unit.  This means going back to simpler times, where playing outside, being active, eating simple balanced meals together as a family, and drinking water were in style. We as parents (of sound mind and body), need to bring these lost traditions and ways of living back into our homes.  We need to find ways to slow down our lives, even if that means making sacrifices, to do so.  No material good is worth more than the longevity and health of our children. And it does start with us.  If we cannot be the happy, healthy, balanced people we want our kids to be, then how in the world do we expect them to accomplish it.  We can start by remembering those things that make us happy.  Let's tap into that joy and light and let it extend to other areas of our life. This my friends is only the tip of the ice burg in trying to create the change we all need and I'm sure many of you have already begun with some other great ideas.

This is all food for thought. My heart goes out to all those families who have had to face this, or are facing this head on right now.  There is never a perfect thing to say to someone dealing with these things.  The best thing we can all do for each other is lend an ear, offer support, and keep an open heart. 


Friday, May 21, 2010


I recently read an article about a new fad celebrity diet that consisted of basically eating nothing but baby food.  In conversation with my co-workers, I began to divulge that while I am not believer in an adult person living solely off of baby food, I am a believer in the added benefits of using purees in your cooking.  I was shocked to learn that many of my co-workers kids don't eat any fruits or veggies, or very minimal amounts at that.  The excuse, "They refuse to eat them and I can't make them."   It wasn't a big shocker to find out that most of them didn't eat them either.  Impossible challenge? I beg to differ.

During my pregnancy with my daughter I could barely eat.  Not only did I have nausea 24/7, but the thought of 90% of foods disgusted me.  Things I once loved were horrid.  The worst of it all was I could not stomach a single vegetable.  I started to loose weight, and my doctor made it very clear that she was not happy about that at all.  So, I sought out some solutions.  Milkshakes just weren't cutting it for me.  Although very tasty, I didn't feel that it was enough nutrition for me and my growing baby.  So I went out and bought a popular book for kids cooking that incorporates purees.  I tried various recipes in the book and created variations of them to better suit my taste.  It worked!  I was able to incorporate over 5 servings of veggies into my meals daily and ate things that I enjoyed like banana bread, fruit smoothies, baked potatoes, pasta, etc.

Now that my daughter is going into the toddler stage I dusted off my old cookbook and am putting it to good use once again.  My daughter loves starchy food, I mean who doesn't. I am able to incorporate a lot of various fruits and veggies into her daily meals without hassle.  I always include a visible side of veggies or fruit to slowly encourage her to eat them without pressure, and surprisingly she has started to take a few bites of those as well.   Just the other day she inhaled a small baked potato, with pureed cauliflower, ground flax seed, and a small dollop of smart balance butter.  She followed that with mini berry smoothie that I blended with a handful of fresh spinach.  She wasn't the wiser.  The fruit out powers the spinach and you can't taste it at all.   I have also taken these ideas and incorporated them into our family dinners.  The goal is to incorporate at least one veggie into every single meal, and 2-3 fruits throughout the day.

There is some pre-planning involved, yes, but it's not that difficult.  I put aside an hour in the evening, once a week, to steam up a few selected veggies for pureeing.  I use a magic bullet blender, and store the purees in one cup and 1/2 cup servings in the freezer in small freezer bags.  I just pull one out when I need it and it only takes a minute to thaw in warm water. The trick is to select veggies that blend well with the meal that you are making.  I personally don't recommend using broccoli in any dish that is not overpowered with flavor and seasoning.  Broccoli is the one puree that I've found to have an overwhelming flavor, so I usually mix it with another.  You can even incorporate these purees in place of water in many recipes.  Another added bonus is it cuts back on food expenses.  Often times you can buy a fresh bushel of cauliflower for cheap, a lot cheaper than frozen in most places, and with the purees it doesn't go bad because you don't eat it in two days.

We all feel the benefits of these added nutrients and it is a huge help in my health transition.  So even if your not a believer, just try it, and you will see even the pickiest kids, and adults alike, can be tricked!

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Second Mothers Day

In the midst of all the curve balls, I realized I forgot to actually take a moment to savor in the very sweet mothers day I had.  It was my second official mothers day.  My fabulous honey made me a delicious breakfast with all the fixings.  I actually got to sleep in a little and he got our little princess up and fed in the early morning.  Of course I had to cash in on the kindness and milk it for all it was worth.  But being the good partner that he is, he so kindly obliged and waited on my hand and foot.  It was great!  I got a little emotional over a sweet home made card that he and my baby made together.  It included a tracing of her tiny little hand that said "So you will never forget how little I was...".  It made me choke up, because I realized how fast she is growing and how much I want to slow time down so I can enjoy her just a little bit more.  The thought of her growing up is a bit much to bear right now.  She's my baby and I know that she will always be my baby, but as a working mom sometimes I feel like I miss out on so much and there is just no way for me to get those moments back.  I can only wipe the tears, and focus on the quality time we do get together and come up with ways to squeeze every last drop out of those moments.  Those are the memories that will fill our hearts.  One day I want her to say to me "Mom, remember when we used to....I really loved that."    My daughter is my world and every time she hugs me it melts my heart all over again.  I wouldn't trade being her mommy for anything in the world! 

Curve Ball

It has been a while since I have posted anything.  As you can probably guess, life has thrown a curve ball, or two, or three, all at the same time...  Anyhow, last week was a rough week.  Received bad news about an immediate family members health, which out of respect for those being affected by this I will not presently discuss without their permission.  My  little princess also came down with a bad virus a few days later and is still slowly recovering from that. She's been clinging to me like a little monkey and is bossier and crankier than ever. So, I haven't slept in days and it shows. You know looking at myself in the mirror this morning reminded me how much I am in desperate need of a makeover, starting with a haircut.   I didn't get to spend much time exercising (not that I really mind that part), and I didn't eat as good as I should have.  By Saturday I was in desperate need of some "me" time.  All I wanted to do was have a cup of coffee and read a book all by myself, with no one bothering me.  Even being in a busy, crowded book store with a bunch of total strangers would have sufficed.  But as we all know a mommy's job never ends, so in times of need and crisis there is not always time for "me time".  But this is a new week. Tonight, some exercise and at least 15 minutes of "me time"...wish me luck! 

Monday, May 3, 2010

Back on the Wagon

I survived one full week of eating healthy.  Nothing but healthy, mostly organic, foods and snacks.  And yes, I cheated.  I did.  I had a moment of weakness and gave into some teriyaki take out and a delicious Ice Blended Dark Chocolate Mocha from Coffee Bean!  It was so delicious. Perfect chocolaty sweet bold coffee flavor.  Ahhh.  It's my vice.  But you know, in my book "Body for Life for Women", it says that it is ok to give in every now and again to temptation.  It's good for us, mentally at least.  It's part of the healing process. So, after half a day of self-pity for failing, I picked myself up wiped the left over chocolaty goodness off my face and jumped back on the wagon. 

I'm still not seeing any big results yet, but then again it has only been one week.  Scale says I'm about 5lbs down.  Yay!  I'll take it.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I Hate My Job

Yes, I hate my job.  I admit it.  It is not exciting, creative, or challenging in any way.  It's a typical boring 8-5 office job and it sucks.  You know, when I was in my 20's I always tooted my own horn about how accomplished I was going to be, and how I would never settle for a comfort job. You know, a comfort job is a job that pays OK, has good benefits, and lets us settle into finding comfort in the security it provides.  It's not our dream job and we daine to wake up to it every day, but we continue to go back day after day, because it's safe.  I certainly can't be the only person out there feeling this way.  I went to a meeting today where people in similar positions to mine were honored with service awards.  5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and even 30 years of service.  The groups got smaller as the number got bigger which was interesting.  As I looked at all those faces standing up there, I did not see one person that I could honestly and happily say to myself, "I could see myself being in their place one day."   It was quite the opposite actually.  Instead I wondered what the heck I need to do to not be one of those people one day.  Even though they were being honored for their years of service, I could just see the look of worn out, tired faces.  Busting their butts (so to speak) to bring home an average salary.  A salary that didn't grow very much over their 20 + years of service.  I don't want to be them.  Thanks, but no thanks.  Ok, so I'm complaining just like most of them probably did at one time.  So what the heck am I going to do about it?   That question remains...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Missing my Gaby...

I just got a text of adorable pictures of my baby girl Gaby playing dress up with her Easter hat and Louis Vuitton wallet.  Her aunty gave it to her to add to her dress up box since it has a broken clasp.  She loves it.  Needless to say I miss her a whole lot right now.  I am working mom, by necessity, and that doesn't enable me to spend as much time with her as I'd like.  Makes me a little melancholy.