Thursday, September 29, 2005

pictures of house

I drove by the house today and showed it to my mom. She liked it a lot. I told her I would enlist her advice when it comes to gardening since Tim and I are responsible for maintaining the grounds. Fortunately both the front and the backyard are small.

I took a couple of pictures. They didn't turn out so great, but at least you can see something. I can't wait to settle in!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

more about the house

Still no pictures to post. But here are more details. The house is in Southeast Portland, between Holgate and Powell Street. It's about a fifteen-minute drive from our place now. There are two parks within ten blocks of the house. There are lots of grocery shoping options to choose from. Within 15 to 20 blocks (walking distance) there is a food coop, Trader Joe's, Nature's, New Seasons, Safeway, and three neighborhoods with coffee shops and places to hang out, including an alternative movie theater. Reed college, which is also nice to walk around since the grounds consist of fields and pretty old trees, is about 15 blocks away in the other direction. There are three buses that connect the neighborhood with points south, east, and downtown. There are lots of bike-friendly streets with wide bike lanes nearby too. The freeways can be accessed quite easily as well.

The only drawback is that there is a huge train yard just a couple of blocks over... which could get noisy. But so far, the two times I've been there I didn't hear any noise.

The house would, I guess, be classified as a bungalo. It's technically a one-bedroom house, but there is another room that can be used as an office or a child's bedroom. One has to walk through it to get to the other bedroom though, which doesn't seem like a big deal at this point.

The house is light and sunny, unlike our apartment now which hardly gets any direct sunlight since our windows face north. The floors are hardwood. The walls, as far as I remember, are painted a warm yellow, sage, and white. And as you will see from the picture I will post at some point, the house is painted mint green with red and white trim - one of my favorite color schemes!!!

There is a front porch and a basement with a washer and dryer hook-up. Yay! Now doing baby's laundry (not to mention our own) will be so much easier!

There is a cute little backyard with a compost bin, raised beds for veggies, herbs or flowers, there is some bamboo growing in the back yard and in front of the house (I love bamboo!). There are also fruit trees in the front yard. The landlord told us she wants some of the fruit when it's ripe. I guess we'll be nice and share.

All in all, I'm very excited to live in a house. Not too excited for the process of moving, but it will be worth it. I can't wait for that housewarming party we will have... sometime in November?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

our place

About a week ago we accidentally found out that our building is being sold. Our landlords never told us this. Tim's brother Andy looked out his window maybe a month or two ago and saw a guy taking pictures of our building. He asked the guy what he was doing, and found out that the pictures were for a real estate website. Andy asked our landlords, but they said that it was just to get the building appraised.

Then another day, there were some people with clip boards walking around the apartments and our landlords said that they were just seeing if they could get our house on the historic registry. Later it turned out that the people were real estate agents, and again they walked around the building whispering to each other, this time with construction guys measuring things. Then there was talk about the pipes and sheet rock and estimates for work that would be done... There was also the guy with headphones and a strange contraption, zooming around the garden plot nextdoor which is also getting sold. He must've been looking for signs of metal piping below the ground which means someone is most likely getting ready to build right next to us. All that means noise, construction, very likely raised rent, and possibly an eviction. But no one has told us what's really happening. This is all based on eavesdropping and watching what's been going on.

Rather than dealing with this instability, Tim and I decided to take the initiative and look for another place to live. I found one on line, on Sunday we went to see it, liked it, and lo and behold, we just got a call from the owner that we got the place! It's the first time we will be renting a house together. And what a cute house it is! I will post a picture and more details about this place soon. We will be moving towards the end of October.

Monday, September 26, 2005

first smile

Last night Jonah smiled at me for the first time!!! There are no words to describe how it felt. I had seen him smile many times, but it was usually with his eyes closed after eating. About a week ago he started smiling with his eyes open, but last night he studied my face and then smiled, looking in my eyes. Twice in a row too. Tim was there as well. What a special moment!

Saturday, September 24, 2005


We went hiking today along the Salmon River in the Mt. Hood area. Gorgeous hike! We actually saw salmon spawn in the river, a rare and magical sight.

More pictures in the "hiking with Jonah" photo album.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

six weeks

Jonah is six weeks old today. He had his last appointment at the birth center today. He grew one inch and gained 6 ounces in in the last week, which means he now weighs 10 lbs 5 oz and is 23" long. He's doing great. His outfits, which at first were so huge on him, are starting to get tight. We'll soon have to change his wardrobe to the larger size!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

play date

A friend who has a two-year old has been inviting me to the play dates she organizes. I went to the second one today, conveniently happening at a playground right by my house. Most of the children that come are around two, but moms with babies show up too. It's nice to talk about baby and mom stuff, to compare notes, and to watch the older kids run around, tumble, go down the slide, and fight over snacks.

I like to imagine Jonah in the future... as a two-year old, as a six-year old, as a teenager... I wonder what kind of a person he will be, I wonder if he will speak or at least understand Czech, I am curious about what his talents will be, how he will interact with us, his parents, other kids...

School. Another friend with a little boy told me all about the preschool her child attends. That he loves it. The children there go to watch and feed chickens, they grow vegetables and flowers in a garden, they make food... and he loves it. That sounds like a good place to be, though I can't imagine my son in school yet. Do I even want my son in school or do I want to homeschool with other parents who are like-minded and homeschool? All those questions are still open to debate. I definitely don't want my son to go to school just to be babysat. I want him to be enriched by the experience and not traumatized like many children are by institutions. On the other hand, I think there are a lot of great early education options for children. The older they get, the slimmer the choices.

I've been in institutions most of my life. Nearly 19 years of schooling including kindergarten. That's well over half my life. That's almost two thirds of my life, in fact. Wow! What would life have been like had I learned from my neighbors, artists and other professionals, had I spent more time in nature and out in the world, and less behind a desk quietly and obediently completing assignments, at least half of which served just to pass the time? What if my learning had been steered by my own interests, desires, and curiosity like it was after school when I played with friends or alone? Those are the times I remember most. School days mostly blend into one long blur. But I remember the times I went roaming the fields or the woods with friends or with my sister. I remember buidling cities or houses for my dolls, I remember setting up a make-shift store and selling whatever we could find to people passing by. I recall preparing and performing plays for adults and charging admission, organizing an international children's day celebration for the kids in the neighborhood, learning and playing songs on the guitar while singing along, reading, drawing, writing poems, stories, and even a young adult novel which I never finished... Life outside of school kept me busy, it was what I looked forward to. It's when I learned the most. So I wonder, if the opportunities for learning abound in the world about, is school really necessary?


I am so glad I get my e-mails from work forwarded while on maternity leave. Otherwise I would miss out on all the drama. I just found out today that some key people were unexpectedly fired, and of course had to call friends with whom I work to get the scoop. It's nice to be enjoying all this drama from the safety of my home rather than experiencing it right in the trenches. Good thing I know who to call for all the gossip!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

afternoon with a friend

On our walk today Jonah and I spontaneously stopped by a friend's house so they could meet. I didn't plan to stay too long, but ended up spending most of the afternoon there and what a wonderful way to spend the first day of fall. We chatted, my friend cooked, we ate, I looked at his photographs (Derrick is a photographer), and we took pictures of each other with the baby. I found out Derrick is really good with babies. Never would've known.

It was good to get out today. I've been pretty lethargic lately. I haven't been taking walks or making it outside as often as I would like. Not every day, anyway. I think not sleeping more than two hours at a time is catching up with me. So it's good to make little trips out into the daylight.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

walk on the wild side & dumplings

We took a walk on the Esplanade today. It was a beautiful, warm September Sunday. Not quite fall yet, but it's been feeling that way with more rain and cooler nights.

The highlight of the day yesterday was our breakfast. Two friends of ours, Mia and James, brought us homemade Czech-style breakfast of dumplings, eggs and sauerkraut. I had never heard of sauerkraut mixed in with the traditional fried dumplings and eggs, but it tasted delicious!

James is an expert on Czech cuisine. He has Czech ancestry (and wears it proudly) and he has lived in the Czech Republic. Mia is Korean. She brought us Korean desert of sweet sticky rice with raisins, nuts and candied ginger, which complemented the dumplings perfectly of course.

Mia and James just recently announced that they are expecting a baby boy which we are very excited about. We are already making plans for our boys to form a gang together. Watch out Portland!

The image on the right is of dumplings before they are boiled and served, or in the case of the dish we ate yesterday, fried with eggs. I stole the image from the internet.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Jonah's doctor

Well, today Jonah had his first real doctor's appointment. We have been going to the birth center still to have the midwives examine him (and me), but next week is our last appointment there and I wanted to get Jonah signed up with a doctor so he can get his shots and what not. I chose a family doctor, as opposed to a pediatrician, because I like the idea of a doctor knowing and treating the whole family. I will be signing up with her soon myself. She was recommended to me by friend and sure enough, Tim and I liked her quite a bit. She is very friendly and seems to have a philosophy that matches ours - don't prescribe medication unless absolutely necessary, support breastfeeding, etc. I've posted her picture and her bio for your interest.

The appointment was brief, since it was just a new patient appointment, but we found out Jonah has gained more than a pound in the last week!! And he grew an inch. He now weighs 9 lbs 15 oz and measures 22'". Wow! Dr. Lang said he is in the 50th percentile for his age, Tim thought she said 58%, so somewhere around there. He sure is growing fast!

When we left there, Tim and I both commented on how brief the appointment was. Tim joked that I should have asked the doctor to rub my feet or shoulders for the remaining ten minutes since that's what the midwives do if we have time left over. It's funny. At the birth center they offer us tea or juice, we chat about how things are going and about life in general, they check the baby and me, and, like I mentioned, if there is time, they rub my shoulders or feet. When leaving, we are often recommended and lent a book from the center's lending library. No time for massages with a conventional doctor. I think the midwives have spoiled me rotten.

Here is Dr. Lang's bio. I found it on a Providence website:

Barbara Lang, M.D.
Board Certified: Family Practice

Dr. Lang finds the personal relationships she is able to establish with patients and their families the most rewarding aspect of her medical practice. I find great joy in helping my patients achieve a healthy and satisfying lifestyle, she says. I chose to become a primary care provider because I like working with families throughout the continuum of care: from birth to end of life.

Board certified in family practice, Dr. Lang earned her medical degree from Oregon Health & Science University, and completed her internship and residency at Family Medicine of Southwest Washington in Vancouver.

Dr. Lang was born in Longview, Wash. Away from her practice, she enjoys travel, running and playing soccer.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Tim's parents have been visiting this week from Montana.

This was the first time John met Jonah. They sure were adorable together.


Okay, have you ever tried taking a step only to have your leg give out underneath you and falling as a result? That's what happened to me last night. I was feeding Jonah at 4:00 am, then fell asleep on the sofa holding him. When I woke up about a half hour later I tried getting up but my left leg totally buckled under and I fell to the floor. I had no unusual feeling in my leg at all. I tried once more, but again found that my leg did not work. That's when I panicked and started to shake my leg and rub it like crazy. I thought, this is it. I've lost my left leg. But it turned out to only be asleep just without any sort of tingling.

I told the story to Tim and he laughed. He said that sometimes when my arm falls asleep in the middle of the night I will jerk awake and shake like I'm possessed. I've even been known to scream in these situations. There is something about the sensation of having lost a limb that I don't like.

Monday, September 12, 2005

one-month old

I can't believe Jonah is one-month old! He was on September 11th anyway.

We celebrated by going to a friend's end-of-the-summer bash. It was so much fun! I was glad to get out of the house and see friends. The party totally rejuvinated me. It was nice to have my mom hold Jonah for a while so I could get a break from the intensity of being with him constantly. Thanks Lisa for a great party!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Jonah the forest man

Yesterday we went hiking in Washington state - Jonah's first out-of-state experience - to what I consider to be the most beautiful waterfalls in the area, Falls Creek Falls. Jonah had his first feeding in the woods on a log.

He took one look at the silhouettes of the trees against the sky, but ultimately all he cared about was the boob. He seemed to enjoy the fresh air and riding through the forest on dad's chest.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

four weeks

Jonah had his four-week appointment today. All looks great. He's gained more than two pounds in the last month (that's almost 1 kilogram). On average, he gains almost 2 ounces a day! No wonder it seems like I'm feeding him constantly. He'll nurse, then relax for a couple of minutes, then cry and complain and want to nurse more. So, I end up nursing and burping him for hours at a time sometimes. I'm pretty beat these days, but it's good to hear he is doing well and growing.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

water everywhere

From birth on it seems like everything is about liquids - water, milk, and various other bodily fluids. It's something one has to get comfortable with. It's interesting that this intimately wet experience of mothering an infant has been happening concurrently with the flooding in Europe and New Orleans - Mother Nature's wetness on a grand scale.

For the first two weeks of baby's life I stayed away from TV. But recently I've let it creep into my life. Yesterday I watched a show on the flooding in New Orleans. I can't get the images out of my head. Abandoned pets, a family with nothing wondering the streets of an abandoned city aimlessly, water up to the rooftops, the sick being carried into a morgue to die because no one can help them, bloated dead bodies in the street and the water, dehydrated babies. Just too much.

I remember being in New York just a couple of weeks before September 11th. I went to a photo exhibit on refugees around the world. The photographs were stunning - wide eyed Afghani girls, make-shift tents blowing in the wind in the middle of the desert, barren landscapes, barbed wire. There was a section on Rwanda. Some of the images were too much to bear. Refugees walking single file past dead bodies floating in water. I wanted to turn away and leave, but suddenly realized that I have the priviledge to walk away that the refugees did not have. The least I can do is witness their life through these images. So I made myself stay and study each photograph slowly and carefully. Being a witness to someone's pain... what a prelude to September 11th. And it was like that yesterday when watching the show on the floods. This is the least I can do, I thought. But I felt traumatized just from watching TV. I can't imagine what it felt like living through it.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

now I can...

Here are some things I've been enjoying now that I'm not pregnant anymore:

- sushi, as you know
- sleeping on my back
- a smaller belly
- fitting into shoes again
- my legs thin around the ankles again
- turning over in bed, getting up, and bending over is so much easier!
- lots of booze! Just kidding.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

big weekend

Well, we've had a big weekend. A three-mile hike in the Mt. Hood area, a virtually sleepless night afterwards, a walk around the neighborhood, and two shopping trips.

The hike was almost two hours away. We went there because we were hoping for mushrooms (found some great ones there last year), but it's been too dry. The forest floor was pure dust in some places, especially the trail with how dry it's been. The river we crossed and the creek the trail followed were beautiful. It felt good to breathe in the moist air. Jonah had his "lunch" and "snack" in the car for the first time. I love this picture of the two bandana men. There are more in the "hiking with Jonah" photo album under the Photo Links on the right.

After the drive and the hike Jonah had a lot to say at night. But his monologue was a bit hard to listen to and a bit dramatic. He didn't need to be fed or burped or changed at the time. I guess he just wanted to perform his opera aria. So he did and his parents stayed up and listened. And so did the neighbors, I'm sure.

On Friday we went to Trader Joe's to buy some groceries. It was Jonah's first time in a shopping cart and a supermarket. He attracted shoppers like flies. But we told them he wasn't for sale.

Also on Friday I took Jonah for a stroll around the neighborhood. It was hot and I was thirsty, so I decided to sample a fresh juice from a new juice stand down the street. The juice was okay, but the macaroon I had that the owner herself baked was HEAVENLY! Wide slices of coconut and slivers of ginger, loosely heaped together into a perfectly-sized dessert, a delicate balance between crispness and chewiness. By far the best and prettiest macaroon I've ever had. Perhaps I should write an ode to this macaroon.

The weekend finished off with a big trip to Target to spend our gift certificates. Thank you, family! Baby enjoyed his sling ride. We came home to my mom washing our dishes and cooking dinner for all of us. How wonderful of her was that!

Friday, September 02, 2005


This season is so perfect. So abundant. On our walks I always find something to bring home - pears, plums, blackberries... But the other day I found something that topped all my finds thus far. Not far from our house Jonah and I stumbled upon a goose. Yes, a goose. And boy did it greet us with a ruckus.

Since I've never been friends with a goose, I couldn't quite read its body language. I wasn't sure if it wanted to talk, be friends or if it was threatening us to leave it alone. I stopped by to say hello to the goose again the following day. Sure enough, it came out and yelled, hissed, and pooped. The hiss didn't seem so friendly. I wish I understood geese.

I won't lie

I won't lie. Being a new mother is not easy. The whole day revolves around breastfeeding (which has been painful lately), burping baby, consoling and rocking him when he cries while digesting, changing diapers and clothes. He goes through so many clothes a day! I swear at least six or seven outfits a day.

So between all those activities and feeding myself and resting whenever possible (which is usually just at night for about three hour-and-half to two-hour chunks) there is no time for anything else. Except a walk. I make sure I get a walk in every day.

Yesterday I took Jonah to one of the nearby parks and ran into Tim and his brother Andy there. They were exericising, getting ready to jog. So I took a picture.

And Tim took a picture of us.

Other than taking care of baby, I managed to make dinner the last two days too! Wow. Occasionally I do the dishes. But our place is pretty much a mess. The first two weeks we had several friends and relatives bring us cooked meals and buy us groceries. That was such great help!

The first two weeks I was running on endorphines, but now I feel pretty tired. It's hard to have someone depend on you for everything. The hardest is when he cries. I blame myself - I haven't been holding him enough. Or it must be something I ate that's making him miserable. (In fact, I've been trying to virtually eliminate dairy products lately because I think Jonah may be lactose intolerant. We'll see.) I feel guilty sometimes for wanting a break from him just to recuperate or think about other things. It's nice when Tim is home. He loves to spend time with Jonah and I get a little bit of time to do other things - like take a shower or check my e-mail...

It's not that I'm not enjoying this. I chose motherhood and am very happy. It's just a little hard right now. People say it will get easier in a few weeks. I hope they're right.