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