Thankful Lil’ Pilgrim

It wouldn’t be my kid unless there was a costume involved on every major holiday, right? I’m sure glad I didn’t disappoint you! We didn’t give much of a history lesson, but he did enjoy his turkey puree (mmmm) and gumming one of the hot rolls.
We also wrote down things we were thankful for on the “Thankfulness Rocks.” We did this with my Mom’s side of the family on the last Thanksgiving we shared with Grandma. It’s so special to pull out that rock every year to see what she wrote. I sure do miss her.
We got to be extra thankful the following day for the traditional turkey enchiladas with Sarah’s side of the family. Carl and I love this tradition – yummy food, great people, and a beautiful view of the ocean in Santa Cruz. Can’t beat it.
Our lil’ pilgrim especially wants to give thanks for his cousins.

Nine-Month Musings

This picture pretty much sums up what he’s been up to lately…putting everything in his mouth. With a dog and a baby, we’re constantly pulling things out of mouths, and being covered in slobber in the process.

He’s also started pointing at everything and whispering “Da. Da.” I guess it’s the only time in life when it’s okay to point. Now if I could only figure out a way to get him to point with a disco groove to the tune of “Stayin’ Alive”… that would be somethin.

He’s also discovering the art of gravity. As soon as I hand him anything, down on the floor it drops with a thud. Repeat. Repeat again, etc. He gazes down from his high chair, willing the object back into his hands. Anne Lamott beat me to this observation in her book “Operating Instructions” –

“He’s figuring out little concepts all the time these days, like that if something falls out of his hands, it is not instantly vaporized but just might be found somewhere on the floor. Even a week ago Sam was like some rich guy who drops some change and doesn’t even give it a second glance, but now when he drops something, he slowly cranes his neck and peers downward, as if the thing fell to the floor of a canyon.”

And, isn’t it a little early for a little baby to be saying “no?”

Great-Grandpa came up for a visit on his nine-month birthday… pretty incredible for a 95-year-old to come all this way! What a gift that was for all of us.

Eight-Month Musings


The boy loves water. During the squirrely 5:00 hour as we wind down the day, a bath is always the best solution. But even washing his hands is a joy for this little guy. Who knew I’d see that mindless activity in a new way? Our pea-green “retro” sink has been the perfect tub. I’ll be sad when we have to move him to the real tub… but that day is coming since he’s now crawling over and reaching for the disposal.

Okay. So, how’s the crawling you ask? Hasn’t happened yet. And that is so fine by me. But have you seen this kid roll? He’s a rolling machine. So, he gets around.

His other tricks include kissing noises with his lips puckered like a fish… but his new skill (which I think must be hereditary) is karaoke.

12 Días en España con un Bebé

“Have baby. Will travel.” This was the mantra going through my head in the days leading up to our big overseas trip to Spain. Sure, I’m adventurous… but I’m also conscientious and a people pleaser. I was already dreading the stare downs from other passengers when I boarded the plane with a 7-month-old. I geared up with a bag of 20 toys for distraction, 10 pacifiers, and a jumbo bag of ear-plugs to pass out in a 3-aisle radius. He surprised us all, and even got some praises from fellow travelers. Even with the teething and his first cold, he was a total champ as we schlepped him all over northern Spain. The travel bug must be in his genes.

Following is a photo recap of our trip…

Day 1: Arrived in Bilbao (northern Basque region of Spain) while our luggage took a mini-break in Paris. We wandered the streets in a fog, and tried to figure out what we could stomach for our first meal. Squid served in its own ink or sardines atop a mayonnaise spread? Tough call. How about a baguette and cheese in our hotel room?

Day 2: We fulfilled Carl’s dream of watching the Vuelta a Espana (one of the big bike tours, similar to the Tour de France). We hung out at the 500 meter line in the 90-degree heat, rubbing shoulders with the other fans. Afterwards, we toured the Guggeheim Museum and decided that their collection of modern art was perhaps a bit too modern and not enough art. The structure of the building was incredible though.

Day 3: We rented a car and loaded up our GPS and got to know the lovely British woman navigator who we nicknamed Pippa Middleton. (Her Spanish was terrible, but for the most part, she kept us on track.) On our way to our next destination, we drove along the coast to a medieval village called Santillana del Mar… supposedly one of the most beautiful in Spain (which is probably why it was bombarded with tour buses = bummer). We enjoyed the windy cobblestone streets and a siesta break of hot chocolate and churros before we hit the road for San Sebastian. Oh.. and that night we ate dinner (with Noah) at midnight. We are such good parents.

Day 4: We settled into our apartment across the street from the beach in the amazing town of San Sebastian. Our first day there was the day of a huge regatta race, which brought in thousands of Spanish fans. The race was not much to look at, and we were a bit perplexed by the whole thing… but later realized it was just another excuse for people to party. The old part of town was packed with crazies… which of course we were a part of as we had pinxtos (tapas) and sangria. This time, dinner was at 9pm. Parenting of the year award, right?

Day 5: A perfect beach day and lounging in San Sebastian. I discovered that I’m just not mature enough for topless beaches. Enough said.

Day 6: Most definitely my favorite day of our trip. We took a drive to the wine region of Spain – La Rioja. Pippa (our GPS)  did take us the long way over a windy mountain pass, but she did provide some breath-taking views of vineyards and olive trees. We spent the afternoon in another medieval village called La Guardia where we sipped wine at a cafe (it’s cheaper to order wine than water here), and toured the underground caves of a winery. The good news is that the tour buses didn’t know about this place, so we pretty much had the village to ourselves.

Day 7: Timing our meals and trips in Spain was more than difficult for us with the siesta thing… oh, and having a baby. But by day 7, we were smarty-pants. During siesta (around 2:00pm – 7:00pm), we took a 30-minute drive to France to little ocean-side town of St. Jean de Luz. The place was hopping. Stores were open. Crepes were being handed out left and right. And we made sure bebé fit right in with a red beret. By the time stores were closing up in France, we drove back to Spain as siesta was ending and life was coming back to the city of San Sebastian. Perfect.

Day 8: We said good-bye to San Sebastian, and packed into our tiny Skoda for our road-trip to Barcelona. We stopped in Pamplona for our own running of the bulls. But the only bull we came across was this cute one:
We definitely pushed the bebé’s limits that day (and mine too). 7 hours in the car and hungry and shrieking… stuck in major Barcelona traffic… and a frustrated Pippa who could not find our apartment on a small alley off of Las Ramblas. I would say this was my one big breaking point in the trip. But I’m here to tell you that we all survived… and I still believe it’s possible to travel with a baby.

Day 9: Are you still with me on this journey? Impressive. We met up with Carl’s parents for a few days together in Barcelona. We walked Las Ramblas and the open-air market where we picked up fresh food for our dinner that night. If only we could do that every day. Carl and I ended the day at the beach with a dip in the Mediterranean.

Day 10: Places to put on your bucket list – La Sagrada de Familia – Gaudi’s architectural masterpiece of a cathedral. We toured the cathedral in the morning and were in awe of the creative genius.
As new Gaudi fans, we had to see his house and creations at Park Guell…
And then we took in the rest of the sights of Barcelona on a double-decker bus. We feel like we got a good overview of this amazing city, but just scratched the surface. I must come back. (Plus.. I need to do some serious shopping there… which was just not possible with bambino in tow.)

Day 11: If you’re still with me in this post, you deserve a prize. I bet you’re glad we didn’t go on a 40-day trip.

We left Barcelona in the wee hours of the morning for the airport (as people were just coming home to go to bed after dancing all night). We lucked out and had a 24-hour layover in Amsterdam, so we were able to visit with Carl’s relatives. This was a huge highlight of our trip. I feel so blessed to have married into such an incredible family. They spoiled us with yummy Dutch food and we even got to tour our cousin’s work at a Gerber daisy farm.
We soon learned that my Dutch-language skills were severely lacking. The words Carl had been teaching me could only take me so far in conversation. I mean, what can you really talk about when the only words you know are car keys, wallet, sunglasses, sleeping bag, and slippers? Fortunately for me, their English was impeccable.

Day 12: A 10-hour flight in a middle seat with a baby. Sounds fun, right? Thank goodness for a bassinet and nice travel companions. We were all crawling out of our skin by the 8th hour, but again… we have a little travel-monkey on our hands. Carl and I were giving each other high-fives when we landed. We did it. We traveled with babe and would do it all over again. And… in terms of family bonding, it was a great way to spend Carl’s paternity leave.

Baby CEO

Will you hire me? What are my strengths and weaknesses, you ask? Here you go..

  1. I really love paper and spreadsheets… but I mostly like to gnaw on them.
  2. I can sit up in a chair and look important…. but sometimes I crumple over on top of myself when I’m tired (so that may not look good in meetings)
  3. I love to add my thoughts to a conversation… but I sometimes struggle with volume control.
  4. I look really sharp in a button-down and khakis… but I still wet myself.
  5. I can lighten up the mood and make you laugh during these tough economic times… but I will have no solution as to how to fix the problem.
  6. I love Blackberries and iPhones… but would rather slobber on them than make important phone calls.
  7. I have really cute toes… but I don’t wear shoes, so I may be breaking the dress code.
  8. I can start work really early… but I’ll need to take a few naps during the day.
  9. I’m really good with people… but sometimes I spit up on them.
  10. I like to work as a team…. as long as that team includes my Sophie and duckie.


Seven-Month Musings

Let the food eating begin. Sure… we started with the standard bland rice cereal at 6 months, but the good stuff really kicked in at 7 months. I’ve been giving each new food a star rating out of a 5-star scale, along with first impressions. Here are the results:

  • Rice Cereal: 2 stars. What is this weird stuff?
  • Sweet Potatoes: 5 stars!! Why have you been holding out on me?
  • Bananas: 5 stars!! I will cry if you stop for a sip of coffee. More! More!
  • Peaches: 1 star. Gag. Stop with this tart business, lady.
  • Carrots: 3 stars. Hmm. Complex flavor. Like orange.
  • Applesauce: 4 stars. Dessert for breakie. I like.
  • Peas. 1 star. Can there be a negative rating? Blech!
  • Blueberries. 3 stars. I like it… but why do you get the coffeecake version?

And then… just like that, the little dude decided he was done with this food business and is back on an all-liquid diet. I even tried the pricey Ella’s Organic special puree pouches and he shakes his head like he’s saying “no” to cough syrup. Sigh. His pediatrician is going to get tired of hearing from me. But hey, she’s the one who signed up to be a baby doctor, surrounded by new Moms who have no clue what they’re doing.

500 Hairs

There are many things that have happened to me during pregnancy and post-pregnancy that I was not prepared for. I’m just going to believe that my friends forgot to tell me these things, or they thought it would be fun for me to discover them on my own. Like, for example, the hair loss.

It all began at about 3 months post-pregnancy. (I’m not using the word “post-partum”… cause what does that really mean, anyway?) While I was nursing, I’d start combing through my hair with my fingers and have clumps of hair in my hand. I started to just shake them onto the rug by my feet, but each brush of my hand revealed more and more hair. So, I began to make piles of it throughout the house (to collect later of course… because if there’s one thing a new mommy is good at, it’s cleaning the house, right?). Poor Carl would sit down in his chair in the living room and find one of my hair balls sitting politely on the coffee-table staring back at him, and he’d say “What’s this?” Oops. Sawry.

All the hairs that didn’t come out while I was pregnant, were now exiting my scalp with a vengeance. It’s like they couldn’t wait to get rid of me. And this went on for 3 months. I recently read that post-pregnancy, you can lose up to 500 hairs a day. Yes. 500. A normal person loses up to 150 a day. Who knew? (And who was the crazy intern who had to count all these hairs to come up with this scientific fact?)

I think I’ve now turned a corner. I even got a new shorter hairdo to clean up the mess of the Mommy-hair I had left. But during the crazy hair-loss stage, I feared I might start to look like my bald little baby and thought I should see what I’d look like with no hair. I know you want to see that picture, so here you go.

There’s no question. He’s much cuter with no hair.

But what would he look like with hair? I still can’t tell what color hair he’ll have since it’s all just peach-fuzz right now. So, like any other normal mom, I put some wigs on him to find out. Cast your vote. Do you like brown, blonde, or green?