Wednesday, November 20, 2013


**Disclosure -  I've finally figured out how to use my Amazon Affiliate account, so the links below are linked to my account. That means that if you happen to click on any of the links and shop at Amazon for anything I've linked to or anything else on Amazon, I get a small percentage of your purchase(s). I won't be offended if you don't click and buy, but it's good netiquette to disclose these types of links to readers. Carry on.**

This will be our third year celebrating Hanukkah with Em. Because we also celebrate Christmas, which tends to be filled with lots of toys, we've designated Hanukkah as our book-filled holiday.

Each night after she and Brent light the candles on the menorah, she's given a book.

This year Em will receive:

I picked this up at Em's recent school book fair. Brent and I joked, "Who knew the Count was Jewish?" 

We're big fans of the "Llama Llama" series, so I was quick to pick this one up at the book fair, too. 

As eight books can add up, we tend to choose a boxed set that we pull one from each night, and then add a few other books accordingly. This year she'll get this series, recently recommended by our friend whose daughter is just a few months older than Em. These are chapter books, sort of the next step after picture books. 

Mimi is obviously too young to be into the holiday, but she'll get a few books, too.

I love these "Indestructible" baby books. Mimi has a few already, and they're made of indestructible paper, hence the name. They can't tear. They don't warp when a baby gnaws and drools all over them, and they're light enough to shove in a diaper bag to distract them on the go. 

I'm intrigued by these baby books with a playful look at the classics. We'll start with the Alice in Wonderland above. 

We buy books year-round for our bookworm, but I enjoy this time of year and family tradition as Em experiences Brent's cultural contributions.

Do any of you have special Hanukkah traditions, related to gifts or otherwise? 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tattle Tale

Tonight while helping Em with her homework...

"Mommy, someone farted during storytime!"

"Oh, really? Did you do anything?"

"I told the teacher!"

"Sweetie, you don't have to say anything in situations like that. It comes off as tattling. It's not hurting anyone, so no need to mention it."

"It hurt ME! It smelled BAD. It did not smell like pie!"



Monday, November 18, 2013

Swap It Out

A few months ago my friend invited me to a Facebook page, a virtual swap meet of sorts, where locals post items to sell. This particular page is mainly moms, and most of the items are baby items, toys and clothes. Other types items are posted, too, but the majority are kid-related.

It's similar to Craigslist, but because most people use their full names, tend to sell things regularly with no reported issues, it feels more personal and less sketchy. 

I've sold my fair share of items on the board, and I've had GREAT luck finding bargains for myself. 

Nearly all of Mimi's toys that weren't handed down from Em were purchased on the swap board. 

Here's a lot, but not all, of what I've scored:

And I didn't pay more than 40% retail for any of it!

This adorable dress that Mimi wore today was a mere $2.
Afternoon nap  #latergram

Stuff like baby toys and gear isn't used for very long, so it's especially nice to find great deals on like-new items.

If you're interested in finding one in your area, search on Facebook for your city/neighborhood name, along with words like "swap" or "sale." Or ask your local Facebook friends, because chances are they might! 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Currently...linking up

I've been eyeing Ot & Et's "Currently" weekly blog link-up for a while, and this seems like the perfect week to join in the fun.

This week's themes include:

Wishing that my house would just clean and organize itself.

Typing and deleting and typing again. This blogging-every-day thing is not easy when you're out of practice.

Moving stuff around to babyproof for a mobile Mimi. In a sea of things she's allowed to play with, she continues to find the one thing she's not. And now that she can pull up to a stand and cruise along furniture, the stakes have gotten higher -- literally. She can reach higher and higher.

Thinking that I'm excited to see the new Hunger Games movie. I should probably dig out the book and reread it in preparation.

Laughing along with Mimi. She's extra giggly these days. Everything cracks her up, and in turn, we find ourselves giggling along with her.  

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Weekend Rambles

Mimi's first two teeth are about to pop through any day now, and poor girl is just miserable. I hate that she's so uncomfortable.

The restaurant where my mother worked for more than 30 years recently closed down after they decided not to renew their lease. Her company was bought out by some other giant company at some point, and apparently they have no sense of rewarding loyalty and did not recognize my mother's years of service. I'm annoyed on her behalf. (She'll be otherwise fine, by the way. Her fiance is gainfully employed, and she could likely get another gig easily with her experience if she decides not to officially retire.)

I don't like that stores are open on Thanksgiving, and I have no plans to do any holiday shopping on that day.

This year seems extra out-of-control with skipping Thanksgiving and going straight to Christmas, but I did let Em say a quick "hello" to the mall Santa today. His elves were working extra hard to get kids' attention since there were no visitors. We had just come out of an accessory store, where Em had gushed over a bright, beaded necklace. So when Santa asked what she wanted, she said, "I want a necklace!" He replied, "I'll see what I can do for you!" It was literally a 3-second conversation, but she was beaming. I wouldn't be surprised if that necklace makes an appearance Christmas morning.

It's finally starting to feel like fall. As much as I love being back in Los Angeles, there was something magical about Portland's fall days. When it's a rare overcast and chilly day here, I'm reminded of the PNW.

We have a gym membership, but I was thinking maybe I'd start running again, with Mimi in our jogging stroller around our neighborhood. I changed my mind yesterday, though, when I heard about my friend who'd been robbed at gunpoint for her iPhone while jogging just a few blocks away! In broad daylight, too! I know I can't keep myself in a bubble, but our nice neighborhood has been a prime target for crime (nearly a dozen break-ins last month alone, and an attempt just a few houses away the other day), so we're all on high alert. I think I'll be making use of the gym instead.

Our plan is for me to rejoin the workforce when Mimi turns a year, which is just a few short months away. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet, but I get a little anxious thinking about it. I'm excited about the idea, but I'm already dreading leaving my sweet girl. 

Is there anything more adorable than a man wearing his baby? I think not. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Happiest Birthday on Earth

Earlier in the year I proposed to Em that instead of a big party to celebrate her fifth birthday, we go to Disneyland.

Her initial response was a gleeful, "How about we have a party AND go to Disneyland?" Then she made a definitive decision to make her second trip to the happiest place on Earth.

We decided to go all out and visit both parks -- Disneyland and California Adventures, the latter of which she'd never seen.

Because I'm still nursing Mimi, we figured it'd be easier to bring her along. And to make THAT an easier outing, we invited my mom to join us. She'd get to be a part of Em's special celebration while getting some quality time with her newest grandchild.

Grandma's arrival!

On our way into the park, and the girls in their matching kitty cat hoodies

Birthday girl in her special sequined ears while we wait for the Dumbo ride

With Brent on Dumbo

Mimi and Brent at the Jungle Cruise

My mom and I had some big giggles when we spotted this in Toon Town.

Meeting Mickey Mouse (sans his wizard hat)

The next day we headed to California Adventures.

We began with brunch reservations at Ariel's Grotto. The perk of this pricey meal is that you're guaranteed to meet a bunch of characters at once, beginning with Ariel herself (and Em's current favorite gal).

She taught Em how to hold her skirt, which is the signature pose for most princesses, as you'll see below.

Snow White


Sleeping Beauty & Princess Minnie

Mimi enjoyed meeting each princess, too. 

We had fun exploring the rest of the park. 

Meeting Sofia the First. (The giant fake head is likely because Sofia is supposed to be a 6-year-old, which is probably difficult to cast believably.) 

Monsters University

The Cars Land area was lots of fun, too...


...although Mimi thought it was a little snooze-worthy.

In the Bug's Land area, Em asked for her own car in Heimlich's Chew Chew Train.

She decided she was no longer afraid of carousels...

...but still wanted a little company on the big ferris wheel.

The trip brought out our silly side and was the perfect way to officially ring in Em's big fifth.

We enjoyed our 2-day celebration so much that we upgraded our tickets to annual passes for me and Em. We've been back twice so far and have many more days of fun to look forward to!