Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Day of 2009


We had an amazing day today and packed in more today that we do most days, which is sayin' something!


Spent the morning at the park and playground. Got really dirty. Came home and cleaned up.


Went for a long hike up in the mountains. It was a gorgeous day. Fresh air. Solitude. Relaxing, renewing, and wonderful.


Went to dinner at Chipotle for Mr. Mustard's birthday (same as last's still Paprika's favorite place to go).

Drove home and saw the scene on Colorado Boulevard. Tomorrow is The Rose Parade, and as Pasadena residents, we get the crazy comin' to town once/year. Seriously.


Miles of people camped out overnight to watch the parade tomorrow. Looked like a festive environment, and so I had to take a few snaps on the drive home.


Made a birthday cake for Mr. Mustard. Chocolate. Paprika helped. It was almost ruined because I forgot to add water. I am no baker. But, Mr. Mustard realized it at the last minute, we pulled it out of the oven, added water, and the cake was saved. Phew!

Now we're getting ready to ring in the New Year. A good day, and a good birthday for Mr. Mustard (I hope)!

Happy Birthday, E!


Today is Mr. Mustard's birthday! The best part of being a New Year's Eve baby? There's always a party to attend. Tonight we'll be having our own party with Paprika and Ginger. ;-)


This is the 10th birthday of Mr. Mustard's that I've celebrated with him. I can't believe it's been 10 years now. Wow. Each year gets better...I don't know how that happens, but it does!

Happy Birthday to the best person I've ever known. Seriously. How did I get so lucky?


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sleep In A Two Bedroom Home


Last night Ginger was up very late, as usual. Mr. Mustard wanted to give me a break from my up-all-night nursing sessions with Ginger, so he offered to take over (with pumped milk from the freezer).

Since our bedroom was occupied by Ginger and Mr. Mustard, I went into Paprika's room to catch some zzzz's. Paprika has a queen sized bed, and if she's asleep, it can be a nice and quiet place to rest.


I went into Paprika's room around 1am, and she was sitting up in bed, awake.

I said, Paprika, sweetie, what are you doing awake?

Paprika: I have too much to think about and I can't sleep.

Me: What are you thinking about?

Paprika: Well, do you remember when we went to Disneyland? I really liked the Pinocchio ride. It was my favorite. Pinocchio is my friend. Pinocchio has a Daddy, and a fish, and a kitty cat. Pinocchio's daddy wished on the star and then Tinkerbell came. I like Tinkerbell. Do you like Tinkerbell? Good. She has special wings and a pretty dress and makes magic happen. Do you remember when we went on the Ferris Wheel at Disneyland? And the teacups? I don't like the Pirate Ride. It is too scary for me.


Paprika: Where's Baby Ginger?

Me: She's with Daddy. She's okay.

Paprika: Good. Now do you remember when we went on the Bumblebee Ride(the Monster's Inc. ride)? I liked that one. There was a little baby monster. She was so cute! And then we saw the parade. And the show. And we went on the airplane rollercoaster. And...


Needless to say, I didn't get much sleep! Paprika woke up bright and early, as usual...ready to start the day and play and jump and dance and learn. Ginger went to sleep at 3:30am, and slept for a few hours before she, too, was up for the day.

Boundless energy.

I find myself tired, but not wanting to miss a moment of it, either. I love my late-night conversations with Paprika as much as I love rocking Ginger to sleep in the middle of the night. It truly is a 24 hour house here, and that's okay. I wouldn't have it any other way!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Skinny Tuesday


I've been getting so many questions about what I'm doing know, to lose weight and get healthier. It's a question on so many of our minds, especially with the New Year approaching.

So, I've decided to blog about health, fitness, weight loss and the whole shebang on Tuesdays. Not sure how long it will last, but for now, I'm doing it!

As of this morning, I have lost 55 pounds since July. I started out doing Weight Watchers Online (and still am)- but after the first month or so, I noticed that I wasn't really losing any weight because I wasn't really changing my habits.

I wanted to lose weight by eating less of the same foods I've always eaten (chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate)- but that just left me tired, hungry, and prone to "cheating" - and really I was just cheating myself. Seriously.

In order to make sustainable changes, I had to change me. I had to change my assumptions about myself, about food, and about everything. And most importantly, I had to be ready to change.

Getting sick with pneumonia and H1N1 was certainly a wake-up call, not to mention dealing with my ever-present migraines. I was so tired and sick. Sick and tired. I felt old. I looked at pictures of myself, and I didn't like the person looking back at me. I didn't feel like ME anymore.

Something had to change.

The first BIG change I made was visualizing what bad food was doing to my body.

For me, it's not enough to want to be a certain clothing size, or to want to look good. When faced with the choice between size 4 jeans and a bar of chocolate, the chocolate will always win.

I had to make the consequences of bad food real to me. Then whenever I ate it, the pleasure was taken away. That food was robbing me of my health, my vitality, my energy, my life...that food was keeping me fat and miserable...why would I want to eat food that was making me sick?

I started looking online at information about the food I was consuming, and I knew it was time for a change.

One of the BEST things I did was watch the documentary Food, Inc. Watch it and you will never look at dinner the same way again. It is really a life-changing movie, and one I will need to watch again after it's effects have worn off. You can watch it streaming on Netflix. You can rent it from the library. Just watch it!

I also went back and watched Super Size Me again. You can watch it for free on Yes, I saw it when it came out six years ago. And it's not as good as the movie Food, Inc. But it was still powerful and curbed any desire I have to eat fast-food.

I started read inspiring blogs, like Alicia's Silverstone's The Kind Life. When I was in high school, everyone told me I looked like Alicia Silverstone. As the years have gone by, I realized I was looking less like her- and she was still looking hot! I found her blog online, and started opening my mind to other ways of eating that aren't so meat-based.

I found that I could save a lot of money and feel better by not eating so much meat. So, in the past month or so, I have pretty much cut out meat (which as a hamburger a day kind of girl, I never thought I would do).

I am not saying I'm never eating meat again, but I have found that it is so much better...for myself, for the planet, for my try new ways of eating.

One of the videos that really changed my mind about this was a YouTube video I saw of Rocco, The Cowboy (from the Dr. Oz Show):

So, by now, I am guessing that more than a few of you are thinking I've gone off the deep end.

Maybe I have, but it feels good swimming in these waters. I have opened myself up to a whole world of feeling healthy, alive, and young again. It's been really wonderful. More next week on Skinny Tuesday - which, as you may have guessed is a play on words from the very fun and festive Mardi Gras "Fat Tuesday"!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Jennifer Garner & Me


This morning, we hung out at The Children's Museum with Jennifer Garner. Well, we didn't exactly hang out with her. Actually, I was at home relaxing with Ginger and wasn't at The Children's Museum at all. But Mr. Mustard was there and he saw her.

The Children's Museum was packed (as I knew it would be during Winter Break), so I stayed home with Ginger. Don't get me wrong, I love going to The Children's Museum and we go all the time (as y'all know). I go when it is empty and we can pretend it's our own personal playground. Not when it's packed with umpteen million people and I feel like spraying down each thing with Lysol before Paprika can touch it. But Mr. Mustard thought it would be fun, so he took Paprika. He's a good, brave daddy!

Today was the last Snow Day (when they bring in snow from the mountains so Los Angeles kids can experience "winter"), and they had a Bouncy House...which for some reason brings out both the very best and worst in kids...especially Paprika.


Yesterday when Mr. Mustard took Paprika, she got so involved in playing in the bouncy house that she did not want to leave and was clutching the walls as they were shutting it down. This, of course, turned into a meltdown of epic proportions. Paprika started screaming, "Let go of me! I want my mommy!" so forcefully that someone thought Mr. Mustard was abducting Paprika. Mr. Mustard was mortified, of course!


Thankfully, it was so packed today that Paprika was ready to leave after a few hours of play this morning and no meltdowns ensued. Ginger and I met up with Mr. Mustard and Paprika for lunch at our favorite Chipotle (yum!) and then we headed up into the San Gabriel mountains for an afternoon hike.


As you can see, it was gorgeous, and we had the whole place to ourselves. Just how I like it!


We had a great time, scaling boulders...






and napping.


We really did have the whole place to ourselves. It felt like we were pioneers out in the Old Wild West.


Mostly, we just had fun being together...


and laughing! I'd take that over a Jennifer Garner sighting any day of the week!


First Tastes & Snow Day!


We gave Ginger her first taste of food yesterday. Organic Unsweetened Applesauce. She was not a fan. Kind of reminds me of her big sister, Paprika. We will keep working on it.


In the afternoon, Mr. Mustard took Paprika to the Children's Museum. It was Snow Day, which means they had brought down snow from the mountains for the kids. Paprika has been reading all about snow in all of her winter books- and of course, she has no idea what snow really looks like since we don't get it here in Los Angeles. So, she was really excited about that.

I stayed home with Ginger to try to get her down for a nap while Mr. Mustard took Paprika to the Children's Museum. I was bummed that Mr. Mustard didn't bring the camera to take pictures of Paprika's "Snow Day." I guess her re-telling of it will have to be enough.

Snow Day was very magical for Paprika. I can imagine that being surrounded by mountains of snow while feeling the warm Southern California sun on your face would be magical.

My own childhood in Indiana was filled with lots of snow...but I can't say that I ever played in it during a 70 degree day! in Southern California really can make you soft. Now we think it's cold when the weather hits 60 degrees. ;-)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Foolin' Around


Our day after Christmas was very lazy. We played with all the toys and presents. Mid-day, Mr. Mustard and I took Paprika to see The Princess and the Frog movie in the theater (her third time seeing it, but the first time she got to see it with both of us).

She wore her Princess Tiana dress, and her Princess Tiana necklace, and brought her Princess Tiana doll with her - all of which Santa brought her for Christmas. She insisted that everyone call her Princess Tiana. She got a lot of attention at the theater, and pretty much everyone thought she was the most adorable thing going. I would have to agree!

We didn't take a camera because Mr. Mustard was worried we'd be accused of being movie pirates, so the event will have to stay etched in our memories. We had a great time, and I know Paprika enjoyed having both her mommy and her daddy all to herself for an afternoon out on the town.

We put Ginger down for a nap right before we left, hoping she'd sleep while we were gone. Mr. Mustard's mom stayed at our house and watched Ginger for us- which was really nice of her. When we came home, Ginger was awake and all smiles- which was great! I think Pat (Mr. Mustard's mom) enjoyed the one-on-one time with Ginger, too.

I am still fighting my pneumonia, but am definitely better than I was a few weeks ago. Ginger is still exclusively breastfed, which is taking a lot out of me. I am not ready to give it up, but I will say that her waking up every two hours at night is hard on me! Perhaps when we start feeding her solid foods (soon), things will get easier and she will sleep more? We shall see...

As for now, we're taking it one day at a time and enjoying our Christmas break. I don't even want to think about Mr. Mustard going back to work in January. I am loving him having time off- it really is the best Christmas present ever.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Day!


Our Christmas morning began when Paprika came downstairs and noticed right off the bat that Santa had eaten ALL of the cookies we left for him, and drank ALL of the milk...AND had left a big, sooty footprint on our hearth. Messy Santa! Paprika kept looking for reindeer footprints, but we assured her that the reindeer stayed on the roof!


Then we decorated a Gingerbread House. Paprika had been wanting to decorate the gingerbread house all week. We told her that when Grandma (Mr. Mustard's mom) came for Christmas, we could decorate it together! It's sort of a tradition now, I guess, since we also did that last year!


Next up, we opened presents!


Paprika likes to open her presents very slowly and enjoy each gift. There is no tearing open packages in a frenzy in our house. The first thing she opened in her stocking was new playdoh, and she wanted to take it out and play with it right then. Next she opened a book, and she wanted to read the whole book (more than once!) before moving on to the next gift.


Next she opened her new bike helmet, and she wanted to go outside and ride her bike with her new helmet before she opened any more gifts.


Do you see where this is going?


Santa brought Paprika a whole host of Princess Tiana gear...which is just what she asked him for. I was glad Santa was able to make good on his promise. She has been a good girl this year!

She wanted to play with her Princess Tiana dress and her Princess Tiana doll for a long time before moving on to the next gift.


So, much like last year, opening presents became an all-day affair. Which really just stretches out the fun. We feel very blessed that Paprika and Ginger had so many presents to open, (many from her grandparents and great grandparents). They are very loved on children!


After that, we had a nice, yummy Christmas dinner at home. Mr. Mustard's mom prepared it and it was delicious! Paprika helped out in the kitchen, we enjoyed listening to Christmas music, drinking a little wine, and just being together.

A very good Christmas, indeed!


Friday, December 25, 2009

The Night Before Christmas


On Christmas Eve, we spent the day at the park and playground. Came home, and made cookies from scratch for Santa and his reindeer. They were my first attempt at making cookies from scratch, and they were disgusting! Totally inedible. But Paprika didn't seem to notice, and Santa liked them so much that he ate ALL of them. ;-)

Then we let Paprika and Ginger open one present...well, two presents...


The first present was their matching Christmas pajamas, which Mr. Mustard said wasn't really a very fun present.


So, we let them open another. Paprika got an Ergo Baby Carrier for herself. She keeps calling it her Baby Bjorn.


Ginger had fun playing with the presents under the Christmas tree.


She tried to open some and managed to get quite a few ribbons off the presents.


As for me, I liked seeing my presents under the tree, too. One in particular!


Overall, we had a wonderful Christmas. Paprika found the holiday very magical, so much so that she stayed up pretty much the whole night waiting for Santa to arrive. That meant that I also stayed up pretty much the whole night, and when I finally got to bed around 7am on Christmas morning, I fell back asleep just in time for Ginger to wake up! Thank goodness for caffeine!

More pics from our Christmas Day to come later. It's been a long day and I am ready to sit back and enjoy my Christmas chocolates that Santa brought me!