May 23, 2018

Ruby's Arrival

She's here!!! Ruby Valentina. Born on May 10th, at 3:13 am, weighing in at 9 lbs. 3oz.   The first picture of Caitlin was taken on May 3rd. They had given Caitlin two due dates, one being the 7th, the other the 4th. We still have no idea why they did this, because later Caitlin found out that it was always the 7th. We think the ultrasound tech had changed it to the 4th because of baby's size. When May 4th rolled around and there was no sign of labor, we started thinking that  the date of the 7th was going to be the correct due date. I really thought she would be born on the 8th. I was partly correct, as her water broke at 11:30 pm that evening. She had no significant contractions, so I thought we might be in for a long night. 12 hours passes by....I decide to go home real quick to take a shower, and when I was at home, they had decided to give something to Caitlin to hasten the contractions. By the time I got there, she was in significant discomfort. By the 24 hour mark, she was ready to start pushing. She was a trooper, and had no epidural or other  pain medication. They offered her nitrous gas, which is more popular in Europe, and now coming back into play here in the States. Other than this, she had a natural birth. Lots of other details, but it is Caitlin's story to tell. I was humbled and honored to be Caitlin and Cyrous's co-birth coach. Words can't really express the emotions I felt through the process. It was truly hard to see your baby in such pain, at the same time I was in awe at her strength and determination to push this baby out into the world! Such a beautiful experience to see your daughter give birth. I have been a co-birth coach for my sister with two of her children, but nothing prepared me for what I felt on Ruby's birthday. The next day after I had some time to sleep, I called my sister to tell her about the birth..... that is when I cried like never before. If I think of the day too much at any given time I'll get emotional.
She is beautiful, healthy and looks a lot like her mama. I see dad in the mix too, but when I hold her, I feel like I'm holding baby Caitlin sometimes. I look at her and wonder what her personality will be, what those little hands with create, where those little feet will take her. It's a wonderful feeling to be a grandparent. The circle of life is a beautiful thing.

April 4, 2018

Caitlin's Maternity Shoot at the Ruth Bancroft Garden

On Good Friday, we went out to Ruth Bancroft Garden  (click on name to read about this amazing garden!)  Caitlin loves cactus and succulents and wanted this extraordinary garden to be the back drop for her maternity shoot. I was honored, and happy when Caitlin asked me to do the shoot for her. We had a lot of fun taking the photos and discovering all these gorgeous plants at the same time. It's such a jewel box of a place and if you live out in the East Bay Area, you really need to go and check this place out! There were plants I have never seen in my life. My favorite one was the one pictured that looks like an eight foot asparagus!!!
I think the pictures turned out really beautiful and Caitlin was happy with them, so that makes me happy. I love photography, and since as far back as I can remember, I always wanted to do something in that field. When I was in High school, my dream was to be a photo journalist and work for National Geographic. That didn't pan out hahah, but photography was always in my life. In college I took many photography classes, and was in the dark room for many hours at a time perfecting my skill, and to this day those are my fondest memories of my University days. I had an excellent professor and learned a lot.  Of course now everything is digital and edited with fancy filters. The skill involved in making a print in a dark room took a lot trial and error, which I believe was part of the fun. I'm not saying that editing digital images is no less of an art form, it's just that it is much easier to do I believe.  The artistry in photography also is capturing that image right? Caitlin decided that instead of seeking out a photographer to do her shoot, she would have the closest person that knows her the best, to capture the most beautiful time in her life. I think the strongest photos tell a story about the people, and I hope that years from now Ruby will look at these and see how in Love her parents were and what beautiful souls they are. Her mother in full bloom with her, just like all the beautiful plants surrounding her in bloom as well. Her father in complete love with her mother and the beautiful life she is carrying.
Hope you enjoyed taking a peek at some of my favorite shots of the day!

****btw, I didn't use any fancy filters when editing these photos. Just a bit of tweaking in brightness and color correction.****

April 2, 2018

Our Easter

Easter day was so sunny and pretty! We had two days prior that were overcast and glum, but Easter was sparkly and gorgeous. We had a lazy one this year, including me being lazy and not really decorating the house until the last minute. I think I pulled it off though haha.
Since Caitlin couldn't eat rare lamb, I made a shoulder of lamb and cooked it kind of like you would cook carnitas. The recipe was from a cookbook called "A Kitchen in France." By Mimi Thorisson. There was some tinkering I had to do with the cut of the meat, because here in the US they butcher meat differently than they do in France. I ordered a shoulder, thinking that it would look like a pork shoulder roast, but it didn't. When I arrived to my favorite butcher shop and asked for my order, the guy came over and said I'm really curious what you are making, and why you requested 3 pounds of lamb shoulder. After discussing the recipe and having a fun conversation on how butchering varies, even from the East Coast, we decided to add a couple more blade shoulder chops to the three pound piece and tie butcher string around it to make it a bigger roast. So having done that, it brought up the weight more from the recipe. I upped the temp a bit and adjusted the cooking time. I think I could have taken it out sooner, but it was pretty tasty. The sauce was a garlic cream, made with pan drippings, cream, and ten cloves of garlic. As you can see from the first picture, there are already several heads of garlic with the lamb up there! That garlic caramelized quite nicely and perfumed the meat. We started dinner with a carrot ginger soup, with a spoon of creme fraiche and chives. I found some morel mushrooms at Berkeley bowl and added them to the asparagus, along with lemon zest. I lately have been loving Yukon gold potatoes more than red, so we had some with thyme.  No time this year to plan out a dessert, and having just finished consuming Caitlin's cheesecake the week before, I was a bit maxed out of baking. We bought this cute little coconut cake at Whole Foods, and I decorated the top with some cup cake picks that I already, and that was our Easter!

On good Friday I shot Caitlin's maternity pictures. I'm doing a separate post on that possibly on Wednesday. I'm still editing the pictures and hope to have them completed by then. They turned out so pretty!  You will have to come back and check it out.
Speaking of Caitlin, we have less than five more weeks to go before little miss Ruby is born! We are all so excited :)   Last Saturday we went over to their house to check out Ruby's little nursery area, and it was super cute. Caitlin painted the cutest little water color to hang above her little bassinet and everything is so nicely  color coordinated. All the little clothes are washed and now we wait.

Ok, I'm off to edit the pictures!