Friday, February 24, 2012

Ice Cream Bar: Favorite Moment

A thousand favorite moments between them are neatly organized and filed away in my mind. Today was one of the sweetest. She was so excited all morning to meet him for lunch (Tim was post call today). When she saw him across the street she started jumping up and down yelling, "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" He crossed one street, we crossed another and she ran to him as if she was experiencing the happiest moment of her whole life. We had a family date at The Ice Cream Bar. That's when I caught this:


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Buttoning Up

I'm sitting here trying to breathe. It's always a challenge during pregnancy but throw another bad cold on top and I'm open-mouth breathing, gasping for breath pretty much all the time. And yes, this makes about the 16th cold I've had in the past 12 months. I think I'm just worn out. So I'm going to just button up the loose ends. Simple.


Ada likes to pick out her own clothes now. It started with just shoes and socks but has expanded to include the whole outfit. This was part of her ensemble last weekend as Tim, Ada and I went out to do errands. Stupidly, I didn't bring my camera - she was quite the picture running down the sunny city street with her hair streaming behind her and her ruffled skirt kicking up and her brand new magic wand that I made for her that morning out of a stick and bits of left over ribbon. She says, "Hi!" to every single person we pass and they must like it because they all pause to say "Hi" back and they smile. She is so friendly and I love how at her age all people are equal, including the drunk, smelly homeless ones.

Would you like a tour? That's a satin plaid skirt with an under-ruffle, white tights with hearts down the sides, lime-green edged socks with mermaids on them and her brown and pink Dora sneakers. I had nothing to do with this. Nothing. 


Fizzy Tub Colors
This was an absolute impulse buy when we went to Bed Bath and Beyond to get some stain remover. Actually, I was looking for Calgon (do they even sell that stuff anymore? Where can you still buy it? My mom used to keep it in a pretty jar in the bathroom and it smelled so good) when Ada spotted Elmo. I let her carry the jar around the store to keep her from having a tantrum and we ended up buying it. Excellent use of $5.00, by the way. Every night she is actually excited to pick her bath color. I like to pretend we're doing a little science/art experiment when she sees that yellow and red make orange. Oh, and they don't stain or smell.


There are a few lemon trees in our neighborhood. Man. It just kills me to see unharvested fruit trees. On our way to run errands or go to the playground Ada likes to stop at a pair of lemon trees a few houses down from us. She gets really excited about it and says hello to every single lemon on the tree.



Smoothie Recipe

Five different times in the past week I found myself typing out this recipe. We have smoothies probably about 4 mornings a week. Other mornings I make a fresh-pressed green juice. The liquid breakfast is working well for me right now. Plus, this is way healthier than jamba juice.

Start with 1 banana, about 3/4 cup non-fat plain yogurt, and about 3/4 cup milk. Zizz it in a blender.

Then, add a scoop of protein powder and something green like spirulina, kale (I love lacinato) or spinach. Don't freak out. I swear you will never, ever know the green stuff is in there. Start small if you're new to this. I like it green and Ada can't tell so I add a lot of spinach.
Zizz it again. Should look something like this.


Then add enough frozen strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and/or cherries to make it a pinkish-purplish color. If it gets too thick you can thin it out with more milk or some juice. Here's what we use, for reference.


Let the small child pick her favorite cup and which color of straw she wants. Enjoy!!



Just for laughs, I LOVE THIS POST. Someone just passed that on to me and it's too friggin' hysterical to not share.

And then there's THIS POST which just made me pee in my pants.


I'm pretty sure the weekend is going to be good. I'll be back later with more pictures and stories. The "magic" and new sandbox deserve a little more space. See you later!

Monday, February 20, 2012

10 Things

I like a clean house. I'm not talkin' moderately orderly here. There once was a time when my husband, before he was my husband, swore I should seek psychiatric attention for how insane I was about keeping the house clean. The sucker married me anyway, God love him. Nothing escaped my attention. I've been known to take an oven apart (using a screwdriver) in order to get it clean.

It doesn't stop there either. Cleaning the house is a form of therapy for me too. Whenever something is heavy on my mind I get to scrubbing the baseboards. Existing within a clean house gives me a tremendous sense of control - it's sort of nice to know that I can control something. Getting a house sparkling clean and super organized is something I'm good at. Really good. Or at least I used to be.

After years of trying to counteract my husband, our mini-zoo (job hazard) and now a toddler I've practically all but given up. The battle is so uphill and the victories so few and far between that I just can't retain my enthusiasm and energy for achieving a clean house. Don't get me wrong, I still like to live in one but getting there comes only from great sacrifice. What do I mean exactly? Well, life is pretty damn demanding these days. We all have to chose how we spend our slivers of precious time. For this Monday's Listicles, the topic is:

10 Things I Would Rather Do Than Clean the House

Sleep: Duh. I can't think of anything at all that I would rather do than nap whenever I wanted. Sleep is so glorious. I fully recognize that I probably feel this way because it's been about 3 years since I've slept really well all through the whole night.

Hang Out With My Kid: It was easy at first cause all she did was eat and sleep. I couldn't really see how people couldn't keep up. Forgive me, I was so new at this. Sooooo naive. Time wore on, she changed, I changed...the evolution came to rest at me deciding it was OK to have a (kind of ) messy house and happy kid.

Connect IRL or Online: I miss my friends from grad school and vet school and beyond. I have the pleasure of calling some of the most wonderful people around "friend". I also have a rich online life. Don't mock it. Some of these ladies I've "known" for years and we depend on each other for support. They're very important to me.

Craft: This is where creative can meet perfectionist...or not. It doesn't really matter. Frankly, I like sewing because it can be done perfectly. It's also a great outlet for my artsy side. I totally dig having kid(s) because they give me the perfect excuse to craft to my hearts content.

Take Pictures: I'm still learning and practicing. I want to be better at this.

Read: I have a stack next to my bed of all these GREAT books just begging to be read (like THIS ONE). Ada won't permit it when she's awake. And when she's asleep I'm pretty much right behind her. I've finished exactly one book since she was born (not counting children's books of which I've finished hundreds).

Be in Nature: I used to hike and backpack a lot. I really loved it. We don't do it as much now that Ada outgrew the external frame pack but we are dying to get back into it. We've had some amazing hikes. Until then I'll take any tiny bit of time I can get. Plop me in the middle of a trail with dirt under my boots and the wind in the trees and I am a peaceful, centered girl. Nature is my church.

Play in the Garden: I come from a long line of gardeners. I even continued to garden when I was in grad school in Ohio. We grew the most amazing chard that summer. San Francisco presents it's own challenges. Especially since we live on the top of a cold, windy hill that often hosts the fog line. We have some carrots ready for harvest - we started them from seed 18 months ago. Yeah, it's like that but we're having fun!

Do Yoga, Go for a Walk, RUN!: God, I miss running on a regular basis. I really, really miss it. I would also love to do one of the 2 hours long ashtanga yoga classes that Tim and I used to do together in grad school about 11 years ago!

Fantasize: Instead of cleaning my house I'd like to have daily massages, travel the world, go shopping with no financial limits or, the best of all, live my regular life and pay someone else to clean my house.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I Did It!

OK, after extensive exposure to Dora, that phrase will never be the same.

No, I entered a contest. It's about your "Journey to Motherhood". I don't usually win things so I don't have my hopes too high. It sure was healing to write that post though.

And thanks to Christina who pointed out that the whole thing was going on. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

CVS Results: The Baby is a...

I haven't really posted much about this pregnancy at this point because, well, frankly, pregnancy at this stage is kind of boring. I'm closing in on 17 weeks so it's still too early to feel the baby move. For a few weeks now I've been at that awkward stage where you don't really look pregnant either. Instead, I just look like I indulged a little too much over the holidays.

What has been happening is a host of prenatal tests.

I know this isn't for everyone. There are lots of arguments for and against prenatal testing (or at least the kind we did). Like the point about it being invasive and having the potential for ending in miscarriage. Then there's the point of deciding what to do with the information once you have it. Like I said, it's not for everyone...and discussing it publicly feels a bit like picking up a loaded gun.

Nevertheless, Tim and I had some deep conversations whenever we moved in together (9 years ago) about kids and how we thought me might try to raise them if we ever had any. We also had some conversations about how much we thought we could handle should something go horribly wrong. At my reproductive age the possibility of something going wrong is very real so this was more than a way "out there" what-if kind of a conversation. The other half of the equation is that we're nerds. Like, super dorks. With backgrounds in molecular biology and medicine our hunger for definitive information has only gotten stronger and our fear of the unknown more gripping.

We went straight for CVS (chorionic villus sampling). We didn't stop there either - we went for the full microarray analysis, which tests for about a thousand other known genetic problems. We did the same with Ada and would do so again for any future babies.

I'm so happy and relieved to report that all is well in baby land. He has just the right number of chromosomes and, in case you didn't catch that, he's a BOY!


Saturday, February 11, 2012

February Ten on 10

I love ten on 10. The goal of this project is to take one picture every hour for 10 hours in a row on the 10th of the month. It's not a simple documentary though - it's a challenge to notice beauty. On a hun-drum day like today, what else was there to do but put on the Hawaiian pandora channel and accept this challenge? Just what I needed.

Morning smoothie. She puts the strawberries into the blender (with close supervision). I put in spinach, kale or spirulina. It's about the only green anything she will willingly eat all day. 

A nice hot shower. 

From our farm box this week. Is that not the most ridiculous radicchio you've ever seen?

Making "gingerbreads" for daddy and to share with her pre-school class later.


What? Is that a $12 jar of the world's best orange marmalade in the background? Why, yes! Yes, it is.
Did I just spread about 1/3 of that jar on my afternoon snack? Why, yes! Yes, I did.
I needed a pick-me-up. I really miss caffeine. And alcohol.

Best friends leaving the library holding hands. 

Arriving at the playground. This particular playground is about 1 block away from the Anchor Brewery. You might think that it always smells like beer but it doesn't. Instead it smells curiously of Spaghetti-O's, which is sort of comforting.

Sarah and Ada are about the same height - tall for their age. In the toddler swings they can both reach the ground with their feet. 

7:00 (almost)
Wrapping it up at the park - it's getting late but the girls are still having so much fun.

8:00 Bonus
Sweet girl drinking milk with our highly nutritious and well-balanced dinner of hot dogs. She has her daddy's eyes.

Go check out Rebekah's place. It's such a treat to visit over there and some of the sets this month are really fun :)
ten on ten button

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My Daughters Body

When I was a little girl I loved Barbie. I had the car, the van, the house with furniture, piles of glamorous outfits and even a Barbie horse. I played with Barbie alone for hours building elaborate stories with plots and characters and scenes that I would practice with my dolls over and over again. Barbie and I were best imaginary friends for a long time.

Somehow, despite popular opinion that Barbie would melt my pre-pubescent brain into a puddle of poor body-image-induced self-doubt so deep I would need intense psychotherapy for years to overcome it, I never felt a need to look like her. Those enormous blue eyes, that pointy chin, the twiggy legs, the waist so small it was unnatural...even at a young age I knew that it wasn't realistic to think that this was a role model worthy of emulation.

Ada at about 1.5 years old. She had just found the anti-thesis of a role model: Trash Talkin' Turleen

Although I somehow derived the message that it was OK to like (and be good at) calculus, which has served me quite well, I can't say that Seventeen magazine did the same for my body image. Nor did the other thousands of images from TV and grown-up advertising. I knew exactly what I was supposed to look like, based on this, but I didn't look like those women - I was a young teenage girl. It warped me for a while. It wasn't until later, much later, that I grew to understand that my physical body is still pretty incredible in what it can do, that focusing on health and well-being was the true ticket to feeling comfortable in my skin and that the world is a more interesting place because we all look differently.

I'm worried for young girls these days. I'm worried for my daughter. I wonder if my mother worried for me. Perhaps it's just a generational thing and we all,  and by that I mean parents, go through this same process of thought. But I know what she's up against and I spend an unbelievable amount of time thinking about how to help her feel confident, be healthy, and grow up respecting her body so that, dear God please hear my prayer now, she won't abuse it. Or let anyone else abuse it. 


Regarding the messages my daughter will receive as she grows up I have come to accept that there are some things I can control and others that I can't. For a while at least I can limit her exposure to external pressure posed by things like Bratz dolls, weakling princesses and the Paris Hilton's of our world. There will come a time when I can't control her exposure to these things anymore. I get that. I just hope I've armed her with few skills to navigate the sharky waters of our society.


What I can control and will always be able to control are the messages she receives about herself from home. The lesson in this one started early. Ada was born in the 95% for both length and weight. She has never left this percentile. For over two and a half years now I've endured remarks about "what a big girl" she is and "she's SOOOO big!", as if that were a bad thing. I mean, girls are supposed to be dainty, right?

The moment she slipped into our lives and everything changed for the better. 

To offset this, we are very careful now about speak to her and about her. I will never tell her she is too heavy for me to carry. Rather, I'm not strong enough to carry her. I never tell her she's too big for that shirt/those pants/those shoes. Instead I say that shirt/those pants/those shoes are too small for you now. Tim is a pretty sensitive guy and he understands, more than I do sometimes, when to say something and when to hold back. We've talked about this and he gets it: messages from her father are the first and most important messages she will ever get from a man and they matter. They matter a lot. He's on board and I'm so thankful that I married a man who understands what a fundamental role he plays in his daughters life.

A playground in Manhattan, December 2011.

The last part is, I think, the most difficult: what I model for her. She's watching me like a hawk, drinking it all in, learning how to behave, learning how to love herself by my example. If I weigh myself, so does she. If I pinch at my waist, so does she. If I speak negatively about myself she will learn to do the same to herself. If I have a strained relationship with food she will learn to fear food, not let it nourish her. Even though I've come a long, loooong way in shedding my own issues, I still have a few. I can't just pretend to be comfortable in my own skin - she'll see right through that. Rather, I need to show her how to love and respect herself by doing the same for myself.

It turns out that this is getting easier and maybe this is what being an older mom affords me. 40 years is a long time, but that's about how long it's taken to quiet my inner critic. And she can be so mean! She pipes up now and then but somewhere along the way I decided that she's just wrong and started telling her to can it. My imperfect body has done some incredible things: the most impressive is that it supported the growth of a baby for 40+ weeks and then pushed her out into the world! It's taken me through triathlons and marathons - even if I didn't have my hands raised up victoriously when I crossed the finish line. It's pushed forward on criminally low amounts of sleep during graduate and vet school. Despite whatever I've thrown at it or into it, my body has stayed strong and healthy. For the most part, I'm actually OK with myself - junk in the trunk included. So I quit picking on myself. I nourish my body with good, wholesome foods. She sees me rolling up my yoga mat or lace up my shoes and head out for a quick run. We drink water instead of sugary drinks or soda. These healthy behaviors our normal habits - they don't require constant attention, they just...are. The physical benefits naturally follow and hopefully she will incorporate some of these healthier behaviors into her own collection of habits.

Our farm share box - one of the best things we've done since moving to San Francisco. I love it that Ada is learning that THIS is food. 

Finally, I think it's important to surround her with a community of extraordinary women. Luckily, I know lots of them in all shapes and sizes. The things that stand out about these women aren't the width of their hips or the depth of their wrinkles. It's the way they laugh with their mouths wide open, embrace a friend, exhibit compassion, and express generosity. They embrace my daughter as their own and one day when she can't come to me about something, I hope she will turn to one of them. It's funny but I don't even see the physical aspects of the people I love anymore - I'm focused more so on the complete person. I have learned to see myself this way and hope that Ada will learn to do the same. Ultimately, I hope that I can instill in her what it's taken me so long to learn, saving her a lot of grief.

I don't have it all figured out by any means. I'd love to hear stories, advice and plans from you too.

Friday, February 3, 2012


1.) The toddler bed. The transition is complete. She is doing beautifully.


Hang on. You know how I feel about sleeping babies. Let's get a little closer...


UGH!! I could die a hundred times from how lovely she is.

2.) Holidays are just an excuse to do crafts. Ada and I made tissue paper flowers yesterday. Believe it or not, most of this came from packages and a heart-shaped wreath from the $1 aisle at Target. So it was practically free. I think it came out beautifully.


Ada incorrectly calls her child safety scissors her "zippers". It's too damn cute to hear her say it so I don't bother to correct her.


3. It's February.
Right? When the heck did that happen. Ok, 2 days ago.  At this rate the move to New York and Ada's little sibling will be here before we know it.

4. I really will put kale into anything. Today it was tuna salad and crockpot chili. Yesterday it was a smoothie.

5. Thank goodness we're done with season 3 of Mad Men and we don't have season 4 in hand yet. There is a chance now that I might get thank you notes for Christmas done. Emily Post would have me flogged.

6. Once I am a SAHM I think my biggest challenge will be wanting to bother to shower and get out of my yoga pants every day. The past 2 days have been a pretty easy pace and the messes have just settled where they were. I love a clean house. I love hanging out with me kid even more. I'm starting to think it's OK to have a slightly messy house and happy kids. I should still bother to shower though.

7. A short phone call is better than no phone call at all. At least I try to convince myself of this since finding an hour to be on the phone is about as achievable as hiking to the north pole in a bikini and nothing else.

8. I get to go walk/run tomorrow morning and I've been looking forward to it all week.

9. I forgot how much I like this song. It just cracks me up with the talk of a riding crop and "Styx!"

Ada and I had a dance fest today that featured this song, Fell in Love With a Girl by the White Stripes and Work It by Missy Elliot. Don't get all uppity with me about that last one - Ada doesn't understand the words she was just excited to be bouncing around in my arms. We had fun.

9. I ought to keep my mouth shut more often. That's all I'm going to say about that.

First time ever, linking up with Life's Lessons, the point of which is to write about what you learned this past week.