Monday, December 23, 2013

One Year (almost) Down


The Muffin Man is going to turn one in just under two weeks.  Can you believe it?!  This first year with him has gone by so incredibly fast.  I know it's totally cliché to say that, and it makes me sound like such a Mom, but it really is the truth.  It seems like just yesterday that we brought him home from the hospital and Chris and I looked at each other like, "now what?!"  Somehow we muddled through, and I actually think we're managing pretty well.  Sure, I have some days that make me want to throw myself in front of a moving car, but for the most part we're surviving and thriving.  Of course, we're just about to enter the whole new world of a child who walks, so there are sure to be plenty of lumps, bumps and Motherhood FAILS ahead of us in 2014, but let's just enjoy this rare moment of calm while it lasts.

I'm signing off from the blog for a couple of weeks in order to spend time with family and celebrate Noah's first birthday.  You'll still be able to get your adorable Noah fix if you follow me on Instagram.  I'll be back on January 6th with stories of holiday catastrophes and hopefully some great photos of the little man's first birthday bash.  In the meantime, I've rounded up a few of my favorite posts from this year in case you feel like taking a trip down memory lane.

Noah's birth story.

The new definition of a good night's sleep.

Takin' care of bris-ness.

Size matters, even for babies.

All about sex after baby.

We should probably baby proof.

The beginning of the preschool journey.


Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

xoxo

Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Happy Weekend


Can you believe we're in the final stretch of 2013?  This year has gone by incredibly fast, probably because I was so sleep deprived for the first half of it that I barely remember the months of January through July.  I'm getting excited about Noah's first Christmas, and I'm thrilled to report that I finished most of my Christmas shopping last night (thanks in whole to Amazon Prime).  This weekend we're going to cruise the neighborhood and check out Christmas lights, make some cookies, and blast Christmas carols on the stereo.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and here are a few fun posts from around the interwebs...

The Man Cold.  Hilarious and so true!

The perfect Christmas morning breakfast.

A ten month old's letter to Santa.

The conundrum of Christmas when one parent is Jewish.  (So appropriate for us!)

Punch just seems appropriate for a holiday party, no?

This made me cry actual tears.

I'm thinking of rocking a military hat in 2014.

Ikea furniture can look grown-up.

The worst Christmas gifts of all time.  Have you gotten any of these?

Have a beautiful and festive weekend my lovelies!

xoxo



Photo courtesy Ken Heyman (the Hubby is the little boy in the middle!)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

We Need a Little (Jewish) Christmas



It's been a bit of a Grinchmas around our house this year.  Both the Hubby and I have been sick since before Thanksgiving, so not only did I miss out on celebrating Thanksgivukkah, I've now practically missed the entirety of the Christmas season as well.  I really like Christmas.  I enjoy the lights, listening to The Nutcracker on repeat, and decorating the tree.  Yes, we're Jewish, and we're raising our son in a Jewish home, but we both like Christmas, and so we celebrate it with flair.  It's not a religious holiday for us, but rather a reason to share a meal with friends and family and celebrate surviving another year.

We did have a slight respite from illness that allowed us the time to get a tree.  Thank goodness, otherwise we would most certainly be the house without Christmas.  It was chilly in Los Angeles on the day we picked out our Christmas tree, which was a nice change, as I'm pretty sure the last couple of years it's been about eighty degrees at the tree lot.  I suppose that the temperatures in LA are probably pretty similar to those in Bethlehem (after all, it is a desert), but picking out a Christmas tree in summer weather just feels...wrong.  Anyway, it was very exciting to have an excuse to put the Muffin Man in his cute red hat. 


We actually had to go to three tree lots to find a tree, as places were sold out of trees in the size we wanted.  Doesn't that just seem wrong?  That's basically like selling out of Christmas; there should be some law against that.  The truth is that it worked out in the end, because we got the perfect tree and all the money made at the lot went to a really, really worthy cause (Delancey Street does such good things for so many people).  Plus the folks working there were super nice, super helpful and even tied our tree onto our car for us.  Chris usually has to do the tying-on, and while I know he has mad Boy Scout knot-tying skills, the Delancey Street guy's looked just a teensy bit more secure.


Helping Daddy put up the tree.


I still haven't had the time or energy to put the Christmas ornament boxes back in the garage, but whatever.  I suppose if I never get them put away at least it'll be more convenient when I have to take the tree down in a week or two.  I'm more concerned about the fact that I haven't purchased a single present, and Christmas is less than a week away.  Thank God for Amazon Prime!


I mean, really, shouldn't every Jewish Christmas tree have a Star of David tree topper and a few strings of menorah lights?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Shop for a Cause


My old foe The Flu has returned with a vengeance, so I've called in Grandparent back-up today so that I can rest.  Assuming I'm back on my feet tomorrow you'll be able to find me at the above fabulous holiday event shopping for a good cause.  You know I'm a big supporter of Baby2Baby and I think the work they do is wonderful, so I definitely can't miss a chance to buy Christmas gifts while simultaneously supporting one of my favorite charities.  There will be on-site childcare, delicious eats, and cool stuff to buy from some of my favorite indy designers (Ascot + Hart, anyone?).

Hope to see you there!

xoxo

Friday, December 13, 2013

Week End


Happy Friday the 13th!  We're supposed to have summer temperatures here in the Southland this weekend, which I just find so weird in the middle of December.  Not to stress you out or anything, but Christmas is only 12 days away.  I personally had to take a Xanax before I typed that sentence, so here's hoping you're more organized than I am and therefore less anxious about the impending yuletide.  Obviously my weekend plans involve hours spent surfing Amazon and Diapers.com shopping for presents.  What do you have planned?

Here's what caught my eye on the interwebs this week when I should've been Christmas shopping:

Sometimes hyphenating your last names is a terrible idea.

Further thoughts on the Motherhood-Work-Life balance.

Eyeshadows perfect for the brown eyed girl in your life.

Tis' the season for spiced bourbon cocktails.

Love this idea for making gift tags from your favorite Instagram photos.

2014 Calendars that are practical and design-friendly.

The Australian Condom ad that is too hot for TV (it's hilarious).

Places to go in 2014.

The perfect holiday party appetizer.

Have a beautiful weekend, my lovelies!

xoxo



Vintage postcard image courtesy blogging.la

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Get Sprouted


Monday afternoon I had high tea with a chicken puppet.  That's right, I spent most of Monday afternoon drinking mimosas and eating fancy finger food at the Hotel Bel Air while hanging out with a chicken puppet named Chica.  Just in case you're picturing me sitting at a table conversing with a chicken puppet and you're now concerned that I have, in fact, completely lost my marbles, rest assured that I was not alone and I dined with Chica for a specific reason.


I got invited by Sprout Television to ditch my kiddo and spend Monday afternoon at the incredibly gorgeous Hotel Bel Air learning about the cute new programming headed for your TV in 2014.  Friends, these people know how to treat a Mama right.  I was greeted with a Mimosa, there were delicious tea sandwiches and mind-blowing scones, and I had a great time meeting other Mom bloggers in the Los Angeles area.  If they'd only had roving masseuses giving shoulder and neck massages it would have basically been the best Monday EVER.


I don't really watch TV when the Muffin Man is awake, mainly because according to our Pediatrician it's bad for kids to have screen time before the age of two, but also because he's just too busy trying to climb on all of the furniture to watch anything.  I have to tell you though, that after seeing the programming that Sprout has going on, I think it's definitely going to be our go-to channel when Noah is interested in parking himself in front of the boob tube.  The "star" of Sprout's line-up is the aforementioned chicken named Chica.  Folks, this chicken is cute.  She sings, she dances, she tells little jokes...what more could you possibly want from a puppet shaped like a chicken?!  Every morning Chica and an assortment of cute, musically talented (human) friends host The Sunny Side Up Show.  It's a live TV show that's designed to help preschoolers get ready to start their day.  There's even an interactive element so parents can submit a birthday message and Chica and friends can give lucky kiddos a shout out on their big day.  There were a couple of kiddos at the event, and they got SUPER excited when Chica made her appearance.  They were jumping up and down and screaming like pre-teens at a Maroon 5 concert, so I guess that Chica is a superstar among the preschool set.

Look, Sprout is cute.  They air some of your kid's favorite shows like Bob the Builder and Caillou, but they also do really cool stuff like encourage kids to be kind with their "Kindness Counts" campaign.  Go over there and vote for one of the finalists in their Kindest Kid Contest - you really won't believe what these little ones have done for others (note to self: I really need to volunteer more).


Noah may be too young to watch Sprout, but it looks like he's already a big fan of Chica.  Hey, I am too; who doesn't love a chicken that let's you drink in the middle of the afternoon?

Sprout kindly invited me to this event and paid for my valet parking, but I assure you that all opinions are most definitely my own.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Motherhood FAIL of the Week: Riding in Cars with Babies


Apparently, I have been dragging my son around in the car seat of death for the last several months.  This was not done on purpose.  Up until this past Sunday we were still using our infant car seat for our eleven month old.  I didn't realize that this was a problem, as I assumed that his status as a lightweight meant that he could continue to ride in his little molded plastic shell for a couple more months, but I received a rude awakening when I casually mentioned to my Mommy and Me Teacher that I was still using the infant seat and she gave me a look of such utter and complete horror that I felt like the worst mother in the world.  It turns out that even if your kid doesn't reach the weight limit for the infant seat, you're supposed to move him into the convertible car seat once he reaches a certain height.  My beanpole son has probably exceeded the height requirement for the last three to four months, but I had no idea.  Hey, it's not like I had time to actually read the manual or something, as that would entail having more than three minutes to myself.

Once your kid's legs are long enough to stick out the bottom of the seat, you're supposed to trade up.  I've been driving around Los Angeles, completely oblivious to the fact that a small fender-bender could've shattered the Muffin Man's legs and pelvis.  That's right, my friends, my inability to find the time to read the car seat manual could've resulted in certain injury or death for my son.  Hey, I may be an overly-permissive, lackadaisical parent, but it has never been my intention to cause harm to my son. Ten minutes of internet research about the possible damage that can be caused by using a too-small car seat resulted in several nights of anxiety-related insomnia, a call to my therapist to discuss at length my resultant feelings about being a terrible Mother, and a $45.00 shipping charge to get the new car seat delivered the following day.

I'm happy to report that Noah's new car seat is properly installed and taking up more than half of my backseat.  His feet are not sticking out of the bottom, it's seems much more cushy than his infant seat, and it's black, as opposed to rainbow colored, which is more my aesthetic.  He seems very content riding in the new seat, as is evidenced by the amount of crumbs and torn paper that have already taken up residence in the seams of the seat.  I'm just happy that I am no longer risking his life and limb every time I take him to his "Torah for Toddlers" class, and that my therapist has been willing to see me an extra time this week to discuss my lingering guilt.

 

Monday, December 9, 2013

An Honestly Beautiful Baby Shower

No, we did not coordinate our outfits.
Last Sunday I threw a baby shower for one of my dearest friends.  Maya and I were roommates in New York, and we've weathered many of life's ups and downs over the years.  It should clue you in that we are kindred spirits considering we decided to move in together while enjoying our third round of martinis in the VIP section of Spy Bar.  We've come a long way since then - she's a lawyer turned news anchor, we're both happily married, and she will soon be the Momma of a little boy - but we're still as close as ever.  Maya lives in Sydney, Australia now, so we only get to see each other once a year, but we always make it count.  When I heard she was expecting a little dude, I was super excited to throw her a baby shower.  I had dreams of throwing a Pinterest-worthy shindig at our house, but since I'm trying to be realistic about how much I can handle while also parenting a small, very active child, I opted to host a tea at The Peninsula instead.  Friends, I am so glad that I did not try to throw the shower at my home.  By the time it was all said and done, the cost was pretty much the same as if I'd had it catered, and I didn't have to clean anything up once the guests went home.  Everyone had a great time, and it made me so happy to celebrate Maya's baby boy.



Aren't the floral arrangements gorgeous?!  They are tightly-packed bouquets of carnations.  I had nothing to do with them - it was all The Peninsula's doing - but it totally looks like I planned the whole color scheme.  The coral looked so beautiful with all the different blues in the favor bags and the place cards.


I ordered a printable place card template from Etsy and then input all the guests names.  The template was only three dollars, and I will totally use it again, so that was definitely money well spent.


I printed a bunch of photographs of Maya and her Husband as little kids, and a few of the two of them as adults, and then I used tiny blue clothespins and clipped all the pictures to a long length of blue and white striped ribbon.  I topped off the photo collection with a 3D ultrasound of Maya's babe.  All the guests enjoyed seeing the photographs and laughing about the awkward 1980's hairstyles.


The Honest Company generously donated the favors for the shower, which was seriously amazing.  I absolutely love their products, and I was so excited to share two of my favorite goodies with the shower guests.  Inside each of the favor bags was a travel size hand sanitizer spray (a necessity when you are a parent) and a full size of their Face and Body Lotion.  Friends, if you have not tried The Honest Company products, I urge you to do so immediately.  You can order yourself a free sample pack of the items that interest you and then get signed up for a monthly delivery.  I have not been disappointed by anything of theirs that I've tried.  I'm especially partial to the sunscreen as it doesn't have any ingredients that are toxic for little ones.  I use it for Noah every day in the summer, but I also use it on myself and the Hubby!


The polkadot gift bags were from Vine American Party.  I loved that they were appropriate for a shower, but not babyish.  I hate babyish stuff.  Seriously, no baby animals, please. 



Maya is having three baby showers - one in Los Angeles, one in New York, and one in Sydney - so all of the hostesses got together to create a box of wishes for Maya and baby.  It will be a fun surprise for her after the last shower when she gets presented with all the well-wishes from her friends and loved ones across the globe.


A great time was had by all.  In fact, they asked us to leave because they had another reservation for our table.  Hey, at least we weren't thrown out for public intoxication and drug use like in the old days.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Winter Weekend Wonderland

Christmas in Hollywood, circa 1962
Happy Friday, my lovelies!  We have a busy weekend full of one year old birthday parties (dear God, please let them have booze) and Christmas tree shopping.  Yes, we are the kind of Jews who celebrate Christmas, and it's totally okay if that makes you uncomfortable.  I'm planning to make the most of my returning health by running myself ragged, so hopefully my flu doesn't make an unwelcome encore performance.  What do you have planned for this beautiful winter weekend?

Here are a few things that peaked my interest this week:

Los Angeles at Christmas time feels like a real Scrooge compared to New York, but here are some fun holiday-themed events around the Southland.

Chocolate Coconut Pie is going to be happening in my kitchen.

Tips for throwing a themed party (I'm taking notes, since I'm planning Noah's first)

It wouldn't be the holiday season without a viewing of the Last Christmas video.

The House of Cards season two trailer.  Cannot wait!

How to rock "Radiant Orchid", the color of the year.

Let's have a persimmon margarita party!

The best design books, perfect for all the chic people on your Christmas list.

I may just get crafty and make some gold animal straws for Noah's birthday party.

Have a great weekend!

xoxo

Thursday, December 5, 2013

One Sick Mother


I'm over at Laughing My Vag Off today with a piece about the special kind of hell it is to be sick when one has a child.  It's not pretty, folks, and I lay it all out for you.  Here's hoping that you're all in perfect health and that you survive the holidays without catching anything.

xoxo

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Motherhood FAIL of the Week: Baby, it's Cold Inside

I'm baaaaaaack!  I am finally on the mend and aside from a persistent cough, I look and sound much more like my old self.  I'm proud to report that the first thing I did after emerging from my sick bed was to make a HUGE batch of latkes, so I'm pretty sure that I win the Jewess of the Year award.  I can't tell you how happy I am to be back in the land of the living, and I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate my health than to regale you with a fresh tale of my Motherhood shortcomings.  It's been a few weeks since I confessed to one of my failures (what with the whole Holiday Gift Guide and all) so I'm sure you're waiting with baited breath to either feel superior or possibly call Child Protective Services.  Here's hoping it's the former.

We're finally getting some cooler weather here in the City of Angels.  Apparently the temperatures have been downright frigid, as I've seen a number of folks walking around wearing down jackets, knit caps and gloves in the middle of the afternoon.  I don't personally find a high of 60 degrees to warrant heavy-duty winter wear, but I'm not a native Angeleno, so I guess my blood is thicker.  I will admit that it does get a bit chilly at night, and since we live in an old duplex that doesn't seem to have insulation or windows from the current century, it gets pretty cold in our house.  We have central heat, but the lack of insulation and the wind-tunnel windows pretty much negate the intermittent hot air that blasts out of the vents.  Unfortunately, the Muffin Man's room is the coldest in the house.  I'm not particularly sure why, but I have a feeling it's the specific confluence of there being three windows and a heating vent tucked into the corner of the room, but whatever the case his room often feels like an igloo.  I always dress him for bed in a fleece onesie with socks and an undershirt underneath, but in the morning my kiddo's little hands are like ice cubes.

Last week we had some lovely warm weather during the afternoon, so I opened two of the windows in Noah's room to get some fresh air.  I have to say that one of the things I really do love about living in Los Angeles is that I can have the windows open during the winter.  I detest stale, over-heated air, and I used to run around my New York apartments opening and closing windows in the dead of winter trying to get some "fresh" air while attempting not to freeze to death.  Anyway, I guess the weather was warm enough last week that I left the windows open behind the blackout shades while Noah napped.  Apparently I did not put up the shades after he woke up from his nap, and I didn't bother to check to see that the windows were closed before I put the kiddo to bed that night, because it turns out that I left his windows open all night long, allowing cold air to rush through his room with abandon.  Thank goodness that we do, in fact, live in a temperate climate, because if I had succeeded in convincing the Hubby to relocate to the East Coast I would have had a child-icicle on my hands.  I mean, honestly, what kind of Mother doesn't check to make sure the windows are closed in the nursery before putting her son to bed?!  This kind, apparently.  Amazingly, Noah slept through the night without incident, and so far he hasn't come down with any sort of cold, so I guess he wasn't harmed in any way (other than psychologically).

When I discovered the following morning that I had left the windows open all night, I was appropriately horrified.  You'll be happy to know that I now make it a point to always check to make sure the windows are closed before putting the Muffin Man to bed, and we now have a lovely space heater that keeps his room toasty warm all night long (before you comment or send me hate mail about the dangers of this please know that it is a ceramic heater that shuts off at a specific temperature and it's not near any curtains and blah, blah, blah).  Now if only I could find some sort of "Bad Mother" gadget with an alarm that goes off whenever I'm in danger of making a terrible mothering mistake, we'd really be in business.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday Flues


I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend and that no one got injured during a Black Friday stampede.  I'm currently down with the flu, so I'm afraid the exciting blog post I had planned for today about the fabulous baby shower I threw is just going to have to wait until I am no longer coughing up a lung and I don't sound like a man who has been smoking two packs a day for the last 30 years.  Anyway, I promise some thrilling posts when I'm back in action, but right now I'm going back to bed.

And just in case you were wondering... no, I did not get a flu shot.  I don't particularly hold with them, seeing as I'm a dirty hippie and all, but now that I've had the experience of sickness coupled with caring for a child, I just may change my tune.

xoxo


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!


I feel like I just keep wishing you a happy something this week, but nonetheless, I hope you have a beautiful holiday filled with good friends and loving family.  May your turkey be moist, the pies sweet, and good wine be flowing freely.

I have so much to be thankful for this year, but mostly I'm thankful for my healthy little boy and my prescription for Xanax.  What about you?

xoxo

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Hanukkah!


Happy Hanukkah my Lovelies!  I love the Festival of Lights, mostly because it gives me an excuse to eat fried foods for eight days straight without feeling guilty, but also because the story of the miracle of the oil is inspiring.  I had planned to make latkes tonight, but I'm down with the flu, so I have a feeling we'll be getting take out from Greenblatt's instead.  I promise not to let my illness keep me from posting cute photos of the Muffin Man in his "My First Hanukkah" bib, so be sure and check out my Instagram once the sun goes down.

Do you prefer your latkes with applesauce or sour cream (or both)?

My favorite no-fail gluten free rugelach recipe.

The Maccabeats are like the Chosen People version of Pitch Perfect.

Here's my favorite Hanukkah video to get you in the holiday spirit (NSFW or children or the easily offended).

Have a wonderful night and don't eat too many sufganiyot!

xoxo

Hanukkah Harry's Hip & Happenin' Gift Guide: Phone Sex(y)



We all have someone on our holiday gift list who is impossible to buy for, right?  He (or she) is the person who already has everything or is richer than Midas and therefore can buy himself anything he desires.  Every year there's at least one of these people on my list.  In holidays past I would often spend months scouring flea markets trying to find that perfect, unique item that would truly "wow" this individual and, as a result, would crown me "the greatest gift giver in the free world".  Well I no longer have the time (or, let's face it, the energy) to drive to flea markets and search every booth for that special something, which is why I'm so glad that I discovered the handcrafted wood and metal CLIC iPhone cases by Native Union.


These cases are absolutely stunning.  Honestly, it's like getting a designer coat for someone's iPhone.  Made from either cherry or walnut wood the CLIC cases have a slash of brushed metal across the corner.  Since each case is cut from a single piece of wood, no two cases have the same grain or look, which means any iPhone wearing this case is sure to stand out from the crowd.  The cases come in four different wood and metal combinations, though I must say that my absolute favorite is the stunning merger of cherry wood and rose gold.


The nicest thing about these cases is the fact that they cost $69.99, but look as though you spent much, much more.  Your friend-who-has-everything will never know that you spent less than a hundred bucks on the coolest gift ever, but you'll also have enough money left over to buy yourself something great this year like, say the case with the walnut and black metal combination.