Thursday, December 16, 2010

What I did with my placenta....

A couple of weeks before Gloria was born I was given the number for a woman in Santa Fe who would come to my house to pick up my placenta and turn it into capsules that I can take. The person who recommended this service said that she did it (and also tried a little placenta in a smoothie... which made her gag because she detected a fleshy chunk) and the benefits included warding off post partum depression, and speeding up the healing process after birth.

I tucked the number into my wallet and promised myself to at least think about it.

And I did.  I mean, how often do we have a chance to do something as primal and, well, weird, as eating a placenta? Not very. And I would just love to see this person who will come to my house and wisk away what was - hours ago - a body part of mine and come back with some special vitamins to take.

But rather than call the lady, I started talking to other people.  It was a toss up.  Most of my friends in  town were all for it and were ready to recite the list of benefits (but I'm still not sure how many of them have tried it).  My relatives were all pretty against it.... Mainly because of the ick factor.

My sister, Katie, said, "Sure, a lot of animals eat their placentas. But they also eat their own poop."

(My mother in law pointed out a hilarious Joel Stein article about placenta eating and crossed her fingers that I would change my mind, or that I was really just kidding all along)

Quinn was mildly aware that I was thinking about eating the placenta when it came out.  Later, he told me that the only thing he could compare it to was when his dad came home from South America with a real shrunken head, and his mom devoted her life to getting rid of that thing. He desperately wanted it out of the house.

But my midwife took a moment to reflect on it. "My, that is a good looking placenta!" she said, pointing out the thick veins that branched out from the umbilical chord.  "These are called the roots of life."
"Take a picture!" I told him, and pointed to the camera on the bookshelf.

Halo popped in sometime after the paramedics to make sue that we were all still alive.  I'm not sure if she witnessed the delivery of the afterbirth, but she did come in time to see a big mess, and to remind Quinn of several inspiring things we could do with the afterbirth... just as he was on his way to throw it away.

He ended up wrapping it in a plastic bag and putting it in the freezer.

I thought, "Well nuts.  The pill lady won't take it because it's not supposed to be frozen."

We spent the rest of the week wrapping other foods in plastic bags and putting them into the freezer, and joking about slipping a little placenta into one another's chili. But nothing came of it, and finally Quinn asked if he could throw it away, and I said sure.  Let's face it... the main reason I would want to eat it is so I could blog about it later on.  And I'm still doing that.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Derrière Caretaker

I just gave birth on Monday, so naturally, it was time to send Quinn to the store to get some pads. His man's jobs are getting more and more manly by the day.  Normally I don't ask him to buy that type of thing, but I'm not supposed to be up and about too much.

Quinn's mom said that when he was born her husband wouldn't buy them for her.... she had to walk in the store herself.  But he still owes her for that! Quinn thought that owing me forever would be far worse than buying pads, so he went to the store with the list.

It was the kind of list that made him thank the lord for automatic self-checkouts. Overnight maxi pads, two sizes of diapers, wipes, toilet paper and Desitin. Everything that he was buying was for someone's hind end.

So naturally, when he went through the self-checkout, he got the obnoxious beeping message on the screen: "Please see attendant". After the attendant made a show of sorting through his purchases, he thought he was free, but instead he set off the security alarm so that everyone in the store could see his armload of merchandise.

I didn't even realize, until he got home and dumped all of the stuff on the couch that I realized that there was a theme to this grocery store trip. We laughed so hard.  He said that if there was another store in town, now would be the time for him to start to go there.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Life Goal Achieved: He's swimming!

Quinn and I are super proud of Calvin, because a few weeks ago he started to swim and tread water on his own!  Now when we take him to the pool we don't even have to hold him, he holds onto the edge, pushes off and swims for a little while.  Then when he gets tired he goes back to the edge. He even jumped into the pool and swam to the edge by himself.

This has been a goal of mine all year, because now that Calvin is more independent in the water, I can take both of my kids without worrying about one of them sinking.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Chateau Tilovi Bed and Breakfast

In San Francisco we stayed at the Chateau Tivoli Bed and Breakfast for two nights.

It was an old victorian mansion full of antiques, located in the historic district of San Francisco.

My only regret is not choosing one of the fancier rooms. We got a room in the basement, and it would have been perfect if Calvin was a little older, because there was a separate bedroom across the hall with it's own double bed. But we didn't feel comfortable putting him in there, because it was right next to the door going out, and it just seemed a long way from our room in a strange place.  So we put him on a cot in our room.

Breakfast was served on a sprawling dining room table, and they also had cheese and wine in the afternoons (but we missed that).  The breakfast included fresh fruit and bagels with cream cheese, smoked salmon and capers, which made us happy, but Calvin was miserable. There was no peanut butter!

So we bought a jar of peanut butter, which not only got us through the second breakfast at the Chateau, but also served us well for the rest of the trip. I don't know whether he was going through some kind of a growth spurt, or what, but that week he ate three or four peanut butter sandwiches every day.

The San Francisco portion of our trip came when we needed to do the laundry, and we also had to deal with parking and packing our stuff.  Luckily, when it was time to do those "chores" there was a playground right by the Bed and Breakfast. So we took turns taking care of business and playing with Calvin at the playground.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Beautiful California Coast Hike

Here are pictures from a hike we took off of highway 1.  With all the mist coming off the waves and the beautiful colors, this was the prettiest hike we took in California.  (And it was short too). I'm not sure how to explain where it was.  We pulled off the road because there was a sign that said something about sea otters, but we didn't see the otters.

Stopping to look at the waves

On our trip to California it took us hours to get from Cayucos to San Fransisco, mainly because the highway wound up the oceanside, with big mountains on the other side.

We had to stop every few minutes to take random wave pictures.  Here is a rare mama-boy picture.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Calvin's photography

What do you think? Is he ready for his own camera?

The Elephant Seal Rookery

I guess I answered my own question.  The seals in the last post were elephant seals too.  They were juvenile males playing. Here they are, all clumped together, molting.  Every year they shed all of their fur (and even their skin... I think) and have new skin and fur underneath.

Are these Elephant Seals or Sea Lions?

When we were in Cayucos, CA, we visited the Elephant Seal Rookery just up the road on highway one. We saw what we thought were elephant seals swimming in the water, but then later, we looked further up the beach and saw about a hundred actual elephant seals laying in the sand and molting.

So my question is, what are these animals in the picture? Elephant seals or sea lions? They just seemed livelier and and their fur was darker than the ones on the beach.

Route 66

I'm still a little confused about what Route 66 actually is.  This is probably because the road isn't called that anymore, but HWY 40 roughly follows it, and every now and then there will be a sign that says "Route 66" and when you follow that sign it will lead you to a ridiculously touristy small town, like Spiegleman, AZ, where we ate dinner.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Last Stage West

Last week we drove from the middle of Arizona to the California coast where we had a hotel in Cayucos. We were so close, we could smell the salty air.  But we'd also been driving all day. Calvin was bored, had just finished shredding our map of California and let out a plaintive, "want an ice cream cone?"

It was hard to say no.  Even though Quinn's jaw was set in that can't-stop-till-I'm-there expression that men get when they're behind the wheel, I asked him to pull over at Last Stage West. Not wanting to piss us both off, he agreed.

And it was the perfect place for a pit stop! It's located on Hwy 41 at 15050 Morro Road.  There was a blues guitar player in the bar and a back room with picnic tables and a pool table.  It was only four in the afternoon, so we had the pool table to ourselves, which is good because Calvin is an insane pool player.

We ordered ice cream and a pulled pork sandwich and after playing some pool ate while watching the coy in the pond out back.  It looked like an awesome place for a party.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Apple Dumplin'

Whoo hoo! It's my 100th post at babyhikes.

We just got back from our vacation in California. As a family, this was our first pure "vacation" where we took time off just for the sake of winding down and having fun (well, we had a honeymoon). Our first stop was at a restaurant that I wanted to write about earlier - when we drive to Arizona and I lost my camera - but I was so discouraged that I lost my pictures that I didn't post about it.

It's the Apple Dumplin' Restaurant! It's located on highway 40.  Going west through Arizona you take exit 333, and take a right. It's on the left.

It has a cowboy theme, the tables are wearing boots on their legs and there are handkerchiefs tied to the backs of the chairs. The first time we came here we got an amazing breakfast of eggs and biscuits and pancakes.  Then we were too full to try the apple dumplings.

So this time we planned better. We ordered a Navajo Sugarfoot and a Chaco Taco. The Chaco Taco was a little dry, so we both fought over the Sugarfoot. It was taco meat, wrapped up in fluffy fry bread and smothered with a green chile gravy that, after we demolished the sugarfoot, was perfect for dipping our french fries in.

It's not very often that you get old fashioned desserts like apple dumpings. These were whole apples wrapped in pie batter and served hot with ice cream.

Calvin loves the Apple Dumplin' too, but it's really hard to get him to sit still and eat. We usually have to take turns chasing him around while he checks everything out.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Camping in the Jemez

Last weekend we camped overnight in the Jemez Mountains.... or at least we meant to. One of Quinn's co-workers invited his group to stay at his place. I was planning on being a good sport about sleeping in the tent.  The night before Quinn made sure that one of our air mattresses actually held air. I just got my sciatica under control.  I was all set.

setting up the tent
But when we got there our hosts were showing us around the cabins and pointing out all the beds, particularly the king sized bed in the loft upstairs. Then it started to rain.  It was almost two o'clock and Calvin was starting to run around in his pre-nap grouchy frenzy, and I was chasing him with a murderous glint in my eyes (which is a sign that we both need a nap immediately). Quinn got the tent up but the air mattress wasn't quite filled.  I said, "Don't worry, I'll just take a nap upstairs."

Quinn said OK and I pretty much had to put Calvin in a headlock to get him to fall asleep. He wanted to see the tent, run out in the rain, look at the lake and "sit in the car and listen to Here Comes Science." (by They Might be Giants). Once asleep we were out for almost four hours! Then Quinn came in and fell asleep too.

   It was a sleepy afternoon.  The other families arrived and the rain let up.  But as soon as the guys got the charcoal ready for burgers, it started to downpour again, and we all had to huddle underneath a little tent.

My wheels were spinning.  I'm not usually an anti-outdoorsy person, really I'm not.  But I knew that that air mattress wasn't blown up and all of our warm clothes for sleeping in the tent were soaking wet - because we were wearing them. All we had left were regular pajamas, which would be the perfect thing to wear if we were cozied up in king-sized bed upstairs.

On top of that, all week Quinn's mom has been telling me stories about the terrible things that happen to curious little boys when they go camping - like disappear forever into the woods, or get found after they've been mostly eaten by a bear. I couldn't help looking around the camp site and wondering what Calvin would do if he managed to let himself out of the tent without waking us up first. It's like the first few pages of a horror novel.

You get the picture.  Eventually I was able to convince Quinn to come upstairs and thwart his camping dreams. Oops. Oh well, I'm pregnant. 

Why leave home when these guys are right across the street?

This happens a lot... whole herds of deer like to hang out across the street from our house, and sometimes jump through the backyard. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My first visit to the acupuncturist

This afternoon I let someone stick fifteen needles in my rear-end, put little tufts of Chinese herbal fuzz on the tips and light each one on fire. Now I feel fantastic!  Who knew?

I have had the worst sciatica this pregnancy. When I go to bed, my hips hurt so much that I get stuck, and can't get out of bed.  I hobble like an old lady to the bathroom.  I get an acute nervy zing every time I sit down, and I can barely lift Calvin. 

But after the first visit to the acupuncturist, I don't feel any pain. Hallelujah.

Does this baby make my butt look big?

At the beginning of the year I had kind of a this-or-that resolution.  I wanted to (a) lose twenty pounds or (b) get pregnant. I could have achieved maximum levels of personal smugness by losing twenty pounds and then getting pregnant, but it didn't work out that way (because whenever I decide to get pregnant it happens so fast, as if just thinking the word will result in a child....).

So this time around, even though it's my God-given right and duty to gain weight, I feel super self-conscious about it. Do I look more pregnant that I really am? Am I gaining weight too fast (the answer, according to the skinny bitches at, is yes!)? Am I actually carrying twins (I was just explaining to the lady at the dry-cleaner that I am not - I saw only one baby in the ultrasound!)?

I feel a lot better about it all, though, now that I can really feel the baby kicking.  Because I can get a sense of how much space he or she is taking up. The baby, again, according to, is 13.5 inches long and a pound and a half! It's grown a lot last month.... but so has my butt.

I'm sure you've heard enough of my whining. Last week I brought my food journal to my midwife, who gave me some useful advice.  She said that every time I sit down to eat, I need to ask myself, "Where's the protein?" The baby's brain is being built, now, out of protein, and I need to supply it. So if I want a piece of cake or a cookie, I can't have it until I've eaten some chicken. And if I eat a muffin, it had better be covered in almond butter.  The baby needs a little protein every 2 hours. So I should think of foods that have a lot of protein, but are still healthy, like hard boiled eggs, cottage cheese and cantaloupe, yogurt and turkey and avocado rolls.

It's a lot like being on a diet, except I eat a heck of a lot more food. Since I started to make a point of doing this, I feel less food obsessed, less munchy. And I've made a point of exercising for 30 minutes every day. Before I was too liberal with what I consider to be be "exercise." Now I'll walk Calvin to preschool, go to the pool and actually do laps, or something.

As long as I know that I'm being as healthy as I can, hopefully I'll be able to keep my self esteem in tact when people talk about the size of the soccer ball under my shirt.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Puye Cliffs

On Sunday we visited the Puye Cliffs, in Santa Clara.
They have one or two hour guided hikes, and if you want to go you have to buy the tickets ($20/person) ahead of time at the Puye Welcome Center, which is part of the Valero gas station on the corner of NM 30 and Santa Clara Canyon Road, on the way to Espanola, NM.

From there it's about a ten minute drive to the trail.

The trail begins at the visitor's center.  This building is the building that the Fred Harvey Company used when they gave tours to people from the East Coast who wanted to see what Indian Life was like in the early 1900's.

The caves we saw in the cliffs were where people stayed in the winter. You can see where they built their fires, because there are little ventilation holes in the walls.  Every winter there is at least three feet of snow at the top of the cliffs, but the sun hit the side of the mountain where the caves are, keeping them snow free.

Our tour guide showed us some little shelves in the cave walls where people stored their pottery full of seeds and food. They plastered over these shelves to protect the stored food from rats, coyotes and other critters.

The trail had pottery shards all over the place, like these. (Don't take them home!) Hikers who see them on the trail like to put them on the rocks on the side, because they feel bad about walking all over ancient works of art. The tour guides, who are all descendants of the original potters, feel differently. First of all, it's not like they can bring these shards to a museum.  They're basically worthless unless you can reconstruct the entire pot. They think that, since everything comes from the earth and everything returns to the earth, it is OK to walk on the shards and let them disintegrate into the dust. That is how their ancestors will be able to rest.

We showed Calvin a piece of pottery, and he said, "It's a rock." Well put, I guess.

Here he is looking at a piece of volcanic tuff.

From the cliffs you can see the dry patch of land where the Cerro Grand Fire burned the Jemez Mountains, and part of Los Alamos. The Santa Clara elders were afraid they would lose their entire  mesa to the fire, and when they came to see the fire they saw that it was so hot that trees were exploding. But, just before it reached the caves the winds changed direction just in time.  They say it was the ancestors protecting the ruins.

Here we go.... Calvin got another chance to show off his ladder climbing skills.

At the top of the ladder was a hand and foot trail that was worn into the rock, and probably also used to collect rain water.

Here's the face we were treated to when we wouldn't let Calvin climb the ladder a second time. What an abused toddler!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Big awesome fountain

This fountain was just a block south of The Bean.  we all felt sorry for the security guards, whose job it was to tell little kids not to run in the water. I mean, who can resist, even after falling on  your butt ten times?