Friday, January 29, 2010

It's a sad day...

I love love me some Peet's. I especially love my Dimond Peet's. BUT.... poor Sadie was super fussy all evening. Was she hungry? Tired? We couldn't pinpoint it. She wouldn't sleep, but would wail when we tried to put her down. She ate when it was offered (of course), but her heart wasn't in it. What was up with my little pobrecita? Hmmm.. I remembered that I drank some yummy coffee from Peet's yesterday morning and I couldn't sleep last night because of it (after not drinking coffee during pregnancy, I've lost my Peet's caffeine tolerance). But why would Sadie be acting up tonight? Then I remembered that I had pumped yesterday after we got home from Peet's, and that she had that pumped milk on several occasions today. Peet's milk. Poor Sadie, I tainted her milk and gave her a caffeine buzz! Thankfully, she finally fell asleep after 4 hours of wakefulness, so hopefully the caffeine is out of her system. I guess it is decaf for me for a while...sad, it just won't be the same!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sans Pacifier

Sadie refuses the bottle (we're working on this!) and pacifier, but has taken to sucking her hand. I suppose she isn't a fan of sucking on foreign plastic objects. Like mother, like daughter. I sucked my thumb as a baby/toddler. She would prefer to suck her hand through some sort of cloth--her sleeve, swaddle, or burp cloth. Here's video of her being cute, and a couple with her comically sucking. It cracks Mark and me up.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Why I Love Oakland

Oakland gets a tremendously bad rap with all its crime, murders, and drug dealing. But its a city, and cities have all that unfortunate stuff (yes, even sf). I grew up in Pleasanton, east of Oakland in the burbs. Back then we all shuddered at the thought of visiting Oakland-- thinking it was "like so ghetto." Trish and I went to a wrestling tournament in high school, got lost on our way, and had to get off the freeway and turn around in Oakland. I remember being overcome with fear. Now that I know Oakland I think we were very very silly! (btw: we got off at Park Blvd, a very nice neighborhood bordering Piedmont.)

So many Oakland families choose to have their babies at Kaiser Walnut Creek instead if Kaiser Oakland-- Kaiser Oakland is a teaching hospital and WC has midwives. We had to make the choice too. Silly as it is, I wanted Sadie's birth certificate to read that she was born in Oakland. I have some tremendous Oakland pride, and here are some reasons why:

1. Diversity- in ideas, people, neighborhoods, etc...
2. The down-to-earth people
3. Lots of parks and hiking/walking opportunities! Joaquin Miller, Sausel Creek, Lake Merritt, Lake Temescal, Dimond Park, Tilden, Roberts Park, etc...
4. The Neighborhoods: Dimond (my hood), East Oakland, Lake Merritt area, Glenview, Temescal, Lakeshore, Montclair, Fruitvale...these are some of my hangouts
5. The food: Bakesale Betties, Peet's, Full House, Pizzaiolo, Fentons, Taco Trucks on International, Barney's, Cafe 504, so much more....
6. Shopping: Urban Indigo, Farmer Joe's, Son Hop Fat, A Great Good Place for Books, Someone's in the Kitchen, The Tulip Grove. We have very few big box stores.
7. The Flats and The Hills
8. People I love-- family and friends.
9. Perfect weather! The suburbs get too hot, and sf is way too cold year-round. Oakland is just right!
10. And let's be honest, it's just bad a** to say you live in Oakland!

The list can go on and on...

If you're native here- why do you like The Town?
*thx for the fun shirt seth and joelle!

Monday, January 25, 2010


It's Monday morning, and it's still quite rainy in Oakland. I was hoping to take a trip to Peet's with Sadie today. Let's see if the sun comes out to make that possible!

Sadie: 10 weeks

Sadie has been a joy in the last week! She's becoming so alert, taken to her bedtime routine of storytime-- engaging with the book as we read, and awake a lot more: cooing, "looking", and snuggling. Here are some videos from the weekend:

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Upcoming Mayoral Election in the O

Oakland's current mayor, Ron Dellums, is essentially non-existent. He did get a lot of press during the presidential primaries--he travelled the state rallying for Hillary. That move ruffled my feathers! How could he make himself so available for a national election, and neglect to actively run his own city? He seems like a good guy, but well past his prime. He was a state representative in the House, and did some good then. Well into his 70's now, he has no game. Oakland is not a rest stop on your way to retirement, Mr. Dellums. This is a busy turbulent city, rife with issues--and needs dramatic reform in many arenas. Why did we elect a respected but depleted and tired mayor? Let's not ask him back, Oakland.
That brings me to the upcoming election. My district's councilwoman, Jean Quan, the underdog in the June election will be battling Don Perata, known dirty-dealer and termed-out member of the CA state senate. He's been embroiled in controversy for the past 10 years. He's never been indicted, but he's plenty scummy. As you can see, I'm not a big fan of Perata. I hope Jean Quan wins. It's a looooong shot. She's very active in the community, a real grass-roots leader. Will Oakland be brazen enough to hire its first female mayor? Someone who's not a career state politician, but knows and is committed to local issues? We shall see...
For little Sadie's future, I hope it's Quan!


Here's a link to a Chronicle article on the race:

Friday, January 22, 2010

In Remembrance...

Sadie received a package today from her Great Aunt Audrey and Uncle Bill. The gift was touching. Sadie's middle name pays homage to her great grandmother, Fern Stanton. Because of this-- Audrey sent Sadie a corduroy jumper that my grandmother made for Audrey's oldest when she was first born. Audrey remarked about the dress: "May it take on new life with the next generation." Indeed it will.
Sadie at 2 months
Red Jumper made by Great Grandmother Fern:

white tiger, white tiger, burning bright: a guest book review

"To hell with the Naxals and their guns shipped from China. If you taught every poor boy how to paint, that would be the end of the rich in India."

One day over winter break Rebecca, Sadie, and I stopped at a cafe by Lake Merrit, and much to my dismay I discovered that Rebecca had brought along the book she was reading, A Gate at the Stairs. I had brought nothing. Sadie was sleeping, so I couldn't play with her. I tried reading Rebecca's book upside down from across the table, but was making slow progress. The cafe didn't stock East Bay Express, so I was out of luck. After browsing a catalog from Ritual Roasters, I decided that I needed a book too! So on the way back to the car we stopped at the library and I picked up Aravind Adiga's novel White Tiger, about a murderous outsourcing entrepreneur from Bangalore, India.

With nods to Ellison's Invisible Man, Adiga creates a narrator whose life story transverses a cross-section of his society--and the portrayal of this society is not flattering. While not Adiga's book is not as epic in scope, both books feature characters from their society's underclasses, who at first blindly embrace their place in the power structure, but then learn to subvert that power, using it against itself, before eventually retreating into hiding. Adiga's narrator is at times wickedly hilarious, and at times ruthless as he portrays the complexities of master-servant class relationships, contrasts urban and rural life in India, and takes on Indian political corruption. Most of all Adiga casts India as a society in flux, at once ancient and modern, both provincial and global. But none of this social commentary ever reads like a polemic; it doesn't slow down the pace of the story, nor does it overshadow the novel's vibrant narrator.

And my daughter, Sadie, liked the contrast of the black and white letters on the book's cover.

Monday, January 18, 2010

It's Raining...

It's pouring here in Oakland. We snuggled in bed as long as possible to beat the chill. (Mark has off for the MLK school holiday.) Sadie is becoming very smiley and a little chatterbox. Interacting with her has become such a treat. Here's a video clip from the weekend:

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Gate at the Stairs, by Lorrie Moore

I just finished reading this book today. I decided I'm going to review all the books I read this year. So, if you're my father-in-law or my husband don't read this post (or do). I just want to give you fair warning, so as not to spoil the reading for you. I'll try not to give too much away.

This book is good. I sought it out because in was on the NY Times 2009 Top Ten Books of the Year list. It is a book for the times--dealing with everything from the slow food movement to fertility and race issues to terrorism (and more). It addresses these current issues indirectly, ingrained into the everyday. The protagonist and narrator is a young female college student in the fictional Troy, Wisconsin. If you're familiar with WI-- Troy, "the Athens of the Midwest", represents Madison, the writer's hometown. Troy is as Madison, a reef of liberalism in a sea of country living. I love Moore's writing; she creates metaphors that are surprising, yet make sense. This modern novel deals with the hardships and reality of love (or in some instances the idea of love)- passionate love, maternal love, brotherly love, and friendship. Many of the characters Moore creates have nicknames or pseudonyms. These, to me, serve as a way to hide. Her characters immerse themselves in the affairs of modern culture, hiding themselves from those universal pains that find us all, eventually.

A must read.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Big Baby!

I took Sadie to her two month check-up yesterday. While having a delicate head (the doctor's words), the rest of her is quite big. She weighed in at 12 lbs 1 oz (80th percentile) and is 24 in long (95th percentile). That's good. It means she's a hearty eater. That also means that she's grown out of her 0-3 month clothes at 2 months. My big baby!

Mark thinks I shouldn't discuss her percentiles--that it encourages our comparative and competitive culture. Does comparing baby weight and height percentiles evolve into parents comparing test scores or other capabilities? I think not. For me to hear that my daughter is in the 95 height percentile is laughable-- I'm so short! And, if I didn't hear that percentile--I'd have no clue that she's longer than most. Also, I don't feel there's any harm in sharing that with others. Sharing your child's test scores? I think that is inappropriate.

Well, here's to Sadie! That she continues to grow up to be a healthy girl!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Small Moments

I just peeked in at Sadie napping. She had quieted down, so I assumed she had fallen asleep. But to my delight, she was wondering up at her butterfly mobile -- laughing and smiling. Being a mom has some precious moments.

Monday, January 11, 2010


On Friday Mark, Sadie and I went up to visit the Pike Family in Mariposa (near Yosemite). This was Sadie's first road trip, and she did rather well. However, I don't think she's a fan of driving at night. The shadows and bright lights dancing around the interior of the car seemed to scare her. She was pacified when I turned the overhead light on-- she stared intently at me for the remainder of the trip home. Pobrecita.
We took a lovely 2-hour walk along the Merced River on Saturday morning. Sadie enjoyed the walk strapped to dad in a Baby Bjorn. She got fussy when dad stopped; she loves any kind of movement (being in the car, her swing, when we jiggle her). I enjoyed chatting with Katie and Pat, holding Tyler's (3 yrs) hand as he chucked big rocks into the river, and watching Sophie (13 months) climb over the rocky terrain to reach the water's edge (she's a little dare devil!).
Mark and I look forward to bringing Sadie on more trips to Mariposa. The chickens and horses to marvel at, creeks to romp in, friends to play with--- what more could you want as a child?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Non Sequitor

This is a blog post of randomness...just pictures from the past couple days:
Chillin' on mom's lap this morning. Sadie's super happy time is right when she wakes up in the morning. She's already wearing clothes for 3-6 months, my big girl!

Mark made dinner Monday night--Donna Hay's chicken, pancetta, and mushroom stew--pure delight! Below: Emergency need for sweets resulted in bananas topped with melted chocolate, pb, pecans, and cool whip. I learned from my mom that anything with melted pb and chocolate can be divine!

For Christmas, Aaron made Sadie a shirt. Isn't she the cutest? I love the Oakland tree motif.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Books of 2009

So, I did some voracious reading for a couple months in 2009, but completely slacked the last 2 months--with fiction at least. I read many baby books right before and after Sadie was born, or bits and pieces of them anyhow. This list just includes fiction books- none of the professional, cooking, children's or baby books I read this year. They are ranked in descending order...[btw, to be completely honest, I didn't completely finish 2 of the books...]

#15 Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell
This is non-fiction. Maybe that's why it was my least favorite book of the year? Sarah Vowell is super funny, usually.

#14 Say Your One of Them by Uwen Akpan
I didn't finish this book, but read two of the short stories. Honestly, it's a really well-written, and moving and book--but so depressingly hard to read. It made me very sad. I like painful stories that have some redemption--these stories were just pain-filled. I wish I could be more open and embrace this book, but it was too hard to keep reading. But: Oprah likes it!
#13 Lush Life by Richard Price
Richard Price was a writer for my all-time favorite TV show--The Wire, so I thought I'd love this book. It was good, not amazing. I forced myself to finish this so-so police drama. I wasn't into the characters or plot, at all.

#12 Octavian Nothing by M. T. Anderson
This is a very intriguing book written for the young adult crowd. I'm more than half-way through, and I'll finish it for book club in February. It got a little dull midway- so I put it down and Mark picked it up. It's set in Boston right before/during the Revolutionary War. Octavian Nothing, a young slave and science specimen, is the main character-- doesn't that name leave you wanting more? The plot is interesting, vocabulary fascinating, and Mark says it gets better towards the end. We shall see...

#11 Continental Drift by Russell Banks
I like Banks, so I picked up this book. Good, but it drags on and on.

#10 Waiting by Ha Jin
This woman waits forever to marry a married man. Does her patience win? I liked it well enough, but it was pretty sad at times. I picked it up for a quarter at the library. I love to buy books there on the cheap!

#9 An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by PD James
PD James is a go-to author for me. I love that she is well into her eighties, and still write absorbing mysteries. This was a different book for James-- it wasn't apart of her Adam Dagleish detective series. He makes an appearance in the book, but it stars Cordelia Gray, a young private investigator. I liked it, but I always like PD James.

#8 The Black Tower by PD James
I was mad as I read this book. Dagleish, a murder detective, is the main character. He's been confronted with series of deaths while on vacation, but can't go about solving them in the regular manner (because he's on holiday, of course!). I miss Kate, his partner, and all the to-do when the Yard gets involved. I liked it in the end because James plays with your mind so fabulously!

#7 Hanna's Daughters by Marrianne Fredriksson
This was recommended by my friend Kaaren. This book was set on the Swedish/Norwegian border. It follows three generations of women and show how each is affected by their family and the culture around them. The character sare beautifully crafted: real. It's simple, warm, and heart-wrenching at times. This book makes me think of this biblical adage--The sins of your fathers will be passed down to you.

#6 The Likeness by Tara French
A good mystery.

#5 The Lazarus Project by Aleksander Hemon
Just finished this tonight. It took me a while to get through. Hemon has mostly written short stories, and while this is a novel, it feel like many short stories connected by a loose narrative. The stories are good, and the writing is good. You're not propelled through the book, but you stroll through the book, enjoying the ride. This book has two narratives: 1) One modern-day Bosnian writer living in Chicago is researching his book, 2) An immigrant to Chicago (and possible anarchist), Lazarus, was murdered by the Chief of Police. It's good, check it out.

#4 The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon
What if the Jews has settled in Sitka, Alaska? This was a fun book to read. It was drawn-out and complicated towards the end. But overall, I really enjoyed it.

#3 The Private Patient by PD James
PD James never fails to entertain. I was absorbed in this book, and read it quickly. I love the way she writes.
#2 Into the Woods by Tara French
To tell you the truth, I initially read the book jacket on this one because the cover was so graphically appealing. This is another mystery, a double murder mystery. She's a new Irish author, and I really enjoyed this book.

#1 City of Thieves by David Benioff
After I read this book, I couldn't stop raving about it. Read it, it's good.

Let me know if you've read any of these...and agree or disagree with my ranking. I found that it was a lot harder to write about the books that I liked more... I wonder why that is. Also, what do you recommend I read this year?

A No Good, Very Bad Day

Sadie has been sick all day, again. She has a blasted cold- we think. She was crying all morning- only happy if held or positioned vertically. She's back to our happy baby tonight- but is definitely congested. It's so hard to be a parent, to watch your baby wail in pain, and to only be able to offer nose aspiration and the humidifier as help. She's a precious one, and I hope she recovers soon.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ticket to Ride

Aaron and my mom came over tonight---we had a fun night playing Ticket to Ride, Aaron's new game. Meanwhile, Sadie slept. To make things even better, we ate Chinese take-out and had No Bakes (Yumminess). We played 3x because we were all obsessed with winning at least once (except my mom, of course). I guess I'm a little nerd- I like games so much! Are there any other good games out there that you suggest we play? We're big Catan fans, and always enjoy a good game of Scrabble too!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Pocket Diapers and Such

It's past 10:30pm already, and I really should high-tail it to bed (Where did high-tail it originate from anyway?). Sadie has been asleep since 8:15pm...I need to sleep when she sleeps to ensure that I'm sleeping. But...we have some exciting news to share! Little miss has graduated from disposables (don't fear--they were earth-friendly) to pocket diapers!

Pocket diapers? you may wonder...

Pocket diapers are the clever marriage of disposables and cloth. You buy a set of 20-30 diapers and you can use them again and again, child after child (washing them after each soil of course!). They are cloth diapers with an absorbent fleece lining, and have an exterior cover that stops seepage. They also have either nifty snaps or Velcro closures for convenience (no bothersome pins!). We bought a little less than 30 diapers in all--half Fuzzibunz and half BumGenius. I'll keep you up-to-date on how life with the pocket diapers go. So far, we've had some leaking issues, but (I think) that was solved with slight adjustments. The best thing about these pocket diapers is that they give your baby the biggest, softest tush!

Okay, now I must be off to bed!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Helicopter Parenting

I love this video of Sadie with her new BFF Katherine. Katherine is two weeks old today; her parents are our good friends Anne and Lon. So, as any good helicopter parent (overprotective and stifling), I've decided that Kate and Sadie will be Best Friends Forever. The girls were born about 5 weeks apart and live less than a mile apart. They have proximity in age and home location working for them- as well as the obvious benefit of sharing a gender. I get excited to think that they could be classmates at Glenview Elementary together-- how fun would that be?I'll keep you posted on how their friendship develops. But I'm pretty sure it's going to be a keeper.

Cheers! Happy New Years! May it be a year full of good times with dear friends!