Three Non-Fiction Books You Should Read

I don’t get much time for reading these days; between a full time job and two toddlers, my “free time” in the evenings is spent sweeping Cheerios off the floor or mindlessly scrolling Facebook as I lie exhausted in bed. However, a luxurious week long vacation to Costa Rica with my sister and my mom afforded me the opportunity to devour three books; three incredibly different books that benefited me in unique ways. 

First, the career bolstering book, recommended to me by my new boss (A director of Story Development with years of experience churning out stories for major animation series and movies): Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull, one of the founders of Pixar. This was a great read as it walked me through Pixar from its first day in existence to the giant of animation it is now. The most useful elements of this book include detailed notes and processes for how to handle feedback and critique as a creative, as well as how to work through “creative blocks”. As a writer whose livelihood now depends on churning out stories, I found it super valuable. If you love movies like Monsters, Inc. and Up, you’ll enjoy hearing anecdotes about how those movies came to be, and the transformations they went through to end up on the big screen. 

Second, the lighthearted read that made me snicker in the public hot springs as I read it – A Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, creator of Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy. This book is also loaded with lots of background and notes on being a creative writer, but is more of a memoir based on Shonda realizing she needed to drastically overhaul her life and stop saying no to every opportunity that approached. I loved her no bullshit perspective on being fat, and consequently, how she lost weight. Also, her honest tales of motherhood and the challenge of loving her career AND being a mommy resonated with me, and how it’s hard not to feel like when you’re at your best at one, you’re failing at the other. This would be the fluffy beach or bathtub read I’d recommend for when you want something that feels inspiring but not too cerebral. If you don’t like poop talk or light crassness you should probably skip it, as Shonda, much like myself, is not afraid to wax poetic on the F word or the virtues of a good BM.

Lastly, the book I ripped through in one day, though sometimes caught myself skimming big, cerebral chunks that felt too smart for me- the Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan. I’m a huge plant and food lover, and Pollan’s musings and research on both have made tremendous strides in people really thinking about the foods they put into their bodies. I admittedly don’t know much about GMOs, and this book helped me understand the connection between plants as business and why and how GMOs are changing the face of agriculture. I won’t get into my thoughts here on whether it’s a black or white good or bad type thing because quite frankly I haven’t decided yet, but as someone who loves both plants AND food, this book helped me see it’s something I need to pay more attention to. History lovers will enjoy all the research he put into it, like the true story of America’s Johnny Appleseed, the cultivation of weed, and why only one kind of potato is used for the legendary McDonald’s fry. I also liked the historical discussions about paganism and shamanism in relation to plants. Kind of cool to find out something as simple as growing tomatoes or potatoes could be seen as pagan, since they are both are from the Nightshade family. 

I would recommend all three of these books depending on your interests — one for greasing your creative wheels, one for some feel-good laughs and gentle self-help, and one for exploring the connection between food and plants, history and nature. If you give them a go or have read them, let me know what you think! (These are affiliate links, so if you click them or buy a book from this link, I might make a half of a penny. Thank you! I won’t spend it all in one place. 😉 )

Foodie Review: Master Inn Asian Fusion Restaurant in Valencia (Santa Clarita)

One of my favorite things to do is go out to lunch, and this week, I was treated to a yummy Asian Fusion lunch by the kind people of new Valencia restaurant, Master InnMaster Inn has been in the Santa Clarita Valley for just about four months, and you can tell, because the restaurant itself is spotless, very clean and modern. My friend Kelly joined me for lunch and also noted how nice and clean the restrooms are — such an awesome thing to see when we’re usually toting our germy toddlers and tiny babies. Master Inn has family recipes over 2 decades in the making, and for this Mother’s Day, Master Inn has curated a special menu to enjoy with Mom & the family! Kelly and I are both moms to wild toddlers and babies, so it was a welcome break for us to enjoy adult conversation with delicious food.

Open, Sesame! Delicious Honey Sesame Chicken

Veggie Deluxe at Master Inn

Now, let’s talk about the FOOD! First of all, you HAVE to get the Honey Sesame Chicken. YUM! It was dripping with honey flavor and a slight crunch of sesame seeds, with nice high quality chicken. The portions are huge, and each meal includes white rice, brown rice, or fried rice, an egg roll, and a choice of soup – egg corn, or borscht (a Russian beet soup! there’s that fusion part we speak of.) The egg roll had a perfect crunch, and the egg soup was delightfully sweet and thick. I’d love to have that next time I’m sick to soothe the throat. Now let’s talk prices. Master Inn caters to a wide range of budgets, which in particular, include students. Their student lunch menu is hands-down one of the best priced lunch menus in the SCV! At only $4.50, students can order a range of delicious items, such as; Kung Pao Chicken/Beef, Orange Chicken, Mongolian Beef and their Vegetable Deluxe. Sure, you can get a sandwich for under $5, but who wouldn’t take a deliciously cooked meal for under $5? Wish I had that when I was in college! If you’re not a student anymore, the lunch specials range from $7 to around $11, so it’s definitely super affordable.

Master Inn’s Lemon Chicken

Kelly had the lemon chicken, also perfectly seasoned and lightly tangy, and then we ordered the vegetable deluxe to share. I often order vegetarian when I’m out, and I was so impressed with the fresh vegetables and lightly garlicy sauce. The veggie deluxe was loaded with fresh mushrooms, crunchy water chestnuts and bok choy, carrots, baby corn, and perfectly cooked broccoli – so yummy! I topped off my meal with a Thai Iced Tea Boba, because mama needs caffeine. The service was also great — we were helped by two young men who were very polite and efficient. I’ll definitely go back to Master Inn, and you should check it out too. In fact, go in the next few days, because Master Inn is offering two wonderful Mother’s Day specials.

  • Buy One, Get One FREE from Mother’s Day lunch menu- No Beverages included and no coupons can be applied on this promotion
  • Get a $15 Gift Card (for future purchase) with your $50 dinner purchase on Mother’s Day.

So – check out Master Inn if you’re near Valencia! Now, I’ll just cross my fingers they come over to the Canyon Country side of Santa Clarita — but if not, I’ll gladly go back for lunch to Master Inn anytime!

PS: Look at this adorable monkey light fixture hanging in their restaurant. I want one!


Baby Power: What You Can Do to Protect Little Lungs and Demand Cleaner Air


It’s something we all do, every day, thousands of times. Our lungs expand and shrink, our chests rise and fall, and we breathe 12 to 20 times a minute. Breathing is one of those things you don’t think about often; but when you realize you’ve taken it for granted, it suddenly becomes a gift. Every mother listens for their child’s first breath. My first daughter was delivered quietly into the world; she didn’t make a sound as they lifted her to my chest, pink and squirming. She nursed for the first few minutes of her life, and then, suddenly, her rosy color faded to dusty blue, and she was whisked away to a bassinet, surrounded by a flurry of tubes and machinery. She had momentarily stopped breathing — and in that moment, I again understood the profound importance of breath. My second daughter, now just four months old, also was delivered quietly, but with a less traumatic start. Her breathing problems begun only recently, sniffling and congested, her skin breaking out in angry red patches, her milky, chubby baby arms and legs incredibly sensitive to texture and scent. She just tested positive for a milk protein allergy. At least once a night, I tiptoe into her room and stand near her crib, watching for the reassuring rise and fall of her chest. These breaths fill me with life.

I have learned to be grateful for the gift of breath after years of suffering from severe environmental allergies. I’ve endured a collective four years of allergy shots, going to the allergy clinic twice a week, pricked with five injections of a rising dose of what ails me. Many things make up that list; trees, grass, pollen, dust, dander, mold. I live my life in a constant state of congestion; always carrying a spare Zyrtec in my purse, armed with tissues and prescription eye drops. I am grateful it isn’t worse, that I don’t have to worry about asthma or food allergies, but as a dweller in one of the most polluted cities in the world, I’m keenly aware of the pollution and stuff that enters my lungs on a daily basis. According to, Los Angeles is the number one worst polluted city in terms of our ozone layer. It is well-known that ozone pollution affects irritants and response to allergens, and worsens chronic inflammation in Asthma patients. Now — at 32 years old, I’m hardly in my golden years, but never mind my lungs — how about my daughters’? At 2.5 years old and 4 months, my daughters breathe about 40 times per minute as compared to my 20. Children don’t just breathe more rapidly, they breathe more air than adults. Children have a larger lung surface area in proportion to their weight. They breathe 50% more air in proportion to their weight than adults. These little organs are working especially hard to help our children grow and thrive. Children also spend more time outside than adults, which makes clean air especially important for your child’s health. I’m writing this today on behalf of Baby Power, and have become one in one million parents in America who are demanding clean air for our children.

What can we do to help little lungs not just survive, but also thrive? To start, you can take 20 seconds of your day and use your name for good. Click this link to easily email the EPA and demand a plan that will reduce harmful pollution and protect future generations. 

What else can you do? According to, you can do a lot!

Remove or reduce allergens such as roaches, pet dander, mold, and dust mites. (For us, this means making the switch to laminate floors when our budget allows, and vaccuuming as often as I can to reduce cat hair.)
Do not smoke tobacco products in or near your home. Support measures to make all public places tobacco-free.
Prevent mold growth by lowering the humidity in your home with exhaust fans in kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms, or a dehumidifier.
Increase air flow (open windows and doors) to give your house better ventilation.
Store harmful products like pesticides and paints in a shed that is not attached to your home and always dispose of them properly.
Avoid using scented candles or products with odor-hiding fragrances.
Install and check regularly your smoke, carbon monoxide, and radon alarms.
Use a HEPA filter, if you want to use an air filter. Do not use air cleaners that emit ozone, which is a lung irritant.
Check daily air pollution forecasts on local media outlets or at
Avoid exercising outdoors when pollution levels are high. Limit the amount of time your child spends playing outdoors if the air quality is unhealthy.
Do not exercise near high traffic areas. Even when air quality forecasts are good, the vehicles on busy highways can create high pollution levels up to one-third mile away.
Save energy: Use ceiling fans, replace light bulbs with CFL bulbs, turn off computers and appliances when not in use, and insulate your home.
Don’t burn wood or trash.
Don’t idle your car or truck engine. If you will be sitting still for more than 10 seconds, turn the engine off.
Use hand-powered or electric lawn care equipment rather than gasoline-powered. Old two-stroke engines like lawnmowers and leaf or snow blowers often have no pollution control devices.
Get involved. Talk to your neighbors and friends about why clean air matters to you.
Reach out to your lawmakers to let them know you care about air quality. Support measures to clean up the air at the local, state, and national levels.

I know that after reading more about this initiative, there are things I can do starting right away — like getting rid of our scented candles, running our HEPA filter more often, and turning the car off when my husband and I run errands and one of us sits in the car with the kiddos. Want t0 d0 more? If you’re near Chicago, Charlotte, Philadelphia, or Orlando, meet the Moms Clean Air Force at Mommycon! Don’t forget to add your name to the petition — and if you do, you could be entered to win a copy of Every Breath We Take and a child’s t-shirt.

It’s easy to take breathing for granted. Most of us don’t even think about breath unless we’re in yoga, trying to fight off the never-ending mental to-do list, or when we’re sniffling our way through a work day when we should have stayed home. But what if we all made a collective effort today to give some thought to breath — in gratitude, in support, and above all, in defense? Make the effort today, because our future and our children, are counting on it. 

This post was sponsored by Baby Power, and is endorsed by the author of this blog as a cause that matters.

Second Time Mom’s Must Have List for Babies & New Parents – Registry List & Gift Guide for New Moms & Baby Showers

I now have a 3.5 month old and a 2.5 year old, and somewhere, in the quiet hours of the night, I was pinned with my shiny pin of Veteran Parent. It means I have survived enough same-time meltdowns, spit up on shirt, hair pulling, public blowouts, charming coos, and gummy baby smiles to have a legit idea of what it means to go through 2 under 2. I pass on this knowledge to you, dear reader, who is either a terrified new parent or friend/relative of a terrified new parent, well-meaning in your quest to get the goods that make baby-rearing a bit easier. These products have been endorsed not once, but twice, by said Veteran Mommy. You may notice that a lot of this stuff is not necessarily “Cute” — but it is useful. Very useful. You or they will get lots of cute baby clothes, and it’s fun and fine to include something adorable, but also get them something useful. Something like this, or something almost as useful as a hot, fresh meal delivered to new parents. (If you don’t cook, order them takeout or pick up a pizza. It’s the very best thing you can bring new parents, other than coffee or diapers.)

All of these items are available on Amazon Prime, because #freeshipping, and if you’re a new parent who hasn’t slept in 48 hours, the thought of going into public is a big fat nope. Enjoy!

Rock n’ Play

We loved this for Holly because it’s easy to move from room to room and baby sleeps great in it thanks to the snug/cuddling sensation. For Hadley it was a must-have as she was diagnosed with reflux and needed to sleep upright. She slept in this the first 2.5 months of her life and now we have an extra in our bedroom for when we’re hanging out in there, in addition to the one in the living room. You can even splurge and get one that rocks automagically!

SwaddleMe Swaddle Pouches

Swaddling saves your life the first few weeks ‘cuz babies want to feel like they’re snug in Mama’s womb. I like these ones because you might have a baby Houdini who tries to break free, and the velcro keeps them wrapped up like a bangin’ barbacoa burrito. Plus they come in cute patterns — buy the multi pack or at least two because trust that your little bundle of joy will spit up, pee, poop…and if you don’t, you’ll be frantically trying to wash the dirty one before bed time.

Dapple Bottle Soap

This stuff rocks because normal dish soap doesn’t do as good of a job getting milk film off bottles, and breast milk can be oily due to its high fat content. It also is made of more natural ingredients, safer for babe’s gentle biome.

Honest Baby Bottom Spray

There’s one day going to be a diaper that makes you gag, and a good chance it’s going to be a “13-wipe situation”, as my husband lovingly dubbed it. This stuff helps: Look for it at Target – it seems to go out of stock a lot on Amazon.

Angel Baby Bottom Balm

I’m a huge fan of Earth Mama and this stuff has been awesome for two babies with sensitive skin and excemza. I even use it for my excemza. If you’re nursing, you also should try the nipple butter.

Medela Quick Clean Wipes

Cleaning pump parts is a pain in the ass. (Pumping in general is a pain in the ass. You’ll never feel more like a cow on a production line than when you have plastic tubes and flanges pulling at your anatomy.) This makes cleaning the parts less tedious and saves you time.

Lansinoh 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Pearls

Boobs hurt from nursing. It is an unfortunate fact of life. These can be warmed up or frozen, whichever suits you as your lady lumps throb.


Spa Silk Burp Cloths

Babies are gross – good thing they are so adorable. These are my favorite burp cloths because they absorb well and are super soft. You’ll notice some well meaning people get you the cute flannel kind that don’t absorb for crap. Use these and be grateful that projectile spit rocket landed on this and not your sweater (I mean, not like it matters when you haven’t showered in three days… but you know!)

Cradle Cap Comb 

Hopefully you won’t need this – but if your kids grow scales on their head like my serpentine babies, you’ll want this. Warning; it is disgusting and weirdly satisfying to use. I’m not going to go into details. But it does help, a lot, along with my favorite “smells like an old lady perfume but in a weirdly good way” baby wash, Mustela.

Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit

You’ll want to buy this just because your baby looks like it’s wearing a sumo suit, but basically this is a puffy marshmallow suit that keeps your kiddo warm, snug, and unable to move like a spastic starfish. Once your kid begins rolling you can no longer swaddle, and you’ll want to keep your blessed four hour stretch — so enter the Merlin. We got the gender neutral yellow and are big fans.

*These links are affiliate links, and if you make a purchase, I receive a few pennies. I have two kids to send to college. Feel free to shop to your heart’s content 😉

Life update: As You Wish Pottery, BABIES, and ShiftCon!

I blinked — and suddenly my newborn is two months old, I’ve become acclimated to sleeping about 6 broken hours each night and it seems to be sunset right after the sun rises. Such is life with two kids, haha! I’ve been wanting to write this blog post for a solid eight weeks but at the end of the night there are bottles to wash, bills to pay, and Reddit posts to catch up on — so it’s been waiting impatiently in the corner of my brain for a night like tonight. Baby is currently bundled up in her Rock n’ Play (seriously, best invention ever. Get all your friends one (yep, that’s an affiliate link, so if you click it, I make a penny), Holly is dreaming of shoes and string cheese, and Matt is sleeping, preparing for his day on set. I’m wearing leopard leggings and just came back from Yoga. It was my first exercise class in a looooong time and let’s just say I have some work to do in terms of getting back in shape. But anywho, I digress. Let’s talk about two things I’ve had on my mind lately.

I was invited to a girl’s night out at As You Wish Pottery here in Valencia. I had just had Hadley six days earlier – and while people were surprised I was out, I had a great time taking a break from babying and nursing, and painted an adorable stemless wine glass. Several of my blog buddies were there too, and the class was lead by the awesome Marketing Director, Liz, who was a very talented artist (she used to create all the display pieces) and a patient and fun teacher.One thing I loved about the class was that it was structured yet there was still plenty of opportunity to be creative and make the piece my own. One trick we used was to trace the lettering with a sharpie on to the pot through tracing paper, and then filled it in with the glaze. I felt like a real “Artiste” (say it with a French accent to add some flair) and I loved getting to be creative. Liz kept telling us the theme of the night was whimsy – something I felt as I learned how to make puddle flowers, which is where you puddle the paint in one area to create an abstract, round flower shape. Isn’t it so cute?!

I’d definitely consider bringing girlfriends here for a girl’s night out, and I’m thinking this might be a fun Mother’s Day activity to take my mama to. (Fun fact: Mother’s day is on my birthday this year!) I also want to take Holly and let her just go wild on one of the cute cat statues or plates they have. There’s a HUGE variety of things to choose to decorate, with prices starting as low as $6. Be sure to check out As You Wish near you – here in Southern California, we have three locations: Valencia, Simi Valley, and Palmdale. If you happen to be in Arizona, you’re in luck because there are many more locations in Arizona, too! When Holly is older I may very well host a birthday party here for her – prices start at $175 for eight kids and they each get to paint one item. Thinking about it now, I think I actually might take my bestie this weekend so we can catch up and gab while also unleashing our inner artistes. Thank you so much to As You Wish for hosting me and my blogger friends!

One thing that’s quickly approaching is the end of my maternity leave (Waaah!). While I can admit I’m in some ways looking forward to getting back to work because it feels good to use my brain in ways other than mothering — (I’m doing a little freelance work here and there in product naming and it’s been refreshing to get creative with words again (yep! fun fact: I name toys!)), I am sad to leave my little Haddie. (But – our daycare is just a mile away and she’s with her sister Holly, so that will be great). However, one thing that will soften the blow is attending Shiftcon the last weekend in January! Shiftcon is a conference founded by my friend and business-savvy social media pal, Leah Segedie. Leah is a pioneer in the green wellness space, and her conference is a really cool medley of social media and tech workshops, health and wellness presentations, and an expo with hundreds of natural and organic care leaders. While I’m “light green” in that I’m not super educated in green stuff like non-GMO and chemtrails and stuff, I am interested of course in learning how to adapt my lifestyle and keep my children’s diet and environment as natural as possible.

Kia, me, and Leah rocking our Twitter skillz at Shiftcon 2016!

I’m attending Leah’s conference as a volunteer, and I am really looking forward to some of the workshops like “Exploring the Hidden World of Fragrance” and ” Old School Promotion–How to Get a Book Deal & Media Coverage.” One thing that’s really awesome about Shiftcon is all of the meals are non-GMO and organically sourced. I volunteered at Shiftcon last year in New Orleans, and had a blast leading their Twitter Party, taking photos, and helping organize the mannequin challenge in a gigantic expo hall. Can’t wait to have fun and learn in February! Interested in joining me? The conference is in Irvine from February 1-3, and there’s just a few passes left!

Ok – little miss just woke up for her nightly feed, so I better tend to my child. Hopefully I’ll be back soon and hope your 2018 is off to a swimmin’ start!



Hadley’s Birth Story

On Monday, November 6 I was still very pregnant – and very over it. My OB and I had discussed induction once I hit 39 weeks because I was so uncomfortable, but she warned me that other pregnant women past forty weeks had priority for induction. My official and “final” due date was 11/11, so even though I was still a week to go, I wanted that baby OUT. I decided to send my doctor an email asking her to let me know if we could set a date, knowing it had to be scheduled a few days out. Initially I didn’t want a baby to be born via induction on Holly’s birthday (11/9), so that Holly could have her own day, but I knew baby could very well come on her own if she wanted to on that day. So, imagine my surprise on Wednesday morning when I got a call from the hospital labor and deliver department, letting me know I was scheduled for induction at 6:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 9. After talking it over with Matt, we decided we should move forward, as I was swelling like crazy, sick of having fake contractions, and I was getting restless (After all, there’s only so much Netflix binging and Oreo eating one can do.) They’d be birthday twins, and that was that! I didn’t sleep much that night with excited anticipation, and woke up at 5:30 the next morning to shower. While I was in the shower I got a voicemail that I should wait a few hours and go back to sleep, since L&D was packed. I went back to bed, and we got the call at 8:30 that we could come in around 10.

Right before we headed to the hospital! 39 weeks and six days.

I checked in, donned my hideous hospital gown, and met my first two nurses, Harley and Nicole. I felt relieved because I gave them the “Full Alyssa” personality and we all jived well, which was important to me as these women would be getting up close and personal. I got hooked up to the IV and belly monitors, and once it was confirmed that Hadley was doing great, they checked me for dilation. Happily, the amount of contractions I was showing confirmed that I was already in early labor, which I had suspected the night before, but wasn’t getting my hopes up due to the days of false starts I’d been having. At first check I was dilated to a four, so we agreed to use Pitocin to get things moving, with me having naïve hopes that Pitocin would mean I’d be snuggling a newborn in the early afternoon. I call Pitocin the Pit Viper, because it amplified the contractions with Holly from bearable to massive pain very quickly – but maybe that wasn’t the Pitocin and was just labor. Basically, they slowly increased my Pitocin every couple hours, and at this point, I was waiting to get the epidural as the pain wasn’t that bad. This part of labor was pretty boring, and I chitchatted with Matt, texted friends, browsed Facebook, and even shopped on my Groupon app at one point.

One great difference between this labor and Holly’s was that I was allowed to have “clears” this time. It helped so much to have a full belly.

At 2:00, they started cranking the Pitocin faster, and I was bummed that I hadn’t had the baby yet. I had hoped that since this was my second rodeo, I’d basically lift my legs and shoot out a baby. Once the Pitocin was cranked, the contractions started intensifying. At 3:45 I requested my epidural, and I didn’t receive it until 5:00 p.m., and by then, I was ready. They made Matt leave the room which I wasn’t thrilled about, and my anxiety soared as the anesthesiologist fiddled with my back and laced me up. It showed in my blood pressure, which rose to about 160/90, but as soon as the anesthesiologist was done, I instantly felt giddy and calm. I asked if it kicked in that fast, and the anesthesiologist explained it was actually my dopamine levels returning to normal since I had been so nervous. Whew! They gave me a quick hit button to dose myself with more epidural drug, and I didn’t end up using it much until later on.

The next few hours were slow and relaxed, with my birth playlist in the background (lots of Fleet Foxes, Smoke Fairies, Father John Misty, and the occasional electropop song by peeps like St. Vincent.). At 7:00, we had a shift change, and my new nurse, Tiffany, came in. At 9:30, I decided to try to nap, since I had only progressed to a six. I dozed on and off, and at 11:40, I was finally ready to try some “test” pushes. I had accepted at this point that Hadley wanted her own birthday, as we were 20 minutes away from the 10th. The contractions were certainly more intense, but my nurse had warned me to start laying off the quick hit button as that could delay my progress. I wasn’t happy to hear that but agreed to reduce my reliance on the joy juice, and I was impressed how much easier pushing was than with Holly – my body knew what to do, and Tiffany was an excellent coach in guiding me how to breathe.

After a few test pushes, Tiffany gave me a choice – they could call the doctor in now (about midnight) and have me start pushing, but she warned because baby wasn’t exactly in “station” (the lowest position in pelvis), I would probably have to push longer – or, I could try and nap for a bit and baby would likely descend lower into the pelvis, and it would be less pushing.  I always prefer to embrace the lazy way when it comes to physical activity, so I agreed to try and nap, and miraculously, I did. At 12:45, the nurse told me the doctor was on her way, and at that point, I went from calm to “IT’S GO TIME!”. I was having a very hard time holding the baby in at this point – and it sounds weird to type it like that, but they actually had to take my legs out of the stirrups and tell me not to push because she was ready to come out.

Honestly, this was the hardest part of labor – feeling more than anything that I needed to push, but not being able to, and being told not to. At one point I told Matt he better get a glove on and get down there because the baby was coming whether my doctor was there or not. It was actually only 20 minutes between this point and when the doctor arrived, but it felt like eternity as the pressure on my lower back and legs was making me tremble all over.

Finally, my awesome doctor rushed in, threw on her scrubs and booties, and got into position. I took a deep breath, and PUSHED. Lord almighty, did I push – and I pushed HARD and with gusto, and boom – just like that, I felt the baby’s head come out, and summoned all my strength, breathed through the pressure … and felt Hadley descend through me, arriving at 1:14 am, after just one push.

The doctor lifted her up and I had two instant thoughts “Look at all that hair!” and “She’s big!” They put her on my chest, and the medical team noted she wasn’t crying – just looking around, calm and pink. Her tiny hand joined mine and I looked into her eyes for the first time, hers full of wonder, mine full of joy. I was overcome with relief and happiness, and we spent the next 30 minutes snuggling as my doctor delivered my placenta and checked me out. Hadley was 9.2 pounds and 21 inches of rosy-cheeked perfection, delightful little leg rolls, velvety feet, and wispy dark hair.

Happy birthday, Hadley Joy – we’re so happy you’re here.


Baby #2 Bumpdate: 39/40 weeks

Spoiler alert: NO BABY! Haha. I get texts and messages all day and sadly, I’ve always had to say “Nope. Nothin’.”

Despite plenty of false starts and hopes of promised inductions, here we are, just a mere four days from my official and “final” due date of 11/11, and we have no baby. (PS, Baby 2 – Holly was here by this time. Just sayin’.)

Baby’s Size: American Shorthair Cat or Watermelon
Weight Gain: 43 pounds. Lost a pound this week because baby is so big I can’t cram as much in my gullet.
Maternity clothes? All day every day.

Best moment the past few weeks: We went to Teppenyaki (the Japanese steakhouse where they cook your food at the table) with my parents and Holly for an early Holly birthday dinner. It was super fun even though she was kind of freaked out by all the fire and lights mere feet from her face! Also, my parents took Holly for a few days this week and Matt and I got to go have a really nice Italian dinner last night. It was deeeeelicious! And despite being anxious about somebody’s pending arrival, I’ve really enjoyed being so lazy and resting on maternity leave, and doing small projects and chores here and there.
Miss anything?
Not waking up to pee every hour and a half, not thinking every twinge is my imminent labor, and HEARTBURN.
Movement: Definitely less this week as she’s out of space in there.
Food cravings: I’ve been craving classic coke, which I’m limiting because sugar, and who needs it; and then prosciutto, and jazz apples. I got some at Trader Joe’s and they are SO GOOD!
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope.
Gender: Girl!
Symptoms: Sore lower back, waddling, massive belly, fire-breathing-dragon heartburn, tired, crampy with practice contractions.
Happy or moody most of the time: Happy though quick to be annoyed. You should hear my verbal expletives when I read the news. I also have a tendency to delay answering some of the “Anything yet?” texts until I feel more chipper (and sometimes, I just ditch my phone for a few hours because I caaaaan and it’s nice.) It’s nothing personal, but it’s difficult to have to say “No” and share disappointing news that the same old is the same old. This of course, backfires on me, because the longer I take to respond, more people assume I’m in labor. Haha. I know people are just excited, but I can’t win until I can text a photo of a fresh baby!

Image result for have you had that baby yet
Labor signs: What’s so frustrating about being so close is I’ll have several contractions that slowly start to pick up, get more painful, and then… gone. Silence. My OB confirms I’ve been in “prodromal labor” which is basically practice labor and super common for second-time moms. She asked me to call on Monday to see about getting me in for induction, but I haven’t heard back (annoying) and I know it’s because I’m not a priority as all is well and healthy (thankfully), and I’m not quite yet past that official due date mark (C’MOOOOOON Saturday). My next appt is Thursday morning and I’m not leaving until they schedule me a few days out for an induction, just in case. I’m the perfect candidate for induction since my body already has so many signs of being ready for labor – so if it doesn’t happen naturally, we’re gonna MAKE it happen. Boom.

Looking forward to: meeting this kid. One day. It will happen one day… right? Also, my Hollydolly turns 2 on Thursday. Chances are good she’ll have a baby sister as a birthday gift… maybe even the same day?

Allright, citizens of the Internet… send collective thoughts, energy, juju, prayers, and vibes that this kid MOVES ALONG safely, happily, and healthily into the world! I do NOT want to share a bump update next week! Bye! 🙂

Baby #2 Bumpdate: Week 38/39

For Halloween, I’m a pregnant lady. Yup, still! Despite doctors’ estimates I’d go around Halloween (and hey, I guess I still COULD), here I sit with a bouncing, kicking baby bump. But! I’m on maternity leave now, and it’s been awesome to do little projects here and there and rest and prepare mentally for the upcoming newborn days. I slept awfully last night – waking up twice in a sweat (so uncomfortable), having weird dreams, and peeing constantly. But – I remember in the few days before Holly was born, I barely slept at night, so I’ll take it. Just preparation for my upcoming late nights with lil gal. My doctor said I can choose to set an induction date for anytime after this Thursday, so we’ll see how I’m feeling and what I want to do.

Baby’s Size: A Pomeranian
Weight Gain: 44 pounds. I’m not thrilled about it, but I also am not making many efforts to keep it under control. I’ll deal with it after the baby – and I’m actively pursuing the sleeve weight loss surgery later this year, so I know I have work to do, but for now, I’m enjoying just being.
Maternity clothes? All day every day or stretchy dresses.
Best moment the past few weeks: It’s been really fun experiencing Halloween with a near two year old – because she kind of “gets it” this year. We decorated a pumpkin with stickers yesterday and she was so delighted and proud of her creation. Then, this morning, we drove to daycare slowly and looked at all the decorations outside. One advantage of this baby not arriving today is I can’t wait to take Holly trick or treating tonight. She’s going to be a gnome! Also, my work surprised me with a virtual baby shower and were incredibly generous with gifts and advice, and we’ve been receiving gifts here and there. It’s heartwarming to be the recipient of so much kindness and happiness, so that’s awesome 🙂

Miss anything?
Solid sleep, and not having heartburn. Also, the back pain and slowness is getting old. I’ve never been an athlete but I’ve always prided myself on being fairly active, so it’s hard to be a slug.
Movement: Still a fair amount, but not as intense since she’s so big now.

Food cravings: I made Matt go get me some chicken salad over the weekend, and then I’m still craving red meat and ice cubes (Anemia!). We had some epic steaks last night!
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope.
Gender: Girl!
Symptoms: Sore hips, waddling, massive belly, fire-breathing-dragon heartburn, EXHAUSTED, crampy with practice contractions.
Happy or moody most of the time: My mood has been really even-keeled and positive.
Labor signs: I’m 3 CM dilated and fully effaced, so at this point, it’s just waiting for steady contractions or water breaking. I hope my water breaks because with Holly that was so easy to be like “Oh! It’s time.” My doctor has given me the go-ahead to labor at home for several hours after my water breaks (assuming I feel mostly fine), so I’m looking forward to having a few hours to kind of gather my stuff and try and relax at home while the grandparents head over for Holly duty. I’ve been having a lot of practice contractions which are mostly just annoying to me because they don’t stay steady.

Looking forward to: Trick or treating, seeing my sweet squishy lil babeh, Holly turning 2 on Nov. 9th (we’re not doing anything but will do cake and presents for her), the holidays, and giving birth! (Yeah, I know, it’s odd – but my Labor and Delivery with Holly was great, other than long, so I’m not super nervous, and if anything, it’s empowering and you get the best gift at the end!)


Allrighty – let’s hope the next update I make is a “Welcome, baby!” announcement!

Week 36 Bumpdate with Kiddo #2: Are we there yet?

How far along? 36 weeks, measuring 37.5.

Baby’s Size: A Chihuahua!
Weight Gain: 40 pounds. No weight gain the last two weeks and then BOOM! TEN POUNDS! I’m an excellent gainer of weight. I finally have Flintstone feet, so I know I’m swelling a bit. 
Maternity clothes? All day every day or stretchy dresses.
Best moment the past few weeks: We saw Father John Misty on Friday night who is one of my fav musicians. The stadium seating was killer and we left before the encore, but I loved getting to hear some of my fav tunes under the stars at the Greek Theatre. Also, being dismissed by the perinatologist as a “graduate” with a healthy pregnancy. My OB has a perinatologist monitor the pregnancy in addition to appointments with her, and the peri is the guy who would be the problem-finder, so it felt good to get the “Good job! Go have a baby!” send off from him. Also, we’ve been doing some home improvements with the help of my Dad, and I’m enjoying our new recessed lighting and ceiling fans, and I also love the maternity pix my mom took (scattered throughout this post).

Miss anything?
Solid sleep. I was up EIGHT times last night to pee. I’m also really sick right now with a cold, so I know that’s part of it, but dear lord, stick a fork in me, I’m done.

Photo by Lynnette Joy Photography



Movement: Less kicking, more subtle rolling since she’s out of space in there.
Food cravings: Ice cubes, oreos with milk, sprite.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Having a cold with some chest stuff has trigged my barfiness, so that’s been fun, but that should pass pretty soon.
Gender: Girl!
Symptoms: Sore hips, waddling, massive belly, fire-breathing-dragon heartburn, EXHAUSTED, crampy with practice contractions.
Happy or moody most of the time: I’m in good spirits and ready to meet my second lil’ gal.
Labor signs: I’m 2 CM dilated and 50% effaced, and doctor seems confident I’m going to go around Halloween. I sure hope so!

Looking forward to: Having this baby! And getting over the cold I have. You can’t take much when preggers, so I took the day off work and slept most of it, and am just taking it easy. Also looking forward to starting maternity leave after 10/27, and hopefully having a few days to get some last minute details in order before the babeh arrives.

I like to call this photo “Holly’s realization that she will soon no longer be the center of the universe.” 😉

And one of my little Holls just cuz she’s so darn cute.

Week 35 with Baby Girl #2: Bumpdate

How far along? 35 weeks, or 36 weeks if we stick with the 11/4 adjusted due date.
Baby’s Size: A tennis racket or a Quoka.

This is a ridiculously cute animal called a Quoka.

Weight Gain: 31 pounds, and I didn’t gain anything in the past two weeks. Whew.
Maternity clothes? All day every day or stretchy dresses.
Best moment the past few weeks: Matt started a great new job, so we’ve been having lunch together weekly. It’s nice to have “dates” with my husband again. It also means he’s home earlier in the evenings, which is a huge help since I’m so slow and waddle-some with Holly. We also saw Beachhouse recently, and that was awesome, even though sitting on a concrete bench was killer for prego hips.

It’s the final countdown! New prego update at #Hadley_Gram #plussizepregnancy #PCOS #pcospregnancy

A post shared by Alyssa Curran (@lyssacurran) on

Miss anything? 

Sleeping peacefully. I’m at the point where I’m up to pee at least twice each night, and then it takes me a good 15-30 mins to fall back asleep. I’m also frequently rolling around to adjust since I have a beach ball on my abdomen!

I also can’t believe I’m saying this, but I miss working out. I’m looking forward to good, sweaty cardio sessions once I’m healed up. My body feels so stiff and achey right now that getting back into a good, limber, feeling is going to be awesome.

Movement: Lots of kicking.
Food cravings:  Chinese food, Melon Hi-Chews, Carnitas Tacos (of course) and ice cubes. I’ve totally been crunching ice cubes like crazy, especially soaked in water with a slice of lemon. I know that’s partially the anemia I have, because I’ve also been craving a lot of red meat.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Not too bad the last few weeks. If I go too long without snacking I’ll get barfy feeling, but the new RX heartburn meds I’m on seem to be helping a lot.
Gender:  Girl!

Symptoms: Sore hips, waddling, massive belly, heartburn, EXHAUSTED, crampy with practice contractions.
Happy or moody most of the time: My mood has been upbeat and sunny, with the occasional flash of snappiness. (Poor Matt.) Usually at the end of the day I’m exhausted and achey and that’s when Mean Mommy comes out.


Labor signs: I’m having lots of practice contractions, and a few nights ago I was almost mildly worried because I felt similar to how I did at the beginning of labor with Holly. I feel HUGE and can feel my hips starting to loosen, so I know my body is gearing up. I really will be surprised if I make it until 11/4, but doctor has said I am free to set an induction for anytime after 11/3.

Looking forward to: This weekend my mama is doing my maternity photos, and I’m also looking forward to just relaxing as much as I possibly can with a wild toddler running around. Work has been really busy, and even though I work from home, I’m wiped – so I’m looking forward to some chill time.