Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Rainy day play date

One of my favorite things about being back in California is being able to exercise my crafty side again. I found a few crafty outlets while in China, but nothing in comparison to what's available here. I guess since so many people struggle to survive day to day life there, spending money on craft supplies isn't on the top of their list for the culture as a whole. Granted, there are some very very rich Chinese, but I'm guessing they just pay decoration companies to come decorate for holidays and such.

Anyways, I'm loving having my fabric store back, as well as Michaels and even a Hobby Lobby now!

Sal and I invited our friends Makayla and Jenna over for a rainy day play date this morning...and even though the rain ended, we enjoyed an indoor activity of decorating icecream cone Christmas trees. 

We made an early morning trip to CVS (Sal thinks that's where all candy comes from) to buy candy and ice cream cones, and somehow also managed to leave the store with a balloon in tow. Lucky kid.

We bought smarties

Jelly beans and fruit loops

m&m's and marshmallows

And I made green buttercream frosting to cover the cones...

I figured I'd put out some healthier snacks for the kids to eat while decorating (bwahaha, yeah right!)....Popcorn snow, carrot noses and olive button eyes. 

Sal impatiently waited for his play date to show up...and was so excited when she arrived!
The two of them did a great job decorating their cones even though we mamas did the icing part of the cones. 

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas 'round here. 

Friday, December 12, 2014


I still have to remind myself that we are here to stay. For the first few weeks that NZ was back, it felt even more like a visit because he had time off to spend with us before getting back into the daily grind. Now that he's back to work, life is feeling more and more like normal and I've been doing my best to treat the kids to some holiday festivities that we weren't privy to overseas.

At almost three years old, I decided that Sal might just be old enough for the Elf on the Shelf that my grandmother got him. We read the book, named the elf "Mahbra" (I think he was going for Barbara, but even as I grilled him on the name before writing it, he stuck with "Mahbra")..

Mahbra it is.

Anyways, we discussed why Mahbra was here, and that Mahbra reports to Santa every night. Santa will remember who has been behaving, and who hasn't based on what Mahbra and his friends tell Santa. Those who behave usually get really cool Christmas presents, while those who don't behave sometimes don't get anything. 

Well, it took a grand total of twenty minutes before I used "Mahbra is watching. Mahbra will tell Santa that you just kicked Carla. You don't want Santa to hear you've been misbehaving, do you?" And what followed was a very vocal and dramatic meltdown......I let him have his moment and then tried some redirection. 

"Hey Bud, let's go back downstairs and have a snack."

But Sal wasn't budging. He started sobbing again. When asked why, he said he didn't want Mahbra to see him. He would not go in the same room I had Mahbra hanging out in. He didn't like Mahbra and he didn't like Santa and he didn't want any presents. He just wanted Mahbra to go away.

Mom fail.

Scarred my child for life. 

Had to redeem myself the next morning, so Mahbra showed up with a pair of Santa socks for Sal.

Thank goodness Sal was receptive and told me Mahbra could stay and he did, in fact, like Santa. 

Dodged that bullet.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

23 weeks pregnant

Weight gain: 14 lbs since the start. 7 of those in the last four weeks. Time to lay off the "I just moved back to America so I'm gonna eat everything I've missed" mentality. 

Maternity clothes? Yes. I love leggings. 

Stretch marks? None. 

Sleep: Mid pregnancy insomnia has hit. Add to that the fact that we've transitioned both kids into a shared bedroom, we've had some midnight waking from the littlest as of late. 

Best moment this week: Had a good visit with the OB (other than getting reprimanded for gaining too much) and was able to hear his heartbeat which always puts my mind and heart at ease. 

Miss anything?: My pre-babies body and workout ethic (;

Movement: Yes. But still sporadic. I wish I felt more. 

Food cravings: bean and cheese burritos and fruit loops cereal. 

Anything making you queasy or sick: no

Gender: Boy

Happy or Moody?: Moody. I'm nearing the same time in this pregnancy in which I lost Denise. 

Looking forward to: Christmas with my kids & family. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sharing with my "somedays"

When I went away to college, my mom boxed up a bunch of my childhood items. Among that box, was a quiet book that she made me when I was about 3 years old. It's dated 1980. When I got married, she sent the box with me. I've held onto it through numerous moves, and saved it for my "someday" kids.

Today was the day that I pulled out the quiet book for my "somedays". The three of us played quietly together for the better part of a half hour, which says a lot for the attention span of a two year old tornado. Once Carla lost interest in fighting Sal to touch it, I left him be to play with it alone.

I admit. I got misty eyed as I watched and listened to him play with it.

I'm not usually a person that saves things or keeps things for sentimental value. I let go of stuff pretty easy. This quiet book though--it's one of the few material items that mean the world to me (my knitted Christmas stocking being my most treasured). 

Seeing the kids that I saved it for, finally playing with it?....


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014 has to go down as one of the most beautiful days I can remember in late November. We started our morning with a family car ride in search of swell, eating donuts and wearing pjs. 

                                   Sal really likes donuts with "sfarkles"

There was no swell to speak of, so we left the beach and headed back to Nonno's to get ready for a day trip to Santa Barbara for thanksgiving dinner.

This year, my uncle and his wife came down from Oregon and got to meet Carla for the first time.

                               Great-grandma Dottie & great Uncle Greg

We had a mix match of family attending, which was nice because we were able to see people from both sides of my family all in one place. Being a child of divorce makes holidays and visiting everyone a marathon, so I am extra Thankful that my family members come together and put the past aside when possible. 

The best part of this Thanksgiving (aside from the BBQ'd turkey and beautiful weather), was having this guy back home in time to celebrate with us. 

                                                   Zentil, party of five

It's crazy to think that next year, one of us will be holding another kid. I look at our family photos from this past year and it's still surreal to even have two living kids in our photos. The thought and reality of adding one more in the next few months both excites and terrifies me. Never in a million years did I think that our journey would lead us here....

I'm just thankful we never gave up hope.

Sharing rooms

We finally did it.

We moved the kids into the same room.

Since our return to the states, Carla has been sharing a room with us (me) while we waded through jetlag and sickness. Once NZ joined us last week, we kept saying to one another..."We NEED to move her into Sal's room". It's been the plan all along, but I just kept putting it off until last night. 

Last night was the night. The crib and changing table found a new home in the corner of Sal's room. I had done some talking about sharing rooms with him prior to the merge, but wasn't sure he fully understood that SHE would be sleeping in HIS room. We made such a big deal about the new room he'd have at nonno's house before we moved back to CA that I was afraid that I may have jinxed a peaceful sharing of the room. 

Such was not the case. 

He welcomed her with enthusiasm. And lots and lots of chatter. 

Until 10:00pm to be exact.

NZ and I went to bed around 10:00 and we listened through our monitor as he chatted away. It was a one sided conversation, as there wasn't a peep from Carla, but the boy went on and on and on until he finally ran out of words. Mind you, bedtime was 7:00 sharp. 

We made it through night one without anyone waking, which was much better than I had anticipated. My morning started out at about 6:30 hearing the sweetest words on the monitor..

"Oh dere you are Caryita. Are you awake?" 

Followed of course by, "Mama....mahhh-mahhh... maaaaaaaaaahma. We awake!" 

And on that note, my Saturday started.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Carla is 10 months old

I'm over a week late posting--for good reason--NZ finally joined us in California after six long weeks away!  We've spent the last week getting him repatriated and I'm just now sitting down to write about our little TEN month old! 

At ten months old, Carla weighs in at 18lbs...and I've already forgotten her height, but she's pretty much right at in the 50th percentile on height and weight. If her food consumption as of late is any indication, she's due for a growth spurt anytime now. She often clears her dinner plate and eats what her big brother has refused (which is usually his entire dinner). New favorite foods have been steak, raspberries, blueberries and cheese. She's jacked Sal's morning sippy cup of whole milk a few times and had no reaction to the lactose, so hopefully we're in the clear of any milk allergies. 

My favorite thing about Carla turning ten months old?


She squats like an old Chinese lady in the middle of the room and then pops right up to a stand with no hands! I'm guessing she stands unassisted for at least 15-20 seconds before plopping back down. We might just have a few steps by eleven months. 


And because of that...the baby gates are up. Well, that and the fact she can climb stairs but has no idea how to get down without trust falling. Let's just say she started to trust fall, and my pregnant butt went to grab her...but lost my step and came tumbling down the stairs almost taking her down with me. That was the end of the "I'll just teach her how to use stairs instead of buying baby gates." 


In her repertoire of over the top cuteness, she has the "bye bye" wave down, makes smooching noises before kisses, and throws her hands up to say "all done". Her big brother thinks he is a dog sometimes, and she giggles and tries to say "woof woof", but it comes as "wuh". Hey, it's a start. 


Carla met one of her great grandma's this month. She's a lucky girl to have two great grandmas to love on her. I'm really thankful that we are living close enough for regular visits. We spent an entire Thursday visiting with both of them up in Santa Barbara. My sister and I made them play assistant for our amateur attempt at a photo shoot for Christmas cards. I'm sure we wore both great grandmas out with our three ring circus.