Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Thanksgiving Wish

On the IPOD "Super Bass" by: Nicki Minaj

After an afternoon trying to make everyone happy planning our holidays this year, I checked in with Facebook and one of my friends Cindy Browning O'Donnell posted this:
"I have been asked why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love this holiday b/c it is all about celebrating family, friends and food...it is about being grateful and expressing thanks...and there are no gifts involved and no religious groups singled out/ostracized/etc...to me, it is the one 'pure' holiday that remains. That's it in a nutshell....". 

Thank you Cindy for reminding me why it is that I love to cook for thanksgiving and why most of all I should give thanks for the right I am giving myself to celebrate all of the holidays in a way that makes my little family of three enjoy every bit of it. 

So in just over two weeks I will spend the morning doing something I have waited my entire life for... I will watch the Macy's thanksgiving day parade with my baby boy and we will bake pumpkin pies with my mom.
We will then make sure Tom the turkey is ready for his big day and set the table in the finest way. We will bundle up and head to the Marrone's for games and snacks. After that Levi will definitely need a nap, so he will rest while we drive to dallas for the second half. To the kitchen I will surely go while daddy and the uncles teach Levi how the basketball is thrown. We will gather all up at the end of the day and give thanks in our own special way. We will feast on turkey and dressing and cranberry sauce and hopefully noone will try to be the boss. We will tell stories and laugh and look all around and remember the ones who are looking down. I hope it all goes as smoothly as this but who am I kidding we can only wish. 

Xoxo chef a

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


This is a picture of Levi and Kate at Gym Class (notice Levi's Batman costume with cape and his red nose...this is post wipeout!)

On the IPOD "Mockingbird" By: Carly Simon and James Taylor

So today started out great... Today was my first day off in forever. The High Holidays (most important Jewish holidays) are over and I'm finally back to the daily grind. It was nice waking up with no work responsibilities for a change. Anyways the plan was to take Levi to his gym class with his bestie Kate and then Tasha "Kate's mom" and I were going to treat ourselves to sushi for lunch.

Levi had a great morning...we slept in and cuddled with Daddy and then got up and played a little while I caught up on some DVRed sitcoms. We did our hair and got dressed and headed over to BeBe's house. Levi cuddled more with BeBe while I heated up some baby pancakes. Levi ate pancakes in bed with BeBe (I know nice habits I'm starting) while I packed his bag up. We loaded up in the car and headed to therapy...Levi fell asleep in the car and slept almost all the way through my appointment. My therapist fixed me for the week and we loaded back up and headed to gym. At this point I was feeling great...Levi had a great morning nap, I was sane again, and we were running ahead of schedule.

We got to gym a little early so we hung out in the car listened to great music and sang a little. Tasha and Kate were parked in front of us and to my amazement Kate also had a great morning nap. Could we be so lucky that everything was working out????

Ugh! This is when it all started....

12:05 Walk into the gym and put shoes and bags away

12:10 Gym Teacher lets us all in the room and I set Levi down on the mats

12:11 Levi crawls right to the foam stairs and crawls up with no help needed

12:12 Levi does an about face and literally jumps off the stairs past the gym mats and on to the rough carpeted floor face first!

12:13 Levi screams bloody murder as I watch his nose and forehead turn to a Rudolph shade of red

12:14 Levi calms down and heads straight for the stairs again...I quickly nip that in the bud and end up having to force him to sit in my lap.

12:15 Class begins

Class goes great although Levi's carpet burn seems to be getting more red by the minute...isn't bothering him as much as it is bothering me...

At this point we should have just gone home, but I'm obviously a masochist.

So we loaded the kids up and headed to the sushi restaurant across the street... Now just so you don't think we are completely insane. These are both restaurant kids...they have been going together their entire lives and up until today have always been perfect angels! Obviously when they were baby talking in class they came up with a terrible master plan!

So we walk in and the restaurant is nicely full but not crowded. They quickly seat us and we put the highchairs right next to each other on one side of the table in their usual spots! Within 2 minutes Levi drops a toy on the ground and when he looks for it he bangs his head right on the edge of the table. Of course he goes into full fledged "My life is over" mode, but I scooped him up and it quickly dissipated. Then if on cue Kate pipes up. Tasha breaks out the puffs and all is quiet again. We figure out our order while we both exclaim how thrilled we are to be out eating sushi. The babies are both playing nicely, but we are quickly running out of puffs. Just as the waiter sets down the salad and soup both of them start in...sort of taking turns...

This is a nightmare...Levi is screaming at the top of his lungs between each bite reminding me each time that I wasn't feeding him fast enough (on a good note he loves some sushi..He was all over that avocado roll like it was his b---h) while Kate is literally having an emotional meltdown next to him. We all look like we have been to hell and back...We're both apologizing to the tables around us while trying to stuff our faces between screams and cries and as they both finally pull it together I notice that we are both sweating, our hair is in our faces, and we are a far cry from covergirl ready. At this point there is really nothing to do except laugh or cry...thankfully this time we both laughed!

We payed our bill, tipping extra for the crime scene that we left under the table, and it seems as if we will all live to see another day...

Everybody is napping at our house sure hope its the same at Kate's house...

I don't know maybe work isn't so bad...just kidding I still wouldn't trade today for anything!!!!

But I sure hope they sleep tonight!

xoxo chef a

Sunday, September 18, 2011

In a Funk...

On the IPOD "You Belong To Me" By: Carla Bruni

Im in a FUNK....It could be caused by lack of sleep or by stress or maybe I could even blame it on my hormones. But in reality it seems to be getting worse... I am definitely seeking comfort from food which as usual is just leaving me unsatsified and annoyed with myself. And lets just say my pre-pregnancy weight is still waiting for me...

I love being a mom so dont get me wrong but I am missing just being Amanda. I am no longer just Amanda...I'm Levi's mom. I get lots of questions like, "How is Levi? How is he sleeping? What does he do now?" I have lots of conversations about poop and sleeping through the night schools of thought. And I cant tell you the last time I actually took the time to enjoy my dinner without racing through it so that I could prepare for whatever Levi was going to do next... I am tired... it's true...Levi is not a sleeper... He has yet to every even come close to this sleeping through the night myth I hear other mom's discuss. He is everywhere and in to everything. Even when he wakes up in the middle of the night...I see him in the monitor inspecting his crib like he is devising an escape route. And in the middle of the night when I let him sleep in bed with us (which whatever, Im not going to lie it happens so all of the mom's who are looking down on me shaking your heads at my parenting methods, please remember that I'm a full time working mom and I don't always have the time or energy to let him cry it out!) he doesn't just wake up and snuggle, he wakes up crawls all around the bed and usually finds something to get into whether its poking one of us or finding a remote to play with. He is the epitome of a boy... In gym class yesterday he refused to sit in my lap like all of the other kids, nope Levi likes to be by himself in the middle of the room and when its parachute time and all the other kids are making thunder by hitting the floor, Levi is making thunder on some other kid's face (No Joke!) Although I do have to admit that he would have made his Uncle Adam very proud had he seen him go straight for the rock climbing plank and crawl it all by himself!! He is definitely not easy...but he is cute so that makes up for it!

Sorry I got on a Levi tangent.... anyways back to the issue at hand... I am not happy with myself. I am yet again completely uncomfortable in my own skin. I wish there was an easy fix...a pill I could take...at times I even wish I was strong willed enough to just stop eating, but I'm not. I wish that the food I eat would even fix the way I'm feeling at the time, but it doesn't... In truth it makes it worse...just a cycle of unhappiness with myself, then a burst of food joy, then regret, and then unhappiness again.

Let me stress again that being a mom is the most amazing experience I have ever had. I love Levi to the moon and back, but at the same time...it is an adjustment, there is no rule book, and I am definitely having a difficult time finding myself in all of this. I know it is just getting started again...they say that the first and the last five pounds are the hardest... maybe if I could just get through the first five...I mean honestly at this point I could care less about the last five!
Until tomorrow....

xoxo chef a

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Next Ten Years...

On the IPOD "Sweet Pea" By: Amos Lee

While talking to my MIL (Mom in law) last week she was telling me how my FIL and her did an exercise a short time ago where they both wrote down everything they want to do in the next 10 years and then they compared lists afterwards. So last week I told Mike that I really wanted to try it...mainly to see if ours were even close...

It was pretty easy for me actually...

I would like to have two more children for a total of 3...I know I'm crazy...

I would like to buy a house...it doesn't have to be our dream house but it has to be in a good school district and it has to have a great kitchen and a good bathtub.

I would like to have enough money to take a summer family vacation every year preferably on a beach.

I would like to still be cooking some but I would really like to be writing full time.

Surprise Surprise I would like to be skinny...or at least healthy

For that matter I would like all of our family members to be healthy as well.

I would like to spend some time overseas if possible...

I would like to be able to balance my time better so that when I'm off work...I'm really off work, because lately it seems as if I'm always answering client calls, emails, and texts even in the middle of the night.

I would like to continue to have date night once a week even if that means we have to actually pay someone to watch our kids... isn't that what family is for!

I would like for my kids to be kind, well rounded individuals who know how to set a table, cut their meat correctly, and can have a decent conversation with an adult. I hope they are not over-booked, educationally stressed, micro-managed spoiled brats!

The very last thing on my list was by far the most important...

Pretty much in 10 years the most important thing to me is that we are still happy...!

What do you want to do in the next 10 years?

xoxo chef a

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


On the IPOD "Don't let me Fall" By: Lenka

Well hello there strangers... The two weeks leading up until school starts are insane for me. I have some clients that seem to disappear in the summers and then are not exactly understanding when they get back in to town and I cant fit them in the second they call...they are also not understanding enough to pay me to keep their time slots...so I do what any other workaholic would do I fill their time slots and worry about the overbooking issue later. Well this week was later and I pretty much haven't even had time to watch "Real Housewives of New Jersey" (Only kidding I watched it in the middle of the night on Monday! Lol)

Anyways I'm not exactly sure why the blog thing has been hard for me lately... Well I mean I do have some reasons...finding time is an issue in general and then allowing myself the personal time is another part of it, but deeper than that I'm having a slightly more difficult time opening up lately. I don't know if it has to do with the fact that I used to have the time to be one on one with my computer and now it seems as if I am never alone or if maybe the real issue is that I want people to hear me and to relate to me but sometimes I get responses that are more solutions on how to fix myself or even emails of pity. That is not what I'm looking for so in turn I think I have been guarded because I'm afraid of what I'll hear... but not writing is bothering me... I feel like I am in a boat with no paddles...

So, whether you like it or not I'm going to thread by thread, knot by knot... let it out. I would love to hear from you if you can relate or if you like or agree with what I am saying, but please know that I'm not asking for you to fix me...it's actually not about being fixed... it's about finding a home in me...a peace...with who I am, with who I could be, and with who I may never be.

So I will be back in the next 12 hours...I mean I have to write something before therapy tomorrow!

xoxo chef a

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Here we go again...

On the IPOD "Modern Love" By: Matt Nathanson

So I've made a decision.... I don't know if it has to do with the fact that I just had a birthday on Thursday or maybe it was two weeks ago when I had a little bit of a pregnancy scare (and yes right now I would consider it to be a scare!), but whatever it was I have realized that I'm done!

I'm done carrying around this extra pregnancy weight. I have been back to my old ways of feeding my feeling and although I haven't really gained weight since Levi was born, I definitely haven't lost it either. The sad part about it is that I just really haven't felt like myself in awhile...I don't really think it is a postpartum thing...it's more of a stressed out, tired, horrible body image, really tired (yes I'm aware I repeated it), put yourself on the back burner and take care of the baby kind of thing. But I'm really not doing anyone any good... I'm not always my sunshine self, I do a lot of nodding my head while not listening to anything anyone is saying, I have even lost my witty retorts that should be able to calm me down when I'm faced with a "suckubus" (A suckubus is a term we use at our house to describe a person whether male or female who tries to suck the life out of you.) If you want someone to really show you if they are a suckubus, have a baby and you will find out quickly enough!

So anyways my plan is to start back slowly... First on my list is to work out every day whether it is Nia, the gym, the pool, or the Wii. Starting with working out always works better for me mainly because I have an emotional attachment to food so if I start a diet flat out I feel deprived which usually results in me cheating so instead of taking something away from myself I am going to give myself the gift of working out... it sounds silly, but I think it might work... let's hope so!

xoxo chef a

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Berry Family Part 2 UPDATE

Hi everyone, I just wanted to write a quick update on the Berry Family with a new link to donate and to discuss some upcoming events happening in the Dallas Area that I'm involved with...

This is an update on the story I told you about last Friday involving a family out of Houston. Both parents (Robin and Joshua Berry) were killed and all three children (Peter, Aaron, and Willa) were injured in a head on collision that happened July 2nd coming home from a family trip to Colorado. The boys are both paralysed from the waist down and also are dealing with other internal issues and will need long term health care. Willa is recovering from some broken bones but is doing remarkably well.

The boys have been making great strides and are now both sitting in upright wheelchairs. They will be going to Chicago's Shriner Hospital where there is an amazing Pediatric Spinal Injury Rehab for 6-8 weeks on Tuesday while their sister Willa will remain in Houston recovering with family and friends.

On Sunday July 24 there are two bake sales happening in Dallas that I will be baking for. Unfortunately I will be out of town with Levi that day but there will be lots of goodies to buy that will help support the Berry Kids!

The first one is at Kidville at Preston and Royal Shopping Center 6025 Royal Lane from 11:00am- 1:30pm there will be activities for the kiddos as well!

The second one is the same day at Campbell Green Splash Park (Campbell and Hillcrest) from 2-4 pm

There is a lot of information about the kids as well as other events taking place that you can be a part of on their facebook page.

Please donate there is a link on the left hand side of the page...no amount is too little!


xoxo chef a

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Berry Family

On the IPOD "Heartbeats" By: Jose Gonzalez

It is unfortunate that it takes horrible things to really realize how lucky we all are to still be here everyday.

I first heard about the Berry family when a very close family friend wrote on her page Sunday "Kiss ur spouse-hug ur kids! Life is so precious!" She happened to grow up with Robin Berry and had just heard of this terrible accident that has made almost everyone I know who knows about it stop in their tracks and say a little prayer.

The Berry's could be any of us... a young couple with 3 kids... While driving home from a wonderful family vacation in Colorado another car lost control and ran head-on into the Berry's minivan killing Josh and Robin instantly. The two boys ages 10 and 8 were left in critical condition requiring surgery for internal injuries and spinal issues. And the youngest 6 year old Willa was left with a broken ankle and wrist. The boys are going to need major physical therapy in Houston. There has been a fund set up through Congregation Beth Yeshurun in Houston. The link is


The community has really pulled together for this family and there is an event tonight to light the shabbat candles in honor of the Berry Family at 8pm. We will be lighting the candles in Dallas tonight and I hope you will light them wherever you are.

If you would like to learn more about the Berry family there is alot of information as well as the links to the online funds at www.jhvonline.com

I pray that the Berry children will recover from this horrible accident both physically and emotionally and go on to make the world a better place in the face of such tragedy... my heart breaks for them.

xoxo chef a

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Levi's Favorite Things

On the IPOD "Pachelbel's Canon in D Major" On this awesome instrumental album that I downloaded for Levi called "Canon Pachelbel"

I wanted to take some time to discuss Levi's favorite things or better said the wonderful exciting material goods that keep our household and restuarant experience happy...

#1 Levi's Thumb (I almost left this out but it really is his favorite thing!)

My little Levi is a thumb sucker... He loves his thumb so much that it is hard for him to not suck it even when he is taking his bottle. There are no other words to even explain his love for his thumb so I'm going to leave it at that!

#2 Happy Blankies

My little thumb sucker loves a blanket and I'm not going to lie...if he doesnt have one handy he will use a shirt (even if it is on you), a sock, a sheet or even a towel. But when he sees his Happy Blankie it is almost as if he is seeing the love of his life. His eyes get big and full of joy and excitement and his world is just a better place. This is my favorite baby gift to give... Levi was lucky enough to receive two happy blankies as gifts and I got him matching small versions to take with us on the go. The company was started by a seven year old who wanted to give back so when you buy a happy blankie you are buying 2, one ships to you or to the shipping address you provide and the other is shipped to a child at a charity (you or whoever receives the blanket enters the number on your blankets tag on the happy blankie website and then you pick a children's charity from the list they provide and the second blanket goes to a child there) These are truly the best blankets! They are soft and silky and everything you would want a blanket to be!


#3 Sophie the giraffe

I hate to admit it but this $20 over-priced "dog" toy is completely worth it. We were also given this as a gift when Levi was first born and I thought it was the most rediculous toy... I mean $20 for a sweaky rubber toy that looks like you could buy it at petsmart! I told myself at the time that I would never buy one, but Oh how I was wrong... Levi loves Sophie! I'm not sure what it is about her maybe it's the food grade paint... but whatever it is he chews on her, he bangs her against tables, chairs, the floor and his own head for hours! One day last week we couldn't find her... I thought I searched everywhere and just as I was about to go out and buy a new one, she was found. But now I have gotten smart Sophie is sold in a double pack from Amazon and if you buy two you get them for the bargin price of $16.75 a piece...totally worth it though!


#4 Fisher Price LUV U Zoo Jumperoo

It's funny that before Levi was born I was one of those woman who said, "well my house is not going to turn into baby central... I refuse to have every contraption..." I obviously should have kept my mouth shut! This is honestly the best contraption ever invented! Levi loves this thing and Mommy loves it too! It says you can keep them in it until they crawl out, I'm hoping that means until he is at least 2 years old. Its great exercise and he has learned so much in it. From jumping to turning himself around in the seat to hand/eye coordination it is a great buy! I tried many other brands as well as types of exersaucers and none of them even came close to comparing! We will definitely be keeping this for all of our kids to enjoy! My advise is use a 20% OFF COUPON and dont buy a cheaper brand, the real one is worth every penny!


#5 Brilliant Basics "Poppity PoP" Dump Truck

Levi has both the dump truck and the train and we got them at walmart for $6 each! I have found that the smaller none battery powered toys are actually the best. Sometimes the bigger toys are over stimulating and Levi tends to get frustrated after awhile, but "dump truck" as we refer to him just seems to be the perfect shape and size.


This is just a small list of Levi's favorite things... If you have any suggestions of great toys your little ones couldn't live without please feel free to comment them to me!

xoxo chef a

Support Groups AKA Playgroups

On the IPOD "Cathedrals" By: Jump Little Children

I am pulling double duty...I'm awake at 3:45 AM so I have decided to write a couple of posts. I am going to post them at different times so that you don't miss them but I would say that they will be online within 24 hours of each other so check back!

I would be lying if I said that I am completely focused on getting myself back on the track I was on BB(before baby). I do have a desire to be there again... I am just feeling a bit like I'm treading water and drowning at the same time... Even though I'm sure I was told "BB" that having a baby changes everything, I don't think I really understood that phrase. I didn't really realize that I would be actually teaching a baby how to learn, play, and survive the real world not just change diapers while trying to balance a marriage and a business. A friend of mine said at a playgroup this past week that... "The hardest thing about being a new parent is to learn how to fight for your marriage!" She couldn't be more right!

I have been in love with Mike for almost 14 years, we have survived major tragedies and wonderful celebrations but to be completely honest adjusting to a new baby is like learning how to love each other all over again. The reason I bring all of this up is because when this friend of mine made this amazing statement at playgroup I noticed that the rest of us let out this great sigh of relief. In this one moment we all realized that we were really not alone. And I realized that "playgroups" are really just another word for "support groups"! So my suggestion to all the new moms out there is to reach out to other new moms whether they are old friends or maybe you're just both in line at Buy Buy Baby because at the end of the day it might just save your marriage and your life!

It is interesting to me that having a baby also completely messes with your self image which I guess also adds to the stress of life. I really thought the hardest part was seeing my stomach grow during pregnancy but really I think its harder to deal with the aftermath. The new and unusual shape of my over pumped boobs and my lower tummy that now has a mind of its own. Lets not forget the hulk like strength I have in my arms from carrying the ridiculously heavy newborn carrier mixed with the lack of strength in my knees and back from picking up and holding Levi in odd positions all day long (you learn that even if you're completely uncomfortable...if the baby is comfortable than you just work through the pain!) So feeling the least bit sexy when everything hurts, you have spit up on your shoulder, you're extremely tired, you're moody, and not only have you been changing poopie diapers but you've also spent all day worrying about the color, texture and amount of poop makes for a very difficult challenge.

So I'm here to tell you that I've heard it gets better ;) ... So I'm going with that...I'm going to try to embrace the new "directions" (lol) my boobs point and the numbness I still have from them cutting me open to get this baby out and I'm going to do my best to wear perfume everyday to cover up the baby poop and formula smell (cause that's sexy right?) and I promise to take at least 30 minutes a day (hopefully more) to try to find myself again and I will do everything I can to fight for my marriage because I could not have picked a more wonderful man to share my life with. And it will get better....

xoxo chef a

Friday, June 10, 2011

"Breathe in Hope, Breathe out Love"

On the IPOD "Clementine" By: Sarah Jaffe

I have been wrestling with writing about this... because honestly it's not my story...but there are bits and pieces of it that I think are so important that I'm going to stray from my normal topics and set down what now is to be my next post entitled "Levi's Favorite Things (a guide to what has worked for my kid)"

A little less than a week ago my facebook page was blown up with old friends stating only "Breathe In Hope, Breathe Out Love" as their status. It is the mantra of an amazing guy I went to high school with and who happened to date a very good friend of mine for a short time. I have known for about a year that he has been fighting cancer although I was not only unaware of how bad it really was but I was also unaware that he was chronicling his fight for life in a blog. Funny that I spend a ridiculous amount of time on here but have never seen it...makes you really realize how many blogs are out there...

Anyways I searched for his blog and found it quite easily. As I read the latest post my heart sank...

"I'm not sure if this is my last posting but if it is I want to thank everyone whom has helped me along the way, everyone whom has become inspired to make a difference, and everyone whom has changed their own lives to better take advantage of life's little opportunities and tiny miracles. It's not a goodbye but more of a see you later. It's truly been and honor and privilege"

I have know cancer, we are not friends, but I have never encountered the type of fight and determination that Jeff had to fight it. My Dad might have fought it in his own way but it was definitely much quieter... Maybe its a generational thing, but looking back it seems as if my dad gave his cancer to the doctors to fix instead of really taking the bull by the horns, they said jump and he jumped. But I guess people are just different...

Jeff was 30, had been married less than two years, was just really getting into the stride of his life and poof what at first was thought to be a sports injury quickly turned into the fight of his life.

After I read Jeff's blog I felt the need to leave a comment,

"Jeff- We have never run in the same circle although we went to school together and therefore have many overlapping rings. But I felt the need to tell you how your blog has changed my life... Over the last year I have heard about your fight although nothing led me here until yesterday afternoon when I saw the remarkable amount of posts from Facebook friends just stating "breathe in hope, breathe out love." ... As I sat on the couch with my almost 5 month old son Levi right next to me I read from beginning to end the tales of your courageous fight... I held Levi's tiny hand the entire time sometimes holding tighter.... I have to admit at times my mind raced back and forth between feeling for you, for Autumn, for your parents... I questioned my role as a mother, as a wife, and at times as a friend. In less than 24 hours you have made me want to fight for each day of my life... You have made me want to live a better life.... be a better wife, to be a better mother, to be a better daughter, to love harder than I ever thought possible. Thank you for letting me in... Thank you for fighting with passion and dignity. And most of all thank you for your courageous vulnerability. My love to you and everyone in your circle.
Breathe in hope, breathe out love!

Jeff's fight is the most perfect example of taking responsibility for what life throws at you. I beg of you to read it...it will most definitely change your life...

Jeff lost his fight on Monday night, just two short days after what ended up being his final post. My heart goes out to his family and friends as they celebrate his life today.

You can find Jeff's blog at www.jeffsfightwithcancer.blogspot.com

"Breathe in Hope, Breathe out love"

xoxo chef a

Saturday, May 28, 2011

What sparks my light?

On the IPOD "Hazy (Feat. William Fitzsimmons)" By: Rosi Golan

Can not even explain how happy I am to be able to sit at this computer, in this semi dark room, by myself, while baby Levi and Mike are napping in the bedroom!

I swear I'm trying to find the time to get everything done...I think what I need is a voice recorder because I write blogs in the car all day long...its just getting them actually written that is the problem....

I watch my fair amount of television including some talk shows but I would not really consider myself committed to any of them except maybe "Parenthood" and 'Modern Family". But I have been an Oprah fan. I have not seen every show nor have I ever really been on board with the various other speakers she has invented...ie: Dr. Phil (ya I went to school with his kid it's really hard for me to understand his parenting logic when his kid drove an extremely expensive first car and is now married to a playboy bunny), Dr. Oz, or Nate. But I have loved her honest approach to life and some of her her guests are downright amazing. So when the last episode aired I have to admit I was sitting in awe of what she has accomplished.

Two of her quotes have hit me to my core:

"There's a difference between thinking you deserve to be happy and knowing that you are worthy of being happy."

"You have to know what sparks the light in you so that you in your own way can illuminate the world. You have the power to change somebody's life."

I have been feeling pulled in my life which I think is pretty normal with a new baby, but when Oprah said these words to me (because that's what it felt like) it set off a rush of emotions. Don't get me wrong I love to cook and I love my job but it is not sparking any lights right now that's for sure! I used to think that if I could do anything in the world well besides a mom cause that has always been in the cards.... I would be a singer/songwriter...but that ship sailed long ago...and now singing has turned into a personal release that happens during Levi's nightly song session, the occasional karaoke night, and the concert I put on in the car everyday. So besides being a Mom...what sparks my light?

Oddly enough... although you could probably never convince my high school English teachers...writing sparks my light...writing is what I want to do...writing makes me happy! Cooking makes me happy too but I think I'm just burnt out from cooking right now or maybe I'm just burnt out from cooking for my clients. All I know is that the days I sit down at this computer and the days I hear back from all of you...are just better days! So I guess the next step is to allow myself to believe that I am worthy of being happy. I'm not quiting my job or anything crazy like that...but I WILL BE A WRITER! (Funny that I accidentally hit the caps lock before writing that... no joke!)

So thank you Oprah for somehow giving me permission to find out what sparks my light and for saying that I'm worth it! And thank you all for letting me say it out loud.

xoxo chef a

Thursday, May 12, 2011

To guilt or not to guilt!

On the IPOD "Nobody's Coming Around" By: Edwina Hayes

I have a case of some major Jewish guilt. If you are unaware of what Jewish guilt is... I will enlighten you...when I searched the Internet this is the most accurate definition I found...

"Jewish Guilt"

"Judaism's greatest weapon; often used by Jewish mothers; often ruins your plans for the night or sometimes, in extreme cases, your whole weekend. Uses mostly reverse psychology."

By the way I have recently discovered that there is this sort of guilt in every sect of people... movies and television just use the Jewish version more frequently...

Anyways I wish I could blame it on my mother but unfortunately I have become my own Jewish mother...

Let's start out by going over the things that I refuse to feel guilty about even though my own feelings about these things have been tested over the last few weeks.

#1 Moving out of our building and into a house
-for the record I'm happy in our building. I know we are not building equity, I know we don't have a back yard, I know that sometimes our upstairs neighbor sounds like she is dive bombing our ceiling, and I know that this arrangement will not work forever. But a house is not an option for us at the moment! We are still dealing with maternity bills (self employment = extremely terrible insurance benefits!) We have absolutely no free time as it is and I can’t even imagine having to do upkeep on a house every weekend. I refuse to give up our "expensive" date nights to save money because in my book they are worth it (in 20 years when our kids are all gone to college we will still have to look at each other so we might as well keep our relationship decently strong!) As far as outdoor space both of our parents have backyards and my kid is involved in so many play groups we will just keep his tricycle in the back of the car he will never know it's not his backyard! :) And at the end of the day, I'm perfectly content with our $80 electric bill, resort style pool, work out center, parking garage, and outdoor kitchen!

#2 What goes in my kid’s mouth
- Whether it’s a boob or a bottle... my kid will be fine!
I will on occasion give my child Tylenol, Motrin, mylicon, gripe water, and teething tablets and if you don't like it...bite me!
Levi will never eat bottled baby food, he will try every vegetable, fruit, and wholegrain and if I can help it we will never order off a kids menu. Why you ask... #1 BECAUSE I'M A CHEF! #2 Because there is no need to! #3 Because I have fought my weight my entire life and these guidelines just make sense to me! And for the record I know it's not how every mother feels and I know it was different when some of your kids were little, but my pediatrician and I are completely comfortable with my choices.

Here is what I do feel extreme amounts of guilt about...

Leaving Levi all day...
-Even though I know have to work and that I could not leave my child with a better person than my own mom. I still feel guilty not being there for every second of his life and for interrupting my mom's life even though she wouldn't have it any other way. I also feel guilty when I get off work and still can't really be there because I'm so tired from being up all night sometimes.
This also transitions into some more guilt...

I feel guilty going or not going to workout...
-It kills me to leave Levi again after I've been gone all day. It's hard to ask my mom to watch a teething, pain in the butt, late afternoon child even longer (Mike works till 8pm most nights.) If I don't go I feel like I'm letting myself down as well as letting everyone at Nia down (I've got to get over this one, but it's the pleaser in me!) Once Mike gets home I should go down to the gym here but I want to spend a little bit of family time before Levi goes down and let’s be honest by that point I'm exhausted!

So what happens you ask...I beat myself up about it all day every day! I'm disappointed that I have not lost all of my baby weight. I can’t stand that in general my tummy looks like it’s a transplant tummy because it sure as hell doesn’t belong here! It doesn’t help that I look like I've been run over by a train... My eyes have bags and circles that add a good 10 years onto my age (believe me the checker giggled when she checked my id last time), my hair is varying shades of gray...what’s left of it that is, and my skin looks like I have zombie makeup on.

I know this too shall pass and one day I’ll look back on today and think...
"Oh those were the easy days... only one kid, beautiful apartment, only $4 a gallon gas prices :)... “

It will be easier though when Levi gets a schedule and when I’m lucky enough to be able to get to class I will be completely and totally thankful for my time there and when I can’t I will be completely and totally thankful for my time with Levi!

xoxo chef a

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Just A Normal Saturday Night...

On the IPOD "Wide Open Spaces" By: The Dixie Chicks

Two little tid bits of info that might be helpful to new moms out there...
#1 never say out loud that your child loves restaurants and is totally laid back and
#2 never ever publicly make arrangements for your husband to be the designated driver so that you can have an evening of bliss at one of your favorite restaurants or to be honest drown yourself in your favorite margarita.

I say this because chances are your kid will not be on board!

My child loves a restaurant...I mean on more than one occasion I've threatened to go the busiest happy hour (I know such a threat) just so that I could record the noise for 1 hour so that we could play it for Levi to help him sleep. So when we were invited last Saturday night to dinner with friends (and yes there were other kids there we didn't drag him to a couples night out or anything), I didn't even think twice about taking him. For the life of me I can't figure out how it turned as bad as it did so quickly!

Let me set this up for you... Our plans were to meet friends at this great Salvadorian restaurant that just opened a beautiful new location. When we arrived there was immediate seating available on their covered patio so because it was actually decently nice outside I agreed. (By the way even though there is no confirmation that the patio seating caused the horrible events I'm about to disclose...Patio seating will now be completely off limits for the Marrone Family!}

So anyways we sat down and I immediately ordered a mango margarita and let me tell you it was the best thing that happened Saturday night! When everyone got there (Me, Mike and Levi and my two girlfriends, one with her husband the other with her two kids} we went ahead and ordered dinner (And I ordered another margarita...}

At this point Levi was sound asleep in his stroller, like an angel! Well all of the sudden Levi woke up, he seemed fine, I got him up and we were playing a little before the food came. My friends were both hugging on him and he was doing just fine well until he was not! Like clockwork as soon as they brought me my margarita Levi started screaming, it was unlike anything I have even heard. By the way I am not a fan of the screaming restaurant kid, I think if you have the guts to take your kids out in public then you should as least take them out of the establishment if he or she is out of control. So I did just that, Levi and I excused ourselves to the parking lot where things just got worse. He was screaming so badly that I really felt helpless. I gave him Tylenol, gas drops, gripe water nothing was helping. Of course the stroller and car seat were at the table and my car was in the valet so I was really stuck there! I finally just got my keys so that I could take him to the car to check him out. When I tell you it was bad I mean I was checking his body for broken bones! I really thought we were going to end up at the hospital... Mike came to check on us and see if there was anything he could do, but there just wasn't anything anybody could do, Levi was officially having a complete meltdown! So I asked Mike to go back to the table box up dinner and pay what we owe. When my friend Jessica came to check on us, Levi and I were pacing the parking lot. I was a complete mess and Levi had been stripped down to just a diaper and was still screaming bloody murder! We made an executive decision to drive back to her house so that I could get a better idea of what was going on. This seems fast as I read it back but in all honesty we were in the parking lot for a good solid hour or longer. I would have just gone home but I didn't think he would make it that far that's how bad it was!

Mike drove and I sat in the back trying to keep Levi calm for the 5 minute trip. When we got to the house the screaming continued. I checked his entire body up and down, every joint, I even checked to make sure he didn't have a hair wrapped around his finger or something. He finally calmed down after my friend started blowing on his ear. I have no idea why it worked but it did so I'm not going to question it! I never really found out what was wrong with him...I just chalked it up to teething and bought every teething gel on the market the next morning...

It was a rough night to say the least... The moral of the story is never ever plan on having a wonderful night out...If it happens count yourself lucky and if not pray that you were smart enough to bring an arsenal of meds, 5 sets of clothing, 2 extra bottles, and a nanny. Or at least just remember that every new parent out there will eventually have this experience so you are not the only one!

xoxo chef a

Thursday, April 28, 2011


On the IPOD "Set Fire To The Rain" By: ADELE

Ive decided that the only way to be skinny while being a full time working mom is to have money and a nanny! I mean a nanny is not an option for us so I'm going to have to come up with a better solution, not that skinny is really even in my personal vocabulary... But I do want to be healthier so something has got to give! Levi and I get up for work between 5-6 am, Mike works till 7:30pm and lately Levi likes to scream for about 2 hours each night starting as early as 5 and ending sometimes as late as 9:30, which tends to make leaving to go workout at night difficult to say the least and early morning workouts are completely out of the question. So where does a girl find the time I ask you?

To be honest it is not helping that I am really having a hard time accepting my post baby body issues... between the numb looser tummy I've been sporting since the c-section and my boobs that spent way too many countless hours attached to a pump... Lets just say that it is definitely affecting my self esteem which in turn makes it harder to make the steps to do something about it. So lately I've been making myself feel better the only way I know how to...with food!

But I'm done... mainly because it's just not working obviously... I'm officially back on the quest to deal with my shit without the help of an m&m! And I'm also giving myself permission to put my needs first for at least a 1/2 hour a day because in the long run everyone wins with a happier Amanda!

xoxo chef a

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Bad Day For My $100 pants!

On the IPOD "House At Pooh Corner" By: Kenny Loggins

I'm going to start off by saying that my hair is falling out. I know that it's normal postpartum hair loss but it doesn't make it any easier. And I know everyone says it won't all fall out but I don't know, there is alot falling out!

Last night was an utter disaster! It all started when I dropped my mom off...Levi decided he was going to throw the fit of his life between my mom's house and our parking garage. I mean it was bad... There was screaming and heavy breathing and sometimes even a couple of times I thought he was going to quit breathing. I really just wanted to wiggle my nose and blink us home but of course I don't have that capability. I played music, sang, danced, made faces...nothing was going to help the fit of rage going on in the back seat. By the time we reached our street I was in tears as well.

As we turned into our place...Levi fell asleep. I pulled into my parking spot amd strategically came up with a plan to get the stroller loaded up while the car was still on and the music was still playing. Half way through I thought to myself, "huh I really have to go potty..." (And by potty I mean little potty not big potty, thanks in part to my new birth control that has a diuretic in it.} {You should also know that because of my horrible case of ADD I have a tendency to forget to go potty in the first place.) So anyways there I am rushing around packing up the diaper bag, my bag, a box of diapers, and Levi. As I reached to turn the car off and lock the doors I said to myself, "Oh Shit where is my fob for the garage door?" I mean by this point I started to panic...I thought about using a cup (no too complicated considering I was wearing pants), then I thought about copping a squat next to the car (pretty sure my garage has security cameras so that was out), then I thought about just jumping in the front seat and letting nature take its course on my new leather seats (Ya no that was completely out.) So there next to my new car while staring at my sleeping son, I peed in my $100 lululemon pants.

And then of course I found the stupid fob!

You know it's a bad night when you show up at your front door with no hair and you are wet from the waist down. I'm sure Mike is counting his blessing on this catch! (Hey it says in good times and bad, right?) I do have to admit that by the time I reached the door I was laughing hysterically I mean really...I can't even make up this stuff!

So needless to say Mike took over while I did laundry and took a shower! You would think that that is the end of the story but no just as soon as I got cleaned up, Levi decided to lose it again. After I finally got him settled down I thought to myself, "Tomorrow has got to be better than today!"

My goal for today is to come home with dry pants! I'm not reaching for the stars folks, just trying to stay afloat!

xoxo chef a

Monday, April 11, 2011

My Circle

On the IPOD "Gangsta's Paradise" By: Coolio (By the way this musical choice has nothing to do with the topic of this post it just happens to be what I wanted to listen to!)

So I've been a little bit overwhelmed lately... On the plus side business is great on the minus side I'm so busy I cant really reach the surface. In a way, I feel like I'm drowning... I worked all weekend only taking a break to visit a preschool open house and yes I have become one of those parents who puts their newborn on preschool waiting lists. I'm not necessarily proud of it, but to tell you the truth a $20,000 a year elementary school is not an option for us so I feel that if I can give my kid the best preschool experience out there maybe in the end he will still be accepted to the best trade school around! Only kidding, I know he will be fine either way but I'm still hoping that I become a millionaire before he turns 5, so it will all work out! lol! When I say I feel like I'm drowning I mean it in the best possible way... I love being a mom and I love working but doing both is much more difficult than I ever thought it would be. The good thing is that I'm going to therapy tomorrow and the focus of my session will be how to organize my life so that I can blog everyday, because blogging has changed everything about my life and I miss it! It clears my head and my heart! Lately I have been trying to write at 4:30 am and it's not working for me...I've ended up with 8 posts beginning with, "Well I've been a little overwhelmed..." So something has got to give...

I wanted to write about this a couple of weeks ago but it just fell through the cracks...

I went to dinner with a good friend a couple of weeks ago... She happens to be one of those people in my life that I just click with... We don't talk everyday or even see each other once a week, but the times we do hang out are epic. In our 2 hour dinner we discussed everything...our work, our futures and pasts, babies, and of course men. My friendship with her is extremely easy (I hope she would say the same.) We have known each other a very long time but our friendship is still relatively new in the broad scheme of things. Somehow our histories are sort of parallel so it feels like we've been friends forever. Our friendship lacks judgements, is heavy on honesty, and doesn't have alot of expectations except to be present when we do get to hang out. The best thing about her is that she makes me want to be a better friend.

I am so lucky for her friendship as well as all the amazing friendships that I am blessed with in my life. Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life I forget to tell all of the wonderful people around me that I would truly be lost without you. Each of you, in your own individual way, make my life better. And whether at any moment in time I am strictly there for you or you are here for me, your place in my circle means the world to me.

I hope that those of you who are reading this are lucky enough to have circles, whether big or small, that are full of people who make you want to be a better you!

xoxo chef a

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Another Day...Another Dollar

On the IPOD "Lucky Star" By: Madonna

Where does a girl find some luck? Less than two weeks ago I got a new car, the reason for the new purchase was 1. Because my lease was almost up 2. because after the 20th time I hurt my back while struggling to get my son's carseat into the middle seat of a way too narrow backseat and I was officially over it! And 3. because they gave me the deal that I wanted! I love my new car! It's so easy to get Levi in and out and it's in my signature color galaxy black (black with glitter.)

So anyways yesterday was my first day leaving Levi with my mom while I headed to a clients house alone. I unloaded all of the groceries and parked the new car right out front so it would be out of everyones way in the driveway. (Btw my client is in the process of moving their pool to a different location in their back yard so the driveway is full of construction type vehicles) As the door bell rang and the nanny called out to me that there was someone at the door who wanted to talk to me, my stomach dropped. You have got to be frickin kidding me! At the door was one of the contractors. His words exactly were "I'm sorry ma'am I just didn't see your (huge black! (my words added here not his)) vehicle!" And there on the back of my perfect car with the temporary tags still staring at me was a nice crease dent and a scratch. Don't get me wrong I know it's just a car and I know it will get fixed next week, but can't I just have it perfect for a little while??

By the end of the day I had decided that maybe this was a sign that it is just too early to leave the boy at home while I'm at work. I'm sure that it has nothing to do with it , but I'm realizing it doesn't take much to bring out some mom guilt!

On another note lets discuss the fact that Levi and I are going on a little adventure trip soon to sell jams and jellies. I'm not going to lie it could be a disaster! A tired new mom and a three month old at an outdoor show (we are at least under a pavilion so it will be shaded.) Levi will be all good... my friend Tasha is nice enough to let us borrow her cool joovy stroller that folds up real small but will also allow Levi to sprawl out and hopefully take some decent naps and he'll have his formula and toys so what more could a boy want. Now the tired Mommy on the other hand will be living on pinto beans (the only healthy food item sold at the festival!) And will lose the ability to say to Daddy at 8pm "Tag you're it!" But hey I'm sure we will make some memories and that's what it is all about, right? Is it acceptable to dress your son in a strawberry onesie at the strawberry festival, I mean how do you make strawberries look manly??? Although Levi's lucky that I don't buy him a pink and red tutu while we are there! Our adventures will include lots of pictures and I'm sure some stories to boot. Please keep your fingers crossed that I will lose 5 pounds while I'm there and that Levi keeps his poop in his pants!

My client menu for today:
Pan-seared Filet Mignon
Mock "Fried Rice"
Crispy Baked Chicken Drummettes
Low Fat Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas
Beef Fajitas
Spicy Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry
Low Fat Chicken Salad
and some fresh veggies TBD

xoxo chef a

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Goodnight Sweetheart

On the IPOD "Goodnight Sweetheart" By The Moonglows

I wish I knew what time it was, or day, or even month... I literally feel like the walking dead. I've decided what I need though...I just need two extra hours in the day preferably between the hours of say midnight and 2 am. Can somebody please make that happen for me???

I love how I had this all planned out ... I was going to have a baby... be back to work in three weeks and then he would just get it... He was supposed to sleep while I worked only waking up for a bottle and then if he was awake...he would just play quietly until I was done. He would never suck his thumb instead he was going to use a pacifier so that I could take it away at an appropriate age, he would never cry in public, and he would sleep around my schedule. We would only watch television if it was an educational show and Mike and I would still have an active social life.


Well I did drag my tush back to work three weeks after... but my kid doesn't sleep...not during the day and not at night... He doesn't get the whole playing by yourself idea instead he screams as loud as possible to the tune of "waaaa! waaaa! waaaa!" until someone picks him up. The highlight of my weekend was that he finally found his thumb! I was so excited about it I sent this picture to one of my best friends while she was on vacation (geez I'm lame!) I'm lucky that he doesn't cry in public and that he loves the sound of a busy restaurant (I need to record it and play it in his room at night!) But he flips my schedule the bird on an regular basis! Think what you will but I do have to admit he watched the entire movie "My Sister's Keeper" last week and then watched me cry for 30 minutes afterwards. Mike says I'm going to turn him into a girl...I think I'm bringing out his sensitive side! Oh and about that social life... Thanks goodness we are keeping up with our plan of Saturday night date night because the only other time we see each other is to pass the baby or to watch "Modern Family" (not really but it
feels that way)

Two nights ago we started doing a twilight feeding at midnight to hopefully help Levi (really me) sleep through the night and all I got was a 4 o'clock wake up call instead of a 3:30 one... hey I shouldn't bitch...that 30 minutes is worth it!

But then I look at him here next to me sleeping in his boppy on the couch and I realize that it really doesn't matter. He is fine...perfect in fact! Maybe a schedule doesn't work for us...I'm not one to write down every feeding and what every poop looks like. I will sleep at some point! Having him at work with me is more important than a set schedule by some nanny, at least in my book. So my kid likes being held, who wouldn't? One day he wont want me to hold him anymore! And as far as the thumb... calling all orthodontists should I just write you a check now?

xoxo chef a

P.S. Does lack of sleep make you crave chocolate? Im going to go with that excuse! Grilled Chicken here I come again...just shoot me now! to be continued...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Grieving continued...

On the IPOD "Here Comes The Sun" By: The Beatles

Sorry it has been so long but I'm having a slightly difficult time getting everything done! My child seems to only sleep in 15 minute intervals during the day...

To say that I have had a rough month is putting it lightly. Between work and the baby and 2 trips to South East Texas it has just been well... busy.

I have to be honest though I have written and rewritten this post about a million times. I am dealing with some "stuff"... I have come to terms with the fact that I'm grieving... I'm grieving for the loss of my Grandmother... I'm grieving for my inability to produce enough milk to breastfeed...I'm grieving for the time that seems to be passing by so quickly...I'm grieving for the lack of control I have over everything at the moment... I'm not really "depressed" (its not slowing me down or making me think unrational thoughts) but I am extremely aware of my emotions. I never would have imagined that I would not be able to nurse my child. I never would have imagined that I would get so hung up on it or that it would effect the way I feel about myself but it has... It's the same feeling I had when I couldn't get pregnant... It's that heart wrenching feeling that I am some how less of a woman.

I know that other Mom's go through it and I know that my son is thriving, but I just never thought it would happen to me. I have taken all kinds of nursing meds and herbs and have dealt with all of their side effects... (They don't tell you on the back of the package that the number one use for herbs like Fenugreek is to help women in other countries gain weight...Thank you very much but I don't need help in that department!) I have called in specialists and I have pumped until well... lets just say I have fallen asleep on numerous occasions sitting up with the pump still attached... I have cried about it, laughed about it, and talked on and on about it. When I feed what little I am producing to Levi I refer to it as "Liquid Gold"... But I know that little by little day by day I am coming to accept that breastfeeding is just not in the cards for us this time. I have packed up the pumps and am nursing only a couple of times a day...

I am by all accounts going through my first failure as a mom... And that's ok with me... Listen you have to start somewhere right? I know in my heart that I need to learn how to deal with small "Hiccups" so that when he walks in with his nose pierced one day, Ill realize that its just a nose and even though that nose was made right here in me... its just a nose! (Hopefully he won't pierce his nose!)

So I'm ok with grieving... it just means that I'm taking the time to let it sink it, to go through all the stages of feelings I need to so that I can let it go...I'll try again with the next one, maybe it will be different, but if not I'll survive and so will he or she... It sure isn't slowing down this kid at 24 1/2 inches long and 14pounds.

My main goal in talking about this is to let those of you out there who have gone through this or are still going through this know that you are really not the only one. And that it's really ok to feel sad about it... Listen if everything went perfect in our lives what kind of people would we be... A very special person in my life told me long ago that having children brings you to your knees...I like it down here I think I'll stay awhile.

xoxo chef a

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Part one of grieving...

On the IPOD "Amazing Grace" sung by Leann Rimes

This is partially a repeat of a blog I wrote last year about my Grandmother...I ended up changing it slightly and reading this at her funeral just a couple of weeks ago.

Being at my Grandmother's house was surreal... She has lived there over 50 years and although some things have moved around slightly there is something comforting about the sameness. The kitchen is small but efficient. Everything has it's place up to the dry measuring cups that hang on the wall. Central heat/air conditioning and a dishwasher were only added when my mother starting having babies. If I close my eyes tight enough I can taste the warm biscuit with butter and apple jelly that I ate for breakfast every morning there before we got back in the car and drove to Dallas.

Until the very end My Granny was still strikingly beautiful. She had a calmness about her. Some people might have thought that she was quiet but I've always thought that she just limited the pointless conversation and really just said what she means. I know her politics, I know that she paved a way for me by being a woman and a mother and holding down a job that was really intended for a man. She was the main provider for her family and from what I have heard my grandfather left a lot to be desired as a husband. When she got fed up enough with his alcoholic ways she sent him on his way, pulled her boots straps up and moved on. She lived a humbled life at times but always had food on the table.

Being the youngest of the grandchildren I got left out a lot. At the time I hated the fact that I was left back at the house while they cruised the neighborhood but looking back I was the lucky one because I got to sit and hear my father and her tell stories of their life. I treasure those memories now.

I have always known what an incredible woman she is...I could see it in my father's eyes. She has worked hard her entire life and did it with grace. I love her with all of my heart and I have never doubted the fact that she loves me back.

Being here to celebrate her 95th Birthday last year was bittersweet...It was priceless to be able to spend some quality time with her but after we hugged and said our "i love you's" it was hard to hold the tears back while driving away... I couldn't stop thinking about the fact that my Dad should have been here. He should get to see her still driving and planting and trying to not let me wash the dishes.

As the years have gone on our short "Hi, bye, I love you phone calls have turned into sometimes lengthy 1 hour ones. On our last long phone call the day before I gave birth to my son, Granny gave me a few words of advise... She told me to not worry about the baby being cute, take lots of pictures, come and visit me as soon as you can and she told me to not worry so much about getting back to work. She said she spent too much of her life worried about paying bills and working and that I should take some time to enjoy being a mom because it goes too fast...

I'm so very glad that Levi and I got the time we did with her last week... I got a call telling me that she had fallen and broken her hip, but we decided we should wait to come until after the surgery because they were going to have her on very strong medication. So our plans were to go on Thursday but when I spoke to my cousin on Tuesday night she said "She is asking when y'all are coming...I'm afraid she is waiting for you to get here." That's all it took on Wednesday morning I packed Levi and my Mom up and we headed to South East Texas. We got there in time for Levi and Granny to have a special moment together but by the next morning she was in ICU. On Friday morning I had a strong urge to go and talk with her. So at about 5 am I placed Levi on my Mom's chest and told her I would be back soon. When I got there she was tired...I talked with her about my Dad, my future, Levi's future... I told her that we would all be okay and that I loved her but I didn't want her to suffer any longer. I knew that she loved the song "Amazing Grace" and in truth there could not be a more perfect song for her. So we listened to it together as I held her hands while trying to hold back my tears and she seemed to relax. Later that afternoon she passed away still fiercely in dependant just the way she has always been.

I can only hope that I will be able to live up to the example that she has set forth. I hope that I can teach my children about the sacrifices that she made so that their grandfather, my father, could survive and flourish. And I hope that I can exude some of the grace that I have witnessed in her.

I love you Granny and Thank you for teaching me to have passion, to work hard and to always strive for the best

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Levi James Marrone

On the IPOD "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" By: Eva Cassidy (Levi's Favorite Song)

Wow what a month! So to catch you up as the dust slides off the top of my laptop... Levi James Marrone was born on January 8th, 2011 at 10:07 AM, He was 8 pounds 13 ounces and 21 inches long. I ended up having a c-section and thank goodness because he had the cord wrapped around his neck twice and he was also wedged in so tightly that they actually still had to use some maneuvering tactics to get him out. But we both did great and I was actually up and walking around before the end of the night. Breastfeeding got off to a great start but then we had a set back due to some jaundice issues, so we are still working on it...To be honest breastfeeding is a million times more difficult than I thought it would be...I guess I was a little naive.

Levi sleeps great during the day, nighttime is slightly different but hey what can I say he already likes to party! I never knew that it was possible to love something so much... I started back to work part time today... Levi came with me...it went pretty well...my old 20 minute morning routine has become more like an hour and 20 minutes although I know that it will get better. Having a baby is definitely an emotional adjustment...I have been lucky to not really experience the baby blues, but the lack of sleep can make tensions around the dinner table elevated to say the least! I guess the good thing is that we are both so tired that 30 minutes later neither of us can remember what we are even upset about!

On another note, I have never discussed poop so much in my life...it has become the hot topic of every conversation I have... I do have one extremely funny story to tell you... A couple of days ago my mom, aunt, uncle, Levi and I decided to grab an early dinner out at this small restaurant that we knew wouldn't be filled with sick children. The dinner part went great...He slept the whole time and only woke up at the very end. I decided to feed him before we left... All of the sudden I started to smell something rank...I asked my aunt to check to see if they had a changing table in the restroom, but they didn't so I thought well no biggie I'll just take him next door where I knew they had one. Well as soon as I tried to get him back into his carrier I noticed that I had poop on my hands and then I noticed that Levi had poop all down his legs...we were officially having a blowout! So we left my uncle at the table and the rest of us headed to the bathroom. Thank goodness my mom was there... she had Levi undressed and in the sink for a rinse off faster than I could even think about it... We all ended up with poop on our hands and his outfit was lucky that I had a plastic bag in the diaper bag because otherwise it would have ended up in the trash. Within minutes it was all over but the memory of this experience will last a lifetime! How is it possible for something so small to make such a mess?

What I have learned from parenthood so far is that none of us are better than anyone else when we have poop on our hands, planning and schedules don't mean anything to a newborn, my family and friends are amazing, I have never had more respect and appreciation for my mom, I miss my dad more and more everyday, and love makes everything easier!

xoxo chef a