Friday, January 31, 2014
Happiest of Lunar New Year's, my friends! It's the year of the Horse, which happens to be my own personal Chinese Zodiac sign. Horse people are said to be great communicators (the Hubby, I'm sure, would disagree with this trait in my instance) and enjoy being in the limelight, so obviously I am practically perfect in every way. I have a hot lady date tonight with another Mommy friend and then tomorrow we are taking the Muffin Man to see the parade in Chinatown; I think he's going to get a kick out of watching the big Dragon puppet-thing dance down the street. What are your plans for this New Year/Super Bowl weekend aside from eating dumplings and drinking beer?
Here are a few goodies that caught my eye across the world wide web this week:
Ten foods to bring you luck this year.
An ode to Loehmann's.
A Bloody Mary Guide that's perfect for a game day weekend.
This story is like a romance movie come to life (and I'd love to know the outcome).
You can be a Mom and still look stylish, you just need a few versions of The Mama Uniform.
Everyone should work in a restaurant at least once in their life.
Great ideas for stuff do with kiddos in Los Angeles. All of these are favorites of ours, too!
A troubling look at what Americans are eating (hint: way too much sugar).
There's a new place in LA for $40 facials. Who wants to go with me?!
Hot crab dip and bacon-ranch cheese balls for your big game viewing.
Have a glorious weekend my lovelies!
I've extended the Fresh Beat Band giveaway until Sunday at midnight due to demand, so be sure and enter multiple times to give yourself a better chance. Winner will be emailed on Monday, February 3rd!
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
|Doing his best Ray Charles impression.|
I had very high hopes when we showed up for our first class two weeks ago. In fact, my outlook was so positive that I even showered, put on some makeup, and managed to get us there a little bit early. Noah and I were the first duo to show up, so we settled in on our square of carpet and waited for class to begin. As the other students and their adult companions started to arrive, I began to notice that I was the only actual Mother attending class with her child. Every other baby was there with his or her nanny. I held out hope that maybe, just maybe, as it got closer to the actual start time of the class, a fellow harried and overwhelmed Mommy might arrive all in a fluster and that she would have a super awesome kid who Noah really liked and that she would be a kindred spirit and make the music class totally worthwhile. Sadly, this was not the case. There I sat, the only Mommy in a room full of Nannys who not only knew each other but with whom I am unable to communicate. Okay, I wasn't going to make any lifelong Mommy friends while also singing some weird made up pizza song, but I'm pretty much willing to put up with anything for the sake of my son's wellbeing, so I took a deep breath and decided to make the best of it.
It's one thing to say that your child likes music and likes playing music while in the comfort of your own home, but I guess music in a small, echo-y room is not exactly akin to banging on a tambourine while sitting on the living room rug. The minute the teacher started hitting the drum or playing the guitar or basically making any noise above a whisper, Noah started crying. He was clinging to me, wailing in fear as all the other kids waved their shakers in the air and squealed in delight. My kid, on the other hand, wanted nothing more than to escape the madness. I tried dancing with him which usually calms him down despite my lack of rhythm, but to no avail. I attempted singing along and helping him clap his hands, which simply made him cry harder. He finally relaxed when I took him outside and sat quietly with him while watching the traffic go by. After he returned to his normal, chipper self, I attempted to take him back into the classroom, but upon seeing the entrance and hearing the strains of "The Saints Go Marching In", Noah practically clawed my eyes out trying to escape. Needless to say we spent the rest of the class sitting an a bench outside while Noah looked for fire trucks and I counted the ways in which I could've better spent $250.00.
What an epic, epic baby (and Mommy) activity FAIL. Not surprisingly, the tuition is non-refundable, so I still have to take Noah to the class in the hopes that he will eventually begin to enjoy having a giant drum pounded right at his ear-level. Oh well, maybe I'll learn some Spanish since, thanks to the fact that I'm the only English-speaking attendee, the whole class is now conducted en espagnol.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
When you order your creepy 3D fetus, you can choose a light, medium or dark skin tone and whether you want to have the arms and feet waving in the air or curled up in a classic fetal position. Oh, and don't forget to decide whether or not you want baby's private parts on display or discreetly hidden. Whichever way you decide to go on the genital front (pun intended), your baby sculpture will arrive safely nestled in a satin-lined box that looks disturbingly like a coffin.
Already given birth to your baby? Not to worry! If you hung on to your ultrasound images you can still order a 3D fetus! Thanks, but I think I'll pass. I'm pretty sure I can come up with enough conversation topics to negate needing a plaster fetus sculpture hanging out on my coffee table.
Monday, January 27, 2014
I apologize for going MIA at the end of last week. I was neck-deep trying to finish a project before Friday afternoon and I got taken down by the stomach flu on Wednesday night, so the confluence of the two kept me away from the blogosphere for a few days.
I'm back in action and finally, finally sharing all the details from Noah's birthday shindig! The Muffin Man's actual birthday is January 3rd, but due to all the holiday madness and my nephew's bar mitzvah, we decided to hold his party on New Year's Day so that all of the relatives who were visiting from out of town could be with us for the celebration. While it was exhausting hosting a party right on the heels of Christmas, everything turned out really well. Somehow I managed to pull it off, thanks in no small part to both sets of grandparents and good ol' Pinterest.
We ended up inviting almost 50 people, so we decided the most practical thing to do was to host a brunch buffet on our back patio. Thankfully, the weather was exquisite, and the kiddos were able to run around the back yard, blow bubbles and enjoy the giant bounce house that I rented (seriously, best bang for your party buck ever. Less than $100!).
I ordered all of the party supplies from Oriental Trading Company. I considered running around to different stores trying to find what I wanted/needed, but it was so much easier to spend an hour cruising their selection and then have it delivered to my door in time for the shindig. We went with a zoo animal theme, so I mixed lime green plates and cups with animal print napkins. I'm pleased with how it turned out, as I think it was appropriate for a kiddo party, but not too babyish.
I have a severe hatred for tacky paper tablecloths, but I also don't happen to own a cloth one that matched my color scheme and fit our outdoor table. So, in a moment of brilliance, if I do say so myself, I covered the table with long pieces of brown packing paper (like you would use to wrap your breakables when moving). It's durable, looked super cute, and I didn't have to wash anything after the revelers went home!
The floral arrangements, which I didn't really get a good picture of, were inspired by the ones we had at my friend's baby shower. I bought three bunches of white carnations at my local Sam's Club, cut the stems really short, and crammed them together really tightly before shoving them in round glass vases. They looked great, and the total cost for floral arrangements was less than $15. Trust me, do this for your next party and you will never turn up your nose at carnations again (plus they smell kind of spicy and nice).
As far as we are concerned, it's not brunch unless it involves bagels and lox (hello, Jews!). We ordered a large selection of assorted bagels from our local bagel shop as well as lox and whitefish salad. If you live in LA, I can't recommend Sam's Bagels highly enough. Our guests were freaking out about the bagels, and even our family from New York said they were some of the best they'd eaten. Please, please stop eating bad bagels and get thee to Sam's. We also served vegetarian frittata, courtesy of my Mom, a seasonal fruit salad and coffee cake baked fresh by Nana (Chris's Mom).
We roped our chef friend, Phuong, into making chocolate cupcakes, which were divine, and he also surprised us with a batch of canneles, or baked custards. You know, just your usual one year-old birthday party fare. Don't faint or anything, but I did manage to bake Noah's birthday cake, which was gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy free. Sure, I'm happy to fill my party guests up with poisonous things like wheat and cream cheese, but I provide only the best for my son. I have to say, the cake was really good. I don't think Noah ate any of it, but it looks good in pictures, and that's what counts, right?
The Happy Birthday banner, and all the cute signs for the cupcakes and that I used to identify the food can be found here. I printed them on white card stock and then we glued bamboo skewers to the back of each little disc. This was really the easiest thing ever, but people thought they were just adorable.
|The favors were animal sunglasses and zoo animal blow up beach balls. I put the sunglasses inside the favor bag, which I sealed with a name sticker, and then I tied the beach balls to the back of the bags with green and white gingham-printed ribbon. They were so cute, and all the kids loved them.|
All in all, I'm pretty dang proud of myself for pulling off a great party. I should be recovered from it just in time to throw Noah a graduation party in about 17 years.
Sources:Invitations: Tiny Prints; photo courtesy of Andréa Cimini Photography
Party supplies: Oriental Trading Company
Printables: Sweet Rose Studio
Bounce House: Party On!
Favors: Oriental Trading Company
Favor Bags & Stickers: Party City
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
|This is the look a woman who just got barfed on.|
I was kind of ridiculously excited to go out, not only because I got a super amazingly awesome pair of booties on sale at Bloomingdale's last week (seriously, like 70% off - insane) but also because I actually really like getting gussied up and spending time with my adorable Hubs. We had the babysitter scheduled, a rezzie at one of the hot new restaurants in town, and I even shaved my legs. This was happening, people.
Well, we've been having some major teething issues around the homestead this week (molars, ugh) so the Muffin Man has been out of sorts. Last night he didn't eat very much dinner and he was so tired that he began his bedtime meltdown just before six o'clock, a full hour before it usually happens. I figured this was just the Universe gifting me with extra time to get ready for my hot Husband date, so I popped Noah into the bathtub and proceeded with our usual nighttime routine. All went without incident until I was putting him into his jammies and he projectile vomited all over himself, me, and at least one third of the bathroom. The thought went through my head that I should probably call the sitter and cancel our big night out, mainly because I was concerned that Noah might have the stomach flu, but also because being covered in regurgitated bananas and baby formula does not exactly make a woman feel at her best. The thing is, after three months of non-stop Mothering, I really, really needed to go out and have a glass of wine and not be "some kid's Mother". I knew we wouldn't be gone more than two hours (it's not like we were going to hit some hot club after dinner - please, I can't even stay awake past 10PM anymore), and our sitter is great with Noah and he loves her, so, no, I didn't cancel the date. Instead, I cleaned up the vomit mess, got myself and Noah into a fresh tub, scrubbed us down, and then put him to bed, with some really nice extra cuddling thrown in.
I suppose if I were a different, less selfish woman, I would've put my desire for a delicious meal and some adult conversation aside for the good of my child. Well, here's a news flash: I am who I am, and that's probably not going to change. Yes, I felt a teensy bit guilty when I walked out of the house in my new hot booties, but after a glass (or two) of wine I relaxed and enjoyed myself. Thankfully, Noah did not suffer any further incidents of projectile vomiting, and he seems to be his chipper self this morning, so I don't think he's any the worse for wear due to my gallivanting around town while he was under the weather. My feet however, are definitely paying the price for my wild night out; I've got blisters for days. Perhaps that's just the Universe telling me it doesn't approve of my parenting choices.
Just in case you're wondering… we went to République last night, in the old Campanile space. The food was delicious. If you like patés, I can't recommend the charcuterie platter highly enough, as it was really, really fantastic and a very generous portion. They have a great selection of oysters, and all the food was outstanding. The seating is weird - mainly communal tables - which we didn't love, so I would suggest just going on a whim and sitting at the bar. The Chef is the original opening Chef from Church and State, so if you liked that place when they first opened you'll recognize a few riffs from that menu.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
If you're a longtime reader of the ol' blog and you kept up with my Holiday Gift Guide last year, you know that I got the Muffin Man a book subscription from Zoobean. As far as I'm concerned, a child can never have too many books, which is why Noah's bookshelves are already overflowing. I suspect that I may have inadvertently turned him into a book hoarder like both of his parents and that we may all one day perish under a giant, teetering stack of books waiting to be read, but breaking me of my book-buying is never going to happen (yes, I have a Kindle and I'm hoarding books on that, too).
I signed Noah up for a three month book subscription, and so far we've received two of our books. Friends, these books are fantastic. Not only are they carefully selected to be appropriate for his age, but they also reflect Noah's specific interests that I included on the order form. And these are really, really nice quality books. The first one, Little Owl Lost, is a hard back, and the most recent one, Everywhere Babies, is a board book, perfect for Noah to interact with (read: chew, throw, attempt to tear).
The stories are wonderful as well. Little Owl Lost is the classic story of a small fry, in this case an owl, who strays from home and elicits help trying to find his mother. It's funny, it's sweet, the ending is absolutely charming, and I love the quirky illustrations. Oh, and I've managed to keep Noah from either ripping Little Owl Lost or enjoying it as an appetizer, so that's a win.
Everywhere Babies has become one of the Muffin Man's favorite books. Just like most little kids, he's completely fascinated by other babies, so this book has been a fun way for him to learn about what babies do. I don't know if he's drawn to this tome because it's got a fantastic rhyming story, or if it's the cute illustrations of cherubic little ones, but either way it's made it into his regular story time rotation. In fact, just the other day I spied him on the baby monitor reading this book to himself, which was pretty darn cute.
I'm really excited to receive our next book in the mail this month. It's always fun to come home and find the crisp white Zoobean envelope sticking out of the mailbox, as I know it promises another great adventure in reading.
Monday, January 20, 2014
|Ask your kids who these people are. I promise they will know.|
Do you have a case of The Mondays? Well, I've got something special to kick you out of that funk! I'm giving away a family four pack to see The Fresh Beat Band LIVE here in Los Angeles. I know this is a poor substitute for the concerts you attended in your pre-baby youth, but just remember that the members of The Red Hot Chili Peppers are almost 50, Blondie is old enough to be your kid's grandmother, and The New Kids on the Block are decidedly not "kids" anymore. Ok, so you're probably not going to be dropping acid or hitting the mosh pit at The Fresh Beat Band concert, but your kids will think you're cool and that's really all that matters at this point, right?
You have a choice of two dates and four shows, all of which will be at the fabulous Nokia Theater in downtown LA. The winner will be chosen at random thanks to my fancy new Rafflecopter widget-thingie and I will be happy to provide kid-friendly dining destination suggestions in the vicinity of the Nokia (yes, they all serve alcohol).
Here are the deets:
Saturday, February 8 at 1:00PM or 5:00PM
Sunday, February 9 at 1:00PM or 5:00PM
You have until February 2nd at midnight (PST) to enter, and you can enter more than once - your odds are so much better than playing the lottery, and it doesn't cost you anything - so go ahead, just do it!
In return for winning the tickets, all I ask is that you email me a photo of you and your adorable family at the concert enjoying overpriced cotton candy and glow sticks. Now rock on with your bad self.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Friday, January 17, 2014
|Welcome to January in Los Angeles|
It's a beautiful, if somewhat smoky, weekend here in the Southland, and so far my plans include busting my ass to finish a project that's due in a week (that I haven't started) and enjoying a cocktail on my back patio in this unseasonably warm weather.
What are you up to?
Here are some internet gems that caught my eye this week:
10 Things Not to Say to a Comedian. Trust me, I've heard them all, and more.
This series of post-it-notes from a stay-at-home Dad cracked me up.
Fashion under forty bucks means you have no excuse not to treat yourself.
I think Lupita Nyong'o is the most charming person in Hollywood.
I could use a Blood Orange Mimosa right about now.
I would be much more productive if Kelly Oxford would let me share her gorgeous office.
I'm super excited about the new DVF exhibit at LACMA.
Veggie burgers I might actually make (and like).
The Paris apartment where time stood still.
Have a kick ass weekend, my lovelies!
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
|He was not amused.|
Photographs were finished around 5PM, and then we had to wait until 6:30PM for the shabbat service to start. As those of you who have children know, the 5 o'clock hour is not the best time for babies. This is absolutely true for Noah, and has been since the day he made his entrance downstage vagina. He's prone to whining and bouts of fussiness under the best of circumstances, but add in an unfamiliar place and the fact that he refused to nap that day, and let's just say that he wasn't his usual charming self. Sometime around 5:30PM, as Noah was attempting to pull my hair out by the roots for the sixth or seventh time, it occurred to me that he was probably starving and wanted dinner. While this would've been no problem were I a parent who thought ahead and prepared for the fact that we would be at Temple during Noah's usual mealtime, I am not one of those Mothers and therefore I had not a crumb of toddler-appropriate food on my person. Sensing that the Muffin Man was minutes away from having an epic starvation-induced meltdown, we left Noah in the capable hands of his Nana and went in search of something (anything) that could be fed to our hungry child. There happened to be a 7-11 just two blocks away and, after stepping over the man peeing in the doorway, we ventured into the convenience store wasteland to find something even marginally appropriate for Noah's dinner.
Not surprisingly, 7-11 does not carry a selection of baby food. I suppose their lucrative customer base of long distance truck drivers and tweakers doesn't exactly warrant any shelf space for packets of Plum Organics, but I figured they would carry some sort of GMO and sugar-filled mass market brand that would at least put some nutrition in Noah's empty tummy. No such luck. As we cruised the aisles of Cheetos and Pop Tarts and Sour Patch Kids, I began to despair. Could it really be possible for a store to be full solely of unhealthy items not fit for adult human consumption, let alone ingestion by a small child? Finally, just as we were about to give up in despair, we stumbled upon some packages of hummus and pretzels in the refrigerator section. I was so relieved to find something edible that was not only full of protein but also one of Noah's favorite foods that I almost dissolved into tears while standing in that dirty 7-11. We grabbed two packages of the hummus, paid for our loot and hightailed it back to the Temple to feed Noah.
Our starving child was so happy to have something to eat that he practically attacked that little carton of chickpea puree. I haven't seen him eat with so much excitement or gusto before or since, and I'm pretty sure that he got most of the hummus into his mouth, though there was a significant amount wiped on his sweater, my dress, and in my hair. Hey, at least we avoided a temper tantrum in the middle of the House of G-D, because if the "Big Guy" does see everything, that would've been really, really embarrassing.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
I am tired. My husband is tired. The Muffin Man is tired. Basically, we are a house full of very tired people. Apparently my child is going through a developmentally appropriate, yet truly horrible, growth spurt that has caused major sleep regression. Remember how I've spent the last several months gloating about what an amazing sleeper Noah is these days and how life is so much better now that I'm getting a full night's sleep? Well I'm eating my words today, dear reader. The last two weeks have been a cycle of Noah being unable to soothe himself and screaming for at least 30 minutes before finally falling asleep; four or five middle-of-the-night wake ups that find him standing up in his crib crying uncontrollably for a few minutes before falling back to sleep; and very short naps that leave me with an incredibly grumpy child prone to tantrums. I can't adequately describe the torture it is to be alone with an overtired, irritable toddler for hours on end without a break, but you're welcome to come over and experience it for yourself in the event that you're curious.
According to the extensive reading* (one Google search) that I've done, Noah's sleep regression is due to his getting ready to walk. As if being a sleep-deprived zombie wasn't terrifying enough, it appears as though I'm going to have a walker on my hands in just a matter of weeks. He's been pulling up to standing for the last month or so, and he's currently creeping around while holding on to the furniture or to any human who may be within arm's reach. While on the one hand I'm dreading just how exhausted I'm going to be once I have to start chasing after a small child who can walk, I am looking forward to Noah returning to his former sleep habits.
I guess this means that I can't put off the whole baby proofing thing any longer, huh?
Friday, January 10, 2014
Well my friends, it's the first official weekend of 2014. Here in La La Land the city is abuzz with Golden Globe fervor (they air this Sunday with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosting!) so there are lots of town cars clogging the streets and famous people at our neighborhood bagel store. I'd like to tell you that we have exciting plans to shmooze with the stars, but thanks to a lack of childcare, I'll be toasting the winners from the comfort of my couch while wearing my new onesie.
What exciting things do you have planned for this weekend?
Here are a few things that caught my eye the past couple of weeks around the web:
Mourning the discontinued snack foods of my 1990's adolescence.
The long term effects of sleep loss, or how parenthood is ultimately going to cause your early death.
How 100 days of working out can change your body and your mind. What an inspiration!
Lambrusco is my current adult beverage obsession…
…and it pairs really well with Sweet and Spicy Nuts for the perfect happy hour snack.
Take a fashion dare in 2014 - there's one appropriate for every body.
I'm dreaming of traveling to exotic locales in 2014, thanks to this Instagram. Here's hoping they come with free childcare.
Have a fantastic weekend, my lovelies!
Thursday, January 9, 2014
My inaugural 2014 Laughing my Vag Off post is up, in which I wax poetic with regards to the Muffin Man turning one. It's quite a milestone, my friends, and worthy of a toast, so pour yourself a drink and head over there to check it out.
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
|We specialize in inappropriate toys.|
Lest you are concerned that Noah does not have enough toys to play with and has therefore been driven to find amusement in suffocation hazards, let me assure you that he has so many toys that my living room resembles the clearance section of Buy Buy Baby. He does not lack for age appropriate, non-lethal toys; if only he actually wanted to play with his millions of toys we would be in business. Noah's current obsession is the brightly colored plastic bags in which we place his poopy diapers. Feel free to judge me all you want for filling up landfills with non-biodegradable plastic, but the only reason my house doesn't smell like a dirty diaper is because we immediately bag up all the stinky diapers and rush them out to the trash bin. Hey, I love the Earth as much as the next girl (probably more, seeing as I'm a dirty hippie) but I refuse to have my house smell like poop; and that shit is potent.
Every single time I put a dirty diaper into one of these plastic bags, Noah attempts to grab it out of my hands. When I refuse to let him play with the bag, he gets very angry and proceeds to cry and kick his legs and essentially throw a temper tantrum worthy of something out of Super Nanny. Nothing, and I mean nothing, has the power to distract him from his desire for the crinkly plastic bag holding his poop. I don't know if it's the cool sound they make, or the bright green color, or just that it's something he's not allowed to have, but the only thing he desires more than uninterrupted playtime with the plastic poop bag of death is my iPhone or an extension cord. Yesterday morning, after successfully wrestling Noah away from the bag and out of a poppy diaper, I put him on the floor of his room while I sanitized my hands. In the few seconds I had my back turned, the Muffin Man had pulled himself up to standing, grabbed the poop-filled diaper bag, and started chewing on it. Upon seeing this, I screamed, grabbed the bag out of his hands, and inadvertently knocked him over, causing him to crack his head on the hardwood floor. I'm not proud of my reaction, but when confronted with the possibility of my child either dying of asphyxiation or being poisoned by his own fecal matter, I freaked out. Sure, he has a giant bump on the back of his head, but at least I stopped him from eating poop or sucking plastic particles into his lungs. And maybe, just maybe, he finally got the message that poop bags are not chew toys. Hey, a woman can dream.
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Monday, January 6, 2014
Happy New Year, my lovelies! I hope you survived the holiday madness without injury (physical or psychological) and that you're looking forward to a fantastic 2014. I'm still trying to recover from the whirlwind that was Christmas, Noah's First Birthday, and my nephew's Bar Mitzvah all packed into the span of a week, so I'm hoping to be back to my old self by sometime in 2016.
Despite my bout with the flu that kept me bedridden until a few days before Christmas, I did manage to rally and, with the use of my Amazon Prime membership, get some packages under our tree. I won't claim that they were all beautifully wrapped, but they made it here before Christmas and nothing had to be returned, so that's a win in my book (what can I say - my standards have lowered significantly since becoming a parent).
Herewith, a few photos from our holiday shenanigans:
Herewith, a few photos from our holiday shenanigans:
Just chillin' in our festive pajamas on Christmas morning.
For the record, I did, at one point in my life, wear sexy lingerie, but apparently I now dress like an oversized one year old.
We didn't travel to exotic locales this year but we did:
Read books and cuddle...
…play with cool stuff like kleenex...
(BTW, this is what passes for a snow storm in sunny Southern California. Well, this or someone spilling the cocaine at a party).
…and throw Noah a pretty awesome first birthday party.
(I promise a lengthy post with all the deets soon)
I would say that Noah's inaugural Holiday Season was certainly fantastic. And now that I'm done patting myself on the back I'm going to go pour myself another cup of coffee, because all the festivity wore Mamma out.