Thursday, July 30, 2015

My Toddler and our Pets


We all have fond memories of stories like, The Jungle Book and Tarzan; where small children are raised by wild animals and somehow grow into valiant young men.  These are the kinds of stories that we assume can only exist in the pages of a fantasy book, but after raising a toddler with 2 dogs and a cat I start to wonder.  Maybe if I wasn't here Ethan's animal caretakers would do an OK job.

What Ethan has learned from our animals:

1. Take care of your mess: Our dogs love to kick grass and dirt over their excrement.  One day Ethan noticed this and thought it was hilarious.  Ever since then I have caught him going to the bathroom in his diaper and if he's on the grass he quickly kicks grass behind him.

2. Independence: Our dogs are very good at using their dog door.  A few weeks ago Ethan ran to the dog door and took a head first leap into it before I could stop him.  He then proceeded to scream, "Help, Ethan stuck!" It was one of those moments when I thought, "Oh my gosh, I have to get my camera!" But my camera was out of reach, and Ethan was scared, so I helped him out of the dog door instead.

3. Protecting your home and family: Chloe and Mica are chihuahua terrier mixes, so of course they are incredibly yappy.  They have taught Ethan that the mail man is their arch nemesis and that anytime he comes around, or any slight noise is heard, that they must bark angrily or our house will be invaded and destroyed.  Now when any sudden movement or noise is heard I not only have 2 barking dogs, I also have a barking toddler.

4. Always show gratitude: At first Ethan would get scared when the dogs licked him, but we explained that that was their way of telling him they loved him.  So naturally when Ethan wants to show gratitude and love he also licks now.  We have even caught him grooming our dog Mica on many occasions; yes, it's exactly what you are imagining.

5. Being Resourceful: On more than one occasion I have found Ethan trying to drink out of the dogs' water bowl.  Although his own water cup was just a few steps away.  After watching the dogs take what looks like refreshing slurps all day long why not give it a try? He has also curled up in their dog beds when needing a short rest.
Pauli insisted on having her photo done at
Sears for this post.

6. Know your surroundings: One day Ethan saw the dogs smelling leaves and twigs on our walk, he asked me what they were doing.  I told him that that's how dogs can tell where they are going and who has been there before.  Now if Ethan is checking something out for the first time he makes sure to give it a really good sniff.  I'm really trying to teach him that we don't sniff strangers though.

7. Using his imagination:  We mustn't forget our cat, Pauli.  Ethan loves her very much because she is very mysterious.  He has created an alter ego which I call Gatito (cat in Spanish). When Ethan becomes Gatito he meows, purrs, rubs against you to show you affection, and crawls underneath tables.  I have found Gatito to be a great listener, rule follower, and have a very good appetite.  When Ethan's having a hard time following directions I even ask for Gatito to come out and play, he's been a great addition to the family.

At some point Jeff and I decided that all of this madness wasn't enough, we had too much time on our hands and not enough to do.  So we recently adopted a Leopard Gecko who we named Noodles (Ethan's favorite food).  He hasn't been here long enough for Ethan to pick up any useful skills, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.
One of my favorite childhood images is that of Nana, the dog from Peter Pan.  As I child I would daydream about having a dog for a nanny, and I always felt that she did a great job.  At this point I'm ready to go out and buy 3 small bonnets, because in all honesty I think our pets are doing a pretty good job of keeping our toddler in line.

If you're interested in reading about the benefits of raising kids with dogs from a scientific standpoint here's a link to my sister's (she's a microbiologist) blog post on Furry Friends and Beneficial Bugs

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Changing My Outlook

This is a picture that Jeff took of me when
I was pregnant with Ethan.
I spent my teens and 20's disliking the way that I looked.  I was filled with self-doubt and I would knit-pick every aspect of my physical appearance.  I've spent years trying to overcome this unhealthy view of myself, and in the last few years I started to notice a big change.

The most recent change occurred with this pregnancy.  Up until now, at 34 weeks pregnant I've been thinking, "Wow, I'm a really in shape pregnant person, with a tiny little belly."  Then I'll be walking by a mirror in the mall, glance casually at it and think,"Look at that huge pregnant lady! Oh my gosh that's me!"  A lot of it has to do with this being my second baby. When I was pregnant with Ethan I was very aware of my growing bump, but with Alice there is so much going on that I often forget I'm already in my third trimester.  One minute I'm crawling around on the floor pretending to be a lion, the next I'm sprinting down the street because a breeze blew the door open and Ethan has super human speed. Who has time to acknowledge their belly at a time like this?

When I look back over the last couple of years, I realize that as time has passed so has my outlook.  Even before being pregnant I would get ready for an evening out with Jeff, pick a nice outfit, do my hair, make-up then look in the mirror before leaving and think, "Wow, I look really good! I mean, I'm not going to be approached by a talent agent and asked to be whisked away to Milan for the next fashion show, but for me, I look good."

Don't women usually have the opposite problem, especially as they age? They look in the mirror, think everything looks terrible, criticize every aspect of their physical appearance and curse every outfit in their wardrobe.  Why is it that I seem to have a magic mirror image of myself, especially after years of doing the opposite? I've thought about it a lot, and I've brainstormed a few possible reasons:
  1. I'm kinder to myself: A few years ago I read an article about how women are so much harder on themselves than we are on other people, and how detrimental that is to our self-esteem.  The article recommended that when you look into the mirror, instead of criticizing yourself act as if you're looking at your best friend and they've just asked you how they look, what would you say to them?  Ever since I started doing that I really did become so much kinder to myself.  I often even hear my best friends' voices as I'm looking in the mirror and imagine what they would say about my reflection.
  2. I've found someone that appreciates me: My significant other makes me feel absolutely gorgeous.  Now I know you shouldn't depend on another person to make you feel good about yourself, and I don't, but someone else's view of you can definitely be infectious.  Knowing that when my husband looks at me he sees the most beautiful person (both inside and out), a person he's committed his whole life to, makes me feel so incredibly special that it permeates my entire being, it completely consumes me.  The best part is it doesn't end when I'm pregnant, he's so in awe of the fact that I'm growing our amazing little babies that I feel more beautiful than ever while I hobble around like a watermelon being held up by toothpicks.
  3. I love my age: Being 31 is awesome! I had been so unhappy with my looks all the way up until I turned 30.  I'm so appreciative of everything I have and how I look now.  I've come to love my life so much and how I look at myself has completely transformed in my 30's. 
  4. Pregnancy has transformed me: Being pregnant has made me really get to know and love my body.  After carrying my children I look at myself so differently.  My body is a powerhouse, it grows and nourishes humans, what's not to love about that?  
  5. I feel truly blessed:  When I was younger and I would complain about my looks my mom would always say, "You should be happy that you have legs that can walk, eyes that can see, etc." and go into lengthy descriptions of people she's seen at the hospital that aren't so lucky.  It used to annoy me so much, but as I've grown older I've realized that every time I got advice like that from my mom, she was right.  I can no longer dislike a body that has given me so much, one that goes to work for 8 hours a day, commutes 80 min. every day, and comes home to play with an imaginative and very hyper toddler all while pregnant.  None of this has just fallen into my lap, it's a true blessing from above and I don't want to take it for granted anymore.  
  6. I'm insane: Last but not least, I may just be crazy.  Instead of pointing out every flaw I choose to see the good things I have to offer, and probably even enhance them a little in my mind. After all the self-doubt and scrutiny I've put myself through over the years, a little bit of crazy is OK with me.
Does all this mean that I walk around in a state of euphoria, always content with my looks? Of course not, I'm human for goodness sake.  My changing hormones can turn me into a psychotic monster at times, but I've found a happy medium where I'm able to love and enjoy the person I've become, while occasionally battling the monsters that still try to knock me down.

Has anyone else experienced a change in their personal outlook after a major life event? I'd love to hear your stories!

Friday, July 17, 2015

...on being pregnant

This was my most recent maternity shoot
with Andmade Photography from
Ventura, CA.  She does all of our family
pictures, I absolutely adore her work!

Before we get into my post I would like to announce our giveaway winner.  Our winner is, Heather Cong! Thank you to those that participated, I loved reading about your Superkids.
Please e-mail so that I can redeem your prize.

Warning: The blog you are about to read may contain material that is not suitable for those that are made to feel uncomfortable by TMI.  If you are grossed out easily, some points may be too much for you to handle (I personally don't think they're that bad but I've had people get grossed out when I talk about throwing-up so just wanted to make sure I don't weird anyone out too much).

There are 2 types of people you encounter when you're pregnant.  The first group comes up to you and says, "Oh my gosh, you are huge!" You smile politely, and nod your head while saying something like, "Well I am in my third trimester," but inside you're thinking, my midwife thinks I'm at a healthy weight, I don't eat a lot, oh my gosh am I really that big?  The second group comes up to you and says, "Oh my gosh, you're so tiny! What are you like 23 weeks pregnant?" This being asked when you're around 33 weeks pregnant makes you feel like an Olympic athlete.  You stand up straighter, wind blows through your hair, and you can hear the crowd cheering for you as you receive the most fit pregnant person medal.  Both of these responses help to even you out though, and make you realize that everyone comes to the table with a different perspective.

This is my perspective on being pregnant:

  1. I LOVE it! I absolutely love being pregnant, it's almost addicting.  To be pregnant is to truly experience a miracle.  Every time I feel Alice move I love to imagine her tucked inside of me so snug and comfortable. Knowing that she is loved and cared for.  That being said, being pregnant is no walk in the park, so lets get real.
  2. I'm exhausted: I always get pregnancy insomnia. Not being able to breathe, move, and having a husband that snores doesn't help much either.  I read a post once that when you get pregnancy insomnia you should stay in bed, relax, and not do anything stimulating.  I've tried doing that and first of all it doesn't help, second of all it's incredibly boring.  So instead I've been catching up on Vampire Diaries, my guiltiest of guilty pleasures.
  3. I have to always be prepared for an accident: If you're grossed out easily skip this point please.  When you are pregnant your body releases hormones that loosen your muscles to get ready for labor.  This in turn loosens muscles that you don't usually think about.  On top of that this is my second pregnancy and I was not very loyal to my kegel exercises (get where I'm going with this?)  I always have to have a change of underwear or I am constantly wearing a light days pad.  One unexpected sneeze, cough, or sudden movement and there's no way I'm holding it in. 
  4. I can't breathe! I've always struggled with allergies so when I'm pregnant and the pregnancy allergies kick in, I'm not able to breathe out of my nose for about 4 months.  Now that I'm in my 3rd trimester and Alice is quite large she's crowding my lungs and every breath becomes a struggle.  I've actually had a few panic attacks because I get to the point where I feel as if I'm suffocating.
  5. Pain:I am always in pain. Either my back hurts, my feet hurt, my joints hurt, or I'm having braxton hicks contractions.  I get to a point where I forget what it feels like to not be in pain, it becomes my new normal.
  6. The differences:  Both of my pregnancies have had their fair share of differences so you never can prepare and know what to expect with each one.  With Ethan: I had multiple food aversions, couldn't stop stuffing my face with potatoes, ended up in the hospital because he kicked me in the kidney, and he kicked and moved like crazy! With Alice: Very bad heartburn and indigestion, spotting, cramping, a lot of mucus discharge, and intense braxton hicks contractions.

Jeff took this photo when I was around 8 months pregnant with Ethan.
If you haven't had a baby, my intention is not to scare you into getting your tubes tied, it's to be honest and real about pregnancy.  I started with the fact that I love being pregnant because even after all of the things I've mention (and much more) I wouldn't trade this experience for the world.  When people ask me how I'm doing, for the most part, I say I'm great.  All in all I truly do feel happiest when I'm pregnant and although we're all ready for it to be over by the 9th month, I definitely have a moment where I have to accept that I won't be able to carry my precious child around with me. It's bittersweet, and I'm so thankful that I get to experience it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Product Tuesday: ChillyKnits Shop

*I was not compensated for this post.  This is a product that I love, have purchased, and wanted to share with my readers.

I am fortunate enough to have friends and family that are incredibly talented.  One of those talented friends has opened up the etsy shop ChillyKnits, with really cute attire and decor for kids.  A month ago she had a giveaway on Instagram for a really cool Superhero Shirt and I was lucky enough to win! I never win anything, the odds were definitely in my favor that day.  Ever since we received the shirt it's become one of Ethan's and my favorite shirts.

Superhero Shirt

 One of the things I really love about the Superhero shirt is that the cape is made from a recycled adult T-shirt. These shirts are adorable and are helping reduce the amount of waste we put out, score! Since ChillyKnits uses recycled materials Katie will post the shirt size and shield/cape colors that she has available.  You are then able to request what you would like on the shield and what design you would like on the cape.

Peace Flags

After the superhero shirt was such a hit in our household I decided to order another item from ChillyKnits.  Katie makes Peace Flags which you can use to decorate a child's room or garden area.  Ethan's room is adventure themed and I thought that the peace flags would fit in perfectly.  The flags are also made from reused adult T-shirts, so Katie put together colors that went with his decor and I asked her to stencil Chumash symbols onto the flags.  Jeff likes to hike, and one of the places he visits has Chumash symbols painted onto the cave walls.  He can't wait until he gets to take Ethan to those caves and talk to him about our area's history, and Jeff liked the idea of introducing the symbols to him on his flags.  The Chumash peace flags were a perfect addition to Ethan's room and he loves looking up at them daily.

Our giveaway is now closed, winner was announced on the '...on being pregnant' post.  Thank you to all who participated!

As I continue to blog I'm really taken aback by the support and love that I've been receiving from my readers.  Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my posts.  As a thank you from So Much Time, So Little to Do! I am hosting my first giveaway.  One lucky winner will win a superhero kids shirt.  You will be able to choose the child's size, shield and cape stencil.

There are 2 steps to enter, you MUST do both in order to be entered into the giveaway:

  1. Comment below telling me who the superkid/s in your life are (if you are having a difficult time leaving a comment please send me an e-mail or a message on facebook).
  2. Follow ChillyKnits on Instagram or Faceboook

I will choose a winner at random on Friday, July 17th, and will announce it on my Friday blog post.  Please make sure you check on Friday to see if you won, so that you can claim your prize.  Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor! (Just in case you're wondering, I am completely obsessed with The Hunger Games.)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

My Home Birth Plan

Ethan's first day in the hospital.
People love knowing other people's business, it's why we all love reality TV right?  Please don't think that I'm judging, I'll be the first to make a bag of popcorn and binge watch 5 hours of the Kardashians.  For that reason I realized that I never shared my birth plan and that there may be people out there that are curious.  I'm going to start by giving some background info on my last birth plan.

Ethan's Birth

When I was pregnant with Ethan I had a midwife and was planning on having a homebirth.  I also had an OB that I met with in case I had to transfer to the hospital.  I went into labor the day before my due date and everything was textbook. I thought to myself, "Wow I'm going to pop this little guy out in like 10 hours, yes!" Fast forward 16 hours into heavy labor and I was still 2 cm. dilated.  My contractions were every 2 minutes and I was having 2-3 at a time.  I was 100% effaced but I just wasn't dilating.  I was having excruciating back labor and to this day we've wondered if I was just in too much pain to relax and dilate.  At that point my midwife and I decided that I was going to go to the hospital to receive whatever intervention was needed.  At the hospital I had pitocin, epidural, and my water broken.  I know what you're thinking. I went from planning a homebirth to having practically every intervention.  I've always been the kind of person that loves to plan and be prepared, but as I've gotten older I've realized that they are just plans, nothing is set in stone, and I need to be flexible when things don't go the way I expected them to.  That's exactly what I did. I had really wanted a homebirth but that didn't work out, so I was open to the new plan, a vaginal birth in the hospital.

It took 9 more hours before I was fully dilated and then 2.5 hours of pushing.  I was exhausted and running a fever, Ethan's heartbeat became irregular and at that point the doctor told me he really needed to get Ethan out.  My OB knew that as open to change as I was I did not want a C-section as long as it was safe for Ethan and me. So he suggested an episiotomy and vacuum extraction and I said, "YES!"  The NICU was there but Ethan was given a clean bill of health in what felt like 5 seconds and handed to me as quickly as possible.  I had my little miracle, and still couldn't believe he was mine to take home.

The Aftermath

The day after giving birth to Ethan, I have to admit, was a difficult day for me.  I kept asking myself why I knew so many women who were able to give birth at home but I wasn't.  Why was my body 100% effaced but not dilating?  Was I not as strong as other women? Was there something wrong with my body?  I didn't feel regret at having gone to the hospital, or at having received the interventions, because in my heart I knew that that's what I had needed to get through the birth, but I was disappointed in the fact that my body hadn't worked the way millions of other women's bodies worked.  After talking to my midwife and some very supportive friends and family who had had their children both at home and in the hospital, I came to realize that it wasn't my fault, and it wasn't my body's fault.  I was grateful for having the opportunity to labor at home, and I felt that I received wonderful care both at home and at the hospital.

Current Birth Plan

You're probably thinking that after all that I must be planning on having Alice in the hospital.  It's quite the opposite actually.  The care that I received throughout my pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum were so extraordinary that I was more than happy to give homebirth another try.  I really love my midwife and OB and I trust them completely.  I feel that they made all the right calls during my birth and in the end I did get a vaginal birth, which had been my main goal.  Just like last time, I have all of my homebirth supplies ready, but I also have my hospital bag set to go.  I would love to be able to birth Alice at home, but I've been praying that whatever is safest for my baby and myself is what comes to fruition.  I have complete faith that, just like last time, we will be taken care of and although I nervously await the event, I can't wait to meet my little girl.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Product Tuesday: The Jim Gaffigan Show

*Like all of my Product Tuesday posts this post is not sponsored by anyone, especially not the Jim Gaffigan show.  Although it would be a dream of mine to be contacted by the network representing his show I'm sure their advertising team has better places to advertise than on obscure mom blogs.  If his show does advertise on mom blogs then I think it's time to get a new advertisement team Jim.

My favorite comedian is Jim Gaffigan.  If you have not heard of him you need to finish reading my post and then watch the clips I have included, the man is hilarious.  He jokes about being a dad, loving fast food, disliking healthy food, it's like he's reading my mind!  One of my favorite aspects of his stand-up is that he doesn't cuss (yes, I'm one of those old people that thinks there's too much cussing on The MTV), and is the kind of comedian I could watch with my mom, which is a major plus.  I have comedians I enjoy, but none that I relate to as much as him.

For our anniversary Jeff and I are going to be going to his stand-up comedy show in Los Angeles and I can't contain how excited I am to see him in person.  His last stand-up special is on Netflix and is entitled Mr. Universe. If you haven't watched it I highly recommend it. He has also written 2 books, Dad is Fat and Food: A Love Story.  Which I have not read but plan on reading, since I have so much free time on my hands of course.

Even more exciting than all the cool things I've already mentioned is the real reason for this post.  On July 15th The Jim Gaffigan Show will be premiering on TV Land.  I already watched the first 2 episodes on iTunes and they are hysterical.  After Ethan went to bed Jeff and I had a full on laugh fest watching Jim's show, which portrays his life with his wife and 5 children in a 2 bedroom apartment in New York.

For your viewing pleasure I've attached some of my favorite YouTube clips of Jim Gaffigan and I highly recommend that you tune in to his show.

Deep down we all love McDonald's, I know I do...

I often quote Jim when people ask me why I'm having a homebirth.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Eating our Veggies

Ethan is really good at finding Zucchinis.

If you talk to my mom about my childhood she loves telling stories about what a picky eater I was.  She constantly reminded me that if I had children that were picky eaters it was only fair for all the grief I had put her through.  As an adult I wasn't much better, but being married to someone that was once hoping to become a chef doesn't lend itself to being a picky eater.  Ever since we started dating Jeff has worked very hard to break me of my food aversions, and he's done a really good job.  Once we had Ethan we came up with a game plan for how we'd make our son a wonderful eater with a very diverse pallet.  Like all new parents we had no idea what we were talking about.  Ethan was a really good eater at first but once he realized he could say no to things, we literally had meals where all he did was lick the ketchup off of his food.

Now that the summer has started we have found that growing our own vegetables really helps with his eating.  He loves going into the garden, finding the ripe fruits and vegetables, and helping us pick them.  Most of the time they don't even make it inside, he usually eats the cherry tomatoes and green beans right off of the vine.  Which is fine by me, as long as it's getting eaten I don't care when or where it's happening.

Most bloggers would now go into a lengthy description of how to tend a garden but I am well known for my black thumb.  I am very proud of the succulents that I've kept alive for almost a year now.  Before you tell me that succulents are impossible to kill, making my feat unimpressive, you must know that this is my 3rd attempt at growing succulents.  Like all of the things that people find impressive about our home I give Jeff full credit for our garden.

The moral of this post is that if you want your kids to eat more vegetables try growing some and involving them in the process.  If you live in a small apartment or condo no need to worry, I know plenty of people that grow tomatoes and other small fruits and veggies on their balconies or condo porches.  The second moral is don't take any gardening advice from me, but you're in luck. Since the internet was invented we have the world at our fingertips, so you can just Google it!


Sweet Peppers
Green Beans

Unfortunately, these are the tomato vultures, they've eaten more tomatoes than we have.
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