Monday, September 28, 2009

And Now . . . Nourish Network

It's been quite a while since I posted here, but I thought I'd pop in and update. I've launched a new website called Nourish Network ( If you have a hankering for enjoying food that's healthy for both your body and the earth, stop on by.

Friday, November 09, 2007

On to Swirling Notions . . .

It's been . . . well, forever . . . since I posted anything up here, and for that I apologize. But I wanted to make sure you all knew about my other blog, Swirling Notions. It's where I've been pondering as of late about all the things I love . . . most certainly my darling daughter (who just turned ONE!) and family life, but also food and wine and everything in between. I'll look forward to seeing you there.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Few Notes On Being Mama de Noe

These thoughts have come to me in the past few days and I wanted to capture them, and I thought, what better place to do that than here, with you all?

* For the first few minutes after I put Noe down (like right now), I swear I can still feel the rhythm of her breath in addition to mine, and my arms tingle from the feel of her fingers on them.

* There is nothing like seeing my daughter do a full body wiggle in delight when we put her in her high chair for a meal . . . that's our girl!

* Today, for the first time, Noe laid her head against my chest while she was still awake in the sling, instead of having her arm separating us.

* Tonight, for the first time, Noe let me comfort her to sleep instead of her bottle.

How can I love her more every minute?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Home in Healdsburg!

You know, that embassy guy was right. Noe is a lucky girl to be coming home to this place. It’s a stellar, sunny day and we’ve already enjoyed a morning bottle in the garden (still working on the coffee juggle . . . don’t worry, I’m being careful), a play in the living room, a bath by Daddy, and a lovely visit with our friends Kenny, Nadia and their daughter, Jasmine (10 days younger than Noe), who are leaving tonight to return home to Singapore. Our outdoor table has been christened with ‘sandia’—watermelon—by Noe, which she smeared all over the top. We’re home!

Noe was a total trooper traveler yesterday, all day, from Guatemala to Dallas to San Francisco to Healdsburg. A couple of ear-piercing screams and rants, but mostly just giggles (like a rat-a-tat-tat of ha-ha’s) and smiles that melted everyone’s hearts.

Here are a few highlights from the trip home and Day One in Healdsburg.

* The night before we left, our friend Ben and his wife Cecilia took us out to dinner in the hotel and they reminded us that Noe’s a kid, not a thin sheet of glass. Cecilia had Noe shoe-free and flirting with all the waiters, Ben (we nicknamed him Tio Arroz . . . a few step derivation from ‘Uncle Ben’) gave Noe her first taste of wine, dipping a breadstick in a glass of Malbec (she loved it). Noe ate all of my carrots (sauteed in garlic and butter) off my plate, we stayed out until 11:00 and Noe slept soundly all through the night, and Christopher and I were much more relaxed going into the trip home as a result of the experience.

* Noe fell asleep on my lap on the Guatemala-Dallas leg and I couldn’t stop staring at her for three hours straight.

* Christopher and I had a couple of interchanges that had us laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe. A week ago, our conversations sounded like, “So I collapsed the first half of my novel and I think the narrative tension is much stronger now,” and “This Chardonnay would be really good with crab and mango.” So when, on the plane, Christopher said to me, “Baby, can you hand me that other part. You know, the bug?” and I asked in a full on tizzy, “Tell me you got the Chilly Dilly out of the ice bucket!” the difference between then and now was just so stark it slayed me.

* Noe slept in her bed and us ours until about 4:30 this morning, when I brought her into bed with us. Waking up at 9:00 with our daughter cooing between us was one of the most amazing moments I’ve ever experienced.

* When we took Noe outside for her first walk in the garden this morning, she looked like she’d discovered a treasure. The wind rustled the trees and she looked up wide-eyed as if it were just for her. When a bird whistled, she smiled and cooed. When I told her all about the tomatoes and cucumber and squash and carrots, she bent over my arm and curiously stared at each one.
So far, so very much better than good.

Thank you all for your well-wishes and notes and encouragement through this whole journey. I can't believe we're at the end already. Now on to real life with Noe!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Gotcha From Guatemala!

I smell like baby powder and diapers and mango and teething biscuits and drool, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. It is wild being here in Guatemala with Noe, knowing that this time we’ll be coming home with her. It keeps hitting us little by little; we’ll think, “man, I’m so bummed we’re going to just miss her first tooth,” and then realize that from here on, we won’t miss anything.

It’s also a bit surreal being at the Guatemala Marriott. Our old friend, Ben Villegas, is the General Manager here, so it’s fantastic to be able to see him. But this hotel is knownH as “baby central,” and one lap around the lobby will tell you why. Dozens of families each day meet their baby’s foster families and get the hand-off of their kids (as we did yesterday . . . a tearful affair for everyone but Noe), or rendez-vous with facilitators to be shuttled to the embassy for their final meeting (as we did today) or to pick up their baby’s visas (as we will tomorrow).

Every one of those families has been through an unbelievable amount of paper work, gruelling months of waiting and jumping into the wild unknown, and I respect each and every one for doing so. Yet some are more sensitve to what all parties are feeling than others (someone turned to us in the elevator last night with excited eyes and said, “I’m getting one tomorrow,” as if she were expecting delivery of a cocker spaniel or a dozen tomato seedlings. We didn’t quite know how to respond.)

Here are a few highlights from the past couple of days:

* Noe’s teething and we’ve got an arsenal of toys with all kinds of chewy surfaces, yet what does she just love gumming most? The tags.

* Noe has taken to the sling again. This time, though, we’re better prepared. Christopher and I actually watched the video accompanying the Maya Wrap before we packed up this time (it was hysterical, both of us standing at attention in front of our television the night before leaving, dutifully tightening and loosening our slings in practice). Now she just slips right in and either perches on my hip and watches the world go by or cocoons up against my stomach and pretends the world’s not there at all.

* We decided to brave the fine dining restaurant last night (Noe was cocooned) for a quick dinner and, of course, by the time the salads came, Noe was up and about. We panicked at first, but she laughed all through dinner and ate (well, gummed) all of the tomatoes from my salad and would have gone for more had there been any. Garden . . . here we come!

* What seemed like an hour after dinner—and in real sleep time probably was—we got up for our early morning appointment at the embassy. By the time we got up to the window, almost two hours after arriving, Noe was totally cocooned against me (I love that!), having no idea that the man before her held his fate in her hands. The guy (nice guy) ended up being from Oakland and we spent the bulk of the interview talking about wine country. He opened with the comment that Noe’s a lucky girl to be going home with us to Healdsburg, and I, in my enthusiasm, vowed to bring her up on good wine. Christopher chimed in quickly with, “and good food too!”

* After receiving the final stamp of approval (what a feeling it was when we heard the clunk of that stamp!) the three of us went to breakfast and Noe downed several spoonfuls of refried beans, wore a few hunks of watermelon and gnawed on a plantain (hence, the bath bit below). The girl eats, I tell you.

* This afternoon, Christopher and I gave Noe a bath after breakfast and a nap and got her sparkling clean (quite frankly, after that breakfast, she stunk). Then we decided to give her some mango in a little mesh pouch (thank you Kris Haugen!) to gnaw on by the pool. She ate it up, and then smeared it all over herself in between bites. Next, we thought it would be wise to give her a teething biscuit which, at one point, we caught her smearing in between her toes. When I thought about what we must have looked like as we walked back to the room, it occurred to me that we could have just drizzled maple syrup all over her and rolled her around in Ritz crackers and gotten the same effect. I think we’ll be having another bath today :-).
All in all, I’m thrilled to report that there have been many more smiles and giggles than cries, and what cries there are are quickly quieted by Mama’s arms (or Papa’s!). We’ve got our little girl, and now we’re coming home!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

WHAT a Father's Day We Have Planned!!!

Well, we suspected it might be today and, guess what? KJ called today! Our appointment at the Embassy is June 19th! So that means . . .

* June 17th - Fly down to Guatemala

* June 18th - Virginia brings Noe to us

* June 19th - Appointment at Embassy at 7:15 am

* June 20th - We get Noe's passport and visa in the afternoon

* June 21st - We fly back home and land at SFO at 5:20 pm

WOWOWOWOWOWOWOW!!! It's REALLY here! Christopher and I are just so excited we don't know what to do with ourselves. Our baby girl will be here, home with us, two weeks from Thursday!

Here's a little gem from Noe's last doctor's visit in May . . . and there will be SO many more in the very near future!

Will it be Today?

Ugh, I feel like I've been such a bad blogger! Truth be told, I've been totally wrapped up in my blog for Clos du Bois and am just blogged out by the end of the day. But we're continuing to get closer to bringing Noe home!

We went down to visit KJ and Heartsent last Tuesday for our 'travel meeting', where we essentially got everything together and notarized that we'll need for our meeting at the Embassy in Guatemala (Side note, Christopher and I realized when we got to Orinda--1 1/2 hours away from home . . . on empty . . . with a giant IKEA shopping list--that we'd both forgotten our wallets. Thankfully, KJ and the crew lent us gas money and I was able to talk Wells Fargo out of IKEA money with our passports. The adventure has already begun!). Now we've got a nifty pink folder that we'll essentially carry with us at all times.

Happily, Noe's birth certificate arrived that same day :-) and we were submitted for the "pink slip" on Wednesday. According to current timelines, that means we could be getting a call anywhere from today through Friday with the date of our Embassy appointment. Yee haw! Then it's Noe, here we come!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunday Thoughts

Whew! Big week Batman. Christopher and I have been absorbing the news that we're cleared to go get Noe in just a few weeks at the same time as we've been settling into the novel schedule of Christopher's new job at Cakebread. In a way, I think this first transition will make the slide into Life With Noea bit smoother. But I could be way wrong on that one ;-).

After speaking with KJ again this week, we've got a bit more info, so I thought I'd update here.

1) Noe is OFFICIALLY our daughter! The birth-mother's last sign-off has already happened, so Noe is legally our child.

2) Our lawyer submitted for a new birth certificate last week, which should take roughly two weeks to receive.

3) After we get the new birth certificate, the next step is to apply for a "pink slip," with the Embassy, which is the super-official "you're done" piece of paperwork. It will have the date of our appointment at the embassy on it. KJ says it's taking about four days from the time of getting the birth certificate to the time of receiving the pink slip. And then appointments can be 5-7 days after receiving the pink slip.

4) All of that means that our appointment will most likely fall somewhere during the week of June 11th, with a slight possibility of it falling during the week on either side.

5) Yes, we'll get the call with the date and will be traveling just a few days later. (!)

As you can imagine, we are so, so excited to be here, so, so close to bringing Noe home! We're working through the last of our to-do lists (baby-proof, install child gate, etc.) and are just ready, ready, ready.

We'll keep you posted when we hear anything more!