Friday, March 30, 2012

Mommy-friends {Don't give up}

It happened again...Leila and I had a date!

IMAG1240 Use this

Almost two months after Leila's first play-date we met up with some new friends this week.

Leila and I have run into this mother-daughter duo at the park (of course) and at the library's story time. I first noticed this little girl because she is practically bald, like Leila. They also both got up during story time and busted a move, front and center. These girls like to dance!

I'm proud of myself for initially striking up the conversation, way back (two months ago) when the need for Mommy-friends really hit me. I later regretted not swapping numbers with her.

It turns out that those dating rules I followed before my Mrs. days still apply:

Mommy-dating Rule #1: Put yourself out there

Mommy-dating Rule #2: Don't give up

So every time I saw her I made sure we chatted it up. I even befriended her mom.

Now our girls seem to recognize each other, but are obviously still in the "getting to know you" stage too. At the park we talk, chase our kids, talk some more, and move on...

Until last week...we exchanged numbers! We talked on the phone, we emailed, we met up.

Our play-date meeting spot was a Mommy & Me dance class and it couldn't have been a better pick! Not because of the awesome fun great time. No, not that at all. It was the perfect pick because both of our experiences were not-so-great. (I'm being nice here!)

So now that's just another thing we have in common. I'll take it! And apparently she will too...we have two more dates planned.

My next dating rule to follow:

Mommy-dating Rule #3: Be yourself

Hopefully I don't scare her away with my passionate, blunt, and sometimes judgmental personality. (Please don't tell her!)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Name Game

I've known parents that have taken days to name their newborn baby. I've read stories about mothers and fathers hating the name they picked for their child so much that they legally changed it. Most parents-to-be that I know, can't pick just one name, so they wait until they meet their little one to make the final decision.

Our story...

As soon as I found out I was pregnant I started thinking about baby names.

Who am I kidding? Years before I was even married, my best friends and I spent many afternoon drinking champagne and talking baby names.

I started list titled, Names I like, on my computer; one column for girls, one column for boys.

Leah Renee
Leila Renee


My mom bought us a baby name book. Betsy sent me daily texts of names she had heard. It was the most popular topic for conversation when I was around. But we still didn't know the gender of our baby.

I'm sure I didn't sleep the night I found out I was having a girl. The name game had officially begun.

Jeff and I started "trying out" names for our unborn baby girl. One week we called her Sophia. One day we called her Nadia. Valerie and Betsy refused to call her anything but Valeriebetsy.

Leila was the last name we had to try.

To this day, Jeff and I know we picked the perfect name for Leila. Somehow it just fits her personality! One of the meanings of Leila is "night beauty" or "born at night". Turns out she was born in the middle of the night, 12:26 a.m. to be exact.

We wanted a family name for her middle name. Renee is my cousin...the last one of us girls born, the first one to have a baby. I admire her family values, trust her advice, and love her positive spirit.

And I have to say, Leila Renee has a beautiful ring to it.

This is Renee with Leila Renee!
July 2011

I'm linking up this week with Mama G over at Growing up Geeky. This Tuesday's topic was baby names! Check out some other TAT posts or link up a post of your own.

Naming your little one(s) can be fun and stressful. There's a lot to think about...

How did you decide on your baby's name?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

18 months


Leila is one and a half!

She's changed a lot since last month.

The biggest change this month is that Leila's language has exploded! Last time I counted she was saying fifty words and seems to say a new one (or two) each day.

Today I asked her what she'd like for breakfast and she answered me with, "Waffles cook." Well then...waffles it is! This is only the third time she's put more than one word together (that I understood). Seriously amazing.

We all know that when your toddler starts talking, they also start saying, "No." Leila not only says that dreaded word, she also says, "Nope." I try to respect her wishes, but let's get real, that is just not possible. Half the time she says "no" she really means "yes" anyways. (I swear!)

18 months
Look who got up on the bouncy ride all by herself

Leila did some things this month that melted my heart AND things that drove me crazy. I'm honestly saying I don't remember what drove me crazy, but I remember she did!

Luckily, I wrote down the things that do matter...

This month Leila asked ME for a hug! Best day of my life.

She made her stuffed animal pals "play" with her toys by using Minnie Mouse's hand to press a button and later Geoffrey the giraffe matched a puzzle piece.

Leila was feeling great on day and let me know it by saying, "Happy, happy!" It's so cute and genuine.

This month Leila learned her name. She will point to herself saying, "Neigh-na". She's slowing learning things are HERS.

Discovering her shadow

Happy half-birthday Leila. You are Momma's girl! XOXO

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Rich List {Listable Life}

I'm linking up again this week with Nicole over at Moments that Define Life. Each Tuesday she hosts Listable Life on her blog. You can choose from two topics to write about and link up with her too. It's a fun way to meet new bloggers and a way for you to get to know me better.

It is so hard to wrap my brain around this week's list topic:

Things I would do if money were no object?

My mind instantly imagines traveling, shopping, and lots of boat riding. I want it all but, I will try to stay realistic (if that is possible!).

5 things I would do if money were no object:

I want to see it all, but not all at one time. I'd plan an awesome 4-week vacation three times a year (January, June, and November). San Diego's weather is as beautiful as it gets so we'd go to places rich in history, culture, and adventure.

Help others-
I found a quality FREE Mommy-and-Me preschool that I'd love to be able to help out. (Teacher Lee we love you!) This is near and dear to my heart right now. Two years ago I probably would have wanted to open a charter school, but now that I am Leila's teacher, preschool is where it's at!

Man toys-
You know what I mean...jets, boats, motorcycles, cars, tools, electronics, gadgets, and such.

Three total would be fine. One on the beach in San Diego, one on the beach in Maine, and one in downtown Chicago. That way we could visit family in Maine and Chicago and have our own house to stay at.

Shop 'till you drop-
Obviously, I would buy anything I wanted, whenever I wanted. I would drop the most money on bags, sunglasses, shoes, and jeans that were actually comfortable.

My favorite little shopping buddy

I kept it realistic, right?!?

Check out some other Listable Life posts or write your own and link up!

Celeb dinner party {Listable Life}

Alright. Your turn, what would you do if money were no object?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Me, me, me, me, me, me, me

I've been tagged by Amy over at Our Journey as Rookie Parents in an "Eleven Random Things" survey blog post. You will know me a little better after this list I wrote. (If you can make it to the end...)


Eleven questions...

1. What is your favorite movie of all time?
A Few Good Men is still my all-time fave. I am not much of a movie person...they put me to sleep.

2. When was the last time you laughed so hard you could barely catch your breath?
I'm not sure but my sister, Valerie, made me pee my pants I laughed so hard.

3. What was the best vacation you ever experienced?
Honeymoon in Kauai

4. Who is the funniest person you know?
My sister, Valerie

5. What is your favorite thing from the 80s?
Television sitcoms

6. What did you dream you would be when you were growing up?
A teacher ;)

7. Would you be more likely to sing karaoke or tear it up on the dance floor?
Dance, dance, dance!

8. Do you have any nicknames?
Lil' Jen (I'm 5'1")

9. Who is your favorite Disney princess?
The one and only- Cinderella

10. What is your biggest pet peeve?
Dirty fingernails

11. Where would you be right now without social media?
Reading a book

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Toddler art {St. Patrick's Day}

About a month ago we got messy for the first time mixing paint to make Valentines for friends and family. Since then I've stripped Leila down to her diaper, plopped her in her highchair, and let her loose to mix paint more than once. It's not really too messy, I swear!

I use a paper plate and put two primary colors touching on the plate. I use a paper plate because it sort of absorbs the paint blobs. (When Leila turns the plate over the paint stays on the plate.)

For our St. Patrick's Day shamrocks I used blue and yellow. On the other side of the plate I gave her a bit of green and white paint. Again, the two colors are touching each other to make it more likely she will mix them on her own.

You can paint with paint brushes, your fingers, sponge pieces, plastic forks, anything! We used Q-tips and they were the perfect size for her little hands. Leila loved making dots and circles. (It's so cute how she says "circle".)

You can see how she naturally mixed the colors without making a brown muddy looking mess on her paper. The color selection is key!

I found a shamrock pattern online because it was easier than trying to draw one the was good enough. After I cut the pattern out, I traced the shamrock on the back of the dry painted paper. (No pencil lines on the front!) I wrote Leila's name and the year on the from of each shamrock in a matching color.

Ta-da! All ready to be sent to the relatives for St. Patrick's Day.

Pin It


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Celeb dinner party {Listable Life}

I'm linking up for the first time with Nicole over at Moments that Define Life. Each Tuesday she hosts Listable Life on her blog. You can choose from two topics to write about and link up with her too. It's a fun way to meet new bloggers and a way for you to get to know me better.

5 Celebrities I’d Like to Have to Dinner With:

When I imagine having dinner with celebs I imagine we'd sit around a huge table on a fancy mansion balcony. The newest Top Chef winner would cook us a meal while we drank and laughed. And laughed, and laughed. Pictures would definitely be plastered all over my Facebook timeline.

Heidi Klum- She's a funny stylish momma just like me. (Ha! You know I'm kidding.)

Justin Timberlake- Have you seen him on SNL?! Hilarious and good looking!

Oprah- I am a woman. Maybe she'd bring me car or a new book.

Bethenny Frankel- Too make me feel less crazy and to supply the booze.

Johnny Depp- So JT doesn't feel overwhelmed with all the girl talk!

Think I can I invite a few BFFs to join the fun? Please...someone has to take the photos.

Check out some other Listable Life posts or write your own and link up!

What celebs would you invite to your dinner party?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

My mom and dad went to San Francisco...

...and all I got was this adorable hat!


I still can't believe we are already into the "cheesy smile" phase.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Toddler activities {Park play}

We are park people. With no back yard (or front yard) to speak of, we spend our outdoor time at the park. Some days Leila is into digging in the sand or swinging, but on this particular day she was into the play structure.



Hiding spot

Up until last week I was able to keep Leila off the large climbing wall leading to the "big kid" slides. It's not the slide I'm worried about, she knows how to slide. It's the fireman pole and two other drop-off edges that make me want to climb up there with her. She's getting so big and brave!

Happy Friday! The weather is suppose to be gorgeous today. We're headed for some water play in the bay right next to the park (of course!)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Month in review {It's a Vol!}

I find myself commenting on Sarah's posts often. She's not afraid to speak her mind, yet doesn't offend. It's a great balance that I'm not sure I could pull off.

These are last month's must-read posts from It's a Vol:

Sarah posted Working Mom Mythbusting at the same time so many "Things you shouldn't say to a stay-at-home mom" posts hit the internet. I have experienced both sides and can appreciate her humor.

This one was right up my alley, My Current Obsessions. I love these posts. They always make me want to shop!

Leila and Evie share the same love for pacifiers. Not just one will do! I counted five in this picture...Wordless Wednesday: Paci Love.

Go say hi to Sarah and check out what they are are up to this month.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Motherhood changes everything

If I have learned one thing about motherhood, it would be that it changes your life completely.


This is certainly not my "ah-ha" moment. (I had that waaaay back when I was a dysfunctional zombie mom.) These days I've been noticing the little ways my life has changed since becoming a momma.

Did you know...

  • I don't get to blast the music in the bathroom and sing while I shower because it might wake Leila from her nap.

  • I plan my outfit for the day with extreme care not to show my butt while playing with Leila on the floor.

  • It's air conditioning over rolling the windows down on nice days (a.k.a. everyday).

  • I rarely get the last bite of food on my plate.

  • And, my plants do just fine without water.

Did you know...None of these things really ever mattered to me, I'm alright without them. My shower singing is pretty pathetic anyways. And now, when I do get to roll down the windows, I suck in as much fresh air as my lungs can handle.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Weekend getaway {San Francisco}

Living in California has shown me that this state has something for everyone. From sunshine to celebrities, and everything in between, the city of San Francisco was no exception.

On our trip we had plenty of sunshine (it was freezing for us SoCal folks!)...

And celebrities (Could this be George Clinton?)...

And everything in between!


Live music at The *iconic* Fillmore

And more jams on the street (the drummer was adorable!)

Bizarre shops

Unique bars

Crowded Farmers' Markets

Ghost hunting (We stayed at a haunted hotel!)

And of course, good beer.


Thanks for the memories SF!

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