Wild One

This month we celebrated Jman with a Wild One themed birthday party! He is our sweetest surprise & our pandemic baby. Born in July, his birth month flower is a lotus. Which grows in mud, retreating each night back into the mud only to bloom clean the next day. Lotus flowers symbolize spiritual awakening and rebirth. My eyes filled with tears when I read the description of this. Johnathan was our sweetest surprise, little did we know he would enter our lives when we needed him most, in the thick of the pandemic he would be the brightest light. His birth would remind us of the circle of life as we went on to lose my aunt a few days after his birth. I couldn’t think of a more beautiful symbol for his birth month.

We had family and a few friends come celebrate with us. I got this “wild one” birthday kit off amazon for $30 and was impressed with how great it turned out. The day of the party ended up being well over 100 degrees, luckily we had a small pool from target set up & the kids loved splashing in it. It was wonderful to celebrate our happy guy and watch him demolish his smash cake! He decided to take his first steps right before turning one and he held out on getting any teeth his first year!

Links: table cloths / wild one party kit / splash pool / my dress

Winter in Yosemite

Last month we went on our first trip in exactly one year! We went on a road trip & visited Yosemite. A few months leading up to this trip Will started enquiring about seeing snow. We landed on visiting Yosemite, because as much as I wanted Will to see snow, the idea of three days with a toddler & infant with snow as the main / only attraction did not seem like my idea of fun. So we landed on going to Yosemite & it was the perfect getaway! I thought I would share what hikes, trails we went on that were kid friendly, info about snow play areas etc in case you find yourself in a snowy yosemite with a toddler & 6 month old!

Cooks Meadow – Located on the valley floor, this trail has incredible view of half dome & Yosemite Falls & you are surrounded by beautiful meadows. There are boardwalks that make pushing a stroller easy. We were able to pull off the trail and have our lunch in a meadow with Yosemite Falls in the background. So serene.

Lower Yosemite Falls – This is a 1 mile loop that is paved, easily manageable with a stroller or a toddler. (although when did this hike it was day 3 & will was exhausted so he opted to ride in the stroller, but on any given day he could easily have walked this trail!)

Badger Pass Ski / Snow Play Area – did you know Yosemite had a ski resort?? I did not, until researching for this trip. At the time the actual ski resort was closed & lifts were not running. however the snow play area was open to visitors. William had a great time sledding. We took our monkey mat and put it down in the snow & Johnathan got to watch. We also packed tons of food for this portion – I premade a batch of chili for our trip, heated it in the morning & stored in a XL Thermos. When we got done playing in the snow we had a picnic in the back of the car with warm chili! I would say be sure to pack lots of food because to & from badger pass there is very little / no food options & I did not want to risk and hungry toddler or husband after playing in the snow for two hours!

Tunnel View – If you’ve been to Yosemite you’ve probably stopped at Tunnel View – there’s not much to do, it’s purely a vista, but I love stopping there & taking it all in! (I just popped out of the car to grab a few photos, no pulling toddlers out of carseats for this stop.

Things to consider

  • If you are planning a trip to Yosemite be sure to check which entrances are open, because many roads are closed during the winter months.
  • Be sure to check if reservations are required to enter the park as of Feb 2021 they were.
  • Depending on accommodations, at the time we booked our trip the Awahnee was still closed for overnight guests, however we booked an airbnb about 30 minutes from the gate. Something to consider is the driving factor – although we were only 30 minutes to the gate, often our actual destination was an hour or so away. So it made for LOTS of time in the car.
  • We loved our airbnb, it had stunning mountain views, a hot tub that you could enjoy the sunset from & was SUPER kid friendly, including a play structure, miniature horses & everything from highchairs to pack n plays! This is the airbnb link in case you are looking for a place to stay!

Have you ever visited Yosemite in the winter?? I would love to hear about your experience or your experience taking young kids to national parks! After this trip Chris & I are really making an effort to take the boys to more parks around us! Leave me your favorite parks in the comments below!

Postpartum Must Haves

Postpartum can be a roller coaster & anything you can do to make life a little easier or comfier is a no brainer. Below are 10 of my postpartum must haves this time around!

  1. After Ease drops – this tincture helps with afterbirth contractions that typically become more painful with each consecutive pregnancy. I added a few drops to my water before breastfeeding & I noticed a big difference when I used it versus when I forgot.
  2. Frida Mom Ice Maxi Pads – These are AWESOME. I know at the hospital they give you ice packs but i found these to work SO much better, colder, lasted longer – highly recommend.
  3. Cute Button Down Pajamas – It’s easy to feel really frumpy & gross postpartum, none of your clothes fit, you want to wear something comfy & easy to breastfeed in. Treat Yo Self & get yourself some cute soft pajamas, you won’t regret it.
  4. Heating Pad – I tucked this into my hospital bag. Depending on your labor you can definitely feel like you got hit by a train. Although my labor was significantly quicker & less dramatic this time around, once my epidural wore off my back was SO sore. I don’t know if it was from the epidural itself, or if it was from a way I was laying, either way a heating pad can offer relief if the advil just isn’t cutting it!
  5. Placenta Capsules – this is by far my top postpartum must have! I encapsulated my placenta my first pregnancy & did it again this time around. Although still not widely practiced here in the US, placenta encapsulation is extremely popular in Eastern Medicine – benefits include: replenishing Iron stores in your body, decreased postpartum depression, decreased anxiety, increased energy, increased milk supply. Last pregnancy I wasn’t certain that the pills helped, I felt good but I didn’t know if the pills were part of that. This time it was our second day home & I remember this feeling coming over me of just wanting to bawl. And I hadn’t taken any of my pills yet, Chris suggested I take one & see. Within two hours I felt SO much better. I felt like myself. Now I take 2-3 daily. I notice a boost in energy & mood when I take them. If you’re interested in encapsulating your placenta but don’t know where to start, I have found that often times doulas will offer encapsulation services!
  6. Nursing Tanks – I like these from H&M they come in a lot of colors / prints & are fairly affordable.
  7. A good water bottle – I personally couldn’t live without my hydroflask, I love ICE cold water so this bad boy serves me well. I’m never without it. When I’m breastfeeding I’m incredibly thirsty & it’s one of the best ways to keep your milk supply up.
  8. Nipple Cream – I used this nipple cream when I was breastfed William. A little 1oz jar will last you for so long.
  9. Hakka Pump – Breast pumps can be SO pricey – this little silicone pump from amazon is a great snag. It’ll run you under $15 & just put it on the opposite breast while feeding & it’ll catch the let down. However it’s not great if you have an oversupply of milk as it can cause your oversupply to be worse.
  10. Tap Light – this little light is one of my absolute favorites. In fact I often gift it to new mamas. It is super light weight, cordless, and can be dimmed & changed from warm to cool lighting. I packed it in my hospital bag this time & I loved having instead of having to turn on the aggressive hospital lighting. Once we’re home I keep it on my bedside table for middle of the night feeds & in fact we still use the one we got for William two years ago!

30 in Scottsdale

A few weeks ago we went to Scottsdale to celebrate my 30th birthday. It was such a fun long weekend. My best friend & my parents joined us & it was so low key & relaxing. We stayed at the Scottsdale Mccormick Ranch which has an awesome pool, that you can walk into. Will LOVED it. He was so brave and would just walk right in, which had us realizing he needs swim lessons ASAP because he has no concept of what to do when he gets too deep (literally). We also went and saw a Giants preseason game, which is always fun. All in all it was a great weekend with great food & even better company & it definitely felt like a special way to ring in 30. (which I still can’t believe I am!)

Mommy Mondays

Mondays always feel like a fresh start, there are certain things I try to do on Mondays, I try to always work out (usually bbg legs), I try to start the week with a tidy house, & I also like to reflect back on the weekend & previous week. I thought I’d start trying to consistently post on Mondays. Today I’m sharing some favorite moments & some favorite things from this week.

Our week started with an Auntie Date at the science museum. William absolutely loved being able to run around the exhibits on his own. We bought a family membership to the Cal Academy when he was 4 months old. It’s remarkable to watch his brain just take in more and more everytime we go. This time he loved the aquarium & was trying to kiss the fishes, & he loved walking around the rainforest. However the museum is likely where he got his first cold ever that later caught up to us 36-48hrs later. The second half of the week was gray & rainy, perfect for getting over a cold.

I made protein muffins because I knew my sick guy would eat these. They’re made from Kodiac Cakes – I use the recipe on the box for muffins but I add 1.5 tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of nutmeg & 1/2 cup blueberries. I also got these silicone baking cups & have used them a handful of times. I can’t believe it took me so long to get these, they’re a new found favorite!

This Spray! Seven Generation disinfectant spray. Will caught his first cold ever these week, poor guy (definitely not a favorite). So I’ve been using this to disinfect his toys, and pretty much anything his little hands are touching. I love that it’s no rinse required and there’s no alcohol whatsoever in this, plus it smells heavenly. I can’t recommend this spray enough, it’s so mild.

This new neighborhood art is a favorite from this wee! These flamingos are just a couple blocks from our apartment & are on a route I take when I walk Juno & Will. This bright statement on Cabrillo makes the neighborhood look so nice & bright & I love it, I think it’s so fun plus they’re sidewalk garden is total urban garden goals & they also added cool seating.

Another favorite I have is a hack for getting stains out of baby clothes!! It’s so simple. All you have to do is put the clothing item in a large glass bowl & pour boiling or near boiling water on top. I just heat up water in our tea kettle. This trick seriously works like a dream. William spit out some Tylenol I was giving him on his shirt and there was a huge cherry red stain across his chest. This trick works best the sooner you can do it after the stain happens but it’s so easy that even if it’s been a minute it’s totally worth trying. Let me know if you try this & it works!

Below are some favorite snaps from the week & weekend.

Hope everyone has a great week!

ONE-derful

Our little boy is ONE! Saturday was his birthday & we celebrated at home. He woke up and got to read new books & play with his birthday balloons. Will’s auntie stopped by to have brunch with us. After Will woke up from his nap he got to play with his water table that Chris & I got him. And he ended the evening doing his cake smash before his bath! It was the perfect low-key day, we decided not to do anything big since there will be plenty of years of birthday parties to come so laying low and enjoying time with just us felt like the best way to celebrate.

The past year has simulatenously felt like a blink of an eye and a lifetime. When I think about all that happened this year it just doesn’t feel possible that it was only 365 days. The past month I feel like William has really transitioned into such a little boy! He can wave & blow kisses & give high fives, say yes & hi & shakes his head no. My sweet little guy loves to give Juno treats and pets Peggy. I can’t wait to see all the leaps he’ll take this next year.

Catching up & slowing down

It may have been unusually quiet over here on the blog but it’s been rather turbulent offline.

About a month ago Chris started telling me he was getting “floaters” in his vision & some occasional numbness in his hands & feet. The ER nurse in me wasn’t all that concerned given how much stress he’s under & how much time he’s at a computer. The symptoms would come & go as would my level of concern. He went & got checked out one day after work, blood work & head CT later the ER chalked it up to dehydration and anxiety. Well unbeknownst to anyone he was developing viral encephalitis.

About week later he woke me up early in the morning to tell me his headache was back. A few hours later I found myself in the ER I’ve spent the last seven years working in. I held our nearly one year old & watched as my coworkers rapidly called a stroke alert on my husband who at this point could no longer identify me. An hour later he was intubated. I waited for the battery of tests to start resulting. Finally after masses & brain bleeds & thyroid storms were ruled out, they tested his spinal fluid, which finally provided answers as to what made my healthy, young husband literally lose his mind. Viral Encephalitis / aseptic menegitis. I couldn’t believe it. And honestly I still can’t.

We spent 3 days in the ICU. Looking back it all blurs together. I think I got maybe an hour of sleep the first night, carefully watching as the nurses titrated his drips, making sure his antivirals were being administered at the right times. I felt like I was tightrope walking this line of advocating for Chris while not micromanaging my colleagues. Being in the medical field, especially critical care, you find yourself wielding a double edged sword of knowledge & knowing too much. I knew they needed to intubate him because of how altered he was, but I also knew all that comes along with it. Having spent my entire nursing career in the ER & taking care of my fair share of intubated patients, I know that everyone’s sedation needs are unique. And at the end of the day you want your patients to be as calm as possible & quite frankly knocked out! There’s an arsenal of sedation & pain medication combinations available to patients so if one isn’t working it’s the nurse’s obligation to advocate for something else. Chris is a big guy & was requiring a lot of sedation to keep him comfortable, I was so thankful that I got to stay at his bedside & advocate for him when I thought he was being undermedicated.  I was terrified of how much of this experience he would remember, & mostly what he’d be like once they extubated him. The prognosis for viral encephalitis is variable. People make full recoveries, others require occupational and physical therapy to regain balance & motor skills. When we went to the ER he had already been exhibiting motor weakness, memory loss, & difficulty speaking, so needless to say I was terrified I would get a partial version of my husband back.

Chris spent about 3 weeks at home, recovering. We are extraordinarily lucky he was diagnosed so quickly & began receiving antiviral drugs rapidly because that is likely what has effected his outcome.

The last seven years in the ER have shown me shit happens. Aneurysms burst, cancers invade, hearts fail & no one gets out alive. Life is fragile, you never know when your world will be turned upside down. For me it was a typical Monday morning. I can’t help but think that life gives us certain situations to change us & challenge us. I’m enveloped with gratitude after this experience. Unmeasurable gratitude that my husband is laying in bed beside me as I type this,a new found appreciation for the medications that allowed Chris to remember very little of this whole ordeal, and the antiviral medication that allowed Chris to make a remarkable recovery. I’m eternally grateful for my out of this world co-workers who not only took exceptional care of my husband but lifted me up, caffeinated me, fed me & kept me company at all hours. They were there for me more than I could have ever imagined.  When I left the house that morning I had no idea I’d be calling Chris’ mom telling her she needed to get on a flight asap. I had no idea the first night I’d ever spend away from my son would be because my husband was intubated & in the ICU. Sometimes situations can seem so dark, but the dawn always comes.

Needless to say the last month, we’ve laid pretty low, enjoyed time together as a family. Things are slowly getting back to normal, and we have some fun things coming up in the next few months that I’m excited to post about. Tomorrow we are headed to a wedding in the city & Sunday is Easter! I can’t believe next weekend we’ll be celebrating William’s first birthday!

Valentine’s Day!

It’s Will’s first Valentines Day. We aren’t doing much to celebrate, but I snapped these pics when I was decorating our mantle. The days of getting Will to sit still for pictures are lonnng gone. In exchange for sitting still William this week decided he can give kisses, clap & wave. This morning he woke up and waved to his fur-sisters. Getting a kiss from this boy is the best Valentine’s gift ever!! Also, I tried to give him a tiny bouquet of carnations thinking it would make for cute pictures, but he only wanted to eat it…

Happy Valentine’s Day!

8 Months & Christmas Magic

I figured it’s about time to post Will’s eight month photos, before he hits nine months. oops!

I can’t believe our first Christmas has come & gone. We spent Christmas in California & went up to the foothills to visit my family. It was so nice to spend more than just our usual Friday – Sunday quick trips. It felt like we really got some down time. William got to spend time with his two cousins & his highlights were sitting in his high chair watching his cousins open all their presents & sitting on my parents deck watching Juno chase a ball around the back yard. I can’t believe January is halfway over! I feel like I’m going to blink & William is going to be one! I

Rainy Wonders

On Sunday we took William to the Academy of Sciences. He had been there once before a few months back, but slept the entire time. This time we went right after he woke up from his afternoon nap so he was able take it all in! Earlier this year we decided to get a membership since we live less than 10 blocks from the museum. Even though it was a rainy Sunday, because we went at the end of the day, most people had already left the museum or had already been to some of the bigger exhibits like the rain forest portion so it was surprisingly empty! As I anticipated William LOVED it! It was so cool watching him look at the butterflies in the rain forest, & try to touch all the fish at the aquarium! We only spent a little over an hour but honestly I think that’s the best part about getting a membership, since we live so close, it’s easy just to go for an hour or two & then leave & not feel bad or feel like you wasted paying for admission. After going on Sunday I can’t wait to keep taking him back there & watching him take in more and more each time! We are heading to my parents to spend the weekend & Christmas & I’m so excited for his first Christmas.