Sunday, October 25, 2009

Weekend Harvest

It's no secret that my favorite tree is our pomegranate tree.

When we showed up last January it was all gnarled and dormant and then was a harbinger of spring with it's tentative, delicately waxy leaf buds, and then it flourished in the late spring and early summer with vibrant, Hummingbird-seducing red trumpet flowers, and then we've been watching as the fruit plumps and is one of the last truly seasonal fruits and I am completely enamored.

Yesterday we determined that it was time to have the first official harvest.

Because I am currently a sideways camel, I could not go up the ladder, so Steve did the honors.

Good thing the weather has been perfect.

Kipper, of course, helped. He let us know two things:
A) Pomegranate leaves are not as tasty as grass.
B) Solid ground is better than a branch.

The four on the bottom came from our tree, the three in the middle from our farm box and the one on top from our tree. it's about the size of a ping pong ball.

Same thing, different angle. There are grapefruits on our neighbor's tree smaller than that one on the bottom left.

It's ok to be jealous.

In other news:

Don't let your onions sit too long. Even if you have an overflowing bounty of them.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Animals and Babies

There's a lot of talk going on lately about getting pets ready for new babies.

Since we have cats, I pay attention.

Meet the cats:

This is Polly. She is three years and a few months old, she weighs in at a "whopping" elevenish pounds, and that feather-thing is HERS. It's her security toy and I promise I did not pose this picture. I wake up sometime to discover she brought it to sleep with her on my knees.

This is Kipper. Her "big" brother. And by big I mean he's coming in at about 18 pounds. He doesn't have a feather, but he does have a sense of presence. And he has no hesitation about crawling onto whatever new baby item we've brought home to make sure that it smells like him - just in case anyone is under the impression that someone else might own the house.

They have their routines - preferred spots in which to sleep, preferred laps, mealtimes, etc. They have distinct personalities and inside our home neither one of them is viscous or threatening. (Unless you are not me and you mess with Kipper's ears. He'll take your hand off.)

So...aside from bringing in the baby stuff in a timely fashion so that they can claim it as their own, we have decided that best preparation for a baby is to be as irritating as possible.

Because babies are not gentle. They grab when they should pet. The pull when they should let go. They drool in a way that will probably make my cats shudder.

When we are forcing our cats to play, snuggle, or be carried, Polly will jump away and groom a bit before going to another room. I'm completely ok with this reaction.

Kipper, will grumble while allowing you to do whatever it is you're doing. Steve likes to hold him in the cradle position and jiggle him. It's like Kipper-Skat.

My preferred method of irritating (and probably more accurate when a baby/toddler is involved) is to swoop in when there's exposed belly and rub and rub and rub. I just can't help myself.

Look at that Belly! Could you help yourself? No. And what is his response? He rolls on his tummy and gives me this look:

"Human. You are irritating me."

Mission: Accomplished.

Monday, October 19, 2009

These are the People in my Neighborhood...

When we left our fair city for Silicon Valley, we decided two things:

1) There was absolutely no reason for us to pick a spot that made Steve's commute too long. (And good thing, too, since his car was crushed like a grape in transit and he cycles in 3 days a week, now. Don't be sad for him. He'd cycle in five if he could and then do a full century - 100 miles - on the weekend.)


2) Since we were leaving the state altogether, why not try something completely different?

We picked Willow Glen. Small townish without being too far removed, suburban but not contrived, and quirky.

For the record - none of those things are hard to find here. Seriously, through a dart at a map of the small towns that got swallowed up by San Jose and you will find lovely communities with gingerbread homes and historical markers aplenty.

As for the quirky -- we've been noticing Halloween decorations going up around town lately so last night we decided to walk around our little neighborhood and get some pictures*.

The lights that line the walk are pumpkin shaped.

A close-up of the window. It says "Happy Halloween."

This porch has the string lights and cobwebs...simple but festive.

I'm going to have to get a picture of this in the daytime - it was just too dark. This (very nice) gentleman has arranged Skeletons to be crawling out of their graves on his lawn. He also has a LOT of cobwebbing and apparently on the night of the big ToT, he puts out a smoke machine.

These guys weren't waiting for Halloween to pull out the stops...or if they are - Halloween is going to be *awesome* at their house. On the right is a giant moving spider that is both self-illuminated AND strobe-lighted.

A close-up of their graveyard. The skull on the right blows smoke.

This is across the street and two houses down from us. It makes me giddy.

I'm going to plan BIG for Christmas and next Halloween. Apparently in our 'hood a plain-ol' Jack-O-Lantern just won't cut. I'm actually REALLY good with that!

*taken with my slowly becoming obsolete phd olympus. I <3 that camera, but it's not so great for night shots. It's best for high-noon pool party shots.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What I Want. (A preliminary birth plan)

So I have to have a c-section. Bunny is not even allowed to look at the light, much less head towards it, until it comes rushing at him in the form of a Dr. coming through the womb. Violent, yes, but not any more than any other form of childbirth.

It's been in my mind off and on that because I'm not able to have the birthing center/home water birth I would like to have I'm going to be less present for the birth of my baby. In fact, I've run across women who treat the c-section like it's a form of infanticide (I've also run across women who view formula and circumcision as infanticide.)

And then Mothering, in honor of Attachment Parenting month, posted up THIS article, written by a mom after my own (soon-to-be-mommy) heart, who had a scheduled c-section and lived to talk about it.

So I think that having a clear, well researched birth plan is what it's going to take to set me at ease. Our family is not able to make it out until several days after the birth (in some cases weeks and months)so I'm looking into having a doula present and we'll also have the illustrious Kelly M doing our birth day photography.

Today I did some research and asked around and put together a preliminary birth plan. Here it is:
(format and some wording borrowed from a very helpful friend on one of the mommy boards I frequent)

To my Health Care Providers: Thank you so much for what you are about to do for us. Today parents, as well as a child, are being born. Because we will both be emotional (and Emily will most likely be nauseous) we have taken the time to research, discuss, and create a birth plan for guidance. Because this is a planned c-section, there should be no surprises, and we would both like to be as aware and present as possible at every stage.  For your respect and care, we will be forever grateful.

*I would like to have my husband (Stephen) and doula with me at all times, even for procedures and administration of anesthesia.
*Because our family cannot be in town until several days after the birth, it is very important to me that my photographer, Kelly, be allowed as much access as possible. 
*If possible I would like to have my music played.
*My arms are not to be strapped down unless general anesthesia becomes necessary during an emergency.
*Please let me know before start any procedure or administer any medication. 

*I would like to have use of my arms during the procedure, please administer blocks accordingly.
*Please give me medications to help prevent nausea and vomiting.
*Please do not administer mind-altering drugs. I do not wish to be less alert due to sedation. If it becomes necessary to sedate me, do not do so without express permission from either myself or Stephen.
*I would like the catheter put in after anesthesia is administered. 

During the Procedure
*If my baby needs assistance during the delivery process, please use a vacuum.
*We would like to wait 1-3 minutes for the umbilical cord to be clamped. (We are donating the remaining cord blood to a public bank, please do not discard it.)
*If at all possible we would like that Stephen be able to cut the cord.
*I would like to see the baby immediately after birth. I prefer that he be placed on my chest rather than the warming tray. If my chest is unavailable for medical reasons, then please have my husband disrobe and hold the baby to his own chest.
*I prefer that the outside incision be sutured with stitches and not staples. 

Newborn Procedures
*It is ideal that Sebastian be with Stephen or myself at all times.
*We do not wish to do the eye ointment, the Hep B vaccine, or other immunizations and will sign a waiver.
*Please apply a topical anesthetic to our son before sticking him with any needles.
*Stephen has Gilbert’s disease, which can cause jaundice. Please be aware that this may be an issue for Sebastian. Do not proceed with any treatment without express permission from myself or Stephen.
*We would like to give our son his first bath. Please do not bathe our baby.
*Our son is to be exclusively breast-fed. Please do not offer my baby formula, pacifier, artificial nipple or sugar water without my consent.
*Please do not circumcise our son.
*All tests and procedures are to be done in the presence of Stephen and/or Emily, and with our expressed consent, including any emergency situation. 

Emily’s Post-Op & Recovery
*I would like to have contact with the baby as soon as it is possible in the delivery room.
*I would like my doula to remain with me at all times during the recovery.
*I request to recover in a Labor & Delivery Room so that I can have my baby immediately and have my husband and doula with me.
*I would like the catheter removed as soon as possible.
*I wish to have the baby with me in recovery so that I can breast-feed.
*We would like our baby to room in with us.  Any procedures or pediatric checks can be done in our room.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Happy Fall!

This came in our box today. Our first GOURD! I'm so excited. what in the world do I do with it?

Also. I went to pull out all five of our Halloween decorations only to discover them missing. Either they were lost in the move or I packed them so cleverly I can't find them.

Either way, this is a bummer.

IKEA this weekend for a crib, a bedside table, maybe a rug (???), and Halloween decorations.

Happy Friday!
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