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I am thrilled to be hosting a giveaway today from my friends at Mocafe. You might remember that I’ve been doing some blogging for them, and when they asked if I’d like to offer my readers a chance to win my most favorite addiction beverage in the world, I of course said yes. Their products are used by professional baristas world-wide, and are just plain delicious.

Even if you’re not a chai-junkie like I am, I guarantee you’ll like the variety offered by Mocafe. And here’s your chance to win:

A Mocafe Chai  (and one cocoa!) Extravaganza worth $50!

12 Assorted Canisters:
- 3 Spiced Chai 12 oz. canisters

- 3 Vanilla Chai 12 oz. canisters
- 3 Mango Chai 12 oz. canisters
- 3 Azteca D’Oro Mexican Spiced Chocolate 14 oz. canisters

You guys, that’s a lot of chai! Think of all the money you’ll save on a.m. coffee runs while enjoying this yumminess! You have THREE chances to win! Here’s how:

1. Leave a comment on this post telling me what’s your addiction. Coffee? Shoes? Unicorn figurines?

2. Like Mocafe on Facebook and leave a wall comment saying you entered the These Little Moments Chai Giveaway.

3. Tweet on Twitter this exact phrase: “I just entered to win a Chai Prize Package from @mocafenews and @mollylovesshoes worth $50!”

The contest will run for one week. Comments close on Wednesday, September 7th at 12 p.m. EST. Winner will be announced the following day.

Good luck and happy caffeinating!

- We survived Hurricane Irene! We were super fortunate that we only lost power for a few hours and had no major property damage. I cannot say the same for most of the state (and the states around us), where most people are still without power and will be for a few days, or near my parents in New York, where many towns are under water. Our neighbors also had a tree fall into their house. Super scary, but luckily no one was hurt.

- In preparation of the storm, in addition to hoarding water and hiding lawn furniture, I made those black bean veggie burgers. I figured if we found ourselves without power, I could cook them on our gas stove and not worry about them spoiling quickly like beef would. The recipe yielded 9 good-sized patties and they were really, really good. I’ve cooked them two ways — in the oven (20 minutes at 375 degrees, turning one) and on grill pan (10 minutes each side). I like them both ways. Out of the oven was best for Owen, as I could crumble it up small, but I prefered the grill as it gave the burger a nice crust. Either way, a definite winning recipe and one I will continue to make again and again. Glad I wrote it on that recipe card!

Bad cell phone picture, but these are what they look like.

- Unless some crazy freak incident occurs in the next two weeks, the house sale FINALLY WENT THROUGH!!!!!!!!! I won’t go into the ridiculous details, but I have to tell you that dealing with banks is something I hope not to have to do again for a long time. The issue that held us up was, as Michael calls it, “pure silliness”, and had nothing to do with actual banking or financing. A clerical issue at best, that was not resolved until the last.possible.minute., leaving us convinced that we had lost the house. As much as I do not want to pack and deal with moving, I cannot wait until September 15th, when I will hopefully be posting a happy post about our new home.

- The fabulous Mr. Owen continues to blow my mind and warm my heart. Obviously I love this kid to pieces, but I really do even more each day. He’s become such a personality and is certainly no longer a baby. At 14 months old now (wait, didn’t he just turn one?), he just took his first steps the other day!!!! Sure, a little later than some, but certainly not “behind”. He’s not full-blown walking yet, but is getting more and more confident at letting go of my hand and going on his own.

He also continues to talk up a storm, recently adding yellow “yeh-yo” to his vocabulary, which for some reason cracks me up. He can’t always correctly identify which object is in fact yellow, but he enjoys saying it none-the-less.

And the night weaning? I’m kind of typing this in hushed whispers just in case, but, um…it took one night. That night I wrote about the morning after we first started. The second night he woke up around 3 a.m., cried for four minutes and went back to sleep. The next night he did the same thing around 5. And after that? Well…he just started sleeping through the night. Just like that.

Sometimes he will wake up at 5:30, at which point I do nurse him because he will go back down until around 7, but most nights I don’t hear from him until the 6 o’clock hour. THANK YOU, OWEN!

So there’s the long, rambling life update for you. We’re off to the playground now, because the passing of Irene left us with some A+ weather and sitting in front of the computer just seems lame.

PS – Giveaway coming this week! For something delicious!

HAHAHAH I TOTALLY LIED.

This is how I went out in public, just a few minutes ago. Looking good, aren’t I? Green athletic shorts (with paint on them) and a shockingly pink t-shirt from my alma mater supporting a basketball game. I call this look “Zomg, I’m just too tired to care and finding something even remotely cute takes too much energy.”

Plus, I was just going to Starbucks, where I dropped four of my specifically budgeted food dollars (that could be put towards PREPARATIONS FOR THE HURRICANE AHHHH!) on an iced cafe mocha because ugh. I am SO. SO. TIRED. Fellow Sbux patrons are just lucky I managed to include a bra with this outfit.

(And also, apparently my brain is speaking in all CAPS today.)

We’re just really stressed out around here, and while it’s making Michael sprout a few gray hairs, it’s just zapping all the energy I have. The short of it is, we sold our house, (Yay!) and “bought” another one (Yay!), only the last piece of paperwork we need to close the deal on the new house hasn’t been finalized yet for NO REASON and the deadline for it is getting closer and closer. (BOOOOO!) It’s out of our hands, which is actually more frustrating than it being IN our hands because we can’t do a damn thing about it, so we wait. And wait.

The thing is, like I said, our house is sold. Which means come September 14th, we need to be out. With somewhere else to live. And as of today, we don’t know if that place will be our new home, or the trunk of our car. (Ok, yes. I’m being a tad dramatic. We have family and all to stay with. But still.) The unknown is beyond stressful and I’ve been in a bit of denial about actually leaving our current home. Which means…I haven’t packed a damn thing. Not one.

Considering we need to be out in 18 days, I better get on that.

Sigh.

Add all that to the possibility that we could be hit with some major hurricane-like stuff this weekend, all while Michael is working, leaving me alone with Owen and Kodiak (I’m terrified we’ll end up in the basement recreating a scene from The Wizard of Oz), and my stress level has reached epic proportions.

And so, despite how much I sleep, I remain tired.

And therefore, dress gross.

The end.

I often find myself making plans for things I will do in my free time. Organize my closet. Sort through my back issues of Real Simple. Decide if there’s any shoes I could get rid of. (Doubtful.)

The problem is that free time? Doesn’t really exist anymore. Yes, I have time to myself when Owen is napping. But while you can get some stuff done in an hour and change, you can’t get a ton of stuff done. And I usually like to take that time to do something a little more relaxing. Like eat Nutella out of the jar.

So, the To Do list just gets longer, and nothing really gets checked off.

Case in point: recipe cards.

I’m a recipe collector. I really like to cook and spend a fair amount of that alleged “free time” drooling over food blogs and recipe sites. I have cookbooks, but rarely open them. Instead, when I get the inkling to make something new, I usually jot down the recipe on a piece of paper, refer to it while cooking, and then tuck it away.

My kitchen has this handy little cookbook platform that folds down from underneath the cabinet. But instead of using it to place a book on, I use it to hide store my ever-growing, completely unorganized recipe collection. I can’t even tell you how many folded up pieces of paper there are buried on that shelf.

When I got married, my mom sent all my shower guests a specially designed recipe card and asked them each to bring a recipe. She made a really lovely recipe box for them, and it’s truthfully one of my most treasured possessions. She included in the box some blank recipe cards, and while I always had the BEST intentions of writing on them, I never did. Three years later.

Then my sister, who used to work for Giant Corporate Craft Store, bought me some fancy dancy recipe cards because she thought I would like them. I do! They’re pretty! Her gift lead to the addition of Write Recipes On Recipes Cards to the To Do list, but of course I never did.

Fast forward to today. The ever-growing Owen is already trying to eat me out of house and home. I cannot keep milk or bananas in the house to save my life. (I can’t even begin to imagine what he will do to my grocery supply when he’s a teenager…) He loves to eat, and eats basically whatever I give him. While I loved making his early food especially for him, I’m really enjoying this new stage where all I need is the cutting board and my chef’s knife to make whatever we eat Owen-friendly.

In an effort to broaden his horizons even more, I bought some veggie burgers. He LOVES them. Of course he does. The only problem is they only come four in a box (lame) and while most of the ingredients are healthy, there’s still some filler in there and if I can’t pronounce it, I don’t know if I really want him to eat it.

I figured, how hard could veggie burgers be? I bet I could make them no problem, and I bet they would be delicious. I found this recipe, and I’m excited to try them out this week.

After I found it, I went into the kitchen, grabbed my Sharpie and notepad, and was almost back at the computer when I realized, wait a minute! I HAVE RECIPE CARDS!

I cannot tell you how good it feels to have used one. Crazy, right? Like, is this really a big deal? Yes. Yes it is.

Now, if only I could find some time to transfer the rest of the recipes over to the cards, I’d be smooth sailing.

Yeah right.

I’m nearing the end of my breastfeeding journey. It’s not the act of breastfeeding that I’m done with — I still enjoy that part. The closeness, the ability to put him virtually right back to sleep when he wakes in the night. Those are some big pluses. But I’m just starting to feel done. Nursed out. I’d like some time where my body is just mine before we have another baby, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for anyone else to get him down to sleep without the all-mighty boob. I’m ok with having these feelings. I don’t feel guilty about them. I’m just ready to wean.

Owen nurses about five times a day. First thing in the morning, before each nap, before bed and once in the middle of the night. Most sessions aren’t that long, but they are so clockwork that it’s clear they’ve just become part of his routine. He expects to sit down in the glider at certain times during the day, and if he doesn’t…sigh.

Two nights ago he surprised us by not nursing before bed. He was reclining on me in the living room, giving us kisses and getting super sleepy. When it was clear he was ready to sleep, I brought him up, put him to bed and that was it. No fussing, no nursing. Just sleeping.

He didn’t do it again the next night, but it only reinforced what I’ve known for a while. He doesn’t need to nurse, he just enjoys it.

I’m not going to pull the plug on him cold turkey, but I’m gently starting to guide him in the direction of weaning. Lately, I’ve found that if I sit down on the couch — at any time — he thinks the bar is open for business and comes on over for a drink. Needless to say, I don’t sit down a lot during the day. So, if he asks to nurse during the day (he comes up to me, points to my chest and says “that.” Period. Matter of fact.), I tell him “Not right now,” and distract him with something else. Usually this works, as he doesn’t really feel the need to nurse, he just sees it there in front of him and thinks, why not?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not denying him the comfort, I’m just trying to show him other ways he can be comforted.

Since I wanted to do this slowly, I’ve decided to eliminate one nursing session at a time, starting with the middle of the night, mostly because I am just SO DONE with getting up. I want to sleep!! I’m the one with the boobs, so I’m the one who gets up. Every single night. For almost 14 months.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have entered Night Weaning Territory.

After coming to the decision (I feel he is ready. He has shown he is capable of sleeping all the way through the night, and he is certainly old enough not to need the calories until morning.), I was ready to put things into motion. I’ve read up on it, I’ve talked to my mom about it, I’ve questioned my mom friends about it. All my research has brought me to the understanding that a) the process will suck, b) I will be tired, c) it will take a few days, and d) he will not hate me when it’s over. Promise.

While I do think that some crying is necessary and allows children to learn to self-soothe, I’m not on board with just letting the kid scream for hours. One phrase I keep coming across is “Parenting doesn’t stop at night”. It’s true, you know? If I’m not going to soothe him with my breast at 3 a.m., I need to soothe him in other ways. I’m his mama, he counts on me for that.

Last night was Night One of the grand ol’ night weaning. He went to bed just after seven, but when two o’clock in the morning rolled around, he started to cry. I waited to see if he’s fuss for a bit and go back down. He didn’t. When he started to escalate and call my name, I went in. He was standing in the crib, clutching his sock and pointing at the glider. “Nuh! Nuh! Nuh!” He shouted at me.

Instead of nursing, I scooped him up and shushed him while I paced the room. Annoyed…no, wait. More like, totally and completely pissed off, he angrily continued to point at the chair and cry. I hummed, I kissed his cheek, and continued to walk back and forth. After what felt like hours (even though I was right there with him, I still felt sad that I wasn’t giving him exactly what he wanted), but turned out to only be five minutes, he changed his mind and started pointing at the crib. Like, FINE, Mama. This was a waste of time getting up. Put me back in my bed. (That’s exactly the idea I want him to have. That it’s not worth it to wake up and make a big stink.)

So I did. I put him back down and rubbed his back. He calmed down quickly and I stayed right there, rubbing his back, until he fell asleep.

Or so I thought. Just as I tiptoed back into bed, he started crying again. And when he didn’t settle, I got right back up, lay him back on his belly, and began the process of rubbing his back all over again. It took at least 25 minutes, as he was all amped up.

Finally, back in bed, I had just started to drift off when he let out one final howl. But then all was quiet. I glanced at the clock — 3:02 a.m., just over an hour from when he first woke.

Yawn.

At around 6:45 a.m., I woke up to the sound of his mobile playing in his crib and him babbling to himself. At seven, I went in, making a big happy fuss about seeing him and  scooped him up for kisses. He immediately pointed to the chair and asked to nurse, and of course this time I would not say no. Instead of the chair, I brought him into bed for some morning snuggles with Dada, and he happily had his morning nurse, and went about his morning as usual. Totally happy, totally fine.

One night down.

Yeah, I’m tired today. But I’m hoping that tonight will be a little better, and the night after that even better than the one before. I’ll do a follow-up post when it’s all said and done.

Wish me luck!

 

I received quite a few lovies as gifts for the baby while I was pregnant. For those of you not familiar with the term, a lovey is generally a square of a soft fabric, sometimes with the head of a stuffed animal on it. Babies tend to snuggle and hold them for comfort. A lovey can of course be anything — whatever the child deems to be their lovey. I’ve known kids who loved on burp clothes, for example. The security thing seems to last for years — I knew people in college still carrying around a tiny square of their childhood blankey.

Since I had all these lovies for Owen, once he was old enough not to smother himself with them, I started putting one in the crib with him at night. My aunt bought him the most adorable and soft black and white dog lovey, and I thought for sure this would be HIS lovey. Not the case.

Every morning I would come in and he had thrown the lovey (as well as a stuffed lobster, lion and bear) on the floor. It was a game. I’d pick them up, he’d throw them back down laughing. Fine by me. I didn’t care either way if he used a lovey or not, I just thought I would give him the option, you know? I had a baby doll — BeeBee — which I carried around for YEARS, so I understand finding comfort in an object when you’re small.

A few weeks ago, I was putting away some laundry and a sock happened to fall out of my drawer. When I was packing up my hospital bag before Owen was born, I included a pair of short, black athletic socks I had bought specifically to wear during labor. (Black hides everything, you know?) I was wearing them while he was born, but then I never wore them again, as well, they’re black, and they looked weird with my sneakers.

Anyway, Owen was playing at my feet when the sock fell, and he immediately went to check it out. He was still holding on to it a few minutes later when it was time for him to nap, so I just left it with him, and forgot about it in the crib when I took him out later.

That night, I placed him in his crib and he immediately grabbed the sock. He scrunched it up, put it by his face, and went to sleep. When I checked on him later that night, the sock was still clutched in his hand. Owen had found his first lovey.

A sock.

I told my mom about this and she didn’t seem surprised in the slightest. It’s probably the first thing he saw in the world, she told me. Ha! Maybe that’s true. Whatever the reason for the attachment to the sock, it’s super sweet. The sock has become an important piece in his sleep routine; he seeks it out as soon as he’s placed in the crib, and if he wakes in the middle of the night for a nurse, he usually holds on to it while he eats.

I love that he’s found comfort in something so non-traditional. It’s unique! (And really easy on my part. The sock came in a pack of three pairs. That leaves me with five extra lovies as backups!)

It warms my heart to see him snuggle up to it, knowing that it’s bringing him a sense of security. Even if that security did used to go on my foot.

Did you have a lovey growing up? What was it?

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I often find myself wanting to do a quick post during the day, but never end up sitting down to write unless I want to write a post post.

But then I remembered the WordPress app on my phone, which is perfect for things like this photo.

This was hanging on the wall of the chiropractor’s office amongst artwork clearly made by kids. It appears to be a young woman wearing a lot of makeup with the word “Before” scrawled across her face.

Before. Before WHAT? I am confused.

The person who comes up with the best story behind WINS all Charlie Sheen-style.

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Sometimes you have to make your own Zen. Even if it means hiding from your toddler in the kitchen to do so.

Ready for some shameless self-promotion? OK…GO!

These Little Moments now has it’s very own Facebook page. I’ve had some emails and Formspring questions asking if we could be friends on Facebook, and while I love getting to know you guys, I try to keep my Facebook “life” separate from my blog “life” in terms of privacy and pictures, etc. But with the trend towards blogs having Facebook pages getting stronger every day, I figured this would be a good way to have more daily interaction without having to compromise privacy.

So…here it is! These Little Moments on Facebook. I’m actually kind of excited about it because as you know, I love the community aspect of blogging, and if you’re anything like me, you’re on Facebook way more than you’d like to admit during the day. The page will give me another place to chat with you outside of long blog posts or quick 140 character Twitter updates. Hope to see you there!

Also, I’ve been doing some freelance blogging for MOCAFE, who make “innovative cafe beverages” (which basically translates into HOLY DELICIOUS CHAI OMIGOD) (And you guys know how I feel about chai). I post over there a couple times a week as a mommy blogger with a caffeinated twist. They also feature posts from baristas, dads, coffee industry people, etc. It’s a cool mix. If you’re interested, check out their blog HERE.

On a final and unrelated note, I am 100 percent out of Nutella. This is a travesty, I assure you.

- Why hasn’t anyone talked about the Terrible Ones? You hear all about the Terrible Twos, but I was not expecting to experience it so soon. Owen is a great kid, but lately he’s been so fresh! I find myself wondering what happened to that squishy little newborn I was just cradling in my arms. Suddenly, I have a toddler with a voice, and opinions, and demands.

Month 13 has been a noteworthy one, because I find him doing something new every day. I turn around for a second, and he’s opened the baby gate and climbed halfway up the stairs. In the flash it takes me to get there, he’s turned around, practically leaning backwards and waving at me. I’m gagging on my heart that has leaped into my throat, and he’s laughing and trying to eat a piece of dog hair he found on the step.

I turn my back to fold a blanket, and he’s discovered how to open the TV menu, and has effectively changed all the color and brightness settings so everyone is Fake Bake orange. He grabs my phone and crawls away at top speed, he opens a cabinet and hurls coffee K-Cups at the dog, he rips magazines and hurls himself backwards yelling “NOOOOO!” if he doesn’t want to do something.

Don’t get me wrong, if you add this all up it’s just a small portion of our day, interspersed between dazzling me with his humor, intelligence and cuteness. (Blowing kisses? I die.) But jeesh, is it A LOT. I guiltily find myself counting the minutes till nap time lately, if only for a chance to sit down for more than 45 seconds.

- I’m attending a black tie wedding in NYC in a month and I have no idea what to wear. Is the “rule” still the same? Floor length dress? I don’t own one, unless you count my wedding dress, and I highly doubt that would be appropriate. I’m hesitant to buy one because a) I don’t really have a lot of opportunities to wear a long formal dress and b) we want to have more children in the near-ish future, so who knows what my body will be like or what size I will be. A dress like this seems like an investment piece, so I want it to fit now and down the road.

I’ve looked into those sites where you can rent a designer dress, and while that seems really fun, it also seems silly to pay that much money to rent one, when I could pay the same amount to own one. Albeit, probably not a designer one, but a nice one none-the-less. What would you do? Or, can I get away with a cocktail length?

- That wedding we went to last weekend? Awesome. I had such a good time catching up with my friends and the brides were simply beautiful.

These girls? My heart.

- There is some news on the house front. I’m hesitant to talk too much about it less I jinx it, but it appears that we will be moving soon. Into a new house! Details to follow. Cross your fingers for us that everything goes smoothly!

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