Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sleepy Weeks

Tim has asked me for the past 4 nights when I was going to put up a new blog post.

::Heavy Sigh:: Dude, I don't know.

I've been working on a guest blog post that I promised would be ready weeks ago. I finally sent it out tonight. It was an effort and that bums me out because I was really excited to write about this topic.

Here's the thing: I am super lucky that I had the easiest pregnancy possible with Ada. Never had morning sickness, hypertension, gestational diabetes, swollen ankles...nothing. I even wore my wedding rings the entire time. The one that stopped me in my tracks the first trimester was the incredible fatigue. There were nights when I would come home, drop my bags at the door, take off my shoes and go straight to bed with no dinner and not even bothering to change my clothes. I was seriously tired. Tim missed most of this because he spent a solid month on night float around this time.

This time around the fatigue is as pleasant and as ass-kicking as ever. However, now when I come home the job that kicks my ass on a daily basis even under the very best circumstances and drop my bags at the door it's so that I can swoop up my two-and-a-half-year-old toddler. I have to get her to bed. Bedtime for me is still a couple of long yearned-for hours away. There isn't nearly enough time to sleep as much as I really want to which means I am freaking bone-tired. And when I get tired I get crabby. I also feel no motivation to do much of anything other than eventually roll out of bed and onto the couch under a blanket where I can take a nap. Super inspiring. And luckily, super temporary. It'll pass in the next few weeks and besides, it's for a good reason. I'm not complaining. Rather, I'm explaining why I seem so damn lazy. Growing a human and the placenta and the blood volume needed to support it takes a damn lot of energy.


Even though I'm crabby and there isn't enough sleep on the planet to satisfy me and have had the same headache for 4 days now and nothing fits me right, Christmas was still good. We were busy enough and felt completely fine with only accepting a few invitations. It's not a race, it's Christmas. Sometimes that is a good thing to remind myself of. So we did stuff like go to the California Academy of Science with Kathi and Sarah.




Through my exhaustion even I can see that Christmas is a totally different experience with a kid in the house. We decorated the house and talked about Santa and watched the Grinch but I haven't spent much time cultivating the "magic". Our Elf on the Shelf never made it out of the box and most nights I totally forgot about the advent calendar I made. In fact, she opened no fewer than 2 nights in a row all month long. None of this seems to have mattered to Ada. She still ripped the paper from her gifts and said, "OH WOW!" more enthusiastically than any other toddler I've ever met. Especially considering she hadn't really seen what was under the wrapping paper yet.



She even got this excited about other kids gifts!


Mostly there was a lot of quiet time snuggling, playing, reading and baking. And it was perfect.


I hope you had a lovely Christmas and that the New Year is full of health, love and prosperity.
I'm going to sleep now. Good night.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Fall Right Into Place

Today I was driving over to Potrero to look at a preschool for Ada. She was still sleeping so Tim stayed with her and I was in the car by myself. So many things are changing so quickly - New York, new baby, Ada growing up - that a moment of stillness was welcome, even if it was 15 minutes alone in the car. We have planning these changes for years but even good chaos is still chaos.

The word chaos sounds like such a violent description for something so wonderful. While I was waiting at a red light it occurred to me that all of this is something so different than what it could seem. All of this apparent chaos is really everything just falling right into place. This will shape the coming year (I'll have more to say about that later) in more ways than one.

In between pausing to notice that changes are in process there are moments so sweet and brilliant I think my heart might explode. Ask me right now and I'll tell you I can't possibly love her more but in two weeks ask me the same question again and I'll swear that I do love her more than I did before. Not that we've done anything particularly special but these are the times when I learn even more about my daughter and consequently love her more deeply than I ever thought possible.

Helping me prepare a pot roast. There was no actual eating of the celery and the vegetable peeler doesn't work in this direction but who cares. I love it that she's in the kitchen with me. I love it that we make stuff together.


Before Santa and After Santa. Notice there is no picture with Santa. That's how it was with the big guy this year: he's still better in theory. Better luck next year.



The banana slug booger was back for a while. Poor thing.
I mean me. The snot just kept on coming. Gross.


Sledding in Union Square, jumping in Union Square, loving her best friend in Union Square.




Last night I got home from work and Tim was on the couch with Ada wide awake and fully dressed. It was 8:15 so she should have been in bed asleep already. So I said, "What's going on here?" Tim was all terse and I could see it all over his face that he was worried. Our girl had a fever and wanted nothing more than to be held. Tim is an incredibly nurturing father but this is where her mommy comes in. I prepared to stay up all night holding and comforting her... and watching her like a hawk since Tim was convinced she had meningitis or would have febrile seizures while we slept peacefully in the next room. And so I nestled in and held her until she fell asleep. We did transfer her to her crib but I got up at least 6 times in the night to check on her returning to bed with a full report that consisted of "she's still breathing."

This morning she woke up perfectly herself so we made gingerbread cookies. Each time she cut one out she would look at the cookie dough stuck in the cutter, raise her hands and exclaim "Gingerbren!" We made a total of about 6 dozen of these things. The girl has stamina.


As an appropriate follow-up she ate her weight in gingerbread cookies this afternoon.


We are carrying on with our holiday preparations like most families across the country are. Just like most other families we are way behind where we had hoped to be. It's OK, the day is coming no matter if we're "ready" so let the Christmas carols play! Sugar cookie dough waits in the fridge to see what Ada will do with it. I, for one, can hardly wait!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Welcome Widget

I'm 8w4d but little widget is measuring 9 weeks with a steady heartbeat at 167. Estimated due date is July 25th, my dad's birthday. We are far from being out of the woods and I know better than to count my chickens before they hatch but the odds are in our favor. I keep reminding myself of that: the odds are in our favor. I could have waited until the second trimester to tell but I would write about it if I miscarried again anyway.


Having one healthy child is a tremendous blessing. Two is over-the-top in good fortune. We have waited and prayed for this miracle and we are grateful to have made it this far. The majority of me is overjoyed and relieved but a part of my heart aches for my friends who are struggling with infertility - this post will sting and all the conflicting feelings that come up with someone else's announcement are familiar to me. I think of these amazing women every day and hope for a little miracle to touch their lives too.

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to a healthy, uneventful (please!) pregnancy. I am as symptom-free as I was with Ada. My body is in that horrific awkward phase where nothing fits well enough to look good but you don't look pregnant yet, just fat. It's an awesome phase. The timing could be better since Tim is supposed to start his new job on July 23rd but so far everyone tells me that the bad timing means that this pregnancy will go for certain. Well, there you have it then :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Beyond and Back Again

It never ceases to amaze me how I end up learning and then re-learning the same lessons. Take, for example, the summer when I was 8 years old and I refused to wear flip-flops (or oolies, as we called them) around the apartment complex. I have scars on the ends of both big toes from stubbing them over and over and over again on the paved sidewalks that connected our front door the the swimming pool. After I limped home leaving a trail of blood behind me for the fourth time my mom asked in a concerned-slash-annoyed tone, "when will you ever learn?" Apparently not that summer since I kept doing it.

Another lesson I am still learning is that people are much more the same than we are different. For example, when I travel to another place I have very clear pre-conceived notions about how the people will be. In London I expected all of the women to look like Mary Poppins, Princess Di or Boy George. I thought that Parisians would all be dripping with undeniable style and romance. In New York I expected everyone to be oozing sophistication and creativity from behind all that black clothing. But they weren't. They're normal people just like me living their lives in some other place. In spite of all the time I spend working myself up to thinking that I'm not good enough to fit in to this or that place I inevitably find that I am plenty good enough because essentially we're all pretty similar.

We just got home from a weekend in New York.


It was a whirlwind tour that left all three of us exhausted and disoriented. Of course, the last time I visited New York City I was all "Oh! Wouldn't it be awesome to live here?" I was young and single then. Now I'm faced with the reality of relocating my family and life. Exciting? Yes. Many other feelings too.

The original intention of this trip was for me to go decide if I could live there before Tim accepted the job. Since he has already formally accepted that job this trip was more about wrapping our minds around what we are about to do. We've spent a lot of time reading about neighborhoods and looking on Craigslist and trying to figure it out. Being there is and seeing things and feeling the neighborhood and the light in the spaces is something else.

It was like this before we moved to San Francisco too. While we were still in Florida we spent hours on Craigslist looking at apartments in the outer Richmond, an area that is supposed to be good for families and have reasonable rents. Then we got here and started looking around. A couple  of weekends ago we were driving out there and Tim says to me, "Can you imagine if we had lived out here? We would have been absolutely miserable." The disconnect between fantasy and reality is often vast. One more lesson to learn repeatedly.

We spent all day on Friday in Manhattan learning that it's unthinkable to consider renting anything under 1000 square feet for 4 humans and 4 cats. The more valuable thing we learned is that our child was absolutely overwhelmed in this environment. She spent the whole day begging to be let up from the stroller and carried by one of us. The only time she seemed remotely normal was time we spent freezing on the playground. The rest of the time she was falling apart. I can't even tell you how many times I looked around this weekend and thought, "that would be an awesome picture" but my terrified toddler needed me and I couldn't get to my camera. No ten on 10 for me this month.


That night after we got back to the hotel room Tim, who was previously all "I always dreamed of living in Manhattan" was suddenly all excited about the surrounding boroughs or suburbs. What? WHAT? I was thrown. I even left the first apartment that morning thinking, "We can totally do this. She'll be fine, I'll be fine, Tim will be fine. We will be fine here."  I was psyched up and ready to embrace this thing my husband totally wanted and now he's changing his mind? So my husband is having a change of heart and my kid is freaked out by Manhattan. The only one left to come around was me. I tossed and turned all night thinking about it. So, I did something I almost never do: I prayed on it. I really did. I asked God to please show me what the right thing was for my family.

Saturday we went up to Riverdale.

Check out the look on her face. She's one or two fears short of wonder. Grand Central station was pretty busy but so, so very beautiful. 

Riverdale is a city on the Hudson River. It's technically the southwest corner of the Bronx but it totally doesn't feel like that. We were on the metro north, the three of us, and as the train sped north the buildings became fewer and farther away the sky opened up, the river came into view and the bare deciduous trees took over the horizon. Ada settled down, Tim took a deep breath, the corners of my mouth softened and I knew God had spoken. We are headed for the sleepy suburbs. And that's that.


I was looking at my sleeping, nappy-headed toddler on my lap Sunday after we got home to San Francisco. It's funny - New York City is a muse to so many people but my muse was sitting right in my lap feeding me cheese crackers. We would be just fine in Manhattan if we needed to be. Luckily, we don't have to. Instead, we can and will move out a bit further to preserve the sanity of our collective family. No city is an experience so amazing that it's worth ignoring how it made your oldest a little bit crazy. What's great is that we have this worked out now and my imagination is off like a rocket. Finally I feel it - this is going to be good.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Take a look at that. It wasn't but a year and a handful of months ago that she was just learning to walk. Now she's learning to play soccer.


Kathi is a very resourceful woman and how she finds some things, like soccer practice for a 2 year old, is beyond me. I'm just happy that she doesn't seem to mind me riding her coattails. We met Kathi + family at a playground in Golden Gate Park on Sunday morning. Sarah had soccer practice at 10:00 so Kathi said, "Why don't you join in? I don't think the teacher will mind."

Seriously, this class was like herding cats but Raul from Barcelona was tremendously good-natured about it, which made me adore him.  I couldn't adore him nearly as much as Ada did. She did everything he said and he treated Ada like she was part of the class from the start.  And he says some cute things like "quigly"instead of "quickly". Oh, and my personal favorite "binocles", which is really supposed to be "binoculars".

It was as if the clouds parted and the hand of Jesus himself came down and pointed to a soccer ball for Ada. We'll be back in February when rainy season is on the way out and class resumes.


Monday, December 5, 2011


P.S. For some reason my blog is not updating in your blogrolls or on your dashboards. I don't know how to fix this and apparently neither does Blogger. You might have to manually check me out from time to time until I figure a way around this lame problem. Sorry for the inconvenience.

In the short time I've done listicles I haven't deviated from the prompt. Today, I think I must.

The holiday traffic this season has just left me wondering how some people managed to get a license at all. San Francisco is also a pedestrian and cyclist heavy town. Sometimes these people like to use "right-of-way" as the justification for acting like self-absorbed assholes. This totally won't matter if they have severe brain damage or are dead but just try telling them that. Oh, the arrogance of youth!

For the Drivers:

1. Just because you re tired of waiting at the 4 way stop doesn't mean it's your turn to go.

2. The use of your turning signal involves little more than two neurons and a twitch of your finger. Use it.

3. Please, pay attention.

4. Seriously, get off the fucking phone and pay attention.

5. Please park efficiently. You aren't the only person trying to park in the neighborhood. Every time you park like a douche I have to park 2 blocks away and end up hauling all of my groceries and my screaming toddler that extra distance.

6. Fine. Cut me off. Just have the good sense to get the hell out of my way after you do it.

7. My neighborhood is not the airport parking lot. People live here. Pay to park in long-term parking like the rest of us. Cheapskate.

For the Pedestrians: 

1. Do not trust me. I may not see you. Someone else may be too drunk to stop for you. At least get off the phone/take off the headphones/look both ways before you step off the sidewalk to cross the street.

2. Also, if you could speed that stroll up to an actual walk I'd appreciate it.

3. Oh, one more thing, dear pedestrian. If the vehicle has already started in motion perhaps you could wait to step out into the crosswalk until after the car has passed instead of stepping in front of my moving car and then giving me a dirty look for having stopped for your entitled ass. I realize I have to give you right-of-way by law but this doesn't mean that you have to act like the world revolves around your poky ass. It doesn't.

4. Please, wait on the sidewalk for the light to go green. Being 1 foot further in the road isn't going to get you to your destination that much faster but it might get your legs crushed when a car comes around the corner and doesn't see you.

For the Cyclists: 

1. Please don't ride as if you are trying to make me run you over. If you swerve in front of my car or cross from the right lane to turn left going in front of my car there is a chance that I might not be able to react quickly enough to your lame decision making and I might hit you. Having the right of way doesn't make a bit of difference if you're dead. It also doesn't make you any less of an asshole for riding as if you were the lone soul on the road. Be considerate.

2. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know you think you're super awesome for saving the planet with your bike. Newsflash: you're nothing special. If you ride like a turd and get hit, it's your own damn fault. Good luck being an arrogant, self-righteous ass as a quadriplegic. 

Whew. I feel better.

If you want to check out some Christmas lists that have more uplifting messages than my frustration with traffic please check out:

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sweet Dreams

"The storm is breaking 
Or so it seems
We're too young to reason
Too grown up to dream."
                                                                                                                 -Slave to Love, Bryan Ferry

Boys and Girls, an album released by Bryan Ferry in 1985, is still one of my all time favorites. I remember my mom and me driving out to some nearby rural town to get a new backpack for school. I played this tape over and over again. She always let me pick the music. I was only 13 years old then.
I thought I was so grownup and that I knew so much. Goodness, I was barely more than a baby but I was old enough to wear this with earnest and excitement


I had so many dreams then. I would spend hours working on them - daydreaming, writing in my diary (you know the one with the lock at the end of a paper hinge and little thin metal 'key' that opened it) and talking to my friends.

Many of these dreams turned into plans and plans turned into reality. This was something I was really good at - achieving my dreams. Some people call this the Law of Expectation. I like this law. Mostly, I like it because it says that you have some control over how your future will turn out. I'm willing to accept that there is an element of the future that is well beyond anyones control but I like thinking that I play a part in it all. 


It starts with your imagination.


It starts with rich, elaborate, detailed stories that you weave with yourself as the star. 


You fill it out with some key people. 


And then, once you accepted the work that needs to be done, you make it happen. 


I didn't really understand that song lyric "too grown up to dream" back then. This morning as I corralled my two and a half year old with her three toothbrushes and tried to put some deodorant on under both arms, it made more sense. You need some time and space in order to access your imagination. What else did I have to do when I was 13 years old? Some homework and worry about my skin and if some boy liked me or not...these were of paramount importance to me then. My mom always warned me to not be too eager to grow up too soon.

I get it now. What a tangled web we can weave without even meaning to - it doesn't have to be sinister to ensnare you. It's like holding the end of the thread and watching as the spool falls to the ground, bounces a few times and rolls off to the other side of the room. A big spool of job thread, a little spool of retirement savings, many parenting spools, I forgot my friends birthday spool...Do this a thousand times and you're nearly there. The further into adulthood you travel, the more loose threads that are just out there.


Spending all your time just trying to contain the various threads doesn't leave a lot of space to breathe or room to dream. That makes me sad because if my imagination is stagnant and I don't have anything I'm dreaming of then what will the future look like? 

My key players are here so I know it will be good. It's just the details I'm a bit fuzzy about. 


I mean, I know some basic stuff like adding to our family, being the best mom I can be and keeping my marriage alive. All the other stuff about my career and the things I like to do ... well, I haven't thought about this stuff in a while. The question is: if you are living the old dreams that were worth keeping and you can't seem to access the new ones then where do you go from there?


I'm lucky. I have a supportive husband for a partner and a beautiful daughter. We're on a good path as a family and part of being a family is being willing to do the driving while the other person keeps the wheels on the bus. We're doing all that we ever wanted to do, even if it doesn't look like it's going to fall within the confines of even the loose framework of my dreams. One of the reasons I married Tim is that he keeps me on my toes. The road ahead looks good.


As for me, I keep saying that I'm going to get back to this dreaming thing and I will. It may be a few months from now until I can create some space to do that but it will happen. As soon as I have a little space to do it, I'll hop back in the drivers seat. Until then I'm just going to keep on the ride they're on. I trust them. I love them more than anything. It's going somewhere really great, I can feel it.  

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Sunday afternoon and my family is napping. The sweet smell of pine is creeping through the house as our Christmas tree lay still bound on the living room floor. We dug out the decorations this morning and the boxes are stacked, waiting to be opened.

We also dug out a bunch of crap so that I could get pictures to post on Craigs List. This led to Ada posing with Tim's scuba tanks and the bike trainer saying, "Cheese!" I think she learned that at her Christmas portraits with the nanny last week.


This Thanksgiving weekend Tim was on call and I've been sick. Let's put it this way: it's easier to get dressed and take the very curious toddler out of the house than it is to try to entertain her at home the whole time.

We went over to have Thanksgiving with Tom, Kathi, Sarah, Mia and Martina. Tim was amused that while he was on call I would celebrate this most American holiday with an Austrian, a German, and an Argentinian. Hey, we all have stuff to be thankful for even if we weren't born in America. Tom grilled the turkey and it was perfect! You'd think he'd spent his whole life watching the men in his family perfecting the grilled turkey. In fact, I think this might have been his first one. He's good with the grill so I'm not at all surprised that dinner was so good.


The girls ran around like maniacs and though I didn't think it was much different from the other times we've been over there, it must have been something really special because Ada slept until nearly 9:00 am the next morning. A new record. Maybe it was all the L-tryptophan in the turkey.

Brown corduroy jumper is the Thanksgiving outfit for toddler girls. Ada wore one last year too.

Friday night we went to the tree lighting ceremony at Ghiradelli square with Kathi and Sarah.

As we were walking past the marina I was thinking about how cool it is that we get to do stuff like this. We live in a really beautiful city and we're lucky that these things are so easily accessible to us. Even on a cloudy, cold day the view of the bay is so lovely. It doesn't hurt that the love of my life is in this picture.


There were other sweet times too most of which involved a lot of climbing or scrambling down a steep, muddy hillside. We all made it.





Once we were at Ghiradelli square you could feel the energy in the crowd.I love this time of year and I think that other people who love this time of year all love it for the same reason: the warmth and patience that most people will display. Like motioning for you to go ahead of them or waiting for your toddler to hop down all 46 stairs to the bottom of the square. It's sweet.Except for the shoppers on black Friday. That was just shameful.


The girls had a blast - they saw the albino alligator from the science museum. Ada thought he was really cool and gave him three hugs and six high-fives.


Sarah was not so sure about all that. 


They each got a small piece of Ghiradelli chocolate and a sticker though so it was all OK in the end. Later on they saw Santa, some carolers, snow, and the first tree of the season. It was exciting enough that Ada was snoring in the car before we got home. Not a huge surprise given the lack of naps on Friday after sleeping in so late.

We spent most of the rest of the weekend relaxing. Or at least I never left my yoga pants again and spent most of my time under a quilt with a cup of tea. There was still beauty there too. I'll write up  about that a little bit later. One sunset after a weekend with friends made me all wistful for the city we haven't even left yet.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Be My Friend

Today while contemplating an autumnal bouquet or potted poinsettia in the flower aisle of Trader Joe's I heard someone say my name. It was the warm voice of a friend I don't get to see nearly enough of. We hugged and chatted as we made our way past the bags of lettuce and stacks of bananas. Just before we got to the dairy case we parted ways, off to each go on about our day but I felt lighter, warmer and happier for having run into her.

Tonight, on Thanksgiving eve I'm thinking that of all the things I'm thankful for. The list is endless it seems but the people in my life are the what I am thankful for the most. Of course, my husband and daughter, my in-laws, who I've already declared my love for, my brothers-in-law and their wives, my Dad, my Aunt and my cousin Cori. Then we move on to my chosen part of my family, my friends.

I've always said that I was lucky - I have the fortune of knowing some of the most incredible people on the planet. How this has happened, I haven't any clue. I mean, look at toddler friendships. Ada just sees another kid and runs over to them and yells in their face, they yell back and the volley of some secret screaming conversation has begun. One runs circles around the other and Voila! She's made a new friend. As I get older, I realize it's not so easy for most adults. At least not for me - I'm a bit shy with new people. So I'm astonished that I've been able to find these amazing people and then form friendships with them again and again. When we move to New York, I'll start all over and eventually I'll find a group of women who I connect with.

For today though I'm thankful for my friend I ran into at the grocery store. I'm thankful for the friend I'll hug tomorrow before we eat turkey. I'm thankful for the friends I went to Las Vegas with last weekend and the ones who watched Ada on the spur of the moment so I could go to an appointment. I'm thankful for old friends like the one who came to me during the darkest time of my life. I'm thankful for my Cuban Maria, my Greek Maria, my little French girl, my Puerto Rican hottie, my Portland resident and the friend who always has the perfect advice. These are some among many friends. They are some of my favorite people and even time zones and children and jobs haven't managed to separate us even if we don't talk every day like we used to. I still love them and find that we pick up where we left off as if no time had passed at all. I love these beautiful women and I am thankful we are a part of each others lives.


Meanwhile, today is Tim's birthday. Poor guy left the house this morning and that was 15 hours ago. Let the holiday weekend of call begin. Ada and I baked him a pound cake (silly, since angel food is his favorite. Sorry, love, I get the the two confused). I should rephrase that: I baked a cake. Ada was very busy doing such helpful things as re-arranging the flameless candles and eating butter.


Or riding around in a laundry basket.


Still, I made a damn good cake.


Really, it's damn good. Oh look! And somehow when it came out of the oven there were tickets to see Fela!, which Tim will be over-the-moon thrilled about. A nice birthday surprise even if call did make a wreck out of the whole day. This makes 2 years in a row I've had to improvise. I must say that my comfort level is growing.


Monday, November 21, 2011

More!! I want more!!

It's not a secret that I want another child. What I haven't really put into words is why. I've done it a thousand times to myself but this week the listicle challenge gave me a reason to put it all down. I hope that we are lucky enough to have this wish come true.

1. Doesn't love grow exponentially? I like to think so. Imagine if I love Ada this much already just how much more all that love will grow.

2. I want to see Ada as a big sister. A whole new side of her.

3. We always wanted two. I feel that our family will be complete with two.

4. I want to be pregnant again. I know that sounds crazy to some people. My last pregnancy was hijacked. I'd like to enjoy this one.

5. I loved it so much the first time that I want to do it all again. The tiny baby toes, the toothless wailing, the suck and sigh of breastfeeding, the smell of her head when she was a newborn...ugh. I just love it.

6. I want Ada to have a sibling for many reasons - now and later.

7. We're good people and good parents.

Check it out for hundreds of reasons to have or not have another baby.