Monday, December 27, 2010

Marin Mama has become a Christmas Ham, a Turkey and a Pecan Pie

My family and I have made a safe return to a soggy and damp Marin County. The holiday season is nearly over and most of the damage has been done. It's official. I've turned into a Christmas ham, a turkey, the stuffing and a pecan pie. The feasts were numerous and the celebrations delightful. I said to myself, "Why, you are on vacation! Help yourself to that second helping of brisket BBQ and be sure to have a slice of pie for an after-lunch snack." Eating over the holidays has always been a trial for this Marin Mama. I am lucky to be an active person and should be able to return to healthier habits but I rarely hold back from eating after Thanksgiving until just around January 2nd. This year was different though, because it was no longer just about my eating habits gone mad, but my daughter's as well. Normally I'm very aware of what she puts in her mouth and by all means, she ate a very, very healthy diet while we were on vacation. I'd say there were a lot more blueberries on her plate than cookies and sugar but nevertheless, she's had more sugary treats in the last 1.5 months than in the 15 months of her existence.

The real problem with our situation is that whatever I've got, the kid wants. So really, can you blame her for wanting to eat queso, tortilla chips, any and all desserts, cheese balls, Christmas cookies, fudge, turkey and cranberry sauce, or muddy buddies, considering the fact she witnessed her mommy shove all of these items and several other popular Christmas dishes down her wind pipe?? No, you cannot. It's gotten to the point where she'll try to take whatever I've got in my hand and so I found myself thinking on the plane ride back to the Bay Area today that my husband and I must become more diligent in reducing our intake in the sweet and salty department.  At least, during her waking hours because I must admit that I do love chocolate. And cake and ice cream. And chips and pizza.

Please don't think that I spend my time on the couch devouring boxes of cookies and tubes of ice cream, this isn't the case. Truth be told, it's possible to find a tube of Ben and Jerry's in our freezer. Check the cupboard and it's also possible one would find some Oreos or my husband's biggest weakness, sugar cereal. We know we aren't being as diligent as we could be on healthy eating, we are a a work in progress. It's an important topic in our house because we believe children are a direct reflection of their parents. It's also an important topic because childhood obesity is becoming an epidemic. Last but certainly not least, because I want to live a long healthy life and see my daughter thrive as well.

 I'm not saying we'll only be drinking wheat grass for a month, I don't want to go to that extreme. I am saying as soon as the weather improves my family and I will hope to frequent the Sunday farmer's market more often, stocking up on seasonal, local produce. I am saying we will try to plant an early garden and follow through with our winter vegetables for next year. I am saying I'll try to find at least one vegetarian meal each week that my red-meat loving hubby will enjoy. I am saying we'll still enjoy a cookie once in a while and oh, maybe some of that ice cream and cake too. I am saying over time my little family and I will find a balance between the healthy stuff, the not-so-healthy-stuff and maybe find something tasty in between.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Five Star Resort Vacation.....AKA....A Trip to Nana and Grandpa's House

My family and I live in one of the most beautiful places in the United States. I doubt anyone would argue that the Bay Area, Marin specifically, is gorgeous. With great weather. And ridiculously expensive prices for just about everything. We live in a little house measuring less than 1,000 square feet and most of the year it doesn't bother me in the slightest. We've lived there for almost seven years, long before the munch(my daughter) made her dazzling appearance. That being said, I have spent more time inside our little home this past year than all the years prior. So sometimes it feels a little cramped and often times I find myself fantasizing about closet space. We put up with these prices though, for the outdoors, which goes hand in hand with the weather because in Marin you can be outdoors doing something active nearly every month of the year.

Fast forward to the holiday season and the 12 day trip my husband I have taken to Rockwall, Texas. Not unlike Marin County, Rockwall is on the East side of Dallas and hovers on the edge of a lake, really pretty. My in laws, now known as Nana and Grandpa, are fortunate enough to have a large home on this lake, complete with boat dock and ducks. Now, for someone having been born and raised in California, where houses such as this are only for the super rich, this is a real treat. Walk in closets! Huge kitchens with enormous pantries! Beautiful pool and spa with a lake setting in the background! I could go on and on. This house was resort-like to me in previous years but this year has taken on a Five Star rating. Why? Simple answer, Nana and Grandpa live here.

It's only been four days and I'm more rested and relaxed than I've been in months. My kid's feet haven't hit the floor and she's got new toys to play with. Nana and Grandpa WANT to feed her, they WANT to change the diaper, they've been waiting for this opportunity for months. On my second day here I was able to take a NAP, that holy activity for mothers, only possible once in a great while. I've gone jogging, I've gone to a movie, I've gone to a bar for drinks, and I had the pleasure attending the most Holiday of all Holiday events,
The Nutcracker. I can hardly believe it myself but I'm even contemplating taking a dance class tomorrow afternoon. Every single activity I've mentioned above can be found on my "Favorite Things" list, but have been pushed to the back burner since the wee one took center role in my life.

I don't need these things to survive but yet I feel refreshed, like something may have been missing, could it be social interactions with someone who doesn't respond with a "ggaaaaa, mamamamama, lalalalal doo doo??" I'm relishing in the freedom staying with Nana and Grandpa offers me, it is the opportunity to do as I please. Which, as all moms know, is an absolute, total gift, something we will never again take for granted.

We are right in the middle of our visit and all three of us couldn't be happier. My only hope is that we take this happiness back to Marin and continue to feel the simple joy of family and love throughout the year. I'll be honest though, a walk in closet sure would help!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ho, Ho, Ho....Nothing Gets This Mama Down! Happy Holidays!

The holiday season is a good season. I am not, nor have I ever been, a Grinch. Even in college I was dragging a box of ornaments around to various dilapidated houses and every season would decorate a charming tree that bore a vague resemblance to Charlie Brown's favorite evergreen. The holiday season of 2010, however, has been a lot more shiny and sparkling than holiday seasons in years past. There were a few key tip offs that alerted me to the fact that I might be one of those mommies who cries upon taking the carefully preserved, hideous looking "first" ornament out of the bubble wrapping in twenty years.

Tip Off  #1: I was checking out Santa's workshop at the local mall on December 1st. DECEMBER 1st!!

Tip Off  #2: I spent about a half an hour finding the perfect holiday station on Pandora and have been listening to classic holiday tunes for a good portion of each day.

Tip Off  #3: I've gotten almost all my holiday shopping done and it's only December 10th.(this is a true first, a miracle!)

Tip Off  #4: Me myself and I have already watched at least two holiday specials, one being the ever popular Christmas Story.

Tip Off  #5: I insisted that my husband find and purchase tickets to The Nutcracker, something I haven't done since I was about 12.

Tip Off  #6: When I received a DIY hand print making kit for a Secret Santa I was actually really excited because I had already wanted to do one for my in-laws.

Tip Off #7: For the first time EVER I ordered and will send out holiday cards to our dearest peeps. I've never been organized enough to get this done!

Since the little one is only 14 months old unfortunately, I can't blame the the kid. This mama is in full holiday mode but honestly, it's the anticipation of how she'll feel in a couple of years that has me all giggly and cheerful. The thought of creating our own family traditions, the blending of our two families, it is thrilling. The holiday season truly makes one realize the importance of family, and it brings to light just how lucky my little girl is, to have a tremendous, generous, fantastic family to share her memories.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Kid is Training to be a Sumo Wrestler

My daughter is almost 14 months old and she isn't walking. Honestly I'm not too worried about her advancement. In all seriousness, the kid crawls like nobody's business. She is happy as a clam crawling around and when I do get a little anxious, those feelings are appeased when other mothers tell me to appreciate these last moments, after she starts to walk, then run, my life will be over, again. (Why does every landmark point in this journey have the subtitle "end of my life?") No, she is taking her time and instead of heading right into walking my daughter has decided to train in the ancient art of Sumo as well.

It all began with the crab walking, the not-quite-crawling-but-not-quite-walking moves that look silly and don't get one very far. About a month ago she started this move, I think, to check out exactly how much strength it actually requires to get up on two feet. This crab walking led to the low squats, the really early Sumo training. Mothers will understand, your little one goes from two feet and one bottom on the ground to two feet on the ground a little bottom hovering about six inches off the floor. This is a very exciting thing to experience as a parent! Especially when you see the joy on your child's face, that in itself is priceless.

All this early Sumo training then leads to the constant grunts and growls of frustration, as my little Sumo wrestler goes up, down, plop....up, down, plop....again and again. Uggghhh! Ooooh! Ugggh! Ooooh! I can hear her practicing from down the hall.

She's gaining control of the middle, balancing on two feet and assuming full Sumo squat mode as she learns to stand and one day, walk. I love to watch her get ready, assume the squat and then go down. Sometimes she stands up and is so proud!

One day she'll be walking tall and her Sumo training will be a thing of the past. But I love that she's taken this road to a new skill, not only is it precious but it makes motherhood highly amusing.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Marin Mama vs. The Big Bad Virus

I never was a hypochondriac. My mother was an R.N. and we had access to excellent health care.  I managed to remain in relatively good health throughout my teens and twenties. There was a period of time where I didn't have health insurance but aside from regular check-ups, I was fortunate enough to stay out of the doc's office. Since having my daughter, we've had excellent care and we have a fabulous pediatrician. We've been for all our well baby check ups and there was only one visit in between. Until the Big Bad Virus stopped by for a nice five day long visit. It was during the Big Bad Virus's tenure in our home that this relatively calm, non reactionary mama was afflicted with what I affectionately call Crazy Mother Syndrome.

You see, CMS is a real condition. It sort of lays low until something like BBV comes by and throws anything a parent may have known or thought they had a handle on, out the window. To watch your little darling cry and cry and cry. To know that she is very uncomfortable and nothing will make it feel better. To want to explain why she feels bad but realize she is too young  to understand. These are the things that force CMS out into the open.

In the span of five days I called the advice nurse 3 times, we made two doctors visits and a early Sunday morning visit to the ER, mostly because CMS was at it's worst after two nights of no sleep and a very unhappy 11 month old child. Labeled a non-specific virus, the symptoms my daughter was experiencing are very common and there is no medication, only time. It includes blisters of  the throat, tummy aches, head aches, body aches, vomit, high temperature and rash, basically, no fun whatsoever. This is my first child and  my CMS was at an all time high. I'm guessing by the third kid, (if I survive that long) these feelings may be slightly subdued but who knows? I hated to see her feeling so terrible and one of the best moments I've had was the morning I went in and she was laughing, the first time in five days.

The BBV had gone on its merry way and the CMS took a chill-pill. Life had resumed to its former relaxed state. Another life lesson learned.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Little Baby Teeth vs. Marin Mama

I haven't thought about baby teeth in years. Not until my daughter was born. See, right around 5 months a mother starts looking for some pearly whites to make an appearance in a gummy little mouth. A mother expects to see these teeth because that would be the answer to why the little one is upset, crying, or otherwise dissatisfied.Well I kept looking and looking until one day, oh, what is that?? Four teeth coming in all at once? Well! When this kid does things, she does it in a big way, or so it seems.  She is still drooling constantly, puts everything and anything in her mouth, rubs her little ears. It's got to hurt, teething, can you imagine?? A constant pain, just annoying enough to disrupt sleep and cause irritation. Enough throbbing to make a person want to try and get those teeth through themselves, in hopes of stopping the ache. Here, in my opinion, are some pluses ( or minuses, depending on your sense of humor) to having your child sprout chompers:

1.Now the baby can eat chunkier foods, only to stress mom out to no end ( fear of the baby choking is serious)

2. The little munchkin can really rip into any/all items that may find their way to the floor, including bits of paper, carpet, socks, etc.

3. When dear mother attempts to slowly get a finger in sweet baby's mouth, mom is treated to a razor sharp poke, no joke, razor sharp!

4. The adorable baby will take on annoying habit of grinding teeth, and yes, it is loud enough to give you chills.

5. When little baby smiles, her face takes on a whole new look and mom is left wondering if time has sped up in the short months since she met her little spark plug.

It's actually a good thing to see some little teeth in my daughter's mouth, but it's also hilarious to see what's going to be thrown at this Marin Mama, believe me, I'm always surprised.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's A Whole New World....

I can't get the theme song from the animated feature Aladdin out of my head. "It's a Whole New World, a magic place I never knew....." because my little munch started crawling a few days ago. No more rocking back and forth, I'm talking crawling, full motion. She's discovering nooks and crannies she never knew existed. She's finding awesome pieces of string from the carpet and checking to see if they taste good. Um, yeah, a whole new world indeed. This Marin Mama now realizes that her level of clean isn't as good as it could be. I could vacuum more often, mop more too. I notice feathers, leaves, dirt, anything that finds it's way to my floor and into my kids mouth. Her little head has bumped the side of the coffee table more than once, (need to baby proof!)She is having an amazing first few days, the looks she gives me are priceless.  This is a whole different lesson altogether, for both of us. Even though I try to make light of some of our trials and tribulations, each day I am astounded at the rate of growth, not only physically but emotionally. It is a wonderful experience to behold.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Notes to Self

Note #1: Never move a sleeping baby from a car seat to a crib unless confident transfer will be successful.

Note #2:  Change baby into fresh outfit after finishing breakfast, not prior. If not, will find self changing said baby again 1/2 hour later.

Note #3:  Have everything by the door and ready when attempting to leave house. Any delay over two minutes will ensure miniature fret fest by miniature traveler.

Note #4:  Attempt to get from living room to kitchen without spilling what has become like liquid gold: breast milk.

Note #5:  Planning a wedding while caring for 7 month old munchkin will make life very stressful but allows for the realization that said stressing over things like invitations and wedding cake is so not worth your time.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Goldilocks and the Three Bowls of Rice Cereal

Just when you think you've got this mommy thing down, whoops! here comes another challenge thrown at you, full speed ahead. Introducing our baby girl to solid foods has been a trying, messy but exhilarating experience and I expect it to only get better and....messier. It's like Goldilocks and the three bears when teaching your kids about new foods, textures and tastes. Mommy, this bowl of cereal is too hot, this bowl of cereal is too cold but mmmmmm, this bowl of cereal is just right! Carrots are delicious but that boiled sweet potato mess is awful, GACK, ICK!!! I love love love banana but don't think I'm ready for strawberry. I get a kick out of watching her tastes something for the first time, I can see her taste buds working, sending little messages to her brain, firing up for the first time!

She's getting most of her meals down the chute now and we are committed to three solid meals a day. It is a different kind of routine, a different kind of schedule. Another curve in the road of parenthood that brings laughter and memories. On to the cheerios and sippy cups!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Oh My! There's a Real Live Baby in the Other Room!

My sweet baby girl has been surprising me since the day I found out she existed. Don't get me wrong, she is the VERY best surprise anyone could hope for; strong, healthy, gorgeous, smart and sassy, just the way I like em'. All of a sudden, though, there is little being, a little spitfire, a little girl in my life smiling and grinning and crying and eating and discovering the big world. In the recent mornings when she's having her morning munch if I drift off back to sleep I feel the softest touch to my face and when I look down, find the tiniest little person-face looking me dead in the eye. It's like the Velveteen Rabbit, she is REAL baby, a wonderful little soul just itching to make her mark on the world. She's just started making REAL little girl noises so when she fusses now I stop and think, holy s$%t, I've got a real baby! I sense that I'm going to be feeling that way for quite a while, as all first mothers do. Every time she makes a new motion or makes a new expression, I'm going to be thinking, holy s$%t! What a ride, what a trip, no one, not even your own mother, can explain how it feels. It just is what it is, amazing.........

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Godzelly Attacks! Or...Don't Wake The Zelly Monster

Babies make weird noises as they discover the vocal cords their parents will come to know intrinsically. In the midst of 15 young things I am able to identify the cries of my daughter. She grunts, laughs, squeals, coos and growls. Yes, she growls. She sounds like a little monster ( a cute one) and it separates her (for me) out of a group of sweet babies. She also likes to thump her little feet as hard as she can, either upon waking or when she hasn't quite found  her way to dreamland. She thumps so hard, just the other day while in the shower I actually heard and felt the vibrations of her thumping through the wall and through the shower pressure. Thump, thump, thump, goes the Godzelly, grrr, grr, grrr, goes the Zelly Monster. Monster she really isn't, but it's so damn cute, and Godzelly just has a ring to it. It's her way of letting Mommy and Daddy know she is NOT ready to sleep or she is READY to get up and party!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rainy Day Dreams....Outdoor Fun in and around Marin County

It has been an extremely wet winter here in Marin County, Northern CA. While I am thrilled that the golden state is no longer considered to be in a drought, I can't help but admit that my soul, not to mention my house, car and yard are all slightly dampened. Oh, we've gotten a few sunny gorgeous days that only Marin can offer, just enough to keep one looking to the future of warmth and beauty. On those particular days I've been fortunate to get out and around with the little one. I'm often joined by another rockin' Marin Mama, but sometimes it's just me and the munchkin. We've discovered some fantastic running paths and a few hikes that bring life into perspective. Check out these sources for outdoor fun for you and your family.

Weekend Sherpa , which offers weekly outdoor activities and outing in and around the Bay Area.

Bay Trail - running from Novato to Sausalito - I like to start off of East Blythedale in Mill Valley and head for Sausalito, the view of Mount Tamalpais is unmatched.

7 Waterfall Hikes in Marin - Top 7 waterfall hikes in Marin County - best hiking time Feb-April, give and take a month or two.

Tennessee Valley Trails - a trailhead that will take hikers to a small beach cove, or up and over to Muir Beach, part of the Golden Gate National Park lands

Saturday, April 10, 2010

5 Minutes at the Dinner Table with Baby

Mommy: Okay baby, let's have some rice cereal with sweet potato!

Baby: Okay mommy, let's try something new, sounds cool.

Mommy: Here is the spoon, can you open your mouth?

Baby: Sure mommy but I think I'd rather reach down and grab the bowl off the table, spilling the contents everywhere.

Mommy: Oh whoops baby! We don't want to spill your dinner everywhere! Let's try again.

Baby: Sure mommy but I really want to put my hands in my dinner and then put my hands in my hair! I hear sweet potatoes are excellent when attempting to jump start hair growth.

Mommy: Yummy sweet potato, don't you want to put some in your mouth?

Baby: Well I would mommy but I think it tastes better when first mashed onto my bib, then shoved into my mouth. It really opens up the flavors and aromas.

Mommy: You got some in your mouth, right baby?

Baby: Sure mommy, this was a fun game, let's plan again soon!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Going Green and Tweetin’ About It

Moms wanting to take care of their little ones and the earth at the same time have a friend in social media. Twitter, founded in 2006, is growing in popularity and one of the thriving communities on the micro-blogging site is women and mothers sharing their green experience. They share with blog postings, and green giveaways, with tips and advice ranging from compost collection to eco-friendly makeup. They run websites that sell eco-friendly baby and mommy products or they tweet about someone who does, just to spread the word. A Green Mommy Tweeters list can be a great resource for fellow users! For more information about Twitter, check out

1. @lilgreenmama – The owner of Green Baby Green Mama organic baby store.

2. @mwyt - A stay at home mom who reports on cool companies, websites, and products with an emphasis on going green and saving money.

3. @kidbean - Entrepreneur, Mommy of 2, Vegan, Activist, Owner of (earth-friendly, vegan-friendly, labor-friendly products for kids)

4. @moms_goinggreen - Blog for Moms embracing and promoting green practices.

5. @mindfulmomma - Green living from the homefront. Served up with a healthy dose of reality.
6. @ecosaveology - Mom w/Teens, Organic Sustainable Green Eco Tips-Techy-Traveler-Veggie-Foodie-Coffee/Tea-Minimalist-luv wood rocks & life-SMM.

7. @livegreenmom - Mom. Working towards making our lives GREEN! Recycling, organics, non-GMO foods, natural and preventative healing options.

8. @organicmania - Green Marketing Consultant and Mom. Crazy about Organics and Green Living. Shorty Award Winner. One of Nielsen's Power Mom 50. Tweeting on business @4GreenPs.

9. @crunchygoddess - A mama of two kids, I am passionate about home birth, natural/green family living, environmentalism, and urban homesteading.

10. @naturesknockout -Mother, Daughter celebrity make-up artists devoted to finding great quality non-toxic cosmetics, and sharing it with the world.

Sleep....what's that??

My daughter will be six months old tomorrow. She's always been a decent napper and we've had her on a "Baby Whisperer" approved routine since her first day at home, which, I believe, has gotten her into a nice rythmn. That's all fine and dandy but what about when she's teething? Or growing so fast her little bones ache? Well let me tell you, a night like last night makes me want to throw any baby book out the window because wow, waking up every two hours is SO out of the ordinary for her. Not a good night. Went sort of like this:

10:15 pm - wake up before dream feed - where she is still sleeping and eating
1:00am - wake up and cry for 30 minutes - changed her diaper
3:00am - wake up and cry for an hour - wants to eat but we are trying to cut out her night feeds
6:30am - wake up and wants to eat - okay, let's do it!

Um, yeah.....not such a good night. At some point in the next year my partner and I would like to get away for a weekend and leave the babe with her grandma but that can't happen if she's still waking up at 3, 4 or 5 to nibble away on Mommy. Needless to say, the 3:00 cry-fest was the hardest to deal with, because yes, it would have been easy to slap her on the boob, but she isn't hungry! She's just tired and wants to go back to sleep but needs my help. Again, the Baby Whisperer comes into play, with the Pick Up/Put Down method, which takes a while but IT DOES WORK EVENTUALLY! ***Take note new mommies, don't give up!****

We'll try it again tonight, I'm sure it will be a sobfest at 4:00am but if I ever want to get 8 hours ever again, this is the method we are to try for the time being. If it means I'll be sleep deprived for three days in order to get her sleeping through the night, I'll give it a try.

Happy Friday to you all! Enjoy the beautiful day, we certainly intend to do so.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I don't need this blog, but here it is anyways

I probably don't need this blog. I have a facebook account, a twitter account, a yelp account, a skype account, a google buzz account and everything in between. And oh yes, those social media forums are intertwined, so when I post on Yelp, my facebook buddies see it. But, seeing that I want to continue to share my road down motherhood with those I love and those who rock, creating a blog was simply the next step! I like to think I'm plugged in and updated and maybe one day, this forum will be important. Until then, it's just me, baby Zelly and all the loyal Zelly fans who want regular updates!

I intend to post my trials and tribulations, fun Mommy facts that any mother will appreciate, restaurant suggestions and reflections on being a mother right now, in 2010. Maybe one of my posts will speak to you!

Enjoy and spread the word.