Boo

Somehow in the chaos that has been the last week or so, I managed to make Hooper’s Halloween costume in time for his little party at the gym. I use the term “make”, but rest assured there was no spinning wheel involved. Shit, there wasn’t even any thread involved. That little Fred Flinestone getup was constructed out of pure felt and glue goodness. Possibly the most easy and inexpensive thing I can brag about making. I spent around 7 bucks on material and when all was said and done, about 45 minutes cutting, gluing, and measuring.
Van was a sheriff. I scored his little vintage getup at the Topanga Vintage Market a few months ago for 5 bucks with tags attached. Tonight, he’ll be a dinosaur because I honestly don’t think he can fit into the sheriff costume again. That’s one big growing boy, thanks to that dreadful three month growth spurt I keep bitching about.
Anyway, we’ll probably do a little trick or treatin’ tonight and then hunker down and hope some trick or treaters come to our door. I think Hooper will really enjoy handing out candy. And eating the candy. Because that’s a must. Have I mentioned I’m addicted to candy corn. Because I am.
What are you doing?
Side note: My first day back to work was long, but relatively seamless. I wish all days as a nurse could go so smoothly. Thanks to everyone who offered words of encouragement and support, it means a lot. Thank you also to those who continue voting on TBB, we’ve jumped up quite a few spots over the last few days, so that’s always cool to see. Much love.

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San Diego

Everyone knows that when you have a baby there are sleepless nights and bumps in the road. If I were hydrated enough, I would have already shed a few tears, but I think Van sucked every last bit of moisture out of me over the weekend. I’m talking about the dreadful three month growth spurt.
When Hooper was three months old, we stupidly decided to take a trip to Hawaii. I say stupidly because it felt like we were imprisoned by a different set of four walls. At the time, we attributed his waking nearly every hour to a change in scenery. Then I remember reading something about a growth spurt at three months and I thought it could be that too. Don’t you feel like the entire first year is full of excuse making: oh he must be teething, oh he must be growing, oh he must be cold, oh he must be tired, oh he must be hungry… The amount of excuses you can make are endless. I’ve come to believe you really ought to excuse the entire first year of any baby’s life.
I digress. We spent the weekend in San Diego where we met up with our wedding photographers to do a family photo shoot (If you’re in the socal area, I highly recommend these kind folks). After the shoot, we met up with my sister and her boyfriend and watched the baseball world series. Sounds fun, right? It was, until we tried to go to sleep. Van woke up every hour, on the hour, from 11pm to 3am to nurse. Mix in three separate shit explosions and you’ll know why I’ve decided to be a zombie for Halloween. I’m so tired I can’t even bring myself to humor you about the situation. But I will say this: The morning found us with a trash can full of shitty diapers and a water bottle, next to Willy’s side of the bed, filled with urine. A five dollar Voss water bottle, mind you. Why, you ask? Oh just because Hooper was sleeping soundly in his playpen in the bathroom, and well, when you gotta go you gotta go. Needless to say, we had a fun day planned with discussions of Sea World or the Zoo or Balboa Park, but we opted to head home after breakfast. Total flunk. No more traveling during the three month growth spurts. Note to self, engraved on my forehead, for next time. Should there be a next time. And after this weekend, I’m reconsidering.
Not to say the weekend was a total flunk. It was awesome to meet back up with our wedding photographers. I admittingly have a girl crush on Jaime, the wife of the husband and wife duo. It was also nice to see my sister and her man. And even with the struggles, it was nice to get away. But boy does it feel good to be home.
Today is my first day back to work. I have a 12 hour shift ahead of me. Keeping everyone on the east coast in my thoughts today with hurricane Sandy doing a good job of keeping things in perspective. Stay safe.

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The Proverbial Wall

It’s a wonder how so much gets done sometimes. The days go by faster than I can check things off my to-do list. Speaking of my to-do list, it’s growing. What they say about laundry is also true to for to-do lists: For the two minutes it’s complete, it feels great. Then off go your underwear and suddenly, there’s more dirty laundry. Lately, I’ve felt like my head has been bobbing just above water. I’m getting just enough air to avoid developing brain damage, but to say I’m sitting poolside enjoying a mimosa is a long shot. Maybe it’s the looming holidays. Maybe it’s the fact that I return to work THIS week. Or maybe it’s just that there is a lot on my to-do list. Whatever it may be, I’m overwhelmed and mentally exhausted. Throw in a three month growth spurt from our usually peaceful lil’ Van and if I had a towel in my hand, I’d be throwing it onto the pile of dirty laundry (someone hand me a towel).
I’m anxious about starting work, I have a two year old’s birthday to plan, loads and loads of photos to edit, a beyond ridiculously dirty house to clean, laundry from two weeks ago waiting to be folded, a suitcase to unpack, and on and on. At least I managed to cross off Hooper’s Halloween costume and a family photo shoot in San Diego over the weekend. More on those to come.
What I’m saying is that I’m tired. I need a break. And I start work tomorrow. Someone throw this mama a bone. I’ve hit the proverbial wall. With that said, there is no mama style today. In it’s place, picture this: an old flannel with spit up on one side and drool on the other, over sized sweats, greasy unwashed hair, and under-eye bags. Want the look? Have a baby 😉
I’ll be back tomorrow with a few photos from our stay in San Diego and some ranting and raving about this awful three month growth.
And if you’d be so kind as to vote for The Stork & The Beanstalk by clicking on the TBB link below, it sure would brighten my Monday. Thanks :)

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Breastfeeding

“The Magic Number”
My magic number is 8-9. I think. That’s what I go with, anyway. What’s that mean, you wonder? It means to keep my milk supply afloat, I need to empty my breasts 8 to 9 times a day.
When I breastfed Hooper, I fed him on demand like all the hippie people told me I should. I read his feeding cues and offered him the breast whenever he wanted and for however long he wanted. What I found, in hindsight, is that while it was enough for him (insert question mark here), it was not enough for me. I stopped breastfeeding just a week shy of a year because my supply was next to nothing. I had no pain physically while weaning because my supply had steadily been declining. I had little milk stored away in the freezer and was always anxious about the ambiguity in regards to how much Hooper was getting or how much I was producing.
This time around, I’m doing things differently. As Maya Angelou once said, “I did then what I knew to do. Now that I know better, I do better”.
Van’s magic number is only 6. This means he only wants to feed 6 times a day. I try to offer the breast more often for my own agenda of keeping a plentiful supply but find that Van will fuss or have a lazy feeding because he’s simply not hungry. Thus, I pump. I started pumping with the goal of having a healthy supply stashed away in the freezer. Then I quickly realized how much these additional pump sessions were helping my milk supply. Now I have more milk than I can fit in my freezer but I continue pumping for the sole purpose of maintaining a hearty supply.
My midwife/lactation consultant shared this article with me that coined the term “The Magic Number”. Determining your magic number, the article states, depends on breast fullness and breast storage capacity. Here’s the breakdown:
-Breast fullness. Many woman make the mistake of only pumping or feeding when their breasts feel full. Having full breasts, however, actually causes milk production to slow. Imagine breastfeeding as a supply and demand system. If your breasts are full, they are telling your milk factory workers that you do not need any more milk. When your breasts are empty, on the other hand, those little factory workers get to work to fill you back up. Thus, the more you empty your breast, the faster they fill. The opposite is also true: the more full your breast, the slower milk production becomes.
-Storage capacity. This does not relate to breast size, though for me it’s easier to visualize a larger versus a smaller breast for ease of understanding. Storage capacity affects how long it takes for a breast to become full. A woman with a large storage capacity is going to take a longer amount of time to fill, thus milk production will continue until the breast is full. A woman with a small storage capacity, however, will become full quicker and thus milk production will slow when the breast becomes full. Therefore, a woman with a smaller storage capacity must empty her breasts more often than a woman with a bigger storage capacity to maintain milk production.
You can view the whole article by clicking here.
What’s your magic number? Did you find this explanation helpful?

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Brothers For Life

These two. I tell ya. My heart yearns for them as they sleep and flutters for them when they’re awake. Hooper’s transition into his role as big brother has been seamless. That little munchkin Van gets more unsolicated hugs and kisses from his brother than anyone else. Hooper is quick to place one of his prized toy cars into his brother’s hand and repeatedly offers Van his bottle and his raisins and his juice and his carrots… you get the idea. It’s a budding relationship and it’s the most fulfilling thing to watch unravel.
That’s all for today. Just a few simple words to reflect on mothering these two beautiful boys. Dear Hooper & Van, Mama loves you.

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Hooper @ 23 months

I’m late on posting this, but what else is new. Your birthday is right around the corner…
Growth & Appearance: Your eyes appear hazel and while your hair is still blond as can be, I think it will turn brown in time. You’re wearing a size 7 shoe, size 4 diapers, size 3T pajamas, and size 2T clothing. 
Talking: You have preferences now. Actually, I’m fairly certain you’ve always had them, but you can now communicate them. Or some of them, anyway. Here’s how our conversation went the other day in the bath:
Me: “Hooper, would you like to sit down in your bath?”
You: “Nooooo” (said so sweetly you could melt an ice cream cone)
Me: “You don’t like sitting down in your bath?”
You: “Nooooo”
Me: “How come?”
You: “Doo Daa… Hi-YEE!”
And that’s about the extent of it.
Your favorite word is “Hi-Yee” and you use it not only when you want to say hello to someone, but also when you’re in trouble and not sure what to say. There’s been several times we have taken you to the corner and scolded you only for you to look us dead in the eye and say “hi-yee”. I think it’s your go-to when you’re uncomfortable.
You’re saying a ton of two syllable words now. Our favorites include “pumm-mee” (pumpkin), “tra-tee” (tractor), “ta-tee” (tatoo), “da!” for motorcycle (I know, we’re confused too), and my most favorite of all: “bra-ba” for Barbara. You don’t know a Barbara, for the record. Again, you better pick up on our humor if you want to thrive in this family.
Before you go to bed, it’s become routine for your Papa to hold you and go through a series of new words you’ve been saying. It’s not for practice. This is purely for our own enjoyment. It goes a little something like this:
Papa: “Say bye”
You: “Bye-yee”
Papa: “Say pumpkin”
You: “pum-mee”
Papa: “Say Bananna”
You: “Bammmm-ma”
…and now…
Papa: “Say Barbara”
You: “Bra-ba”
I know, we’re weird. Welcome to the family.
Oh yes, you finally call Sarah by name. Only to call her by her nickname, “Gonlz” (which you pronounce “gone”, said like “cone” with a “g”). Never mind how she became known as “Gonlz”. What I will say is it’s a derivative of her prior nickname of “Sonlz”. 
Feeding: I’m really making an effort to help you become more independent with your eating. I give you praise each time you use your utensils. It’s gotten a little bit better, but the improvement is so slow moving and mealtime, in general, takes forever. I’m eager for your two year check up so that I can confirm your weight is fine and I can relax and let you eat when you want at the speed you want. Though somehow I have a feeling I’ll still be a neurotic lunatic chasing you around with a spoonful of something.
Your favorite foods include the following: pesto chicken pasta, breaded chicken, bread, peas, kiwi, strawberries, cheese, chicken nuggets, mac n’ cheese, ground beef or turkey, and greek yogurt. You used to love scrambled eggs, but lately you’ve been doing this weird gag thing every time I give them to you.
I’m giving you breast milk again. Not to mistaken with breastfeeding. I have so much milk and I hate to waste a single drop, so I put whatever leftover milk I have into your bottle. One of these days I’m gonna slip it into your Papa’s glass too. Shh… don’t tell him.
Sleeping: If we are home for the day, you typically take two naps. The second one is much shorter than the first and sometimes we refer to it as “quiet time” instead of a nap because we can hear you in there rustling about the whole time. You’re sleeping nearly 12 hours at night (9:30pm to 9-ish am). You take your first nap around 10:30 or 11 am and wake up around 1:30ish pm. Then we put you down again around 5:30 and you rest for about an hour. If we’re out and about, you usually skip the second nap and pass out on the way home. You’re pretty adaptable and so long as you are entertained, you are not too grumpy even if you miss your nap. 
Development: You love to give kisses. You kiss lots of inanimate objects. I caught you kissing the grapes I gave you as a snack. I’ve also heard you kissing your blanket during a nap. You have given kisses to the passing garbage truck, flowers in the yard, and mickey mouse on my shirt. You’re quite the lover these days. Van still gets more unsolicited kisses than anyone.
You are no longer shy. In fact, you say hello to everyone. We were leaving a restaurant the other day and you walked right up to a table and said hello to a little girl. She got down from her seat to say hello back. You gave her a hug goodbye and that was that.
We took our first road trip as a family this month and it went as smooth as possible. You’re very adaptable and easy going. You didn’t even mind sleeping in the little closet of our small room. You spent the long 6 hour drive watching the passing cars out the window, pointing out the trucks and motorcycles along the way. I hope you always stay this way, but I’m sure we’ll hit the “are we there yet?” blues at some point.
You love pointing. When you want to do something again, you raise your index finger up to your face like you just stumbled upon some bright idea and proclaim, “ghen” (again).
I still take you to your gym class, which you love now. You’ve fully come out of your shell and are the same madman there that you are at home.
Favorites: You still love your toy cars. Good thing you have a gazillion. You enjoying organizing them into piles or lines and then reorganizing them at a different location than before. You can almost always find at least seven cars on our sofa at any given time. You love coloring and like taking my writing pens out of the drawer and scribbling all over the paper at your little table. You also still love Gabba Gabba and insist on watching it daily. It’s a struggle for me. I’d much rather you play outside, but it keeps you entertained while I’m feeding you and I’m not sure how to get around that. I hate TV, I really do. Luckily, you do love going outdoors too. We’ve done a lot of fun things this month. You went to your first circus, which you loved. We went to the pumpkin patch and LA county fair. Also your first official road trip to San Francisco, where you went to the zoo. You’re a lucky little dude. 

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Mama Style

I scored this little vintage Levi’s  jumper the other weekend when we were in San Francisco. I hesitated buying it because, you know, it’s Fall n’ all. But my heart belongs to Summer and apparently Fall belongs to Summer too because it hit the triple digits here again last week. If you follow me on instagram (thestorkandthebeanstalk) you may have seen my photo of the 109 temperatures steaming up your feeds. Anyway, this jumper has been my go-to on these warm days. Super comfy and super breastfeeding friendly, which is always a major plus in my book. And I just love jumpers… even if they are a little jail-house-ish.
In other mama news, I have another round of birth-related links to share with ya’ll. All of these are really deserving of their own individual posts, but when lack of time and organization gets of the best of you the answer is to clump. So here is my clump o’ links. Hope they’re helpful.
This article discusses how both Cigna and Aetna are leading the way in a new movement to lower the c-section rate. Aetna is adjusting the price they reimburse for c-sections, making the cost closer to a vaginal delivery to eliminate the profit hospitals and doctors receive when going the surgical route. Cigna is aiming for the same and is additionally offering bonuses to hospitals that are able to lower their c-section rates. Leave it to the money-hungry insurance companies to be the ones making a difference. Who cares if their motivation is money if the end result is better care for birthing women, right? The article also states that hospitals are working toward no longer allowing doctors to induce labor prior to 39 weeks, unless a reason for an emergency induction is documented. Anyway, I’m curious to know your thoughts…
This article discusses why it is hard for the birthing mother to say “no”. The topic alone is enough to raise your eyebrows, right? Your thoughts?
-A wonderful love letter to c-section moms, because not everything in life goes according to plan and we all deserve respect. This is a real beautiful article that I urge everyone to read. Again, would love to know your thoughts…
Here’s a collection of great resources and links for first time moms. The 30 of the best blogs for new moms covers everything from sleep patterns to diapering to feeding and then some. Loads of info.
And lastly, the winner to last Monday’s giveaway from Truly Sanctuary is Taysha Murtaugh. Congrats! They will be notifying you via email. For everyone else, please remember you can use promo code STORKANDTHEBEANSTALK for 15% off your entire purchase!

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Fall Fever

I love fairs and festivals. We went to the Ventura fair and had a blast. We tried the LA fair and swore, as in cussed our brains out, and then swore, as in promised, never to go back. The little pumpkin patch at Pierce College, now that is where it’s at. If you live locally, you must check it out. We’ve been twice already; once on the weekend and once mid-week. There is a $5 entrance fee on the weekends, but it’s free during the week. They have everything you would get at the county fairs minus the crowd and cost. I’m talking bumper boats, slides, mining for gold, pony rides, petting zoo, trampoline, moon bounces, hay rides, a carousel, corn maze, funnel cake, and the best strawberry lemonade in all the land to boot. I think we just started a yearly tradition. Looking forward to next year when Van can participate in the pumpkin picking. This year, he slept the whole time.
Side note: Today is the last day to enter Monday’s giveaway from Truly Sanctuary. You can enter by simply leaving a comment on Monday’s post. I will be announcing the winner on Monday.

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Bits + Pieces

Hoop taking important phone calls // Van at his last checkup // Hoop running amuck // Chalk and crayons // Someone celebrated her third birthday. Her name is Sarah and she received more dog treats for reasons she does not understand // Hoop hanging in Van’s room // Van hanging in his crib.
Happy Friday!
Side note: Tomorrow is the last day to enter Monday’s giveaway from Truly Sanctuary. You can enter by simply leaving a comment on Monday’s post. I will be announcing the winner on Monday.

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Meet Your Parents

Dear Hooper & Van,
We bought our first home just a few months before our wedding. It was built in 1957 and the woman who lived in it prior to us was the original owner, I believe. We spent the first month or so ripping out floor, ripping off multiple layers of wallpaper and indoor wood shingles (I know, it’s like an indoor roof… not sure why), and painting walls.
Working on your home is hard work, but like raising children, it’s the best work. Take pride in your home and care for it like you would a child. The best work of art is one that contains the blood, sweat, and tears of the artist. Think of your home as a blank canvas, but leave the decorating to your wife. And, when you’re finished, reward yourself with ice cream. Or a beer. Whatever suits your tastes.
Love,
Mama

A Boy & His Dog.

I grew up with Casey, a yellow lab. I distinctly remember laying in the hallway of the home I grew up in cuddling that dog and starring lovingly into her eyes, proposing that if I never met “Mr. Right” that I could spend the rest of my life with her instead. And I remember this being a serious consideration. I never thought about the fact I’d outlive her, she was immortal in my mind and I was unable to imagine my life without her in it. That’s the thing about dogs, they become part of the family. And life is never as enjoyable without them. My parents just lost their dog, Sammy, so I apologize for the sappy point of view.
The other day I watched as Hooper and Sarah carried on with their normal shenanigans. I’ve been warned by my own readers of the day that’s sure to come where I will no longer be mom, but instead a referee between my two boys. I’ll have had some training, however, because Hooper and Sarah require me to wear that ridiculous black and white vertical (barf) striped shirt from time to time. Sarah has brought Hooper to tears on more than one occasion and not because of her physical force, but rather because she’s running with a ball (that has her DNA all over it) and Hooper wants it. If Sarah could cry (why don’t dogs cry?! Rhetorical question), she’d be in tears from all the slapping and pinching and food stealing she has to put up with. I’m pretty sure whatever feud they have going resolves itself at the dinner table, where Sarah happily licks every morsel off the floor (seriously her eyes are glued to the floor during mealtime. She doesn’t even bother looking up to watch it drop. She’d rather have her mouth ready and in position) and Hooper happily flings food he doesn’t care about anyway off his plate.
I think of the memories I had with Casey and now the memories Hooper’s making with Sarah and it warms my heart. These two… I tell ya… they really love each other. Maybe Hooper will want to marry Sarah one day too. 

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San Francisco

As promised, a wee little video from our first family road trip to San Francisco. Hope you enjoy. I think I enjoy making these videos a little too much…

San Francisco from The Stork & The Beanstalk on Vimeo.

San Francisco from The Stork & The Beanstalk on Vimeo.
And in case you missed it, we have a giveaway from etsy seller Truly Sanctuary going on now! You can enter by visiting their online store and leaving a comment on yesterday’s post. They are also offering a 15% discount off your entire purchase with promo code STORKANDTHEBEANSTALK. I’m told this promo code is good for a while, but don’t procrastinate, the holidays are a’ comin’ (just hear sleigh bells jingling, ring-ting-tingling).

A Sponsored Giveaway

I’m all kinds of excited today. We have a lovely giveaway and my first gif. I was showing off my gif capabilities to Willy who since has repeatedly made fun of me for pronouncing it like “gift” without the “t”, which according to him (and probably everyone else) is wrong. Schwhatever. I taught myself to gif (yes, it’s like a dance) and to that I say kiss my arse you phonetically gifted fools. I digress, we have a lovely giveaway from these two lovely people over at Truly Sanctuary. Say Hi to Ron & Beth, otherwise known as R & B but not to be confused with those that don’t see nothing wrong with a little bump and grind. Seriously, please give a little wave at your computer screens right now.

Truly Sanctuary has an array of designs to chose from. I’m talking everything from Ol’ Dirty Bastard to Gandhi (my apologies, Gandhi) and everything in between like Mr. T, Bob Dylan, and Woody Allen. Not to mention phrases like “My Beard Hurts”, “No Hablo”, and “I have tattoos”. And I can’t leave out Edward Scissor Hands, whom my dad refers to as Roger scissor fingers (seriously, that’s what he thinks his name is).
Truly Sanctuary has been kind enough to offer one of my readers any item of their choice. Choose wisely (wink wink). You can enter by visiting their store and leaving a comment below with the item you prefer. The winner will be announced next Monday. Please make sure your email address is valid so I can notify the winner via email. Good luck! And special thanks to Ron & Beth. You two are adorable and have one awesome store.
Should you not win the giveaway, Ron & Beth have been so kind as to offer a 15% discount off your entire order using the code STORKANDTHEBEANSTALK. So, if you don’t win, you still win. It’s a win-win people! Get to shoppin’, the holidays are coming!


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Help…

Anyone who is somewhat involved in the blogging world or a fan of etsy has come across the famous sleepy king woodland animals. Savannah, the brains behind the design, has made her sleepy woodland fox an internet sensation. It’s like the Sophie the giraffe phenomena for parents who want something made by hand in the good ol’ USA. The fact that items on etsy are unique and original, handmade, and locally made are the main reasons I try my best to support my favorite shops here on the blog. In any case, it struck a cord with me when I read this post on Sarah’s blog. Savannah has had her designs completely ripped off by the large Swedish corporation Lindex. The resemblance is uncanny. Apparently, Urban Outfitters is notorious for doing the same thing: scouring etsy for great selling original work and then reproducing it on a grand scale at a cheaper cost without giving credit or paying the original designer for their work. Check out this article. I imagine the cost to fight these large corporations is astronomical. If you have the means to donate, Savannah has set up a paypal link on her blog. If you can’t afford to donate, I still urge you to pop over and offer your verbal support and encouragement. You can also email Lindex and tell em’ they’re a bunch of assholes.
Remember to check back on Monday for a special giveaway from etsy seller Truly Sanctuary! Enjoy your weekend.

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Bits + Pieces, from San Francisco

 

 

I went to San Francisco for the first time when I was in Middle School. If I remember correctly, who went on the trip was based on a lottery system. I remember running up to the list posted on the outside of the classroom door, frantically searching for my name. Already feeling like a winner for making the cut, we boarded a bus and like that, were off. I vividly remember driving into the city and taking it all in. I watched from the bus as a bum pissed right onto the street. I saw gay people holding hands. Buses running on cables. Steam coming up from the subway that ran below. Something about the city made my 6th grade heart beat faster. I knew I’d want to return, and years later, I did.
I lived in San Francisco for five years. I moved back to southern California to be able to afford traveling around the world, which was the only thing that justified leaving the city.
Now you got me in reminiscent mode. Back to present time. We drove, stopping along the way to breastfeed (sigh), and arrived in SF on one of the busiest weekends ever. The Giants made the playoffs and were playing, there was also a 49er’s game, an Oracle convention, a Justin Bierber concert for goodness sakes, and the Blue Angels were flying overhead. Needless to say, it was more expensive than usual. Special thanks to my in-laws who gifted us part of our stay for our anniversary.
We spent a day at the zoo, which I highly recommend, and spent the rest of the weekend driving around, eating pizza on Haight street, and watching the Blue Angels fly overhead as we sat in Golden Gate Park with the lunatics and addicts and runaways. Can’t wait to go back. Love that it’s only a drive away.
I have a wee little video from our first family Road Trip coming soon. Until then, happy Friday!
pssst… Stay tuned, we have a special giveaway from etsy seller Truly Sanctuary coming Monday (woot, woot).

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Breastfeeding

Today is the first breastfeeding posts of a couple I have planned. I know some moms that chose not to breastfeed have some residual guilt about that, so I want to preface this series with this statement: I truly believe and trust every mom does what they feel is best for them and their child. It’s a simple statement, but it’s packed with meaning. I believe pregnancy, birth, and motherhood are highly individual experiences. Just as a home birth may not be for you, breastfeeding may not be either. Truth be told, if I worked a Monday through Friday job, 9-5, I probably wouldn’t committ to breastfeeding either. In any case, what I’m saying is that I pass no judgement. For thsoe that are breastfeeding or plan on breastfeeding, I hope you can find something in this series that helps you out. Here we go…
I recently had conversations with a friend who is pregnant and my hairdresser who just gave birth a couple months ago and was a bit taken back with the lack of support they received for wanting to breastfeed. I was somewhat over-the-top with my commitment to breastfeeding Hooper, but even with that intense commitment there were several challenges and obstacles and times where I really really wanted to throw in the towel. What kept me going, you ask? Support. And it wasn’t as if support came knocking on my door in those hard times, it was a conscious effort on my part to seek it out in those tough and trying times. For starters, I had the knowledge of the fact that I was solely breastfed for my first 12 months of life. In my own mother, I had a role model. My midwife at the time, Sarah, was also a lactation consultant and made herself more than available for all of my “what should I do?” and “should I keep going?” questions. She was great and I’ve already had conversations with her this time around for continued lactation support.
Breastfeeding is hard. I had the best of circumstances in that Hooper and Van latched perfectly and I had little discomfort, and the whole experience was  and still is incredibly difficult. If I wasn’t so intensely committed, I wouldn’t have persevered. I know that. That’s why I think if you make the decision to breastfeed, you have to set yourself up for success before the baby comes. Here’s some advice I would like to offer:
-Seek advice and support from others who were successful. Lots of people quit for lots of valid reasons, reasons I can surely sympathize with, but when you’re trying to persevere these aren’t the people you want to turn to. Instead, find a role model. I luckily had my mother and knowing she made the sacrifices for me was enough for me to be committed to making the sacrifices for my boys.
-Take a breastfeeding class. It’s so important to know what to expect and to have some sort of knowledge prior to starting out. The first few months are the hardest and I think this is the easiest time to give up. I would recommend doing research before hand and coming to the class with a few questions or concerns that are personal to what you envision your circumstances to be.
-Research breastfeeding support groups in your area. I believe the La Leche League is nationwide. I never used our local La Leche League, but I never had a lack of support either. Again, it’s the breastfeeding mother’s responsibility to set herself up for success. If you assess your situation and lack of support is something you notice, you need to determine where you are going to get the needed support.
-Have a conversation with your husband. It was difficult for me because I felt pressured several times throughout Hooper’s first year to supplement with formula. This pressure did not come from his pediatrician, who fully supported my dedication to solely breastfeed, it came from Willy. It was out of love and concern, but at the time it felt very harsh and un-supportive. I finally sat down with Willy and we discussed my feelings. I told him that what I need is nothing more than continued support and a pat on the back from time to time. I assured him that Hooper’s health was also in my best interest (we worried because he’s always been so thin) and that if he had concerns he needed to bring them to the pediatrician instead of me as there was no way for me to make him drink more or to feed him anymore than I was. I swear, that boy lived at the breast for his first three months. Anyway, make your desire to breastfeed clear to your husband and request his full support. Help him understand that support takes many forms. It means encouragement to continue even when you’re complaining or hurting. It also means bringing you a glass of water to help keep you hydrated. And it also means accepting a grumpy wife who has been up all night because only she can feed the baby.
Feel free to leave any additional advice you would like to offer in the comments below.
photo source

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I desperately want a California flag for the home // I’d put my flag above this bench, perhaps // Love this Aztec pottery // Wild & Free print // Coasters // This scarf is no long available, beg em’ to bring it back! // This scarf // Vintage fringe purse sends my heart aflutter // These flats are no longer available in my size, so bummed // Vintage wellies that already sold but had to include them because, well, look at them! So cute! // These boots // How ’bout this sweater?! // Or this cardi?! // An arrow bracelet? Don’t mind if I do // And this wood bangle? Get out!

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Last Days of Summer

Last week it was still in the triple digits here in Southern California. I had already turned the calender page and welcomed October into our lives with hopes of fall joining the pumpkin party. Summer had other ideas and I’m not one to complain about the sun wanting to hang out a little while longer. So I packed up the boys and headed to the beach, in October, to properly thank summer for lingering around. I had the radio on and the Rolling Stone’s “Miss You”, one of my favs, blared through the speakers. I turned it up. Hoop bobbed his head in the back and I dedicated the jam to summer, knowing fall would be gracing us with it’s presence soon enough. It was a perfect day at the beach. A week later and it has cooled down to a comfortable 80 degrees. With a visit to the pumpkin patch in the near future, we’ll have to replay our wee little video to remind us of the last days of summer spent with sand between our toes and white water crashing at our ankles. Dear Summer, thanks for lingering.

Last Days of Summer from The Stork & The Beanstalk on Vimeo.
You can check out my other videos here and here.

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