Welcome To The Cradle Chronicles!

These are the crazy confessions of a first time mommy, and her adventures in world "mom-ination." If you are coming to this blogsite by way of People.com, chances are you’re already familiar with my writing style and “Mommy-centric” blog fodder. If not, I'll introduce myself with this brief summary: Suffice it to say, I have kids. Two, in fact. Now, I’m not suggesting this defines me entirely, but it certainly goes a long way toward explaining my daily trials and tribulations with spit-up and dirty diapers. Which brings me to… Welcome to The Cradle Chronicles! I hope you’ll continue coming back again and again for more of my motherhood anecdotes, and I look forward to hearing from you. Please keep an eye out for my book, "Situation Momedy," to be released by Medallion Press in 2015 and feel free to follow me on Twitter too!

--Photos in Welcome section courtesy of Mimosa Arts Photography--

August 7, 2015
Flying By The Seat of Your Panzanella...

Flying By The Seat of Your Panzanella…

 

                  I know, I know. You’ve probably been asking yourself, “What the heck happened to that girl; is she ever going to write another blog?” If it’s any consolation, I’ve actually asked myself that question a time or two!

I’ve been in the throes of editing my book for the last few months, so I’ve had to put all other writing on the back burner. And since I’m the only one running this ship, you’ve been stuck playing the waiting game. The good news is my edits for Situation Momedy: A First-Time Mom’s Guide To Laughing Your Way Through Pregnancy & Year One are now complete!

Before you go throwing confetti and popping open that champagne bottle, it doesn’t mean I’m back in the saddle again. I’ll still be MIA for a while because… drumroll, please… I’ve moved on to book 2!!

Yes, it’s true– the follow up, titled Situation Momedy: A Very Special Episode in Toddlerdom is scheduled to be released in February 2017. Suffice it to say I’ll be tied up for a while writing the new manuscript and taking care of my sweet babies. At the rate I’m going, you may not have weekly blogs again until I’ve sent my girls off to college!

Nevertheless, I don’t like to leave you hanging for too long, so my chaotic schedule didn’t stop me from sneaking in a little time to create a quick summer-friendly recipe for you this week. It may not be a juicy post for you to laugh your way through, but I promise my book will more than make up for that when it comes out on November 10th! (PS. If you feel like pre-ordering it, you can do so HERE!)

Now, on to our recipe…

I always wind up buying gorgeous baguettes, only to have half the loaf go stale before I can use it. Because after a weekend fiesta full of hilarious conversation, yummy cheese platters, and copious amounts of wine, who remembers to wrap the remaining bread in plastic or foil before bed? Not this girl. I generally wake up the following morning cursing my lack of foresight and bemoaning the fact that the bread formerly known as moist and delicious has now hardened into a crusty little thing only birds might consider edible. Until now.

We recently hosted a summer wine tasting and I got creative with the post-party stale bread supply. I thought perhaps this might inspire you to do the same! The next time you’re contemplating tossing your leftover bread in the trash, try this out:

 

My “Flying By The Seat of Your Panzanella”

(Recipe by Jenna von Oy)

 

Ingredients:

1/2  Loaf of day-old rustic baguette, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 ½ Cloves of garlic- minced

2-3 Tbs Spanish Olive Oil

2 Diced tomatoes

1 ½ Tbs capers

3-4 Large leaves of basil- julienned

3 Tbs Fresh Italian parsley-chopped

¼ Shallot- minced

7-8 Buffala mozzarella boccinis (the small balls) – sliced

2-3 Tbs Balsamic vinegar (exact amount depends on your taste)

Salt & Pepper

Directions:  

~Heat the olive oil on medium. Once pan is hot, add the bread pieces and drizzle a little more olive oil on top. Sautée the bread pieces for approximately 10 minutes, or until they start to brown, then add the garlic and mix well.

~ In a separate mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, capers, basil, Italian parsley, and shallots

~ When bread and garlic mixture is ready, add it to your mixing bowl. Be sure to scrape all of that wonderful garlic into your mixture too!

~ Add the sliced mozzarella and balsamic vinegar.

~ Mix well and let stand for five minutes to absorb the flavors.

~ Serve and enjoy!!

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

PS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen. This will help you stay in the loop!

PPS. Don’t forget to join my Twitter  and check out my website too!

June 26, 2015
Three's not a crowd, it's a cupcake!

Three’s not a crowd, it’s a cupcake!

 

I curse the saying Time flies.

No really, I’m a twitching, shouting at the moon, wishing-for-days-gone-by kind of mess over that phrase right now. Because time doesn’t just fly, it launches like Secretariat out of the gate and rushes past with no consideration for all of the moments we don’t have a chance to capture on photo, or video, or in our memory banks. It doesn’t let us press a pause or a rewind button, and the next thing you know, your itty bitty newborn (who was just teething and learning to crawl yesterday, I swear) is three-years-old. Three!

My baby turned three!!! And those three years flew faster than a Peregrine Falcon diving for it’s prey.

It is with great excitement and anticipation for the little girl she is becoming, mixed with great sadness for the baby she left behind, that we celebrated Gray’s third birthday. Mind you, she turned three almost a month ago, on May 21st, but the aforementioned time flies so damn fast that I woke up one day and realized I hadn’t put a blog out in over a month either. (Oops! And sorry!) Which brings another popular saying to mind too: Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. Touché, John Lennon, touché.

But back to the birthday… It happens that Gray was off from preschool that week, so I’d planned a small gathering with some of her friends. I reserved the little pavilion at a local park so the kids could swing and slide to their hearts’ content. We’d had a week of eighty-degree weather, so how crazy would I be to keep a bunch of toddlers locked up indoors? Cabin fever is no joke, people. Any opportunity to let my kid run off her energy (and perhaps that birthday cupcake) so nap time becomes an irrefutable afternoon staple, is an opportunity that I’d be a fool to turn down. Do ya feel me, fellow (exhausted) moms?

Well, go figure, Murphy and his law came in and tried to muck up my plans a bit.

It rained the whole night before the party, bringing the temperature down to a dank fifty-four-degrees and thoroughly drenching the playground. Sadly, it never warmed up before the party started. It also happens that a construction crew had shut down the road near the park we chose, and the pavilion was next to a jackhammer for the entire celebration. Super peaceful. But you know what? The kids didn’t care about any of that. We dried the wet equipment with towels I’d brought, and those kids ran around until they warmed up. It didn’t matter that a bulldozer was tearing up the ground nearby; the kids just shouted right over it. And so what if a few of her friends didn’t show up because of crappy weather? Gray didn’t notice. She was too busy shoving that chocolate cupcake down her throat, singing, playing games, dancing in circles, laughing, and sporting her fancy little party hat. My kid was beyond satisfied. Consequently, I might have been a chilly mama that day but I was also a very content one.

 

Happy 3rd birthday, Gray!

Happy 3rd birthday, Gray!

 

So… HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sweet Gray! Thank you for gracing me with your beautiful spirit, your contagious laughter, your uncanny sarcasm (see my archived blog, Five Things That Make Me Think a 90-year-old is Trapped Inside of My 2-year-old’s Body, for more on that!), your wonderfully strong will and stubborn streak, and your unparalleled affection. Thank you for making the last three years pass by so quickly, despite my lamenting, because do you know what that means? It means we were having so much fun that it never slowed down long enough for us to notice. I’m so proud to be your mommy, and I love you stars and moon!

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

PS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen. This will help you stay in the loop when I release my new book later this year, “Situation Momedy!” If you you want to pre-order it now (I wouldn’t dream of stopping you), it’s already available on Amazon, through this link…

PPS. Don’t forget to join my Twitter  and check out my website too!

May 22, 2015

 

Mother's Day 2015, with Marlowe & Gray

Mother’s Day 2015, with Marlowe & Gray

 

I’ll begin by saying this Mother’s Day post is a VERY belated one because… well… I am a mother. I’d like to think that’s the only explanation or excuse needed here!

Truth be told, I sat down countless times over the last few weeks to attempt to write something sentimental and profound in honor of all of you awesome moms out there. Instead, I wound up with some disjointed thoughts, a wastebasket full of wadded papers (actually, a bunch of deleted Word docs), and a couple of pathetic haiku (which I might post at some point just for the hell of it). Oh yeah, and I also wound up with an infinite number of instances during which I was distracted by fixing lunch, rushing to daycare drop off, coordinating naptimes, saying yet another prayer that I can finally convince Gray to give up her pacifier, kissing boo-boos, cleaning spit up, or wiping a baby bottom. But that’s the life of a mommy, right? And… drumroll, please… isn’t every day technically “Mother’s Day” when you look at it from that perspective?

I’m not going to pretend Mother’s Day is a totally useless holiday. It’s nice to have one day a year when people (namely your husband and kids) are socially encouraged to extend their heartfelt appreciation for all you do. A little validation never hurt anyone, am I right? And let’s be honest– some spouses and children need a little guidance in that department. Or a lot of it. To be fair, we mommies often go without a ton of recognition for the selfless service we give on a daily basis, so a day of spirited acknowledgment tends to feed the soul. But selfless service is the high standard that we mommies are called to, isn’t it? It comes with the territory and it is, by definition, what it means to be a mom.

With that said, I came to realize something new this year– Mother’s Day isn’t just a not-so-subtle reminder for our loved ones; it’s a not-so-subtle reminder for us moms too. It isn’t simply about being honored by those who call you “Mommy,” it’s about remembering to honor being a mommy. Because sometimes that gets lost in the shuffle of being a full-time chef, nurse, housekeeper, schedule-maker, activity-director, homework-checker, perpetual chauffeur, breastfeeding station, hug-dispenser, and problem-solver extraordinaire.

My Mother’s Day was especially touching this year—not because of any wrapped packages, but because it stirred my sentimentality in a way I’ve not experienced before. (Mind you, I’ve only celebrated two Mother’s Days prior to this, so… bear with me. I’m still a newbie.) That isn’t to imply that I’m looking a gift horse in the mouth; I’m thoroughly grateful for the beautiful morning my husband helped my daughters to orchestrate. (For a three-year-old, Gray has some seriously good taste in present picking!) But beyond the roses, the hand drawn heart card, and the thoughtfully chosen keepsakes, were two little girls that looked up at me with immeasurable love and devotion in their eyes. And that was my favorite gift of all. Talk about the sincerest form of flattery! It made me feel like Superwoman, and I’m blessed that I get to see that look every day in one form or another. I know, I know… wait until they’re teenagers, right? Nonetheless, I spent my Mother’s Day cuddling on the couch with my family, and it was the perfect way to spend the afternoon. None of us got out of our pajamas and none of us wanted to. I whiled away the hours reveling in my mommyhood and thinking about how lucky I am that God chose me to parent these stunning, wonderful, strong-willed, inspiring little girls. Every day with them is a blessing.

Now, I’m not going to pretend there aren’t moments of sheer insanity and chaos that make me momentarily forget to appreciate my motherhood. Sometimes I feel like I might have inadvertently joined Barnum & Bailey Circus somewhere along the way. There are times when I fail to see past my delirium from an untold number of sleepless nights, and sometimes Gray’s look of admiration is hard to recognize through the temper tantrums that erupt over important things like: my failure to remove the crust from a piece of breakfast toast and my inability to immediately beam us to Disneyland (I’m so technologically incompetent!). But all of a sudden I’ll catch a glimpse of it… hiding in a smirk, an unexpected “I love you,” or a kiss goodnight. It subtly creeps in, and it melts my heart each and every time.

 

My stunning roses... next to some not-so-stunning smelly sneakers

My stunning roses… next to some not-so-stunning smelly sneakers

 

I hope, in the course of your hectic routine, you are able to enjoy every day for what it is–Mother’s Day. Because sometimes we all need a reminder that being a mom is, in and of itself, the reward.

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

PS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen. This will help you stay in the loop when I release my new book later this year, “Situation Momedy!”

PPS. Don’t forget to join my Twitter  and check out my website too!

April 17, 2015
Yes, I'm wearing Mom Jeans

Yes, I’m wearing Mom Jeans

 

There are a lot of fashion trends that have been resurrected over the years, regardless of whether or not they should have been. Flannel shirts have returned in all of their 90’s Seattle grunge glory, wedge heels are back from the 70’s, and I’ll even admit to owning some pants that come dangerously close to resembling the Hammer pants of the 80’s. Though I probably shouldn’t admit that out loud.

I’m sure you’re wondering how all of this relates to motherhood. In my humble opinion, the award for the biggest fashion failure that should never make its way back to the mainstream goes to…

Mom jeans.

Synonymous with minivan driving, suburban soccer moms of the 80’s and 90’s, Mom Jeans couldn’t be tackier if they tried. Well, I suppose that’s not true. They could be made of polyester and come with their very own disco ball. Nonetheless, when pants are so shapeless and unflattering that they can make a bubble butt look as flat as my Pug’s nose, there’s a seriously epic style faux pas happening. Entire Saturday Night Live skits have been devoted to the subject. Need I say more?

So with all of that in mind, I was super excited to be wearing a pair of Mom Jeans in the movie I’m filming. No really. I’m just weird enough to be perversely thrilled to have an excuse to look ridiculous… And actually get paid for it!

I’ve, of course, included a photo for your viewing pleasure, but keep an eye out for the film at some point too. It’s a sweet little family film called Cecil, and I’m enjoying the heck out of working on it. It’s exciting to be at a point in my career where I get to play the mom!

Even (especially?) when it involves Mom Jeans.

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

Ps. To keep up with the progress of the movie, you can check out the film’s twitter page: @Cecilthemovie

PPS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen. This will help you stay in the loop when I release “Situation Momedy!” later this year. Don’t forget to join my Twitter  and check out my website too!

 

 

 

 

March 27, 2015

 

Will the real George Burns please stand up?

Will the real George Burns please stand up?

            

            Sometimes when my daughter speaks, I think she’s channeling George Burns. I picture a geriatric, chain-smoking, wise-cracking little man in bifocals, living inside of her brain and playing puppet master to her sarcasm and vocabulary usage. Half of her day is spent acting like a typical two-year-old—you know, finger painting and playing with dolls, requesting carrots one minute and then swearing she hates them the next, and having a minor meltdown over the fact that I won’t let her have cupcakes for breakfast. But every now and then, she looks up at me and says something that makes me forget I’m speaking to a person who has only been on this planet for a sum total of 35 months. Here are five examples of what happens when that George Burns wannabe surfaces…

 

  1. One afternoon, when we’d just finished lunch, Gray leaned back, stuck her hand in the waistband of her pants à la Al Bundy, and asked, “Mommy, can I have a Probiotic?” Next she’ll be asking me for prune juice and a Shuffleboard set.
  1. Gray’s school has had several scheduled fire drills lately, and the last one was a bit jarring for the kids, as it took place right smack dab in the middle of their naptime. It also happens that it was cold and rainy that day, so the teachers had to wrap blankets around the delirious, cranky, half-asleep toddlers and drag them outside into the chilly, wet weather. This event stuck with Gray, and she has been a little nervous about fire drills ever since. On her way to school last week, she informed my husband, “I just know we are going to have another fire drill today, Daddy, and I’m going to be traumatized.” Hell, now I’m traumatized over her use of the word traumatized.
  1. My mother recently told Gray she was going to save up to take her Disneyland some day. The term “some day” is a timeline that’s lost on a two-year-old, so Gray has brought it up in conversation every day since. Joy. One night, when I couldn’t manage to steer her away from her relentless inquiries regarding the who, what, when, where and how of her future vacation, she got exasperated and said, ”I just can’t wait anymore. I want to go to Disneyland RIGHT NOW, Mommy!” I looked at her and responded, ”We can’t go to Disneyland right now, Gray. It’s in California, and California is far away. In fact, it’s clear on the other side of the country, so that’s not happening. It’s not like I can beam us there.” She looked at me calmly, blinked a few times and said, “You’re being awfully feisty tonight.” Remind me which one of us is the parent again?
  1. One evening, I was getting dressed before dinner guests arrived. Gray had accompanied me to my closet, where she was eyeing my ensemble like it was on backwards and inside out. God bless a two-year-old with strong fashion convictions! Since I’m breastfeeding Marlowe, I’m currently fairly… ahem… well endowed. Evidently this hasn’t gone unnoticed by Gray. As I pulled a tank top down over my head, she dryly said, “Your boobies aren’t really dressed right now.” I guess that’s what I get for showing a little cleavage.
  1. I cracked a joke the other night that, apparently, didn’t go over well. Gray’s response? “Sometimes you’re funny mommy. But not a lot.” And to think I used to get paid to make people laugh.

Enough said.

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

PS.  My apologies for being a week late with this blog post. The completed manuscript for my book, Situation Momedy, has to be turned into my publisher on April 1st  (and that’s no April Fool’s joke), so these past few weeks have been my crunch time. Thank you for your patience!

PPS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen. This will help you stay in the loop when I release “Situation Momedy!” later this year. Don’t forget to join my Twitter  and check out my website too!

 

  • I just wanted to tell you that I love your daughter’s name…Gray Audrey. I named my sister back in ’67 when Audrey Hepburn was famous. It’s never been a very popular name, but I have always thought it sounded elegant and sophisticated.

    Good luck with your book. The title sounds great! :)

March 6, 2015

Before I begin, I want to broach what I feel is an important matter, because my goal with this blog has always been to share my motherhood experiences without alienating anyone. Perhaps that’s a pipe dream, but I do my best! It happens that this post is geared toward breastfeeding moms, so I wanted to begin by saying that I know breastfeeding isn’t for everyone, and I completely respect that. I imagine some of you have struggled with breastfeeding, discovered it wasn’t comfortable for you, or decided it just wasn’t something you were interested in doing. I’m on your side no matter what choice you’ve made! Am I pro-breastfeeding? Absolutely. I wholeheartedly believe in the benefits of it. But I’m also a firm believer in respecting everyone else’s choices, whether or not they differ from my own. I’d like to think those two ideas don’t have to be mutually exclusive!

Not too long ago, an article was published in which my interview quotes might easily have been misconstrued, suggesting I have some passive aggressive tendencies regarding those who don’t breastfeed. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. While I can’t imagine my own motherhood experience without it, I recognize that it isn’t the right choice, or feasible, for every mom out there. You have my support and encouragement whether you do or don’t breastfeed; we all have to do what’s comfortable for us individually! I might be overstating all of this, but I’d rather people felt I over-explained myself unnecessarily, instead of feeling I presented a blog that was thoughtless and unfair to the non-breastfeeding moms out there. With that said, the campaign I refer to in this post specifically pertains to breastfeeding moms. If you don’t breastfeed, I hope you won’t feel slighted by the nature of it and, at the end of the day, I hope the sentiment behind the campaign still speaks to you. I hope it reminds you that we are all in this together. When you’re a mom, it’s not about ego, social status, income, career path, weather or not you breastfeed, or whether or not you used to be on a television show as a kid. Motherhood is the great equalizer! That’s why I started writing this blog in the first place. I hope, in some small way, we mommies can reach out to one another and connect on a level we all understand and appreciate. So with that in mind…

 

Me with Medela Representative, Katie Olson. (Photo Credit:Mimosa Arts)

Me with Medela Representative, Katie Olson. (Photo Credit:Mimosa Arts)

 

I’ve never been terribly vocal about sharing details of the charity work I do. I was taught early on that philanthropic efforts are a very personal and private pursuit, and that they aren’t done for recognition. I find there’s something beautiful about giving anonymously and quietly holding that knowledge in one’s heart. With that said, I acknowledge that my career has offered me a more public platform from which to voice my convictions, and that sometimes speaking up is how we incite change in the world around us. Which is why I hope you’ll allow me to set aside my humility for a moment, and shout from the rooftops about the campaign I just participated in, called Medela Recycles.

I was honored when Medela approached me to be their campaign ambassador. I’ve been a huge fan of their products since Gray was born, and their breastpumps have given me some crucial assistance with both of my girls. (Especially since my babies tend to be 24/7 frequenters of the boobie bar. There are meetings and auditions I never would have made it to without pumping!) The decision to help Medela launch their new campaign was a no-brainer for me… a way to combine breastfeeding, recycling, AND charity work? What a trifecta!

As a bit of an explanation about the program itself, Medela Recycles allows moms to donate their breastpumps for a worthy cause. Medela takes our old, used pumps that are collecting dust in our attics, recycles them, and then donates new, multi-use, hospital-grade breastpumps for the mothers of NICU babies, via the Ronald McDonald House. This not only keeps our pumps out of the landfills, it is a wonderful way to assist our fellow moms in need, by supporting them on their breastfeeding journey. It has been heartwarming to see so many moms giving back to other moms. In a day and age where the “Mommy Wars” are so prevalent in the media, it’s refreshing to see the spotlight shine on some of the positive work that’s being done!

The Medela Recycles campaign was actually started by a concerned California mom, who began a petition on Change.org. It’s a perfect example of how a small act of kindness can turn into a nationwide effort. We all know being a mom is hard work. It’s the most stunning, rewarding, profoundly inspiring adventure, but can also be crazy, and chaotic, and all consuming… I’m certain that’s not news to you! But I can’t imagine how much more challenging motherhood becomes when someone has a baby in the NICU; my heart breaks for the moms who are struggling with that worry and adversity. I’m grateful Medela recognized the need at Ronald McDonald House, and saw fit to open their hearts and get motivated to make a difference.

Ronald McDonald House, Nashville, TN. (Photo credit: Mimosa Arts)

Ronald McDonald House, Nashville, TN. (Photo credit: Mimosa Arts)

 

I think this campaign is also relevant because the end of breastfeeding is an incredibly vulnerable time for most women. Disconnecting from such a sacred aspect of the bond you share with your child can be devastating. I nursed Gray for nearly two years, and it was emotionally draining for both of us to give it up! Thinking about it still makes me heartsick, even though I’m in the midst of treasuring the breastfeeding bond with Marlowe as we speak. Many other moms have told me they experienced similar feelings, so I know I’m not alone in this. I think the idea that your trusted pump will help another mom on her journey makes moving on from it a little easier to bear. It’s part of the reason this campaign has had such an impact on me.

Donating the pumps... (Photo credit: Mimosa Arts)

Donating the Pumps… (Photo credit: Mimosa Arts)

 

As ambassador to the campaign, I recently had the opportunity to visit my local Ronald McDonald house here in Nashville, where we launched the program and donated two pumps. I was also given a chance to tour the facility, which blew me away and deeply moved me. I’ve always been partial to the Ronald McDonald House charity as, believe it or not, I actually did a commercial for them when I was ten-years-old. (As it happens, you can find it on Youtube here.) It meant something to me even then, but experiencing it as a mom was even more poignant. I was touched by the details… how they give a handmade quilt to every family who stays with them. How the nightly rate is optional, so that no family is alienated based on their current financial status. How groups from the local colleges and businesses volunteer to cook dinners on a monthly basis. How much love exists between the volunteer staff and the families who stay there. How the Nashville chapter is ALWAYS booked solid. Every. Single. Night. That alone speaks to the immense need that exists out there, and I’m already looking for creative ways to continue my relationship with them. I want my daughters to know that we can all make a difference! I can only hope my passion for it convinces a few of you to donate your own used pumps to Medela Recycles, and/or look into your local Ronald McDonald House to volunteer. If this encourages even one mom, it was well worth writing… so go forth and inspire!

A Tour of Ronald McDonald House (Photo Credit: Mimosa Arts)

A Tour of Ronald McDonald House (Photo Credit: Mimosa Arts)

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

PS. I think it’s important for me to acknowledge that while Medela endorsed me as an ambassador, they did not ask me to pen this blog. I say this because I want to make it clear that these words stem from my excitement for the work I’ve been blessed to be a part of. No one told me what to say or forced my hand in writing about it. I wanted to share my experience because it left an indelible impression on my heart. I know some folks may still choose to chalk this up to a paid sponsorship, and dismiss the significance of it, but I hope my message came through loud and clear regardless.

PPS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen. This will help you stay in the loop when I release my new book later this year, “Situation Momedy!” Don’t forget to join my Twitter  and check out my website too!

 

 

 

  • Larry Rodriquez says:

    Well said and written

  • Beth says:

    Jenna, I cannot thank you enough for bringing awareness to such a worthy cause. My son was born unexpectedly at 28 weeks due to severe preeclampsia. He weighed 1 pound, 13 ounces. It was a terrifying experience. I had always planned to breastfeed, but due to my son only being 28 weeks, he had to have a feeding tube. So I pumped… And pumped… And pumped. My son was in the NICU at St. Thomas Midtown (Nashville) for 59 days. I was pumping between 8-10 times a day. While I had a nice pump at home, the hospital grade pump that I was able to use while I was visiting my son in the NICU helped me produce significantly more milk and was less painful. You have no idea how much NICU moms will appreciate having a wonderful pump, when there are so many other things to worry about. My son is 16 months old now and weighs 17 pounds. I truly believe that my “rocket fuel” has helped him thrive. Thank you again for all the moms and preemies you are helping!

February 20, 2015
School Project

Faith, Hope, & Love…

 

 

Like most moms, I find myself jumping at the chance to be directly involved in as many of my daughters’ life experiences as possible. Since Marlowe happens to be only 4-months-old, that essentially entails being the changer of messy diapers, launderer of dirty onesies, and eternal giver of kisses and cuddles. For Gray, on the other hand, new opportunities present themselves daily, whether at home or at school. And while I’ve never thought of myself as much of a PTA mom, I’m discovering I just can’t stay away.

Gray’s daycare recently started preparing for their yearly fundraising event, and I thought I was just going to participate by attending with my husband. You know– buy tickets, break out those heels that haven’t seen the light of day in way too long, and show up to lend my support. At least that’s what I’d told myself… because with a new baby, blogs to write, a book deadline on the horizon, and a million other work and mommy-related things to take care of, I have enough on my plate already. I’m sure you know what that’s like too. Sometimes we just have to learn to say no, right? But the truth of the matter is that I find it impossible to watch things from afar; I’ve never been good at sitting on the sidelines. Hello, my name is Jenna, and I’m a busybody! It’s official. So despite my vow to stay out of it, I wound up collecting auction items and volunteering to spearhead a class project. I felt it was the least I could do to help out… Which leads me to this week’s “How-To” post. Inspired by my new obsession with Pinterest (because we all know I need one more thing to divert my attentions), I organized an art piece to have auctioned off at the fundraiser. I drew everything freehand, creating one balloon per student, and then had all of the kids in Gray’s class add their prints to it in paint. It was such a simple endeavor, but I think it turned out really cute!

 

HOW TO:

Get a blank canvas, a pencil, an eraser, a “Twin Tip” black sharpie (with both fine & ultra fine points), and non-toxic paint in whatever colors you desire, matte sealant. The photo I’ve posted is probably pretty self-explanatory, but…

~ Sketch your design in pencil (if you’re anything like me, that eraser will come in handy!)

~ Carefully trace your design with the fine point of the Sharpie (the thicker side)

~ Apply a small amount of paint to your child’s fingertip, and put two prints in each heart balloon.

~ If you want to better preserve the fingerprints, you can spray a matte sealant over the canvas once the project is complete and dry. Make sure you follow the instructions so nothing drips, and please be sure to do it in a well-ventilated area away from kids and pets. That stuff packs a serious punch!

~Add each child’s name on the side of the appropriate balloon, using the ultra fine tip of the Sharpie.

Voilà. Insta-art!!

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

PS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen. This will help you stay in the loop when I release my new book later this year, “Situation Momedy!”

PPS. Don’t forget to join my Twitter  and check out my website too!

February 6, 2015

 

My "Someday I'll Get Back In A Bikini" Smoothie

My “Someday I’ll Get Back In A Bikini” Smoothie

     

In a spur of the moment decision two years ago, while tasting more samples at Costco than any one woman should consume in a single sitting (and I wasn’t even pregnant at the time), I conceded to the extravagant purchase of a Vitamix blender. I don’t know what came over me. Maybe it was those fun little pizza bagel bites, or the tasty lobster ravioli they so enthusiastically pushed on me in the deli aisle. Who knows? Nevertheless, as my husband fawned over our new toy like it was a strapping Circular Saw or a rare, small batch Bourbon, I scrunched up my nose and inquired, “But will we really use it?”

In retrospect, the answer to that question was, unequivocally, “Yes.” And that’s putting it mildly. Our Vitamix has since taken up permanent residence on our kitchen counter, and I use it daily… namely to make my favorite smoothie. I don’t say all of this to suggest that a good old-fashioned blender is chopped liver, nor do I mention it because I’m sponsored by Vitamix (which would be amazing, but isn’t the case). It’s just that a Vitamix is so darned fast and easy! And when you’re chasing after a two-year-old, a three-month-old, and five dogs, “fast” and “easy” tend to be the only options. Still, if you don’t own a Vitamix, I’m not relegating you to the “uncool” club. (If there is such a thing, which I most certainly wouldn’t know.) I imagine a regular blender is perfectly capable of making my smoothie recipe too, I’m just spoiled by the thing of beauty that is: a Vitamix. And thus concludes my overzealous glorification of a fancy blender. This post was intended to be about a smoothie recipe, and so it shall be.

At the beginning of January, I decided I was going to start eating a little healthier. I’ve mostly cut out cheese and bread, I’m skipping dessert (save for the occasional piece of dark chocolate), and I’ve quadrupled my water consumption. I’m determined to fit back into that bikini before the year 2032! Now some of you may think this is a gussied up version of admitting that I made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. I disagree. You see, I believe nothing gets thrown out faster than a New Year’s resolution, except maybe poopie baby diapers, so I refuse to put that label on it. I’m viewing my efforts as a work in progress that happened to begin the first week of January, and will continue to evolve throughout the year– or until I fold under the pressure of a particularly persuasive wedge of triple cream brie. What can I say? “Everything in moderation” is a great idea in theory, until you realize a hunk of Gouda can make your willpower crumble like a Girl Scout cookie. Which, as it turns out, is another downfall of mine.

But I digress. Instead of filling up on things I really want, like cream puffs and salted caramel chocolate torts, one of the ways I’m endeavoring to be healthier is to eat more of the “good” fats, such as nuts, salmon, and avocado. The last item is what led me to the following smoothie recipe, which I often have for breakfast or lunch, because it’s not terribly bad for me. (And because it’s freaking DELICIOUS!!) I hope you get as much satisfaction out of drinking it as I do… And if you have a Vitamix lying around, use this is an excuse to get that sucker out!

 

Gray likes it too!

Oh yeah, and Gray likes it too!

 

My “Someday I’ll Get Back In A Bikini” Smoothie

(Recipe by Jenna von Oy)

 

Ingredients:

1  Avocado

1 Ripe banana

2 Heaping spoons full of plain, non-fat Greek yogurt

2 Cups Blue Diamond almond Coconut Almond Breeze (it’s an almond milk and coconut milk blend, so the flavor is fantastic!)

1 Large spoon full of honey (I use local wildflower honey from our farmer’s market)

7-10 ice cubes

(makes 2 full glasses)

Directions:  

~ Blend until it’s the consistency you want, drink up, and dream of getting back in that bikini!!!!

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

PS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen. This will help you stay in the loop when I release my new book later this year, “Situation Momedy!”

PPS. Don’t forget to join my Twitter  and check out my website too!

 

  • Reading your blog on set of Cecil:) I love my Vitamix! I’ll have to try that recipe. Here’s my favorite that the kids and I both like: 2 cups vanilla coconut milk, a handful or two of baby spinach, 1 handful of frozen pineapple chunks (Costco), and sometimes I throw in an orange if I have it. With the pineapple, you don’t need anything else to sweeten it.

January 23, 2015

 

Me & My Sweet Marlowe

Me & My Sweet Marlowe (Photo by: Mimosa Arts)

 

So I clearly didn’t make the self-imposed, January 9th blog deadline I had in mind. During the winter break, while relaxing on the couch, reading a book, and leisurely sipping a cup of hot chocolate, I decided perhaps I’d give myself an additional few weeks to enjoy the peace and quiet of the holiday season, before getting back to writing. Which, if you know me at all, is clearly a joke. There was no book. Or hot chocolate. And there was definitely no relaxation to speak of. In reality, I made that decision in the throes of our Christmas chaos, while perilously teetering on the edge of my sanity. (Not really, but my New Year’s resolutions didn’t include refraining from exaggeration, so I’m sticking with that.) As it stands, we are several weeks into 2015, and there are still presents under our tree that have yet to be put away. Yes, I said our tree. Because it’s still up… And it still has ornaments on it… And the stockings are still hung. But you know what? I’ve appreciated some much-needed family time, cuddled with our enchanting new baby girl and her amazing big sister, entertained guests, consumed my share of Christmas cookies (and then some), gotten us beyond the endless string of colds we couldn’t shake in December, and finished three chapters of the book I’m releasing later this year. So I’m feeling pretty good about the current state of affairs, neglected tree and all!

Truthfully, I’m happy to hang on to that Christmas spirit for as long as possible, especially considering the joy it brought along with it. Marlowe’s joy didn’t extend much beyond drooling, breastfeeding, and messing her diaper every five minutes, but it was wonderful to witness nonetheless! Gray, ever the comedienne, provided us with nonstop entertainment. For instance, her anticipation of Christmas Eve went a little something like this:

Gray: “Mommy, where are all of my presents?”

Me: “I imagine they are in Santa’s sleigh.”

Gray: “Oh no! Is he sitting on them?”

 And

Gray: “Mommy, did Santa bring me my little sister for Christmas?”

 

Needless to say, I hope she isn’t expecting a similar gift next year. Santa’s ”sleigh” needs a little break before it can even think about carrying another present like that one!

Aside from her comedic relief, Gray has nominated herself to act as my little sidekick, helper, part-time dog-herder, and honorary babysitter. I guess there’s nothing like a new baby to make an older child rise to the occasion! Not that I ever had doubts about Gray’s ability to handle having a sibling, but I realize that changes in the family dynamic are often met with some frustration, confusion, and push back. Brad and I went into it with open minds and a lot of love, just in case. We’ve done our best to give Gray space to express her feelings about it—positive or negative. Boy, has she proven we had nothing to worry about! She insists on holding her sister every morning, singing to her each night before bed (it’s really more like a twenty-minute long musical about anything and everything, with no intermissions allowed), and spontaneously offering her hugs because ”I just love her so much, I have to hug her, Mommy.” It’s sort of astounding how early that sisterly bond develops! And the feeling is, incontrovertibly, a mutual one. If I want to make Marlowe smile for a photo, all I have to do is prop her up in front of her sister. Or even a photo of her sister. It’s a pretty cool party trick.

Gray & Marlowe-Cracking Each Other Up!

Gray & Marlowe-Cracking Each Other Up!

 

As if Christmas weren’t exciting enough, we ended 2014 with a bang. Did we stay up half the night popping champagne corks and tossing confetti into the air? Not even close. We watched a Sofia The First episode with Gray (which doesn’t brandish quite the pizazz of the ball dropping in Times Square), and then we went to bed. At 9:30. I think it may go without saying that our partying days are officially a thing of the past. But you know what? It was exactly what the doctor ordered. In fact, we’d already put on pajamas and brushed our teeth before we remembered staying up until midnight was even an option.

Despite our lack of jubilant merrymaking, late-night ceremony, and the morning hangover that inevitably follows, our year-end was a celebratory occasion nonetheless. Why, you ask? Because we came, we saw, we… wait for it… potty trained! (Of course, I’m referring to the royal “we,” since it would be a little weird if I were just getting to that turning point in my own life.) Hence, the ushering in of 2015 was all about our adventures in toileting. Maybe Mama should have gotten a bottle of something stronger under the tree. Santa, how could you forsake me?

In all honesty, after the abundance of horror stories I’ve heard, I expected the potty-training endeavor to take months. I also anticipated jumping through more hoops than a poodle at a dog show. But lo’ and behold, on Christmas morning, Gray decided she was ready to step up to the plate (or, rather, the commode) and that was that! I know this isn’t always the case, and I wish I could offer something more than encouragement to those of you who are having a rough go of it. I’d love to tell you I employed some impressive, new and improved, miracle, parenting tactic, but all of the credit goes to Gray, who made up her mind and never looked back. My daughter is nothing, if not stubborn! Mind you, I should probably give a little recognition to her trusted allies, the Disney princesses… You see, Santa left brand new princess undies under the tree on Christmas morning and, apparently, Rapunzel can make magic happen. Who knew? As you can probably imagine, with the occurrence of such a noteworthy milestone, the beginning of 2015 mostly revolved around the subject of… well, you know… that messy business. Suffice it to say I’m just playing my part as purveyor of princess panties, post-potty hand washer, cheer squad, and proud mommy. And that’s about as much as I’ll offer on that topic. Which, I would guess, makes most of you breathe a huge sigh of relief.

I can’t believe Marlowe is three months old already! I honestly don’t know where the time has gone. I’ve searched for it on my desk underneath the stacks of bills, page-long checklists, and breast pump supplies I call “paperweights,” but it is nowhere to be found. If I thought Gray’s infancy flew by like a jet plane, Marlowe’s is hurtling past like an F-15! But despite how rapidly the moments seem to be passing us by, we are treasuring them whole-heartedly. We are getting to know each and every detail of my sweet little Marlowe’s personality– how it takes her forever to wake up in the morning, how she stretches after every nap, how she treasures her cuddle time (and gets her feelings hurt if you stop loving on her before she’s ready), the way her pinky daintily extends while she nurses, how she sticks her little tongue out when I kiss her lips, that she despises being overheated, and how she offers that thoroughly beguiling smile when she hears her big sister’s voice. She is exquisite and nothing short of inspiring. And I’ll take all of the inspiration I can get right now, because I have a BOOK to finish by the beginning of April! How is that for a segue? If it sounds a little crazy that I am taking care of a newborn, running after a two-year-old and five dogs, and simultaneously writing two blogs and a book, it is. But it’s the good kind of crazy (mostly). I just take all of that chaos and put it to paper whenever possible. If I weren’t a mommy, I wouldn’t be motivated to write, so you’ll get no complaints from me about it! (A few jokes, perhaps, but I wouldn’t be me without those, now would I?) I’m appreciative of all of the time I get to spend with my girls, even when it’s hectic. I bring all of this up to say—I know you’ve gotten used to seeing my blogs on a weekly basis, but there will probably be more delinquency yet to come. For Pete’s sake, that dang Christmas tree is still up, so… it might be a week or two before I can finagle another post on here. In fact, I may begin doing posts every few weeks instead of every week, so I can have a little breathing room. At least until I finish writing the last few chapters of my book! Please don’t give up on me. Pretty soon there will be a whole book’s worth of my silly motherhood anecdotes and parenting fodder to look forward to, so stay tuned…

 

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

 

PS. I’ve included a candid, makeup-free photo for you this month. We moms aren’t always dressed to the nines and sporting fabulous lipstick, especially when we are at home cuddling with our kids! I post professional photos more often than not, so I thought you’d appreciate seeing this side of me too.

A Makeup-free Candid With My  Little Girl!

A Makeup-free Candid With My Little Girl!

 

PPS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen. This will help you stay in the loop when I release my new book later this year, “Situation Momedy!”

PPPS. Don’t forget to join my Twitter  and check out my website too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Larry Rodriquez says:

    With or without makeup it’s all the same to me

  • Zoe says:

    Potty training! Congrats that Gray was so into it from day one!:)
    My 4 year old just BARELY started before her 4th birthday, and my newborn came around just before Christmas. I can totally relate. Congrats on both accomplishments! :)

January 16, 2015
Photo by Mimosa Arts

Photography by: Mimosa Arts

 

I’m clearly running WAY behind on the “getting back into blogging” thing… Apparently I’m a little slow going in the New Year, and the notion of returning on January 9th was downright laughable. Please don’t give up on me! I’ve added some fun new main page photos to whet your appetite (as well as the one above), and I hope to be back with a more exciting blog next week.

In the meantime, I’m thrilled to announce the winner of my Christmas Caramel Giveaway contest, Melody from Michigan. Congrats, Melody! She’ll be receiving one pound of yummy salted caramels from Firefly Confections, as well as a copy of the gorgeous new book, Artisan Caramels, by Firefly Confections owner, Sandy Arevalo.

For those of you in the Nashville area, don’t forget Sandy will be signing her book at Parnassus Books on Saturday January 24th, at 2PM. I might even be making a cameo appearance, so please come join us!

In other news, hopefully I’ll have my act together by next week. Stay tuned…

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

PS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen. This will help you stay in the loop when I release my new book later this year, “Situation Momedy!”

PPS. Don’t forget to join my Twitter  and check out my website too!

  • Amy says:

    Love the new main page photos. Grey’s personality is quite vocal in each one!! Give yourself some more time to get used to having two. It’s a whole new world.