Thursday, September 29, 2011

Birth & Baby Fair in 3 days ... with several "wrenches" thrown in

You know the saying, "it threw a wrench in my plans"?  Well, this week seems to be full of wrenches, but the more I think about it ... these wrenches are just part of my life.

I wish I could write that in three days I will be attending the Birth and Baby Fair and that this week leading up to it has been productive and smooth sailing.  100% focused on my business.  But then, there is reality.  I am a mom with a part time job.  I am a wife, housekeeper, gardener, taxi driver, secretary, and cook.  I also am new to this business world and there is a lot of hands on learning.  On top of that, I have a daughter who models.

This week has been one unexpected thing after another!   I am feeling very confident about the fair coming up on Sunday.  My friend & I are working out all of the details of our booth.  We are both very excited of the opportunities this will present to us as well as finally getting out there & selling or stuff!!  There are some last minute things I need to get done, and am using each moment to try & do them.

But like all good well planed schedules, things are going to go out of whack.  As of Monday, my Thursday was clear except for taking the kids to / from school.   Friday & Saturday I work at night, but still have the days to get things done.  Then, on Tuesday, we got a call from Vivienne's agent.  She was going to be submitted for a commercial.  Yesterday, we got the call the audition is for tomorrow (today) at 4:40 in San Francisco.  So much for my afternoon.  And now the babysitter scramble starts.  (Thank GOD for retired grandpa!)

I got some errands done after dropping Vivienne off at school (a 30 minute each way commute) and the went to pick her up.  As I pull out of the school lot I get a call "can you pick up your grandma at the hairdresser?  She is ready now."  I can't say no.  This is my dad.  My in a pinch emergency babysitter, but man, it's 12:30 & I have three kids ready for lunch.  I am 30 minutes from home, and the hairdresser is 10 minutes out of my way.  "SURE!! No problem!"  I go to pick up grandma & she tells Vivienne that the children's choir missed her last night.  I had totally forgot about Vivienne's choir practice on Wednesdays.  Then she asks if we can stop at a store or bank.  "SURE!"  I say.  Then I hear, "but Mommy, I have to go potty!"

Get home at 1:30 to feed the kids & be out the door by 3 to head to SF.

We are in the middle (or near the end) of refinancing our house & the loan processor emails ... she needs things faxed before they can progress further.  Another email informs me it is back to school "day" on Saturday at 10, no kids please.  

Fast forward to the audition.  We sit down & I look at the sign in sheet:  "Shoot is in Los Angeles.  Please list any conflicts you have for the week of Oct 10."  WHAT???  Can I write L I F E ??  (Take note of this people who think it would be cool to have your kids in modeling or acting!)

We head home on BART, which has 20 minute delays.  At dinner time the phone rings.  It is my work.  My shift for tomorrow (you know the one I had to get two babysitters for, as well as juggle cars for so my babysitter could use my car & I could still get to BART, then my parents would have the right number of car seats when they took the kids .... etc) has changed to an hour an a half later so that now I have to drive to SF & the plan we had just worked out won't work.  

Oh, and the package I HAVE to have by Sunday for the fair that I called about & it was confirmed for today's delivery???  It couldn't be delivered because someone over 21 has to be here, but if I call by 7:00 pm (it is now 7:15) I could pick it up myself tomorrow since I won't be home tomorrow to sign for it either!   Thank goodness I called & they were able to set it up for me to pick up ... but guess what?  UPS opens at 1.  Really???  Opens at 1?

My husband called me from work about 15 minutes later as the chaos / screams / tantrums / tears / of bedtime for three over tired kids was underway.  He kindly reminded me that in a few years we'll miss all of this.   I had to laugh.  Yes, I probably will.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Big steps at Small Batch

Starting a small business means baby steps.  Some are easier then others.  Some are lest costly than others.  Today, I made a baby step that will hopefully mean a new, big, and exciting chapter in the history of Small Batch Studio!

When I first started my business I wanted to have a website built.  I know nothing about HTML.  (Those are the initials, right?)  I contacted a web designer I knew (another small business) and got a $2000 quote.  Well, starting out every penny of this self financed business counts.  $2000 was not in the budget.

Yesterday I was chatting with a friend who is starting her own business Chiefo's Kitchen .  She told me about a great solution to getting a website done and saving money!  Her website was built by a student at the Academy of Art.  Students need projects for their classes.  She said it there is a longer turn around time, but it is done for little or no compensation on the business owner's end.  So, I put up a job posting at their website this morning!  I am so excited to see where this leads.  

Questions for other small business people:  Who did your website?  (I have heard it is "really easy").  Have you used students?  What was your experience?   Would you do it again?  If there was one piece of advise you could offer regarding websites, what would it be?

My goal is to have an active website up and running by December 1st.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Reminder: Birth and Baby Fair SF Oct 2nd!

I am SO excited to be a part of the San Francisco Birth and Baby Fair.  This is my first baby fair as a vendor!  Here's the information.  Hope to see you there!!  Please feel free to tell your friends.  Hey, you could win a free stroller!

The San Francisco Birth & Baby Fair, is the Premier event for new and expecting parents in San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area. Join us for a day of education, shopping and fun. There will be goody bags for the first 150 families, refreshments, and the chance to win amazing prizes such as: a Joovy, Bumbleride, Orbit & Mountain Buggy stroller.!

   * MEET representatives from many pregnancy, birth, parenting and baby related resources including doulas, midwives, massage therapists, fitness instructors, childbirth educators, lactation consultants, photographers and more.  
Enter the fair photo contest at the Sugarbaby Photography Photobooth and win a free photoshoot.

   * LEARN by talking to experts in the birth and early parenting community, participating in workshops and watching demonstrations. Click here for workshop & demo info
   * SHOP for maternity clothes, children's items and more. We'll have cute, hip, funky clothing and accessories from local designers including a seconds and samples sale by Japanese Weekend. Take home some original products from up and coming designers and support the local economy.
    * ENJOY our spa area with complimentary pampering and rejuvenating treatments including mocktails, beauty treatments, mini-massages and more!  Hang out in ourplay area, created by Pottery Barn Kids where your child can run free while you rest for a bitHungry? Pick up something for lunch from award winning Seoul Food and Lydia's Organic KitchenHave a little one to feed? Spend some time in our Nursing Nook

Fall 2011
SUNDAY - October 2nd - 10a to 4p
at the Fort Mason Center Herbst Pavilion
99 Marina Boulevard
San Francisco, CA 94123

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How many children is "enough"?

Yesterday I had my annual check up at my OBGYN.  Not the most pleasant thing to do, but when you've had three babies in three years, you get to know the doctor, office, and staff pretty well.   I have had my Dr for about 6 years.  She is in San Francisco, and though I live about an hour away, I will keep her as long as I can.

As I sat in the waiting room yesterday I felt a little sad.   My husband & I have decided three girls is enough.  There is still a little desire inside of me, however, to have another baby.   As I looked around the waiting room I saw 4 women who were visibly pregnant.  For me, that was such a special time.   I really enjoyed being pregnant.  The feeling of holding your baby for the first time is priceless.   (The six months of sleep deprivation that follows .... not so much)

I know many people struggle with the thought of "how many kids should we have".  We all have our own reasons for stopping (or not stopping).  I have talked to people who say, "We wanted one (or two, three) and then that was it!"  They don't seem to waver.  I don't have a number, though I thought I would be fine with three .... four just sounds nice.  It just isn't realistic for us.  Maybe this is the reason I am struggling with the idea of stopping at three.  Even my Dr mentioned that she didn't feel I was 100% done.  How many kids do you have?  Why did you decide to stop?  Do you still "want" more, but won't because of "logical" reasons that override feelings?

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Dentist

Growing up my relationship with my dentist was not a good one.  I spent more time in the dentist chair than I wish on my ... well, people I am not fond of.  My dentist, though a nice man, was NOT a pediatric specialist.  He did not use gas, and limited his use of Novocain.

My parents did not have dental insurance & I hate to think what I cost them.  Aside from numerous cavities, I also broke my front tooth in the third grade.  Many dentists & orthodontists later I find myself still a little apprehensive when it comes to the dentist.

So, now here I am a mom of three kids.  They need to see the dentist.  (If you've been following you know my 1 year old has already since she chipped her two front teeth!) As a mom, it is my "job" to make the dentist a not - so - scary place.  Make it seem like we are going to .... a fun place of sorts.  I can't tell them, "Well kids when I was a kid, I cried & begged your grandma not to take me because it hurt REALLY REALLY bad & I still HATE the noise of the drill which sends shivers down my spine, but don't worry you'll be OK."  Nope.  Can't do it.

But, I have discovered a wonderful thing.  There are pediatric dentists who only treat kids!  (Some of you are saying DUHHH!!! but really, I didn't know!)  This is where my kids are going.  We found this dentist by chance as they had an opening for Audrey when I needed her to be seen.

Anyway, fast forward ... Vivienne had two cavities.  So, today was the day to get them taken care of.

So we go into the room.  Don't let this picture fool you.  She is hooked up to the gas, watching a movie with headphones on, bite block in her mouth, totally zoning out.  (As a kid, I didn't get any of those things!) The dentist was so nice, and all of the staff are really kind too.

Of course, after it is all over she gets a prize from the toy cabinet.  She got to pick two.  Jewelry and money.     My girl.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Ever?

Have you ever had a chocolate chip cookie you thought was the BEST EVER?  I did once.  I was staying at the Ritz Carlton in Lake Las Vegas.  I was with two of my girl friends.  We all agreed.  I think we ate ... well, a lot of them, over the several days we were there.  We knew the pastry chef and asked about the recipe.  He attributed the amazing cookies to the altitude & convection ovens.

As I sit & write this post, the kids are in bed and I am watching a French movie, Jean de Florette.  Maybe more importantly, I have a large glass of whole milk and three large freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

I love chocolate chip cookies.  For some reason, I have always been a Nestle Toll House Cookie girl.  I've never tried a new recipe.  Recently, I've grown a little dis-satisfied with the results.

Having thought about making some cookies for a few days, I decided I'd try a new recipe.  I googled: best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever.  I came up with several blogs / websites but after reading this one from Savory Sweet Life  I thought I'd give it a try.   I love that her recipe is very detailed, even in the amount of time you should mix!  I am also a sea salt fan and love that it is in them.

So: Are they the best EVER??  Well, they are pretty darn good.  They are chewy yet crispy.  Ones that you could easily eat several and then crave them the next day.  But, the BEST?  I don't know.

I've decided sometime in the next two months I'll have a chocolate chip cookie recipe contest.  If you live in the Bay Area & think you have the BEST recipe, leave a comment below.  I'll be sending out an evite with the details in the next two weeks!

Monday, September 12, 2011


This post is not for those of you who follow a lot of blogs, or who are not new to this world of blogs as I am.  I know, it is odd isn't it?  I write a blog and yet am daily discovering new things about blogs and everything blog related.

This morning, I got up pre-kids at 5:45 am.   (Helps that I crashed at 8:55 last night!)  I found the website Bloglovin.   It is a site (excuse the simple definition) that allows you to easily search for, find, and follow all kinds of blogs.  Interested in French antique sliver?  You'll probably find someone blogging about it.

I found some really great blogs on all things baby.  Since my weekend was filled with Baby Fair preparations, I decided to take a look.  I really need to stay on top of all things trendy & available for new moms.

If you have some spare time, check out Bloglovin and while you're there, LIKE my blog: (see, now you can just cut & paste the address).  Having followers attracts followers.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Birth & Baby Fair preparations!

It is approaching fast!  In just over three weeks I will be at the San Francisco Birth and Baby Fair at Fort Mason selling my Push Pack.  I am excited, focused and a little nervous.  This is my first time as a vendor & I have no idea what to expect!  For now, I am trying to get all of my little (and big) things checked off my to do list.

Yesterday, I bought the fabric for the cover of my display table.  It is a lime green with white polka dots.  I wanted something that people could easily identify.  I think this fabric does the trick!

This is a huge event & I am so excited to be a part of it.  If you haven't been to one of these before and are expecting a baby, I suggest you go!  Not only will I be there ;)  but you will see all of the latest & greatest things for your new precious baby.

Check out the website get your discounted tickets today!!  When you are there, please come by and say hello!  I'd love to meet you & mention my blog for an extra discount on your Push Pack!

Have you been to a baby fair before?  What did you think?  What did you like?  Comments please!

Monday, September 5, 2011

The "Binki" Habbit

Pacifier, plug, nuk, and a few others are all names that I have heard for the thing we call a binki in our house.  All three of my girls use binkis, and have since they were two days old.  They all still use them now, at ages 4, 2 1/2 and 1.

When Vivienne was a newborn, I like so many other new moms, I was given many pieces of conflicting advise by well meaning nurses in the hospital when it came to breastfeeding.  One nurse told me to let her nurse (at two days old) 30 minutes on each side.  I was in so much pain at the end of the day I was ready then & there to switch to bottles.  Then Vivienne's pediatrician (a man in his 80's to the best of my knowledge) came in & gave her a pacifier.  He told me, sometimes, babies just want to suck.  It is comforting for them.  It can be you (the mom) their thumb, or a pacifier.  I chose the pacifier.

There have been over a hundred times I have questioned that decision.  My kids are all VERY attached to their "binkis" and even know the difference between each one, have color preferences & only like the "baby" ones.
Coco showing off her green binki, the preferred color for now.

I have been thinking of ways to get rid of them, short of just throwing them in the trash & saying no more.  I don't want to deal with the fall out from that.  I like to limit the use to when we are not in public.  They also can't talk with them in their mouths.

I decided to try & get Vivienne out of the habit of using a binki & looked into creative ways that have worked for other moms.  I found one I thought was cute, and decided to give it a try.  Basically, explain to the kid you are giving their binki to a new baby so the new baby can have one.  Good friends of ours are expecting & we were going to a family baby shower so I thought this would be a prefect opportunity to give it a try.

Vivienne was very excited about the idea of giving her binkis to the new baby.  She explained how she was going to wrap them & put a note on the gift.  This morning it was the BIG DAY.  She gathered up about 5 binkis, some she must have had stashed away.  She put them in a bag & wrote a long note to the baby.

THEN, she explained to me that on the way home we needed to buy some new binkis since that baby would have all of her old ones.  I think that means, the experiment failed ... or is it just I didn't follow through?  Wasn't the point of this that there are a limited number of binkis to go around?

Forget it, I said to myself.  Honestly, I really don't care.  One day she won't want it.  I think I'll just wait until then.

Thoughts?  What did you do?  Is it a big deal?  Am I ruining her for life?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

And .... she booked!

My last modeling post was that Vivienne was put on hold about three weeks ago.  Well, it turned into an actual booking.  Hooray!

The hold was for Wednesday.  That is all I knew, no time or location.  Being the mom of three, this presents a little challenge.  I have to arrange a babysitter for my other two for any time during the day.  Fortunately, I have family who is retired near by that can usually help out.

At 4:15 pm on Tuesday, I got an email from my daughter's agent saying she still hadn't heard anything & was calling the client.  At 4:45, I got a call from the agent.  Vivienne was now on hold for THURSDAY, not Wednesday (tomorrow).  Again, no time or location.  This is a prime example of how flexible you have to be!  A reason that you need to think twice before getting your child into modeling.  Do you have this flexibility?

Wednesday evening, 4:30 pm I find out the hold has become an actual booking!  It is for Thursday, 3:00 PM in San Francisco.  This is on of those times I am grateful I have lived in "The City" as I know a lot of people who get nervous navigating their way once inside.  The only challenge:  3:00 is getting close to massive traffic trying to leave SF.  If you can get out by 4:30 it's not too bad (still a mess) but after that, gridlock city.  I have taken Vivienne to shoots that have lasted 15 minutes, to 3 1/2 hours.  I was also nervous because my babysitter had to be somewhere at 7.

Then I read the details of the shoot.  It is for a children's furnishings & accessories company.  On the paper it said, "Please bring: play clothes: light layers, sweaters, skinny jeans, cropped light pants, ballet flats.  Colors: pink, lavenders, pinks, and light blues." Now, this is where panic sets in.  The agent said not to worry too much about the clothes, but I freak out inside.  Vivienne doesn't have anything like this!  She wears: dresses, skirts and leggings.  As far as sweaters, I have nothing yet in her size now & her shoes are dark purple!  Jeans never fit her as she is a little stick!

Vivienne put this outfit together .... 
I look online at various stores to see if anyone has that "look" at a reasonable price.   H & M works.  The next day I drag all three kids into H & M for some quick shopping.  I show the list to one of the associates.  He helps me out & 30 minutes later we are on our way with some clothes.  I get home and panic again.  What if they don't have an iron there?  So I iron all of the clothes.  I think this paranoia comes from having done mostly clothing shoots.  The clothes are the main focus so the people are very concerned about lack of wrinkles etc.

Waiting for the shoot to begin.  Snacking on crakers & Orangina.
We left the house at 1:30, and headed in.  It took a little less than an hour to find the location.  The company had rented out someones house in Cole Valley (a neighborhood near the Castro district).  There was a park nearby with soccer practice going on, so we just watched that until it was closer to 3.  The studio teacher came out & got us about 2:45.  That is when I got a little nervous.  Vivienne turned on her extra shy mode.  She wouldn't say hello, wouldn't even look at the guy!!  He was great and just went with it.  He has dealt with this before and had many tricks in his bag.

We got inside & guess what?  There was an adorable outfit all ready to go, ballet flats and all.  Vivienne started warming up a bit, but was still a bit "shy" when the stylist came down to do her hair.   Then we went to the shoot.

This was the cool "behind the scenes pat for me!  They had taken a part of this persons house & repainted it in a beautiful mural to create a bedroom scene.  They said after the shoot, they put the house back together just as it was before they came.  I never knew.

They had a music box on the floor and wanted Vivienne to "just play".  Well, you don't need to tell her twice.  She loves jewelry.  After a little while, some joking with the people on set & teasing by the studio teacher (and me leaving the area) Vivienne did great.

It will be out around February / March!