The Top 4 Family Fun Events at the 2014 Del Mar Races

Top 4 Family Fun Events at the Del Mar Racetrack

Where the turf meets the surf, down in old Del Mar… it’s that time of year again! The Del Mar Racetrack has officially kicked off their 2014 race season and there’s so much to look forward to! Here are just a few recommendations on how to make your next day at the Del Mar races family friendly:

  1. Family Fun Days Every Weekend: Every Saturday & Sunday in the Infield from 1PM – 6PM, families can enjoy kid-friendly activities including giant scramble slide and obstacle course, inflatable games and rides, a meet and greet with the Del Mar Mascot “Pony Boy”, pony rides, magic shows, a game zone, jockey stilt walkers, face painters, caricature artists and more! Children under 17 are admitted FREE when accompanied by a parent and adult general admission starts at just $6. Del Mar RacesPhoto courtesy of Del Mar Racetrack.
  2. Wiener Dog Nationals: Forget about horses for a second, this meet shows off the fastest dachshunds in the west! Always a fun family favorite, this race takes place on August 30th and the winner will advance to the national finals, which determines the fastest wiener dog in the nation!
  3. Concert Series: Concerts are all ages and include some amazing performers this year, great for the whole family! I’m personally looking forward to the Counting Crows on August 9! Concerts are also FREE with racetrack admission so essentially you can purchase Stretch Run admission (for $6) and that gets you a day of racing and a FREE concert! Concerts always begin shortly after the last race and food and drinks are available for purchase during the performance. Check out the line up here.
  4. Donut Day: You don’t have to ask me twice to attend this fun event – I LOVE donuts! Join in on the fun on August 23 from 8AM – 10AM in the Seaside Terrace area at the west end of the Grandstand. (Insider tip: If you park in the main parking lot off Jimmy Durante, trams will transport to West end of Grandstand). Donut Day will also include a meet and greet with the Del Mar Mascot “Pony Boy”, face painting, entertainers, and free prizes for the kids. (Sponsored by Yum Yum Donuts and Star 94.1.) Del Mar RacesPhoto courtesy of Del Mar Racetrack.

Disclaimer: I received complimentary tickets to the Del Mar Racetrack. All opinions are my own and The Mommy Project, San Diego only shares venues and events that we can honestly recommend.

Monday Mashup

I’m back with a Monday Mashup this week! There are just so many good things to share! Hope everyone had a nice weekend! Here are the things I’m loving this week:

  1. Family Fun Day at the Del Mar Races: Did you know that the Del Mar Racetrack is holding Family Fun Days every Saturday and Sunday for the duration of the race season? Rumor has it! Stay tuned for my post tomorrow about all things Del Mar Races including all of the information on the Family Fun Days! And while Blake may not be old enough yet to participate in some of the activities, she sure does love her adorable little plush horse (thank you Del Mar Races!)Del Mar Racetrack
  2. Sand Cloud Beach Towel: I don’t know about you but every time I lay out on a beach towel at the beach, I stuff my clothes under my head to create a make-shift pillow. Those days are now OVER because Sand Cloud has conveniently built a pillow into their beach towels for you! Brilliant! And the towels are so soft and stylish, offering cool colors to choose from. I also love this start-up company because it’s the brainchild of 3 best friends local to San Diego and they’re all about good vibes, good people and good energy! Help spread the word about their kickstarter video that launched on July 21st!sand cloud beach towel
  3. Chatbooks: If you’re like me and post way too many photos on Instagram (sorry, friends), Chatbooks will take your photos and print them in a 6″ x 6″ photo book (perfect for your purse or coffee table). And the best part? 60 pages for only $6 plus free shipping! I’m ordering my first volume when they come out with the Android version on September 15th!
  4. Green Toy Stacker: I had to give a shout out to this AMAZING baby toy. Blake easily grows tired of toys so I usually have to rotate them for her weekly. That is, until I bought her this green toy stacker. She’s obsessed! When I stack up the pieces she loves knocking them down, then she throws each one across the room and crawls over to get it. It’s like her own personal game of fetch and it provides hours of entertainment. Eventually we’ll get to the stacking part, but for now, Blake’s perfectly happy chasing all of the pieces around the family room. (No BPA, PVC, phthalates, or external coatings.) green toy stacker
  5. Reverie. a print shop.: I’m happy to share that I’ve opened up my own print shop on etsy – something I’ve been wanting to do for a while but just never had the time. Now, as a stay-at-home-mom, it’s such a fun creative outlet for me while Blake naps and I can’t wait to officially launch the shop in mid-August (celebrations to follow). You can expect digital prints, framed prints and much more coming soon! Straight from my site, here’s what REVERIE is all about, in a nutshell: Reverie Print Shop

    My name is Kristin and this shop is my creative outlet, allowing me to escape into a state of dreamy meditation full of fanciful musings that feed the soul. I love anything that sparkles, words that encourage, and phrases that empower. I believe your office/work space should be a showstopper: motivational, creative and pretty, because you’re a go-getter, darling. So DO.WORK. Like a boss. Welcome to my REVERIE and I hope you enjoy.

Reverie Print ShopReverie Print Shop

Fab Moms: Nicole Gomez of Hiring Done Right

I’m excited to introduce you to my next guest blogger, Nicole Gomez of Hiring Done Right. Nicole and I actually go way back, having attended the same Elementary and Middle School in Sacramento and playing in the same softball league growing up. We’ve recently reconnected as we’re on similar life paths, both as new mothers and starting our own consulting businesses. Nicole is the ultimate Fab Mom because she’s the mother to two beautiful TWIN girls (they’re absolutely gorgeous!) Nicole also recently launched her own HR Consulting Business: Hiring Done Right.



Here is Nicole’s Fab Mom Spotlight:

Hiring Done Right

  1. Who calls you mom and what’s his/her/their age?
    Layla Rossi Golfieri, 13 months (June 1st) and Emelia Grace Golfieri, 13 months (June 1st).
  2. What do you do? (SAHM, business owner, blogger, full-time/part-time employee, etc.)
    Business Owner – When I became pregnant with my twins I knew that corporate america was no longer going to fit into the lifestyle I wanted for my family. 3 amazing things came from 4 months of bed rest: Layla, Emelia and the launch of my business, Hiring Done Right.
  3. What does a typical day look like for you? (And the word typical should be taken with a grain of salt – I know they’re hardly ever typical)
    In addition to building a business I am also planning my wedding. Of course, losing the baby weight to get into my wedding dress has proven to be a big challenge. Before the family wakes up I try to run to the gym or a spin class. I get the coffee brewing and straighten up the house from the disaster it was the night before, return emails and of course, check social media. The twins and their daddy wake up around 7. We play for a bit, have breakfast, get dressed and ready for our day. On Tuesdays and Thursdays the nanny comes to the house, and I work from my home office or go out and meet with clients. Mon, Wed and Fri I am home with my sweet girls. After their morning nap, we usually try to do 1 fun activity outside the house everyday. From swinging on the swings at the park, to spending time at the beach or going on a play date with our friends, it’s always a great time. By the time afternoon nap time rolls around, I usually try to get some work done. When the girls wake up from their naps, we play and wait patiently for daddy to come home from work. My fiancé and I usually cook dinner together while the girls sit in their high chairs and eat “appetizers”. After we all eat dinner together at the table, the girls take a bath, we read some books and cuddle up until bed time – which is about 8:30.
  4. Any advice on how to “juggle it all”?
    I certainly don’t have it all figure out but I must say communication with my partner is key. It took some time, but we have learned how to be excellent communicators. From our daily schedules, to our daughters eating habits, to how many more pounds I need to lose before I can fit in my wedding dress, we talk about everything . Because we are so open about what we want and need, I feel like we are willing to make sacrifices to make sure our each others needs are being met. We are more of a team than ever before. There is no way I could do any of this without my fiance, he is willing to bend over backwards to accommodate my needs and the needs of our girls. If your husband, wife, baby daddy or life partner knows what you need help with, they just may surprise you and step it up to support you in ways you never imagined. All mommies are super stars, but we cannot always do it alone.
    The other way I have learned to “juggle it all” is to put one of the “balls” down. Less to juggle makes life a lot easier. For example, I have learned to lower my standards when it comes to keeping up the house. There are toys everywhere, the dirty laundry has overflown out of the hamper and onto to the bathroom floor, there are tiny handprints and lick marks all over my mirrors and windows. To learn to let go of what used to be an immaculate and adorable house took some time, but I have learned that it’s just not as important in the grand scheme of things. My kids are never going to look back and say, “Mom, those chipped walls from us banging the stroller around the living room has had a huge impact on who we’ve become as adults”.
  5. When was the first time you really felt like a mother?
    A lot of women say they feel like a mother the moment they find out they’re pregnant. That wasn’t the case for me. I didn’t even feel like a mother when I held my babies in my arms for the first time. The first time I felt like a mother was when my own mother (who stayed with us for the first two weeks) flew home to Northern California and my fiancé went back to work for the very first time. The girls were two weeks old and we were laying in bed, alone for the very first time since they were brought into this world. All of a sudden I was overwhelmed with emotion, I felt a deep and unexplainable love that I never could have imagined and I just cried. I was theirs and they were mine.
  6. What’s the hardest thing about being a mom?
    I constantly worry about making the right decisions for my girls. I worry about society, the community, and keeping them safe. I stay up at night and worry about the “mean girls” in middle school. For me, that is by far the hardest part of being a mother. I want the absolute best for them and I second guess myself and the decisions I make at least a dozen times a day.
  7. What’s the most rewarding thing about being a mom?
    The most rewarding thing for me as a mother is seeing how happy my girls are. When I see their genuine smiles and hearing their laughter give me a sense of security in knowing I must be doing something right. The girls have also started showing affection. They are now giving me big hugs and kisses, it melts my heart. Those little actions of love my girls show make up for the sleepless nights 100 times over.
  8. What’s the funniest/most shocking thing that has happened to you since you’ve become a mom?
    I can’t remember the single “funniest” moment that has happened since I’ve become a mom, there are just so many. I can tell you that I am the most shocked by how unaffected I have become by bodily fluids. I used to gag when people would spit in front of me, now I go out in public with throw up in my hair and pee-pee on my yoga pants.
  9. I wrote a post about “mental snapshots” that I’ll always remember, even without a photo. I know it’s hard to choose one, but what is your favorite moment, or “mental snapshot”, with your little one(s) so far?
    My favorite mental snapshot is when my girls were just about 6 months old, they were in their high chairs looking at each other smiling and laughing. All of a sudden, they both reached out for each other and held hands. They sat there quietly smiling at each other holding hands for about 15 seconds. I literally cried watching that beautiful moment. I LOVE how much they love each other.
  10. What has been your best baby product purchase so far and why? What age is it appropriate for?
    Dr. Browns Natural Flow Bottles – they have been a life saver. The girls have had the same bottles since they were born and absolutely LOVE them – we just switch out the nipples for faster flow as they get older. (newborn – present day).
  11. What’s something new you have learned about yourself after becoming a mother?
    Since becoming a mother I am more confident with who I am and what my priorities are. I’m not consumed with what other people think about me, my outfit, my hair or my car, my whatever. My family is my number 1 priority and I will do what is best for them 100% of the time. I like this strong and secure version of myself. Also, I have such limited time, I have really been able to evaluate relationships in my life, the people who are important in my life are still there, while I’ve learned to let go of others.
  12. What do you do to unwind/relax when you have some rare time to yourself?
    I love being able to workout in the morning, it gets my day started on the right foot. Once a month I like to schedule a night with girlfriends. After the babies go to bed, I have dinner and cocktails with some of the fabulous women in my life. On the occasional Saturday morning, I love to sneak away for a massage.
  13. What is your favorite outing, to date, with your little one?
    My most favorite outing was a recent trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. My brother and sister-in-law recently had a baby boy, Colton. We took our girls up to visit our family and meet Colton for the first time. I absolutely loved sitting in the back yard with my fiance, daughters, parents, siblings, nieces and nephews and watching all the kids play. It was a magical day seeing the whole family together for the 1st time.



  14. I have a running list of Whine & Dine Restaurants that are family friendly in San Diego. What’s your favorite restaurant that you frequent with your baby/kids/family and in what city? Why do you dine out there?
    Pitfire Pizza in Marina del Rey is incredible. The staff is warm and inviting, the food is delicious and they have the best sangria. There are always a ton of kids around so I don’t get dirty looks thrown my way if one of my girls has a melt down.
  15. Pretend your best friend is pregnant and about to have a baby. What’s the most important piece of advice you would share about “motherhood” (and assuming she is willing to hear it :))?
    Follow your gut. There are so many different opinions and ideas out there about how to raise children. You have to ignore all of it, listen to what your gut is telling you and do what is best for your family.

If you know a #FabMom who would be perfect to spotlight in this series (or if you are a Fab Mom yourself) please email: mommyprojectsd@gmail.com – we’d love to feature you!

 



A Look Behind the Rose Colored Posts: Motherhood is hard

I wrote this post about a month ago when I was going through a bit of a rough patch with Blake not sleeping through the night and not taking naps and I was really feeling like I was at the end of my rope. I’m happy to share that things have completely turned around since I first wrote this – more sleep for baby (and mom) does wonders for quality of life – mostly sanity! I still want to share this post though, because I think it’s very honest in showing that motherhood is not always butterflies and rainbows over here – as I know it may appear that way sometimes on this blog, other blogs or on social media. 

I write a lot about the joys of being a first time mom, because honestly, 99.9% of the time – it’s all joy – of course trying at times, but still all joy. Some days, I even feel like I’m ON FIRE – juggling all of life’s pieces with a baby in tow as if it aint-no-thang. Those are glory days! Then, there are the doomsdays – the 0.1% of the time where things just fall apart and you realize, this is hard. Today, I’m getting a little more personal than I usually do and sharing one of those days because – honestly – it wouldn’t be fair to always only show the bright side of being a first time mom. Plus, I think it’s therapeutic to say it out loud and share.

How are we going to make it through today?

This morning I just stared at myself in the mirror: dark bags under my eyes, a dazed look on my face and lifeless eyes staring back at me. How are we going to make it through today?

Blake woke up three times last night, once to eat and twice just to remind me that she was still there and that she knows how to roll over. I swear the second she learned how to roll from tummy to back to tummy – the child will not stop rolling. This includes rolling in her sleep, which means she’s waking herself up several times per night, which means I’m waking up several times per night helping her get back into a sleeping position. This has been going on for 8 weeks now and, to put it simply, I’m tired. Really.Freaking.Tired.

The Predicament

So after Blake woke up nice and early after a horrible night sleep, we all (Tucker, Blake and I) go downstairs and I let Tucker out in the backyard to go to the bathroom. Tucker, still being the pup at heart that he is, decides to dig a hole around some of our plants in our backyard and then proceeds to re-enter the house and prance around in triumph – tracking mud everywhere.  I finally chase Tucker back outside, shut the door and try to put Blake down in her bouncer so I can go clean the mud off of Tucker’s feet. But Blake begins wailing because she doesn’t like when I put her down during the day. You see, she’s going through a “stage 5 clinger” stage where she only wants Mama right now. I leave Tucker outside so I can pick Blake back up, but Tucker is barking and barking and  jumping on our glass door, smearing mud everywhere. I just sit there baffled because I’m not sure what to do at this point. There is a puzzle game in front of me: muddy dog, muddy house, crying baby – and at this moment, I don’t know how to make the pieces fit back together so we can go about our life.

I feel the urge to flee the scene and when I realize that Blake and I need to head to the grocery store because there’s no food (or coffee – yikes!) in the house and I’m starting to get hungry, I give myself a mental high-five, “Brilliant! Let’s get the hell out of here so we can deal with this mud fiasco later.” I’m also kicking myself for not going to the grocery store over the weekend when Mike was home to watch Blake. I need to remember to do that next Sunday so I don’t run into these “no coffee in the house” predicaments anymore!

The Incident

Blake and I complete our grocery store trip and on the way out of the parking lot, I sideswiped a parked car. A PARKED car. Are you kidding me? I get out and assess the damage which was quite minimal since we were going 2 mph, but still – ughh, why today? As I’m leaving a note for the owner of the car with my insurance information, she appears in a frenetic state and I immediately understand that this conversation is going to be much more dramatic than I had anticipated. I was right. Over the woman yelling at me and carrying on over her scratched bumper that was all my fault (she reminded me several times), I hear Blake crying from her car seat and I quickly end our conversation and tend to my daughter.

As we get back in the car to leave, I feel myself wanting to go anywhere but home because I know Tucker is waiting for me with muddy paws and our house is a disaster zone from his stunt this morning. I try to think to myself how I’m going to unload all of these groceries, while keeping Blake happy and having to listen to Tucker bark at me from the backyard. I shake my head at myself because these are all such simple tasks: unloaded the groceries, clean Tucker’s feet, vaccuume the house – but at this moment you might as well tell me that I need to find a way to fix this country’s current debt catastrophe – it just seems impossible.

Hi, it’s Kristin…I’m incapable of small life tasks at the moment

Blake is in a mood when we get home because she’s about 20 minutes past her usual nap time, thanks to the incident in the parking lot. I put her down in her crib and then run to the car to grab the groceries. She begins screaming bloody murder as Tucker is barking and jumping on the back window. 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5. I count in my head really slowly to calm myself. After running up the stairs and putting Blake’s pacifier in her mouth several times, she continues to scream bloody murder even though her eyes look so tired, poor thing. I decide to let her cry it out for 5 minutes. I never let her cry, but I’m feeling desperate. I lay down on my bed, watching the baby monitor and note the time so I know when the 5 minutes is up. 2 minutes pass and you would think the child is getting tortured in there with her high-pitched screaming. I also hear Tucker barking downstairs and realize that I NEED to go and put at least the cold groceries in the fridge before food starts to go bad. I feel tears starting to flood. Why is this so hard?  I’d like to “dial a friend” and ask for help – “Hi, it’s Kristin – can you come unload my groceries? I’m incapable of small life tasks at the moment. Thanks.” or “Hi, it’s Kristin – are you looking to adopt a 70 lb. golden retriever dog? I have just the one for you.”

Don’t Call it a Comeback

After some deep yoga breaths (oh yea, that fun relaxing thing I use to have time to do), I somehow collect my thoughts and “return” from my frantic mental state. I walk into Blake’s room, rock her for a minute or two and give her the pacifier. She goes right to sleep! I feel like I just scored the winning goal in the World Cup. GOOOAAAAALLLLL! A small victory dance ensues in my head.

I run down stairs, unload all of my groceries in record time (seriously, Guinness Book of World Records: Hi, I have a new one for you) and head outside to clean Tucker up. I finish my whirlwind of accomplishments with vacuuming the downstairs dirt and scrubbing the mud out of the carpets. BOOM. Success!

Sometimes You Just Need a Minute

Bottom line, motherhood is hard, and sometimes you just need a minute (or several). Simple tasks become a matter of moving mountains, and if one thing goes wrong, you feel incapacitated. I find myself questioning my old life, pre-baby: did I really juggle all those work projects at once and then come home and cook dinner like it was no big deal? Am I that same person? Where is that gal when I need her?

Raising Tiny Humans

Sometimes I underestimate what goes into raising a human. Just think about that for 5 seconds though… we’re raising tiny humans aren’t we? It’s kinda crazy when you think about it. This is the hardest job – especially on the 0.1% days where all seems lost and you have no idea how to get it together.

But don’t fret, I remind myself – 99.9% of the time, you’re doing OK, mama – you have it together, even if you’re just barely hanging on to sanity and any sort of “life order” – you’re rasing  your daughter, a tiny human, and that’s impressive.

The Mommy Project

Whine and Dine: Ignite Bistro

After recently reading many rave reviews and receiving stellar recommendations from friends about Ignite Bistro, I had to try this San Diego restaurant for myself! So, off Mike, Blake and I went to experience another Whine and Dine for the books!

Upon entering this venue, you immediately feel like you’ve left the real world at the door and entered into a tropical vacation. Welcoming you to Ignite, lush plants and a stone outdoor fireplace and patio confirm that you’ve now officially checked-in to a hidden oasis tucked away from every day life. You suddenly get the urge to order a fun cocktail, share some appetizers and mix and mingle with the other patrons on the big open patio – this is Ignite, and everyone is in a good mood!

We opted to sit outside on the patio and enjoy the beautiful ambiance next to the stone outdoor fireplace – it just felt right when dining at a place called Ignite!

Ignite Bistro

The Low Down

  • Knowledgable Service: The service couldn’t have been better as our waitress was extremely attentive, efficient and knowledgable about menu items – recommending great food and drink options.
  • “Pretty” Craft Cocktails: Like I mentioned before, I was feeling very “vacation-like” dining al fresco at Ignite, so I journeyed beyond my usual wine order with dinner and opted for a craft cocktail from their amazing craft cocktail happy hour menu. It was extremely difficult to choose just one because everything sounded inredible, so I ended up just asking our waitress which one was the prettiest. (Because you know if I’m going to drink a craft cocktail, I’m immediately uploading it to instagram). She steered me to the “Hipster” made with tin cup whiskey, St. Germain, lemon juice, simple syrup and fresh grated ginger and mint. Delicious and pretty – sold.
  • Calling all Bacon Lovers: Two words: Man Candy. Forget everything you know about your favorite bacon appetizer – this is way better than anything else. Trust me. A sweet and spicy homemade bacon appetizer. (Ignite: 1, any other bacon appetizer: 0).
    20140622_162157_20140709190341742
  • Calamari with a Kick: If you like Calamari, you must try this unique dish: the Thai Firecracker Calamari. I’m definitely a calamari kind of girl and I’ve never tried anything like it – bold flavors burst through (I guess you could say, like firecrackers) in this tasty dish.
    Ignite Bistro
  • Harris Ranch Beef & Fresh Fish: Mike and I split two entrees: the Gorgonzola Steak with Harris Ranch natural twin filet mignon medallions, mushrooms, sweet onions, steak sauce, and mashed potatoes (wow) and the Wood Roasted Salmon with wilted spinach, wild rice and lemon-caper butter sauce. Confirmation: this place has a great ambiance and the food to back it up – everything was incredible.
    Ignite Bistro Ignite Bistro
  • Fun for the Kiddos: Although Blake is not quite old enough to partake in ordering from the kids menu, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Ignite is very kid-friendly. Children can make their own pizzas that are then cooked in the stone fire grill, followed by fun s’mores for dessert!
    Ignite Bistro
  • …In a Mason Jar: We almost made the horrible mistake of NOT ordering dessert, but somehow found the room to order the Banana Cream Pie…in a mason jar. Just let that soak in for a second and take a look at the photo below (disclaimer: yes, it was just as good as it looks – probably better).
    Ignite Bistro

My Favorite Part

I can’ t choose just one so I’m going to list all of my favorites for you: the Man Candy, Craft Cocktail list, Wood Roasted Salmon and Banana Cream Pie in the Mason Jar…oh and the overall oasis-like ambience of this San Diego restaurant. I also really appreciated Chef Alex coming out to say hello at the end of our meal – a very nice and personal touch.
Ignite Bistro

So, if you’re keeping close tabs, then yes, I just listed most everything I experienced at Ignite Bistro. This place gets all tens in my book.

Visit Ignite Bistro:
6996 El Camino Real,
Carlsbad, CA 92009
760.438.7800
Also, follow Ignite on Facebook as they’re heavily involved in the community and always have fun events and specials happening weekly!

 

Disclaimer: I received complimentary food and beverage to review this venue. All opinions are my own and The Mommy Project, San Diego only shares businesses that we can honestly recommend.

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