Aug 13

Fiesta 2013

Santa Barbara’s Annual Old Spanish Days Fiesta is winding down and we are in recovery mode after many very full and busy days. The good camera didn’t make it out to every single event but here are some pictures of a little bit of what we were up to this past week. Adam’s mom and stepdad made it down to visit this week, adding to the fun. Both girls loved having their grandma and grandpa around to play with, eat with, and parade-watch with. Good food, good friends and family, and a good time had by all. It felt especially memorable to be introducing Lily to all the pleasures of the week (last year she was only a few days old and neither she nor I made it to any of the fun). Verdict? ¡¡¡VIVA LA FIESTA!!!

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Jul 13

July 27, 2013

We had a sweet little family party yesterday in honor of Adam and Lily’s birthday. Adam’s brother Chris and his family (my sister-in-law Rejane and their two kids Bruno and Max) drove down from San Luis Obispo and my mom (kids’ Nana) came also. It was a small and wonderful gathering! Adam’s cake was a lemon cake with lemon curd and a lemon buttercream. Lily had a little eggless lemon cake with whipped cream on top. After she licked all the whipped cream she wanted more! It really felt festive to be celebrating both of these birthdays on the same day for the first time and it made me think of all the wonderful July 27ths in our future with our little family. I love these people so much!

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Feb 13

Valentines….it’s all about the love

I spent my free time (very, very limited, Baby Girl has been boycotting long naps) these last three days working on making a very complicated, time intensive, amazing chocolate cake. Goal: valentine’s day dessert. Adam and I don’t go out for Valentine’s (too busy and crowded at restaurants, yuck); our tradition, instead, is for him to cook a special dinner and for me to bake a special dessert. So, I baked and baked and made special chocolate cake and chocolate cream and glaze and today, this afternoon, I was planning on putting it all together, assembling it into one piece. It was going to be amazing. It was going to knock Adam’s socks off. I put Lily down for her afternoon nap, started the glaze bubbling on the stovetop (it’s time sensitive so I wanted to have a good amount of time to do it and had fingers crossed that she would give me time) and then…..she woke up. After only 20 minutes. And I gave the glaze a quick stir and ran to her bedroom and patted her back and shushed her and ran back and she cried out again and I ran back and re-assessed and then…..I gave up. I put her in the Ergo and I kept making the cake but she was reaching and grabbing and I was holding the big heavy copper saucepan and no one got hurt but the cake? The cake is not perfect.

When Adam got home I cried, I stamped my foot. I was frustrated. I wanted to make one perfect and wonderful thing. I was angry. I was ticked that “the baby didn’t let me do it.” It’s part of that whole thing of having a baby, where some things have to go by the wayside. I miss having creative outlets, like baking and cooking and knitting and sewing and crafting. I have little bits of time, here and there, but those little bits of time are usually reserved for reading or taking a bath or sleeping or, I don’t know, sitting and staring into space because I don’t feel like I have the mental energy. Today, I wanted to create one purely wonderful, perfect thing.

My cake, it isn’t perfect.

But that’s ok.

Adam hugged me and told me that I already gave him TWO perfect things (any guesses?). I gulped. I remembered what was important. I hugged my baby and cried a little more and remembered that, someday, all too soon, my baby won’t be getting in the way of my baking. She won’t need me as much. Today, my cake is lumpy and lopsided but my baby is perfect.

I’m not a perfect baker. I’m not a perfect mother. But which one is it more important to put time into?

The cake, it isn’t perfect. But it is made with love (and chocolate) and the love is way more important than the perfection.

Counting my blessings today. I am surrounded by good and (nearly) perfect things. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Dec 12

Lily’s first Christmas

It’s 2 am, Christmas morning. I’m sitting in my room, rocking a sick baby, while everyone sleeps around me. It’s as horribly exhausting as it sounds and yet….it is somehow do-able, even in the middle of the night on Christmas. Even with only two hours of sleep behind me and not much promise of sleep ahead of me. I can’t set Lily down because she wakes and cries and her hoarse, congested cry twists my heart and I have to pick her up immediately and so, of course, I am sitting here, rocking her and smelling her sweaty, feverish forehead and kissing her gently from time to time and being thankful that at least she is sleeping, at least she is resting and she is as comfortable as I can make her and at least she is so very loved, even if she is sick on her very first Christmas.

Last year it was Anna who was sick on Christmas. I went looking for her in the afternoon, after all the presents were unwrapped, and I found her sprawled on her bed, napping, and knew she must not be feeling well (Anna hasn’t voluntarily napped in several year). Maybe next year we can all be healthy? Is that possible?

Even in this, in the midst of a long, hard night, I know that there are worse things. I know that tomorrow morning, even if I am fall down tired, there will be presents and smiles and cinnamon rolls and apple cider. There will be new things and hugs and family. There will be fancy Christmas dishes and plates of cookies. There will be laughter and kisses and there will be love.

It’s a dark night but I have the promise of a bright and happy day to come. So I sit and rock and rock and rock. Sweet Lily, merry first Christmas.


Dec 12

The Hair (or lack thereof) of Christmases Past

This Year

Last Year (Lily is on the inside!)

Two Years Ago

Three Years Ago

Four Years Ago

Dec 12

Gingerbread House 2012

Step One: Put house together

Assemble candies

Quality Control. Test candies. Yep, tastes good.

One parent has to hold the baby, who would really, really also like to try the candies. Please? This toy does not look as delicious as sister’s candy.


Baby gets passed to Mommy. Much serious discussion over candy application ensues.

What better way to ensure that Santa comes to one’s house than to write his name on the side of your roof? Good plan, Anna.

No pictures of the completely finished house because…..we ate dinner….baby started melting down….and Anna and Adam started eating the candy off of the house. Yes, that quickly. Sometimes its about the process, not the end product, right?

Dec 12


Merry Christmas!

Dec 12

Growing up

There are some things about my life that have allowed me to remain blissfully child-like. My sheltered upbringing, the fact that I went from being under my parent’s roof to college and then straight to wedded bliss (while still remaining in school, never having to really and truly support myself). There have been some ways in which it is only now, in my mid-30’s, that life has become more “real” (whatever that means). I told Adam on our last trip to Disneyland (last month, for Anna’s birthday) that this was the first time that the place had lost its magic for me (I am, however, 100% aware that this was because I was caring for an infant–an INFANT, for crying out loud! This is no place for a baby!–and not running around like a kid myself and riding all the rides and laughing and eating candy).

The holidays are different now, too, but really only since that one year, the bad year, the year that I lost another baby and got cancer and my parents got divorced. That last part was kind of a biggie for me. Because even though my life circumstances were changing, even though I was losing my faith in myself and in God and in the rightness of the universe, things didn’t really fall apart for me until my parents separated. Because of all things, doesn’t every kid, or grownup, for that matter (or is this just me????) want to go back home? Back to the safety and comfort of the way things were, the way things are, the way things should (will?) always be? And when that safety net is gone…poof…everything starts to look a little different. I started to understand, to really and truly understand, that there are no guarantees. That health and money and friends and family and home and traditions all have the chance to be nothing more than temporary constructs, sometimes shakily built and easily ruined. Some, but not all. That was the year that I really and truly grew up.

I don’t mean this as a finger-pointing accusation (of my parents), though, not by any means. I love them both. Things happen. We all only do the best that we can do and then we try to grow. What matters is not what’s in the past, what matters is how we deal with what is before us now.

I’ve been talking a bit about my cancer with some new friends that I’ve met since Lily’s birth. I can feel it again, these feelings of the way my life became instantly segmented during that time. I think of it as Before Cancer, After Cancer. Everything changed. And yet…it didn’t. I changed. I became who I was always intended to become. I like the me that I am, I just wish that it didn’t have to have happened the way it did.

Sometimes I miss the life Before Cancer. In hindsight, it seems like a simpler time. I know that this time had its own complications and disappointments but I long for that feeling of being childlike. I miss giggling with my sister all night long the night before Christmas, wondering what presents would be under the tree. I miss listening to my favorite Christmas album (on cassette, of course) on my little purple radio. I miss these things because there is no recapturing of innocence. I can feel a temporary sense of this innocence through my daughter’s eyes–the look on her face when she sees the tree Christmas morning, the belief she has, without any doubt, that things will always be the way they are–she will always make pizzelle on Christmas eve and she will always get tucked into her flowered sheets in her pink room with her stuffed animal under her arm and she will always have her mommy and daddy to take care of her.

Do any of us ever lose that longing to return to that place?

I like being the parent, I do. I like being the one to wrap the presents and the one to organize the building of the gingerbread house and the holiday parties. But I still long for that feeling.

The goodness of this season, for me, for now, is not found in searching back in the past (though I do treasure my memories). It is in resting in what is now, with the concrete understanding that this, too, is fleeting: the good and the bad. We do what we can do to construct the moments we want and then we have to let it go. It’s beautiful and it’s tragic and it’s just the way life is, melancholic and lovely, all at once.

Dec 12

Oh Christmas Tree, 2012 Edition (*Now with siblings!*)

Christmas 2012

Cute, right?

This is the behind the scenes: Anna, hold onto your sister. No, not like that, tighter so she doesn’t slip down. Oh, no no no no! Not so tight! Loosen it up a little bit! Not that loose, look her head is falling. But don’t grab her head. No no no no.

Also: LILY LILY LILY LILY LILY LILY LILY!!!!! (Plus other assorted silly noises to try and make the baby smile).

Click. Good enough.

Merry Christmas, y’all. We done got us a tree.

Nov 12

I put my baby in a pumpkin

Lilith, Halloween 2012