Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I ventured out into the wild yesterday with the little Gs armed with a diaper bag, snacks, sling, stroller, rain boots, and a thermos of hot cocoa. There was no rain, but there was snow! We went to the SF Zoo to see the Polar Bears celebrate the first day of winter with snow to play in. There were also free carousel and train rides. And besides one skinned knee, we had a great time. Totally doable. For Christmas we are going to renew our membership since everyone loves it so much, and I now know I can manage the adventure on my own.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy 3 Months Graham!

You are an amazing baby and we are starting to see little glimpses of the person you are. You definitely love your Mama, and on those days that are really challenging, you light up my face too :-) Your big sister makes you laugh and also puzzles you. Daddy is a curious thing with all that hair, but you love being rocked in those big arms. You are a serious baby, but quick to smile. You don't like to be alone, though can entertain yourself sucking on your fingers/fist staring at your fish or animals, or on your gymini for quite some time (like upwards of 30 minutes!). You can easily flip over from your tummy to your back now, which is helpful in escaping big sister's enthusiastic play ;-) You are super cuddly, and that is lovely. You will sleep all night as long as you aren't wet (sleeping in disposable diapers now since they last all night) and as long as the boob is near. And we really appreciate your 3-4 hour afternoon naps. We love you Graham!

P.S. Thank you Malia for taking our Holiday photo this year!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tummy time and stuff

We haven't been doing as much as usual lately since we all have had a cold/cough that seems to come and go. Every time I think we are better, we go out and about, and then start coughing from the activity of not being sedentary in the house :-( We did make it out to Mommy and Me on the Row where Gwen got to meet Snoopy and Charlie Brown. She wouldn't have known who they were, but last week we watched A Charlie Brown Christmas on Hulu. All the TV is unfortunate, but it really does seem to be stimulating her imagination, she has been doing a lot of pretend play which is fun. My favorite is when she crawls around under a blanket and says, "I am a snail! I am a snail!" A reference to the Cat and the Hat. Graham has been doing lots of tummy time and practicing sitting up in the corner of the couch. And we have been making lots of cookies, which is very messy with Gwen, but fun.
Two milestone updates: Graham flipped over from his tummy to his back for the first time today while he was on the floor with the other babies at his Cookie Exchange (also the first time he got to 'play' with the other babies in his playgroup). And at our party this past Saturday night at a friend's house Gwen announced she had to pee. I asked her if she peed in her diaper and she said, "No. Pee on the potty." So I took her to the bathroom and held her over the toilet and she peed! We are so close to being out of diapers :-)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Let the Festivities Begin!

We belong to three playgroups right now (Sunnyvale 2008, Mountain View 2008, and Sunnyvale 2010) and two of them had Holiday parties this past Saturday. We went to Gwen's Mountain View party in the morning. It was a lovely potluck with a puppet show put on by one of the Moms. Photos below are from that party. I included the photo of all of us watching the puppet show because it blows my mind that we are a little family, and that is what we look like in public. Graham was captivated by the puppet show and Gwen at one point ran across to the other side of the room so she could sit next to one of her little friends to sing the last verse of Twinkle Twinkle little star. She then hopped up to run back and jump up on my lap...not sure what that was about, but it was cute, and I was flattered she wanted to sit with me instead of her little friend (I know it won't always be like this). Graham slept through his Sunnyvale 2010 dinner party that evening, but we all had a good time. We have our Sunnyvale 2008 Cookie Exchange this Sunday, and 2010 is also having a Cookie Exchange next Wednesday. For those not familiar with the Cookie Exchange, everyone brings a few dozen cookies, they all get laid out for everyone to see and maybe nibble, then each person takes some of each kind home with them. Our Wednesday Cookie Exchange starts at 1pm, which is nap time....but I am going to brave the sleepies and the sugar high, and go anyway, crossing my fingers that we leave before the dreaded sugar crash. Let the festivities begin!

For Fun I thought I would include this picture of Gwen :-)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chunky Monkey

Graham had his 2 month check up today. I knew he was a big boy, he has been nursing since day one like a milk fiend- I call him my little barnacle, but I was happily surprised when he weighed in at 14lbs 7oz! Hip Hip hooray for Mama's milk! That puts him in the 90th percentile for weight and a full pound heavier than Gwen at this age. I knew that boys tend to be bigger than girls, I am just glad he was smaller than his sister at birth :-) He is exactly 2ft long (75th percentile) which makes him a little chunky monkey. One thing I thought would be different about having a boy is cleaning the diaper area...and sure enough, poor little guy has his first fungal infection and I had to buy him jock itch cream (per his Pediatrician's recommendation).
Graham had his first trip to the Zoo a few weeks ago, though I think he will appreciate it more as he gets older ;-)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Smiling Graham

Graham is 2 months old today. He has been smiling for a few weeks, but laughed hysterically at Gwen yesterday for the first time. By the time I got the flip to capture the moment, Gwen saw what I had and the moment was over. He thought her jumping on the bed singing loudly and unintelligibly was so funny. Gwen is pretty hilarious.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tree of Life

Warning: this is gross.
One thing that I have learned being a Mother is life is messy. Even before the baby arrives, crazy things happen during birth, and after the baby comes out, it isn't over, the afterbirth needs to be birthed (just when you thought you were done!). The placenta is an amazing organ created by the Mother for the sole function of nourishing the baby that wants to grow inside her. In some cultures the placenta is believed to have nourishing properties for the Mother as well, after birth. Like most animals, these Mothers are encouraged to ingest the placenta after birth to replenish themselves from the ordeal. I considered this. I wasn't going to take a bite of it raw, though some do. And I wasn't going to cook it and eat it, well not exactly. There are some of us out there who have, or have considered, steaming the placenta, drying it, pulverizing it into capsules, and then investing it in a less threatening capsule form for all its benefits (including warding off postpartum depression). Though, even these women usually hire someone to do this for them. When I read this, struggling to care for Gwen with my numerous months pregnant self, I thought, "I should do that, I am gonna need all the help I can get to stay sane after this baby arrives." So I did. For you do it your selfers, and those who are curious, this is what I did:

1. Sent the placenta home the day it was born with Mother in Law who put the biohazard bag in a zip-top bag for me and tossed it in the freezer so I could start this project at my convenience.
2. Five days later I pulled out my frozen placenta, rinsed it with hot water, put it in a steamer basket on top of a bed of sliced lemons and fresh ginger, and steamed the heck out of it.

3. I rinsed it off again. The 'meat' of the placenta is encased in a sack, and it seemed like it should come off (and I had read that you could have blood clots under it- and I was not interested in that).
4. I then sliced it up.
5. I got a tray from the dehydrator, laid a piece of parchment down, and laid out the slices.

6. I then dehydrated following the directions for jerky.
7. I got the food processor out and dumped in the pieces of jerky (which were very crispy and overdone).
8. It took forever to pulverize the placenta into a powder.
9. I was going to take my powdered placenta and put in, vegan gel caps size 00. Yes, I picked out vegan gel caps because I try and avoid gelatin, because I am a VEGETARIAN.
10. Ingest. I was going to take one capsule with meals (so 3x a day).

I knew there was a chance I would not be able to follow this project to the end. I surprised myself in that I enjoyed the process. I was surprised by Spencer who was thoroughly disgusted by the process, but sincerely encouraging about me ingesting my capsules.

I can not bring myself to complete step 9 and have a little plastic container of my powdered placenta. What I am stuck on is it smells like liver. It handled like liver, and it smells like liver...and I feel relatively good anyway and am not sure I need to go so far as ingest my placenta. The process was really cool, and I am satisfied with that. We are going to purchase a small ornamental fruit tree (I think a Kumquat) and I will sprinkle it in the pot to help nourish my baby Kumquat tree, in remembrance of my babies and how I nourished them.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Boo To You!

We enjoyed quite a few festive activities this week including two trick or treating outings and a trip to a pumpkin patch. By Friday afternoon we were exhausted and spun out on sugar so we missed our playgroup's Halloween Party scheduled for the latter part of the afternoon since nap time didn't happen until 3:30pm, despite my best efforts. I spent 2.5 hours trying to get Graham and Gwen to sleep- finally we all enjoyed a much needed 2 hour nap. This evening we will be trick or treating at a local mall and some friend's houses. Gwen is so excited about getting more candy- her favorite: lollipops and M&Ms. Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

One Month of Graham

One month out of the womb Graham is starting to figure out what he likes, and what he doesn't like so much. He likes being held, and after being worn by Mama in the Sleepy Wrap so much, he likes being walked around. He really does seem to like Gwen, but not a big fan of the, "HI BABY!!!" in his face while he is sleeping. He is a big fan of the boob, but not when it sprays him in the face or the back of the throat and makes him choke. I realized this past week I have an oversupply and overactive letdown which is making for a gassy baby (he doesn't like being gassy). Graham is not a big fun of the poop (he strains so hard sometimes it reminds me of the convulsive need to push I had during his short labor), but he doesn't seem to mind peeing on himself (he succeeded in peeing on his head and face today). He is not a big fan of his car seat, but doesn't seem to mind being in the car (as long as it is moving) and Gwen and I have taken him all sorts of places already. He seems to be on the fence when it comes to the pacifier. He likes looking at faces, and gazing at the wall, or window, or sky. When he is upset he kicks his legs and pumps his little arms like a boxer. His little muscles are getting quite strong, as well as his grip. Sometimes there is something he doesn't like, but we are at a loss to what it is....this is a rare occasion though as he is usually a pretty easy going little guy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mama's Little Guy

Graham had his first check up a few days ago. We knew he was getting bigger since his little cloth diapers were starting to look like a bikini on him, and his newborn outfits were getting a little tight, but we were still surprised when he weighed in at 10lbs 4.5 oz (78th percentile)- that is a gain of just over a pound a week! He is 21.5 inches long (65th percentile). Graham is meeting his little newborn milestones and can push up with his little arms when on his belly and lift his not so little head (I think he is growing a Studley cranium). He continues to be super sweet and only cries when he needs a new diaper and is hungry (or gassy). Though, he does like to be held, which is getting more and more difficult since Spencer went back to work Monday. I have mastered the art of chasing after a toddler, and all that entails, while holding a breastfeeding infant. This photo was taken 10/1 (on Gwen's birthday) at our music playdate. this was about the time that he started being awake and alert for longer stretches of time. It is too soon to say, but I think he might have his Mama's blue eyes...we'll see.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Two Year Check Up

Gwen had her 2 year check up and is doing splendidly. She weighed in at 31lbs 14oz and is 2'11". That puts her in the 94th percentile for weight and 80th percentile for height. This is pretty consistent with her growth so far. We actually thought she was going to weigh more, but she is soooo active she has burned off a bunch of baby weight. Gwen got a doctor play set for her birthday from a friend and brought that with her to the appointment. All she needs now is a doctor's coat. It was really cute and her doctor was impressed and said all children should have this type of play set since it helps with feeling more comfortable with doctor visits. Though, when Gwen went in to the injection clinic to get her vaccine, she knew exactly what was going to happen and freaked out.
This photo is from a trip to the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo last week. We all went and one of the Nannies recognized me from a few weeks ago when I went with Gwen super pregnant. She was awestruck that I was out and about so soon after delivery. With an active toddler I don't know how we could stay home any more than we are.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday Gwen!

We had a small BBQ for Gwen this evening to celebrate her 2nd birthday. Earlier today we went to our Music Playdate (first outing with me and both Gwen and Graham). We sang all of Gwen's favorite songs and her little friends sang her Happy Birthday and she got to blow out a #2 candle on a blueberry mini muffin. When I asked her at bedtime what her favorite part of the day was, a concept she doesn't quite understand, she mentioned singing with her friends as being the most memorable. For her BBQ we bought a cake yesterday at the store. She got to choose chocolate, carrot, or a pretty pink berry cake- she chose chocolate. She is having a Birthday playdate next week so she can celebrate her birthday with her playdate friends we see on a regular basis. She has been way into singing Happy Birthday and blowing out the candle, and party hats. This evening she could hardly contain her self and blew out her candle half way through Happy Birthday. And she way enjoyed her chocolate cake.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Graham's Birth Story

I woke up at 5am and had one of the signs of pending labor, bloody show, followed by some intermittent contractions when I went back to bed. I couldn’t sleep knowing that today was likely the day. I got up, made breakfast (eggs and potatoes), started the dishwasher, and took a hot bath. Gwen woke up and joined my in the bath which was really sweet. We then got ready to go to preschool. Once there I wondered if it too ambitious of me, but once I started walking around a little more I felt better. I went to use the bathroom and a group of mothers asked me if I was going to have the baby in there. After preschool I had my scheduled 40 week appointment at 12pm. I was 4cm and 50% effaced. Gwen and I went home and took our daily afternoon nap. When we woke up (3:15pm) I was turning the TV on for her and my water broke. I called Spencer, Mother In Law (who has a 2 hour drive), and a few others who offered to watch Gwen to give them a heads up. Spencer, Gwen, and I then went out to an early dinner of Hot and Sour Soup and Egg Fried Rice (I may have had a few bites of Spencer's orange chicken). Our friend Malia met us there and took Gwen home with her so I could labor at home without having to worry about Gwen. Once home I felt like lying down and had a horrible headache. My contractions had become regular at the restaurant (about 6 minutes apart- but very mild). Now they petered out. Spencer suggested we walk, and I agreed I could meander about the backyard (I was sooooo tired!). It felt good to be outside. Mother in Law arrived, Sister in Law arrived, and not much was happening. Spencer and I went for a walk around the block, I decided I wanted some unfiltered apple juice so we walked to the store and did a mini shopping trip. I continued walking, and was feeling really good. I decided I needed a labor project and wanted to make cookies. Gwen came home with Malia and Farkas and everyone hung our waiting for my contractions to become more regular. Malia helped me make cookies (soft Ginger, with a few dusted in sugar/cayenne pepper for the boys, and in case I needed something spicy), and then granola (which Brynden had to finish toasting for me). I started to feel really tired and had to sit down and a strong contraction hit me (about 9:30pm). I went to lie down in the bedroom. These were very intense contractions and I decided it was time to call Labor and Delivery. I told the nurse I was in labor and she said I sounded too cheerful to be in labor. In the car ride over I had a few of these intense contractions (couldn’t talk through them very well), but I remarked that we probably nailed the timing- I was able to labor at home as long as possible without hitting transition. We also noted that it was 10:30pm and unlikely, though still possible baby would make it on his due date. By the time we got out of the car I couldn’t walk through the contractions very well, and they were close enough together that I was glad we were there. I was horrified when the admitting nurse told me to wait in the lobby while they admitted another Mom- seriously. I felt a bit nauseous and knew I was on the edge. Through the admitting process, I felt worse and worse, hot/cold sweats, a little lightheaded, nauseous, pressure like I had to go to the bathroom, plus contractions. And then they send me to a teeny weenie room- I was too much in labor to comment about anything except notifying everyone I was going to use the bathroom, but there was no way this is where I was going to give birth. It was triage, something I didn’t experience with Gwen. The OB checked me and I was 6 centimeters. They wanted to monitor baby and contractions before officially admitting me (SERIOUSLY!). They finally decided I was indeed in labor, and were convinced my water had broken (I told them it broke at 9pm, just in case labor did stall). I could barely walk to my room, but did not want to sit down in a wheel chair because of the pressure I was feeling. Once in my birthing suite, I started to feel a little more confident and comfortable with the situation. They insisted on a Non Stress Test before letting me have a wireless fetal monitor so I had to get in bed and lie down for another 10 minutes. They also were insistent I have a hep-lock so IV drugs could be administered in case I bled out. This was not likely to happen, but because the OB who delivered Gwen charted my “excessive bleeding" as a hemorrhage, there was no point in trying to argue with these people, and I couldn’t anyway- the contractions were too intense. The IV was put in at 10:30pm (they wrote the time on it). All of a sudden everyone but Spencer were gone- Mother In Law who is with us to see the birth is moving the cars, my nurse has left to get supplies or whatever, and some random guy is setting up a “birthing table” (birthing supplies on a tray for the OB I think). I start having crazy contractions that make me writhe off the bed. I feel a lot of pressure (I had mentioned before I felt a lot of pressure). Then my body starts convulsively pushing, and I can’t stop it. No staff but this random guy is in the room, I am screaming, and thinking Spencer is going to have to catch the baby. I reach down and sure enough, I can feel his head. My nurse appears and I tell her I am trying not to push but the baby is coming. She checks me and says I am 10 cm. It doesn’t mater how many centimeters I am, this baby is coming out, NOW. The OB shows up (one I hadn’t met yet, a Resident, and the third one to see me- I swear they grabbed whoever was in the hall), and she is trying to get me to scoot down on the bed, and get my legs up in stirrups…. I can hardly keep my body on the bed, let alone reposition. I feel baby’s head start to crown, I push and it comes out, I push and his body wriggles out at 11:41. ELEVEN minutes from when they gave me the IV. They set him on my chest and let the cord finish pulsing before clamping it (this makes me happy). Spencer gets to cut the cord. I nurse Graham. He poops on me, and then pees on me. It is awesome. The placenta comes out and we tell them we want to take it home with us. They look at us sideways and agree but tell us there is a release form to sign. The OB sews up a small second-degree tear (likely the same area Gwen tore), and there is no excessive bleeding or hemorrhage. Even so, they make me keep the IV in until 10:30am the next day. This experience was so different than my first, it really caught me off guard. I have to admit, while my past Kaiser experiences were great, I was a little disappointed in them this time. What really matters is I have an amazing beautiful, sweet, and so far easygoing little guy; and hopefully a fast delivery equals a quick recovery.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Gramdolyn Update

We have just been hanging around at home, sleeping, eating, diaper change, sleeping eating, diaper change. Sandee just left today and now we have to pull it together to feed ourselves (and keep our house in a somewhat livable state ;-) these first few days would not have been as pleasant without her help. Graham is just a sweetheart. So far he only cries during diaper changes and when he wants to nurse. I am going to start pumping a little so Spencer can give him a bottle every now and then (nice bonding time for Daddy, and break for Mama- a win win). Gwen has been so excited, as one might imagine, and didn't nap Thursday and Friday, which led to some uncharacteristic naughty behavior. But she napped today, and I think she is calming down. She loves having Daddy home and her and Spencer have been spending a lot of time together. And she loves her little brother and keeps asking to , "Hold it?" We are trying to get her t say him. Graham is gaining weight well and his jaundice has let up (we just need to make sure he gets a little sunshine every day). We took him out for coffee on Thursday after his newborn club check up, and out to breakfast this morning, and then grocery shopping this afternoon. He is, so far, super portable. It makes me very hopeful that I will be able to manage him and Gwen at all our weekly activities we usually do. Will post more photos and birth story soon.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Graham Photo Update

We just got home this afternoon. We had to hang out at the hospital an extra night because Graham was jaundiced due to him and I having different blood types. He is totally fine, nursing well, and already looks like he is filling out a bit. Gwen is sooo cute and way into her little brother.