Monday, February 08, 2016

Mommy Mondays: Date Days

I honestly think that in order to keep a family happy, they need to spend time not as a family.

I'm sure that this is in part due to how I was brought up.  My parents frequently went away without us kids.  It gave them time to stop being "parents" and be the people they were before Thatbrother and I were born.

And that is so important.  By the end of the day, Thatboy and I are so exhausted from work and parenting.  We barely have time to talk to each other, let alone connect.

Before Thatbaby was born, the two of us would have Mustang and his girlfriend babysit Thatkid, so we could have a date night.  We'd go out and spend time talking, remembering what we liked about each other in the first place.  But with the birth of Thatbaby, we've put that on hold.  I adore Mustang and his girlfriend, but I think watching 2 kids, one of them an infant, might put them a bit in over their heads.

Instead, Thatboy and I have been taking advantage of "built in babysitting" - we've been doing day dates while the boys are in daycare/preschool.

I think I might like these day dates better than evening dates, because it puts us in the place we were before these kids came along.  We can enjoy leisurely meals, take naps, see movies and we have time to speak without being constantly interrupted.   

On our last day date we went to see Star Wars, then out for ice cream sandwiches.  There was no whining, no crying, and we got to see an entire movie, straight through!

Day dates gives us time to be without the kids, so we can be better parents when we're with them.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Sunday Runday: Weekly Recap

So I mentioned that my resolution this year was to run more, and I've really been working on it.

Last week I managed to get out for a run 3 times during the week, and 3 times the week before that.  Which is a 300% improvement over where I was.

I've also been great about doing pilates every day as my cross training.  I really need to get my core in shape.  I was reminded of that recently.

3 weeks ago I hurt my back, because apparently I am too old and out of shape to do leg lifts while a 7 month old hangs on to me.

I took a couple days off, but it wasn't enough.  A week later I exacerbated it so badly walking to my car that I was in spasm all evening.  I learned my lesson.  This week I took off from strength training.  I'm anxious to get back to it and build my strength up again.  It's so hard to feel so sore and limited!

Monday: 3 miles during work, along the coast.  It was insanely windy.  The wind was so crazy the day before that trees had been uprooted and  knocked over.

Tuesday: 3 miles during work, along the coast.  Most of the fallen trees had been cleared, so the only evidence I got was this:

Thursday: 3 miles during work, along the coast.  It was a fantastic day for a run - clear, cool, and calm!

Friday: Stretching.  Lots and lots of stretching.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Holiday Preparations: Superbowl Punch

Sometimes preparation for something is almost as fun as the thing you're preparing for.  Like Christmas.  I love decorating for Christmas, and everything that goes into that.  This year was even more fun because we got to stay home and enjoy our hard work.

There was tree decorating.

And house decorating.

And we found a home for the million arts and crafts Thatkid brought home from school.

Speaking of Thatkid, he did a lot of his own holiday preparations.  He decorated the gingerbread house.

And made the cookies for Santa.

And he helped me prepare the gifts for his teachers, the daycare providers, and our mailman, UPS man, and garbage men.

Some of my preparations took a while.  I managed to finish Thatbaby's stocking on Christmas Eve.  JUST in time for Santa to stuff it.

Right now we're preparing for the next big event- the Superbowl!  There's no decorating, and really, neither Thatboy nor I have a dog in this fight, so we're preparing for the most important part of the big game.  The food!  Right now there's a big debate about where we're ordering pizza from.  The shopping list has been made.  And the drinks have been determined.

As I mentioned, we're not super fans of the Broncos or the Panthers, so no lines have been drawn in this house.  And since both teams have blue as one of their main colors, I thought a blue drink would be fitting.  Because it represents both teams.

Curacao always makes things seem very tropical to me, and this is a twist on our signature drink at our wedding, the Blue Laguna.  But with more of a wine base.  The champagne and sparkling water gives it that fun carbonation, which I think is essential in a good punch.  Because everyone knows both a good football game and a good drink are dependent on a little kick.

Superbowl Punch
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups white wine
1/3 cup curacao
1/4 fresh pineapple
2 cups sparkling water
1 1/2 cups champagne
1/2 cup strawberries
  1. Stir the sugar into the wine and curacao until completely dissolved.
  2. Shred half the pineapple.  Cut the other half into slices. 
  3. Add the shredded pineapple to the wine mixture and pour over ice.
  4. Add the sparkling water and champagne. 
  5. Float the pieces of pineapple and strawberries on top.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Crave Wednesday:Chicken Parmesan Burgers

I was pretty disappointed in SeaWorld's Halloween event.  But that did not deter me from wanting to check out the park decked out in its Christmas finest.

Unlike Halloween, there was no gimmicky trick-or-treating, just lights, lights, and more lights.  Which is one of my favorite things about the Christmas season.  That and the music.

In order to take advantage of these lights, we headed to the park after nap, so we could be there into the evening. 

The 320 foot "Tree of Lights" which is recognizable to any San Diegan who drives on Interstate 5 is the largest Christmas Tree in all of Southern California.   During the nightly "tree lighting" the lights are syncopated to Christmas music.

And there are Christmas trees throughout the park.

The palm trees throughout the park are also lit up, which lent an air of magic to the rides. 

The biggest part of Christmas at Sea World is found in their "Christmas Village."  This is where the dancing Christmas Tree is, along with a dance floor.   We should have stopped here first, before dinner, but we didn't and we missed out on all the Christmas-y food.

This is also where Santa was hanging out, but Thatkid did not want any part in Santa.

Although he didn't mind spending some time watching the reindeers!  I guess they're less scary than the man in red.

He also didn't mind playing some of the Christmas-themed games.  He's really good at these games of chance, if it's possible to be good at games like that.  Maybe he's just a lucky kid.  By the way, he named this guy "Christmas Penguin."

After my Halloween disappointment, this was a delightful experience.  One of my favorite Christmas memories of the year.  We had so much fun roaming around as a family - drinking  hot chocolate, listening to music, checking out the lights and animals.   We will definitely be back next year.

I mentioned that we missed out on some good food that evening.  We ended up eating tasteless chicken sandwiches from one of the regular Sea World establishments.  They were awful.  Thatboy's biggest complaint about Sea World is the food.  But really, he's a bit spoiled.  Because when we have chicken sandwiches at home they are bursting with flavor - cheese, basil, tomatoes, garlic!

Typically, our chicken sandwiches are made with chicken breasts, but I really like this ground chicken version.  Since ground chicken is usually dark meat as opposed to breast, it retains a lot more of its moisture and flavor.  It's also very easy to infuse the meat so that you're not stuck with a great crust, and tasteless middle.   This is a twist on the classic chicken parmesan, turning it into a chicken cheeseburger.  Easy to eat and beloved by all.

Chicken Parmesan Burgers (From Cooking Light)
2 square ciabatta rolls
1 garlic clove, halved
8 oz ground chicken
1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp low sodium marinara sauce, divided
1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
salt and pepper
1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
8 basil leaves

  1.  Preheat broiler. Cut rolls in half.  Place rolls, cut sides up, on a baking sheet.  Broil 3 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove bread from pan.
  2. Rub each half with cut side of garlic.  Set aside.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 375.  Combine chicken, 1/3 cup marinara sauce, and next 5 ingredients. Divide into 2 portions, shaping each into a 1/4 inch thick patty.
  4. Heat an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.
  5. Add patties to pan; cook 3 minutes.  Turn patties and place in oven.  Bake for 8 minutes.
  6. Top each patty with 2 Tbsp cheese.  Bake 1 minute.
  7. Layer bottom half of each roll with 2 basil leaves, 1 patty, 1 Tbsp marinara sauce, 2 basil leaves, and roll top.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Mommy Mondays: Teething Troubles

File this under "Oh how different my kids are." 

Thatkid was not a drooly kid.  In fact, it's safe to say I can't remember him ever drooling.  We had drawer-fulls of bibs that went unused.

Unused that is, until Thatbaby was born.  And then, hoo boy did they get used.  Because Thatbaby drools enough for two babies!

At 4 months, Thatbaby drooled so much and gnawed on his hands so vigorously, that at his doctor's appointment, our doctor made a remark about how he was teething.

Now, this might not seem like a big deal to anyone else, but Thatkid got his first tooth at 10 months, so 4 months seemed insanely early to me.  And I said as much to the doctor.  He reminded me that every baby is different, and it takes about 2 months of teething before a tooth is seen.  He predicted we'd see a first tooth around 6 months.

And there was some relief in that, because Thatbaby's sleep had gone downhill, and it's easy to blame that on teething.  Except 6 months came and went - and no teeth.  Thatbaby is going to be 8 months next week, and he is still toothless!

This means we have been using every teething tool known to man for months, and I anticipate using them for several months longer. 

We make frequent use of any of the teethers you can stick in the freezer. 

I'm also not above resorting to junk science with the use of amber teething necklaces.

 Do they work?  Who knows.  I mean, it's clear in the above picture that it doesn't stop the drooling.  But he does seem to sleep better on nights he wears it.  Thatkid was a fantastic teether and he wore one.  So at best, there's something to them.  At worst, how adorable is my little hippie boy? 

Thatbaby's favorite teether is just about anything he can put in his mouth.  But he is especially partial to this one, which vibrates when he bites down on it.  It keeps him quiet in the car.

 And while Thatkid couldn't care less for the ubiquitous Sophie, Thatbaby is thoroughly under her spell.  Like every other baby out there.

I'm hopeful we'll see teeth soon, but realistic that in this case, maybe my boys are more similar than in any other area.  Which means I have months of drool ahead of me!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday Runday: Running Food Finds

One of my favorite parts of races is getting to try new treats.  For free!  Whether at the expo or after the race, there are always samples.   It's a great way to find something new to add to my routine.  Or just my life in general.  (Although often I have to fight for the goodies with Thatkid, who views every race-bag as  Santa's sack.

So here are a couple of recent finds that I am highly recommending!

Diablo Sodas

I mostly drink water - all day and all night.  And I have a soft spot for LaCroix when I want to mix it up a little.  But I really like these.  My favorite is the mint lemonade.  It reminds me of the Citron Presse we used to drink in high school French class.  French soda is the same concept as most other (Italian) sodas.  It's soda water with syrup.    Nothing fancy, but they do it well.

Mrs. Thinsters Cookie Thins

 I'm much more into soft cookies than crispy cookies.  Crispy cookies might as well be crackers.  So I wasn't expecting much from these cookie thins.  But they're fantastic.  I swear there are enough chips in the chocolate chip versions to quell even the sweetests of sweet tooths.  They are completely addictive.  Once the bag is popped both Thatboy and I couldn't keep our hands out of it.


There are a ton of powdered peanut butters out there.  And I never thought I would be a powdered peanut butter-er, but they are so convenient for smoothies.  And a lot of recipes that call for peanut butter - if you're lazy like me and don't want to have to push the peanut butter off the spoon with your finger.  I especially like the chocolate peanut butter with milk and banana for my morning smoothie!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Mommy Mondays: Travelin' With Two

This is a bit of pre-emptive post.  And I'll have to update it throughout the year, but it's a topic that's been on my mind a lot lately.

You see, when I was pregnant with Thatkid, I decided we would take a year off travel.  There is just so much STUFF to bring when you travel with an infant - strollers, carseats, pack n plays, clothes, toys, highchairs - it just seemed like a major hassle.

But things are different with a second, there's a lot less flexibility.  Life just goes on.  So instead of taking a year off, we have a ton of travel planned for 2016!

We've already done some short weekend trips - up to Arrowhead, out to Palm Desert.  But we've got some bigger ones in the works.  And now we're not just traveling with an infant, we're traveling with a toddler AND infant.

We've got a plane trip, and two very long car trips, all before Thatbaby turns one.   So what are my plans?

Man on man defense - The nice thing about having two kids is that there are two of us.  One to entertain Thatbaby, one to bring Thatkid to the bathroom.  One to change a diaper, while the other fishes out snacks.  We plan on doing a lot of this.

Frequent stops - Just for the car rides.  They don't like this one on plane rides.  But at least for drives, we plan on making stops so no one gets too car crazy. 

Distractions -  This one is mostly for Thatkid, since Thatbaby is not really at a good distraction age.  Although he is at a good napping age.  But Toxicesq got Thatkid a new Kindle for Chanukkah, and we definitely plan on making use of it.  In fact, we've put it away since he received it, so we can pull it out as a special trip when we travel.  Because new toys are always more distracting than toys we already have.

Low expectations - I'm already kind of planning for these trips to be a disaster.  So if they're not I'll be pleasantly surprised!

Moms of 2 or more, any travel tips I should keep in mind?