Across the Golden Gate – Short Film

A little treat from Autumn’s first adventure across the Golden Gate.  For the full HD experience, please schedule a screening at the 100 Lake Cinema.

We had a lot of fun with this one; shooting, editing, tweaking YouTube. For any photo geeks in the audience: I have a detail photo of the camera rig on Flickr—annotated, of course.

If you dig it, leave a comment below.

Autumn in the Sierra

The air was crisp and the aspens ablaze in color as Autumn arrived in the Sierra last weekend.  We took a three-day trip to the Hope Valley to introduce our little girl to this Range of Light.  We followed our well-worn path toward Carson Pass, hoping that Autumn wouldn’t mind the four-hour drive.  We arrived at Sorensen’s in one piece, and settled into our little log cabin for the weekend.

We missed the apex of fall color by a week or two, but the stands of Aspens were still shining bright.  Autumn was captivated by the new colors and the ever-changing view.  Our agenda was lean, and we spent most of the weekend relaxing in the cabin, taking walks and exploring a few nearby corners of the Hope Valley.  We also grabbed our 2008/2009 season passes from Kirkwood, an optimistic move that should prove interesting once the snow starts to fall.

It was our first trip to the Sierra since June; an unprecedented dry spell for the two of us.  It felt good to smell the pines, breathe the thin air, and hunt for a tin of Carmex to soothe our chapped lips.  Winter is right around the corner.  The next time Autumn sees these mountains they’ll be covered in snow—a new world for her to explore.  We look forward to many happy returns.

You can find more photos on Flickr.

Meeting Grandpa and Nana

This weekend was all about family. Autumn spent some quality time in the arms of her Great Grandma Salsig “Nana” and Grandpa Salsig. Nana sang her songs and Grandpa joined her on a picnic to Crissy Field. You can find additional photos here on Jody’s Flickr site. Grandma and Granddad Pritchard also came over Sunday evening for dinner and some long awaited cuddle time with our favorite little girl. We are thrilled to share her with so many generations of loving family.

In just over three weeks she has already outgrown some of her clothes and is starting to hold her head up on her own. She also studies our faces with intent and makes us laugh out loud with her repertoire of facial expressions and sounds. We’re looking forward to Autumn’s first of what we anticipate will be many many trips to the Sierras this weekend. We’ll be staying Friday and Saturday nights at Sorenson’s Resort near Kirkwood. We don’t have any summit attempts planned yet – just some relaxation time spent amidst the aspens in a private cabin. Stay tuned for photos and a narrative of our first road trip!

Great Grandparents

Rhythm.  It feels like we’ve found some semblance of rhythm.  Autumn is the maestro, and we’re expecting a change in time signature at any moment; a little syncopation, maybe something up-tempo.  But for now, we’re playing along—one note at a time.

Today Autumn met her great grandparents.  The Clovers (Jody’s maternal grandparents) made the trip down from Sebastopol to confirm their line is healthy and intact.  We pulled together a picnic and found a shady spot in Golden Gate Park.  It was a beautiful day, with bluebird skies and plenty of warm, autumn sunlight.  Today is also Autumn’s three week birthday, which means we’ll be celebrating with cupcakes…again.  Because we’re not in the habit of looking for fewer reasons to eat cake.

We have a big weekend ahead of us.  Grandpa Bill is coming down from Portland, and Autumn will also meet her great grandma Natalie (Jody’s paternal grandma).  She’s a lucky girl to have three great grandparents to enjoy.  Let’s hope the weather holds.

Crissy Field Outing

Two weeks—time for another outing.  Today we took in the sights at Crissy Field, one of our favorite spots in the City.  We tucked Autumn into the Ergo carrier, and she slept through the entire adventure…again.  It was also our first trip to the Warming Hut since it reopened (post fire).  We had bluebird skies and a grand view of the Golden Gate Bridge.  We also toured around two new establishments at Crissy Field:

La Petite Baleen – This is a very cool children’s swimming school.  If all goes well, Autumn will be attending in a few months, preparing herself for an active swim season at 106 San Carlos.

Planet Granite – A brand new 20,000 square foot climbing gym.  Many moons ago, I worked at a climbing gym, and it is incredible how far things have come.  Autumn will have to wait a few more years for this one.

We wrapped up our walk before the Blue Angels began their practice, although she didn’t seem to mind their low-altitude passes from home.  Jody’s feeling better every day, and I think these outings will start to become a regular (if not daily) activity.

Almost Two Weeks

It’s a beautiful fall day and we went for a walk outside around 5th Avenue and up to the Presidio. It felt SO good to be outside and breathe some fresh air. We tried out the new Peanut Shell Sling and Autumn has decided it’s a great way to hang out with mom and nap. Mom loves that it gives her two hands while still being close to her. Two hands can do a lot. I was able to sit at the computer and process some photos that were taken on 10/2. I finally updated my Flickr site with some fresh shots. You can find them here.

Autumn’s Birth Story

It all began with a 3am bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios on Wednesday morning, 9/24. By the time I crawled back into bed, I was having regular, manageable surges: one minute long and five minutes apart. Those familiar with the 5-1-1 rule of labor know that this is about the time you’re supposed to call the hospital. So we were jumping right in and I was looking forward to what I hoped would be a relatively short labor. About an hour passed and I woke up Matt. We called our doula Esther and we were on our way to meeting our little girl.

In a few short hours I was no longer able to lay down through the surges and spent the rest of the day rotating between our exercise ball, the kitchen counter, the doorway, and various chair backs in the house. I needed to stand up to manage the surges and while the spacing between them closed to four minutes, the intensity grew. I worked through them using our Hypnobirthing techniques and my yoga breathing, but I was getting tired. I wanted a break and nap badly. By 5pm things were getting serious and we were planning our trip to Kaiser.

When we arrived, it took about 40 minutes of uncomfortable monitoring and an exam to find out that I was only 2cm dilated – no where near “active labor”. They suggested we go home and wait until the surges were more intense. I was crushed. “More intense,” I thought? Another tough trip in the car was spent worrying we would have to do this all again soon and I was running out of energy.

Wednesday night was when things got crazy and I understood the true meaning of labor. I spent more than two hours in the shower hanging from our shampoo ledge during each surge moaning “I am strooooooooooong.” I’m sure our neighbors sharing our bathroom light well thought there was a dying animal in the building. Matt sat in the bathroom with me half asleep and Esther napped on the sofa. Every window in our apartment was covered in dripping steam. I then moved to the bedroom and spent the next five hours in a delicate rotation. I could rest four minutes in bed and scramble up before then next surge and spend one minute standing at a chair back bending my knees with each exhale, rising with each inhale. Five hours of this awake in the dark while Matt stayed with me half asleep in bed. No real sleep now for more than 24 hours. Another bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios alone in the kitchen.

Thursday morning I was ready for the Pitocin and epidural. The idea of a natural childbirth had lost its luster. I was beat. I cried. I emailed my mom and asked her to pray for me.  But just when I thought I had nothing left, my support team reminded me how far we had come. It was ok to feel disappointed and acknowledge labor had not been as short as we hoped. Our little girl was taking exactly as long as she needed to take to make a safe entry into this world. We would take each breath one at a time and not think beyond that moment.

2:15pm. We were finally going to Kaiser again. A woman picking up her child from the school across the street saw us, got out of her car, and yelled, “Good luck! It’s going to be amazing!”. I savored her words during each bump of the ride. I was so glad to have the well wishes of a stranger and a fellow mom who had been through this.

7cm dilated. I was thrilled. We could do this. I could do this. I would do this without any interventions. She would be born naturally and our Kaiser team would fully support all portions of our birth plan. After another hour in the shower and various laboring positions including hanging my full body weight from Matt and squatting during each surge, I was finally ready to push. Finally!

I crawled on the bed and the room seemed to fill with people. I think a half hour or more passed. I could see her head in the mirror. And then one final tremendous push without the help of a contraction. Matt caught her and she was on my chest. Warm, calm, a full head of hair. The most beautiful person I’ve seen in my whole life. Our daughter Autumn.

Week One Outing: Golden Gate Park

After a week cooped up inside, we decided it was time for an outing yesterday.  What better place to begin Autumn’s life outside than Golden Gate Park.  We took a short stroll through the Botanical Garden and tested the off-road abilities of the new stroller (not good).  She was clearly unimpressed, as she slept through the entire adventure.  I think Jody appreciated the fresh air, if not the walk to the nearest bench.  Not to give myself too much credit, but I fearlessly staved off a band of curious squirrels, letting them know in no uncertain terms that my size 14s aren’t just for dancing.

We’ll have to see where the next week takes us.