The Cholmondeley sisters and their swaddled babies. c.1600-1610 via Wikipedia.

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No more swaddling

Our babe went from sleeping through the night, she began at 6.5 weeks, to waking every 2-3 hours in one single week. Now I’m on the hunt for identifying what’s going on and figuring out how to help her get back. Her waking may have to do with the cold she and I developed two weeks ago and may have some to do with having outgrown swaddling. We will see. My first step was to return to total silence in the morning to ensure that she gets back on track with her morning naps. My second step is to phase out swaddling in case that is contributing to her night time waking.

About swaddling infants:

Swaddling is great at helping babies feel secure and minimizing the startle reflex. But most babies outgrow the need for it at around four months.

“By about 2 months, your baby will be moving around more in sleep, and swaddling could make her uncomfortable and contribute to night waking,” says Judith Owens, a pediatrician and director of the Pediatric Sleep Disorders Clinic at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.

According to mom bloggers around the net, the best way to end swaddling is to slowly phase it out.

Group biking. Image via (cc) Flickr user Mark Stosberg

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San Francisco Parents Groups

San Francisco Groups

Bay Area Groups

Facebook Pages

Stroller-friendly trail. Image via (cc) Flickr user Charles Dawley.

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Awesome Bay Area Dog-friendly, Stroller-friendly Trails

Now that my bug is over 15 pounds, I need to switch to stroller hikes and stroller runs. Here’s my current list of San Francisco Bay Area favorites and trails to try:

  1. Redwood Regional Park, Stream Trail, Oakland:  1 mile paved trail, relatively flat and shade-covered.  Park in the Canyon View Staging Area (enter through the Redwood Gate on Redwood Road).  There is a $5.00 entry fee during summer weekends.
  2. Nimitz Way, Inspiration Point, Tilden Regional Park:  4 mile long paved path, providing gorgeous views of the San Francisco Bay. The trail over rolling hills begins at the Inspiration Point parking lot, on Wildcat Canyon Road (between Orinda and Berkeley).
  3. Iron Horse Trail, Concord to Pleasanton:  26 mile paved trail from Concord to Pleasanton.  The section from Danville north towards Alamo, beginning at the parking lot behind the Danville Railroad Museum, is shade-covered.  Another nice starting point is the Rudgear Road Staging Area in Walnut Creek, and then heading south on the path towards Alamo.
  4. Coyote Hills Regional Park, Bayview Trail, Fremont:  4 mile loop with rolling hills takes you through the park, by the marsh and along the bay.  Park at the lot in front of the Visitor Center.  There is a $5.00 entry fee.
  5. Golden Gate Park: We all know how much this park has to offer, though its size may seem daunting for a simple stroll. Don’t let that stop you from enjoying the wide, beautifully landscaped trails with gardens and playgrounds along the way. Try entering at Stanyan and Haight and walking your way toward the coast.
    Location: Stanyan and Haight, San Francisco.
  6. Point Isabel Regional Shoreline: .42 mile paved trail along the water.
  7. MacNee Ranch State Park, Fire Trail, Montara. 3+ mile, beautiful hills.
  8. Angel Island: 5 mile paved road around the perimeter of the island. Take the ferry from Tiburon ($5/person).
  9. Abbots Lagoon Trail, Point Reyes National Seashore: 3.2 mile trail. Take Pierce Ranch Road to the right off of Sir Francis Drake Highway and follow approximately 4 ½ miles to small parking area with restrooms.Trailhead is on the left side of the road. Trail is level and passes lagoon before ending at the beach. Very scenic and lots of wildlife.
  10. Lake Lagunitas: 2 mile loop around the lake. MMWD watershed above Fairfax off Bolinas-Fairfax Rd. Peaceful walk with lots of birds, including heron and egrets. Large picnic area with tables and restrooms. One steep hill.
  11. Phoenix Lake: 2.5 mile loop around 2/3rds of the lake. Natalie Coffin Green Park, Ross. Parking lot is small and is closed on Sundays.
  12. Deer Park, Fairfax Trail (end of Porteous Rd): starts behind Fairfax/San Anselmo Daycare Center. Wide fireroad runs through light wooded area. Long steep hill about one mile in.

More Hikes:

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What I’ve learned in three months…

Eating a strawberry. Image by (cc) Flickr user .craig

Eating a strawberry. Image by (cc) Flickr user .craig

Pregnancy (or the first trimester at least) is extremely limiting, disruptive and confusing. During the first three months your body takes over and tells you, at times by shouting and at times by stopping everything so that you will listen, what it needs and what it will not accept. As my sister notes, pregnancy is a time of great cleansing. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

- 2 eggs in the morning will start the day
– a tiny mid morning snack will keep you steady: I’m staying cool with 1 hard boiled egg
– a noon snack is a must: some favorites are baby carrots, cucumbers, radishes, grapefruit, oolong tea
– a small lunch will you sustain you: I’m staying strong with lemon flavored greens (lettuce, spinach, leeks, green beans) and a protein (chicken or salmon work for me) — or just a tasty cup of liquid skimmed from a delicious soup when I can’t take much more; peppermint or another tummy soothing tea
– a mid afternoon snack is a must: some favorites are baby carrots, cucumbers, radishes, seaweed, grapefruit, frozen fruit (bananas or mango)
– small dinners win: salad and a legume (beans or lentils) OR a simple soup; lemon and mineral water
– supplements are great midday or at night: prenatal vitamin, some sort of quality fish type oil, flaxseeds, homemade eggshell calcium powder
– a snack before bed will keep my hunger pangs away through 8am: yogurt and cacao powder OR Mestemacher rye bread; lemon and mineral water.

Exercise! Move! Laugh! Smile! If you can stand the nausea, nothing will hold you back. Move and travel as your heart desires. And forget absolutely everything else.

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Ajiaco Santafereño

Ajiaco Santafereño. Image by (cc) Flickr user El Agujero

Ajiaco Santafereño. Image by (cc) Flickr user El Agujero

Ajiaco santafereño, a traditional take on the basic chicken stew, comes from the Colombian capital city which also gives it its name, Santa Fe de Bogota.
This rich potato stew features four distinct potato varieties in combination with corn and guasca, a nutritious herb native to the AndesIt is great for pregnant women and for those healing from a cold or flu. 
Prep Time: 1 hour
Ingredients (serves 6):
2 lbs of chicken breast – or veggie stock and your veggie protein of choice
1/2 kilo papa Sabanera from the planes of Cundinamarca and Boyacá – or red potatoes
1/2 kilo papa Paramuna from the high plateau – or russet potatoes
1/2 kilo papa Pastusa from Pasto
1 kilo papa Criolla (a small yellow potato that in dissolving thickens the mixture given the stew it’s final consistency) – or small white boiling potatoes
4 ears of corn
5 scallions, white part only, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, washed and trimmed
1 clove garlic, minced
handful of guasca
salt to taste
capers/creme to dress the dish

3 ripe avocados


1. Clean and cut the corn in half. Cook corn on high with 2 litres of water. Peel and cube the papas Sabaneras or red potatoes and cook with the corn. Peel the papas Pastusa, slice them into thick tranches and add them to the mixture. .  Wash and cut the papas criollas or small white boiling potatoes in half. Add these to the first pot of of corn and potatoes. Cook until the potatoes start to disintegrate, giving the soup a thick but fairly smooth consistency, about 30 minutes.

2. Combine the chicken, half the scallions, salt and pepper in a large dutch oven and cover with 4 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover; simmer until chicken is tender, about 35 minutes.

3. Transfer chicken to a platter and let cool. Remove skin from chicken and shred the chicken into thin strips.

4. Lower the temperature on the potato pot. Add shredded chicken and heat through.

5. Ladle into bowls and top with a spoonful of cream, a few capers and a few thin slices of avocado.

Ajiaco preparation. Image by (cc) Flickr user pattoncito.

Ajiaco preparation. Image by (cc) Flickr user pattoncito.

Ajiaco preparation. Image by (cc) Flickr user pattoncito.

Ajiaco preparation. Image by (cc) Flickr user pattoncito.

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Simplifying is a powerful tool

DoNotFeedTheJargonWhat’s cool about coding? Everything. You not only get around a problem, you create a smooth, simple yet robust, system that works! and that opens up your options for even more interesting work. For me, coding is like creating your own concierge. Most recently I’ve been playing with macros to integrate different Google Drive tools. And, I’m now using IFTT formulas at home. Best of all, I’ve got my fiance using macros at home for calendaring and budgeting. This has been a great time saver.

My friends Yta and Carlos are also coding geeks and, they are also committed to sharing what they know. Right now they are doing this through their book, Lauren Ipsum.

From Carlos’ blog: “a crucial part of computer science is training yourself to think clearly. You can’t explain clearly unless you think clearly. And what is programming, if not explaining things to the computer?” And just to throw in some Spanish: “Es un mito de que se necesita una mente especial para entender la informática…” sequro que hasta los niños lo pueden hacer si no se les dice que es dificil.

Learning and teaching the art of flow, ahhhh, the future awaits.

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Top Social Media Tactics – public media style

Over the past six years I’ve worked on social media for various public media outlets.
Here are my favorite campaigns:

1. Launch and Sustained Growth – Oakland Local, community news site for Oakland, CA

KLOUT_OL post Launched in 2009, Oakland Local’s campaign to build a dedicated readership was simple — set up a stable stream of interesting local content and ask everyone involved to share the content with their lists. For every article or community voices blog entry published we set a Twitter and a facebook post. We then asked funders, bloggers, journalists, community partners and featured Oakland Locals to spread the news. We made this easy for them by inviting them via email to share the twitter posts we created. And we didn’t stop. We repeated this formula over and over.

In addition to making sharing a central part of the OL culture, we connected with local nonprofits and community groups at an early stage. We did this by asking groups to submit their content as community voices blog entries. And we did this by partnering with various groups on short-term news projects, capacity building workshops (where we provided tech expertise on their social media accounts) and community development initiatives. At every point we shared our mission and our knowledge and asked our partners to help share our content.



Started with funding from J-Lab at American University, Oakland Local reaches 76,000 unique visitors a month, all from the Oakland/East Bay. The site now has 6,700+ facebook followers and 5,500+ Twitter followers. Although Oakland Local is fairly new, it is a model for the future of news and community engagement. As a member of both The Investigative News Network and The Society of Professional Journalists, OL is committed to quality work; we’ve had stories funded by The Fund for Investigative Journalism and the Center for Public Integrity, among others. Our stories are distributed through Yahoo! News, SFGate, New America Media and others.

2. Friend and Fund Raising – Making Contact, National Radio Project, in-depth public affairs weekly radio show
MC Klout Score

To connect Making Contact’s broadcast radio streaming listenership and its non-listening donating audience with its website, facebook and Twitter, we’ve integrated additional media into every blog post. For instance, short videos, audio web extras, photography, Thinglink images and webified versions of the audio are now included on every show page. We’ve also focused on search via AdWords and via cross linking with related news outlets. And we seek friends willing to share our content via one-to-one communications. This has led to campaigns like our 2012 MayDay public media online fundraising collaboration, MayDayMedia99, and our 2012 Valentine’s day campaign, Love Your Media Day. Both campaigns focused on friend and fund raising. To do this, both campaigns featured an AdWords Ad, a SoundCloud audio set and targeted mailings in addition to addition to our weekly radio show offering.

Our MayDayMedia campaign, a Media 99 Razoo collaboration with Media Consortium members, led to roughly 20,000 people visiting the Media 99 website. Our site, also benefited from focused MayDay work. If you visited our site that day you would have seen not only our weekly show but also Free Speech TV’s player, which we used for live MayDay coverage, and buttons that led to the Media99 event map and the Storify content. This added content and marketing via social media, phone calls and emails raised site traffic that day. Our Tuesday average is roughly 600 visits/day. On MayDay nearly 1,000 visited our site. And, time spent on our site doubled. Even better, many of these were first time visitors to our site. To note, most of those who came to our site on MayDay via referrals came from facebook. And we added 39 new online donors to our donor base during our MayDay collaboration.

Our Valentine’s Day AdWords ad garnered 1,350 clicks. And our facebook posts and tweets were shared among various key supporters. Throughout this Valentine’s Day campaign we used the #supportyrmedia day hashtag.

Here’s some of what we tweeted and some of what we heard on MayDay and on Valentine’s Day:

AdWords ad:
Spiced Valentines Day
Celebrate by fighting for
access to reproductive services.

SoundCloud set list:

Email Headline:
Show some love

Email Video Link:

Making Contact struggles with many challenges faced by public radio: a) a large portion of listeners tune in via their radio while driving or at home while away from the screen b) the audience is dispersed geographically c) the audience is dispersed thematically. But Making Contact is also a beacon in the nonprofit world with a funding pool composed mostly of small individual, recurring donations. Online, Making Contact reaches 6,000 unique web visitors a month. This is in addition to the 5,000+ who download the MC podcast via RSS feeds. An even larger group listen via radio stations nationwide and internationally. The site now has 2,350 facebook followers and 700+ Twitter followers.


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