Pregnancy Wellness: My week in lunches

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“My week in lunches”…might be the most pregnant thing I’ve ever said.

My lap top is teetering atop the growing mountain of a belly I’ve got going on. At 32 weeks, it’s getting pretty big and makes a nice spot for my lap top to rest on while typing this. I thought since food is a big part of my life right now (and in general) that I’d document some of the meals I’ve been preparing and eating for lunch lately. My diet hasn’t changed all that much since growing a little human except for making sure I load up on iron-rich foods and healthy fats, while avoiding certain iffy bacteria-harboring foods. Pregnancy only really requires 300 or so additional calories a day, so that whole “eating for two” thing is a myth. Really it’s making sure you’re getting enough vitamins and nutrients for two. I’ve found that sticking to a natural, whole food based diet with meals that are prepared simply makes me feel the best both physically and mentally. Everything in moderation though. Because, beignets. And brioche french toast. And parmesan truffle fries.

Monday
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Avocado and tuna salad on sourdough with a side of spinach and kale, along with a daily prenatal vitamin + dHA supplement. Passionfruit La Croix to drink. I also ate a handful of chopped dates like a caveman after foraging in the cabinet for something sweet afterwards. I’m not big on eating tuna because they aren’t a very sustainable option. Their life cycles are long, meaning they don’t reach maturity until later in life and get overfished quickly. When I do eat tuna, I look for skipjack or albacore that’s pole caught (it says on the label) since those fisheries are doing the best. Seafood Watch offers a good guide for eating fish sustainably. Hops down off soap box

Tuesday
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Kale and heirloom tomato pizza with pesto and smoked mozzarella on a rice crust, left over from his and hers pizzas we made for dinner last night. Prenatal vitamin + dHA supplement. Lemon ice water and a green smoothie to drink. I like having a green smoothie or juice every morning, but was in a rush and didn’t have time to make one this morning so I had one at lunch. This one is spinach, kale, apple, coconut water and chia seeds blended on the juice setting of our Blendtec.

Wednesday
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Thai pumpkin curry with coconut rice, leftover from dinner we made last night. Slices of fresh mango, and juice made with beets, apple, carrot, lemon and ginger. Prenatal vitamin + dHA supplement.

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Today we had a doctor’s appointment to check on little human and went out for a late breakfast/early lunch afterwards at Grand Lake Kitchen. I got the french toast with strawberries and Trey had a turkey sando as big as his head. Prenatal vitamin + dHA supplement.

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I beelined it to Roam Burgers after lap swim today for a beet, quinoa and black bean veggie burger with avocado and a side of sweet potato fries. It’s probably my favorite veggie burger in the Bay although there are lots of good contenders around here. To me, this is summer in burger form – so good! Prenatal vitamin + dHA supplement.

Baton Class, 1992

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There I was, 6 years old standing shoulder to shoulder among a row of girls stretched across the half court line of an elementary school basketball court. It was early summer 1992 and I waited on my mark, baton in hand, sparkly leotard on, large bouffant hair bow on the top of my head. The music came on, signaling the start of the routine to C&C Factory’s Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now). The instructor motioned for us to begin and we started walking towards her, twirling our batons to the music.

And just like that I was transported to another place.

I wasn’t twirling a shiny baton with ribboned ends in a stifling hot gymnasium among a group of female peers. I was warding off bad guys in some back ally with my bow staff like my rat sensei had taught me as Donatello, the purple Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. As the other girls proceeded in synchronized fashion to the other end of the court, I fell behind, voluntarily, too entranced in my own personal ninja pursuits. The music stopped and one by one the trophies were handed out to everyone in the class who completed the routine. If you received a trophy, you were pretty much guaranteed to be a shoo-in for the small town’s 4th of July parade (dream big). The instructor thanked everyone for coming and I made my way over to my mom on the side lines without a trophy. I wasn’t upset about it. I didn’t need some trophy to tell me how awesome I was at twirling a stick. My mother (a baton veteran herself) on the other hand, was fuming. She approached the instructor and insisted I be able to try again so I could get a trophy just like all the other little girls in the class and qualify for the town’s parade. The instructor obliged and rewinded the tape as I reluctantly took my mark in the middle of the gymnasium, alone this time. From the sidelines my mother pointed to her mouth, gesturing for me to “smile!” with accompanying jazz hands. The other girls and their mothers sat criss-crossed on the sidelines with their trophies, staring back at me. The instructor pressed play on the tape, cueing the start of the routine, and I, Donatello, stood frozen alone on the court for 30 seconds before finally returning to my mission of fending off bad guys and restoring peace to the city with blunt, swift swipes of my bow staff. I went home without a trophy that day and never made it to the parade.

It’s funny, when you’re about to have a kid of your own, you start thinking about what you and your partner were like as kids and compare stories. Trey has a good one about him playing the Wham Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go instrumental preset on the family keyboard while “porky piggin” it (wearing a shirt and nothing else). I try not to have any expectations for our little human, but sometimes I secretly hope we have a free spirited Donatello or Wham nudie on our hands.

Illustration by Trey.

Things for a little human

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We live in a little house. One bedroom, one bathroom, nil closet space. Technically there is a bedroom and bathroom downstairs, but it’s separate from the house and is more of a basement/something you’d expect to tunnel you through to the Upside Down in Stranger Things than actually want to spend much time in. Space in and around San Francisco is limited, and our house is no exception. All in all, we live in about 700 sqft. The back yard is spacious with trees and a creek and greenhouse – the house is tiny. I think that’s actually what the Craigslist ad said when we were moving in. I like to joke to Trey “I’ll be in my office” and then go work in the greenhouse (or now – the sunroom). We like living relatively minimal. We just bought a portable air conditioner for the house after living without one (it stays pretty cool on the coast) for the 7 years we’ve lived in California. We also recently just got a microwave and toaster, and this is the first place in California we’ve lived that has a dishwasher, washer/dryer, yard, and drive way of its own!

When we first moved to San Francisco, I met a mother and filmmaker at a park near our apartment in the Mission. Her little 15 month old son, Dari, loved our new puppy, Jack. Over time, we got along so well that I became a caretaker for Dari in the afternoons for a few years while she and her partner (a sound engineer) worked on a documentary film that eventually won the SF Film festival. They lived minimally in a walk up loft-style apartment in a building that was once a bustling bread factory in the 60s. I’d ride my bike to their place after work and pick up Dari, pop him in the Bjorn, and off we’d walk to get eggs from a friend with chickens in the outer Mission, pointing out all the doggies along the way. Before I moved away to San Diego for graduate school, Dari’s dad was in the process of building him a little wooden boat bed, similar to the old boat he was fixing up across the bay in the Sausalito harbor. I was really inspired by them and the way they lived.

Since our house is small tiny and without a single closet, we are selective and conscious of what we bring into it. With a little one, we know we’re bound to amass a lot as we go along, so we’re sticking to our minimalist ways as much as we can by being mindful about the things we purchase, repurposing things we already have, and coming up with creative solutions to other things by building them ourselves (the perks of having an engineer partner – he’s always down to diy).

For the first few months, little human will be sleeping in our room. We are putting together a ‘nursery’, but at first it will just be a small corner of our bedroom. I found a wooden mini-crib on Craigslist (above) that I love, and we’re slowly checking off the essentials we’ll need – everything from bathing to feeding, to feetie pajamas. In doing so, a few items have caught my eye. Of course all of these aren’t essentials, nor are they all the essentials one would need, by any means. We’re still researching items like a car seat, stroller, etc to choose the right products that will fit our lifestyle.

For now, here are a handful of things I’ve come across and liked so far:

1. Mabo organic cotton pajamas. I like this clothing line’s cotton basics. The cotton tops and striped bottoms are my favorites. I picked up a pair of their little spotted pajamas at the West Coast Craft fair a few weeks back and they are really soft. I’m finding there are lots of awesome independent and local brands of children’s clothing that I really like. I’m also a fan of hand me downs and vintage consignment.

2. Mason bottles, along with a couple life factory ones that were gifted to us. I’m really intrigued by the mason bottles as the silicone tops work with most small-to-medium sized mason jars, which are an alternative to plastic for storing milk.

3. Land of Nod Olin mini crib. We’ll be using this beside our bed for the first few months. They don’t make them anymore, but we got lucky and found someone looking to part ways with one on Craigslist.

4. Douglas border collie + blue heeler soft toys, similar to Jack and Keep!

5. Jenny Pennywood swaddling blanket. I’m a fan of everything local San Francisco artist Jen Garrido does. The hand-dyed textiles she makes under the moniker “Jenny Pennywood” are my favorite. When I saw she came out with a line of swaddling blankets, I had to have one! Other soft muslins like these have been gifted to us and I really like them too.

6. Bandanas for bibs. We have so many soft, worn-in cotton bandanas around that just need to be washed. I’ve been collecting them for years.

7. A few comfy floor pillows for the dogs to lay on for playing on the floor.

8. A wooden peace sign teether. Wood will be gentle on gums, while also being plastic-free.  

9. A moses basket. Good for placing baby in when I want to take a shower, clip herbs in the greenhouse, or air drum that sweet solo in the middle of In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins and need my hands free. I really like this pretty basket too, but haven’t been able to bring myself to buy one. I like that the baskets can be reused later for holding toys, books, etc.

10. Natursutten rubber pacifiers. I saw these classic pacifiers a lot in Italy and France when we went a while back, and now I’ve been noticing them everywhere here. Not only are they adorable, they are made from sustainably harvested rubber trees and are completely biodegradable.


More Little Human series can be found here.

A DIY Potting/Work Station

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Over the weekend we turned our sunroom into a potting/work station. We used the crate planks and nails from our previous bed headboard. The sunroom is just off the kitchen right before going into the back yard, so it’s a good place to work on seedlings or pot plants before walking them down to the greenhouse or garden. I also like that the table makes Mila’s litter box a little less conspicuous. It also doubles as a nice little desk/office, since we’re no strangers to building those in odd places. I added a small bed for Mila since she likes to stay by my side while I work. There just so happened to be water and electric lines in the room (probably previously used as a washer/dryer set up), so it makes watering seedlings easy.

Here is a before photo of the sunroom:

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Hello Third Trimester

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It’s hard to believe month 7 is already here. Little human is getting big. The size of an eggplant, according to the app on my phone. Just about 15 inches and over 2 lbs. That’s a big eggplant. More like a coho salmon! If I watch closely, I can now see little kicks from the outside. Not quite the scene from Alien, but we’re getting there. Trey took some photos the other day of me with the dogs and Mila and the little human in my belly. I think I might get some of them framed for the nursery.

Our nursery is really the dining room, haha. Our house is about 700 sqft, tiny! We got this wood mini crib that I love and can’t wait to use. We built some bookshelves a few weekends ago. Trey brought home this rainbow sloth stuffed animal and every night when Jack and Keeper come in from outside they go and check on it in the crib. They think it’s theirs. Keep’s got sloth stealer eyes.

I finally caved and bought a pair of Topshop maternity jeans and they are so comfy. I’m definitely wearing these as pizza pants post-pregnancy (pants you wear to eat too much pizza in). Most of my pants have been relegated to the bottom drawer unless they have some stretch to them. I was wearing overalls, but kept having to ask myself before leaving the house – how many undone side buttons are too many undone side buttons? I’m really digging boyfriend jeans at the moment (literally, Trey’s jeans), with my same shirts and comfortable shoes like vans. I think preggo bellies are cool looking. When else am I going to have this Homer Simpson gut peeking out from under my t-shirt? I’m into it.

This Saturday I start an Aqua Zumba class which I’m pretty excited about. I had convinced Trey to go with me until he found out it was latin water dancing. I happen to think he’d make a really beautiful water dancer. A friend told me about water aerobics and I’ve been looking for a class around me for that too. I lap swim most days if I’m not going a class. Swimming in liquid while the baby in my belly swims in liquid…meta! I like being pregnant during the summer because there are so many aquatic exercise options around. And there’s nothing better than throwing on a dress and slides and letting your hair air dry afterwards.

So, after not passing the 1-hour glucose test and having to go back the next day for the 3-hour test, I ended up passing the second time and being told I was negative for gestational diabetes, whew! I do have to watch my sugar intake though – my body really didn’t like having that much glucose put in it. The week before, I had a kidney stone (ouch) and kidney infection (double ouch) which put me on antibiotics for 10 days. The combination of the glucose and the antibiotics kinda threw my body for a loop. But then I went in for an ultrasound of my kidneys (normal) and got to spend 10 minutes taking a peek at little human with the ultrasound technician and…cheeks! A nose! Little hands and feet with tiny fingers and toes! Then we went in for an ultrasound with my OB a couple days later and got to have another look and everything is measuring and looking perfect. It’s really cool to see the development. Apparently little human can hear us in there now – so we’ve been making sure to play lots of New Order and Pixies to get this one ready for life on the outside.

Other than that, everything has been pretty chill and easy going. Now we’re just spending the next 2.7 months (not that we’re counting or anything) relaxing and getting prepared to meet this little turkey. I’m hoping this last trimester goes smoothly. We’re meeting with a doula next week to help us navigate the coming months. Lots to do, but feelin’ good about it!

Jack’s Birthday

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It was Jack’s 8th birthday last week, so we celebrated by looking at puppy pictures of him, reminiscing about some of the adventures we’ve been on together, and baking him a little birthday cake. I came up with a recipe that combined some of his favorite flavors, resulting in a carrot cake with pumpkin icing (and a tennis ball on top). I made two, one for Keeper too. They loved it. Afterwards they got to play with their new mini tennis balls. I’ll definitely be making this for them again…

Jack’s Carrot Birthday Cake with Pumpkin Icing
Gluten and refined-sugar free. Makes 2 mini cakes.

Cake:
1 cup all purpose flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
2 cups shredded carrots
1 egg

Icing:
8 oz all natural pumpkin puree (not canned pumpkin pie mixture)
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/2 tablespoon honey

Mix cake ingredients. Bake in a small, non-stick pan (I used a mini 4 inch pan) at 350 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes or until knife comes out clean. While you wait, mix icing ingredients. Let cake cool before icing. Add tennis ball on top!

Little Human Finds

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I’m currently sitting in the wait room to get my blood drawn. Having failed the 1 hour glucose tolerance test, I am now back for the 3 hour test which requires 4 blood draws (one when you come in, then one every hour after drinking a sugary orange drink). I was told I was REQUIRED to eat a PB&J with milk at 10pm last night, so you know… I gladly laid on that grenade. Then to eat nothing else until lunch (after the test). I’m thinking it’s a burrito kind of day.

Anyway, I’ve been going to the local vintage/consignment shops around here that carry kids items. San Francisco has some great ones, as does Oakland and Berkeley. I love looking for different patterns and colors and soft fabrics. I take them home, give them a good wash with gentle detergent, and put them in the dresser for later.

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They grow out of everything so quickly (and pee/poop/puke), so it’s nice to find things that are only $2 or $3 a piece. I don’t really bother with the overtly boyish or girly clothing. I love a girl in navy and a boy in blush. Trey’s mom is sending us a box of hand me downs he and his siblings wore as babies. I can’t wait! Jack models an eggplant hat. He’s my favorite eggplant.

If you’re local, here are the places I’ve found good stuff at so far:

San Francisco:
Monkei Miles (Sunset)- My favorite consignment shop in San Francisco. The owner has a great eye and only takes in the best items.
Chloe’s Closet (Bernal)- Really good place for stocking up on gently used baby clothing essentials (bodysuits, leggings, jackets, etc).
Over the Ocean (Online) – Started by a European mama who now lives in SF and brought European brands to the states. I love the awesome pre-loved section on their site with often has some vintage items by European brands, but they sell out fast so subscribe to the email list!
Handsome Oxford (Tenderloin) – Small hole in the wall (best kinda place)…I’ve only been once and they had a few really great vintage baby/kids items tucked in the corner.

Oakland:
Ruby’s Garden (Temescal) – A good mix of new items, consignment, and a small vintage section in the back.
Minds Eye Vintage (Temescal) – Small selection of vintage kids items, usually toddler age and up. They typically have a great selection of vintage denim jackets and overalls for littles!
Child’s Play (Rockridge) – Great place to score good quality consignment children’s clothing and toys. The owner is incredibly nice and helpful.

Berkeley:
Chloe’s Closet (Solano Ave near Albany) – not as good as the Bernal location in SF, but I’ve found some good things here.

DIY – Experimenting with Natural Dyes

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I guess you could call this the modern equivalent of knitting your little human-to-be a sweater. I had been interested in experimenting with natural dyes for a while, and this gave me a sweet reason to do it. Hand dyeing is fun – if you remember, we shibori-dyed a sheet in indigo a few years ago and still use it as a back seat cover for the dogs to lay on in Lola, our land cruiser. I decided to test out some new dyes, this time using avocado skins and tea on some tiny onesies for little human. The result turned out to be the softest shades of tan and pink.

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When you think of avocados, the color pink probably doesn’t come to mind. But sure enough, if you boil the skins and pits down it creates a pink dye. Neat, huh?

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Next, I tried tea.

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The sweetest neutral shades came from the dyes…

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Perfect with a pair of mini blue jeans and converse.

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I love how soft the colors turned out on the onesies. I wanted light colors so I just did a quick dip (2 mins). The longer you soak the fabric, the darker the colors will be. I’m interested in trying out natural dyes from other fruits and vegetables next like beets and strawberries, coffee, and even onion skins!

Natural Dyeing
Here’s what you’ll need:
Tea:
Package of tea (at least 30 bags)
Large pot
Stirring utensil
Fabric

Avocados:
3 avocados (4 if using smaller ones)
Large pot
Stirring utensil
Fabric

Here’s how:
Presoaking fabric
Soak a natural fiber fabric like cotton or linen in warm water to rinse off anything on the fabric. You will add the wet pre-soaked fabric to your prepared dye.

Preparing the dye:
For using tea, I steeped 30 Trader Joes English breakfast tea bags by tying them to a wooden spoon and placing it horizontal across the rim of the pot so the bags would hang in. For using avocados, I added the skins and pits of 4 small/medium avocados. For both you will need enough water in the pot to create enough dye for the fabric to be completely submerged. Bring water and tea/fruit to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Soaking the fabric:
Add the presoaked fabric to the dye. The darker you want the color, the longer the fabric should stay in the dye. For lighter colors, anywhere from 1-5 minutes will produce a pale shade. For a brighter, deeper color, try soaking the fabric anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple hours.

If you want deep colors, it’s best to use a mordant. A mordant will help natural dyes adhere to the fibers, keeping the colors locked in. You don’t have to use one, but if you don’t you’ll need to have them in the dye for longer to really let the fabric absorb the color and know that a lot of the color will likely wash out and fade over time. A good mordant to use is alum and can be added directly to the dye bath.

After you’ve reached the color you want, remove the fabric from the dye and put in a bowl of cool water with a little bit of dish soap and gently wash with your hands. Ring out well, or put in the washer for a drain/spin cycle and let air dry.

Unrelated:

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25 Weeks

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It all started with this photo.

I made the comment “this is how I feel when I wear earrings” to Trey laying in bed one night while scrolling through my Instagram feed.

Fast forward a week later when I’m getting dressed to go out and put earrings on. I ask Trey “earrings or no earrings?” To which he replies “no earrings…you don’t want to look like an alpaca”.

Me, having totally forgotten about the aforementioned alpaca photo earlier in the week, thinks he’s making a pregnant joke.

Then this alpaca decided she wasn’t going and took off her shoes.

Trey (from the living room): “Babe, let’s go!”

Me (from the bedroom floor, sitting in front of the mirror, now pant-less): “No, I’m as big as an alpaca!”

Then it became known he was referencing the photo. We laughed, I got dressed and off we went.

Sans earrings.

Yours truly,
Big as an alpaca

 

Photo by Kara Rosenlund.

Have A Happy Friday.

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Hi!

Tonight we’re watching Game 4 of Warriors vs the Cavs with friends somewhere (I hope there’s nachos). Tomorrow I’m stopping by the West Coast Craft fair in San Francisco and most likely getting a scoop of Hong Kong milk tea ice cream at Humphry Slocombe for the ride home. On Sunday, I’m dragging Trey to yoga with me. I still go to the regular classes and modify the positions. I know a good place for prenatal classes, but the ones at the gym are free. Sometimes I forget I’m pregnant. Trey caught me on a chair painting the wall trim last weekend and he was like what are you doing! and I was like, painting the wall!

We’re also planning on building bookshelves for little human’s room at some point this weekend. We gifted ourselves a table saw for xmas that we’ve yet to put to use! Last weekend we painted the walls of the room a soft white and I love how it turned out. I’ve been using Instagram Stories a lot if you want to follow along with the progress. Hope you all have a good weekend!

Here are a few things from this week…
 
Keeper is the new face for SF SPCA’s summer adoption initiative – we know her!

I recently got this tank in white and love it.

Anyone else watching Better Call Saul? The courtroom scene – so good!

Pretty reusable bags. I have one in “petal” and Trey carries it to the grocery store. Gender norms be gone!

I can’t wait for LCD Soundsystem’s new album. I’ve been listening to the two songs they recently released on repeat.

Some of these beauties are growing in our greenhouse.

If Trump pulling out of the Paris climate agreement made you mad too, rest assured no countries can actually leave the agreement until 2020 – after his term ends.

I saw this kids book at a book store this week and think little human’s library will eventually need it.

Have you heard of The Moth storytelling events? I’m thinking about going to this one.

Sigh!

Mara Hoffman’s rainbow swimsuits are so pretty to look at.

When the grass is lava.