Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lovin new books

Leon received the sweetest learning gifts from the Toolan's... Thank you so much Trish, Brian and Ava.

Among the three books we got he especially loved "Tails" and kept fiddling with the furry animal tails while I read the book to him.  I've been waiting for the moment when I could begin reading to him and I'm so happy the time has come.  He finally gives me just enough of his attention for us to go through one small book.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

first song

Leon's first song from Anna Cherubini on Vimeo.

The musician in Chris was so thrilled to see Leon play the xylophone he got as a Christmas present.  Leon did not give much attention to it yesterday but this morning I sat him down next to it and left him to play while I was in the kitchen- next thing I heard are adorable tones.  I took the long sticks that came with it.  For now we're using a small spoon as a substitute.

Here are my favorite photos from Christmas day...

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

his first Christmas present

... was from his Uncle Dave.  We all enjoyed watching this 'lil baby boy rip the wrapping paper off.  It seems he loved the packaging more than the actual gift!  
Leon got a special treat of opening a Christmas gift before Christmas because Uncle Dave is going to be out of town for the holidays.  

Leon at 8 months and 17 days old

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas treats

Yum yum yummy red velvet cupcakes for our dear friends this holiday.

This years' Christmas is a very solemn and peaceful one for us and I'm so glad that it is.  No big parties and no elaborate menus.  Just me, Chris, Leon and Lucy.  So simple in fact, we put up our tree with its pretty twinkling lights and both Chris and I thought, it looks so good without any ornaments.  So there stands our Christmas tree simple and yet festive.  It's beautiful as it is and it accomplishes its job of bringing the Christmas spirit in our home.

We also skipped wrapping presents this year.  We saw the documentary Trash Inc and ever since then we have been making a real conscious effort to limit our consumption of everything.  I worry about what the world is becoming and how most people remain careless.  Not using wrapping paper for our Christmas presents has been a source of lots of laughs actually.  Under the tree is a box from Amazon and another box with a table linen draped over it.  In the garage is another box covered in towels that Chris has been keeping secret.  I'm amused and I'm so proud of our little family.  I am so happy to be able to teach Leon that the world and all its resources deserve the utmost respect.

p.s. the plastic packaging for the cupcakes is recycable

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I'm back! Thanksgiving 2010

I missed this blog!  Needless to say I've been super busy beginning Thanksgiving and 'til now.  At the moment baby is napping and so here I am.

Thanksgiving in North Carolina with family was such a joy.  Everyday was spent being with family whether it be cooking, eating, chatting, listening to music... we did it all.  

I'm so grateful for all the incredible people in our lives.  Chris' sister and I'm proud to say- my sister- Nora threw the most amazing Thanksgiving meal.  Thank you for the labor of love.  

Here are some of my favorite photos from our holiday....

 Leon with sweet Bella

 love from two beautiful grandmas

lovely aunt Nora and grandpa

Nora made our bellies happy

'lil dancing in the kitchen

Chris wonderful nieces- Cece and Adie

Nora with all her yummy creations

His favorite place to be

Our family

To view the complete album, click here.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Enjoying a totally relaxing weekend.  There's a chill in the air and more and more is feeling like fall.  I've broken out the long sleeves shirts and winter hats for Leon.  We've been all about layering since LA weather has been so erratic.  

I'm so excited to see family this weekend.  Last time we visited North Carolina was August of last year.  Then it was very warm and humid, this time it will be frigid cold.  We'll be surrounded by loved ones and much needed family time.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Baby blues

I knew I wanted to write about my experience with baby blues/postpartum depression but I haven't quite been ready as I am now.  Now that Leon is 7 months I'm able to clearly reflect on the mixed emotions I had after giving birth.  
During my pregnancy I did the best I can to stay healthy and active.  I was a huge fan of prenatal yoga all the way up to 36 weeks when my doc advised I spend most of my time lying down.  Towards the end I felt a shooting pain in my crotch as if the baby's head was about to literally pop out.  In short, I was not having a good time at all during the last few weeks.  Despite the discomfort and being stuck to the couch I was so grateful that my water broke at 38 weeks.  I always had a hunch that he was going to come early.  Leon's birth was everything Chris and I hoped for.  I am forever grateful that it went as smooth as possible.  So smooth that we only spent overnight at the hospital.
Having Leon home was joyful and it was so surreal holding him in my arms finally.  I loved him even before I saw his face.  
The scary thing about postpartum blues is that no matter how much love you have in your heart for your baby there is a voice inside that speak of overwhelming insecurity about caring for a newborn.  I remember feeling so inadequate and that led to an overall sense of sadness.  When he cried and I didn't know what was wrong I immediately put myself down for not knowing right away what my baby needed.  It was hard and overwhelming.  Having very little sleep on top of it made the depression worse.   I doubt that postpartum depression could be avoided but from my own experience having Chris close during the first two months made a world of difference.  Having someone I love as a strong source of support was the encouragement I relied on day by day.  I don't know exactly when I snapped out of the baby blues because it felt like it lasted forever.  I do remember that when Leon was about 4 months and he began to be more aware of who I am is when I developed real confidence.  The moment he looked right at me and smiled was all I needed.  I knew everything was going to be alright.  I may not know everything about him and I may not always understand his cues but I know his heart and I love him so much.  
I think that new moms should remember that even though our babies grew inside us for those 9 months it does not make us perfectly in tune with their newborn needs.  Knowing Leon very well took lots of practice that built the confidence I have now.  He is constantly changing and my job is to constantly adapt to his new needs.  The key is to keep a sense of humor and know that when times are hard- that rough moment will pass. 
No one and nothing can prepare a woman for motherhood.  The best guide is our hearts and our ever so reliable intuition.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Rice pudding for baby

It's as if Leon knows that his mommas passion is cooking.  He is the best 'lil dude to cook for.  He pretty much loves everything I offer him- with the one exception which is pureed green peas.  Without speaking he let me know he hated the taste of it.
Now that we're graduating from smooth purees and unto more chunky food I can become more creative.
I made him rice pudding for dinner tonight and he savored every spoonful.
Here's the recipe:

Rice pudding for baby

  • 1/2 cup calrose rice (short grain)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup apples thinly sliced or cut in slivers
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp bottled ginger
Combine all of the above ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat.  Cook for 30 minutes or until rice is super soft, fragrant and a bit soupy.  Keep a close watch to make sure the consistency is not too thick.  Add water when necessary.
Serve warm or room temperature.

I made a big batch and froze the rest in ice cube trays.

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baby bottle buddy

I was browsing online looking for where I could purchase "the wean machine" and I came across this cool and very unique baby item.
The "Baby Bottle Buddy"  

If only Leon took to the bottle I'm sure I would get him one of these.  It helps to make bottle feeding a more soothing experience for baby and minimize other distractions.  Even with exclusively breast feeding Leon at 7 months he is so easily distracted by anything in the room.  He abruptly pulls away (ouch) to take a look at whatever it is that caught his attention.  I would think these plush cute bottle buddies would do the trick for babies who use a bottle.  It also has ears that have ridges and bumps for babies who are teething.

Funny thought:  what if I wear a monkey suit while nursing?  

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Vegetable Casserole

Vegetable Casserole

The photo I took does not do this dish justice.  It's comforting and hearty.  So perfect during the coming chilly evenings.
Another great thing about this recipe is that everything goes into the slow cooker in the mid morning and without any work a delicious dinner awaits.

Items to pick up from the grocery store:

  • 2 19oz cannelini beans, rinse and drain
  • 1 19oz garbanzo or fava beans, rinse and drain
  • 1/4cup store bought basil pesto
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried italian seasoning
  • 1 16oz package ready to serve plain polenta, cut 1/2 thick slices
  • 1 large tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 8oz package finely shredded italian cheese blend
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 cup torn radicchio
In a large bowl combine beans, 2 tbsp pesto, onion, garlic and italian seasoning.

In a slow cooker layer half of bean mixture, half of polenta and half of cheese.  Add remaining beans and polenta in the same order.  Cover; cook on low heat 4 to 6 hours.
Add tomato, remaining cheese, spinach and radicchio.
Combine remaining pesto and 1 tbsp water.  Drizzle pesto mixture on casserole.  Let stand, uncovered for 5 minutes.


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Our weekend....

Saturday lunch date at Pit Fire with my dear friend Cindy.  It was surprisingly windy and chilly in LA but we had a great time anyhow.  Sat outside and enjoyed the fresh breeze while noshing on our yummy food.

what's in the basket? from Anna Cherubini on Vimeo.

Here's a new video of Leon.  He has recently been playing all on his own.  I just sit him down on the mat with his basket of toys next to him and he pretty much entertains himself.  It's so cute how he pulls out one toy after another from the basket.

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Friday, November 5, 2010


The day has come. I have finally succumbed to my first ever purchase of Spanx.

Prior to Leon I would have never even think of Spanx.  The old me would have thought it's such a ridiculous thing to wear. 
Thank goodness for such a creation that helps moms and pretty much every woman out there who needs a little help.  There is no shame in Spanx.  I say whatever helps to make any woman feel sexy is golden.

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

yummy in our bellies

linguine with tuna, arugula and lemon

Super easy and incredibly delicious.  I highly recommend as a quick week night meal.

What to pick up from the grocery store:
  • 12 ounces of linguine- I used a garlic and basil linguine from Trader Joe's
  • 1/2 cup of good extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves (or more accdg to your taste), minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2- 12oz cans albacore tuna, packed in water, drained
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tsp lemon zest
  • 4 cups of fresh arugula
Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Remember to scoop 1 cup of the cooking liquid before draining the pasta.  Set aside.  
Heat oil in a large skillet, add the garlic and crushed red pepper.  Do not let the garlic turn brown.  Add the tuna and stir to heat through.
Add the tuna mixture, lemon juice, lemon zest and arugula to pasta.  Toss over low heat just until arugula wilts.  Add your reserved pasta cooking liquid little by little to moisten.  You may not have to use the entire 1 cup.  
Season to taste with salt and pepper.


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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

7 months today

I feel like the phrase I keep repeating all throughout this blog is "I can't believe how fast time flies." The thing is that nothing in my life prior to Leon best reminded me of this reality. Being witness to his growth, the milestones and the unraveling of his personality are all constant messages to me to stop and not just try- but actually do smell the flowers. Pause and breathe, taking everything in. I wish I did it more in the past. It could have saved me from a lot of unnecessary worrying.

It's been 7 months since this 'lil baby came and literally altered our world. So far it has been the most exciting adventure and the most challenging. I'm so proud to be his mama and I promise to shower him with all the love I have to give.

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