What is your idea of perfect happiness? Spending quality time with family and friends
What is your greatest fear? Well this changed once I became a mother! my fear is something happening to my loved ones especially my husband and child.
Which living person do you most admire? I admire my mom for her strength through tough times and faith.
What has been your greatest journey? Being a mother for sure! A lot of ups and downs with many tears of happiness and frustrations and a lot of smiles, laughter and full hearts.
On what occasion do you lie? I try my best to be honest or keep my comments to myself if I’m not being true to myself.
What is your greatest regret? Not doing more for myself before I became a mom because it’s even harder now with a baby. Although I still believe I have to do what I believe feels right.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? I am proud of the mother and wife I am even if it feels that I’m doing nothing right sometimes!
What or who is the greatest love of your life? My first love of course is my husband and forever will be my first love but the love I feel for my son is unexplainable!
When and where were you happiest? I’ve always tried to be a positive person but I would say I am my happiest now especially because I am able to say home with Hector and I wouldn’t change that for the world even if we have rough days!
If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be? Nothing I’m perfectly happy with my family! My husband works hard to make us happy and spend quality time with us any chance he has.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I still continue to work on my patience especially with dealing with Hectors ever changing character
What is your most treasured possession? My family
Where would you like to live? I love living here in Petaluma but my husband and I sometimes talk about moving to Mexico so that our children grow up with the traditions of Mexico that we don’t experience so much here.
What is your most marked characteristic? Loving,caring and that I put others before myself (my husbands words, not mine lol).
What do you most value in your friends? Loyalty and being there when I need them.
Who are your heroes in real life? My father, he passed 20 years ago but when he was alive he taught classical music classes (violin, guitar, and cello) to children of low income and would let them borrow the instruments. He did this in the evenings after his 8 hour office job which is just amazing and there is still an award that goes out in his name every year through the Marin Hispanic chamber of commerce.
What are your favorite names? Héctor, Anastasia
What do you most dislike? When people take advantage of me. I’ve been told that I can be “too nice” and that sometimes backfires so I am now learning to speak up when necessary.
It’s SPRING! And although the weather has been a little wet lately, summer will be here before we know it, and in my family Spring and Summer mean it’s CAMPING SEASON! My husband and I grew up camping and we vowed that we would raise our kids the same way. Some ages are tougher than others out in the dirt and elements, and I admit we are cheating a bit since we now trailer camp instead of totally roughing it in a tent….but every camping trip has been such an adventure, and so worth the lost sleep, dirty kids, and days of clean up upon returning home. Here’s some tips I’ve found helpful for camping with kids!
1 - (And this is the most important one) GIVE UP on being clean. It’s ok if your kid is covered in dirt all weekend. I PROMISE.
2 - Bring at least 5 extra outfits. At least. Especially if there’s a forecast of rain. Because you know what you can’t do while camping in the rain? Hunker down inside. Nope. You will end up jumping in mud puddles all day, and cleaning off with a copious amount of baby wipes before you put on the next outfit that’s going to get ruined
3 - Bring baby wipes. A LOT of baby wipes.
4 - Try and bring a few comforts from home for sleeping- lovies, sleep sack, bedtime books, and most importantly- sound machine! We have a battery operated one so that it can run all night and we can stay up and enjoy the campfire after the kids go to bed.
5 - DON’T bring a bunch of toys, activites, excess stuff from home. Limit the amount of cleaning of all the toys by just bringing the outdoor stuff- bikes, balls, shovels. I promise, they’ll have more fun digging in the dirt and climbing trees than playing with the same toys they get at home.
6 - Let loose. Forget your nap schedule. Skip nap, nap while babywearing, push bedtime back by an hour...or three… chances are your toddler won’t nap as well in a new, exciting location, or in a tent. So don’t stress, and just know it may take a couple days to catch up when you get home. After all, what’s a couple days of catch up on sleep to create memories that will last a lifetime!
7 - Have a crawler? Buy or borrow a play yard. We borrowed a Summer pop-up play yard and it was the BEST for a crawling baby. Big enough they didn’t feel trapped, but has a floor so they’re not crawling around on the ground 100% of the time. But also, don’t forget tip #1.
8 - An empty tupperware bin makes a great bath tub! Or just look back to tip #1….
9 - Make easy, one-pan meals for less clean up and more family fun time! We often chop/prep meals ahead of time for trips to make dinners easier after a long day of hiking, swimming, or playing in the dirt.
10 - Don’t forget the marshmallows!
So this spring and summer, I challenge you to get out there and camp! It may sound daunting, or exhausting, but I promise you it will be worth the extreme dirt, the lost sleep, and the clean-up time to watch your kids explore nature and create lifelong memories with family!
We seem to have constant banana buying issues in our house. Either we buy tons and no one gets in a banana groove, or we don't buy many and suddenly they're the only thing we all want. This often leads to overripe bananas, which then leads to banana bread.
Last week I used the Healthy Banana Bread recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod to bring muffins to my daughter's school. When I found it, this one also caught my eye and I just couldn't stop thinking about it. So Sunday morning, with overripe bananas and under-stimulated children, we whipped it up. Best decision all day.
It's basically cake. And I want to hog it all from the rest of my family. We didn't have peanut butter chips for the top, but I'm sure they would add another layer of dreamy goodness.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bread
yield: 1 LOAF
prep time: 10 MINUTES
cook time: 60 MINUTES
total time: 1 HOUR 10 MINUTES
Note-the bread will keep on the counter, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 4 days. This bread also freezes well. To freeze, cool the bread completely and wrap in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost before slicing.
I am honored and humbled to be named the Petaluma Mother’s Club member of the month. I was born and raised in Redding, CA, migrated to Petaluma in 2002, and never looked back! I instantly fell in love with this quirky little town. In 2014, I opened Boulevard Barbers; a small, traditional barber shop in downtown Petaluma. I am fortunate that I am able to contribute to the Petaluma community by serving on the city’s Parks, Music, and Recreation Commission as well as serve as a board member for Mentor Me. While I’m not serving on a board or sharpening up men’s styles at my barber shop, I enjoy spending as much time as possible with my growing family. I’m married to my wonderful husband Dave and we are blessed with a two-year-old daughter, Georgia. To add to our adventures, we are expecting a baby boy in June!
Dave loves attending Dad’s Night Out on the first Thursdays of every month and my favorite PMC event is the Spring Tea. I feel very fortunate to be a part of the PMC and really appreciate the friendships and support I’ve received from local mamas. We love hosting family play dates in our backyard and we’ve come a long way since the first play date I hosted when we actually had a small house fire during the play date. Oops!
I look forward to meeting more local families and making new friends!
Well, we're facing another week of rain in the forecast. Even though stormy days at home make me lazy, they tend to make my kids stir crazy. We did this activity recently, from my go-to for all fun things for tiny humans: Hands On As We Grow, to keep them busy indoors!
Large Bowls, Ziploc Bags, and something to contain the mess (we use old baking trays)
Extra time and patience to clean up the mess
Here's how it goes:
So to recap, that's: scooping, pouring, stirring, coloring, squeezing, and then messy experimentation. Basically a daily to-do list for the weird and wild little ones!
My 4 year old had some seriously zen moments. But she's also genetically programmed to push limits, so she scooped, dripped, and eventually flung her pepto bismal goo everywhere, and my head almost exploded.
My 2 year old was super interested in moving the colors around without mixing, until he wasn't. And then it all became a grey mess. Eventually he caught onto what sis was doing and his ended up everywhere too.
As for the mess: happy kids make happy moms, right? The cleanup was worth it. Happy rainy day flour piping! Share pics of how it goes for you!
I joined PMC in June of 2018 and jumped on the board due to peer pressure and a desire to connect with women in the community. I am so happy to be a part of this wonderful group. A little background about me: I was born and raised in Novato and I attended high school in Petaluma (SVHS- ‘98). I met my husband 20 years ago during the first week of college (SMC- ‘02)and we’ve been BFFs ever since. We have three daughters (Louise-3, Simone-1, and Elise-1). I have an background in education and event planning. I’d take middle schoolers over brides any day. Guilty pleasure: I’m addicted to Real Housewives of Anything.
Being new to the state of California, having recently moved here with my husband, our 1-year old son, and our cat, and also never having had to think much about wildfires or earthquake preparedness, I was very keen to attend the recent Emergency Preparedness event hosted by the PMC this past week. Not sure what to expect, I went with questions stemming from hearing about the tragic events of the Camp Fire last October and feeling like a beginner (a.k.a., “unprepared”) attendee. One week after the event, I now find myself grateful for a new feeling of “better preparedness” (a.k.a., not as completely frightened at the prospect of a disaster as I was before and very thankful to the amazing first responder services for their insight!). The PMC event included three speakers including a Chris Godley from Sonoma County Emergency Services, Ron Klein from the Petaluma Police Department, and Paula Dueweke with Petaluma Fire Department. These speakers presented a multitude of helpful advice through the sharing of stories, personal experience, and training. To help those who might be interested, highlights from the event are included below related to three key areas outlined by the speakers including Alerting, Preparedness, and Connection.
What stuck with me most regarding alerting, or the act of becoming aware of a pending / current disaster was the emphasis on the responsibility of the individual and family to both facilitate access to existing alerting systems, as well as to respond as advised once given an alert. In terms of awareness of alerts, the speakers outlined different systems that are activated in the event of a disaster. These included wireless alerting that will alarm on a wireless phone for all individuals in a given region, as well as those that are by subscription and alert only for those who have signed up to the service. Regarding the responsibility to act on alerts received, the speakers highlighted many cases where alerts were ignored leading to tragic outcomes for individuals. Key points and actions for preparedness regarding alerting included:
Sign up for the County of Sonoma Alerting System (www.socalalert.com) and register phone numbers / emails to receive alerts for Sonoma County
Download the CodeRED Mobile Alerting system to receive alerts as selected in the app
Sign up for the local Petaluma Alerting System, Nixle (www.nixle.com) and customize alerts
In the event an alert is received, such as an evacuation order, comply with this order ASAP
Keep your phone on (can be on silent) and in a place where you can hear it so that alerts can be received at any time of day or night
Ask relatives / friends out of state to sign up for the same alerting systems so that they can both be aware as well as serve as a second alert by calling to check in the case you miss the alerts
This topic got me very excited to go home and spend almost a full day (thankful to my husband for occupying our son!) preparing our disaster plan and kits. Included is a scanned copy of the informational handout provided at the event (***), and below I have outlined points that I found helpful / interesting as well as pictures from my experience pulling together our disaster plan and kits.
Prepared / purchased disaster kits are good, but do not contain everything you need!! These kits are designed to act as a starter with basic materials that you will need to add based on the needs of your family. Even though I had purchased a kit previously, I realized that I had never actually opened it and didn’t know what was inside vs what items I needed to add. Additionally, one of the kits we had that my husband had bought previously was discovered to be out of date (regarding food and water contents).
Take items out of any kit that you have and identify what additional items you need to include. Here is a picture of my two kits on the table and some additional items that I had forgotten we had stored around the house that I wanted to include in the kit (lantern, fire extinguisher, radio, batteries, extra glasses):
Check the expiry date of any kits you have and replace out of date contents such as food and water.
Extra items I found helpful and included in the kit (that I didn’t think of before!):
Garbage bags: can serve as poncho, tarp, block for under doors, ect.
Duct tape: when combined with garbage bags can do many things
Can opener: if “sheltering in place” and the power goes out on any electric appliances, important to be able to open cans and pet food
Manual water purification filter (e.g., filtration straw): does not have an expiry date like tablets and can be used on many sources such as pools, toilet tanks, etc.
Pet food, litter box, litter, feline calming phermones: A full pet preparedness checklist is included (***), something I had forgotten even though our cat is our child!
Extra driving glasses: The extra pairs of glasses from around the house (some older prescriptions) are great to put in the car or “go kit”, as well as stored in substantial shoes under the bed
Substantial shoes under the bed: During the Napa fire, the highest rate of injury was to feet from people who got out of bed quickly and ran around in bare feet on broken items and glass
BATTERIES!!!!: Many batteries. Best tip here was to tape extra batteries to flashlights in the case the installed batteries do not work
Flashlights: Extra flashlights, especially in places including beside the bed with substantial shoes, and in the car (from above, with batteries taped to lights)
Paper map of the region: In the event of evacuation (especially if new to the area like we are), have maps of the region and surrounding areas and discuss / highlight evacuation and alternate evacuation routes
Written out emergency and contact information: In the event of an emergency it can both become difficult to remember information such as phone numbers, as well as wireless internet may go down, making it impossible to search for numbers online. Write out emergency numbers to place both in the disaster kit, as well as someplace accessible in the home, such as beside the fridge, where everyone knows they are posted. Include numbers such as local dispatch, poison control, 24/7 veterinary services etc. Note: Petaluma Emergency Dispatch numbers are (707)-778-4372, and (707)-726-2727
You can find the Red Cross family emergency planning document here:
Does everyone know that the PMC loves to set up and fill meal trains for mamas who need a helping hand? Read Jessica's testimony below to hear more about this awesome resource.
Just had a baby and don’t know anyone in the PMC yet - ask for a meal train! Slipped and fell after giving your splashing toddler a bath and threw out your back? Ask for a meal train! Lost a friend or family member and can’t bring yourself to cook? Ask for a meal train. Mamas: don’t be afraid to reach out!
I had my daughter in October 2017, and 7 months later my husband rushed me to the hospital with serious pain in my chest, stomach, and back. It turned out I needed to have surgery to remove my gall bladder. To add insult to injury, literally, during the surgery some gallstones slipped and I had to go back a few days later for a separate procedure. Needless to say, I needed support.
Even though I am a very outgoing and social person, I was initially hesitant to reach out to the PMC ask ask for a meal train because I felt embarrassed. I was healing okay and should have been able to take care of my family, right? I got over that very quickly once I realized what recovery actually looked like.
So I took the plunge and reached out… and guess what? It was so worth it, and NOT embarrassing at all. When it came to getting rest after caring for my kid all day, instead of worrying about a meal for my family, that food on my doorstep made all the difference.
I have volunteered for a few meal trains and, honestly, it feels good to be able to do one small thing. For me, bringing a meal to someone is no big deal. But as a mom who’s been on the receiving end of a meal train, it’s a huge deal.
I know it how hard it can be, but I want all of you stubborn mamas out there to know it’s okay to ask for help! My meal train was filled quickly; this is a community of parents who GET IT. They get that stuff happens, that life is hard sometimes, and they really want to help lift you up.
If the idea of asking for help still seems scary to you, have a friend to ask for you! Shoot a quick text saying, “Hey - I’m having a really hard time adjusting after my c-section. Think you can send the Meals-in-a-Pinch coordinator an email and ask for a 5-day meal train?”
This resource is here for you - use it! I’m so glad I did.
Editor's Note: I cannot agree with what Jessica wrote more! Just two months ago I had my third baby, and my hands full. A friend requested a meal train for me before I could even get around to doing it, and I was blown away by how quickly it filled up. I also have really enjoyed bringing meals to others; it's a fun and fairly easy way to participate in supporting our PMC village.
To request a meal train for yourself or on behalf of another member, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Caitlin McSorley
My wife and I have lived in Petaluma for a little over 3 years, we previously lived in Colorado. The PMC was a great way for us to make connections and especially for getting established in a new town while we started our Family. We have one son, Ever, who is almost 2 1/2. He’s a playful, thoughtful, outdoor-loving and abundantly energetic little guy that keeps us on our toes physically and mentally.
I was happy to be involved in the start of the PMC Dads group which is really just starting to have a firm foundation. I’m excited to see what that grows into and the amazing things that will come of it. It’s a great group of Dads that are easy going and great to hang out with. The Dads group has been an important part of my life as a new parent, and especially as a father to have a community of other guys to talk with, learn from, and have a great time with while we navigate the parental world.
My wife and I hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2012 which was 2000 miles of long days, and constant ups and downs. While it pales in comparison to the joys and blessings of having our son, it certainly prepared us for parenthood in a way we never would have imagined. Plans don’t go as planned, unknown things are always around the next corner, and it’s important to be prepared for any kind of weather! But having a strong community, like Petaluma and the PMC group makes all the difference in the world.
Looking forward to meeting more people in this community and further participating and growing the Dads Group - encourage Dads to join if they aren’t already part of the group!
Thank you, PMC board, for nominating me as board member of the month. My role in editing the blog this year has allowed me more time to write (a treasured pastime) and to stay involved with this awesome organization.
I’ve gotten a lot from being a part of the PMC, and have realized the importance of support and shared experiences in parenting. I consider myself fortunate to have a helpful husband, close family members, and lifelong friends. But the friendships I’ve made with other moms of young children have often helped me stay sane in all this chaos. Well, maybe not entirely sane, but closer to it.
Motherhood has been my greatest, most fulfilling, and yet hardest journey in life. As a stay at home mom of three, my daily life revolves around my kids - aged 4, 2, and 1 month – and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I consider myself to be successful in this job (most days) but it hasn’t always been easy giving up my past life to get here. Some days the 24/7 needs feel like they are too much to handle; others are filled entirely with joy and love. Through the good and the bad, in every day, I’m proud to have achieved the title of “Mama”.
My partner in crime, my true love, without whom this life would not be possible, is my dog. Just kidding - it’s my husband, of course. Our life together revolves around our little family, but my husband and I rely the most on our love and connection to be the center of it all. Not all days are easy, and we don’t always see eye to eye in parenting. But we work as a team (good thing, since the little ones outnumber us now).
When I’m not focusing my time and energy on family life, I try to find some quiet solitude. I enjoy writing, reading, baking, and walking (which used to be running, before my body turned into a baby machine). Eventually, when the kids are in school, I look forward to joining other adults in the working world once again. But for now, I’m all about kids, family, mom friends, and lots of coffee.
Thanks again, PMC, for all the support and for making me board member this month!
P.O. Box 521 Petaluma, CA 94953-0521