Merry Christmas Day 2008

Julian and Scarlett love them some christmas!



Why 4-year olds are weird:

They make up languages
They wear rain boots in the dry summer
They stick their fingers in their noses absentmindedly
They come in your room at 3 am to invite you to come into their rooms
They want to eat rice with their fingers
They don't believe it is wonderful to be invited to lay down for an hour in the middle of the day
They make 5 or 10 horizontal lines in their capital "E"
They say "nipples!" and giggle when their shirts are off

Or maybe it's just ours.


Genetic study

On the left, I am pictured in the tub, circa 1974. On the right, a printout of Scarlett earlier this year. Comments?


Birthday 4.0

Four years ago today, I was sitting on the couch, 11 days past my due date, barely able to breathe due to all the space my fetus was taking up in my torso. And two days later, Julian arrived, making us parents.

On Wednesday he'll have his third birthday party of the season. His first was with my cousins and his second was this weekend with his friends. Dinosaur digging in the sand table, mini-pumpkin hunting, and cupcake eating were enjoyed by all the kids. See all the pictures if you need proof.

Partying with Scarlett

Untitled from whitneymoss on Vimeo.


Preschool field trip

Julian and Zenaida

From Monterey Market


Scarlett at home


Underwear Do's and Don'ts

Today children's book author Todd Parr came to Julian's preschool. I was very excited about this, since we are big fans of his colorful books. We own two: This Is Your Hair and Funny Faces. I even wrote my own board book, inspired by This Is Your Hair a couple of years ago.

This morning when Julian got ready for school, he put on two pairs of plain white underwear, one atop the other. Both backwards. This is really not a battle worth fighting, so I said nothing.

Interestingly, one of the books Todd gave to the school was Underwear Do's and Don'ts which has a page that explains how one should not wear multiple pairs of underwear at the same time. When I picked Julian up from school, there was one pair of plain white undies in his cubby.

I sent Julian to school with his well-worn copy of Funny Faces. I hoped that someone would facilitate Julian getting it signed by the author and I explained this to Julian last night when I told him to bring the book to school. Tonight, from the bathtub, when Ryan questioned J about his experience with Todd, Julian reported that he did indeed get his book signed. "He wrote my name and a heart because Todd loves me," he explained confidently. "When I am bigger than a grandpa," he continued, "will I be the author of Funny Faces?"

"No," Ryan had to tell him. "Todd Parr already wrote Funny Faces. You'll have to come up with your own book."

I really hope he does.


Liveblogging a vacation

We are at the mid-point of our Santa Cruz summer vacation. So far, excellent.

We arrived in the late afternoon on Monday and were delighted by the location of the hotel, The Dream Inn. (Oh, and the first lovely part of the day was that we had our babysitter come and watch the kids for 5 hours while we took our time preparing for the trip. So worth it!) We upacked at the hotel, had poolside drinks and then went to a vegetarian restaurant in downtown Santa Cruz called Malabar. Delicious.

Tuesday we floated from beach to pool to the Boardwalk where Julian enjoyed carnival rides and a Chinese acrobat performance and Ryan and I DID NOT enjoy the food. We had dinner outside at the hotel pool and it was far more relaxing than the restaurant. Julian danced in place while he ate, and that went over just fine. Scarlett is a total maniac and you don't even want to know what she was doing while we ate. "What wasn't she doing?" is a more appropriate question.

Wednesday was more pooltime and rides and then downtown for dinner. The Taco Bar in The Palomar restaurant was perfect for our overtired little people. I was feeling a little fuzzy after only 1/3 of my pina colada, so I poured the rest in a sippy cup and drank it on the way home. Classy.

More details later, and more pictures are here.


The dress up box has been in use


An uncommonly mischevious adventure

A couple of years ago, we made an "instrument" out of a small tin. We filled it with brown rice - uncooked - duh - and closed it, sealing it with packaging tape. Julian decorated it with stickers and it became a shaker. It was durable and got tossed around in our large bin of musical instruments, surfacing every now and then to remind me that we should make things together more often.

Now let me say that as the parents of Julian, we haven't yet experienced much in the way of the classic naughty preschooler tales you hear. There have been no markers on the wall, DIY haircuts, or snakes, snails or puppy dog tails in my purse.

Yesterday, however, I was treated to a little trouble making. Of course this is entirely my fault for leaving three-and-three-quarter-year olds unsupervised in the house for more than 10 seconds, but live and learn, right?

You can guess where this is going, I'm sure. I looked up from the backyard and see that Julian and his playmate Lila are gleefully screaming something to me from the window of his bedroom. They are very excited and seem to want my attention. I go upstairs where I can hear them saying "Magic seeds! We're eating magic seeds! There are magic seeds everywhere!"

And indeed there were. Brown rice - at least three years old - was everywhere in Julian's room. And pieces of brown rice were on and around the shiny wet lips of the hyperactive preschoolers.

"Stop! Don't eat that rice!" I said.
With full eye contact, they both picked more rice from the carpet and put it in their mouths.
"It's magic seeds!" they said.

After some explanation about how you should not eat things that might not be food, like what you find inside an instrument or a stuffed animals, the twosome was persuaded to come downstairs where their moms could watch them better. We left a storm of brown rice behind in Julian's room which facilitated a more productive conversation after Lila left about what kinds of things are safe to put in one's mouth.

I was annoyed at the mess, but I could not stop laughing on the inside, of course. Plus, no worries about lack of whole grains in this kid's diet today.


Being Savvy

I am blogging for Savvy Source, a preschool directory, about activities to do with preschoolers in the East Bay. East Bay parents, check it out!


Baby in the sky -- with diamonds


This post sponsored by Sony

Sony gave me a new camera since I am an "influential mommyblogger" who will blog about it. It is a Cybershot and it has smile detection. A cool idea, but I haven't tested it out completely, so I can't say if it works as promised. It did capture the smile in the above picture.

We took pictures for Scarlett's birthday party and our mini-vacation in Tahoe with the new camera and now I will share them.
Take a look >


We're baaaack

After 4.5 months in a rental, we are back home. Sure there are still boxes in the office (totally my responsibility) and the trim is not entirely painted (because I freaked out about the color and told them to stop painting), but it's nice to be here. Really, it's more than nice. It's delightful. I love our neighborhood and I especially love parking in my own driveway. I love that Julian can play in his room while Scarlett is napping in her own room. I love that we have tons of light, a closet large enough for our clothes, a toilet for each person who uses toilets around here, and a dishwasher and garbage disposal. I'd say we did fine without all these things, but it is incredibly relaxing to have them all.

In order to take nice pictures of the new space, I would have to put away all my clothes and things, and since that's never going to happen, I will leave you with a taste of the paint colors.

I love them so much that I can't think of a title for this post




The one where Julian was a frat boy

Today, in celebration of the launch of my book, the Parent Bloggers Network is hosting a blog blast. This means that anyone who wants to should blog on the chosen topic and then send them the link. They post all the links so that everyone can enjoy each other's post on the topic. And today the topic is... activities for a mom's rookie year.

Keeping this short, the story is that Heather and I put both of our sons in her car and tried to go to a kid-centric cafe in a neighborhood a little outside our familiarity. We do such things just because we like a good challenge. If you don't get the challenge here, you probably haven't tried to install a rear-facing car seat in someone else's car while your baby climbs on you. It turned out the cafe was closed, so we decided what we needed was a beer.

Knowing that any place that serves food with their beer probably has high chairs, we went to a family restaurant/sports bar and plopped the babes in two high chairs and ordered two beers.

Then Julian puked. But only on his own shirt.

I grabbed him out of the high chair and ran out the door of the pub. I held him over the gutter where he puked again. Classy.

Then he was fine. He seemed unbothered by having just emptied his stomach. So, I cleaned him up, put him back in his high chair, and finished my beer. I think this is known amongst the fraternity set as "boot and rally", but I went to a women's college on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, so I am not totally sure.

And that, my friends, is just one of many adventures on which I took Julian during his early days. To read more from other parents reflecting on their rookie year, check out the blog blast write up on the Parent Bloggers Network. If you have a blog, share your best, bizarrest, coolest, whatever rookie mom year outing and win some prizes (all weekend long).



This morning, Julian woke up in a terrible mood. He whined and tantrumed and I wanted to make him go away.

Instead, I took him to Fairyland.

We met H & H there, and it was the first time in a very long time that just the rookie babies were brought on a double date.

I think we all loved it. (No offense to the younger sibs.)

There's really no end or punchline to this story. Just a really nice Sunday.


Jimmy Crackcorn

If you don't find this hilarious, you must not be three years old.

Untitled from whitneymoss on Vimeo.

We've heard this song at least 642 times this weekend.


Spring in San Luis Obispo

Every year we get together with Stephanie and Hope, my two best friends from Junior High. That's what we called it before Middle Schoool came to LA. Now we have husbands and hecka kids.

Here we are.

And here are the seven reasons our Sunday mornings together start at 6.30 AM.

More pictures from March are here >


The fashion police live here

Yesterday Ryan came home from downtown San Francisco with about five new items of clothing for each of his kids. Dresses, sunglasses, headbands. You get the idea.


This morning, Julian pulled a pink and white-striped shirt out of Scarlett's drawer and said, "Mommy, when Scarlett comes to pick me up from school today, I want her to wear this."

I wonder where he gets it.


I'm off to preschool pick-up now, and Scarlett is dressed as ordered.


The meaning of Zero

Julian is interested in "none", "nobody", "zero" and "nothing". This is a recent conversation we had:

Julian: Scarlett only has a little hair. Mommy, does Scarlett have no hair?
Me: Scarlett does have some hair.
Julian: Who has no hair?
Me: I guess Milo has no hair.
Julian: Milo has no hair.

I remember something.

Me: Julian, you know who really has no hair? Wayne.
Julian: Yeah! Wayne has ZERO hair!

Wayne and the woman who would become Milo's mom, September 2001


Scarlett swings

Untitled from whitneymoss on Vimeo.


Five things that don't suck about our short-term rental

5. The kids' room. They have plenty of space for their beds and a large play area in between them. Most importantly, they can both cry out in the night and not wake each other up. This feature is actually undergoing rigorous testing this week.

4. Instant Hot. Heather has been telling me how wonderful it is for about a year, but now, thanks to our landlord's Japanese water heater, we have 200-degree water on demand. Effortless tea all day long and warm baby food in a jiffy.

3. Proximity to our home and preschool. While we're not exactly in our own neighborhood, it could have been much worse. We talked about San Rafael. It takes about 10 minutes to drive to our house from this condo.

2. The shower. When I saw the clawfoot tub and not-new showerhead, I knew it was likely to deliver a less-than satisfying stream of water. To my delight, the water is forceful and hot for plenty of time. Again, what I'm after is for it not to suck. I'll head over to the Claremont when I need a real spa day.

1. The view. We could not ask for more. I took this picture from the deck of our rental the other night. A clear night reveals even more detail.


Picture of the day

Scarlett 7 months


Shameless self-promotion

If you are as anxious to get your hands on a copy of my book as thousands of first-time moms must be (ha!), go ahead and pre-order it on Amazon!

Heather and I got our advanced copies in the mail yesterday and we are super duper excited! The illustrations, by Amy Saidens who we have never met, are really cute, and Ryan even has a credit as the photographer of the author photo in the back jacket.

Wish us luck with sales!


Quiz: Name that swinging baby

Study the pictures below. Use the comments link to identify which baby (Julian or Scarlett) is in each picture A-D.
More new pictures are posted from this holiday season. (click here.)