i've been meaning to write this post now for weeks on end, which kind of is the perfect example of why i'm writing: i've decided to stop blogging.

i went back to work when mila was 8 weeks old. i snuck in two posts before i figured out something had to give. obviously, having a baby plays a huge role in this decision. i'm on go-go-go mode for nearly 15 hours a day and in the few leftover hours, before i force myself to sleep so i don't feel like complete shit the next day, i'm trying to keep up with our home life, look for a house (yes, we've finally begun to outgrow this sweet apartment of ours), advance my career, bring the sexy back to my marriage and tackle project life. that doesn't even include all things that go along with pumping breast milk or the mass cooking projects on sundays to stock up my freezer or the need to get back on the computer and catch up on the work i missed by ducking out at 5:30pm on the dot from work. and oh yeah, i'm apparently supposed to do something about these last 7 pounds stuck on me and i don't think eating a tub of almond dream bites every week is that thing.

it's just too much for me.

i don't want to blame this on working motherhood though. this isn't a "woe is me," ending. it's a "wow for me!" transition point. i'm a new person. motherhood has changed me and boy, oh boy has it changed what my daily life looks like. i'm sad i can't do it all, but i'm happy to lighten my load by shedding this blog as a daily "to-do." i loved it and it was hard to make this decision, but i'm now ready to let it go.

i'm leaving this blog up for those who have bookmarks or pinterest pins leading here. i thought that would be helpful. plus, there isn't a single post i'd want to wipe away. these are cherished memories and cherised words. i love social media down to my bones so you can be certain i will not be shrinking back from twitter or instagram (or even pinterest for that matter) any time soon. those sites give me the ability to share in a very quick and managable way and i love them for that.

thank you for reading and commenting on my blog over the years. the connections i've made over the internet are magic.

i'm looking forward to returning to blogging when the time is right.

xo, jessica


my #dayinthelife

yesterday i participated in ali edward's day in the life project, wherein i documented one day of my life through pictures.

all my photos were taken with my iphone and processed through instagram. though not my usual style, i went with black and white to keep things cohesive. my plan is to make this into a project life insert that will be filed into week 18.

here's a look at my life on wednesday, may 1:

6:22 am | prepping and packing up bottle parts. new step of my morning routine as i now pump breastmilk during my work day.

6:44 am | back to my favorite mug and green tea, since i have given up espresso in hopes for a better evening sleeping baby. jury is still out on that one... 
7:19 am | rethinking today's outfit (can see the post-baby bulge in it), but have no time to change.

7:45 am | morning commute.
7:55 am | first to the office today.

8:50 am | window shopping along rodeo drive as i head to a meeting.
8:53 am | rodeo drive committee meeting at the beverly wilshire hotel. i always stop in the lobby for a picture for the @lovebevhills feed. 

10:56 am | my desktop at the moment, aka the realities of a  working mom. thankful my company lets me pump in my cube but severely missing private offices of past jobs.
12:29 pm | midday walk for fresh air and a few whole foods essentials for dinners this week. i still eat at my desk, but pregnancy got me in the good habit of taking daily walks.

12:47 pm | grabbing snow peas and green onions.
1:28 pm | making a massive to-do list.

2:16 pm | sneaking a self portrait in the bathroom and quickly realizing they aren't fun without a baby bump to document.
4:47 pm | leaving l'ermitage beverly hills where i had another off-site meeting.

5:47 pm | waiting for the crosswalk and thinking how hard it's going to be to maintain my overachiever workload now that i'm leaving "on time."
6:05 pm | home and thankful more than ever for a short commute.

6:59 pm | admiring the huge, homegrown artichokes that julia sent scott home with from band practice last night.
7:10 pm | bouncing my antsy girl (who loves to hold onto my hair) as we get her bath ready.

7:28 pm | being downright amazed at the little person mila's becoming.
9:25 pm | couch time and netflix streaming with my love, now that we apparently have a baby that will in fact sleep before midnight. (knock on wood)

there were a ton of details i didn't get down of course. early morning feedings in the dark with mila and late nights collapsing into bed don't make for great photos. and then there are many details of my nearly ten hour work day that, in the interest of confidentiality, i don't share online. so this isn't everything, but it sure is a lot of it.

life with a baby seems to move at lightening speed, so as challenging as this was to do on a workday just three days back from leave, it was so very worth it.

to see larger images, comments and their geotags, visit my instagram feed - @JessOhBee. if you played along with #dayinthelife as well, please link me to your instagram feed or blog!


weekend playlist no. 2

last weekend was our last together before i went to back to work from maternity leave. man, my heart was heavy.

it has never been an option for me not to work. i am a major financial contributor to our family and we cannot continue to achieve our life goals without my paycheck. this is not a burden i bear, however. it is a choice. i want a career and i need the stability of knowing i can provide for myself - something i wouldn't want to give up at this point of my life, even if it meant more time at home with mila. but still, being away from my new daughter and being away from this cozy family unit of mine that i've gotten so much time with lately, for over ten hours a day... it's hard to think about.

scott played a perfect mix to keep my heart happy. it helped me soak up a bit extra mila love to get me through the days ahead:
  • the rolling stones "exile on main street" - we played this as the background music during dinner at our wedding reception, so in addition to being a stones fan, it'll always have a place in my heart. 
  • the waldos "rent party" - a little punk to keep things upbeat.
  • deer tick "war elephant" - deer tick will always remind me of road trips with scott, including our one-year anniversary trip to palm springs. (can you believe this year we'll be celebrating 4 years of marriage and 9 together?! insane.) soft and sweet, i've got my pandora radio set to the deer tick station today.
good stuff.


LA in bloom

hello gorgeous bougainvillea.


these magenta blooms are exploding in my neighborhood right now and i can't get enough.


the year of "stretch" // march 2013

back in january i picked my "one little word" for 2013. last year it was core and this year i picked stretch. just like last year, i purposely left it open ended as to how this word will take shape in my life over the coming year, but i have decided to think about how i can relate the word to my life at the start of each month. because of mila's early arrival, i never shared march's plans, so here they are now.

in march, i stretched by:

birthing my daughter.
pretty literal here, but there was a whole lot of physical stretching as she was born. our plan was to have her naturally, without pain medication, in our home and as you know, that came to fruition. (yay!) however, i had been using stretch to remind myself that even if we had to end up in a hospital with her being cut out of me, it would still be a physical journey.

starting months before mila's birthday, my body started practice contractions. while not associated with labor, they really revved up in intensity throughout february and into march. when i had one, i tried not to tense up or hold my breath and instead relaxed while saying the mantra of "thank you body. thank you baby. stretch. spread." i said that again and again and again and again and again and again and with the labor i had, i truly believe my body listened.

turning our family from two to three.
the arrival of our baby girl equals mental and emotional stretching. who we were will no longer be. ever. that's beautiful, but it's also a tiny bit terrifying.

i read the highly recommended "and baby makes three," but it didn't resonate with me at all. i just kept thinking, "people actually speak to each other this way?!" if scott and i had communication skills as poor as the examples they gave in the book, eeeeesh. who knows. we definitely wouldn't be in love and making a baby, i can say that!

i'm still on the look out for any inspiring, encouraging or insightful reading on the subject of marital life with the addition of a new baby, but i think most of this will be about learning as we go. in march, when i was biting my tongue or holding back tears of frustration, remembering "stretch" gave me quite a bit of encouragement. to get from a family of two to a family of three is going to have moments of difficulty. totally. so scott and i can either resist this or we can take a deep breath and dive into it. the latter is obviously my plan.

daily stretching:
an hour-long pregnancy yoga class at yoga west or devoting five minutes to a few poses before i collapsed into bed. all that mattered is that i stretched, every single day.


love list

a few current loves:
  • bougainvillea. my neighborhood is bursting with these magenta blooms and subsequently, so is my instagram feed.
  • our amazing pediatrician and dr. sears' "the vaccine book," for helping us determine the best vaccination plan for our daughter. i mentioned before that it's nearly impossible to find a pediatrician in all of los angeles that doesn't insist on the full schedule of vaccines. no judgement on anyone else, but that is just so not for us.
  • two new recipes: quinoa stuffed squash and sweet potato & black bean chili. cheap, easy, vegan, awesome.
  • SocialJerk blog. the anonymous author is a social worker in new york city who blogs about her work. she's smart, sharp and a hilarious writer and the fact that i've devoured a year of the blog's archives in about one day, on a subject i'm not even interested in? yeah, that good.
  • facetime. seriously, how did grandparents survive without this invention? mila has four in ohio and two down in san diego and it's awesome they can see her so easily. 
  • erin wasson on thecoveteur.com. #girlcrush
  • scott walking into the room and asking, "how are my girls?" my girls. i melt over that one.
  • coachblkrwomen on instagram. (coach = handbag brand, blkr = bleecker st) it makes me want to move to new york city, wear giant cocktail rings and drink fancy cocktails at hipster restaurants. so, nothing new. really though, it's a super cute feed.
  • the new "weekend reading" column on kathleen's blog. i'm tethered to a book or my iphone during mila's feedings so i've been reading now more than ever. the links she shares are always something i'm interested in.
  • timercam app and happy accidents from it, including the picture above.
  • that la leche league gave me the okay to pour myself a glass of red wine.


choosing to home birth

so i realized i started talking about having a home birth without ever sharing why i made that decision. i'm honored to get to share that with you today.

(mila at one week old)
"nothing compares to the privilege of giving life and the responsibility of that. nothing."

scott and i watched "the business of being born" and i read "your best birth," the movie's companion guide, all before we even started trying to get pregnant. those definitely planted the seed of thinking about natural childbirth and having a home birth when the time came. even if you aren't considering a home birth, i think every woman should watch the film (available via netflix streaming) because it showcases our options during pregnancy care and labor, but also our rights as women.

"the way a culture treats women in birth is a good indicator of how well women 
and their contributions to society are valued and honored."

once pregnant, i just knew that home birthing was what i wanted. i don't know how else to explain it other than that i just knew it in my bones. i didn't picture myself giving birth in a traditional hospital setting for even a single day.

scott, however, was more apprehensive. he was fearful for my safety, which is a pretty common thought when people think about undergoing such a major episode outside of hospital walls. he continued researching all our options and he primarily focused on learning what the emergency protocols were in home births, as that is where his fears were concentrated. i let him fixate on things like medication administered for hemorrhages and our distance to the nearest hospital, all while believing he'd come around to my side soon. his logical route took him a little longer, but in the end we both came to the same conclusion:

the reason scott and i decided to birth our first baby at home basically boils down to the fact that i wanted to birth my baby naturally, without pain medication and without interventions unless those were an absolute medical necessity for the health of myself or the baby. to accomplish that goal, i felt my odds were better if i birthed at home with a certified nurse midwife than in a hospital with an obgyn and hospital staff.

it was about assembling the best team and picking the best location to (hopefully) result in our ideal birth experience. many women who had hospital births told me they tried to go without medication but couldn't handle it and ended up getting an epidural. while i felt very confident that i'd be able to have a medication-free birth at home, i'm first to admit it sounds nearly impossible to do in a hospital. i was never surprised when those women said they couldn't stick with their plan because i didn't think i'd be able to in the same setting either. for me, i felt like picking the hospital would mean picking an epidural, regardless of how my labor ended up progressing and it felt like i'd be nudging myself a heck of a lot closer to a c-section as well.

"hospitals are businesses. they want those beds filled and empty.
they don't want women hanging around in the labor room."

so really, it was about setting a goal and asking, how do i accomplish that? for me, it was utilizing all the advantages of a home birth including: the comfort and security of my own home versus a foreign, more sterile setting; a midwife who has devoted her life to natural birthing vs. a doctor who does equal amounts natural, medicated and c-section births; and the ability to eat and drink, move around during labor and birth in a variety of positions vs. hospital restrictions that require avoiding many of these things.

"basically what the medical profession has done is convince the 
vast majority of women that they don't know how to birth."

i'm also an admitted control freak. i sensed from the start that being in a hospital would make me feel like things were being done to me instead of by me. situations like that give me a lot of anxiety. i read a lot of books by ina may gaskin (a pioneer in the field of midwifery) and she repeatedly emphasizes how interwoven a mother's mental state is to her physical body in labor. a scared, stressed or distracted mind can stall or completely halt labor. i thought then - and still believe now - that any setting in which i wasn't the driver of the birthing process could be detrimental to the progress of my labor. i wanted to be integral to the birthing process instead of having a medical team handle it all and simply tell me what to do, when.  that need for control is something i know about myself. of course, other mothers may be the exact opposite. some may get a great sense of peace being in a hospital in the hands of a large team of nurses and doctors and for them, that would be the ideal environment for their birth. you have to create the space that works for you.

even as a first time mom, i felt somewhat territorial over my body. i knew that i didn't need a doctor to "deliver" my child. i was going to birth my baby. again, i felt a midwife would be more willing to step back and let me listen to my body whereas a hospital team would be more likely to step in and try to coach me.

(the first photo of us as a family of three, just two days after her birth)

i respect every mama's (and dad's) choice for what works for their family. pregnant women know there is a lot of judging and even shaming for the choices we make, which is just so unnecessary. but with that said, i'm really proud of the choice we've made and i'm fiercely proud of other home birthing families. we really had to swim upstream for this, fighting against judgements (and unwanted birth horror stories) from friends and family and conducting so much more research than would be needed if we had gone with a traditional practice. and now, a month after mila's arrival, i'm still fighting our insurance to get the financial reimbursement we were promised.

i hope by choosing home birth and talking about it as a regular option and not a risky practice done only by fringe groups, that other women may discover they aren't limited to a "traditional" birth and they can be empowered to explore all their options.

our home birth was an amazing experience. i would do it all over again and hope we're lucky enough to with our next child. i'm so excited to share our birth story with all of you soon.


little baby, big city

mila's very first outing, beyond walks around our neighborhood was lunch at veggie grill. considering scott and i devour faux meat sandwiches there about once a week, it was somehow the perfect first foray into the real world for our daughter. and then this weekend, she was introduced to one of my other top five happy places: LACMA.

sure, she doesn't "get" it yet, but i'm cultivating a future LACMA nexgen member right there!


project life // week 10

week 10 // so week 10 started off with a bang when i went into labor unexpectedly early! i document my weeks in project life from sunday through saturday and since i went into labor around midnight on a sunday night (with mila arriving by 4 a.m.), this week is all about her.

the photos // i gave birth on the floor of our smallest bathroom, totally naked, with my midwife crouched over a toilet and scott practically in the shower in order to assist her. so obviously there was nobody to take photos of the birth itself and the few from after the birth are not album- or blog-friendly! since we had a home birth, we got to cuddle with mila in our bed in the hours following her birth and then the cutting of the cord, the newborn exam and all of that was done right there in our bed. the two images on the bottom of the left side are her getting checked out by our midwife, in our bed.

in mila's first week of life we took hundreds of photos of her. i tried to pick out those that make this week different than the ones that follow, like the first time she really opened her eyes and her in the arms of all my family members. if i really want more of her, then i'll go back and add an insert to hold a bunch of images.

the journaling // i'm currently working on writing up my birth story, both to share on this blog and to include in my album. once it's ready, i'll go back and add it to my album in its own page protector between this spread. for now i used two of the 3x4" spaces to record the facts. (the blur is our address.)

i included a list of the visitors that mila had this week and you'll see in future posts that it's something i continued to document throughout the first month of her life. i also recorded some of the nicknames we've been calling her.

one of my favorite pieces of the spread are the fill-in-the-blank journaling cards. i have totally accepted that while this album is the story of scott and i, it is told through me and therefore so much more a reflection of me than him. but this week, with the focus being on mila which scott is such a part of, it would be crazy to not have him contribute more. for the record, obviously loving up on mila is the easiest part of having a newborn! for some reason when i wrote my answers in, i was thinking the easiest of the so called "hard" parts, thus my answer.

the stuff // a home birth means there were no medical bracelets, no paperwork, medical memorabilia to include here, so i created a piece of my own: the print of mila's foot. my mom and i made the footprint on mila's third day of life. i just smeared acrylic paint on with my fingers and pressed her foot onto cardstock. i suppose ink would make a clearer print but i didn't want her foot to be dyed from it and the paint wiped right off with a damp paper towel.

this is another week wherein i'm so thankful for project life. in my new mama haze i would have never, ever sat down to make a "real" scrapbook layout. yet there was project life, beckoning and, let's be honest, guilting me with its 16 empty slots and now i have these little details captured forever.

/// project life is a simplified method of scrapbooking created by becky higgins. in 2013, i'm planning to create a spread for every week of the year. click here to see all my project life posts. ///


project life // week 9

our new life with little miss mila is going insanely well and i'm happy to say that i've pretty much kept up with project life during these first three and half weeks of her life. sharing here on the blog though? yeah, way behind.

this one is a ways back: week 9 from the end of february and the very last PL spread before i gave birth.

week 9 // my final week of work before maternity leave! i am so proud of the work ethic i displayed up until my very last day, but in this last week i felt myself ready to go, hence the big smile on my face on that self portrait, snapped in the elevator on my way into work on one of my final days. (just to put timing into perspective for you, i thought i had two weeks to enjoy and spend preparing for mila's due date, but i actual went into labor my first weekend off. mila was born two days into week 10!) trying to make the most of our remaining free time - and a gorgeously sunny day - we spent saturday on abbot kinney, having brunch and doing some shopping.

the photos: one of my goals in project life has been a few less pictures of stuff and more of people. so happy to see that goal come to life this week! one shot i had been meaning to get was with our midwife, davi. we snapped a shot after our check-in appointment this week. she was such an important person in our lives right then, it's crazy to think i could have easily never gotten a photo with her. it's not the most flattering, but i'm so grateful to have it.

if i had to define my pregnancy with just five words, no doubt "walking" would be one of them. to prepare for a natural birth i walked and walked and walked and walked. since i do them solo, i used the timercam app for this self portrait. i ducked into an alley and set my camera on a windowsill.

ben is my friend and former coworker. we met him for lunch and i'm so happy he's one of the first people other than scott and i to make an appearance in the album! he also took the four photos you see on the right page and in my recent blog post. so thankful to have some of me, scott and the baby bump, all together.

the stuff: scott developed an iphone app, dial a guitar lick, that you can now buy in the app store. i'm so proud of him because it's all self-taught and in this one, he played all the music you hear. i included a screenshot of the app store purchase screen and the app itself.

the journaling: kept it light this week. the story of scott's app and a little recap of our saturday. for the record, i've found that my appetite while breastfeeding far surpasses anything i ever felt while pregnant, so that bear claw and the (not-pictured) breakfast cookies at intelligentsia are now screaming my name.

/// project life is a simplified method of scrapbooking created by becky higgins. in 2013, i'm planning to create a spread for every week of the year. click here to see all my project life posts. ///