Friday, July 25, 2014

turn baby turn

So about a month ago we learned our little baby girl was breech.  As most of you probably know, a breech baby nowadays results in an automatic c-section.  Wanting to avoid this fate at all costs, I quickly researched all the ways we could help encourage her to flip head down.

I pulled out all the stops.

Sitting on a ball at the office:

Seeing a chiropractor.

Practicing inversions:

Laying on an ironing board with my head down

Doing handstands in a pool.

Putting ice on the top of my belly.
(Apparently baby heads don't love cold.)


Asking her to flip.

And perhaps weirdest of all: moxibustion - a traditional Chinese medicine therapy where you burn a stick of charcoal (known as moxa) by your little pinky toe for 15-20 minutes a night for 10 days.

I know, I know.
But I was desperate!

After all of my "voo-doo" as Stefan so fondly called it, we tried medical intervention: an External Version where a doctor uses his hands to try and manually turn the baby from the outside.  Unbeknownst to me, this technique has been used for quite some time and has about a 50/50 success rate.  

Unfortunately, baby girl would have none of it.  With her butt tucked down on one side and her legs outstretched and pressed up against the other, anytime they tried to move her, she simply pressed her feet forcefully into the side of my stomach to maintain her position.

I think the real issue is that she has inherited by hideously huge feet (as displayed so beautifully in the above pictures) and their size would not allow her to make the moves necessary to get head down.  That or she's got my stubbornness (determination?) to have things her way.

While I was at first fairly devastated by my c-section fate, I've decided to fully embrace it and get even more excited about what will no doubt be a spectacular day.  While she could by some miracle flip herself around, the chances are unlikely given her dwindling space in there and her propensity to stay put.  In some ways the outcome is perhaps better suited to my plan-aholic personality.  More details to come.


Thursday, July 17, 2014


Sadly (or perhaps thankfully), I haven't had much in way of pregnancy cravings, with the exception of an insatiable desire for mangoes.  
(Although I must admit this tropical-fruit-predisposition was ever-present pre-pregnancy as well. Though I have been happy to milk the baby-in-the-belly rationale for my unruly appetite for them.)

Venezuela, circa 2010

Speaking of mangoes, did you know they are the most consumed fruit in the entire world?  Here I was thinking I was so original in my fruit favorite (not an apple, orange or banana), but alas - I'm just like everyone else.

I've also been consuming unthinkable amounts of watermelon and strawberries.

A few weeks ago I was in the car on the way to a meeting with a colleague who told me that according to Chinese wisdom, the three worst things a pregnant woman can eat are - you guessed it - mango, watermelon and strawberries.  
I didn't comment on the fact that she was telling me this after having watched me eat breakfasts consisting of these exact three evils for the past 6 months.  

One of the most surprising things about being pregnant is how opinionated people are about what things are good and not good when you've got a babe in the belly.  We've had people tell us I should absolutely avoid nuts at all costs or end up with a severely allergy-ridden child destined for peanut-butter-sandwich-free lunches, and then we've had others tell us nuts must be consumed at least once a day to avoid the exact same fate.  

Sorting through the (often-conflicting) advice and trying to determine which rules are actually worth following versus not can be somewhat overwhelming.  

For anyone who is expecting (or thinking about it at some point), I highly recommend disregarding most all pregnancy books in favor of one: Expecting Better.  Written by an economist, the book goes through all the hard facts, studies, and data to give you all the evidence you need so you can decide what you do and do not want to do while preggers.  The book gave me the confidence I needed to feel comfortable disregarding all sorts of traditional pregnancy rules while deciding to adhere to a few.  Mango consumption remains intact. :)


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

sunday in the sunset

On Sunday (with Stefan out of town for some weddings and some business - his last trip pre-baby!), I opted to take full advantage of the time to explore the highlights of our quazi-new neighborhood.  Since we moved in January, it's been a whirlwind of studying and traveling and checking things off our list, so we haven't had as much time as I would have liked to really get to know the best things to do in the area.

Top on my list was a trip to the Farmer's Market.  Obviously nothing compares to the Ferry Building one that most San Francisco tourists frequent when paying a visit to the city, but the Sunset puts on a Sunday version that pulls out all the necessary stops as well.

There's nothing like some crunchy radishes with copious amounts of salt.
(And butter - as they do it in Europe!)

I'm not usually a stone fruit fan, but this time of year they are just too good to resist.

Next up was a stop by Arizmendi Bakery for a quick coffee and some freshly-baked, organic bread for later.  This worker-owned cooperative has a cult-like following in the city.  So much so that one time when I found myself in the Post Office around the corner asking for quarters for a parking meter, the woman replied: "We aren't supposed to give out quarters, but (glancing at my tell-tale brown paper bag) since I see you're an Arizmendi affectionado, I'll make an exception," as she slid me a roll of the good stuff.

Then I was off to Outerlands - a trendy spot that also garners cult-like fanfare.  Brunch with 2+ in your party usually requires at least an hour-long wait (well worth it for their goods!), but as a singleton I slid into a spot at the bar and pulled out my Economist with zero wait time.  

I opted for their signature brunch dish: Eggs in Jail - a pouched egg in their to-die-for levain toast topped with heirloom tomatoes and a piece of bacon.  
Outrageously good.

While we will always love and very much miss our old neighborhood (Pacific Heights - where we first moved in together, got married and enjoyed newlywed life), there's lots of good hidden charms in the Sunset.  Definitely enough to make a Sunday out of it.


Friday, July 11, 2014

the sutro baths

As many of you might know, San Francisco summers tend not to be the hottest.  For most of June and July, our little part of "sunny" California is cloaked in a thick syrup of fog.  I guess it's only fair after the majority of the nation had to suffer through horrid, never-ending winters while we paraded around joyfully soaking up 70-degree days, but still - you begin to crave a little sunshine come this time in the cloud cover.

So a few weekends ago when the fog finally did lift, Stefan and I decided to take a spur-of-the-moment adventure to check out some of San Francisco's history: the Sutro Baths ruins.

Adolph Sutro - a self-made millionaire who wished to provide a healthy, recreational, and inexpensive swimming facility to San Franciscans - opened the Sutro Baths as the world's largest indoor swimming pool establishment in March, 1896.  Sitting directly on the Pacific Ocean, the Baths filled a small beach inlet right below the Cliff House - another historic icon built by Sutro right around the same time.



With seven seawater pools (from ice cold to steaming), a stage, trampolines, flying rings, slides, swings, toboggan slides, diving platforms, and seating for thousands to observe the going-ons, the Baths were a full-service attraction for all ages.

The Baths could accommodate 10,000 people at one time and had 20,000 bathing suits and 40,000 towels for rent!

Unfortunately, after Sutro passed away, the Baths came under tough financial times.  His heirs struggled to keep them afloat through the Great Depression.  Eventually, the Baths got closed down in 1966 with plans in place to convert the site into a residential development.  

Not too long after, however, the Baths burned down in a rather suspicious fire.  Apparently the structure had a sizable insurance policy that was paid out post-fire leading many to speculate that there had been some foul play involved.  Plans to rebuild the site were abandoned, and in 1973, it was included in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and - lucky for us - opened to the public for exploration.

Then (with then Cliff House in background):

Now (with current Cliff House in background):

We explored the grounds, including a spooky tunnel leading down to the water.

We did some hiking along the trails lining the ruins, taking time to soak up the sun and enjoy the strong sea breeze.

We even got a little peek at the backside of the Golden Gate, popping up from behind the rocky cliffs of the Pacific. 

All in all, definitely worth a visit the next time you're in San Francisco! 


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

home stretch

Given that we've entered the final days as just the two of us (t-minus 4 weeks!), Stefan and I have been trying to do all sorts of things we think may not happen quite as frequently once we've got a third family member in the picture.

Like fancy dinners out at hot new San Francisco restaurants.

With CFA studying, then lots of work, and then loads of traveling (Stefan more than me), we haven't had much time to check out San Francisco's new culinary offerings.  But last Thursday, Stefan told me to get dressed up in my finest before he whisked me off on a surprise date at a mystery spot.

Obligatory belly shot in baby's room pre-dinner:

We headed to aveline, which opened in early June and is spearheaded by Chef Casey Thompson, Season Three Top Chef Finalist.   

The interior was fresh and modern, yet welcoming, with an open kitchen so you could see exactly how the magic happened.



I went for the vegetable garden... 

which actually looked like a vegetable garden
(the turtle bean, chicory soil was weird but oh-so good)

...and Stefan went for the avocado to start.

which came with an avocado ice cream - 
again: weird, but delish

Then we both opted for Sea Bass as mains, which - I must say - was a total slam-dunk.  Melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness that you definitely don't want to end.

Hopefully we'll have a few more of these before Baby Fischer decides to join us for the fun!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

a baby BBQ

The other oh-so-exciting event of the past few months was an adorable baby shower my sister, best friend and mom hosted for Stefan and I at our new place.  

While I was excited to celebrate this soon-to-be babe, I wasn't into the whole traditional ladies-sitting-around-talking type of baby shower so I asked if we could make the event co-ed (Stefan did play a rather large role in this whole thing...) and super casual.  

They opted to throw a BBQ-themed, red-and-white soiree that was absolutely perfect and right up our alley.

There were lots of delicious beverages - copious amounts of wine and beer for most everyone and sparkling lemonade for the pregnant ladies among us.

They decked the place out with lots of personalized, red-and-white touches...

...and orchestrated some fun, little games for guests, including a guess-the-due-date-and-weight contest.  We always love some good competition. :)

With an August 5th due date, the jury was tipping towards a late delivery (and a big baby!).

Stefan and the guys grilled up assorted sausages (pork, chicken, vegan, you name it) and my fabulous friend Claudine - chef extraordinaire and founder of Stiletto & Spice - did all the salads and sides.  It was a top-notch menu that made this soon-to-be mama very pleased.  We were all too busy chowing down to get any shots, but let me tell you: it was as beautiful as it was delicious.

Some shots of me with the fabulous party-hosting crew:

The bump was clocking in at around 28 weeks, or for those of you who don't talk pregnancy-speak: 7ish months.  

Overall, it was a total slam-dunk of a party that made this baby girl feel very loved!


Monday, June 30, 2014

a shower for gretters

I have the great honor of serving as my lovely sister's Matron of Honor for her upcoming nuptials this fall.  While there are many important duties in such a role, one such obligation is that of the Bachelorette party - a critical rite of passage for many a bride.

Unfortunately due to Gretter's school schedule (she is a schoolteacher and is going to school herself) and my baby schedule (most airlines ground pregnant ladies ~1-2 months out for fear that they may go into labor mid-flight and force the plane to land), we couldn't find a date that worked.  After much discussion, we decided to have me opt out of said Bachelorette and instead have me host a more pregnant-lady-friendly bridal shower.

With the help of my party-planning-extraordinaire mother, we orchestrated a lovely get-together for friends and family at the condo Gretchen and Al recently bought in New Canaan, CT.  (What grown-ups!)

We opted for a low-key brunch with lots of yummy goodies catered by a local spot:

We did make-your-own yogurt parfaits, 
to-die-for mini muffins and scones, 
made-to-order lattes and cappuccinos,
fluffy, decadent baby quiche, and 
- since no bridal brunch is complete without some bubbly - assorted Mimosas.

Note: custom linen napkins with Gretchen and Al's wedding logo on them

Who doesn't love an excuse for Champagne at 11am?

After chowing down (and drinking up!), we watched as Gretters opened up some top-notch gifts - many of which would be put straight to good use in their brand new place!

There's nothing like some good place mats!
Note: coffee cups with G&A's wedding logo stamped on -
you know how I love stamping

We chatted and sipped and chatted some more as we showered the soon-to-be bride with advice, gifts, wisdom, and love.  While not quite a Bachelorette, the morning was a charming celebration of this lovely soon-to-be bride.