Baby Kisses… oh the sweetness

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So, I taught Roman how to give kisses… and it’s my new favorite thing.

I’ll pucker up and ask for a kiss and I get get one of three responses:

either he scrunches up his face in disgust and turns away (adorable)

gives a taunting smile and shakes his head no (even more adorable)

or leans in with his forehead, nose or pout for me to kiss (so sweet.)

The best of course, is when I don’t ask for one at all, and he just walks up and plants one on me with this, “I know how much you love kisses and I like you right now, so I’ll go ahead and give you one,” way about him.

The other day when he gave me the “smile and head shake” response, I gave him a dramatically silly sad reaction, and he reached out and petted my hair and did his “nice nice” expression with its accompanying “oooh, aaah” noises to make me feel better. This is the other new thing we taught him, in an attempt to divert his physical abuse… though playing “nice” usually lasts only a couple of seconds before it turns into wild smacking and laughter. So he gets it, sort of. Fortunately he understands well enough to be “nice” with other children on the playground… just the other day a little girl was trying to climb out of the tunnel, and Roman proceeded to gently stroke her hair over and over, without ever switching to wild smacking! (She didn’t seem to mind.)

The goal is to make sure he understands how to be gentle when it comes time to meet his newborn baby sister… the next goal is to get him saying, “baby!”

In the mean time, I am thoroughly enjoying watching him develop his own little personality and opinions as he asserts himself with his news means of self expression <3 Even if his usual stance on kisses is something along the lines of, “yuck, no thank you Mama.”

Sharing is Caring… Happy Labor Day Weekend!

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image via The Wheat Field Shop on Etsy

This week I managed another dinner time success! I LOVE chopped salads… but I hate chopping, so I never make them… except that Monday I made this Chopped Vegetable, Watermelon, Feta Salad recipe from Smitten Kitchen. It is the perfect summer salad, which made me sad that I never tried it sooner… but what a perfect Labor Day recipe it could be, so I thought I’d share it now!

The Science Behind Baking the Most Delicious Cookie Ever.(The 3rd on the top row, and 1st and 2nd on the bottom row look like my kind of cookies.) My absolute favorite chocolate chip cookies of all time are the ones they give you for free at the end of your meal at The Misfit in Santa Monica, you can also buy them (and sometimes if you ask to buy them they just give you more!) So anyway, however it is they make their cookies, thats my favorite way for cookies to be made.

I cannot put into words my relief/excitement over this Society: Don’t Blame the Mothers piece over on Nature. I have started so many posts about my frustration over the constant bombardment of articles, siting research, attributing this and that to a mothers choices during pregnancy and of course beyond. I always stop myself because I tend to rant… so I’m so pleased to see a scientific article explain the biases of science and the dangers of these misperceptions!

I would like to stay here, or here, under the Tuscan Sun with my family, wearing this bump friendly red dress.

We recently rented The One I Love on iTunes, a romantic comedy like nothing I’d ever seen before, I definitely recommend it!

Wishing you all a beautiful Labor Day Weekend, now go play outside!

 

You Can Learn Anything!

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Khan Academy is on an inspiring mission to spread the message that, “you can learn anything.” Dispelling the myth that intelligence is fixed, they hope to “unlock the worlds potential.” A beautiful, important message.

Watch their video here!

Here he explains why he’ll never tell his son he’s smart. A message that echoes advice like this, and this, championed by the research of Carol Dweck, the articles go on and on… the evidence is quite compelling.

I already tell my one year old how smart and amazing he is a million times a day. This is going to be a challenge.

The ability to learn and grow through failure and risk taking is just too important… understanding that you can learn anything if you are willing to struggle and fail sure sounds like one of the most important lessons I could pass on to my children…. looks like it is time for me to start forming some new habits!

How do you handle praise in your house? Any tips or tricks for emphasizing effort over outcome and intelligence?

Currently Obsessed: Mara Hoffman Fall 2014

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I first (finally) discovered Mara Hoffman 3 years ago in a little dress shop in Carmel, CA. I bought one of her dresses at this place that sold designer things from past seasons with big discounts. I went home, looked her up and fell in love. We’d drive down to LA some weekends to visit my sister and I’d die a little inside at the sight of her swimsuits at Planet Blue in Santa Monica, not on sale. Obviously, that is how I feel right now.

This feature on a day with her son on MotherMag.com made me love her even more. In it she describes her personal style as, “casual, eclectic and well traveled” a line I’d like to steal, if only I was as well traveled as I am in my dreams. I also love following her on Instagram.

She might live in and work in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, but her designs still bring me back to California. And my oh my have I been missing California lately. My days are full of dreams about a life on that sunny coast with my little family… someday… and someday I will own more than one Mara Hoffman dress!

DC Love: Clemyjontri Park

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So this magnificent playground isn’t actually in DC… its an easy drive (about 20 mins for us) outside in McLean, VA.  I discovered it thanks to this post on MotherMag.com, you can also read about it here on Red Tricycle.

Their website proclaims, “We believe all playgrounds using public funds should be built to be accessible to all.” That sure does make a lot of sense! The playground is designed accordingly, providing a place where children of all abilities can play side by side on their two acre park with its colorful four outdoor “playrooms”, picnic table areas and beautiful carousel! So perfect for a birthday party.

Roman spent most of the afternoon hopping from steering wheel to steering wheel, spinning them with infinite amounts of enthusiasm. I loved watching him wander the large space from one feature to the other, observing what he was most drawn to and excited by.

They have three lots for free parking, and even with the first two filled up the playground was so large it didn’t feel too crowded.

A lovely way to spend an overcast Saturday afternoon. What a gem of a children’s space!

On Raising Godless Children

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“We believe in science.” This is the line I have prepared myself to repeat when my children come home with questions about religion, God, heaven, ghosts etc. I like to imagine them in little conversations with their miniature peers repeating the family creed, “we believe in science.” Does that actually sum up everything I want to teach my children about religion, or maybe I should say in place of religion? No, but I really like the way it sounds. I want them to be well informed and maintain respect for religious traditions, with an awareness of their cultural, historical relevance.  (And to understand that religious people can believe in science too of course!) More importantly I want them to be in awe of the universe. Even more importantly I want them to value kindness, compassion, truth, justice, human rights, forgiveness, generosity, joy, family and love above all else. I want them to be respectful of all life and the earth, with a sense of responsibility to this planet and their community. I want my children to learn to think for themselves. “We are secular humanists,” would be a more all encompassing answer to their future inquiries, but how boring!

I’m so interested to see what it will be like for them, their minds gobbling up entirely different ideas about the world than those I was raised with (coming from a Catholic family living in a somewhat Evangelical small town.)  I’m always so excited to find books and media that support our childrearing efforts. I picked up  You Are Stardust at Kramer Books last week and am eager for the days my children will read it with us in wonder, full of questions. Then this article on Salon turned me on to these books, for when my children are a bit older. Also, isn’t The Little Prince a most perfect substitute for Bible stories?!

A few other books that I look forward to adding to our library, to help us “teach our children well”:

Alice In Quantumland

Does My Goldfish Know Who I Am?

Big Questions From Little People: And Simple Answers From Great Minds

The Magic of Reality

The Lorax

The Baby Tree

Love Is Forever

This list is a work in progress… What would you add? Any great children’s books on science, social justice, life and love on your book shelf?

*photos taken from our copy of You Are Stardust by Elin Kelsey

Sharing is Caring… Happy Weekend!

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Image via Awake Your Soul Etsy Shop: The World Awaits Nursery Print

I am obsessed with Cup of Jo‘s Motherhood Around the World Series, obsessed. I look forward to it every Monday and love sharing the little tidbits of insight with my husband over dinner. This past Monday was one of my favorites, Istanbul has been at the top of my travel dream list for awhile now. London had me wanting to move there this instant, Berlin had me almost wanting to move there (except for that cold), this Shanghai post was so very interesting but made it clear to me that I most definitely never want to move to China, and Australia well who doesn’t want to live there?! Abu Dhabi, Congo and Norway are my favorites from last year!

Along those same lines, 9 Incredible Lessons in Parenting Around the World important to think about in regard to recent arrests of this nature.

AND Amazing Playgrounds Around the World (including one in VA 20 minutes from our home, and one in San Mateo 15 minutes from where we’ll be staying in CA next month! SO so excited to check them out, favorite mothermag.com post to date!)

Congratulations to the ALS foundation on $42 million in donations and counting, may this be the start of many a viral donation campaign for many a worthy cause!

If you are looking for more worthy causes to support, check out  GiveWell.org, The Life You Can Save, and Giving What We Can to be an effective altruist!

Jersey Tomatoes, yum, an obsession I share…. now if only I shared her skills in the garden and the kitchen!

In other food related news: I have recently, finally, started meal planning in an attempt to take on more responsibility in my kitchen… monday I made this Thai Cashew Coconut Rice with Ginger Peanut Sauce recipe and it was a hit, super delicious and totally easy to make without messing up, woohoo! Success=motivation!

It’s official, I must learn to sew, because: this poncho, this jumper, this dress.

Wishing you the happiest of weekends!