Resolutions

I didn’t really take the whole New Year’s resolution thing seriously this year, and now I’m reading all these posts about them and feeling guilty. So, here you go. A peer-pressure inspired list of my resolutions for 2011.

1. Stop drinking bottled water. We hardly ever did anyway, because of the waste factor, but last night we watched this documentary, and I’m too afraid and too disgusted and too pissed off to ever touch another bottle of water.

2. Take more pictures. I have this kickin’ rad camera, and a son who lives thousands of miles from his grandparents, and yet I take so few pictures. I try, I really do. I’ve just never been a picture taker. I strive to become one.

3. Eat better. Generally, I do okay. But I indulge quite often in food I probably should not indulge in. I’m known for my penchant for fast food, but there’s also soda and candy and cheese and butter and…well, you get the idea. NOT a diet. Just, eating right. All the time. Most of the time.

4. To go with that, exercise. My knee sucks and my foot sucks, but most of the time I can power through. Our fancy new treadmill will help me a lot, because I’m also hung up on people watching me run or work out (don’t ask me why, there is no logical reason). So, I can get a decent workout, in the privacy of my own home, every day. I resolve to do just that.

5. Do more reading, writing, crafting, blogging, etc. I’m going to have a lot more free time this year than I have for a long time, and I should use it wisely.

What are your resolutions? What resolutions do you suggest for me? Haha.

Year in Review 2010

A questionnaire that I filled out last year, and I think serves as a great way to sum up the year in one small-ish post.

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

Interviewed at preschools, started potty training someone, collected unemployment checks, had my dad visit in San Francisco, enjoyed Brussels sprouts (who knew?)

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Hubbs and I resolved to pay off the car, which we successfully did. We also resolved to move into a cheaper house, which we did. I, however, was not all that successful at losing weight (though I have recently dropped 5 pounds). I had also resolved to sort of come to terms with being laid off and…I don’t think I’m quite there yet.

Oh! We went to the dentist, all of us! That was a big one for me.

3. Did anyone close to you die?

Fortunately, no. Though, my Great Great Aunt Frannie passed away this year at the ripe old age of 100, and though we were not “close”, she will surely be missed.

4. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

More money in savings, maybe another kiddo, Bowie in a preschool, more writing work. A pedicure would be nice.

5. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Bowie’s second birthday, because we were visiting in Wisconsin, and a lot of family and friends joined us to celebrate. It was a lot of fun. Also, the week we moved, because it was really dramatic for a lot of reasons. And Christmas Eve, that was sooooo fun.

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Getting Bowie into preschool! I was such a nervous wreck about the whole process, and felt like I was a bad parent that had put it off too long. And I was all, “he’ll get in later, it’s no problem.” But, secretly I was longing for the free time.

7. What was your biggest failure?

Weight loss. I expected a lot from myself. And I could have done it, I really could have. But, I had a lot of hurdles: depression, chronic pain, time. Maybe next year. But I’m done being so hard on myself.

8. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing outside the normal stuff.

9. What was the best thing you bought?

Bowie’s drum set. And his tricycle. And my G2 haha.

10. Where did most of your money go?

Rent, car payments, diapers, milk, fixing my phone, fixing my camera.

11. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Moving. We found an awesome house, cheaper rent and a great neighborhood. It was a good move for us.

Edit: My good pal Dawn reminded me of our trip to Paris. DUH. We certainly got excited about that, and had an amazing time.

12. What song will always remind you of 2010?

Pretty much anything by the Avett Brothers. For better or worse.

13. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?

b) thinner or fatter?

c) richer or poorer?

a) Much, much happier. Getting laid off was such a blow to the ego. But, as time moves on, so do I.

b) About the same, honestly. I’ve been down a bit, up a bit, but I think I’m pretty much the same right now.

c) Richer. Paid off medical bills that were haunting us. Paid off our car. Found a cheaper house. It’s been so great.

14. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Spending more one-on-one time with Bowie. He’s starting preschool soon, and then he’ll be grown up before I know it. Also, spending time with family far away. It’s so difficult to get out there, be we really should try more often.

15. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying. I lay awake many nights worrying about things that either I can’t do a damn thing about, or will eventually resolve themselves anyway. I need to stop “sweating the small stuff”. And procrastinating. It’s true, I do work best under deadline, but not all things in life work this way.

16. How did you spend Christmas?

The night before, Brien put together Bowie’s flashy new tricycle, and on Christmas he woke up early and we urged him to go look in the living room. He stood there and stared at it in a daze for a moment, and didn’t leave it alone for the rest of the day. We were so NOT going to do this Santa Claus thing, but it was so damn fun.

17. What was your favorite TV program?

We were so happy to see the Apprentice come back this year. We were also dedicated LOST fans again, but now that show is over *sniff*. New shows I am hooked on this year: Parenthood, Modern Family, Raising Hope. And, as always, How I Met Your Mother.

18. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

This year I turned 31, and it was so uneventful that I can’t for the life of me remember what we did. I probably made dinner.

Happy 2011 everyone, hope it’s a winner!

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?
Interviewed at preschools, started potty training someone, collected unemployment checks, had my dad visit in San Francisco, enjoyed Brussels sprouts (who knew?)

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Hubbs and I resolved to pay off the car, which we successfully did. We also resolved to move into a cheaper house, which we did. I, however, was not all that successful at losing weight (though I have recently dropped 5 pounds). I had also resolved to sort of come to terms with being laid off and…I don’t think I’m quite there yet.

Oh! We went to the dentist, all of us! That was a big one for me.
3. Did anyone close to you die?
Fortunately, no. Though, my Great Great Aunt Frannie passed away this year at the ripe old age of 100, and though we were not “close”, she will surely be missed.

4. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
More money in savings, maybe another kiddo, Bowie in a preschool, more writing work. A pedicure would be nice.

5. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Bowie’s second birthday, because we were visiting in Wisconsin, and a lot of family and friends joined us to celebrate. It was a lot of fun. Also, the week we moved, because it was really dramatic for a lot of reasons. And Christmas Eve, that was sooooo fun.

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Getting Bowie into preschool! I was such a nervous wreck about the whole process, and felt like I was a bad parent that had put it off too long. And I was all, “he’ll get in later, it’s no problem.” But, secretly I was longing for the free time.

7. What was your biggest failure?

Weight loss. I expected a lot from myself. And I could have done it, I really could have. But, I had a lot of hurdles: depression, chronic pain, time. Maybe next year. But I’m done being so hard on myself.

8. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing outside the normal stuff.

9. What was the best thing you bought?

Bowie’s drum set. And his tricycle. And my G2 haha.

10. Where did most of your money go?
Rent, car payments, diapers, milk, fixing my phone, fixing my camera.

11. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Moving. We found an awesome house, cheaper rent and a great neighborhood. It was a good move for us.

12. What song will always remind you of 2010?

Pretty much anything by the Avett Brothers. For better or worse.

13. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?

a) Much, much happier. Getting laid off was such a blow to the ego. But, as time moves on, so do I.

b) About the same, honestly. I’ve been down a bit, up a bit, but I think I’m pretty much the same right now.

c) Richer. Paid off medical bills that were haunting us. Paid off our car. Found a cheaper house. It’s been so great.

14. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Spending more one-on-one time with Bowie. He’s starting preschool soon, and then he’ll be grown up before I know it. Also, spending time with family far away. It’s so difficult to get out there, be we really should try more often.

15. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying. I lay awake many nights worrying about things that either I can’t do a damn thing about, or will eventually resolve themselves anyway. I need to stop “sweating the small stuff”. And procrastinating. It’s true, I do work best under deadline, but not all things in life work this way.

16. How did you spend Christmas?

The night before, Brien put together Bowie’s flashy new tricycle, and on Christmas he woke up early and we urged him to go look in the living room. He stood there and stared at it in a daze for a moment, and didn’t leave it alone for the rest of the day. We were so NOT going to do this Santa Claus thing, but it was so damn fun.

17. What was your favorite TV program?
We were so happy to see the Apprentice come back this year. We were also dedicated LOST fans again, but now that show is over *sniff*. New shows I am hooked on this year: Parenthood, Modern Family, Raising Hope. And, as always, How I Met Your Mother.

18. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
This year I turned 31, and it was so uneventful that I can’t for the life of me remember what we did. I probably made dinner.

Thankful 2010

Ok, so I’m a day late, gimme a break 😉

1. our new house

2. paying off the car

3. Bowie getting into preschool

4. a certain friend’s recent miraculous medical recovery

5. the sunny (albeit cold) weather lately

6. the dead rats from Velcro kitty (just kidding)

7. my great new haircut

8. Noriega Produce, without which I think I’d never have everything I needed to cook anything

9. the lovely friends we spent yesterday with

10. my slow cooker, which will get a lot of use next week after all the cooking I’ve been doing!

Hope you all had a fantastic holiday!

Beth’s Picks: Holiday Gift Guide

It’s that time of year again! And there’s nothing I love more than browsing lists of gift ideas online and in magazines, to get great ideas for the people in my life. Here’s a tiny little OpenSky gift guide from me to you and yours. Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping!

Intemperantia Chocolates Mini Assorted Truffles: A delicious 9 piece sampler set of these great bit sized truffles. They come in a variety of flavors (dark, milk, white, etc.) Best of all, they are gluten free and all natural–perfect for any chocolate lover! ($15)

Custom Initial Onsies: About as personalized as it can get! You choose your color and your initial and a custom onsie is sent right to you and your baby! Great gift for new little ones in the family. They also come in long sleeved (for $1.50 extra), because it is winter after all! ($11)

Blue Sandtimer Cufflinks: For the gentleman who has everything, some cool cufflinks! A conversation starter, a classy addition to any suit and a unique gift he’ll remember forever. Chrome plated. ($25)

Marx Foods Truffle Salt: A special treat for the foodie in your life! Truffle salt can be added to foods like regular salt, but adds the earthy flavor of black truffles. A delightful treat and a special addition to your cooking. 3.5 ounces. ($26)

Groovy Peace Bronze Necklace: For the hippie in your life. Funky, fun, eclectic and sends a positive message. My high school self would be drooling over this fantastic necklace. ($75)

Three Bar Bacon Soap Set: Know someone who REALLY likes bacon? This soap would be the perfect stocking stuffer! Just be sure to tell them it’s soap before they take a bite, haha. ($18)

Picnic Time Tool Kit: A handy, compact (12.5″ x 3.5″ x 17″) and durable tool kit for anyone you think could use it, from the kid going off to college to that neighbor who is constantly borrowing your tools. ($36)

Love and Kindness 8oz Soy Candle: An all-natural, clean-burning soy candle in a reusable glass jar with 50 to 70 hours of burn time. Comes in a wide variety of scents, and supports American farmers. You really can’t go wrong with these great candles! ($12)

Food Groups: For the kiddos, a great wooden food toy set to teach them all about their food groups. Durable and non-toxic.  ($18)

Stickr Black Frame Kit: Genius idea! Frames that stick to the wall, but won’t damage it when removed! And they can be moved around over and over. Set includes Doiley 5×7”; Queen Elizabeth 8×10”; Broadway 4×6”; Gumdrops 4×6”; Gumdrops 4×4”; Grandma’s Tiara 5×7”; Grandma’s Tiara 4×6”; Doiley 4×6”. ($20)

Ultra Moisturizing Cream Gift Set: A fantastic moisturizer that I have sung the praises of previously on Very Bloggy. This gift set comes with four 2 oz. jars, in the Fresh Lemongrass, Coconut Lime, Almond Vanilla, and Vanilla Fig scents. Great gift for a friend, or stocking stuffers for lots of friends! ($40)

Cookie Treat Cuatro Gift Set: For the doggie lovers. A gift pack of four different yummy organic and all-natural dog treats, with no wheat, corn or soy. A yummy holiday treat for any pooch! ($33)

Beth’s Picks: A Fashionable Teether

File this one under W for Why Didn’t We Think of This Before. It’s a really cute, stylish bracelet for mom, but wait folks, it’s also…a teether?! Yep! A safe and durable teether for your tot!

The genius behind this product is really just the fact that the baby is going to gnaw on whatever piece of jewelry you adorn yourself with, so why not let it be something that safe to chew, and that won’t get completely ruined if you’re not paying attention.

It cleans up easily too, with just soap and water. And, the company describes it as a “great nursing reminder”, which I’m not sure about. I never needed one, as I had a son who let me know every hour, on the hour, that he was ready for some meeeeeeelk!

A big strong recommendation to any fashionable mama with a teething bebe:

Buy Now

How ‘Bout those Giants?

I know that everyone thinks that San Francisco is an all liberal-love hot spot all the time, all peace and love and free-range organic chickens. But truthfully? We are so diverse, that there are a lot of issues that divide us much of the time. However, one thing that united us: our San Francisco Giants!

Our town’s love of baseball, and the so-called “gang of misfits” we had for a team this year really pulled it out. I am traditionally, first and foremost, a blue blooded Cubs fan. However, this year, when the Cubs did *ahem* not so awesome, it was so easy to get caught up in the magic and the spectacle that was the Giants. Living here, it was impossible to ignore. I went out to pick up a pizza one night while they played the Phillies, and literally not one single person I saw did not have Giants garb on (including myself).

And how beautiful did Fox make our fair city look? Sweeping shots of the Bay Bridge and the ballpark lights shining off the bay. So beautiful. And it really is that pretty, the camera isn’t making it up.

As a Chicago fan, I don’t often get the chance to cheer post season. The 90s were kind to the Bulls, and that was fun. Sometimes I get to cheer for the Bears in post season, and once in a while even at the Super Bowl. But, as a resident of San Francisco, I finally got to scream at the TV for my all-time favorite spectator sport: baseball. Thanks fellas!

The *Morning* Went Well

Well, let me talk a little about the short period of my day yesterday that didn’t actually suck. Because, I’m trying to do this whole “think positively!” thing, and so far I am, um, failing. But, blog tragedy and all, I had a good morning yesterday.

We went yesterday to the California Academy of Sciences, both because it was a free admission day, which is always nice, and also because it was Claude the albino alligator’s 15th birthday and they were doing some fun and special stuff.

I packed the kiddo up and we got on an early train so we could get there right at open and avoid a long line. He’s usually not so good on the train, but I remembered that I have a smart phone and I let him watch Pingu videos the whole way there. Worked like a charm.

We got there and walked right in the door, kind of a rarity on those free days. We went straight back to see Claude, and happened to catch the crowd singing happy birthday to him (if you are a super seer, you can see us in this video). They also gave Claude some fish cupcakes with shrimp sprinkles. It was all very cute. And Bowie is really big into birthday parties lately, so he was really excited.

I browsed the gift shop for the first time ever, and kiddo got his heart set on a Space Shuttle toy. Which was made of quality materials and only cost $10, which for being a museum gift shop souvenir I thought was a good price. And it was a good buy. He has yet to put it down.

Then, I didn’t have to argue with him to leave, because he was a little bit tired, and there was the promise of milk at home. On the path as we left, a very brave little squirrel came up to us, smelled us for food and even put his little paw on Bowie’s shoe. It was AMAZING. I mean, where I come from, the squirrels really don’t like people. So, allow me to be impressed.

I came home to a shit storm, but that’s negative talk, so I’ll end my story there. Just know that it was a nice morning with my son in a sea of bad tantrum-filled days.

Beth’s Picks: Play With Your Food

My husband and I are really into getting wooden toys for Bowie. Not only are they better for the environment and safer for kids, but they are also more durable and can hold up longer. And some of the best wooden toys we have found are made by Melissa & Doug. So when it was time to get him some fun food toys (because every kid has to have play food!), we turned to them.

I got this great set of pots and pans to start. The set comes with these three pans, two lids, a potholder and some utensils. It’s a great little starter set for the beginner tyke chef.

Then we also got the four food groups set. Not that they stayed in their cute little educational four food groups packaging for very long, but it was a cute set for a great price, and one of the only wooden sets I could find in a sea of cheap plastic food sets.

Their slicing sets are adorable, kids can “cut” the fruit and veggies up into pieces, just like a grown up, and then put them back together and start again. Let the creativity begin!

We have a lot of other products from Melissa & Doug, but their food toys are hands down the best in that category that we have found. If you’re in the market for some good, solid kitchen toys, take a look in my OpenSky shop!

Beth’s Picks: Melissa and Doug Tools Chunky Puzzle

I once read an essay in this great book that talked about how boys will usually be typical boys, regardless of how you try to raise them. You will give them baby dolls instead of guns and teach them to be loving and kind, and they will still fashion guns out of backyard sticks and run around pretending to shoot one another. I also have a real-life friend whose son, a few years older than Bowie, is very much like this. She is a loving, gentle Earth mother type and her son is as rough and tumble as they come.

I started noticing this with Bowie in the way that he explores the world around him. He runs too fast and falls on his face, but gets right back up and plays again. He picks up rocks and sticks and sticks his fingers deep into the mud puddles. Given a wide panel of toys, he will always gravitate to the ones with wheels or wings or engines, nothing soft and cuddly. I haven’t consciously tried to gear him toward other activities, but as his personality emerges I can see that he is completely B-O-Y.

So, when he got the Melissa & Doug Tools Chunky Puzzle from a friend of mine for his birthday, I knew right away that it would be the perfect fit. Not only did he love putting the puzzle together and taking it apart, but he learned the names of all the tools, and takes the puzzle pieces around the house and “fixes” things for mommy.

So, if you have a total BOY like me, I suggest this puzzle. He’s sure to love it for years. And it’s a nice alternative to guns and swords.