Birthdays By Hand.

Our time spent here in North Carolina so far has been lovely. It's been quite a bit cooler than the warm 70 degree weather that we are used to in sunny socal--and we may even get an early white Christmas tomorrow *fingers crossed*.

Aside from visiting with tons of family and struggling to keep up with my busy little guy who is taking more and more steps towards his first birthday both figuratively and literally, I am also busy at work putting finishing touches on his birthday crafts that I had begun in L.A.

Because many of our friends' tots back west will also soon be celebrating first birthdays, and seconds, I thought that I would share some of what I've been up to in the case anyone wants to craft together an eco-friendly celebration too! Making your own party decorations not only allows you to customize your party wares down to the smallest detail, but it also makes for an incredibly loving and eco-savvy way to decorate with handmade wares that you'll have to reuse and create traditions with for many birthdays to come.

All of the following craft ideas are surprisingly easy and a whole lot of fun to make! So pull out that sewing machine or needle and thread and craft together a birthday bash!

P.S. I'll be sure to post pictures from the festivities this weekend.

Fruity Birthday Cupcakes
  • Okay these aren't a sewing craft necessarily but they are a kitchen craft, indeed! The recipe can be found at my "Feeding Little Foodies" website.

Fabric Flag Banner
  1. Draw a large triangle on a thick piece of paper, preferably cardstock
  2. Trace the shapes onto the back of your chosen fabrics
  3. Place cut out triangles, two-by-two, together front to front--the back side of fabric facing out and the two patterned sides facing in
  4. Sew along two pointed sides of the triangle leaving the third top flat side unsewn
  5. Continue to sew flags until you have enough to create your desired length of banner
  6. Turn flags inside out through unsewn top edge so that you now see the front of the pattern and the back of the fabric is inside of the flag, unseen
  7. Choose a long strip of fabric or ribbon
  8. Pin each flag to the strip of fabric or ribbon by folding the ribbon over the top of each flag
  9. Leave about 2 inches of space between each flag
  10. Sew along the top third edge of each flag so that it attaches to the ribbon
  11. *extra*: if time permits, get creative and personalize it with a name, initials, or the event name

Double Sided Cupcake Wrappers
  1. Download and print template from here
  2. Trace template on the backside of your chosen paper
  3. Cut out template shapes
  4. Place two shapes back to back so that the front of the paper is showing on both sides
  5. Glue together
  6. One the cupcakes have completed baking in the traditional foil wrapper, simply drop cupcake and foil wrapper down inside your new paper wrapper for instant pizazz!

Cupcake Birthday Shirt

Now, I wish I could give detailed directions for how to make this little guy, but to be honest with you, I made this little ditty on a whim with extra fabric the night before takeoff. Here's the best I can muster . . .
  1. On a piece of cardstock, I hand drew the cupcake
  2. Next, I cut each part of the cupcake out into separate pieces (cupcake top, wrapper, candle, flame)
  3. I then traced each piece onto my chosen fabric
  4. After cutting out each piece, I pinned them onto the shirt in the position that I wanted them to be sewn
  5. Using my sewing machine, I attached each piece to a plain white long-sleeved t-shirt

Balloon Cupcake Toppers
  1. Using a 2" round paper punch, punch out as many circles as desired to spell your special birthday message
  2. With rubber alphabet stamps and black ink, stamp letters onto the middle of the circles
  3. Once dried, hot glue each circle to the top of lollipop sticks (found at Michael's)

Felt Birthday Crown

Take a break and reap the rewards of other people's craftiness: shop Etsy. I found this precious felt birthday crown made by Shannon over at Flip. Skip. Jump! She did an amazingly incredible job--I just can't wait to see Noah Finn celebrate #1 in this special little hat.


You Know You're A Mama When . . .

. . . you notice at 7:00 p.m. that you have been wearing your underwear backwards . . . all day.


Going "Home" For The Holidays.

As you may have noticed, I've been awfully mute over the last few weeks while Noah has been busy growing and growing and growing. He's mastered his first "real" word--ball--stacked things onto his spoon and then fed himself, began putting things into places instead of just taking them out and . . . da da dum . . . taken his first few steps! I think that he is still going to be crawling to get to he we wants to go, at least for the next few weeks, but progress is progress, right?

On Saturday Noah and I are set to take air and head back to North Carolina for the holidays. Dean is not joining us until the 17th and we all fly back together on the 5th of January, 2010. While the thought of having to pack half of the house in two days makes my palms sweat, the thought of spending 7 hours alone on a plane with my 11.5 month old frightens me even more. Noah may not yet be walking but he is mobile--oie is he mobile. Sitting on my lap is not an option. I am just praying that I am able to jump onto southwest.com 24 hours before my flight to get into the early boarding group . . . all in hopes of grabbing a bulkhead seat. The lack of underseat stowage and a seatback pocket are small sacrifices for a place to set Noah down with some toys to play.

I'll be trying oh-so-hard to update this blog as often as possible while we're away. This time to inform friends back west instead of family back east! We will have much to report. I already have posts about all of the fun birthday decorations that I have been sewing for Noah's first birthday party in the evenings--thus, the lack of blogging--squirreled away in my head. I'll try and share pics and instructions for how to make an eco-friendly fabric flag banner and birthday shirt, where to get incredibly cute felt birthday crowns and how to make snazzy little paper cupcake wrappers and toppers.

In the meantime, Happy December!


Los Angeles.

Los Angeles. It's a real love-hate relationship between me and this city by the oily sea. It's smoggy, it's crowded. It's dusty, it's overpriced.

But, on other days I simply swoon at its beauty. It's natural, natural beauty.

Here are a few unedited images captured by my husband less than a mile from our home during his morning walks with our little Noah Finn.

What a beautiful, beautiful place this can be.


Toys For Tots.

With the holidays ever-so-rapidly approaching and Black Friday just a sneeze away, it's never too early to start pondering what's going to adorn the underside of your tree come Christmas Eve. Since we are going to be celebrating both Noah's first birthday and Christmas 3,000 miles away in North Carolina, I have had to start buying and shipping any presents we'd like to give him already--we leave in just under two weeks--oie!

When you are shopping for your kiddo this holiday season, here are a few things to keep in mind while strolling the toy aisle:
  • Try and seek out natural, wooden and green toys --they are good for kids and for the planet. Not only do they promote positive childhood development but they are made under sustainable practices.
  • Buy toys that are made of reclaimed or recycled plastic using environmentally-sound practices--toys that are finished with vegetable or other natural dyes, polished with beeswax, painted with water-based and non-toxic paints, or retain their natural, unfinished beauty.
  • Avoid toys overloaded with sounds, gadgets, etc. Natural, simple toys promote positive childhood development through play. They encourage children to think and use their imagination -- thereby stimulating their intelligence and natural curiosity.
While pregnant with Noah I did some research on why selecting natural toys is so important and I, of course, wrote a blog about it here. My photography skills weren't quite what they are now, but sans the photo, the info. is compelling enough.

Here are a few sites that has made finding beautiful natural toys on the internet a whole lot easier:
  • Enfant Terrible: Incredibly French and oh-so-hip
  • Oompa Toys: huge selection of green and wood toys, as well as, free shipping over $65.00
  • Wild Dill: achingly cute organic and fair trade dolls and animals and a large selection of toys that encourage imaginative play
  • Child Trek: large selection of wooden Haba and Plan toys
  • The Little Seed: a local Los Angeles haunt of mine that has a great online selection too--and it's owned and operated by none other than Punky Brewster herself
  • Plan Toys: a Thai-based company with incredibly made wooden toy instruments--the drum and xylophone are household favorites
  • The Playstore: great selection of Waldorf toys
  • MiYim: great for your littlest one--beautiful plush animals
  • Camden Rose: incredible hand carved wooden toys--Noah has a rattle that remains a favorite teether
  • Little Wonderland: large selection of wooden toys made in the USA
  • Etsy: don't forget about this little gem--it's an internet marketplace for all things (not just toys) handmade right here in the USA by crafty people just like you and me
Happy shopping--and remember, less is more. Giving from the hands and heart is always more meaningful than from the wallet.


Picture Perfect: Part Two.

Here are a few more amazing pictures from our little family photo shoot with David Trotter of 8 Track Photography. For more images from our session, visit our flickr page. Enjoy!


Picture Perfect.

YES! I have been a lazy blogger as of late--well, actually not as lazy as much as really, really busy. No major anything going on--and, yes, there is still laundry to fold, dishes to wash and errands to run-- just busy with life, I guess--being a mom and wife and teacher of the little foodie feast workshop, etc. I haven't written anything cerebrally exciting or even stimulating. But, I will and soon. I promise.

In the meantime, until I get my mojo back, enjoy this beautiful sneak peek image from our little family photo session this past Thursday by photographer, David Trotter, at 8 Track Photography. We'll use one for our holiday card and the others will simply adorn every nook and cranny of our humble little abode.

He did an amazing, simply amazing job, yes? We love what we see so far!


API Article: "If You Love Sombody, Set Them Free"

Another one of my articles appears today on API Speaks, the Attachment Parenting International blog. It is a post that I wrote for this blog back in July, but it still rings oh-so-true today. The title is "If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free" and you can find it on API Speaks here and on my blog here.



You Know You're A Mama When . . .

--you try to use the car's auto door unlock controller to open the front door of the house.

--you find, while undressing your son for bath time, and eat a stray piece of fruit leather from this morning's snack that has stuck itself under his shirt and onto his chest.

--you wouldn't change a single thing.


My First "API Speaks" Contributor Post: "Doing The 'Right' Thing Is Never Easy"

As many of you already know, Dean and I subscribe to a gentle parenting philosophy called, Attachment Parenting. It's not that we stumbled upon these parenting principles one day and declared, "Ah! Now, that's the way we want to parent"--instead, we read them and thought "Here is a philosophy that has put into words the way that we already feel about parenting--and we will use it for support".

As such, I have often turned to the API blog, API Speaks, for support--to read of other families' struggles with the woes of parenting and to find comfort in knowing that we are not alone. Choosing alternative parenting methods like cloth diapering, wooden toys, co-sleeping, baby wearing, even breast feeding, etc. has resulted occasionally in judgments from family members, strangers and other mothers who don't. Wearily waking after a long and sleepless night to read a fellow mom's post about her own long and sleepless night--and her reminder of why it's important that we listen to and follow our instincts--helps.

So, for these reasons and so many more, I am very excited to announce that I will be joining the leagues of fellow API mama writers by regularly contributing to API Speaks, the API blog. I have not yet determined my ideal frequency of publication--once a week, twice a week, etc.--but I will at least be published there once a month. And, this morning, my first post has been published--click here to find it on API Speaks. It is a post that I wrote for this blog two weeks ago titled, "Doing The 'Right' Thing Is Never Easy".

Please, read, enjoy and visit often!

Happy Day,



Feeding Little Foodies House Calls.

Feeding Little Foodies is proud to announce that it's taking the show on the road--well, making house calls, that is.

If you are interested in taking a "Little Foodie Feast" or "Little Finger Feast" workshop but are having a hard time getting out of the front door with tot in tow these days, or would rather learn in the comfort and familiarity of your own kitchen--after all, that's where the magic is going to happen--then "Feeding Little Foodies House Calls" is for you!

Simply say the word and I'll come running on over to your place armed with all of the gear, fresh produce, spices, handouts, reference books, inspiration and information we'll need to whip up a batch of yummy puree or finger food for your little foodie-to-be.

Your private one-on-one session will include:
  • cooking demonstration from start to finish
  • sample menus
  • sample recipes
  • sample food introduction schedule
  • food allergy guide
  • tricks and tips for planning, making, spicing, storing and freezing
  • gear overview (what you'll need)
  • freshly prepared food for your wee one
  • a list of additional references and informational sources
For further information about "Feeding Little Foodies House Calls", please e-mail me at: feedinglittlefoodies@gmail.com.

Happy Feeding,
Joni :)


Feeding My Little Foodie: Roasted Spiced Pumpkin and Pears.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love fall--it's my favorite season. I especially love nature's culinary bounty--it's aplenty with home cooked goodness--baking, roasting, spices, sage, creamy, brothy, aromatic goodness. I love fall.

This past weekend I glazed fall up and put it in my oven. For the most decadently glazed pumpkin recipe you'll ever tickle your tastebuds with, go here. Enjoy. Noah did.


You Crazy Animals!

Halloween festivities are quickly wrapping up. Though our ghoulishly grueling party schedule has all but drained the life from us, we'll rise from the dead for one last haunt. Let's hope that Noah Finn's suit o' cephlapod lasts through tomorrow's spooktacular trick-or-treating frolic and feasting fest.

Some friends from this week:
Felix, the Meerkat
Ainsley, the Lion
Noah Finn, the Organic Octopus
Nico, the Insomniac


Announcing The Launch Of A Brand New Workshop: "Little Finger Feasts" in 2010!

Feeding Little Foodies is so very proud to announce the launch of a brand spanking new workshop for 2010--"Little Finger Feasts"!

The "Little Finger Feasts” workshop will be a two hour workshop held at my home that will provide hungry families with a place to seek--and hopefully find--culinary inspiration, as well as, helpful instruction on how to make fresh, healthy, and delicious homemade food for little foodies that the whole family can enjoy.

This workshop will be tailored for:
  • wee ones who are ready to graduate from purees to finger foods
  • moms who are looking for a fresh new take on preparing finger foods for an experienced little eater
  • families who are seeking inspiration for preparing fresh, delicious and nutritious dishes that the whole family can enjoy--"family friendly" dishes
The workshop will include:
  • sauteing demonstration from start to finish
  • sample menus
  • sample recipes
  • food allergy guide
  • tricks and tips
  • your own container of food to take home with you
  • discussions with other moms/dads about common feeding-time concerns/fears/anxieties/problems
The workshops will begin in January of 2010--specific dates are to be announced. Please visit my other blog, "Feeding Little Foodies" for further information or feel free to contact me at: feedinglittlefoodies@gmail.com.

**I also teach a workshop that is geared towards the beginning eater called "Little Foodie Feasts". Please click here for more details.


Octobaby Monsterpus.

We have a ghoulishly grueling Halloween schedule this week--the Octobaby Monsterpus has an appearance everyday this week:

This past Sunday--Pumpkin decorating with the L.A. M.I.L.K.'s
Monday--Spooky storytime at the library
Tuesday--Costume Gala at our Mommy & Me group
Wednesday--Halloween Bash with "Babies On Blankets"
Thursday--Halloween Park Playdate
Friday--Spooktacular Potluck at Diego's
Saturday--Trick-or-Treating and Pizza Party

Sheesh, I hope my novice sewing skills hold up! Or else, Octobaby Monsterpus may be short an arm . . . or two . . . or three . . . or eight!

Happy Haunting!

Baby Einstein Ain't So Smart.

FINALLY! Some validation from the mainstream media about at least one aspect of mine and Dean's rogue parenting choices. I don't need validation, no. But it sure does feel nice every so often.

A recent article in the New York Times, entitled "No Einstein In Your Crib? Get A Refund" confirms mine and Dean's rigid anti-t.v. stance for young children--DVD's and so-called educational t.v. programs do not and cannot educate children under the age of two. Essentially, the Walt Disney Company, Baby Einstein is a hoax. Electronic babysitter--yes, miracle teacher in a box--um . . . no. And, truly it takes no genius to figure that out.

Despite the fact that the American Association of Pediatrics recommends no tube time before the age of two, I cannot count how many times advice that touts the raving success of baby videos has been offered to us--and "it's educational!", they validate. When introducing children to the ol' box of brain junk at the tender age of 6 months, it's a no brainer why childhood obesity rates, early claims of attention deficit disorders and drop out rates are on the rise in the U.S.

Parents desperate for a moment of "me" time no doubt find relief in the distractability that television brings. I get that--I really do. But as I defended in an earlier post, the right choices in parenting are usually those with the most difficult follow-through. Finding other distractions for your children while you pee, brush your pearly whites or prepare dinner is possible--it's just harder, yes--as are the endless possibilities for finding teachable moments sans t.v. But it's doable, so very doable.

Being a parent is hard and being a really, really good parent is even harder. But I believe that we owe it to these little guys to offer them everything that this incredible world around us has to give: music, animals, art, nature and positive interaction with others all offer cheap and intriguing endless opportunities for distraction and education.


Feeding Little Foodies--New Look For A Splendid Season.

There are so many exciting things happening over at "Feeding Little Foodies": fresh and fabulous new fall, finger and family friendly recipes! And to celebrate this gloriously festive season, it has undergone a small makeover--a refreshed header.

Come, visit! If you are interested in preparing fresh, organic, homemade and delicious dishes for your little foodie--and your whole family--stop on by my other blog, "Feeding Little Foodies" for recipes, tips, advice, workshop information and much, much, more!

Happy Fall and Happy Feeding,


All In A Good Day's Play: 7th Edition.

I haven't written an "All In A Good Day's Play" post for some time now and thought it frightfully overdue! Though this one diverges from the typical format somewhat, it still manages to capture the essence of of our beautiful day together.

Yesterday, daddy had a surprise middle-of-the-week day off, so we frolicked to the park before going to a late afternoon playdate together. We topped whole the day off with a fabulously fall dinner--baked cinnamon & brown sugared acorn squash, sauteed garlic asparagus and roasted fingerling potatoes with cumin and basil--and then snuggled into a bath and jammies for a somewhat restful night.

Happy days, happy nights, happy family.


Doing The "Right" Thing Is Never Easy.

Baby knows best. Really. They are perhaps not scholars just yet, but they do know what they need better than any of us and well, we should listen to them. And, if we would listen they would probably say . . . that doing the "right" thing is never easy.

Like when you were a kid and were forced to apologize and admit error--it was the "right" thing to do, but it was so hard to say that you were wrong. Or, choosing to skip a party in order to study instead of cheating on a final exam in high school. Studying was hard work, but it was "right", right?

I've come to the conclusion, or even grand epiphany perhaps, that doing the "right" thing as a parent is also not the easier choice. I came to this conclusion after struggling once again following sleepless nights and clingy days with the attachment parenting philosophy that we have adopted as parents. The attachment parenting tenets are simple really and were so appealing to us initially because they essentially support the beliefs that we already held about parenting. To us, AP principles just seem like no-brainers: go to your child when he cries--he needs you, breastfeed your baby--it's food that's literally made for him, sleep with your child--because you are a parent at night too, use positive discipline to teach your child--negativity punishes, hold and wear your baby--it fosters bonding and security, etc.

Even rereading these as I type them, I find myself nodding in agreement--unable to imagine parenting any other way. But problems arise for this gentle parenting scenario not from any inherent flaws in a plan that seeks to parent gently and respectfully, but from other parents who have found an "easier" way. See, this kind of parenting requires a mom and dad who are fully committed to sacrificing much of their own needs for that of their baby's. In other words, it takes dedication and patience--a lot, a lot of patience--and a great deal of self-sacrifice.

I am specifically talking about the issue of nighttime sleeping. Fewer issues get as much airtime during playdates, mommy groups, or any other gathering of moms and babies--it's simply at the heart of every discussion. Exhausted, delirious and desperate mommies eagerly compare notes and exchange sleep tricks in search of something that will help them get more sleep. And, no matter how you try and spin it or how much you try to avoid the inevitable final conclusion, the sleep issue comes down to two dismal options: "sleep training" your baby, or not.

Sleep training methods vary greatly from one to another, but the one thing that they all have in common is that they all include some degree of crying. I have written before about my feelings as they pertain to "crying it out" and though that was many sleepless months ago, I still do have a problem with my baby crying--yes, I've said it, I do not let my baby cry without intervening in an effort to alleviate the cause whatever that cause may be. Why? Because I believe that my son is communicating with us when he is crying--I do not believe that babies cry just to cry, in other words. Sometime this communication may be asking for basic needs to be met and other times it may just be a way to ask for a hug, a cuddle, or a kiss. But, you see, one does not surpass the other in importance for me. My baby's need to be touched is just as importance as his need to be fed or changed. I will respond in either case and at any time. And that is where myself and my husband diverge from the parents who try to sell us the success of sleep training and tout the amount of sleep that it has brought them. But, at what cost, I want to ask them.

I believe family bed advocates when they claim that co-sleeping raises independent, confident and secure children--I also believe that leaving your baby to fend for them self during these times of nighttime need may produce children who are more dependent, anxious and insecure. I also know that these one or two or three years dealing with his sleeplessness as a baby is small in scale when compared to the number of years that we won't have to. I will be old and he will no longer by my baby--I will look back on these years with a tender heart yearning for the moments when I was able to hold him in my arms to return.

I do, however, from time to time grow weak--very weak. I do whine and fuss and complain about exhaustion and the need for a moment to myself. During these times I do momentarily wonder if we should not also "train" Noah to self soothe, to sleep alone, to quiet his need for love, comfort and affection just because it is the moon, not the sun, that has risen above the horizon. Those parents are convincing and proud. They're confident and I suppose, maybe even some look rested.

But, then I give it a second thought. I listen to my heart and am reminded of why I have chosen the more challenging path. When I grow weak and weary, I turn a listening ear to my instinct, my mama gut--and find that I know deep down in my heart that parenting this way, for me, is the "right" way to parent. And, like all things that are "right" it is most certainly the more difficult choice--it may continue to be for a while still to come. But . . . doing the "right" thing is never easy, right?


When Challenges Are Challenging.

Noah has been challenging during these last two weeks. Getting him to eat, getting him to sleep, getting him to stay asleep, getting him to play independently if even only for a few minutes, have all been insurmountable challenges during these last two weeks.

I am sure that there is a very good explanation for it all--perhaps teething, perhaps a growth spurt, perhaps this new heat wave following a deliciously fall rain has got him feeling down. I am sure that there is a very good explanation.

Reminding myself of that helps. And then there are times when it doesn't: In the dark of the night when my nipple is being turned into pâté from yet another hour of sucking, when he is wide awake at 5:00 a.m. hanging from the headboard squealing and squawking after another sleepless night, when he hasn't napped for 9 hours and clearly needs to sleep, when he won't go to bed at night when clearly he is tired, when he is hanging over the side of his highchair letting every ounce of what just went into his mouth dribble out all over the floor, when he is hollering--not crying--at the top of his lungs for no apparent reason, when he is hanging on my legs whining because I have put him down just to pee.

Gear that I would recommend all expectant parents to be equipped with in time for junior's arrival is, patience. And, unfortunately it's baby gear that's not for sale. You can't find it used on craig's list, purchase it with a Babies "R" Us giftcard from Granny, or get it handed down from a sister or friend--no, you've gotta dig real deep down to the tips of your toes to find it, scrape as much of it together that you can possibly gather and use it real wisely. Stock up on it. Put some away for safe keeping. Because you just might run thin during weeks like these.


Beautiful Things.

Align CenterBeautiful things recently found in my home.

Clap, Wave, High Five, Repeat.

Noah is growing not slowly, but in leaps and bounds. I guess that is a given--even a cliche that you always hear but never realize it's literal truth until you have a child of your own.

His current most favorite activities of the day are those that involve the two incredibly complex and wiggly things at the ends of his arms. His hands provide endless hours of fascination for him. He stares at them intently as he holds them close to the tip of his nose and jiggles his fingers and open and closes his fists--open and shut, open and shut.

"Golly gee, that's cool" I can hear his little voice repeating over and over in his head with each concentrated clinch.

It isn't surprising then, that he has discovered some great new things to occupy his little hands with. He claps, waves goodbye and attempts the high five every chance he gets--that is, with the exception of when I try to get him to do it when someone is watching or worse yet, waiting. Usually he's most proficient after the person leaving has just turned their back to walk away or closed the door after salutations. And he claps best after the joke has long turned stale and left the room along with the teller.

Nevertheless, Dean and I know he can do it. Jeesh, he does it in his sleep. He whops me in the nose each time he does.

And, "Golly gee, that's cool" I can hear a little voice repeating over and over in my head with each of those dreamy clinched fists in my face.


Sigh, Chuckle, Cry.

Today started like any other Tuesday.

Noah wakes up. Dean and Noah get up first. Mommy rises later. Noah naps--but Noah never naps. Mommy gets dressed. Mommy sighs and looks at the clock. Mommy packs the diaper bag. Noah continues to nap--but Noah never naps. Mommy & Me class begins. Mommy huffs and puffs around the house--this is the only thing Mommy really, really cares about going to each week. Noah continues to nap--but Noah never naps. Mommy wonders why Noah chooses to nap and only nap at this exact time on Tuesdays. Noah wakes from nap. Mommy & Noah arrive at class--one hour late.

That's how the day began--just like every other Tuesday. Until we got home from our mommy & me class, that is.

Mom sets Noah down on the bathroom floor. Mom removes Noah's dirt, grass and banana stained romper to give it a soak in the sink. Mom turns on the bathroom sink faucet to let the sink fill. Noah removes diaper. Mom smells poop. Mom sees diaper beside poop pile laying in the doorway. Mom sees trail of poop. Mom finds Noah. Mom sees poop on Noah's hands, legs and torso. Mom puts Noah into the bathtub. Mom hears water dripping. Mom sees water pouring out of the sink onto the counter and onto the floor. Mom turns off sink faucet. Mom turns on bathtub faucet. Mom bathes Noah. Mom dries the counter and floor. Mom diapers and dresses Noah. Mom cleans poop trail.

Wednesday. Rise and repeat.


Upwards He Grows, Outwards He Goes.

Such busy little feet.
Such busy little hands.

You're discovering
there is a world
away from me.

During those moments
in the day
when I can no longer
hold you in my arms
as often
and as near
I'd like,
I hold you closer
in my heart.

From there
you will never
be able to wander
very far away.


Judge Thee Not, Lest Ye Be Judged.

Caring for your wee one . . . it should be a piece of cake, right? I was totally one of those young childless women who judged moms and their inability to adequately "care" for their children. More specifically, I am referring to their inability to keep their little rugrats clean and tidy and well, snot-free?! "Is baby care really such a chore?", I would scold at the sight of drippy, runny nostrils. Is it really so hard to wipe that crusty nose, trim those scraggly nails and put a Q-tip into those waxy ear holes? Really?

Well, I am here to say YES, yes it is.

NOSE: As my little Noah Finn experiences his first runny nose ever, I am struggling to keep it mucous-free before it dries into an impenetrable crust of snot. He hates his face being wiped, or even touched for that matter, with a cloth, hand, or finger in any way. He twists and squirms, hollers and worms his way out of my desperate cloth-clad hands.

NAILS: Those little daggers at the finger's and toe's tips are a whole other battle to be fought and often lost. They are frequently filled with the afternoon's visit to the sandbox and jagged to the point that they can be wielded as a playground weapon. Cleaning and cutting those little finger and toe nails are challenging to even the most skilled cutter . . . so tiny and so fast those little hands a feet flail!

EARS: The two small cavernous openings on the side of the head that house waxy goo seem to be illusive to even the quickest q-tip. Careful not to insert it too deep or else render your little tot soundless for the rest of his life . . . you struggle to gently sweep it in circular motions, slowly and softly as the ear's owner looks left to right and right to left in quick jerks . . . making the ears an illusive prey too sly to catch for a much needed cleaning.

So, fellow moms with grubby tots, I will judge thee not if thee not judge me. Let us go forth, together, with kids in need of a scrub hoping that today is the day that our tots will find the tub!


It Ain't Easy Being Green.

I muttered these words like a manic mantra under my breath today during the two hours and change that I wasted trying to find a store that sold cloth diapers in the "great" metropolis of Los Angeles. And, guess what? I came up bare bottomed.

It ain't easy being green . . . in L.A., anyway. That's right, a city of almost 10 million people hasn't managed to muster up a few square feet of floor space devoted to moms who are making a concerted effort at ridding the world's landfills of chemical coated and synthetic gel filled poo pants. Yet, there are more farmer's markets and biodiesel peace bugs than I can shake my diaper pail at.

This past weekend, we lazed away our Sunday afternoon in a snugly lush valley just an hour northeast of here . . . among burning sage, drum circles and barefooted dred daddies bouncing vegan tots on their naked knees. So why, in a west coast city of this size and "perceived" embracement of everything natural and eco, is finding cloth diapers sans the internet so hard to do?

We had been ordering all of our cloth diapering supplies from a mom and pop venture out of Portland, Oregon called Babyworks, since Noah was born. The Owner, Pauline, walked me through the daunting dance of being a new parent and cloth diaper doer with gentle skill. Just the mere thought of venturing out into the world to discern one colorful all-in-one from a waterproof pocket diaper was simply too much to bear during those early months. We had many a long telechat. But now those supplies of early are growing much too tight for the buns and tummy of our sprouting little greenie and we yearn for fresh dooty duty gear.

I, too, am finally ready to physically branch out into the wide expansive universe of reusables and want to peruse the many varieties there are for the pickins'--with my hands, my fingers, my eyes--with all of my five senses, I want to shop. One of the many reasons we chose cloth diapering was to circumvent the wasted energy and resources used for the production, packaging, shipping, etc. of disposables. We longed to buy local. After all, we figured, how hard would it be to find cloth diaper supplies in a city where plenty is it's middle name? But, discovering only one diaper cleaning service in the suburb of Pasadena that was so sub par we decided to scrub our own hemp prefolds should have been more than a subtle clue.

As my search dismally dead ended today at a few wrong numbers of bygone baby stores, I once again had to turn to my trusty mouse and keyboard to quell my cloth diaper yearning. So, Heather and Shannon at the Cloth Diaper Outlet in Springfield Oregon, thank you for making cloth diapering supplies readily available to us lowly residents here in the city of Angels. Apparently, this city's little angels poop in plastic.


September In San Diego.

It's been quite some time since I've visited my sweet friend, Annaliisa, and her little, Owen, down south in San Diego.

Annaliisa and I met six years ago in Grad School. While both living in Los Angeles at the time, we traveled down to San Diego only days after meeting to attend the Modern Language Association (MLA) annual convention. Yes, it was an awfully dorky first date, but so were *ah hem*, are, we.

We clicked immediately, trained for and ran the San Diego marathon the next year, and have been somewhat of a dynamic duo ever since.

It seems somewhat fated then that she was to end up in San Diego and so, she did. And, it came as somewhat of a huge surprise when we discovered within a week of one another that we were pregnant. Those things never happen even when planned.

Now it would be a better time than ever to have her living closer to us. The boys were born about three weeks apart--Noah Finn was a week late and Owen was one week early. And, it has been incredibly difficult with all of the jolting and exhausting life changes to manage visits as often as we'd like. But, with the wonder of technology and occasional travels south for us and north for them, the boys manage to meet just often enough to not forget that they are each others first friend.

In the meantime, Annaliisa and I can only hope and count our Hemingways that Owen and Noah Finn will also one day together grace the lecture halls at the annual meeting of the MLA.

Check out our flickr album for more of our September in San Diego.


"Little Foodie Feasts" Workshop This Saturday!

Attention L.A. working mamas and papas . . . there is a weekend "Little Foodie Feasts" homemade baby food workshop this Saturday the 12th at 10:30 a.m. . . . and there are two spots left!

For more details about the workshop, please click here or e-mail me at jonisurettenelson@gmail.com.

Happy Feeding,


The Love Of Two = 3

We went on our second "date" in almost nine months and it was like he didn't even notice we had left.

The first time we snuck out of the front door without stroller, sling and a bulky bag containing exactly one of everything Noah Finn owns was on Father's Day--for barely an hour. We cycled to the nearby pizza joint for a few custom slices and ate like a pack of wild, mad dogs were threatening to steal our grub. Several calls later, we returned home with a bad case indigestion and a longing need to hold our little machine-o-drool.

This time was different. Honestly, we never would have done it in the first place. We're not great about asking for help--or even taking it if it's offered. But friends and neighbors of ours offered--well told us--two weeks ago that we were going out without Noah. Sure, we said, sure . . . and thanked them with a smile.

But, five offers later--them pressing us to name a day and time--we finally gave in. They were asking us, we weren't asking them. How often does that happen if you don't have family living closer than a thousand miles away? Not often, we figured.

The day was sunny and cool. The coolest day in a sweaty string of smoggy, smokey, sweltering ones. Noah was down for his second nap and we were freshly groomed. So, we went.

We cycled to a local brunch spot and leisurely dined on veggie omlettes, ahi wraps and freshly squeezed carrot juice. We chatted, we kissed, we smiled, we gazed, we sipped, we shared, we laughed. We remembered. Dean and Joni. We remembered.

Afterward, we ventured to the best self-serve frozen yogurt bar this side of Hollywood Boulevard. And as we stood with cups full in hand, we pondered a spot in which to enjoy our creamy treats.

Discussed with barely more than a look, we leisurely cycled home with melting yogurt in basket to our little Noah. And despite the fact that he seemed completely unphased by the nearly two-hour absence of the two beings that have seen to his every last whim and whimper for for the last almost nine months of his very short little life, we were tickled to tears to share our love and our yogurt with him.



Thank Goodness Daddy's Home!


Wordless Wednesday.

Feeding my little foodie.


Down In The Dumps.

I've been lagging on my computer duties for at least a week, I'll admit it. I haven't been posting stimulating or interesting mama blog fodder, responding to e-mails, commenting on my favorite blogs, OR posting Noah pictures to flickr and Noah videos to You Tube--point in short . . . I am so sorry Noah's grandmas and great grandmas.

The thing is, it has been hot--I mean real hot. And, L.A. is burning like hell burns. Or at least as I imagine hell would burn if there was a hell? Plumes of brown mask the setting sun turning it into a blazing bright red disc heavy on the hazy horizon. Today ash covered the car and I asked myself again why people pay one million dollars to own a crappy fixer upper in this car-centric shaky piece of pavement by the cold, cold oily sea.

And, well, let's get down the real reason I've been absent--after a delightful afternoon with friends on Sunday, Dean dodged L.A. for a business trip early, early Monday. Ever since, it's just been me and Noah Finn. We're holding down camp just fine, but I certainly can't wait until daddy's plane hits the pavement tomorrow at 4:05 p.m.

And while I am being all down and out about life in Los Angeles this week, let me include a little shout out for the crazy homeless Hispanic lady wearing a pink wig that was screaming in broken Spanish at the top of her lungs at the construction workers jack hammering behind our apartment yesterday--just next door to Noah's window while he was napping--for the first and only time that day. And, let me not forget, since it's already flowing like lava from Mt. Vesuvius, the dumpster diver digging for bottles in the bins next door day before yesterday while Noah was napping--for the first and only time that day.

Oie. Oie. Oie! Los Angeles. You are not a good friend.

So, for now, all of the fabulously fun stuff that I have planned for this blog is going to have to wait one more night . . . or two.


Announcing: September "Little Foodie Feasts" Dates!

Welcome September! Well, almost September . . . although, it doesn't feel much like fall is on the horizon here in Los Angeles. It's been in the incredibly toasty 100's all weekend and the valley is a blazing inferno, literally, as I speak. Let's hope that cooler weather is on the way.

Nevertheless, to kick off "fall" in festive foodie fashion, "Feeding Little Foodies" is proud to announce the lineup of September "Little Foodie Feasts" Workshops! There are three workshops scheduled--including a Saturday date for all of our working moms and pops out there:
  • Thursday, September 3 at 1:00 p.m. (*only a few spaces remaining!*)
  • Saturday, September 12th at 10:30 a.m.
  • Thursday, September 17th at 10:00 a.m.
Please visit my workshop flier at my "Feeding Little Foodies" blog to find out more information about the workshop or e-mail me at jonisurettenelson@gmail.com to sign up.

Happy Feeding,


Nutty Wild Rice Salad.

I usually save recipe posts for my Feeding Little Foodies blog--but this was too good not to share (and besides, it's not baby food).

We finally got around to preparing a recipe found on a blog that my friend Asami introduced me to a few months ago called, Cooking With Trader Joe's. This fantastic foodie find is written by two women--Deana Gunn and Wona Miniati. They are self proclaimed lovers of food, cooking and Trader Joe’s. So, as far as I am concerned, they are my kind of ladies!

As anyone who really knows me knows, we pretty much exclusively shop at "TJ's". So, a blog that provides recipes with ingredients found strictly at Trader Joe's is a winner in our book. And, as luck had it, this recipe was definitely that!

Dean made it for us for lunch today and we can't wait for a refeast! The very simple recipe can be found at their blog, but I am also going to post it below with our minor modifications because what the heck, it was darn yummy. Thanks, Deana and Wona! You'll find our before and after pictures above--hope we made you proud . . .

Nutty Wild Rice Salad

  • 1 (16 oz) pkg fully cooked Wild Rice
  • 2-3 cups pre-cooked Just Chicken (or cook your own)
  • 1 1/2 cups red grapes, halved
  • 1 cup roasted cashews, whole or pieces
  • 1 (8 oz) can sliced water chestnuts (WE OMITTED because we don't like them--yuck!)
  • 2-3 stems green onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (WE USED LIME because that is what we had on hand)
  1. Open the package of wild rice and put the contents into a large bowl, breaking up the rice.
  2. To the rice, add chicken, grapes, cashews, water chestnuts (omit!) and green onion. Stir to combine.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon (lime) juice. Pour over the salad and stir to distribute evenly.
*This can be served warm or cold.
**Preparation time is 10 minutes and it serves 4.

All In A Good Day's Play: 6th Edition.

Here's our sixth weekly installment of, "All In A Good Day's Play"--a post where I chronicle, once a week, our day in snapshots!

Our Wednesday in pictures:
  • 7:30 a.m.--Preparing breakfast for my hungry baby: steel cut oats porridge with red grapes, nectarine and banana (recipe over at my foodie blog: Feeding Little Foodies).
  • 10:00 a.m.--Noah's play area rests as he naps.
  • 12:20 p.m.--Dean made us lunch before he left for work--Nutty Wild Rice Salad: wild rice, red grapes, cashews, green onions, chicken, olive oil and lime juice--incredible!
  • 1:00 p.m.--The mountain of both folded and unfolded laundry that awaits us always.
  • 2:00 p.m.--Noah plays in the clothes basket as I attempt to make a dent in the laundry pile.
  • 3:00 p.m.--"Babies On Blankies" Wednesdays.
  • 4:15 p.m.--Noah, Kai and I spot an incredibly green praying mantis in the park.
  • 5:30 p.m.--Asami, Kai and Noah play.


The Five-Toothed Octobaby.

Oie! Oie!

How I morn for the days of Noey past when he was not yet mobile, not yet teething and much, much less active.

I have not done a lot of things lately--fold laundry, call my sister and dear friend in Virginia, pet the cats, push back my cuticles, read and comment on my fellow favorite bloggers blogs. Why? Because gone are the days of infant sensory slumber and here are the days of the finger feasts of burgeoning toddlerhood.

The eighth month for Noah has seen many exciting new developments. Teeth numbers 4 and 5 are making their way through the soft puffy pink of the middle top gum . . . and not far behind are the gleaming pearly white of the two "i teeth" right next door (teeth 6 and 7!), for example. But, among those that are keeping my head spinning are his new ability to crawl and his insatiable curiosity.

Move over "Octomom"--meet OctoNoey. On most days it feels more like I birthed an octopus rather than a baby. The speed and ferocity of his arms and little clammy hands reaching and grasping for anything and everything within eye shot is simply exhausting. And, every morning that he wakes his crawl has gained speed and purpose somehow over night.

He slides without stumble across the living room floor over to the coffee table to teethe on the mini record coasters that I got Dean for a birthday years ago . . . and he glides into the kitchen without pause to heave the small colorful ceramic flowerpots on the bottom shelf of the island containing our garlic and shallots across the floor.

. . . and, he's not even walking yet.

Oie! Oie!

But, he's so, so, so darn much fun. And really quite ravishingly handsome too.


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