not a cool mom…

I have always thought of myself as cool mom. I mean, I wear red lipstick every once in while and I went to a Beyoncé concert this week.  That’s cool right?

In actuality, I am not very cool at all. I have no idea what bands are trending or what kind of boots will be popular next season. I am still wearing “skinny” jeans even though multiple media sources have told me they over. I have no idea what happens at Fashion Week but I can tell you within days, perhaps even hours, if Trader Joe’s debuts a new snack.  Bottom line, I am not very cool.  But my kids think I am cool, right?

But you know what I just figured out, my kids don’t care about any of that stuff.  Fashion, music, trends, all of it. Doesn’t matter when you’re five. Your child’s definition of how cool you are is only dependent on one thing: how much stuff you let them get away with.

It’s all about screen time and sugar intake with the the kindergarten crowd and apparently in that area I am lacking.

Currently, Leo is woefully aware that he does not have an iPad.  And not only does he not have an iPad, but he doesn’t have an iPad with Minecraft. This is partly my fault because I signed him up for a Minecraft “class” after school one day a week. A class where they play the game in partners on vintage PC laptops and the main topic of discussion must revolve around who has an iPad and who plays Minecraft at home. And in an instant I have become that mom that says, “Just because little Johnny has an iPad and plays Minecraft at home doesn’t mean that you can.” And that mom is NOT COOL.

When it comes to parenting, I am starting to realize that I am not cool at all, I am actually sort of strict.  This is the exact opposite of how I thought I would be as a parent. I remember resenting family dinner growing up when I knew that so many of my friends ate dinner in front of the TV and here I am, twenty years later, making family dinner the rule in our house.

And it’s not just that! We have stickers charts, good behavior jars, ready-for-school checklists, early bed times, no television on school days… all of these things I thought were for crazy type-A parents before I had kids. Now I am totally one of those parents.  But I have to say, it works for us.

My kids do better with routine, they are nicer people when they have less screen time and they are getting old enough that occasionally family dinners can be pretty enjoyable. Every family has to do what works for them and if I have to take a little bit of the brunt and be the “mean Mommy” (Leo’s words, not mine), then so be it.

I am not a cool mom, and I own that.

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oh… and Lucy turned 2!

Let’s be honest, the second child doesn’t get the same childhood as the first. When Leo turned two he was enrolled in toddler music classes and gymnastics, he had a little playgroup, weekly trips to the zoo or Children’s museum.  The world was his oyster.

I did try to suffer through toddler gymnastics with Lucy but there are only so many times you can sing the ABCs while watching babies attempt to jump on a trampoline before you lose your damn mind, and I have officially reached that point. In Leo’s first two years, I was more of his chauffeur; Lucy is more like my sidekick. I am sure there are huge developmental benefits to in trips to Trader Joes, Target and my gym’s Kids Club. Right?

Leo had a big party for his second birthday, with a ton of other kids and homemade food and decorations. This year I was so exhausted after Leo’s birthday and all of the Kindergarten prep that I declared, “we’re not having a party for Lucy!” Leo started Kindergarten just three days before her birthday and our house is a disaster since we have been childcare-free for over a month now and there are toys everywhere… she isn’t even going to remember her second birthday party, right?

Lenny and I went back and forth over this for weeks- he wanted a party, I wanted cupcakes and candles.  I really think that Lucy would have been fine with either option but we settled on “a little playdate” with a few of her friends. We sent out a Paperless Post with a kitty on it because Lucy loves cats and I ordered a kitty cake from our favorite bakery. That was supposed to be it. But since I can’t leave well enough alone, two days before the playdate I decided that I needed to start crafting kitty stuff like mad. I blame Pinterest.

Kitty cookies, kitty sandwiches, kitty gift bags, kitty bunting…

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Happy girl on her birthday!

After Lucy’s birthday it was on to the next challenge: potty training. We use the boot camp method in our house so when Lucy woke up the day after her birthday, all diapers were gone.

It takes a few days for little ones to get that peeing and pooping your pants is not a good idea, even if you’re in the middle of doing something really fun. So after pooping in a friend’s lawn, peeing at the Natural History Museum and few washings of the car seat cover, Lucy has potty training down. Which of course means she is ready for the biggest milestone of toddlerhood! Preschool!

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First day of school!

Lucy started last week at the same preschool that Leo attended and she is loving it.  Just like her brother, there are no tears at drop off, only smiles and hugs. Her teachers say she is thrilled with every activity and completely well behaved… if only it was that way at home right?

It seems like Lucy went from a baby to a little girl overnight. A part of me is sad that she is growing up so quickly but a part of me is really excited to see what kind of kid she will be. Will she be a storyteller like her brother? A bookworm like me? At least I know that she is having such a fun time figuring it out right now.

 

 

 

too many milestones!!!

A lot has happened in Leo’s life in the month of August.  Leo had his last day of preschool, turned five, took his first solo (parent-free) trip with his grandparents and last week he started Kindergarten!

I would love to stay that it’s all been sunshine and rainbows over here but that would be a total lie.  Transitions are hard for my little guy and it’s been one meltdown after another… Except of course when he was with his Grandparents, because he was an angel with them… but I digress.

Leo had a great birthday complete with a Star Wars themed backyard bash with family and friends,  Darth Vader  even showed up! We spent his actual birthday at Westward Beach, our new favorite spot in Malibu with grandparents. Then the next day he was off to the airport for a week of “camping” in Oregon with my parents where he got to experience all of the critters and cold of the Oregon coast. We only had six days between his return from Oregon and his first day of Kinder, but it felt like six months.  With temperatures in Los Angeles in the mid-200s (well, not really but it felt like it), no childcare and a two children who seemed to be having a contest for “most epic meltdown,” it was not a fun week. My rosé supply has hit an all time low.

But onward we go!  Leo has started Kinder and I think he likes it more than he will admit and we are starting to get back into more of a routine as a family. Below are some photos of my little guy’s epic month.

IMG_4777Leo takes on Lord Vader.

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Birthday boy at the beach.

080416-12With his Bubba (and without his parents) in Oregon… acting like an angel.

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Little dude on his first day of Kinder.

Leo’s last day of preschool

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His last day was a Knight themed dress up day, hence the crazy outfit.

I remember dropping Leo off for his first day of preschool almost three years ago, he seemed like such a baby.  The playground was filled with veteran preschool parents smiling and greeting teachers and friends after the week-long Summer break… and then there were the newbies like Lenny and myself, unsure of where to put our children’s lunch boxes and how to leave without causing a scene.

A kind pre-school teacher leaned over two children fighting over a toy in the sandbox and told them to “use their words.” I was so scared for Leo, just a few weeks into his second year he barely knew any words. When it was time for the parents to leave, Leo sobbed hysterically, for a second I considered taking him home. Maybe he wasn’t ready.

Then a teacher explained to him that Mommy and Daddy were leaving but would be back.  It turned out he was only sad because he thought he had to leave too!  He ran away from us into the sandbox, then it was my turn to cry in the parking lot. My baby was no longer a baby. That sadness and hesitation melted way quickly. Preschool has been wonderful experience for Leo and for us.

His school is play-based with monthly changing themes which have exploded Leo’s imagination. Without any direction or props Leo can play in space, in the ocean, in the jungle only using the power of his mind.

He has learned how to make friends and how to treat he peers. He has his own rich social life at school complete with “best friends,” bickering and the occasional bully- and he can handle it all with grace. He knows how to resolve conflict and recognizes when a friend is feeling sad or left out.

With Kindergarten around the corner, we know that Leo is well prepared.

Along with Leo, Lenny and I and I have also had a great experience.  We have made wonderful friends whom with we share play dates, dinners, holidays and vacations. Through lice scares, toddler tantrums and countless viruses we have had a great support team in the friends we have made through preschool. I have learned that having friends who share a same-age child is essential to dealing with the stresses and joys of parenting.

Above all, we trust our preschool.  We have been able to drop off our son and know that he is with teachers that truly care for him.  When he is there, I know he is happy and engaging in an awesome activities. That is priceless.

In September Lucy will be starting at the same school, I can’t guarantee that it will be a tear-free drop off that first day but I am so excited for her and the new friends she will make and the experiences she will have.

a lovely family vacation…san miguel de allende

Our family was in need of a vacation, we all have had a lot going on the past few months and it has been hot and muggy in Los Angeles. It’s too hot to be outside and being cooped up in the house with little kids is no fun at all! It was time to escape summer in Los Angeles! Leo had a week off of preschool so we thought it would be the perfect time for a Mexican getaway.

I had read about San Miguel de Allende on travel sites recently and a few friends have been and raved about it, so we figured… why not?  After five nights there, I have to say I am absolutely in love with the town. San Miguel de Allende has a rich history, the Spanish colonial town has retained much of its old world charm with narrow cobble stone streets (don’t bother to bring a stroller if you go) and centuries old buildings in El Centro, or the historic core of the city which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Though it has a small village vibe and everything is essentially walkable, SMA also has big city amenities like fine dining and art galleries.

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Lenny and Lucy walk down a cobble stone street in El Centro

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Leo and Lucy pose in front of an 18th century door

I had read many times that the population of SMA is about twenty percent American and Canadian retirees who flock there because of the low cost of living, excellent medical care and low crime rates. Because of this I expected more of a tourist trap vibe in the town. While we certainly met a few of these retirees on our trip, the town does not have touristy feel of the other Mexican destinations. Unlike Cancun, Los Cabos or Sayulita, American dollars are not accepted and most people do not speak English. Luckily, my wonderful cousin Carla came with us who speaks Spanish and I was able recall a few basic verbs and numbers from high school.

The landmark of the town is the Parroquia, or Parish church, a beautiful tall Spanish Gothic revival church made of pink sandstone with the accompanying Jardin that serves as the main town square. San Miguel is known for its festivals and parades, I would love to experience Independence Day or Dia de Los Muertos there. Even without at major holiday happening, on the weekend we were there there the Jardin was filled with excitement; wedding marches, Mariachi bands, a blues festival and a military band competition. A lot going on and a ton of fun for the kids.

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The Parroquia

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Dancers in front of the Parroquia

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Lucy and her new kitty in the Jardin

We were amazingly fortunate enough to use a friend’s home at the Rosewood San Miguel de Allende. The property is gorgeous with lush gardens, great restaurants, beautiful pools and most importantly, Rosebuds; a drop off kids clubs with activities for potty trained children that Leo LOVED.

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Leo relaxing in the kid’s pool

The hotel is centrally located and right down the block from Parque Juarez, the largest park in the city with an amazing playground and gardens for the kids to explore.  Most mornings we would grab coffees and pastries and head to the park to play for an hour or two.  Our go to spot in the mornings was Cafe Rama. The art gallery and cafe has a wonderful vibe, amazing egg dishes and coffee and pastries to go.

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Breakfast at Cafe Rama

One of our favorite activities was visiting La Esquina, the Mexican folk toy museum in town. They have three floors of the coolest hand crafted toys. There was really so much to take in at the museum which is filled with new and vintage toys, dolls, rocking horses and the coolest moving toys that were so fancy I would probably never let my children play with them.

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Lucy takes in La Lucha Libre at La Esquina

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Leo plays with a very cool dinosaur racing toy I wanted to take home

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Handmade dolls and our little doll

San Miguel is known for it’s food scene. We didn’t get to partake in many of the highly reviewed restaurants because our children are pretty terribly behaved around dinner time. We did have a lovely meal on the terrace at La Posadita, which has a a beautiful view of La Parroquia.  They also had a spinach and cheese burrito appetizer which was the perfect dinner for the kids, likely the only vegetables they ate the entire trip.

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Carla and Lucy at La Posadita

Lenny and I were able to sneak away for a little shopping and lunch one afternoon and we tried Jacinto 1930 which we really enjoyed. The menu is sort of a Mexican fusion concept, or at least I think it was… I thought I knew a lot of food words in Spanish until I looked at their menu. We both ordered yummy spicy tequila cocktails and shared a composed salad and their version of chilaquiles with burrata which was exceptionally tasty.

The design of the space is beautiful,  I love the contrast of the bold ceramic tiles and modern copper fixtures set in a the historic building which was designed to look stripped down to its supporting walls. Jacinto 1930 is part of a larger complex which holds a food hall, pastry shop, clothing store, book shop, art gallery, and wine and cocktail tasting rooms. One of the more upscale complexes in San Miguel.

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Jacinto 1930 Entrance

We took the kids to Hecho in Mexico for dinner the first night. The casual restaurant has an outdoor courtyard and a diner-esque menu, i.e. a little bit of everything from Mexican to burgers and all in HUGE portions.  Leo and Lucy were squirming in their seats so I didn’t have a chance to take any photos but I stayed and got the check while Lenny and Carla took the kids down the street for ice cream and it was 600 pesos! That’s about 33 dollars for for three adults and two kids to have dinner and drinks- and yes, some of the drinks were beers. No wonder expats love this place.

We ate a lot of meals (and by meals I mean chips and guacamole) at the Rosewood where the food was excellent but I really wish that we were able to try more places in SMA.

Other than the occasional (or frequent, depending on how to you look at it…) toddler tantrum, it was a great vacation. There is so much to do (and eat) in SMA that I am sure we missed a ton of things in the five days that we were there. I can’t wait to go back and explore more.

xo, Lisa

 

 

 

Everyone thinks my daughter is boy…

At least once a day a someone thinks Lucy is a boy.

“How old is he?”

“He’s a cute little guy.”

“Hey little dude!”

It really doesn’t bother me that they think Lucy’s a boy.  I guess I don’t go out of my way to dress her in super-girly clothing.  She spends most afternoons getting dirty at the park so flowery dresses are sort-of out of the question.  I don’t even try to get cute headbands on her anymore, I know that’s a battle I’ll never win. Is it because of her little jeans or the fact that she doesn’t have a ton of hair?

What does bother me is the constant awkward interactions with strangers. Here’s another daily interaction:

“He’s so cute, what’s his name?”

“Lucy.”

“Oh, oh my. I’m so sorry! Oh course she’s a little girl.”

If I can possibly avoid it, I don’t correct them. I mean, I’m not going to like and say “His name is Lucas.” But sometimes I will answer the the “how old is he?” question with “17 months” instead of “She is 17 months.” (Side note, my husband totally will just roll with it and say, “he’s 17 months.”)

I hate seeing people feel bad. And people feel really bad about this simple misunderstanding for some reason. I always try to smile and say something funny, attempting to alleviate how the other person is feeling.  I see people blush and stammer apologies all the time. It’s not like you just asked me when my baby was due only to find out my baby is almost two years old. By the way, that’s totally happened too, I am less nice to those people.

It’s really not a big deal people! Can we make some sort of agreement that babies are gender-neutral?

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Little dude on a horse.