Monday, November 24, 2014

Celebrating 2

We celebrated Brynna's second birthday this past weekend and not only was it exhausting (carrying 30 pounds of extra weight would do that to a person) but incredibly fun. I loved her first birthday party but this time we actually got to see her enjoyment.

She was able to tell us how much she liked watching Yo Gabba Gabba in concert, demanded we sing her Happy Birthday throughout the day and referred to herself as the Birthday Girl. Perfect! Last year we could only assume she was having fun since her vocabulary was limited to Mama, Dada and a few other words.



Her special day started with us allowing her to eat pancakes while watching TV ... on her table instead of in her high chair. All which equaled a mess and a long drawn out breakfast since she kept running to her playroom, stopping in front of the TV and shoving mini pancakes in her mouth. Then she rocked her special birthday t that she's been asking to wear since it came in the mail (Thank you, Etsy!). Finally she got to enjoy a few hours with her Nina and BFF Maya at The Shrine. Oh yeah, us parents were also there.

Eating popcorn! 
Side note: I never realized that kids' concerts were the place to go to see "celebrities." We saw Lou Diamond Phillips, Alyssa Milano and Rachel Zoe, which totally made up for the lack of a special guest at the show. I mean Dave Grohl once danced with Muno! But not at our show, of course.

Anyways, the kids loved dancing along with the characters and enjoyed the music, which was awesome.

The Birthday Girl ended her day with pizza and an Oreo cupcake so I think her special day was a home run. Plus, there was no cleanup, which was super awesome for Alex and I.




  


Happy 2nd Birthday, Brynna!!! We love you! Thank you to everyone who helped make her say super special!

Me


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Conversations with Brynna

Me: Brynna do you want a pumpkin muffin?

Brynna: Si.

About 20 minutes later

Brynna: Mas, please!

Me: Sorry, not until after dinner.

Brynna: Mas Muffin Man!

Me: gives in and gives her half a muffin. Because how could I not give in to her calling a muffin the muffin man?!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Conversations with Brynna

Setting: Dinner time at the Brody household where Brynna is seated in her high chair across from me and Alex. Tonight's meal consists of spaghetti with broccoli and squash hidden in the sauce. As we eat, Alex and I notice that Brynna has discovered the broccoli and instead of shoveling it in her mouth as she commonly does with anything that's not a veggie, she starts playing with it.

Alex: Eat some trees Boom Boom. Trees are yummy!

Brynna: Stares at him with a look on her face that clearly says, "not buying it, Dad."

Me: You need to eat your broccoli if you want to be Super Brynna! Look Mom's eating her broccoli and now she's Super Mommy!

Alex: Me too! Now I'm Super Daddy!

Brynna: Continues to stare at us, grabs another piece of broccoli in her other hand then yells: Super Beans! as she tosses the veggies at Beans who, of course, is right by the highchair.

Of course Alex and I bust up 'cause it's hilarious.

Brynna: Super Beans! More veggies on the floor and into the dog's mouth.



Monday, September 29, 2014

Bedtime with Brynna

*Brynna has been co-sleeping with us for a few months now and while it has it's downfalls -- kicks to the head and stomach -- it seems to be working for us. Of course we know that soon it will be time to relocate her to the crib again before the baby arrives but I'm not counting down the days.

There have been many times throughout this pregnancy when I have a little anxiety attack thinking (1) I'll soon be responsible for two humans, (2) how hard it's going to be and (3) realizing that Brynna and I won't have that constant one-on-one time. Will she hate the baby? Will she hate us? Will I ever be able to leave the house again? These are the thoughts that hit me from time to time. 

Perhaps these fears are why I'm secretly cherishing our co-sleeping arrangement. Of course I'd love to be able to stay up late to catch up on reading or my shows instead of going to bed at 9 p.m. every night, but soon I'll be up at all hours of the night. Some nights I really don't like our nighttime routine because I'm spent by the end of the day and just want to curl up on the couch without having to read numerous books and sing songs to my daughter. But other nights, especially on those really hectic days when I've been chewed out by a reader or everyone just got on my nerves, I love our nighttime routine. 

Last night was one of those nights. 

We spent the day preparing the playroom, nursery and unpacking items (we were on the verge of moving but it didn't work out so we are sticking around for a bit), which was not fun. Trying to fit 2 kids in one room is going to be interesting. We were exhausted by the end of the night and laying down was all I wanted to do.

Brynna, of course, was ready to put off bedtime for as long as she could. After brushing her teeth, throwing her stuffed animals onto the bed and asking for stories (she talked us into reading five books
last night) it was finally --finally--time to go to sleep. Alex knocked out. Porkchop and Beans were snoring. Brynna was still up and of course that meant so was I. She normally talks to herself as a way to try and keep herself from dozing off but last night was different. Just as I was reaching that point where I'd ask her to close her eyes and settle down, she snuggled close to me -- her head on my head, her little arm linked around my shoulder, her breathe on my face -- and said "My mama." Okay, so that was incredibly cute and I of course replied with "My Brynna." But then she said "Mama my friend." And I said "Brynna is my best friend." And she surprised me by responding "Mama my best friend. My Mama." 

My heart melted. 

I closed the book I was attempting to read and cuddled the heck out of that little girl and gave in and sang her two more songs. 

I'll always remember these mom and daughter moments and continue to look for them in our daily interactions. 

Me



Friday, September 5, 2014

Morning Routine

Mornings before Brynna looked very different than the mornings after having had Brynna. And now that I'm pregnant with the the second baby, my morning routine is anything but simple.

Before children -- start work at 7:30 a.m.

Night before work * Pack a healthy, well-planned lunch complete with all essentials. Pick out work clothes. Spend the rest of the night reading, watching TV.
6 a.m. * Wake-up, lay in bed until second alarm goes off at 6:15 a.m.
6:15 a.m. * Take a shower, take time to shave, lather, rinse repeat.
6:30 a.m. - 6:50ish * Pull on stain free clothes previously laid out the night before. slip on heels, head to bathroom to put on moisturizer, makeup, blow-dry hair, spritz on perfume and hairspray.
7 a.m. * Grab a bagel and coffee that hubby has made for me and head out to work.
7:30 a.m. * Arrive at work; begin day.

After children -- start work at 7 a.m.

Night before work * Throw a sandwich together or grab an already made salad, toss into lunch bag along with fruit, string cheese and anything else I can grab a hold of before Brynna realizes I'm in the fridge and attempts to close the door/ grab the milk/ or grab any of the condiments on the refrigerator door. Last time it was the hot sauce. Have Brynna "help" me pick out work clothes, which really means allow her to pull bras, socks and jeans out of drawers as I decide between maternity jeans, maternity dress or another maternity dress. Grab sandals and hope no one at work notices I wore this outfit earlier in the week. Pick up Brynna's mess.

5:30 a.m. * Wake up, hand Brynna (yes, she slept in our bed again) to my mom who arrives every morning at 5:30, sleepwalk into the shower.
5:45-5:50 a.m. * Turns out that whole walking into the bathroom ordeal was just a dream. Hit snooze and didn't wake up until now. Finally get into the shower.
5:55-6 a.m. * Lather, rinse, bypass shaving (again, even though pregnancy makes shaving an everyday requirement these days) and can't recall if I'm wearing a dress or jeans -- hope for jeans. Hop out of the shower, find a few suds in my hair, towel them off.
6-6:15 a.m. * Run into the bedroom to pull on the maternity dress, nursing bra and oh-so-sexy maternity underwear and hope no one notices the less than smooth legs. Attempt to snap on sandals but end up needing to sit down to do so. Notice myself in the mirror and wonder how much weight I've actually gained. Look at the clothes in my closet and miss my pregnancy clothes. Oh, the choices!
6:15-6:30 a.m. * Head to bathroom to throw on some under eye concealer, powder, blush, masFcara and eyeliner. Realize I forgot my sunscreen and wonder if I should start over. Realize I'm running out of time so instead pull out the hairdryer and start to do my hair. The sound wakes up Brynna who calls out for Mama. Rush into her room and pull her out of her crib into a bear hug and ask her what she dreamt about. The answer these mornings are typically Muno, Brobee or Swiper. Head into the kitchen where my mom has pulled out my lunch for me and thrown in a banana and some bottles of water. Hand Brynna over to Nana and head back into the bathroom. Realize it's late and all the rushing back and forth has caused me to break out in a sweat. Put the hairdyer away and pull hair into a ponytail. Brynna is now in the bathroom trying to get into the makeup drawer where she finds the lip gloss. Rub on some cream, spray some perfume and hairspray and try to persuade brynna to get out of the bathroom. She goes but only after she gets cream and perfume.
6:40-6:45 a.m. * Hug Brynna and tell her I'll be back after work. Sometimes there are tears other times she says bye without even looking at me. Tell my mom what to feed her for lunch today. Grab my lunch, purse and breakfast (a Luna Bar) and run out the door. Pack up the car, give Brynna a hug and kiss and head to work.

Look at the clock and realize I'll be a few minutes late to work. Drive to Starbucks cause, hello, caffeine.

7:15 * Arrive at work to start my day. Think about what to feed Brynna for dinner.


What does your morning routine look like?

Friday, July 11, 2014

What I love about Brynna, right now

Time seems to be flying by and I've neglected this blog. So, here I am trying to get back on the blogging wagon. In the first 12 months of Brynna’s life it seemed as though everything was a huge milestone – and I was quick to document it. Then something happened. Brynna turned 1, I got pregnant and life became hectic. But of course Brynna has not stopped growing and learning. She surprises us every day with something new. Here is a list of 11 things I’d like to remember about Brynna at this age:

1. Brynna has been repeating EVERYTHING we say. Sometimes it’s cute; other times it’s scary. I mean we don’t want her repeating the bad words that sometimes fly out of our mouths, but it’s bound to happen. It’s amazing to listen to her parrot words back to us using the same tone. It’s adorable. From Ah man! To dogs out! And Mama Mia, she hears and says it all.

2.I never set out to have our daughter sleep in the bed but somehow it happened. She was a champ at sleeping in her crib for awhile but then she got sick and ended up spending that week in our bed. We have her sleep in the crib during the week (sometimes, when one of us isn’t too sleepy to carry her from the bed to the crib) but come the weekend it’s slumber party time. Why? Because she sleeps in until 8 or 9! Anyone who loves sleep can appreciate this. Brynna loves sleeping in between us. As do her Yo Gabba Gabba characters, which she insists on bringing to bed with her.


3. Okay so I have no idea where she picked this up from but there are days when she refuses to wear what we set out for her. She hates a specific romper that I find adorable, isn’t a fan of t-shirts that don’t have Minnie Mouse, Yo Gabba Gabba, Minions or some sort of animal on them and hates hats – unless she sees Alex wearing one then she’s all about it. Of course she doesn’t always get her way ‘cause that would be ridiculous, but some days we let her pick her t-shirt. Oh and she loves to wear our shoes. I have a feeling several things are going to go missing from my closet in the years to come.

4. Throwing tantrums is not really on my list of things I love about my daughter at the moment but I do respect that she’s growing up and trying to get her point across. She has a strong personality and I love that about her. But this whole crying, covering her eyes, and sometimes throwing herself on the ground, is a little much. And it tests my patience at least twice a day. What brings these little fits on? Not allowing her to pull on the dog’s tail (nub); refusing to allow her to eat crayons/markers/lip gloss; and so much more.





5. She likes to eat like a dog sometimes. Like, puts her face in the bowl of beans/rice/chicken we set in front of her. It’s funny.

6. Stringing words together is the latest milestone. Now she can tell us what she wants or is feeling in three words. Brynna do it is a new one where she is clearly telling us that she wants to do it on her own. Another one: Beetle Bug Night-night, which translates to the bug we saw last night has gone missing so it much be asleep cause daddy would never kill an insect. Good night Beetle Bug.

7. Our girl is up for new activities, thank god! She loves swimming, is taking a dancing class and had an okay time at a soccer class. Her favorite dance move is the booty slide. She’s keeping us fit and entertained.




8. She’s as much a girly-girly girl as she is a tom boy. She likes to play video games with Alex, is happy to get her hands dirty in the backyard and enjoys tackling the dogs. But she also loves “cooking,” playing with her dollhouse and all things lip gloss related. She’s gone through two of my EOS Lip Balms.

9. Brynna is pretty good about saying please, thank you and excuse me but does have to be reminded from time to time. I do feel a little sense of pride when she does it on her own though.

10. Noodles! Brynna’s one true love other than Mickey Mouse, Yo Gabba Gabba, Cheese and chap stick. She loves to order “Newnoles” when we go to restaurants and asks for them on a daily basis. Can’t blame the girl for loving carbs.




11. Huggies, huggies and more huggies. She loves hugs and besitos; requests them all the time. It’s hard to think that there will be a time when our little girl will stop asking for hugs and instead require space. I’d rather not think about that and just enjoy her tight, sticky hugs and wet kisses.


We love you for these reasons and so much more, Byrnna!

-Me

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Healthy meals. Or that one time I tried to cook


Cooking is not something that I enjoy. When it came time to divide the chores I took washing the dishes and Alex took food preparation. 

My husband is a whiz in the kitchen. Sauteing, woking (is that a word?), marinating and creating healhy dishes for the week. Every Sunday he spends a couple hours prepping meals for the week while Brynna and I (and the dogs) sneak tastes of said meals.

Yum! 

Unfortunately cooking fell to me this week while Alex was away on a business conference. By the way, can we all go away on business conferences that consist of loads of networking activities, swanky hotels and open bars? Sounds amazing although I know it can also be tiring. 

First I considered living off Flame Broiler and grilled cheese sandwiches all week. Then I got real.
Brynna doesn't like grilled cheese sandwiches. And a girl can only take so many variations of chicken before tossing it all to the dogs. (Something Brynna has been doing lately).

Cooking had to happen. And I had to be the one to do it. Ugh!

I pulled out an old cooking book geared toward healthy means for kids and made three dishes: a pasta dish with a crap load of veggies blended into a sauce; another pasta dish with carrots, zucchini, chicken and cheese, and my favorite, some kind of chicken pan fry noodle entree with a bunch of veggies.
This is the end result:

 
Do you seriously expect me to eat this? 

Well, she ate some of it. She actually liked the pasta dish but that may be because she used the sauce as finger paint. Hey, she sucked some of that sauce off her fingers so I'm calling it a win.



Hurry home, Alex!

Me


What do you feed your kids? Any favorite healthy dishes I should know about? 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Testing Boundaries


*I see it out of the corner of my eye, a chubby finger reaching for the buttons on the TV console.

Wait, just wait,” I tell myself, “she hasn't done anything …yet.”

That "yet" comes seconds later when Brynna pushes the input button and the TV screen goes black.

“Brynna Helen Brody! What have I told you about touching the TV? Do you want timeout?”

“No no,” she replies from the Winnie the Pooh blanket on the floor. A makeshift seating area for kids and ultimately dogs.

So I’m guessing that I’m making a few rookie mistakes: (1) being that I ask my 15-month old if she wants timeout; (2) yelling. Something that I told myself I would not do.

Raising my voice is not something I am proud of doing but it gets her attention. Of course I can simply steer Brynna away from the TV/dog beds/ coupon drawer/ closet rather than raise my voice. But sometimes it’s a knee jerk reaction when I’m in the kitchen and she’s heading to the bedroom at rapid speed. By the way, toddler speed is crazy fast. How can those little legs cover so much ground in such a short amount of time?

If she can't see me maybe I won't get timeout.
I’ve trying my best to not raise my voice mainly because I cringe upon hearing parents yell at their kids. Of course I understand that everyone has a breaking point, it’s a quick way to grab a little one’s attention, or parents are having a rough day. I’ve been there and totally done that.That's why I'm trying to change this habit.

So far Brynna has had to sit in timeout in JC Penny Home and the library. By the way, to the shopper in JC Penny Home who chuckled when I told Brynna she was going have to sit for five whole seconds in timeout due to misbehaving: shut it.I'm trying to lead by example so I couldn't give you the stink eye. So, i'm doing it now. 

Brynna's version of the stink eye.
Brynna isn’t a fan of timeout but she will sit there – sometimes – while I count to five then explain to her why she was being disciplined. I swear that little girls understands this whole process on some level. But of course she hates it. Sometimes it’s effective.

But not all the time.

Brynna loves to test boundaries. She knows what she can get away with with grandma and her tias, and what doesn't fly with us. The latest  thing is hitting. She will hit out of frustration if we take her away from something that she shouldn’t be doing but wants to do. Usually that results in us trying to explain that hitting is wrong, trying to make her understand that she needs to be nice and sometimes it leads to timeout or just a moment sitting with one of us as she cries and we try to explain why hitting is not okay.

Of course that doesn't always work since she is only 15 freaking months and has yet to really grasp the concept of misbehaving and consequences.

Since this is a fairly recent stage for us, we’re learning as we go. We know sometimes timeout works, other times removing her from an area that we don’t want her to be is key.  Or maybe gentle discipline is the way to go?

I’ve mentioned in a previous blog how self-help and parenting books aren’t for me. But my book club is all about these books so I’ve been giving them a chance. Okay, I really just flip through to the chapters I’m interested in but that’s further than I’ve gotten in most of these types of books. The most recent being Mayim Bialik’s “Beyond the Sling.” There are a few methods that I intend to implement as recommended by Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler herself.

I like the whole saying “Not for Brynna” rather than “No” all the time. I’m feeling the “hands are not for hitting, hands are for hugging/blowing kisses/ giving high fives.” This one especially struck me since this is a behavior I am currently working on with Brynna.

Of course Blossom and I don’t see eye to eye on several of her gentle discipline methods such as time outs. I’m still trying to decide whether or not this is effective. She is completely against it.

I do know that I want to stay away from giving little swats although that was how I grew up. My cousins and I understood that talking back resulted in a swat as did throwing a tantrum or just being a punk. We all ended up okay. When I was a teenage, specific privileges were taken away when I misbehaved.  Having the radio and super Nintendo taken away was equivalent of going without an iPhone for a week. I needed my tunes and my Yoshi’s World!

But I want something a little different for Brynna. Plus this method will really make Alex and I have to think of creative ways to teach her right from wrong (i.e. Teeth are not for biting Bean’s tail but they can chew Carrot Cake. Let’s eat some! I like this one).

Lets put these chompers to use. Just not
on Mom's shoulder or Bean's nub.


I’m not for or against attachment parenting. But I’m all for coming up with a discipline method that works best for us. I’m thinking of a mix of conventional parenting with attachment parenting or any other non-labeled concepts out there.

Maybe my discipline experimentation will result in the perfect (for us)  solution. Or maybe it will steer us in an entirely different way. 

Wish us luck!

-Me

How do you teach your kids right from wrong? 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Happiness and other topics

A few weekends ago, I spent the better part of a Sunday morning drinking mimosas and noshing on strawberries with a bunch of cool mamas. Oh yeah, and we discussed a book we recently read.
I joined a book club for moms a couple months after Brynna was born in an attempt to a) widen my circle of mommy friends and b) do something for me. Something that I enjoyed Reading has always been a beloved hobby of mine (yes, this meant that I was that girl who always had a book in her backpack. I was a nerd.). The book of choice for the most recent meetup was Gretchen Rubin’s “Happiness Project.” Now I hate self-help books. The only self-help book on my bookshelf is “He’s Just Not that not Into You.” Okay, it’s packed away now but it was my go-to book back in my days of singledom whenever I questioned whether or not to continue in a destructive relationship. I’m not quite sure what it is about self-help books that make me never want to open the front cover. Maybe it’s the inspirational statements, the words and phrases to live by that I know I’ll never carry over into real life. Maybe I’m just a book snob. Anyways, I decided to try and read “The Happiness Project” and while I didn’t finish it and scanned through a good portion of it, there were some tidbits of information that made me stop and read.
  • What makes me happy? We discussed this during our book club meeting and it seriously stumped me. I haven’t really taken the time to think about what truly makes me happy. Of course being a mommy brings me joy, as does having a fulfilling relationship with my husband. I like being with my family and friends, but there has to be more to it. Here is what I came up with: Working out, having no plans; spending time with friends, play dates, reading, laughing at Alex’s ridiculous statements, cuddling with Brynna, those few hours when the workday is done where I sit on the floor with Brynna and we read together. Most of the time Porkchop is on my lap, Beans is by my side and Alex is taking his first breathe of the day. Walking to Nordstrom’s rack; going into Nordstrom’s Rack (and preferably walking out with something new); coffee breaks, writing and walks/runs.
 Brynna spending time outdoors with her guinea pig friend. I don’t like petting zoos but Alex and Brynna enjoy them.
  • Remember Love: Rubin divided this section on marriage into different categories. The ones I plan to implement are Fight Right and Give Proofs of Love. Okay, okay so I admit that I can be stubborn. And defensive. And I like to be right. We don’t fight often and I take pride in our tendency to laugh at how stupid some of our arguments are. But there are times when we are both hardheaded. Time to fight right. Give Proofs of Love: Alex is awesome when it comes to this. He’ll make my lunch, marking my sandwich with a little heart, or he’ll buy me random gifts like an Anchorman calendar ‘cause I love Will Ferrell — and crave organization. I’m not so great at it. So, I’ve been making sure to give those little proofs of love throughout the day. Even if it is just a quick I love you in the morning or a text during the workday. It’s important.
 Now this is my idea of fun: using Beans as a pillow with a book in hand. Not Alex’s idea of fun. Notice him in the background trying to find out when the Walking Dead is scheduled to return. 
  • Find more fun: This sounds so easy yet setting time aside to do “fun” stuff can be tricky. Fun these days is going to the park or the library so that Brynnna can run around. Or walking around the Farmer’s Market with my little family, catching a movie or going on a date with Alex. My idea of fun has definitely changed. We’ve been trying to find new things to do that aren’t costly and are fun. Personally, I’ve been making time for myself at least twice a week when I’ll go to the gym. Yes, working out is my version of fun. I’m not a volunteer-type of person, I don’t like yoga or eating at fancy restaurants. My idea of fun is reading, happy hour with friends, play dates and being outside. Now while Alex and I may agree on two of these activities, Brynna won’t find happy hour or my genre of books amusing. So fidning more fun for all of us can be a challenge. So far, I’ve discovered that Brynna is finally close to being okay with playing in the gym’s kiddie center while I work out, which is awesome! Plus it’s a chance for her to socialize and play with toys other than her own. It seems as though we are constantly looking for fun things to do that we can all enjoy.
Proof that I’m a proud book nerd. 
  • Make time for friends:  This ties into my Find more Fun rule. ‘Cause my girlfriends be super fun. I’m also adding Make time for Alex to this list. We are aiming for a couple nights out at least once a month.
Alex excited to be enjoying  a hot meal and cold beer on date night. 
  • Enjoy now: I’m working on it. So far we’ve implemented a no cell phone after work rule. It seems to be helping. Allowing myself to be in the moment is really hard to do. Sometimes I feel like my brain won’t turn off and it’s always tuned into the “let’s worry about things we have no control of” channel. I strive to be in the moment and truly appreciate today.

 What makes you happy? 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Brynna had macaroni and cheese last night. She loved it so much that she tried to keep a piece with her … In her nose. We spent 5 minutes getting her to fake sneeze it out! #instacollage
Brynna had macaroni and cheese last night. She loved it so much that she tried to keep a piece with her … In her nose. We spent 5 minutes getting her to fake sneeze it out! #instacollage

Monday, January 13, 2014