Sunday, February 28, 2010

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Caterpillars, Starfish, and Big Wheel Bicycles

Today while out jogging along the Alameda Beach bike path, I saw some interesting sights. The storm we experienced earlier that morning had parted, and the sky, now filled with ominous clouds of varying shades of gray, white and black, was looming with personality. I jogged steadily along the path, peacefully floating in my own world while listening to upbeat electronica on my Ipod. But suddenly right in front of me something small and fuzzy caught me eye down on the pavement. I stopped and bent down as I caught my breath, and noticed it was a furry red and black caterpillar about the size of a large macaroni noodle. I picked it up in my fingers as its body arched up in response to my touch, and I admired the fuzzy, soft, innocent nature of its body. Realizing that it would inevitably face an untimely, traumatic death by bike or foot if I left it there on the path, I decided to gently toss it back into the grass just off to the side of the path. I smiled to myself feeling proud of my heroic duty, and continued on my jog.

Not more than 5 minutes later another interesting sight appeared on the path - but instead of something minuscule below my feet, this sight was quite large, very prominent, and quickly approaching me from the opposite direction. At first I thought it was a unicycle, but it actually turned out to be a large, red big wheel bicycle - what a sight! The rider smiled down at me as I admired his unique riding apparatus. Again I continued on my jog, quite intrigued by this man and his bike. If you're curious, it looked something like this:

Later this afternoon as I reflected on my jog, my caterpillar experience reminded me of a popular fable called "The Star Fish Story". It has a powerful message....enjoy.

The Starfish Story
adapted from The Star Thrower
by Loren Eiseley (1907 - 1977)

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."

Friday, February 26, 2010

Protest/Riot at Cal?! Bummer... : (

Given that I'm heading back to work in less than 2 weeks, news like this really upsets me. : (

Rioters Clash with Police in Streets South of UC Berkeley Streets

The Daily Californian
Friday, February 26, 2010
A crowd of more than 200 people swarmed the streets of Southside in a riot involving six law enforcement agencies, runaway dumpsters, flaming trash cans, shattered windows and violent clashes between rioters and police.

What began as a dance party on Upper Sproul Plaza led to an occupation of Durant Hall at around 11:15 p.m. to raise support for Thursday's statewide protest in support of public education. The occupation evolved into a riot that formed at the intersection of Durant and Telegraph avenues at about 1:45 a.m.

Officers from UCPD, Oakland, BART and the California Highway Patrol, in addition to all but four Berkeley Police Department officers on duty that night, responded to the scene, according to Berkeley police Dispatcher Rayna Johnson.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Brunch w/Friends!

We had a few friends over for brunch this weekend - what is better than great friends, yummy food, pretty tulips and mimosas on a Sunday afternoon?

Friday, February 19, 2010


I honestly never thought I'd be a parent who would willingly let my baby cry. When I was pregnant I envisioned rocking my sweet little one to sleep in my arms, and then gently transferring my slumbering bundle into her crib without a be followed by a full night of peaceful, restful sleep. Ha! In Zoey's defense, she has honestly been a good nighttime sleeper from the beginning. She started going 4-5 hours stretches within her first 8 weeks, and by 12 weeks she was sleeping 8 hours straight. Now for the past 6 weeks or so Zoey can easily sleep 10-12 hours without a single peep - impressive! I know we are very lucky in this respect.

But for us, the problem wasn't getting Zoey to sleep for long period of time, it was getting her to FALL ASLEEP and STAY ASLEEP in her crib initially at the beginning of the night without having to pick her up many times, rocking her over and over. For awhile this was working out OK - i.e. I would nurse Zoey to sleep, lay her down in her crib, and she might wake up 1-2 times crying we'd go back in to soothe her and help her fall back asleep. But it got to the point where we would get her dead asleep in our arms, but as soon as we laid her down she'd wake up screaming and we'd have to repeat the cycle over and over and over...for hours! It was exhausting, our backs were killing us from all the rocking (she's getting heavy!), we had lost all of our evening time together as a couple, we were eating dinner in shifts, and basically we were both frazzled and at our wits end. So we had to look at our options - we both felt strongly that we weren't willing to let her sleep with us in our bed (not down with co-sleeping personally), so we started researching other sleep training methods.

Anyhow, for those of you that don't know, sleep training is basically the process of getting your baby to fall asleep and STAY asleep on their own beginning as early as 4 months of age - and there are many different approaches for how to do this (babies up to 4 months still need their parents to respond to them and it's prob too early for sleep training before that point). Anyhow all the approaches basically fall into the two categories of "cry it out" and "no cry" methods. There are TONS of opinions and theories out there about baby schedules and sleep training, and believe me if you read all the books and all the websites you will literally go insane and end up more confused than you were before you even started. So I decided to narrow down my information by checking out the sleep resources on Baby Center (a site that I personally LOVE and turn to first with my baby-related Q's).

After reading about all the pros and cons, we decided to go with the uber-popular Ferber method. Contrary to popular belief, the "cry-it-out" method does NOT advocate for simply laying your baby down in her crib and just leaving the room indefinitely. Ferber actually supports the fact that every family and every baby is different, and there are many ways to handle sleep troubles based on the child's temperament, the family value system, and the health/age of the infant. But for those that choose to experiment with cry-it-out, Ferber has setup a timetable for his "progressive waiting" technique which basically involves going back in to check on your baby at set time intervals. For instance, the first night you lay baby down while drowsy but still awake, and if she cries you go back in to check on her in 3 min, then 5 min, then 7 min, etc. The waiting period gets longer as the night goes on, and also increases each consecutive night during the sleep training process. After reading so much about this approach online, I decided to buy Ferber's book and it is wonderful! Not only does it clearly outline his sleep training method, but also addresses many of the common baby and child sleep issues and challenges that families face, including bed-wetting, nightmares, and how to keep your toddler in their own bed.

So what was the verdict you ask?! Well honestly, it worked like MAGIC! The first couple of nights were a bit rough, but Zoey never cried for more than 1 hour, and even that hour wasn't consistent crying. By the 4th night she only cried for less than 5 minutes! And now we basically go through her whole bedtime routine (singing lullabies/read a book, clean diaper, lotion, pj's and then a feeding). I nurse her, burp her and sing to her, and then we put her down in her crib and she rarely cries for more than 1-2 minutes before falling asleep now - amazing! The great thing about this development is that she no longer needs those sleep associations (i.e. rocking/nursing) for her to fall asleep on her own, which means she can also put herself back to sleep easily if she wakes up in the middle of the night. SCORE! Now David and I can actually enjoy your evenings together as a couple, eat dinner at the same time (while its still warm!), and just overall enjoy being parents on a whole new level!

Now I realize this method is NOT for everyone, and many parents just can't stand to le their baby cry. I understand this, and honestly my opinion is that each family should choose the method that works for them. I am not here to judge, and I hope that nobody judges me for our choice to sleep train Zoey. I realize that parenting involves lots and lots of decisions along the way, some small and immediate, and other more complicated decisions such as how to discipline your child and how to help them get the crucial sleep that they need. All I know is that David and I followed our guts on this one and so far our decision has paid off and it has worked for all of us! Zoey is a happier, more well-rested baby, and we are happier, more well-rested parents! : )

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cat vs. Baby

Last night while we were playing on the ground with toys, my kitty Aimee attacked Zoey! In that cat's defense I think she was just trying to play with the edge of the blanket, but sure enough she reached out and clawed Zoey's head and even drew blood! Zoey suddenly stopped moving, her face turned bright red and she went silent for a few seconds, and then out came a high pitched scream. Poor baby! Needless to say we now have to be extra mindful of our cats during playtime, and we must be more vigilant about trimming our kitties claws on a regular basis. I told Aimee to just wait until Zoey is mobile and can grab tails.....she will get her revenge soon enough!

So speaking of cats vs babies, check out this video. : )

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Life through my daughter's eyes

I'm beginning to realize that one of the most exciting aspects of parenthood is the ability to re-live my own childhood through my daughter's eyes. I get to help recreate all of the amazing, fun-filled, and exciting memories that my parents created for me, but I also get to shape new experiences for Zoey that I hope she'll look back on one day with happiness and joy.

But I also must be careful not to pigeon-hole Zoey as being one type of kid, or limit the types of activities, experiences and adventures that she gets to explore. For example, I was both a tom-boy and a girl-girly at the same time, if that's possible?! I loved to climb trees, get dirty, build block towers, jump in piles of leaves, collect rocks, and run barefoot through the yard. But I also loved to play with my barbies, dress up dolls, put on makeup, and play house with my sister. I would love for Zoey to be like this too, but I'm sure she'll show us soon enough what toys and activities she likes and prefers.

But one thing is for sure, I really want Zoey to fall in love with Disney movies as much as I do. It's ok if she doesn't become a girl-girl dressed in pink frilly dresses who asks me for a "Princess" themed birthday party, but like it or not I am definitely going to expose her to the wonders of the Disney heroins early on. And to start with, I recently bought her the "Disney Princess Ultimate Song Collection" CD - yay! I played this CD last night during her bedtime routine as I sung her lullabies from my favorite movies, i.e. The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Pocahontas, etc. Maybe one day we'll even get to sing these songs together. : )

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy President's Day!

...from Zoey, David and I! xoxo

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Hallmark Holiday!

Valentine's Day was actually pretty fun and exciting as a kid - exchanging character cards with classmates that were put into homemade mailboxes, making sure to give that "special one" to my current crush, eating boxes of conversation hearts even though they never really tasted that good, and simply feeling special, loved, and entertained by silly little cards in white envelopes covered with heart stickers.

As a angsty teenager and young adult, the holiday was painful. Being lonely and single was only thrown back in my face and I felt great resentment towards young couples around me who shared silly gifts of flowers, candies, and cheesy stuffed animals. And then there was the Valentine's day in 1999 where my boyfriend at the time decided to break up with me that night after a seemingly nice date....what a jerk!

Early on in our relationship David and I willingly engaged in the whole V-day thing, i.e exchanging cards and gifts, going out to dinner at nice romantic restaurants, and celebrating in the obligatory sort of way. But then somewhere along the way we realized that truly loving someone is a 356 day per year journey, not something that happens out of obligation every year on February 14th with roses, chocolate and other silly presents. And now that we've been together going on 11 years, and especially since we don't really have either the time nor the money to spare right now with an infant in our lives, we both just decided to share in the simplest of all Valentine's celebrations...a hug and a kiss and time together eating yummy food. So tonight we splurged and ordered Chinese food from East Ocean, opened a bottle of sparkling wine, and watched a it up!

In summary, I honestly believe that this holiday was a creation of Hallmark, See's Candy, Hershey, and your local florist conspiring together to make a profit. And if you really love somebody, you shouldn't have to show it one day of the year by giving over-the-top gifts and going out on fancy dates. But since February 14th will always come once per year, I won't refuse the reminder to kiss and hug my hubby and be thankful for the love that fills my life. xoxo!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bath Time!

When Zoey was a newborn she was NOT a fan of the bathtub. She would scream and cry and get all red in the face with anger/confusion/discomfort. But now that she's graduated to infant status she actually enjoys her baths! She splashes around and kicks her legs with excitement like a rambunctious little's adorable...and messy! But unfortunately the part that she now dislikes is getting OUT of the bathtub! On most occasions when I pull her out of her baby tub she starts crying and fussing because I think she wants to stay in the warm water! I look forward to taking baths together with Z when she's older and can sit-up on her own. Splish Splash! Oh, and in honor of my favorite bath time song that I sing to Zoey, here's a little Sesame Street entertainment for you!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Zoey is 4 months old today!

Look at how much she has grown and changed sine she was born on Oct. 9th!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Got Bacon......envelopes???!!

Yes people, this product actually exists - bacon flavored envelopes! I saw these 'MMMvelopes' featured in the Hungry Girl newsletter today and I was quite shocked and intrigued by this interesting invention. The manufacturer of this bacon-inspired mailer is J&D's, who's slogan is none other than, "Everything should taste like bacon!".

They go on to explain their product with the following description:

"Technology has given us a lot lately. The car. TV. X-rays. The refrigerator. The Internet. Heck, we even cured polio. But what have our envelopes tasted like for the last 4,000 years? Armpit, that’s what.

Really, people? If we can’t overcome this kind of minor technical challenge, it’s only a matter of time until some super-advanced race of aliens with lasers, spaceships and a delicious federal mail system comes down and colonizes the world. And nobody wants that (except for the aliens, of course).

So, after thousands of years and kajillions of horrible tasting envelopes licked, we’re happy to report that J&D’s Bacon-Flavored MMMvelopes™ are here to save the day. No longer will envelopes taste like the underside of your car. You can enjoy the taste of delicious bacon instead.

That’s right, bacon. It’s not real bacon, mind you, so you won’t have to start storing your envelopes in the refrigerator. But it really does taste like bacon. Which is what you really wanted in the first place, isn’t it? And it only took us 4,000 years to get there. Eat that, alien invaders."

**Now I admit that I LOVE bacon - yes, it is quite a tasty and amazing food. But somehow the idea of licking a bacon-flavored envelope just seems plain WRONG. How about starting with something more universal such as cherry or grape flavored envelopes? And for some icing on the cake, J&D's also offers bacon-flavored popcorn...ha! Hmm.....gotta love America. : )

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Dani comes to visit & counselor reunion!

My dear friend Danielle drove up from West Hollywood last Thursday for a visit to the Bay Area, and Zoey and I were the first stop on her trip! We had a lovely afternoon catching up on life, and Dani had a very engaging, intellectual conversation with Zoey...very cute! : )

Then on Saturday my friend Haydee hosted a reunion for our friends who all graduated from the SFSU Counseling program in 2005 and 2006. It was a lovely get together with an amazing group of intelligent, beautiful, FUN women that I just love! And it felt so great to get out of the house and have some adult conversation.

I feel blessed to have such wonderful ladies in my life - women who will hopefully be friends and role models for Zoey someday too!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

My daughter

We are starting sleep training with Zoey this weekend, and although it won't be easy for any of has become necessary. So in her honor, here are some adorable pictures of my sweet little girl.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Daddy's Eyelashes

Zoey definitely has her daddy's eyelashes - what a lucky little girl.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Disturbing and Sad

I admit that I watch a lot of television, especially now that I am home on maternity leave. And many of the programs I regularly watch and love are reality-based shows such as Survivor, What Not to Wear, Millionaire Matchmaker, Super Nanny, The Bachelor, Million Dollar Listing, Cake Boss, Project Runway, etc. For some reason I am highly intrigued and entertained by a glimpses into the lives of these "characters" on TV, even though I'm sure much of it is actually staged to some degree. Because I knowingly watch what some might call "crap television", I take it all with a grain of salt and I'm not that easily offended or disturbed by the programming I see. However, there is one exception to that previous statement....and the program is called "Toddlers and Tiaras". Have you heard of this program? Talk about disturbing and just plan WRONG! I don't know what is more revolting to me - the fact that some parents out there actually encourage their young daughters to make themselves over into scary little pageant barbies, or that TLC actually chooses to expose these families through a television program. These little girls, ranging in age from 2-8 compete in beauty pageants and talent contests, and most consider Miss America to be their most influential role model. They cake their faces with ungodly amounts of makeup, put in hair extensions, darken their skin with fake tanning spray, and some mothers even encourage their young girls to restrict their diets in order to stay skinny.

I have never watched this show for more than just a few minutes because I find it so highly disturbing, but I did just recently visit the website just to learn more about what goes on "behind the scenes" of these pageants. I was most shocked and horrified at the extreme role that many of the mothers play in their daughter's pageant preparation. Some seem so overly involved and dedicated to ensuring that their daughters win, as if they are trying to live out their own dreams vicariously through their poor, unknowing little angel. But perhaps the saddest part of all is that some of the girls become so brainwashed and focused on beauty and winning that they end up missing out on their childhood.

Does anyone else find this just as disturbing as I do? What happened to playing outside at the park, climbing trees and getting grass stains on your jeans, building forts out of sheets and boxes, and even just playing with dolls or playing dress-up like a normal child? I fear that one day these parents will look back on their child's pageant days with regret and shame for robbing their daughter of her chance to just simply be a kid.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Did someone say MOUSE?

6 More Weeks of Winter?!

I've never understood Groundhog Day - it's just sort of strange to me. According to Wikipedia, the holiday began as a Pennsylvania German custom in the 18th and 19th centuries, and has roots in ancient European weather lore. I understand that the day is more of a symbolic custom than anything else, but's just strange that we look to a large rodent to tell us what the seasons hold. Heck, if doctorate level meteorologists can't accurately predict the weather and the arrival of the seasons, I don't think a groundhog with a brain about the size of a walnut could do any better. Or on second thought, maybe it could!? Anyhow, Punxsutawney Phil apparently saw his shadow this morning which means we have 6 more weeks of winter ahead of us.

Really?! Could have fooled me! Because ironically I was out for a lovely walk this morning and all I could see around me were sights, smells, and sounds of the imminent arrival of Spring. Birds chirping, squirrels nibbling at the grass, flowers sprouting all around me, dogs barking, and rays of sunlight shining down upon us all. It was gorgeous, and honestly one of the nicest mornings I've seen in awhile. But wait a second....if Phil saw his shadow, wouldn't that mean that the sun was out in PA too? Why would sunshine on the morning of February 2nd equate to a longer winter? Just another reason this whole custom is weird.

I don't know.....I guess we'll just have to wait and see if Phil's prediction holds true.