Thursday, December 19, 2013

weekly menus: November 24 -- December 14

Holy hell, how did I let these last couple of weeks get away from me?

First, the menus.

November 24-30 (Thanksgiving smorgasbord)
And I did wind up making this soup for us and this soup for a friend.

December 1-7
December 8-14

I am way behind on any kind of holiday anything, but I did manage to make a fresh wreath. I also started a bunch of projects, but have not quite managed to finish any. The holidays have been feeling so overwhelming that ever single tiny obligation feels like a huge monumental task.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

weekly menu: November 17-23

I skipped last week because I managed to pull together only one meal and I can't even remember what it was, so there you go.
And if I'm feelin' frisky, maybe I can get to this soup recipe by the end of the week.

After incredibly warm weather (70s 4 EVA), the sky finally lobbed a bunch of rain at us this week, and I suddenly realized that Linnea has no adverse weather gear. I'm a little wary of getting too many seasonal things for her, since she'll outgrow it soon, but there will be no getting around rainboots (for California) and snowgear (for Minnesota) this winter. She is going to be in so much awe at the snow. I can't wait.

Return of the husband on Friday.

Advent calendars on the brain.

Friend and family health crisis turned less crisis-y, but deeply sorrowful. All there is to do is wait and hope and do what we can to support.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

weekly menu: November 3-9

Behind on this one, because I was in full-blown "ZOMG I'M GONNA BE ALONE WITH THE BAYBEE" mode because Whit is in India for work.

Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips and Candied Ginger
Northern Spy's Kale Salad
another Saag Paneer recipe

I'm going through my old recipe binders and tossing out about 90% of what I've clipped. Truffled asparagus crostini? Who am I trying to fool here?

Linnea turned 15 months this week, and I managed to get a photo the day before and the day after, but not the day of, which basically put me in a terrific funk for 2 days in which I felt like I was failing at everything.

15 months and one day
15 months and one day

What snapped me out of it: my good friend going through a hugely critical family health challenge. My heart aches for them all the time now.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

weekly menu: October 27-November 2

I'm also in the market for a new deep-dish lasagna pan, so that I can make enchiladas.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

weekly menus

I'm making attempts to cook more adventurously. I actually did miss being in the kitchen after an extended period of postpartum winging-it-ness, although the summer is pretty much free-for-all of unadulterated produce. But now it's fall, so we're back to the slow cooker, the stockpot, the casserole dishes.

Kitchen tools have been unpacked and reorganized, replacement equipment procured.

So far, recipes attempted have been good to great. It's been hit or miss about whether Linnea will eat them. Because she doesn't shake her head no or otherwise indicate she won't eat something, there's no way to tell until you put it in her mouth and she spits it out into her hand and then attempts to give it to you. Thanks, kid.

Week October 6-11
Saag Paneer
Spaghetti and Meatballs (via Orangette)

Week October 13-19
Chicken With Cardamom Rice
Warm Chickpea and Butternut Squash Salad
Creamed Spinach

Week October 20-26
Baked Pasta with Broccoli and Sausage
Margherita Pizza
Steel-Cut Oats

Friday, October 11, 2013

a week of Sundays

It's been a while.

So, since the last time I've posted, Linnea turned 13, then 14 months. She runs around with her hands up high, like she's about to do a somersault. She has also had her first black eye, and her first fat lip, courtesy of overzealous playtime at daycare (I spent those 2 weeks trying to look extra affectionate in public, for fear that someone would glance over and immediately call CPS). I think she things she is saying words. She points to her nose when we ask where it is (or, more specifically, she sticks her index finger way up into her nostril). This will clearly need to be remedied before the debutante ball.

Weekends are family time, that I mostly spend over-planning for the upcoming week. Saturdays involve trips to the laundromat, meal planning, and sad attempts to make things as stimulating as daycare (which for sure is a failure, because it is just me, Whit, Linnea, and a 900-ft2 apartment, and not 50 kids screaming while running is entirely different directions). Sundays start with grocery store shopping, the farmer's market, and coffee from our favorite local roasters. I then disappear into the kitchen for the next 8 hours to prep, bake, and cook for the week. In increasingly desperate attempts to get vegetables into the kiddo, I have resorted to some bonkers menu ideas. I mean, really, saag paneer? I'm pretty sure I could have told myself that this wouldn't work at the words "these are not strawberries" (although it was tasty).

It sounds a little like complaining, but I actually am enjoying being back in the kitchen and getting my hands covered in butter or butternut squash seeds or miso paste.

Every piece of Pyrex we have gets used up on Sunday, and slowly over the course of the week they return to their cabinet. It's a nice homecoming.

Three weeks' worth of Sunday walks:

Sunday walk
sunday walk
14 months

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

go to the zoo (Linnea summer 2013 bucket list)

[List here]

Basically, this is the same look Linnea had all through Raccoon Creek, the African Bat Cave, Bobcat Ridge, the aviary, and the duck pond.

[giving approximately zero fucks about the giant peacock in the tree behind us]

It's possible that the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo was just not impressive enough for her. Because she has already experienced such rich and varied experiences such as riding an elephant in the Serengeti and wrestling a wild boar to its death. OH WAIT SHE HAS DONE NONE OF THIS.

Monday, August 12, 2013

swimming (Linnea summer 2013 bucket list)

[List here]

What better way to introduce my extremely pale child to summers in the desert than a swim in an outdoor pool?

kiddie pool
kiddie pool
[ah, that belly]

She spent about 10-15 minutes in the pool, and then wanted out. I wasn't sure if it was because the water was too cold, or if she was bored. I similarly cannot dawdle in baths, and only like being in pools to swim laps, so maybe she is thinking "good lord, what else could I do with all this unused time?" Because nothing says "I'm living through my child" than assigning internalized perspective.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

one year

Dear Linnea,

Today, you are one year old.

one year old

Eleven months and 30 days ago, we got in the car, drove down to the hospital, and met each other face-to-face.

You have taken your first steps. You love giving and receiving raspberries. You hate getting your face wiped. You love fruit, Cheerios, and anything resembling adult food instead of baby food. You are renown in daycare for your voracious appetite. You are babbling and pointing. You like to be held, and you like to "run." You giggle when I tickle your belly and your armpits. You like getting surprised when I jump at your from around the around. When we let you walk around naked before your bath, you slap your hands against your belly.

one year

When we put socks on you, you immediately pull them off. You do the same for hats, shirts as we're pulling them over your face, and your feeding bib when you are DONE.

You are getting your first molars, and are occasionally miserable. I am sorry, kiddo. Those look like the worst thing ever coming in.

I tried to get some nicer photos of you for your birthday, but you were not having any of it.

one year
one year
one year

You are very insistent about things that you care about, but let a lot of things slide off your back. For example, when you want something, you are incredibly vocal about it, and do a face-plant temper tantrum if you don't get it. However, you have run into coffee tables, the bed, door frames, bookshelves, chairs, the floor, our legs: and after you fall you get right back up again.

Over the last year, you have nursed 2,647 times (for 30,532 minutes, or 508.87 hours, or 21.2 days). You've slept in our home for 4792.95 hours (or 199.7 days). You have spent over 50% of your life sleeping this year.

I feel like I should make this post more momentous, but I am still reeling from the shock and awe of having you in our lives.

Happy first birthday, gomachan. We love you to bits and pieces (which is what you also do to any piece of paper in your hands).

one year

Friday, July 26, 2013

Saturday, July 20, 2013

blueberry pancakes (Linnea summer 2013 bucket list)

List here

blueberry pancakes
blueberry pancakes
blueberry pancakes

She was moderately excited. By which I mean, most of this went in her mouth and not on the ground. Maybe she's more of a strawberry pancake fan.

Friday, July 19, 2013

back to basics

I'm getting back into the kitchen.

This jam was made.

Also, these cookies.

Will be trying out this bundt recipe in the next few days as a potential Linnea birthday cake.

Have a good weekend.

Monday, July 15, 2013


On Thursday morning, Linnea nursed on my left side for 5 minutes, and hasn't nursed since as of today. She is 49 weeks old.

Our breastfeeding journey started out precariously, but after weathering the initial horror, random pain on my left side that lasted 6-7 weeks, intermittent biting, and a late round of mastitis, I took for granted that we'd able to coast to her first birthday, and I could start weaning her. No more pumping! No more having to be home in the evenings so that I could nurse her before bedtime!

The flaw in this plan, clearly, was the assumption that I would have control over when the weaning occurred. Clearly, eleven months was not nearly enough time for me to get to know my daughter.

Now, whenever I try to get her to nurse, she howls, arches her back away from me, and squeezes big crocodile tears out of her eyes. It takes a few minutes to calm her down. Even though I was not particularly attached to nursing in a "MAH BABEE IS GETTING MAH LIFEFORCE" kind of way, it was truly devastating to receive this type of reaction suddenly.

Books, websites, lactation consultants universally claim that babies don't wean before 1 year. That this is a nursing strike, that a baby who won't nurse can't nurse, blah blah blah. And yet there are forums and blog posts and whispered conversations with other mothers experiencing the opposite. Some nursing strikes last for 1-2 days. Some last for 2 weeks. There are recommended techniques. Bathing with your baby in a relaxing way seems a little challenging with a super active almost-toddler banging her toys on the shower door. Lying in bed all day with her with our shirts off would be great if I weren't working full time and/or needing to do household chores. Sneaking a boob in the mouth while the kid is asleep or nearly asleep seems a little, I don't know, rapey.

And how long do you persist? It feels like after a certain point, you're almost bullying the kid into nursing again. "Fine," the baby sighs. "If it will make you happy, jeez."

Linnea is clearly going through some stuff. She's started walking, she's figured out how to put things in other things (instead of tearing things to shreds, or as Whit say, "making big things into little things is her superpower"). She may be teething again, but what eleven-month old isn't? At the end of the day, it doesn't matter why something's happening, just that it's happening and we have to support her the best we can.

I am mournful, however. I knew weaning was coming soon, and had made attempts to be more present during nursing in recent weeks. But I wasn't always consistent, and it kills me a little inside to know that during our potentially last nursing session, I was probably reading some BS about celebrity gossip or trying to order something off of Amazon.

In the meantime, instead of a glimpse of the sweet, blessed end of the pumping tunnel, I am currently pumping exclusively. I'll probably keep offering for the next few days, but will probably just let it go after that so I don't freak her out. I'm not quite ready to transition her to cow's milk, and so for the next 2-3 weeks, it's eep-oop, four times a day. Ugh.

after a monster 4 am nursing session, 6 weeks old

Saturday, July 6, 2013

eleven months

Dear Linnea,

Welp. Here we are at eleven months.

eleven months

First of all, this:

You are becoming quite the problem-solver.You pulled yourself to standing underneath your dad's desk, using his chair. You proceeded to bounce up and down, and knocked your head on the underside of the desk. You threw your head back to look at the bottom of the desk, and then slowly raised and lowered yourself on your toes to figure out how high you could bounce without hitting your head. You then started bouncing up and down again, but not quite as vigorously, and avoided hitting your head on the desk for the remainder of that session.

You also wanted more puffs from the container that I had put on the coffee table. You tried to reach for the container itself, but when you were unable to grab it (even on your tip toes), you reached for the envelope that the container was sitting on, pulled that towards you, and then grabbed the container. I watched you wave it around, bang it on the floor and table, attempt to pull off the lid, try to squeeze it with all your might, and shake the whole thing. Smart girl.

You are now standing (at first only for a second, with your arms raised triumphantly before crashing down. And now, many seconds at a time, so long that you wind up getting bored and sitting down yourself)...

...but a couple of days ago, you took your first step. This is not the captured moment, but it shows your concentration on this task:

I took you to the medical school graduation, and you met the senior associate dean of medical education. He immediately began speaking to you in a Donald Duck voice. Charmer.


We also had your Very First Emergency Room Visit. You are fine. You kept trying to pull the pulse ox off of your big toe. This does not bode well for shoes.

We took you to the park, and you were not a fan of the grass. I never knew someone could scuttle up my knee with only one extremity touching the ground at a time, but I guess we all see something new everyday.

In a month, you'll be a year old. I am still using this baby app on my iPhone, and I remember when you were first born and it was all "Linnea Hatsumi turns 1 on Aug 6, 2013 in 360 days" and I was all like, "that shit is forever away" and now it says "Linnea Hatsumi turns 1 on Aug 6 2013 in 31 days" and I'm all like, "DAAAYYYYUMMMMM."

You are funny and sweet and laugh when I make animal noises and swing you around by your legs. Happy almost birthday, kiddo.

eleven months

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Linnea summer bucket list (2013)

  1. go swimming
  2. drink a milkshake
  3. eat blueberry pancakes
  4. go to the zoo
  5. make and play with play-doh
  6. go for a walk in a nature preserve

Day 331

Linnea developed some intermittent stridor after coming home from daycare, and with her recent fever and it being after hours, we took our first trip to the emergency room. Nothing is really wrong, but we'll be observing her for the next few days. And despite it being way past her bedtime, she charmed the hell out of the ED staff.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

ten months

Dear Linnea,

Today, you are ten months old.

ten months

This has been a busy month. You've taken two trips with me: one to a work conference in Southern California, and one to Las Vegas for a wedding/grandparent time. You slept pretty well in these strange environments, but you did need some middle-of-the-night comfort to get back to sleep.

Somehow this month, you went from falling asleep while strangers (not a true "stranger danger" person, but new to you) hold you to developing some separation anxiety. You are OK to be with other people when I am around, but once I leave the room, you start crawling around to look for me, and your eyes fill with tears if you can't find me right away. You will not be comforted by anyone but me. I thought that I would find this exhausting, but surprisingly, it's only been mildly distressing. I cuddle your body against mine, and you plant the side of your face against my chest.

Your grandpa, however, has said that you are now out of his will.

Our conversations had been going like this:
Me: Mama.
You: Dada!
Me: Mama.
You: (whispered) Dada.

However, suddenly, unpredictably, you started saying "Mama" clearly. Like a real one, not the accidental one that you sometimes blubber out when you're crying and expressing your frustration through pursed lips. And then it passed. It was nice while it lasted.

Your dad gives you a bath every night. I love that you have this time with him.

The scariest moment of the month for me (no, of the entirety of your life) is when you fell off the bed and landed on your head. I am still feeling devastated by that moment.

On the flip side, you make faces like this now:

10 months

Happy ten-month birthday, kiddo.

ten months

Thursday, May 23, 2013

the art of pathologies

Ask yourself, “What role should those affected by a diagnosis have in defining that diagnosis?” Recently I posed this question to several doctors and therapists. With minor qualifications, each answered “none.”

One of my students (and friend), Blake Charleton, penned a thoughtful opinion piece in the New York Times on how dyslexia should be defined: as a disability, as an asset, or something in the middle.

[My favorite essay of Blake's on this subject is actually this one, in which he discusses being denied accommodations for the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1.]

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


One moment, Linnea was playing with my plastic water bottle, and the next moment she was not. One moment I was pulling her pajamas out of my suitcase, and the next moment they were flung to the floor. One moment, my nine-month-old daughter was sitting up on the bed, and the next moment she was sliding headfirst to the ground.

I did not catch Linnea before she hit the floor. I saw her falling in my periphery, and I reached my arms out too late to prevent the thud. Her mouth formed a wide oval, her eyes closed, and she tried to push air out through her shock. And then, the crying. The desperate, bewildered, frightened wailing that continued as I pulled her to my chest and rocked her back and forth.

My mind ran through all the signs of intercranial trauma that I knew. Remarkably, I had a penlight in my backpack, which I pulled out to check her pupillary reaction. Direct, consensual. Direct, consensual. PERRLA. I feel gently over her skull to check for swelling or fractures. Her anterior fontenelle is still not closed. I check for brain bulges. I check for hemorrhaging in the eyes. I check for any neurological asymmetry. I do this to stem the panic clutching at my throat. She is crying less frantically, although doing that post-crying breath catch that hurts my heart. I nurse her, and she falls asleep. I gently lower her into the crib, and then spend the rest of the night creeping up to check her breathing, feel that her hands are warm, silently begging forgiveness.

She is fine. She has a bruise on her forehead where she landed (it looks like lipstick marks). And she is still trying to peek over edges (but this time, we are holding her tight).


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

day 288

"I laugh in the face of your order."

Sunday, May 12, 2013

mother's day

Mother's Day 2013

For Mother's Day, Linnea woke us up at 5 am and wouldn't go back to sleep until 7:30 am (and then only for 20 minutes). I celebrated with a large coffee and by baking muffins. One day soon, I will get macaroni and glitter craft flotsum, and I will love it.

Mother's Day 2013
Mother's Day 2013
Mother's Day 2013

Monday, May 6, 2013

nine months

Dear Linnea,

For your nine month day, you are experiencing another first: your first work conference. You did awesome. You conquered stairs, letting other people hold you while I did my presentation, and understanding effective feedback models. Your dad was able to come with us for half of the time, for which I am totally grateful.

You are spending almost all of your time crawling around, trying to stand up, babbling. You are trying to walk before your muscles will support you. You are trying to talk before your mouth can form the words.

One day, when I picked you up from daycare, Fernanda told me that you had been trying to pull yourself up to standing, and falling. "Some other babies give up," she said. But not you. You kept pulling up, pulling up. You do the same in the bathtub, holding on to the smooth edges of the tub, slipping and falling. You sometimes smack the water in frustration. But no crying. Not giving up. This tenacity will come back to bite me in the ass someday soon, but for now, I just gawkingly admire it.

We are trying to keep you out of the kitchen and bathroom, mostly because those are where all the cleaning supplies are. Also, there are nooks and crannies that we can never possibly babyproof. You know you are not supposed to into those rooms. I know this because you'll gallumph quickly over to the carpet-linoleum boundary between the allowed-not allowed space, stop abruptly, and turn to look at me. Then you'll slowly inch your way into the space. Sometimes, you'll turn yourself parallel, almost as if to gloat, "I'm not in here!"

You start to cry if I leave you in a room all by yourself, and try to crawl after me. You eat everything we give you. You are doing a great job picking up Cheerios and snack puffs with your thumb and pointer finger.

Your smile lights up my day.

Happy ninth month, kiddo.

nine months

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"a year ago today"

This whole year has been tainted and overcast, and it feels like I’ve been trying to put on rose-colored glasses throughout the whole year, but instead, I’ve been looking through a magnifying glass, with Tommy’s death as my focal point, burning everything that comes between the sun and me and the ground.
Tommy died a year ago today. His sister/my best friend wrote an incredibly moving post reflecting on the year, and remembering that day. There are things in that post that I had never heard before. My heart aches to not be there with them.


Linnea falling

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Saturday, April 6, 2013

eight months

Dear Linnea,


eight months

Every time I take a moment to think about where you are now, I find myself shaking my head and asking myself, "what the what?"

After many a frustrated start, you are ambling along the floor with much galumphing. You aren't quite able to do the cross-crawl yet, but can do the worm across the living room. Except when you get excited. Then you pull yourself up to a downward dog, inch forward, and thump to your belly with a shriek.

floor time

You keep trying to get into the kitchen, which is off-limits at this point. I know you know this because when you amble to the boundary of where the carpet of the living room meets the linoleum of the kitchen, you stop suddenly, turn, and look at me. I sternly tell you "no." You respond by flashing your Lucky charms grin. I tell you no again. You used to then inch your way over the boundary while continually checking my face until I picked you up and moved you back to your play area. Now you instead turn around yourself, and pull over a wastebasket.

Just a few days ago, you started doing this:

supported standing
(I love your little cloth-diapered bubble butt.)

You say "da da" and "ba ba" frequently now. Once, your dad tried to get you to say "ma ma" and you responded with a raspberry. You taught yourself how to drink out of a cup with a straw, and now you wave your arms and pant excitedly whenever you see your sippy cup.

You are also eating a ton. You've liked everything we've given you so far. The word at daycare is that whenever any other kid gets food, you want food too. I've so far been making almost all of your food, which is something that I swore only crazy obsessive parents did. And yet here I am, steaming carrots and pureeing them in the food processor, and getting excited that spring is here and that means FRESH PEAS.

One morning, when we were all in bed, you crawled into my armpit and fell asleep, and for the first time since you were a newborn, we all took a morning nap together as a family.

However, this expression makes me think that we may be in for some trouble soon enough.

eight months

When do we decide when "getting through this" turns into "gotten through it"? When you're one? Five? Eighteen? Who can tell? All I know is that every morning I can't wait to see this face.


Friday, April 5, 2013

a moment

So the story for the last few weeks: I've been drowning. We've had some staff transitions in the course, which means that I am currently managing/coordinating both years of my medical school course (whereas my actual responsibility lies just with the first year). In addition, my course director is also currently ward attending, which makes me the de facto decision-maker for a lot of issues. Linnea is also going through "a thing" and waking up at night again to nurse. I am so very, very tired.

And yet it's already spring.

However, we have hired a new second year manager, who will be awesome. My days of extracting details from the opaqueness that is the spring quarter curriculum will soon be at an end. And my first crazy-town day of the quarter (students are in six different places at the same time) went relatively smoothly.

I am grateful for the Sunday morning when Linnea, after rolling around in the bed with us for about an hour, nuzzled into my arm, sucked her thumb, and fell asleep. She's not a cuddly kind of kid (her general MO is to pinch the shit out of your arm, and then look at you incredulously when you respond strongly), so I was touched at this rare moment of affection and trust.

This photo essay on a father-daughter dance in Richmond City jail touches my heart.

Enolase [via io9].

Beautiful remembrances of Roger Ebert who, with Gene Siskel, taught me how to watch movies.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

"i'll have to get back to you on that"

This is actually the result of having work calendar invites getting sent to my Google account, but it's still hilarious.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

seven months

(I am remiss, and am finally doing this post a month behind schedule).

Dear Linnea,

By the time you turned seven months old, you:
  • Met all of your grandparents.
  • Toughed your way through your first vaccination reaction (damn you, influenza shot).
  • Began sitting up on your own.
  • Started solid foods.

You also started sleeping ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE NIGHT. When I woke up at 6:30 in the morning, and realized that you hadn't been calling for us, I had this weird almost syncopal episode where I thought I was hallucinating that I even had a kid. And then, naturally, my next thought was "OH MY GOD SHE'S DEAD IN HER CRIB." Meanwhile, you were all like, "just five more minutes, plz."

This is an incredibly truncated post, and for that, I apologize. Here are some photos.