Last month we had our maternity photos taken (and boy, am I glad we did them at 33 weeks instead of 37, considering what my feet and cankles look like these days!) We knew when we scheduled the shoot that we couldn't have hired anyone but our favorite San Diego photographer, Anjuli. She did our two-year anniversary photos, three years ago.
We decided to head to the old downtown area of our new city (just a few blocks from the house we just bought!) to capture some memories of this crazy time in our lives - moving, celebrating 5 years of marriage, and getting ready to welcome our baby. We are thrilled with the results - what a treasure to have these pictures to remember our last little bit of life before three. Thank you, Anjuli!!
dress: Imanimo (on sale now!)
shoes: Steven Madden
belt: Emerson Fry
I have so many, many more thoughts on pregnancy and motherhood swirling around in my head these days, but lately those thoughts have been mixed with paint colors, craigslisting furniture and trying to keep my feet from ballooning with water weight. I feel like life might actually be slower and simpler when baby arrives!
Our trip to San Francisco (in May!) was really a food odyssey, with some sights in between meals for good measure. It's a good thing it is such a walkable city, because we consumed SO many calories. We even skipped our last meal - we just couldn't have fit in another bite!
I LOVE that SF'ers love Yelp. We came to town with dozens of recommendations, but we still relied heavily on Yelp for advice on what to sample from menus, or what options were available when our first choice fell through.
E and I have a little travel journal that we take with us on trips and vacations to record where and what we ate and what we saw (you know, so 2 months later when we're looking at photos, we can remind ourselves of what the heck that picture is of!)
(Also, I'm pregnant, so eating ice cream three days in a row is totally acceptable, in case you've forgotten.)
Ratings are starred on a scale of 1-5.
Paprika: afternoon snack and drink Mission District
This place gets 5 stars for being quaint, authentic and neighborly. We stopped in for a beer and a snack since we were having a late dinner, and ordered a sample platter with sweet sausage, pickles, sauerkraut and bread and a cheese platter. We sat at a cozy table in the front corner where we could people watch. The service was friendly, the taste was yummy, but be warned! CASH ONLY.
Blue Plate: dinner Bernal Heights
We picked this place because we wanted a little nicer meal to meet friends, and it was my birthday dinner! While the food was decent and the ambiance was nice, it didn't wow me like many of our other food choices. (And the menu was a little pretentious for us simple people).
What I would recommend is the macaroni and drunken spanish goat cheese - that was the highlight! The chocolate cake for dessert was great too. But my lamb ravioli in fennel broth was really strong and too salty and the smoked trout deviled eggs weren't my thing.
Blue Bottle Coffee Co: breakfast Hayes Valley
The pour over coffee was great, but the real star was the New Orleans Style Iced Coffee (loaded with cream and brewed with chicory). It was tasty and unique. This location is fantastic - a warehouse kiosk in a manicured alley. We happened here just because we were taking a bike tour located in the same alley. The only downside? No bathroom!
Señor Sisig Food Truck: lunch Off the Grid: Civic Center
Our bike tour stopped at a food truck event for lunch right across the street from City Hall. We opted for our tour guide's recommendation of this filipino/mexican fusion truck and it did not disappoint. Between a California burrito and carne asade filipino fries, were in a heart attack heaven! Nom.
Smitten Ice Cream: snack Hayes Valley
It's ice cream made while you watch with liquid nitrogen. It was a bit of tourist trap. The ice cream was good (I've never tasted such an herby mint!) and the experience was novel, but it wasn't our favorite SF ice cream experience.
San Tung: dinner Inner Sunset (read: way the heck out of the way)
DUDE. Chinese food was at the top of my priority list when coming to SF, but I was terrified about wandering into Chinatown and making a random choice. So we asked our local friend to take us, and I was very skeptical when the restaurant was nowhere near Chinatown. But it was SO WORTH IT.Our friend warned us about a long wait and terrible service, and had we not had that warning, this would probably be a very different review. The food was so amazing and the service was so aloof it was comical. I would recommend going with friends because it really made the time go by quickly and pleasantly while waiting forever to be seated, get food and get drink refills. The star of this are the dry fried chicken wings. I would have eaten my weight in them and nothing else. But we also loved the black bean noodles, mu shu pork, and mongolian beef.
Make sure you put your name on the dry erase board when you walk in (no hostess). And do not make the rookie mistake of visiting San Tung #2 next door, it's not the same restaurant!
Sightglass Coffee:breakfast SoMa (South of Market)
The cappuccinos were fabulous and I loved my chocolate croissant. The vibe is very industrial urban hipster with lots of burlap, exposed pipes and concrete, but it seemed like a really neighborly place where locals gathered and it was a nice stop on our long walk to farm:table.
We took home their "Owl's Howl" espresso roast. YUM.
Farm:Table: brunch Tenderloin District
A hidden gem on an unassuming street in a weird area of town (crack central!), but the food is locally sourced and delicious. They have a small menu for each meal and one communal table inside, with limited seating in a parklet right outside the door. You're forced to at least acknowledge your fellow patrons. A culinary highlight here was the house juice. I would pay a lot of $ to have that stuff shipped up to my door. It was some concoction of fresh-squeezed orange, grapefruit, apple and who knows what else but it was SO DELICIOUS.
Farmer's Market: lunch
We like farmer's markets and we like snacking. This was a really fun thing to do and place to eat. We ended up just stopped by 5-10 vendors and picking up little snacks like beef jerky, cheese, fruit, bread and pastries. Also a great place for designer stroller scoping.
Pizzeria Delfina: dinner Mission District
The thin, crispy brick oven pizza getsa 4.5 stars (you have to love arugula!), but mediocre service, and a teeny tiny restaurant where people were knocking wine glasses into their neighbors laps (yes this really happened) brought this down to a three stars. The wine menu was pretty pricey for it being a casual pizzeria. We shared two pizzas with leftovers, (you definitely need more than one pizza for two people). Next time I would pick up the pizza to go!
Bi-Rite Creamery: dessert Mission District
This legendary ice cream shop came highly recommended and we were well-warned of the long lines. The line was a couple of blocks long, but it was less than 30 minute wait and it was well worth it. Their famous salted caramel I could take or leave, but here are my top three flavors (yes, we came back two more times)
Ricanelas (cinnamon ice cream with snicker doodle chunks)
Honorable mentions to Roasted Banana and Hazelnut.
I still have two and a half more days of eating to report on, so stay tuned!
I know writing a mushy anniversary post is so bloggy cliche, but I was feeling really mushy this morning on my fifth anniversary, so you all can deal (or just roll your eyes and ignore it).
When I think about the giddy feelings of five years ago, I can't believe how naive and unprepared I was for marriage. I imagine many brides feel this way before their wedding day (especially
those separated by 2,000 miles for most of their relationship,
like we were!) I dreamed about travel, and romantic dinners and cuddling at night and kissing every morning.
I had the silliest ideas about how marriage would fulfill and complete me. About how fun and exciting and romantic it would be every day. Marriage was going to fix all of our long-distance communication struggles, soften our rough edges, and insta-solve our conflicts.
But of course, marriage has turned out to be so much harder than I expected. It has been refiner's fire. It has been a wrestling of wills. It has been many, many moments of "intense fellowship" (as one of our pastor's calls marital conflict). It has been tears and frustration and disappointment and "I can't believe you!" and "how dare you!" and "who even ARE you?"
It has been long discussions with no resolutions. It has been going to bed angry sometimes and waking up still angry. It's been staring blankly at a wall for an hour and thinking there is just no way to fix this.
It has been the hardest five years of my life.
And it has been the best.
Marriage has been so much more transformative and more fulfilling than I could have imagined. It has taught me about myself, it has taught me about others, and more than anything, it has taught me about the character of God. It has shown me my own selfishness in ways I never could have seen on my own, and it has changed me for the better. It has been a comfort, an encouragement, a haven and a home. (And it has involved those travel adventures, romantic dinners and morning kisses too!)
Marriage didn't fulfill my deepest needs, but it did point me to the place where my deepest needs are met. It drove me, time and time again, to Jesus and his redemptive love.
And as I sit here getting pummeled from the inside by one of the greatest blessings our marriage has produced while my husband builds homes in Mexico with our church, I am extremely grateful that God saw fit to bless me with E, and to bless me with marriage.
Here's to another 5 years of companionship, blessing and lot of growth!
I have semi-revived my style Tumblr, so if you want to follow along as I figure out maternity fashion, click here!
You can also follow me on Instagram for more semi-occasional bump selfies or on Pinterest where I'm constantly searching for gender neutral baby gear that doesn't make me want to scoop out my eyeballs.
Thank you for all your love, concern and support after my last post. Hearing from ladies all over, at all stages of mothering and non-mothering, some that identified with me, and some that just wanted to encourage me, has been an amazing experience. It is another reminder of the wonderful community that the last 5 years of blogging has brought!
(20 week pictures are at the bottom of the post if this part is boring for you!)
I haven't done a very good job of pregnancy updates. I never planned to do weekly blog updates, but it's been harder than I thought to write about pregnancy at all. (The fact that I spend lots of time in tears on the bathroom floor for absolutely no reason probably has something to do with that. Pregnancy hormones are wrecking me!)
I tend to deal with life in a very big picture, long-term sort of way. So when faced with the enormous prospect of parenting, the lifestyle changes it brings, and the particularly hard and scary stages coming up (like infancy), I've been feeling very overwhelmed and unprepared. It's hard to write about fear and anxiety toward a process that for most people is so anticipated and joyous. But there it is: I'm having a baby and I'm scared.
I'm continually amazed at how much mamas go through to bring life into the world. Pregnancy is not a joke. Big
kudos to all the moms of the world (especially those who can do it with
less whining that I can.) I am a big huge baby myself - more proof of God's sense of
A recent girls' weekend and conversations with dear friends/mamas who emphasized the fun and fullness that life with kids will bring has helped me start to emerge from my cocoon of terror and try to enjoy the process, as well as get a little excited for the big transitions ahead.
Everyone deals with change - especially one as big as a new baby - differently, but I've started to come to a few realizations that have helped me cope:
Just because I'm mourning my impending loss of freedom and sleep, doesn't mean I don't love my baby.
because I'm packing in vacations, excursions and fun into the next four
months, with the fear that they'll never happen again, doesn't mean I
don't love my baby.
Just because I want to (don't have to) to go
back to work, doesn't mean
I don't love my baby.
Just because I'm not a "baby person," doesn't mean I won't love my baby.
the bottom of it all, we know that God picked this timing to
bring a child into our lives and we are overwhelmed and thankful. (For the record, E is very excited and not nearly as nervous as I have been.)
And this baby is coming, whether I'm ready or not.
Anyway, here is a little bumpdate since we're halfway (!!)