Friday, December 19, 2014

Noted on a Friday

Whew! I'm exhausted. Tests are graded, students have been hugged, classes are all wrapped up, and my five months of (unpaid) maternity leave starts now. Surreal. I feel like I can finally breathe. We have a busy weekend ahead, but come next week, I'll be able to cookie bake, finish my Christmas shopping, and get ready for the big day -  hopefully while donning a variety of comfy jammies - which I plan to wear for at least three days straight. And maybe the following week, too. Can. Not. Wait! Cheers to some much-needed downtime right around the corner. I hope you have a lovely weekend. xo

{December has the prettiest sunsets}
{birthday cupcakes for Flav}
{we've been lighting our angel chimes}
{the faintest rainbow on my way to work}
{soup prep}

Friday, December 12, 2014

Noted on a Friday

{this morning's rain, tree}
The end-of-semester + holiday rush is in full swing around here. I've been up to my ears in work and we've had lots of holiday gatherings to attend, including a cookie exchange, two white elephants, and a holiday potluck (!) It's been insane this year.  My work threw a really enjoyable joint 3-mama-to-be baby shower today (there are 3 of us expecting within 2 weeks of each other!) and overall, there's been lots of celebrating, gift giving, shopping, and eating. But, it feels like December is speeding away from me. I would like to lobby to make Thanksgiving one week earlier. It all seems so hurried and I'm wishing for more time for doing activities from our advent calendar, movie watching, warm drink sipping, and leisurely baking. You know, more time to savor the best parts.

I go in to finals next week, and I'm having mixed feelings. Come next Friday, I'll be done teaching...until May! I have always worked, and a part of me is looking forward to spending my days nesting, going to yoga, reading, setting up our nursery, etc., but the other part wonders what I'll do with myself all day. It will definitely be a change of pace. I'm sure I won't be at a loss for things to do when the baby arrives in two months..

It's a rainy Friday, and we're spending tonight in. My favorite chicken soup is bubbling away on the stove and we're planning to light a fire and watch Elf. We have hypnobirthing class and one last holiday party tomorrow and then Sunday is Flav's birthday! He requested a family day with homemade cupcakes, so it will just be us and a couple fun outings. I can't wait. xo

Fun work baby shower cake. I'm definitely hoping for a good baby.

Even though our front porch/yard is a construction zone, Flav still put up the lights. Happy wife, happy life.

 2-week old shower flowers, still going strong.

 Cookies in progress.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Our Baby Shower

At first I didn't think we'd have a baby shower and I was okay with that. As our little one is due in February the holidays seemed conflicting, plus I hate the games, have an irrational fear of opening gifts in front of others, and no one had immediately offered, so I figured we'd just skip it. But then, Flavio told me he'd been talking to his mom who said she'd like to host a traditional Mexican shower with any food I wanted (I picked my craving, Chinese), a big cake, and no games. I was still unsure, feeling like a shower seemed a little grabby - especially during the holidays when people are already spending so much money (it's so weird that we ask people to buy us gifts for weddings and babies!) but, Flavio reminded me it's a celebration of the coming baby, and I was in. Turns out, it was the best day.

There were adorable safari-themed decorations all over my mother-in-law's house, piles of Chinese food, and the most amazing tiramisu from Extraordinary Desserts. Mexicans give everyone a broche, a decorative baby-themed pin to wear, and the mother-to-be sits in a decorated chair. Flavio and I are big believers in bedtime stories, so Flavio had the idea that in lieu of cards, guests bring their favorite childhood books with a message written inside, which I loved! We got so many amazing children's books, in English and Spanish, and I'm happy that the books, with their sweet inscribed messages, will be keepsakes for our baby.

While my dad and Flavio were there, the other guests were all women and throughout the afternoon, many of them shared funny parenting stories and gems of motherhood advice. "Coconut oil works wonders for diaper rash" and "Rice cereal at 4 months will help your baby sleep through the night", and "Walk hills and have lots of sex to induce labor" and "Do what feels right to you and your family and ignore everyone else's opinion." We talked about how parenting advice comes and goes (apparently, all doctors used to advise babies sleep on their tummies, and now we're told babies should only sleep on their backs), and one woman shared her natural birth story with me.

Overall, the day was surprisingly empowering. Pregnancy can sometimes feel very personal and individual, but I couldn't believe how excited all these women were to meet our baby and how encouraging and bolstering the whole afternoon was. Suddenly, my pregnancy felt beautifully communal, if that makes sense. The whole thing felt like an important milestone from pregnancy toward motherhood, like I'd suddenly become initiated into this other tribe, and I could feel everyone's maternal strength and positive vibes. It was such a sweet and touching afternoon, one that I'll never forget, and it's now clear to me why showers have become a time-honored tradition around the world. Plus, cake! :)

{stork, gifts} 
{tiramisu and my mother-in-law}
{My mom and Flav} 
{books galore!}
{serving cake}
{happy tears - it was such a great day!}
{part of invitations}

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

This busy Thanksgiving weekend knocked me flat. But it was wonderful.

Thanksgiving looked a lot like last year, except with the addition of my beach ball belly, swollen feet, and 80 degree temperatures, and I was generally a little more tired this time around. I didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked - I mostly sat chatting with our guests, a cold drink in hand, and my feet elevated. But as this holiday weekend winds down, I am thinking about all the things I am grateful for right now. A husband who brings me multiple servings of mashed potatoes, rubs my feet, and sings to my belly. Parents I don't just love, but actually really like - my parents are our friends. A mother-in-law who injects stories and music into every gathering (and planned me the most amazing shower -- more on that soon). Silly Thanksgiving games, including turkey trivia and Thanskgiving Scattergories. The softest Australian Shepherd who snuggles up next to you, gives you kisses, and loves you unconditionally. A beautiful celebration of our baby and tons of wise parenting advice at my shower on Saturday. A visit from our hilarious Norwegian friend David. A bounty of leftover cheese and crackers. And pie. I don't have photos of all of these things, but they exist.
{after dinner chatting}

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

The turkey is in the oven, our house smells divine, we're eating yogurt parfaits, snuggled up in soft jammies, watching this hilarious movie. 

I can't believe we'll have a little one this time next year.

So much to be grateful for and I'm thankful there's a holiday to celebrate it. Hope your weekend is filled with all the things and people you love.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Noted on a Friday

{rainy day pho}
It was a whirlwind birthday week and truth be told, I could use a drink right about now. It's been a great few days, nothing bad has happened, but I feel like I've been going, going for the last two weeks and would love a smooth and relaxing cocktail on this chilly Friday evening. A warm bath and fall-scented candles will have to do. What are you up to this weekend? We have our second hypnobirthing class tomorrow (I love it) and then I'm planning to nest -- re-arrange, clean out, and make space in our home. Then we'll be meeting up with old friends and doing some major grocery shopping on Sunday. With out-of-town visitors, Thanksgiving, and my baby shower (!) all in the next 10 days, I can't wait to spend this weekend chilling out and reenergizing. I hope you enjoy. xo

Some photos from the last couple weeks...

Tooling around on my parents' golf cart.

Sweet surprise from Flav.. an assortment of heavenly cupcakes.

Birthday morning.

Guiri sleeping on my shirt.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thanksgiving - 2014 Blueprint

{2013 planning}
We are one week from Thanksgiving, friends, and I am getting excited to host again. We'll have a relatively small party this year, with just 6 people, but I'm excited to use this weekend to start the shopping and prep. Re-visiting last year's Blueprint helped, so I'm doing it again this year. This may be of no interest to anyone else, and after hosting for many years I could probably pull together a decent Thanksgiving in 6 hours, but I love the holiday scheming and dreaming, so here goes.

This year's Menu / Who's bringing what

Cider-Brined-And-Glazed Turkey (the most mouthwatering, fall-off-the-bone recipe there is)
Apple, Sausage, and Parsnip Stuffing (make half unless you're feeding an army)
Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes
Clinton Beans aka Green Bean Casserole with Gruyere and Criminis
Double-Dutch Mac and Cheese with Chard
Yams - Decided not to do this year because I am the only one that eats them
Cranberry Sauce - buy pre-made at Trader Joe's
Silvia's Famous Enchiladas -Flavio's mom is bringing
A really good salad -- Flavio's mom is bringing
Dinner rolls - my mom is bringing
Pumpkin Pie with Spiced Whipped Cream (making 2 this year as one went so quickly)
Apple pie - my mom is bringing
Wine - red, white, sparkling - various guests are bringing
Sparkling water and limes for me
Flavio will be mixing this year's signature cocktail: Poinsettias !

So far I have:
Done nothing except write this post and delegate food for guests to bring.

Tomorrow I will:
Make my grocery lists.

Sunday I will:
Do the first round of grocery shopping
Make and freeze my pie crusts
Cube and dry bread for stuffing
Make sure Flav picks out festive beer

On Monday I will:
Work all day :(
Spend the evening making our annual Thanksgiving trivia game
And maybe come up with one other table game -- I thought these mad libs looked fun

On Tuesday I will:
Make one last grocery stop
Do all the prep -- chop, measure, store
Brine the turkey Tuesday evening

On Wednesday I will:
Make the pies
Clean the house
Set the table
Buy fresh flowers, gourds, and other decor
Make the mac n cheese
Make the stuffing Wednesday night

On Thursday I will:
Wake up early, put on music, stuff and get the bird in the oven
Peel and make mashed potatoes
Make the Clinton Beans
Bake remaining stuffing
Make spiced whipped cream for pies
Reheat the mac n cheese
Take Guiri to the park and exhaust her so she is not a psycho when everyone comes over
Watch movies throughout the day, revel

Most importantly, I plan to be conscious of the meaning of the holiday. It's so easy to get caught up in the rush without stopping to slow down, feel grateful, savor, and enjoy family.

Some related links:
Photos and re-cap of last year's Thanksgiving
The ultimate guide to Modern Thanksgiving Etiquette
Last year's signature cocktail, Cranberry Margaritas
One of my favorite quotes on gratitude
An essay: It's decorative gourd season, motherfuckers

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Birthday Bump Update: 26 weeks

Today is my cake day and it has been a regular Tuesday, but my birthday always makes me feel different in the best possible way. After a busy weekend and Monday/Tuesday, I'm excited for Flav to get home so we can go out for a fun dinner and to see the very classy Dumb & Dumber To. I'm 34 which means I've officially reached my mid-thirties. Woot! I know people say your twenties are the best time of your life, but I definitely prefer my thirties, and this pregnant birthday feels incredibly special.

I haven't done a bumpdate recently because despite my rapidly expanding belly, there isn't much new to share from my last report at 22 weeks. I'm still feeling really good. The baby is still measuring big (I'm terrified this is going to be a 10-pounder!), and his/her kicks have me wondering if this little one is a soccer player already. I know I've already said it, but I've never felt better or more exhilarated in my life. Now on to dinner and a big slab of cake. :)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Noted on a Friday

Greetings from Vegas! We got here yesterday and we're looking forward to a long weekend of relaxation with my parents. It's likely our last trip here before the baby comes, so we fully intend to soak up the comfort and be the carefree "kids" for maybe the last time. We spent yesterday evening chatting with my mom about all things pregnancy, labor, and baby, and I can't believe I'm going to be a mama-bear myself very soon. Is this really happening? I feel simultaneously ready and terrified. Happy weekend. xo

Eggy, sweet pan de muerto, via Tijuana and my mother-in-law.

Somebody doesn't mind daylight savings. Or my pregnancy pillow.

Mario, Luigi, and the Princess on candy duty this Halloween.

Flores para los muertos.

Requisite Dairy Queen stop on the way to Vegas.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Noted on a (Halloween) Friday

{ghostly pumpkins}
Happy Halloween! After being gone last weekend and a hectic work week, I'm excited to spend this evening dressing up, passing out candy, eating homemade soup, and doing a little trick-or-drinking (beer for Flav, gingerale for me) at home. We'll be watching movies and enjoying all the costumed kiddos on our doorstep. I hear rain is in the weekend forecast, so I'm looking forward to making room for the nursery, celebrating my mother-in-law's birthday, and spending time with our San Diego parents, Jan and Gary. It's my favorite time of year and this Halloween feels more special than ever before. Enjoy. xo

Some scenes from Halloweens past...

{Halloween 2013}
{Pirate Guiri}
{Halloween 2006}

Friday, October 24, 2014

Noted on a Friday

{pumpkin spice muffins, fresh from the oven}
This week went by in a flash and I can't believe we're almost into November. It feels like October through December always go by so fast, whereas January, for example, feels like it's moving backward. But, I'm embracing all the fun that's coming with open arms, including this weekend when we're heading to LA to hang with my cousin and her two babies. It will be good to soak up some parenting advice and practice being with little ones -- a pretty foreign concept for Flavio and me. I hope you have a great weekend. xo

Watching the world go by.

Love this stuff.

A mid-week sushi date with friends.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bump Update: 22 weeks

While there are the occasional discomforts, I love being pregnant. It's basically a 9-month detox and I feel so healthy and alive. All the pokes and movement make me feel so close to this little person, and I am pretty much obsessed with being near Flavio at all times. The love and happy hormones are flying. It's just a wonderful time.

22 weeks

The baby is the size of:
A papaya

I'm feeling:
Elated. There's something really wonderful about being pregnant during my favorite time of year. It's been great to start nesting and even do a little fall-inspired baking, even though my sweet tooth isn't fully back.

Food love:
I love and eat everything now, but mainly crave spicy, salty, sour foods.

What I miss:
1. Coffee. I gave it up last January and I still crave the taste and smell. Per my midwife, decaf and most teas are also off limits, so I'm suffering. I'm planning to breastfeed, so there is no coffee in my foreseeable future. Sigh.
2. I miss sleeping on my back and stomach.

The best things about this week:
1. No anxiety. I feel so relaxed and optimistic.
2. Full-on kicks and punches, often at the same time. We can even see my stomach move on the outside...big changes are happening!
3. Seeing our little one at the 20-week ultrasound. He/she is measuring more than a week ahead and was happily bouncing, stretching, and hiccuping on screen. So cool.
{definitely my nose}
The worst things about this week:
1. The constant need to pee.
2. Crazy dreams.

Interesting turn of events:
1. When Flav talks to my belly, the baby kicks harder. We think it's his/her way of saying hello. :)
2. Also, people are really nice to pregnant women. Now that I look preggo, strangers ask me questions and let me go ahead in line, hold the door open for me, guess whether it's a boy or a girl, etc. It's fun!

Tops and bottoms that stretch. A mix of maternity and non-maternity.

Really looking forward to:
Settling on names. I think we have our girl name nailed down but boy names are sooo hard. We want something that works in English and Spanish and we are open to suggestions - if you have any. :)

Daydreaming about:
An upcoming prenatal massage, my first! 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Noted on a Friday

{signs of fall in the neighborhood}
Welp, this week was a weird one complete with an emergency trip to the vet and for a broken pawnail, and an Ebola scare and evacuation during my Thursday morning classes. TGIF. Despite these obstacles, things feel abuzz on the homefront. Halloween decorations are mostly up, costume ideas are in progress, and I can't help but feel giddy about all my favorite holidays on the horizon. We've got an action-packed weekend ahead complete with a friend's birthday brunch, some baby shopping and registering, and a fall-themed potluck on Sunday. I'm hoping to squeeze in some baking, Netflixing, and general relaxation in this lovely cooler weather. Here are some memorable moments from this week.

{her bandage melts me}
{my favorite kinda lunch: homemade pumpkin soup with cheese/crackers}
{delighted by the recent baby gifts that have arrived on our porch}
{'tis the season}