Tuesday, December 24, 2013

may your days be

Currently, I am up to my savage, unplucked eyebrows in ham glaze, ginger cookie production, obsessive compulsive gift wrapping, and post partum hair loss. I place Weston on an unblanketed carpet for 28 seconds and he emerges with a fist full o'hair tightly locked in his hot dog fingers, and I can't go one feeding without finding strands stashed in his neck folds. A secure place for them, I might add. I'm fairly positive J. K. Rowling could safely hide a horcrux in his chins and no one would be the wiser.

I'm popping in to wish you all the very merriest of Christmases. For some reason, this year's Christmas season has been particularly flavored with good will toward men. I guess by that I mean good will towards me. I have had so many unexpected favors cast my way in the last couple of weeks, and I wanted to take the time to thank:

The lady in the Starbucks drive-thru the other day that paid for my drink and drove off. No reason, and no waiting around to be acknowledged for her kindness.

My sister, who popped in yesterday to let me run Christmas Eve Eve errands (like the irresponsible procrastinator that I am) sans Jordan, and cleaned my apartment sparkling in the hour that I was gone.

Kate, who knocked me off my tiny, unbalanced feet with a total surprise of a package. She handmade the sweetest stuffed animals I have ever, ever seen for both Weston and Jordan, and sent me the most amazing homemade chai blend I have tasted in life - a life replete with many a chai sampling, to be sure.

tell me you're not totally blown away
She casually mentioned she may post the recipe and it is up to us, her dedicated followers, to bother her everyday until this happens. It's for the good of mankind.
Then there's Chalayn. We haven't even met, she and I. But we chat a lot about Breaking Bad and Friday Night Lights and Tim Riggins, and lo, she up and sends me this amazing package with hilarious handmade ornaments and ummmmmm coconut curry chocolate?? There is a chocolate genius that has made the world a better place, as Chalayn has made mine for introducing me to it. Consequently I see my jeans being a smaller place, as well.
A rhino and an elephant...wearing Santa hats and scarves. It's brilliant, you agree?
Oh and also, she is an amazingly talented sketch artist because I think she captured our likenesses perfectly:
Sean's wearing his smiley face jams from my About page which I haven't updated since Weston has been born because, shameless. And Jordan is appropriately bowl-cutted because her mother got a hold of some scissors last week:
and someone had to suffer the consequences..
What I'm trying to say is I've been the recipient of some truly wonderful gestures and friendships. There's something about an unexpected kindness that gives me a good will high all day. Or at least until Jordan throws each individual book all across her room again. I hope you are so fortunate to have friends and family such as these. It makes life a little Christmasier (<----- which really should be a superlative. If I were a lexicographer...)
Guys, have a great one. A really warm, fuzzy, spicy Christmas all around.
See you soon

Monday, December 9, 2013

tis the season

Alright I'm not going to drop anything too heavy on you, because I'm sure your feeds are all overloaded with Christmas cheer. I just have to say though, as I've said before, man, I just love this time of year. Every Christmas since having Jordan - and this will be our third - I've said to Sean or my mom or whoever has had the misfortune to be standing within earshot, "this year is going to be so much fun with Jordan." But really, THIS year. This is the Christmas that is going to be so much fun to share with Jordan.

What you have to understand about this year is Jordan is going around saying things like "merry pissmas!!" and "pissmas lights mommmm! pitty!" and "I wah watch Grinch" - except, it doesn't sound like Grinch. It sounds like what maybe a female Grinch would be called. I made the mistake of asking "oh, are you feeling a little Grinchy this morning, Jordan?" to which I received, "yeah, I **tchy." Between these and "tit-or-teating" I think we're rounding out all of our holidays with a good healthy dose of curse words.

It has turned murderously cold (by my standards anyway), but for me, this adds to the enchantment of the season. I'm incredibly paranoid about my children freezing their little appendages off, so I've been bundling them in three layers apiece, topping off with a beanie and scarf and off we go in search of Christmas lights and cocoa.

pre-sock double-up and fur-lined boots. poor kid probably roasts like a chestnut. on an open fire.

Seeing the Christmas season through these newer eyes takes me right on back. I absolutely buy into Christmas magic, as horribly hokey as that is. Christmas lights, carols, movies, books - give them to me. I am your haven, Christmas cheer. Seeing it happen anew in this quirky-wonderful two year old with a penchant for mispronunciation is my idea of good fun.

watching the ice skaters

Weston, well, he can't do much this time around but look severely perturbed.

But we'll give him a year or so. He gets his taste of the season by way of hint-o'-mint breastmilk post-candy cane binge on the part of his mother. Should be sufficient for a fat three-monther.

And now because I'm feeling festively benevolent, I want to share this hot chocolate recipe which, incidentally, is straight off the Hershey's unsweetened cocoa box, but with just a couple extra goods:

4 cups of milk
1/3 cup of water
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of Hershey's unsweetened cocoa
3/4 tsp of vanilla
pinch of salt

Peppermint schnapps, for the willing adults
Candy canes, for the unfortunate underaged

Incorporate the dry ingredients in a medium saucepan. Add water and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until boiling. Boil and stir two minutes, then add milk. Heat to desired temp while stirring occasionally, but do not let boil. Add vanilla off heat and divide hot chocolate between four cups.

Do yourself a solid and punch up those babies with a shot...or two...of peppermint schnapps, or take it easy and stir it on up with a candy cane. Either way you get that irresistibly Christmas influence. 

I must insist you use the powers of the cocoa for good, and imbibe while participating in a round of I Spy Christmas or taking in a classic like A Christmas Story (Scut Farkus! he had yellow eyes!) or White Christmas (because Danny Kaye) or bringing it along on a Christmas light hunt. Them's the rules.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

best weston

^^ When I was pregnant with Weston, this is what my sister called my uterus. You know, as in, "Best Western" hotel (motel?) She's the witty type. Now that he's ex-utero we just call him, the boy himself, Best Weston. (We don't know any other Westons anyway.)

About 3 weeks ago I started pre-writing this post in my head. Do you [bloggers] do that? I wanted to commemorate Weston and all of the things I've learned of him thus far. I needn't have bothered with my brain rough drafting, since so much/everything has changed since then. That's how it goes with the infants. Every two hours you're updating your view of them.

Three weeks ago, perhaps even less, Weston was just the unhappiest little man. Nearly inconsolable really, unless he was in mother's arms. Then things started changing, as they are wont to do with fresh babies such as himself. He didn't scream when I put set him in the papasan whilst I made his sister breakfast. He stopped whimpering from his bouncy seat perch while I dressed myself and Jordan. He just started being content to be, even when Jordan was up in his grill squealing "aAAaaAAww! Buddy! Hi Wesson! Hi Wesson! Hi Wesson!"

his gummy grill being all kinds of invaded

I knew this day would come! It always does, but it never seems like it will when you're in the throes of newborn turmoil. My mom claims there wasn't a colicky one among us, her eight children, and we were sleeping angels from the get-go (she says as I wrangle the terrible two-ing toddler and the caterwauling newb and I can do nothing but grimace at her great fortune) but that is just not my lot in motherhood. I birth tiny difficult humans...who eventually morph into perfectly lovely loving lovebugs...and apparently continue to morph into beings that are thuh sweetest and most affectionate quickly followed by crazy and should-we-exorcise-her? and back again in fifteen minute intervals. (Ok so far this is just Jordan. The nature of the Jordan, or the nature of the toddler? That is the question.)

Anywho, a couple stats on the jolly not-lean giant: at 15 lbs, 1 oz, my good-natured monster is in the 90th percentile for weight;

believe it

at 24 1/4 inches he is in the 80th percentile for height;

pose like you're strong, they said

and at I can't remember how many inches, his head size is in the 40th percentile;

fat guy with a little head

he hates, hates, from the bottom of his very soul, HATES the car. Suggestions here? I've tried music, mobiles and brightly colored blankets. He won't take a binky so we're out of luck there;


and finally, we have reason to believe that his happy-go-luckiness is inextricably linked to my presence. The other day I put him down for his nap - which he very nearly NEVER wakes up from for at least 2 1/2 hours - and ran out to grab lunch for the family while Sean watched the kids. Not five minutes after I left Weston woke up and screamed until I got home. As if his spirit sensed my spirit leaving the building. I mean, it's flattering and all, but it makes dates, or even solo errands, real hard. And I'm a sucker for solo errands. It's like when you've been on a treadmill for a long time (you know, like 12 minutes) and you step off and your walking feels as if you're gliding very quickly (outofthegym). Or when your backpack was incredibly overloaded in high school - as mine always was - and you take it off and you feel like you're flying. Such are errands sans children.

These last weeks have been a pleasure. I do love waking up to uncoordinated, over-compensating smiles. It's fun too, to watch Wes scare himself with his own gas since he hasn't pieced together that he's the one making the startlingly loud blurts. And the cooing. I'm 115% positive if we could but bottle infant cooing we'd have captured world peace concentrate. It's too precious to ignore.

One more for extra-indulgent measure:

Sean: "he looks like he's three."

**Sidebar: this post took me 2 days and 3 sessions to complete. Frequent mom bloggers - ??? I don't understand you. Or maybe I just have the neediest of children. How do you do it?**

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

fave five

I'm joining Hallie today like I haven't done in oh-so-long. I managed to scrape up some favorites and thought I'd throw them at you, pop-fly style.

1// Pumpkin Spice Latte, I don't know you man. Starbucks, in signature Starbucksian fashion, rolled out their red holiday cups and flavors on November 1. After I rolled my eyes a few times whilst standing in line and had some internal uppity fit of conscience, I promptly ordered a Caramel Brulee latte because hi, I'm Jessie, and I'm with the Bandwagon.

FYI, this is the most wonderful concoction of coffee that has been beaten into caramely-sweet submission, that it may be thoroughly enjoyed by one, coffee-intolerant Jessie Pope, while simultaneously giving her the caffeine-sugar speedball she needs by 9 a.m.

2// Pretty Little Liars

Ok first off, this show is pretty dang good. Equal parts intrigue, thrills and teen drama - you know, all the good stuff. So I like it. But Sean - Sean loves it. (How's that Greyhound's carburetor taste under there Sean?) Our internet has been vying between spotty and nonexistent for about a week now, so we haven't been able to watch it very frequently. Sean kind of shuffles around the apartment whimpering "two can keep a secret if one of them is dead."

Me, I'm only just getting started on this Breaking Bad business. What? I'm only 5 years late. I'm squirmy about violence and I've walked in on my siblings or Sean watching some rather horrifying scenes that have scared me off entirely. But after much peer pressure and a healthy dose of curiosity, I've begun the Breaking journey during afternoon breastfeeding sessions. Jordan's napping during those ones, and I don't think she'd be much interested in the intellectual properties of Jesse Pinkman and his ebonics, nor the complex (and disturbing) character development of Walter White at any rate. She's on a Thomas the Tank Engine jag anyhow, so it's all shunting trucks and hauling freight for this toddler. 

It turns out, I managed to walk in on nearly all the most gruesome scenes clear through season two (um, ATM episode? Tortoise episode?) so I had already seen the worst of it already.

3// Hard Cider

I've been trying my hand at several different brands of cider. Target actually carries a few kinds, and the past several weeks has seen me inconspicuously slipping a 6-pack in our cart, only to have my 2 year old blurt to all nearby shoppers "Mommy beer? That your beer mommy?" Anyway, the best one so far is

Angry Orchard's Cinnful Apple

which apparently is seasonal and I will be SO SAD when it's not around. It is delicious and has a mild spiciness that just rocks the casbah.

4// Persimmons

I eat these like candy. I'm so sad their season is such a short one. I've been stocking up at Trader Joe's and farmer's markets because they are just. too. good. Does anyone have any good recipes you do with persimmons? I feel that these bad boys could really be utilized in a bread or some delicious baked good.

5// Morning Weston

By far this boy's best time of day is in the 6 a.m. hour. He is at his most.. inquisitive? (read: clueless), and definitely at his smiliest in the bright and early. He just kind of coos something cute while I play with his bulldog jowls and we have a grand old time. I can't say this waking hour is ideal, since the boy is still down with bad self at any given hour of the night, but he makes it pleasant at the very least. Thanks buddy.

That's it for me! Swing by Hallie and the gals' for more.

Monday, November 4, 2013

milestones, or something

My inner monologue since my last post has been something along the lines of "the pillows lining my under-eyes have gotten so that if I smile they threaten to block out my pupils completely, but at least some pillows are being put to use around here." or "I recently discovered chocolate milk + Bailey's and it's changed my mornings delicate after-dinner drinking, but I need to be make sure I'm heavy-handed with the Bailey's rather than the milk because Weston doesn't like lactose."

And also, this morning I sported the baggiest sweatshirt I have with the comfiest sweats I own and my faux-fur lined slippers...to Target. For all intents and purposes, I was in my jam-jams. I supplemented this showstopping look with sopping shower hair run through with some gel that promised beachy waves, and nary a stroke of make-up on my face canvas. Public meltdowns (compliments of mainly the toddler but occasionally the infant) have accustomed me to stares from fellow shoppers, so it was actually a welcome change of pace to get side glances caused by my outfit rather than my young. Further, I answered the door in this getup and chatted up the magazine subscription solicitors for a good fifteen minutes. Social interaction much?

Anyway, I can't say that these, my recent happenings, have made for good blog fodder. But during my blogging sabbatical I missed a couple of milestones, so I'm here to impart them for posterity.

1// Blogaversary (blogiversary? blogoversary? not a real word so why do I care about correct spelling?)

October 26 marked my one year of blogging. Here's my first post, replete with tiny thumbnail pics of my tiny thumbnail Jordan. What a difference a year makes:

2// I didn't do a Halloween post to show you the costuming and gallivanting! Because lazy. Here's last year when Jo went as Little Red Riding Hood and Weston went as Not Even Conceived Yet. And below are this year when a theme is (hopefully) apparent:

 "tit-a-teating" (yes, I'm aware. totally inappropriate.)
 Toto is the basket's only occupant. Dorkthy already downed the first few houses' candies.
 "this is so not Kansas"
"If I only had a brain" and his heartless mother Tin Man

I feel I should also mention, because it's part of "recent," that this guy

he slays me. He can (and often does) cry for interminable periods; he can be the neediest, pansiest little mama's boy; he can request to be nursed for what seems like it must be hours and hours. Then he slips me his James Franco-esque squint-eye smile, like so

and all is forgiven. He is my 15 pound bucket of colic, with a side of the sweetest personality this side of the no-sleep zone. Oh you read that right. The fat, fat, fat child is clear through his wardrobe up to 6 months. He only wears 6-9 monthers or above, and it's increasingly hard to feed him on the papasan chair because he stretches from one side to the next. Jordan was so dainty until she was at least a year (when her stomach discovered its ability to rival Charles Laughton's), so raising Sasquatch is a little unnerving. And I love it.

Jordan in all of this? Smack dab in the middle, being a shockingly excellent sister. She constantly wants to "pay Wesson" (play with Weston), or "song on, dancey Wesson" - a form of entertainment involving many many uncoordinated toddler dance moves performed before the very very perplexed infant while he sits in his bouncy musical chair. She is also very savvy regarding my wits-end levels, as evidenced by her encouraging Wes to "knock i'off" in the car, where he is at his screamingest worst.

There's the mishmosh that is my brain. I'd say you asked for it, but you did not. Thanks for stopping along the way anyway. Now go and marvel that it is November - NOVEMBER. I'm still stuck in summer so I'm a little in awe that I can get peppermint mochas at Starbucks right now. (ooooo... peppermint mochas.)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

the next chapter

Yesterday, I quit my job.

Well, quitting sounds like I was disgruntled or something awful happened. Really, I think I more "retired." I don't know if I've ever mentioned this here, but for the last seven years I've worked for my dad and uncles' insurance agency. My grandpa founded it in the '50s and my dad and all of his siblings run the business. It's been a blessing of a job. I have been able to work and learn with my amazing family, and a staff of really awesome ladies that I'm lucky to call friends. The management has always accommodated my quirked out schedule, has been more than understanding about last minute sick days for myself or Jordan, and has thrown me not one but TWO baby showers. I mean, good people here.

After much debate, number crunching, hemming and hawing, Sean and I concluded that, since he's landed this new job with a better salary, I am able to finally come home to the babies. Both sweet and bitter, this determination. I live but two minutes down the road from my work, so popping in for a visit will be no problem. It won't be the same, however, as ambling down the hallway and throwing a "hi Dad" at his office, or being able to walk four feet towards Kimmy's cubicle to give her the latest on my feelings.

In the spirit of honesty, I'm daunted. This new season of my life...it's thrilling and exciting and truly exactly what I want to do with it. I know that growing up with a mother that was able to stay home and raise me and my siblings has impacted my life greatly for the good. I want to give that to these fools

plus someone has to save Weston's life every hour on the hour

but I know, and am a bit afraid of, how much work is before me. Important important work! This article that Ana put me on to (THANK you Ana) says it all. I am these kids' anything and everything, for a few years anyway. Jordan has to learn potty skills, counting abilities, language comprehension, manners, reverence and prayers, and maybe some normalcy? from me:

ok, let's start with counting then

And Weston, well, pretty much this pin sums up Wes' needs as of now:


So yes, I am now unemployed. And thus begins what I think may be a more challenging career. That's not a shot at the working girl! or the working mom! Heck, that was my jam for seven years up until yesterday. All I mean is: I'm confident that I'll be hitting up God for a little/lotta extra patience, vast amounts of know-how, and some vigorous self-motivation. Up until this point, I was just on "maternity leave." Now, well, this is happening.

just you wait, Mom

Seasoned vets, leave your very best counsel below. Because here I go: carpe crazy.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

at the lake

This whole week I've been meaning to write of our splendid weekend. Here's what happens though, perhaps you can relate:

I head toward the couch where the laptop casually resides, with the best intentions to pen a post. I spot a water glass on the side table, so I bring it to the kitchen. Wouldn't you know it. There are dishes that need to be washed, might as well do that while I'm in here? The dishwasher is...clean. Of course it is, which means I need to empty it before I stack these dirties. Phew, I finished the kitchen and wiped the counters and this rag needs to go to the hamper in the bedroom. The bed's unmade! And my pj's are on the floor! Well, I'm in here, might as well take care of that. How did Jordan's shoes get under the bed? I'll put those away now... Oh yeah, I forgot about that pile of Weston's clothes I was going to put away but it's actually just sitting here in Jordan's room. So I'll do that and then finally head back to what I was originally going to do. Which was... ??? I don't know, but now it's time to feed Weston.

But a glimpse at my ADD. And the reason that even if I HAVE something I want to put down, I haven't been getting around to it.

First off, our weekend bears someone background explanation. Sean got a new job!
He got it a couple weeks ago, but then had to put two weeks in at his old job, so it didn't feel very celebratory to say anything until he actually started. Which was yesterday. I'm super stoked. It pays better, and just from the looks of his first day, it sounds like he'll be learning a lot at this new place. All this to say, when Sean put in his two weeks at the old place, he made it so his last day was last Thursday, and his first day at the new place was yesterday. A mini vacation! Woop woop.

Therefore, we trekked to my parents' cabin in Lake Arrowhead. It's truly lovely and rustic and woodsy and wonderful. It's much more fall in the mountains than it is back at our place; it's actually crisp, in the temperature-y sense of the word, and in the leaves-y sense of the word. We took walks with hot cider, traversed about the lake, and dipped our toes in at the Village's Oktoberfest. I drank beer with hints of orange, I did.

This was just before Jordan and I took stage left and danced our buns off to the authentic German music. It's on video and everything.

We met up with my mom, sister and brother later in the weekend and did our due diligence at this "puckin" patch that had a huge blow-up bouncy "puckin" which was, y'know, super fun. We also window shopped a few of the high end stores in the Village.

Here we are at Coach. Sean, oh so adorably and ridiculously naively scoping out a "purse as a surprise for Jess" (I assume for our anniversary) and beelining away as if the purse was a hand grenade. That dinky one he's holding was $450 ("I thought it was gonna be like $50...") *smirks in a saccharine manner and rolls eyes condescendingly* Oh but they were having a 50% off event, so I picked up a beautiful, yet unassuming, emerald green wallet out of the $50 box. $25 for a Coach wallet? Yeah sure! As I was standing in line to pay, this very young couple in front of me was being rung up and their total was over $4000. You read that right. I just, can't. And turns out my gorgeous wallet was misfiled and was originally $150 and ain't no way I was paying $75 for that thing. We're talking I'm a committed Target enthusiast here.

Anyway one of the definite highlights of the weekend was this moment:

Oh I'm sorry, you can't tell that I'm standing one foot away from Gwen Stefani? Well, I did. Embarrassingly enough, I wouldn't have even noticed her appropriately incognito person had I not recognized her son Kingston, who she's watching race my daughter on the go-karts. I know. I'm that person that recognizes the offspring of celebrities... Anyway Sean Googled to confirm that yes, Gwen was weekending in Lake Arrowhead. I literally could have put my arm around her like we were best buds, but I'm sure she had security lurking about somewhere. Kudos for me for being the absolute worst paparazzi of all time? Yes. She turned toward me several times and I have way to much pride to just snap a shot right in her face. But here's Sean doing his best impression of a celebrity dad as he and Jordan exit the attraction:

the stud in the $8 shades

The point of all this murky recapping: it was a thoroughly successful vacation for Sean and I, rife with Kodak moments and margaritas at the local Mexican place and the discovery that Jordan's delicate constitution is completely intolerant of swervy car rides (the puke smell lingering about the family vehicle that infiltrates the nostrils nearly a week later testifies to that fact) and cuddles on the couch with our little minions sandwiched between us. It got us to thinking that weekends should always be four days, and the work week but three. 

In a perfect world. But we'll take the perfect pieces where we can.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

on the count of three

Three big ones today. Three years ago at this very moment, Sean and I were exiting the most gorgeous chapel as man and wife. And almost eight years today, we had our very first date. Dang! Almost a decade, boyfriend. I'm impressed. Continue to impress me, why don't you, and I'll try my best to do the same. 

This boy,

Starsky and Hutch called...

turned into this guy,

wine tasting...I'm lit

Camarillo Air Show...he's lit

turned into this man

and I couldn't be prouder. 

Anyway, that's my shout-out to my bff and the astounding father to my babes. I try to keep the sap at bay around here, but I gotta say I love this guy and the family we have. A happy anniversary to you, Sean Michael.

1 + 1 = 4