Sunday, November 30, 2008


Here's our simple Thanksgiving spread this year. We shared the meal with my parents, sister, brother in law and our daughters. We had:

- a Diestel turkey (organic, heirloom, local), brined-- a *fantastic* way to have turkey.
- artichoke parmesan stuffing
- spinach persimmon salad
- mashed potatoes
- roasted sweet potato cheesecake
- various pies from Whole Foods

(If you're a Sunset magazine reader, you'll recognize all these. They all came out wonderfully.)

It was a bountiful and delicious meal. But what I'm most grateful for is how well it went, how stress-free it felt, how everyone seemed to relax and just enjoy it.

She is indeed delicious, but I promise we didn't nibble her while at the Thanksgiving table. Sabrina is such a joy to mother!! She's totally easygoing, engaged, responsive, beautiful and wonderful.

Ah, and my brilliant, beautiful Paloma. Here she is in her tiger outfit, holding a portrait of herself in a mirror. (!) Tilt your head to your left and you'll see the face she consistently draws-- two eyes, two ears, a smile, and two legs. I LOVE how she draws people sideways. And encircling it and calling it a mirror was the piece de resistance for me. ;) I am grateful for this girl every moment of my life.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

All Aboard!!

You know you're on the, ahem, Potty Train when your toddler jokes, "Chugga chugga chugga chugga chugga chugga POO POO!!!"

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pt Reyes Seashore Lodge

There are many beautiful places on the Pacific Coast from northern to southern California. You can stop pretty much anywhere on Hwy 1 (Pacific Coast Highway), even when it veers inland a bit, and enjoy the beauty.

One particularly beautiful place is Pt. Reyes, a little ways north of San Francisco. It's a meaningful spot for Derek and me-- we didn't get officially engaged here, but Pt. Reyes is where we talked about knowing we'd be a family. We've come back every year.

Pt. Reyes is wild and wonderful. Even the historic (and still-operational) dairy ranches seem un-fenced as you pass in the car, seemingly untethered from conventional farming practices (even if they're not). You can't even smell them! Probably due to the fresh ocean breeze constantly blowing over the land.

Our family of four (with a toddler and infant) stayed at Pt. Reyes Seashore Lodge. We stayed there two years ago, too, when we just had our five month old with us. Apart from camping, this is pretty much the only option that allows children this near the Bear Valley center, which is where lots of good hiking begins.

We loved the whirlpool tub in our room, which was amply sized. Our queen bed snugly fit all four of us, though we were offered an extra bed and/or crib. Tea and coffee were almost always available, and once we were able to catch fresh baked cookies as well. The continental breakfast was better than average, and the Illy coffee is, of course, the best. Also, the Farmhouse restaurant next door is fabulous. Completely casual and perfectly delicious in that Marin way.

The only blemish to our stay was upon leaving, which is unfortunate because that's the final impression I got. The woman at the front desk kept her back to us as we departed after checking out, and could barely be bothered to offer a curt "bye" when we thanked her and said goodbye. I can't help but wonder if she was glad to see the family with the two young ones leave.

Fortunately for us, we headed a couple miles north to Pt Reyes Station and had lunch at the Cowgirl Creamery Cantina. Do not miss it if you're up this way! Pt Reyes Station is all of two or three streets, so just drive around until you find it. Then order whatever -- you won't go wrong. We had a Niman Ranch ham sandwich with Red Hawk cheese (I think), an Asian pear and persimmon salad with Pt Reyes blue cheese dressing, and a ratatouille sandwich with fromage blanc. Just gorgeous.

dominoes, Paloma style

When you're two, dominoes is not so much about matching dots and/or gambling as it is about LAUGHING YOUR HEAD OFF.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Welcome Sabrina Sage!

We welcomed Sabrina Sage on October 20, 2008 at 5:09 AM after about 21 hours of labor and four minutes of pushing. Crazy ute....

GETTING GOING: On the previous Friday and Saturday nights, I'd had some regular contractions, but well-spaced and I could sleep through them. I had a burst of nesting energy, too, so we cleaned and I sorted through tons of baby clothes, and Derek arranged the two carseats in our Corolla (yes, it's possible to have a Britax and a rear facing Graco bucket in a Corolla! Yay!). That nesting energy is something else.

LABOR PART I: Sunday morning, I awoke to more contractions and seeing part of the cervical plug at 8 AM. I felt good and we decided to be out and about, which was great. It was a beautiful day, we saw friends. But I also had a *bunch* of work I'd intended to do in the coming week before my maternity leave. And so did Derek. So we came home and got down to it. He went to work for a couple hours and I did some stuff on the laptop.

By 10:30 PM, I'd finished what I wanted to and sent "I'm in labor!" emails to folks. Then we shut down our computers and went to bed. Or tried to. D, who is a professor and gets 4-5 hours sleep/night during the school year, really REALLY wanted us to sleep. I think we both were thinking that if I could sleep, we could just put this whole thing off until my due date. :lol: This is really different from my labor with Paloma, who came four days after her due date-- mentally, we were really ready for it and wanted to bring it on. This time, we had to let go of all those extra things on the to-do list! We told my parents, who were ready to watch P.

But I couldn't sleep. After about 3 contractions, I woke him up and told him that we were going to have to stay awake. ;) I sat at the edge of the bed and labored there, breathing through the contractions. Early in the evening, I was thinking "The ute is doing what it needs to do. I'm just going to observe it." That worked for awhile. Then I kept asking myself, "Can I relax the rest of my body while my uterus works?" That worked for awhile. As the night wore on, the little mantra turned into something less intelligible like "There is pressure and it's a privilege," reminding myself that it was a special thing to experience this. I also kept envisioning the work my uterus was doing, pulling up on the cervix to dilate it. It certainly feels like that to me, with the contractions starting low and working up the muscle.

LABOR PART II: It was really nice to labor like that at home, without monitors, so I could breathe at my own pace. At 12:30 AM we called our doula, who was there by 1 AM. I breathed and tried standing, which brought on even harder contractions. I just kept breathing. I forgot to low moan, which I did with P, and I wish I did that here. One thing that helped was panting-- I never thought of myself as a Lamaze kind of person, but I did pant and squeeze D's hand in time with the breaths which helped.

I'm a cookie tosser in labor, I guess-- I threw up dinner (and threw up during P's labor too). It's a good sign for me though, meaning that things are getting more intense. I sat back on the bed and had a contraction where I felt the need to stretch my legs forward and my body back against Mr.Z. I stood up again, labored some more with contractions where I was rising on my toes (feeling rectal pressure), then decided it was time to call the hospital.

We got there around 4:00 AM, I checked into triage and was at 6 cm (and had more brown tinged mucous plug), and went straight to the labor room with the tub. The midwife looked at me and said "She's having that baby before that tub gets filled."

I sat at the edge of the bed and they tried to get an IV in. I had NO idea that it took a few tries, but a couple days later I noticed all the bruises on my arm! I didn't even feel the needle sticking me. Then I couldn't sit anymore- I rose onto my feet, then onto my toes (this is definitely a sign that I was having a ton of rectal pressure), then just let go and my water broke and it was such a relief and I felt the baby all the way down in the birth canal. I FINALLY started vocalizing! (Should have done that earlier!)

PUSHING: The midwife and nurse were great and coaxed me onto the bed, at which point they couldn't check me because Sabrina was crowning. They just let me push away; I pushed like CRAZY because it felt so good after all that labor. Pushing feels like having the biggest, most satisfying poop EVER. (Don't tell my kids I said that.) I probably should have taken a break and not pushed continuously, but I really just wanted to birth her. I did take one break, while she was crowning, but the ring of fire thing didn't faze me because she was almost here and just a few more pushes... and four minutes after I started pushing, at 5:09 am she was born! Sabrina Sage is beautiful and we love her.

POSTPARTUM: The placenta came not long after in one push. I had a second degree tear just as with P. But this time, I had a really good, careful repair that already feels like it's healing. I take a daily sitz bath with postpartum healing herbs from Ladies, it is so important to make sure if you have repairs done that they're done well. With P, my stitches were still raw at my 6 wk appt and needed silver nitrate to cauterize-- I HIGHLY advise doing everything you can to avoid that! I did have some afterpains that I took Motrin for.

BREASTFEEDING: Because she came early and fast (some cheek bruising), she had a bit high bilirubin level. We had to feed her like crazy and bring her in for daily weight checks and heel sticks :( :(. I just tried to nurse her as much as possible but didn't pay enough attention to a good latch. Bad move-- it left my nips totally cracked, sore and feeling like knives every time she nursed. Very unhappy combo with the rest of postpartum healing. This is a great bf'ing video that has helped me improve my latch, and is an amazing bf'ing resource. Just wanted to share that and hopefully help others as you have your beautiful babies.