Milestones Are Expensive.

More baby gear. It never ends, I fear. Each milestone has a price tag and this month several of them have come all at once: first "big boy" shoes, next step in carseats, next and last size in cloth diapers, a shiny new ergonomic red potty chair, and some other fun "kind of needs" that I sneakily threw in to get free shipping (a whale faucet cover and bath toy storage).

It's funny how having children creates a never-ending need for stuff. And we try not to overdo stuff--we try to minimalize, we try not to pork out with overconsumption, we try to recycle, reduce and reuse. I love craig's list. But you never can be sure that a carseat hasn't been in a wreck, and a used potty, well, we won't even go there.

So, today was necessary--the stuff buying, it was needed . . . and it was a day that I got to gear up again with many firsts (shoes, potty) and lasts (cloth diapers) for my very quickly growing little dude.


Sundays Are For Warriors.

grey morning.
chilly air.
dusty earth.
quiet canyon.
big mountain.
sunday warriors.


A Little Bit of Yoga, A Little Bit of Wine . . .

. . . makes for one really happy baby of mine.


Noah Finn's First Shoes.

I never thought that shoe shopping for someone else could be so much fun--that is, until I began my search for Noey's first pair. Dean and I took Noah to Wee Soles--an incredibly cute kid's shoe store in Silverlake to get him correctly sized a few weeks ago in preparation for the big purchase.

It had been such an act of restraint for me to not buy a pair sooner--an official "big boy" pair. We knew that it was best to allow him to walk barefooted or socked (or if unpreventable, in soft-soled shoes, like these Robeez we had and loved) as much as possible when learning and even in the first few months of walking.

But the day finally came this week when we felt Noah Finn was ready for some real deal foot bling and after an exhaustive search for just the right pair (and only after a suggestion from my dear mama comrade, Asami) did I find Noah's glass slipper--the "Ocean" sandal by See Kai Run.

They arrived in the mail yesterday after just a day of waiting and Dean and I decided to take him out for a late afternoon trial run in the park. The thing was, not much running or walking, for that matter, occurred. Noah much preferred to sit in the grass and on Daddy's lap for story time instead.

Oh well, they still looked achingly cute nestled among the grass blades . . . motionless. And, if I really look at the bright side, I could also say that it made them awfully easy to photograph.


Beautiful Things.

After having a baby, it's easier than ever to find beauty in the simplest things around you. Everything seems burgeoning with life, color, vibrancy, sparkle. You take note of, acknowledge, and appreciate those beautiful little things that life has placed near you.

Lately, Noah crawls into our laps with a book for us to read to him. He wobbles to his green bookshelf, waddles over to Dean or I, crouches low, shimmies into our waiting lap, hands us the chosen book, and waits for the story to begin.

Our hearts melt as we see him intentfully approaching with a smile and I know that both of us are silently chanting, "pick my lap, pick my lap".

It's such a sweet, sweet, beautiful thing.


First Beach Steps.

In Malibu on Valentine's Day.


Love, By Hand--Crocheted Valentines.

Okay, so these are no gleaming copies of the beauties over at the purl bee--those cute little inspirations that I spoke about just the other day--but for my first crocheting attempt ever, I'd say they are a.o.k. Crocheting is much, much harder than it looks. Who ever thought that pulling a loop of yarn through another teeny tiny loop with a long hooked needle was a good idea? Probably the same man who thought pantyhose, bras, and thongs were a good idea too. Not to throw the tradition of crocheting in with lingerie, but it's h a r d and just about as tiring as a persistent wedgie.

But, I'm excited to have a new notch on my crafting belt . . . and my Valentines here at the homestead got one of these hard-won beauties and (the other I made on Weds.) on that dreamy day of love at the end of all of the toil.

I hope you and yours enjoyed a love day as lovely as I.


Valentine's By The Sea.

Lunch In Topanga Canyon,
a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway,
and pastries at sunset in Malibu.
A picture-perfect Valentine's Day.

More pictures from our day are up on flickr.


Happy Hearts Day: A Day For Love, Kisses & Crafts.

The day of love, of romance, of sweet tart candy hearts, of trading pieces of paper that contain mushy sentiments, is upon us and I simply love this day. Not for the aspect of hyper commercialism surrounding it--cheesy Kay's Jewelers commercials, boxes of cheap chocolates decorated with silk flowers, cards with pre-bought/pre-thought generic messages in them--but because it is a day that forces us to slow in our hurried daily pace and remember to say "I love you" to all of those that we hold dear.

This week, Noey Finn and I had a few mama/baby friends over for a make-a-card-for-daddy afternoon. It was an opportunity to meditate out our own heartfelt messages of love into cards made by hand. And though the mamas ended up doing most of the crafting with the exception of a glued button or red scribble here and there, it was a ton of fun had by all.

Dean and I went for a date in St. Valentine's name last night--we ventured to a sheik little pub in Culver City specializing in artisanal craft microbrews called Father's Office. The munchies were fair but the beer was divine. While I sipped away on an exotic ale, Dean ventured into more hearty and frothy lagers. After a few vows to talk no more about Noah and kids in general, our conversation drifted into territory more similar to those had before bearing a child--when we were just us--before we became three. Though the whole event was an extensively pared down version of the more extravagant ways we used to celebrate during the 8 years before Noah, it was just perfect for us now.

Today, I am crafting for Valentine's again with Asami and Kai--we hope to make these incredibly so, so sweet crocheted cards that Asami found on "the purl bee". Most of the action probably will not occur until we wrangle the babes into bed. But once we do, we are expecting sheer cuteness-by-hand.

Tomorrow, on Valentine's Day, Dean, myself and Noah Finn are headed for a family picnic on the beach in Malibu and perhaps some fresh seafood by sunset. We may even spend a few minutes perusing the area for a possible new homestead, but more about that later. In the meantime, we intend to spend Valentine's Day together as a family--doing what we love to do most--being together. We hope you will be spending it in the same way too.

Happy Hearts Day from us to you.


Noah Hearts Nectarines.

Noah's new "fav" food of the week is nectarines. I cannot keep our stock of them in the fruit bowl--I have to hide them behind picture frames and bookshelves--out of sight. When he sees one, he cries "ball" with his arms outstretched while fingers grasp the open air. He'll eat them all in a day. Everyday. So we ration them--one at each meal and snack. That adds up to five nectarines a day. Here's a newly walking testament to why buying organic fruit is so important. Otherwise, he'd surely have three eyes and 14 toes by week's end.

All In A Good Day's Play: Last Weekend's Edition.

As another weekend closes in upon us, I reflect back on the last weekend and prior week that was filled with snot, sleepless nights, and a junky chest cough.

Last week, Noah was visited by the first sickness in his short little life. 13 months of pink-cheeked health followed by one week of pure hacking agony. He caught a cold, that accumulated and moved into his chest about half way through the week resulting in one nasty rattling sputter. A runny nose combined with a collection of chest mucus made for a difficult week.

Dean and I were beside ourselves with worry--pouring over the internet everyday in search of information that would advise us of what the appropriate point in a cold is to visit the doctor. As a general rule of thumb, we are fairly untrusting of western medicine and its purveyors. Not because we think that they are particularly bad people out to harm those they are meant to heal, but because of the complex web of hurdles that makes their job really, really difficult to do with our true individualized best interests in mind. Insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, stock holders and law suits, just to name a few, have turned medical care into a generalized industry of preventative "herd" care.

Anyway, we really hate to go to the doctor prematurely. Instead we try to practice natural "preventative" care at home--eating well, washing hands, resting, vitamins-- and we use natural or homeopathic remedies first.

So, we waited and watched for the "signs" that could signal that it might be developing into an infection and luckily they never came. A few steam baths, vitamin C overloads, and doses of tender love and care later we were in the clear. And despite it all, after helping daddy with his dining room recording session, taking trips in between rain storms for fresh air by the turtle pond, and a little R&R with his hardbacks, we had our chipper little man back. Just in time for homemade sushi with friends Sunday night.

And, so here was our last weekend in pictures. Snot and all.


This Really Rocks . . . Too.

Back when Noah was 4 months old and began to notice that those two people who had been devoutly coddling his every squawk and whimper existed, I turned to my husband and said, "I like this age. 4 months really rocks." But then 5 and a half months came and went with that very same sentiment following Noah's first roll, and then at 7 when he began to crawl, and then 9, and then 12, and now, well, we're venturing into the 14th and I have to say that I said just it again last night.

But, I do. I love this age, it really rocks. 13 and three quarter months is so much fun. Noah Finn walks and talks and laughs and plays and interacts and splashes and goofs and giggles and has a sense of humor that sends me into gushy fits of oozing gooey mommy love.

And, the best thing of all is that I have a sneaking suspicion that it only is going to keep on getting better.


P.S. Visit the API Speaks blog for my third publishing that officially posted today--though you guys got a sneak peek at it here last week: "The Conscious Parent".


The Whiny Walker.

Aiming to get out of the house so that daddy could pull of some recording at home, Noah Finn and I ventured to the turtle and koi pond park just a few blocks away. But, walking just wasn't all it was cracked up to be on a cool and soggy late Saturday afternoon. This little whiny walker's frolic ended with a humorous crash.

Happy Weekend!


The "Feeding Little Foodies" Workshops Are Now Available In Orange County!

I have finally spilled the beans . . . yes, it's true . . . "Feeding Little Foodies" is expanding and in a big way! To find out what all of the fuss is about, visit the big announcement at my website: www.feedinglittlefoodies.com.

Happy Feeding,

The Mama Behind "Feeding Little Foodies"


Car Picnic.

The weather here today is chilly, rainy and Noah Finn is a little snuffly. It took us from the time we woke up this morning until 5 minutes before we were supposed to leave to discuss and waiver around whether or not we were going to attend our Friday morning parent's group.

Finally, after a frenzied teeth brushing, changing and packing event, we decided to make a break for it and headed over to the eastside 10 minutes after the start of the group. By the time we arrived--some 30 minutes late and soggy--our little guy was sound asleep in the backseat of the car.

Now, this is a dilemma of grand proportions that only parents truly know. But, very early on, we instituted an unwritten family rule of sorts--never wake a sleeping baby. If they're sleeping, we figure, they must need the rest. This child-rearing code of ours has meant that we have spent many hours in a parked car twiddling thumbs while listening to NPR on the radio--or many a derailed yoga, playdate or lunch plan because Noah decides to doze just minutes before walking out of the door.

These moments are frustrating. It takes minutes, hours even sometimes, to prepare for an excursion: Diapers? check. Diaper covers? check. Wipes? check. Sippy cup? check. Snack cup? check. Snacks? check. Extra socks? check. Jacket? check. Extra set of clothes? check. A few toys for distraction purposes? check. Snot rag? check. check. check.

But, for us, they also mean that if all else is rotten on any particular day of parenting, at least we made our best effort towards having a well-rested child. And as any parent also knows, being well-rested is more than half of the ingredients needed to make a happy child and, thus, good day for all.

So, we made the best of our situation and drove away from our earlier destination's parking lot and into the metered parking of a favorite cafe of ours down the street for coffee and pastry take-out. We had a car picnic, in the rain, in the car, and it was lovely. As the pastries drew to crumbs and our backseat sleeper began to stir, we started the car and began for home.

Nap? check.


Beautiful Things.

Beautiful things found around my home as of late.


API Article: "The Conscious Parent"

This is my latest post for the Attachment Parenting International blog that will be published later this week or early next. Enjoy!

Positive parenting is hard. Why? Because you must be a conscious parent, always. Constantly. All day long. Every minute of every day. Even in the fuzzy gray of those groggy mornings after a night of restless sleep--even when it's late in the afternoon following a whirling day of no naps and fussy teething--and yes--even when it's smack dab in the middle of bedtime and you are ready to go to bed much much more than the little one that you are struggling to soothe to sleep. You must be a conscious parent--a calm, gentle, thinking, and strategical parent, even then.

Positive parenting takes work, effort, time, energy, but most of all it takes brain power--lots of it--when you have it the least to give. As Noah begins blossoming into a pre-toddler--that neitherland between infanthood and official toddlerhood at the age of two--we are beginning to consciously think about how we are going to handle the challenging behaviors that we know Noah Finn is bound to exhibit. As we prepare by talking to other parents, reading books and articles and attending parenting groups, our philosophy on how we are going to navigate through the wily world of throwing, kicking, biting and tantrums is beginning to take shape.

Hitting, spanking, time outs, raised voices and bribing with rewards are all routes we know that we do not wish to take. We know that these methods can result in a humiliated, embarrassed, isolated, externally rewarded and defeated child and do not lead to the kinds of positive outcomes we are ultimately seeking--a confident, internally motivated, emotionally balanced and secure child and teenager. And we know that it all starts now. We know that creating a child-friendly environment in our home is much healthier than constantly policing a home that has many things that cannot be touched, or that teaching empathy and giving tools to express frustration and anger early can curb a tantrum before it starts. We know that explaining to him now why he cannot do something is much more effective than overusing the scold "no". Even at such a young age, we know that he is ready to learn from us and that anything but gentle conscious parenting during these challenging times will perhaps train, but not teach, him.

But during the long and fatigued days that are sure to be ahead, we also know that falling back on easier methods of parenting are just plain, well, easier--you don't have to plan and think and explain. Using negative directives like "no" or "stop it" or "don't do that" instead of explaining why or offering choices and alternatives obviously takes less effort and brain power. But at what expense? It will be hard to remember, always, that we will need to offer Noah the best of us so that he can fulfill his utmost potential--whatever he deems that to be. But we must.

Yes, it's darn difficult raising a human, but, heck, whoever said it would be easy? And, we want a good human--a really good human.


Noah's First Pho.

As I've said on here before, living in Los Angeles--for going on 10 years now--is a real love/hate kind of relationship. One of the things, however, that I love, love, love about this city is the incredible diversity--ethnicity, religion, language, art, culture, food, yadda, yadda. You can expose yourself to any plethora of adventurous anything anytime of the night or day.

Vietnamese food is one of those cuisines that's hard to come by in great quality unless you are in a larger city, like L.A.--or in Vietnam, of course. Los Feliz, an artsy little nook of town just east of downtown, has one of the yummier Pho shops I've come by and Noah Finn had his first dish last week . . . funnily enough, with a little German friend of his also named Noah. The two Noah's eagerly dove head first into their bowls of broth, tofu, noodles, wood ear mushrooms and fresh basil, bean sprouts and lime. So much so that they were covered from head to toe in rice noodles resembling something of a Pollack food painting. My friend, Caro, documented the aftermath with her iPhone.

I'm guessing we'll have to Pho again real soon. Noah clearly dug it.


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