So Long 2009.

December 31, 2009

I won't lie. This wasn't my favorite year. I'm actually pretty happy to see it ending and a new one beginning. Of course, that doesn't mean there weren't amazing things that happened. To wit:I am grateful for the opportunities this year provided: healing, growth, endurance, becoming a mother one more time. Also, in spite of challenges, immense joy and love. Especially from spending life with these two small people:
And perhaps especially, knowing our family is complete and that we are finally all here together. I hope 2010 is brimming with good things, happiness and fulfillment for you and your families.


all photos by 180/360

Meet My Baby Daddy.

December 28, 2009

He's a very nice baby daddy (who may or may not have bed head in this photo). He sent me to get a massage the other day and took *all* *three* *kids*. It helped that Little E slept the whole time snuggled up next to him. :-)

Insanely Good Salad Alert.

December 20, 2009

We have been making this salad non-stop for the last month. It started as a way to use up persimmons and pomegranates from our trees, but then began haunting us until we made more and more and more. B just made it again today. So I thought it was time to share.

Persimmon Salad With Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette
adapted from the L.A. Times

2 pounds Fuyu persimmons
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 serrano chile, seeded and minced
2-3 tablespoons walnut oil (I usually use olive oil)
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (about 1/4 pomegranate)
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted (I used more)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1. Cut off the tough green calyxes and slice each persimmon in 10 to 12 wedges.

2. In a small lidded jar, combine the lime juice, cumin, about half of the chile, a dash of salt and the walnut oil. Tightly cover and shake hard to mix well. Taste the dressing on a small piece of persimmon. There should be just enough chile to add a suggestion of heat. If you'd like it hotter, add more and shake again.

3. Combine the persimmons and the dressing in a work bowl and toss to coat well. Turn the salad out into a decorative bowl and sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds, walnuts and cilantro. Taste and add more salt or lime juice if necessary.

Sometimes It's Tough Being Two.

JuJu has been having a tough time lately. That's a real tear there on her cheek.
Poor baby.

Baby Legs.

December 14, 2009

You moms out there probably already know about Baby Legs. Those cute little legwarmers for babies and toddlers (one size fits all!). Perhaps, however, you hadn't considered using them for potty training (I hadn't). You see, JuJu is potty trained but for getting her pants off in time. If she is bottomless or just in her undies, she has no problem. But it's too cold for that nonsense. Enter Baby Legs:

Baby Cocoons.

I'm crazy about these hand-knit baby "cocoons." Don't they look so warm and snuggly for your little one?

This Is What I Look Like Now (By Little E).

December 12, 2009

I'm two months old. I'm getting good and chunky. I like to smile a lot and I like to talk too. I will look deep in your eyes and tell you everything I know. My mom's pretty crazy about me...she doesn't even let anyone else hold me. Which is just the way I like it too.

I Don't Mean to Brag.

December 11, 2009

But I got to nap (finally!) between these two lovies this afternoon. While it rained even.

The Birth Story: Part 2.

December 3, 2009

At long last. Part 1 is here, by the way.

The car ride. Ugh. I was dreading that before I even went into labor. If you have experienced major contractions before, you know what I'm talking about, right? Being confined for an unknown period of time in a small space is the last thing you want. But it had to be done because I really wasn't prepared to have this baby at home. I waited for one last contraction to pass and got in the passenger seat of B's car, which he had ready to go. Elise was there in the backseat.

Just the night before, I was reading some old Mothering Magazines for a little labor inspiration/motivation. There was a really nice letter from the editor by Peggy O'Mara about childbirth and the (perceived) pain that goes along with it. So many women are so afraid of it, and I won't lie, I was too. But it isn't true pain, which happens when something is wrong and is constant (until the problem goes away). With labor, you have many contractions, but each comes with a respite that is guaranteed. A break. With absolutely zero pain. I would dare say you feel normal between contractions, even near the end when it is very intense. So I decided that night before I went into labor that this time I was really going to take one contraction at a time and look forward to that break that was coming right after. This thinking is what got me through that car ride.

And the car ride ended up not being so bad after all. We didn't hit any traffic and I only had about 4 contractions. I'm pretty sure I chatted with B and Elise between them as if nothing was wrong (they may remember it differently!). Just as we pulled up to the hospital, I felt a big one coming on. Thank goodness, there was Ann standing there waiting for me at the entrance. I quickly got out of the car and before I could even say hello to her, I fell onto her shoulders and had a huge contraction. I had my arms around her neck for support and I buried my face in her shoulder. That one passed and we hurried to elevator and went one floor up to Labor and Delivery. We walked to the nurses' station and I had another. I'm sure the contractions were about 2 or 3 minutes apart.

It was 7:40 a.m. now. The nurse showed us to the room. I have to say, for a hospital setting, this particular one has the nicest ones around. They don't even have that funny smell. I went to change into a gown in the bathroom (I still had some sense of modesty at that point!) and came out to settle in. I remember looking around thinking, "So this is where my baby is going to be born." I looked at all the paintings, the window, the lights. This was where it was all going to go down.

The nurse asked if I wanted her to *check* me and I did. (I can wait my whole pregnancy to find out the sex of our baby but a chance to find out how far I've dilated? Yes, please! And now!) A quick exam and she announced "5 and a half or 6 centimeters!" Hooray, hooray, hooray! I think everyone in the room squealed a little bit (B, my mom, Elise and my two sisters were there). You see, in my prior experiences, I moved much more slowly than this. I remember Ann whispering in my ear that the hardest part was over. And that was so true now that I look back. Those first 6 cm are long and slow and least for me.

The nurse checked the baby's heart rate and what not and everything was great. With C-Man and Juju, I had to be on almost continuous monitoring which really sucked. It meant I had to stay on the bed hooked up to a bunch of cords. Not my vision of a beautiful, natural childbirth. So again: hooray, hooray, hooray! I was given permission to labor as I pleased (which was my biggest hope for this birth).

So you know what I did with all that freedom? I sat on the bed with my legs hanging off the left side and put my arms around Ann's neck to take the weight off my back. For. Every. Single. Remaining. Contraction. Can. You. Believe. It? All that freedom and the the thing that felt right was to stay put. Gah! Anyway, poor Ann must have had a very sore neck, back and shoulder area!

Dr. Greenberg came by at about 8:45 (her on-call shift had ended at 7 a.m. as luck would have it). As Ann says, she really does light up a room when she walks in. (Remember: Ann and Dr. Greenberg are dear friends.) Everyone was so happy to see her. She gave words of encouragement and support and gave me an exam (8 cm!! hooray, hooray, hooray!). She said she had to go to the office but would try to come back for me later. I knew she wouldn't be able to come back once she left, but, honestly, I was fine with that because I was in Labor Land and they could have told me frogs were falling from the sky and I wouldn't have really cared. All I remember from this period was telling Ann I couldn't wait to hold my baby. I was getting really emotional. This had been a very difficult pregnancy, and I was so ready to have my baby in my arms and tell him or her everything was going to be OK now.

As Dr. Greenberg left, I felt another contraction coming on and again, I fell onto Ann's shoulders. I think my *tone* must have changed because I heard Ann say "Tell her to come back." Next thing I knew, Dr. Greenberg was back in the room and she was putting scrubs and those bootie things on. Everyone in the room could tell it was just about time to start pushing. With both C-Man and JuJu, I had very intense transition periods right before I felt the urge to push, but it hadn't gotten that hard yet. I couldn't believe I could be that close. But on the next contraction, I started bearing down, as they say. And I knew.

With C-Man, I pushed for three hours and they had to finally use the vacuum to get him out. His head was ginormous. With JuJu, two pushes and she slipped right out. I had no idea what to expect this time. I remember the nurse rattling off instructions about how to push (something about count to ten, breathe in, and then push? I don't know...). Everyone in the room was giving me words of encouragement. I was trying so, so hard to listen and understand, but again, I was in Labor Land and they may as well have been speaking Mandarin Chinese. I just pushed when and how it felt right.

Let me pause here to mention something called the Ring of Fire. I heard about it before I had C-Man but did not experience it with him or Juju. But I got payback this time around. Actually, it's not that bad because it doesn't last long. But, yikes, it does burn. But that burning moved my baby down to a nice, low position after just one push. The next push or two, and my baby's head was out. Just the head. Which was a little strange. Everyone squealed with delight (except me....I was working hard!). I think I asked Dr. Greenberg if she was going to pull the baby out or something ridiculous like that. She just laughed and said, "No, Jora, you're going to push your own baby out!"

And with that, I gave my last push (ever!) and our sweet, sweet baby slid out and stretched her arms up to the sky and let out a cry. I looked down and now it was time for me to squeal. A girl! A girl! I was so very happy. B had tears streaming down his face. He was happy too. This is what we had both secretly hoped for I think.

Next thing I knew, she was in my arms, latching on for the first time. And I just knew that everything was going to be OK.

The End.

How to Survive the First Seven Weeks.

With a newborn, two year old and four year old under one roof, that is.

1. Just Say Yes. Newborn babies tend to bring out the best in most people. And hopefully, for you, that means people in your world are going to offer to help. Need anything from the grocery store? Can we pick up C-Man for a playdate? I'm coming over to help with laundry and hold the baby so you can shower. Can I bring you dinner on Tuesday? That sort of stuff. I strongly urge you to say, "Yes, please, and thank you very, very much!" Even if it's not your nature to accept help from people, you are going to need it. And chances are, it won't be around forever. People sort of think you're OK at about 1 month in, and well, I'm not going to say whether that's true or not, but take it while you can get it. Enough said.

2. Make Friends With Your Stretch Pants. OK, it's not that bad. Really, what I should say is get yourself a nice, new, pretty set of loungewear because this is what you will be spending your time in. And it's OK. Really. This is a "transition" time, and besides, your days and nights might be mixed up for awhile, so loungewear can act as sleepwear or as an outfit appropriate to meet your friends at the front door for a much-needed big girl visit.

3. Become a Babywearer. If you haven't already been convinced of the miracle that is babywearing, START NOW. Every baby I know is calmer and happier next to mama, and with two other kids to tend to, you are going to need your hands free. (If you haven't heard, there is still much to be done even if you DID just grow and birth another human being: bottom wiping, dragging down the hallway of flailing toddlers, dinner cooking, laundry folding, picking up of toys, emptying dishwashers, husband tending, etc., etc., etc., etc.) There are days when I put the Hug-a-Bub on in the morning and it literally doesn't come off until night.

4. Remember That Babies Are Small For Too Short of a Time. I get a tear in my eye just thinking about this. By number three, you have learned that everything with kids changes so quickly. (The days are long but the years are short, remember?) So when it seems like you will never be able to get away just by yourself, or that you might never wear a non-fug non-nursing bra again, just think. This time next year, everything will be different. It's so true, so enjoy that little yummy baby as much as possible. She will be running away from you to play with her brother and sister in no time at all.

This Was Us Last Night.

(I spotted this photo over at a cup of joe and it totally reminded me of Miss JuJu and C-Man when B and I are on our way out the door for date night!)

We made it out last night! There is an annual lawyer event/party that B and I go to (almost) every year. Truth be told, I would have skipped it, but B really wanted me to go with. I'm glad I did. We had a great first night out since Little E arrived. My mom watched JuJu and C-Man at home and my sister came with us and drove Little E around in the car for two hours. (That must have been super boring, but it worked!)

Gifts For the Babes.

December 1, 2009

Hi there, remember me? I've been a bit delinquent with blog posting of late. I'm busy, yes, but truth be told I haven't had much non-baby stuff to share and my dear hubby pointed out I need to do something besides post pictures of the kids. He's got a point. :)

So, in an effort to Step Away From the Baby Photos, I will share a link to cousin Casey's awesome gift guide she's putting together all this week. I may have even shared some of my ideas for great baby gifts. (OK, I see this post is still baby-related. I'm trying. Really.)
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