Saturday, January 9, 2016

Baby P 5 week old update!

Hello blog readers! I hope everyone's holiday season was cozy and happy- ours was peaceful and quiet, with lots of snuggles by the fire. Baby P is 5 weeks old, and we are doing well. She has gained 3.5 pounds since we left the hospital (she was 6lbs 11oz at birth, 6lbs 4 oz when we left the hospital and at her one month check up a few days ago she weighed 9.9 lbs!!! on demand breastfeeding for the win!) She has also grown an inch and a quarter since she was born- I think she is going to be tall like her dad! We are settling in with her, learning her cues and adapting to her needs- she loves loves loves to be held, and we spend most of our time holding her and hanging out. Luckily she loves to be swaddled too, so sleeping in her bassinet on her own has been going well since we got the hang of it. We decided not to co-sleep in the bed with her, but are co-sleeping with her in her bassinet right up next to the bed on my side- it makes breastfeeding at night way easy, and I feel safer knowing she is safe and contained- no us rolling over baby- but right next to my side). Right now she is sleeping for about 3 hour chunks in the night, so we get up 2-3 times a night to nurse and such, but J and are both not feeling totally exhausted at this point. She likes to listen to music and be held/put in the carrier and swayed back and forth, so if I need to be up doing stuff and she is up, she hangs out in the soft carrier (we have so many, I am super into baby wearing- right now we love the Ergo for outside walks where you need more structured support and such, the lalabu soothe shirt for just chilling around the house, the baby K'Tan and the Moby for soft carriers with more back support, and we just got a Nesting Days skin to skin carrier which we'll be trying out today) and I can write or do whatever and she is snug as a bug right up on me, hands free. We are just starting to get some smiles, she usually gives me a smile when she is done nursing and falls asleep- they are the cutest little happy smiles. She is getting more and more alert everyday, and her favorite song is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, which I think I have sung about a billion times by now (and love every time). It is crazy how fast she changes, I swear I wake up everyday and see new growth. We are starting to do more stuff outside the house- baby wearing makes taking her out much easier, and it makes me feel safe and confident having her out in the world when she is safely tucked up against my body. The whole experience has been amazing. Of course, some days are tougher than others, but we are so so in love with this little girl, even the tougher days when she is fussy are precious. It feels like a dream come true.

I just wanted to post an update and let everyone know we are doing great, so loved up and helping this girl to grow big and strong! Much love to all, and happiness in the new year!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Our Christmas package arrived a little early...

Hello blog readers! As you can see... we have a baby! Miss Paloma decided to come a little early (her due date was Dec 12th- our water broke the evening of Nov 30th and she was born on Dec 2nd) but she is the best early Christmas gift EVER!!! It was 29 hours of labor that was totally and completely worth it- a wild ride, but totally worth it. Everyone is very happy, very healthy and just enjoying a big cozy love bubble at home these days. J doesn't have to go back to work until mid January, so the three of us have ample time to snuggle up and bond over these next cozy holiday weeks. We have been laying around skin to skin cuddling most of the time, with a warm fire going and enjoying the Christmas tree. I am feeling happy, in love, and very well taken care of (J is cooking us 3 warm meals a day and is all around just the best most caring husband ever- he is getting plenty of skin to skin time with his girl too) and baby P is happy, calm, and an all around a joy. She very rarely cries (we very rarely put her down!) and she is sleeping and eating like a champ- it took us a few days to work on our latching skills, but now she is a latch pro and is gaining weight and gulping it down when I feed her. She is oh so beautiful, with a full head of dark hair like me and facial features like J. Needless to say, I am hopelessly in love with her, and couldn't be happier that she decided to make her entrance a little early... The blog may continue to be quiet for the next few weeks, as we transition into this new little family of ours, and just soak in all the love... I will update when I can (baby wearing her while blogging is the way to go!) and let you guys know how we are doing, and when we come up for air I will start writing non-baby related blog posts again. I hope you all have a lovely holiday season, and I wish everyone all the happiness and love that we are feeling right now. xo

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Baby update! The third trimester...

Hello blog readers! it's been a bit over 2 months since I have written, and we are now firmly ensconced in the third trimester of this pregnancy. I am currently 32 weeks along (28 weeks in the photo above) and we are walking around with a big ole' bowling ball belly these days! The first trimester was easier then I had anticipated, the second was a glowing dream of lovely, and the third has been a mixed bag of exhaustion and elation. As the belly grows, so does the discomfort (as many of you know and remember), and sleep is not coming easily to me these days (hence me writing this post at 1:09 am!). I have been dealing with some pregnancy related restless leg syndrome at night, which to those of you who aren't familiar with it, is the uncontrollable need to move your legs/twitch when you are tired and just about to fall asleep, or even mid sleep, causing you to wake up... yeah, it sucks. I am usually awake each night from 1am- 4 or 5 am, the restless leg wakes me up and then I find it hard to get back to sleep for a few hours. Some nights I get 3 hours of restless sleep, some nights I get 6 hours of decent (albeit broken up) sleep, and most days I nap during the day to try to make up for some of that sleep loss. I am trying to be as gentle as possible with myself about it- when it first started happening, I was getting really frustrated with the inability to go back to sleep, getting upset and emotional. I gave myself a nice gentle talking to, and have been adapting- not getting upset when I need to get up and move to alleviate the restless leg, and not beating myself up for not being able to sleep. Just letting it be what it is, and get sleep where I can. I keep reminding myself that this is just preparing me for when my baby girl is here and brand new and needs me all hours of the night. I get up, make myself a warm cup of milk with ghee and honey in it, and go sit in her nursery in the rocking chair and organize her clothes, which is very soothing. My belly is so big at this point I am almost able to cuddle it in a way, so I wrap my arms around it and tell her how much I love her, even when I am exhausted beyond what I have ever experienced. The sleep issue has been my only real pregnancy road block, and for that feel ever so grateful- I remind myself many women feel awful throughout their pregnancies, and if all I have to deal with is some sleep deprivation I am still fairing terribly well. It also helps that I have THE MOST supportive spouse on the planet, who has effectively taken over all of the cooking, cleaning and other things that I used to do in our home, as well as rubbing my legs and back in the middle of the night for hours, even when he has to get up to go to work in the wee hours of the morning. I don't know what I would do without him, and going through this has solidified the fact that he will be an incredible, caring and loving and nurturing father, and really already is.

Our due date is December 12th, which sounds far away, but is quickly approaching- we are just about totally prepared (as prepared as one can be) for her arrival- her nursery is just about done, the car seat is installed, her clothes and diapers and such are all ready for her.  We've taken our birth classes, read our birthing books, practiced our breathing and spent many many hours taking about our birth plan and what we want, and more importantly perhaps talked about how to not get too attached to it because things happen and she'll come however she comes, according to plan or not. She is kicking me right now, reminding me that in these moments, she is the one in charge and I remind myself to trust my body and my mental strength.

So for now we are rolling with the punches- I have seen a lot of beautiful sunrises these days, due to the sleeplessness, and am reminded daily to be thankful even when I am so tired it hurts. This little girl dances away in my belly, and I sit with her and talk to her, knowing that in a blink of an eye she will be in the world and physically apart from me and I will miss the time she was in my belly. We'll see what the next 8 weeks bring, and you'll probably be hearing from me in the middle of the night as my life adapts to all these changes and we continue to flow on.

I hope you are all enjoying the transition to fall, and if you have some spare "sleepy" juju to send my way it's always appreciated. Much love.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

a nourishing pregnancy tonic and a baby update!

Okay, I don't normally put photos up of myself on the blog, but I just love this photo so much and had to share the bump with you guys! We are 22 weeks into this pregnancy, and I am feeling so good, so blessed, and loving every second of it! My birthday was on July 27th, and we happened to have our 20 week ultrasound scheduled that day... most of you know, usually the 20 week ultrasound is the big gender reveal ultrasound. Needless to say, it was a fantastic birthday surprise to find out... that we are having... a baby GIRL!!!!!!! It was such an amazing moment for us, with so much excitement and many happy tears. Baby girl is doing great, she even flexed her little arms for us during the ultrasound to show us how strong she is! Doctor said she looks perfect- all her organs are normal, her arms and legs and 10 fingers and 10 toes are normal, everything is perfect and healthy. I have been feeling really good, no complaints at all, and she has been kicking and moving up a storm, which I absolutely love. She is even starting to do big kicks that Jared can feel when his hand is resting on my belly, which is really exciting. I have been making sure to get extra rest when I need it, which is a must when you are helping create a human, but I feel healthy and strong and happy. We took baby girl to Big Sur the day after my b-day, to introduce her to one of our favorite places, and Jared took some beautiful pregnancy shots of me (including the one above, which was taken at the top of Palo Colorado looking out towards Pico Blanco- it was about 100 degrees and smelled so heavily of sage, it was gorgeous), and we had a great day introducing our little girl to the smells and sounds of Big Sur. We are working on getting her nursery ready, and Jared is working hard on a hand made crib for his little girl, which, knowing his amazing wood working skills, will be beautiful. Everything is so exciting and happy, we are basking in it and enjoying the summer sun and all the fresh yummy summer fruits and veggies, loading this belly with all things healthy and yummy!

One thing I have been incorporating into my (almost) daily routine is drinking a cup of nettle tea. Nettle tea is a great plant source of calcium, magnesium, b-vitamins and iron, which are all hugely important when you are carrying and caring for a baby. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which help mama to stay healthy while doing the immense job of providing for the baby inside her. Nettle also gently helps sweep metabolic waste from the blood, which helps keeps it from going to baby. It has a nice green grassy flavor, and I really love it with a little bit of raw local wildflower honey. (Also, nettle helps with seasonal allergies as well, so if you are sneezing and have a runny nose from allergies, try incorporating nettle tea into your daily life.) Nettle tea is one way of supporting myself and my baby through this normal, natural process of pregnancy and childbirth.

I hope you are all enjoying the tail end of summer, soaking up the sun (vitamin D!) and eating all the yummy fruits and veggies that summer has to offer. Much love.

Friday, May 22, 2015

AND WE'RE BACK! News news news!

Hello blog readers! sorry for the extended absence, things have been HAPPENING around here! I took an extended break, since three big things have happened in the last three months... first off, we moved- it was unexpected and not without some heartbreak, but we love love love our new home and the full all day sun we get here! Second, as you might deduce from the photo above... WE'RE HAVING A BABY!!!!! The universe finally decided to make our dreams come true, after three years of not- so- patiently waiting for it to happen. I have been feeling really good, have had some really mild morning sickness here and there, and am a little extra tired (I mean, making a human is hard work) but otherwise I am feeling happy and excited and not stressed at all, which is great- just reveling in the joy of it all. More on this later. Thirdly (I know, that's already a lot of great news) we just got home from spending three weeks in Australia! My bestie/sister from another mister got married on May 2nd, and we went down under for her wedding and to spend time with her and her family, and mucked around the southern coast of Australia for three weeks. It was a magical trip, made more magic by the fact that the three of us went- we joked the whole time that this baby will be a world traveler! This photo was taken on the last day of our trip, May 17th, at Pt. Addis, near Torquay Australia, where we were staying. Needless to say, it has been a full three months!

I will try not to overwhelm you with pregnancy/baby related posts in the next coming months, but I must warn you- I am so excited about this baby, there will probably be mostly baby related stuff on the blog in the near future. Most of you know, as I have always been candid about it, that Jared and I have been trying for a baby for three years (almost to the day), so this is a dream come true. I have worked so hard on my health, and have been feeling so good- mentally and physically strong and healthy- so I feel confident that this pregnancy is going to go smoothly and happily. As I write this, I am nearing 11 weeks. We had an early ultrasound before we left for the trip (my doc just wanted to check on stuff before such a big flight) and we saw the baby's heart beat pounding furiously away- it was the most magical thing I have experienced in my life to date. Doc said everything looked great, healthy, normal, low risk, happy. Yay! We go in for our next check up in 2 weeks, am looking forward to the baby looking more like a human and less like blob (lol).

So stay tuned, and hopefully you will keep reading about our journey into this new phase of our lives. Cheers to all!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Easy, quick, healthy homemade mayo!

Hello blog readers! Today will be a short, easy blog post for you guys, but one that I hope will make you happy. One of the biggest changes I have made to my diet is to completely omit Canola oil from it (and other industrial seed oils: soy, safflower, etc). I am not going to get into the nitty gritty about why Canola oil is particularly bad for you (there is a lot of great, peer reviewed science based literature on the subject out there, this is a good starting point:, but if you are looking to reduce the inflammation in your body (and I bet almost all of you have quite a load of inflammation, even if you don't realize it), removing Canola oil from your pantry is a great way to do so. One of the few things that is hard to find without Canola oil in it is mayo. Now, mayo is a weird thing- I have always pretty much hated it. Hated the taste, the texture- it has just always struck me as really gross. I rarely ate it, and before my health issues and lifestyle changes had the impression that is was bad for you... because fat is across the board bad for you, right? The 80's and 90's were all about low fat, so that is probably where that impression comes from. Now that we realize that low fat is not the way to go (good fat is not the enemy!) and that whole, unprocessed foods are where it's at, homemade mayo has found a place back in my heart. I have experimented with a bunch of different oils for making healthy mayo (avocado, olive oil, hazelnut oil, walnut oil) and my favorite happens to be walnut oil. Not overwhelmingly walnut-y, but gives the mayo a nice nutty depth to it. All of the oils that I have tried are excellent for your health, and if you can find a great light tasting (not extra virgin) olive oil (which I haven't been able to find yet) that is probably your best bet- using normal olive oil will be way too overwhelming. Avocado is a great super duper healthy choice, but may make your mayo slightly green colored!

The first time I tried making homemade mayo, it was an EPIC fail. DO NOT use any recipe that tells you to "add in the oil drip by drip, whisking it in to the egg mixture..." or anything like that- I wasted a lot of good oil trying this, and it seriously does not work. Then one day I was catching up on a blog I like, and ran across this post: ... this was the game changer. I tried his method immediately, and in about 3 minutes had homemade glorious beautiful whipped mayo ready to be devoured! Now I can whip it up anytime I need it, super quick, and it is SO GOOD. Trust me, so good (this from a used-to-be-mayo-hater!). I encourage all of you to give it a try, and if you don't have an immersion blender, go out and buy one because your life in the kitchen will change dramatically with one- they make so much stuff easier to do, and really has been a great tool in making quick healthy homemade meals around here.

So, you should go read Doug's post on this, he talks about why you should not eat Canola oil, and talks about his oil of choice (culinary Argan oil!), but I will put up the method for making mayo here for you too so you have it. Here you are:

What you need:
1 large egg. As fresh as possible, preferably free range and organic.
1 cup oil of choice (avo, walnut, hazelnut, sesame, almond, light tasting olive oil, etc- no industrial seed oils!)
Juice of half an organic lemon
Pinch of sea salt (Himalayan, Celtic, etc)
Mason jar (it will move up the side as the mayo blends so make sure you have a big enough one)
Immersion blender

How to do it:
Crack the egg into the mason jar.
Add the lemon juice and the salt.
Add the oil. Let the egg/oil settle for a bit, you want the egg at the bottom, nice and happy.
Insert the immersion blender all the way to the bottom.
Run the immersion blender without moving it, keeping it on the bottom, for 20 seconds. Seriously. Don't move it, it's that important. You will start to see it all whip together, and move up the sides of the jar. After the 20 seconds, it should be pretty much all emulsified, and look like mayo. I like to give it a good whir while moving the immersion blender around, to make sure everything got nice and whipped up together.

And that's it. You now have beautiful, homemade mayo. You rock.

You never have to buy weird "shelf stable" (read: preservative laden) bad for you mayo ever again.

If you have concerns about eating raw eggs (I don't, we raise our own chickens and I know how healthy they are- eating raw eggs yolks is a great way to get easily assimilated nutrients) I understand, but since we live in a world where you can get salmonella from peanut butter and lettuce,  I don't worry about it- buy the best quality eggs possible, always, for your health and the health of the chickens producing them. Also, all store bought mayo that is not vegan mayo (don't ever eat that, don't even get me started) has raw eggs in it, so... 

Please try it and let me know what you think. I could never go back to store bought mayo, and I hope once you taste the fresh yummy taste of your own homemade mayo you won't go back either.

I have gotten creative lately and just made a batch of herbed mayo, by adding a handful of dill/parsley/chives to the mayo and blended it- it is delish! Feel free to add garlic, mustard, herbs, anything that sounds good to make real "flavored" mayo!
Cheers to your health! let me know if you try the recipe and what you think!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year readers! As you could tell, I took some time off over the holidays to relax and write elsewhere (not online), and after a nice quiet Christmas and New Year, I'm back and ready to blog! The new year is an interesting time, full of hope and anticipation... I love everyone's resolve to treat themselves better in the coming year, be it through food or exercise or yoga or meditation... but, I actually personally dislike New Year's resolutions, especially huge ones that are easy to set up and hard to follow through on. I am such a fan of baby steps, steps that you can manage every day without feeling overwhelmed. The beauty of small steps is that they add up to big changes, especially as you follow through and feel better and then make more life changing baby steps! I have been mulling over where I am in my life lately, and saw a quote the other day that really hit me, it really said exactly what I have been feeling lately- "2013 was practice, 2014 was the warm up, and 2015 is game time." That is EXACTLY how I have been feeling about the upcoming year- I feel an energy and hope that I haven't felt in the beginning of the last few years. I am looking at this from a health perspective- I hit my lowest in terms of my mental and physical health in the spring of 2012, and have been slowly rebuilding myself every since. In summer of 2012, I started therapy and cut out gluten, which was the beginning (baby steps!) and each year my health and wellness has gained momentum. 2013 was about figuring it out- figuring out what I needed to keep myself healthy. 2014 was about fine tuning it- really checking in to the smaller signs my body was giving me, guiding me further towards a happier healthier me. And now, I really feel like 2015 is the year where I am going to start reaping some of the rewards of all that work. I feel better then I have ever felt in my life these days- I was able to manage the holidays (which can be tumultuous for those of us with alcoholic and mentally unstable family members) with grace and actual enjoyment (no stress hives! woo hoo!) and really feel like I have fine tuned my diet to be the most energy giving, nourishing diet for me. Those two things, stress management and a super nourishing diet, are the foundation for keeping me sane and healthy. The other day, someone mentioned the pink color in my cheeks, and I was so happy because I wasn't wearing blush! That was just my body finally getting some energy and vitality back, which feels like a huge victory. You guys know I can be a little out there ("woo woo" as I like to say), so here is a good "woo woo" Steph moment for you- lately I have been seeing a vision of the last few years and this year: 2013 was a white flower, fragile but alive. 2014 was a pink flower, more life and color to it. 2015 is a magenta flower, bursting with love and life. This year is a bright magenta peony (hence the photo above), bright and vibrant, sitting right in front of us. My resolutions this year (little ones) are all about continuing the upswing: moving my body every day (whatever that may be: running around with the dog or bouncing on the trampoline for a few minutes, to a full blown all day hike or bike ride), continuing to put the best most nourishing food possible into my tummy, and seeing the beauty and gratitude in the everyday, and letting the universe know how thankful I am for it all. Those little things are going to add up to a wonderful year, I think. What are you doing to make changes in your life this beginning of the year?

Wishing you all a big bright pink flower of love as we begin this bright fresh new year!