Girls Cali Vacay

I just got back from an amazing girls vacay with my bestie since kindergarten. Igor and her fiancé D have been living in Petaluma, CA for the past year, and they’re about to get married (!) and leave California, so we thought, let’s do something fun before her big day! Hence, I went on my first trip (in 2.5 years!) sans Pookie, which was difficult but much needed.

Before getting to the trip though, can we just give RR some serious recognition for not only allowing me, but encouraging me to go on this trip.?!A lot of hubbies might not think that a stay-at-home mama deserves a break because they don’t see her full-time parenting job as a real job. Well, it is, and it’s not just full-time. It’s 24 hours. So this trip was so very appreciated and won’t be the last! It certainly wasn’t easy for RR, but he did an amazing job taking care of Pookie full time while working full time. Now let’s talk about this girls vacay!

DAY 1

So, I flew out to San Francisco, where Igor awesomely greeted me at the airport with a delicious Havana Cappuccino from Peet’s, and then, before we knew it, we were surreally having breakfast at Mel’s Kitchen. We split the ratatouille omelette with hash browns and an order of pancakes and were on our way out of the city.

We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and stopped to take in the scenery of the city + Alcatraz + the bay and just wow. After a mini and muddy hike among the redwoods, we checked out Stinson Beach and then stopped for our first glass of wine at the adorable Due West in Olema, and then we literally did not stop consuming wine for the next 3 days. Oops!

Then we stopped in adorable Point Reyes Station (home of Cowgirl Creamery which was unfortunately closed) and then headed to, wait for it, an organic olive ranch (are we in Tuscany?!) called McEvoy Ranch. Igor wanted to get a bottle of Olio Nuovo, which is this mind-blowing organic unfiltered extra virgin olive oil. She and her fiancé D had brought us a bottle of it last year, and now they wanted one for themselves. But sadly they were sold out. Apparently, they make it right after they harvest the olives in the fall, and then once they sell out, that’s it until the next fall. Bummer! When they come visit us next month, I’ve promised a bad ass olio nuovo/ bread/ cheese/ meats etc platter to try to make up for that.

We headed to Petaluma, where Igor showed me around and we had a delicious shrimp scampi meal cooked by her man, and then we hit the hay.

DAY 2

We headed straight for the Calistoga Motor Lodge, where we had reserved a room and happy hour spa treatments! When we arrived, we were instantly blown away by the cute perfection of this place. But we couldn’t obsess over the details for too long because we had to go to our complimentary wine tasting (included with our hotel reservation) at Von Strasser Winery and get back in time for our spa treatments! The ladies at Von Strasser were super sweet and generous with their pours, and before we knew it, we had a pretty nice buzz on! Time for our spa treatments!

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On Wednesdays from 3-6, our hotel’s spa, Moonacre Spa and Baths, has a spa happy hour that gets you 2 spa treatments for $85. So, we each had a super relaxing 25-minute massage followed by mud baths. Unlike at certain places such as Dr. Wilkinson’s Hot Springs Resort, where you lie in a bathtub full of mud that tons of other people have been in (eeeew!), at Moonacre Spa, we got to paint “fresh” mud onto each other and then bake in the sun, while sipping a complimentary glass of bubbly. Yes thank you! After our treatments, we relaxed in the steam room and the pool and explored the rest of the spa, which is all super lovely.

That night we had a delicious Italian meal at Bosko’s Trattoria and then called it a night!

DAY 3

In the morning, we hopped on the hotel’s complimentary bikes and grabbed a perfect breakfast at Café Sarafornia and then quickly got back to some wine tasting. We rode over to the funky Tank Garage Winery and tasted some of their wines in their really cool tasting room housed in a former gas station. They did not pour quite as liberally as Von Strasser did, but that was fine since it wasn’t even noon yet! Then we checked out of our hotel and headed towards Sonoma.

On the way, we stopped at the insanely gorgeous Trinchero Napa Valley Winery. Instead of doing a tasting, we each got a glass of wine and a hand-crafted chocolate and enjoyed them outside among the vines. So, um, that was paradise. But there was more paradise waiting for us, so we then made our way to beautiful biodynamic Benziger Family Winery, where we tasted some lovely wines, did a little shopping in their cute little gift section and chatted with an acquaintance of Igor’s.

Then we stopped in the adorable town of St. Helena, where we tasted some wines (go figure) at Orin Swift Cellars. We also checked out the insanely cool showroom of Erin Martin Design and then just wandered around a bit. We ate a little too much lunch and shopped around at Oakville Grocery (so lovely) and then headed to Glen Ellen. There we checked into the gorgeous Olea Hotel, where we had a fireplace in our room!

That night we walked to Glen Ellen Star, where we were told we would have one of the best meals of our life. Stupidly we weren’t that hungry. Igor ordered the beets and the green salad, which was really just a plate of greens, and I had the asparagus soup and probably one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever had – rigatoni, black trumpets, green garlic butter, artichokes, peas, hen egg & gremolata. Woah.

Then we did sheet masks (no pictures because we looked effing scary) at the hotel and called it a day.

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DAY 4

Olea Hotel is known for their amazing 2-course breakfasts, and they did not disappoint! We started with a house-made yogurt parfait and then an omelette with polenta, brussels sprouts and lardons AND the most amazing french toast. We hung out at the beautiful hotel for a bit afterwards and enjoyed their house-made chai, and then we checked out and went for a nice walk/ hike at Jack London State Historic Park. This gorgeous property is where author Jack London (in case you forgot since the 4th grade, that’s the guy who wrote Call of the Wild (1903) and White Fang (1906)) and his wife had lived and built a ranch and mansion that sadly burned down before they got the chance to live in it. It was nice to explore ruins of the ranch and mansion and enjoy the incredible scenery.

Back to wine! We picked up some lunch from Glen Ellen Village Market and then stopped at Imagery Estate and Winery and tasted some wine (duh) and then enjoyed a glass of wine while playing bocce ball.

Before returning to Petaluma, we stopped in the town of Sonoma and explored the super cute and Old West-y Sonoma Plaza. We had some rosé at Rancho Maria Wines‘ Tasting Lounge and then were on our way.

That night we had some yummy dinner at Igor and D’s apartment and then spent the evening playing Cards Against Humanity and drinking excellent IPA at HenHouse Brewing Company’s Petaluma Palace of Barrels.

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We parted ways at the airport the next day (boo!!), and I was on my way home to see RR and Pookie (yay!), and Igor and D headed to San Diego (yay!). It’s still hard to believe all of that happened. It was really incredible to have 4 days off to relax and just do whatever the eff I wanted. It had been a while… However, I missed Pookie immensely. The second I walked in the door though I was greeted with Pookie’s biggest poopsplosion to date. RR said that he must’ve pooped a gallon of liquid poop. ALL. OVER. OUR. BED. Poor baby had the flu we found out the next day at the doctor. 🙁

WELCOME HOME!!

I’m back!

Hello! How have you been? I’ve missed you! It has almost been a year since my last post. I didn’t want to actually make it to a year, so here I am! Plan on roughly 1 post from me per week. First we’ll do some update posts since, you know, a lot happens in a year, and then we’ll get back to life as usual here at Jemappelletiny.com! And just for fun, check out Pookie below. Like I said, a lot happens in a year.

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Romanian Food and Playground Fun – Pookie Moment of the Week

Ok, I know I said that I would stick to just ONE Pookie Moment of the Week, but I’m breaking my promise again. This week, I have 2 Pookie Moments for you to check out!

On Monday, we went to Romanian Garden in Sunnyside, Queens for a taste of the homeland with the whole family. Pookie had a fabulous time. As usual, he thoroughly impressed everyone with his eating skills. And he ate SALAD! What? And then he proceeded to run all over the restaurant. Thankfully, it was practically empty, so no one seemed to mind.

On Tuesday, Pookie, Oma, Opa and I went to William Sheridan Playground in our neighborhood, and Pookie had a total blast. He of course did some swinging, some sliding, some climbing, some bird-chasing and lots of running around. His new favorite thing to say is “that way!” The cutest moment though was when he tried to make friends with some bigger kids. He walked right up to them and tried to show them the piece of bark that he had picked up off the ground (“look what I have!”). And they completely ignored him! They were like “go away, baby!” So my poor little munchkin just walked away. On to bigger and better things…

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Pookie’s not gonna lose any sleep over it!

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Again I couldn’t choose just one! – Pookie Moment of the Week

The idea behind my Pookie Moment of the Week posts is to choose Pookie’s most significant moment of each week, but this week, there were so many truly significant moments to choose from, so I’ve decided to share them all. I hope you don’t mind… 🙂

Last Wednesday Pookie went to the dentist for the first time! Because I had read that babies should have their first dental visit around 6 months after their first tooth erupts, I had really felt like I was slacking. But after visiting the dentist, I feel reassured that we’re perfectly on track concerning Pookie’s dental care. Phew! Pookie’s first trip to the dentist couldn’t have gone better. We went to Bitesize Pediatric Dentistry, and let me just say that this will be one of those places that I will miss when we move to New Orleans. Yep, it was that great! When Dr. Malhotra started examining and brushing Pookie’s teeth, it wasn’t going so well until the doctor’s very sweet assistant put Pookie’s favorite (also the only one he’s ever seen) cartoon, Moana, on. Then it was smooth sailing. Overall, Pookie had a great time, was incredibly well-behaved and was rewarded with a ball and a ballon! And I can’t say enough great things about Dr. Malhotra.

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Last Thursday Pookie got to see his Oma and Opa for the first time in 7 months! So that was definitely an extremely significant moment! Pookie was so happy to see them, and he clearly remembered them (Facetime was a big help!), and Oma and Opa couldn’t be happier to be reunited with their munchkin.

Last Friday we celebrated Passover! It was our first time hosting, and it went so well! Pookie of course had no idea what was going on, but he had a blast! He loves being around a lot of people (I think he gets this from his Papa!), so he was in heaven.

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On Saturday we crossed an item off of our bucket list by having brunch at the Red Rooster in Harlem! Pookie loves going out to eat, so he had a great time. And then he had an even better time stalking birds and walking and walking around Harlem and Central Park and then hanging out in the front seat of the car pressing buttons and honking the horn.

On Sunday we celebrated Easter first at home over breakfast and later on with our friends in Jersey City! To say that Pookie had a fabulous time would be an understatement. We tried to show him how to “pock,” but he didn’t really get it. He enjoyed his gifts and enjoyed eating his very own mini chocolate bunny. Later on, at our friends’ house, he thoroughly enjoyed being around so many lovely people and getting SO much attention. He ate so incredibly well that one of our friends nicknamed him “54” after the number that she says will be displayed on his football jersey! (Ha! I don’t think so. I’m thinking tennis will be a safer sport for him to get into. But we’ll see I guess…)

On Monday something bad happened. We were enjoying a lovely visit from RR’s aunt and uncle when I accidentally opened the door to the playroom over Pookie’s toe. Thankfully, he only got a very superficial scratch above his toenail, but it REALLY hurt him when it happened, and he cried and cried and cried, and I wanted to cry and cry and cry. By now you can barely see it. Suffice it to say, I’ll be extremely careful to not let that happen again.

Other than that, it has been a fabulous fun-filled week! In the future I’ll try to be more selective with my Pookie Moment of the Week. This week I just couldn’t hold back!

 

 

A Successful “Clean up” – Pookie Moment of the Week

If you’ve ever been to a children’s sing-along, you know that the singer usually will pass out various fun props throughout the class. It usually starts with musical instruments like shakers, maracas and bells, and then we put those away, sing the “clean up” song and make way for the puppets, then the dreaded sticks and finally the colorful scarves. This is all great unless you have a child who very quickly becomes attached to each item and absolutely does not want to give them up. I have always watched other children give the items back like it’s nothing when it’s time to “clean up” while I’m stressing out and struggling to get Pookie to let go of the items.

Well, this week, Pookie made me so incredibly proud. During our weekly sing-along with Miss Annie, it was time to “clean up” the musical instruments (these are the most difficult to give back!), and I simply told him, “Go put those shakers into the box,” and I saw the gears in his head turning as he put one shaker into the box, looked at me, and then put the other shaker in the box. OMG! I couldn’t believe it! It was that easy! Because it wasn’t about “giving up” a toy that he was enjoying, but about following an instruction and helping out, he was happy to do it.

This was without a doubt Pookie’s Moment of the Week. I unfortunately don’t have a picture of the moment, but here’s a pic of him with the cow puppet on his hand and a video of him walking a toy puppy and crying whenever the puppy fell over on its side.

Thanks for reading!

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“If I Could Do It All Over” Baby Registry – Part 4 (Feeding)

Now that you can get around town with your adorably dressed baby, and she’s sleeping through the night (yeah right!) and perfectly clean and diapered, you probably should feed her too! Here’s everything you need to get that baby fed!

I should start off by saying that whether or not you plan to breastfeed, you should have a breast pump. But don’t put one in your registry. Order one for free through your insurance company. I recommend the Medela In Style Advanced. I had no issues with mine (although, for the first few months, when I had to wake up and pump in the middle of the night to boost my supply, I wanted to smash it against the wall).

Bottles, Formula, etc.

Also, whether or not you will breastfeed, you will eventually need bottles, and you should have formula just in case you have issues with breastfeeding.

I recommend the Comotomo bottles. I recommend having 4 of the 5 oz bottles and 4 of the 8 oz bottles, so two of these starter sets work perfectly.

You should also have some newborn baby formula on hand just in case. We used two different German brands (Lebenswert and Holle) because they really are the best, but they are super expensive in the US. If you end up wanting to use one of the German formulas, either get someone to bring it to you from Europe or buy it in bulk from Biolgisch24. The only US formula that we ever gave to Pookie was Baby’s Only, but it stinks (literally!), and its ingredient list isn’t perfect. I do however believe it’s your best bet when it comes to American brands though.

You should have a bottle warmer, which you’ll be thankful for in the middle of the night! I recommend something simple like this one by Munchkin.

Definitely get some burp cloths. I recommend some no-nonsense ones like these by Gerber.

 

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Here’s Pookie having no complaints with his Comotomo bottle. Take note of the Boppy nursing pillow in the background. That was before we had discovered the My Brest Friend. There’s a reason the Boppy is on the floor, and we’re just using a regular old pillow. Stay away from the Boppy!

Getting comfy

As far as nursing pillows go, seriously, just get the My Brest Friend. Nothing can be better than that one.

You absolutely need a comfy glider to sit in and breast feed, bottle-feed, rock, etc your baby. In my opinion, you should get something that looks nice and that you can continue to use afterwards. We really love our Dutailier glider and ottoman that we got from Amazon. The glider swivels, and both glider and ottoman glide. It’s fabulous, and it looks great. It’s a bit pricy, but worth it because I spent so many comfy hours in it while Pookie was tiny, and we’ll continue to enjoy it for a long time to come.

Making your own baby food

Your munchkin should start eating some solids by around 4 or 5 months or whenever she’s ready (Pookie started at around 5 months), so you should be prepared! If you’d like to make your own baby food, get a baby food maker that will make it pretty easy! I recommend the Béaba Babycook. It’s pricy, but super easy to use and efficient because it steams and purées all in the same container. A more affordable, but also great option is the Babymoov Nutribaby, which does everything that the Babycook does, but also sterilizes and warms bottles, so that’s three machines in one!

You’ll also want to get some freezer trays for freezing individual servings of your homemade baby food.

Plates, utensils, bibs, sippy cups, etc.

When your little one starts to feed himself, you’ll want to have this ingenious Happy Bowl/ placemat by EZPZ. I would actually also get the Happy Mat since it has compartments! These things are great! It’s a silicone bowl and placemat in one that really sticks to the table so that your munchkin doesn’t tip it over or throw it on the floor. We actually bring it with us when we go out to eat.

You’ll need some suction bowls, some spoons and some food catcher bibs, so this is a great set that includes all of that and more.

I also highly recommend getting some bibs with sleeves like these by OhBabyKa. You can also get them from Ikea for $5. We call it Pookie’s hazmat suit, and I’m sure you can imagine why.

Also, grab some of these fresh fruit feeders. It’s a mesh pouch in which you can put fresh fruit for them to suck on. It sounded gross to me at first, but Pookie absolutely loved them!

Get a snack container like this one from Ubbi for when they can feed themselves cheerios or puffs or whatever snack they love.

You’ll also want some cute drool/ teething bibs like these cuties, some Bumkin starter bibs for when they first start solids and some Bumkins SuperBibs for when they start feeding themselves.

Get some sippy cups for when they first start solids and need that extra hydration! We like the Philips Avent sippy cups. And also grab a straw cup for when they graduate from the sippy. We like this one by Contigo.

High chair

You’ll of course need a high chair. Some people spend hundreds of dollars on fancy, stylish high chairs, but we absolutely love Ikea’s Antilop high chair with tray for jus $20! We love it because it doesn’t take up much space, and, without any nooks and crannies or removable parts, it’s super easy to clean. Because it doesn’t recline, you may want something different for when they first start solids but can’t sit up well. For Pookie, we first fed him in a little rocker like this one from Fisher Price.

Now you’re definitely ready to get that baby fed! I think so, at least. If I’ve forgotten anything, let me know in the comments!

Stay tuned for Part 5 of my baby registry series, in which I will talk about TOYS!

No quiero quesadilla – Pookie Moment of the Week

So, not all of Pookie’s moments of the week have to be good moments, right? After much thought, I decided that Pookie’s moment of this week was when he threw a total fit at dinner time on Tuesday. Normally, he’s such a good eater, but on this day, when I placed his delicious shrimp quesadilla in front of him, he basically got ultra pissed off at me, refused to eat and started screaming. The night before, he loved the quesadilla, so I’m not sure what happened here.

Trying to get him to calm down, I offered him his Humpty Dumpty, which made him somewhat happy, but he still needed cheering up, so I brought over the potholders, which had been a hit at dinner a couple of weeks ago. I tried putting them on our heads, but he needed them on his hands, so I obliged.

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This is what it took to get him to calm down and kind of eat his quesadilla. And just because it was definitely out of the ordinary, it’s the Pookie Moment of the Week.

Pookie’s runner up moment of the week was bathtime with the foam numbers and letters that I had gotten him for his half birthday last week. They are definitely his new obsession.

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Happy 18 Months! – Pookie Moment of the Week

Pookie turned 18 months yesterday, so we decided to celebrate with presents and a cupcake! He’s actually really interested in learning the alphabet so we got him foam letters and numbers for the bath, as well as a wooden alphabet puzzle and a fun ball. He loved the foam numbers so much that he brought them to the dinner table and held on to them throughout dinner. The only thing that got him to release them was… the cupcake!

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OMG give me that thing right now!

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We got him a vanilla ganache cupcake from Martha’s Country Bakery, and it was a hit! Those little ganache curls were perfect because he picked them off and ate them one by one instead of diving right into a pile of icing. This way, he ended up not eating so much of it and not making too huge of a mess.

Of course papa provided some entertainment during the cupcake-eating experience, and, as usual, Pookie wouldn’t allow him to stop playing for a second!

Happy 18 month birthday, Pookie!

Pookie’s Many Moments of the Week

I couldn’t choose just one moment for the Pookie Moment of the Week because this week was just too much fun! Pookie’s monkey uncles (my brother-in-law and his boyfriend) were in town, and Pookie had a blast with them!

On Friday, there was this hilarious moment when Pookie “shook it off.”

Saturday was a fun-filled day. It started out with a family brunch in New Jersey. Pookie had a great time eating everything in sight and playing with his cousins. Then we went to our friends’ gender reveal party, where Pookie was in a terrible mood, but at least he got to have this extremely sugary cookie. By the way, it’s a girl! 🙂

On Sunday we went to Norman (we’re obsessed) with Monkey Uncle #1 and spent the rest of the day with him. We also had another family hat moment.

On Monday, Pookie had a great time being incredibly naughty at Miss Annie’s Music for Kids at Wild Was Mama. I chased him around the entire time.

On Tuesday, Pookie and I took the “boat-ee” to Long Island City to say goodbye to the Monkey Uncles, but first we stopped at a playground where he pushed around a pink ball in a pink stroller and rang some bells.

 

 

On Wednesday, we had a fun Mama-Pookie moment. Never mind the fact that his moment was really with “his” iPhone 5.

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On Thursday, I took Pookie to Tribeca Pediatrics to get his cold checked out, and we had a great time making faces at each other (Look closely to check out my scary fish face). His cold is not serious by the way.

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Thanks for checking out Pookie’s Many Moments of the Week!

Two Buddies in a Choo-Choo – Pookie Moment of the Week

Running into Oscar again was Pookie’s Moment of the Week! Oscar is just the sweetest little 16-month-old who we’ve met with his nanny three times randomly. First at a sing-along, then at Little People Party and this week in the choo-choo train at East River State Park. They had a great time sitting in the wooden train car chatting it up. Well, you know, babbling and occasionally squealing and pointing out helicopters. Pookie loves him so much, and so this was the highlight of the week.