Monday, December 21, 2009

Another blog I read reminded me that today is winter solstice. Blake and I are bustling around town trying to get the last few things done on our list for the holidays.

I am looking forward to making a traditional Finnish Christmas cookie (Joulutortut) sometimes called Christmas tarts or Christmas stars, but Andrew's family has always called them wrispy-wraps:

Tonight, I will make the dough so I can assemble these fun things tomorrow evening. I wonder what the neighbors will think of them!

Friday, December 18, 2009


This is how I feel inside! Today, I was shopping at Big 5 Sporting Goods and found their line of Soybu ( clothing on sale. I got pants similar to these, more like pajama pants, for $9.99. The tops are only $14.99-$19.99. They feel heavenly and are made of 60% cotton and 40% bamboo. I have no idea what the quality is like, but I hope they last a long time. What a Christmas deal. I would call before you headed out to see if the store near you has any left.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


The other day I came across this video series on Youtube about the history of Christmas. It is fascinating to learn how holidays develop in both a cultural and spiritual way. Definitely worth watching in my opinion. If you want to keep watching the segments that follow, scroll over the videos at the bottom of the youtube viewer and you will see parts 1/5, 2/5, 3/5, etc.

Although the house is not decorated to the degree I had hoped for (thanks pregnancy fatigue), I still feel comforted by the small amount of holiday spirit. Here is Mary awaiting her Christmas gift (we will pretend now that that video pointed out Jesus was probably not born in the winter months):

Wise men making their trek around the chocolate forest:

Wrapping paper waiting for a purpose:

Every house needs some holiday kitsch:

A California "near the beach" Christmas:

Cape Cod Revisited

I had to hold off on showing some pictures from our trip to Cape Cod because we made Elaine June a memory book and we didn't want to spoil the surprise. Now that they have the book I can post the pictures.

Here we are visiting the shop owned by a woman who's blog I follow.(
It was fun to meet the shop owner and let her know I enjoy her blog posts all the way in sunny California.

A warm bath after a hard days work:

We visited the farm where Elaine June was born. Here are the two spying in on the sheep:

Elaine June helped teach Blake to keep his hands out of the goose enclosure:

Dave (the father) helped build this tractor shed while he was at the farm:

The birth place:


Two mommies and their kids:

In order to clean up the house we had to plug the kids in:

Carolyn sent me this picture after she got home. This is the current farmhouse they live in and some recent snow. Isn't it just gorgeous? I have to admit that our weather here is much easier to maneuver around in (no hats or mittens constantly falling off). I do miss that quiet that comes when snow is falling.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Welcome Baby Holly

Last Thursday night I got a wonderful call at 3:30am that Andrew's cousin Erin was in labor with her first child. Thirty minutes later, Blake and I were in the car headed towards Sacramento/Stockton so I could be there as moral support. I dropped Blake off at my parent's house and arrived at Erin's house at 7:30am. Erin's birthing plan was to have Holly at home with the assistance of a midwife team and the support of her mother, husband, and myself. When I arrived, Erin was laboring in her bathtub and was more beautiful then I could ever imagine. She continued to labor around the house, but at 2:30pm severe back labor set in. Baby Holly had gotten into a position that sent Erin into extreme lower back pain. After trying some different strategies, the decision was made to head to the hospital so Erin could get some needed pain relief so that her body could relax and allow dilation to happen. Erin's body did exactly that once she received her epidural (that only worked on half of her body) and she was able to birth Holly at 9:50pm. I was so relieved to hear she didn't need a C-Section and was able to push her out on her own. The hospital was only allowing two guests in the room due to H1N1 so I ended up heading back to my parent's house around 4pm. Erin was so brilliant as a laboring woman and inspired me in so many different ways. I was so lucky to have been part of her home birth laboring team and am so happy that Holly is finally in Erin and Cliff's arms safe and sound.

Please allow me to welcome Holly Ginger Hoffman
Born at 9:50pm on December 11th, 2009
Weighing in at 7lbs. 8oz and measuring 20.5 inches long

I was lucky enough to meet Holly the next day before I headed back home. I tried to let Cliff and Erin hold her the whole time, but my heart started bursting so I had to snatch her out of Cliffs arms for some sweet, baby cuddle time. Oh, her tiny hands. Oh, her tiny baby sounds. Oh, her precious, silky baby hair. Ok, I will stop now:

The happy parents:

Mommy with her baby bundle:

After laboring for 20 something hours the family finally has their prize:

I have so much love for this family and I can only hope these beginning days are filled with calm and nights are peaceful! I am counting down the days until Christmas Eve when I will see them again. Unfortunately, I will have to share her with all of the other family members.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Week 20

Here we are in week 20 of my second pregnancy. Things are great with some minor fatigue and heartburn. I am glad to be at the halfway mark and can't wait to meet this little boy. We still can't agree on a first name, but time will tell. My genetic screening test came back saying we are in the clear for Down's Syndrome and other spinal cord disorders.

We had our 20 week ultrasound to make sure all of the baby parts in in the right place and baby is growing normally. They said the baby is great and weighs in at a tender 14 oz. We could see him drinking up the amniotic fluid and enjoying life (I hope). He looked like an angel to me and I am glad all of these tests are over. Now I can sit back and relax until he joins us in the world.

My goodness they can look like aliens in ultrasounds! This is his face from a sideways angle.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bring On The Nuts

I am allergic to tree nuts so all of the pediatric literature recommends not exposing my children to peanuts or tree nuts until the age of three. This sounded good enough, but I got sick of avoiding foods in Blake's life. When I called, the allergist's office said they can test for peanut/tree nut allergies beginning at six months. They explained that it is better to try foods and deal with reactions then give everyone the skin test due to false negatives. It was also interesting to learn that oral food allergies are not genetically linked. I guess it is more related to if they inherit asthma or eczema. Anyways, I am happy to report that Blake did not react to ANY nuts at all. He was tested for eight nut allergies. Looks like we will be having peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch today.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Back Home

We are back from visiting Cape Cod, MA. It was so good to catch up with my friend Carolyn and pal around as second time around pregnant ladies. The weather was great, but it did rain all day Saturday so it limited us to indoor activities. Elaine June was a great hostess to Blake and taught him how to draw pictures of kitty cats, twirl around in the middle of the room, and climb big rocks.

Blake and EJ at the shore by the house:

The one rig begging to be turned over:

We visited the farm where Elaine June was born. Carolyn was my first inspiration regarding home birth. EJ was born in a beautiful, yellow farmhouse. Here Blake is soaking up all the farm life:

Cape Houses:

We flew into the Boston airport and then hopped on a prop plane for 30 minutes to get to the Cape. I love these planes, but got super anxious during our flight because Blake looked so tiny and helpless. It was one of those mommy protective moments that you just have to pray for a safe trip and can't do anything but:

In the air:

This is our flight home near the Boston airport. Probably the only snow I will see all winter:

I have a great video of the prop plane take off, but I can't seem to get it to upload to youtube or blogger. Once Andrew gets home I will try and add it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Before I Go

Some swedish oatmeal cookies. The almond extract made them taste so yummy.

Throughout each day I spot so many fun things I want to blog about. Too bad everyone ends up seeing pictures or videos of my kid. I promise I will bring home fun photos of Cape Cod and not just photos of Blake being in Cape Cod! On with the Blake show:

(once you click the play button you might have to click on the beginning of the video timer to get it to work. i don't know why this is?)

Blake's first, fast ride on his father's skateboard:

Now for some scooter fun:

I desperately needed to start exercising again. I attached the bike trailer to my bike and if I need to go somewhere within a four mile radius I make it a point to do it on the bike. Today, I took Blake to a local park. Fall is my favorite time to exercise outside. I like that my lungs get filled with cool air and I don't get all sweaty.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

On The First Day Of Christmas...

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me...

One Gronsaksgratin:

Andrew has Finnish roots so I have decided to make one Finnish or Swedish food dish each day until Christmas (except when I am gone). Last night I started things off with a Finnish vegetable casserole. Yummy. What I liked the best is that the sauce is made up of the veggie water left over after steaming the vegetables. Finally, my baby in utero is getting some nutrition.

When we got back from Oakhurst we decided to eat at a little hamburger joint up the street. Andrew said it would be fun to get our Christmas tree on the way home. I had visions of cutting a fresh tree down in the Santa Cruz mountains, but Andrew pointed out he will be on call the weekend after I get back and there is no way to get down there after work. So we hit up Grandpa's Christmas Tree lot and found the tree of Blake's dreams. So far he loves running up to the tree and using a "one finger touch" to explore the ornaments.

The restaurant caused some guilt because I fell in love with all the cow babies on the drive home. I guess it isn't time to be sympathetic when a pregnant woman and her husband crave bacon cheeseburgers:

Suburban glee:

Okay, Blake is truly addicted to jumpy houses now. Our culture at its finest:

Our newest family member awaits the drive home:

I decided we are going to have a gnome theme this year for Christmas:

Let the Yuletide begin.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Farm Play

What to do on a farm?

Gather apples:

Go for wagon rides:

Play in trucks:

Check out the wood pile:

Pet cats like Sparky:

Now for some videos of garden play...

Exploring Grandma's garden:

More garden fun:

Blake playing in the bed of Grandpa's truck:

We Gave Thanks

We are back from a great Thanksgiving holiday trip to Oakhurst. The weather was great and the company was better. Paul and Sandy bought a home (hitting my head, why didn't I take pictures?) so they spent all their time ripping up carpet and washing the windows. The people before them hadn't cleaned their house in 8 years so they have their work cut out for them. The best part about it is that Paul and Sandy are tackling this great project with smiles on their faces. You can't say that family doesn't work hard.

Onto the pictures...

Blake and Mia watched the Macy*s Thanksgiving Day Parade together. Poor Mia always had to protect her glasses or hair from Blake. He sure loves her though:

Ellen preparing the turkey:

In she goes:

Ellen and David's neighbors, Casey and Ted, joined us for the feast. She just passed the bar and is practicing law in Oakhurst and Mariposa while Ted restores historical buildings. I put him in charge of coming up with a first name for our baby that has to do with woodworking. No names came from the discussion considering they tried to pick the most obscure words they knew:

Blake loved all the food:

Boys will be boys:

Mia waiting so patiently:

After dinner comes dessert:

What goes with whipped cream?:

Pies! Here is my pie before the top sunk in:

Pumpkin and apple pie. I discovered the two are delicious when eaten together:

Uncle Paul not understanding the fun of blogging:

I am so thankful for all we have and each day I try and remember this.