the secret club.

Walking down the streets of Palo Alto.

Sometimes I feel like there’s not a whole lot to write about, as my life currently seems to be living in and revolving around the following three-hour increments: eat.sleep.poop, eat.sleep.poop, repeat… But in that way a couple of “but’s” exist: but even if that is the story, I still have a need to write. For this but that momentarily defines my days also lends itself to admission to the best of secret clubs: Club Mama.

Everybody wants to be a part of something – we all want admission to the club. In the 5th grade I gained admission to the (albeit embarrassing and depressing) “I Hate Robert Smith Club.” Why my little teeny-bopper friends hated this boy, and felt the need to form a club in his supposedly spiteful honor, I don’t remember – and why I then didn’t stick up for the kid and at least try to pull (and act upon) the Christian card, I’m not sure. But I wanted to belong, and that was more important to me than making another feel like he wasn’t worthy of belonging, even though I really didn’t hate the little dude at all. Robert Smith, wherever you are, my apologies for the cruelties some of us inflicted upon you, all in the name of belonging.

But like all things, not all belonging and not every club is bad. Suddenly, I walk into Whole Foods with Canon bouncing merrily in the sling attached to my front, almost colliding into another mama with baby in the Ergo, bags of groceries to each side. Our eyes lock, we give each other a nod and the knowing smile. It’s like in this 3-second interaction, which may or may not even involve a “Hello!” (after all, we do live in San Francisco), we’ve already done the secret club handshake, butt-slap and Delta Delta Gamma members’-only chant. You changed five diapers just in the last two hours? Me too! You thought he was sleeping through the night, but then he reverted back to getting up every three hours again? Me as well! Right when you start to feel like you’ve nailed parenthood, and understand his cries and habits and rhythms, he changes it all up on you? That’s me! And so it goes. Somehow these little people have helped us gain admission to the greatest of clubs, Club Mama. We’re in, and with a quick nod of the head, we join the millions who have gone before us. I get you, and you get me…you’re in. You belong.

So I suppose that’s what I’m basking in right now: the club. If you were to ask me what I’m learning right now, I’m learning my baby and babies in general. I suppose that makes me the club historian. I had a phone conversation with my boss yesterday, and every ounce of baby brain seemed to permeate my thoughts and words and thus any effort at putting together a coherent sentence. It was exhausting. But I gave myself a big hunk of grace because of my club membership; although I’m sure most would scientifically classify it as sleep deprivation, the truth is that being in Club Mama means that I’m learning a whole new language. The world of parenthood is not for the faint of heart, and the amount of information I’m ingesting as a new member is overwhelming at times, to say the least. The content may not be the stuff rocket scientists are made of, but it’s certainly changing my world.

So, cheers. Cheers to the parents who have gone before us, who are going with us now, and who will be joining the membership rankings in the days and years to come. Might we continue to give each other that knowing glance and secret handshake, and instead of just slapping my butt, give it a squeeze while you’re at it. Reassure me. Let me know that I’m in. We’re in. We got this.

sappy sappy gush gush.

livin’ la vida loca.

From Facebook this morning:

” ‚Äé:: 2 years ago, right around 5 in the morning, I woke up & realized that nobody had marinated the chicken for our big party yet to come. So this bride to be sat in her auntie’s basement with chicken guts all over her fingers & thus carried with her the faint smell of raw poultry all day. I’d marinate those 45 pounds of chicken all over again….happy anniversary, love!”

It’s true. 365 x 2 days ago today, James and I were preparing for and celebrating in and partaking of the big day. I smelled like raw chicken. The buffet table tablecloth caught on fire 10 minutes before the ceremony was to start. I punched the pastor during our vows (but no hard feelings, right Bri?). People drank too much Cabernet and Blue Moon alike, and I’m sure somewhere along the way, feelings were hurt and the day wasn’t as perfect as I’d like to remember it. Little, silly, unimportant fights happened between family members – of which I don’t even remember the origin – but somehow that too seems to have passed, and what is remembered is that we said YES.

James and I said YES, we said I do and I’ll do it all over again before our family and friends. The greens and yellows of Nevada City, California never looked so good, and besides the birth of little Canon James and its subsequent mama-hood, I don’t think I’ve ever shined in such radiance. Plates full of collard greens and sweet potato casserole and red velvet cupcakes were devoured – all in honor of James’ southern roots. And although I’d like to proclaim that the hubs never looked so good, the truth is that he has looked better. He looked better six months after we married, and then a year after we married, and although I dearly loved the man in the white shirt and khaki slacks before me on August 21, 2010, he looks better now.

For now he’s a papa. Now he holds Canon and he talks to him as the Giants play in the background, and even though the little bugger wonders why he’s having a bottle from Dad instead of 30 minutes at the milk machine itself (since mama got to actually enjoy her anniversary with a couple of glasses of Pinot…), I sit here staring at my husband, realizing that I am one lucky gal.

I married up.

I married a man who loves others deeply, who loves me and wants the best for me. He dreams big dreams with me, alongside shushing Canon to take the bottle and fall asleep. He’s not just a father to his son, but he’s a daddy…and in that way, he’s looking better now than he did two years ago.

A very happy anniversary to the best man I know.

the canon chronicles, 1.

Back by popular demand, it’s the Monday Caramel Update, but this time in form of the Canon Chronicles. What can I say? The little man is quite the attention-getter, at least according to my Facebook population. Lest you forget what he looks like, the campfire is rocking his ONE MONTH birthday tomorrow – how’d that happen already? And as evidenced by this picture, he’s as cute and alert as ever:

month 1.

Current nicknames: Buddy, Mister, Can Can. (And all of the above, aforementioned names). I do occasionally call him Canon, though. ūüėČ

Weight & length: 10 pounds & 20 3/4 inches long (in the 50th percentile for both weight & length). That means he’s an “exceptional feeder,” according to the doctor because he’s gained two pounds since birth. Do what I can. [On a more serious note, we continue to be so grateful for the extra four days spent in the hospital due to having a c-section, mainly because we got so much extra attention for breastfeeding. According to the lactation consultant, many babies will latch on initially in the first two days, but then on day three they’ll reject the breast, because it’s like they’ve finally woken up and realized, DUDE! I’m not in the womb anymore! What is this place?! Ironically this is when most women leave the hospital, hence we were grateful for those extra days and help, thus leaving feeling professional in the feeding realm).

Sleep story: Apparently it’s quite common for newborns to be incredibly loud sleepers, as evidenced by his usual 2 – 5 am streak. This means that we too lay there wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, much to our chagrin (especially since I can’t sleep with ear plugs and an eye mask anymore – boo!). Since their little esophagus will quadruple in size in the next couple of months (!), the sounds are only going to get louder. Here’s to hoping I learn to pass out to the sounds of Mister’s little locomotive that could.

Poop story: I really don’t know how that much poo comes out of such a little body. And yes, poop does continue to be one of our main topics of conversation. Dinner anyone?

Baby Daddy story: What can I say? James is amazing with him. He loves being with him – he’s an active parent who’s been changed by the birth of his son, and it’s absolutely beautiful to see this love in action.

Feeling: so, so in love. I loved Neighbor Mark’s comment and question a few weeks ago, upon meeting Canon for the first time: “Cara, know what it’s like to go to the SCPA and pick out a dog and take it home and fall in love with it over time. But what’s it like to have this thing growing inside you, whom you’ve known, kind of, and then it comes out and you just automatically love it. What’s that like?” It’s indescribable. Instantaneous. Out of this world. You’re filled to the brim with this love that just seems to gush out of you, all for this helpless little being that came from you. I made this?! Wowee. What would you add?

Musing over: How slow the days go at times, yet how fast a month has gone by already. Was I not 42 weeks pregnant like, yesterday?

Learning: Did you know at birth that babies have 20/2450 vision? Insane! If you haven’t already, watch the National Geographic documentary, The Science of Babies – those 45 minutes will blow your mind. (We found it on Netflix).

Reading: Baby 411, The Nursing Mother’s Companion + The Sparrow, The Night Circus (on Audible) & Cold Tangerines (for the second time – love it).

Anticipating: decisions. ’nuff said.

Another picture, please: You are obliged, little internet world.

smiling for mama.

That’s it for now, but on another note, what other subjects would you add? More poop? More disgusting bodily functions?

Love to all, chm.

fully alive.

You know when you meet one of those people whom you just like and admire, who isn’t afraid to be their best self and encourages you to do the same? ¬†Like me, you may have known this person for years – since college, in this case – and you always thought she was pretty darn cool …in fact, you always admired that she wasn’t afraid to just be¬†herself. ¬†(Are you catching a theme here?). ¬†Carina’s¬†like a real live human magnet – people are just drawn to her and want to be around her because she just makes it¬†easy:¬†I’m me, you’re you, and this is exactly how it’s supposed to be. ¬†So as she and Nick have been on this adventure of not just adopting one kiddo, but now a second in a couple of weeks, along with having two children of their own, I can’t help but cheer them on. ¬†My heart beats a resounding yes, Yes, YES, because this is what Carina is¬†made for –¬†and you know that someone is living in the midst of what they were created to do when others can’t help but be drawn in as well. ¬†

St. Irenaeus is to have said,¬†“…the glory of God is man fully alive,” which is that picture of us doing and being exactly who we were created to be, so then in alignment with God’s will that life – His life in¬†us,¬†through¬†us, with¬†us¬†–¬†bursts forth¬†from the depths of our being. ¬†And this friend has nailed it spot-on. ¬†So here’s a not-so-shameless plug: as they’re getting ready to meet their baby girl in just a couple week’s time, there are still bills to be paid. ¬†Adoption is expensive, bottom line, but there’s a crew of folks rallying around them, helping them out. ¬†They’re my favorite little social enterprise as of late, so support them by buying a necklace or a pair of earrings: you can pre-order the official adoption necklaces here, or visit her etsy shop here. ¬†

I personally love this funky, chunky necklace…



And this pair of earrings (which I bought in yellow)…



And, of course, if you just want to be classy, you can purchase one of the standard adoption necklaces, like this one…



So that’s it – are you convinced? ¬†

And to continue the discussion, what gives you life?  What makes you fully alive, like has been shown through Carina Lee and her adventures in parenthood?


In case you’re wondering where Canon is in this post, he’s still alive and kicking and cute as a button. ¬†We’re getting ready to go on our biggest adventure yet, as we head to Little Lucca’s for sandwiches and then into downtown San Francisco so all of the HBH’s* co-workers can meet him. ¬†Although today won’t involve a BART ride, I’m sure it’s bound to include a scream or two (from both of us) as we brave the city. ¬†

So, go buy some goods, think about what gives you life, and wish us luck!  

*HBH: Hot Black Husband, in case you forgot.  

It’s official….

It’s official. ¬†Canon has an official diagnosis as of 3 and a half weeks of life: FOMO. ¬†Fear Of Missing Out. ¬†As any new parent would attest, this primarily makes itself known at or around 1.30 in the morning, much to my chagrin. ¬†Why just have a little bit of golden juice and fall right back asleep when I can chatter away, eyes wide open for the next 3 hours? ¬†This is¬†too¬†much fun! ¬†

But hear me when I say that I truly say this without a complaint in my heart. ¬†For really, this only means the greatest of things for his supposed affliction: he thinks I am the best thing since sliced bread. ¬†I am the greatest of the college Friday night social scene, I am the teenager who’s throwing the party of the year¬†because the parents are out of town for the weekend. ¬†He wants to hang out with¬†me¬†and doesn’t want to miss out on a thing I’m doing! ¬†Hello, my name is Bee’s Knees – it’s nice to meet you.¬†

And so we go. ¬†I stare into his eyes some more and I bounce him and we do 39 laps around the living room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom and baby room – in that order. ¬†And he begins to fall asleep, and gets what I like to call his little Exorcist eyes [when the lids are closed and the eyeballs begin to roll back into the depths of his head], but he then realizes – FOMO! – I’m going to miss out on another lap. ¬†FOMO! ¬†I’m awake, I’m awake! ¬†FOMO! ¬†Why go to bed at 2.16 am when I can stretch it another two hours? ¬†FOMO! ¬†I’m having the time of my little lifeeeeeeee…

So instead I chuckle at the absurdity of parenthood, whilst crossing my fingers that tonite’s feed will end a¬†little¬†bit earlier. ¬†But really, who can resist this face? ¬†


Or this one…Image

Or this one too…

The truth is that I suffer from the same thing.  I totally get it, buddy.  I totally do.