Category Archives: Kids

Stay at Home Mom

If someone had told me five years ago that I would be a stay at home mom, I would have told them that they were crazy. I always loved to work, I loved what I did, and I couldn’t imagine life any other way.

In October 2013, when we got pregnant with Jonah I made the most money working for myself that I had ever made.  This was my moment to shine, show my true potential and have it all. I would be able to juggle it all: work, wife life and a new baby. With some effort, I had successfully attained this goal. Working came along with some new distractions but that did not deter me from being more focused and intentional with my time.  I learned how to manage my time and utlilize those nap times. Let’s be real, when you have a new baby they sleep for majority of the time . When they are up, you throw them in a bouncer or playmat and they are content.

My issues began to arise when Jonah learned how to walk. With increased mobility came an increased need of attention. I found myself constantly torn between the two things that I held dear- my work and my son.  The solution was to round in the troops, so I called for some help from my mother and mother-in-law.  That was great! I was so grateful for their help but I found myself complaining about all the things they were doing (wrong). It’s just not what I would do and the way I would do it. We were constantly at war. Finally, my husband told me, I had to either swallow all expectations and accept their help graciously or do it myself. He was right. That is just what I did. I spent the next few weeks wrapping up my work and decided this would be my full time job. I didn’t think twice, I didn’t look back. I put my full trust in God because logically and financially, this was a dumb move.

How could we survive on one income? We figured it out. Maybe we stopped traveling as much and going out to amazing places to eat and we gave back our amazing fancy car, but I was home with Jonah. He was more important for us. The thing about children is that you really only get a finite period of time with them. Someone once told me, you only get 18 summers with your kids. (Which is crazy bc we only have about 15 more summers with Jonah). Children don’t need money, they need our love and attention. I often remind myself of that.

Parenthood comes with many challenges and most of all sacrificies. You have to do some things you really don’t want to do as well as many amazing things that fill my heart with so much joy. So here I am, a mommy of two. I spend my days running after two crazy boys, who sometimes make me want to scream, but most of the time I just want to smile and laugh. It’s not forever, only 18 summers that fly like the wind. That’s what life is about. Being glamorous is amazing. Wearing makeup and high heels is amazing. Being a stay at home mom and watching my boys grow up is the most amazing.

I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Nothing is fulfilling like the life of a mom.

 

 

Mama of Two or More

 

If you’re a mom, then you know what hard work it is. You are on call 24/7. At any given moment any number of things could go wrong and your juggling act will come crashing down.

Prior to having Levi, I had some anxieties about my new role as a mom of multiples and really wanted to get it all right. Now I realize that there is no “right” way exactly.  You do the best you can and give your kids all that you have.  Depending on what’s going on in your life, that may vary from day to day. I am a social mama so I hear it all, from post-pardum depression, deaths, illnesses, and work responsibilities, the load is not easy. So give yourself a pat on the back if you’ve made it to bedtime, the tots are in their beds and everyone has eaten at least once today.

As I write this, I can’t believe my Baby is not such a baby anymore. We just celebrated Levi’s FIRST birthday! The time flies, serving as a reminder that I must be more intentional with the time I have. one day, I’m going to look back, saying I wish I enjoyed my kids more.

When you have multiple children, especially if they are all under the age of 5, you are dealing with many levels of mobility and needs. So the juggling is real.  Here are some of the lessons I learned from my experience:

Opinions:

Once you have kids, Everyone wants to share their personal opinions and advice, even if you haven’t asked for it. I have learned in the last 4 years to just listen, say “thank you so much”, and after you walk away from that conversation you can take what you want and forget the rest.

Crying is ok!

When you have Your first baby, crying is like an emergency situation, trying to figure out what could possibly be wrong. You try everything all at once: feeding, changing, rocking sleeping, jumping up and down, and the list goes on. When there are 2 you just say, ok, you can cry and sometimes I’ll get to you right away. Other times that’s not possible. It’s totally fine if the baby cries. Number 1 needs a lot more from you emotionally and physically.

Remember who your boss is!

If your a stay at home mom, your husband is your boss. What a privilege! And if your family is like ours, you have made many sacrifices to Stay at home with your kids. When I lack motivation and drive, I just think of my amazing, caring, loving boss. He’s the best support I have and that is what keeps me motivated, knowing that he leaves every morning to hustle and provide for our family. So, my response is that I hustle for my family at home! This segways into my next point…

Forget about nap time, Mama:

Ladies, my kids wake up every morning at 6:30am! Whether we are home, on vacation, it’s the weekend, they are UP! Many times I am exhausted and when I put my kids to nap in the middle of the day, all I would like to do is crawl into bed and lay down for 30mins.  That is a great fantasy, but I need to utilize my time wisely by preparing for the rest of my day (and night). I use this time to clean house, make dinner, make calls.

Train Your Older Children

Before Levi (my second) was born I spent some time training Jonah (my first). From the start I was expecting to have a repeat C-section, so Jonah needed to be as independent as possible. I really believe in talking through circumstances with my children. Every day we spoke about his new role as a big brother and the responsibilities that title came with. I taught Jonah to get in and out of the bath, car seat, take his clothes off, follow simple commands, take his plate to the kitchen, and many other things. On their own, each of these tasks are pretty insignificant but taking 1 small thing off your list makes all the difference when your cup overfloweth.

It’s not always going to be like this

And the best piece of advice that I have ever gotten since becoming a mama, was from my dear husband.  One day he came home to me in tears, listened to my rant, looks at me with so much love and says “babe, it’s not always going to be like this.” Whenever I’m having a rough day, that’s what I think to myself. It’s not always going to be me and 2  little monsters running around town. I’m not always going to be dealing with crying and whining. I won’t always be tired. And one day, I will want so much for someone to need me like my kids need me now. For now, no matter how rough the road is or how hard it is to get by, just be happy with where God has placed you and this glorious blessing of having  children.

There is so much more to being a mama of two or more. Every day our prayer is that God grants us more love, patience, kindness, and mercy. The rest will stream from that!

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Festival at Kids Space Museum

Tis the Season… for everything Pumpkin, including an awesome event for the whole family, the Pumpkin Festival at Kids Space Museum will be happening on October 14th and 15th from 9:30am-5:00 pm

This family-friendly event includes fun for all ages and will be hosted in Brookside Park, directly in front of Kidspace.
Kids will giggle with delight at the petting zoo, pony rides, exciting bouncers, carnival games, and seasonal crafts. Partake in a costume parade, enjoy face painting, and select pumpkins from our pumpkin patch. Parents will love the book and costume sale, and tasty picnic treats.

Kids Space Museum:

480 North Arroyo Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91103

Summer Recipe: Cantaloupe Ginger Recipe

What defines Summer better then the plethora of fruit available, specifically melons are hard to walk past in the grocery store without grabbing one on your way out. I love to use melons for everything from salads to smoothies and I recently ran across a recipe for popsicles on Terra’s Kitchen that will bring your  melon experience to the next level.  I made some adjustments that better suit our families lifestyle.

Made at home Popsicles are a great summer snack for children where You have total control over the ingredients.  No matter how healthy and “organic” that store bought ice cream is, nothing beats home made. At home, easy recipes are a life saver that everyone will enjoy.  And don’t fret mama bear, you can indulge along with your little tots without sacrificing your figure!

What you need:

3 slices of fresh ginger
3 tablespoons of Agave (per preference)
1 ripe cantaloupe
Sliced strawberries (optional)
Popsicle forms and popsicle sticks

What to do:

In a small sauce pan, bring the agave and 1/2 cup water over medium heat to a boil. Remove from heat and drop in ginger. Set aside until cooled. (Remove ginger when ready to use!)
Slice cantaloupe in half and scoop out seeds. Spoon cantaloupe flesh into a blender. Blend until smooth.
Add just enough of the cooled ginger syrup to sweeten as desired. Save the remaining syrup for another use.
Pour into popsicle molds and freeze overnight. For a variation, push a few sliced strawberries down into the popsicle molds before freezing

 

 

Summer Fun in the LA Area

Summer is flying by, the days are full and filled with lots of fun. If you have kids going back to school soon, there’s still time to enjoy. One of the best parts of city- living are the plethora of events the whole family can enjoy.  I’m sure as many of you will be taking some time off, your days will be jam packed with tons of BBQs, Pool Parties, Family Outings and Fiestas.  While it’s great to do what you know, my family loves to try new things.

In a city of endless options, that is always a possibility, no matter what your budget. Here’s a list of Free (or super cheap) family activities for the family:

1. Jazz nights at LACMA

Every Friday and Saturday Night, LACMA hosts a free jazz concert in the courtyard behind this famous lampposts.  Grab a blanket, some snacks, and don’t forget your kids’ scooter! While adults lounge on the grass catching up with friends, the kids roam wild and free. Thsi is actually a multi purpose trip- kids are distracted by other kids while parents can have the evening off listening to great music. The result: a child who comes home so exhausted, he barely twitches while transferring from car to bed.

2. Go To The Beach

When your from LA, you forget that You actually live in a paradise of sorts. Perfect weather (except for the Winter of 2016) and a city surrounded by amazing Beaches. While your average Angeleno escapes south of the border. the rest of the country (and world) enjoys their R&R here.

The beach may seem like a world away when you sit in an hour plus of traffic. The Spitsin fam packs in the car by 8am, stops for an almond cap en route and we are ready to enjoy a quite morning on the beach. It’s the best time because there’s almost no traffic both ways and it’s easy to find street parking.

PS, your kids can’t tell the difference between the Caribbean and Santa Monica.

3. Shakespeare in The Park

Its so important to expose your kids to some culture that is not behind a screen. It’s also great when you can do that in a forum where they feel comfortable. Shakespeare in the Park at Griffith Park is hosted by Independent Shakespeare Co (http://www.iscla.org/griffith-park-festival) . They put on a great show and our kids love it. Don’t worry if your tot can’t sit still, there are a lot of kids, so pick a spot in the back where you can have some extra room. Don’t forget a blanket and some snacks.

4. Make a Picnic

The variety of landscapes in Los Angeles blows my mind. The city is spread out, separated by mountains and valleys, while oceans and deserts surround it. How glorious! Why not go out and enjoy Gods wonderful creation? Grab a lunch, pack the kids (and husband), invite some friends and ride off into the sunset.  When there’s nothing to do, create your own possibilities.

We prefer going to parks that don’t have an existing play yard. Although they’re easy, your left chasing your kids around instead of engaging them. Play some kick ball, or  in an open field. Those are the kind of moments your kids will remember.

5. Twilight Concerts at Santa Monica Pier

Till Thursday August 17 2017

A concert on the beach, no need to say anymore. See the lineup here: http://santamonicapier.org/twilightconcerts/

6. Whole Foods Freebies:

Although this isn’t an event, as a mom, it feels like I’m at the supermarket every other day. We usually go to Whole Foods once a week to Buy our grass fed Meats and organic poultry.  With 2 kids, it’s just not the easiest task, but you can lighten up the event.

Every time you bring your kids with you to the store, stop at Customer Service and pickup a Kids’ Club Coupon good for a complimentary organic apple, 100% Organic fruit leather, or natural animal crackers.  Also, ask about what events they have going on specific to your location.

7. Kids Club at The Grove on Thursday’s  10a-12p

Every Thursday from 10am to Noon, the Grove hosts a free Kids Club where they have a variety of activities for the Kiddos, from Magicians, face painting, to Music, and Dancing…. FUN!  If you are feeling a bit anti social at home all day every day, get out there and mingle with some other moms (and Nannies). It’s great for kids to meet one another and (learn how to) play together, but Momma needs some stimulation.

Diy Face Painting Recipe

With different Harvest celebrations approaching, we know how popular face painting is for all of the kiddos.  Unfortunately, there are many dangerous toxicants found in conventional paints, including lead, nickel, cobalt, and chromium. If your a mama like me, you’d rather avoid the risk while still having the fun. Sophia Ruan Gushee, author of A-to-Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide To Reducing Our Toxic Exposures, has created the ultimate recipe for nontoxic DIY face paint that the whole family can have fun making together!

 This recipe is quick, easy, and a great alternative to the common varieties out there:

Ingredients:

· 1 ½ tbsp cornstarch

· ¼ tbsp all purpose flour

· 2 tbsp honey

· ½ tbsp water

· Natural food color (seek nontoxic products on Amazon, or use household food items that can act as natural dyes)

 

Directions:

1. Mix the cornstarch and flour in a bowl. Add the honey and water to your mixture. It should create a thick, gluey substance that resembles a paste. If the paint is too thin, add more cornstarch and flour. If too thick, add extra water.

2. Divide the mixture into separate bowls, and add your coloring. For example, you can use turmeric for yellow, and paprika for red.


3. The paint comes out a bit more thick and gooey than conventional face paints, but the colors come out beautifully and stay on for hours.
4. While the paint dries well, the honey component makes the paint slightly sticky to the touch. Avoid touching the paint after it is applied.

The Cool Moms’ ToteSavvy

Once you get pregnant the search is on for all of the cool baby accessories that will not only make your life more comfortable but retain a bit of your own style. Nowadays, baby swag is unlimited and each thing is cooler then the next!  Unfortunately, when it comes to diaper bags, the options are limited if you are looking to stay within a reasonable budget. Even within the known designer names, the options are skim, with cheap finishes like vinyl replacing leather and the actual design of the bag being subpar. No thank you, at a price tag of over $400!

Why are you going to carry around a bag that just doesn’t feel like you? In the same instance, your old totes are just not going to cut it. You need to be fully armed while doing adventure diaper changes and dealing with public outburst. 

I recently ran into a concept that I LOVED! ToteSavvy will save you from settling with a diaper bag you feel partial to, at best! Why not just turn your favorite tote into your ideal diaper bag? ToteSavvy sells an insert in a variety of colors and sizes you can put into any one of your bags. The insert features tons of pockets that can be used to store all of your baby essentials. The concept is genius, and I think we will be getting a few for the next baby!


STK LA Introduces Chicken 

From LA to NYC, who doesn’t love STK. It’s a classic you know will be the perfect fit for any occasion. STK has just introduced a delicious new Chicken dish to their menu called Mary’s Free Range Chicken with Organic Farro, Baby Summer Squash and Grilled Lemon Jus. 

Just in case your not in the mood for going out, we were able to snag the recipe for this fresh summer dish. I love trying new recipes and this is a combination of everything my family needs on a daily basis.


Mary’s Free Range ChickenOrganic Farro/ Baby Summer Squash/ Grilled Lemon Jus

 

For the chicken:

1 ea whole organic free range chicken

1 ea garlic clove

1 ea thyme sprig

3 tsp kosher salt

1 ea lemon (sliced)

 

For the farro:

1 c farro

1 ea shallot

1 sprig thyme

1 bay leaf

1 ea clove garlic

 

Baby patty pan squash:

2 c of mix baby squash

1/2 ways shallot (diced)

1 ea garlic clove (chopped)

2 tsp Olive Oil

1/2 ea lemon

¼ c mint leaves

 

For the grilled lemon jus:

2 ea lemon (grilled)

2 c chicken stock

1 ea bay leaf

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp peppercorn

1 ea garlic clove

2 tsp unsalted butter

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F

Chicken:

Place Chicken in a roasting pan, with a food processor pulse/mix salt and garlic and herbs. Season chicken generously inside and out. Stuff the cavity with sliced lemons and more thyme. Tie the legs together with kitchen string.

Roast uncovered for 1hr and 15min in the preheated oven. Minimum internal temperature 175F. let rest for 15 min before cutting.

Jus:

In a sauce pot sauté garlic and spices with butter add stock and reduce to ½, add grilled or roasted lemons and reduce for 10 more min, set aside.

Farro:

In a sauce pot cook farro (rinsed) to brand specifications with the added aromatics.

Veggies:

While roasting, quarter summer baby squash, toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set Aside.

 

To serve, sauté summer squash to desire tenderness, add farro, season to taste and fold in mint to finish. Slice the chicken onto a plate on top of summer squash and farro, finish with jus and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Baby Spitsin: Number 2

Mark, Jonah and I are over the moon to be announcing the coming of our second blessing from above! It is such a priveledge to be able to carry this child inside my body for 40 weeks. Feeling the growth and change in my personal life as I understand another being is also rapidly growing inside me. Something that is hard to understand until your belly begins to expand!

Today will mark my 26 weeks of pregnancy and the day I am ready to make this public announcement. 

The news of this pregnancy came right before my mother was diagnosed with cancer and at the time I felt that it was so inappropriate to be sharing joy when I was experiencing an overwhelming wave of grief. Mark and I were waiting and ready for another child to come and feel regretful to say that in our human understanding we thought it was a “bad” time.  

Over the last 6 months I have been learning to deal with joy and grief simultaneously. We have no control over many circumstances but with humility and gratitude we can accept everything that comes our way. 

I have included some photos from our recent shoot with Olesja Shevchuk, an amazing friend  from Australia who was able to capture our family so well. Taking photos with toddlers is way harder then it looks! Jonah is actually really happy about the coming addition, expressing it with extreme attachment to me. 

Being A Woman- Fertility

The past year has brought me to my knees time and time again. All of my effort to maintain any ounce of normalcy was halted when my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 Cervical Cancer. I have been unable to write
about anything happy or sad. And now I feel like the time is right to reconnect. Its like meeting with a friend you haven’t seen for years. The beginning is awkward because you just don’t know where to start but once you do its like you were never apart.The only logical place to begin is the beginning. When my amazing husband and I were married in March of 2012, we weren’t in any rush to have children because we both thought that when it’s the right time to have children, we will just have them. We compared it to baking a cake, you put all of the correct ingredients together, you have a good nonstick baking dish, a working oven, and the result is a delicious cake. Unfortunately, I came to find out this was not the case for me. I always assumed that fertility issues were connected to factors such as age and specific medical conditions. Everyone seemed to keep any such issues secret, probably to avoid the stigma of being marked an inadequate woman. There is so much guilt associated with not being able to conceive. Society puts this notion in your mind  that being a woman means you should have the ability to pop out babies on demand until menopause. Maybe for some people this is the case, but not for us.

After 9 months of actively trying, we conceived our son Jonah. It was an incredible feeling. I felt so grateful to our Heavenly Father and God for creating this life inside of my womb. The joy overshadowed any pain and suffering we experienced along our path of conception.

Mark and I of course wanted more children, but were expecting to have a similar experience in the conception process for any other pregnancies, if we were to have them. We were amazed to find out that I was pregnant, last May when Jonah was just 11 months and still breastfeeding! Unfortunately, I miscarried at 15weeks. My heart was broken and I had no understanding of why this was happening to me. I never considered that this was an option. It was hard enough not being able to get pregnant when you wanted, but not being able to carry a pregnancy felt even worse. 

I was comforted to find out I became pregnant a few months later, only to hear some familiar bad news at the initial ultrasound. I miscarried again at 6 weeks.

Why am I writing this? Why is it important. I felt like in the beginning of this struggle I was looking for answers everywhere, unfortunately no one seemed to be having the same issues. My friends would just get pregnant as soon as their husband touched them and other childless couples didn’t seem to be trying anyway. It took me some time to be able to find other women to connect with, but in the interim I just felt so alone, helpless, and plagued. “Why ME!” was something I recall hearing often in my head as I was going about my day, noticing that others don’t have these struggles. 
All of this brought me to my knees in prayer, going to the only One who is in control of all things, my Creator and God. I asked Him this same question, just in a different way. I wasn’t asking from a place of entitlement, as if I am such a good person and deserve so much better, and I cannot believe this is happening to ME! Instead, I came to Him in all of my Humility seeking any ounce of grace He would be able share with me. I asked Him: Why is this happening to me? How can I use this for Your good? 

At this point, the veil was lifted and I was shown time and time again the answer to my worries. Why my fertility issues were not in vain. I came to realize there are so many others who are struggling and too scared to speak about. I would share my story and women would share their pains with me. My experience gave me the ability to understand their pain, to cry with them and pray for them knowing how difficult it is. I can’t tell you how many times I have been walking my son to the park while sobbing and praying for other women. Praying for their comfort. We don’t have control over the creation of life, no matter how easy it is for you to have a baby. No matter what we plan or how we plan it, we have to rest everything in Gods hands.

Ultimately, it’s ok if things aren’t working out as planned. We have trust in something so much greater then us. And more importantly, “perfect” is in the eye of the beholder! Instead of sulking in pity for yourself, use the opportunity you have been given in a positive way.

Once I was able to finally give up this control over my whole situation, I did get pregnant.  My doctor advised that I should give my body a rest after my 2nd miscarriage and we agreed with him. We were wiped out, emotionally, physically, mentally. I didn’t want to risk another loss and let down. And that was it. So of course, God put a little baby in my womb a few days later, and I was shocked to find out that I was pregnant. I am 26weeks pregnant now, and taking each day as it comes. 
It’s sad to say that after all of this, it’s so difficult to be happy and excited. I just know that anything is possible and life is not in my hands. Regardless, I am so grateful for my difficulties, for the things that bring me to absolute humility, because it makes me appreciate what I do have so much more. My beautiful family, my loving husband, my crazy toddler, all of it! And when I do hold this new baby in my arms, I will appreciate the moments I am given even more! 

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