I’m still here!!

I guess I took a bit of an unplanned blog hiatus.  I didn’t mean to but life just got in the way I guess.  But I’ve really wanted to revisit this blog many times over the last few weeks . . . and I’ve been REALLY wanting to comment and socialize with other bloggers, but I felt like I couldn’t until I updated here! 

Here’s an abbreviated version of what happened over the summer:

Celebrated AJ’s first birthday at the park with family and friends:

Happy 1st Birthday!

I made a vanilla cake and cupcakes frosted with raspberry buttercream icing . . . which proceeded to melt on the crazy hot day (but they were pretty while it lasted!).

Cake!

AJ took swim lessons on Saturdays at the Y and enjoyed ALMOST every minute of it (not so much a fan of the dunking but the “motor boat” song was a definite highlight of every lesson):

Playing at the splash pad before swim lessons.

We took a Saturday drive up to Huntington Beach to visit an old Air Force buddy of DH’s.

Enjoying the sun and surf on the HB pier.

 One Sunday afternoon in September we went to our local Oktoberfest for some brew and bratwurst (well, I enjoyed the brat, DH passed being that he’s a veggie):

AJ enjoyed “dancing” to the music. Cute stuff!

There were other things too but mostly I can sum it up as: trips to the park, trips to the park and more trips to the park. And we worked and cleaned and made meals and saw friends and family . . . Overall it was a good if not slightly mellow summer. 

And now for a Monday Morning Chit Chat post – it’s been a LONG time since I participated and happy to be back! (Brought to you by My 1/2  Dozen Daily).

Captivated by the leaves and sky!

Reading: Yup, I’m still plodding along with The Game of Thrones – about 70 percent through a Book 3 and woah!  FINALLY things are starting to happen and get interesting!

Watching: Real Housewives of Miami on our DVR this morning.

Listening to: Miles Davis – a little jazz on this over cast day puts me in the mood to write!

Cooking/Baking: I prepped spinach and artichoke baked pasta yesterday for tonight’s dinner.  Can’t wait!

Happy you accomplished this week: I’m happy that we had such a good weekend – a great balance of time at home to do chores/prep/laundry while getting in some quality time with friends and with just DH and my girl.  It’s hard to find that balance but this weekend we actually did!

Looking forward to next week: Saturday DH and I are checking out the Open House of a new townhouse development – we are feeling ready to think about buying a home of our own and this will be the first time we actually go check out a property other than just do neighborhood drive-bys.  On Sunday we are taking AJ on her first trip to the pumpkin patch!! 

Thankful for today: A really lovely weekend leaving me feeling refreshed and ready for the week ahead.

*Bonus Question*

Do you “switch out” your purse when the seasons change? No, not really.  In Southern California the season change is very subtle. As it gets cooler I do tend to work in more of my fall and winter clothes but let’s be real, my version of winter clothing is probably a lot different from a person’s who lives in the mid west and deals with snow and other chilly elements!  I’m carrying a black canvas purse right now with leather detailing (a second-hand Coach) and will probably continue to carry it through the end of the year and into 2013.

Happiness isn’t the Only Acceptable Emotion

I am the first to admit that I am a perpetual people pleaser and I’ve been that way pretty much as long as I can remember. If I were to psycho-analyze myself, my best guess to why I am the way that I am is because my mother is the complete opposite.  Growing up, I always felt the need to be her buffer with the rest of the world. I felt compelled to smooth out her hard edges and get people to like me despite my mom’s difficult “stir-the-pot-and-deal-with-it” personality. 

In some ways I think my people pleasing ways has served me well.  I am a chipper, can-do kind of girl. I can put a positive spin on almost anything.  I like being polite. I like doing a good job at things.  I see the glass as half-full not half-empty. When others say no, I like to be the one that says, “yes, I can help you,” or “yes, I’m able to do that.”

But the downside to being a people pleaser is that I’m extremely uncomfortable with conflict.  I hate arguments and I’m not great at standing up for myself or my opinions.  With age this has gotten better – I’ve grown a bit more of a spine – but being the voice of dissent will probably never be something I am every comfortable with.  I could never be a politician!

Another downside is that I have come to believe that “happy” is the emotion of choice ALL the time. I rarely give myself permission to be sad or angry or depressed even when being happy is inauthentic and untrue to how I’m REALLY feeling on the inside.  And as a mom, I see how that carries over to my parenting. I don’t ever want my little girl to be sad or to cry or to be upset. I hate the term “Cry It Out” and failed miserably at it because I just couldn’t stand by and listen to my daughter wail – it’s ingrained in me to provide comfort.  It’s who I am at such a deep level.

But I’m starting to realize that while I’ll probably never be a CIO parent, I don’t have to feel compelled to fix everything for my little one.  It’s okay if she’s not happy all that time. I want her to know that sometimes it’s okay to cry and there ISN’T anything that makes it better.  I want her to know that she can express her emotions and that I will always listen to her and be a safe harbor. I want her to know that she has the power within herself to find solutions to problems.  And I want her to know that life is messy and there isn’t a “happy ending” with all situations. Most of all, I don’t want my daughter to feel – like I did – that she has to be inauthentically happy.

Monday Morning Chit Chat: Father’s Day Edition

This weekend we celebrated Ron’s first Father’s Day!  We met my dad and step-mom along with our good friends (A and E) and E’s mom, at Extraordinary Desserts.  Lunch was so-so but that was okay because we were truly there for the amazing cakes, tarts, scones and other treats.  We gifted Dad a framed photo of him holding a sleeping AJ in his arms (she was probably about 4 months old – photo below).   After lunch we headed home and just relaxed the rest of the day (and did a ton of laundry).

Opa and AJ

Sunday, Ron went out for a Father’s Day surf session with one of his best friends who has two daughters – a 5-year-old and an 11-month-old.  When he got home he opened his Father’s Day presents which included a photo collage I put together of him with AJ, an art project that AJ did in daycare, and an art project that I did of Ron’s hand print covered with AJ’s hand print (saw it on Pinterest but it didn’t turn out quite as good).  We had lunch at Beachside and in the evening I made dinner – Creamy Shrimp and Mushroom Pasta – which turned out great (well, it had 10 tablespoons of butter in it and 3 oz of cream cheese – it would have been hard to mess up this one!)

 

One of the photos in R’s Father’s Day photo collage: I love this one! She’s about 4 months old.

 

To wrap up today’s post, I’m going to start a blog tradition of filling out a weekly survey of what I’m up to (as seen on Carla’s Blog)

What are you:

Reading: A Storm of Swords (Book 3 in the “Game of Thrones” series)

Watching: Over the weekend I watched the Season 5 finale of “Mad Men.” Ah, I love that show!  I wish I could take the fashion and socially accepted drinking at work into this era (but leave the sexism and racism).

Listening to: Ocean waves at night using a sound machine app on my iPhone. 

Cooking/Baking: See above paragraph – I’m excited to eat leftovers on Tuesday!

Happy you accomplished today this weekend: Folding and putting away ALL our laundry . . . and then organizing and setting aside what we are going to wear every day this work week (for baby and I – a new thing this week – I hope this will help get out us out of the house earlier in the morning.  I love to dress the little one and I tend to linger too long in her closet when I should just be grabbing stuff so we can go! Same goes for me – sometimes I can’t decide what to wear and it’s an agonizing process of trying on multiple pants/skirts/shirts before I’m “ready.”)

Looking forward to next this week: an all day work meeting in LA on Thursday where I’ll get to see a lot of industry peers I only get to see every six months or so. . . and AJ’s first swim lessons on Saturday!

Thankful for today: My husband – he’s a really wonderful dad and he loves us both so much.

*bonus question*:

If you could have just one item off of your wish list right now, what would it be??  A cupcake stand like this one – for AJ’s 1st birthday party which will be cupcake themed!