Friday, August 28, 2015

A visit with Barb

Last Sunday, the kids and I kicked off our week alone (NZ was in China again), with a little drive to Culver City to see one of my favorite expat friends. Barb was in town from Michigan visiting her brother who was performing there. 

One of our Chinese adventures with Barb-bus riding!

We spent the morning swimming and splashing and catching up like old friends do. She's the first friend from China that I've reunited with back in the states, and although it was a little weird not being surrounded by the staring eyes of the curious Chinese, it was oh so nice to be back in America together while we laughed at the joy that shopping at target provides us. 

The kids had a blast, and all fell asleep on the drive home, making for a nice quiet afternoon. 

A huge thank you to Barb and her parents for entertaining my kids so we could visit! 

Thursday, August 20, 2015


All of a sudden these two give me glimpses of hope that they may someday be each other's best friend. 

Don't get me wrong, most days I find myself refereeing drop kicks, vampire bites and wwe smack downs over the same toy...but every so often, they come together and it's beautiful. 

Here are a few savored moments as of late. 

                Two little monkeys

   Feeding Carla tomatoes at grama's 

     Waiting turns for snow cone slurps

   Holding hands on the way to the beach

Painting together...and keeping the paint off each other. 

Although it's a lot of work having so many little ones so close in age, I wouldn't change it for the world. They will always have each other, come rain or shine. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Stitch fix: first delivery

So, my style needs some serious revamping. Between an overseas move in which we lived out of two drawers and a shared closet each, to three years of revolving maternity clothes, my wardrobe--or what's left of it, is outdated. 

I've attempted quick target and old navy naptime getaways to try and find myself some new duds, but either end up empty handed or buying something that isn't really what I had in mind, but fits so so. 

Enter stitch fix. 

A few friends have had success with stitch fix. It's an online business that provides a stylist and automatic shipments of five items at scheduled delivery dates. I decided it was worth the $20 "styling fee" and filled out a lengthy questionnaire. I then went to my Pinterest board and pinned photos of outfits/styles that spoke to me on my "playing dress up" board. My stylist will take a look and select from their warehouse items that fit the bill. 

I was nervous at first because a) just like rhythm, I have NO style. And b) I'm 4 months post baby-and although I'm at my pre Carla weight again, I'm squishy and a bit more self conscious than I used to be. I am not sure of my sizes anymore., so I guesstimated and made a note to my stylist that I didn't want my muffin top showing and in addition, nursing friendly tops would be a bonus. 

My fix arrived last night.

Once the kids were in bed I played dress up and had NZ act as my photographer. We don't have a good full length mirror so a photograph of me wearing my new fix was the next best option. 

Right off the bat, 4 out of 5 items got me grinning. I tried on the fifth item- a pair of Kut from the kloth olive green shorts-- for shits and giggles, and they fit like a glove--but I knew I'd never wear them. 

There were two flowy loose tops. I loved both at first sight. They're airy and great for nursing. 

The first one was a petite cut, and I liked that it was loose, but not too loose. 


The second one, a collective concepts Nathaniel top, was a super cute v neck with high low hem, but was just too boxy for my liking. 

Unfortunately, it had to be a return, even though I contemplated taking it in on my own. I just think it was too big.

I received a cute necklace, which I would've kept, however, Gino is at the age he is grabbing everything and it just seemed to delicate to handle the grasp of a hungry four month old. I had a feeling it would die a painful death within hours. 

It too went in my return bag. 

My last and final piece is my hands down FAVORITE. A petite length maxi skirt in a fun black and white print. It's the first maxi I didn't have to hike up under my boobs or hem to fit. It hangs just right and I'm in love. 

So, all in all, my stylist did good. I liked everything but the shorts. I only kept two, because I'm really wanting to stock my closet with things that fit just right-not just making do with a so so fit. I've done it for years and there's something to be said for clothes that fit your body right. They make you feel so much better and you actually wear them. 

I'm sold on stitch fix. I can try them on in my own home, with other pieces of clothes that I already own. I don't feel rushed at all, and feel like having someone else pick out clothes for me to try on got me out of my frumpy tank tops and t-shirts box. 

My next shipment is next month. I've requested some jeans to wear with sandals. Can't wait to see what my stylist sends. 

If you're interested in giving it a try, ask me for my promo code. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Cascarones and old friends

I grew up in Santa Barbara. It's a beachside town with deep Spanish roots. 

Every August, Santa Barbara celebrates its heritage with Old Spanish days. It's a week long celebration full of mercados, parades and cervezas & cascarones. 

This year, the kids and I met up with my longtime friend, Sara and her children. Once upon a time, Sara and I spent 25-30 hours a week inhaling chalk dust and picking leotard wedgies as gymnastics teammates. We haven't seen one another in almost 22 years, but thanks to social media, have stayed in touch through babies and moves. We both recently moved back to Southern CA and made a date to hit up the parade together. 

It was as though no years had passed. Picked up right where we left off and spent the afternoon catching up. 

We played at Kids World park for an hour or so and then headed to the parade route to stake our claim on a street corner. 

It was on this corner that my kids got introduced to a fiesta tradition. Breaking cascarones on fellow partier's heads and shouting "¡viva la fiesta!"

 When the egg cracks, colorful confetti flutters out and covers everything around it. I've always loved that tradition and was excited for my kids to get a chance to partake this year. 

The parade was full of flower girls, caballeros and horses. There were dancers and marching bands and all that jazz. Although we had to leave part way through --- "mooooom, I need to use a bafroom. NOW!" I think my kids caught the bug that will keep us going back year after year. On our way out, Sal insisted we buy more cascarones so he could share with his aunt Stephanie. 

After a quick lunch, we headed to my sister's office where we unloaded Sal and his cascarones for the night. He had his first sleepover at her house and continued fiesta-ing with pizza, movies, popcorn and candy til he couldn't take it anymore. 

He definitely fiesta' like there's no maƱana. 

Til next year. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

MeiTei style doll carrier

Carla loves her babies. She often imitates the tasks I'm doing, whether it be changing a diaper, nursing or burping her brother. She'll run to get her doll and be my little sidekick copying my every move. 

       Gino and the ergo do the SB zoo

Gino spends a lot of time in my ergo carrier. It's responsible for my sanity when out and about in public with three children. It leaves my hands free to grab one arm and swipe the other by the shirt collar if need be. Being outnumbered is no joke. 

Carla likes to stuff her doll in her shirt when she sees me carrying G in the carrier, so I got on Pinterest this morning and searched for doll carrier tutorials. The ergo tutorial has too many buckles and straps for my sewing level, but the meiTei copycat was right up my alley--and bonus--I had scraps of material left from making Carla's crib linens that fit the requirements. 

Here it is!


And the happy girl carrying her baby after the world's shortest afternoon nap. I was hoping I was hearing phantom cries just 45 minutes after she conked out for nap. But alas, a diaper full of poop was her ticket outta naptime today. 


There is always tomorrow. 

Mama needs those three hour naps. 

At least she's busy carrying baby around while I finish my chores..and blog, of course. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Carla is one and a half

I know all parents think their kid is the cutest one ever, but the most common phrase uttered round our house lately between NZ and myself is, "she's so damn cute! Did you see/hear her do/" 

Everything this girl does is cute.

Even her tantrums are cute. She throws herself down on the floor with her head down and face smushed into the carpet and sobs. She recently started hitting too--which is obviously not cute or a desired behavior, but the dropping to her knees tantrums still get a little smile from me.

(Remind me I said that in another month or two)

Some of Carla's favorite things these days are animals (mostly horses and birds), Popsicles, painting and running around in our yard. 

She also loves her babies. Both human and stuffed. Gino is recipient of many of her slobbery open mouthed kisses. She's quite giving. 

She's perfecting her phone calling skills and is very Italian in the way she uses her whole body to speak while on the phone. She says "heyo" and "bye bye" and what sounds like xiexie. 

My least favorite words she says is "ut oh" because she ONLY says it once she's done something she knows I told her not to. She NEVER says it when it's a legit accident. 

Carla is a million miles a minute, always on Sal's heels. She completed swim lessons this last week and loves being dunked under water. If there's water around, she will be in it. I think we have a fish on our hands. 

At her 18 month appointment she weighed in at 23 lbs and 32". She's healthy and growing, and that makes this mama happy. 

Hard for me to grasp the fact that my baby is going to be TWO in six short months. I know I have a younger baby, but Carla is still my baby. 


Before I had children of my own, I was lucky enough to have two nephews to love on. I also had all the time in the world to craft, and even made all of our Christmas gifts for a couple years.

One of my favorite projects were the silhouette cutouts I did of my oldest two nephews. They were so simple and took less than 20 min start to finish. I feel like silhouettes capture the sweetness of little ski sloped noses and double chins better than a photograph can. 

We're finally at the point of our home projects that we are giving the kids' rooms a facelift. When we moved back into our home in January, we just pushed furniture into the bedrooms and called it good. We still haven't hung any artwork or photos....but....we recently moved Carla into her own room, and Gino moved in with Sal. I've been a busy bee working on Carla's room, and my most recent naptime project happened to be a silhouette of her dainty little features and curls. 

She doesn't have a theme for her room–I'm not much of a themey person I guess, but I do love colors, so she's getting a neutral room with pops of color throughout. It makes it easy to change things as she grows. For her silhouette, I chose light pink and teal and placed it in a cheap white target frame. 

Want to make one?

Super easy.

Snap a side profile pic of your kid.


Print it as 5x7 or 8x10

Cut out their profile.


Trace onto card stock and cut out again. Using a glue stick, adhere the profile cutout to a contrasting piece of card stock which has been cut to fit your frame.


Voila. All done.

                                Sal, Carla, Gino (that's a mighty big melon!)

I loved the way it turned out so much that I made one of each boy for their room.