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// she's only happy in the sun.
Nov 15
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making hard decisions. and hoping they’re the right ones.

four years ago, i sat in a conference room at work and smugly thought to myself how insignificant the meeting i was in felt, compared to the journey i was about to embark on. my baby moved around inside me and i knew, unequivocally, that this child was going to matter more to me than anything i’d ever experienced or cared about before. i had read all the books and taken all the supplements. i had worn out my pregnancy leggings and was officially waddling with sharp pain searing down my legs. i couldn’t wait for him to arrive.

and then i had phoenix. phoenix with his blueberry colored eyes and tiny perfect features. he was everything. i could hold his entire body alongside one arm as i nursed him, and i fell in love instantly and deeply. and for two weeks in a blissful haze of lanolin, mamani-made meals and back-to-back episodes of downton abbey, the three of us hung out in our nest of a bed, happily and contentedly.

everything was new and different. hard and amazing. my view of the world became saturated with the experience of loving someone so fiercely. loving without conditions or expectations. and i noticed that the faint, but ever-persistent, longing that i’d always felt in the pit of my stomach, finally found its place. and it was here, with this child. as his mother.

and yet there i was 4 weeks later, eagerly (though exhaustedly) at another soulpancake street stunt shoot for the oprah winfrey network. trying to shimmy my postpartum belly into an outfit for camera. my mum sitting in the back of the cold, dank warehouse location where the shoot was taking place, holding a blanketed phixy until i could take a break and nurse him.

and i was so happy and excited to be back doing the work i loved, and had missed.

i desperately wanted to have and enjoy both my work and my child. i felt lucky enough to have found a significant contribution i could make both inside, and outside, of our home. and i realized i didn’t want to give up one for the other, if i had the option not to.

since those days i’ve constantly adjusted, experimented and iterated on ‘what works’ in efforts to figure out how to do both.

we were lucky that during phix’s first year our family and friends came to our rescue. my mum, dev’s parents and brother, my friend ashley – at various stages, they were all caregivers for our sweet baby boy while i worked, at first part time and then when i transitioned back to full time. when we had zavi we realized we had to hire a nanny – with no family living close by we couldn’t rely on our loved ones putting their lives on pause to just take care of our boys, so the search began.

and it was so hard. we interviewed a slew of people, all great on paper with loads of experience, but trying to find the right fit felt as taxing as trying to find a partner – someone who i could implicitly trust, who would make the right choices, be dependable and loving. and i remember interviewing and asking the obvious questions – “how do you handle nap time?” “how will you set boundaries for my kids?” but in my head all i really wanted/needed to know was “can you truly love and protect my boys?” “will you validate them and keep their dignity intact?” or more bluntly: “are you a sicko?” “can i really trust that you’ll never ever hurt them?”

due to various circumstances – moving cities etc. we’ve had to hire three different nannies over the course of 20 months and each time it’s just as harrowing and heartbreaking to start from scratch to find the right person. the fear of making the wrong decision is always pervasive and there is such a sadness in ending a relationship with someone who has become a trusted and loved member of our family. the peace of mind that it gave me to know that my boys were relaxed and joyful in their nanny’s care allowed me to do my work unencumbered with anxiety.

now we’re at a juncture where we had to take the next step–finding a full time preschool for the boys. and the search was just as hard. perhaps even more so, knowing that they would no longer be here — with me just a ‘wall’ away in our home office.

so once again, we did our due diligence. read all the reviews. visited a bunch of places. did gut-checks. and prayed. i’d vacillate between ‘this is the best decision’ to ‘this is the worst decision’ depending on what i had heard/read/seen/felt that day. my throat kept catching thinking about the things they will learn and get excited about that i will not be a witness to. i made myself sick watching videos of surveillance cameras at daycares where the staff were caught abusing these tiny, vulnerable, children. the images replayed in my head, and i wanted to throw up. i felt paralyzed. i considered quitting my job. i wondered about hiring an au pair. i kept reminding myself that whatever we choose, it didn’t have to be forever. i kept reassuring myself that phix is so communicative and verbal, and he would be able to look out for his younger brother.

this morning, we woke to the sound of pouring rain. the first real rainfall in a year. our family all cuddled up in bed. zavi clambering all over us with his giant body, phixy nuzzling up to me and calling me ‘honey heart’ because he is his father’s child. and i’ve never so badly wanted to freeze time and soak in this moment forever. all four of us safe and secure. loved and grateful.

when zavi was born it rained in LA. i was so happy looking out of the windows of the hospital. the rain was so romantic and it made our cozy first moments together feel so magical and dreamy. and so i guess it made sense that the rains came again today, to usher my youngest into this new chapter.

i couldn’t go with dev to drop them off. i didn’t want the boys to see me so broken hearted. but i reminded him to ask their teacher if they could lay their nap pads side by side, because phix told me he’d hold zavi’s hand, so that ‘bruh-vuh won’t be sad.’

and as the rain slows to a trickle, i’m sitting typing this in our all too silent house and crying and trying to concentrate on my work. because that’s what being a mama looks like for me today.


Jan 15

all.the.things. and none of the things.

i’m reading books again.
it’s like taking a long, refreshing, cool drink of water and only realizing how thirsty you are when you’re in the middle of it. i had really missed books. i read all the time, but not books. not cover to cover REAL made-out-of-paper books. and it feels like coming home. i’m remined that OH yeah, this is what i used to do escape/understand/be entertained. i’m currently in the middle of Cheryl Strayed’s ‘tiny beautiful things‘. it’s so damn good that i keep texting my friends extracts and telling them they HAVETOREADITIMMEDIATELY. it’s a collection of responses to a kind of help column that Strayed wrote for under the psuedonym ‘Sugar’. people would send in letters about their troubles and dilemmas, and her responses to them are so good – personal, encouraging, real, raw, unfiltered, relatable. i am going to be forever changed from this book and i just wish i’d read it sooner.


i *think* i have a plan.
i used to write more consistently on this platform. and then my 2 sons came along and time became such a luxury. for a long time i felt like i didn’t really have the option of using up any spare minutes for the purpose of writing for myself. but i’ve missed it. and so i emailed some of my friends and asked for advice on what i should do – and my quandary because if i did write again, i didn’t want to be stuck in a ‘mommy blogger’ niche. below are extracts from some of my most favorite responses:

“Oh i have a whole list of random little articles I think i should write. One of them is: ‘I am afraid of my friend’s 2 year old’ or ‘Education system in shambles: the day I realized that I thought any guy who used any sort of accurate punctation was a catch’.”

“we can summarise three decades as: i went from human to robot and maybe back to human again. we’ll see how that all ends. ”

“sorry if my advice stinks! i can’t be a mom, write a dissertation, create a human, AND GIVE GOOD ADVICE! IT’S TOO MUCH!”

“i feel the same way – what do i do? write about being a single (fml), cat-less, 33 year old without children? do i write about OTHER PEOPLE’S CHILDREN (hey maybe that’s a really good blog idea)”

“DON’T BE KIND. Be just.  You have nothing to prove to anyone.  So don’t be afraid to write about your experiences as you experienced them.

the best advice though?

“WWBD? (What would Bjork do???!)”

and so here’s what i’m considering. i’m going to create a sort of writers collective. nothing dramatic. just a collaborative space online where a few of my friends who also love to write, but don’t necessarily want the onus of a blog to maintain, can all contribute. maybe there will be a theme each month. maybe there won’t. maybe it will just be a piece of internet real estate that only our moms check. we’ll see.

on balance. 
my yoga instructor always asks us to set an intention for class and for our lives. and everytime i try to think ‘SIX PACK’ but the reality is that balance is the word that keeps clanging noisily in my head. it’s definitely something i struggle with. it’s something i want to do better at. and i don’t mean ‘tree pose’. i mean work/life, and indoor/outdoor, and me time/other people time.

the new sphq.
i vividly remember the day shabs, dev, and i, walked through our first brick and mortar soulpancake office in atwater village, los angeles. we looked around at all.the.space and wondered how on earth we’d fill it. it seemed excessive considering there were just three of us and a part time office manager. but we did fill it. with art we made from string, and spraypaint, and post it notes. and then very soon after, with humans with passionate creativity, expansive hearts, and brilliant minds. we packed it with ideas, and equipment, and enthusiastic interns. we filled it to the brim with cupcakes, and spontaneous dance parties, and rugs that dev was convinced were shedding microscopic particles that were lodging in his lung chambers (i kid you not). it’s been nearly 3 years and over the weekend everything was packed up and moved to our new office – a huge space we are sharing with our good friends. last friday shabs sent me photos of our old space – emptied out completely, and i felt this heartache-y sense of nostalgia mingled with pride. the same feeling i had packing up phix and zavi’s newborn clothes and knowing they would never be that size again. everything is changing and evolving and growing up. and it is all so great, but still a little hard.

Jan 15

an open letter to new mamas

over the past year or so, several of my friends became mothers. brand new, first time, mamas. and i’ve found that when i look them in the eye, or read their 3am texts, or hear their fatigued voices on the other end of the line – i remember my own experience so vividly and viscerally. i am suddenly back there with them and i get it – the sheer panic, bewilderment, exhaustion, gratitude, anxiety, and love that slams you from every side, and at every moment. and i keep wanting to reassure these friends of mine. to hug them hard and tell them it’s going to be ok. to remind them that they are capable and strong and resilient and brave. and to promise them that one day they will feel ‘normal’ again. but i don’t always have the right words and i remember people telling me the same things while i was in my own sleep-deprived fog of new motherhood, and thinking i was some wild exception to the rule. so instead – i decided to write a letter to you all. you know who you are. and i love you.

dear new mamas,

this isn’t about giving you advice because i know you’re getting your fill of that between your loved ones, and google, and well-meaning strangers at the grocery store.

this is definitely not about telling you to suck it up and be grateful. because i know you are. i know it because i remember the unbridled joy in your voice when you first told me you were pregnant. i watched as you laughed off the nausea, exhaustion, swollen ankles, and fastidiously ordered decaf. i read the excitement-laced emails you sent with questions about co-sleeping, strollers, nursing and birthing classes.

so i know you’re thrilled and i know you are falling deeply, desperately, in love.

i’m not undermining any of that. but i also know that it doesn’t necessarily make what you’re going through right now easy, breezy and effortless. because the reality of being a mother isn’t always exposed in all its facets or discussed openly. and it’s certainly not being facebooked and instagrammed.

and that reality might mean waking up every 1.5 hours to nurse. being bored. feeling alone. feeling misunderstood. dreading getting out of the shower because you will just have to do.it.all.again. the seemingly neverending cycle of feeding, and changing, and worrying, and trying to get this tiny human to just.fall.asleep. and then missing the addictive smell of their skin the moment you lay them down.

i remember the days bleeding into each other. and not recognizing myself in the mirror. and snapping at my mother-in-law. and feeling entirely inept.

i’d feel pangs of envy hearing laughter outside and thinking about people nonchalantly walking together. grabbing a coffee. stopping to peruse a gift shop without worrying about strollers, schedules and leaking boobs.

in my darkest moments i would sit tensely on the edge of our bed, nursing my sweet son as tears rolled from my cheeks and splashed down to his. his eyes were closed and i realized i felt so entirely conflicted. everything was perfect. a healthy child. a caring husband. a world of support. and yet i had this aching throb inside my heart. a sort of unrelenting grief over my previous existence. and a deepseated longing just not to be SO needed.

as the mama it feels like it ALL hinges on you. especially the first few months. you are survival, comfort and strength. you are expected to intuitively know what your baby needs. and there will be some days when you do. and others when you just don’t.

i felt anxious over every decision. second guessing each appoach. wondering and researching and googling. am i producing enough milk? is he hot? is he crosseyed? is he lactose intolerant? is he for real?

and then the bigger questions: how do single moms do it? how do people have more than one?!

and the the even bigger questions: am i actually cut out for this?

and i guess all i really wanted to tell you is that i’m here. and you’re not on this island of motherhood all alone. and that you can text me at 3am with the crying-face emoji and i’ll know exactly what you mean.



Apr 14

letters to phoenix & zavien // 1

my dear sons,

[disclaimer: it baffles me that i have SONS. i’d only just come to terms with having a son. let alone, sons plural. as in two. as in the same number of arms i have. as in there is always one small human that needs my attention. as in, how do parents of 3 or more ACTUALLY do it? they have to be on drugs. right?]

as soon as i think there is an opportunity for a break, a moment of stillness, of not-being-needed-ness, that moment vanishes. it disappears into an abyss of showers that need to be taken, emails that need responding to, and tea that is always lukewarm by the time i actually get to it.

but today i promised myself i would dust off my blog and write. because, quite frankly, i miss it. and when you’re having all.the.feelings you need an outlet.

also, i know that if i don’t write some of this stuff down it will all be a distant, hazy memory. dev and i will look at each other one day and say ‘remember when the kids were small?’ and then we’ll stare blankly at each other, and say ‘not really’ because there is TOO much to remember and all our headspace is going into keeping our children alive, considering that today phix was chewing on a cable that was plugged into the power outlet, and as i ate my lentils, half my meal dropped on zavi’s head which i’m pretty sure is a parenting no-no.

but here you both are. and not a day goes by that i don’t marvel at each of you.

phix, you are now the ripe old age of two. and i’ll be completely honest and admit that you are 90% delightful and 10% atrocious. when you’re in a good mood, you’re the MOST fun to be around. you’re charismatic, joyful, hilarious and kind. you will wrap your arms around me spontaneously and say ‘puh-wowed-ah-du mommy’ (proud of you) and my insides melt. recently, you’ve taken to asking ‘but why?’ so earnestly with your arms and hands outstretched. i try to give you answers, and you follow every one of my responses with yet another wide-eyed ‘but, why?’ and so inevitably, i run out of answers and am forced to scoop you up and tickle you until your giggles fill the air and you beg me to stop.

i want to go back in time and tell the 28 year old me, don’t worry about all these deep wounds and the shattered pieces of your heart, because one day soon you’ll have a little boy whose laughter will heal all of those hurts. you are that little boy, phoenix hugh. and i’m crazy about you.

and then there’s the 10% of the time when you’re a challenging, crazy, unreasonable, little human. otherwise known as ‘being two years old’. in those moments i sometimes (lots of times) struggle. patience has never been my strong suit and when (through gritted teeth) i tell you for the umpteenth time that ‘we don’t throw our food on the ground’ all the deep breaths, and books on parenthood, and shared DNA doesn’t prevent me from wishing i could snap my fingers and be transported to tulum.

you are also brilliant. scarily smart at times. you know precisely how to navigate any technology to do your bidding. if the apple genius bar hired toddlers you’d have a job before you could say ‘retina display’. now that you know all.the.words you have started to string them together and we are constantly amused by how you’ll express yourself. you like making stuff up – knowing that you’re being funny. like when we ask you how your day was, you’ll tell us you went to the beach and built sandcastles. false, but endearing nonetheless. when we ask you where uncle is – and you’ll tell us matter-of-factly that he’s at trader joes shopping for avocados.

you’ve had to deal with a huge transition with the addition of ‘baby brovah’ and i’m so proud of you considering how well you’ve adjusted. you are gentle with zavi and get concerned when he cries. occasionally you’ll ask to hold him and you’ll inspect his feet and kiss his cheeks. one of the things i’m most excited about is the bond that you two will have. i truly hope you will always be the best of friends.

and then there is our second born.

zavien faizi, where do i begin?

you are the most zen baby i’ve ever encountered. you are actually the kind of baby that is really dangerous to have, because you just make me want even more babies. you’re so easy, so calm and basically just “doing everything right”, as mamani puts it. you sleep, eat, coo at us and smile, and then sleep some more. you love hot showers, sleeping on your tummy and extreme coziness. these three things are basically the secret to life, so good job figuring it out so quickly little one.

did i mention that you are a serious SMOOCH? i mean, look at this face. how am i supposed to get anything done when i just want to eat your chewy cheeks. also, grow a neck kid.

you have these incredible dark piercing eyes that seem to read my innermost soul. while your brother turns everything into a drum, you just gaze at us knowingly as if to say “don’t worry about me, i’ll just hang out and observe quietly from the sidelines, while you tend to that NOISY ONE over there”.

in the past couple of weeks you’ve started smiling a lot. but it’s not just a regular smile. it’s like you’ve INVENTED smiling. behold!

and the reality is that even with all the amazing help and support we have, there are days when being a parent is just hard and overwhelming. there are many instances when i envy my carefree, child-free friends who don’t begin every morning with a 5am diaper change, who aren’t wiping oatmeal off the walls and ceiling, who are not surreptitiously pumping breast milk in the office bathroom hoping that their interns aren’t too freaked out. but then i look at you two, at your exquisite faces and your bright eyes, and i know it’s all worth it.

you are, by far, the best things i’ve ever had a part in making, and i get to be your mama. lucky, lucky me.



Feb 14
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and then we became four.

dear world,

meet our second born: zavien faizi gundry.

Oct 13
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dearest phoenix,

the past few days your beloved ‘manny’, uncle collin, has gotten some terrible stomach flu. he is so violently ill that we have quarantined him in his room and auntie evbeff has bleached all.the.things to protect us from the plague. which also means, i am home looking after you and i finally have a moment to sit and write, while ignoring the fact that i’m mildly nauseous because i refuse to be sick (it could just be psychological, or residue morning sickness from your baby brother).

let’s talk about baby ‘bruh-vah’ (your pronunciation) for a moment. first of all, he is causing me to bump into everything, people, trees, walls. watching me navigate through a crowded car park is comical as i have to sidle alongside cars and pray that i don’t set off alarms. even though i still have 3.5 months to go, i feel and look like i’m ready to pop. the reality is, a person of my short stature can’t look remotely proportioned when growing a human. at work, a beautiful colleague of mine is due in just a few short weeks and she is still gliding around the office like a swan on ice skates with a perfectly proportioned baby bump sitting pertly on top of her two long and lean legs, meanwile i look like an eggplant mated with a chipmunk, and then wore all the black lycra that american apparel can offer.

you already adore your little brother. each morning you excitedly wake us up chattering ‘baby, baby’ pulling up my top so you can kiss my round belly. for a while you thought everyone had a baby in their belly, but i think you’ve figured out (by my rapidly-expanding middle) that something extra special is happening to me.

i’m not going to lie, when we first found out we were having another boy, i was a bit disappointed – i was always excited for my first child to be a boy, but had decided it would really even things up to have a girl next. and not just a girl, but a quiet, peaceful, calm little girl who would sit on the couch for hours with me and read books. the operative word being CALM. because you my darling son, have a lot of….let’s call it, ‘enthusiasm for life’. and i guess i just wanted a yin, to your [YOU CAN POWER A CITY GRID OFF MY UNRELENTING ENERGY!] yang. but then your thoughtful papa, reminded me how wonderful this was going to be for you. a brother! only two years apart from you. that’s best friend material right there. and now i’m eager and excited to look over and see both of you climbing the walls together, and building furniture forts and knowing that you’ll always have a partner in crime. i’m less excited about the mess. and the noise. and the general mayhem, but that’s what unaccompanied trips to Belize are for. right?

you are going to be such a devoted and loving older brother. i already see how caring, kind and generous you are with other kids and i can’t WAIT to see those qualities manifest themselves around your sweet sibling. i snapped the below photo a few weeks ago. it shows how you like to sit on the couch with me – already protective and oh so sweet.

as i mentioned, auntie evbeff is here. she is teaching you all the things – how to properly apply mascara, and pattern mixing, and finding calm. many mornings you run into the living room, turn on your heel and stare at her in her makeshift bed on our giant couch and state ‘evbeff!’ like it’s a marching order. she patiently puts up with your antics, and it’s so nice to have someone around who empathizes with both the heart-meltingly cute, while also insanely annoying (and LOUD), morning routine that you have with your papa – like when dev grinds coffee beans and you both find it hilarious to harmonize (in your case, scream) along with the sound of the ALREADY VERY LOUD coffee grinder. hilarious. and totally annoying.

[this photo below was taken by your auntie evbeff. for your 16th birthday we’re gonna blow it up huge and your friends can pin a tail on you or something.]

your father and i are both reasonably sociable (or at least we were until iPhones and netflix came along) but you take friendliness to the next, next level. you LOVE people. whenever we take you out you act like you’re running for mayor and you greet everyone – adults, babies, dogs. and not just with a quick hi, but accompanied with a giant smile and a big wave. if you had the vocabulary, i’m pretty sure you’d even comment on peoples good hair days. and when [some] people ignore you, because they are not ready for a charming 20 month old to be winning them over that early in the morning, you try again, with a louder and more insistent hello. and when they dare to make eye contact with you, you bedazzle with your grin and all the ovaries within a 2 mile radius simultaneously explode.

you also turn everything into a drum or a ‘ning ning’, and by ‘ning ning’ i mean a guitar. forks, straws, shampoo bottles – you swivel them around, hold them to your chest and start strumming while shaking your head side to side because you are FEELING the music you are making. just when i thought you couldn’t be more of a cliche heartbreaker you decide you’re gonna be a rockstar to boot. we’re all screwed.

you absolutely LOVE being ‘out-ffiiiide’ and you run up and down our street finding smooth stones, picking up sticks and petting the neighbors dogs. some of my favorite moments are sitting in our backyard and watching you as you run around barefoot and pants-less (duh) emulating the things you’ve seen us do – sweep the leaves, or make a whistle out of blades of grass. often, you climb onto your little four-wheeler, wave at us and yell out “bye bye, ohv (love) you!” and i am suddenly catapulted 15 years into the future when you’ll be saying the same thing with car keys in hand, and my heart cracks.

you’ve so seamlessly woven your little joyful spirit into the fabric of our hearts, and i marvel at how you single-handedly taught both your father and i what it really means to be a family. it all began with you my darling, and very soon we will be a family of four, and we will have to learn what that means and how to navigate airports and coffee shops and life in general, with not one, but two squirmy little ones. but a part of me knows we will figure it out, maybe not gracefully or with a whole lot of poise, but all the while with love and laughter and a hundred thousand kisses.



Aug 13


my dearest phix,

today you are exactly one-and-a-half-years old.

after writing that, i just sat and stared at my screen for a minute, or maybe 17 minutes, and wondered how on earth this could be real. i mean, sure, there are still plenty of days that feel like they extend for an eternity with the minutes crawling by until it’s time for you to go to bed, but mostly, i feel like i blinked, rubbed my eyes, and suddenly you went from being a tiny baby into a full fledged boy.

and soon, a big brother.


i’ve had trouble keeping up with your letters/my blog, and there is so much you’ve learned, accomplished and figured out, but i don’t often have the luxury of a free moment to write about it. your dad and i are doing our best to capture you with photos and videos…but no matter how many pictures we take, we can’t really capture the incredible, joyful, exhuberant, decisive, entirely addictive, essence of you.

your uncle collin has been living with us for the summer and taking care of you while i’m at work, and so aptly we call him ‘the manny’. it’s been so sweet watching your relationship develop and you ADORE each other. you watch collin’s every move, and try to mimic his musical talent by holding a spatula like it’s a guitar and banging on the kick drum. and your uncle is the best manny ever – he takes you on trips to the beach, and hikes, and for some reason all the ladies you encounter find themselves swooning.

your vocabulary is expanding daily – it started with ‘dad’ (thanks a lot!) and ‘uh oh’ (every.single.time you purposefully drop food from your highchair), but i’ve now lost track of all the words you know. a few of your favorites are cracker, baby, knees, meat, juice, uncle, doggy, ‘vroom vroom’ (vespa), shoes (which you still refuse to wear), and you’ve started saying ‘love you’ – even though your version sounds a lot more like how this dog says it.

besides food, one of your favorite things in the world are trucks, and so whenever you see, or even hear, a truck outside you have to tell us about it. but the problem is you can’t really pronounce the word ‘truck’ so instead you loudly exclaim ‘cock!’ which is sort of close…but not quite. the other day you had a playdate with your new little friend, leili,and you said the word ‘cock’ so many times, and with such perfect annunciation, that she started repeating it. and well, i worry that we might not get to have playdates with leili again.

profanity aside, you are such a joyful, sweet little boy. with wide toothy smiles you greet everyone, and when you meet a new friend at the playground your first instinct is to go up and engulf them in a big hug. my heart broke a thousand times when you did this recently, and a little girl rejected your advances – she pushed you away with a frown on her face, and i could tell you were completely baffled, wondering who WOULDN’T want to be hugged?

and i so fiercely want to protect you from all of it. from the playground meanies. and pollution. and miley cyrus. and bad drivers. i want to shield you from all hurt. and people who lie. and giant disappointments. and bad news. but i can only do so much, and the more independent you become, the more i feel like my ability to protect you lessens.

but what i can do instead is hug you tight. tickle you until you feel like you might explode, and kiss every inch of your smoochly little face.

and i’m going to do that, every day, until you’re big enough to shirk my affection and talk to me about needing ‘personal space’.

because i’m your mama and you are, by far, the sweetest part of my everyday.


Aug 13
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pattering feet.

my sweet friend mariam sent me this quote, at the moment that i needed this reminder the most:

“While they are at your side, love these little ones to the uttermost.  Forget yourself.  Serve them; care for them; lavish all your tenderness on them.  Value your good fortune while it is with you, and let nothing of the sweetness of their babyhood go unprized.  Not for long will you keep the happiness that now lies within your reach.  You will not always walk in the sunshine with a little warm, soft hand nestling in each of yours, nor hear little feet pattering beside you, and eager baby voices questioning and prattling of a thousand things with ceaseless excitement.  Not always will you see that trusting face upturned to yours, feel those little arms about your neck, and those tender lips pressed upon your cheek, nor will you have that tiny form to kneel beside you, and murmur baby prayers into your ear.  Love them and win their love, and shower on them all the treasures of your heart.  Fill up their days with happiness, and share with them their mirth and innocent delights.  Childhood is but for a day.  Ere you are aware it will be gone with all its gifts forever.”

// george townsend


May 13
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motherhood: simultaneously the most terrifying and most beautiful thing i’ve ever experienced.

today was/is mother’s day.

[side note: generally, i’m not the biggest fan of over-commercialized holidays where expectations run amuck and a big deal is made out of LOVE! or INDEPENDENCE! or CANDY! and yeah, i know that might make me sound like a miserly curmudgeon but it’s actually quite the opposite. the reality is, just like i don’t want to be ambivalent about love until valentine’s day, or save up all my celebratory glee for birthdays, i don’t want a single day where i celebrate being a mother – i want all the days.

because guess what? we’re here! we made it to this moment! and there are so many adventures ahead! and when my son reaches for my hand my heart flutters and i’m giddy in love! and it’s all just so damn sweet.

and i know that my posture of positivity could be frowned upon by some. i mean angst has always had a ‘cooler’ reputation than joy, but i can’t help it. i’ve never been able to occupy the ‘glass half empty’ state for too long, because i know better. i know bitterness and tears, failures and fears, so i readily recognize the sweetness and joy that surrounds me.

the darkest of nights make stars shine the brightest.]


um, that was a very long and meandering side note.


anyway, while i don’t get carried away with the commercialization of it all, i am still all for celebrating mothers. and along with them, women in general. women who may one day be mothers, who are forging and fashioning themselves to be the best they can be. women who are striving for excellence and are powerful agents for creativity and growth. brave women who long to be mothers but cannot, and so are trying to adopt. and women who may never be mothers who are mentoring, educating and empowering other people’s children.

let’s celebrate all of them today. heck, let’s celebrate them everyday.


today, phix had his first serious fever. he woke up hot and clammy and all of our gallivanting out to breakfast and the farmers market was marred by our concern that he wasn’t feeling well. after his midday nap i thought that it might help to take him for a little dip in the pool since it was such a hot day and our house felt like an oven. the water was refreshingly cold and i held his little body close to mine and breathed him in, marvelling at how delicious it was to be holding my boy as we circled around in the water, with the sunniest of blue skies overhead. after a few minutes, phix rested his head on my chest and his eyes started to close drowsily. and that’s when i started to feel a seed of panic. i knew he’d just woken from a nap and it’s not like phixy to be lethargic. dev took his temperature and it was really high. as in call-the-doctor-high. and suddenly everything around me ground to a standstill.

it’s ok, he’s going to be fine. he still has a fever – but we’re managing it with infant tylenol and cold wash cloths…and so here i am, typing this as i sit by his crib. watching his back as it rises and falls with his breath. every few minutes i touch his forehead, and check his temperature, and skype with my mum to get her advice.

and all the while, realizing fully that this is motherhood.

this pendulum that swings between utter bliss and pure terror. this constant ebb and flow where one minute i feel like i am figuring it all out, and the next, realizing i don’t have anything under control.

and it’s doing a number on this heart of mine. but i wouldn’t trade any of it. i’ll sit and hold my baby all night long, because that’s what a mother does.

Apr 13
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i’m quite smitten by ali. but, can you blame me?


illustrations cut out of encyclopedias. so THIS is why i want to buy up all the old encyclopedias in second hand stores! :)


quite spellbound by the remarkable similarity between human neurons under a microscope and city lights photographed from high above.

“In the side-by-side images above, the photo on the left shows a city as seen by astronauts on the International Space Station, and then photo on the right shows a photo of a neuron imaged with fluorescence microscopy. One is massive and seen from a grand scale, while the other is microscopic and cannot be seen by the human eye, yet they look strangely similar in their structure.”


beautiful photographs of the things people would take if their home was on fire.


Feb 13
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dear phoenix,

today you are one year old.  this means that for 365 days i’ve had the incredible privilege and pleasure of smooching your little face and getting to know you.

you are joyful, happy, strong, knowing, determined, observant, tenacious, and effortlessly charming. i fall deeper in love with you every.single.day.

i am in awe of your generous, inclusive spirit. you seek out to befriend EVERYONE. you wave at strangers and go easily into the arms of our friends.  you point out babies and dogs and when you drop things you say ‘uh oh’ in the sweetest sing-song voice that i want to inscribe onto my sinews so i can recall it when i’m so old i’ve forgotten everything else.

you get cuter with each passing day. i still don’t know how your papa and i created something as extraordinarily beautiful as you.

and here you are. a walking, falling, pointing, baby-talking, carseat-hating, mango-loving ONE YEAR OLD.

i’ve tried not to hold back in these letters to you my darling. i’ve tried to be honest and explain that along with the inordinate gratitude i have for your tender little being, i’ve also had moments of frustration, and exhaustion, and i-am-not-cut-out-for-this-ness. but ultimately, as each day winds to an end and i gaze at you peacefully sleeping, i just feel this overpowering, all-consuming love for you.

i find that the difficulties of our day always wash away and i’m just left with this fact: i would not change a single thing, decision, event, heartbreak, obstacle in my life – because all of it, has brought me to you. or you to me. or us to each other.

and that is worth a thousand heart aches, a million miles, and all the exhaustion in the planet.

you are without a doubt, our sweet little soul mate. and you will be, forever.



Jan 13
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dearest little heart,

i wanted to write you a letter on the day you turned 11 months. but that was three days ago. and here we are. and somehow it’s apt that i’m running three days late. because that’s how our life rolls lately. almost there, not quite. on the verge of big things and giant opportunities, but all the while being reminded, whenever you catch my eye and break into a smile, that it’s the ‘small’ stuff that matters most. yes, we’re caught in a whirlwind of momentum and movement and good intentions that wait in the wings for the right time. or any time, for that matter. but we are constantly growing and expanding and learning. as individuals and as a family. and it all leaves me a bit breathless.

and here’s what i’ve realized. the people who told me that i could have it all, but that it would be incredibly exhausting, were absolutely right.

our days smudge one into another. weekends begin with your bright eyes staring at us expectantly at 7am. and then it’s another monday morning and i’m not really sure what we did in between. your papa pulls late nights and early starts, and i pack your lunch while constructing emails in my head for the notes i need to give on an edit before a deadline. work meetings take precedence over lunch and before i’ve made a sizable dent in my to-do’s, it’s already time to make the mad dash to pick you up. driving home, i take conference calls from the car and you take off your socks and fling them over the backseat. and somehow, we make it work.

and then we’re home and, understandably, you want my attention. so we sing pattercake and itsy bitsy spider, and you clap your hands and sign for more. more. more. you point to the laptop because you want to watch your favorite music videos – currently coldplay, mumford and sons, and lumineers top your charts. and even though at one point, i had resolved to hold off exposing you to screens until you were over the age of two, i’ve since eaten those words because watching you, watching these videos, is the most adorable thing ever. here’s proof.

i think i’ve mentioned this before, but baby boy, you love food.

your doctor looked at us wide eyed as i explained what you ate for breakfast – half a banana, half an avocado, a bunch of cheese, and a mountain of cheerios. you have a huge appetite and i’ve never given you anything that you’ve spat out or disliked. you actually ate falafel the other day so i’d venture to say your tastes are more adventurous than 70% of americans. we spent last weekend in san francisco and you had your first taste of ice cream. you made a face because of how cold it was and then snatched the spoon from my hands in your frenzy to devour more of it. so much for my resolution to never ever let you have any processed sugar on my watch.

wow, i’m bad at resolutions.

you’re such an easy going and sweet little boy. you have a repertoire of ‘acts’ that you bust out to charm new friends that includes clapping, singing, dancing and when you REALLY need the floor, you pretend to choke on your food and then burst into giggles when we all stare at you with wide eyes of shock and worry.

your latest one-man show is standing up unassisted. the pride on your face when you achieve your balance is so unbridled, that my heart swells and threatens to explode.

and as you’re figuring out your equilibrium on our shag carpet. we’re figuring out our equilibrium as a family. and we have lots to learn, and there’s so much we still don’t know. big stuff – like how to achieve a better balance between our work and the other aspects of our lives. and the smaller stuff like what sort of milk i need to give you now that you’re nursing less. cow? goat? almond? soy? hemp? UNICORN TEARS PERHAPS?

sometimes, as i’m changing your diaper at the end of the day, i’ll let you roll around on our bed in all your naked glory. your papa and i chase you and chomp on your juicy thighs and dimpled rump, and blow kisses on your round belly. you giggle and shriek and helplessly swat us away with your pudgy hands. and after a while, we all tire each other out and collapse as a family and cuddle together. and yes, it’s all exhausting, and it’s true i’ve never worked harder in my life, but it’s in those moments that i know, with certainty, that i have everything i’ve ever wanted out of my life.


Jan 13

today was a big day for phoenix hugh.

we managed to capture the first time he stood, completely unassisted. it happened while shooting a little comedy clip for friends who work at TED.

Jan 13


dearest little darling,

i thought i’d try your letter in list form this time:

1. seemingly overnight, you transformed from a squishy, smiley baby, to a playful little child. there is this knowing spark in your eyes and a sense of newfound understanding about the world that surrounds you. you are becoming more independent and even starting to STAND unassisted. i blink and suddenly you’ve learned a new skill. it feels like weeks ago you were lying in my arms like the most angelic lump i’d ever witnessed and now you open cupboards and empty out the contents and place bowls on your head and laugh and laugh.

2. your giggles should be bottled up and prescribed as antidepressants.

3. a pretty hefty mullet was encroaching so i cut your hair for the second time, but i rushed and made a bit of a mess of it. your papa says i gave you a ‘monk’ hair cut. in my defense you were trying to eat the scissors i had in my hand so i wasn’t able to do my best work.

4. i don’t know if it’s because you’ve watched me sweep our hardwood floors almost-daily (because i know for sure it’s not a habit you’ve picked up from your father), but you’ve become enamored with brooms and ‘sweeping’. yes, there are cleaner things you could be playing with, but i try to look on the bright side and think about how you are BUILDING IMMUNITY! oh, is that a rock in your mouth? no problem – you’re just BUILDING IMMUNITY! wait, you’re chewing on the sole of my shoe that was just traipsing about the new york subway? no biggie. IMMUNITY! this illusion(?) helps me not want to vomit as much.

5. a few weeks ago, you went on your third big trip to date – it was a giant day of travel that started at 7am and (due to delayed flights) ended at 2am! we flew to brooklyn, new york to be with family and friends, and frolic together in one of our favorite cities in the world. you’ve been an amazing traveller – easy-going, and up for adventure even though we’ve totally messed with your routine/schedule. also, you’ve won over every passerby that sees you. i am constantly showered with compliments about you, and for the first time in my life, i’m finding it easy to smile and say thank you (instead of deflecting and/or dismissing) because i totally agree. i mean, BEHOLD YOUR CUTENESS:

7. also, you rock a bowtie better than any williamsburg hipster.

8. you have a voracious appetite for all.the.things. you love string cheese, yogurt, banana’s, avocados and mashed sweet potatoes. your favorite thing is gently picking up little pieces of sour dough bread and feeding yourself. the other night your grandma nikki (who we call ‘gramani’) gave you a little sip of herbal tea and you LOVED it – i’m sure it’s because you’re a little aristocrat (i’ve obviously been watching too much downton abbey).

9. a few days ago you saw your first t-rex skeleton at the natural history museum and started clapping excitedly. good job holding out until you saw something really worth clapping for ;)

10. everyday we create memories that i attempt to etch on my heart. yesterday we walked around central park and you were bundled up in your snow suit laying against my chest admiring the trees and squirrels. as i walked briskly, and worried about your hands being too cold (you refuse to wear your mittens) i noticed you were softly signing to yourself. your sweet little voice carried in the wind and warmed me up from the inside-out. i fell in love with your papa’s voice before i had even met him, and it makes me excited to think about the day when you will sing together.

11. and as the clock struck midnight this december 31st, i thought about how 2012 will always be treasured as the year you arrived into our lives and flooded even the darkest corners of our hearts with your bright light. the year that i became a mother. and the year that you, with your blue-berry eyes, and contagious smile, and chewy thighs, made us a family.

i adore you so much my ten-month old treasure.



Dec 12
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Dec 12
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Nov 12

letters to phoenix // 11.

dearest phoenix hugh,

try as i might, i just can’t keep up with you and the insane speed at which you are growing. what i want to know is where my tiny wide-eyed squishy baby has gone? because all i see is a little boy, constantly in momentum, feeding himself pieces of broccoli and unleashing his toothy grin on friends and strangers alike.

your personality is getting more and more pronounced. you have a cheeky sense of humor and when you’re happy you sit up and rock back and forth waving your arms up and down as if you believe that, with just enough exertion, you might actually take flight. you have favorites now – foods (avocados) and books (hello, animals!) and songs (anything coldplay). you love being on your papa’s shoulders and like your mama, you much prefer the outdoors to staying inside.

you’re learning so much my sweet child, and doing all.the.things. meanwhile, it’s been 2 years and your papa and i still haven’t switched out our tennessee drivers licenses for californian ones. so basically, you need to cool your jets, because your ambition to knock things off your to-do list, is making us look bad.

i find that there are STILL brief snatches of time when i can’t believe i am actually a mama. i’ll be mid-shower and suddenly i’ll remember being 8 months pregnant and writing options for your name in the steam on the glass door. i vividly recall how i longed, and hoped, and prayed for you.

and now, here you are my little darling, showing up to life every day with a joyful exhuberence that is entirely infectious and spell binding.

and though you test our patience, and demand our attention, and force us out of bed at ungodly early hours on lazy saturdays, i know that you are single-dimpled-handedly polishing and refining us. there’s very little room left for our self-centered ways and our arbitrary wants. even though my eyes yearn to stay shut, there is a part of me that knows that one day i’ll ache for the bleary haze of the pre-dawn games we play – you pulling the covers over your head and back down again, your big blueberry eyes widening as you mouth ‘buh’ (your version of ‘boo!’) followed by your giant smile as if you’ve invented the best game ever.

you have started ‘talking’ a lot more and you’ve got ‘baba’s’ and ‘dada’s’ figured out. on nights when your papa puts you to sleep the two of you have come up with a ‘call and response’ routine, where your dad will make a sound and you’ll echo it in your sweet voice…until you fall asleep. and all the while, my heart breaks into a thousand tiny pieces due to an attack of cute.

i love sharing in your firsts. speaking of which…during our recent trip to tennessee we took you to a playground and you had your first swing experience. i’m so glad your papa captured the photo below, because just LOOK AT YOU.

can i also take a minute to talk about how ridiculously adorable you are when you’re naked? i really have no choice in the matter – your velvety chubby haunches just beg to be chomped.

i don’t know if it was the realization that today marks your ninth month on this side of your womb world…but for whatever reason, i felt this need to hold you long after you had fallen asleep tonight. normally, i’m so relieved when you finally give in to sleep that i deftly maneuver you into your crib and make a quick exit. but tonight, i held you close and stroked your silky, albeit unruly, hair and once again marveled at your mile long lashes. i felt the warmth of your little body pressed against mine and i thought about all those months i carried you. impatiently awaiting your arrival. so curious about what you’d look like and eager to learn all about you.

it still baffles me that i get to experience the rest of this journey through life alongside you. there are days when i feel wholly undeserving and woefully unprepared. but there are also moments, like tonight, when i let go and simply bask in this bond that you and i are creating. and in those moments i feel like i’ve actually spent my whole life in preparation for this incredible responsibility.



Nov 12

on having my cake. and eating it too.

we’ve been inordinately, amazingly lucky. i know this. it’s certainly not lost on me. from the moment our lives changed forever with the arrival of little phoenix hugh, we’ve had a caché of family and friends who have swooped in and helped us with this transition. and i’m so grateful for every.single.pair of hands that held our child as i got dressed, or put away the dishes, or responded to another email, or ate a complete meal.

today, dev’s mum, nikki, headed back to tennessee. and as she walked out the door (her eyes brimming with tears at the idea of leaving her grandson) i realized that an era of sorts was ending for us. for the first time, in a very long time, dev and i would be under our roof with our little one – alone. we three would be figuring it out. there would be no 3am hand off to his ever-devoted grandma. there would be no extra pair of hands to help get his breakfast ready while we showered and tomorrow when i leave for work, i don’t have the easy reassurance of knowing our son is with someone who loves him as much as we do. someone who knows his body language intimately. knows his tired complaining sounds from his hungry cries, and that he needs to put his two little fingers in his mouth to fall asleep.

and let me state for the record, there is nothing in the world that can replace that kind of ease-of-heart.

we knew this day was coming. after all, it’s not really feasible that we keep importing family and friends to look after our son while i am at work. but we’d held off making a decision for a long time and a few weeks ago i finally sent out an email to my closest friends in the area asking for references and ideas. two incredibly sweet friends of ours responded that they would be happy to help us out…but at the end of the day, we knew we needed a long term plan, rather than yet another stop-gap measure.

so we’ve made the decision to trial out a family day care. we met the caregiver and she is warm and loving and has had years of experience. phoenix immediately felt right at home in her house, retrieved a ball that he found under the table and batted his eyelashes at his new friends. i know he will be in safe, kind, gentle hands. i know he will be just fine.

but i’m having a hard time believing that will be.

i’m suddenly so conflicted. my heart is heavy and i can’t stop crying.

i know this decision is the best option for us right now. i know that i could stay home with phoenix if i truly wanted to. but the truth is that i don’t want to walk away from my work. it’s not out of necessity i choose to work. it is out of a real passion and love for what i do. but then there is my child. my divine little first born with his giant blueberry eyes and his velvet skin. i don’t want to miss his milestones. i want to be there for his juicy smiles and bask in his pride when he learns new things. i want to inhale the smell of his freshly bathed neck and when he falls asleep in my arms and i lay him on my heart, i want time to stop. i want to live in that moment for as long as i can.

and so you’ll have to forgive me while i cry an ocean of tears as i’m trying to figure out how to entrust him into new hands. how to hand over the most precious thing in my life, and go to work and get anything done.

today, someone (who i *think* was trying to be helpful) bluntly told me that i was trying to ‘have my cake and eat it too’.

and you know what? it’s true.

and you know what else? i don’t want to feel bad or broken up or guilty about it.

i want to be supported in my decision to juggle it all. i want to feel like it IS feasible. i want to live in a reality where i can continue working, and be the very best mother i can be.

and so tomorrow, a new era for us begins. we will drop our child off at someone else’s home in the morning.

and if my heart doesn’t completely break in two, we will try it again the day after, and the next.

Nov 12
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so it was bound to happen – i went from being a regular-ish blogger to a once a month blogger.

why? um. well, because quite frankly: BABIES ARE TIME CONSUMING. who knew?

in fact if someone asked me today what being the mother of an 8.5 month old is like, the most honest response would be this: take your ‘alone time’, saturday night plans, sleep-ins and your growing to-do list. throw it into a blender and mix it on high. disperse the contents around your living room. now walk around blindfolded trying to piece your life back together. while a monkey swings precariously from the light fixtures and pelts you with smushed up cubes of sweet potato.

and as the room spins and nothing that needs to get done ever seems to actually get done, your baby will catch your gaze and give you the most gigantic smile. as if you are literally the most exciting person on the planet. and in those moments it all.becomes.worth.it.

babies are basically brainwashing little squishy bundles of sheer delight. consider yourselves warned.


our pilot is oh so nearly done. somehow we made a tv show. and the good news is, we’re really proud of it.

the air date will be sometime in december. yay!


there are so many things i want to create. here are just a few:

1. for phix’s room one day: painted plastic animals

2. embroidering photographs. inspired by the incredible maria puentes.

3. paint chip wall art

4. gold dipped glassware

5. vases hung in a frame. yes please.


Oct 12
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letters to phoenix // 10.

dearest phoenix,

so here we are again. another month has flown by and you are now 8 months old. and still melting our hearts on a moment-by-moment basis.

you seem to be in a big hurry to figure it all out. why crawl when you can stand? why play with blocks when you can create an app on the iphone? i’m constantly asking you to slow down. to remember that you’re just a little baby. that you don’t need to know.all.the.things.already.

it’s amazing learning about your little personality. and still mind-blowing to me that you have innate mannerisms that you didn’t pick up from us. for example, if i wear something you haven’t seen before, you’ll gently caress the new texture with the back of your pudgy dimpled hand. you take this investigation so seriously that i half expect you to go, WTF. this isn’t cashmere!

you possess such a joyful and happy spirit. you will let anyone hold you and you’ll smile at strangers on the street. you are already a little thrill seeker and love being thrown into the air, or lifted high onto your papa’s shoulders.

i’m still nursing you, but you are also eating all kinds of fruits and vegetables. when you get frustrated trying to pick up little mushy cubes with your fingers you resort to a wide-mouthed face-plant on your tray. and all the while, we laugh and take pictures. because we can’t help ourselves.

just look at you.


we’ve been working such long hours lately. the reality is that making a tv show is hard work. and running a company that’s producing daily content, while also making a tv show, leaves very little room for much else. and there are days that are really challenging. mostly because we’re up against inertia. there’s no real formula for what we’re setting out to do so everything is an experiment. and while we trust our guts, we don’t have the easy confidence of experts who’ve been creating this sort of programming for decades. i know that what we’re doing is ambitious, but i also know it’s important.

and amidst it all, you give me such perspective. your little heart reminds me why i’m doing this in the first place. and i know i’m forgetting a lot of the nuances of your day-to-day. it’s hard to keep a record of it all when we’re running at top speeds.

but one memory i am inscribing on my soul, is the way i feel each time i come home and my heart is flooded by the light of your smile.


Sep 12

letters to phoenix // 9.

dear phoenix,

ok, so i don’t know if it has anything to do with the avocados you keep devouring, but you’ve gone into serious overdrive. i put you down for a nap, and then you wake up, and suddenly your pants only reach your chubby calves, and you have learned a new letter of the alphabet. for a while everything was UP UP UP UP. and then BA BA BA. and today, DA DA DA. are you trying to be the valedictorian of all babies? because you’re right on track.

on a related note – you are officially on the move. over the course of one week you started sitting up unassisted and then moved into a legit crawl. gone are the days of yore when i could lay you on the bed while i got dressed or brushed my teeth. nope, you have no fear of gravity and happily scramble over to edges and ledges. your kiwi-by-proxy ancestors would be so proud of your adventurous (read adrenaline junkie) spirit.

and while you are thrilled with your new found independence and your ‘words’ and your ability to feed yourself, i keep brushing your hair out of your eyes, and feeling a brand new kind of heart ache because my beautiful baby is turning into a boy right.before.my.very.eyes.

but then you lean in to kiss me – with your gummy mouth wide open, and your two little teeth gleaming and sweet lord, you have the sweetest breath. it smells like rainbows and ice cream. and it makes makes everything better.

i’ve mentioned this before, but you notice everything. and now that you are on the prowl, you are eager to explore your world – you carefully run your hand along the shag pile of the rug, and trace the spackled plaster walls – fascinated by all the textures and patterns.

seven months ago today, you left your cozy womb room. i couldn’t promise you a world full of peace and joy and goodness, but i did have power over the home we create around you and the arms that hold you. and since day one you’ve been encircled by the most adoring family and friends that a little boy could dream of.

i know that sometimes i lay you in your crib and i might seem weary and exhausted, and yes, most nights i’m just.so.relieved when you finally fall asleep, but then it’s a new dawn and before i see you, i hear you chattering away. as i approach, you raise your arms up towards me and you look like you’ve won the jackpot, with a smile so big that the corners of your eyes crinkle up in sheer excitement. i feel your love so tangibly and my darling, there is no better feeling in the whole world.

Sep 12
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precious commodities.

my dear friend recently reminded me that time is our most precious resource. we can’t amass it like money or treasures. we have no control over it. we can’t recover moments. it was a wonderful wake up call that reminded me to spend my precious minutes doing the things that matter. and sometimes that means lying on our bed with our boy, enraptured with him, as he says his one word, ‘up’, over and over again.


today my yoga teacher told us that our energy affects the space surrounding us – up to 55 ft. i have no idea if this is based in any scientific fact, but regardless, it left an impact on me. it got me thinking about how we should all be accountable for the energy we carry into the world, and we should be also be careful about the energy we surround ourselves with. i’m becoming more and more discerning everyday, especially now that i have a little phoenix bird to protect.


which brings me to this…i love yoga. i hesitate writing/saying this out loud because it sounds so trite and hippy dippy-ish. but it’s true. i started taking classes 7 years ago and over that time i’ve had countless instructors and downward dogged in all sorts of studios, but each time i’m in a class i remember how much i need this. i am not really into exercise in the traditional sense – going to the gym bores me and you’ll only find me running if i’m being chased. by hungry lions. so, besides walking/hiking – which i can happily do for hours – my ‘thing’ is yoga. and not just because of the workout but i also love the culture of it. i get a kick out of my fellow classmates and their glass jars filled with kombucha. i am charmed by the sanskrit terminology and the way that yoga teachers make you feel like taking a deep breath is decadent.


our little boy is nearly seven months old (!) and in the past week he decided to LEARN.ALL.THE. THINGS. he is sitting up by himself, crawling and pulling himself up.

and he got even cuter. here’s proof:


our soulpancakey world is in overdrive. we are creating, writing, shooting, and losing a lot of sleep over our pilot one hour TV show. over the past few weeks, stress levels have hit an all-time high (as we’re also keeping up with creating original content every single day for YouTube) and so nerves have been raw and we’ve all felt a bit panicked in this new terrain of tv-land. but i’m really proud of our little team. we keep pushing. we consult even when those conversations are hard. and ultimately, whenever there is an issue we come together, we listen to our guts and we figure out solutions. one of the biggest question marks/stressors was selecting a host for the show and this has now been locked in (whew!) and it is truly the very best of all possible outcomes.


i miss writing posts for my blog. there are so few minutes in my day that aren’t earmarked, so when a portal of time opens up i find myself grasping for what i want to say. all the thoughts collide and fight over what is more important to get out onto paper/screen. and then i find that my time is up and i didn’t really get to say any of it as i was just getting warmed up.

Aug 12

letters to phoenix // 8.

dear phoenix,

i know these posts are supposed to be all about you, but i want to start this one with how you have single-pudgy-dimpled-handedly, changed me.

in so many ways you, a little boy with blueberry eyes, have broken me open. helped me learn things about myself that both exhilarate and scare me. i feel myself growing more empathetic, more vulnerable, more sensitive by the day. suddenly every person i encounter is someone else’s child, someone’s ‘phoenix’. and so i grieve more. i ache for parents losing their children to illness or accidents. and my teeth clench at the innocent casualties of war and famine and disease. i avert my eyes to violence on tv. and i hug you tightly in honor of all those parents who, for whatever reason, don’t get to hug their little ones today.

you’ve also evolved my relationship with your papa. i honestly didn’t think it was possible to love him any more, but watching him with you, i’m constantly blown away by his devotion and care. you are the brightest light in his world, and he adores you so, so much. hearing him say ‘goodnight prayers’ with you every night, i know i’d marry him all over again. and again.

you are the best example of unconditional love and acceptance. you greet me every time you wake with a giant smile that instantly dismantles my foulest of moods. through your eyes, i feel whole and strong and brave. and so, i give you the unfiltered, unbridled me. the me that sings loudly to insanely catchy and embarrassing songs, and dances gangnam style in the kitchen.

you give me context. the trials and tests i encounter don’t seem that grave or formidable when i remember you. and the same goes for our joys and opportunities. sure, there are some pretty incredible exciting things i’m involved in (dream projects in fact) but still, you win. you are the reason i go to sleep with a heart full of hope and happiness.

like both your mama and your papa, you are ticklish and your laughter heals hurts i forgot i had. i want to flash-freeze the moments when we’re giggling together, sprawled on couches or beds or floors, so i can defrost them 15 years down the road, and remember the days when my baby boy let me hang out with him for hours without complaint.

and this doesn’t mean it’s not hard. i still have so much to learn. my patience is tested and i fiercely miss my independence. my schedule. my ability to just get up and go wherever. heck, i still miss caffeine. and there are days where i just can’t wait for you to take a nap so i can have a moment to myself. there are struggles and anxieties and worries that keep me up late at night asking the internet for answers (i’m looking at you immunization schedules). but then you place your little hand on my arm as i’m nursing you, and i remember that i am your mama. no one else. i’m at once floored and awed by this responsibility. and i realize i wouldn’t give any of this up for my former life, as this new life with you just keeps getting sweeter and sweeter.

happy six months, my darling.



Aug 12
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i started this blog post two weeks ago. it was discarded and forgotten about in my drafts folder. this could actually be a metaphor for my life right now. starting and not finishing. coffee dates pencilled in and cancelled. good intentions of a healthy meal give way to the fact that it’s much easier to order pizza. yes, i want to go for a walk, and watch a sunset, and read a book, and roll my eyes as my eastern euro yoga teacher tells me to inhale new air deep into my lungs. but really, who has time for such luxuries? no one in casa gundry these days, that’s for sure.


my mum is kind over-the-top with her facebook posting of inspirational quotes, and pictures of zany inventions, and dogs cuddling with birds and whatnot. but this one thing i read on her wall actually lingered with me. it was a list of 12 symptoms of spiritual awakening:

1. an increased tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
2. frequent attacks of smiling.
3. feelings of being connected with others and nature.
4. frequent overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
5. a tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than from fears.
6. an unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
7. a loss of ability to worry.
8. a loss of interest in conflict.
9. a loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
10. a loss of interest in judging others.
11. a loss of interest in judging self.
12. loving without expecting anything.

i have no idea who wrote the list and what kind of authority they are on the subject, but still, it got me thinking.


at risk of sounding like your crazy aunt, i firmly believe that air conditioners are bad for us and make us sick.


1. we need to go grocery shopping. we’ve gotten to the stage where there’s a lone onion and some condiments kicking around in our fridge. and my mum’s sour dough starter which i can’t bring myself to throw out even though i am not planning to bake bread.

2. we all have head colds. it’s the first time phix has been sick and to be honest, his attitude about it is a lot better than mine or devs. while i languish on our couch all woe-is-me, phix merrily jumps in his bouncer with his nose running right into his wide mouthed smile.

3. ashley moved back to san francisco and now phix is nannyless. so we are doing what any over-protective first time parent’s would do – importing my sister from australia to come and help take care of him for a few weeks until we figure out plan b. i know i could easily hire a local nanny. i know that there are wonderful day cares in our area. i know all this. but i just can’t. i can’t leave him with a stranger yet. *update* anisa has arrived. and she is a natural with phix and of course, he adores her. so that makes me very happy and is one less thing to agonize over. #hooray.


phoenix hugh gundry is nearly 6 months old. what the whaaaaat?!

i love our little family.

Aug 12
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Aug 12

on claiming time.

the lumineers have been the soundtrack to the past few weeks. this song in particular is on repeat.


this vibrant hot pink tree is one of the best parts of my daily walk to the office.


it’s steamy in LA these days. which results in clammy skin. and you know where clammy skin is on my list of dislikes? it’s close to the top, along with parking tickets and fickle internet. so phix may not have my eyes/ears/nose/chin/forehead, but he’s definitely my child in that we seem to share a distinct irritation with being inside on muggy days. it’s days like this that i wish we lived closer to the ocean.


lately, i find myself trying to retrieve memories of phoenix as a newborn. i am desperately trying to remember how it felt to hold his little body in my hands and his sweet vulnerability. but i am having trouble really grasping it. and i feel sad because no matter how much i try to imprint our journey together on the sinews of my heart, i still forget so many of the details. and i now realize that the reason people say that being a parent is hard is because it’s an exercise in grieving what was, over and over and over again, while also anticipating what is yet to come. and this is partly where the bone marrow deep exhaustion comes from. not the getting up every 2 hours to nurse. or hormones. or the 5am starts. but this race to remember. this fight to be present and aware. and in my quiet, honest hours i realize that i spend more time looking at various screens than i do my son’s ever-changing face, and this causes an ache that lodges heavy in my heart, because the screens will always be there, but his giant half-a-tooth smiles will be fleeting.



we start pre-production on our pilot episode of a full length SoulPancake show on monday. this is exhilarating, exciting and anxiety inducing. i’m so awed by this opportunity. but i also feel like taking a long nap. or going on a trip without phones and laptops to a redwood forest where i can once again smell the earth and feel connected to the ground.


when phix naps i do all the things that need doing. i wipe surfaces and do dishes and fold laundry and tidy rooms. and then he’s awake again and wants to put every.thing. in his mouth. the tv remote, my phone, the dirty car keys. and i try to buy a few minutes by giving him a frozen apple slice to chew/suck on. and in those minutes when my hands are free, i google ‘5 month old baby eating apples’ because i’m not sure i should be giving him solids so soon. rinse and repeat.


Jul 12
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letters to phoenix // 7

my darling blueberry-eyed boy,

today you are 5 months old. FIVE. how did that happen? i have no idea. one night we went to the hospital where i found out about a whole new pain scale, and then i came home two days later with a baby boy in my arms, and now here we are with a phone so full of photos of you that it’s run out of space. which reminds me, i need to back up just about a bazillion photos of you.

what can i tell you about yourself that future phix might find curious. here’s a list:

1. you have your first tooth coming through. it’s making its shy appearance on the left bottom front of your gums and it’s a sharp little sucker. if i don’t catch your ‘i’m bored’ signs fast enough you will quit nursing and bite me, and when i pull you away you have the nerve to smile coyly. like you’re basically saying “look lady, it’s only fair since you are constantly chomping on my juicy thigh rolls and dimpled elbows.”

2. you love bath time and water in general. you splash about with such ferocity because it’s obviously not a real wet t-shirt contest until everything and everyone is wet.

3. your dad pats drum beats on your little rump to help you sleep. and lo and behold, it works. it’s the quickest way to get you relaxed. i, on the other hand, don’t have his exceptional rhythm skills, so my butt patting just makes you mad, which in turn makes me mad at the indie signer songwriter station on pandora for playing EVEN MORE jack johnson.

4. i believe you could bring about world peace with your smile. it’s just so disarming and giant and joyful. it is an instant reminder that nothing else really matters, that stress and stuff and stress about stuff is just so counterproductive.

and then there are your eyelashes that deserve a blog dedicated just to them:

our days have been extremely hectic little one, especially this week with the launch of our new premium content youtube channel(!) and you’ve been patient as we’ve lured a variety of ‘aunties’ and various hands to help out with you. right now your beloved grandparents are here and you are getting so much attention that i worry that when they leave you’ll be like, wait a second, where did my captive audience go?! i keep thinking that things will slow down and one day we’ll have our weekends back and your papa and i won’t be checking our emails at 3am. but that day hasn’t arrived and so we are doing our best to juggle all the important things and still give you the time and attention you need and deserve.

i am started to feel well-versed in your language. i know what your ‘tired eyes’ look like and the signature cry that means you’re hungry. i can tell when you’re irritated by the humidity and i know you prefer to be pants-less. as our friends and work mates also get to know you and fall in love with your gentle, generous spirit, i feel like the luckiest person because i have gotten the chance to know you first.




Jul 12
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Jul 12

all the things. and none of the things.

my little boy is growing. fast. i know. i should have expected this. after all, every single human who has had progeny finds it imperative to tell me that “they grow sooo fast”. but i still didn’t expect it to be this fast. i didn’t expect to put phix down for a nap, only to pick him up 45 minutes later to find he has outgrown his outfit. he is now so delightfully chubby that i have to clean out lint from the folds of his chunky thighs. you think i don’t have better things to do with my time baby? actually, you’re right. you win.


i’m a sucker for the little thoughtful rituals that people create together. one of ours is that anytime dev goes to the grocery store he brings me back a treat. in over 4 years of grocery-storing, he has not returned home ‘treat-less’ even once. usually it’s a piece of fruit. a perfect unblemished pear. or an exotic goodie like a pomegranate. last night he came home with a little box of baklava. (very dangerous). one thing i do is make our bed, fold his pajamas and place them under his pillow. i know it’s small and relatively insignificant but these little acts of service speak volumes to me. it’s not about the treats or the made bed, it’s about remembering the other person. as our days race by and we get caught up in the hustle of it all, i’m so grateful that we continue to make each other so damn happy.


look HOW LITTLE my smooch was once upon a time!


this is going to be rambling and hard to understand. apologies in advance. i just don’t have enough time to rearrange my words and craft sentences to achieve coherency and succinctness. i have to snatch these fleeting minutes when my hands are free so if there is a moment to write for myself, it looks like this. a tumble of words about how you can have it all. how you can look around and not truly want for anything. and yet in the seed of your stomach there is an aching. a longing for something. and you don’t know whether it is a full night of sleep. or the need to be adventuring on cobblestone streets in cities yet unexplored. or the ability to simply turn on a tap and drink the water because you aren’t afraid of flouride and chlorine. but there it is. this pang of wanting that is rooted in my core and isn’t abated by a walk outside, the perfect cup of coffee, hand holding, or a schedule packed to the brim. and so i sit with it and to use a terribly life-coachy phrase, i ‘honor’ the feeling. but then i also wonder how to excavate it. how to pull it up by the roots and fill the hole left behind with a quiet contentment. but it isn’t something i can always get a hold of, after all i can’t even ‘name’ what it is i want. and so i wonder if i will carry this fracture, this sense of not-quite-ness and almost-there-ness, with me forever.


dev really wanted a grill so that’s what he got for father’s day. cliche much? i teased him for all the research he did on this purchase, only to buy the most expensive grill. and then rolled my eyes when he insisted that he needed to spend even more money to buy cast iron grill racks. for three days the giant grill sat in pieces all over our living room. when dev finally put it all together and we carried it outside, i was already annoyed with the cumbersome grill because i was flash-forwarding to the day we move, and how annoying it would be to move it. but guess what? i am now a grill devotee. since mamani is no longer here to cook meals for us, this grill has saved us from eating cereal straight out of the box. it’s safe to say we’ve grilled out every night the past month. actually, there are days when we grill out for BOTH lunch and dinner. there is something about food that’s been cooked outside over direct flame that makes it so much more delicious. even a simple veggie skewer is now THE BEST VEGGIE SKEWER I’VE EVER HAD.


watching my husband sing to our boy is my gateway drug to having 37 more children.


Jul 12
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humans of new york.

i find that my instagram love has replaced my need to visit facebook much, however on the occasion that i check it out, i’m always excited to see posts from ‘humans of new york’. this is a facebook page that my friend ladan told me about, and it’s brilliant. run by brandon stanton who basically takes photos of interesting people he sees on new york’s streets. err. yah. i probably didn’t need to explain that since the title SAYS IT ALL.

anyway, here are some of my favorite posts of late. and it’s not just the photo portraits i love but the marriage of those with the sarcastic/funny/on point captions:

Kinda sad that I’m 20 years older than this kid, and he looks better walking home from school than I’ve ever looked in my life.

Designer from Barcelona smokes cigar in SoHo, while drawing his own hand smoking a cigar. That’s deep.

He never said a word, so he’ll forever remain–
The Most Mysterious Man In The World.

“My story? Well I’m 90 years old and I ride this thing around everywhere. I don’t see why more people don’t use them. I carry my cane in the basket, I get all my shopping done, I can go everywhere. I’ve never hit anyone and never been hit. Of course, I ride on the sidewalk, which I don’t think I’m supposed to do, but still…”

“Can we do a close-up shot?”
“I don’t know about that. Thirty years ago, maybe.”

he also has a website here.

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