Diego is 1 month old!

The nap/nursing baby, currently attached to me, turned 1 month old on Wednesday! Hooray! 

Diego Antonio is still a tiny little peanut, with the cutest puppy-dog expressions (the furrowed brow and pursed lips–while fast asleep–are too much) and he’s still very much a newborn.

Since I’ve been basically cataloging our every move, every week, in this little journal, not too much to add, but some random thoughts on life with a one-month old:

Mornings with Diego are the best. Nights are rough, some better than others, but when the sun is up and he is sleeping away, David and I just stare at him, in total wonder.

He’s still so small and new, so obviously, the day is basically an eat-clean-sleep-repeat cycle, but when he’s awake, he (usually) loves music and dancing.  So far, it seems to calm him down and capture his attention unlike anything else.  He’s partial to Chance the Rapper’s All Night (David’s favorite song for Diego-dancing), and Coldplay’s Something Just like This (my Diego dance song-LOVE it).

We try to go for a walk every day in the afternoon. Generally, by that time, we’re both a bit fussy, and it seems to lift our spirits.  Well, Diego just goes to sleep, but I feel much better after some fresh air!

(Diego: 1, Puffin-name-TBD: 0)

Very grateful for this first month, and immensely grateful for all the time we get together. Happy Passover and Easter weekend!

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Great idea for caregivers

One of the best parts of living in DC (and something I miss) is the lunch-time lectures hosted by various think-tanks and universities.  There’s always something interesting happening, somewhere to go and learn.  Several years ago, the Center for American Progress hosted a conversation with Jane Gross, a reporter for the New York Times. I immediately RSVP-d (and not just because the CAP lectures always had good sandwiches-the fancy kind, with crisp, fresh veggies).  I’d recently finished Jane Gross’ A Bittersweet Season and was a huge fan of her blog on aging, The New Old Age.

In her book, and during the lunch conversation, she highlighted the startling lack of support our society provides to caregivers.  Beyond our abysmal federal protections, void of any paid leave support, even in our families and communities, we frequently fail caregivers.  While aging and caregiving is a part of the natural life-cycle, it is largely ignored  in a way that other life-cycle moments are not.  When someone gets married, or has a child, tradition dictates a joyous response from the community: throwing showers, providing advice, helping the couple prepare for their new role.  In her book, Jane Gross points out that there’s no equivalent for caregivers.  When someone has to take weeks or months off of work to care for a loved one, they are lucky if they get the time covered–and there’s definitely no “shower” equivalent, no tradition of a community rallying to fortify the caregiver with the tools and essentials needed for the new challenge.

I’ve thought about this a lot over the years (and many other thoughtful observations Jane Gross writes about in the book–seriously, highly recommend it!).  And so, I was particularly excited to see this brilliant idea from the UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program: a caregiver bootcamp. According to the press release, in the program: “Participants learn everything from how to prevent falls to how to calm a patient when they’re confused or agitated. The boot camp gives caregivers the best tools to manage their role, which can quickly become emotionally and physically taxing.”

Of COURSE UCLA would come up with such a clever program :) While much more is needed to support caregivers, this idea seems like a very important start. (Note: TBH, I don’t love the term “bootcamp” for something like this…and the headline’s use of the phrase “forced to take on caregiving” makes me a bit uncomfortable…..but tomato, tomato, it’s a great concept and definitely a step in the right direction!).

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Grand Designs

Wondering how much individual media consumption has changed post-election. Guessing I’m not alone in experiencing a significant media and TV habit-shift. Post-election, in an effort to retain sanity, I bounced on-and-off Twitter and FB and FINALLY subscribed to a printed newspaper (NYT, though the Washington Post’s coverage has been super impressive, love their new slogan).

TV-wise, I’ve deliberately slipped into a bubble. Even before the election, nerves already jumpy, I started avoiding shows with “scary” or “stressful” premises. This basically eliminated most thoughtful television. Post-election, I didn’t just want to avoid stress, I needed a distraction, total bubblegum TV to help (momentarily) forget about the concerning reality. 

And what’s the bubble-gummiest TV there is?


Basically, since November, if I’m watching TV, it’s House Hunters or Fixer Upper. Consumption really picked up in the last few weeks of pregnancy, as we waited around for Diego’s arrival.

Anyway-all this to say, thanks to Netflix, there’s (FINALLY) a new show on rotation in our house: Grand Designs.

It’s SO GOOD. Like, good enough that I feel the need to document it in this little journal.

I read about it in the LA Times and was immediately intrigued: one of the most popular and longest running property shows in the UK, Grand Designs profiles: “a unique home-build or renovation from start to finish — however long that might take, whether a few months or many years…the common thread is ambition.”

As someone who loves-and surprisingly never grows bored of-House Hunters and Fixer Upper, it’s surprising how much better Grand Designs is. The determination of the homebuilders, the creativity in the design, te sheer British-ness of it. And this element:

“The show has much more genuine tension than you’d find in a comparable American series, maybe because the British aren’t so cursed with relentless optimism.”

Anyway, highly recommend it!

Photos via here and here.

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4 weeks-Spring Break Ed.

Happy Monday! Last week was pretty special because we had an all-star visitor:

My mom! Hooray!! Thanks to her Spring Break, she was able to spend the whole week with us, hanging with Diego and helping us out.  It was wonderful. I kept toasting to Spring Break because it seriously felt like a bit of a vacation-she made the week so nice.

I’ve always loved Southwest Magazine-reading it is one of the best parts of the best airline-and when Brad joined them, I think the magazine got even better.  My mom brought her copy with her, as the issue was particularly timely.  I read the 6 articles during a 3:00 a.m. feeding and found them all insightful and reassuring.  It was nice to read something about babies off-my phone and not in a heavy-handed parenting book.

My mom is pulling a Julie and Julia and working her way through Ina Garten’s latest cookbook.  We’re very happy guinea pigs! She made incredible brisketchipotle popcornavocado saladfilet with mustard and mushrooms, and many delicious breakfasts and pasta dinners.  See what I mean about feeling like a vacation?

And another perk-getting out of town! We met up with my mom’s best friend Holly for lunch in Benicia at First Street Cafe (I’ve been thinking about their scones since December).  I’ve known Holly since I was very little and introducing her to Diego felt like family-a very special afternoon.

Another first from the week-our first evening out alone.  Mom offered to watch Diego, so Tuesday night we headed out on the town, just the two of us…..to a City Council meeting! Ha.  The council was voting on an important issue and David and I both wanted to weigh in, so off we went.  Thankfully, it was a great night for the city, and a productive and efficient meeting.  We were back home with Diego after a few hours :)

Friday afternoon we visited David in his office and introduced Diego to his colleagues.  PS-baby socks? Is our kid just super tiny or are they a lost cause? The socks never stay on!

After the office tour, we enjoyed sliders and beer at Cast Iron for lunch. One of two Cast Iron visits last week.

And on Saturday, we went right back to the Belding Building to celebrate the opening of Channel Brewing Company :) 

Soon it was time for Spring Break to end and my mom flew back to Irvine.  Man, I wish Irvine and Stockton were a short drive away. Last night Diego was….fussy.  Fussy is a nice way to put it. Anyway, it was a looooooong night.  This morning, as we’re racking our sleep-deprived brains trying to figure out what happened to our sweet, nap-happy child (growth spurt? sleep regression? Regressing from what-he’s only four weeks old!), David goes, “I don’t know, maybe he misses his grandma?” So, maybe that’s it? We all wish spring break lasted longer!

Sunday marked 4 weeks since we went to the hospital to deliver Diego.  This whole time thing is nutty-it feels like way longer, way shorter, all the cliches.  It was time to take the Welcome Home sign off, so we took one last picture )

And yesterday, we introduced Diego to brunch! Cast Iron opened for brunch for the first time, and it was a hit. Long lines, happy customers.  David and I don’t usually go out for brunch, but this brunch was WORTH IT. Creative, delicious, and a happy environment (still thinking about the ricotta pancakes…)

Sending good thoughts for the week ahead :)


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Three weeks

Taking a moment during a late night feeding to remember some happy moments and other firsts from Diego’s third week :)

Mamaroo swing. Recently read some great advice on a minimalism blog about controlling the accumulation of stuff: avoid about searching for unicorns to solve a temporary problem. The author noted how vulnerable new parents succumb to purchasing pointless stuff, hoping it cures the moment’s stress/discomfort.

I totally get it. But sometimes a unicorn is a unicorn and it is MAGIC. And it’s name is the Mamaroo. After avoiding buying a swing, and trying to make-do with the many other baby contraptions we’re fortunate to own, we bit the bullet and bought the swing (above). It was heavily discounted at a neighborhood consignment store and SO WORTH IT. Anyway, that happy discovery, and its “car ride” stimulation feature were certainly a highlight this week.

Daylight savings. Diego was born on Daylight Savings Day (is that what it’s called?). This created some confusion during labor, in the sense that I never knew the correct time. The passage of time is already so bizarre during labor, but the clocks in the L&D room were all over the place that Sunday. Anyway, now I’m super grateful for Daylight Savings. It’s been so nice to go for walks in the early evenings and feel the sunshine.

This tiny advocate! And the adorable onesie from my colleagues. I just love how he looks like he’s fired up and ready to go :)

Baby-wearing and more walks-Experienced a few firsts this week. David and I both used the Bjorn for the first time-he on a walk, and I tried it on my first solo-outing with Diego. I met up with a friend for coffee and Diego slept cozily in the Bjorn the whole time. In another coffee-related first, another morning I walked to Starbucks all by myself. It’s strange how monumental that felt/still feels, given its simplicity. 

This face! Prior to Diego’s arrival, I’d spent all of 4 hours with newborns in my life. Pretty clueless. I had no idea how expressive they can be! Awed by all his faces and reactions.

These two, working hard. I’ll spare the internet my super cheesy, heart-melting reaction to seeing seeing David as an (INCREDIBLY AWESOME) dad, but do want to remember how special it is. (So, so special). Also, ha! Note the 2007 (!!!) UCLA Dance Marathon shirt. 

Amazing Angelica. Speaking of 2007, when David and I first started dating, I had no idea that 10 years later his wonderful aunt would deliver our baby. It was incredibly special to be in the care of family during delivery, but even better because Angelica is literally the BEST nurse. Don’t know how else to say it-she’s a pro and expertly cared for me the whole time. She held my hand during the epidural insertion, did everything she could to help me and Diego through the contractions, and when it became clear the C Section was necessary, kept me as calm as possible and kept the OR running smoothly (she’s the supervising nurse). I’m forever grateful. Friday night we all hung out to celebrate Ava’s 11th birthday!

Going out to dinner. We ventured out of Stockton for the first time and met up with my parents for dinner in Sacramento. My dad was in town for work and we all went to dinner at Cafeteria. It felt so good to be at a restaurant, and very special to be together. 

Family time. While I wish Stockton and Irvine were a short drive away, I’m grateful that we’re at least all in the same state, separated by a short Southwest flight. Very grateful Diego got some grandparent time this weekend-always wish there was more time, but grateful for the visit. 

And now, the start of another week! Sending good thoughts :)

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