Sunday, August 26, 2012

happy end of the summer!

we are savoring the end of summer around here,
as vacation ends and the busyness (yes, in the summer) eases up.
our house has been full this summer, with lots of out of town friends and visitors.
we've loved seeing so many our special people who live way too many miles away, but there's also a sense that it is time to change gears and get ready for the fall.

my girls (yes, ruby too!) start school next tuesday,
but lots of kids around us have started school already, or begin tomorrow.
it's a reminder to me that in only a year our life 
will be much more shaped by the schedule of monday-friday, 8-3. 
i'm not quite ready for that, 
so for now i will enjoy the end of this sweet season,
and the slow beginning of another year of preschool.

any fun ideas for finishing the summer strong?
any back to school traditions in your house?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

insert your words of wisdom here, gentle readers

i swear i know like 48 women who are pregnant 
(and for the record, no, i am NOT one of them - just to be clear!)

one of them emailed me, asking for any mama tips:
the things people don't necessarily tell you, your favorite mommy gear, secret words of wisdom, tidbits about pregnancy, or labor and delivery, or the first days of parenthood.

i'm thinking it would be fun to do a couple of posts at random points over the next few months on labor & delivery advice, favorite gear for babies/kiddos, and new-baby-at-home kind of tips.

i'll start with some general thoughts about this season pre-baby

it's true what they say; it all goes really fast. pregnancy may feel like an eternity (i remember logging off the half weeks when i was pregnant with m; i quickly lost track of the weeks with ruby), but it really is a very short season. 

i always thought i would have easy pregnancies (i am not sure why i assumed that i'd be able to get pregnant, much less what type of pregnancy i had), but that really wasn't the case either time. i had a lot of really bad nausea that lasted way too long into pregnancy, plus a laundry list of other pregnancy related symptoms that were really not very fun, and that even involved physical therapy: sciatica, insomnia coupled with exhaustion, heartburn, pain in my hips, weird skin discoloration. even with all of the physical maladies, pregnancy can be a pretty special time to imagine, plan, and hope about the future. 

once your new little person is here, time speeds by even faster. all of those mundane but magical moments you think you will remember forever? they are quickly replaced by new ones the next day. (plus you are sleep deprived, so sorry to say your memory isn't so hot)  

exhibit a. 
my bambino all wrapped up like a glow worm was four whole years ago, 
but in some ways it feels like yesterday. 
 fast forward...

one of the things i'm so glad i did when i was pregnant was keep a journal of that time - not just what matt and i were up to, but how i was feeling about being a mom, hopes i had for my baby boy or girl, guesses for what we'd name the little one on the way. now i can't remember any of the specifics of that period of life, but i have this record of who i was and what i was thinking that someday i can pass along to my girls. 

i hate when people say, "do what you can pre-baby, because you'll never be able to {go to a movie, go out to eat, go shopping, go on vacation, ever have fun, etc.} again." because really, life doesn't completely stop when you have a child, but it does change. it won't look the same as it did before, and it won't even look similar for a little while, but if you make it a priority, you can figure out ways to do the things you enjoyed doing as a individual or couple. 

that said, soak up this time where you can hop in and out of your car without worrying about schlepping around a baby or rushing home for a feeding/diaper change/etc. i used to spend hours wandering the aisles in the grocery store, hanging out in coffeeshops, shopping, hanging out, going to the gym. no longer. one of the hugest adjustments i think about having a new child is recalibrating for all of the additional time it takes just to run a simple errand, or a quick run to the store, with a child in tow. so make the most of it now: take your time, go to a lot of movies, go out to eat, wander with no purpose, forget about what time it is, sleep in, take a nap and don't set an alarm, take your time at the gas station washing all your windows... but not because you will be on permanent child lockdown, but because it will look different, and you can be way more footloose and fancyfree now than you will be for the next (lots of) years.

last but not least, you might not feel cute, or hot, or attractive? but you are. and as much as you might want to be a cute mom- most of the time you'll feel like a hot mess once you have kids, even on your very best days.

so friends, anything you wish you'd known, done or believed pre-child 
whether you were pregnant or waiting for the adoption process to go through?
any tips, nuggets or randomness for this season before the baby's here?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

mish-mash post

1. matt gets four weeks of vacation, and so for the last 5 or 6 years we have taken all four weeks off at once in the month of august. we recognize that this amount of vacation is in many jobs a luxury. as m said to me the other day, "mom, it's really nice that we can go on vacation, because a lot of people don't have enough money to go on vacation, and maybe they want to. right?" i swear i never know what is going to come out of that girl's mouth, but bless her sweet empathetic heart.

we've discovered that in doing it this way that there is something really nice about having a chunk of time to decompress from the daily grind, to ease into vacation and then to prepare to head back into life.  this summer we have spread out the fun- a week in june, a week in july, and now this week and next week in august. in some ways it has been nice to get different chunks of rest, but i also kind of miss the leisure of an entire month with no plans. the fact that we are staycationing this week and next is fun (and cheaper!) 
but we are also here. at our house.
 granted, with lots of fun out of town visitors, but same address as the rest of the year. and somehow washing your dishes and cleaning the house at your own house feels more chore-like and regular life than doing it at another location. so, with over a week to go of staycation, any tips on savoring the moments and not just trying to check off my to do list? any seasoned staycationers out there? 

2. alas, we said goodbye to my brother aaron & his wife sarah as they head on a super fun 4 month trip across the u.s.! they are adventuring far and wide, and started a blog to chronicle their voyage if you want to follow along on their trip! (ahem, finally saaron (sarah + aaron...have you ever spotted saaron in the comments section? they like to joint comment) have joined the blogging world!) a bit of trivia: that makes 4/4 kids in my family who have blogs!

 aaron showing off their ship shape camper with a place for everything and everything in its place.
selfishly i am sad they are galavanting about - mostly because they are really fun neighbors (they lived partway between our house and my mom's house...yep, we were all on the same street!) but i love road trips, and i love driving through this country, so i am so excited for their journey. when matt and i criss-crossed the country 7 years ago we had so many memorable moments, and were able to soak up the diversity of landscapes across the states. i loved it. they would love to hear of places people recommend so if you have a spot somewhere in the u.s. you think they should go, from a hole in the wall restaurant to a national park to a scenic drive to a wacky local experience tell them here!

3. guess what's fun? babies! 
(no, i am not having one.) and guess what else is fun? 
new babies in the family! 
come the end of january, my sister is having a baby! 
that means there is going to be another cousin in the mix. 

so these girls will have to make some room for another little one. 
thrilled for my sister & her husband, and thrilled for us all!

3. this year, august equals visitors for us! "grandma" shelly (to my girls) and mamabear #2 to me and her husband john, both whom i've known for 30(!) years, came to visit for almost two weeks and stayed down the street at my mom's house. it was fun to hang out in person instead of just texting & facebooking with mamabear #2.

other visitors to come? our dear friends kim & jeremy and their boys who we usually vacation in san diego with every summer for the last four years (remember this and this for example?), and our other dear friends , daphne, trevor and their two boys (that is my friend daphne's awesome blog) who now live in michigan.

4. you guys. chickens. we gave my mom her three chickens we'd been caretaking since birth, since she finally got a coop to house hers in! bye, cute girls. our five remaining girls (sweet rose cake, jacob, bathing suit, watermelon, and lolly) are hours of entertainment, especially for ruby our urban farmer:
 aunt becca came to say hi to the girls

m=cautious & won't hold them

in exciting news around fairfax farm (as i've dubbed our house),
we got our first eggs this weekend!
we should get up to five a day,
but it was pretty fun
to open the nesting boxes and find these: 
here's to many more!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

last, but not least

ah, fun trip to portland.
had to end sometime, after all.
the entire reason we were going to portland was to celebrate our friends 
brad and taylor's wedding!
(i went to grad school with taylor; she's an amazing artist & 
her now husband brad is an incredible photographer)

last days of our journey...
more delicious coffee
 amongst other stops?
a trip to the crazy good salt & straw ice cream shop
 matt got a flight
 and i got a massive waffle cone with two flavors
 brad & taylor were hosting a day before the wedding pig roast
so we met up with our friends...
ate, drank, and made merry!
 the cool kids, part one
 making eyes at my boy
 cool kids, part two
 the about-to-be-wed cuties
 the view from taylor's growing-up-house backyard
no big deal.
 sweet moment in teh midst of the wedding bustle
 we stayed for a long time just laughing and hanging out
and then headed home to crash
at our hipster hotel for one last night

the morning brought coffee once again
(are you surprised?)

 and a long walk along the river
(i loved that at this view i could see three bridges criss-crossing the water in one glance)
 for brunch?
a meal at pine state biscuits.
yes, it was as big as it looks, and as good as it looks.
i couldn't bring myself to eat the whole thing,
but dang- it was yummy.
 a little more coffee for good measure
 before getting dolled up for the wedding!
we were all staying close enough to walk,
so we all walked together to the portland art museum for the festivities.

 matt & steve looking handsome
 our little clan
 my dear jana
 matt & josh, who is a real photographer, unlike me, since i am a faker
 the bride walking down the aisle...
they picked beautiful music for all of the processions, some of my favorite songs from my favorite bands. loved it.
 vows and such
(i have a longer post for this at some point, but for now, suffice it to say it was a powerful moment)
they read this poem during the ceremony; pretty incredible.
 matt conspiring to get as much crab as possible during the cocktail hour
 first dance action
 hey- we did that ten years ago!
 they transformed an already beautiful space with lanterns and lights
 cake topper created by taylor herself!
 if this centerpiece hadn't weighed 167 pounds i would have taken it home with me
 eat, dance, talk and repeat
 it was a crazy awesome dance party, and i love dance parties.
we danced all night.
i couldn't resist this action shot of jana getting her groove on
posed pic in the midst of dancing
 (i love when my husband winks at me)
 good thing i brought flip flops to throw on and not just my super tall heels. 
after a few hours of dancing i had to give up and swap them out.
 and the walk home, post-festivities!
 the next morning came early; we got back to the hotel at 1 am, 
and then had to leave at 5 am to drive back to oakland. 
i felt like a zombie at 5, so we slept another half hour, and felt slightly less zombie-like.
the drive was beautiful at that early hour, though, so we began our goodbye to oregon...
 so sleepy
my husband's hair is 12 feet tall here

 back in california!

 and back to our little monkeys! we swooped them right up into our arms.
love these girls, but also loved our week apart just being us, 

going on adventures, talking, laughing, spending time without constant interruptions and little people.
in so many ways it is pretty profound to share someone's wedding day with them.
to watch them exchange vows with the intention that this is their person 
who they will spend forever with? 
that's big. 
an honor to be a witness of that day,
and such an adventure to share this week away with my person.