Photos = Magic

by Lila on September 18, 2015

Family PhotosMy memory is a funny thing. I have a knack for faces. Not where I last saw the face or why I might recognize the face, but I know that I now the face. I also have a collection of funny detailed memories from throughout my life. A conversation I had with a good friend while they signed my senior yearbook, the moment when I was tying my cleats before a soccer game and first saw Jeff, a random fight I had with my mom while trying to watch a recording of Dawson’s Creek. Strange, crystal clear moments.

Then there are gaps, things I have totally forgotten until reminded of. Not from recent history, but from college or high school or my childhood. This odd memory of mine has turned me into a photographer, a historian of my own life. It is why I love pictures, they bring me back into the moments I am afraid I might someday forget. They remind me of who I am and where I come from.

For this reason I treasure photos. The trick is getting in front of the lens. So… as I watched Grayson getting older and older I sent a note to one of my favorite photographers, Dave Medal, to ask if he would capture this phase of our life for us. Dave photographed our wedding, he is lovely, and he takes gorgeous photographs.

He came, he spent the morning with us doing what we do, and took the most beautiful photos. I don’t think I have enough wall space to hang all the ones I want to display. Family-Photo-7Family-Photo-6Family-Photo-5Family PhotosFamily PhotosFamily PhotosFamily-Photo-2Family Photos

Thank you Dave for capturing my family the way we are, for taking the photos that, years from now, will send me flying through time back to this time in our lives.

To see more of the pictures from our shoot with Dave, check out his blog.


A Memory of My Grandpa

by Lila on September 9, 2015

AMemoryofMyGrandpaWe drove down the long straight highway. The air changed from cool and fog-filled to warm and dry. Grayson squirmed in his carseat as mom handed him one toy after another. And then we were there, knocking on the door of my grandparents’ house.

My little one was hesitant, hid behind my leg, clutched my knee. His last visit had been when he was barely one. I imagined he may not remember.

My grandpa reached out to say hello and Grayson ducked back behind me. He peered out, unsure, and Grandpa waved.

When Grandpa first met Grayson he had watched him with warm eyes, but didn’t want to hold his tiny little figure. That had changed. Grayson was bigger now, walking, less fragile.

I sat next to my grandpa on the couch while my little guy moved trucks across carpet. Time passed, we chatted, and then Grayson toddled over and climbed into my lap.

Grandpa reached out his hand and Grayson looked at him. Then Grayson poked out one finger. Grandpa mimicked him. Grayson stretched and fingertip met fingertip. I smacked my lips together and made a pop as they touched. Grayson let out a giggle. My grandpa smiled and put out his finger again. Grayson grinned. Pop! Pop! Pop! Laughter filled the air.

We sat in a quiet, warm happiness. Fingertip to fingertip, a great-grandpa and his namesake.


Not All Who Wander Are Lost

by Lila on September 2, 2015

Not-all-who-wanderIn my imagination lives an image of a pilot, sitting in a cockpit, seeing an approaching storm. Dark clouds have been on my horizon and I find myself plunging into heavy gray. As any good pilot would, I attempt to steer toward the sun and make plans to go to the zoo with friends.

The morning arrives with heavy drops of water, wind shield wipers required. Plans change, path diverts. We head to Cal Academy instead. We are turned away, membership card expired and new one has not yet arrived. The raindrops morph into heavy fog, so we let go of the plan and pop the babes into the wagon to wander. We pick up coffee and meander toward Stow Lake, promising the littles turtles and ducks.

In and out of the wagon, dirt here, dandelions there. We walk, we chat, we sip. Giggles and smiles come as our itty bits find yellows to collect and bark to pile.

We walk and smile and sip and the clouds seem to clear. Weight lifts from my shoulders. What seemed like a chain of unhappy accidents turns into exactly what I need.

We arrive home damp from the fog, coated in mud, and smiling.


A Kitchen Spoon

by Lila on August 26, 2015

Kitchen-SpoonI hear his voice coming from the kitchen. “Pease. Helpa, helpa.” I consider that maybe teaching him these sweet words, convincing words, may be backfiring.  Reluctantly I leave my warm cup of coffee next to my cozy spot on the couch and round the corner into the kitchen.

Grayson’s big blue eyes look up at me. He has already retrieved a cake pan from the cupboard and stands waiting. “Pease.” He points. Flashes of my little monster running through the house with a spoon half the length of his body gives me pause. But another blue-eyed look and exaggerated point causes to me to cave.

I settle back into my cozy spot and my little chef brings over a cake pan filled with trains, helicopters, and colorful magnets. We stir the pot together. Chef today, drummer tomorrow. We take bites of our imaginary masterpiece and giggle in the morning light.


Sweet Sleep, A Poem

by Lila on August 19, 2015

Sweet-SleepForehead pressed to cheek

Tiny nails pinch my neck

I sing of summer.


Feet dig, body rolls

Warm breath settles slowly

We stand, sway, rock,


Eyelids flutter shut

A button starts the sound of

heartbeats in the night


I squeeze and kiss you

Lower you carefully down

You sleep as I slip away

Glancing back


(The story of going to sleep for Grayson at 19 months.)


Gentle Reminders

by Lila on August 12, 2015

RemindersWhat am I going to do for dinner? How much sugar is in raisins? Is it too much sugar given how many of them Grayson eats? Swim is tomorrow. Are our suits clean? Are they even out of the car from last week? I wonder if raisins are high in iron. Grayson needs iron.

I pull another shirt out of the deep unending pile of clean laundry. So much folding. So much cleaning. Grayson crawls around my legs, rolling trucks over the rug. Occasionally he grabs for a piece of folded laundry and I sigh. I can feel myself sinking. The force of overwhelm exerting its will. I pull another piece of laundry from the pile, a large white sheet.

Magic strikes.

The sheet cracks as I shake it out. It sails over Grayson and settles over his head. Giggles fill the room. I smile. I send the sheet into flight again. Again a crack. Again laughter.

I abandon the mountain of laundry and form a fort. We crawl through tunnels, getting caught by the airy walls. Grayson peeks out and then hides again.

Folded laundry sits on the dresser. A hamper sits on the floor. We sit in our fort.


Little Lotus BabyYou often hear the phrase “it takes a village.” I have come to believe that more and more. Having a baby myself has made me aware of the hardships and joys that motherhood brings. It has made me acutely aware of how much I need my friends and family. And it has left me wondering how we can support each other in this incredible quest to raise these little humans to be caring community members themselves.

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting Jane Chen, someone who is not only thinking about these things as they relate to the parents who live in her own city, but the parents that live around the world. Infant mortality is a scary thing for any hopeful mother, but when you live in a rural area in a developing country these concerns are amplified to a deafening level. Talking with Jane Chen about her quest to bring solutions to those mothers filled me with hope and inspiration.

At Stanford, Jane Chen and a team of other brilliant minds went to work to solve a global problem and created the Embrace infant warmer. This invention regulates the temperature of premature babies, which is the primary job of large incubators that require hospitals and electricity to use. Providing this technology to families living in rural areas has already helped over 150,000 babies. Now they are looking for a way to grow that number and in doing so have solved a problem that I deal with on a day-to-day basis: how to keep my baby warm when its cold and cool when its warm.

Little Lotus BabyAs a San Francisco mom I continually search for ways to put my little one to sleep while the house is still toasty from a day in the sun, but whose temperature will drop in the night. My solution: he goes to bed sweating in a toasty sleep sack prepared for the cold night that lies ahead. This is not ideal, he whines and wiggles, but he gets to sleep and doesn’t wake when the cold sets in. I have looked and looked for a sleep sack that will allow him to go to bed comfortably and stay comfortable through the night, but have failed thus fair to find a solution. Enter Little Lotus.

Little Lotus is a collection of swaddles, sleep sacks, and blankets that are made using the same technology as the Embrace infant warmer that is helping fend off infant mortality in other countries. It absorbs heat while the baby is warm and releases it back as their temperature drops. Even better, when you purchase one of these sleep sacks you are also providing warmth to a baby struggling to stay warm in another country.

Listening to Jane talk about the babies that have been helped and seeing a picture of a teeny-tiny boy at birth and then years later as a toddler warmed my heart. It inspired me to share this way that we can help solve a global problem while keeping our babies, nieces, or nephews warm at home as well.

There are 7 days left in the Little Lotus Baby kickstarter campaign. If you are in need of a sleep sack or headed to a baby shower in the near future I think it is worth checking out. It is a little something we can do to be part of a global community of caregivers, keeping the ones we love and the ones others love warm and safe.

Photos from Lotus Baby website


{dear grayson} you are 11 months old

by Lila on April 23, 2015

Monthly Baby Photo - 11 monthsSo some time has gone by… my little one is now 16 months. It has taken me some time, but the photos had been taken, the letters written, and now the book is being printed! I cannot wait to have it in my hands. So here are the 11 month photos and letter.


Dear Grayson,

The distinct reality that you are not going to be tiny forever is part of every day.

You have started to wean. I have had the feeling that maybe you were done with the daytime feeds. You eat like a champion. You confirmed my thoughts when after days of playing and little nursing, you started biting. I thought we would just drop one, but you weren’t interested. So now you nurse in the morning and evening. I’m more sad then I thought I would be. It is hard to let go. It is another sign you are growing up.

You communicate more and more. You say “mama” and “wawa.” Each time I hear it I wonder if it is real, if there is intention behind the gurgles. Then our eyes meet and you light up when you get what you asked for. It feels like a small bit of magic.

You also show so much more understanding. You have a red and yellow dump truck that you love. When I say, “Where is your truck?” you actually crawl to retrieve it. These little things blow my mind and make me so curious about the goings on in that head of yours.

The tipi Auntie Amy made is now a permanent fixture in your room. I wondered if it was a little early, but you crawl in and out, transporting toys. Sometimes we crawl in together to read stories, my legs hanging out of the door.

What stands out for me this month is the hurricane of emotions. Four short weeks until you are one. Where is the line between baby and toddler? Will you leave this phase without us having done all the things? What are the things? Do they really need to be done? It is a whirlwind in my brain. In these moments, when I remember to, I take a deep breath, pick up your favorite truck, and make it “vroom” along the red pouf in your room.

I am so excited for the adventures ahead and so reluctant to leave anything behind. Transitions have never been my strong suit and parenthood is full of them.

I love you today. I’ll love you tomorrow. I am so grateful for the magic moments.

Love you to the moon and back,
Your Mama

Monthly Baby Photo - 11 months Monthly Baby Photo - 11 months Monthly Baby Photo - 11 monthsSee the rest of Grayson’s monthly letters here: 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 4 months, 5 months, 6 months, 7 months, 8 months, 9 months, 10 months.


First Birthday Thank You Cards

by Lila on March 11, 2015

DIY - First birthday thank you cardsIt feels like it was just yesterday when Grayson turned one. I have so much to share with you all about the past months. One of these things is the diy thank you card I made for Grayson’s birthday.

In getting everything together for the little one’s party I thought of thank you cards. This is partly because I constantly strive, sometimes without success, to show appreciation for the love and support we receive from our family and friends.  It is also because I know if I don’t have thank you cards before the party occurs, I won’t manage to write them after.

DIY - First birthday thank you cardsI was inspired by a stack of blank cards I had from a project I made ages ago and the Mini Squares from Print Studio. The Mini Squares were the perfect size for a stand-alone image on these sweet little cards. The great price and the fact that I already was putting in an order to Print Studio for my invites and some party decor sealed the deal. Done and done.

So I grabbed my camera, cut the flap off of a cardboard box, free-handed “Thank You” in block letters, and sat down to take a boat load of pictures. The cardboard was key. It doesn’t flop over and if all else fails you can just prop it next to your child.

DIY - First birthday thank you cardsYou will need:

DIY - First birthday thank you cardsTo make:

  1. Create a sign on your cardboard and hand it to your baby in a part of your house with good light and little mess.
  2. Take lots of pictures.
  3. Send your photos to Print Studio to be printed. If you don’t need 48 thank you cards, grab a couple other prints for another project.
  4. Use adhesive squares to adhere print to blank card.
  5. Write. Send. Done.

So simple, so sweet, so fun to receive in the mail.




by Lila on February 6, 2015

2/52 - The 52 Project 2015“A portrait of my baby boy, once a week, every week, in 2015.”

January 10th, 2015: The Zoo is a special place for our family. Sunny days wandering around. This little guy still isn’t quite walking, steps yes, standing yes, but not quite walking. I am so excited for the days where we can all stroll together, but for now I am reveling in this smile!

Linking up with Jodi’s 52 Project

Don’t forget to sign up for the $125 Minted Giveaway! It closes today at midnight!

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