Wednesday, July 30, 2008

go ahead and make fun of me...

As most stay at home moms can hopefully attest, sometimes it is a struggle to come up with things to do throughout the day. The summer heat combined with the fact that Cam adores being outside so he can run around makes it difficult. So on a day when we have already been to 1 or 2 parks and I don't want to spend money on gas to drive somewhere far, we resort to our good ol' standby, Walmart. Go ahead, I can imagine the jokes formulating in your mind. Walmart?? Why of course! It's air conditioned, within 5 minutes of our house, free, and most of all Cam loves it!

We have our typical ritual when we travel to Walmart. We first stop off to visit the "fishies".



Once we are done with that, Cam announces that it is time for "book, book!!". So we head over to the children's book section. Cam has three favorites that we always read.


After this we head over to the grocery section where I usually need to get one or two items. So go ahead and make fun of us. :) It might sound a little pathetic to you. But if it does, you probably don't have a toddler anxious to get out of the house, and mom equally so!

Monday, July 28, 2008

condos

One of the things I love to do when we are out with friends is to ask questions that get the conversation going. I think I got this from my mom. The questions range from would you rather ones to just interesting topics. I think I've kind of rubbed off on Chris in this area as he has come up with some really good ones. This past week as we were sitting outside relaxing with our friend Jana, he asked a good one. If you could own three condos, where would they be? Rules: You have to take into account the fact that you will need to pay for transportation to each place as well as take the time to get there (meaning a place like Italy would require the long trip). Here are mine...what would your choices be?

1. Santa Barbara: I love this town! I love the beach, the boardwalk that is great for riding bikes/jogging, downtown shopping, restaurants, weather, and the list goes on.
2. San Diego: This is such a great all around city. There are tons of things to do, amusement parks, great malls, great weather, Coronado island, etc.
3. Las Vegas: Chris and I love this city. While Chris does like black jack, we aren't really the gambling/drinking type, which many people assume when I say we love the place. We actually love people watching, walking around the hotels, eating out, etc.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

morro bay

I can't believe we have been gone an entire week! Last Saturday we drove up to Morro Bay to spend time with Chris's family. We had a wonderful time! Chris and I have always been short vacationers. After 2-3 days, we are ready to come home. However we didn't get that way this time and loved each day we got to spend with the family. The weather was about 20 degrees cooler than it has been here which was a great change! While it is nice to get home, unpacked, and back to our routine (especially the sleep routine since that was somewhat of a struggle area for Cam), we sure will miss everyone. Here are some highlights...

Both on the trip there and back we stopped in Santa Barbara to give Cam some play time. I LOVE Santa Barbara. Here is Cam on the Carousel, which he adored. As we walked away he kept saying, "bye, bye horsie!".



Cam loved, loved the beach. He would have stood here for hours if we would have let him, just enjoying the waves go in and out over his feet. Poor thing was shivering it was so cold, but he did not want to be taken away from the "awa" (water). FYI, he has socks in because there were lot of tiny sand crabs that would bite his feet.





One of the nice parts in renting a house is that the adults can hang out once the kids go down for bed. Here my brother in law was teaching a few of us Settlers of Catan. Here are my thoughts: It is an interesting game, however it does require a lot of strategy/thinking. Since Cam was born, my "me" time has become a lot less frequent and all the more precious. I'm not sure I'm too motivated to devote it to something like this. I definitely couldn't play it for hours on end as I know many people do.



It was great for Cam to be around his two nieces for the week. In fact, it was great for him to be around everyone for so long. We were hesitant about how he would do since he tends to get overwhelmed pretty easily. Thankfully he did great and seemed to not mind at all living in a house full of people for a week.





Our friends Matt and Jana (and their two kids) came to stay the last part of the week. On Friday night, we left for a dinner out once the kids were down.

Friday, July 18, 2008

bittersweet


Today I took Cam to a meeting with his Occupational Therapist (Ned), as well as another OT. Ned and I have felt for a while that Cam has improved so much that he might not need to see Ned anymore. Our feelings were confirmed by the other OT. Some of the issues that Cam still has, like his difficulty in feeling overwhelmed by groups of people or his sensitivity to certain textures and sounds (getting sticky things on his hands, getting upset at certain noises) are each areas that the OT said he will just grow out of. "Experience" will be our best friend with these things, meaning the more exposure I give him to groups of people and different textures/sounds, the more he'll get used to them and grow out of his discomfort.

So while it is exciting that Cam continues to literally progress himself out of his therapies, it was sad to leave Ned, knowing we will probably never see her again. She was a wonderful, sweet woman who helped us immensely over the past few months and we'll never forget her!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

WHAT'S THE SECRET????

Lately Cam's naps have been so unpredictable. Until a few weeks ago, he was a consistent one hour nap per day. However lately he has given us several 2+ hour naps and it has been fabulous!! Chris teases me because on those days I tend to wander around aimlessly because I'm not used to having that much time to myself. However he also has taken 45 minute naps on some days. What gives?

I'm dying to understand this and to figure out what makes the difference between the short and long naps. I've varied the time I put him down, even varied who puts him down (oddly he seems to sleep longer when Chris puts him down). Why can't there be some simple formula for this so I could guarantee good naps??

(disclaimer: I realize this issue is sooo minor compared to other issues in our world today, and it isn't like I'm losing sleep over it...but it sure would be nice to understand!)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

if you like blue cheese

Blue cheese is one of those things that people either love or hate. I happen to love it. If you do as well, I have a great recipe for a sauce/dip. This is great as a topping for chicken sandwiches, steak sandwiches, or even cold on a turkey sandwich. But again, you really have to like blue cheese because it is a strong flavor!

1 tbls. olive oil
1/4 cup beer
1/3 cup bacon bits (real bacon)
1 tbls. minced garlic
2 cups fresh chopped spinach
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, choppped
1/4 cup ritz crackers
3/4 cup blue cheese

Combine first 4 ingredients in a saucepan and heat through. Add spinach and cook until wilted (1-2 minutes). Add remaining ingredients and serve warm.

I was browsing through our pictures today and came across a few that I wanted to post:

I've always wandered past these little "rides" at places like Walmart and thought how lame they were. Could it really be fun to sit and them and slowly (very slowly) rock back and forth? If you are an almost 2 year old, of course!! Don't be fooled by his zoned out face...he loved it!



I love this picture simply because he just looks so old (and quite handsome)!


This is a picture from the 4th of July. We met Jen and Eric at the park for a picnic.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

shopping, cheese, and chocolate

Yesterday I took the afternoon and evening off from mommy-duty and went shopping and out to dinner with some friends. We had such a fun time. After a couple hours of shopping at Victoria Gardens (where I got a $60 pair of capris from Express for $17!!!), we headed over to The Melting Pot for dinner. The 6 of us had such a fun time together and if it weren't for my early bedtime, I could have stayed out much longer!



So here are my thoughts on the Melting Pot, which for those that don't know is a fondue restaurant. Chris and I had been there once before for dinner. It isn't a very budget friendly place. If you ask Chris what he thinks about the place, he'll say, "I will NEVER go there again. I left having spent way too much on dinner and still was hungry. Not a good combo!". I would agree. To go for dinner is a little much to spend, in my opinion. But to go for appetizers (cheese fondu) and dessert (chocolate fondue), is much cheaper and very filling (for girls anyway, probably not for guys).

Monday, July 14, 2008

chocolate whipped cream please

I've been doing pretty well with my Starbucks "allotment" I mentioned a couple months back. I've stayed at or under my 6 drinks per month. Did I want more? Umm...of course!! But it hasn't been that hard. Here are a few random thoughts on Starbucks:

*In no particular order, here are my favorite cold drinks: Caramel Frapp, Coffee Frapp with chocolate whipped cream, Java Chip Frapp

*The only hot drink I really like is the White Chocolate Mocha, which I rarely get. The reason? I HAVE to have my drinks scalding hot in order to enjoy them. Because of this, I down my hot drinks in about 10 minutes. To spend $4 on a ten minute pleasure seems really dumb. But oh they sure are good.

*Favorite baked goods (which I haven't gotten in years because most are pretty much heart attacks with icing): Maple Oat Scone, Vanilla Almond Biscotti, Crumb coffee cake

*Favorite drink of all time: For a while during college, my friend Cheryl and I would typically get a frapp every Tuesday night along with renting a movie. All our other friends had class that night. Since we got to know our Starbucks guy, he would make us a special treat. A venti caramel frapp with whipped cream on the bottom of the cup as well as on top. Mmmm...

*For the past several years, every single road trip Chris and I have gone on has always started with a frapp. They typically take me 2-3 hours to finish, so they are prefect for the long road ahead.

Ok that's all. Probably a little pathetic that I dedicated a whole post to my favorite drinks, but maybe one person might at least be interested. :)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I've come to realize...

Here you go Jessica!

1. I've come to realize that my legs...are sometimes like jelly at night due to the influx of "mama, mama, baka, baka!!!" (bike rides)

2. I've come to realize that my job.....is the most rewarding thing I'll ever do in my life...ever

3. I've come to realize that when I'm driving.....I need to be thankful I have a car as I pass the city bus stops in the 100 degree heat

4. I've come to realize that I need... to not be as stressed out of a mommy whenever we have another one

6. I've come to realize that I hate it when... people are rude to sales clerks for things they have no control over (like the price of an item)

7. I've come to realize that if I'm drunk...it won't be from alcohol but probably a dessert induced coma of eating too much

8. I've come to realize that money...can't buy a loving family

9. I've come to realize that certain people...only know how to talk in a conversation, not listen

10. I've come to realize that I'll always be....."my kid's mom"

11. I've come to realize that I have a crush on...or "had" a crush on Kirk Cameron...yes I had a huge poster in my room!

12. I've come to realize that my mom...is pretty much perfect

13. I've come to realize that my cell phone is... something I feel naked without

14. I've come to realize that when I woke up this morning...I was again grateful for a good nights' sleep, something I'll never take for granted again

15. I've come to realize that last night before I went to sleep...it was very calming to lie in bed reading Psalms

16. I've come to realize that right now I am thinking about....how I don't want to clean the kitchen

17. I've come to realize that my dad....cares more about the poor and needy than anyone I know

18. I've come to realize that when I get on Myspace...it will be the first time in months...not a huge fan

19. I've come to realize that today...I'm looking forward to seeing Jen and Ella

20. I've come to realize that tonight...Chris is cooking me dinner and I'm always excited to see what he comes up with

21. I've come to realize that tomorrow...I have nursery duty, which isn't the most fun thing in the world

22. I've come to realize that I really want to....take Cam to Disneyland in the near future

Thursday, July 10, 2008

baka, baka, baka

Cameron LOVES, LOVES, LOVES bike rides. A few times a day he'll go to the back door and say "baka, baka, baka" (his version of bike ride). Typically I'll take him twice a day. The morning ride is so nice and refreshing. It helps wake me up since my little stinker wakes up so early (5:20 yesterday morning...lovely).

The afternoon rides are...ummm...not quite like the morning ones. I guess there is something about 100 degree, humid heat that makes riding a bike not the most refreshing. But he still loves it just the same!



Due to the heat, I've been trying to think of dinners that don't require the oven. I realized that many casseroles don't have to be baked. If all the ingredients are already cooked, why not just cook it in the skillet? So tonight we are having Taco Bake on the stove, rather than 45 minutes at 350. Hopefully it will help as I don't even want to know what our air conditioning bill is this month!

p.s. Chris and I just rented "Flawless". It is a very good movie and I would recommend it. It isn't amazing, but still worth the $5 Blockbuster fee.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

question

If you could plan a kid-free (if you have kids)day/evening, what would it entail? Mine would be:
Location: Santa Babara
-start off with a walk on the beach with Chris to some coffee shop
-come back and relax/watch tv for a while
-go shopping on main street and eat lunch
-go to a movie
-come back and sit on our balcony while reading magazines
-go to a yummy dinner (maybe Palazzio's....sooo yummy!)

Monday, July 7, 2008

graham crackers

So I finally attempted my homemade graham crackers. These are Cam's favorite snack and we go through them like water. Since they do have a trace amount of trans fats, I decided to make my own and see what I could come up with. They actually turned out pretty well. They are crunchy, just not quite as tasty as the store bought ones. They are very labor intensive so I'm not sure how much motivation I'll continue to have in making them. I suppose I could make a huge batch and freeze them, but that would be a several hour event that I'm not too sure I'm up for. I'm not going to post the recipe because I doubt anyone will want to take the time, but in case you do, leave me a comment and I'll email it to you. Or you can just search for them on allrecipes.com, which is where I got the recipe.



Thought this was a cute picture. Makes me want to fall asleep just looking at it! Gotta love the belly!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

too good

I know this is my second post of the day, but I couldn't pass up sharing another great thing from Dr. Laura. And for those of you who say, "She's too harsh", or "She's too opinionated", I would challenge you to just give her a try. If you can get past that, she has such great wisdom and like I have said before, she has made such a huge impact on the type of wife and mother I am. Not that I'm perfect, but she sure has helped me to never stop trying to improve.

Anyway, here is the call (not word for word...this is from memory):

Caller: I'm having trouble because my husband just doesn't do things for me very much and I feel like I give more than he does. For instance, we just had our 10th anniversary and he didn't even give me a card.
Dr. Laura: Hmmm, did he do anything for the anniversary?
Caller: Well, a friend from work was able to get us a discount on a hotel room so we did go away for the night.
Dr. Laura: So your husband coordinated a night away, took care of childcare, took you to a nice dinner, and you are complaining about a card??? Wow. It is women like you that make me think if I were a guy, I'd rather be gay.

Pretty good reminder to not major on the minors...huh?? :)

hotel tramps

Yes, Cam and I have become quite the hotel tramps. As you recall, last week we visited the Palm Desert Marriott and swam in their pool for the morning. Yesterday we visited a different hotel and did the same. Chris has found a golf course near the resort that has super cheap rounds (seeing as it is sooo hot). So we dropped him off and then headed over to the hotel (with a quick, but necessary stop at Starbucks!). Cam again loved the pool and I was excited to find that they have a kiddie pool that is only 1 1/2 feet deep! The three of us are able to tolerate the heat simply because we head out once Cam gets up. So yesterday Cam and I started our swim at about 8:00 a.m.!

Kicking back at Starbucks


Kiddie pool...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

pre Cam vs. post Cam

One of the things I've learned as a mom is that you NEVER know what is behind the way someone parents. I think many girls have loads of opinions on how they are going to tackle mommyhood before they actually have a child. It is interesting to see how many of those opinions change. I have become soooo much less judgmental when it comes to how other moms handle different aspects of mommyhood. Granted, there are views I still hold and still feel strongly about, but in most areas I've learned to never judge moms because you just don't have all the facts! For instance:

Crying it out: Before Cam, my thought was, "Well, if I know he needs to sleep, I won't have a problem at all letting him cry. It is just something he'll need to do!". While I did have to let him cry it out when I was working on getting a full night's sleep, it was SOO much harder than I could have ever imagined. So do I judge a mom that has a child who has an older baby that still doesn't sleep through the night? Absolutely not!

Eating: I used to think, "My baby will eat what I place before him. If he doesn't, so be it!". Granted, this is an attitude I need to adopt a little more, but I have definitely fallen into the pattern of feeding Cam what I know he'll eat, rather than what I want him to eat and know he'll refuse. Yes, I know this needs to end at some point...but never again will I look down on a mom who brings her own food with her for her child when they come over to dinner. :)

Fussiness/crying: This is a HUGE area for me. Before Cam, I used to see babies that fussed a lot and figured it was strictly the parent's fault. Enter Cam. While we are so blessed that Cam didn't fall on the spectrum of Autism, he still has a few sensory issues that we are learning how to cope/deal with. For instance, we were invited to some friends house on Sunday for a bbq. They have 4 cute kids. The minute we stepped through their door, Cam flipped a switch and would not stop crying and clinging to me for a good hour. He was just too overwhelmed with all the noise and the strange surroundings. Would I love a kid who I could bring anyplace and would acclimate right away? Of course! But I don't have that and I'm learning how to help him through these times. Anyway, if it weren't for the fact that our friends have had experience with a child with sensory issues, we would have been out the door after 20 minutes. But we knew they understood EXACTLY what we were going through and weren't judging us. So we stuck it out and eventually Cam got comfortable and relaxed. Most people would have seen Cam's behavior and thought, "What is his problem?". But there is just so much more to the picture.

On an unrelated note, Cam has started counting to 10! As a disclaimer, his "numbers" are really only understandable to us, but they are the same every time so we know what he is trying to say. What helped him learn this? Costco of course! He loves the carpet samples and I will always count as he turns the "pages". See for yourself...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSRRyCpSB1I