When you accidentally lock your baby in the car…

I’m not gonna say whether or not this happened. But let’s just say if it did, it was a complete and utter accident, never in my life would I have thought that this could happen to me and I would do anything in my power so that it never happens again. Lo and behold…

THERE’S A SOLUTION!:

Key Holder
Image Source: Magnetic Key- Holder, amazon.com

Place a spare key in this magnetic key holder and hide it somewhere underneath your car, an accessible location only you would know. It costs less than $5 and will save you an afternoon worth of stress.

That way, in the event that you lock yourself out of the car, with all your precious belongings inside (*cough*including your own offspring*cough*), you know how to get back in without calling AAA or panicking and breaking the window open with a gigantic rock.

Again, I’m not saying this actually happened.

Any other life hacks you know about? 

Weekend Warriors 1: J. Paul Getty Museum

Thanks to Chris’s recent stint on The Price Is Right, we acquired a brand new Canon 60D to toy with. I’m by no means a great photographer, but now that I have the tools at my disposal, I let my index finger go snap happy at our weekend trip to the J. Paul Getty Museum here in Los Angeles.

This is one of our favorite places to visit in Los Angeles because, sure there’s artwork and a stellar view from the ocean to downtown, but beyond that the architecture of the pavilions, with their stunning lines and curves, are UH-MAY-ZING. They cast a perfect shadow over the garden lawn in the afternoon, which prompts you to relax in the grass after perusing the artwork. Josephine was running around like a maniac, rolling in down the grassy hills and sneaking up on strangers, extending her fingers ready to tickle their bare toes until I gave her the “NO” look. STRANGERS, BEWARE!

These shots aren’t perfect, and frankly my Photoshop editing has plenty of room for improvement. But if you bear with me through these weekend shooting sessions I’m bound to get some good shots. Hope you enjoy!

Loree In Front of Sign copyChris and Jo copy Jo running 1 copy Jo Running w Girl copy

She’ll Potty When She’s Ready

Potty

Parenting through milestones as a first-time mother has been this wild process that always goes something like this: 1) Reach milestone age and set a goal 2) Try to execute milestone flawlessly 3) Fail miserably, panic, compare my parenting methods to others, and mope about how bad of a mother/teacher I am, shaming myself into getting better 4) Drink a glass of wine, or two (optional, but never disappointing) 5) Realize that everything happens on my daughter’s time, not mine.

This brings me back to a year ago, when my daughter, Josephine, was quickly approaching six months, yet still waking up several times at night to nurse. All the websites and books on parenting indicated that babies no longer need the nighttime meals and will therefore sleep until morning, but that was far from the case with us. So I went into mommy panic mode. Desperate to get her sleep “corrected,” I started asking other moms what I should do. On one end of the spectrum, a some moms resorted to the cry-it-out method, in which they leave the house so they wouldn’t be tempted to break into the room and console their baby. On the other end, other moms co-slept in every position imaginable with their kids until they grew up and asked for their own space.

While I knew neither option was wrong, they left us shuddering between a rock and a hard place. Josephine’s cries were capable of ripping me to shreds from the inside out, so I fought hard against the cry-it-out method (in which, let’s be real, I’d be doing most of the crying.) However, our queen bed was getting smaller with the three of us crammed from edge to edge, sometimes forcing my partner to concede and sleep on the couch in the living room, so I knew I couldn’t keep her there forever. The best decision my partner and I could make was the age-old solution to simply play it by ear, gently remind Josephine that she has her own little bed, and allow her to tell us when she was ready to sleep in it. Yes, it seemed counterintuitive to let our baby, who’s only been on earth for a whopping six months, call the shots, but it felt like the only option we could agree on. So I continued to nurse Josephine at her will throughout the night, trusting that Josephine’s sleep habits at six months weren’t going to ruin her chances of becoming a fully functioning, respectable human adult.

Flash forward to Josephine at 14 months. She took partial naps in her crib and still awoke in the middle of the night rooting for the breast. At this point, my body had gotten accustomed to the excessive night awakenings and delirious exhaustion. I quietly accepted the fact that I was going to nurse her until she left for college. But one ordinary day, quicker than I could say “attachment parenting,” Josephine suddenly stopped nursing. Boom. Just stopped, cold turkey. She shook her head every time I signed “milk” and preferred a sippy cup of cow’s milk instead of my liquid gold. I pumped for a few days in case she decided to change her mind, but her nursing strike led her to do the unthinkable: sleep straight through the night in her very own crib. There was no apparent reason behind her sudden change of routine, no new detectable teeth or fever. The only explanation I can think of is that she was ready to wean and sleep peacefully. I was floored at how unbelievably easy the transition was.

Nowadays, while I stare at the “18+ months” label in big, bright yellow letters across the box that came with Josephine’s first potty set, I have to pause and tell myself it will happen on her time. I think about how delighted I am to get a full night’s sleep, and how I’m even happier it didn’t take a traumatizing, drawn out battle to get here. I’ll admit – it takes every ounce of resistance to keep from googling when and how other parents got their children to poop on the can. Perhaps I’ve learned to preemptively skip the panic step and go straight to the wine drinking, but so far I’ve made it without being overtaken by shame. Besides, learning how to be a patient, gentle and encouraging parent all at the same time is our biggest milestone — one that takes us much longer to accomplish than all the milestones in our children’s early, tender years.

 

19 Months

She’s a California girl with an undeniable love for snowmen despite having never seen snow.

She never walks. She runs. If she could, she would take off sprinting toward the sun, her bare feet making shallow imprints on the warm grainy sands. Her petite frame houses a dynamite personality that bursts in volumes that can be heard across a crowded room. Exuberant, to say the least, she lights up every time a stranger walks into the room, demanding their attention so she can put a smile on their face. She is assertive, asking for “more” and telling us “no” as she pleases. When happiness overtakes her, she tries to hide it by pursing her lips to conceal an unquestionable grin. She likes to sit at the sink and stick her toes under the cold running water, carefully examining where each drop lands. She’s endlessly curious about how things sound; from the sirens of an ambulance to the gobbling of a turkey, she echoes the noises of the world as if they all played crucial roles in an orchestral masterpiece. She has an insatiable desire to try on every single pair of shoes that appears in her line of sight.

Our Josephine, to think how terrified we were at the thought of her coming so soon into our lives. To know how lost we would be without her now.

Josephine 19 months

4 New Establishments That Make Vallejo Cool

Ask me in high school what I thought about my dear hometown, Vallejo, and I would have told you it’s a barren suburbia with little promise other than an impending bankruptcy. Harsh, I know, but I was a little pretentious teenager who and knew very little.

But there’s something about leaving a place and returning to it that opens up a dormant romance. I’ve left V-town over and over and over again, and frankly have no plans to reside there again, but with the family and friendship ties I’ve maintained, Vallejo and the Bay Area will I always be my home. Lately, it hasn’t just been the friends that keep me coming back. I’ve been doing a little exploring every time I visit my old stomping grounds and have been quite impressed by a number of new businesses that have graced the downtown Vallejo area. Upon recent visits, I’ve gathered multiple reasons why Vallejo is charming without being pretentious, entertaining without being overtly flashy, and just a downright lovely place to call home. Here are 4 amazing establishments for the downtown dwellers to check out:

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset1. Mare Island Brewing Company The laid-back, diverse and welcoming vibe of this taproom is spot on. Located in the ferry building and overlooking the waterfront, there’s an open airiness of the location that lures folks from all over the Bay Area in to imbibe in the richness that is their Farmhouse Ale. The owners seem to knew their devoted customers by name, and will even remember what they like to drink. I still haven’t tried all their beers, but I look forward to returning and tasting what new, seasonal brews they concoct. More Info: http://www.mareislandbrewingco.com/

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2. Little Four Clothing One word: ADORABLE. If you have a little kid, or if you’re a woman who enjoys beautifully handmade garments and curated jewelry, then this shop is a must. The owner has impeccable taste in quality fabrics with playful prints, and will even customize a piece of clothing for you with the size, style and fabric of your choice. If you need a great gift for a little kid (or their mommy, ahem) this is a one stop shop. More Info: http://littlefourclothing.com/

3. The Little Imaginarium Take your babies here, right now. Heck, take a kid that you’ve temporarily stolen just to play in this magnificent, magical, and educational play zone. I stumbled in here with my toddler thinking it was a store, but was pleasantly surprised to find A CASTLE WITH CUTE CHILD-SIZED FURNITURE. They have toys galore, and not just any old legos and play doh, but toys that unleash the inner child of the most jaded adult. For a small fee of $6, your kids from baby to preschool age can come in and play for as long as their little energetic hearts desire (until closing). Yes, that means caretakers too! You can call for info on classes and party bookings. More Info: http://littleimagineplay.com/

4. Nathan’s Conscious Cup If you’re all tuckered out from playing in The Little Imaginarium, you’re in luck because right across the street is this delicious coffee roaster and kombucha crafter. This is a great place to hang out, too, because they have the large beautiful wooden table. I know, tables have no direct correlation with the quality of coffee, but it’s a really nice table and you should check it out. Plus, their coffee is, in fact, as good as that table. If you’re into kombucha, you can customize it to your liking too! More Info: https://www.facebook.com/nathansconsciouscup/info?tab=overview

Are there other new establishments in Vallejo that are cool? Comment below! 

Visiting Grandparents

And 4 tips on how to make it a smooth visit

Everyone knows that grandparents shower their grandbabies in copious amounts of sweet love, especially when they’re the first grandchild of about 12 grandparents (roughly, I lost count). When Josephine and I visit my parents, which we do several times a year for days at a time, she gets spoiled. Rotten. The the core of her sugary sweet bones. I often overhear conversations between the now 18-month-old and my father go like this:

(Immediately after having 2 cups of milk) 

Jo: Milk?

Grandpa: No, your mom said you had enough. 

Jo: Milk, please?? 

Grandpa: … Alright, stay right there.

And just like that, he crumbles like a freshly baked cookie into the palm of her tiny hand. It could be anything — cheese, pie, a glass of Chardonnay — whatever she asks my parents for, she gets. It’s easy for them to cave when they only see her a handful of times a year. I’ve learned to loosen up and let some things go, but there’s still a line I need to draw in order to transition back home when our visit is over. Here are 4 tips on how to retain some type of consistency in routine when visiting grandparents.

1. Stock up on snacks. I pick out snacks that Josephine loves and I approve of before we enter my parents’ home. This way, when Josephine asks anyone (like my father) for a “snack,” they have a pre-approved pile of food that actually has some sort of nutritional value, combating any unhealthy treats that grandparents might otherwise allow her to devour.

2. Keep a small pile of familiar toys at grandma and grandpas. Doing this makes the transition into stays at grandparents’ house seamless. What helps out tremendously is that I let Josephine facetime with my parents on the phone prior to visits, during which they show her a toy that she may recognize, like a big stuffed polar bear. When she returns to my parents’ home, they show her the big stuffed polar bear and she immediately warms up and begins to play. The toys make her feel at home as soon as we walk through their doors, plus I don’t have to lug them back and forth.

3. Bring a comfort object. Or as some like to call them, a “lovey.” Everyone who knows Josephine knows about the notorious blanket, a bundle of soft brown and white yarn that I used to sleep with. Sometime in her infancy she associated my blanket with my presence (probably the smell) and cozied up to it when I was away. Now, my former blanket and I have separate entities, and the blanket is simply her blanket which must remain visible and untouched by everyone, including me. Anecdote aside, this blanket is the key to keeping Josephine comfortable without having to bribe or distract her.

4. Let grandparents be grandparents. Hey, nobody likes a micromanager. I always have to remember to step away and let Josephine develop her own unique relationship with my parents, even if it means they give her a bite of ice cream once in a blue moon (at least I hope it’s not more often than that). Plus, it’s incredibly sweet and it tickles my heart when I see their interactions while blowing bubbles or sharing treats. At the end of the day, I get to steal moments for myself and relax knowing that Josephine is very well taken care of under my parents loving, albeit indulgent, roof.

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Do you have any tips on visiting relatives with your little ones?