Wednesday, April 28, 2010

9 weeks

Melt me, why don't you my little boy. Some mornings are still cold in our house and little man gets bundled up in his chair on the kitchen table while I make (decaf, gaaaaahhh) coffee.

And then Brock shoots mini videos with our Flip. Do you guys have a Flip?

We probably wouldn't have used it much before we had a baby, we're just not video people I guess. But now it's the best. I wasn't really into in the beginning, but watching Dashiell with hiccups when he was one week old is pretty cute. I can't imagine how fun it will be to watch these in a year... or a decade.

Highly recommend a Flip for expectant parents who don't have a big video camera. So handy and so easy to use.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

reading essentials for new moms and moms to be

Now that we're 8 weeks into this whole parenting adventure, I have some things to share for those of you out there who are expecting. Prepare a bit, would be my advice. As in, read a book or at least a chapter on infant sleep. Just to understand it because it's really different than grown up sleep. Get a book on breastfeeding, just to have as a reference. I didn't have any problems in that department to start, but then the diet thing came up and it was great to have, well, a companion. And don't underestimate the power of the 5 S's.

Here are 3 books and one DVD that I highly recommend for those following shortly into the land of parenthood.

Your Best Birth.
I actually read this shortly after I found out I was pregnant. It was great. It definitely has an agenda, but I didn't find it overbearing at all and the authors aren't shy about admitting their biases. I felt like it told me everything I needed to know in terms of what to expect in a hospital birth. And what to be aware of if you prefer to avoid interventions. It also makes a very compelling case for homebirth and midwifery and the book definitely slants in favor of those options, but I was always planning to have a hospital birth and I still loved this book.

The Nursing Mother's Companion.
An excellent overall reference for all sorts of things that can come up with breastfeeding.

The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight.
I'm not going to necessarily recommend this book in particular because I've only read the parts about infant sleep so far, but I can't say enough how helpful it would be to at least understand infant sleep before the baby comes. So just get A book on sleep. You can always pick up more as your child gets older or if one method doesn't work for you. I wouldn't get all obsessive about it, but at least know some basics... like the length of their sleep cycles, how much they should be sleeping in the day and in general, and how their sleep differs from adults. For instance, babies have light sleep first (for the first 20 minutes) followed by deep sleep. This is the opposite of adults and is good to know because if you wait the full 20 minutes after they fall asleep before you physically put them down, you'll have a much better chance that they'll stay asleep.

and of course

The Happiest Baby on the Block.
This is a book, but I'd recommend the DVD. It's one of those things that you really want to see to believe. Our neighbors, Ruth and David, gave us this at about 3 weeks and when we watched it we just looked at each other with our jaws on the floor. The 5 S's, man. GOOD TO KNOW. If you can borrow the DVD, even better. You really only need to see it once. I've already sent ours off to the next expectant mom.

Other things to note that people don't emphasize enough:

Babies love water. When they're super upset, draw them a nice warm bath and you can pretty much guarantee that they'll calm down. We have the Spa Baby tub and it's awesome. (The key is to let baby be submerged in the water.) I can't wait to start mommy and me swimming with Dashiell.

Babies love to be naked! Why doesn't anyone stress this when talking about newborn care? Diaper free time is just about the best time of every day. Especially when it's sunny out and baby gets to sunbathe.

I'll probably look at this list in 2 more months and be like, what was I THINKING?? I feel like I'm in danger of coming across a bit sophomoric, but it's all I have right now so I'm just going with it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

new food love

One good thing has come out of eliminating cow's milk from my diet. I discovered the sublime deliciousness of Bellwether Farms sheep's milk yogurt. Vanilla. I've always WANTED to buy it because I like the farm's name and the little container is cute, but sheep's milk yogurt? I love sheep's milk cheese, but I was afraid the yogurt would taste like a barnyard.

It's pretty amazing. And do you see the actual little flecks of vanilla bean in there? It's rich and a little sour, almost like creme fraiche in a way, but then sweet and vanilla-y too. You must try.

Friday, April 23, 2010

chihuly installation at the Salk

My dad took a bunch of beautiful photos of the Dale Chihuly installation in place at the Salk Institute right now. The Salk is definitely one of the most noteworthy (and unbelievably beautiful) architectural properties in San Diego. It was designed in 1959 by Louis Kahn (midcentury!) and is constructed entirely of concrete, with wood details (I think teak if I remember correctly), marble, and water. My mom works there so she gets to walk into the expansive courtyard every morning on the way up to her lab. Nice workplace vibe, no?

I'm quite fond of Chihuly's seaforms, but this is all nice too. Especially that old boat. Mmm. Old + new always looks good together.

Thanks for the photos, dad! And hope you all have a pretty spring weekend.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

family weekend at the ace ps

If our child was old enough to enjoy this, we'd be there in two shakes of lamb's tail. But he's 8 weeks old, so I think most of this would be lost on him...

Attention So. Cal families: the Ace Hotel (the most popular hotel on the interwebs) is hosting the Art of Exchange, a retreat at the Ace for kids and families, THIS WEEKEND. Which means two days and nights of interactive workshops, activities, projects, movie night and smores, whilst lounging by the pool in perfectly civilized weather. None of this 64 degrees and windy.

How fun is that? Karen Kimmel is the mistress of ceremonies and will be leading projects like potato printing, mini gardens, dioramas, and knitting... just good old fashioned crafts that kids love to do. And parents get to partake in vodka popsicles, poolside BBQ and the like. I'm seriously hoping they host another one of these in the fall when Dashiell is at least sitting up and I can go make all the crafts while pretending that I'm "helping" him. I so loved craft projects in school. I used to rock a mean diorama back in the day.

Someone please go and enjoy and then report back. Very much longing for a weekend of sunshine in the desert.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

an all liberty quilt

I saw a link to this quilt while catching up with Katy Elliot's blog this morn:

It's from the Tokyo international quilt show and it's amazing. Apparently the quiltress has been collecting Liberty fabric since she was a teen.

Monday, April 19, 2010

lunch and other things to eat

Cooking hasn't been going that well around here yet, but every once in a while I have some time in the kitchen. This was dinner last night:

And it's also lunch today. This is one of my favorite ways to eat. Big bowl and a bunch of different things piled together. Last night we had simple salt and pepper tofu, roasted butternut squash with thyme (SADLY no garlic for Dashiell's sake), quinoa, greens and avo, topped with marcona almonds and yummy olive oil. It's actually just as good cold. Nearly.

I'm trying to stick to only one avocado a day. One is plenty, I tell myself. But they are so delicious and I buy so many at the farmer's market that if I eat one for lunch it's hard to resist another for dinner. HALF should be fine for each meal. Must remember that. Also, the Heath pasta bowls are my favorite part of our dinnerware. They are perfect for everything.

Also of note, a lovely grated beet and carrot salad I've been making for a few years from Chocolate & Zucchini. Do not attempt without a cuisinart + grater attachment.

Loads of Hefe-Weiss being consumed in our home. I DESERVE one at the end of the day. I do. There are many yummy options. Here are two (empty) faves:

And a new snack I can't live without:

Perfectly toasty almonds and raisins sprinkled with sea salt. Just try it, You will love. It's like very upscale, but insanely simple gorp. Laura made it while she was out and now I must have a bowl at the ready at all times.

So that's where things stand in this kitchen. I may have been a bit over zealous at the farmer's market yesterday. Not sure exactly how I'm going to use all the produce I came home with, but we'll see. At least none of it will give my baby gas. Except maybe the english flowering broccoli? BUT IT WAS TOO BEAUTIFUL TO RESIST. I will show you when I use it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

oatmealraisinchocolatechip cookies

In the first few weeks after Dashiell was born, chocolate chip cookies were a dominant food group around this house. People made them for us, including my awesome neighbor Ruth who made Thomas Keller's recipe from Ad Hoc at Home, and I had a stash of frozen dough I'd made at the end of my pregnancy for emergencies.

We're out of that stash so it was time to restock. But in an effort to get the whole family sleeping more I've been half-heartedly attempting to cut common baby irritants out of my diet. You know, so the breastmilk is more friendly. Which means when I started this batch it was strictly oatmeal raisin. But then by the end, I caved and dumped in a bag of chocolate.

And then after a particularly bad night following the cookies (not necessarily because of them) I decided to get serious about the offensive milk situation and have now sworn off, ready?

chocolate and spices
cow's milk
gassy vegetables
beans and tofu

so, um, for a vegetarian that leaves not so many things. Especially because I'd say two of my favorite food groups are gassy vegetables and beans. And cookies. Which means we have a big bin of cookies sitting around for Brock. And rolls of dough in the freezer, only to be defrosted when mama can enjoy properly.

The recipe is quite delicious. I just took the NYT chocolate chip cookie recipe (THE go to in times of cookie needs) and adapted it to oatmeal raisin.

I'm not going to post the entire recipe again, just the changes.

Original recipe here.


Use only 1 cup cake flour and 1 cup bread flour.

After you combine the wet and dry ingredients, add 4 cups of old fashioned oats.

Use only 1 bag of dark chocolate chips or chunks and add 2-3 cups of raisins, depending on how raisin-y you like it.

For chocolate, I've cut up my own chunks of 60% valrhona chocolate in the past, which is nice, but honestly the 60% Ghirardelli is totally fine too.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

6+ weeks

An update fom babylandia. Little guy is almost 7 weeks.

He is:

Clearly the next leader of the rebel forces,


And reliably sporting a mohawk any chance he gets.

He is not:


Monday, April 12, 2010

stella m does baby gap

Just saw while scouring the internet for infant sun hats. Sooooo cute. I ordered one teeny little thing because, let's be real here, how often is Stella McCartney going to makes clothes for my baby? Probably once. And I'm realizing that when the temp goes above 75, he cannot be wearing long sleeve footies anymore (which is all we have), so I'm allowed to shop for a few things. Luckily many of the baby boy options are made of merino wool and seeing as we're heading into summer, I can automatically rule those out.

Cute, no? I was reeeeeeally tempted to get him the sailor striped shirt and linen harem pants.

Also, Baby Gap has an excellent selection of baby sun hats for those of you in the market for such things. It's amazing that after all my blabbering about wanting to buy baby girl clothes, now that I have a boy I'm finding his clothes just as fun. Okay maybe not AS fun. But close. I suppose I will in fact live without ruffly bloomers on this child. But he might have to wear non-ruffly ones this summer. We'll see how much creative freedom Brock lets me have while dressing his son. Do they make baby birkenstocks? Because that would be cute.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

flowers because they are pretty

These were our brunch decor on Sunday.

They're still happy in our kitchen.

Have a gorgeous weekend. Things are looking up over here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

a quinoa salad

So blogging is hard when you have a new baby. I had visions of everything I would do while I was at home with him. HAAAAAA. Showering is a good goal. I'm trusting that it will get easier and I will sleep more and have more time to do things that I used to do, but for now returning emails is about as much as I can muster. And that usually takes me a few days.

But look! I made something! A salad for Easter brunch in our backyard. We ended up with 15 family members and enough food for 30. I was secretly wishing Easter would die a slow, painful death in the week leading up to it, but it ended up being really nice after all. Luckily my mom was here for a few days before and she worked tirelessly to restore our patio to an acceptable state for company. It's good to have a gardener for a mom.

I love quinoa. It's the most perfect grain and accepts nearly any flavor easily and deliciously. I've been eating it like crazy in the last few weeks. Mostly because you can make a huge batch, mix it with some miscellany from the fridge and have lunch and dinner for the week. Plus it's a complete protein, which is handy if you're a recently pregnant now breastfeeding vegetarian.

I initially planned to make something from Ad Hoc at Home for brunch. Something fussy and delicious like Curried Chickpea and Cauliflower salad. HAAAAAA. Like I was going to have time to pickle onions and shuck fresh garbanzos. But I did learn a really good tip from Mr. Keller when it comes to quinoa.

To prepare:

Heat a bit of canola oil in a saucepan. Add 1 cup of quinoa (or as much as you want to make), stir until the grains smell toasty. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until grains have popped open and taste done. THEN, if there's extra water strain it out. I used to just cook it until all the water was absorbed like rice... which resulted in a hideously gloppy mass of quinoa. But now I am a pro.

Once the quinoa is done you can add anything you want.

For this batch I added:

Roasted carrots
Fresh peas
Lemon-olive oil vinaigrette
Plus salt and pepper.

We've been eating it for dinner every night since Sunday.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Operating Instructions

A must read for new moms out there (and old moms too). And perhaps don't read it until you're actually a new mom, with a little buzzing baby running the show. I don't suppose you could relate as well to Anne Lamott's truthful, hilarious prose in the same way if your babe was still cooking in the tummy.

Laura left it for me yesterday when she packed up her bags to head back to Georgia. With explicit instructions to read it little bits at a time. But I couldn't resist and devoured half of the book on the couch yesterday whilst breastfeeding. Every other sentence is a little gem and her thoughts are yours but recorded in a deliciously funny way. And there are tender parts too, that make you wish you were making such loving, astute observations about your own baby. But for now I will be satisfied that Anne has done it for me.

To wit:

"His hair is dark brown and thick, and he has what Pammy calls pouty baby porno lips. It's a very beautiful mouth, but all you see when you look at him are his eyes. They're not quite human; they're more like those of a gentle extraterrestrial."

Operating Instructions

I will be reading it again I am certain.

(PS. I am not reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I want to, but it's a bit too philosophical for my brain at the moment. Instead I am reading things like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Which was great in that pure entertainment sort of way).