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Wondercon 2015 and Family Geekery

by Leila on April 17, 2015

We love going to geek-cons like Wondercon (conventions of ultimate geekery) for different reasons. My husband loves the artwork, getting art signed and meeting the artists. We have an insane collection of geeky artwork that we keep adding to. The kids love the cosplay aspect of it and taking pics. I love sharing something that I love with my family and friends. It’s just a good time!

My now thirteen year old (when did THAT happen) is obsessed with anime. She wanted to create a “gender bender” cosplay – It’s where you take a character and switch it’s gender – of a male character called Soul Evans from the anime Soul Eater. Soul Evans is a dude who has a pretty easy to duplicate outfit. She gave it a girly twist and added her own style to it. She rocked it!

Soul Evans Gender Bender

Our seven year old son dressed up as Captain America the first day we went to Wondercon. He loves Captain America – so does my husband… he is converting our son into a Marvel fan. LONG LIVE BATMAN!

Anyway… he was adorable in his Captain America costume. They both had a great time taking pics with other cosplayers. We had a blast. It made them giddy when someone approached them asking to take a pic of them :) Our 7 year old son has become quite the diva over it.

 Wondercon 2015

It was a store bought costume that has seen a ton of use. It’s a smidgen too small for him, but he wanted to wear it one last time before we retired it. After a long first day of walking around, checking out booths, taking pics, seeing friends and family we were hanging out in the front of the Anaheim Convention Center when the most amazing cosplay I have ever seen stomped out and made a scene.

Apocalypse.

I was holding our 10 month old and I tossed her into her Daddy’s arms, grabbed my camera, took my son’s hand and ran off to try to get a pic.

Wondercon - Apocalypse vs Captain America

It made his day.

The second day my son dressed up like Jayne from Firefly. This may have been influenced by me. Maybe. Browncoats for life. Shiny :)

Wondercon 2015 Soul Eater and Jayne

Yes, that is an R2D2 stroller! My baby cousin is NOT ready to share that droid just yet but my daughter is ready to take it over.

Wondercon R2D2 Stroller

We try to raise our kids in an environment that allows them to figure out their own interests. Our kids are very different and all have different hobbies. We have VERY different opinions on who’s the best superhero. Our oldest decided that he isn’t into these types of cons like Wondercon and part of being a supportive parent is giving them the choice to choose. Even if his choice goes against his Father’s DNA! He is the introvert. Maybe he is just being a typical teen who is rebelling against what we like. Maybe we embarrass him. It’s possible… we are kind of crazy.

It won’t stop the rest of us from geeking out!

Supporting our kids in their different areas of geekery is something I hope more parents do.

Okay, sure it may seem strange to some that your teen or young adult “baby” wants to dress up like a character and parade around with others doing the same thing. But, where is the harm in that? I’m not gonna lie… while Wondercon is VERY family friendly there are a lot of cosplayers who wear basically nothing. I saw more asses hanging out at Wondercon than should be necessary. It was hilarious watching our boys notice the butts hanging out and watching them get uncomfortable.

I never claimed to be a perfect parent. I will laugh at my kids. It’s okay because they give it right back.

If a child, tween or teen likes sci-fi and fantasy books, collectibles from their favorite movies, playing roleplaying games or nerding out on some game that they play with their friends just let them be nerds.

You don’t have to love it or understand it… but, please don’t discourage it. It may be a phase. It may be a lifetime hobby.

Just let them be nerds…

because they may find the actual Tardis. Nothing about the Doctor or the Tardis is bad.

Wondercon - Tardis and Doctor Who

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Boysenberry Festival

Knotts Berry Farm’s Boysenberry Festival is back and you will not want to miss all the deliciousness.

When I was a kid I loved all things boysenberry. I always cherished my jars of boysenberry preserves that we picked up after a day of funsies at Knotts. By cherished I mean I was a greedy little gnome and hated to share. I seriously hid those jars and hoped no one would find them. Again… greedy little gnome.

I may have a jar stashed away in the back of my fridge right now. I realize I may have a problem.

The Boysenberry Festival is 16 days (March 28th – April 12th) of celebrating Knott’s boysenberry deliciousness roots in historic Ghost Town. It’s 16 days of yummy boysenberry noms, entertainment, wine tastings (Yup. Booze!) and family funsies everyone will enjoy.

Our favorite food to enjoy at Knotts Berry Farm is the BBQ. We have had the best allergy friendly experience and the staff always goes above and beyond to make sure my kids are enjoying their BBQ safely. During the Boysenberry Festival I’m going to cover everything in boysenberry bbq sauce. The ribs and BBQ chicken covered with boysenberry BBQ sauce makes me so hungry I may chew on my laptop a little.

Boysenberry Festival

There will also be fried cheese curds paired with a spicy boysenberry dipping sauce, fish and chips sandwich with boysenberry tartar sauce, Boysenberry ICEE Floats, Boysenberry Frappuccino and Latte (served at the new Gourmet Coffee Hut which proudly serves Starbucks drinks), and more charbroiled treats cooked on open-air barbeques throughout the streets of the festival.

Knott’s Berry Farm’s Boysenberry Festival is included with admission to Knott’s Berry Farm, additional cost for food tasting experiences. Knott’s has extended hours from 10am to 10pm during the Festival March 28 – April 12, 2015. Enjoy Knotts all year with their affordable passes.

Want to join in on the funsies? Enter below to win two tickets to visit Knotts Berry Farm during the Boysenberry Festival! The tickets must be used between March 28th and April 12th. Good luck, my ninjas!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimers and all the good stuff – Tickets are valid during the limited Boysenberry Festival event (March 28th through April 12th 2015) only. To enter the giveaway, please use the Rafflecopter widget. The winner will be notified via valid email address and will have 24 hours to respond before prize is forfeited. My family and I were invited to the Boysenberry Festival. All opinions are my own.

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Honest Newborn Tips

Parenting is a blissful process where everything runs seamlessly and we truly know everything about how life with kids is supposed to be. Right?! Not quite.

When we actually become parents we realize that we didn’t know as much as we thought we did during those naive kidless and clueless days.

Before our kids invade our existence we make a lot of assumptions. We ask for advice. We plan. We prepare. We research. We think we know everything. We don’t really realize before that bundle of joy comes home that we don’t really know what the crap to expect.

All we can do is survive those first sleepless and exhausting weeks while trying to make the most of it.

Parents are hard on themselves. Moms especially. There are a lot of things I’ve learned as a Mom that I wish I knew then. There are topics that no one likes to talk about or admit to. This is about some of those things.

Expectations are Bullshit

It doesn’t matter what Suzy WhatsHerName or Mrs WhoTheCrap experienced with their baby. Every baby is different. You are different. It’s not their life or lifestyle. What you experience with your baby is all about you and no one else matters.

Don’t compare yourself or your baby to anyone else. WHO CARES?! Why? Because if people are saying their days with their newborns were flawless, perfect and easy they are either A) Lying B) On some strong painkillers C) Forgetful or D) It does NOT matter.

Speaking of forgetful… do not expect to remember everything. No matter if you just pushed twins out of your birthing hole or you adopted a brand new human – life changes quickly. This is a time of forgetfulness. You will probably forget what you are doing often. You may forget what life was like before your baby. You are probably going to forget to shower… often. You will have moments where you forget what you should be doing or what you read in all those parenting books.

It’s okay. You will figure it out. Focus on the moment and do what feels best for you and yours.

If people offer to help then take them up on it. It’s okay to take help. It’s also okay to need it. It’s even more okay to ask for it.

Also? Screw the books. Those are vague guidelines. No one can know how to be a perfect parent from reading a damn book. If that really were the case every baby would come with a manual and parents wouldn’t spend so much time googling whatever the crap made you stumble upon these words.

Every baby is different. Every parent is different. Rinse. Repeat.

Newborns are Sleep Demons and Eat Away At Your Soul

Yes, you  won’t sleep much.

Just accept that. It’s rough.

No, no… see above where I said to not compare yourself.

A lot of people say they had these magical newborns who sleep a lot. Some people talk about how they had these amazing sleep techniques that got their newborn to sleep through the night. Simple fact is this – your newborn is going to sleep however it wants and you gotta roll with it. Just give up and accept that if your newbie human prefers to sleep on your chest it’s best you get that nap in sitting upright. Sleep survival is key. Sleep training comes later.

You are NOT failing if your baby is a sleep demon who only allows you two hours of sleepy bliss at a time.

Full disclosure – I have three biological children and all had different sleep habits as newborns. My oldest was the most horrible sleeper on the planet. I cursed my friends who said their babies slept through the night right away. I, jokingly, called all of them liars. My now seven month old started sleeping through the night right away. It happens. All you sleep deprived parents can freely hate me. It’s cool. I’ve been there. The first time Mom in me wants to kick my currently fully rested Mom me in the ass. I bring this up because there was nothing different that I did. My kids just popped out programmed with certain sleep cycles in the early days and I had to adjust accordingly.

When your kids are older these phases of frustration vanish and are replaced with new things that damage your calm. It gets better. It changes. Sometimes, it gets worse. You forget it was ever an issue and you keep moving forward. One thing I’ve learned from being a parent is that you just have to get through those hurdles and know it won’t always be rough. Laugh when you can… even if it’s that loopy, weird and sleep deprived laughter that makes you feel a little crazy.

Newborns Are Like Drunks Who Can’t Hang

Newborns puke unexpectedly.

They seem to be in a daze all the time.

They pass out at the oddest times, in the strangest positions and wake up for apparently no damn reason.

Sometimes they crap themselves and get it over EVERYTHING.

They can make things awkward and not even realize it.

Did I mention they puke unexpectedly??

You can’t expect much out of them until this phase passes.

I don’t remember what I expected as a first time Mom with my newbie human adorable… blob. Newborns just don’t do much. I affectionately call this the blob phase. It’s a great thing that our blobby babies don’t come out walking and talking because those first weeks everyone needs to rest and bond.

Your Newbie Human is Taking it Easy… YOU Need the SAME!

No matter if you had a vaginal birth, c-section or adopted your newbie baby those first weeks should be about rest, bonding and adjusting. Becoming a parent is emotionally, physically and mentally exhausting, but it is the most rewarding thing you will ever experience. Life isn’t always pure bliss and that is okay! Those first few weeks may be the hardest adjustment you have ever experienced… but, it does get easier.

Yes, everyone says to sleep when your baby does. Just do it. Everything else can wait. Sleep exhaustion sucks and it’s a real thing. Don’t push yourself because of some cleaning.

Be selfish. You need to tell yourself it’s okay to be selfish. If you don’t really want everyone coming over then don’t. Put your foot down or totally avoid them. Just know that your needs and desires in those first days are important. If you don’t want anyone coming over so you don’t have to worry about getting dressed, being upright or sharing your baby then you do not have to.

I know that is all easier said than done.

If Your Baby Came Out of You – Your Body Will Do Weird Shit

You will bleed for around four weeks as your body sheds lochia. It can be a lot. Some women bleed more and longer than others. Blood clots feel weird. You will not be able to use tampons. Invest in the biggest and most comfortable pads out there. A lot of women use Depends those first few weeks and they prevent a lot of leakage!

Yes, depends. You’re welcome.

Stitches suck no matter where they are or how many. Take damn good care of them.

I loved my squirt bottle, sits baths and tucks medicated pads for relief. Buy a lot of them! Laying witch hazel pads inside your pads is the most soothing thing that I learned after my third labor.

It’s probably going to hurt to pee if you evacuated your baby through your vagina. Pouring warm water over your lady parts helps soothe the pain. Unless you are awesomely lucky those first poops are going to hurt. You were probably prescribed stool softeners. Love and cherish them. Try to avoid eating things that back you up.

Stock up on ice packs, wrap them in a cloth, put them on your chair/bed and sit on them often for relief.

If you are breastfeeding your boobs will turn into giant, painful and rock hard milk torpedos when your milk comes in after birth. That’s how I felt. Engorgement is a weird feeling. It will pass.

Your nipples will hurt during the first few weeks of breastfeeding. I’m not going to get into all the details in this post… but, I can say from experience that if part of your nipple falls off because of breastfeeding that it eventually grows back.

If you are formula feeding people can be judgy. Ignore them. Whatever made you decide to bottle feed is YOUR choice.

If you are nursing don’t judge formula feeders. Focus on your own boobs, please.

Some women swell up like Violet from Willy Wonka after birth. My feet never swelled during pregnancy but, they did after my last labor. I retained water, looked like I had balloon feet and it was painful at times. It went away, thankfully.

During pregnancy your body went through a lot of changes. Don’t expect it to be the same. Embrace your motherly body changes. The first time I looked at my reflection after my oldest was born I thought, “Holy shit, I look like a kangaroo!” – flabby midsections and lack of elasticity is typical as are stretch marks. Embrace those tiger marks, mamas.

Your emotions may be all over the place. Hormones can be evil. If you feel off, it’s a good idea to educate yourself and be aware of postpartum depression. I refer everyone I know to the amazing site Postpartum Progress that is a plethora of information and support. A lot of the articles on Postpartum Progress are good for anyone to know to help get over the emotional transitions of becoming a parent.

If you are adoptive parents, Dad or “The Other Mother” then just know that knowledge is power. You are welcome for all the lovely descriptions and visuals.

Finding the Silver Lining

Newborns are exhausting.

It’s a life changing event.

It is often difficult… and more difficult than most want to talk about.

You have a free pass to be a lazy mess.

You have an excuse to nap often with the best smelling snuggle buddy.

Newborns smell amazing!

You can be a creepy baby stalker and stare at your newborn while he/she sleeps and see all of their strange expressions.

Or stare just because newborns are adorable.

Enjoy the adorable clothes.

Smile, talk and make will faces at your newborn. Soon… your newborn will reciprocate.

Find the people in your life who do not suck and share all the awesomeness you can. Vent when you need to.

Make yourself a priority as much as your baby.

But, no matter what road you took to become a parent just enjoy the shit out of it. Enjoy it in your way. Embrace the things you dig and not what other people say.

Welcome to parenthood. I hope you enjoy the shit out of it.

This isn’t medical advice or anything to replace a doctor’s word. If you are concerned about your well-being or your body ALWAYS seek a doctor’s help. These opinions are my opinions and the same thing I would tell any friend sitting in the same room as me.

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I’m not juggling my writing and timelines well at all. It’s pretty obvious but I feel it had to be said. I’m just going to blame the baby… 

A dear friend of mine, CharlaBlue, is a freaking amazing photographer. Do you remember my blog headshots where she transformed my usual tomboy self into … someone who doesn’t quite look like me? Well, her camera magic made that happen (and the wine I had helped).

We had a newborn photo session. Yes, newborn… let’s pretend I uploaded this six months ago! Honestly, this feels like it happened yesterday. I find myself already sad that the baby phase is zipping by so quickly.

I take a lot of pics of my kids… as you may have noticed on Instagram. But, there is something special about seeing your baby through someone else’s lense. I love what Charla captured.

 Charlablue Photography - Los Angeles Newborn Photography 6

Charlablue Photography - Los Angeles Newborn Photography 6

Charlablue Photography - Los Angeles Newborn Photography 6

Charlablue Photography - Los Angeles Newborn Photography 6

Charlablue Photography - Los Angeles Newborn Photography 6

If you live in the Los Angeles or Orange County area and are in search of an amazeballs photographer then check out her work. I love seeing her work pop up on my feeds. It’s gorgeous. She does everything from newborn photo session to graduation to family pics and everything in between.

You can check out the CharlaBlue Photography portfolio

Charla Blue is also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Thanks again, Charla… You are the best!

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Baby Rapunzel Costume

Yeah… she is pretty stinkin cute in her baby rapunzel costume, huh?!

The week of Halloween I decided to make a Rapunzel costume. Because, making a freaking costume last minute makes a ton of sense with an infant in tow.

Anyway, I usually make our costumes or at least part of them but, the kids had their costumes handled this year. Since the baby was born time seems to be flying by so I was going to stick with something simple for her.

My seven year old son wanted to sing the music from Tangled to the baby the weekend before Halloween…

Then it hit me… I said in my very excited yelling voice, “Oh my gosh wouldn’t she look so cute as a baby rapunzel?!?!?!”

And so it began.

I made the hat first by creating a beanie with a thick yellow yarn. Then I made up the rest adding chunks of yellow yarn and attaching it. As it came together I was shocked at how adorable it was.

Baby Rapunzel Costume

Sometimes I have crap ideas. Sometimes my ideas are alright. This one was freaking amazeballs. I had NO idea what I was doing. I took some pics and then continued on with this crazy little project.

Baby Rapunzel Costume

After the hat wig thingy was complete I put together the onesie and tutu for the baby rapunzel costume. Honestly, if I had more time then I would have made the actual outfit different. I just put it together with clothes and supplies I already had. I didn’t even sew it! I just hot glued it suffering only minor injuries, as usual.

Baby Rapunzel Costume

I’ve been asked a lot if I would sell baby rapunzel costume hats. Anything is possible and I’ve considered opening up my Etsy shop again. If you are interested then send me an email and we can discuss it. I like making stuff when I am binge watching something!

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This is the first holiday season that I have stressed what to get our kids. With a 7 year old son, two 12 year old girls, 15 year old son and our almost 5 month old daughter our gift buying is all over the place. I’m big on family time so gifts have always had a lot to do with bringing us all together. That is getting harder to do as each year ticks away, but we can always enjoy family funsies at an amusement park. It’s become part of our family holiday traditions to hit up Knotts Berry Farm when it is transformed into “Knotts Merry Farm” to see the decorations, enjoy the holiday cheer and enjoy the cooler weather.

Well, it should be cooler but Southern California still hasn’t realized it’s not summer anymore.

Anyway… we love Knotts and especially when it’s Knotts Merry Farm.

Santa and Snoopy

Knotts Berry Farm is a family favorite because it has a wide range of rides for the whole family. My thrillseeker kids love the giant roller coasters while my more mellow 15 year old stepson likes the middle of the road rides. We can also ride the train, run amok in Camp Snoopy, play games and grab some delicious grub as a family. My kids also look forward to when their baby sister is old enough to start riding rides so they can show her their favorites. We always catch the ice skating shows which I highly recommend.

Knotts Berry Farm passes are a great investment and I bring that up here, to friends and family every chance I get. When you have younger kids it’s wonderful to hop on over to Knotts, ride some rides and grab some food for a few hours or the whole day. I love that most of the time the park isn’t insanely chaotic and we can easily enjoy a few hours of fun. The lack of chaos and ease of the park makes it more enjoyable with an infant!

With our teens, it’s a big hit with them and their friends. I saw more pictures of their friends enjoying the summer at Knotts Berry Farm or Soak City on Instagram than I saw feet in the sand beach pictures. My teens are at the age where I can trust them to go off on their own, or with friends and meet up with them later while I take the younger kiddos around. Thankfully, they don’t usually want to ditch me… yet. I’m still ranking high in the “cool Mom” category! I remember being dropped off at opening and picked up at closing when I was a teenager and those being the best times of my life. I used to say that I could live at Knotts when I was their age and I still feel that way.

Peanuts Characters

Each year we have one “big item” gift for x-mas for the kids and this year it will be Gold Passes to Knotts Berry Farm.

If my older kids happen to be reading this DO NOT TELL YOUR LITTLE BROTHER or no Merry Farm funsies for you!

I type that in the most loving crazy Mommy way possible 😉

Knotts Berry Farm passes introduced a new add-on for meals! The dining pass includes a lunch and dinner each time you are at Knotts. This. Is. Brilliant. All I could think of was how much that saves parents when their kids are going to Knotts at least once a week over the summer or on weekends. It’s also great to not have to worry about them losing their food money like I did when I was a teenager.

Okay, I didn’t actually lose my money I just spent it all on funnel cake.

And if you haven’t had funnel cake then I insist that you clear your plans this weekend and go to Knotts!

Disclaimer: I was invited to enjoy a day at Knotts with my family as a thank you for writing this post. I’m not buying passes because of my relationship with Knotts but because I sincerely feel it’s the best gift ever. All opinions and thoughts are my own especially about the funnel cake. Seriously. Funnel cake is amazing and so is Knotts. 

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I purposely took a break from my blog until now, but I intended to be back after a few weeks not six! I wanted to give myself some time to focus on my kids and enjoy my time while Chad took three weeks off. I feel like my now six week old daughter has been around forever but at the same time it feels like she was born yesterday. I wrote often during my “downtime” and I missed this space.

Plus, writing about that time a new human came out of my lower region needed a lot of editing. I found myself being even more graphic than usual depending on the day. See, I can censor myself! The graphic stuff will be shared at a later time.

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His hair is fabio fabulous hehehe

I don’t think there are many people who think “That was fun” when it comes to their labor experience. But, it really was. I keep saying I feel like I cheated somehow because it was super easy. There was pain but it wasn’t terrible and it was pretty fast… she didn’t just fall right out of me like I had hoped.

After months of bed rest, lots of complications, weeks of non progressing contractions before the big day and I was ready to finally hold my baby ninja princess. I was scheduled to induce at 39 weeks on June 5th. June 5th was supposed to be the day so I procrastinated on getting things together.

To recap – my sweetie and I have four kids in our blended family and our newborn princess makes kiddo five. Yes, we are crazy.

The day before my scheduled baby evacuation day my OB called me while I stared into my fridge wondering what I was going to make for lunch…

“Want to have that baby today instead of tomorrow?”

To which I responded with, “Hell fucking yes!!” I was ready to evacuate her.

I sent my hubby a text asking “Want to meet our daughter today instead of tomorrow?” and he thought I was joking. The week before I sent him a text making him think my water broke (because I’m hilarious) so I can understand why he doesn’t always take me serious.

After multiple trips to the hospital for monitoring, injections and more monitoring we knew a lot of the nurses and had a bit of a reputation for being the “funny/entertaining couple”. My OB said that nurses had told her they really hoped to be our labor nurses because we were so much fun. Our personalities are very sarcastic, we like to keep things light and after some tough times in our relationship we are at such a good place of just loving life together… with a lot of smack talking.

Okay, I do most of the smack talking and he lovingly takes it because he rocks like that. I’m also much better at smack talking than he is. I was shocked we hadn’t offended anyone at the hospital with our word-fu and affectionate verbal smackdowns.

A nurse told me that one of her favorite lines came from me, “Please, sweetie… run your face into my fist.”

My previous two labors were basically the same process – I never went into labor on my own. I was induced with pitocin. I welcomed my epidurals and still felt horrible contractions of doom after. It’s been said by many that pitocin contractions are the worst pain you can ever feel and I would have to agree, though I had nothing to compare it to. Some people recall their labors as being these beautiful struggles of human birthing poetry.

I am not one of those people. Labor hurts. A lot. I’m not a fan of labor pain. There was a time before my oldest was born that I thought I would love to experience a pain medication free process of bringing my child into the world. I’m so over that. Give me the quickest, healthiest and most painless way possible. I don’t subscribe to the Mommy wars of who is better/tougher than who. I just want my baby out and in my arms by whatever method is best for her (and me)… and bring on the drugs.

By 2pm I was ready to get labor going and instead of starting me on pitocin I was given cytotec which helps thin the cervix and get things started.

After an hour my labor nurse came in and asked, “Are you feeling those?? You are having great contractions.”

Uh. What? I felt crampy but that was it. Weird.

Around 4pm my water was broken. My labor nurses and OB commented on my great contractions that felt like minor annoyances.

It didn’t feel like I was in labor. We watched TV, talked and joked around just like we do every night after the kids went to bed. Except I was hooked up to monitors, I was leaking fluids and the hospital bed wasn’t as comfy as my bedrest recliner.

Our kids were with my Dad and that is always an adventure in itself. My Dad likes to make jokes like “Oh, am I supposed to feed them?” or “I think one of the kids went missing”. We kept him updated with my progress as he kept us updated with his jokes about the kids. He is wonderful.

I began texting, tweeting, instagramming and Facebooking – Yeah, I did. A friend of mine commented how she couldn’t believe I was updating Facebook.

We started watching the Stanley Cup at 5pm. Yes, we watched Hockey. I was born and raised a Kings fan while my husband is a New York Rangers fan… this was serious business.

Contractions started to pick up and the amount of curse words I used increased as well.

At some point during the first period my labor nurse called in to get my epidural and we would start pitocin shortly after. I was uncomfortable, but it wasn’t even close to horrible yet. At that point I was around 4-5cm.

I updated Facebook between contractions. Because… again, what else are you going to do?

I got amazing back rubs from my sweetie while we talked smack about the game.

Every time a nurse came in to ask how I was HE would reply with something like, “I’m okay. I’m feeling a little uncomfortable and ignored. This is rough…” – I love him. I really do.

The anesthesiologist arrived and he was a Kings fan. Our labor nurse at that time was from Jersey. There was a lot of West Coast vs East Coast smack talking going on. Now that I think about it you probably don’t want to be laughing so much when you are about to get a giant needle in your back. When you get an epidural the anesthesiologist will insert the needle during a contraction. Because we were all so into the game he missed a few contractions – I didn’t mind in the slightest – it was hilarious.

After my epidural I let the world know how much I fucking love labor drugs. It wasn’t a strong amount since I could still move my legs but it was glorious.

They gave me oxygen and it made me feel strange. I do not remember taking this pic…

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My contractions picked up and we kept watching the game. The only discomfort I felt was on the left side of my body but after some repositioning I was good to go.

My Dad joined in on the smack talking and we were all texting about the game. I said whoever wins determines who my daughter would be a fan of…

Kings won. Chad cursed a lot. My labor continued and it felt like I wasn’t progressing. I started to worry that if they didn’t start the pitocin soon I would meet my daughter at 4am.

I sat up to stretch, I grabbed my phone to see what was going on and… I felt pressure. I felt that pressure that only a woman who has had a vaginal delivery understands… or the feeling you have after a lot of food and you really gotta poop.

I thought I was going crazy and mistaken. I thought I had hours to go and hadn’t even had pitocin. It had been 7 years since my son was born so maybe I just forgot what it felt like. My nurse checked me just in case.

“Oh yeah… you are ready. Her head is right there. We are going to do some practice pushes and then call your doctor.”

I was stunned. It was honestly too easy.

It went smoothly from there. Another nurse walked in and said, “You either have a very high pain tolerance or the best epidural that’s ever been given because you do not seem like you are ready to push!”

Yeah, I didn’t feel like I was ready to push either.

After a short time of pushing at 9:35pm on June 4th we met our daughter.

Labor Story

I cannot exactly put into words the feeling of love, relief and happiness I felt when I heard her first cry and saw her.

I was so overwhelmed I was shivering uncontrollably… Actually, I was shivering from the drugs but I didn’t realize that at first.

She was 8lbs 8oz – We all expected a 6lb baby – We were wrong!

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What was said after she was born:

“Wow! She’s chunky!”

“She is covered in goo!”

“Why does she look like an angry tomato?”

“She has really asian eyes…”

“HA! This one looks like me!”

“I’m kind of sad you didn’t pass out. I wanted to have more ammo to make fun of you.”

“She is so beautiful”

“Why does her umbilical cord look like a penis”

“That was easy… Wanna have another?”

We fell in love with her immediately. By the time all the post birth stuff and baby bonding time was done it was pretty late. We told my Dad to bring the kids by to see her in the morning. We assumed they were sleeping by that time.

He texted “I think I did something wrong. They are all still awake”

Oh he’s so funny. They stayed up until 1am and were cranky kids he had to deal with the next day.

Instagram, Facebook, e-mail and texts blew up after she was born. I haven’t been able to fully thank everyone for the rad support and congrats we received when we all met her. I’m grateful for the awesomeness. It was a difficult road and one I am relieved to be off of.

As I lay next to her finishing this up and listening to her giggle in her sleep I still can’t wrap my head around how wonderful things ended up being. Our kids love her and the adjustment has been easier than expected. I’m proud of our family and how everyone has transitioned to having a newborn around.

Several friends had wished for me to have a smooth labor after the emotionally draining and physically painful pregnancy I had. I’m stoked it ended up being so easy. But, even if it was the worst labor ever I wouldn’t care. At the end of that difficult journey it’s all just done and over. The pain, the difficult days and the hard times are simply behind us.

The new chapter begins and it all ends up being worth it… especially when I have this face to stare at like a creepy baby stalker.

creepy baby stalker

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I guess I expected bigger topics to become a source of annoyance as a parent since something like boys and baby dolls never crossed my mind. Why would boys and baby dolls be an issue? It shouldn’t be… but to some it is.

Sucks for them.

Years ago at the early stages of my blog I wrote about my son wanting a baby doll for Christmas. Nothing has changed about my position on parenting that kids should be free to choose their interests and it’s my job to encourage them no matter what. Over the years my son’s baby doll has been on most of our road trips and camping trips. I say most because there was this one camping trip where “Joshy” was not to be found the day before we left. He was upset. We ended up making a stop along the way to welcome JJ to our family… but as soon as we found Joshy when we got home JJ was replaced. Sorry, dude.

Joshy the baby doll has been loved, nurtured, cared for and adored like any baby doll should. What my son’s baby doll has also experienced was riding down a huge hill on a skateboard and almost getting sucked away with the waves at the beach. My son has taught his baby doll how camp, fish, build stuff with his tools, ride a bike, fly off of the back of the bed of a truck with a makeshift napkin cape, how to scare his older sister, how to “spin in circles until he pukes” and many more awesome things a Dad or big brother would teach a little boy.

Boys and Baby Dolls

boys and baby dolls hiking

boys and baby dolls at the park

Why would any of this be a bad thing? What exactly is wrong with boys and baby dolls, again? Oh yeah… nothing.

Kids Are Mean

Then this happened… I shared this on Instagram

Boys and Baby Dolls - It Can Hurt

At school they had a celebration to have a pajama day and a movie. The kids were allowed to bring a stuffed animal. My son chose his baby doll. I admit… I was hesitant to support that but I left it up to him. I was concerned kids would make fun of him. Unfortunately, they did. He has been having a hard time dealing with this since then and it’s breaking his heart. It makes me completely angry on a  – hulk smash want to high five people in the face – level.

He asked me with tears in his eyes, “Is something wrong with me because I’m weird and I like a toy that other boys say I’m not supposed to like?”

I got so mad I replied with, “Well those kids are jerks that suck at life and are just suppressed because someone didn’t love them enough to let them play with dolls…” and he laughed hysterically…

then I said “Okay, please don’t repeat that.”

I’m not perfect.

I told him “You are not weird. You are awesome. Joshy is awesome. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise”

They Are Toys – End of Story

We had a long talk about how some kids are not allowed choices and are told something is a boys toy or a girls toy. I also told him some kids may just not be into playing with baby dolls. I explained, as I have many times before, there is no such thing. Things are simply things. Toys are toys. If you have an interest then seek it out and make the most of it. There is what is typical and common but that doesn’t define right or wrong. Some people are just sheep who follow one line of thinking and don’t branch out. For some reason boys and baby dolls is a controversial topic… which is just so silly to me.

Gender stereotypes for toys are complete nonsense and I am very against them. There are no boy toys or girl toys – they are just toys.

Toys do not define our children – Our children define themselves.

My daughter used to run around with fairy wings and a tool belt on. Our oldest, who is in High School, has tried multiple times on his own to get into sports trying to “prove” himself and he only ends up feeling worse because it’s not his thing. One of his favorite stuffed animals when he was younger was a pink poodle that he was teased for it. Like most, all of our kids have struggled with their own identity on one level or another. All I can keep trying to instill in them is BE YOURSELF. You won’t be happy pretending to be someone else.

People are simply who they are and toys are just toys.

That is that.

Who The Hell Are YOU To Say What Defines MY Son?

There is nothing wrong with a boys and baby dolls. NOTHING. There is nothing wrong with a male not being into sports. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a guy being sensitive, nurturing or loving. We need more loving, affectionate and doting fathers in the world NOT less. Embrace and accept your sons for who they are. Allow your boys to grow into the confident men they should become based off of what THEY want to be and not who you choose to mold them into. We should be raising our sons to become awesome Dads one day.

Do you know what kind of man is more desirable? One that is confident, is domestic, can be handy and is nurturing and loving towards his kids. That is the kind of man that is desired in a partner. Nothing is sexier than a man doing dishes. I’m not even kidding.

No one ever says, “Wow, when I look for a man I want a macho jerk who has no feelings, is detached and emotionless towards his kids who would prefer watching sports over entertaining his princess with a tea party. I want a man who spends his life beating his chest trying to prove his manliness rather than picking up after himself or expressing any sort of care for our family. Yeah, that is the man for me.” Okay, some people may feel that way and there are obviously MANY men to choose from who are like that. Have fun with it.

I want our sons to know that it doesn’t matter how anyone else defines what a “man” is. They should be who they are. They don’t have to mimic my interest and I have absolutely no desire to mold them into anything.

I expect them to be honest, confident, kind, thoughtful, true to themselves and embrace everything that truly defines them. I would only be disappointed in them for conforming, lying or pretending to be someone they are not.

I’m looking forward to my 6 year old becoming a big brother this year because I know exactly what kind of brother he will be. He is going to be amazing at it.

And I have his baby doll, Joshy, to thank for that.

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Ninja Family And a Baby

When you have a big blended family of four kids, ages 6 – 14, it may seem crazy to add one more.

But, who cares?! hehe

In June we will be bringing another little ninja into the world and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve been wanting to announce it for awhile but couldn’t think of how I wanted to go about it. I do plan on doing another trashy preggo photo session but I’m not quite rockin the pregger belly, yet, to make it entertaining enough.

If you missed these pictures from before here is my favorite:

Funny Face Friday : Pregnancy Pictures

I started writing this weeks ago and got caught up on the visual part of it. Do I want to take some picture with a bunch of shoes? What about wookiee slippers? Ninja masks? Oooo Ninjas! I thought about how I wish I was able to use illustrator so I could make a family of ninjas.

Then I realized that I love learning new things, the internet is a free resource of information and I spent hours, while sick with a cold, learning how to make ninjas in illustrator.

I officially had no more excuses to procrastinate on the announcement! I’m terrible at making announcements like this. It’s a somewhat obvious quirk of mine. Plus, look at those cute ninjas!

Look, I just got around to officially announcing my engagement that happened well over a year ago so I know I kinda suck at this whole announcement thing. I probably would have waited even longer had it not been for the ninjas.

I also broke the news to my Dad about the baby in an e-mail because that seemed like an okay thing to do, if you are me. Yes, in an email. In my defense I hadn’t seen him much lately because he’s been crazy busy and I had my head in a toilet for months. Apparently, this is not a normal way to break the news but it was better than a text, right?! I know… I’m not right. Sorry, Dad!

Now… before I get a bombarded with texts, emails and calls with “How could you not tell me!?” let me explain…

Honestly, this pregnancy hasn’t been easy and I don’t like to make anyone worry. I waited to say anything because there was genuine concern that something may happen, or, may not happen depending on how you look at it. I felt like the first couple months or so were a blur living each day trying not to get horribly sick and trying to think positively. I’ve lost a lot of weight. I haven’t felt right physically and emotionally. I’ve been more hormonal than I am used to (I am usually below zero on the hormonal meter) and I’ve just been kind of processing, dealing and trying to stop vomiting every time I think of food.

Do you know how difficult it is to be online when the mere sight of food makes you barfy and everyone is constantly sharing pictures of food? Pinterest and I had to break up for awhile but, we are better now.

Anyway…

I was terrified. Genuinely, terrified that something may happen. I don’t like to be a downer and this pregnancy has been a difficult road.

This made me feel a level of vulnerability that I just wasn’t dealing well with. I go into shutdown mode. On top of all that there were a lot of people trying to bring unnecessary negative mojo and drama into our lives that I just didn’t want to deal with. So, I also went into apathetic towards stupid people mode. I had to back out of some commitments and took a break from blogging. We also had a lot going on personally that made it feel like there was an avalanche of wtf-ery falling on top of me.

Mostly, I just puked a whole lot.

The news started to trickle to friends and family. And by trickle I mean I took every opportunity to spring it on unsuspecting friends and family. Everyone has been so supportive. A few of my friends literally almost fell over in shock. I have blindsided others with blurting out “I’m pregnant!” … “What?! Who… you?!” “No, I’m just kidding… wait, no I’m not!”

I also learned that if I go to a Girls Night Out and don’t order wine right away that some of my friends immediately pick up on the fact that I’m growing a sea monkey.

I have the raddest people in my life and I am so sorry they have to put up with me.

Going into my second trimester was a sigh of relief… and some panic because I must plan all things. All the time. Always. As well as have backup plans to my plans and know every variable of possibilities. I spent months getting through my puke-a-palooza and now I feel like I am running out of time to get things sorted. Then again, I kind of always feel like that.

Looking at our situation it can seem a little crazy. Between us we have four kids. Two that are biologically mine, two that are my step-kids, three live with us full-time and all we consider our own no matter the biological connection or not. It’s just our family and how we roll. And now just one more. JUST ONE MORE. After this… one way or another… my sweetie, will be getting fixed.

You heard me.

Lucky him!

This year was the first time in years that I can remember not waking up insanely early on January 2nd to purchase camping spots for the summer. I couldn’t even talk about how I wasn’t planning camping trips and I avoided all the “where are you camping this year” questions during the holidays because we hadn’t made the big announcement yet. This is how much I don’t make sense… my pregnancy is messing with my usual camping routine and I could spend hours rambling about just that.

Yes, I do plan on camping with an infant. It’s actually easier than you may expect because they are super portable at that age. That is a post for another day.

Anyway, I wanted to share our great news and ask that you all please keep happy and healthy baby thoughts coming my way. I’m hoping for a girl (though some days I wonder if I am insane for that) but either way I will be happy. I just want another happy, healthy and fun little ninja to fill our lives with insanity and awesomeness.

Thank you all for being a part of the awesomeness, too.

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I honestly don’t think anyone has noticed but since I (finally) announced my engagement I’ve been more active online and I’m creating funny content again. I didn’t plan to start the year off this way. It just became the right time to ninja kick my writers block and get back to blogging.

Soooo, yeah. I took a break from blogging. I didn’t feel the need to announce, explain or justify it. It organically happened and I didn’t fight it. I also don’t get why people announce when they are taking a blogging break… but, that is just me.

I needed to take the break for many reasons.

I wanted to really focus on my family after going from a single Mom to a working things out and getting my family back together blended family Mom. Sure, there was a lot I wanted to share during the transition but I chose to sit on it all and just be in the moment. Oh, people noticed which was honestly lovely. I missed it. Some days I missed it more than I expected to. I just needed to be with them.

I also needed to learn how to live with another adult and factor in his feelings and not just do what I want. Thankfully, he is very understanding of my quirks, gets my insanity and happens to be really sexy with all the housework he does. Yeah, I needed to focus on that too.

I read a few months back how a blogger friend was feeling guilty about not sharing some things that were going on in her life. I wondered… why are we obligated? We choose what to share, how to share it, when to share and why we share it.

I chose to not share until I was sure on what I wanted to share in case what I was sharing was share worthy and not a flop of sharisms.

Uh, I hope you could follow that… I just confused the crap out of myself! hehe

Plus, what the crap was with all the blogger internet drama?! Please, tell me we aren’t going in the direction of cat fighting on the internet from jealousy and gossip! Please, tell me that we are going to utilize our spaces for something other than mudslinging. Can’t blogs be more than just fuel for smack talking fodder? The mob mentality of creating internet uproars over differences of opinions are really stupid.

Yes, stupid.

I don’t care what the topic is. We aren’t angry mobs of blogging sheep. Well, we shouldn’t be.

I don’t do the drama game. If someone dislikes what I’m about or I dislike what they are about then they simply fall off my radar. I’m not going to care what they are doing and they shouldn’t care what I am doing. Just because we can be all creepy up in someone’s blogging window trying to find something to talk smack about does NOT mean we should. I will never quite understand why people who loathe me will follow my every public internet move. It doesn’t keep me up at night. I probably laugh about it with my friends more than I should… humor helps me get through the things that make my head hurt. I seriously do “Live, laugh and ninja kick.” in life. It’s a formula that works for me.

The way I work is simple:

Things/people make me mad, sad or insert-negative-reaction-here.

I change them, accept them or laugh at them.

Or a combo/all of the above.

Actually, at some point I will always find a way to laugh at it.

Then I move on.

Rinse and repeat.

I’m not insensitive. I have empathy. I am very compassionate. I’m also not without anger. Quite the opposite, actually. I get all super hulk smash angsty and need to vent and process. I do that on my own time and not with keyboard courage. To be perfectly honest, I spent a lot of my life being angry and hostile and it’s draining. I choose not to waste my time staying angry and hateful. Life is just too rad.

The name of my blog is the core of my beliefs… and I truly feel you either have to be enjoying the radness of life or working damn hard to get there. I don’t see how whining is involved in the equation of awesomeness.

I like the internet to be funny. I like it when it’s inspiring. I like communicating and walking away with some kind of positives. I know it can’t always be that but there should be a balance.

It was hard to find that balance most days.

It wasn’t just all the drama that caused me to take a break. That was the smallest part in comparison to my family or what I have taken from my break.

I also needed to take time to focus and figure out what I wanted to do with this amazing space and network I created. Words cannot convey how much this platform means to me and what ripples of awesomeness has come from it.

I’ve been told by many that they love my blog. The fact that my words mean something, make someone laugh or inspire is indescribable. It’s been said that I do sponsored content differently and better because I have a story behind it which is what I try to achieve. I’ve helped others with food allergies and having a not so typical family. I’ve made friends and I’ve pissed people off (hehehe) … I’ve traveled… I’ve expanded my knowledge and skills… This blog and journey has given me so much. Most of which I still can’t wrap my head around because I’m not trying to be awesome, inspiring or anything really. I just wondered if a Mom like me dealing with things in an almost crazy way would be well received.

I want to continue to give back, give more and expand. I do want to focus more on my writing and less on the marketing. I want to get my book projects done and launch my philanthropy project. I may do a spinoff blog for all the sponsored content and use Don’t Speak Whinese as a sponsor-free zone or change the design of my site to make it more segregated. I’ve got plans and now it’s time to put them all in motion rather than obsessing over planning.

I see so much content out there about how to make the perfect blog. I’ve seen lists and tips on how to “do it right”. I’ve read articles about being a perfect blogger. I’ve listened to panels debating how to do it right.

You know what I realized after getting some clarity in stepping back? Just like parenting, there is no one right way. There is simply what is what is right for you. There are best practices and things that are frowned upon. Ultimately, do what you love because that is what feels right. Oh, and just like parenting there will always be people who think they know better, do it best and think you are wrong…

But, who cares!?

Without a doubt I can say that I have stayed 100% true to myself, my word and my intentions with this space. I’m just me. I’m kind of (okay, really) weird. I am too smart for my own good at times while being a total jackass at others. I just needed a recharge, a solid direction and a fire up my bum to get me going again.

So, I’m back.

Let’s rock.

And… I’ve missed you all.

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