Friday, December 20, 2013

Image Make-Over

Let's face it, you guys, Christianity has gotten sort of a bad rap lately (thanks goes to the Tea Party as well as the Anonymity of the Internet!). It could just be where I live in California, but I hear it a lot. There is a lot of lambasting of Christians and Christianity that I don't think is always called for. Christianity isn't the only religion who takes heat, of course, but since it is a mainstream religion and has a gazillion followers, it gets a lot of press.

Google (how I love you, Google) has a function where it predicts your search based on popular other searches that begin with what you are writing. It's all very techy and I don't get it, but look at what happens when I start to type "Christians are" and "Christianity is"



That's not very flattering, is it? I would have thought there would be a nice mix of positive and negative searches, but nope. All bad.

Also, if you read comments on online news stories, you'll see some pretty nasty stuff. I know, I know, most of these people are fueled by the faux courage that comes from having an internet persona, but still, stuff like this is what is being said:

"Then one sunny afternoon, a couple of elders stopped by the house to talk to me about how much I was dropping into the collection plate. I had been tithing 10% of my take-home pay. But they reasoned since we lived in a big fancy house on a hill and since my mother drove a Cadillac and given that my parents paid for my food and clothes, I should be contributing more. In essence, it was a shakedown. I never went back. I WAS born again and got a bill for my trouble."

"I just saw a news story about a Salvation Army bell ringer who was assaulted by a woman who was upset that the bell ringer wished her Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. How could such a good Christian woman take offense at something like that?"

"Or look up organizations that helpvictims of Christian upbringing: Homeschooler's Anonymous and No Longer Quivering are good places to start."

"Most religions are little more than cults, and evangelical sets of anything are thinly veiled cults."

"Why should I live my life according to some book that I think holds no value other than being a bunch of stories?" 

"would you please point out the "Christians" - I just see bigots, racists, and haters - are those the "Christians" you are referring to?"

"the word Christians, bigots, racist and haters are all interchangeable."

This makes me sad, especially since there is something we can do about it. I think we need to take a stand and give Christianity the Image make-over it deserves. Jesus was all about loving and we need to be that too. Not everyone is going to believe in God or follow Christianity, but we need to make it so they don't have such nasty things to say.

It's OK for people like Phil Robertson to express his beliefs, but I think it is important to watch how we express them. We need to choose our words carefully and speak from a place of love. We aren't perfect and should never claim to be. We need to be the change that silences those who are bigoted in the "name of God."

Let's be the person Jesus expects us to be and save the judgment for The ONE qualified to hand it out.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

2013 In Review

January
I started the year off super sick.  I got a cold in December, and not one of those sniffly little colds either. This one kicked my butt. I was about 3 or 4 months preggo so I couldn't take anything and I was laid up on the couch for at least a week. On New Year's Eve, Gary woke me up at 11:55, we rang in the new year (sans kiss, because I was a contagious mess) and I promptly went right back to sleep.  I feel bad for him because he was just stuck at home with a sick wife and didn't even get to do anything fun. Sorry, babe! He took really good care of me though, because he's pretty awesome like that.
It was also during this month that we found out our little bundle of joy was going to be a little girl. This was sort of a big deal in the Weber family because it was sort of believed that the Weber genes were sexist :0)  My husband comes from 3 boys, his older brother has 2 boys, our first was a boy. you get the idea.  News of our little girl caused much joy (and shopping opportunities for me!)
February
Our little guy turned three in February and celebrated with his friends at his Jake and the Neverland Pirate's themed party. It was at this time that he decided, much to my chagrin, to stop taking naps. We also converted his crib into a toddler bed and that began a few months of a rigorous bedtime routine of us putting him down and him getting right back up every ten minutes for about an hour or so. I can't even count the number of times I left for work in the morning (around 4:45am) and found him sleeping on the couch with one of my "Friends" DVDs playing on the TV.
We also hosted a Super Bowl party this year because our beloved 49ers were playing. It was a good game and the party was fun, but we don't want to talk about it. Even though the party was a good time, I learned that I prefer to do my Super Bowl celebrating at someone else's house.
March
This month we signed JJ up for preschool. He is currently on a waiting list for Fall 2014. I spend a lot of  time thinking about this and stressing (will he do ok? Can we afford it?).  He is really so smart, I know he could do well in school. He just really needs the socialization and structure that comes with preschool.  OK, I'm moving on because I'm starting to stress again.
April
In April I spent my 8th year working with the Academy of Country Music for their annual awards show in Las Vegas. It was a bit of a challenge to do all the work (and there's a lot of it) while 7 months pregnant, but everyone was super supportive and I had a blast yet again. I still can't believe I've been doing this for so long! And while I was gone my amazing husband did a TON of work on the house, including new door knobs and painting the baby's room. Last year while I was gone, I came home to central heating and air. So I suppose as long as there's work to be done on the house, I should keep going to Vegas every year, right? :0)
May
For my birthday in 2012, I got a Disneyland pass. JJ and I became weekly (or more) regulars at the park. I absolutely loved spending that quality time with him and will cherish those memories forever. The pass was set to expire in June and I was getting way too pregnant to be going all the time, so in May we took one last family trip to the park. Gary had never been to California Adventure, so we spent the afternoon there. My parents joined us and kept JJ entertained so Gary and I could go on a "big kid" ride. We couldn't go too crazy, so we rode California Screamin'! Haha, just kidding :0) We chose Soarin' Over California. I'm sad that my pass had to expire, but that day was a great way to end our year-long Disney adventure and I have memories to last a lifetime. I can't wait for Kathryn to get a little older so we can do it all again!
This month we also discovered the reason I was so darned uncomfortable during this pregnancy. Baby girl was in transverse position, which means she was sideways in my uterus. We really needed her to keep moving along so she could be in optimum head-down position. The doctor briefly mentioned c-section, but reminded me that would be a last resort. She had every confidence that the baby would move into position and all would be well. We began praying.
June
A few years ago, my mom gave me a box with my old Fisher Price play kitchen and all the goodies that come with it.  This month we took it out of the attic and set it up for JJ. He took to it immediately and still likes to "cook" for us. It has been so fun watching him enjoy a toy that I loved so much as a kid.

Prayers were answered and the baby moved (yay!) so at that point it just became a waiting game. I started my maternity leave about a week before I was due, which is pushing it a little. I was so ready for Kathryn to come out into the world! She took her time and was three days late, but on June 27 little Kathryn Grace joined our family and quickly took her place as the little sister. She has been such a blessing. She is always so happy!
July
July was spent bombarding Facebook and Instagram with pictures of the new baby and the cuteness of sibling love. We also went to Travel Town, which was fun-ish, but I was a bit disappointed. I wish there was more to it. We also took in my parents' piano which was a huge addition for us. We've been talking about getting a piano in the house for years, so this was perfect. JJ loves the "pinano" and I can't wait to teach him how to play.
We also began packing up my parents' house (my childhood home) and moving them into their new house in Orange. This was very bittersweet for me. I will miss my old home and they are farther away now, but they bought a house they love and fits them to a T. I'm so happy for them. And I love their new neighborhood!
August
In August we took JJ to see his first movie: Disney's Planes.  He had a bit of a struggle sitting still, but overall I thought he did very well. I was sure we were going to have to leave the theater.  He seemed to enjoy it, but not as much as Cars, which I think I can agree with. I took him to see Frozen later in the year and he sat through the whole thing really well. Although, that was a far superior movie!
Taking advantage of being on maternity leave, we took a trip down to San Diego. We went to the zoo (which was way bigger than I remember) and SeaWorld (yes, I've since seen Blackfish. No, I don't want to talk about it.).  We had a lot of fun and JJ really enjoyed seeing all the animals. Kathryn was such a trooper, and a great traveler.
At the end of August, I did the completely unexpected and joined Gary's fantasy football league. I was completely overwhelmed by the whole process, but as it turns out, I'm pretty good at this. I'm now in the playoffs competing for 3rd place this week. Wish me luck!
September
In September before I went back to work, Gary and I packed up the kids and made the drive up north to visit the "Half Moon Bay Webers." Gary's oldest brother and his family live up there. JJ got to spend some time with his cousins, we went to a farm and picked some fresh fruits and vegetables, and we got to see family that we don't get to see often at all. It was a really fun weekend that will need to be repeated (especially now that we have a new car that will make the drive a lot more comfortable!)
At the beginning of the month, I started a Foodie club with some of my friends. Each time we meet, we bring a themed dish and the recipe. We've only had two meetings so far, but it's been a lot of fun and I can't wait to resume after the holidays.
I sadly had to go back to work this month. It's a good thing I really like my co-workers because that made it a lot easier, but I miss my babies every day. I love that I get off at 1:30 so I still get to spend a lot of time with them.
October
This month Gary and I celebrated five years of marriage. We went to The Palm, which has become "our place" over the years.  Gary also surprised me with an afternoon at the gun range! I've always wanted to go! And I did pretty well, if I do say so myself! He knows me so well and I really couldn't have picked a better person to take this life journey with me.
Kathryn started to roll over this month and has never looked back. She is currently trying to stand up even though she can't. I have a feeling this girl is going to be a force to be reckoned with.
November
We finally finished the worst refinance process ever on our house. We started this all back in July and had one headache after another trying to finish it up. When we signed the papers this month, we finally breathed a sigh of relief that it was all over. We celebrated by trading in my 10-year-old Corolla and buying a more family friendly Ford Escape. I absolutely love my new car! It was sad saying goodbye to my Lola though.
December
And that brings us to December, which has been full of the usual holiday busyness. This is my favorite time of year and I wouldn't want it any other way. Gary is going to San Francisco to watch the 49ers in their last home game ever at Candlestick park. I was a bit uneasy about him traveling so close to Christmas (he comes home Christmas eve!), but I know how much this means to him. We will be spending Christmas Eve with Gary's family, Christmas morning with our family, and Christmas day with my side. We don't have plans for New Years' Eve yet, but we'll play it by ear.
I just had my annual review at work and it was glowing. I am truly thankful for the job I have and so appreciative of the wonderful things my coworkers had to say about me. The year-end bonus and the raise was nice too :0)

This has been a great year. We've had a few frustrations, but nothing we couldn't work through. We saw our family grow with the addition of Kathryn, we watched JJ come leaps and bounds from where he was at the beginning of the year with his speech (he's so smart sometimes, it just amazes me!), Gary worked his tail off with the whole refinance experience that took way longer than necessary but ended up better in the long run for our family, we spent a lot of time with family and friends. My cup truly overflows! I can't believe how blessed I am to have the life I have and I can't wait to see what's in store for us next year!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Friday, December 6, 2013

So here's a random post about dads

So I read this article that a friend shared on Facebook the other day and as I was reading it, something about it really didn't sit right with me. I read for a while and the whole time I was thinking that I really didn't like this woman's story but I couldn't quite figure out what it was. Then I got it.
First off, I will concede that parenting is exhausting. Kids are bundles of energy and the older we get, the less energy we have. The scales are not balanced, but what are you going to do?  But this woman really seems unhinged. She seems like she's really depressed and about to snap. The more I read of her blog, the more I thought she really needs to seek out a licensed therapist. Seriously.
But that isn't what really struck me about the article. What really struck me was that, from the get-go, the premise of the article is that moms need help. Um, isn't that what dads are for? I understand that there are single moms and that isn't what I'm talking about. Single-mom is a whole other category and yes, they do need help.
The woman who wrote this post is not a single mom. She has a husband. Does he do nothing around the house? I get that he has a full-time office job, but that doesn't mean he gets to come home and lounge around. Does he not help her at all? Does he not see that she is physically and mentally burned out to the point of almost beating her children? If he does and isn't helping, then he's an ass. If he genuinely doesn't see it, then she needs to sit him down and tell him that she needs him to contribute. Hey maybe he can take care of the kids for a minute while she gets dinner ready. Or gives one of the other kids a bath. Or puts away the laundry. Or, heck, maybe he can put away the laundry. Maybe he can unload the dishwasher.  I don't understand why he's not helping.
Or maybe he is helping. If that's the case, then why doesn't the article mention that? Why does she completely remove Dad from the equation?
That got me really thinking. Why is Dad so often removed from the equation? Recently Huggies came under some scrutiny because they started an ad campaign starring everyone's favorite cliché: The Clueless Dad. A few dads chimed in and Huggies did a 180 on their campaign. Kudos to them, though, for keeping the Dad angle of the ads, and showing that hey, guess what? Dads aren't complete morons.
Not many other companies have followed suit though. Even consumer products behemoth Amazon.comlaunched a new service a few years ago called "AmazonMOM." Um, why just Mom? Why not AmazonFAMILY?
Yes, I understand that moms are quickly becoming advertisers favorite demographic; studies show they have a lot of purchasing power. Between the rise of the "Mommy-blogger" and the often media-fueled "MommyWars," I think Moms and their roles in the family have become something of a hot topic. Unfortunately, I think Dads role has been overshadowed a bit in the meantime.
I know moms have a so-called "mommy instinct" but dads can have that too. Maybe moms and dads take care of their kids differently, but they do TAKE CARE OF THEM. True story: I work out of the home, my husband works from home. He spends a lot of time with the kids without me around. Guess what? They are both clean, fed and happy by the time I get home at 2:00. Sometimes he even does the dishes and he always takes out the trash. Shocking, right? No. That's what we do. We help each other.  Once I year I go to Vegas for work. He has the kids all weekend. And you wanna know why I don't worry? Because he's their dad and he's not an idiot. One time I was gone and our son got a really bad stomach flu. Did Gary run around like a chicken with his head cut off, freaking out about a sick kid? No, he took JJ to the pediatrician and gave him pedialyte. Oh and did I mention that he had the stomach flu also? I didn't have to hop on the next plane out of there (although I almost did anyway because, come on, that's my baby we're talking about and I'm not made of stone!)
If I'm ever feeling overwhelmed by housework after a long day at the office, guess what I have to do? ASK HIM TO DO SOMETHING FOR ME. A novel concept, I know.  And you know what he does when I ask? HE DOES IT GLADLY!
Sitcoms have a long history of portraying the clueless man who doesn't know the first thing about kids, playing their idiocy for laughs. The news is full of stories of the deadbeat dads who left their families or don't pay child support.  Trust me, I know bad dads. I know there are dads out there who are nothing more than sperm donors, but there are also moms out there who are nothing more than incubators.
I love that moms are getting respect for what they do (working or stay-at-home), but I think we shouldn't be so quick to throw dads under the bus and we should be more willing to give the good ones the credit they deserve, and there are a lot of good ones out there.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Loud Noises


Yeah, so my kids are loud. Our house is always filled with noise. I know everyone thinks they know that kids are loud, but you can't fully appreciate the magnitude of the noise until you have two tiny humans living in your midst.

JJ, my late talker, is more than making up for lost time. Now it seems like he never stops talking. And he can be kind of a spaz sometimes, so he's usually really LOUD too. He hasn't quite mastered the "inside voice" yet, though when he does whisper, it is really adorable for some reason. To be clear, I love talking to him. The mind of a three-year-old is amazing. He makes us laugh and he cracks himself up (which is also very loud). I really do love listening to him talk and play and love life so much, I just wish he'd do it at a lower decibel sometimes :0)

Kathryn is all of five months old. She's never really been a cryer or fussy baby, except when she decides that she's suddenly hungry in that particular moment and the minute it takes to make her bottle is just a minute too long. The girl's got a pair of lungs and will use then against you for sure. Over the last month or so, she's been "talking." I remember when JJ hit this age and it was a lot of adorable babbling. This is not the case with Kathryn. She's a shrieker. She is super adorable and has the biggest smile imaginable, so you know she's having a good time, but she shrieks. I'm just saying, if Steven Spielberg needs to record sounds for any new Jurassic Park movie, he's welcome to come listen to Kathryn for the afternoon. 

Don't get me wrong--I love the sounds filling my house. They are usually the sounds of laughter and happiness (even from my little Kathryn-osaurus), and watching/listening to them laugh and play together melts my heart everytime.

But sometimes, every once in a while, this mama needs some peace and quiet.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Leave Black Friday Alone

So thanks to social media, "movements" tend to go viral very quickly. Over the last couple weeks, "I hate Black Friday" posts were rampant in my newsfeed. In all fairness, they were more like "I hate that Black Friday starts on Thanksgiving" posts, but still, the point is the same.
 
I see a lot of people raging against the retailers for daring to be open on Thanksgiving when people should be with their families.  Here's my thought: So what? Retailers will be open because that's what they do: Sell things. Nobody is forcing anyone to go shopping. If someone wants to go shopping instead of eating with his family, so what? That doesn't have anything to do with you.  Maybe some people don't have families. Maybe some people don't like their families. Maybe some people don't celebrate Thanksgiving.
 
Maybe not everyone is going just to get "stuff" because we are a greedy culture. Maybe some people are going because money is tight and they want to be able to get gifts for their kids but stay on a budget. 
 
Maybe some people eat Thanksgiving food (that's what my 3 year old calls it) at 1:00, like we do, so they have the rest of the day to with as they please. Maybe they all go shopping as a family ("Here's your half of the list, I'll take mine and meet you at the Starbucks in an hour! God Speed!")
 
My only problem with Black Friday is that it seems to turn some people into monsters and I really think that some of these extreme cases they show on the news should be ashamed of themselves..
 
The point is, I often hear the argument that people go because the retailers are open. I beg to differ. The retailers are open because people go. And everyone needs to get off their "Thanksgiving is magical family time" high horse and let it go if it doesn't affect them.
 
/rant over

Blog Stalking The Sonia Show

So I randomly stumbled upon this blog called The Sonia Show the other day and that was the end of any sort of hope of productivity at work. I don't know this Sonia person, but her blog is absolutely amazing. I wish I knew her in real life, but not in a "Single White Female" way, I promise. She's hysterical, first of all, but she's also so inspiring. 
 
Her blog has been around for awhile, so like a crazy blog-stalker person, I went back pretty far (not quite the beginning, but a few years), and started reading from there.
 
I spend way too much time reading this blog, stifling laughter because I am at work after all. But the thing is, she's telling a great story--her story-- and I'm a sucker for a good story told well (which is something I find lacking these days with the current "50 Shades of Twilight" publishing world).  I feel like I'm watching a captivating TV show or engulfed in a novel I can't put down.  This woman is a wife and a mother (her son is super cute) and a cancer survivor and she talks about all of it.  And posts some pictures of food every once in awhile that are drool-inducing, which is always a plus in my book.
 
The story of her and her husband's relationship is one of the best love stories I've ever heard. I'm not kidding. I already knew they were married, so when I went back a few years to start reading more, I found myself reading each post with anticipation: "OMG, he proposed!!" "When's the wedding post?" "Oh they went to Paris!" and on and on. She was diagnosed with breast cancer a mere 9 months after they met and the way she describes how he stood by her the whole time... I'm not going to lie, I've shed a few tears.
 
She's really funny, she's honest, she has a confidence and wit I only wish I could have a fraction of. Occasionally she'll veer off into a political territory I don't necessarily agree with, but hey, I just figure every one has a different opinion and I move on. She has a few posts about a nosy co-worker that I dare you not to laugh out loud about. The comments section on her Charlie Sheen rant is pretty hysterical (oh, yeah, don't forget to read the comments too. Those are usually just as entertaining.).  I commented on her blog post about her late-talking son because my son was also a late-talker. She replied and I felt a little star-struck to be honest.
 
I promise you will not regret reading this blog, but make sure you set aside time, because like a good book, you'll want to start from the beginning of the story.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving

Christmas is my favorite time of the year, but a very close 2nd has to be Thanksgiving. I love the idea of getting together with family without gifts. Just yummy food and loving company.

I'm not very good at too many things (my husband hates it when I say that, but my insecurities are what they are) but I will say that I'm really good in the kitchen. I love cooking! I think that's one of the reasons I love Thanksgiving so much. My mom and I usually split the meal preparations and the family meets at my house to spend the afternoon together. 

This year was another great Thanksgiving! I hope it was good for you and your family too! 

Now, on to Christmas!!! :0)

So much food!! And this doesn't even include dessert!

My family (minus a couple)

Baby Girl's first Thanksgiving

Friday, November 22, 2013

Mommy-Daughter Bonding time with the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

There was a time, just before my time, when a little cable channel known as Bravo set out to be "the first television service dedicated to film and the performing arts." It's programming line-up consisted of independent, classic and international films. It was as classy as one can be when you share a channel space with an adult-oriented network called "Escapades."
 
Fast forward 20+ years and the indie films are gone, to be replaced by a plethora of reality shows. (This was also when the channel was purchased by a major network, NBC. Do with that what you will.)
 
I never really paid much attention to Bravo, to be honest with you. I didn't fall into the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy craze. I don't watch Project Runway (which is on Lifetime now anyway) and the real estate shows with the 20-something douchey agents just bother me. And as much as I like to consider myself a "foodie" I never got into Top Chef either.
 
But one day, a few years ago, I was home on a Saturday afternoon when I watched something that I couldn't tear myself away from. They were showing a marathon of the first season of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, the newest in the franchise at the time. I was hooked from the Kyle's first "I never said that, Camille!"  Who were these women? These wonderfully crazy, completely ridiculous, high-culture-low-scruples women? I had to know more about them. I had to know what Kyle didn't say! So I watched and watched. It is a total train wreck. It is guilty voyeurism at its finest. I quickly developed attachments to the women. I had favorites, I took sides.
 
The show's fourth season just started a couple weeks ago. There is something about this season that seems different from the others. My guess is it has finally settled in with these women that they are being watched for drama and they feed into it. Sometimes you can get a fresh take on everything when they introduce a new cast member, like when they introduced Yolanda Foster last season (however this is not true with Brandi Glanville, who upped the crazy ante and negated Yolanda's groundedness). This season though, even the newest cast member, Carlton Gebbia, who seems to want nothing to do with any of the high school drama Kyle likes to stir up, still manages to conjure up her own issues with the girls. I used conjure on purpose because she is a witch, but no she's actually Wiccan, but don't ask her about it directly because apparently that's rude. She wants people to get to know her, but not ask her questions about herself. But it was perfectly fine for Brandi to call her a C*** because haha, that's just Brandi!  Joyce Giraud de Ohoven, the other newbie this season, already pointed out that inconsistency in Carlton.  She's going to fit right into the madness because she seems to have hitched her wagon to Kyle's star already. She seems to say whatever the person she's talking to needs her to say. There's going to be a lot of she said/she said this season.
 
Last night I was watching this show while snuggling with my daughter. Granted she's only 5 months old and has no idea what is going on, but it did cause me to pause and think for a moment. Would I watch this with her when she is old enough to understand? Is this how I want her to view relationships with other women? I hope and pray that she finds a solid group of girls to be friends with growing up and I hope she always has that. I hope she chooses to surround herself by strong, kind women who support each other. It shouldn't be hard to be a woman in this world, but I think we make it that way for ourselves.
 
I think there's a lot that can be learned from the way these women interact with each other and how they present themselves. I suppose it would be learning by watching what not to do.
 
Someday I may have to explain the behaviors of some of these women and other like them to my little girl as she will witness it somewhere (even if not on this show), but for now, I'll continue to secretly hate-to-love you, RHOB and all your self-created drama and total silliness.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My Driving Confession

Despite my best efforts to try and convince you otherwise--and I usually will try--don't believe me... I am not actually a very good driver. I mean, I'm not a bad driver or even an uncourteous one, I'm just not the best (ask my dad about the infamous "Flashing Red Light" incident. Actually, don't.). I have been in a couple minor accidents (only one fender bender was my fault); I have gotten two speeding tickets for going, well, very fast; and I'm the Queen of the "California Roll". I mean, do they really expect you to come to a complete stop when it's obvious there is no one else coming? I've gotten pulled over twice for this "offense" but I've never gotten a ticket for it. *knock on wood*
 
I'm also a bit of a nervous driver. Driving in LA with all the crazies, I personally feel this is justified, but still, it does make for some harrowing behind-the-wheel experiences.  I do make sure I'm extra careful with the kids in the car, but not everyone else seems to follow my lead. I've always told my dad that he should be able to "deputize" me so I can pull over all the crazy drivers out there when there aren't any CHPs around. You've heard of a citizen's arrest? It'd be a citizen's traffic stop. Let's figure out how this could work.
 
So it should come as a bit of shock that I am now driving an SUV. With two kids now in the back seat, we really just needed more room than my little Corolla could provide. My Lola (Lola the Corolla) was a good little car, pretty basic, but she treated me well over the past 10ish years. You'll notice I used the word "little" a lot. That's because she was a compact car. Now, I'm in an SUV. My new Ford Escape, Dory (it makes sense if you pronounce it "Escahpay" and have a 3-year-old that watched Finding Nemo about 100 times a day), isn't big for an SUV, but it is still bigger than my little Lola. I find myself very aware of how much space I now take up. I keep checking to make sure I'm in the right place on the road, and I navigate the parking garage at my office with painful slowness. It's a good thing I'm there so early and don't block all the people with normal driving abilites from making it to work on time.
 
I know it will just take some getting used to, and I'm already feeling way more comfortable than on my test drive. The bells and whistles of this new car are very nice: automatic windows and locks (Lola was without), power lift gate, Sync, the car connects to my iPhone, rear camera and sensor. It seems like the only thing it doesn't do is park and drive itself. Though, now that I've confessed my little driving secret, maybe I should have gotten one that does.


Out with the old... (Goodbye Lola!)
...in with the new! (Hi Dory!)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Baby food making time!!

It may seem weird, but I actually love making baby food for my kids. I did it with JJ and I'm now starting with Kathryn (already? Where did that time go!?!)

It may or may not be cheaper, I've never done the math including my time (and trust me, as a busy working mama, my time is worth something to me), but I do believe it is better. I know exactly what's going into their little bellies and hopefully foster a like of what fruits and veggies are supposed to taste like (no way pre-made baby food actually tastes like the food we eat). My son is a picky eater now, but he gobbled up every bite of the puréed food I made him. So far, we are 3 for 3 with Kathryn too. I'm praying she keeps up the love, unlike my chicken-nugget-mac-n-cheese-pb-sandwich loving son! 

And the best part of all? It's soooo easy! 
I have this Beaba Baby cook, but you could just as easily use a food processor.

I also use the plastic food storage containers from Babies R Us. They were way cheaper than the Beaba brand and work wonderfully. I keep some in the fridge and some in the freezer. 

They make special labels for the jars, but they were pricey so I just bought a package of file labels and cut them up as needed. This is the same package I bought for JJ 3 years ago!

Just spend an afternoon making as much fruits and veggies as you can. Usually for me it came out to two Saturday afternoons a month and I got a lot of food!
The best part? Watching your baby enjoy your labor of love!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Remembering My Angel Baby

October 15 
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day

http://abbysworkinprogress.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-post-i-never-wanted-to-write.html?m=1


Friday, September 13, 2013

The Tale of the Most Unlikely Fantasy Football Girl

So recently, as in sometime in the past few weeks, I found myself with a team in my husband's fantasy football league. How did I, someone who knows so very little about the sport, end up involved in this gridiron gang? I volunteered. The league was short two teams so I said I'd take one spot. You're welcome, League.  I figured, what the heck, why not? I'll draft some players (dibs on Peyton Manning!!) and just see where the season takes me. Now I'm the cool wife, right? Even better, my friend Alison joined up too, so we're the newbies in this craziness together.
 
What I didn't realize was how involved the whole thing would be! I only had a week from the time I joined to draft day, and there is prep time. Serious prep time.  My husband bought me a fantasy football magazine. Yes, there are whole magazines devoted to stats and analysis and mock drafts and lots and lots of contradictory opinions. Now, on my coffeetable sits this book of football information I could only hope to retain as well as I do the recipes in the Food Network magazine it sits next to. He also gave me a list of all the players, ranked in order with potential scores and snippets of information about each one. It was overwhelming, to say the least.
 
In the days leading up to the draft, my dear husband tried to give me advice. I think it sunk in mostly, but I'm sure the deer-in-the-headlights look on my face never fully disappeared. I'm the sort of football fan that likes players, not necessarily teams (except the 49ers, which is pretty much a requirement to live in our house) so my husband had to make sure I knew not to draft players just because I like them. Cool dude does not always equal a good player.  Lucky for me, Peyton Manning is both so I was sticking to my guns on that one! Anyway, I made my list of players I wanted and it looked something like this: Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson, Arian Foster.  If you aren't familiar with the game, these guys are all like, the number 1 picks. The hubby looked at, tried to hold back his laugh and politely said, "You aren't going to get all those players."  Well, shoot. 
 
As if trying to learn all the players and how good they are isn't enough, there is a strategy to drafting. You don't draft a quarterback first, unless you do because some people do. And you wait until the end to draft your kicker and the defense team, unless you're my brother who drafted his defense team sort of in the middle which caused others to follow suit. And you make sure to fill up your wide receiver and running back spots first and you need back ups but only a few and you don't need a back up tight end and you don't really draft linebackers because they don't really get a lot of points, unless, again, you do. It was too much.
 
Most of the league went to Vegas to draft. I, having a 3 year old and a 2 month old, stayed home and drafted via webcam with a few others. I had my dad on speakerphone and we talked out each pick and built up a pretty great team (including Peyton Manning and Calvin Johnson, by the way). About half way through the draft, my dad's phone was dying and he had to go, promising he'd call back later. That was it, I felt the pressure of drafting a team alone. I suddenly didn't know what I was doing. There is a lot of anxiety in drafting! I made a pick "A.J. Hawk," I said. To which my loving husband says into the computer some 300 miles away, "Why did you pick A.J. Hawk?"  Oh, I don't know, he looks just as good as anyone else, but not as good as some others? I like a challenge? AHHHHHH!!!! (Update: I dropped him this week and picked up someone else.)
 
Finally, after 5 hours of this craziness, the draft was over and I had my team. I felt like a load had been lifted. The anxiety was gone. Whew. Except now I have to come up with a witty team name. I never did, but that's OK. My team name is just fine.
 
I find myself now watching NFL Live, pouring over the commentators analysis. I text my dad things like "Shane Vereen is on the Injured Reserve until Week 11. I'm thinking about picking up Joique Bell off the Waiver Wire." Injured Reserve? Waiver Wire? Joique Bell? Add in Rushing Yards, Audible, Down By Contact, and shouting "he was totally in bounds before that tackle!" and I hardly recognize myself anymore. This is my life now.
 
Last week was week 1 of the season. Normally that doesn't mean anything to me except that the garage turns into "The Man Cave" and is over-run by football junkies and I make the "snack of the week" before heading out and doing anything else. This time, I am in it. I wasn't going to just dip my toe into the Gaterade, no sir. I am diving in. I'm a Gridiron Girl now! A Pigskin Princess! I sat and watched the games. I know my players. I still made yummy snacks! This is happening!
 
I ended up winning my first match-up and am currently 5th in the league. This week the hubby and I go head-to-head. Should be an interesting week in the Weber house...



Friday, August 23, 2013

My mantra these days

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything,but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

San Diego Family Getaway

Since I am on maternity leave, we wanted to take advantage of the fact that I don't have to request any time off to go away. Also since I'm on maternity leave, money is tight, so any trip we take needs to be easy on the wallet. Fortunately, we only live a couple hours away from San Diego! 

We packed up the kids and headed down south. The plan was to go to Sea World one day, spend the night, then go to the zoo. We had the truck packed to the brim! It was one night, but we were so full, you'd think we were staying until Christmas. I'm a big "just in case" person. "Well, you never know..." "I'd rather have it and not need it..." 

Seriously, it's a problem.

Kathryn is way too young to care about anything we did. She is a trooper though, and traveled very well! 

JJ, however, loved it! He is a big fan of animals and had been talking about going to see them for awhile. I'm not sure he remembers, but my brother and sister-in-law took him when he was just over a year old to the LA Zoo.  I loved watching his reactions to all the animals and seeing them so close. 

I really wish we could have stayed a few more days, but we really loved the time we did get.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Food for thought

When your kids are older and are looking back on their childhood, what do you hope they say about it and you as a parent? "Oh my mom always...." "I remember when my dad would...." "Our family was...."

How do you hope they will fill in these sentences and what do you need to do to make that happen? 


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Totally Un-PC Mommy Confession: I Hate Breastfeeding

OK, so I know this post is going to be all about something people don't want to hear and I should probably watch out for angry mobs storming my house with fire and pitchforks. I know breastfeeding is best for the baby health-wise and bonding, etc. and that is why I do it, but if I'm being totally honest, I absolutely HATE it.

So far my experience with my newborn daughter has been just about the same as my previous experience with my now-3-year-old son. And I remember hating it then too. Here are my reasons:

1. The first month, give or take, is painful. My nipples hurt whenever the baby starts to eat. It usually subsides within a few seconds, but that initial latch is never pleasant. I also have a fast let-down and the baby will "bite down" to slow it down. Ouch, ouch, ouch!

2. Both the baby and I am getting used to a schedule and adjusting milk levels. I tend to overproduce (which is ironic to me, since I can't seem to keep up supply after stretching it to 6 months), which causes a lot of issues with the baby eating mainly leading to reflux problems. We deal with a LOT of spit up, which is both a cleanliness issue and also stresses me out because I get paranoid about how much they are actually getting to eat.

3. As convenient as it is always having milk ready to go, it is just as inconvenient being the ONLY source of nutrition for the baby. No matter where we are or what we are doing, I am the only one who can feed the baby. Wouldn't I love to sleep all night and have the hubby get up and feed her? Even if I did pump and had someone else give her a bottle, if I skip a feeding, my boobs get really full and extremely sore. Not. Fun.

4. Cluster feeding is the worst. My son did this occasionally, but my daughter is only 5 days old and we've already had two rounds of it. Feeding her on demand every hour is exhausting. It's like I just plant myself on the couch and without being able to move anywhere because I know I'm going to have to feed her again soon. As if I don't feel enough like a cow/milk machine...

No matter how I feel about nursing, I choose to do it exclusively because it is the healthiest choice for my baby. I know the long-term effects are worth going through every single item I mentioned above and even more that I probably am forgetting right now. It is also a financial decision. Babies aren't cheap, so with one less expense without having to buy formula is a BIG bonus for us.

Not to mention the selfish reasons I do it as well, as so humorously outlined here

June 27, 2013

So blessed...

Kathryn Grace



Sunday, June 16, 2013

To a father no longer here

My dad has always had a huge impact on me and how I make my choices in life. There's no doubt about it that he is a great man.

This post, however, is about a dad no longer with us. My husband's dad passed away a little over 5 years ago from a all-too-quick acting brain tumor. It was a sad time for everyone.

He was my ice cream buddy; he was always ready with words of wisdom; he was wise and funny if not hidden behind a calm and still demeanor. 

So much of what makes my husband who he is comes from direct influence from his father. I only wish I had had more time to get to know him and that he could be around to meet his grand kids (the oldest grandchild was just a newborn when he passed).

I do like to think of him watching over his grand kids and that he perhaps had some sort of hand in us being chosen as their parents. 

We may have lost a good man on earth 5 years ago, but heaven gained a good soul to watch over us all.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The slooooow countdown to Maternity Leave

When I was pregnant with JJ, I took off for my Maternity Leave from work two weeks before he was due.  This time I decided I'd be OK to just give myself one week.
 
Big mistake.
 
I am way too uncomfortable and I cannot concentrate on anything except the fact that I am so uncomfortable and going to the bathroom every 20 minutes (has it always been that far down the hallway?) and so close to being done and oh, wait... is that a real contraction or a practice one? 
 
I really, really, really should not be here. I'm not doing anyone any good.
 
Oh, well. Two more days then I'm off.  Then this little girl can make her debut right away and I can enjoy every possible minute with her while I'm on leave.
 
Oh if it were a perfect world...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A year of Disney Fun

For my birthday last year, I was lucky enough to get a Disneyland pass and JJ and I have been taking full advantage of that for the last year!! It was really nice, especially during football season when the hubby would go into full "Man Cave" mode and revel in his sports glory. JJ and I would hit the road to Anaheim and have fun at the park.  It was really nice when my parents also got passes and they would meet up with us.

I grew up a total Disney kid and I loved that I could pass that onto my son. When we found out I was pregnant with Baby #2 in October, I knew our Disney Days would be numbered, but we kept going as long as we could.

This past Sunday we decided to do one last family Disney Day at California Adventure because the hubby had never been.  It turned out to be a great afternoon, but one my 35 week preggo body did NOT appreciate. Recently, I think Baby Kathryn has set up camp on my sciatic nerve and it is painful to move too much or walk too much. I do still have another month on the pass, but I'm just not sure if I'm going to be able to do it.

I'm sad that it's coming to an end (for now), but I've loved every minute of sharing the Disney Magic with JJ and seeing him get more and more excited about going as he's grown up so much over the last year.


video
I am so blessed to be his mommy and I can't wait until we can share this experience again with Kathryn in a couple years!

Boppy Covers

I wanted cute boppy covers so I decided to make my own.

I used my old boppy cover from when JJ was a baby as a pattern.  I lfolded my material in half since you need two sides and cut around the old cover, leaving about a 1/2" for a seam allowance. 
Measure from the top of your pattern cover to the zipper and make that some cut on one piece of your fabric. (Trust me when I say just do one piece. I'm not going to tell you how I know it is a total pain to try to sew back together the piece that wasn't supposed to be cut.)
Now sew on your zipper. Open the zipper and sew one side of the zipper to one side of your fabric then do it again for the other side. Just make sure your zipper is facing the right way.


Then put your two fabric pieces, right sides together and sew all the way around. Since you have the zipper now, you don't need to leave yourself a place to turn it right side out when you are done. Make sure your zipper is closed for this step and make sure you catch the ends of the zipper on your way around.

 Turn the cover right side out and put it on your boppy! They are so easy to do; I made 5 in one afternoon! And they can be whatever material you want. No reason not to do it!! :0)










Rag Quilt

So I've made a few of these now and each time I forget how much work is involved! But the end result it totally worth it!

The ones I made before were queen size and I used 2 yards of each kind of fabric. This one was meant to be smaller since it is for a tiny human. I only got about 1 yard of each kind of fabric. I used all flannel for this one and I really think that turns out better, but you can use anything else, just as long as its cotton.  If you don't know how much fabric to get, just figure out how many squares you want it to be and how big each square should be. I cut my squares to 6x6 and it ended up being 7 squares x 7 squares, so 42"x42". You will also need batting. I got 100% polyester batting, but I don't really love working with it. If you can get the softer bamboo batting, it is MUCH better.  Cut those squares too, 1" less than your fabric squares.

1. Sandwich the batting between two fabric squares and lay out your pattern. The hubby and I went through a couple different options before we settled on a good lay-out.
2. Sew each square sandwich together. Usually, you would use your machine and sew a big X in the middle of each one. I didn't want to do that for this quilt, so I just hand-stitched a tiny little x in the middle and it worked just fine. The point is for each square to hold together.

3. Once your squares are put together, you are ready to put together your rows. Just follow the pattern you decided on. I recommend taking a photo of that like I did, so you have a good reference in case your squares get mixed up, which mine did.

Since you want the rough edges to show, sew them "backs" together along one edge. Keep going with each square until you have a row. Then do the rest of the rows.





4. Follow the same instructions, but now you are sewing the rows together. Make sure to match up the squares as much as possible. If they are a little off, it's fine. It'll turn out OK when you do the "rag" step.

6
I would recommend giving yourself a lot of room for this, especially if you are doing a larger quilt. You will need room to feed through the sewing machine and you'll need room to the left as you add each row. I was fine for this smaller quilt, but when I made the queen size, I had to have my hubby hold onto the overflow.

5. Once you have all the rows sewed together, do a final stitch around the outer edge of the quilt to close it out. You can use a regular straight stitch, but I like to use the zig-zag stitch. It holds it nicely and provides a decorative element since it will be seen.
6. This is the worse part, I'm not going to lie. You need to go around and cut little snips out of all the raw edges you have exposed. All the way around the outside and each square inside. This takes awhile and more often than not, my index finger will get a small blister and start to go numb. Again, this is where it helps to have someone available to take over if you can. Usually I get the hubby to help, but this time my 3-year-old eager beaver helper wanted in. Since I was using my big fabric scissors and not his usual safety scissors, I did it with him for a couple squares before he gave up. He really wanted me to share though. ("You don't have your scissors here, JJ." "Share, mommy. Please." I couldn't say no...)

7. Last step! Wash your quilt. When you wash and dry it, all those exposed edges start to curl up and get all raggy. Hence "Rag Quilt"! It is a cute way to make a quilt and pretty easy not to mess up. I'm a really lazy pinner and measurer so this is perfect for me!