Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Soft Custard

Thatboy loves pudding.  Personally, I think it's a weird thing to love, although I should be more specific.  Thatboy loves homemade pudding.  He doesn't havea  thing for jello pudding, instant pudding, or those little snack packs you can buy ready to eat.  Really his love comes out every time we see a pudding on dessert menu when we eat out.  Despite this small obsession, I have never attempted to make pudding at home.  Like I said, it's an eat out kind of thing- he's never requested it.  But I decided to try my hand at my own version.  Although butterscotch is his favorite, I figured I would start with something easy - a custard.  I've made custard before - as a filling for cakes or pies.  This went over well, which was no big surprise.  It's a baby step to pudding and a surefire way to your loved-one's heart.

3 eggs
6 Tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups hot milk
1 tsp vanilla

  1. Whisk eggs, sugar, and salt in a pan.
  2. Slowly add the hot milk, stirring constantly.  Cook over medium heat, about 8 minutes, until custard thickens enough to coat a spoon.
  3. Stir in the vanilla and strain into a bowl.  Cover and refrigerate.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cucumber Salad

We're very into cucumbers lately.  It's one of those vegetables that Thatbaby can't get enough of, and Thatboy and I enjoy equally.  Cucumber seems flavorless, but there's something about their cool, fresh taste.  I think of them as a very summery vegetable.  Like the veggie version of watermelon.  I add a little tang to them for the spring - the vinegar gives them a bit of a kick.

The fun thing about this cucumber salad in particular is Thatbaby helped make it.  If by "helped" I mean he stood beside me while I sliced cucumbers and onions, picking them up and eating them before they made it into the bowl.  Yes, even the onions.  Apparently he likes a little bit of a kick too.

Cucumber Salad
2 cucumbers, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp olive oil
  1. Combine cucumbers and onions in a medium bowl.
  2. In a separate, small bowl, combine vinegar, salt and pepper, garlic, sugar, and olive oil.
  3. Pour the vinegar mixture over the cucumbers and onions and toss to mix.  Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Mommy Mondays: Fun in the Sun

In most parts of the country, the weather is warming up.  Summer is coming and we're all going to be spending more time outside.  So here are some of my favorite spend all day outside tips:

The most important thing for any age - infants, toddlers, kids, teens, and adults, is physical protection from the sun.  But this was especially important for me when Thatbaby was....a baby.  The first 6 months is supposed to be sunscreen free, so we relied solely on these protections so he didn't get sunburnt.

 Hats - still one of my favorite forms of sun protection.  A big hat works wonders at keeping the sun off your head, neck and ears.  Plus, who likes having a burnt hair-part?  I know it can be hard to keep a hat on your kid, so find a style he/she likes.  Baseball caps, floppy hats, bonnets, hats that tie, hats you staple on....

Sunglasses - This is probably more a "me" thing than anything else.  My eyes are hypersensitive to light.  My long-time optometrist told me I should never go out without sunglasses.  So I probably take this more seriously than others.  Right now Thatbaby is a fan of sunglasses, but when he was younger we got the ones with a strap to hold them on his face.

Sunblock- I should have started with this one, right?  SOOOO Important.  Thatboy has skin cancer is his family, I don't in mine, but I'm fair skinned and burn easily, so we are very good about applying sunscreen.  Here's a little info about sunblock:

Sunscreen v. Sunblock:  Sunscreen is a chemical blocker that reflects the sun's rays.  But the chemicals are not great for you, me, and especially our children.  Sunblock is a physical sunblocker - like wearing clothing.  You want sunblock, not sunscreen.

So how do you tell?   Look at the active ingredients.  If it has Avobenzont, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene  and/or Oxybenzone, it's sunscreen.  Sunblock active ingredients are Titanium Dioxide and/or Zinc Oxide.

What are some examples of good sunblocks?  We used Neutrogena for a long time.  Their "Sensitive Skin" and "Pure and Free" formulas are both sunblocks.  Right now we're fans of Blue Lizard.  It's Australian, and if anyone knows about sun protection, it's the Aussies.

If you're spending any time at the beach, here are some further favorites:

Rashguards - I'm not going to lie, I'm not a fan of babies in bikinis.  I don't think they're inappropriate or sexual, I just think that they need more sun protection!  I would put Thatbaby in swim-pants instead of shorts if I could!  For at least the first year he was in long-sleeved rash guards to cover as much of him as possible.  Now we keep him in short-sleeved rash guards.

Swim Diaper - We're big fans of the reusable kind.  But we spend a lot of time in the water - pools and beaches.  The reuseable ones get a lot of use, and we don't have to pull them off as soon as he gets out of the water. They hold in poop (we've experienced that, although always at home after the pool trip.)

Tents - a must have in my book.  Thatboy loves the beach.  I knew we'd spend a lot of time there, so I told him we needed a tent if he wanted Thatbaby and I to join him.  This way we can spend long periods at the beach and out of the sun. It's also a place where we can sit off the sand - which is key for eating! We got ours at Costco.  It's 3-sided, with screen windows that can be zipped open or closed.  And most importantly, it's fairly easy to set up and tear down.

Cornstarch - speaking of sand, this is my secret magic trick for dealing with sand.  Get a tub of cornstarch you can just keep in your beach bag.  When you want to remove sand, rub some on your hands and then the area you're trying to de-sand.  It comes right off!!  And because it's cornstarch, you don't have to worry about it getting on your hands, your child's hands, or in your child's mouth (because we use it a lot on the face.)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sunday Runday: The Neon Run

My last fun run!  Or walk, really.  Because any races that involve Thatbaby are really walks, not runs.  You may remember Thatboy and my complete and utter disappointment in the Electric Run.  So you may wonder why I would sign up for another, similar run.  3 reasons my friends:
1) During the Electric Run, I thought it would be a fun idea to combine the Electric Run (glow in the dark, night run) with the Color Run (throwing colorful powder on you).  The Neon Run does exactly that.

2) The Neon Run was being held at Qualcomm Stadium, the same location as The Color Run.  Which I thought, logistically, went really well.  Easy to get in and out!  

3) Thatboy, an ex-raver, loves stuff like this.

So a couple of weeks ago, we left Little Pirate's birthday, donned our best neon clothes and glow accessories, and headed to the event.

Check out the skirt I made at my running club party! I made it especially for this race!  Thatbaby took control of a majority of the glowsticks, tucking them under his blanket to keep safe.

Like the Color Run, they handed out packets of neon colors.  Taking a hint from Kim (along with the idea of covering our stroller in garbage bags and using goggles) we decided to have our own little color tossing instead of joining in the post race giant mosh pit.  We decided to do it before the race, so he could enjoy it in the light. 

And boy did he enjoy it.  He loved getting the packet thrown on him, and throwing it on Thatboy.  And seriously, thank goodness for those goggles!

Before too long, it started to get dark, which meant it was almost show time!

But not before getting a blacklight family photo!

We got in line - before our actual wave time, but we figured with the line and a tiring child, we should get in line sooner than later. 

Eventually we got to the front, and we were off!

Thatbaby was such a trooper.  Until we got to the blacklit tunnel.  The crowd came to a dead spot....AND Thatbaby conked out.  Fell asleep.  In the middle of the race.  With music blaring, crowds, and glow everywhere.  It was 8:30pm.

Thatboy and I enjoyed the rest of the race as an almost "date night" - sleeping baby, just the two of us walking and talking.  Enjoying the music and lights.

We stopped for an "after" family picture in the black light, and you can see what has become of our littlest racer.

In review, we liked this race much more than the Electric Run and it was a truly enjoyable evening for all of us.  However, all that being said, I have come to realize I'm really not into these kind of races.  The crowds, the prices, and the lack of Everytime I sign up for one I get so excited, only to show up and question why I'm there.  Thatboy on the other hand - these are the only kind of races for him!  So we'll have to see what participation in the future looks like.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Lemon Tarts

Have you guys been missing my pie posts?  They were all over the place for a while, and then...poof!  Nothing.

Now that Passover's over, I can share some more pie-love with you.  Like lemon tarts.

There's really something about lemon in the spring, isn't there?  The bright color yellow, the sour zing, it's like spring personified.  Or fruitified?  And lemon desserts are a great way to ring in the season.  Fabulous for springtime tea parties or brunches.

Lemon Tarts
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
  1 stick + 6 Tbsp butter
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups sugar
grated rind of 2 lemons
juice of 3 lemons
6 eggs
  1. Mix the flour and 1/4 tsp salt in a bowl.
  2. Cut 6 Tbsp butter with your fingers until it forms pea-sized balls.
  3. Whisk the egg yolk and 2 Tbsp water and add to the flour mixture, mixing until it forms a smooth ball.  Wrap in foil and refrigerate 20 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375.  Press the dough into 6 small tart pans and prick with a fork.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Cool and remove from tins.
  5. Mix the remaining butter, sugar, lemon rind, lemon juice, and eggs in a pan and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until thick.
  6. Cool in the refrigerator.  Fill the tart shells with the lemon filling and top with fresh whipped cream.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Chicken and Hominy Stew

You guys, Passover is finally over!  And once again I made it through unscathed.  Despite spending it with my inlaws who, despite 14 years of me reminding them that Passover is ALWAYS on Easter (Last Supper = Passover Seder and all), still refuse to bend or make any accommodations for us.   This year, to add insult to the injury, TMIL decided that our matzah would make a great snack for her, leaving me in the uncomfortable position of having to choose whether Thatbaby or I would get to have lunch our last day there.

Now that it's all over, we're back to our typical ways.  Which means we've already enjoyed our pizza night celebration.  This is a recipe I really wanted to make for a couple of weeks, but hominy isn't exactly Passover-friendly.  And I certainly could have made it without the hominy, but it wouldn't have been the same.

I'm such a fan of hominy - it has that fabulous corny flavor you love in corn and grits, but has some heft to it, like wheatberries or beans.  It makes everything seem fuller, heartier, and more filling.

This stew does have a bit of a kick to it, because of the chipotle, but you can moderate that as your family sees fit, adding more, less, or none at all.  Unlike the hominy, it's not a necessity, I just like a little spice in my stews.

Chicken and Hominy Stew

 1 Tbsp olive oil
1 chipotle chile in adobo, chopped
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 tsp cumin
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken broth
1 sprig oregano
1 sprig thyme
2 chicken breasts
2 red potatoes, chopped
1 can hominy, drained
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the chipotle, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and salt and pepper.  Cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the chicken, oregano, and thyme and reduce heat.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.
  4. Remove chicken from pot.  Place the rest of the mixture in blender and blend until smooth.
  5. Pour back into the pot and add the potatoes and hominy.  Bring back to a boil, then  lower to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
  6. Shred the chicken and return to the pot.and stir in the heavy cream too. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes.  
  7. Add the heavy cream and cook for another 5 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat.  Stir in the tomatoes, salt, and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Little Pirate's Birthday Party

Our last "birthday party of the week"  was for Little Pirate, who turned 3!  These kids are getting ridiculously old.  Little Pirate loves cars.  He has the largest car collection of any child I've ever seen.  So naturally his birthday party was cars themed.

There was a pinata, which was Thatbaby's first experience with a pinata.   He was reluctant to take his turn at first.  Because of all the people watching.   He was also reluctant to take part in all the candy gathering, because I am quickly discovering I have a very picky kid.  He only wanted lollypops.  So while other kids ended up with full bags of candy, my child was happy with his 2 lollypops.

of course, it probably didn't hurt that he also had cupcakes to look forward to.

I don't think I'll ever get tired of these colored cupcake faces.

Happy Birthday Little Pirate!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mommy Tuesday: Babywearing at 2 - Toddlerwearing

I was at a birthday party a couple of weeks ago with Superwoman.  She was wearing Superbaby in an Ergo and was trying to slide him over to her side.  She looked over at me and said "You wouldn't happen to know how to do a side carry?  Would you?"  A side carry?  Of course!

After I showed her how to do it, and how to unbuckle and rebuckle for later on, she mentioned she thought I might know because I wore Thatbaby so often when he was little.  But really, even though he's two, I still wear him!

1. Why?
Thatbaby is 2 years old.  He's hardly a baby anymore.  Shouldn't he be walking?  And in truth, he does walk, but he also asks to be held in situations where he's uncomfortable or when his little legs get tired. And now that he's over 30 lbs, it's hard on my to carry him in arm.  A lot of people use strollers in these situations, and I'm not anti-stroller by any means, but a carrier is much less bulky and easier to throw in my bag than a stroller.  Plus a carrier is still much easier in situations involving stairs or crowds.

2. When?
We don't use the carrier nearly as often as we once did, mostly because of the walking thing.  So the situations it comes out are those where I need 3 hands.  Like when Thatboy's out of town and I need to take Thatdog on a long walk.  Since you can't leave a 2 year old alone, and Thatbaby gets tired of walking, the carrier comes out when he doesn't want to walk any more, so I can walk Thatdog and pick up after him.  Or when we go to the beach and I need to carry a beach bag and a tent and Thatbaby.  Or when I'm bringing groceries across a parking lot and up 3 flights of stairs.

3. What?
We stick to mostly the Ergo or the Babyhawk.  I prefer the Babyhawk still, because it packs up much smaller to throw in my bag.  But the Ergo is nice because it has a little more padding - which I appreciate when carrying a toddler.  I know they make more toddler-specific carriers, and maybe one day I'll try one of those.

4. How?
Thatbaby still prefers chest-to-chest, or a front carry, although I usually try to get up on my back first.  It gives him a better view of the world.  If he's just tired, he'll usually be okay with being on my back, but if he's feeling shy and wants to be held for that reason, he'll request a front carry.

5. How much longer?
???????  I honestly don't know the answer to this.  Right now it's very easy to do, the pros outweigh any cons, and I don't have any back pain or problems.  If either of us start getting uncomfortable, I'll probably look into the toddler carriers.  When he doesn't want to be carried anymore, or when he is more trustworthy with walking nearby, we'll probably stop with the toddler-wearing. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

It's An Online Bake Sale!

Your Mommy Mondays are being postponed until tomorrow because today I have something far more important to share - cookies.

I know, I know - cookies and Passover don't really go together.  And that's part of the reason I have no picture to share with you - but let me back up a step.

A couple of weeks ago, Joanne contacted me and a couple other bloggers to see if we would be interested in helping her out with a project - an online bake sale.

Joanne is currently in training for the Nike Women's Half Marathon in Washington D.C..  This isn't Joanne's first half-marathon.  She's a seasoned runner.  And many of her races raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Joanne is currently training with Team and Training and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  And she's raising money to fund patient care and cancer research. 

So I'm helping out by donating cookies for her bake sale.  A dozen to be exact.  A dozen chocolate gobs to be even more exact.  And in preparation for her bakesale, I did a test run last weekend, before Passover started.  It was a test run, to give me a picture to give to Joanne, and so I could see where the recipe needed tweaking.

It started out well.  Thatbaby and Thatboy were out skateboarding, and we had about an hour before we had to head to yet another birthday party.  (I know, you're shocked)  I cracked eggs, melted chocolate and butter, and reached into the pantry to grab my instant coffee.  No instant coffee.  No problem, Thatboy was about to run over to the bank, which is right beside the supermarket.  So he offered to pick it up for me.  Thatbaby and I signed birthday cards and hung out...for a long time.  After 40 minutes I realized we needed to get going for this party, and Thatboy still wasn't home!  I certainly wasn't going to have time to make the cookies.  So the wet ingredients went into the fridge, shoes, went on the feet, and we were halfway out the door by the time Thatboy got home.  That was 3pm.  We went to the party, then a race, and got home around 11pm.  When I proceeded to make the cookies - because I didn't think the wet ingredients would be good much longer. 

Turns out, you probably shouldn't let the ingredients sit for hours, because instead of forming nice, gobby cookies, they spread out into flat discs.  Not very pretty.  And I didn't have time to make them again before Passover hit.  I was going to scrap the whole idea, until Thatboy tried one.  "These are really good" he said.  And we decided that even though I didn't get a good picture, I should still offer to make these chocolately cookies, loaded with chocolate chunks, pecans, and walnuts. 

So what can you do? 

1) Go check out Joanne's bake sale and bid on my chocolate gobs! 

2) Go check out Joanne's bake sale and bid on some other delicious goodies.  (I mean obviously, I put my cookies first, but really the other items look pretty darn delectable)

3) Just donate to Joanne's cause.

The bake sale starts today and goes till April 23 at midnight, so act now!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday Runday: Adventure Run Recap

This is the third race in the "untimed for fun runs" I did during the month of April.  Put on my RoadRunner Sports, the Adventure run is held the second Thursday of every month, and has quite the turnout.

There are lots of vendors present who are handing out free samples, coupons, and most importantly, tickets.  Because the Adventure Run is all about the tickets.  It's a scavenger hunt style race, where you race between stations to get raffle tickets.  At the end of the run, everyone meets up and they raffle off drinks, clothes, shoes, race entries, and all sorts of other goodies.

I met up with some of my running group buddies.  Which was good, because I had no clue what I was doing since it was my first time.  One of my friends, on the other hand, was a seasoned pro.  In an effort to win some more tickets, she entered a contest to consume 5 running gels the fastest.

Aaaaaaand she won.  So I will now be referring to this friend as Gel.

Gel and I planned to run together, since we had a similar pace and she knew where to go.  Which was helpful because we weren't actually given a route or a map.  Instead, they flashed this thing up on the screen and expected us to memorize the locations of all the stations.

Gel and I decided to run to the farthest location first, and work our way back towards the store.  The farthest location?  A brewery.  Some people decided to just stay there for a drink.  We headed out to get more tickets.

As we stopped at stations we were encouraged to do pushups, burpees, and jumping jacks to earn extra tickets.  And we did them.  In the hour we had to do the race, Gel and I ran about 4.5 miles.  And we amassed a bit of tickets.  Gel had way more than I did, but I had a nice little stash.

 Despite our hard work and tickets, we didn't win anything during the raffles.  Unless you count the protein bars that they threw out to the crowd. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Passover Crabcakes

We have been so busy this past week, that the Passover sting hasn't really affected me.  No crazy cravings for doughnuts or pretzels.  Meals in general have been a bit of a rush about, going from one seder to another, or throwing together some easy weeknight options.

Thatbaby is off from preschool this week for Spring Break.  Which wrecks havoc on Thatboy and my schedule.  He took the first part of the week, I took the second, and Thatmom is on toddler-duty until he's back to school next Wednesday.

The first half of the week, I do admit lunches were pretty boring - I packed myself grilled chicken and broccoli.  But when I was home, I had the use of a stove and microwave, so things were pretty good.  As for dinners, being home with Thatbaby gave me time to be pretty inventive.  Alright, so not so inventive.  Really just Passover reinventions of normal, typical food.  Like crabcakes and hush puppies.
Both are easy enough substitutions to Passover.  The best crabcakes are light on breadcrumbs anyway, and matzoah meal is a pretty good substitute.  Hushpuppies are a little more difficult, since the main ingredient is cornmeal.  I used a sweet potato base instead, mixed with matzoh meal, green onions, and eggs.  I think these have a little way to go.  I used my food processor to shred the sweet potato, but I think it needs to be a bit finer consistency, like pureed or grated.  We definitely liked the taste of the hush puppies, just not the consistency.

Passover Crabcakes
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup crab
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup matzoh meal
  • canola oil
  1. Combine mayo, eggs, green onions, Old Bay, and Worcestershire sauce.
  2. Stir in the crab, green onions, and matzoh meal.  Form into patties (This made 8 for me)
  3. Heat 1 inch of canola oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Cook each patty 1-2 minutes per side, until browned.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pollo Asada Fries

"You should blog about this" Thatboy told me as we tucked into dinner last night.  "Anytime anyone complains about Passover cooking, you just point them right to this meal."  

To say last night's dinner was a hit would be an understatement.   Originally, I was going to just make "cheesy taco chicken" - chicken breasts cooked with taco seasoning and cheese baked on top.  I wasn't sure exactly what to do about sides, trying to choose between green (salad) and starch (mashed potatoes).  Neither seemed to fit.  Then I was struck with a brilliant idea - french fries!

For those of you not from Southern California region, the idea of tacos and french fries might seem to be a strange combination.  But "papas" make a frequent appearance in San Diego Mexican cuisine.  Breakfast burritos contain french fries, as do "California Burritos" which feature them alongside carne asada and guacamole.  And of course there are the "if you're in San Diego, you must try" carne asada fries - which are basically nachoes with french fries instead of chips, topped with hot carne asada, cheese, guacamole, and salsa.

This is my take on those - since chips aren't Passover friendly, and a chicken breast by itself is oh so sad and lonely.

Pollo Asada Fries

1 chicken breast
1 can rotel
1 package chicken taco seasonings
1/3 cup water
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
french fries
2 cups monterey jack cheese, shredded

  1. Place chicken breast, rotel, seasonings, water, and oil in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.
  2. Shred chicken and return to saucepan and cook for another 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350.  Spread french fries in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Cover with shredded chicken and tomato mixture.
  4. Top with shredded cheese and bake about 10 minutes, until cheese melts.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Skirts and Stuff

A couple weeks ago, a bunch of us in my running group got together to make our very own running skirts.  I'm not an experienced seamstress by any means, but I know the basic concepts, and I know my way around a sewing machine.  Just please don't ask me to change the stitch type, and apparently you're supposed to backstich (who knew?).

I made 2 different types of skirts at the get-together.  A tutu - which I knew how to make from The Color Run a couple years back (although Jurisslave made our tutus for that one), and an actual fabric running skirt.

Making the running skirt was relatively easy, but time consuming!  One of the ladies brought her skirt, and I used that for a template, spreading it out over my fabric, and then pinning and cutting one big circle. 

Step 2 was folding it into fourths and cutting a hole in the top.  Then cutting up the side so I could open it up into one strip of fabric and recut that top hole to fit around my waist.

Then lots and lots of pinning the bottom hem and the top elastic.  And sewing round and round.  Then all I had to do was sew the ends of the fabric together where they opened and form a seam.  I wore the skirt for The Neon Run this past weekend, and it was perfect!

It was easy enough that I'll probably make a couple more skirts for some other races I've got coming up this year.

As for the tutu, that just involved tying strips of tulle around a piece of elastic.   And I've already worn it twice!  Once for the tutu run my running group did, and once for the Adventure Run I also did this week.  Cripes, all that hard work last month really paid off this week!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Happy Passover Everyone!

On Friday I attended the Passover Concert for Thatbaby's school.  Despite being so excited about the concert, practicing his songs all week, and doing phenomenal (from what I heard) at the dress rehearsal the week before, when push came to shove, someone got a case of the stage frights.  He refused to sing or even stand with his class, only wanting to cry in my lap.

Next Year in Jerusalem!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mommy Mondays: Bedtimes

Are there things your parents made you do that you hated?  Yeah.  Parents are the worst.

But you know what is even worse?  When you grow up and realize that their rational for making you doing those hated things actually made sense.

For me, the rule I hated and couldn't understand was the 7:30 bedtime my parents imposed. So early!  I think it went up to 8pm when I was 13, and stayed there until the summer after my senior year of high school.  The early bedtime wasn't really for me and my brother's immediate benefit, it was more of a long term benefit - the early bedtime was so my parents could have some adult time.  Time without children and their infinite needs.  Which, they argued, made them better parents, and us a happier family.

Although it was something I hated as a child and young adult, I can respect the idea.  And it was something Thatboy and I knew we were going to institute with our own children.  And we have.  I know plenty of people who put their children to bed at the same time they go to sleep, but for us, Thatbaby goes to bed as early as we can get him to bed so Thatboy and I can have some time to reconnect after the day. 

When I first got pregnant, Thatboy and I discussed how we weren't going to let having a baby drive a wedge between our relationship.  And it's something we have to work on.  Because a child requires a lot of your attention.  And a child means there are much fewer date nights, or impromptu weekends away.  There's just less time for you as a couple, unless you make time.  It's important for us to eat dinner as a family, so the evenings after Thatbaby goes to bed are the times we make for each other.

So the goal is to get Thatbaby in bed around 7:30, although it's usually closer to 8pm.  And why I totally advocate getting your kid to bed as early as you can  (which is obviously going to be different for each child).

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Runday: Seaworld Pole to Pole 5k

2 weeks ago I happened to discover that there was a race through SeaWorld set for April 6.  It was a 5k that round through the park, before the park was even open.  For years I had been doing a similar race through the San Diego Zoo and it was my favorite race in San Diego.  Something about being in the park before opening hours was exciting and made for memorable experiences as most of the animals were more alert and awake in those early morning hours.  And there were animal encounters where they brought some of the animals out of their enclosures.  So I thought the "Pole to Pole 5k" would be a fun experience Thatbaby would really enjoy.  

The only problem was, I already had a playdate scheduled for the same day with Little Parrot and BA.  I shot out a quick email to the other moms to see if they wanted to change "playdate" into a "race at SeaWorld date."  They were both in.   When I told Thatbaby he was going to do a race with Little Parrot and BA, he was quick to add in "And Lexus."  Every.Time.  So another email to another mom and Lexus was ready to join the boys for a race. 

Seriously - look how happy my kid was to see his buddy.  Who he had seen 2 days earlier at school.

We managed to arrive in 2 groups, which was purely coincidence, but made it very easy to gather our little ragamuffin group together.  From the start, the kids were fascinated with the fish.

We got them all bundled up in their strollers, even the reluctant, non-stroller loving ones (peer pressure for the win!) and started the race.

We made our way through a very quiet park, stopping to check out some friendly characters, and many of the exibits.  We saw the whales, dolphins, rays, and flamingos.

The kids vacillated between contently riding in their strollers, and wanting to run run run.

And of course, all that running makes you thirsty, so they loved stopping for water breaks.  Thatbaby continued to ask for WATER BREAK or MILK BREAK for a couple days after the race.

I'm actually really proud of our little crew.  They ran much more than I was expecting them too, and didn't start getting antsy until around 2.5 miles.  When Thatbaby and BA kept planning escape routes and running off course, which resulted in them both getting imprisoned in the stroller.

I had spoken with one of the coordinators during packet pick-up about the race and she said that last year the last person crossed at 8:55, 1 hour and 25 minutes after the race started.  I told her that would probably be us.  AND IT WAS!  At 1 hour and 25 minutes our rag tag little band crossed the finish and received our medals.

The post-race festivities were fantastic.  Hot breakfast burritos, muffins, apples, bananas, coffee, vitamin water and regular water.  The kids went crazy for the fruit, and the adults were happy to munch on burritos with our coffee.

The race included free entry into the park for the day, so after breakfast they rounded us out of the backstage area so we could go in through the front gates.  The boys loved the new Explorer's Reef where they could stick their hands in to pet sharks or have little fishies kiss their fingers.

And the Sesame Street Zone was a big hit with kid-sized rides.

We explored some more of the park, but around noon all the kids were starting to wear out.  It had been a very busy morning for them!  We grabbed some lunch and headed out.  Thatbaby was asleep before we hit the freeway.  Overall I think this was a fantastic race.  Very well run and organized, and it was nice to be in an uncrowded park, taking your time, when you have a small child with you.  The kids had a fantastic time, and a free ticket to stay and play after was a nice addition.