Category Archives: Family

Katy and Lola, 4 Months


Lola on the left, Katy on the right (probably)

Can you believe they’re already four months old? Or that it has only been four months. Which is more incredible? When they were born they were only tiny little handfuls and now they are getting difficult to hold onto 2 at a time.

Very first baby picture - Lola, frothing at the mouth, Katy not yet into the world!

They have come so far in these four months, it’s a shame I haven’t gotten around to writing about them until now.  They have absolutely dazzling smiles with cheek dimples and double chins and raised eyebrows.  As they smile they often initiate a conversation, little buzzes in the throat and ahs and oohs.  I noticed their first smiles within a day of each other when they were 7 weeks old, which was only about 2 weeks gestational age!

6 Weeks

They play with their tongues a lot, seeming to taste the air with them.  I love to see their tongues curling up into their mouths as they smile, sticking out to taste the world and getting ready to curl around when they nurse.  They have the cutest little mouths and when they cry, they stick out their bottom lip far enough to park a small car.

4 Weeks

When they are playing on their backs or getting their diaper changed, they energetically flex and straighten their legs.  When they stretch out their arms, they barely reach higher than the top of their heads.

5 Weeks

They have just started to look at each other and I caught Lola smiling at Katy a few days ago (Katy was looking elsewhere).  They have flipped both from front to back and back to front, but so far don’t reliably do either.  They are playing with toys, if you count looking at and batting with hands playing.  Their favorite inanimate object is the monitor (which hums and slightly flashes its lights) next to the changing table, which they look at immediately and smile and coo at.

4 Weeks

They lost most of their newborn inch long blond hair and have grown back a new centimeter of the same light color.  Light enough that they are called bald by passersby.  Their big eyes have lightened to a fairly bluish tint, which is pretty close to Ellie’s at this age.  They have lost some of their milia, but still have some of the white freckles here and there.  They have very soft and fair skin.  It’s delectably kissable.  Their baby cheeks and fuzzy heads feel like heaven up next to me.

5 Weeks

As I write this they have nursed to sleep and are now sitting up in my arms, curled together with their heads within reach of kisses. And their blond eyelashes against their cheeks and their soft breathing in my ears.  How lucky I am!

3 months - Welcome to the Jungle




To be fair, I thought I should list the good stuff in Berkeley. I think if I could not be living in Oregon or Washington, the Bay Area would be next on the list.

Here goes, what Berkeley has and Portland does not:

1. Fantastic weather! Though, I never minded Portland’s.

2. Diversity! Resulting in fantastic restaurants and the possibility for Ellie to take a “Baby Mandarin” class. Though I’m not spending $30 for Ellie to walk around putting everything in her mouth while the adults recite single words in Chinese.

3. A good school where Jesse can get a PhD in Chinese languages and literature. He said today that a prof (from another university) told him that Berkeley was the only place Jesse could really study what he’s studying.

4. Good donuts

5. Close enough to drive to Parents, Grandparents and Cayucos without Ellie getting pissed off (as much)

6. Year-round farmer’s markets (ie, year round local produce)

7. The Sea

8. San Francisco nearby! (and even just looking at the cityscape from the East Bay)

9. New friends

10. Good, small, local markets for produce and meats and fishes

…and that’s it for now. I’m sure I’ll miss it here when we move to Minnesota for Jesse’s first teaching position.



I’ve been terribly cranky ever since coming back from Portland a week ago. Darn you Portland! I almost think I should stay away so I don’t get grumpy about what I’m missing.

Here is the short list of what Portland has and Berkeley does not:

1. A sister, her husband, their gestating child, their cat and comfortable house.

2. A brother, a sister-in-law who is also a good friend, their fun kids and a comfortable house.

3. Coffee shops with good coffee

4. Coffee shops with good food

5. Coffee shops with places for kids to play!

6. Easy(er) access to good friends.

7. High Chairs and changing tables in every establishment.

8. Nicholas’ and Saburos

9. Good parks

10. Nice little neighborhoods to walk around (Sellwood, Multnomah Village, Mississippi, etc, ad nauseum)

11. A recently transplanted aunt who had lived nearby and was very helpful

I’d better stop. I think I could be writing this list for hours. The point is Portland is better and I know it and I know I will not get to move there for at least 6 years, if ever. Humph.

Today I’m in Love


(Ellie’s 9 months post coming up shortly)
Oh! Love is in the air. The past few days have made my heart overflow. Happy times with family and a package of jam from Heidi (yay!) have made life literally sweet.

Jesse and I celebrated our anniversary last night, which meant eating the fanciest food we could cook at home. It was cheaper than if we had ordered takeout thai food. And incredibly delicious. We talked, laughed, and reminisced about all we’ve done together. It’s been a crazy 6 years. Portland to Japan to Spain to Portland to China to Berkeley. How lucky we are!

We spent the last weekend at my parents in dusty, blustery, blistering Redding. We just relaxed, hugging a lot. Grandma played with Ellie, Momm and Dad schlepped her around, showing her the garden, the dogs, the birds, etc.. Leif and Melissa, Josh, Olivia and Daniel all came down from Portland as well, so Ellie had cousins to play with and we all got to play together. Lois was there and Nick came back from Alaska on the last day. Old friends came over to visit and there was just a lot of friendly, family love.

Erin has planned a trip here in October, so I’ll get to see her soon enough. Al together, I have felt very warmly embraced by the comforts of love!

I’m a Mom!


The other day I stepped on a toy and it hurt. I got a flash of the future with Lego men piercing the bottom of my foot.

I can’t sit (or stand) still. Whether she’s in my arms or not, If I’m standing, I’m swaying. If I’m sitting, I’m jiggling my knee.

I make the goofiest faces for her. I use the sappiest voice with her. When she blows raspberries at me, I spit right back. When people talk to her, I talk back using the first person for her. Even though I know these things are annoying.

I have an increased vocabulary of terms useless to the rest of my life:
evacuation control
attachment parenting
tummy time
sleep sack

I somehow have no time. For anything. Not for phone calls, not for doing the dishes, not for showering. But I have unlimited time to sit on the floor and hand back toys.

There are innumerable nicknames for Elena, most of which I only dare endear her with when we’re alone, because they are that goofy.

I hope she has Jesse's forehead

I hope she has Jesse's forehead

I love her so cup overfloweth.

Grandma’s House


Today I was thinking about curtains. And that made me think about my grandma’s previous house and the big front window with 2 curtains that fascinated me when I was younger. Then I remembered kneeling on the couch and looking out the window, then I pictured the other couches, the piano, the hearth, grandpa’s chair, jumbo…

This was during Ellie’s nap, and as I rocked her, I went from room to room, remembering every piece of furniture, everything on the walls. The terracotta colored sitting lady (who’s ridged hair I liked to brush with my fingertips), the batik of women washing clothes, the tiles by the stove, I tried to remember all of it. It made me happy and sad at the same time.

As I was looking around in my head, I started to see people in the house. Grandma in the breakfast nook, Grandpa nodding off in his chair, aunts and uncles snacking on a veggie platter, Grandma at the piano, Grandpa at his desk, “Hello, the Mallory’s”. And I would say, “Hi Grandpa!” And out of 9 female granddaughters, he always knew it was me. I guess I miss my grandpa.

I love seeing Grandma so comfortable in her new house and I always get a thrill when I see something from the old house and remember my history with it.

Freaking out less


Jeez. If you thought I was waddling before (which you probably weren’t because you’re not here), you should see me now. I’m like a caricature of a pregnant lady. I groan and struggle to get out of bed (mind you, the bed is on the floor and about 6 inches tall) 4 or 5 times a night to pee. I can’t remember anything, it’s like the baby ate my brain. I did laundry today and forgot the last load in the dryer. I didn’t realize until hours later when I gave up finding the matches to 2 pairs of socks and went back to the laundry room to see if I left them there. I did not remember this load until I opened up the dryer to see if I’d left the socks there and found the whole bundle. It’s a good thing I found it, because if another person had taken these clothes, they would have got my only remaining pair of comfortable pants. I don’t really think it’s nice of me to assume another fellow Berkeley Student Family Housing Resident would steal my clothes, but in the first week here I washed a lovely flowered dishtowel that Mom got me at Powell’s Books for Cooks and left it folded in the laundry room, only to find it taken (or what, thrown away?) that evening.

So that’s a rambling paragraph to say my pelvis is uncomfortable. Jesse and I went to a childbirth class yesterday. He’s been studying so diligently that I think the 8 hours we spent together learning how to relax and how freaky birth is was like a little vacation for him. He kept saying what a good time he was having. The class definitely made me feel better about giving birth, but made me start to worry about the weeks after and being lonely. I think I’m going to need to be driving up to Redding every few weeks for some company. Jesse has some good friends here and we’ve seen them a few times, but they’re living a different lifestyle than we are. We’ve also met a bunch of other very nice fellow student families, but meeting somebody once or twice does not make them a friend to go to for comfort and reassurance. I’m glad the holidays are in the next few months so we have family vacations to look forward to. Also, Oakland airport is very close and a cheap place to fly into on Southwest. Come on over! San Francisco awaits your visit a short BART ride under the bay. Also, Berkeley has fan-damn-tastic food.

Thanks so much to Melissa and Megan for your reassurances after my last post. You’d think once a girl was 31, she’d have too many baby hand-me-downs than she knows what to do with, but you 2 are the only ones of my friends and family to have jumped on the baby train. Yours and all the other gifts we’ve received are not only kind, but extremely helpful. Thank you cards are coming! I just have to buy some stamps.

Also, my completed *52 books list* is up! I have got time, time, time on my hands tonight as Jesse is working at reading his 900+ pages of stuff and preparing a presentation for one class and a paper for another. (Hey, did you know in Grad school “classes” are called “seminars”? Whatever.)

So the booklist, in somewhat chronological order is available for your perusal. Questions and commentary welcome unless your question is, “Aren’t you embarrassed for reading all three books by Meg Cabot about a girl who is not skinny and also reading them almost straight in a row?” To which I would answer, “You try moving to China and only getting your hands on quality literature that is also interesting and being a bit lonely and also not skinny.” But still, don’t ask such questions, because I can only talk back so rudely to myself, not to you my kind friends and family.

And that is all for tonight.