One of my most treasured Christmas presents this year was from my Grandpa. 

I got so many amazing gifts this year (including livestock!) but this one was such a surprise and something I have wanted in the worst way for the longest time. 

As my sweet Grandpa heads in for triple bypass surgery this month, I hope to find a little comfort in the sounds that come from this old player. 
Please keep him in your prayers.


Similar to the annual trip to San Francisco this year, I pretty much took zero pictures of Christmas morning. I always feel sad after the fact when I don't have any photos of a special event for Cruz, but I strive every day to live more in the moment and a lot of time that comes at the sacrifice of good photos. I just try to keep in mind that the lack of good photos signifies the abundance of good memories that were made instead. 

Here are the only ones from Christmas. 

Breakfast being had in his new fort

Some Christmas morning ironing on his new ironing board
(with a new tricycle in the background)

Have Sit-and-Spin, will travel

Cruz working on his self portrait skills

What an amazing, hectic, down to the wire holiday it as been. 
So thankful for another year with this little man of mine. He is, and will always be, my very best (and favorite) gift. 


San Francisco

We made our annual trip to the City earlier this month. 

Its been a Christmas tradition for my family for several years now. Although, this year, it was a little bit last minute so I was pretty ill equipped as far as photo taking. 

You can see all the fun things, like the huge castle cake and designer chocolates, on last years post (can you believe just how little Cruz looks)!

Here are the very few photos we were able to snag this year. 

Taking it all in

Store front

Roasted Chestnuts

He sat himself in this chair and instructed me to take his picture. The gallery attendant remarked "He wouldn't be an only child would he?" My little ham.

Designer chocolates = dirty fingers 

Several failed attempts at a Mama/Baby photo

I love this little tradition that we have and its so fun to add new stops and sights to the trip each year. 
Its an ever evolving tradition, isn't that the most contradicting best kind there is?


My Little Boy on His Last Day with Long Hair

We cut it the next day. It was traumatic for everyone involved (save Cruz's Papa as it was per his request). Cruz cried, I tried not to. 

I miss these sweet, long curls. 
They are now tucked away in a baby book. 
It's growing back quickly and I hope we dont have to cut it again for a long, long time. 

p.s do you love his red velvet vest!?


What a crazy season this has been!

Between school and Christmas-ing and Mama-ing, I've been in over my head for a bit. 

But school is on break now so I hope that I will be able to give a little more attention to this space that I love so much. 

I have had so many fun experiences and made so many fun memories with my little guy over this holiday season. Its been amazing to see how much he has grown and changed since last year at this time. I miss that little baby so much, yet I love this new little guy more then words can say. 

It's so late, but here was Cruz and I's Christmas card this year. 

Hopefully I'll be back today or tomorrow with some of our amazing Christmas scores!


Rice Rice Baby

Do you like that all my baby activities can be set to the tune of Vanilla Ice?

I threw this together quickly while Cruz was napping. 
Forgive the awful pictures.
But he loved it so I thought I would share.

We have been playing with rice in the sensory bin for quite some time now. It's SUCH an easy and cheap activity that can change and grow with children.

When he was really little he was happy to just run in through his fingers. 

As he got older I would let him scoop it into empty egg cartons. 

The other day we put a bunch in a big plastic bag, added paint, he shook it up for a while (his favorite part) and then we laid it out on paper to dry in the sun. When it was done he had new blue rice and just changing the color made the whole activity fun and new again.

This day I decided to bury some puff balls in it and gave him some utensils to dig it out with and some bowls to separate it into. 

We also have these wooden scoops that I ordered on etsy that I added after he woke up. They are his favorite because they are just his size (think bath salt size). 

Quick and easy is the name of the game for us lately as Cruz looses interest quickly. 

I'm just going to say rice, rice baby one more time. 



Do you have them? Do you want them?

I dont, but want them in the worst way.

(okay, I actually do have one. I got it once when I was drunk down on Haight and Ashbury. Good memories. Mediocre tattoo. Anyways its so small that I never really count it)

I always think they are beautiful, but struggle with deciding on something I want. While I love that people get them just for the art, I've always been one to want meaning behind it (save the Haight experience. Silly, drunk, hippie girls).


Too Early?

I am just ridiculously excited.



And take them to impromptu music festivals in their diapers.


Learning to Love the Fool

Oh what a tough little week we had.

Cruz spent his first night at Papa's (and first ever away from Mama) on Friday night. While I knew it would be hard, I had no idea how much it would hurt. Had it only been a one time occasion I might have greatly enjoyed it. Knowing that it was soon to become a consistent thing shook me hard.

I made a very firm and conscious decision that upon my return to blogging after a brief hiatus, I didn't want to blog like I had in the past. I didn't, and don't, want to have a whole blog filled with series of posts about struggles and sadness. But I would be lying if I tried to pretend I didn't have them.

Being without my little guy is hard and I wouldn't wish that hardship on my worst enemy.

But I chose, and choose, to live in the moment and look to the future. Not to dwell on the things that I can not make different. I try very hard to be strong and positive, but at the same time be sensitive with myself and make sure that I am allowing myself to feel my real feelings and deal with them instead of pushing them away.

I sometimes feel like I take things harder then I should. I know Papa misses Cruz when he's not with him, but its not crippling to him the way it is to me. I see women everyday who enjoy the freedom of sending their children to their fathers for the weekend and then welcoming them home lovingly. They don't seem incapacitated the way that I feel I am when Cruz is gone. I wonder if I am too attached? Am I (overly) over-protective, do I rely too much on my role as a mother that I don't foster and value my other roles enough. Do other people think I am so crazily obsessed with my baby that I can't enjoy life without him around. 

I can go round and round with myself. But then I remember that it doesn't matter what I think others see me as. It doesn't matter if I feel differently about something then the next person or the person after that. My feelings are valid because they are my own, real and true. And when you live your truth no one can question it.

"I must learn to love the fool in me. The one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and looses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries. It alone protects me against the utterly self-controlled, masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of human aliveness, humility, and dignity but for my fool."
Theodore I. Rubin


Ice Ice Baby

Currently, baths are not to be had around here without some kind of color involved. 
Last week it was watercolors and paintbrushes.
This week, colored ice cubes. 
And what a big hit it has been. 

What started out as a highchair activity....

quickly carried over to the tub.


 became experimentation.

And finally some oral investigation. 

Oh my, how I love this little boy (and that little nakee booty).  


Last week was a long one. 

My little guy has been having some semi-serious (serious to me, but not that serious considering what it could be) health issues.

He's always been a little guy, but since about 12 months old, his growth has decreased to almost a stand still in terms of weight. He grows taller, but at 19 months he still hadnt hit 20 pounds yet. 

When we switched from a private Dr to Kaiser they immediately flagged his weight. I started going in every other week for a weight check, communicating with a nutritionalist, keeping a food log (and coercing Papa into keeping one as well) and last week we had to take him into have his blood work and urine samples taken. 

As anxious as I was, Cruz couldnt have been a bigger champ. They sat me down in a chair with Cruz on my lap, his legs tucked between mine and my arms bear hugging all of him but the arm from which they would be extracting the blood. Papa was holding his head, a nurse was holding his little extended arm and a second nurse was checking his arms for veins. They checked and rechecked and triple checked his little arms to make sure they got a good vein. And then they proceeded to take 5 vials of his blood. 

The best part...not a peep out of my little guy. Not when 3 people were pinning him to my body or when they were poking and prodding and tourniquet-ing him. Not when they stuck the needle in. Nothing. He just looked on as his little heart palpations sent more and more blood through little tubes. 

What a brave little guy. 

They are not quite sure what's causing the lack in growth, but are covering all their bases. 

We are still waiting on the results. I am sure he is just fine (but a Mama's mind does wander to some scary places at times). 

Hope to be back for regular posts this week. 


Spinning Records

I just love record players. 
Something about them feels very romantic to me.

I can't wait to own one someday. 
Unfortunately they go quickly at the thrifts around here. 
I'll find the perfect one, eventually. I am sure of it. 

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4


Mama Made It: Toddler Toys

As Cruz gets older and enters the ever entertaining world of Toddlerhood, I find stimulating him to be an increasingly tougher task. He has never been much of a toys kind of boy, always preferring to be outside, running, jumping, playing, puddle stomping. But lately I can see him feeling the desire to learn more and more. He tries so hard to say every word I tell him. He is loving to paint and draw and build. I started seeing him needing to be stimulated. If he isn't getting enough of that stimulation he cries for attention, or worse, television.

So, I decided to start looking around for toys and activities that would keep that little mind of his spinning.

I'm not a huge fan of plastic/computerized/battery operated toys so I knew I wanted to keep it simple. Unfortunately, these days, simple comes at a price. All the Waldorf style and Montessori style toys I could find were pretty far out of my single mama budget.

But the more I researched, the more I realized that I could definitely recreate a lot of these things on my own. So recreate, I did.

I found this great website called Woodworks Ltd that sold all the wood pieces I wanted at a wholesale price that was available to the public.

And here is a super simple little tutorial for anyone interested in making their little ones some sweet, simple toys.

I decided to make a color matching game using the little pots and the acorns (they came separate but fit together perfect). I saw this idea on etsy, retailing for close to $30.00

I was using the little pails for a different project. I was going to paint them as well, but decided to go ahead and leave them natural so that Cruz wouldn't be overwhelmed with a ton of color. 

I used watercolors that we had on hand. Paint them any way you like. You get get creative with different kinds of paint or wood stains.

Finishing the set took me about 15 minutes

Here are some colored balls that I made previously that I paired with the plain pails to create an "in and out" game. Cruz loves to take things out and put them away.

I decided to save the color matching game to give to Cruz as a Christmas present. I had quite a few leftovers, so if you know me and we have kids the same age, pretend you didnt see this because its probably what I am making your little one for Christmas!

Hope you enjoyed.