Monday, December 28, 2009

No Christmas For The Weary


Many of my friends and family have been following my crappy Christmas saga via my Facebook updates. This truly was a rotten Christmas for Aubrey and me, but it's never to late to celebrate...


Christmas 2009 officially goes down in the books as the WORST Christmas ever. In fact, as far as I'm concerned, Christmas hasn't even happened yet.

Aubrey's father, my ex-partner, and I live about 26 miles apart from one another. It was her turn at his house but this year we co-purchased her "big" Christmas gift and both wanted to be with her when she opened it. Our plan was for me to drive to the ex's house Friday morning and do Christmas morning gifts together. Our nanny is on vacation until Monday, so it would be just the three of us.

Well, Thursday during the night, Aubrey woke up with a fever. By the time I arrived on Christmas morning, she had a high temp, sore throat, cough and was listless. When we decided she needed to see a physician, our pediatrician's office was just closing shop. It was nice of them to have Christmas morning hours available, but there was no way we were making it from Westlake Village to Santa Monica in fifteen minutes. Stupid far away Ventura County.

So we spent Christmas day in the emergency room doling out a small fortune to be told something along the helpful lines of, "it's probably viral but could be bacterial". Thanks Dr. Holmes. The doctor didn't say a thing about her ears and just that her throat was a little red, but not bad. He wrote a prescription for amoxicillin and never ran a strep test. When you're in the heat of the moment with your one and only, never been sick like this before, screaming, feverish child, you don't necessarily think to ask questions, like, "Should we run a strep test?" Or "Are you sure you didn't see any inflammation in her ears?" Or "Tsk tsk," the doctor for writing a prescription for an antibiotic when he's guessing whether or not your child has a viral or bacterial infection. You kind of hope the doctor would think of these things on their own in a professional, doctory way.

video



The night got progressively worse as Aubrey went into her first ever barf-fest, vomiting five times during the night and her sore throat getting worse. The next morning, Dec 26th, we made the 40 mile trek (Did I mention that I HATE Ventura county?) to our pediatrician's office and finally discovered that Aubrey had an ear infection. The first one she's ever had and the first one I've experienced as a mom. It's late afternoon now and she finally ate some chicken broth and water without yerping it all back up and has been napping her little life away. I think the worst is behind us and she'll start her antibiotics as soon as she wakes up.

So is this piece about the incompetence of some physicians? The heartache and helplessness of seeing your child suffer from illness? Or the TOTAL funky weirdness of having to hang out at your ex's house all day and spend the night because you live so frickin' far apart from each other but you want to make sure your child is well taken care of without having to cart her all the way back to your house in Sherman Oaks and risk her barfing all over your leased Honda? No. Well, actually, yes. It's about the latter, but let me restate that in a kinder, gentler, not completely jaded way...

This piece is about setting differences aside and doing the right thing. I can't say that my ex and I have had the best of times since our split and even recently had a bit of a flare up over some personal issues. And while we have fairly different parenting styles and immensely different personalities, we do both love our daughter and want the best for her. That is why I am sitting in my ex's house in Ventura county, co-watching over our sick child. Making sure she doesn't choke if she vomits in her sleep, helping to keep her hydrated, making Tylenol and Pedialyte runs. We are not best friends and we don't spend time together in any other way, but tonight I'll eat leftovers from his fridge and sleep in his guest room in case she has another episode during the night. For now, we are working as a team because our third member needs us. And, as much as I hate to admit it, he and I need each other right now too. It is too much to do alone and as I sit here typing in a dimly lit living room while my baby sleeps on the floor next to the Christmas tree, my heart goes out to every parent out there who has had no choice but to do it alone. You deserve a purple heart.

The saddest part of this entire holiday fiasco is that poor Aubrey has been so sick, she still hasn't opened her Christmas gifts. We have asked her if she wants to open them several times and the answer is always a feeble little, "no". It is almost December 27th and maybe tomorrow will be the morning my little one wakes up feeling well enough to smile and dance and sing again. Maybe tomorrow, it will be Christmas.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays from Amy & Aubrey!!

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Ho Ho... On Second Thought...


Now that my little girl is two and a half, I've had to put some serious thought into whether or not I want to "do" Santa Claus. I think this will be the last year I can get away with not addressing the big Santa question and I've made up my mind as to how I'd like to handle it. Now if I can just get my ex to agree with me, we'll be all peachy and fine...

Decision made. I'm going to leave the mom-guilt on the shelf and make the decision that feels right to me and that is: I am NOT going to teach my kid the Santa Claus myth. This is always a hot parenting debate around this time of the year and I've heard every good and bad argument for and against Santa Claus and his whole posse of reindeer, elves and that very supportive wife of his. I'm talking EVERY argument and people are cut throat and passionate about their position on the matter to the point of being absolutely rude. Bottom line, I don't think the pro-Santa parents need to be so mean to the non-Santa parents and vice versa. Can't we just agree to disagree?

My daughter just turned two and a half and this is the first Christmas she knows who Santa is. She recognizes his image, but she hasn't been taught that he flys around the world in a sleigh pulled by magic reindeer to come down the chimney and leave gifts for good boys and girls. At this point, I'm pretty sure she just thinks he's a pretend character that is a lot of fun. Wacky, huh?

I'm really ok with her knowing the Santa story - in fact we have the Tasha Tudor The Night Before Christmas book at our house and we love to read it together - and even talking to the Santa at the mall. Last week we were lucky to catch him during a slow period and he was kind enough to chat with my daughter for free. I just don't feel right about teaching her to believe a fake story just to get into the commercialism of the holiday. I'm also not into the "if you're good you get a present" philosophy of life. Probably explains why I'm not a Christian. No offense, but Santa-anity and Christianity are VERY similar, you must admit. I'm trying to teach my child to be good because that's the way human beings should be, no matter what. Intrinsic goodness. Kindness. Generosity. Love. Just for the heck of it. What a concept.

I'm not a religious person at all, so it's not important to me to celebrate the holidays like a maniac, but I'm not above celebrating a special season. I love the music and the lights. The general festivity of it all. I grew up with big, traditional Christmases and I have many fond memories of thinking Santa was coming and then getting crap loads of toys. But no matter how fond those memories are and how grateful I am to my parents for doing so much for my three brothers and me, it's not quite what I want for my child. I don't want to foster a love of "things" in my child.

I'd like her to understand the holiday season as time to celebrate togetherness with friends and family, a time to be grateful for what we have and to share with others. We try to act this way all year round actually, but the holiday season can be a special reminder of just how lucky we are.

I'm not a total Scrooge either. I did finally break down and buy a tree this year. A small Wal Mart number. It cost $20, the string of lights was $1.84 and I have a nice box of beautiful ornaments that my mother collected and saved for me over the years. I did my super single-mom duty of lugging the tree home, assembling it, lighting it and getting out the ornaments. My daughter was enthralled for the first three ornaments and then she found an orange luggage strap that just happened to be in the box of ornaments. She got REALLY excited about that, ditching the tree decorating completely. While she pretended the luggage strap was a seat belt, a necklace, a jump rope a back pack and more, I decorated the Wal Mart tree... by myself. And I'm sure I will be un-decorating it and putting it away the same way.

I understand the many reasons some parents "do" Santa Claus with their kids and I'm a-ok with it. To each his own and I will do my best to teach my child to respect other peoples' traditions and family celebrations and hopefully she won't spoil the fantasy for her Santa believing peers. I just hope that all those parents pretending to be Santa Claus each year, ask God for forgiveness for lying to their children. Just kidding. Happy Hanukkah everyone!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sick AGAIN?!

This is Aubrey's sick face... poor little turkey

Unbelievable, but my little Aubrey woke up with a sniffly/ runny nose again today and a slight cough. If this is actually another cold, this is the third one she's had since the end of October on top of one day of a low grade fever earlier this week. She's never been this sick, so it's a real bummer around here. In fact she's been sick more in the last month and a half than she has been her entire two and a half years of life.

I shouldn't complain too much as she's VERY healthy, in general. She's never had the flu, ear infection, throwing up or any of the really yucky sicknesses that little ones tend to get.

I did have to remove petrified boogers from her nose today with a variety of implements and she screamed like I was giving her an alien probe. Her nanny had to hold her down while I did the boogie picking. It's moments like these that make motherhood so special. Really. Really?

I also woke up this morning thinking it was Thursday until I saw my boyfriend dressed in his "casual Friday" clothes. I realized I have one less day than I thought I had to get a whole bunch of shit done. I have company coming over on Sunday and I have shopping, baking and healing of a toddler to get done. Better get to it!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

FELIZ NAVIDAD!

Aubrey gets into the holiday spirit with her new santa hat, watching Charlie Brown Christmas, in front of the Christmas tree.


Yesterday, I walked out into the living room to discover Aubrey put one of her maracas into the Christmas tree! Very festive, indeed! Feliz Navidad everyone!

I'm off to the store to buy ingredients to make chili. It may be 80 degrees here in the Valley today, but it's still wintertime. Hey, it DOES get cold at night, so it's time for comfort foods. I'm also going to make homemade gingerbread and cookies for friends as gifts. Not sure what kind of cookies yet though. What are your favorite Christmas cookies? I'm partial to snickerdoodles and sugar cookies, myself. I also like to make toffee bars and spritz. I really like to bake!

Hope you have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Tree is UP! Whoopee!



Happy season's greetings to all! This is the first year I decided to put up a tree and it's pretty cute. It does cheer the house up. I'd leave it up all year, just for fun, if it wasn't another thing to dust.

I'm a bit of a scrooge during this time of the year because, well, for many reasons:

1) I'm not religious at all, so Christmas or Hanukkah aren't super meaningful to me. In fact, since I'm not religious, Christmas and Hanukkah just seem more and more to me about commercialism and the having of STUFF. I don't like stuff.

2) This is the slowest time of the year for my work which means I'm usually pretty lean in the pockets and frustrated because I'm not working as much as I want to be

3) I am the single mom of a child who spends part of her time at her dad's. Last year and this year, she is going to her other house for Christmas, which means I will be completely ALONE! (Boyfriend is going out East to visit family and I have opted not to spend $900 on a plane ticket to visit people I've never met before)

4) I'm just not a sentimental person. I try sometimes, but it's not really me.

I do enjoy the spirit of the holidays and the ideas of giving and togetherness, but this year, as last year, I will be going to a bunch of movies with a couple of friends. Aubrey and I will open gifts from grandparents either before she leaves for her dad's around the 23rd, or after she gets back after Christmas.

I do wonder if my daughter will be bummed out that we don't have hard core Christmas traditions? I'd rather have other traditions I guess - like something for her birthday.

But back to the tree. I did buy a tree and we have enjoyed having it here. There are a few ornaments in particular, that Aubrey loves to play with and is determined to break. She already broke the oldest one I have and honestly, it was ok with me. It's just a thing.

On Christmas day, the Wal Mart tree will be sitting in my living room, all by itself, in the dark, with the lights off. Lame, huh? Let me know when January is here!






Thursday, December 3, 2009

Number Nine. Slow. Friends. Random.


Let me introduce you to my friends: Apple & Pumpkin


I've said it before, but I'd just like to re-state that Daniel Day-Lewis is totally my make-believe boyfriend. He's yummy and he has that cute accent and he's also brilliant. So, I'm really excited to see the new Rob Marshall movie, Nine. No endorsement here, I'm just lusting over DDL because I saw him on Oprah a few days ago.

I'm not usually super excited to see movie musicals, but any chance to see Daniel Day-Lewis sing and do a bunch of make out scenes? I'm there. It's also cool to live in Los Angeles because we will get to see it before the rest of the country. Major release is on Dec 25.

Hmmmm... what other mundane thoughts are running through my head? This is a really lame time of the year for me every year. Work is slow, I go broke, I mope around because the phone isn't ringing and then in January, things pick right back up again. It's the two or so months of slow that make me insane though and I'm right in the middle of the insane period. Ugh.

Oh, Thanksgiving! My friend since 7th grade, Stacy, and her hubby Mike and boys, Brendan and Keenan, came for Thanksgiving. They were here for three nights and we had a great time watching the kids play and say things like, "Close the door and I'll show you my pumpkin!" No one got seriously hurt and nothing got broken EXCEPT, the pumpkin (which is mendable with some duct tape). It was a holiday miracle!

The day after, we visited Nicholas Canyon Beach and played in the tide pools, stopped for tacos and burritos and then went home to swim in the pool. Yay for life in SoCal! It really was a fun few days and Aubrey and I were sad to see our friends leave.


Aubrey, Brendan & Keenan

Now I have this weird allergy/cold combo thing (not sure what it is) that just won't go away. If I had some work right now, I'd go see my acupuncturist and she'd knock it right out, but I need to save my money for diapers and food and gasoline and other fun things like that. Sigh... OK, I'm being such a Debbie Downer. Sorry. Next post will be cheerier...


Saturday, November 21, 2009

FRESH & SUPER EASY! And Awesome!

Fresh & Easy: Bring your boyfriend. Wear matching shirts. Have a great time!


OK, first off my sincere apologies for posting this blog SO embarrassingly late, but I'm just now getting my personal blog, FunnyYellowMom, in order after a whirlwind of traveling and whatnot earlier in the year. Telling you of my true love for Fresh and Easy is something I couldn't just let fall by the wayside, even if it is five months too late, so... here goes...

Waaaaay back in July 2009 (yes, 5 months ago... time flys when you have a toddler), I was lucky enough to attend a Fresh and Easy cooking demo with their Head Chef, Mike Ainslie at Sur La Table in the Los Angeles Farmer's Market. I can not begin to tell you how much fun I had at this event, but let me begin anyway...

First off, if you're not in CA, NV or AZ, then you probably have never heard of Fresh and Easy... I think it's best described as Trader Joe's meets Whole Foods but simpler and more affordable. The employees are friendly and helpful, the stores are basic and food is natural with lots of organic, they have yummy free samples every day, recycle bins on the way out the door, two sizes of shopping carts... I could go on and on. SIMPLE and AFFORDABLE! LOVE IT!

Back to our cooking demo night: upon arrival there were appetizers and drinks and then we broke up into four groups and prepared four simple and affordable dishes with ingredients entirely from Fresh and Easy. My group made mini pizzas and I think mine were quite spectacular! They look like amoebas, don't they?!


The other dishes were baked honey dijon chicken fingers, salmon with soba noodles and beef fajitas. All of the dishes were prepared and cooked and then, the best part, we all got to eat together. Everything was delicious and at the risk of sounding like a complete cheeseball, I was really impressed by the affordability of the complete meals. One of the things I loved about this event is that we each received printed copies of all of the recipes with itemized prices of all of the ingredients.

Since this event, I've made the beef fajitas, pizzas and chicken fingers several times. I even had my friend, Marsha (aka Sweatpantsmom) and her family of four, over for Fresh and Easy pizzas last night! I'm not kidding, I'm really in love with this store.

And I'm lucky that I have a Fresh and Easy about 3 miles from my front door and since discovering it, I haven't set foot in a Trader Joe's. Their parking lots make me want to shoot myself in the eyeball. So good on ya, Fresh and Easy. Once again, I'm sorry this is so late, but I'll keep throwing pizza parties in your honor!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Red Plum & YUM! Save Your Bucks :)




On November 18, I attended an event put on by Red Plum, called My Frugalicious Holiday at the not very "frugalicious" but super swank, SLS Beverly Hills Hotel. You're more than likely thinking, "Red WHO?!" And honestly, that's what I was wondering too when I got the invite. I was pleasantly surprised to find out more about Red Plum in a super fun setting, we had some delicious nosh and I even won a prize!!

Red Plum is a site you should all check out. Considering the tough economic times, it is nice to be able to tell you about a company that is helping you save a buck rather than JUST wanting to earn yours. RedPlum.com has coupons and deals for grocery, restaurants, online discount codes, life@home and style. Many of the coupons can be printed right from your own printer and there are actually practical ones that normal people use. I find that "coupon" and "bargain" sites often have a lot of ridiculous crap that most people aren't interested in, like open a Fill-In-The-Blank Visa card today AND then purchase sixteen 100 oz bags of Johnny Cat Litter AND sign up for an online degree program to become a medical transcriptionist and then you will receive a $5 coupon to Babies R Us... even though your child is no longer a baby because it took so long for you to complete the required transactions. Oh and we'll continue to charge your credit card $9.95/month for the Johnny Cat Litter unless you read this tiny little print and call the customer service number that will route you to a lady named "Tina" in India, to cancel your Johnny Cat Litter Club membership. And Tina will NOT let you cancel until she's told you about all the reasons you need the litter and magically, at some point during this lengthy scripted, digitally altered spiel - you will get disconnected and have to start all over again. And you don't even have a cat.

NOT at Red Plum though! I just found some really simple and decent deals to help save some bucks in everyday life.

At the My Frugalicious Holiday event we were treated to an amazing spread of Spanish tapas style appetizers and a full bar. I especially liked the "salted wrinkly potatoes". No joke! They were awesome and I got the guys from the kitchen to tell me how to make them.


We also received some really cool, affordable gift ideas under $30 and a goodie bag full of some of the items. I think my favorite item was the "How Many Days Ago" which is a little kitchen gadget that will count off how many days food has been open in the fridge! You can get a suction cup, magnet or elastic band attachment and stick it onto a food item when you open it. No more guessing how long the left overs have been marinating in the back corner! This is a great stocking stuffer idea as they are only $8 for a pack of two!


Ikea helped sponsor the event and I was lucky enough to win a raffle prize of some Ikea candle holders! It was a really fun night with some great gift ideas for everyone! Thanks Red Plum!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Daughter's New Squeeze: Mickey Mouse


Ignore the look of fear! She was REALLY excited!


Last month my daughter - 2 year old Aubrey - and I had the privilege of being invited to a really fun Disney event: Mickey's Virtual Train Tour. This special event was the final stop in Mickey's virtual train tour from Kansas City to Los Angeles. It was held at the Griffith Park Travel Town Museum and I have to say, anything I have ever attended that was put on by Disney has been such a blast!

THE Mouse, himself, was there to greet the toddlers and their parents. We were treated to a private screening of the new primetime special Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Choo Choo Express which aired on the Disney Channel on Oct 25 and will be released on DVD on Amazon on December 1, 2009. The kids got also got to play with the new Fisher Price Mickey's Magic Choo Choo train toy. I was pleasantly surprised that this train toy was a big hit with my daughter as she has never expressed much interest in playing with trains. She'd rather ride them... and we got to do that too!

The Travel Town Museum has a really cool kiddie sized train that loops around the museum and it's big enough for adults to ride along. It's a nice long ride and my daughter loved every minute. Little ones were also treated to a a Hot Dog Dance lesson, coloring pages station, photos and hugs with Mickey Mouse, balloons and hunky Marines handing out take home surprises (a kiddie train conductor's hat, a book, some temporary tatoos)! This was mommy's favorite part.



I'll be honest here - I wasn't sure if my daughter even knew who Mickey Mouse was. We mostly watch Nick Jr in our house and she had only been to Disneyland once when she was 18 months old. But when I told her we were going to meet Mickey Mouse she got VERY excited. Something about the sound of his name, I guess. For about a year, she use to confuse him with Chuck E Cheese (sorry Disney) but after this event, there is no mistaking the #1 mouse in her life. She was totally smitten and we had a great time. Thank you Disney for some fantastic, happy memories from a special day together!

Here is a little video of Aubrey, waiting patiently, for her turn with a personal hang with Mickey Mouse. They played a little pat-a-cake:

video

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Toddler, The Basketcase



October was a really trying month for my little Aubrey and me but we made it through with a little help from Skype, Nelly the snuggler elephant and cabernet...

I know everyone thinks their kid can do no wrong and for a while, mine was pretty darn close. I'm totally aware that this sounds SO stuck up, but in the great scheme of things, she really was a textbook "good" child. Especially for a two year old. Very few tantrums, likes to share, naps and sleeps well, potty trained like a champ, eats almost anything you put in front of her, never gets sick, plays well alone or with others, intelligent and kind. And beautiful... because she looks like her mother. I was kind of living on toddler easy street until - dum dum dum dum (you're supposed to sing Beethoven's 5th there) - my ex, her father, went on a three week business trip out of the country.

Neither of us had ever been away from her that long and I truly underestimated what a traumatic effect it would have on her as she had always been such an easy going child. My ex - let's make up a name for him so I can stop referring to him as "My Ex". How about Lex. It rhymes with ex and also reminds me of Lex Luther. Lex and I split when Aubrey was still an infant. We have shared custody and a full time, live-in nanny between our two homes so Aubrey is accustomed to a back and forth lifestyle but she had never gone without seeing one of us for more than a week at a time.

During the first week of Lex's trip, things were pretty normal, but slowly, sneakily, the anxiety started to seep into my child's behavior. First were the sleep disturbances. She woke during the night crying, completely inconsolable. She fought naps, crying for over an hour at times until she finally gave in to exhaustion.

Next came the potty regression! NOOOO!!! Suddenly, there was no more interest in going pee pee on the potty and forget the poo. She didn't even want to try anymore and I had just gotten her to about 90% potty trained. Whenever I asked her if she wanted to try a pee on the potty the answer was always a sad frowny faced, "no". Sigh.

Then the mini hunger strikes began and then the aggression towards the dog. Pushing and kicking poor Bob Barker. This is the first time I've had to work with her on saying "I'm sorry," and it wasn't pretty.

There was also the expected increase in separation anxiety from me. It got to the point where I just walked in the next room and she would start crying for me. You can only imagine the drama when I had to actually leave the house for real. But of all the manifestations of Aubrey's daddy missings the weirdest of all was this - a video of the Happy Hippo singing The Lion Sleeps Tonight on YouTube.

Aubrey's old nanny used to play her this video over a YEAR AGO when she was a baby. She used to like to watch it and it made her laugh. She literally hadn't seen it since then and we had never talked about it. Then one day, out of the blue she said to me in a sad little voice, "Hippo? Wi-mo-weh song?" I thought she wanted to see the video so I pulled it up on my iPhone and she began screaming in terror, covering her ears! "No no no no no no! I don't want it. I don't want it!"

After this incident, the mere utterance of the word "hippo" would send her into a panic attack! Eventually, we had to turn it into a game and joke around about hippos:

Aubrey: There's a hippo in my room?
Me: Noooooo! There's no hippo in this house. Is Mommy a hippo?
Aubrey: Nooooo!!!
Me: Are you a hippo?
Aubrey: Nooooo!!!
(And then, much laughing would ensue. Hi-LAR-ious. I may use the hippo bit in my next show.)

So we figured out how to Skype Lex and we had a daily Skype appointment which helped quite a bit, but I can't tell you what a treat it was for me to have to see my ex and his girlfriend Skyping from their hotel room in bathrobes every day at 6pm. It was a little weird, but hey, this is my child's mental health we're talking about.

Oh and it's worth mentioning that to top all of this craziness off, Aubrey had a cold the ENTIRE time he was gone. Yes. Three weeks of coughing, sneezing and runny nose. I'm grateful it was nothing more serious, but it certainly contributed to my stress level.

Aubrey has a wonderful nanny who came up with the idea to buy her a calendar so she could decorate it and cross of the days in a count down until daddy came home. This was... not very helpful. Oh well. We just kept trying. At a certain point I realized that a two year old just can not grasp the concept of how long "three weeks" is. No matter how many times I told her that daddy was coming back in X number of days, she just didn't believe me. In her little toddler mind, she truly believed he was never coming back. It was so heartbreaking to see her this way. To see your child suffering and not really be able to help them - it's one of the worst feelings in the world.

The end of the three weeks finally came and I never thought I'd say it, but I couldn't wait for Lex to come home! I had never been so relieved to have him back and Aubrey was glad to see him too. This was a real trial for Aubrey and me and I think we both barely made it through with our sanity in tact. Lex has been back for about a week now and had promised to not take another trip that long while she's little. Aubrey is still working through a lot of separation anxiety. She still gets very worried when one of us has to go and she still doesn't want to use the potty for me or her nanny. A new twist is that she has also exhibited some anger towards Lex. She's a little mad at him for leaving her for so long. Complex emotions for a little person, huh?

Trying to look on the bright side of all of this, it has given me a new appreciation for Lex. As much as most people don't LOVE their ex's I will say that I'm very glad that Aubrey has a daddy that she really loves and that he is in her life, actively caring for her and helping provide for her. I know so many single mom's who don't have this basic need met and my heart goes out to each and every one of them. I don't know how they do it alone.

Also, it has reminded me how intense and sincere a toddler's emotions can be. I think twice before I laugh at little things she says and I really listen to her when she is trying to express herself. I'm lucky that I have a very verbal child. She was using full sentences by 18 months, so communication has been pretty simple for us, but we all too often dismiss our young children's emotions as child's play or toddler manipulation. Sometimes we even think they just don't know what they're talking about - but they do.

My father was a commercial airline pilot (side note: he was one of the pilots of the DB Cooper hijacking!) and when I was right around Aubrey's age, he was flying international routes and would be gone for several days at a time. I went through the exact same trauma that Aubrey went through, thinking my daddy was never coming back each time he left, and I remember it vividly. I went through many of the same anxieties - minus the hippo - and I think I turned out all right. I had a loving mommy who helped me through it and my daddy always came home, just like my mom told me.

Aubrey is at her dad's house today and I'm enjoying my alone time. I'm going to go to the gym, watch some grown up tv, catch up on some work and have a nice dinner with my boyfriend. Bob Barker is also enjoying her alone time.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Raking Leaves?! SEXY!!

Look at the sexiness of this man in action!


Hey there men in relationships with women! Here's a quick note from a woman in a relationship with a man...

WOMEN LOVE IT WHEN YOU DO MANLY CHORES! There I said it. I'm a liberal woman and I believe in equal rights and I'm pro-choice and all that independent gal kind of stuff, but really nothing is sexier than when a man does the manly things most women really don't want to do. If you want to get into your woman's pants, forget flowers and fancy dinners (well don't TOTALLY forget them). Here is a list of stuff you can do that will make your woman want to rip your clothes off and make you smile:

- Take out the trash and bring the bins to and from the curb
- Rake the leaves
- Clean out the garage
- Assemble something
- Reach really tall things that need attention like smoke alarm batteries and gutters
- Really, anything that involves getting on top of the house - go for it
- Take responsibility for anything that needs to be purchased at Home Depot
- If it's broken, fix it
- If it's heavy, lift it
- If it's dirty, deal with it
- If it's scary, kill it
- If it's already dead, dispose of it
- Paint it, hammer it, screw it, mow it, oil it... you get the picture

I'm not kidding. You will be taken care of if you can get a handle on this list. This has been a public service announcement.



Monday, November 2, 2009

We GOT CHOCOLATE MILK and More!


Monkey and Mommy safe from the rain in the Got Chocolate Milk tent!


Hey All! I have been SO consumed with my daughter's new found neurosis (post coming soon) that I have been super procrastinating on some posts about events I have gone to recently. So, here goes...

On October 13, little Aubrey and I had the great pleasure of attending the Got CHOCOLATE Milk Halloween Party to announce Angie Harmon as the newest Got Milk campaign spokesperson at the Los Angeles Paramount Studios. Got Milk is the campaign of the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) and they did a real knock out job throwing a killer Halloween party (pardon the cheesy pun).

October 13, 2009 was one of the rare Los Angeles days where it was monsoon raining so I had to run my 24 pound monkey (my 2 yr old was actually dressed like a monkey - I don't actually have a monkey) the equivalent of a couple city blocks to the safety of the tented party area, but the soak was worth it.


There was trick-or-treating on the brownstone NYC street set (we missed it because of my daughter's late nap time), chocolate milk, LOTS of yummy milk based treats like chocolate pudding in cute Halloween mugs, brownie bites dipped in milk chocolate, cookies and more. It was a sweet tooth's dream come true.

I will admit that I was a little taken aback by all the sweets at the party since it was geared towards families with young children, but I did learn that an 8 oz serving of chocolate milk has 300 mg of calcium which is a third of the recommended daily allowance. Also, studies show that children who drink chocolate or other flavored milks have a higher calcium intake than children who don't drink milk and they also tend to avoid sodas and other higher sugar/chemical based beverages. So, it's not all bad and I think I'll be a little more likely to allow chocolate milk as a special treat now. I would LOVE for her to dislike soda pop, PLEASE!

On that note, yes, that is my monkey child gnawing down on a white milk chocolate covered ghost decorated brownie bite above. I rarely let her have sweets, but this was a special day - her first Halloween party! AND proud mama is happy to report she only ate one bite. I think it was too sweet for her. She also only wanted to eat the pretzel stick in the pudding cup. What a little freak, huh? I LOVE it!

In addition to the edible treats, there was also a photo booth that took chocolate milk mustache pics (bummed we missed that too), a magician and a face painter (Aubrey still talks about the banana she got painted on her cheek), games and the swag bags were awesome with matching adult and kid "got chocolate milk" t-shirts and Ultra Flip Video cameras - an item I've always wanted but was too cheap to buy. Thanks CA Milk Processor Board! We LOVE it!

I am really REALLY wet & happy

The decorations were to die for (more cheesy puns), the staff was friendly and it really was an awesome Halloween bash. The rain was the only downer (more stupid puns - I swear I'm not trying) but this lactose intolerant mama says it was all worth it. We had a blast and milk is already my daughter's favorite beverage - this may be only because she's half caucasian and hasn't tried a Bahama Mama yet - but 2% is great for now.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

MARATHON MADNESS! Actually, just me who's mad.

Running the Calabasas Classic 10k in 2006 - PRE baby!
(I was too cheap to buy the photo)


I've made an exciting and insane decision to run the 2010 L.A. Marathon. It's in March and I just started training two weeks ago. I'm in decent shape, but not what I was a few years ago, PRE baby. HA! Shocking, I know. But I will openly admit, here on my personal blog, that I have been slacking off on exercise and eating more junk food than I used to. I did fail math many years ago (sorry Asian people) but here's a simple equation for all of you:

Little Exercise + More Junk Food = TIGHT PANTS

I'd LOVE to use motherhood as an excuse and let's get real ladies, many women do. Having a baby is the most ridiculous thing that a woman can do to her body. It's really funky and you have so little control over what happens to you during that time. The aftermath is no picnic and most women have to work hard to get back to some semblance of pre-pregnancy body. Don't beat yourself up and give yourself time.

But my child is almost 2-1/2. I have no plans of having another one and it's time for me to get serious and disciplined about getting back in good shape. I'm not just talking about being thin, but healthy. Anyone who knew me about 4-5 years ago remembers that I had a six pack and had about 18% body fat or something swell like that. I was keeping a healthy low fat/low sugar diet and working out, both cardio and strength training 6 days a week. Can I do this now, traveling for a living and with a toddler at home, not in pre school yet? HELL NO! But I can at least set realistic goals for myself and keep them... so why not go for a marathon? Heck, Paula Radcliffe WON the NYC Marathon for the 3rd time in a row in 2008 as a 35 year old mother (she's almost as old as me) and in 2007 when she won the 2nd time, her baby (her first child) was only 10 months old. I have NO excuses. Sigh...

Running a marathon has been on my to-do list since about 2000. That was the year I did the AIDS Ride from St Paul to Chicago. Approximately 550 miles on a bike in 5 days, 4 nights of camping. News flash, this will never happen again, but I'm ready for a different, less time consuming kind of torture.

Oh and I also decided, on a last minute whim, to sign up for the San Dimas Muddy Buddy race this weekend. Wish me luck. I haven't been on a bike since some time in 2006. I did some practice riding on the actual course to get ready, but mama will be walking some of the hills. The suckers are big and rocky!

Time to get ready for my big Fed Ex commercial audition and after that... I'll be running.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Home for 32 Hours and Nap Drama Ensues!



The last couple weeks have been so interesting and exciting and exhausting and... well, enough ands. I can't say too much at this point, but I just shot a pilot for a new talk show. In the best of all possible worlds, the show will get picked up and I'll have a regular national tv gig. Don't jinx me though. I'm just going to sit back, relax and enjoy the waiting process. HA!

I interviewed for the pilot job less than two weeks ago. Booked it the day after the interview. Shot some segments here in L.A. two days after that. Flew to NYC on Friday, shot the in-studio pilot show on Sat (I was in NYC approximately 22 hours), flew home Sat night and now I'm home spending the day with my daughter before I have to leave again for a gig in Ohio. I'll have to leave for LAX at 4:30am tomorrow morning. AHHHHH!!!

After the Ohio overnight, I'll have the rest of this coming week at home with my little family and after that a little vacation before going back to work. I have a gig on Oct 3 in San Antonio with the Hot Tamales Live and Eva Longoria! It should be a good one.

Anyhoo, Aubrey was really excited to see me today, as was I, her. We did some painting, watched a Baby Einstein video with a snack and got snuggled in for nap time. She hasn't fought a nap time for me in weeks. Maybe even a couple months now, but today was the day. I think she was just so excited to be back at my house with our dog, Bob Barker and me, that she decided to go a little kee-ray-zee.

This is a normal part of being a two year old. Tantrums come and go and she really doesn't have all that many. I have to admit, I have a hard time not laughing at the things she says when she goes nuts. She fancies herself a real master manipulator and will say clever little things in an attempt to get me to cave in and forgo the nap. Today, when she was crying her little face off, trying to get me to come in her room and rescue her from the big bad nap time, here are some of the doozies she yelled out:

- I hungry! (she hasn't quite gotten down "I am" or "I'm" yet)
- I need to paint!
- I see Daddy!
- I see Lee! (my boyfriend)
- I see Bob Barker! (our dog)
- I need go swimming!
- I take a bath!
- It's ok it's ok it's ok!
- I see out the window!
- Read another book!
- I need Curious George!
- I want Time Out Chair! (that's REALLY desperate)

I love that she thinks I'll really fall for one of these. As if suddenly, I'll think, "Oh my God! Aubrey DOES need a bath! I had better get her out of bed!" HILARIOUS!

My favorite of all time was the other night before she went to bed she exclaimed, "I need nuts!" She's really into cashews right now.

I hope you're all having a fun weekend!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Red Eyes, Pizzas and Gigs

Post Show at U Mass-Amherst!

I took a red eye to Boston and drove to Amherst, MA on Friday night. Had pizza with a Westminster Choir College (my alma mater)alum who is teaching at an interim position there and then did a show. Ate more pizza. Slept 3.5 hours and headed back to the Boston airport.

As for the show, I had the pleasure of performing at U Mass-Amherst and when I got there I met this young guy named Bo Burnham. I forgot that I was sharing the bill with another comic and apparently, it was him. He was introduced to me and I asked if he was a student. "No, he's the headliner"!! Hahaha! Wow, that made me feel old. Then I was told he just turned 19 and is one of these YouTube phenoms.

I had never heard of him before. He sings silly little songs with titles like "My Whole Family Thinks I'm Gay". I believe this is his biggest hit. He posted 2 songs on YouTube.com 2 years ago and now he's filling theaters and clubs with 18-22 year olds all over the country and is the youngest person to be given a Comedy Central Presents special. Wow.

I don't find him to be particularly funny (I think it's easier to enjoy his stuff if you're not an adult) good on him for capitalizing on his viral fame and it's nice that he has super supportive parents who act as roadies and sell merchandise for him after shows. I met them and they are charming people. We are in a closer age bracket than I am with Bo. They are younger than my boyfriend. Man, life just FLYS by, huh? Anyway, it will be interesting to see what happens to this guy. Will he become the next Chocolate Rain guy? Or will he sustain a career? This is a nutty business and I wish him all the best. He has 20 months of experience and I have 12 years. Seriously, all of those approximately 1600 college kids didn't turn out to see me. They came to see Bo and it was a humbling experience.

Anyway, why did I even mention all of this... just random thoughts as I kill time in Logan International Airport, waiting for a flight to Vegas.

I'm at the Pearl Theater in The Palms Hotel and Casino TONIGHT, performing with the Hot Tamales Live show. I hope to see you there! Better pack up the Macbook and get ready to board.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Oh POOP!


As if I haven't embarrassed myself enough already, here is a true tale from the trenches of motherhood...


So I have a tendency to post things that many people would never admit to (pinching my child, having to leave a restaurant because my kid wouldn't stop screaming, crapping my pants on Obama's inauguration day) so why stop now?

My girl is 27 months old tomorrow. She has been going pee in the toilet for several weeks now and I couldn't be prouder. She's still wearing diapers and pull-ups but she recently starting telling me when she has to go! This is a GIANT leap for toddlerkind, yes?! I was excited when this started happening. So after a week or so of her announcing, "I have to potty!" and making it to the toilet successfully, I thought it would be a good time to start a little more poop talk as she was still happy to wallow in her own #2 for hours on end if I'd let her. My nanny told me that she was starting to talk more about pooping in her diaper though, so I decided to continue on.

When I started potty training, I asked for any and all advice and I read tons of websites and parenting boards. Many people and experts suggested letting a child of the same gender as you watch you sit on the toilet and go. I was raised in a super conservative family and like many fine Evangelical Christians, we were fairly ashamed of our bodies. This type of potty training wouldn't have happened in our house. I'm no hippie, but I do want my daughter to feel comfortable and confident about her body and part of that is showing her my confidence and comfort with my body, teaching her the proper names for body parts and at this point in life, making potty training fun and no big whoop!

The "let your child watch you go to the potty" technique had worked like a charm for peeing. Aubrey loves to come into the bathroom with me and watch me pee. She even squats down in front of me and takes a good look at everything going on: "It's Mommy's gina! It's go pee-pee! I see it!" I'm not trying to brag, but yesterday she even announced, "It's CLEAN!" So there.

Anyway, this morning I thought she might like to watch the poo-poo in action too. She had pooped in her diaper a little earlier and I thought it would be a good opportunity to show her how Mommy does it and what big girls do with their poo-poo. You know, while it was still fresh in her mind. Well, I guess I was wrong.

Aubrey got into her regular front row seat to watch the action. She made her regular exclamation of, "It's Mommy's gina!" and when she saw the kids dropping into the pool...

well, the reaction was not positive. First she made a horrible face. I thought, well, she doesn't like the smell - who can blame her? But then she ran out of the room and said something like, "I don't want it! I get out." I had successfully managed to terrify my child with my poop. Great.

This all happened this morning, about 6 hours ago from now. Since then, she has peed in her diaper throughout the day, not going on the potty once. When I ask her if she'd like to sit on the potty and try for a sticker (the photo is actually her with her sticker "chart" - we let it turn into more of a freestyle expression of sticker placement rather than a chart) she says, "No thanks".

So a giant leap forward and, hopefully, just a small step back. I know with this, like everything else in motherhood, I need to have patience and just give it some time. Pushing (sorry, no pun intended) is not going to help anything and finding that fine line between pushing and encouraging will always be a delicate balancing act. Oh well. At least I have a clean vagina.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Funny In Seattle


I am up in Seattle getting ready for my stand up debut at The Comedy Underground! I'm really excited to finally have a Seattle performance under my belt. I haven't been here since I was a kid and I have to say, it's a really awesome city. HOWEVER, I am here during some of the nicest weather of the year. It's dry, warm but not hot, and DRY! No rain! It kind of tricked me into thinking I could live here... but then I remembered, it rains here a looooooootttttt. No thanks. I'd actually rather be snowed on than rained on. But more than anything, I'd rather not have anything falling on me. Thus... Los Angeles.

It is a really cool city though and I enjoyed the Underground tour, the funky glass library, the first Starbucks, the Pike Place Market and a really sweet peach/strawberry smoothie.

If YOU are here in Seattle, I sure hope you can make it to my show tomorrow night and if you're not here, please tell your Seattle friends! Here is the info:

Wed, Aug 26 @ 8:30pm
Amy Anderson Headlines
The Comedy Underground
109 S Washington St
Seattle WA 98104

*Click HERE to Buy Tickets!

Come out and support me in my Seattle comedy debut with Andrew Rivers (emcee) and local Seattle favorite, Sean Ottey.

ALSO, I'll be on the Bob Rivers show on 102.5 fm KZOK - tomorrow, Wed, Aug 26 at 9am! Bob's son is Andrew and he will be emceeing the Underground show! It's gonna be a great night!

Later Lovers! Thanks for all your support! xo

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I'm in Washington this week!!

Hey Everyone!

I'm on the road up in Washington state and don't hate, but the National Lentil Festival is going on, right here in Pullman, WA which is where I am right this very moment. Well, I'm in my hotel room, so I'm missing the lentil filled action, but I think I can imagine it. My Persian friend, Nadine Rajabi, said that Iranians have a superstition about lentils: that if a woman eats them while she's pregnant, her baby will be smart. Poor Aubrey... she's doomed.

I'm performing at Washington State University tonight at 10:30pm and then on Wed, Aug 26, I'm headlining The Comedy Underground in downtown Seattle. I'm REALLY excited for this show and I hope you can come if you're in the area. If you're not in the area, please tell your friends. I will make them laugh or I will come and do your laundry. I promise.

I'm also looking forward to visiting friends and family during this trip and I'll openly admit to being a little relieved to get the heck out of Dodge for a few days too. Life has been beyond crazy these last several weeks (see last post) and while I'm the type of person who can't totally relax with unfinished business at home, it's still nice to take a little break before going back into the trenches.

Local SoCal shows, Las Vegas, MA, OH and GA are coming up this fall and many more TBA! I hope to see you at a show soon!





Thursday, August 20, 2009

LIFE IS CRAZY!!!!!

In the last couple of weeks I:

- did shows in Meridian, ID
- did a show in San Jose, CA
- had stressful disagreement with commercial agent
- fired commercial agent
- hired new commercial agent
- fired a nanny
- sort of hired a new one
- new nanny was arrested by CHP and I had to sort of un-hire her and kick her out of my house
- boyfriend's car was stolen in Malibu
- boyfriend's car was recovered 2 days later - thousand's of $s of valuables gone including Garmin Zumo 550 GPS, SCUBA gear, wallet, driver's license, credit cards, cash, prescription glasses, jacket, sunglasses...
- still need to figure out nanny situation and get my commercial agent to send me the money she owes me

I'm leaving for Washington (WSU in Pullman and The Comedy Underground in Seattle) tomorrow and it will be nice to escape and pretend my life isn't total chaos at home. At least my two year old is peeing in the potty! There's some good news!

SO... who's coming to my shows in Washington?!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My Wild Weekend

I just want to say that it REALLY irritates me that these blog interfaces make your text go crazy when you paste into them... this isn't supposed to be quadruple spaced, but... I'm too lazy and tired to fix it. Read on...

Most people know what a party animal I am... YEAH RIGHT! I recently had some child-free time to myself and you won't believe what kind of madcap adventures ensued...


I was in complete disbelief, looking at my calendar last week. Was it true? Could it be?! I was going to have a full three days of an empty house to myself?!! GET OUT OF HERE! My boyfriend went to the Midwest for some work and it was my daughter's and nanny's turn to go over to my ex's house. For the first time in I-don't-know-when, I was going to be alone in my own house! Just the dog and me. Immediately, I started making plans:


Change the tv channel to something other than Noggin and PBS

Watch a DVD that is not "Free To Be You And Me" or "Elmo's Potty Time"

Sleep in the middle of the bed with all of the covers to myself

Spend quality time with the dog before she kills me in my sleep

Work out

Read an entire magazine on the toilet with the bathroom door open. Wide open.

Take long showers (eco system be damned)

Catch up on writing

Party with my childless, single friends at night

Sleep in late in the mornings.


I had a LOT of plans for the weekend! Wednesday night, the man headed down to LAX and Thursday afternoon, the baby and nanny rolled out to daddy's house. Let the craziness begin! My motto was, "What happens in Sherman Oaks, stays in Sherman Oaks!" WOO-HOO!


Except nothing really happened. Well, some of it happened, but not nearly with the gusto I had fantasized about. While I did manage to get out for a few meals with friends and drinks a couple times, I amazed myself at how absolutely lame I was all by myself:


Friday Morning: My first opportunity to sleep in was squelched by my boyfriend's alarm which didn't get turned off from the morning before. It went off at 6am and there I was... awake.

Friday Night: performed stand up set at Hollywood Improv and ended up going to a karaoke bar with a comedian friend and his neighbors. I had one beer, didn't sing a song and was yawning the whole time. Was home by midnight. Checked emails and went to bed.

Saturday Morning: Remembered to turn off alarm, but woke up at 7am, on the dot, out of habit. This is when my 2 yr old gets up. DAMN! I was up!

Saturday Day: Paid bills, went to post office, did two loads of laundry

Saturday Night: Had a friend over for a beer and dip in the pool then off to meet more friends for overpriced drinks. This was the big night!

Sunday Morning: Slept all the way until 8:30am!! This is big people! Then felt nostalgic for the days when 8:30 used to be early and I could sleep until 10 or 11 with no problem. Sigh.

Sunday Day: Folded and put away laundry, dusted, vacuumed, did paper/busy work

I don't really think I need to detail any more of this exciting weekend. You get the idea - I was lame!! Had I forgotten how to have fun? Do I not know how to party anymore? Apparently, I just live to do laundry and pay bills and the funny thing is, I'm ok with that.


I'm very lucky that I have a career that is my life's passion. I'm a comedian and I get to hang out in clubs and colleges and bars all over the country and get paid to make people laugh. I'm surrounded by interesting and talented people and I get to express myself freely, on a regular basis. It's pretty sweet. At the end of the day though, I don't mind being a homebody and I think it's what keeps me sane in this totally insane industry.


Becoming a mom in this industry has been beyond challenging. Comedy is heavily male dominated and a life on the road doesn't really lend itself easily to breast feeding and bath times. As a female comedian, I have been asked these two questions, repeatedly, since having my daughter:


1) So you're not really doing comedy anymore then, are you?

2) Oh you are? So, I guess you just take the baby on the road with you then, huh?


I guarantee you, no male comedian who has fathered a child has been asked these questions. Especially #2. I won't lie. Being a traveling comedian, single-mom of a pre-school aged child is a crazy juggling act I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, but I wouldn't have it any other way. It's my calling but it's also my job and like any single mom (or dad) or any parent who works, it is what I do for my child and myself. Furthermore, I'm so grateful to have work in this economy.


So I embrace my lame-o homebody status when I'm at home. Even when it's just me. I don't mind coming home from a club and folding little tiny clothes and washing sippy cups. Somehow, it's all getting done and while I can't say I like the night life and I like to boogie, I can say that I DO like my life.



Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Simple Things to Make a Difference

Here I am posing with Nemo, the clown fish. OK, so it's not the real Nemo, but I do LOVE fish.

I did NOT view the Michael Jackson memorial service today, but I DID attend the Dive Club meeting at ECO Dive Center in Culver City, CA and we listened to a volunteer speaker from Surfriders. She talked to us about plastics and their negative affect on the ocean and marine life. I already knew most of the information, but I thought I'd take a few minutes to share what I know and hopefully inspire others to make conscious choices about our ecology. Hey, Michael Jackson loved animals, right? He even sang that Free Willy song, right? See, I'm not a total social deviant. It's still all about Michael...

Seriously though, it's a big problem and while I believe big corporations need to do their part since their greed is kind of screwed everything up anyway, we can all do a little something. And if you think I'm full of doo-doo, then look at this... and now keep reading...

Here are several simple things we can all do in our everyday lives to make a difference:

- Stop buying/drinking beverages in plastic bottles (only 12% of plastic bottles are recycled in the US and the caps are always trashed).

- Get some stainless steel water bottles and a home water filtration system. Two very popular choices are: Klean Kanteen and Sigg.
- Use cloth shopping bags and if you can, refuse bags when offered (only 1% of plastic bags are recycled)

- Always cut up plastic soda can rings and make sure bottle caps and plastic rings from milk jugs, etc, end up in the garbage - but even better, STOP USING THEM!

- When getting take out food ask them to leave out the plastic utensils, straw and even extra stuff like ketchup and soy sauce packets, if you're not going to use them. I know mine usually end up in the trash and I have a junk drawer in the kitchen full of plastic forks wrapped in napkins with rubber bands! Stupid.

- Pick up plastic! If you see plastic trash on the beach, park, etc, pick it up and get it to a recycle bin if possible

- Reduce your seafood consumption and only eat sustainable seafood, if you must. Lots of great info at: The End of the Line site.

- If you need to use disposable utensils and plates, use corn, bamboo or paper products. Just Google it and you'll be amazed at how many products are out there!

- Start channeling Nancy Regan and just say NO! Not to drugs! Do all the drugs you want! To styrofoam and plastics. Actually, did you know that styrofoam is just another form of plastic? Start bringing your own reusable food containers and travel mugs along with you and most food establishments are happy to use them instead. Some food establishments will even give you a discount (Starbucks and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf are a couple)!


So, there you have it people. There are a million more ways you can make a little difference starting right now, so why wait? At least, do it for Michael.