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November 2011

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19. Treat myself to a day of pampering without baby.

Crossing another item off my list

Last Wednesday I decided to do the impossible: enjoy alone time. *Happy dance, happy dance*

Opportunities like this are rare. It just so happened that I had the day off work as part of the holiday weekend. It just so happened we had already paid up for the week’s worth of childcare. It was as if the stars aligned and the clouds parted and a flying unicorn emerged from the sky, saying, “This is your day. Take it!”

And I did.

First things first, I bought my single(!) ticket to see the 9:15 a.m. (that’s not a typo) showing of “Breaking Dawn.” This was my first time at the theater alone, unless you count the time I saw “Hot Shots Part Deux” alone while my dad and brother saw “Cliffhanger” in an adjacent theater.

Afterward, I did a little Christmas shopping. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone what I got.

I then made my way over to a nail spa for a mani/pedi. It wasn’t the best I’ve ever had — maybe sparkly gold isn’t the route to go for longevity — but I gotta tell ya, it was nice to sit in a massage chair for a few minutes.

Next stop: frozen yogurt. I sat outside and eavesdropped on the high school kids who were gossiping and, well, being kids. Kids! If my 16-year-old self could see my 32-year-old self eating chocolate hazelnut yogurt alone, she would’ve been thinking, “Why is this old woman laughing at us?” Because I used to think adults in their 30s were beyond old. Like decrepit, one-foot-in-the-grave old. Remember that?

And, just to revel in my old woman status, I went to the market and did my Thanksgiving shopping alone. Really, you ask, you spent your “me” time going grocery shopping and picking out turkey breasts? Yes, yes I did. And it was glorious. No screaming infant, no indecisiveness with H. Just me!

I need to do this more than once a year.

Thanksgiving 2011

The night before Thanksgiving, I decided to give “Weeds” a second chance. I had thrown in the towel last year mid-season, declaring that the wayward series had jumped the shark. In fact, I was worried that it had taken a turn for the worse after Agrestic burned down however many seasons ago.

It might seem weird to compare Thanksgiving with “Weeds,” but I totally can. We used to spend the holiday surrounded by tons of family when we lived in the Midwest. Hours of talking and catching up and eating too much food. How could it get any better than that? After we moved to the East Coast I spent every Thanksgiving working. It was such a letdown.

But just when I thought the holiday had jumped the shark, we moved to California and started celebrating with a core group of friends. Suddenly, the holiday had meaning again. It was cozy, intimate and fun. But our friends were gone this year. Wah-wah.

I was feeling a little down about making my first holiday feast, one that only H and I would eat. But then I looked at Alexa. And I decided to make this holiday special for my baby. Create new family traditions. Make a comeback.




H and I toiled in the kitchen to prepare our side dishes from scratch while the turkey breast roasted. I made a chocolate pie that unfortunately would fall to the floor before much of it made it to our tummies. Alexa played with boxes and practiced her crawling to the sounds of our cooking and laughter, with the parade on in the background.

When it was time to eat, I stepped back and looked at our table. There were only three of us, but I was overcome with joy. We made this together! This was Alexa’s first Thanksgiving, and her parents provided!

We toasted to the past year while Alexa played with her food. H devoured three servings of turkey. We polished off a bottle of wine. Our dinner soundtrack was hits from the 1980s. Then we lounged on the couch and watched movies.






Thanksgiving hadn’t jumped the shark. Not at all. Everyone always says, “Things are different with a baby.” They are. They’re better. Everything suddenly seems shiny and new. The gleam in a baby’s eyes can repolish holidays that have lost their luster.

It’s like skipping ahead three years and moving the action to New York. “Weeds” is good again this season. I’m glad I didn’t give up on it just like I’m glad I didn’t give up on Thanksgiving. It’s never too late for a comeback.

True Colors

Ten more things you may not (want to) know about me …

(51) I hate my flabby upper arms. They only see the light of day when I’m at the beach or the pool, and that’s only because my love for swimming trumps my hatred for my arms.

(52) One of my biggest pet peeves is improper signage. I hate seeing mispellings in billboards, and worst yet, I hate when businesses replace “C” with “K.” Examples: Kountry Kuts, Kum & Go. I’m cringing (or should I say “kringing”) inside.

(53) Jordan Knight’s face used to grace all the walls in my pre-teen bedroom.

(54) I have named all of my cars.

(55) Scoobie, 1995-1996: cherry red Geo Metro. My 16th birthday present. Met an untimely demise in a fender bender with a rather large truck. Yes, fender bender. It was a small car, y’know.

(56) Old Blue: 1996-1997: baby blue 1980 Ford F-150. This was my reaction to being in scary car wrecks. A big truck with an 8-track player. The fuel gage didn’t work well. I once had to hoof it to the gas station and carry back a bucket of gas.

(57) John: 1997-2000: silver Buick Century named after my favorite Beatle. Lots of good memories of John. He carried us to L.A. on our honeymoon.

(58) Stallion: 2000-2007: black 1996 Pontiac Sunfire. Wow, H and I shared Stallion for a long time, and he took us a lot of places. We towed him behind our moving van to Myrtle Beach AND to Los Angeles several years later. He was a good car.

(59) John Jr.: 2006-2011: lime green 2003 VW New Beetle again named after my favorite Beatle. This was my dream car. We had a lot of fun together. Several trips to Vegas, a drive up to Big Sur. Lots of tight U-turns. We had to part ways when it became too difficult to get Alexa into the two-door hatchback.

(60) Neo: 2011-??: gold 2003 Toyota Highlander. We named him Neo aka “The One” this weekend. Because he’s a Highlander. Get it? Hahahahaha. Our first family car … with room to grow.

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This is the sixth in a series of confessionals. Mad props to Deanna for the inspiration.

Steppin’ Out





What I’m wearing:
Dress: Old Navy
Cami: Old Navy
Vest: Deletta via Anthropologie
Leggings: Old Navy
Sandals: Payless
Necklace: I have no clue

What Alexa’s wearing:
Hooded dress: Hanna Andersson
Leggings: Baby Legs

This is what we wore today for a day of beach and park hopping, with some errands mixed in for good measure — including catsitting for our friends and picking up a few things from Target. Not sure what Alexa’s favorite part of the day was; it’s a toss-up between playing on the grassy knoll overlooking the ocean and petting our friends’ kitties.

I know exactly where I got everything I’m wearing … except for my necklace. For some reason I can’t place it. I’m not sure whether it was a gift. Whether I bought it. Where it came from.  It’s a mystery. Anyone have any ideas?

The miracle of Alexa’s outfit is that her pigtails stayed in her hair all day! From the car seat to the ocean.  It was amazing.

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Baby Talk

thirty-nine weeks to forty-two weeks old

Dear Baby Girl,

Thirty-nine weeks Forty-two weeks old. What happened? Well, your mama has been falling behind for some time now. I just did the math and figured out that somehow, someway we lost nearly a month’s worth of weekly updates. It was bound to happen, I suppose. We’re always so busy, and you are keeping us on our toes.

Any day now. That’s what I say every day about your emerging crawling. Any day now you’re going to zoom forward and never look back. That will be the day we baby-proof in earnest. You’re already scooting over to the TV console and yanking out all the electronics. Cords, remote controls and cellphones are your trifecta of fun. Your absolute most favorite things in the world.

Speaking of cellphones, you are starting to figure out that they’re for talking. You grab the phone when we call your Daddy, and sometimes you wave at it. Today Daddy told me that as soon as you heard my voice on the other end, once-silent you started to talk like no tomorrow. I must bring out the jabberbox in you.

You went through a growth spurt a few weeks ago, and now none of your sleepers fit.

You’re getting over this awful cold you caught last week. Mama and Daddy are impressed with how well you handle being sick. A bonafide champ. You don’t let it get you down. Your spirits are still up, even if your nose is stuffy and you are extra tired. The only thing that bothers you is the nasal aspirator, aka snot bulb. You hate it.

Last Friday while you were feeling under the weather you fell asleep hugging my chest like you used to do when you were a newborn. My heart nearly exploded with love.

Xoxo,
Mommy

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A Year of Pixels #3

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I thought I’d take a look back at my third year writing on Little Gray Pixel and share with you some of my favorite posts. I hope you enjoy taking a little trip down memory lane, or, if you’re new here, getting to know me a little better. C’mon, what are you waiting for?

Cupcake Heaven
We celebrated Alexa — from her baby shower to her completed nursery to her birth story.

Me and Alexa
I became a mother. In doing so, I gained a new perspective on mommy wardrobe. I realized how I was turning into my mother. I realized more than ever how much I missed my mother. And photographic evidence convinced me that Alexa looks a lot like me when I was a baby.


I rounded up some Christmas confections that are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. I came up with a delightful summer salad. And, hello! I made some amazing s’mores cookies.

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When it comes to pretty things, I spied a lot. A selected few: Amethyst jewelry. Arrows. Gold things. Triangle earrings. I found even more fashion inspired by movies I watched, including The Saint. Also, an evolving look at my concert attire over the years.


I started to “step out” with my family every Saturday to illustrate what we were wearing. My favorites include the time Alexa rocked out and the time she wore stripes.


Crossed a few things off my birthday list, but flying a kite on the Hill was my absolute favorite. Runner-up: taking Alexa swimming for the first time.


We had our ice cream days, went nuts swinging at the park, enjoyed Labor Day weekend in Long Beach, scored some gourds at the pumpkin patch, enjoyed foggy walks at the pier. We took every excuse we could to get outside and show Alexa the world.


I wrote a letter to H on our 13th anniversary. I learned how to stop being afraid and take more self-portraits. I talked about songs that reminded me of my childhood and my freshman year of high school. We reminisced about our 2007 trip to Big Sur. I reflected on what has changed in the past 10 years. I bit off a big chunk of dystopian fiction. Annnd. I thrifted a time or two.

Fashion Rewind: Hair

Hippie Inspired Fashion • Hair (1979 film) • Little Gold Pixel
Hippie Inspired Fashion • Hair (1979 film) • Little Gold Pixel
Hippie Inspired Fashion • Hair (1979 film) • Little Gold Pixel
Hippie Inspired Fashion • Hair (1979 film) • Little Gold Pixel
Hippie Inspired Fashion • Hair (1979 film) • Little Gold Pixel

When the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars … you will dress like a hippie from “Hair.”

This 1979 movie is one of my all-time favorites, but I’ll be damned if I can really discern a lucid storyline. It’s a drugged-out journey of young people who are tuning in, dropping out. Or being drafted into the Vietnam War. They refuse to cut their hair. They get arrested for party crashing. They ride horses. All along the way there are amazing songs. And really, that’s all you need to know.

Alexa and I watched this last week during our sick day. She was transfixed with the “Age of Aquarius” intro, and she seemed to recognize “Good Morning Starshine.”

Interesting because (a) we are both Aquarius and (b) I’ve been singing her “Good Morning Starshine” since she was still in the womb.

Hippie Inspired Fashion • Hair (1979 film) • Little Gold Pixel

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Hippie Inspired Fashion • Hair (1979 film) • Little Gold Pixel

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Hippie Inspired Fashion • Hair (1979 film) • Little Gold Pixel

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True Colors

Ten more things you may not (want to) know about me …
Eye of the Tiger

(41) I have freckles. When I spend a lot of time in the sun I turn into one big freckle. They aren’t as noticeable in the wintertime.

(42) Fire ants nearly ate me alive one summer when I lost my footing on some gravel. It was their territory, and they were pissed. My grandpa came to my rescue with a hose. This was during a family reunion at a lake in East Texas.

(43) Other things I liked to do at these humid, sweltering East Texas reunions: hang out at the bait shop/convenience store because it had air conditioning and Big Red soda; anchor my lounger to the buoys and float around just outside the “safe swimming zone”; practice sweet dance moves with my cousins; sleep on cots outside and look at the stars; gather lawn chairs in a circle at the campsite and “visit” with family at dusk and dawn.

(44) Typing out No. 43 made me super nostalgic for these family reunions. The last time I went to one was the summer before my senior year in high school.

(45) I am an orange belt in karate.

(46) In junior high I was on the volleyball team. I practiced bumping the ball so much and with such intensity I had bruises up and down my forearms. They were so dark my health teacher pulled me aside one day and asked if I was having problems at home.

(47) My favorite part about volleyball was diving after the ball. I loved my kneepads. I also liked to slide into home plate when I played softball. So maybe I just like a good excuse to fall on purpose. (See Nos. 18, 19 and 20)

(48) I once made my parents an anniversary dinner of scrambled eggs with a side of cottage cheese. I served this masterpiece on our best china.

(49) The Italian aria I sang for contest my senior year of high school — I still have it memorized. And sometimes I sing it in the shower.

(50) I used to care so much about being the best. If I could go back and tell my 16-year-old self one thing, it would be that in the real world being the best does not mean more promotions/money/kudos/power/etc. So relax. Also: Just say no to credit cards.

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This is the fifth in a series of confessionals. Mad props to Deanna for starting the link-up.