FTSF: Neighbors Through The Years

When I think about neighbors, the first thing that comes to mind is the street I grew up on in  Long Island. I knew almost everyone on that block, and I had so many friends on that one street. We’d get together every day after school. We’d run through sprinklers, bike around the block, or go to a close park. The days seemed so long back then. I felt like we had so much freedom. There were no cell phones, but it was a beautiful thing. We didn’t go home until the street lights came on. I’ll never forget all the adventures and fun I had with my neighborhood friends.  Even after all these years, just thinking of my childhood home makes me feel all cozy inside.

Sadly, I would not experience the same camaraderie when we moved to Florida. Everyone kept to themselves. I only knew the neighbors to the right & left of our house. Even still, we weren’t very close at all.

I lived in the South Bay of Los Angeles for the last eight years. Once again, in those last eight years, I only met three neighbors. They were all my age and I’d always see them around.My husband & I would exchange gifts with our next door neighbors, which was nice, but it never developed past that.

I would get jealous when I’d hear about my friends having block parties with their neighbors, or even going to their houses for dinner. All we got in LA was the typical “we should hang out” with no follow through. I’m the kind of person that will only pursue a friendship so much before I give up. Again I longed for the friendships that my friends had with their neighbors & what I grew up with.

A welcome cake

A welcome cake

We moved to the Bay Area last month. Although we haven’t been here long, we’ve noticed a different vibe. People seem friendlier. We’ve met more neighbors in these past two weeks than I had in my time in Florida & Los Angeles. The kindness I’ve seen has been very refreshing. To top things off, our next door neighbor made us a cake to welcome us to the neighborhood. I thought it was such a kind gesture. Something I haven’t experienced in a long while.

When it comes to my neighbors, the feeling of inclusion is a beautiful thing.

This post is part of Finish the Sentence Friday. Join us!

Finish the Sentence Friday

 

 

Talking up a storm

I know this isn’t the first time I’m writing about Andrew talking, but after he was diagnosed with a speech delay back in June, I am thrilled at how far he’s come.

I was worried that the move would make him regress between the stress, change in routine, & lack of speech therapy and preschool at the moment, but lo & behold, he is having a huge word explosion!

The latest development happened last night. I was singing “Head, Shoulders, Knees, & Toes” for the umpteenth time. He’s always loved that song & puts his hand on his head when he wants me to sing it. Over time, he’s done the motions with me. Last night, he said “hea” “noh” “eah” “mou”. I got a little misty eyed. He’s come a long way. He also picks up on words a lot more quickly these days too. He repeats what I ask him to say most of the time, which is awesome. At the same time, I guess I need to watch my mouth when we’re in a traffic jam!

What achievement has your child made this week?

 

Ethans Escapades

So Long, Los Angeles

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After eight years, my time in Los Angeles has come to an end. It’s been a really interesting ride for sure.

I remember how nervous I was at the thought of driving on the freeways for the first time. Yes it’s true that I don’t leave my little bubble too often anymore, but I’m happy to say that I’ve managed.

I’ll admit that it was hard to make friends out here. Meet up groups were hit or miss. I did make a few friends after starting this blog, back when it was strictly a food blog! I would’ve never guessed that writing restaurant reviews would lead me to meet so many people who were also as passionate, if not more about food!

Over time, I met more friends through concerts, mom groups, and of course, skating. I think the theme here is patience. Something I’ve struggled with all my life. Once I get settled in my new home, I know I may be worried that I don’t know anyone. I need to remind myself that it took time to make friends in Los Angeles, it won’t happen instantaneously, like it seemed to when I was in school.

After eight years, I know in my heart that it’s time to move on. What’s always hard for me is leaving friends behind. Yes, there’s always the internet & the phone, but nothing beats face to face interaction. I’ll miss living just minutes from the beach. I’ll miss the South Bay bubble & above all, I will miss my friends & family.

So long, Los Angeles. You’ve taught me a lot. Until we meet again….

 

 

 

Small Steps, Amazing Achievements

As promised, I’m back. What better way to get back into blogging than sharing my son’s small but amazing achievements with you.

 

They grow up so fast!

They grow up so fast!

Andrew has always been fine when we left him with a babysitter. Leaving him at the gym daycare was another story. He would always cry, no matter how many times I would drop him off while I worked out. He never got used to it, so I rearranged my schedule so that I could take gym classes at night.

So, we decided to put him in preschool to get him socialized with other kids his age & maybe learn a thing or two. I’m glad to say that in the past two months that he’s been in preschool, he hasn’t cried once! In fact, his teacher has told me that he doesn’t say a word. However, it never fails that the moment we leave preschool, he babbles like crazy.

Which leads me to Andrew’s next milestone. He has a little speech delay & it doesn’t help that he’s bashful. He’s been in speech therapy for two months, which has helped him so much. He makes animal noises when asked, he is getting better at mimicking us, and he loves to clean up after himself. I’m very proud of him.

We’re currently in the process of moving to a new city. I know he’ll have to start over again, but I do hope that he remembers things he’s learned over the summer.  I am eager to see what else he’ll learn in these next few months.

Ethans Escapades

I’ll Be Back!

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It’s shaping up to be a pretty busy summer. With that being said, I’ll be taking a blogging break. There’s just so much on my plate right now that I just want to leave my blog on the back burner for a little bit. At this point, I think it’s safe to say that my foodie portion of the blog will be coming to an end. It’s been a great run. I started this blog as a place to put my personal reviews of restaurants in my area. I never imagined that I’d be invited to dinner with fellow bloggers to preview a new menu multiple times. It feels so weird saying goodbye to the foodie part of this blog. It’s just gotten more & more difficult to write restaurant reviews as of late. Plus, we’re moving & honestly, I don’t know if & when I would start food blogging again. I guess my passion isn’t there anymore.

I will continue participating in blog hops once I return. I definitely have fun with those & I love to see what everyone else comes up with.

This blog may be on a little break, but you can still find me on Twitter & Instagram. I thank all my readers, whether you’ve followed me right from the start in 2009 or you just followed me last week. I appreciate your readership & support.

Until next time….

Go Figure….Skate!

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If you’ve been following my blog or Twitter for a while, it should come as no surprise that my favorite exercise is ice skating.

I took lessons back when I was 8 years old. I just loved being out there on the ice on a frosty winter morning. I took lessons for 2 winters but my dad switched me from skating to swimming the following year. I missed skating so much. I would jump at any chance to skate but I would never take another lesson growing up.

Fast forward to 2010. The winter Olympics were about to start, I had quit my job, and I needed a hobby. I kept telling my husband I wanted to skate again. Lo & behold, we found an ice rink close to the house and I signed up for lessons. I was pretty excited considering how we live in southern California and ice skating isn’t the first thing that comes to mind for most.

I still remember my face lighting up the first time I set foot on the ice. There was something about the cool air in my face and the sounds of my blades meeting the ice that just made me so happy. I hadn’t skated in years, so I was surprised when my coach came up to me and asked if I had done this before. I told him it was a long time ago but he told me I still had my balance & form.

It took a long time for me to actually feel calm on the ice. I fell a whole bunch but I would always tell myself to get up.

I’ve always been a shy person, but I made myself skate in a program. Waiting for the music was the most nerve wracking thing, but I’m so glad I did it. I felt so accomplished once it was all over.

Of course I was off the ice while I was pregnant. I can’t express to you how excited I was when I was cleared to skate again. I was nervous that I’d forget everything after being out of practice for 9 months but surprisingly it all came back to me. During my pregnancy, I would ask my coach if I’d remember everything & he assured me I would be able to do everything I did before I left and come back even stronger. He was right. I don’t know what it is but I’ve been less timid since I returned 2 years ago. Maybe somewhere deep down I convinced myself that I went through childbirth so anything else is a walk in the park. No, I still can’t barrel down the ice like an Olympian without freaking out, but I’ve come a long way. It meant a lot to me when my coach told me that I’ve become a great skater.

 

I’ve always called the rink my gym. I tend to get distracted during group exercises at the gym while my mind is clear when I skate. There’s just so much involved in skating, plus you have to pay attention to your surroundings, so there’s not much time for your thoughts to get in the way. Call it my way of meditating. It’s always been a huge stress relief for me. No matter what I’m going through, and I’ve gone through a lot over the last year, skating always manages to make me feel better. Not to mention, it’s a great cardio workout. I’m glad I found an activity I truly enjoy. I’m very thankful for my husband who has supported me these last 4 years. I’m proud of everything I’ve accomplished and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

This post is part of Finish the Sentence Friday. What’s your favorite exercise?

Finish the Sentence Friday

Small Steps, Amazing Achievements: Itsy Bitsy

I’ve been singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” to Andrew as long as I can remember. It wasn’t until our return flight from Seattle that he started doing the hand gestures every time Mat & I would finish singing, hinting that he wanted us to sing again. He also puts his hand on his head for “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” and moves my hand to his foot for “This Little Piggy.”

All of these gestures happened in a matter of weeks, with “Itsy Bitsy” and “This Little Piggy” being the most recent.

He’s still not very vocal at all, but I am loving these new gestures. They help me understand what he wants. Now, if he would whine less, we’d be golden.

What are some of your children’s amazing achievements this week?

 

Ethans Escapades

Summer Bucket List

0001-12Can you believe half of the year has gone by? Summer is just around the corner and with that comes a list of things I’d like to accomplish by September.

Manhattan Beach

1) Go to the beach every week- I’m happy to say that I’ve come pretty close to crossing this one off already. Since I found out we’d be moving away from CA, I vowed to go to the beach & soak it up as much as I could. I’ve held that promise pretty well. The only time I haven’t gone to the beach since I made that vow in March was during inclement weather.

2) Go to Seattle- I accomplished this one over the weekend. I’ve always wanted to go and I figured we may as well go while we’re in CA since the flight is much shorter. I enjoyed my trip. Our hotel was within walking distance to Pike’s Place Market, the original Starbucks, a lot of restaurants, the waterfront, and the monorail to the Space Needle & Children’s Museum. I was tweeting all weekend that I had so much blog material but didn’t know how to put it together, so I may make a post entirely out of one liners.

3) Get the house ready for our move- this one is mandatory, but I’d like to get things done sooner than later.

4) Have a date night monthly until we move- We don’t know how long it will take us to find a sitter after we move, so I do plan to take advantage of the ones we have now.

5) Skate more often- my sitters are off from school, which means their availability has opened up, and hopefully mama can skate more frequently.

6) Gelato at Paciugo- there’s a little gelato place in Hermosa Beach that has been around since shortly after we moved here. Sadly, since we moved away from Hermosa, we haven’t gone as much, but I want to make sure we pay them a visit before we go.

7) Go to the park more often- My house doesn’t have air conditioning. With that being said, I want to spend most of my days outside. I tend to get stir crazy at home, just letting Andrew play in the backyard, so I want to see how long we’ll last at the park.

8) Go to the Children’s Museum in Irvine- ok, so it costs twice as much as the one in Seattle, but hopefully Andrew will enjoy it nonetheless.

9) Have a BBQ- because let’s face it, there’s not much better than a BBQ with friends.

10) Spend as much time with friends before we move- that’s a given.

So those are my plans this summer. How about you? Join us at the Tuesday Ten!

The Golden Spoons

Saving the Dance

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I can recall many nice things people have done for me throughout my life. What happened at my senior prom sticks out 15 years later.

I never had a boyfriend at that point in my life. I was always best friends with guys, but was always given that “I don’t want to ruin our friendship” line. I recall asking my best guy friend to prom with me, since I was older. I figured I had nothing to lose since we went to homecoming together & had a lot of fun so I thought prom would be just as much fun if not more. I was so devastated when I got rejected. It happened at the end of the lunch period to boot, and I bawled all the way to my next class. I felt like I had been punched in the gut. Like the rug was pulled from under me. This was my best friend. How could he say no? I’d asked myself for days, weeks, and never got an answer. I felt like everyone was staring at me. I felt so small.

Fast forward a few weeks later. A friend of mine set me up with one of her guy friends to be my prom date. The evening was off to a good start. I got my hair & nails done with my friends. I remember how excited we were. Prom itself was great. Everything seemed to be going well with my date. However, towards the end of the evening, he kept telling me he was tired. I continued to dance with my friends, but then I noticed he was dancing with other girls. That in of itself didn’t bother me. What stung was being lied to. Again, I felt that my world was getting crushed again. First by my friend, then by this date. This was prom. Our last hurrah with all our friends before we went into the big bad world.

My friends all saw what happened & proceeded to talk to my date. A slow song started. Feeling defeated, I started to leave the dance floor, but I felt someone gently grab my hand. I turned around and it was one of my guy friends. He danced with me for that slow song, and for every song the rest of the evening. It was such a sweet gesture.

I sadly lost touch with that friend, but I’ll never forget what he did. A lot of my memories from high school have faded with time, but I’ll always remember the kindness shown to me that night.

This post was part of Finish the Sentence Friday. What is the nicest thing someone has done for you?

Finish the Sentence Friday

“Bye Bye Mama”

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My son has babbled as long as I can remember. He’s a Gemini like mama, so he takes after me. He’s never said that many words. His peers have started to verbalize while he still speaks in babble with a few words sprinkled in. I’ve brought this up to the pediatrician at his 12 & 18 month appointments. I also mentioned it to a speech therapist when he was around 16 months. Both professionals told me “he’s fine, he’s just being a boy” and “one day he will have a word explosion. He’s taking it all in. He probably understands you a lot more.” They were right to an extent. Although my son didn’t speak much, he understood simple commands such as “put your toys away” “let’s go out” “put on your shoes.” He picked up more words along the way, but still wasn’t as verbal as the rest of his peers.

I wasn’t too worried. I admit that I like hearing the baby babble. I think it’s pretty cute. I’ve always been a worrier, yet I’ve told myself that if the doctor isn’t worried, then I won’t be either. I do admit, as much as I like the baby babble, I don’t care for the whining. I know once he gets more verbal, the whining will lessen. Yes, I know he’ll still speak to me in whiny tones like kids do, but at least I’ll be able to understand him.

Two days ago, I was leaving for the gym. My husband asked our son to say “bye bye mama” and he did. Twice. Later that evening, my husband said our son said “love you” when he went down for sleep.

Putting two words together is a pretty big step. I was so glad my son hit this milestone. I’m eager to hear some more little sentences he’ll come up with in these next few months.

Share some milestones with us at the Small Steps, Amazing Achievements link up!

Ethans Escapades

 

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