Archive for June 2012
It’s true, there’s an app for almost anything.
Once upon a time, when Gabriel was 2 months old, we took a trip to San Francisco to visit Aidan’s parents and attend his friend’s wedding. We stayed at his mom’s house and I forgot the one and only thing that you should never forget when staying in a big house–the baby monitor. It wasn’t so awesome. .
Little baby Gabriel was asleep and we put him in a bassinet in the living room while we watched TV in the den. I eventually told Aidan I was going to go to bed in the downstairs apartment and forgot to tell him to bring the baby down when he was going to bed (why I didn’t take him with me is beyond me). Of course, he didn’t take him because he didn’t know to.
5am rolls around and I realized he didn’t wake up to nurse, which at that age he did about 3 times by 5am. I woke Aidan up and said, “where’s booboo?” (that’s what we call Gabriel).
“What do you mean ‘where’s booboo?’” he responded.
My legs FLEW up those stairs and found my little 10 week old son asleep in the big dark living room–he probably cried and cried until he just fell asleep. It still makes me sad to think about it.
What I didn’t realize was, duh, I should’ve searched for an app. So the next time we went to San Francisco, I searched for an app and found DOZENS! The one we owned didn’t work well at all, so I returned it and stuck with the app instead and I’ve never looked back.
I get kudos on the app all the time because it works so well. You leave your phone with your sleeping babe and you basically set it up to call another phone when your little one cries for a certain amount of time (you decide how long).
Like I said, there are a ton, but this one is the one I use. You can even record your own voice or play a song from your music library if your baby wakes up and hearing your voice or a song can soothe him or her back to sleep.
Also kind of neat? The app records them so you can hear what they do and say and even save that! Gabriel sometimes wakes up and says, “aha” his name for Chloe, which makes me think that he’s dreaming about her. So cute.
This app is perfect for traveling since it takes up NO space and costs a grand total of $2.99. Pretty good deal, right?
PS. Sorry for the lull last week, my big sister was in town from the Philippines and I was preoccupied laughing and enjoying her company. She’s back home now and I’m totally depressed about it.
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I’m a little in love with little boy euro shorts. I bought these for Gabriel last year and he still wears them, but I totally get that they’re not for everyone.
Here are a few options for boys.
1. Polarn O. Pyret. I really love this store. They have such cute stuff.
2. Zara. I’m tempted to buy these euro shorts for Gabriel this year.
4. Odile. Just kinda cute and boyish.
5. JCrew. You can always count on JCrew for simple stylish stuff!
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Is it weird that I’m not really into bikinis for little girls? I’m sure there are cute ones out there, but I guess I just like kids to look like kids for as long as possible before they are teenagers and adults and there’s no turning back.
1. Elle. Crazy expensive for a kid’s bathing suit, but it’s cute, right?
2. Gap. With monarch butterflies? Love!!
3. Polarn O. Pyret. Classic red stripes.
4. Zara. Subdued gray polka dots. This is probably what I’d put my little girl in.
5. Crewcuts. I love the rope belt detail!
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Yesterday was a day to celebrate the men who raised us, who support us, who love us.
My own dad did all of these things, and I am his grateful daughter. But yesterday, I was especially proud of him, and I want to talk about that here, even though it might be too fresh, and I might not have the right words yet. Because yesterday my dad did something for me that he hasn’t done in a long time – he fought for me.
Anyone who reads my blog knows that I have a downright contentious relationship with my dad’s family. And when I say my dad’s family, I’m actually referring to four of his five sisters.
My aunts. The Tias.
One of the things I’ve realized as I’ve opened up more about my own struggles with my family is that I’m not alone – almost everyone I meet has a story to tell about the family members who make them feel like shit. I could fill an entire blog with the details of the psychological warfare my aunts have waged on me over my lifetime, but that’s not what this post is about. Suffice to say that my aunts have often — especially in the past few years — made me feel like the most unlovable person, ever.
I’ve been asked a lot during this time what my dad has to say. And the answer has always been … nothing.
This has been a tough truth to face – my dad is not generally the kind of man who sits back and does nothing when someone makes one of his girls upset. In fact, I still remember vividly having to talk my dad down after a particularly bad waitressing shift in college, where the cooks had yelled at me (anyone who’s ever worked in a restaurant knows this is par for the course). As I walked to my car, feeling like the dam was about to burst at any second, my cell phone rang – it was my dad and he could tell right away I was upset. When I ‘fessed up the reason why he wanted to know the names of the cooks and I knew he was getting ready to drive over to that restaurant and give them a piece of his
My dad is not a man to be trifled with.
But when it comes to his sisters, he goes mysteriously silent. At first this made me angry. And then, it made me sad. And then I just accepted it. Because my relationship with my dad is more important to me than his mean sisters.
Throughout the past seven years that I’ve butted heads with my dad’s family, the script has remained the same: we’re family. Family is the most important thing. That’s just the way we are. Deep down we love you. If you really needed us, we would be there.
Translation: we’re going to treat you like crap, until you’re a helpless pile of low self-esteem, and then when you get hit by a bus, we’ll show up at the hospital.
You know, when I was a kid I used to read stories about cults and think to myself how do people not see how crazy it all is? But now I kind of get it – when everyone around you is saying the same thing, it starts to become the truth. And if you dare to have doubts about whether or not this is the right way to live, something must be wrong with you.
It took becoming a mom for me to realize that the ugly cycle of emotional abuse in my family had to stop. I took one look at my son, and realized that I could not allow him to feel the way I had felt for so many years. So I started to fight back, hoping that I could carve out a new place within my family.
No, it’s not okay for you to tell me something’s wrong with me for not being married. Mind your own business.
No, you don’t get to pick and choose who I love. That’s my choice.
No, you don’t get to make me feel bad because I’m succeeding in life, in spite of you. Positive thinking goes a long way – you should look into it.
You can imagine how well all of this went over.
Eventually, I realized that this just wasn’t going to work. That the only way I was going to be happy was if I emotionally and physically distanced myself. That the solution was not to carve out a new place IN my family – it was to carve out a new kind of family.
It’s been a struggle, and a balancing act — because I wasn’t about to leave behind the man who raised me, and loved me. Or, for that matter, the grandparents and cousins that are truly the redeeming members of my family.
And so began the tricky maneuvering of maintaining my relationship with my dad, grandparents, and cousins, while simultaneously trying to leave behind my relationship with my aunts. This has been a particularly painful process for my dad because he’s still in it – he still believes in those archaic notions of family that tell you no matter how bad it gets, you never turn your back on blood.
And so we tread carefully, my little family and I. We show up when it really matters to my dad, and we try our best to be polite, without compromising the limits of what makes us comfortable. No I’m not going to hug and kiss you when you just got through spewing the most awful lies about me to the rest of our family – I’ll politely say hello, from a comfortable distance.
Yesterday was such a day, and we showed up. We said our polite hellos to everyone sitting outside eating, and then we sat down to eat inside, by ourselves.
A few minutes into our meal, we heard shouting. And then the kitchen door burst open and my dad stormed in, followed by various family members, trying to talk him down. And somewhere in between all the shouting, I heard it – my dad, yelling I’m tired of this, this has to change.
He was talking about me. He was fighting for me. And he was really, really mad.
My own instincts to protect my dad kicked in, and I joined the family members begging him to calm down. Papi, I told him. They’re not going to change. Getting mad doesn’t do anybody any good. You should just ignore them, ignore whatever they say. Because I’m not here for them anyway, I’m here for YOU.
No, he shook his head. This has to change. This isn’t right. We’re family.
My dad spent the rest of the afternoon avoiding my aunts, and everything eventually calmed down. And believe me, I don’t have any illusions of this being some kind of permanent game changer – my dad loves his sisters, and that will never change.
But I was proud of him nonetheless. Because my dad finally saw, if only briefly, what I see – that family is not supposed to behave this way.
Family is supposed to pull each other up, not tear each other down.
Family is supposed to cheer you on, not hold you back.
Family should remind you that you are loved, not that you are tolerated.
This is the family that I’m in the process of building, from the ground up. This is the kind of family that I will fight for, until my very last breath. This is the kind of family that my dad fought for, yesterday.
Yesterday, our war cries were the same.
Best … Father’s Day … Ever.
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I wanted to share with you what Gabriel and I made for Aidan for Father’s day. I would’ve posted it earlier to share it as an idea as a gift for father’s day, but I didn’t want to ruin the surprise for Aidan.
I actually got this idea from Michelle because she made one for Matt. It’s really sweet and simple and in this digital age, you never quite know what to do with all those digital pictures and videos. I made it on iMovie which is totally user-friendly.
Click here to see our little present!
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That “scrape” I got (I put it in quotes because I have been trying to convince Aidan that it’s not just a scrape, that it hurts far too much to just be a scrape) was from hiking at Griffith Park. I bent down to pick up a flower while Gabriel was in his baby carrier and rolled my ankle and fell. I’m a wimp when it comes to blood (that’s why Gabriel’s accident was extra hard) and I almost fainted when I saw it–true story, I had to sit and breathe for a long time to let it pass. Aidan has since been tending to my “scrape” and trying not to laugh when I treat it like a gunshot wound.
I hope you all have a wonderful Father’s day weekend. We’re spending Saturday at my dad’s house swimming and Sunday, we’re not sure yet, but I’m sure it will be awesome. Let’s celebrate dads!
ps. Another favorite from this week? Gabriel is saying his name… although it’s more like “gay-b-yoh” which is totally close enough.
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I love waffles. We all do. We sometimes get the frozen kind, just to have in the freezer, until it dawned on us–why can’t we make our own waffles and freeze them ourselves thus avoiding all the weird additives that are in store bought waffles. Done and done.
But something we do a little differently, we use Pamela’s gluten free pancake mix. I swear to you, this stuff is good and you won’t notice that it doesn’t have wheat and you’ll feel better for it–swear. It is quickly becoming a staple here at chez Hawken. If you aren’t down for it, here’s a basic waffle recipe that you can totally freeze and use later too! I’d recommend doing double the batch (whichever way you chose to do it) so that you have a good little supply of waffles!
We also do things a smidge differently from their recipe.
1. We use melted butter instead of oil.
2. Sometimes I use milk instead of water (we rarely have milk, but we did this time, so I used it).
3. I also add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the batter.
4. Lastly I separate the egg whites and whip them until they’re stiff, and gently fold them into the batter making the waffles nice and fluffy.
I grease the waffle griddle with melted butter. I’m also over conservative when I pour the batter onto the griddle, mostly because I hate cleaning up batter when it spills over the sides. As a result, I often have some incomplete waffle squares.
Once they’re all done, throw them into a freezer safe container (a ziplock bag totally works) and throw them into your freezer and they’ll be good when you’re ready for them.
When you’re ready to eat them, just heat them up in the oven or in a toaster, top with some almond butter for extra protein and bananas. Or maple syrup and butter. Or ham and eggs. Or whatever your heart desires. They’ll be amazing, swearsies!
Remember my other idea for easy breakfasts for toddlers? I’m thinking of trying that recipe out with Pamela’s pancake mix!
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Father’s day is this Sunday! What are you all planning to do?
1. Swiss Army Knife. My dad got me one of these a while ago (my dad wished I was a boy, still does) and they’re incredibly useful and classic.
2. Solar Powered Radio. For when dad’s working or relaxing outside.
3. Wall-Mounted Bottle Opener. It’s just so stylish. Why not?
4. Thermos. I’ve been obsessed with thermoses lately. I think they’re so cute, and so Fred Flintstone-y.
5. Wall Clock. Aidan’s been eyeing this for a while. I love it too.
6. Coffee Mill. For the coffee loving dad who can’t talk before he’s had his coffee.
7. Darth Vader and Son Book. Have you seen this book? It’s AMAZING.
8. Craftsman Toolbox. These have a lifetime guarantee. What dad doesn’t enjoy organizing his tools?
9. Canon Rebel Digital SLR Camera. Pretend it’s for dad, but we really know, it really is for you.
or the old standby, a card, a drawing, and a photograph in a frame is always pretty awesome.
More gift guides for guys here.
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I’m trying to put aside my
hatred jealousy for you mommies that can still wear a two piece. I probably can, but I don’t really feel confident enough for it. Oh babies, it’s a good thing they’re cute! These are some that I thought were pretty cute and mommy friendly.
1. Old Navy.
2. Nanette Lepore.
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How many of you have ever wondered if you’re the only one who sometimes hates your spouse?
And, yes, I’m using the word hate here (a very strong word indeed) because hate is, after all, the flip side of love — one cannot exist without the other.
It took me a very long time to accept this ugly truth, but I am absolutely the kind of person who has to hate my husband a little bit in order to love him.
Like when he leaves coffee stains on our white porcelain sink.
Or when I ask him to help me with one of the 1,356 things I have to do before our son’s birthday party, and he asks me “How long is this going to take?”
Sometimes I truly despise my beloved.
Now I’m certainly no expert on marriage — we did, after all, just celebrate our five year wedding anniversary only last month — but I have picked up a few scraps of wisdom in the 8 years that I’ve known/loved my husband and I want to share some of that here.
The first, and most important, thing that I’d like to shout from the blogging rooftops is this: it’s okay to fight.
In fact, I’m just going to say it: it’s okay to NOT fight fair!!
Many years ago, when my husband was still a stranger and our son was still a baby, we fought so much that I truly could not see the other side, no matter how hard I tried. I couldn’t see how we were going to make it another year together, let alone a lifetime.
And our fights — they were brutal. They were middle-of-the-night screaming matches, followed by I-can’t-do-this-anymore tears as the sun came up. And all that make-up sex that everyone said was supposed to “make up” for the agony of fighting? That never happened.
In the middle of these dark days, I would often turn to my in-laws for advice — I was very close to them and I wanted to better understand my husband and the things that made him tick. Who better to go to than the source of my husband’s upbringing and values?
My husband’s parents were always kind, always empathetic, and always helpful in their way. But the one thing that stuck with me the most was when my father-in-law would say “We’ve never fought.” He wore this proclamation like a badge of honor and he would emphasize his point repeatedly, much to my despair. They never fought. No late-night screaming, no packing up a bag and threatening to never come back. Forty years into their marriage, and they never, ever, fought.
I tormented myself about this for years — what was wrong with my marriage? Why were we always fighting? Was this the glaring red flag that we refused to accept? Happy couples don’t fight, and couples destined for divorce did? What was the goddamn, mother-effing recipe for success?!?!
I used to think the recipe for a successful marriage was what my in-laws had and that unless we were like them (and we never could be) then we were destined to fail. I accepted this pre-determined fate, and in my mind I settled in, waiting for the moment when it would all be over. I was resigned.
This was my mentality up until the day my husband’s father announced he was moving across the country – without my mother-in-law. Their perfect lives unraveled rather quickly, and the details behind that are not part of this story nor is it my place to tell them, but the story that is mine is that their messy breakup changed everything in my own relationship.
First: it almost destroyed my marriage.
Then: it rebuilt it, stronger than ever.
Because, for the first time ever, my marriage stopped being a complete failure. For the first time ever, I stopped holding us up to an impossible standard, and simply accepted our union for exactly what it was — sometimes great, sometimes ugly, full of equal parts irritation and admiration. Once it became okay to hate my husband a little, it became so much easier to love him a lot.
And I do love him. A lot.
The days of late-night yelling and driving to my mom’s house are fewer and farther between than they’ve ever been. And even when they do happen (we are not perfect) thoughts of leaving for good don’t really cross my mind anymore.
The last time I drove away — many months ago — my cell phone lit up almost immediately and when I answered my husband asked me, in all seriousness, if I was leaving him. And it was all I could do not to burst out laughing. No, I told him — it will take a whole lot more than this for me to give up on you. I could almost hear him smiling on the other end of the phone. Well then you might as well come home, he said. Yes, I guess I might as well, I replied. So I turned the car around.
It gets easier to let go of your pride as the years go by — that’s the second thing I want to say. There are still days when I am angry for no discernible reason. Like when I snap at my husband for leaving his socks by the front door, which is a really stupid reason to get mad at anyone (a point that my husband, much to my chagrin, likes to points out). Years ago, this would invariably develop into a gigantic fight — the kind where you can’t remember how it started after it’s all over and you are thoroughly wrung out.
These days, amidst all of the irrational thoughts that cross my mind in the beginning of such fights, there usually comes a moment when the storm clouds part ever so slightly, a tiny voice of reason peeks through, and I ask myself why I’m so mad. And then, with a great big gulp, I swallow my pride and tell my husband that I’m grouchy. And I don’t know why. But there you have it. Gigantic fight averted.
The last thing I want to say is that there is no recipe for successful marriages — at least that’s what I’ve learned. But there is a recipe for unhappy marriages, and the first step in that recipe is “compare your relationship to other ‘perfect’ relationships.” There are no perfect relationships, and it is my true and honest belief that anyone trying to convince you that they “never fight” is hiding something far uglier and nastier than anything I’ve ever encountered in my fight-filled marriage.
This has been, perhaps, the toughest lesson to learn — because without a recipe for happiness, there are also no guarantees. There’s no way to know, one way or the other, where the chips will fall in my marriage 10, 20, 30 years down the line. All those years ago, when I simply waited around for the whole thing to fall apart, I was a lot less scared — I could, after all, brace myself for the impact.
Choosing a lifetime of love, for me, is much, much harder. It means that I am jumping in, head first, without knowing what’s waiting for me below. It means that I have to be willing to give my whole heart, all the while accepting that there might still be failure waiting for me in the end.
It’s beyond terrifying, and sometimes I’m terrible at it. Sometimes my Type-A personality demands guarantees that my heart will never be crushed, that my happily ever after is written in stone, and that I will someday die a well-loved, married woman. It’s a lot to worry about, I know, but these fears plague me.
I can’t pretend to know the ending to this story, so I won’t bother trying to guess. But, come to think of it, I was wrong before when I said there were no guarantees, because there is ONE guarantee and it is this: never again will I be ashamed to fight in my marriage.
No matter the heights of the highs or the depths of the lows, I will go in fighting and I will not despair. Because now I know: this doesn’t mean that I have failed — it simply means that I have something still worth fighting for.