The follow up to the previous post. I meant to get this up Sunday but as it was, we barely got the tree up Sunday.
Where does the time go?
Target and Walmart mostly.
I hate that place. Really. It’s like a vortex of pajama pants and grouchy people.
In addition to the bunting making we also strung some cranberries:


That’s a lousy photo.
Sorry. I was too lazy to get the real camera. And my finger hurt from all the cranberry stringing.
This requires a bag of cranberries, a needle and thread (or fishing line) and a person patient enough to do it. We took turns. Turns out no one around her has enough patience to string 15 feet of cranberries alone.
We also dried some oranges (at 175 for a million hours… ok it was more like 4. And they still aren’t completely dry ):
And hung them on ribbon:
Don’t forget to compost the ends. Cause I’m crunchy like that.
Then there were the snowflakes:
No one wanted to cut them out… Why am I not surprised? They got on board quick enough.

I only had to threaten them a little bit.
And every one likes glitter. Especially me. And the floor. That’s where most of it ended up.
Oh then there were the snowmen. I painstakingly picked out the perfect wool yarn. (not the black and grey ones. Those are Vanna Whites yarns. Yes, Vanna White now has yarn. What doesn’t that woman do?) Used the cute little pom-pom makers to make a bunch of different sized pom-poms. Sewed them together. Cut out orange felt for carrot noses.
They look a little melted.
Oh well. Martha Stewart I am not.

There were also the beaded initial ornaments which I did not take a picture of. Oops. Please forgive me for losing my brain in the middle of making ornaments. If you look at the picture at the top of this post you’ll see Ella’s ‘e’. It looks more like a loop, but you get the idea. This is the stuff we used to make them. It’s 20 gauge wire, glass beads and ribbon. Oh and you need some needle nose pliers unless you want bloodied fingers.

Our tree has been up like forever and I’m just posting this.

Where does the time go?

Oh yeah, Walmart.

Also, I’m posting this from my husbands MacBook Pro cause he got a brand spankin‘ new one for work and if I’m well behaved and lucky I might get to periodically use this computer which is pretty fancy compared to my plain ol MacBook. How lucky am I?

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I read somewhere recently some rules for blogging (yeah yeah you caught me referencing The Pioneer Woman again. Whatcha gonna do about it?). You can read that post, it’s enlightening. Or not. Whatever. In any case, here I sit. I don’t have any sort of case of writer’s block or anything, just a case of what do I need to blog about today… Here’s what’s on my mind:

When I told my dad we were expecting a baby (my 4th, hubs 1st) his words to me were actually, “Are you SURE you want to do that AGAIN?” Of course this isn’t saying much for my dad (he doesn’t read the blog though so he’ll never know). When I was pregnant with my 2nd child he warmly declared, “Wow. You really want me to not be able to deny that I’m a grandfather.” Geez. Thanks dad. No, seriously. I love my dad. He’s fantastic. He played guitar and sang me down the aisle when Matt and I got married in July. He cried at our wedding. Like cried. A lot. He’s a genuinely genuine guy. And I’m a genuine daddy’s girl. He might have some trouble seeing the value in having children though. I’m just guessing.

It’s my sweet husband’s birthday today. He’s 36 years old. He’s younger than me by 78 days (but who’s counting). He just became a father for the first time (though for all intents and purposes he’s got 4 kids. A real parenting crash course.). Anyway, thanks to Ella, my well functioning uterus and a night back in December, he now has a biological child as well. This occurred 8 weeks ago today. And this is “why becoming a mother AGAIN at age 36 was the best thing I ever did” reason #1 (I’m in a list making sort of mood this week, for what’s it’s worth). Also, these are in no particular order. For what it’s worth.

1. I made my husband a daddy. And he’s super good at it too. Seeing him hold our little baby girl just makes my heart feel like it’s going to explode.

(This isn’t really physiologically possible btw. Maye a valve or two would bust, but the heart actually exploding… Not likely.)

2. Renewed (or expanded) faith in my body and myself. In case you haven’t read this blog, I had Ella at home. Strange and/or controversial as this may seem to some, it was literally the best decision we have made to date (aside from making her, which was obviously a precursor). Having a baby at home is fun (no, I’m not using drugs of any kind). I’d do it again (I said I wasn’t using drugs.). Like tomorrow (no, really, I’m not). Also, as the post I mention above declares, while any birth I believe helps make a woman what she is, this one was paramount for me. I believe that what a woman gains from her empowered birth makes her stronger, wiser and generally more capable. This may sound braggart to some, but I’m proud of myself for having a nearly 10 and a half pound baby. In. The. Kitchen.

We have a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.
-Laura Stavoe Harm

That pretty much sums that up.

3. Becoming a mother again has made me appreciate the kids I already have that much more. Corny. True. It might sound like I’m saying I didn’t already appreciate them. Not the case. Moms (and dads, to be fair), remember when you had your first baby and you loved it so much you thought your heart would burst? (See #1. It won’t.) Then you were going to have #2 and were scared you wouldn’t be able to love it as much/give it enough attention/etc. (See #8) Then you had the new little baby and bam, love multiplied, not divided. The human brain has an amazing capacity for love. Thank you oxytocin.

4. I have more patience now. That’s not saying too much. I’ll admit I wasn’t the most patient mother at age 20. I still have my moments (you know like when two adolescent boys are trying to kill each other over a PSP or I open the 15 yo’s closet to find a hidden pile of clothes that reaches my knees) but my 3 big kids and Ella all benefit from the mellowing that occurs with age. I’m like a fine wine. I think.

5. I have a better grasp on what’s important in life. Priorities. For example:

Important: breastfeeding a hungry baby on demand. Not important: scrubbing toilets.
Important: talking with my children. Not important: talking on the phone to my mother (sorry mom. You’re moving down the list.)
Important: Hearing my kids laugh. Not important: Hearing people on TV laugh.
Important: Feeling good about your body and your health. Not important: Obsessing over the size of your backside.

I think you get what I’m saying. Life is short. Enjoy.

6. I’m no longer terrified of being a mother. At the risk of having a calamity of some kind, I’ll admit, there is little (in the realm of normal, and some not so normal) that I haven’t seen or done. This includes, but is not limited to: Wounds of all shapes and sizes, depths and widths. Colic. Various surgeries. Snotty noses and attitudes. Vomit and/or poop all over everything, including your clothes and/or furniture (sometimes simultaneously). Pneumonia. Asthma. Boy trouble. Girl trouble. Heartbreak. Bad grades. Trouble with teachers/students/yard duty people. (Once my son actually almost got expelled for drawing a cartoon strip depicting the school being blown up by a bomb. Active imagination that kid.) Anyway. I’ve seen a lot of stuff. I no longer feel the need to sterilize everything the baby touches. Spit will do. I now know that if a 4 year old doesn’t want to wear shoes, probably the world will continue to rotate on it’s axis if he goes barefoot. Also, mascara is not poisonous. X14 will clean your shower AND ruin your sofa. Boys bikes should really be designed to protect their penises if they fall (see various surgeries, above). A child can take until they are 3 to fully potty train. They won’t poop their pants forever. Even if your mom insists they will. Mud washes off of most things and is also not toxic. Eighteen month old boys are very clever at finding ways to reach cookies. It’s not the end of the world if your 7 year old knows the f word. If he says it at gramma’s house, you might have a problem. There is little that scares me for I have seen a lot of it. I’m ready. Except for the really bad crap. No one is ever ready for that. I’ve seen that too. That crap terrifies me. Next topic.

7. It’s this feeling you get about your kids. I’ll admit one (actually two) of my children were not intentionally conceived. At the time this seemed like kind of a….. well, problem. A crisis even. Of epic proportions. With one of them I actually didn’t have room in the house OR the car. But along he came anyway. By the power of failed birth control. It was a pretty big deal at the time. Like… Oh. My. God. How am I going to feed and clothe another WHOLE PERSON? But you know what, there is no way I’d ever live my life without that kid. He is my baby boy. The sweetest kid. He cried when his pet spider died. When Ella was born he sat behind me and cheered me on telling me I could do it. And like every child we’ve got, I can’t imagine if that birth control pill had worked. Can’t even fathom. It’s magic. Kids just wrap themselves all up in your heart. It what keeps you from giving them away when they’re so terribly two, wildly eight, know-it-all 12 and snotty 15. It’s natures way of keeping them safe. Anyway… Our house would be so boring without Ella.

8. Cute (and functional) baby things. When I had my first daughter 15 years ago swings still had to be hand wound. I am dead serious. You’d wind them up, put the baby in, they’d run out of go and whammo, awake baby. OR you’d actually remember to re-wind it BEFORE it ran out and the stupid winding mechanism itself would wake the kid up anyway. Now… batteries. Brilliant. Also there were no bumbo’s or chairs that vibrated and played womb noises, nightgowns still had stings on the bottom (cause no one had choked on them yet I guess), carseats didn’t have detachable bases you could leave strapped in the car (crazy) and if you wanted a double electric breastpump you would have had to sell your soul to buy one. (Yep, I nursed for 16 months hand expressing and using a single sided hand pump. Good times.)

9. Life experience. This is not to say that 20 year old people don’t make good parents. (I was a parent at 20 and that kid is doing alright. As far as I can tell anyway.) But this is to say that 36 year old people have seen and done some more stuff. Most of them anyway. I couldn’t share what the stress of college and working full time was like with my child when I was 20 because I hadn’t done it yet. I didn’t know much about politics. (Though I was liberal back then too. Yes, I voted for Clinton.) I didn’t know how to carve a turkey much less raise a child. I’d been exposed only to a handful of religious beliefs and ethnicity’s. I grew up in a town of less than 50,000 people. But by the time I was 25 I’d know 2 people who were brutally murdered. I’d see one kid shoot a hole right though his hand. I’d lose my own unborn baby, both of my dad’s parents, my mother’s father, one aunt to suicide and my great grandmother who was like a mother to me. I would have had my house broken in to twice and my car stolen 3 times (You might be getting the picture that I wasn’t living in the small town anymore). Also, incidentally, I’ve seen more in my career as a RN than most people will see in their lives. You get the idea. Experience. I hope Ella can benefit from it.

10.Did I mention patience?

11. It was an incredible experience for my other kids to see their sister born. Not only did they see the beauty of new life, they saw the power of women. My boys got to see, through their stepdad, how a woman should be treated. I hope this teaches them how to treat their wives. My daughter got to see what she deserves as a woman. Birth was normalized for them as safe and beautiful, not something mysterious and frightening. And all of them now have to to learn how to share time and space with a whole other person (see #7). They’re better for it too.

There are more reasons than this but I’m going to stop now because I know what’s important and I’ve got a baby that’s ready to nurse on demand. :)

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aka crossing party lines.

Blog Disclaimer: I’m not trying to start a political debate. Just, you know, writing. My friend Liz over at Pharm Girl did a blog post yesterday about voting. I read it just I was starting mine. Anyway, Liz is a smart girl and a conservative voter. But I love her anyway :)

So… It’s voting time again. Just in case you live in a vacuum or black hole and you’ve haven’t heard of Meg Whitman. Yeah. It’s that time of year. The leaves are changing. The weather is cooling. The phone is ringing off the hook with the sounds of pre-recorded voices urging you to vote for this or that or whatever. You can hang up. I give you permission.

Let me start with this: I am liberal. (Oh. My. What did she say?)

Yes. That’s right. I am a liberal in a town of conservatives. I confess. Please don’t toilet paper my house. Being a minority is tough. My Obama sticker got stolen right off my car. Twice. I wasn’t raised by liberals. That doesn’t make sense because my parents smoked a lot of weed and were into that free love thing but still my dad is conservative. Weird. I don’t think my mom even votes, which is worse than being conservative even. My grandparents are also conservative. Like “have a signed picture of George W. Bush on the wall” conservative. Reeeeally conservative. So I came to my liberal place on my own. I went to an eco-conscious/liberal college where if you didn’t recycle you might as well have been a felon and if you weren’t pro-choice you might as well have been from Mars. I chose that college. It was my first choice. I applied to 4 other colleges but that was the only one I cared to attend.

I’m not too crunchy but I do recycle. We do what we can. I teach my kids love and responsibility for their surroundings (I mean not their bedrooms obviously, but whatever). We drive an astoundingly big car, it’s true, but my husband drives an abnormally small car to offset this environmental offense. We conserve water. We cloth diaper. I wear my babies. We had our baby at home, but we aren’t hippies. I breastfeed, not for 6 years, but I do. I’m not going to stop washing my hair or anything, but I do what I can.

Anyway when it comes to politics and voting I subscribe to the following method: Vote your conscience. So I do. I acknowledge that my conscience might not be yours. That’s ok. But here’s how I vote: I vote with love and concern for other people, or what I think best promotes that. The gay people. The straight people. The people who can’t pick. The Christian people. The Jewish people. The atheist people. The liberal people. The conservative people. The socialist people. I even love and care about the people with the Vidak sign on their lawn (or it was on their lawn, but I didn’t steal it, I swear. It wasn’t me). If I’m not sure how to vote on something I vote 1. for the good of the people I care about (my kids mostly) or 2. for the environment. If I’m really not sure I ask my husband because he’s also liberal, and has a lot more opportunity to read the news than I do (AKA: His job is awesome.)

I don’t mind political debate. In fact, I welcome it. Good conversational exchange leaves both parties feeling like they’ve gained from the experience. I think that what makes being human great is that we aren’t the same. So let’s celebrate those differences. Get out and vote, however you’re voting, unless you live in California and you’re voting for Meg Whitman. Nah I’m just kidding, you can vote for Meg, then we can have a good conversational exchange about it.

I voted. Now I’m going to go vacuum. Priorities you know.

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Cit-ay: day 3

This will actually be a short blog. I’m not lying. I know, alert the presses, right?

As promised… day 3 synopsis.

It wasn’t quite as eventful as days one or two, but more fun because we were with Daddy (YAY!). I’m thankful that Daddy called the bay home for enough years to be able to take us around town without getting lost (as I most certainly would have). And also that he can parallel park.

We started our day with Bob’s Donuts. Daddy ran (literally) to the store in the early morning (a mile or so from the hotel I guess) while Ella and I enjoyed our last moments on the Hilton linens (they are fabulous btw). He didn’t have running shoes (or shorts, or shirt) so he did this in jeans and brown dress shoes. He’s that good. The kind Asian lady at Bob’s told Daddy he could eat donuts because he ran. He returned, pastries in hand, slightly sweaty but still astonishingly fresh looking. We had the apple fritters and other tasty things. Yum.

After donuts and readying (which is not exactly like it used to be when it takes me an hour just to dry my hair in between diapers and feedings) we set out to do some touristy stuff. Namely Crissy Field and the Palace of Fine Arts. A year ago my sweet and I sat around the water at the Palace of Fine Arts eating sandwiches and talking about our future. Oh how things have changed wonderfully in the last year.

Us at Crissy Field (a good view of the GG Bridge). Daddy took this picture using the “stretch your own arm out in front of you” picture taking method and it turned out far better than the alternative “ask a British tourist to take your picture” picture taking method. We can both complain about our hair because the wind was, well windy. Ella had her hat though (plus she has so little hair it’s irrelevant).
We then went to Nini’s in Burlingame which is basically the best place ever to get breakfast. Ever. But we didn’t get breakfast because it was 1 pm. I guess we both felt a little conspicuous ordering pancakes for lunch. After that is was into San Mateo to a great little toy store (well not so little) where we got the kiddies some treasures and me an AWESOME 3D puzzle of Neuschwanstein Castle. My favoritist castle ever (I mean that’s not saying much since I haven’t been to like a hundred castles or anything but this one is fantastic). It was probably the only castle I cared to see when I was living in Germany because it looks like something right out of a Disney movie and I’m totally into that fairytale crap (Not really, but what other reason is a castle appealing?). Just as a short history lesson King Ludwig II (it was his castle, though I’m sure you figured that out) died in the lake just below the castle. Hm. The water was only knee deep. Hm. You can read about it here. I’m not trying to force a history lesson upon you or anything but he drown in knee deep water AND he was an excellent swimmer. And his psychiatrist was with him and ALSO drown. Dun. Dun. Dun.

This is Ludwig: Fantastic hair right?

That concludes the history lesson.

This also concludes the blog post.

Next time: We’ll talk about, well I don’t know yet, I wait for inspiration. We might just talk about 12 year old boy’s hormones. Because our house is currently overrun with them. And I fear I might be losing my mind.

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*I acknowledge there is no day one post. We were busy. That sums it up.

Ella is debuting her new sunskygrasscloudsflower hat today. Original design by dad and mom. You can’t believe the number of comments we got on this hat. It bordered on absurd. I’m going to start mass producing (better photos to come).


Well here Ella and I are in the City. Capital C. San Francisco. We had a rather eventful day while dad worked at the Paypal Innovate Conference. I don’t know what it is exactly, but apparently a rather big deal in the world of the computer-y types. Brilliant.

We started our day at Happy Donuts. It was pretty Happy. Even Happier though, the several drunk bums outside.

Walking around the Tenderloin was probably not one of my better ideas. However, I clearly learned nothing from that experience because I went back again. More on that later. If you don’t know what the Tenderloin is please feel free to read the Wiki article linked above. Don’t not feel obliged to visit. It’s really not necessary.

While in the Tenderloin I did have a rather pleasant exchange with two fellows who were, let’s just say, not employed… or showered. Anyway, I was clearly trying to avoid their secondhand smoke when one of the gentlemen (I use the term lightly) said to the other (while waving his hands about frantically), “Dude. Move out of the way asshole, there’s a BABY on that lady.” (I’m paraphrasing). The other fellow (I won’t even ironically use the word gentlemen) said, “WHAT?!” To which bum #1 replied, “RETARD. It’s a BAMBINO. She don’t want your smoke f%$*er.” Then….”Awwww. She’s cute too.” So there you go. All is not lost.

After that it was Union Square. That was a treat (once I found it). Ella was snug in the Maya and we hit up several stores. Old Navy. Sephora. Other stuff. Why bother with the Union Square Old Navy you ask? Well because it’s Union Square of course. Three stories of clothing bliss (well not bliss exactly. Just clothes.) Also we found a not so little shoe store where I picked up some new tennies since my existing ones were basically making me wish I could saw off my own feet at the ankle. During this time we talked to some very interesting folks, most of which stopped to comment on either a. Ella’s hat or b. the Maya. I managed to nurse twice, while walking, as I learned that, much to my dismay, SF has almost no public seating. No surprise I guess as the aforementioned bums would probably have been sleeping and/or living on them.

After our shopping and mobile nursing adventures I was getting pretty famished. Also I was quite tired from walking and lugging Ella and bags around. I stopped at the first reasonable place to eat. Blondie’s Pizza. Do not believe everything you read because yelper’s give this place a way too generous 3 stars. I can tell you I had what was undoubtedly the very worst piece of vegetarian pizza I’ve ever had. In. My. Life. IN addition to the pizza travesty, the seating area was closed. What the heck man? And the soda had no lid. HELLO. I’m carrying 3 bags and a BABY for pete sake. After that nightmare I went back to the hotel dejected and ready for a nap.

Ella didn’t want to sleep. Surprise.

Back out we went in search of coffee, chocolate or hopefully both. Yelp did not fail me this time. To Hooker’s Sweet Treats I went (stopping along the way at a grocery store {using that term very loosely} to get a banana and some nuts) Ok so it was a bit of a hike back into Tenderloin but I met two very interesting men wearing pink outfits and walking a tiny white dog. We had a lengthy conversation about the intelligence of babies and how to keep your dog the whitest white (which was apparently very important to this particular fellow. Note: the answer is not bleach). One of the gentlemen (and he was indeed) was in his 70’s no doubt and declared that babies are “tiny dictators”. Never has a truer word been spoken by a 70 something year old man in a pink tracksuit. I should have taken his photo. Anyway, I waited for what turned out to be the very best mocha I’ve ever had accompanied by the most outstanding piece of dark chocolate covered sea salt sprinkled caramel. One word. Amazing. This is coffee and candy alchemy tucked in one of the trashiest neighborhoods I’ve ever had the pleasure of walking through.

This is Hooker’s. It’s the nicest place in a two block radius by far. Very far. Bonus: the table was decorated with flowers in blue ball glass jars (ala our wedding decor)

More shopping after that. And the following things of note:

1. The Apple store @ Union Square is absurdly large.
2. They are inventing a new language in the Tenderloin. Mostly using the f word.
3. If you’d like to buy a pair of Dolce & Gabana/Ray Ban/Maui Jim/Ralph Lauren/Spy sunglasses you may do so on O’Farrell Street for $10. They might be counterfeit. Just sayin.
4. If you walk around long enough someone will eventually accuse you of “lying to them to try to trick them into having sex with you… for one thousand years.” He might not have been sane. Just sayin. After I left he started talking to the bottle he was holding.
5. You will be asked for money/change/booze/directions/the time, repeatedly.
6. You will see the largest variety of people anywhere. Where else can you see a guy in a pink tracksuits/a bunch of Asian guys wearing the same coat/a bunch of doctors/a lady dressed in a trashbag/three Italian couples discussing the inappropriateness of one of the ladies fur coats. In Italian. With hand gestures.
7. Also seen, a whole bunch of necklaces. Randomly displayed on a corner.
8. And… Trolley car displaying Giants flag.
9. And… A Muni car. Retro styling (this I believe is the 1960 car). I’m told by my hub (who called the Bay home for many years) that the muni sucks so bad the “hipsters won’t even ironically ride it”

Tomorrow: Day 3

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