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Christmas Tree Excursion

Every year, we get a Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.

And we do it the good ol' fashion way. None of this pre-cut, cement lots on the side of the road nonsense. If you dont chop it down with your own two hands (or 5 or 6 hands, we usually have to take turns because its WAY harder then it looks to cut down a tree. So much for my lumberjacking career) then it doesnt count.

We also tried to do our family picture at the Christmas tree farm this year. It was really hard to get a good shot of 7 people at the same time.

Really hard.

Plus, there wasnt really ever anyone around that we could harass into taking our picture, so one person always had to be left out of the shot while they played photographer.

All and all it was good fun.

Here it is in photos.

Cruz and my sisters boyfriend, Brett. He has been around since Cruz was born and they adore each other. Obviously.
In typical Cruz fashion, he passed out as soon as we got there. 

He is getting too big for this sling & his sweet little feet always poke out the side.

Cruz = fail

Finally, a good one!

On a far less festive note, Cruz is sick AGAIN! He has a sinus infection AND pink eye. Poor little guy! The pink eye is definitely the worst part of it.  I hate seeing him like this! Fortunately, he is still in good spirits. Hang in there my little trooper.


But mom, everyones doing it!

So I know that every other mommy blog in the whole entire blogosphere is doing this. But I would love to get my blog out there to drive in some traffic and meet new readers. So if you would like, click on the link below to vote for my blog. Thanks!

Vote For Us @ topbabyblogs.com!

Also, I have this weird, irrational fear of posting the Google Friend Connect "Followers", I guess because I dont want everyone to see the measly number of people that read my blog. But, I'm going to get over my fear and post it already. It will be on the right side bar. So if you dont already follow me, please feel free to!


So I'm taking a photography class (soon. hopefully.) And I have gotten really into learning all the theories, techniques, editing, etc.


Way harder then it looks.

But I'm getting there. Slowly. Especially considering that I dont have any special editing software ( I was stealing photoshop for a while using free serial numbers that I got off the internet to plug into the free download trial version. But they totally caught onto me. And that was the end of that). So now I just use the {very} limited tools of iPhoto and Picnik.



I enhanced the color a bit, blurred the background out so you can't see my moms foot anymore (lovely as it is) and I removed the food from Cruz's face.

I would love, love, love anyone who has experience or advice to shoot it my way.

I also took a couple pictures of the latest project I'm working on. Its Cruz's Christmas stocking.

Totally not Christmas colors, I know. But with department stores looking like they vomited green and red, I'm already sick of the traditional colors. So yellow, white and grey it is! Plus we are doing a rustic Christmas theme this year, so the stocking fits right in. I'll be posting picture of our tree tomorrow so you can get a better feel.

Now, to the most important reason for this post. I have been putting off writing this because I just haven't really been able to find the words to express how I feel about it.
On my families Thanksgiving "prep" day (we all get together wednesday night to start cooking and preparing for thursday) I was telling my family how badly I wanted a camera as I was dying to take a class and because my blog is really lacking in the pic department (iPhones just dont measure up).
Well thursday rolls around and I have to take Cruz to his Papa, which was really tough for me because Cruz would be having his first Thanksgiving dinner without me. And Cruz was less then thrilled and really didnt want to go. He was screaming before we even got to his dads door. Then Papa and I got into an argument and I was pretty shook up when I got to my aunts where we were celebrating Thanksgiving.
My cousin, who was home for the holiday, was kind enough to listen to me rant about Papa for a while. And to help me see that I am lucky. That things could be so much worse. That Papa could not care at all and never want to see Cruz. Would that be better? Would I want that for my son? I have to appreciate her wisdom. And know that she is right. I have much to be thankful for this season.

But I digress.

She also informed me that she had talked it over with her husband and that they were going to lend me their camera so that I could take my class.
... Speechless.
I'm overwhelmed with gratitude to A and L (I didnt ask permission to use their names, so they are A & L). I'm so blessed to call them my own. That they were thoughful enough to extend this gift to me, I'm ever thankful.

I offered to give them my first born, but when they found out how much he hates the car they figured it wasnt worth the work to get him through the 16 hour car ride home.

Seriously though, it makes me so incredibly thankful that I have such an amazing family. And incredibly humbled to know that some people dont. I have so much to be thankful for.

To my A&L, these photographs I take of my son, of his life, his learning, his growing; they are for you. To experience and enjoy and grow with him, until you have your own to share these wonders with. And one day you will. Know that you are always in my thoughts and my prayers. Thank you. I love you.


My Little Turkey

A few little sneak peeks of all the wonderful pictures I have been capturing this weekend with my amazing new camera (I will refer to it as "my amazing new camera" for the duration of its use on my blog! Its obsession in its deadliest form).


Fashion Friday

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
I have some amazing pictures from my amazing new camera, but I have to get a new memory card reader to load them on my computer. So you must wait with baited breath until tomorrow! It will be worth it.

In the meantime, here are a few of the things I'm loving right now. I have had most of these images saved for a while, so I dont have the sources for all of them. If you know the source (or are the source) let me know so I can give credit where its due!

First, my most favorite winter items. BOOTS

Love the detailed cut out on these!!

I have these boots from Steve Madden (the fist pair) that I got on clearance. Cowboy boots are my absolute fave, fave, fave. I have the most amazing thrifted pair that I wear on the reg. I also had an amazing pair of vintage cowboy boots, but my stupid feet grew like 1/2 a size when I was pregnant and I was already squeezing my tootsie into them before that. I think maybe I should have an online yard sale of all the stuff I can't wear anymore. Lord knows I have a closet full.

I also have both pairs of these from UGG, but in solid brown (I'm not a hot pink kind of gal). They are the most comfy, slip-into-when-you-dont-feel-like-getting-dressed boots!

are also my most favorite winter thing (hence the indecisiveness).

Sooo cute, I am definitely going to have to find a pattern for this!

Love the pop of color. But that yellow would look ghastly with my skin tone. Yet another reason that I wish I was more tan (or tan at all).


Not exactly how I would choose to style it. But Cruz would probably loose his mind with excitement as he is all about the chi-chi's.
Again with the yellow! I think I must be channeling my alter ego, the beautifully brown Latina woman that I am in my daydreams.  But I have it in blue and its super cute.

Just cuz Mr. Rogers knows whats up with the sweaters.


I hate jeans from the core of my being. I would (and do) wear dresses all year long. This one would be cute with some leggings and a cardigan.

Cruz would dig this one too. The ultimate nursing dress. Still, super cute and great for winter because of the length and sleeves.

This one is styled great for winter too. I prefer leggings to tights though. 

Fingers crossed I can get my Thanksgiving pictures up tomorrow while Cruz is with his Papa. Hope everyones holiday was filled with love, laughter and calories!


Oh ya...

It was totally my sisters idea to make the paints from this post.

In said post, I said "we" and I didnt specify who "we" was.

"We" is my sister and I. She had the idea. I researched and made them.

My sister kindly informed me of my mistake tonight.

And threatened to sue for fraud.


Decisions, Decisions

I hate them.

I hate making decisions.

I might possibly be the worst decision maker in the whole entire world.

Sometimes just the thought of having to make a decision keeps me from doing anything at all.

For example, if I need to go to the store really badly, but its the same time as a playgroup, I will contemplate and debate in my head. I go back and forth and forth and back until I just give up and don't do either.

Its bad.

So today, Papa text me when I am on my way to drop off Cruz and says that he wont be off until a little later and that his mom would be waiting for me and she would hang out with Cruz until he got off.

Totally NOT part of our custody agreement.

So I'm faced with the daunting task of either A) just dropping Cruz off with his Nana. But his seperation anxiety is SO bad. He cries when I leave him with his dad, what is going to happen if I have to leave him with someone else. Or B) say no and just wait for Papa to get off work.

I knew that I wanted to choose B, but was it worth the argument? Did I want to have to get into with his dad?

So my train of thought goes something like this...

-O.K I'm just gonna say no. Our custody agreement is between him and I, not him, I and his mother.
-Seriously, Cassie, its not that big of a deal. Just drop him off, he'll be fine
-No way Jose
-Don't even ask me again
-No, my mind is made up, I'm not thinking about it anymore.

10 minutes later
-Wait, what was my decision (I do this all the time. I make the decision, but I went back and forth so many times that I forget what I decided on)
-Alright, I'm just gonna try to stall
-I dont know what to do.

By the time I get there I still havent made a decision. Obviously.
So then I just tell myself that I'm going to get there and see how I feel and see how Cruz does.
And then I never EVER feel comfortable with the decision I made because I didnt actually make a decision.

And then I spend the rest of the night mad at myself. And its so irritating because I still have to hang out with myself. Sometimes I wish I could just ditch myself for a little while. Like that one friend you have that is mildly annoying that you just want to dodge for a couple days. Sometimes I'm that friend. But you totally cannot ditch yourself. Dilemma.


A Little of This & a Little of That

I worked on a few little crafts today.

First: A pair of fingerless mittens.

Please excuse the fingernails that are so badly in need of a manicure.

As the picture quality is lacking (still havent gotten my camera back) you cant see them very well. They have a little bow there in the top middle.

It was really quick. I did it while Cruz was playing.

I'm loving, LUHVING grey and black for this season. Probably because I just went and saw Harry Potter 7 in theatres (by myself, doesn't anyone else do that. People look at me weird when I say I went by myself...) and Hermione is dressed super cute, all grey and black, all the time.

I also started working on a christmas present for Cruz. I wanted to make him a play mat based on scenes out of the book "Guess How Much I Love You." So I started brainstorming the best ways to do this and I decided that I would just hand embroider the pictures onto pieces of white muslin and then I would sew the muslin together.


Its waayyy tougher than I thought it would be. At this rate, Cruz won't get it until his 3rd birthday. 

Here's the picture from the book...

I traced it onto white paper...

I cut out the paper and stitched right on top of it....

And this is what I came up with. I am pretty positive that you would have no idea what it was if I didn't tell you. And it took FOREVER to do this one piece.

I like to consider myself crafty, but this is just not my niche.

I'm going to try again tomorrow, we'll see how that goes. I'm not optimistic.


Can We Talk About Boobs?

Disclaimer: Dad, you might not want to read this :)

OK, let me start off by saying that I absolutely LOVE breastfeeding my son. I wouldn't have it any other way. I believe its totally natural and beautiful and it creates an amazing bond between my son and I.

That being said.

Double you. Tee. Eff.

I look like an 85 yr old woman. Well, at least from the neck down.

I'm talking about my boobs. They are soooo saggy. And when they are empty, right after Cruz has nursed, forget it, its basically just loose skin pooling at the bottom of bra.

Lovely, I know.

For the sake of the argument, I have to give examples.

Due to the fact that I dont want to smear the internet (or you poor, unsuspecting bystanders) with images of my breast (not that I have any) I will use this picture as reference for my "before."

I was 19 in this picture (on the left) and, for the most part, pretty average in the chestal region for a girl of that age (ignore the classy, frat-house decor)

Just 2 short years later...

SAGGY BAGGY ELEPHANT!!!!! (Please excuse the minor adjustments made to Papa's face).

Will they ever go back to normal???
Will I be a sagging, 85 year old look-a-like for the rest of my life.
I'm only 21, I deserved to get a little bit more mileage out of the "perkiness" factor.

For real, do they ever go back? Or do I get to keep these gifts from my son (as if the stretch marks weren't gift enough) for the rest of my life?

Maybe I'll meet a guy with a sagging, stretch mark fetish. No?

Ahh, the sacrifices joys of motherhood. Thank you, my son, for all the incredible ways for which you have changed my life.


Wonderful Wednesday + Wonderfully Natural Baby Activities and Recipes

I love Wednesdays.

Cruz doesnt have to go with Papa on wednesday, he gets some good 'ol mama time. And wednesday is story time at the library (Cruz will someday love books, so help me God).

And even though this has been a glorious wednesday, Cruz has been a bit cranky as he is nearing the end of his bout with bronchitis. In an effort to keep him well entertained we decided to make some baby safe paint. Obviously, safety was my number one concern because EVERYTHING goes in his mouth. I did a little research and this is what I came up with...

Baby Safe (editable, should you choose) Paint:

1 cup Flour (cornstarch works great too, but use 1/2 the amount, so in this recipe 1/2 cup)

2 cups Water

Food coloring

3 Tbs Sugar


Mix water and flour over low/medium heat. Stir for about 5 minutes, or until you have a thick mixture. Separate into containers and add food coloring. Let cool, paint away!

If you want to be super natural you can make your own food coloring with berries, flowers, plants, etc. I've done this before and I will do it again for my next batch of paints.

Quick rundown for making your own dyes:
I usually just pick a color, for the sake of instructions I will choose blue. I like to use blackberries to make blue.
I add the blackberries to a pot of water. Just use a little water if you want a rich color or a lot if you want a muted color.
Bring the water to a boil while mashing the berries in the mixture (some recommend using a pot that you dont mind staining, but I've never had an issue with it).
Let simmer about 15 minutes or so depending on the color you want to achieve. For richer color allow it to simmer longer.
Strain into a jar. I usually cover the jar with cheesecloth to catch the berry pieces. 
Allow to cool and then add to your paints!
P.S If your using the dye to color cloth/material make sure to pre-treat your material so color will stick. Water with ice in it works. So does vinegar. Just place the material into the pretreating bath and let it soak for a few minutes. Ring it out and transfer to dye bath.

Cruz chose to use his paints in the bath. But its also fun with a nakee baby and a length of butcher paper for them to crawl around on. Baby's first artwork!

He was quite smitten with it!

On a different, yet equally domestic note, I've made Cruz's baby food since he started eating it. I often intersperse it with the store bought jars. And when I get really lazy I find myself resorting straight to the jars.

I've decided to put an end to that.

A really, really close friend of mine (more like a sister really) has always made her twin's food. And a couple weeks ago, she started making it for Cruz too! She is genious. She makes the food, puts it in ice cube trays and freezes it, thawing them as she needs them. The ice cube trays make the perfect size serving!

So far she has made him:
3 layer bean dip ( organic beans, yogurt instead of sour cream, and mashed avocado)
Organic Lentil Soup
Organic Chicken Noodle Soup
Organic Pasta O's in red sauce (she makes her own pasta. I know, I'm awed by her too)
Baby Pumpkin Pie ( fresh pumpkin, fresh ginger, cinnamon and organic animal cookies crumbled up to make the crust)
Pumpkin French Toast (cut into little hand sized sticks)
Spiced Organic Apples
Organic Carrot Bread (made in the mini cupcake pans)
Organic squash, carrot and broccoli purees that can be added to any meal.

OMG, I know. How is that not inspirational, right! Right?

So, I've taken a page out of her book. I rid the house of ALL processed or store bought baby food. And today I made a couple things for Cruz as well. The first was "Annie's with Organic Family Farmers" gluten-free peace pasta and Parmesan (you can find the brand at Whole Foods. Make sure the box says "with organic family farmers" because "Annies" has some products that arent 100% organic). The pasta is little peace signs. Soo cute. And the perfect size for C (he's 9 months, so they might be a little big for beginner eaters).

And then I made my own recipe:

Organic Banana Apple Quinoa 

1/2 cup Organic Pearl Quinoa
1 cup water
Banana flavored Baby Yogurt-to taste
Homemade Applesauce-to taste

Add quinoa and water  to a pan. Heat until bowling. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. I used Pearl quinoa which is white when you open the package. You can tell its done when the grains turn clear and the sprouts start to pop out. Also, most all of the water should be soaked up by the quinoa. It will be fluffy and soft to the taste. If its still crunchy, simmer longer.

Add a little bit of banana yogurt and a little homemade applesauce (which is totally easy to make. Just peel and cut apples, add a teeny bit of water, cook till soft, mush up, your done) and you have a very healthy little snack for baby.

I had to convince Cruz to try it, but he liked it once he got used to it. The texture of quinoa is a little funky at first (even for adults) so be patient with baby! But its a great source of fiber. And its good with EVERYTHING. Fruit, veggies, tuna, plain, I love it!

Then we topped of lunch with a little desert. Vegan marshmallows. They are smaller then normal 'mallows, so the perfect size for Cruz. They use beet sugar, which is interesting and somehow seems less offensive then regular sugar. Either way, I know babies aren't supposed to have sugar, but sometimes I just can't help but give it to him. He's crazy about them!

I encourage everyone to try making their babies food. It is so much better for them without all those added preservatives of store bought food. And its really quite economical. Almost any adult meal can be tweaked into baby food. I love supporting local farmers and filling Cruz's belly with good, wholesome yumminess at the same time!

Have any great baby recipes? Shoot 'em my way!



My poor little guy. We went to the Dr. on Saturday because Cruz wasn't getting any better. We had to see a different Dr then our normal one because it was the weekend. We've seen this guy before and I am REALLY not fond of him. Cruz is normally a trooper when it comes to the Dr.'s. He never cries or gets mad when his Dr is checking him out. But there is something about this guy. Cruz freaks whenever he gets near him. And the way he talks to me makes me feel like I'm a little foreigner child getting in trouble. He speaks like I don't understand English and he laughs if I ask a question that he thinks is dumb. He is just one of those Dr.'s that just genuinely doesn't seem to like kids. Which is a huge change from our little hippie Dr who hugs and kisses and dotes on all of her babies.


Cruz has Bronchitis.

Actually, he said "Bronchitis like symptoms". As well as symptoms of Sinusitis (even though babies dont have sinus's)

So he gave us antibiotics to treat both.

Then yesterday morning Cruz woke up with a black eye. Well, it looked like a black eye, but I'm not sure what it is. Its actually more pink. Its like a dark pink bruise under one eye. But it kind of fades, then comes back, then moves to different parts of the eye. Its really weird. And I'm not sure what to make of it. I tried to just ride it out yesterday and not call the Dr, but if its not better today then I think I might have to take him in again.

It is so hard to watch your baby be sick. And of course it has been a HUGE battle with Papa. We just see things SO differently. And its such a big struggle.

At least he is finally sleeping again!


My Little Hot Potatoe.

I had a fashion post planned for today. But unfortunately all my plans for today have gone awry. Cruz woke up in the middle of the night last night with a high fever. It has persisted all day today. It has responded to medicine. I have never ever seen My poor baby so miserable. He has napped 5 times so far today when usually he only naps twice. He is so flushed and his while body is on fire. It's like holding a furnace. I feel like I haven't moved from the couch all day.
I love everything about being a mama. Except this. I hate this.

(sorry for any typos, I wrote this on my phone whole nursing my roasting baby :(


Real Men Cook in the Buff

I don't generally buy Cruz toys. I am not a huge fan of store bought toys. I much prefer hand-me-downs or second hand finds. I try to foster creative play versus buying toys that "play for him" and require no imagination or exploration. I particularly love hand me downs because I always feel like you can sense the hours of love and play that has gone into them from their previous owner. Yesterday, we got the most loved and appreciated hand me down of Cruz's whole life! I cannot even begin to explain how excited he was!

This was from his wonderful cousins who always shower him with loves. I have written about them before here.

Santa brought them this handmade kitchen a few years ago. It's absolutely amazing. I'll have to take better pictures when I get my camera back (these are all from my phone). You can see in the picture above that it has shelves, a sink and moving faucet, wooden dials, an oven with a removable oven rack, and a little pantry. It also has hand carved wooden stove burners, just like a real stove. Santa must have worked tirelessly on this because its beautiful. 
As most know, its best to cook nakee.

They also brought all the pots, pans, cooking utensils, wooden knife and fruits/veggies, tea kettle, bowls, cups. I could go on and on. Cruz was beside himself.

Cruz loves his cousins so much. I so wish I had gotten a picture of them playing together. He was so intrigued with them that I was actually able to hold an adult conversation without him crawling up my leg or fussing for my attention. They are the sweetest big cousins a boy could ask for. Not only do they give him awesome things to play with, but, more importantly, they take time to play and interact with him. They don't get bored and ditch him like most 8 & 12 (almost 13) year olds would. They stick right by him, talk to him, hug him, teach him to play with things that are new to him. They let him crawl around and they follow, letting him lead the way. It's a kind of interaction that he has very rarely, if ever gotten.

He is constantly with adults. And as all babies know, grownups are not the best at playing. They always pick you up, kiss you, hug you, talk to you in goofy voices, take away things that they "don't think are a good idea." They always try to instruct you to play with things that they think you should like. And when they get bored of sitting on the floor after, like, 2 minutes, they pick you up and carry you around while they do all their boring chores.

But not his cousins. They didn't bore like an adult would. They allowed him to take the time to pick a toy, explore it, enjoy it and then move on. And as I watched them play, I noticed how much more insightful they were then an adult would be. They could read his cues as well as I could.
When your dealing with someone else's baby, it can be hard to read their facial expressions and moods unless you know them well. But I was taken aback by how well his cousins were able to pick up on cues that have taken me 9 months to distinguish. When he fussed for a new distraction, they were on top of it. When he wanted to be picked up or moved they figured it out quickly. Even when he decided it was time for him to come to his mama, they didn't miss a beat. It was beautiful to watch.

I couldn't feel more strongly that their kindness and sensitivity is a direct reflection of how they themselves were raised. They have learned to exhibit theses traits because they were raised by them and with them. They were treated with kindness and surrounded by nurturing and love. And in turn they are able to extend that to other people.  I'm inspired by their Mama and I am hopeful that a man like their Papa will be a part of my life someday. I hope that I will someday be able to give that to my son.

Needless to say, Cruz could not have been happier to have them. And I feel blessed to have such an amazing family.