A portrait of my children once a week, every week in 2014…



//Reed: if ever there were an industrious boy always on the move, it’s this little tike (and his adorable flyaway hair)

//Finnlagh: having a lie down with his new friend Tweet, courtesy of the Easter Bunny

//Alina: she left no stone unturned, as it were, in our annual Easter egg hunt


Remembering Márquez

I am foregoing Friday Favourites today so that I may address the passing of a beloved writer, nobel laureate and tremendous inspiration: Gabriel García Márquez. When I speak of literary influences, I think of those men and women, a small handful of poets, playwrights and novelists who set my mind ablaze as a young girl —those who instilled a profound adoration of literature in me and a personal desire to grow as a writer, reader and receptor of knowledge and creativity. The extraordinary Márquez was one such individual.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Photo courtesy of Star Tribune

I first read 100 Years of Solitude, Marquez’s seminal magical realist work, many years ago. It was my first introduction to the genre, and to Latin American writing in general, which has since expanded to include literary favourites such as Jorge Luis Borges, Alejo Carpentier, Miguel Angel Asturias, Mario Vargas Llosa, Pablo Neruda and Isabel Allende, among numerous others. Márquez’s ability to tell a multi-generational story was riveting; figurative language leapt off the page as it spun tales of unravelling fatalism, despair, thwarted romance and even comedy. I was compelled by the surrealism of it all, immersed in the lives of these entwined, flawed characters and their pursuit of mistaken ideals. The overarching passion, superstition and response to dictatorship and revolution were something that I had not really encountered before in such an overt manner, and I was hooked.

Since those early days when I discovered Gabo’s masterpiece, I have read all of his other works, often re-reading them in either English or French over the years; my comprehension of Spanish is quite limited, and I have long regretted the fact that I have had to read these works in translation. That being said, I have never felt bereft of the powerful emotions that course through his work, and feel as though his luminous voice speaks assertively and with great conviction — that we as readers are informed by his original intentions and rise to understand them.

Today, like many other international leaders and thinkers around the world, President Obama offered his condolences, saying that with the death of Márquez, “the world has lost one of its greatest visionary writers.” Jonathan Kandell of The New York Times called Márquez “a conjurer of literary magic.” But perhaps the most on-point was written in The Guardian by Peter Carey (himself a two-time winner of the Booker Prize): “Like Joyce and Eliot, Márquez gave a light to follow into the unknown. He made us braver, he returned us to the path of story and he showed us, thank you Sir, that a large and generous heart is no impediment to genius.”

Farewell, kind Sir. A voice that privileges the redemption of love while exposing the corruption of power will never be extinguished. Thank-you for a lifetime of enchantment.



Hello, Third Trimester *


How far along: Officially, 28 weeks + 1 day

Gender: Boy

Birth order: #4

Total weight gain: -2 lbs. I weigh less than when I got pregnant, but that’s a result of a low-carb diet and chasing 3 kids, so my doctor is not particularly concerned at this point. I gained 38 lbs with Alina, 11 lbs with Finnlagh, and all told, probably around 3-5 lbs with Reed.

Maternity fashion: Mostly dresses and cardigans or long tunics over leggings, sandals and a cross-body purse.

Maternity beauty: One must always wear makeup and have groomed eyebrows. The only exception would be when you can barely drag your head out of a toilet due to morning sickness, and most of us have been there numerous times. Otherwise, revel in the pregnancy glow and work to look your best!

Stretch marks: You sure don’t end up pregnant with #4 without the battle scars to prove it! I use a lot of moisturizer, but mostly to minimize the dry skin we have living in SoCal. I gave up long ago trying to stave off stretch marks — it’s futile. Grant has bought me many an expensive cream and almond oil, but frankly, I prefer good old-fashioned Palmer’s cocoa butter.

Sleep: Hasn’t been abundant or continuous since we started our family roughly 8 years ago. Reed is 21 months but is also still breastfeeding through the night, so several wake-ups for the pair of us, plus Grant has been fretful and grinding his teeth again. I’ve also started having those vivid pregnancy dreams again that wake me up panicking and in a cold sweat. The big kids do let me doze off on the odd occasion Reed has an afternoon nap, and I am also known to request piping hot cups of tea late in the evening, only to be incapable of staying awake long enough to even sip them.

New this time around: Heartburn. Bad, bad heartburn. The old wives would say that means this baby will be born with a lot of hair…based on the other kids, doubt that will be the case, but you never know!

Movement: Baby definitely has his lapses of deep sleep, but when he’s up, all of us enjoy watching my belly and seeing all the jabs, punches and kicks move like undulating waves across my tummy. What body part is that?! Is that a knee? A bum? An alien trying to cross into another dimension? It’s loads of fun to experience.

Belly button: Out

Wedding rings: On

Preparing for baby: Currently in mega nesting mode, going through everything we already own with a fine tooth comb. We’ve made a little online registry and will be having a Baby – Q (this will be the first time we’ve ever had a baby shower, so that will be great fun).

Should have done sooner: Swimming. I think this is the first pregnancy I’ve actually consented to going into a pool, and I’m sorry I missed out during the previous ones! The water makes me feel buoyant and light, and I bob around in circle on a pool noodle with Reed clinging to me. Grant works on swimming with the big kids and we just have a wonderful time of it. Sadly, getting out of the pool immediately makes me feel like a complete and total lead balloon, but I’m learning to shake that feeling.

Best advice: I haven’t gotten any this time around! With your first pregnancy you hear every story everyone has to share –the good, the bad and the ugly — and it seems every person you encounter has an opinion on parenting, when your belly should start to show, how your belly is carrying (high/low), etc. The good news is that the unsolicited advice starts to slow down a great deal with each subsequent pregnancy.

Cravings I can eat: white fish, avocado
Cravings I must ignore: cheesecake, cannoli

Birth plan: My OB was planning a c/s for me, but shed some new light today on the possibility of switching hospitals and working with midwives on another VBAC. In the midst of doing lots of research…

How the baby’s growing:


In less than 12 weeks we’ll meet our brand new son (and I’ll be re-united with my feet!)



A portrait of my children once a week, every week in 2014…



//Reed: Re-arranging chairs (one of his most favourite activities) … Love how the sun is illuminating that increasingly platinum hair of his

//Finnlagh: aka #9 on The Cubs, playing in his first-ever baseball game

//Alina: We fill our house with daffodils every week, and she just adores the light floral scent


Celebrate: 21 Months*

20140408-171329.jpg20140408-171544.jpg20140408-171604.jpg20140408-171619.jpg20140408-172142.jpg20140408-172200.jpg20140408-172206.jpg20140408-172212.jpg20140408-172223.jpg20140408-172235.jpg20140408-172245.jpg20140408-172305.jpg20140408-190001.jpg20140408-172345.jpgA sizzling day in southern California to celebrate 21 months of our little lad! We headed to Arroyo Burro (also known here in Santa Barbara as Hendry’s Beach) and took in some rays at lunchtime, skimming the surface of the waves with our toes, running through the sand, and enjoying frosty milkshakes. Arroyo Burro is barely a 5-minute drive from our house, and yet we always seem to neglect it in favour of other farther-flung destinations — a mistake we are not likely to repeat: it’s pretty much picture-perfect. A scenic drive after lunch, followed by a stop at our local farm (we got fresh organic strawberries, Bacon avocados, Ojai pixie tangerines and limes– prime season), baseball practice and a family swim in the pool before dusk… it seems that life with Reed is always reason enough to celebrate.