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Sunday, December 30, 2012

1 year ago exactly

One year ago, right this very minute, Chad and I were bouncing around our apartment, excited as all heck to have been given the go-ahead from the doctor to bring our little Kota Bear into the world the next day. Not only was this a sign that I could deliver at the hospital I wanted to (Chad's company had changed all of the benefits for 2012, so if I hadn't gone into labor by the 31st, we were looking at delivering somewhere completely unfamiliar), but it meant the end to a not-so-fun pregnancy. We were BEYOND ready to move on, become a family of four, and to just BE.

I remember being super excited while packing for the hospital. Chad, I'm not even kidding, was in the living room rearranging our DVD's AGAIN! It was so hilarious, there were multiple bouts of man-nesting from my love last December! When we finally calmed down for the night, I remember not having one ounce of trepidation about the next day, I was ready to go.

Fast forward to the hospital after my way-too-long-for-a-second-baby labor, we were informed that good ole' St. Jude's had gotten rid of their nursery since the last time we were there, which was only a short two years prior. Hmm. So she was in the room with us, which was fine of course, except for the fact that she didn't sleep. At all. The entire night. Not one minute. No, instead of sleep, she cried. I even tried sleeping with her in the hospital bed (something I'm deathly afraid of), which was nice for her for about 20 minutes, but showed me absolutely no shut eye.
Fast forward three months later. Carter had gotten over his feeling of wanting nothing to do with her (which I was totally fine with while it lasted - at least he wasn't hostile!), and the two of them had turned into great pals. He made her laugh, she made him laugh, and Chad made us all laugh. It was all a bunch of happiness, unless I tried to put her down on the floor with her brother. If that was attempted, even for a second, a scream so piercing that even a deaf person would be traumatized would issue from my princess's mouth. So we never put her down, because it just was not worth it. Not worth it at all, my friend. Oh and that cry of death? It was heard nightly, at least 3 times. Caffeine really was my only saving grace.

Fast forward to Kota's 9 month mark. At this point, we were all used to the screams, especially the really loud ones in the car - my favorite. I was also used to me feeling super edgy due to an increased lack of sleep from her new demanding feeding needs (I was still nursing). But having been eating big people food for the last 3-4 months, Little Missy proved that she is the ONLY Cisneros child who will willingly eat broccoli, carrots and protein that varies from chicken smothered in cheese. Yes, she has proven to be the culinary adventurous child! Also the bath babe, the big-brother-lover babe and the I-finally-KNOW-I-have-Daddy-wrapped-around-my-finger babe. At nine months, she was a doll with her new-found personality, something I had just figured the screams were apart of.
Fast forward to now, the night before her first birthday. The screams are still there (and, if you can believe it, even more ear-piercing), but you know what? That's Kota! That's who she is, and I love her for her sassy personality. She has stretched me as a parent, showing me that I can do it - we can do it. I know that sounds so cheesy, but it's the truth. I love her for showing me that listening to my motherly instincts will be the best for all of us, that perpetuating a bond which means little to no "non-holding" time is okay. I love her for giving Chad and I a run for our money, for loving me so much it (apparently) hurts (the screams!). I love her for turning me toward prayer than any other time in my life, which has made the most significant difference for all of us. She came into our family knowing what she wants, and you know what? I can't wait to see where that determination leads us. It has been a wild, happy, toothy-grinned ride, and I couldn't be happier to be on it with my C's.
And so does Daddy and Carter!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The ole' honeymoon: Notre Dame

Instead of doing what I should be doing (checking off my outrageously long to-do list), I'm going to backtrack a few years and write about the awesomeness that was seeing Notre Dame on our honeymoon! Yes, I was poking through my archives and came across my previous honeymoon posts (an increasingly favorite pastime of mine. Narcissism at it's finest!), so naturally I needed to continue documenting.

Anyway, it was outrageously amazing! After this night in Paris, I literally thought I would die during our experience at the Louvre, which I just realized I never wrote about (story to come!). I mean, we're talking on-the-verge-of-puking-while-looking-at-the-Mona-Lisa central. I was quite upset at myself for feeling so in beautiful France, so something needed to be done (well, my body was actually demanding that something needed to be done). After a final arms-up-in-the-air out of frustration, Chad and I decided to call it quits on the Louvre in the Egyptian room and started to head towards the exit, not without a quick trip to the ole' restroom where I...well...let's just say I felt a lot better after leaving that teensy-tiny "toilette."

After basically being reborn via a public restroom, I was sort of bummed to be leaving the insanity of the museum, but some fresh air was needed, so off we went to higher ground to figure out what the heck we were going to do with the rest of our day! Then, after walking aimlessly, we ended up in front of this gargantuan building where we filled out post cards to all of our family members. When we looked up, we realized that we were right across the street from Notre Dame, which was awesome because that's what we had wanted to do later on in the day! So after a few pictures of ourselves crossing over the Seine with my long lost smile, we entered the square!
 Me and my man, post-hangover, happy that we had a second chance at the day!

 Basically I died the whole time we were there, but this time from awe instead of the aftermath of too much champagne! The detail! The ceilings blew me away! It was crazy! The stained glass windows alone deserved a round of applause. 

 There it is. Our stamp on the grand Notre Dame. "We pray for the children around the world." I couldn't think of anything better! I felt under pressure, like everyone was wondering what I was going to write! Anyway, I came up with the most generic of all messages, but hey! What can you do? At least I really mean it!

 Y'all, this was the supreme place for a Catholic gal like myself! I even lit one of those candles! Hey-o!

 A miniature of how it was back in the good old days, I'm sure. 

 The art! The sheer size of it all! It was nuts.

And then we decided to walk across the square to the crypte!
 This was the city back when civilization was at it's rawest. Well, not rawest, there was a hospital in the city and stairs that led up to a once-there kitchen, but you know what I mean!

 Who knew that something so amazing was right underneath the square of Notre Dame! It was just another thing that surprised me during our time in Europe!

Notre Dame was almost as awesome as our visit to the Palais de Versaille, followed my night of consumption like I had mentioned and preceded our later trip to Brugge! Anyway, horrendous photo quality, but what can ya do? They required all flashes to be turned off! I loved our honeymoon so much! I need to write about the rest of it soon or else I'm going to start forgetting, which can't happen. 

Now... back to that to-do list!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Oh Christmas card, oh Christmas card!

Isn't it glorious?!
I just loved our card this year! Definitely my favorite so far. You know, I'm still mad at myself for not sending one out the first year we were married. What the heck was I thinking? I mean, I know I was on the verge of giving birth and all that, but come on! Anyway, LOVED 2012's. :)

I got it from HERE!
I also got Carter's 3rd birthday party invitations from there (custom made - woohoo!) and Kota's first birthday party invites! 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

So, I bought a franchise!

Yes! I'm so excited to finally be writing about this most thrilling and pressure-filled time in our lives! It's something that I've been working on for the past few months (since the end of August, to be exact), so to finally be chatting about it out in the open is both refreshing and quite overdue!

And because I really want to write about this but can never seem to find the time (as we speak I should be doing things for the GRAND OPENING!), I'm going to number it out:

1. I seriously NEEDED something to do with myself in the form of employment (or project-ment), and after a fabulous run-in with the people who own Stroller Strides of North Orange County and a few wonderful classes later, I decided that this is what I needed to make happen. Luckily Chad and I were moving out of Yorba Linda - where I initially fell in love with the company - which allowed me to explore my options in ownership for myself!

2. Originally, Chad and I were going to focus on the Inland Empire, as that's where we were going to move. When we found our current condo last second, Chad - hear that, lova?! I'm giving you the credit! - realized that there was an area which lacked the wonderful thing that is Stroller Strides, so we decided to redraft the contract and go for the Orange County location. 

3. I officially signed my contract with the franchisor on September 28! It was a glorious day, especially because 2 weeks later I knew I would be taking off to San Diego for 4 days (my first time away from the Little Miss!), to complete training and attend the national conference. Man, oh man, did I ever get lucky when it came to timing! Not only was I able to talk with TONS of other women who had been in business for years, but I made the final decision not to start my own until after the new year (it was either going to be IMMEDIATELY after conference so as not to run into the holiday season, or two-and-a-half months later, in January).

4. Now here I am, a little less than 2 weeks away from the Grand Opening of my first location - if you're local, it will be at FOOTHILL RANCH COMMUNITY PARK at 9:00, class will BEGIN at 9:15! - running all over town promoting, flyer-ing, chatting, meeting, wining and dining the mommy-folk of the area! It has been SUCH a perfect solution to everything I had been feeling over the last few months and I truly cannot WAIT to get started!

Anyway, it really is amazing what will come your way if you just pray on it! All those months of feeling horrendous due to do a lack of knowing what I was going to be doing . . . - ugh! More on the ole' divine intervention to come in regards to Stroller Strides to come!

AND IF YOU'RE INTERESTED, here is a little information:

Here is the website:

Here is the Facebook link, which you should totally LIKE if you LOVE it:
(But seriously, only if you really want to! I know how it is to have "liked" everything on the face of the earth, even when it has no relevance to my life!)

The GRAND OPENING is on Wednesday, January 2nd at 9:00, class will start at 9:15 at Foothill Ranch Community Park
There will be FABULOUS deals, prizes, raffles, fun things for the kids and OF COURSE a wonderful, FREE class!

If you are local and have ANY questions, feel free to email me on the address linked to this profile, or at

Anyhoo! I'm glad I finally got that out on the blog table! It feels good! 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Focus? What's that?!

I can't focus on what I'm trying to do to save my life, so I decided to stop trying! It may or may not have something to do with the fact that before I even ate one morsel of food this morning, I consumed half a cup of a tall iced white chocolate mocha from Starbucks. If I try to do wild things like that (read: anything that varies from my everyday schedule), I go all whacky. Anyway, who cares about being productive, right? What's more important is writing down a few of the happy thoughts zooming through my scattered mind right now!

1. One of my favorite things in life is to scroll through a very full, newly refreshed Instagram feed. It really has become a sort of "sayonara" to the kids when my mind is on overload, leaving me rejuvenated and ready to take on the next task of the day.

2. It's December 21st and I have not wrapped one present. NOT EVEN ONE. Worse, I haven't done one shred of shopping for my two bambinos. Here's the deal: one, we did all of our shopping for the extended families online, only receiving it this morning, and two, I'm not even going to put any presents out until after the babes are asleep on Christmas Eve. Even though I know they're super pretty to look at, I don't want to have to deal with Kota accidentally ripping one apart or anything. Also, we have basically holed up every possible present-hiding-area in this condo here, so storage would not be so good. Anyway! Mama Paplia said she will watch the kids tonight while Chad and I go out and shop till we drop, so it's all good!

3. It's beyond me that Carter's 3rd birthday is on Sunday. What the heck, man? Insane, I tell ya... But here's what really gets me: I can't believe that he's still 2. I feel like he actually lives up to the expectations I have placed on him (good expectations, not demanding ones), perpetuated mainly by us having Kota. The minute she came home from the hospital, I started thinking of him as so much older, so I sort of started to treat him that way in the manners/toy-clean-up/attitude department. Sometimes whenever I tell him to ask if he can be excused from the dinner table and to take his plate up to the counter, I sit back and think, "Holy moly, I just told my two year old to take his plate into the kitchen. Crazy!"

4. My thoughts on Carter's maturing can only be trumped by my thoughts on Kota's growing up! Little miss will be 1 on the 31st! Here's the thing with her: she's still so itsy bitsy, it's tough for me to think of her as being a toddler, but that's what she's going to be! She's so mature in the food-eating/mama-dada-baba-saying/I-love-to-splash-in-the-bath/picture-book-loving/playing-with-big-brother realm that sometimes I can't believe she's not older, but then I'll cuddle her up for her nightly bottle and think of how perfectly she still fits in my arms. It's so precious! I also totally understand how people call their youngest "the baby" for the rest of their lives. I don't think I will EVER stop calling her "Baby" unless we have another one!

Anyway, I think I've cured myself of my lack-o-focus! I'll soon write about what I'm not allowing myself to focus on soon! Woooohooo!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hmm.. What?

If politics were a concert that was put on last month, my husband and I probably would have shelled out just enough money to score some really sweet lawn seats. Not even the last row of the actual assigned seats, and certainly no where near the VIP, front row area. Of course we care about our great nation and our leaders in office, and both of us voted during our last election (and if you didn't, shame on you!), so we are abreast on the issues, but you just won't catch us getting all shaky with frustration over someone else's political views.

Anyway, by writing this post it sort of negates my whole point (that bringing up politics in the face of some awful tragedy a mere 20 minutes after it happened is weird), but alas, I'm a'typin. So here's the deal: it made me sad that after the tragedy which occurred this last weekend in CT (prayers, prayers, prayers, prayers, prayers), the social networks were convoluted with political statements. 

Now, I get it, I get it. In fact, I too, a member of the political party who supports the second amendment, thought that something should be done. But the intensity of it all... It just seemed slightly out of place in the face of something so horrendous.

In a million, quadrillion, bazillion years, I hope to never, ever have to endure the hurt any one of those parents have (are) endured (ing), but can you imagine people arguing over something as trivial as "who's responsible" right after finding out such awful news? I'm sure none of them really care about whatever the heck we "people of the internet" are talking about after the tragedy, but really, how discomforting that would be if they actually did care? To find division and arguing?

Anyway, it sort of reminds of when Hurricane Katrina hit and the second sentence out of lots of people's mouths (but within the same breath), was how mad they were that whoever was responsible for putting up enough sand bags to prevent the damage didn't put up enough, therefore didn't do their job. I mean, come on. How ridiculous!! I know this is different because we aren't looking in hindsight at something, we're thinking about the future and the safety of children, but both sentiments (the sand bag/who-done-it issue and gun control situation) should be saved for a different conversation, not within the same breath as the aforementioned tragedies.

Anyway, I also am aware that both horrible situations gives ammunition to arguments because it's proof of problems, but that's what I wish for us as a people on the internets. 

(And am I allowed to say within the same breath - hypocritical, maybe - that I'm also happy that we are allowed to say exactly what we want on the internet and not be persecuted? America is still my homegirl!)  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

These people make my heart very happy. :)
Can you believe that our big guy is almost 3 years old?
Outrageous, I say, outrageous.
We had his third birthday party on Sunday, and even though 8 out of Carter's 10 little buddies turned out to be sick - no joke - it was such a nice day of close friends and family. We (thankfully) had wonderful weather, great conversation and, most importantly, see that awesome streamer back drop? Oh yeah, it stayed up the entire time. Give it up, man, give it up for great last minute taping skills done by THIS lady! It was a mad dash to completing all the details (read: Chad going psycho in the kitchen while I haphazardly sprinted from the park to our condo to grab decorations, dress the kids, etc., etc., etc. for a good hours straight before 11:00 rolled around), but it all turned out in the end!
The BIG dude had a great time and once again, we left the day feeling blessed and cheerful.
Yay for December babies!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sleep? Who needs that?

I'm one of those people who completely falls apart if I don't sleep for a MINIMUM of 8 hours. It's the truth! In fact, speaking of falling apart, if I don't get enough sleep, eat enough protein, exercise for enough minutes, drink enough coffee, get enough "me" time in and/or take enough "driving down the coast" joy rides, I morph into the creature from the black lagoon. I'm just an externally sensitive soul, what can I say?! Anyway, Chadly is literally the complete opposite. The dude doesn't have to eat breakfast until 3:00 in the afternoon (something that perturbs me, for some weird reason), and can run off of 3 hours of sleep, just to give a few examples.

Anyway, here is a nice story from the other night, a night almost free of sleep, the result of which being a horrible next-day:

Around 4:00 am or so, I woke up with this horrid headache, which has never ever happened to me, despite the outrageous amount of migraines, etc. I've dealt with. Anyway, I rolled over, grabbed a drink of water and tried to go back to sleep. Instead of drifting off into slumber, though, my mouth was super dry about 15 seconds later. So I took another drink. And another. And another. And another. And then I got up to cut the middle man out: I went straight for the sink. Again, and again, and again.

It was so weird! After about a half hour of this madness, I concluded that I'm an extremely dehydrated individual who should probably be more conscious about her liquid intake (read: less coffee, more water). Anyway, after I FINALLY felt that my insatiable thirst had been satisfied, I laid back down for some shut eye. 

Well, wouldn't you know it? The ole' hubby decided to sleep face down with his arms up over his head like a hooligan, resulting in what I'm pretty sure were two dead arms. TWO DEAD ARMS. In HIS sleep, he rolled over, lugging his arms to MY side of the bed! I tried to push them over, but they wouldn't budge! Then I tried to wake him up, which was a lost cause. 

Finally he came to, and tried unsuccessfully to relinquish control of his limbs, but apparently got over it, going back to sleep. Alright. So after some repositioning of the ole' hubster, I finally got a few feet of my own space, sans Chadly's dead arms . . . an hour and a half after I had woken up for my initial drink of water. The good news was that my headache was gone, but the trade off was Monday's psychotic state of mind. It was great. So awesome.

Thank goodness I woke up today feeling motivated and a heck of a lot better than Monday. Don't you hate days like ones where you got no sleep the night before? I sure as heck could do without them.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wednesday's forgetfulness

Today I'm as forgetful as forgetful comes. No joke. I keep thinking it's Tuesday, so it's one of those type situations. Here are a few of the major things run a'slack in this house so far, and it's only the early afternoon!

1. Upon waking up this morning, I totally forgot that we were taking our family holiday pictures, even though I was prepping until 11:30 last night! I just laid there relaxing for a good 15 minutes, then realized that if I didn't hop-to, we were all going to be hungry grouches because breakfast would have had to have been skipped - which, if you know me, should NEVER happen.

2. I started having our milk delivered (reasonable price with no hassle? Um, yes please.) during the wee hours of Wednesday mornings. This particular morning I completely forgot about the lonesome jug waiting for me on my doorstep until about a half hour ago, when I found the note our awesome neighbor left informing me that he had my milk in his fridge so it wouldn't go bad. We love Mike around here!

3. I completely forgot that I should have sent in a piece last night to the wonderful website I write for! What?! That's a whole new level of forgetfulness entirely, one that is not okay! Thankfully I've since corrected my horrible mistake. What is happening to me?!

4. So during our glorious family photo shoot this morning, I had the bambinos take their 1-year-old and 3-year-old pictures individually in different outfits than what we used for the Christmas card picture. Welp, in regards to Kota's outfit, I forgot something. Something kind of important - like her ONESIE! Yes! Just left it right there on the floor in our bedroom. Anyway, I was lucky because, surprisingly, her outfit worked without that all-important undergarment, but really, what the hell? (In all seriousness though, I think the photos will look cuter without it . . . thank goodness I've found a fair amount of pinterest pictures with baby girls wearing nothing but a good ole' fashion tutu!)

So yay for forgetting EVERYTHING today! Let's hope this trend doesn't continue into the rest of the week, for goodness sakes!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A night for the ages

Here's a fun fact: Chad and I wanted to skin ourselves alive and jump out of a second story window this last Sunday.

Yes, yes we did. We had THE wildest, most unexpectedly fun night on Saturday. In fact you couldn't even classify the outing as one of the "night" variety, it truly was a "wee hours of the morning" type of event. Here's how it went on the night that our parenting duties ceased to exist . . .

One of Chadly's friends from work was having a going-away party up in LA at what we thought was going to be a club (which made me nervous! A club? What does one wear to a club when they are going to be surrounded by their husband's work friends?! Jeans? A dress? WHAT?!), which luckily turned out to just be a bar. So we made the 45 minute drive up the 5 freeway, exited Fairfax (FAIRFAX!), drove another twenty minutes and finally arrived, only to find all of the familiar Wells Fargo people standing outside due to overcrowding. Welp, they sure as heck were right about that. We took one step inside to say sayonara to his pal and were immediately bamboozled by young bar goers. I mean, I've literally never been in a more crowded place in my life. It was outrageous.

While all of this was taking place, we had in the back of our minds that our friend was celebrating his birthday in none other than Newport Beach, a good million miles away from where we were. However, after surveying the current situation at the nice hour of 10:45 pm, we decided to forget about LA, throw our inhibitions to the wind and jam down to Newport!

So! We only arrived in bar-town at the decent time of 11:50 pm. Totally normal. We immediately jumped in line to get into the madness that was Rudy's where our circle of awesome friends were hoot-hollerin' it up, and had a little out-of-body experience: There we were, two bambinos down, possibly more to go, waiting in line to go into this raucous bar with people who were either our age or younger! It was outrageous in an awesome, weird sort of way!

Anyway, we made it in and found our people who were, in that moment, the most wonderful portrait of amazingness THIS lady has ever seen. They were EXACTLY what the doctor ordered: our crowd! Chad and I were immediately showered in those wild things called "beers" and talking a thousand miles a minute about what the heck everyone has been up to over the last few months! We all discovered that virtually no one has met Kota and that Carter will be more of a junior groomsmen by the time the men of the group hit up Harry Winston, which had me laughing like a hyena!

Anyway, we . . . stayed until . . . the bar . . . closed! Yes! It was 2:00 am when we left and then guess what we did. GUESS! We piled into a cab with a humongous crew and got dropped off at our friends' apartment! What?! Yes! That's what happened! Chad and I spent the night out! Isn't that outrageous?!

Now in regular world, this would signify bed time, but oh, no! Conveniently there was a good ole' fashion bottle of almond champagne waiting to be opened. So, naturally, we continued the merry making, advice giving in the form of "now wait, let me get this straight. You have work tomorrow morning? And you're still awake? What?! What planet are we on?", and more catching up.

Finally, I took a quick glance at the clock and realized it was 4:20 in the morning! IN THE GOSH DARN MORNING! At that point I put the kabosh on the still-lively conversation I was having in the interest of getting some shut eye.

Waking up can be likened to the Grimm Reaper paying me a visit.

But here's the thing: It was so much fun, I wouldn't have traded in that hellish, multi-hour-long hangover for anything! It was a night not of alcoholism run rampant, although it would have appeared that way, but of reconnecting. It left me feeling lucky beyond all doubt to have met such a great group of people, supportive to no end.

Anyway, cheers to Grandma's who offer to babysit, driving all over Southern California, consuming more liquid in one night than in the previous 4 years, chatting with our Fullerton wonderfuls and then wanting to gauge our eyeballs out for all hours bathed in sunlight! Woohoo!

Monday, December 3, 2012

A dead-end of sorts

I feel like a major weirdo for thinking this deeply about my blog, but since this thing is here to collect all thoughts categorized under the heading of "weirdo," here's the deal:

1. I think I've hit a sort of dead-end when it comes to inspiration on this blog. Every time I sit down to write a post, I get this sick feeling like the people who followed me once for the reasons of a giveaway or follow-fest would never want to read it. It's quite the restricting sensation, let me tell you.

2. When I created this blog, I had no clue that there was an actual world of bloggers out there. Who knew, right?! So it became a sort of "let me get to know what this thing is all about" type deal, not a "let me write what's on my mind" thing.

3. Here's the thing though: I don't want to put this blog on death row just yet! I love it here! But I do think it's time to write under a new "name" type thing, one that defines us C's more accurately (more of a we've come of age and this is who we are now type deal...?).

See, I told you I'm a big weirdo! Who thinks this much about their leisurely, nap-time activity? Apparently I do. I want to keep writing as a creative, fun outlet for myself, and if Three's 4 Me has transformed to mean the opposite, then steps must be taken, my friend, steps must be taken.

Anyway, I will be switching blogs very soon, but will of course keep this baby around for my own enjoyment. At the end of the day, I just want people to read who are genuinely interested in what's going on in our lives, and maybe not for the reason that I was offering a free giveaway at one point (even though if that's how you found me, I love you for it!). Are you catching what I'm throwing atchya?

So cheers to "finding yourself" within your creative avenue!

(...And by the way, I still feel like a bit of a freak for taking myself so seriously, but you know what? It's what's on my mind, so what can I say?!)
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