Jul 26, 2014

one

one one one one one 1-4 months month 5-8-tag one
happy 1st birthday to the sweetest baby!

it's been an incredible year. you've kept us on our toes, made us laugh, and, sometimes, cry. but mostly tears of joy. we loved watching you grow, play, learn, our [almost] daily walks, and sharing food with you. we love you to the moon and back, and hope you will always, always be our happy guy.

xoxo
mom & dad

Jul 18, 2014

mornings

still
the weather's been warm in the bay, and the days are still quite long. i enjoy the extra light, and will probably be a bit sad when the days grow shorter and time changes again. i've been working, but mostly offline, taking a much needed social media break. i'll share photos again soon.

nick's first birthday party is in a week, and i am doing exactly what i told all of my friends [and myself] i wouldn't do, obsess. i said i wouldn't have a theme and i'd keep it casual, since he's only one and won't remember it anyway. now, halfway into my fifth craft project, hot air balloon themed, i must admit: i'm a liar. i am obsessed with planning the party and making everything by hand! it's a lot of work and i do it because i enjoy making things and i love my son. hopefully this means i'll have some great photos to share, and nick will enjoy the party at least half as much as i have planning it. :)

it's been a while since i shared music. here's what i'm currently listening to.

w.o.w. by architecture in helsinki
W.O.W. by Architecture in Helsinki on Grooveshark

Jun 19, 2014

three

three
pear+apricot is three!

the past year was a crazy one for me, full of change. i don't know if i've ever mentioned this, but change is stressful for me. even when it's a welcomed change, a happy one, i often struggled to cope and keep up. i took a bit of a break from this space, but now i am back and glad to be.

three years ago, i had just quit my job, with no idea what was in store for me. i started this blog and wrote about pretty much anything that interested me a little. some of those interests grew into passions, and, along the way, i've also discovered new things.

a friend once told me that, if the ambition and determination already exists, when you stay busy the opportunities just start to align at the right moment. i can't agree more. in the past few years, i went from feeling lost to having my dream job(s), being a mom, and a photographer. it feels good to say that—that i am 'something'! i am cooking again. and crafting. and traveling. for all of this, i am grateful.

to all the friends, new and old, thank you all for following along.

to another year.

-xoxo

Jun 9, 2014

a birth story

i jotted down nick's birth story about a week after we came home from the hospital. after that, i tried to forget that i went through labor.

he is turning one, next month. yes, it's crazy to think about.

that means i've been sitting on this post for almost a year now. i am sharing this now because it's one of the most significant moments of my life, and i want to remember it here. this is not meant to scare you, but a little warning: my labor was long, and it was intense, but what happened to me most likely will not be your experience.

we had a loss before nick, so throughout my pregnancy with him, i was terrified. i avoided baby forums and birth stories [especially]. york read them, for some reason, and he read them to me occasionally, but i couldn't bring myself to it. i knew, nestled between the posts with photos of cute babies, there would be stories from mothers sobbing for their babies who didn't live. too close to home.

it wasn't until the last month of pregnancy, bundled together with the desire to redecorate, clean, and ready the house for the baby—all part of the nesting instinct i suppose—i suddenly felt very scared, and unprepared. i started to read everything i could find on childbirth, labor, epidurals, ina may, and the farm.

i made a birth plan, and i printed two copies of it. i kept one in my purse [just in case], and one in the hospital bag that i started to assemble.

this is funny to me now. how much control over things i needed to have, was able to have, before nick arrived.

anyway, it was helpful for me to read other people's accounts of their labor and birth experiences, not because i enjoyed reading this stuff. [God, no!] it's just how i prepared for anything that i wasn't confident about, by studying my ass off, crossing my fingers, and hoping for the best. so, if you are about to have a baby, thinking about having a baby, or simply someone who loves to read all things about babies, you may find my story interesting/helpful.

but you should definitely skip it if this kind of thing grosses you out.

Jun 6, 2014

pretty lady

baby noella baby noella baby noella baby noella baby noella baby noella baby noella baby noella baby noella baby noella baby noella baby noella baby noella baby noella
this session was special. i've known my friend, patty, for a long time. she was one of my closest friends in the eighth grade. she's witnessed some of my worst fashion decisions/disasters. we're talking baggy jeans and black lipstick. i may need to take her photos for free for the rest of our lives as a bribe to keep her from showing you those images.

after middle school, we went our separate ways, to different high schools, colleges, cities. we stayed in touch, but sometimes a year would pass before we'd see each other again. but when we did get together, even if it's been a long time since we'd spoken, we're always able to pick up right where we left off, as if we just saw each other a week ago.

somehow, patty and i both ended up living in the bay area. and, in 2013, we found out we were both pregnant! it's been an amazing experience, to be able to support one another through a series of life changes. i watched patty walk down the aisle with her husband, pat. then she was here, expecting her baby the same time i was expecting nick, exchanging stories with me about our pregnancies, and then, our motherhood experiences.

i visited noella when she was first born, only a week old. i wasn't back working/shooting yet, but i had my camera with me, and took a few shots. she was beautiful, and perfect.

at seven months, noella has grown into such a pretty little lady! because i know and care for this family, when patty asked if i could take their family portraits, i was honored. doing this shoot made me so happy! they are such a beautiful family, and an absolute joy to photograph.

noella is about the same age as nick, only a bit younger. she wasn't too sure about this shoot at the start, but she warmed up to it, and boy, does she love jewelry! she is such a gorgeous baby—made my job easy. i hope she and nick will grow up together and be friends. :)

Jun 2, 2014

baby noella

noella noella noella
newborns are just precious. they’re so small and fragile. yet, their eyes will lock onto yours when you hold them, commanding attention.

before i had nick, i had never photographed a newborn baby. so, before he arrived, i purchased all these props—baskets, blankets, hats, cute shorts and whatnots—hoping to capture him in the way i’m used to seeing newborns captured, propped up, posed, and decorated. then i started taking photos of him regularly. i changed my mind.

they don’t need much. just a place where they are comfortable in. good light. dressed or undressed. it doesn’t matter. you will fall in love no matter what.
more photos of this pretty little lady to come soon. :)

May 28, 2014

better late than never

lam-tangs lam-tangs lam-tangs lam-tangs lam-tangs lam-tangs lam-tangs lam-tangs
i did this session some time last year. i know. i've been terrible about sharing photos. after nick arrived, it took me almost six months to get back into shooting and doing sessions again. the whole baby thing really took me by surprise. and it took me even longer to get back into posting them. lame, you say? i would have to agree. stick around. i promise i'll fix this.

remember this family? aren't they just the cutest? i had to share.

May 24, 2014

meeting baby allison

meeting allison meeting allison meeting allison meeting allison meeting allison meeting allison meeting allison meeting allison meeting allison meeting allison meeting allison meeting allison
two years ago, i took my brother and sister-in-law's engagement portraits, and now, they have a baby!

so, last month, we took nick on a trip to LA to meet my new niece, baby allison. thank goodness i brought my camera with me. she was just a month old, and i'm happy to have been able to capture her as a newborn, because, speaking from my own experience, babies grow way too fast! i was so in love with her—she's just amazing and beautiful—and i think nick felt the same way, too. :)

May 7, 2014

let's eat | feeding baby boba

let's eat! let's eat! let's eat! let's eat!
believe it or not, this post took over a week to write. every time i sat down in attempt to finish it, something came up. nick woke up early from his nap. nick climbed over a cardboard box about to plant his little face into the hardwood floor. nick’s hungry. always. something.

i do appreciate taking longer to write, and not hitting that ‘share’ button until i am ready. it feels right.

what was i supposed to be talking about again? oh right, food. for nick.

before nick arrived, i knew nothing about what babies ate. baby food? i probably thought of the ones that came in jars. and the commercials where a large baby sat on top of the kitchen counter, smearing spaghetti sauce all over his face.

after nick was born, for the first six months, i didn’t have to worry about feeding him, all he had was milk. but i certainly thought a lot about food, and wondered about what he should eat when the time came.

if you haven’t figured this out by now, york and i love food. and we love food beyond just cooking and eating. perhaps we love food for the conversations behind the cooking. the anniversaries, holidays, vacations that we celebrated with food. and the times we spent together in the kitchen to recreate favorite dishes from our childhoods.

naturally, the approach we took to feeding our son, was to share our love for food with him.

there’s a lot of information out there on how to feed a baby. and it can get confusing and overwhelming fast! i made the mistake by approaching it like trying to pass a college class. i found and devoured every book and blog and forum i could find, and studied my ass off for the final exam—the day my baby starts solids! but all this just gave me a headache. i began to over-think and became so overwhelmed, i tried to procrastinate for as long as possible. when nick turned four months, people started asking if he’s had solids yet. shake head and shrug was my usual response. alas, at his six-month checkup, nick’s pediatrician recommended that we get started. time to panic!

we received some handouts from the doctor, which seemed simple enough and a good place to start. so i played it safe and started by giving him purées, following the guidelines. his first food was brown rice cereal. then pear, apple, sweet potatoes, carrots, and peas all saw the same fate, cooked and mashed into bland baby food. i waited days between introducing new food, and he ate it all, some less willingly, but in general, he seemed to enjoy solids. i, on the other hand, was getting quite bored with the watery stuff that barely resembled the food that i know and love. and, i was convinced that, he was, too.

around that time, a friend of mine shared this post from the blog orangette with me, where the author/food-writer, molly wizenberg, discussed her approach to feeding her toddler. i had read her book, a homemade life,  a few years earlier and really enjoyed it. she’s a great writer/story-teller and i found her recipes simple and honest. coincidentally, at this time, i was halfway through reading the book hungry monkey, one of the books she mentioned that influenced her, and by the time i was done reading her post, i felt somewhat relieved.

when i did my research on baby food, i found a lot of different approaches, and opinions, strong opinions. topics that have moms arguing with one another on various forums. don’t feed your baby this. do feed your baby that. don’t salt your baby’s food. give them cheerios. cheerios have too much sodium. spoon-feed your baby. give baby led weaning a try, don’t ever use a spoon. despite having so much information at my fingertips, i couldn’t really get on board with any one approach, and molly’s post sort of echoed my feelings about the whole thing. but much more eloquently, of course, and coherently. [perhaps she gets more sleep than i do. ha!] basically, babies don't need baby food.

my approach to feeding nick is to keep it simple. and to watch the baby, not the calendar. when he seemed ready for solid chunks of food, i let him try it. even if other babies his age were still having purées. sometimes he would gag on a large piece of food, then i’d mash it for him. i try not to have rules, i.e. he must have vegetables at every meal. or weigh the amount of food he eats. other moms will sometimes ask, 'how many ounces of food does he eat now?' and i’d shrug and say, ‘as much as he wants.’ i try to offer him a variety of food each day, and let him decide and eat what he wants. we are lucky that we both do not have any food allergies, and, so far, nick is the same. i spoon-fed him when he didn’t have the dexterity to pick up the food himself. and handed him the spoon when he began to refuse being fed. i stopped worrying if what i was doing fell under ‘traditional’ or ‘baby-led’ or some other type of weaning.

nick’s been eating solids for a little over three months. these days, we try to give him mostly simple, home-cooked food. but when we do dine out, he gets a taste here and there from our plates. at nine months old, he’s had curry chicken, miso soup, tofu, shredded pieces of stewed lamb, beef pho, and fish. he loves dim sum, bananas, poached pear, and applesauce. he hasn’t quite warmed up to vegetables yet, but we offer it every day. he will eat carrots, but only after he’s done picking out the fruit. of course i sometimes worry about whether he’s getting enough nutrients. actually, i worry all the time. it’s just a mom thing. i also remind myself that his main source of nutrition is still milk, therefore this is a good time for him to explore.

this is not meant to be a guide on how to feed a baby, but a reflection on our journey, which we’ve just begun, to share food with our baby. throughout pregnancy, i did not cook much because i couldn’t stand the smell of most foods, i was one of the lucky ones with pretty bad morning sickness. i can’t tell you how happy i am to be back in the kitchen, cooking for my favorite people, york and nick.


parmesan-roasted cauliflower [pictured, left] - recipe here
this has, as the author predicted, become my go-to recipe. in the week i discovered the recipe, i cooked it twice. nick isn't keen on vegetables, but i can often get him to eat cauliflowers because they aren't green and have a creamier texture, which he likes. i adjust the recipe for baby by using a bit less salt. a pinch, to be exact. the flavor of the onions will more than make up for the lack of salt.

oven-poached pear [pictured, right]
i couldn’t find any good low-sugar, baby-friendly recipes for poached pear, so i came up with my own, adapted from this and this i serve this to nick in slices and york and i eat it with ice cream. :)

2-3 pears [i use bartlett or bosc]
1 cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon organic cinnamon powder

preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

peel, core, and cut pears in half. arrange on a baking dish. [i use a 10-inch pie pan]

heat water in a small saucepan over low-medium heat. melt the sugar. then add butter and cinnamon.

pour the sauce over the pear, saving some for basting. sprinkle some more cinnamon on top.

bake for 30 minutes, or until pears are tender and beginning to brown. baste occasionally with sauce.


more books i found useful on this topic:
parents need to eat too (book)real food for mother and babyhungry monkey

sites with baby-friendly recipes:
parents need to eat too (website)wholesome baby foodweelicious