Monday, January 31, 2011


Not a day goes by that I don't feel incredible regret that breastfeeding didn't work out for us.

Did I do the right thing by pumping instead of breastfeeding?  What if I could have held on a little longer? Should I have kept trying to breastfeed Cole? Did I give up too easily?

But then I take a step back and get some perspective.

I realize that it's not my fault.  It takes two to breastfeed.  I did the best I could, and still am by pumping. 

My son is healthy and happy.  He will grow up strong.  Whether or not he gets milk straight from the source or the bottle, he is well fed. 

Sometimes, despite all the research, support, and best of intentions, things just don't work out the way we want them to.  And it's ok.  I will learn how to be flexible, go with the flow, and respond to my baby's needs any way I can, even if it's not in my plan.

After all, it's only the first bump in a long line of bumps in the child-raising road!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bath fun

Cole has the happiest little squeal when he's especially content:

Bucket List

When I was a freshman in high school, I made out this "Bucket List". It's so cool to see the things I've already been able to check off and to keep in mind some of the things I still want to do:

1. Learn to play guitar.
2. make a quilt
3. get my ears pierced again
4. go on a picnic
5. visit Amish country
6. go to Europe
7. bicycle trip
8. watch old movies
9. crochet a blanket for myself
10. go on a cruise
11. get a professional massage
12. skydive
13. learn ballet
14. get flowers delivered
15. play a trick on a telemarketer
16. learn to burp
17. play with bubbles with a child
19. mud wrestle
20. eat brownie mix
21. read an entire encyclopedia
22. be hypnotized
23. learn to knit
24. embroider a life story
25. go to the Statue of Liberty
26. see the San Francisco Pink Ladies
27. build a dollhouse
28. wear sexy lingerie
29. get dressed up for no reason
30. see the Northern Lights
31. go cliff jumping
32. count how many words I know
33. go rock climbing
34. swim with dolphins
35. go to Noah's Ark water park
36. publish my book
37. see Broadway musicals
38. write a sequal to "Gone With the Wind"
39. build a snowfort (and sleep in it!)
40. go Christmas caroling
41. see Montezuma's Castle
42. go camping
43. go to Ireland
44. ride an elephant
45. be in "Fiddler on the Roof"
46. sing a solo
47. take a bath in candlelight
48. compose a piano piece
49. watch a sunrise
50. read "War and Peace"
51. see a shooting star
52. visit Kerstin in Germany
53. get married
54. win at Monopoly
55. catch a fish
56. catch the bouquet at someone's wedding
57. milk a cow
58. plant a garden (and actually have it grow)
59. visit Alaska and Hawaii
60. see the Eiffel Tower
61. visit Sweden, Italy, France, England, Belgium, Spain, Denmark, Switzerland, Fiji, and Germany
62. be pregnant

Some are so silly (milk a cow?  really? I wish I could ask my 13 year old self why I put that on there!), but some are so important (like #62!).  One of my favorite memories of Chris' and my early dating years are the dates he scheduled around crossing something off my list.  We had a sunrise date (true selflessness if you know how much Chris hates waking up early!) so I could see the sunrise, a date during meteor showers in the hammock in his backyard so I could see a shooting star, a picnic date, even Christmas caroling one year.

I wonder how many things will get crossed off this year?

Saturday, January 29, 2011


I LOVE LOVE LOVE listening to this little man of ours chatter.  He's started to babble more, but sometimes he still just likes to hear the sound of his own voice.

Hmmm, he likes to talk?  Wonder where he got that from... :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Video GaGa

Chris and I got a video camera for Christmas.  Ever since, we've been slightly obsessed with taking videos of Cole - which is evident by the titles of our videos:

"Cole laughing."  "Cole talking." "Cole screaming." "Cole kicking his feet." "Cole sleeping." "Cole picking his nose."

(Ok, just kidding on the last one.)

I've decided that there isn't anything he does that isn't amazing.

Hey, at least we don't have "Cole going to the bathroom."...YET! You know, he IS amazingly adorable in everything he does...maybe I SHOULD take a video of him pooping!

If nothing else, it will be excellent to show all future girlfriends.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Toys Toys Toys

I came across this article the other day - and it just couldn't have expressed how I feel about toys any better!

As a teacher, I am faced with the daily struggles of trying to teach students that have increasingly shorter attention spans and less interest in learning and curiosity each year - a problem that I believe is partly due to our toy obsession in our country. 

Children are consistently given more and more toys, and taught to value quantity, not quality.  Toys that do too much work for the child, instead of making the child's imagination and creativity work.  Toys where kids stand around and observe, instead of create and play.  Toys that only have one way of playing with them, instead of many opportunities for open-ended creation.

It is my desire to lessen Cole's exposure to the plastic, buzzing, blinking, beeping, battery-sucking obnoxiousness that pass as toys nowadays.  I don't want to deny him anything, but am I wrong in thinking that replacing toys like this:

with toys like this:

will increase his learning and development?  I want him to have a childhood full of imagination and creative thinking, rather than stuff him full of mass produced plastic Walmart toys with no meaning.  I want him to value his possessions, which cannot happen when he has a roomful of "toys".  I want Cole to value experiences over possessions - how many of us truly remember and value every toy we were given as a gift, but how many of us truly remember the time someone spent with us?  A trip to the zoo, a fishing trip, a walk to the park, a visit to the library or museum: these are the true experiences of a well-rounded childhood. 

And when it does come to toys, we're hoping to keep coming back to those timeless toys that have stood the test of time: a tricycle, a wagon, story books, musical instruments, blocks, paint and puppets (or homemade wood puzzles).  Toys that offer open-ended play and can be passed down to younger brothers and sisters, not thrown into a landfill.

I know Cole will eventually beg and plead for the newest "it" toy or video game...but I'm hoping to instill in him a love for experiences and memories with people you love - undivided attention and time - rather than an affection for noisy, obnoxious toys that will be forgotten in a few months' time.


Cole is getting ready to cheer on his second favorite team (favorite is, of course, Daddy's 49ers) at the Superbowl!

Yay Steelers!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I firmly believe that I have THE BEST little family in the world!

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Our son has THE BIGGEST HAPPIEST smile - it lights up his whole face.  One of my favorite things is when strangers come up to admire his adorableness and Cole gives them this grin:
I love it!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cole has a new favorite hang out spot: Daddy's shoulders!
 He's just such a miserable baby, you know? Never smiles or anything! (sarcasm)

I just adore my boys!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wine Tasting

Earlier this week, we went down to Temecula, California for a delicious day of visiting wineries and wine-tasting.  The weather was pure perfection - 85 degrees!! in January!! - and the company was even better!

No, our portion sizes weren't THAT big! :)

We hit two wineries, then stopped for a picnic lunch of bread, cheese, and (you guessed it) WINE!

Our view during our picnic - absolutely gorgeous scenery:

And while the grown-ups sampled the wine, Cole sampled his toes:
We cannot wait to go back and visit wine country again!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Uh-oh, she's on her soapbox again

I have to admit, I used to be totally guilty of "overparenting". 

My name is Mandy and I am an overparent-er. (Your turn: Hi, Mandy).

Before I had Cole, I was completely for taking advantage of the huge brain developmental leaps that occur in the first few years of a child's life.  I was all for giving Cole every possible advantage to make him smarter, better, more talented than others his age.

Cause, isn't that the point?  Doesn't that make one's life easier if he/she is better than everyone else?  And don't we all want our children to BE THE BEST?

Well, duh.

But here's the thing.  I came across this article the other day.  And I was horrified.  Sports camps for babies?  Athletic training for toddlers?  All so these poor children have a so-called advantage in sports when they are older?  What on earth?

How am I the only mother who thinks this is ridiculous?

And an even more important question: When do these poor babies PLAY?

Yeah, remember that?  It's that thing that doesn't involve video games, or TV, or noisy toys, or TRAINING CAMPS - just a blanket made into a fort, or a stick that's used for a sword.  Good old fashioned imaginative play. 

We wonder as a society why we are graduating students from high school who have no creative thinking ability, no skills to actually CREATE something; well DUH, it's because we as parents are dictating their every waking moment from birth onward!  These children have no idea how to entertain themselves, and thus have idea how to create something from nothing.

I fully understand how strong the urge is to give a child every possible advantage.  But isn't it more important to make sure that our children have a fun childhood?  I hope with all my heart that Cole grows up successful in whatever he decides to undertake.  But more importantly, I hope that when Cole grows up, he has a memory of a FUN childhood, filled with casual wiffle-ball games in the backyard, blanket tents in the living room, and cardboard box houses.

And the really awesome thing about all that play?  I think it's better for his brain development anyway.  Not to mention a whole lot more fun for Cole's parents.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Cole's first trip to the park:

The verdict? Loved the swing, not too sure about the slide. 

I think I foresee a lot more park trips in our future!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Just pictures

Nope, no story to go with this post.  No words, even.  I just wanted to show off some pictures of my beautiful, perfect, adorable son:

Because sometimes, that's all you really need!
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