Archive for August, 2013


Ring Master MomAugust 28, 20132 Comments

Patrick’s 4th Birthday

Almost any time someone asks my kids how old they are, they say it out loud along with raising the appropriate number of fingers.  I loved asking Patrick how old he was yesterday – and he was excited to hold up another one!

One tradition I loved as a child was going to my favorite restaurant on my birthday.  I’ve continued that with my kids, and Patrick told me that he wanted to go to Bumble for dinner. I thought it would be for the obvious reasons – yummy food, sandbox, playroom – but he said he loves the milk there.  Fine by me!

For those who haven’t been, you need to make a trip even if you’re not in the area. Bumble is a farm to table restaurant not only boasts a delicious menu, but an incredible playroom with staff for your kids to play while you eat.  Yes, you dine sans children and enjoy some great grub and booze.  “Why didn’t someone think of this before?” is always the response I get from my friends when we visit.  I’ve brought along family, friends, former neighbors, even people without kids.  This place is amazeballs – and I’d go every day if I could.  Cheers!

An aquarium separates the playroom with one of the dining rooms which is fun for me as a Mom cause I can get to see how my kids play with others, but don’t have to watch them.

Patrick popped up in one the bubbles through the playroom to say hi.  He’s shaking maracas and making tons of noise but we can’t hear a thing through the aquarium as I sip my guava bellini.  Brilliant.

You have the option to send the food to the playroom and another thing I love about this place is that the food options for kids are so healthy.  Patrick ordered salmon, cheese, strawberries, and milk.

We continued the birthday celebration with some dessert.  Someone’s thinking hard about his wish.

Gotta stand up to get all of em!

Walking out always means a quick trip to the sandbox to get our last bit of play in. Tonight was special as we had some live music:

After dinner, we went to our local bike shop.  We were going to surprise Patrick with a bike and he didn’t really understand at first.  I asked him why he thought we were there and he said that we should get a bike for Daddy!!

Once we walked over to the small bikes, he figured it out and had a grin that spread from ear to ear.  My cautious Patrick hopped on the first bike he saw and rode throughout the store.

He and Daddy did one quick ride around the block when we got home.

I would have joined, but had to quickly pack James who was going to NYC for a few days just minutes after their excursion.

Patrick said he had the best birthday ever!  And of course has gone on 2 rides already since last night’s ride.

Happy birthday to my favorite little guy in the whole wide world.  I can’t believe how quickly 4 years has flown by.


Ring Master MomAugust 27, 2013Leave a comment

Dining out with kids

My husband and I love eating out.  Having kids did not change that.  The first night out of the hospital with Patrick we were at our favorite local sushi restaurant.  I wasn’t sure how I would hold up – hello – I just pushed a baby out of me and my nether regions were slightly sore to say the least.  Stitches, squirt bottle…you know how it is, Mommies.  My husband assured me that if we needed to bail, I could hop in the car and he’d get dinner boxed up with our newborn and we could head home.  The contingency plan gave me the confidence to relax and enjoy a meal out.  We did the same thing when Alice was born, but this time we upped the ante and went to a steakhouse.  I checked myself out of the hospital early (Mama wants a nice hot meal!!) and we were all 4 eating dinner together as a little family when Alice was just about a day old.

Eating out with a newborn

I’ve had several friends approach me and ask how I would ever dare enter a restaurant with such a tiny bundle of joy but to be honest; it’s the easiest time to take little ones out.  Right around dinner time when they wake up you change em, feed up, and get your butt to your favorite place to nosh!  As a new Mother you will looove feeling normal again.  You can always let your server know that you may have to jump ship at any moment and to have the check ready on the early side.  It’s amazing how great they “act” at this age, too.  Once you feed them when they’re this young, they’ll probably just go back to sleep!  Keep ’em in a car seat with a blanket over so it’s nice and dark and enjoy your time off!!

These are my favorite blankets for draping since they’re incredibly breathable and are long enough to drape over the whole car seat.

Eating out with toddlers

Toddlers are a trickier bunch.  They want to eat right away, sit on your lap, eat whatever you’re eating even if it’s something they’d swore they’d never place in their mouth again.  I find that distractions along with ordering their food right away will increase your success in an adventure in dining with little ones.

I attached velcro pieces on colored popsicle sticks and have a great toy to make letters or shapes as we wait for our food to be prepared.  Patrick is all about making a few letters together as he’s figuring out how to spell and I’m amazed at how long he’ll play with this – even when his food arrives!

And look – Mama is hands free to enjoy her dinner and drink!!  Coloring kits to the rescue!!

I’ve got my Mommy Manners hat on here.  This is my two cents whenever dining out, ESPECIALLY when you’re at your favorite local watering hole.  Picking up after yourselves is not that hard to do.  Cleaning up crumbs that your kids have spilled will get you great service in the future and it’s known to get us an extra dessert in the past.  Not that we need it, but quick swipe with a wet wipe on the table from your crumb tornadoes is something that I think everyone should do.  It’s also just good manners to show your children to appreciate their food and their server.  Serious pet peeve of mine and I’m stepping off my soapbox now.  😉

Kids won’t always be perfect, either.  You have to remember that they’re not the best at expressing when they’re tired or overstimulated.  The only way I could get through dim sum the other day was to have Alice “help” me eat my food.  She saw me spoon oyster sauce on my bok choy and thought that I should do that for every bite of food I ate.

Not every excursion will be perfect, but they can be manageable.  Cheers!


Ring Master MomAugust 26, 2013Leave a comment

Getting down and dirty

Patrick is 3 (4 tomorrow!!) and Alice is 2.  This is a wonderful age for touching any and everything outside and making messes!!  I encourage finger painting (usually outside) and digging in the mud.  I feel like these last few weeks it’s been a different mess every hour.

We’ve done yogurt cleanups (why did she put both hands in the container?)

Dirt and watermelon mess

Aftermath of running around on a pop up park

And of course – mud!!

I’m thankful for the outdoor hose to get a quick rinse before tossing the kiddos in the tub.  Luckily they are obsessed with bubbles and scrubbing the dirt off to get all clean.  I swear this has been a lifesaver during bath time.  What are your favorite ways to get your little ones clean?


Ring Master MomAugust 14, 2013Leave a comment

Two helpful hints for getting little ones to eat healthy

My two and three year old are great at reminding me that their taste buds are ever evolving.  One day they’ll each eat several apples, then they don’t want a thing to do with them for a week!  Variety is the spice of life as they say, and I try to mix things up as often as I can to make sure my little ones eat as healthy as possible.

One of my tricks for getting them to eat wholesome snacks is giving them some fruits and veggies right before I start cooking.  This is helpful for them because they are starting to get hungry and grumpy and giving them a plate to eat usually gets them in the backyard and out of my kitchen which helps me as I cook.  (Don’t get me wrong – they are great helpers when it comes to cooking, but sometimes it’s nice to get them out while I run and chop and boil and bake!)  Also, they seem very hungry and more likely to eat more veggies then vs having it share a plate with the rest of their dinner.  Sometimes I’ll whip up a little vinaigrette as a dip for veggies or spoon some hummus on the plate.

I try to make it as appealing as possible.  Both still love rainbows, so most fruit plates look like this

My other tip for getting toddlers to eat healthy is to have them pick out their own fruit or veggies at the store or farmer’s market.  Not only are they excited when they see something in season for the first time, but you’re letting them chose what to eat.  And then you can count items as you put it in the bag, or talk about cooking creations.  My son was freaking out when he saw fresh peaches a few weeks ago.

I believe that getting kids excited about cooking and helping select their favorite healthy snacks is one way to get them geared up for a healthy lifestyle.  What tips do you have to share when feeding your little ones?



Ring Master MomAugust 5, 20132 Comments

Pigskins & Pearls

Last week, I attended the Pigskins & Pearls Cal football clinic with my Mom at Memorial Stadium.  Here’s my roundup of the fun we had!

Walking up from BART, my Mom made me pose with this new piece on campus.  She thought it was a set of rings, and wanted me – Mrs. Ring to be in it.  Ring in rings…okay, not related to football, but it’s silly and fun.
Much has changed since the first event – back when it was the Women’s Huddle.  It’s now called Pigskins & Pearls which at first included a bit of an offensive description, “You will leave loaded with football knowledge that will impress any man in your life.”  *facepalm* For that sentence alone, I was not going, but luckily the wording changed and it was back to drills on the field, learning plays, routes, etc.

We entered the event with two sets of cheerleaders greeting us.


Shirt and hat for the event.
I was at ease quickly with a glass of chardonnay and football talk with my Mommy.
There was a helmet at our table as a decoration, and naturally I had to try it on.  Props to players who wear earrings while playing.  Don’t know how you keep them on!!
Obviously we did not keep the helmet on for long; no way to consume our wine!!
Mommy & Oski
Pigskins & Pearls was held in the Field Club area with players mingling around.  These young men are incredibly gracious and kind and were great at answering burning questions like, “So, Rose Bowl this year…is it on your calendar?”  This is me with Bryce Treggs.
As I was headed back to the bar, a women I’ve never met before grabbed me, my phone out of my hand, and said I HAD to take a picture with Darius Powe Jr. since we had the same number on.  She even told us where to stand as she snapped this shot.  Cute pic, thanks lady!!
These guys are ready to play!!
The other number 10 found me and we chatted for a while. I haven’t met another player who was so kind and funny. Lucas King, I will cheer loudly for you!!
Oh, and he told me a secret – shhhhhh…don’t tell anyone else!!  In the inside of their jersey – where the tag would be located – it says Bear Territory!!  Of course I HAD to get a shot of that!!  Thanks for letting me, Lucas; you’re a good sport!!
Dinner was step up from the first year which was beer and hot dogs.  Salad, sliders, sandwiches, quesadillas, homemade chips, and a full bar is certainly my kind of spread.
And cute Cal cookies for dessert.  Gotta carb load before we take the field right?  RIGHT?!?!
This was dessert – a cookie and a marshmallow with chocolate and quinoa??  I couldn’t figure out what I was eating.
Kate Dykes thanking everyone for their support.  This year there was a “fee” for registration, but it all went to the Oakland Boys & Girls Club.  They will be presented with a check at a future football game – horray!!
After we ate, drank, and all met each other, it was time to get this show on the road!  I always take a moment when I walk in Memorial Stadium to remember the soldiers who sacrificed so much.
As we were ready to take the field, the players gave us a little pep talk.
And were ready to get us ladies fired up!!
Listening to our instructions for our first drill
Go Mommy go!!
After each drill, we would circle up and shout Go Bears!!
I am obviously taking this very seriously as I pose for pictures of myself on the field.  The long shadows sure suck in the afternoon.  I feel for the players on games during this time.
One of many footballs that I caught, threw, and kicked.
Getting ready to throw a few across the end zone into garbage cans.  My Mommy is awesome and got a few in!!
Poor coach Sonny Dykes posing for us and about every other lady.  Thank you for being there and chatting with everyone!!

This is the defensive coach, Barry Sacks.  I love his face as he’s pumping us up!!
Demonstration of what we should do.  I think we got it.  We are lined up and have lots of energy to get out!!

He had everyone’s attention.  Love that enthusiasm!!


My Mom wins the award for best game face!!  Go get ’em!!

I was too fast for my Mommy photographer – whee – down the dummy goes!!

Huddle up and on to the next drill

Outta my way, dummies!!


The ladies were always cheering through the drills.  We are an encouraging bunch.

I watched the ladies in front of me going nuts on the last dummy and rolling over.  I went gently, but still ended up riding it.  Yeehaw!!


After we were done, I grabbed the first coach I saw and asked if I could kick a field goal.  As I was kicking, I saw his nametag and internally freaked out.  Inside of my head sounded like this, “Burl Toler is holding for me, OMG, don’t kick his finger, don’t break his hand, don’t hurt him!!”  He was so nice to let me kick, and look, my pearls didn’t slow me down!!





On one knee while Sonny is promising a Rose Bowl victory.  At least that’s what I remember.  😉

Players and cheer squad posing after the drills were finished.

Kate Dykes is one snazzy dresser.  Got her blue and gold in high fashion style.

Burl Toler wanted to take a picture with ME!!  Well, it’s only because I’m rocking his old number.  Whatever – I felt like a celebrity for a moment which is a nice change from the craziness at home with my 2 & 3 year olds.


And I may or may not have stopped at my favorite hot dog place to get a bite to eat on the way down the hill.  Oh, who are we kidding, of course I did.


Someone’s excited for the season to start!!


Okay, let’s not kid ourselves.  All of us are excited for the season to begin!!  Big thanks to all who helped put this even on – I’m pretty sure we’re all counting down the hours till Cal football begins.  GO BEARS!!