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.