Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Say YES!

Lately Ella and Lily's interactions have become more and more entertaining. Ella is learning that she has a certain power over her little sister. A power that proves very useful to her. Here is a sample of the conversations I overheard today.

Ella: Lily are you done playing with Teddy? Say yes.

Lily: Yes

Ella: Lily do you want to run with me? Say yes.

Lily: Yes

Ella: Lily can you give me that cookie? Say yes.

Lily: Yes

Basically, anything we tell Lily to say she says. Ella has seen the magic in this. A few times today I had to say something to Ella about her conversations with Lily. Ella simply turned to me and said, "But Mom Lily said yes", as she showed me the cookie that used to be Lily's. I proceeded to explain to her that Lily doesn't understand the meaning of YES yet. Ella looked at me confused by my explanation. I knew it hadn't sunk in and that I hadn't done a great job explaining.

Two minutes later I heard; "Lily, can I sit in that chair? Say yes."
Then I heard a tiny little "Yes" from my sweet Lily. Followed by a small thud and a cry. I walked into the playroom to see Lily sitting on the floor next to her chair, which was now occupied by Ella. I tried to explain to Ella that we can't trick Lily into saying the answer we want to hear. I know it fell on deaf ears. I mean how can she resist?

I wish Ella's "Say yes" method worked on grown-ups. How easy would that be? "Can I please have my bottle of wine for free? Say yes."


Wino Wednesday!
Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon

Ok, so I am not technically drinking this tonight. I am suffering big time from a head splitting cold. I did however buy a bottle to serve tomorrow for Thanksgiving. This is my perfect cheap go to safety wine. It is tasty and only $6.99/bottle! In New York we don't have 2 Buck Chuck. We do have Barefoot though and it is yummy.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wine, Cheese and Sleeping Babies

Wino Wednesday is here! I am cheating again this week. My budget wine, isn't as budget as I would like, but it is worth every penny. Tonight we are sharing a Vincent Arroyo Melange Reserve, 2009.

Vincent Arroyo is this amazing little boutique Vineyard in Calistoga California. We visited it back in 2004 with our closest friends. They were excited to share this special little place with us. I am surprised they did; it is the kind of place you want to keep all to yourself. We fell in love. You never forget the first time you get to taste wine straight out of the barrel, from a turkey baster. You feel like you are part of the birth of something.

So this past July we went back to Vincent Arroyo with those same friends. This time we had our two girls and they now have a little girl and another baby on the way. It felt like we were going back to visit an old friend. We saw Vincent, tasted their own personal stash of 1984 "nameless", we took picture after picture of the kids running around the vineyard and of course we ordered a case of futures to be shipped back to New York. This vineyard only sells directly to consumers so you have to get it while you can. Their wine isn't carried in any restaurants or stores and often sells out before it is even bottled.

So the case arrived, along with a shipment of cheese from Artisanal Premium Cheese in NYC (a Living Social Deal). The babies are asleep, the cheese is laid out and the Vincent is flowing freely. Wednesday is my favorite day of the week.

Monday, November 14, 2011

It Takes a Village

Elle had school today and like any typical Monday, while Elle is at school, I make my rounds of phone calls to my girlfriends. Checking in on my friends who have become my Long Island family is a Monday ritual. Not being from the area, it has been a blessing to have found true and amazing friends that I can count on. Whether it is a mundane Monday or a hectic Thursday, building this network has made my life as a mom a million times easier. These are safe, comforting, amazing women who at the drop of a hat I would leave my babies with and feel utterly relaxed. Thankfully they have made living away from my family somewhat bearable.

Three years ago when Ella was only 4 months old I attended a Gymboree Music and Play class. There, I met some women who were all going through the same things I was. We all had our first babies, 4 months old, sleepless nights, some juggling work, some juggling being a SAHM for the first time, all equally as devoted to their new babies as I was. I felt like I could breathe, I wasn't all alone on this Island! It started off small. Going over to the local coffee house, sharing stories of "cluster feeding", gassiness and the dreaded teething. A group of women experiencing the exact same things at the exact same time, it felt serendipitous.

It grew from coffee houses to our houses. Rotating every Friday hosting play-dates at homes and parks. Now, 3 years later and still going strong. We have evolved, adding children and adding friends, but never have we lost sight of this special bond. Our children have become cousins and it feels like we have become sisters. All of our connections are unique and often dependent on schedules. But it is so rare to find a group of people you can trust with your children. Never questioning their love and loyalty to your family.

My number one recommendation to new Moms, is to put yourself out there. Try to get out and meet Moms with babies the same age as yours. You will find that the things you have in common, can make those sleepless nights much easier to bear. You may even find that in those moments of bonding over war wounds, a different kind of friendship can form, one based solely on family, a new kind of family.

Mommy Mantra: Make your kids an incredible Part of your life, not your WHOLE life.

Tonight I made fried eggplant with angel-hair pasta and semi home-made tomato sauce. Half roasted tomatoes and garlic half store bought sauce - makes for a homemade feel in half the time. This is a favorite of the girls.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Conspiracy Against Parents: Take 2

What a long week it has been, and it is only Wednesday. I feel like reposting my post from last March, "Conspiracy Again Parents". Changing the clocks in the fall for daylight savings used to be the best thing ever, extra sleep - bonus. Now, instead of gaining that hour of sleep, you hold out hope that you will get it and it is ripped out from under you. My toddler was bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to party at 5:30am. The saying; "You are lucky you are cute", really hit home this week.

So now I am reworking the system, getting everything back in order. It is exhausting trying to time out a toddler's day. I am sure we will get back into the swing of things, just in time for a new torturous changing of clocks.

"Wino Wednesday" is on hold this week. Back to the Beer Baby! I was craving a nice Oktoberfest. I made it very girlified with a cinnamon and sugar rim. Perfect end to a long day. I promise I will get back to my wine next "Wino Wednesday".

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

When to step in?

Today I had to bite my tongue, hard. It took everything in my power, but I did it. A little girl on the playground was mean to my Ella. Saying not so nice things to her and being downright bratty. I noticed that the insults were rolling off of Ella's back, so I kept an ear and an eye on the little girl, but I stayed in the shadows.

I wanted to yell, "Hey you, knock it off!"
Then I reminded myself I was dealing with a 4 year old.

I saw a few moments when Ella would flinch a little and look off in the distance, contemplating her next move. I wanted so badly to run over scoop her up and leave, but I resisted. I have always been of the philosophy that I need to instill the right lessons so that when I am not there, she can handle herself. In kindergarten I won't be there to tell the kids to stop pushing on the playground. She is going to have to fend for herself. As scary as that is.

So on the way home from the playground, I waited a few minutes to see if she would bring it up. I wondered if it even affected her. Then she says it; "Katie said I am nuts and that Laura isn't my friend." I took a deep breath and went through my usual shpeal.

I told her that she was not nuts and that she can be friends with whomever she wants, she doesn't need anyone's permission. I told her to always be kind and sweet and the right kind of friends will come to her. I reminded her that if someone bothers her, she should just go play with something or someone else. I said this a few times, almost as if I was reminding myself.

I so badly want her to have the confidence to walk away from conflict and to find the right kind of people to surround herself with in life. In reality though, I know it is not always possible. Sometimes you have to be around people who aren't nice. You have to deal with bullies and mean girls. Hopefully though our talks and the way we live our life will help her see how to treat people. Most importantly though - how she should expect people to treat her.

I must admit, it would have felt good to yell at the brat on the playground today, it would have felt real good.

My Mommy Mantra: "Make your kids an incredible Part of your life, not your WHOLE life."

Wino Wednesday

Domaine Brunet Pinot Noir

This delicious buttery Pinot Noir is a staple in our house. It never disappoints. It is a family favorite of my mother-in-law. She has terrific taste in wine. So give it a try. The price ranges from $11/$16. Not too shabby.