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Right This Minute

12 May

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Right this minute, I’m waiting for the phone to ring.

This has been the longest, most all-encompassing, and genuinely challenging year of my life (or at least of my married life), as my husband has fully switched over from musician to law student. While my son has made it the most rewarding, and my husband’s grades have made it promising, it’s still been a hard year. Not gonna lie.

I’m waiting for the phone to ring, with an exhausted and overwhelmed husband on the other end of the line, letting me know that it’s over (until the fall anyway, and minus the one tiny little class he’s taking over the summer – which is only one night a week).

Tonight, I get my husband back and my son gets his daddy.

Over the last year, we’ve struggled endlessly to make it through in-tact, and to get to the point when we could take a break. Back in December, we expected that break to come, but not even 12 hours after his last fall semester final, we were in a house inspection, with an insurance agent telling us we had to move out of our home right away, albeit temporary. That “temporary move” left us in a hotel for 8 whole weeks. Did I mention we have a baby that goes to bed at 7 and we were all in one room, or that it happened 6 days before our son’s first Christmas? That was anything but the break we wanted (and desperately needed) and we went into the 2nd semester with all of the exhaustion we left the first with, and more. It was a challenge to keep a happy face, and once that second semester started, it was back to the races. But this time, he never came home to study, because he couldn’t. When a single hotel room with a sleeping baby is “home” and your husband is in law school, you just say “Goodbye, baby! See ya in summer!” and now???? SUMMER IS HERE!!!!!!!!!

It’s nothing drastic that we/I want though. I’m most looking forward to just being able to sit on our couch, or front porch, with a glass of wine or a beer and just sit with him, you know… talk. Relax. I’m looking forward to our baby not having to say goodnight to him in the picture of our family on the wall, or via FaceTime, but to his daddy in person. I’m excited about coming home from work to find daddy and son playing and rough-housing around. I’m excited to make dinner after work for my family, and actually get to sit down together and eat it. There’s nothing crazy about what I want. I’m not looking for luxury here. I’m just looking for a moment in time, where it’s just us, and time, and more us.

You see, in our 8+ years, we’ve never had this. For the first 6 years, we had band practice 4-5 nights a week, and tours, and recording sessions, and something that always kept our evenings occupied. When we got married, I lived in a different state for one and a half years… so that wasn’t conducive to spending time together, except for the weekend visits once a month or so. Then we had a baby, and as I was healing up, we were learning how to parent exist as a new family, while completely sleep deprived, and he was still in band practice several nights a week. Then, I went back to work, while he started his pre-law school studies, tutor sessions and readings, while still working on music at night. Then, school started and “see ya later, daddio!” Now, it’s our first opportunity in 8.5 years to eat dinner together on a regular basis. To spend our weekends together. To live our lives as a family who sees each other. And, I. can. not. wait. 

I’ve been afraid in a sense, that something would once again rob us of “daddy time” but it’s looking like we’re gonna make it! In part, because I haven’t noticed anything wrong with our house, and if I learned anything last time, even if your walls are caving in, WAIT UNTIL AFTER BREAK TO CALL SOMEONE ABOUT IT!

I’m 100% the most proud wife on earth, because he’s accomplished so much and been a rock through the storm, but that’s not what this post is about. This is about a wife’s need for her husband and baby-daddy to be home for a bit. And, of course, the absolute excitement that comes with it.

Take-out has arrived (his favorite meal), whiskey is poured, a special gift is on the table, I’m off of work for a couple of days, and now I wait for the phone to ring. And wait. And wait…

 

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Every Parent’s Nightmare #RedBalloonsForRyan

6 May

This morning, I was flipping through Instagram and saw a post that embodies the fear of every parent. A couple with a beloved 3 1/2 year old, beautiful little boy, had to say goodbye to him this past Friday, after hit was hit by a truck on their street, and killed. 3 1/2. Gone. He was just chasing a frisbee.

I’ve been battling feelings about this all day, and I just don’t understand it. I don’t know that I’d ever recover something like this. Jaqui is a mommy blogger and baker and devotes her life to her son. Just in the photos on her blog and Instagram, you can see that he was her light. He was her joy. I’ve seen people post that “God is in this” and “there’s a reason for all tragedies” and I just want to scream on behalf of this mama and daddy. Their child is gone and he’s never coming home. Where is the purpose in this? How does this make sense and why would something like this happen. There just seems to be a lot of “bad” and a lot of hurt in the world these days, and I cannot shake mourning for this family, as they mourn the loss of their most precious treasure.

I will never understand senseless tragedies.

There’s an organization that’s collecting money for the family, so if you’re willing and able, please click here to help (the donate link is on the left on this page).

If you can’t donate, you can just take a moment to send your kindest, most supportive thoughts to this family in this hideously dark time.

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My 7 Quick Takes. The Thinks You Can Think Up, If Only You Try.

27 Mar

I’ve been wanting to post a lot of things lately, but as I fantasize about what I’ll write when I have the time, and as my imagination becomes impassioned by what I’m going to say, I complete my day at work, spend my evening with the baby, put him to bed, and forget everything I wanted to do when I finally had a few moments of “me time”.

That said, I think an easy 7 Quick Takes is a must. So, here I go. My 7 Quickies are dedicated to all those thinks I can think, when only I try… and when I’m not reading a Dr. Suess book.

1. I wish I had more time to blog – The sad thing is that I DO have the time, I just don’t have the energy 99% of the time. If I do have the energy to blog, I should probably be folding laundry, sweeping the kitchen floors, or organizing the vast array of baby toys Remy has into multiple bags for rotation, etc., but instead, I just sit. Sometimes in silence, sometimes staring at a wall. Most of the time, on my bed staring at my phone and wondering if I’ll ever feel rested again.

2. Sleep Training – Though I need to write about this in detail later, for now I’ll just say “thank god that’s over.” Sleep training is the worst thing you could ever imagine for about a week, and then, it’s a magical wonder for your beautiful baby, as he slumbers in sweetness. Now, if only I could sleep train myself back into sleeping through the night, instead of staring longingly at the video monitor, wondering if my baby boo misses snuggling me as much as I miss snuggling him, while daddy’s at school. I swear, sometimes I wake up 8 times during the night just because I’m used to it, not because my baby is crying out for me. He’s stoked! Happy and sleeping. Now, I need to figure out how to do that again… maybe I need more wine in my life.

I never thought he’d be able to sleep without me, and I didn’t mind the idea of snuggling him well into his 20′s, but man. He just looks so peaceful and comfy. I love him so.

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3. I need more wine in my life – While we were living in the hotel for 2 months, I somehow lost my ID. Since my license expires on my birthday this summer, it is time for a new one all together. But, the lovely guy at the DMV said that I needed to wait a month to see if I could auto renew online, so he processed my paperwork without sending me a new physical license; just a little piece of paper that says all the important stuff, including “This Document is Not an Acceptable Form of Identification”. Thanks DMV. I’m 37 and  can’t buy my own wine. (PS. 20 minutes after I wrote this, my sweet husband called that he was on his way home from school early and would I like him to grab me a bottle box. Thank you, my love. Thank you.)

4. There aren’t enough blogs by law school wives – But there are! They just happen to all be in their early 20’s and their “advice on how to get through 1L” contain points like, “be social“. Clearly, there are no blogging 1L wives, who also happen to be working full time and raising a baby without said 1L daddy to help (mostly). It’s interesting to see how many similarities there are between all of the different wives, but they are similar to each other… not to me. Maybe it’s because people like me all exist in the aforementioned point #1. There is a good one I do like though. It’s a food blog and she seems pretty interesting.

5. Selfies on Instagram/the webs – Did you know that over 163 MILLION photos on Instagram tagged with #FollowMe? I processed that last night, in awe, disbelief and fear. 163 MILLION people (mostly youngins’) are vying for popularity so badly, that they’re begging complete strangers to follow their lives. Worst of all, this is just one of several different types of hashtags that follow the same trend of asking total strangers to be part of their online “communities”. What scares me most about this is the absolute void these people must feel to be asking for attention from people who will never be able to fulfill them. We’ve gotten to the point where there’s a desire to be liked by more than just your peers in school or in the neighborhood, but by the WORLD (thanks for that thought, Rachel) and it’s possible, but not valuable. How many people’s feed are full of kids faces as they selfie themselves for no reason at all, other than to hope people see them for a moment and tap that little heart shaped icon. I think the greater issue is that they just want to be seen (validated, appreciated, liked, loved, treasured, etc.) in general. SO. MANY. THOUGHTS. I could go on and on and do a deep dive into this, but this is a quick take, so… the end.

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6. Hand soap, dish soap, laundry detergent, cleaning spray, bathroom cleaner, dishwashing liquid, etc. – I don’t have time to be as crunchy or “Holly Homemaker” as I’d like to be, but I do want to supply my home with the best cleaning supplies, while keeping things natural, safe, effective and pure. If I had my druthers, I’d make all my own supplies, be a Pinterest godess, sell things on Etsy and wear long skirts and flip flops all day long, but that’s just not my life, SO, there’s Honest Company. Thanks to Zulily, I can now accomplish my goals of being the chemical conscious mama, while saving loads of bucks on supplies. I don’t think I’ll have to buy any household soaps for at least 6 months. Maybe a year.

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7. 7 Quick Takes, take time! I’m not sure who decided that these should be “quick” but having 7 thoughts to complete can be a little longer than that. 🙂 I’ve officially completed my first 7 quick takes, just in time for Friday.

Lent… For the non-Catholic

10 Mar

I’m not a Catholic, but there’s something I’ve always loved about Lent. The sacrifice for 40 days, the camaraderie of everyone doing something tough together, the passion behind those who try to better themselves… even if just for 40 days. It’s like a New Year’s resolution, only without the Halmark-esque-ness about the holidays and doing something because everyone else is doing it. It’s more of a personal decision based on individual faith and the ordinance of the church. It’s neat. It’s also only meant for a 40 day period… not for “as long as you can handle it” like NY’s resolutions; which in my life, have always failed miserably.

As I read though Facebook and all of my friend’s posts about what they would be giving up for 40 days, I thought about my own life and what I would give up, if I were Catholic. Then it hit me. I don’t have to be Catholic to give something up for Lent! I can join in as a human being seeking to better herself and her family and benefit from the group-mindedness of everyone else struggling through something together, but for slightly different reasons.

So, for Lent this year, I’m giving something up. I’m giving up cooking dinner after work.

You’re either bored by now, or think I’m odd, I’m sure, but hear me out.

I work full time. I have a 1 year old son. My husband is a night student and is gone Monday – Thursday. Every night, I rush home from work by 5:30, hug/nurse my baby, feed and walk our dogs, rush through cooking dinner, get my son fed (real food), then it’s bath time, story time, and bed time, BY 7:00PM! That’s a lot to cram into a 90 minute period, and in my opinion, the one who suffers most is my son. Starved of mommy’s love and affection all day, he has to share me with the dogs, and the kitchen and the bathtub and doesn’t get to just play with me. Ok, maybe it’s me that just doesn’t get enough time to play with him. He’s growing up so quickly and I want to look back on his life and remember every detail; not just our rushed schedule. I want to remember him learning to stand on a Tuesday, and not 4 days later on Saturday, after he’s mastered the skill. I’ve heard so many other working moms say that “it’s not the quantity of time, it’s the quality of time” and I say that’s a load of crap. Who get’s quality time while trying to get so many things done in such a short period of time? NOT ME.

So, for Lent this year, I’m giving up my rushed schedule after work and will be spending a lot of time with my crockpot and even more time playing with my little guy. It’s a great idea! I can chop up veggies and prep dinner the night before (after 7:00PM), then store everything in the fridge overnight and plop it all in the cooker on my way out of the house in the morning…

Which brought me to another revelation. Moms like me need to “meal plan”. For the last few months, I’ve been using Blue Apron to help me master this skill, but with my commitment to not making dinner after work, I have adjusted my delivery date, so that my heavy cooking days will be on the weekend.

I’m excited for my new found Lenten practices, effective tomorrow (ok, I’m 5 days late, but whatev. I’m not Catholic either).

Here’s my first week’s plan… careful. It’s super complicated:

1. Monday – Beef Stew (easy, peasy, pie)

2. Tuesday – Leftovers (better the second day, right?)

3. Wednesday – Chicken Verde Tacos

4. Thursday – Leftovers

I work from home on Fridays, so Friday is an easy day to cook whatever else I haven’t used yet, which leaves us at the weekend, when my husband is home, date nights happen and of course, Blue Apron deliveries will keep my kitchen lively.

If you have any great “throw it in the cooker” recipes, I’d love to try it out! After all of my research on crockpot cooking, I’ve learned that most things “need” more prep time before putting them in the pot than I have, so if you have a great recipe to share, leave it in a comment or email me (stephaniearnow@me.com).

Here’s to Lent 2014!

Our First Year

25 Nov

On November 11, Grant and I had our first wedding anniversary.

What. A. Year.

We were talking about it and realized that while it’s been an amazing year, we’ve had some real challenges that have led us to a closer, more intimate, relationship, however challenging us every step of the way. It’s also part of the reason it’s been a while for my posts to go up. All the things I thought I would want to share, just got lost in the abyss of busyness, stress, excitement and change.

Here’s a brief recap of our lives since 11-11-11:

  1. 11/11/11 – The wedding of a lifetime!
  2. December 2011 – We moved Grant out of his “bachelor pad” in West Hollywood and partially into a storage unit, remainder out to Arkansas where  Steph was still working/living. (move #1)
  3. January 2012 – We found out we were expecting our first baby! (baby #1)
  4. February 2012 – We miscarried said baby (Grant in California, Steph in Arkansas)
  5. March 2012 – After realizing that marriage was so much better lived together than apart, and after enduring the miscarriage thousands of miles away from each other, Steph got a job back in California and we headed home with all of our stuff (move #2; job #1). We moved into Grant’s “bachelor pad” where he lived while Steph was away, but this time, there were 4 of us; Grant, Steph, Stella and Pino – all confined to one room in a beautiful duplex… with 2 roommates.
  6. June 2012 – Steph accepted an offer with another company (more stability, less drama), and headed over to work on the Honda Powersports account for Dailey Advertising (job #2)
  7. June 28, 2012 – While Grant was on the phone booking the tour of his life with Daughtry (15 dates over the summer), Steph was peeing on a stick, just to find out that we were pregnant again (baby #2)! All of this happened ON Steph’s birthday… what a great present for the both of us.
  8. July 2012 – Let the morning sickness (lasting from 11AM – bedtime) begin! Grant left for tour for 5 weeks.
  9. August 2012 – We safely ended our first trimester of pregnancy and Grant came home from tour.
  10. September 2012 – We found out that we were having a BOY! This is after Steph fell down the stairs at our apartment, severely spraining an ankle, and rushing to the Dr.’s to make sure the baby was ok. The next few weeks were a challenge as Grant had all the responsibility of the pups, and Steph to take care of, while entering into a new chapter of his life. We also decided that it was time to move out of our bachelor pad, into our own home, where we could deepen our roots, expand our “territory”, close out our storage units, and get ready for our munchkin, due on March 8.
  11. October 2012 – Grant (the smartest person in the world) entered into a course to prepare him for the LSAT test on December 1, 2012. Simultaneously, we moved into our own place, in the same old neighborhood we loved so very much, 5 minutes from Steph’s work, 15 from Grant’s and in the heart of Los Angeles (move #3).

That brings us to today; 3 moves, 3 jobs, 2 pregnancies, 1 big tour, and a whole year of marriage under our belts. There’s so much more I could say about each “thing” that we’ve gone through in the last year, but ultimately, we’re happy, healthy, and home. 🙂

I couldn’t be prouder to be the Mrs. Arnow to my Grant. He’s been a rock of stability through our unstable year, and has proven time and time again that he loves me more than anything, is committed to our marriage, and is going to be a great daddy.

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