Bad dreams and Little Protectors

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Last night, I had a bad dream. I think it’s because my neck has been sore and I haven’t been sleeping well the past week. Anyway, Little T usually crawls into bed with us sometime during the night. He’s a snuggle bug and doesn’t like to sleep alone. We don’t encourage it, we aren’t against it, it is what it is. We do insist that he starts out in his own bed, but its rare that he ends up there.

So last night, I had a bad dream that involved Little T getting hurt, and all I wanted to do when I woke up was snuggle him and make sure he was okay. Big T went to get him from bed, and carried him into our room, which has never happened before. Tired Little T asked in his tiny voice if I had a bad dream. I told him I did, and he said he’d protect me. He can be pretty adorable sometimes. I think it’s good because it evens out the times when he’s a total threenage terror on little legs. ;)

This morning I woke up early and started working, and Little T walked out and asked again if I had a bad dream. I told him I did. Then he asked if that’s why Big T brought him into the room so he could protect me. I told him it was.

After that, I heard Little T walk into our bedroom and tell a still kind of sleeping and groggy Big T that Big T was a good boy. Little T said that Big T did a good job for bringing him into Momma’s room, and that he was a really really good boy because of it. He gave him a few more “good job, dadda’s” before coming back into the living room for breakfast.

I liked hearing Little T give his dad some genuine praise. It was so sweet and heart Felt, but also interesting to hear how much weight he places on the phrase “good boy” and “bad boy”. To him, it’s the best and worst thing you can call someone. It makes me think about being sure to use those phrases carefully, because they do mean so much in his world.

Anyway, here’s to better nights and dreams ahead. If I’m going to have bad dreams though, I am glad Little T is around to protect me. ;) He is the best of good boys, in my book.

The One True Carrot

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At the petting zoo this morning, Little T discovered that he had the “One Carrot to Rule Them All.”

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I wish I had video, then you could hear all the Cal Poly Pomona Petting Zoo animals saying, “my preciousssssssss”. 
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One carrot to rule them all, one carrot to find them, one carrot to bring them all and at the farm store bind them. ~Little T

Vegan eats and Treats

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We’ve been spoiled this week. My birthday has made for delicious meals, and I’m sad that I didn’t get a photo of Chef Chloe’s Tempeh Picatta, because it was amazing. The tempeh made for good leftovers though. We grilled it with BBQ sauce and have had it for several days over. I think it may be a new favorite in our household. So here it is, a few of our meals over the past week or two.

Rice with faux sausage:

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Roasted everything!

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Chef Chloe’s vegan pumpkin cupcakes:

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BBQ Tempeh, couscous, baked beans, and spinach:

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Amy’s Vegan Mac and Cheese, faux lemon chicken, cooked baby carrots, and rice:

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Little T’s favorite will always be rice. Cooked any way, as long as its on his plate, he’s happy. :)

Parents Can Go to the Movies Again ~ Thanks to the Harkins Theater

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One of the things that has been hard for Big T and I, is finding ways to have a date night. Our family lives far away, and our friends have full time jobs. The nanny service that we use is wonderful and reliable, but pretty pricey~so we only use it on rare occasions. Thankfully, we discovered the coolest movie theater, and I just have to share it with you all.

If you like going to the movies, you have to check out the Harkins Theater in Chino Hills. They actually have an on site childcare center. For only six dollars, they’ll watch your child for the duration of the movie. Parents are given a buzzer to hold during the movie in case the childcare center needs to reach them, and children are given access to a pretty cool and fun place. It’s run by childcare professionals, and they have a area for kids to watch movies on their own, an art center, a game station, and lots of other fun things for the kids to do. The first time we took Little T, he thanked us for taking him and asked when he can go again, so I’m thinking it was a success. My mom gave us a gift card for my birthday, and said she was happy to give us date nights since she can’t be here to babysit and give them to us in person. Isn’t that sweet? The gift of grown up time! :)

Play Center From the Outside:

Harkins Theater Child Care Center Chino Hills Inland Empire Harkins Theater Child Care Center Chino Hills Inland Empire

Here’s Some More Info for You:

  • For children Ages 3-8
  • Must Be Potty Trained
  •  Walk-ups are welcome and reservations are recommended
  • Sun thru Thurs First Show to 8:30 pm
  • Fri & Sat First Show to 9:30 pm
  • PlayCenter staff members are trained professionals who work exclusively in the PlayCenter. They are background checked and fingerprinted.
  • Complimentary Popcorn and Water

Allergies and Dairy Free Food at the Theater:

One of the cool things I love about the Harkins, is that they have a lot of healthy options at the snack center like almonds and dried fruit. None of their concession food items have transfats, and they are dedicated to making sure there are healthy food options available. At the play center, they give complimentary popcorn and water to the children. I was able to confirm through Harkins that their popcorn is gluten and dairy free.

The child care center said I was welcome to leave our own food for Little T with the Play Center Staff, in case I wanted him to have another option besides popcorn, but Little T was so excited about the popcorn that we didn’t think he needed anything else during the movie. Popcorn one of his favorite snacks and he told us all about having popcorn at the theater after we’d picked him up. :)

All in all, it was a great experience and we are so glad to have discovered this! I hope you all get a chance to see those great holiday movies that you may not have had a chance to see otherwise!

For more information and other Harkins Locations: Check here! 

Little T at Disneyland

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Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you had a wonderful time ringing in the year. I feel like we’re always a bit of an old couple for New Years because we prefer to spend it quietly, so this year we went to a friend’s house in Pasadena and decorated vegan sugar cookies, before enjoying a delicious meal. We celebrated the East Coast ball drop at 9:00, then went home and fell asleep before ten. Boring, I tell you! :)

Sugar Cookie Recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

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Yesterday I had an engagement session at Disneyland, so Big T told Little T that he’d take him along to Disneyland while I was working. I don’t feel like it’s been that long since Little T has been to the park, but apparently it’s been ages, judging by his excitement, haha.

At three in the morning he woke us up and was ready to go. He’d packed a bag that included a mini basketball and a pirate sword, which to a three year old is basically all the essentials needed for a Disneyland trip. We told him it was still dark outside, and after a little persistence on his part, told him we wouldn’t go to Disneyland at all if he didn’t go into his room and close his eyes.

When I got up at 5:00 (I couldn’t get back to sleep and finally decided to just get up and work) I heard him humming in his room. I went inside to discover him sitting straight up on his bed with his eyes closed. He took our instructions very literally, it seems. :p

When we finally got on the tram, Little T let us know that he’d decided we should all live at Disneyland. He looked a little nervous when we started talking logistics (Little T can stay in Mickey’s house, and we would be across the way at Minnie’s), but said it was still what he wanted to do.

As the tram pulled up to let us out, he started clapping and cheering, then jumped off the tram and threw his hands in the air and shouted, “WE’RE HERE AT MY FAVORITE PLACE!!!!!!” There were a few chuckles from people getting off the tram. I’d like to think his enthusiasm was contagious. ;)

I didn’t join him until later, but Big T said he was chosen for the Jedi Training academy, but then he started to get a little nervous when Darth Maul appeared and Little T decided not to train. There’s always next time, Little T.

When I did meet with my two T’s, Little T’s CP and a combination of waking up early, was making his leg tired. We said we’d go on one more attraction and call it a day. Afterward, Little T asked if he could please take his nap in his stroller so we could stay, and so Big T and I looked at each other with a sigh decided to stay a little longer.

It actually was nice, we went to the bar at Carthay Circle and had a glass of wine or two while we waited during his nap. We met up with two amazing couples I’d photographed who happened to be at the park, and had some much needed grown up time. :)

Disney Friends

When Little T woke up, it was just in time to use his fast pass for Space Mountain. He’d been begging us to go on it ever since he couldn’t go at Disney World (at the time he didn’t meet the height requirement). He was more than tall enough here, so we decided it was okay. He was really excited, and when we got off the ride said he was scared but wanted to go again. I think this photo says it all.

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After that we said it really was time to go home, and started to make the long walk back to the parking lot.

On the way back to the car, Little T told us he loved Disneyland. I’m glad he loves it so much. I do too, Little T. :)

Christmas: Not What We Expected

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I always start out the holiday season with these unrealistic expectations for our Christmas to be “special”. I blame it on the Christmas movies we watch that have magical life changing moments, a heartwarming soundtrack, and snow. Always snow. It also doesn’t help that I used to work at Disneyland on Christmas, the mother of all special places. Disneyland always has a heartwarming soundtrack, magical memories being made, and snow. No wonder I feel the pressure!

This year, I was so good about ordering holiday cards, keeping my work schedule slow (maniacal laugh), and getting Christmas presents purchased early. I didn’t have the shock that I did last year when all of my clients wanted their photos before Christmas, and I was more prepared and better at meeting almost all of their requests before the holidays. When it was time to leave, I had finished nearly all my work and I was glad to be able to relax and enjoy the season. My family couldn’t wait to get to Fresno to see my extended family, and really enjoy the season for a few days, with no computer and nothing but family.

Of course, things don’t always happen as planned. On the morning of my dad’s Christmas, I woke up around four in the morning to a nudge and a bewildered and frantic little voice saying, “momma, something is happening!?!?”

Two seconds later I realized that the “something happening” was him about to throw up on me. :-/ Having no prior reference a throw up bug, for the rest of the night he told me he had bad burps. I’m so glad he made it through three and a half years of life without having the flu. It was not fun.

*sigh*, so we thought he had food poisoning or something had upset his tummy because he felt better very fast. Within about six hours, he was up and playing and feeling fine. The next night though, our household realized it wasn’t food poisoning, because whatever illness he he had began to spread through our family like wildfire.

So, this is how we spent Christmas this year. It was pretty disappointing:

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On Christmas Eve, everyone who wasn’t exposed dropped by and opened gifts from outside the door.

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This is the second year in a row that the flu has hit us during Christmas. Next year, I think we’ll take Little T out of daycare the week before the holidays so that he doesn’t get whatever daycare bug is going around. I’m so disappointed that we didn’t get to visit and spend time with everyone, and so grumpy that its been two years now that our Christmas has looked like this.

But the weird thing is, I feel a lot better now that the holidays are over. There isn’t this feeling of pressure to get everything done before a certain day. I feel like things can get back to our normal routine without having to put so much stuff into only one month. So maybe, even though this Christmas wasn’t what we pictured, maybe I need to not have so much emphasis on the importance of one day? I haven’t formulated all of my thoughts on it yet, but I have a feeling I’ll be easier on myself next year because of this. We’ll see.

With all that said, I’m still going to keep Little T out of daycare the week before we go down for the holidays, being sick is no fun, peeps.

P.S. as a side note, our holiday cards will be late this year because we were all so sick, but they are coming! :)

P.P.S. This was written from my iphone, so please excuse the typos!

Inland Empire Los Angeles Vegan Thanksgiving Options

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vegan pumpkin pie

I’ve often thought about the transformation of tofurky through the years. I remember many moons ago, when the first tofurky came out, my mom excitedly ran to the nearest health store and brought it home for our Thanksgiving feast. After waiting forever for it to cook, we finally displayed it on the dining room table and got ready to eat. What happened after that first bite kind of resembled the scene where they eat blue soup in Bridget Jone’s Diary. I’m not that big a fan of fake meats to begin with, but we all thought it tasted pretty gross. It could have been our lack of cooking skills, the fact that I’ve never really liked the taste of meat, or that tofurky was a new product that has come a long way since then, but in the end, we gave it to the dog and ate Thanksgiving spaghetti instead. The dog wouldn’t touch it, and also went for the spaghetti.

A lot has changed since then, and tofurky is pretty tasty now. A friend made it for me a few years ago and I actually really enjoyed it. We’ve been so busy that we were tempted to make something similar this year, but then decided on Chef Chloe’s Vegan Pumpkin Penne Pasta with Sage instead. It’s one of our favorite holiday meals and something I look forward to every year. For our full Thanksgiving Menu, check out my post from last year.

I also wanted to share some Inland Empire and Los Angeles area vegan Thanksgiving treats, in case anyone would rather go out this year.

Babycakes: I know it’s dessert, but they have a lot of Thanksgiving treats on their menu. 

Cafe Gratitude: Will be hosting a free Thanksgiving feast, more info here.

One World Vegetarian in Covina will be serving a Thanksgiving special, and I if you call in advance you can purchase a vegan turkey for your Thanksgiving meal at home. Reservations strongly recommended.

And Native Foods usually has a wellington that they serve, but they may be done with orders.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Here’s to a year of health, happiness, family, and tasty food. :)

Catching up!

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I realize this post is a little late, but I wanted to catch everyone up on what’s been happening in our little home.

Most of all, things got busy with work and I found myself waking up at two in the morning on most days, thinking about my to do list until I finally decided to get up and work until I could sleep again. It was a little crazy, but the hard work has paid off and now I’m finally getting to a place where I have a healthy balance of work and home.

We did take a weekend in October to visit Riley’s Farm, the most amazing fall vacation destination. Our family goes every year, it wouldn’t be fall without a trip to our favorite apple picking place.

We usually stay at Serendipity Ranch Bed and Breakfast, but it seems they are getting more and more popular, so they were booked by the time we had called (ack!). Instead we stayed at the Highland Springs Resort, and drove up to Apple Valley from there.

We started out the trip by surprising Little T with his cousin, who showed up at our house after Little T had gone to bed. He put his sleeping bag in the room, and was there when Little T woke up, which immediately made for the best day ever.

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After an epic early morning light saber brawl, we went to see the Halloween decorations at Disneyland. When we got to D-Land, Little T’s other cousins R and N were there, he was in heaven. The highlight of the trip was having their faces painted at the Pirates League. Little T insisted on being the scariest pirate ever. :p

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In that last photo, he was trying to make a scary face. O_o

We played at Disneyland for a little longer:

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And then drive over to the Highland Springs Resort that night. In the morning, we explores and waited for Papa J and Grandy to arrive, then made our way to pick apples.

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Power nap time!

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After naps, my girlfriends and their families arrived, and our Aunt S. :) we went to Riley’s farm to watch the Sleepy Hollow show. I have to say, we actually won the apple bobbing contest this year, and we were way too excited about it, but it’s the little things in life, right? ;)

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Team apple!

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The next morning, the kids went around waking everyone up. We toyed with the idea of letting the childless adults sleep, but then decided against it.

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At breakfast, everyone shared their favorite part of the trip. Little T is such a cutie pie, because now he asks every day what our favorite part of the day was. :) I’m so glad he picked that up, it’s nice to hear what he enjoys every day.

And that’s the shortened-written on my iPhone version. But it was a great time, and I’m so glad we have this tradition to keep.

This And That

Photos that make you look young, but make you feel old. ;)

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Taking a work break to find eligible bachelor cats for your single cat:

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Getting mail from Muno:

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Finding a cotton plant and telling Little T about growing up on a cotton farm:

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Those rare and special days where you get to stay up late for a change:

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chatting with Preston:

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Riding the wrong way.

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Three out of four photos feature duck lips:

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Learning from cowboys:

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And the end of the scavenged hunt;

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Sitting in on a lecture:

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And the tiniest cups I’ve ever seen. :)

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