Project Life: Weeks 44 and 45

Project LifeI have set up a little Project Life factory on our kitchen table, and I am kind of in love with it. I had a lot of fun with these pages, using supplies long forgotten or just buried under…other stuff.

Project LifeFor this page I broke out the glitter mist and glued a ribbon to the bottom. Trying to remember to use those more, since I love how they look as borders.

Project LifeI’m so glad I took this picture, since it captures a handful of happy months spent traipsing back and forth between home, library, and cafe, working on my book and book proposal. I hardly ever drink coffee in the afternoon anymore (well, now I don’t drink coffee at all!), so this was a special treat.

Project LifeI love this picture of Eric too. I feel like it captures his sweetness and engagement with the world around him. His curiosity has always been one of my favorite traits.

Project LifeThis was a pretty typical week for us, and a happy one. One I likely would have forgotten about otherwise. I’m so glad I didn’t. (As a side note, sorry about the photo quality in some of these–I am experimenting with a new method to overcome the lack of natural light in our apartment. It’s called, officially, taking photos on the floor in the hallway where there are skylights, and often in a hurry so my stuff doesn’t get stepped on or cause my neighbors to think I’m crazy. Still, I think it’s an improvement over the meager light I can catch in our cave of coolness.)

Project LifeAh, blurry! My parents are actually heading back to the Bay Area now, and I am really sorry I can’t join them. But at least I have all these happy memories from the time we spent there a year ago!

Project LifeMy parents are some of my favorite people on earth: hilarious and kind and generous and intelligent and fun. Whenever we are together, the good times roll.

Project LifeMy dad was teaching a course in Burlingame, so we spent the first few days there, hitting up our favorite restaurants, enjoying the super fancy executive floor, and thrifting (well, that one was just my mom and me, but we had enough fun for 30 people, at least). The map is the one we used when we rode the trolley into town from the hotel.

Project LifeIt’s impossible to look at this picture without smiling. At least if you’re me. More adventures to come! And there will be maps. Lots and lots of maps.

Baby Shower Bunting

Baby Shower BuntingHillary has the best ideas. We were talking about making a bunting for the baby shower, and she asked me if I had any scraps left from my quilt. And I did! And they were already cut into triangles! This afternoon I took them over to her house, and we got to crafting.

Baby Shower BuntingWe started by stitching the triangles together back-to-back to make them two-ply, so the pretty side of the fabric will show either way it’s hung. Then we trimmed the edges with pinking shears, which I totally love. I need to get some. And I should say before I go any further, I was really just an assistant in this process, as Hillary has made buntings before and totally rocks at them. So this is less a tutorial than it is a celebration of the manifold talents of my awesome friend. However! Now that she has shown me how to do it…I have bunting fever.

Baby Shower BuntingThis looks way more impressive than a quilt scrap, doesn’t it?

Baby Shower BuntingOnce we had them all finished, we laid them out and came up with an order for them.

Baby Shower BuntingThen it was time to pin them to the bias tape. Bias tape! I am now convinced that it is the world’s greatest invention. It makes things like this so easy! As you can see, we made two: one with blue bias tape and one with yellow. I am just showing the blue one here because that’s the one we finished this afternoon.

Baby Shower BuntingAnd then Hillary stitched it right up! The whole process was much easier than I imagined it would be. And I love the way it looks! And its slight resemblance to a magnificent set of eyelashes. I think after the baby shower we will hang it over the baby’s crib.

Baby Shower BuntingWe realized that it totally matched my dress, so I tried it on. Because I am the silliest. I know the baby shower is going to be a blast, but I am having so much fun getting ready for it too–the best of both worlds!

June 2014 Goals

June GoalsI don’t know if I’ve ever enjoyed summer as much as I have these past few years. I’ve always been a fall kind of girl, but lately spring is finding its place in my heart too. And summer: fresh fruit, swimming, extra light, and all kinds of fun things to celebrate!

I think this is kind of an ambitious list for the month before our baby is due, and it’s totally going to be okay with me if I don’t get to all of it. However, some things are both fun and necessary, like setting up the nursery, and those are the kinds of things I like to pepper my to-do lists with. Hopefully by the end of the month we can have it more or less ready for  our sweet son.

Also in the fun camp is the baby shower! Hillary and I are still working on a few things to put it together, and that is great fun too. I am so excited to celebrate with so many people we love, and the cherry on top is that my BFF is coming down from Berkeley! Can’t wait.

I am also hoping to finish my paintings and get them hung in the living room this month. These are my three huge canvases from the Bloom True e-course. I haven’t painted in weeks, since being bogged down with freelance work, and I’m eager to get back to it and see where these paintings go.

Our three-year anniversary is this month, and I am pumped about that too. The past two years we have taken a little trip, but I think this year we will stay close to home. A little day trip would be fun, though, so I’m doing some poking around to find a good destination. We were together for three years before we got married, so we have actually been together for six years, which is crazy and awesome and the best thing that ever happened to me.

It would be great if I could send out the next round of submissions for the book this month too. I have everything ready, but there is a little bit more research and tweaking I want to do before I hit send. Hopefully I can pull it off!

And I aspire to take pictures of it all. May goals have been updated here, and here are my June goals from 2013 and 2012 (the first ones I ever made!) I love having these goals each month, but even more than that, I love the little snapshot of life they provide as time goes by.

Update, July 2014: This month was a fun one! A few projects (the nursery and my paintings) are carrying over into July, and I’ll be happy to finish them this month. The baby shower was SO much fun, and our little anniversary getaway was great too! I have sent off the proposal to two additional agencies, but at this point I think I need to shift gears. I’ve realized that instead of spending time tinkering with my proposal and query letter to meet each individual agency’s criteria, what I really need to be doing is building my platform. This will probably take a back seat until the baby is at least a little bit older, but I am excited about crafting this career (with a flexible schedule!). I feel like I have sort of done everything backwards with regard to the publishing process, but I have learned so much along the way, I can’t possibly complain, and it’s been FUN too. That’s a good thing, even if it makes the process a little slower. I have something like 600 pictures from June, and to that I say huzzah!

Adventures in Pregnancy: 32 Weeks

32 Weeks8 months! Well, 8 months out of 10 (40 weeks), so we still have some time to go. I was thinking today about whether or not I can believe I’m this far, and I really can. I feel like I have been really present for every stage of this pregnancy, and I’m grateful for that. And grateful for this long span of feeling really good! Our little friend is rocking and rolling all the time in there, but he is not yet in my ribcage, so I am savoring that. He gives me a good punch every now and again, but I really can’t complain. I love feeling him move and knowing he is healthy and growing. At our latest appointment his heartbeat was as strong as ever, and my iron levels and weight gain were good. Icing on the cake. But not literally, ha!

I am still sleeping pretty well, but have to get up more in the night (and I’m sure the number of bathroom trips will only increase from here!) I also get so hot when I’m lying down. It’s not even that hot here yet, but even with the air conditioner on, I can’t sleep without a fan blasting me in the face.  And that fan is so glorious!

I have pretty much transitioned from walking outside to walking on the treadmill at the gym, which is not as pretty, but given that I need to use the ladies’ every 15 minutes or so…it’s awesome. I am slowly working my way through the entire catalog of my iPod on Shuffle. Only 4,000 songs to go! So I am thinking I am should be covered for the next 8 weeks.

The nursery is starting to come together–we still need to move the furniture around, but we have most of the big things, and that feels good. I am sewing away on the baby’s quilt too, and loving watching it come together.

32 WeeksI think it is pretty safe to say I am firmly in nesting territory. Guess what I did this weekend? Took everything out of the kitchen cabinets and painstakingly reorganized it. Totally normal pregnant lady behavior, yeah? I feel like there’s been a mental shift in the last few weeks: I am now really focusing on preparing for labor. I’m reading all our childbirth books, working on a birth plan, and starting to shift into this empowering mantra: “I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.” I am actively trying to replace fear with confidence, and I am not feeling too scared right now. I mostly feel *excited.* Excited to meet our baby, excited to have this incredible experience. I don’t mean to deny the pain of labor at all–but I am pretty sure that never again will pain feel so productive, or have such a happy outcome. And that feels like something pretty amazing to look forward to.

Map-Themed Baby Shower Invitations

Map-Themed Baby Shower InvitationsWe’re planning to decorate our baby’s nursery with maps. I happen to love them and have a lot of them, but we also want to encourage our little one from the very beginning with the idea that he can go anywhere he wants to go, be anything he wants to be. We want to share with him the wonder of the world around us, even though mostly we’ll probably be learning that from him. When Hillary offered to throw us a baby shower, we knew maps would be just the thing. And we knew we wanted to make the invitations because playing with paper is our idea of a party. I am so proud of how they turned out! However, full disclosure: I just showed up with the maps. All these awesome ideas were Hillary’s.

Map-Themed Baby Shower InvitationsWe started by trimming a few world maps down to fit the cards we had, leaving a border around the edge as a frame. I love that all the invitations are different, showcasing so many countries and continents.

Map-Themed Baby Shower InvitationsHillary had these awesome stamp stickers, and we used those to affix the little green ribbon of paper to the front.

Map-Themed Baby Shower InvitationsShe typed out this little message on her typewriter. Ten times. She is a gem.

Map-Themed Baby Shower InvitationsOn the inside, we tucked all the pertinent information (oh so artfully blurred here) into these Airmail envelopes. Hillary typed out the little invitation at the top.

Map-Themed Baby Shower InvitationsIt was so much fun to be able to able to make these, especially since I wasn’t able to do anything like this for our wedding (too many invites, would have lost my mind!) I love having a friend who also thinks a great afternoon involves a lot of glue and double-sided tape.

Map-Themed Baby Shower InvitationsI am saving one of these cards for our little one’s baby book and can’t wait to show it to him one day, and tell him about all the months we spent dreaming about him and waiting for him to come and shine a new light into our lives.

One Little Word: December

One Little WordI finally finished this project, and it was so totally worth the wait. The December prompt is really a look back and a look forward, and it’s been nice to be able to do that six months down the road. The goals I set last January are still in motion, and being pregnant has really added a new dimension to my goal of being open in my life.

One Little WordNow I can finally tell you that getting pregnant was one of my three big goals for last year! It’s fun not to have to cover that part up anymore. My word was so helpful to me in that process, as I rode the waves of hope and disappointment. It was a beautiful experience, and the happiest secret hope I have ever known. The book and the quilt are active projects now, and it’s wonderful to be able to devote my energy to them again after being so sick this winter.

One Little WordThese are some scattered reflections, with bonus feather and glasses stamps. My two new favorites!

One Little WordAnd these are the things I want to carry with me as I go forward. I know this word will be with me for a very long time. I am going to learn to be open in big new ways in a few months! But there’s also work to be done in terms of confidence, especially as I’m continually stepping out of my comfort zone as I try to build my career. When I look down that road, I just know I don’t want to leave home without this word in my pocket.

Adventures in Pregnancy: 31 Weeks

31 WeeksAnd now I begin to understand all those bowling ball metaphors! I am getting seriously big, which is to say, my little passenger is getting seriously big: over 3 pounds! I am so grateful for every day he’s in there growing away.

The biggest change this week is that I feel all of his movements now instead of just kicks. Every time he shifts, I can tell exactly where he is. It is the strangest sensation, but I kind of love it. I know things are getting more crowded for him in there, and soon I’ll reach the trapezoid belly stage. As of right now, I can distinctly feel his legs and can usually tell where his back is. He seems to like hanging out on my left side.

I definitely have to get up more in the night now, and I think my sleep is probably going to get more erratic from here on out. Good practice for what’s to come. I still have to eat something in the night, but how hungry I am in general seems to change week by week. Depending on whether or not he’s having a growth spurt, I either have to eat something every two hours, or just one extra snack before bed in addition to my regular meals. I am still craving fruit (cold. cold fruit!) and ice-cold water.

We are making progress of prep work. This weekend we worked on the registry, and the baby shower invites are ready to send out (more on those soon, mostly because Hillary and I had so much fun making them!). I finally made my way through the baby name book, and now we are ready to have our Name Summit. Exciting!

31 WeeksThis weekend we also had the chance to go paddle boating with some sweet friends of ours, who, blessedly, live only about 10 minutes from us. That is an LA miracle. The guys did all the paddling while the ladies chatted in the back. It was the loveliest afternoon and something I’ve been wanting to do for the longest time. So glad we squeezed it in!

A Handful of Happy Things

A Handful of Happy ThingsI went to the library today and picked up these gems. In Berkeley it was nearly impossible to check out anything that had come out in the last 2-3 years from the public library. But here…I can pull them right off the (new!) book shelf! There are still waiting lists for new books, of course, but they are not as long as in Berkeley. Going to the library makes me so ridiculously happy. Ours is a lovely historical one, and I’ve got the layout pretty much memorized. Sometimes I just go wandering around some interesting section until I see something that catches my eye. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: there’s nothing like the shock of exhilaration that a library provides, one million possible worlds to explore, all at your fingertips.

A Handful of Happy ThingsI officially inaugurated summer by making my favorite corn and tomato galette yesterday. This is just the filling as it’s cooling. And the whole thing is long gone now. I can’t wait to grill zucchini and corn and peppers all summer long.

A Handful of Happy ThingsEric had an observing run at Palomar this week, but thankfully I wasn’t too lonely because I had my book club meeting. I haven’t been able to go hang out with these lovely and intelligent people since before I was pregnant, due to being so sick. We had a wonderful time, and Rusty made a cherry clafoutis that was just out of this world. Eric came home this evening bearing so many treasures. He got some fruit and honey at our favorite farm stand, and he brought back all kinds of amazing bulk from Winco in Pomona. Groats! Forbidden rice! Golden raisins! Multi-grain couscous! Whole wheat penne pasta! He showed me all of his plunder, and then we *exulted* over how extraordinarily cheap the whole haul was, especially considering that most of these things are specialty items. Let’s just say that it would have cost at least twice as much at Whole Foods, if not more. Sometimes it’s hilarious how similar we are, and how much we value the same things.

A Handful of Happy ThingsTo top off the happiness, we got a package in the mail from my Besfrinn! It was basically an entire baby shower in one box! My Besfrinn is getting ready to make a major move with her family to start a new job, and I cannot even fathom how she had time to put together and send this package while packing her whole household, keeping an eye on her two-year-old, and working remotely. I felt so very loved. And she sent such awesome stuff: books and clothes and cloth diapers and lots of other things we’ll need. It’s been a very happy couple of days indeed. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Memories and Making Jam

Making JamThis is such a special handful of months. I am busy with several big things that are on a deadline, but I’ve never felt more productive, or like I’ve made better use of my time in my life. It’s an awesome feeling, one that I hope will carry over to whatever I may be able to get done during naptime (I’m setting my expectations very low so I can avoid putting pressure on myself and feel like a rockstar every time I accomplish something). But my deadline work means that all the creative projects I want to write about (the quilt! scrapbooking! reflections on my word for 2013–yes, I am aware that we are barreling into June!) are…not finished. And when that happens I sometimes just look through my photos and wait for inspiration to strike. There’s so much treasure in that Picasa folder.

Making JamSo I wanted to write about making jam with Eric. Full disclosure: this is in no way a recipe post, but we used the recipe on the Pectin box for freezer jam. It was something that Eric knew how to do long before I met him, which he learned from his awesome mom, who is a master of canning and preserving (literally) and all other things in the kitchen. The great thing about freezer jam is that you don’t have to do all the intensive boiling and sterilizing. It’s quick and easy. So we decided to try it together. These pictures are from 2009 (!), and they were taken in the lovely little house where Eric lived when we first started dating. I miss the light and the hardwood floors, and all the laughing we did while making dinners together there. We made this jam soon after Eric got back from a  three-month balloon campaign in a tiny town in New Mexico. We were ecstatic to be back together again, and he was more than excited about getting some fresh summer fruit.

Making JamThat morning we went to the farmer’s market and bought these two trays of strawberries–Albions. We still love this variety, even with all the Oxnard competition. We had never been to the farmer’s market before (Berkeley Bowl, ah, glorious Berkeley Bowl had everything we needed and more), but we had fun walking around and looking at everything. I remember seeing necklaces made with old typewriter keys and being enamored of them. And those glasses I’m wearing–ha! I got them when I was a freshman in college and wore them for about 10 years. I still kind of miss them sometimes.

Making JamI put an old shirt of his on over my dress to keep from splattering myself with strawberry juice. And now I wear that shirt as a pajama top. Those bright white countertops make me so happy. While Eric was in New Mexico, one roommate moved out, and a new one moved in. She was awesome in every way, and she kept things so neat and clean. This was a major improvement over the previous tenant!

Making JamThese were the days when I was teaching lit at Berkeley and had to wear a watch to stay on track with my lessonplans. And it must be around the time that the silver rings I bought in Russia got too big for my fingers, because I have them pushed back with my grandmother’s sapphire ring, the one she gave me for my 16th birthday, just before she died.

Making JamHere is our sweet pink treasure.

Making JamWe jarred it up and divided the stash evenly–half to his house, half to mine. I love looking back on this time because I just couldn’t have imagined all that was to come. Don’t get me wrong–I knew I wanted to marry Eric. I knew that more or less right away, in the way that you know something in your bones. I had never dated anyone like him, and we just had, and have, so much harmony together. We dated for two years before we got engaged, and I think it was perfect, though I know I spent some of that time impatiently longing for where we are today. But it’s so beautiful to look back and remember what a treasure this time was too. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. At the same time, it’s wonderful to be in a place where I’m no longer longing for anything. Eric and I are so deeply happy to see each other every day, and this little baby on the way feels like an extravagant gift on top of that. Sure, there are plenty of things I still want to do in life, and career goals I haven’t met yet, but I am so fully content and grateful for the life that we have together. I am so overwhelmed, honestly, by all the happiness that is to be found in the littlest things: making jam, looking through old photos, reading the paper, eating a cold peach. I don’t want to take any of them for granted. I don’t want to forget any of them. I hope that five years from now, I’ll be writing a post about the pictures I took today: water lilies and jacaranda petals, summer veggies going into a savory galette. Each day is so full of magic that I could never record it all. But I’ll never stop trying.

May: Currently

May: CurrentlyPlowing through a bunch of freelance work and feeling grateful to have it. It’s fun, and I learn so much.

Researching the next group of agents I’ll send my proposal to, since the first agency didn’t respond. I was bummed about this, but not crushed. I am sure there is a better agency for my project, and I shall find it!

Enjoying summer fruit like it’s the first time I ever had any. Peaches and cherries and strawberries and pluots and apriums and melons: they make my world go round.

Feeling excited about a week of cool weather, which means I can take daily walks without melting.

Enjoying the beautiful jacarandas around town. There are so many streets with lines of them planted on either side, and it turns the asphalt into a dark backdrop for thousands of brilliant purple blossoms.

Getting down to business on baby prep. Most of the big stuff is taken care of, and every little thing we put together makes this feel a little closer, a little more real, a little more magic.

Cooking up a storm to keep up with my T-Rex appetite.

Reading The Goldfinch and loving it.

Feeling so tired, so happy, and so in love.

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