Two


Olive's-2nd-Fiesta-2

Oh my word, we’re two.

This past weekend we had a little Fiesta themed birthday party for Olive’s 2nd birthday. We invited lots of family and a few of our close friends; rented a bouncy castle, a taco truck, and partied the day away.

We had a blast. Most importantly though, Olive had a blast. While her first birthday party was mostly symbolic for me, (I mean, surviving the first year of motherhood deserves to be celebrated, people!) this year she truly understood that this event was just for her. She knew everyone we invited, and was excited to see each and every one of them. And when we sang happy birthday? Oh man, She was so happy, and was singing right along with us.

Thinking back on this 2nd year of motherhood, I can say that I am definitely more comfortable with parenting and its many, many challenges. I am more aware that each bad ‘phase’ has an end, which allows me to not get overwhelmed with stress because we had a bad week. With that said, though, I’ve noticed that each bad phase needs to be met with patience and a plan, because this is the age where they can really fall into some bad habits if you let them. This past year has also been a lot more fun for me – now that she’s having full blown conversations with us, (in 10 word sentences, sometimes!) it’s been so awesome to see how her little mind works.

I am so grateful to be her mama, and I’m so grateful for her health and her amazing personality.

Wow. She’s two.

Olive's-2nd-Fiesta

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone – and thank you for being witnesses to my journey through motherhood. I appreciate it more than you know. I’ll be back next week!

(Photo Credit: My almost-sister-in-law, Lisa!)

 

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Just One Of The Boys


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I recently went shopping for some warmer clothes for Olive, and was in the mood for something more neutral colored. Something sans sparkles. Something, you know, that I would want to wear.

The trouble is, when you shop in the girls section, it’s usually overwhelmingly…pink. And while that’s totally fine, I just really wasn’t in the mood to buy more of the same.

Patrick suggested that I check out the boys section instead, and he was right – amidst the superhero tees and mini sports stuff was a selection of gender neutral, really cool things that I would totally dress Olive in.

Moral of the Story: Shop ALL THE SECTIONS. (more shopping, yay!)

Here are some of my faves, above:

Nubby Cardigan | Onesie | Hoodie | Shoes

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An Interview With “The Dad” : Thoughts On Fatherhood


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So much of this blog is filled with my (female) thoughts on parenting, that I thought it would be interesting to read about this same subject, but from a male perspective. Not just any random male, though – I wanted to peek around the thoughts of Olive’s dad, my husband. We share the same life, the same child – but I wanted to see just how different our opinions are on…well, us.

I asked my husband to answer a few questions about his thoughts on being a dad and husband – and hoped he would be game to have it published here. It took a little persuading, but he did it (thanks Patrick!) – and it’s all here for you to read below.

But before you dive in, here are a couple of things I’ve learned from this exercise:

1. Men (or my husband, specifically) worry and think more about us than we give them credit for.

2. Women talk about “the balancing of roles” all the time – but men really juggle all of that, too, they just don’t discuss it as much.

3. I really enjoyed learning this about my husband – even when I thought there couldn’t be anything more to learn after almost a decade of being together.

 


An Interview With “The Dad”

1. Introduce Yourself! What is your name, what do you do?

I’m Patrick.  I work for a molecular diagnostics company.  While it is probably not the most exciting industry, it is rewarding because you get the sense that you are contributing back to the world.

2. What is your favorite thing about fatherhood thus far?

The indescribable sense of happiness and deep satisfaction that I feel every single time I look at my daughter, especially when she laughs or smiles at me.  I don’t have to be her go-to person (that is mom), but that’s OK.  I still love her unconditionally.

3. What is the most surprising thing about fatherhood thus far?

Shortly after Olive was born, I felt that the transition from “no baby” to “baby” was surprisingly challenging.  We went from zero to 200 mph overnight.  Freedom was immediately lost and a new sense of commitment both as a husband trying to take care of my wife, as well as a new father trying to take care of a newborn took over.  For most who know me, they know that I am not really one who likes to “talk things out”.  In hindsight, I think if I had had a friend to talk to (a friend who was going through the same things I, and at the same time as I), things probably would have been easier as I would have been able to set expectations in my mind.  I honestly believe that “not knowing” anything is really what made things so hard – Olive has been a great baby and now a great toddler.

With that said, I also feel like one of the drawbacks in trying to prepare yourself too much is that things might lose their “specialness”.  The first moment when the baby moves from milk to actual purees was hilarious and awesome, because we were just like “oh this could be cool, let’s try this!” rather than, “oh crap, our baby is behind, we need to move her to solid food now!”.

More recently, the challenges have changed and increasingly I am finding it difficult to keep my energy up and keep pace with how quickly Olive is learning and exploring everything.  She is soaking everything in like a sponge and you really need to be careful with what you say!  Just like every parent (I hope), I want to teach her everything I know, and I am starting to feel regret that my Mandarin Chinese or understanding of calculus and magnetic fields is what it is…maybe I should go back to school or at least self-study a bit so I can help her with her homework when she gets older?

4. Do you find it hard to balance the role between being a husband, and being a father?

Is this a trick question?  I feel like I am doing a decent job of balancing the two roles, but I also feel like there are specific situations which really make this balancing act exceptionally challenging.

Example 1: I am not going to say that I am more patient than Jody, because that would just get me in trouble; but I will admit that taking care of Olive on a day to day basis is not easy.  I tried it on my own a couple times and I have found that it is both physically and mentally demanding – running around, interacting, teaching, cleaning, changing diapers, etc. is a lot of work.

For my part, I work a full-time job which requires traveling to various parts of the world (jet lag really sucks), I am going to school for an EMBA, and when I am not doing those things, I am try to balance what time I have left between family, extracurricular activities, and house work.

Now let’s say that I am working from home and Jody is having a rough day with Olive, what am I supposed to do?  Is she expecting that I drop work so I can help out and take care of the family?  How much stress should I expect Jody to be able to handle?  And let’s say I do drop work, who am I supposed to take care of first in that case – Jody or Olive?  How do you prioritize your responsibilities when everything seems super important?

Example 2: Where has the romance in our relationship gone?  Well, it has moved from the first class seats at the front of the plane to the economy class seats, not even the economy plus seats.  It has fallen into those cracks of time when your daughter is not paying attention or when she is asleep…thank god for Jody’s rigorous adherence to Olive’s sleep schedule.

It is really important to keeping the communication alive between Jody and I no matter how difficult this is.  I am not a total introvert, but after spending the day traveling, in front of the customer, or on the phone with a customer, my first after-work thought is “I need a glass of scotch”, not “let’s talk about how we are parenting as well as how our relationship as husband and wife is doing”.  The problem is that if you don’t communicate, a lot is lost. Not only do you miss out on the new developments of your child, but you also miss out on new developments in your wife’s life.  This is pretty crucial knowledge because it helps you know how happy she is and, perhaps more importantly, it helps you understand with what she is feeling and/or thinking (i.e. does she want sex tonight, or does she just want to sleep?).

5. What do you think has changed most about your wife since she has become a mother?

Spending the past decade with Jody, I believe that I have a pretty solid understanding of her life and her personality.  I believe that the single greatest challenge that Jody has ever faced started the moment when Olive was first conceived.  I believe that Jody had no idea what was coming and as a result, the first few months that followed after giving birth were really pretty chaotic.  However, I would say that the past year or so has really seen a graceful transition from I-don’t-know-what-I-am-doing-the-sky-is-falling-Jody to I-am-superwoman-and-I-can-handle-anything-life-throws-at-me-Jody.  I feel that the reason this transition has been so graceful is that she has become increasingly selfless.  The reality is that no one else would ever love Olive as much we do, and thus it is natural that we both try to pour every ounce of ourselves into her – and it is pretty scary/awesome how readily she drinks it all in.

6. What do you think has changed most about yourself, now that you have become a father?

The heightened sense of responsibility with a touch of risk aversion.  As an example: I drive slower than I used to (most of the time), especially when Olive is in my car.  I have also noticed that my urge for becoming an entrepreneur has waned as I increasingly see the risk of failure as being waters that I really don’t want to test.  I also find myself waking up fairly early almost every day, and on the rare occasion when I do sleep in I get this weird sensation of guilt because I am missing out on the sleepyhead-morning-look that Olive gives us when we get her from her crib.

7. How has becoming parents affected your marriage? How has it made it weaker, or stronger?

There have been a few moments where I felt like becoming parents has utterly destroyed our marriage, but I think those feelings really only occurred in the early months after Olive was born.  The combination of lack of sleep, lack of patience, and not knowing what the heck we were doing is pretty potent.  In the long run though, I actually feel like the experience has really forced us to put more effort into each other – to be more patient with each other, to communicate more, and really to just try and love harder.  As a result, I think our relationship has actually become stronger over time. Now obviously the change wasn’t an overnight phenomenon.  It took time, but I think one factor that really helped was that we both felt and acknowledged the joy that Olive brought to both of us.  Learning to love Olive seemed to really help us pacify any negative feelings and also taught us to love each other better.

8. What are your hopes for your child?

When I first married Jody, one of my marriage vows was that I wanted to make her happy, no matter what.  This translates to Olive as well.  I want her to discover something she is passionate about, something that makes her happy, and I want to be able to provide her with the means of pursuing it.  I don’t particularly care if she is the most successful woman on the planet, I just want to see her become a mature, happy, and self-confident woman.

P.S. I really hope she isn’t tone-deaf.  She loves to sing and it would crush my heart if she couldn’t sing/hear the correct keys.


Thanks Patrick!

Thanks for reading the lengthy post – I’d love to hear your comments. Do you think your husbands or partners feel the same way? Will you ask them these questions, too?

 

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Parenting Out Of Your Comfort Zone


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Now that Olive is almost two, I’ve had a fair amount of time to get used to the whole ‘parenting thing’. I’ve gotten into a groove, really – in terms of our activities,  we go to the park, we go to museums, we have playdates. These activities are on regular rotation not only because Olive seems to enjoy them, but to be honest, they are somewhat easy for me to do as well. They are all relatively safe, creative and are in intimate settings; things that I do well. So naturally, I would have my daughter do the same things, too.

Just recently, however, Olive has been displaying an interest for sportier things. She is entranced when she sees people play soccer, or ride on scooters, or ride on bikes – and she wants to join in as well. Well…these things are not my forte. Sporty things are not my forte. Scratch that, that was an understatement. I actually blow at sports. This may come as a surprise to a lot of you, but I don’t know how to ride a bike. SHOCKING, I know, but I don’t.

I’ve come to realize that as an individual, it is totally acceptable for me to stay within my own interests and my own comfort zone. I’m in my thirties, I know what I like, and I know what I’m good at. However, as a new parent, I need to expose Olive to as much as I can so she can figure out on her own what she likes. Maybe she isn’t going to like music and reading as much as I do. What if she has a hidden passion for things such as soccer, fishing, or camping but she never got to try them, because these are a few things I just don’t care for? That would be such a shame.

So, parents – I suggest we all try to push ourselves outside our comfort zones soon – so that our kids might be able to experience something new. You never know what possibilities may open up for your child (hey, or maybe for yourself!) when you do so!

Okay, yes husband – this means i’ll go camping with you.

Have a great day!

Photo Credit: RLH Photo for My Baby Olive Juice

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Monday Cuteness…


Just the cutest little Christmas ad (I know, it’s only November…) to start your work week off right.

My best friend sent me this video last night, and I have to admit I might have teared up just a little bit at all the cuteness. Watch this awesomeness from John Lewis Department Stores, here:

Isn’t childhood wonderful? Did you have an imaginary friend when you were little?

Hope you’re having a great start to your week.

 

 

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Currently Totally Obsessed With……


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So you might already know that I really love Zara – especially their kids clothes. Honestly I think that they might be my absolute favorite brand when it comes to dressing Olive.

Now that Olive is a little older (and baby proofing has become less of a concern), I’ve recently been itching to redecorate our home. I re-discovered Zara Home just the other day, and I am obsessed with their look book. It’s clean, light, modern, and yet cozy – which are the few key words I would use to describe my ultimate dream home.

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Zara-Home-Pg-3

 

While they don’t sell huge furniture pieces like couches or beds, they have almost every else, like bedding, accessories and even a Zara Home for Kids, as well.

Here are a few of my current favorites I’m drooling over….and might just end up in my home next week.

Zara-Picks

 

Laundry Basket | Glass Dispenser | Bottle & Tumbler | Fringed Rug | Dinner Plate | Wooden Stool

 

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The Terrible Almost – Twos


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Hey, so remember this post I wrote just recently, about how motherhood was going so well, Olive was being awesome, life was peachy, on and on?

Well I probably just jinxed myself right there, because as of today, we’re less than a month out from her 2nd birthday, and Olive has jumped headfirst into the tantrums of the famous Terrible Twos.

It’s not all bad, don’t get me wrong – but certain things have recently gotten a lot tougher to do; specifically transitioning Olive between activities. Which is something we do several times a day, right? I mean, not eating dinner because I fear a meltdown really isn’t a choice in this household.

I’m really trying to prepare myself for this next phase of being a Mom – having to stick to my discipline guns both at home at in public. Building a good foundation for good behavior means consistency, and I worry that if she causes enough drama (especially in public), I’ll be too embarrassed to correct her.

Veteran Moms – any tips to get me through the Terrible Twos? Any insight about what exactly makes this year so terrible? I’d love to hear from you.

Hope you’re having a good week so far,

 

 
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Happy Halloween!


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Happy Halloween you guys!

Do you have any special Halloween plans with the kids?

I’ll have to be honest – Olive really isn’t into dressing up just yet. But that doesn’t I’m not into it (I am, I really, really am.)

This year, she’s lucky enough to have two costumes. Her grandmother bought her a little german girl outfit that she loves! But I’m totally more excited about this…….

right…..

here…..

Olive's-Halloween-Costume

That is the actual photo of a costume that my friend Melissa made for Olive. Yes, she’s pregnant with twins. Yes, she’s already a mother of a toddler boy. And yes, she works. But she still had the time to whip up this amazing number for Olive. Totally floored.

And check it out……Olive. Loves. It.

Olive-Rainbow

What are you dressing your kids up as this year? Or are you dressing up too? (I’m not, nope, too lazy.)

Have a safe Halloween!

 

 

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New Music For Mama


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In the spirit of trying to listen to new music on a more regular basis, I’ve decided to post a few of my new favorites every once in a while – and I hope that you’ll enjoy them as much as I do.

Here are my current loves on constant replay. I am specifically obsessed with this artist Fatai; I stumbled upon her music one night on Facebook, and I am blown away by her covers of popular songs. (Check out her rendition of Frozen’s Let It Go, here).

Happy Listening!

01: Chandelier Cover – Fatai | 02: Tough Love – Jessie Ware | 03: Better Half Of Me (Acoustic) – Dash Berlin | 04: Simple Love Song – Anuhea | 05: Higher Education – Will Dailey

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Favorite Fall 2014 Lookbooks


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So I know I’m a little late when it comes to looking at Fall/Winter 2014 Lookbooks. But to be honest, it’s been 100F in Los Angeles, and I can barely look at my cardigans in my closet without breaking a sweat. Luckily, we’ve had a slight cooling down here (a balmy 75F in the day, and 60F at night). Okay Fall, I’m ready for you.

What is it about a good Lookbook? I think it’s a few things – yes, it’s the clothes, and the makeup, and the hair – but it’s also the fact that I believe that I can be this person, or live that life, when I put on those outfits. And these brands make me want to jump into those pictures, so badly.

Check out their full FW lineup, here: Zara / Van De Vort / AYR / Bellaluxx / Madewell x Sézane / All Saints

Have a great week ahead!

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