Iris' Birth Story.

It all began during the first week of December, when I started having small contractions. When I went to my doctor's appointment on December 8th my doctor was certain I would not make it through the weekend. Saturday the 10th my contractions picked up but were still very manageable, but I was having terrible back labor pains. My doctor said I should just go to the hospital to get checked. I stayed for a couple of hours and went home. I went in for my doctor's appointment the next week and the baby was measuring big and they were getting concerned. Wren, my first baby, was 8lbs 11oz and it was very difficult to deliver her.
My doctor was scheduled for that Saturday, December 17th - so we decided to come in and be induced. We woke up December 17th to the most beautiful, magical snow. We got to the hospital and I walked laps for an hour or two hoping to start up the real labor naturally but alas I was put on the pitocen. I recall having some bigger contractions but not too bad yet and saying "I just want to be in excruciating pain already!" well careful what you wish for - haha. Those contractions picked up like a switch was flipped and were coming fast and furious in no time. I was doing well with the pain for a few hours. But they were every 2 minutes for HOURS. There are no words to explain the overwhelming pain. I felt like I was getting close so I had them check me and I was still at 5 cm. I was devastated. The light at the end of the tunnel dimmed. I decided to have the epidural. I labored forever with Wren so I assumed that's what I was in for. It took another hour for the anesthesiologist to come in and then it took 3 tries for them to get it in my spine. For 45 minutes I had to be perfectly still while having these mega-contractions every 2 minutes while they insert that needle into my back. Daniel was holding my hands and I just zeroed on in his touch and tried to forget I was in my body. Finally they got it in. I was on my side trying to relax but I wasn't feeling the relief I was hoping for. I still felt SO MUCH PRESSURE. About 20 minutes after the epidural I had them check the bed because I thought I was going #2 but they were like "It's time to push!" Mentally I was not prepared but it was go time. Three quick pushes and she was here. 

Our sweet, perfect 
Iris Matilda Zia Zimman 
was born at 6:35pm December 17, 2016 
7lbs 6oz and 20.5"

She was so small! It turns out my placenta was enormous. They took it away for a biopsy. But Iris and I were both wonderful and healthy. Despite the afterbirth complications and extra blood loss I have been bouncing back so quickly this time around.

Iris is a fiery little thing. She is already living up to her name, Matilda is Germanic and means might/strength/strong in battle. Zia is Hebrew and Arabic, in Hebrew it means to quake, and in Arabic it means light/splendor. She has a voracious appetite and loves to be the in the middle of the action. She is so sweet, squishy and cuddly. She truly loves the snuggles. She already smiles a ton at six weeks old and I swear she laughed. I can already tell she's strong willed and is going to march to the beat of her own drum. 

We love you Iris!!!!


Lookout Farm.

We spent a cold (in the 40s) day at Lookout Farm in Natick. This is my favorite time of year!!! And 45° may be my ideal temperature, even though Daniel thinks I am totally crazy. I love getting all bundled up, but not too bundled up haha. The leaves are really starting to hit their stride changing here in New England. For a born and bred Southern California girl I could not be more in heaven. It's insanely magical. Despite that we were all feeling a little under the weather, we had such a nice day out and about exploring. There is nothing better than family adventures with my two(soon to be three) loves. We all really enjoy being outside, traversing and taking it all in. It makes me really excited for all of our future trips and ventures. I am so lucky to be graced by the presence of Daniel and Wren every day. I just love them so much. And we all feed of each other's energy and vibes so well. I have a feeling this little one in my belly is going to be the most adventurous of us all. She is definitely going to push us all a bit from our comfort zones which I think is great for all of us. We will all grow together. 

Also shout out to my thick, luscious pregnancy hair, haha. It is so shiny and growing like a weed and I love it. I feel like a Disney princess. Anyway we finished our fun, blustery day with apple cider donuts and it started raining the second we all got in the car. Our timing could not have been more perfect. Daniel and I also got so much done for the new nursery. It was like the most productive and enjoyable day. I wish every day could be like that. We only have 7 more weeks until our new little girl makes her debut. It's coming so quickly. I had such a great dream about her last night. She looked so much like Wren as a baby. I cannot wait to see her face! My brain is kind of all over the place today. I blame it on being 8 months pregnant. 
 these leaves though. 

 their bond is so beautiful. 
 i love this girl so much.
 walking under the concord vines. 
strolling through the apple trees.
obsessed with the leaves. 

 hi llama!
 her curls are heavenly. 
boots + leaves.
 hi goats!
 just call me the goat whisperer. haha. 
 daddy kisses are the best. 
these two. 
 caught snapping pics...and that bump. 
 got any grapes?
 that smile.
 Daniel's parents got this yellow coat in Spain. It's her favorite. She would wear it every single day if I let her. 
 farm life. 
 my two favorite mugs. 

our merry little band of adventurers. 
can't get enough trees.
 Wren and I joking that it's "no noggin" from Curious George Boofest. 

love. love. love. 

My Coat is from Madewell "City Grid Coat" last season. They have solids here and color block here.
Bag - Botkier "Soho Tote" in Brown Embossed Python. Similar here. I use this bag every single day. It's so great for fitting my wallet, snacks, first aid kit, water bottles, diapers, wipes and everything I need. 

Wren's scarf, tights and boots all Zara. You can't see it but she is wearing this dress, also Zara. 

Daniel is wearing his favorite shoes by SWIMS, similar here. They are waterproof and amazing for fall and winter.

Halloween is almost here! So excited. 


Pumpkin Challah.

So I have been really wanting to bake a challah from scratch for quite some time and I finally did it. Since it's Sukkot I wanted to make something festive and came across a Pumpkin Challah recipe on Tori Avey's blog. that I could not resist. And oh my god. It is life changing. This challah is seriously amazing. We made french toast with it twice and it's the best french toast I have ever had. It's seriously HEAVENLY. I feel like I have to share it. A quick note this recipe makes two huge challahs so make sure you have plenty of people to share it with or cut the recipe in half to make a single challah. But I kind of never want to run out of it. I made it this week and am already thinking about when I can make it again. 

  • 2 packets of active dry yeast
  • 1 cup luke warm water - divided into two half cups
  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 egg 
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp all spice 
  • 1/4 tsp ginger 
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 7-9 cups baking flour

plus for egg wash:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp water 

You'll also need:

  • large mixing bowl
  • whisk
  • 2 cookie sheets
  • parchment paper
  • aluminum foil
  • pastry brush

First pour 1/2 cup of the warm water into a large mixing bowl and add the 2 packets of yeast and 1 tbsp of sugar. Stir it well to dissolve. Wait 10 minutes. It should look a bit foamy and a little thicker. 

Add the other 1/2 cup of warm water to the bowl with the sugar, egg, egg yolks, honey, canola oil, salt and spice. I used a hand mixer to blend it all well. After that's mixed in add the pumpkin puree - I again, used my hand mixer to blend it well. It should be a thick liquid. 

Next you are going to add the flour. This part can get VERY messy. I measured out 8 cups of flour and had it ready to go in another big mixing bowl, but I ended up needing 9 cups. You will need to use your hands to mix - so I recommend measuring out 9-10 cups of flour before hand so you don't have to clean your hands and measure out more flour in the middle. 

Add the flour by the cupful. I started mixing with a wooden spoon until it was too thick and then mixed with my hands - and Wren loved helping during this part. 

Keep mixing and kneading the dough until it's smooth and not sticky. Keep adding the flour cup by cup until it feels 'right'. 

Once you're done kneading the dough place a saucepan full of water on the stove to boil. Meanwhile remove the dough from your mixing bowl. Clean and dry the bowl. Grease the bowl with canola oil. Put the dough back in the greased bowl and flip it over so both sides are moistened by the oil. Cover the bowl with a clean damp towel. Please the bowl on the middle rack of you oven and place the saucepan of boiling water on the rack below the bowl of dough. The pan of water will create an ideal environment for the dough to rise. Let the dough rise for 1 hour. 

Take the dough out and punch it a few times to eliminate air pockets. Cover with towel and place back in the oven with pan of water to rise for 1 hour more. 

Now your dough is ready to braid. Divide it into two equal portions. If you plan to bless your challah you can find the blessing here

I did my first one as a 6 strand braid, which I definitely recommend. Being 31 weeks pregnant and it was now like 9 pm, I got tired and lazy for the second and did a 3 braid for the second challah. I also did not bother to follow the tutorial and braided it like I would my hair. It still tasted great but visually was not as appealing. So I would definitely follow the tutorials in the link above. 

After your challahs are braided - beat the egg wash - 2 egg yolks and 1 tbsp of water. 
Place challahs on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Using your pastry brush cover both challahs evenly with egg wash. 

Let the braided challahs rise for another 45 minutes. You'll know the dough is ready to bake when you press your finger into the dough and the indent stays.

Preheat oven to 350. 

I baked both challahs at the same time. 
Bake for 20 minutes. Then turn the challahs and switch racks so they bake evenly. Then bake for another 20 minutes. So its 40 min total baking time. Keep an eye on the challah for the last 20 minutes. It may be browning faster than its baking. Once you feel like it is browned to your liking, take the tray out and cover the challah with tin foil. Then place it back in the oven to finish baking. 

You can make sure it's done by turning it over and tapping the bottom of the loaf, it should make a hollow sound. 

Let the challah cool and enjoy!

I also recommend making Tori's Cinnamon Honey Butter to go with it. This challah is amazing toasted with a little of the cinnamon honey butter on top. I also used the cinnamon honey butter to make french toast with this challah. It's life changing I promise. 



Wren's Second Birthday.

 So our little Wren Ramona Zofia turned a whole two years old last month. I really wanted to throw her a party because next year I will have another little girl and am not sure I will be up to it. She has been really into Tinkerbelle and fairies so we vaguely used fairies as a theme. The party favors were wings, crowns and wands. Little kids in fairy wings is basically the cutest thing ever. I wish I could do this for her every birthday haha. It was supposed to rain which threw a wrench in our backyard plans, but my wonderful husband rented this awesome tent. My mom and him spent like three hours setting it up and of course it ended up barely sprinkling and being very hot and SO humid. But the tent was awesome anyway and added some great ambience. Plus I am sure if we had no tent that it would have poured! Wren was really sad when we took the tent down. 

Last year I was a really good mom and made her a special sugarless strawberry shortcake with greek yogurt. She hadn't really had sugar yet so I didn't want her to get sick. But this year the sugar was flowing. I think she ate the buttercream frosting off of at least 3 strawberry cupcakes. I am going to try to do a post of the cupcake recipe because they were insanely delicious. Her birthday was a beautiful afternoon filled with fun, treats and little fairies running around. It was magical just like her. 

I cannot get over the fact that my baby is now such a big girl. Time is so weird. I feel like it is going by at lightning speed but at the same time it feels like I have had her forever. I can't even remember what life was like before her. It's like she has always been here. I know I must say this a lot on here but she is seriously a shining ray of light. This kid has so much personality. She is kind, adventurous, funny and thoughtful. She hugged every friend that came to her party. She said "thank you" to everyone for her gifts. She is so sensitive to others, it makes me so proud. She is a warm, inviting little person that genuinely wants those around her to be happy. What more could I ask for? I know I am totally bragging but I just can't help it. 

She has grown SO MUCH in the last year. I can't help but be a bit nostalgic. I can't even imagine what this next year has in store for her. It will no doubt be wonderful, beautiful and heart wrenching to watch as her Mumma. She is in preschool, getting more independent by the day, she will become a big sister, she started sleeping in a toddler bed(a post on this to come), there is going to be so much growing all around in the months to come... I am grateful to be blessed with her spirit, her face, her voice, her pillowy little hands, her sweet kisses, her head burrowed into me, her laughter and even her cries. Again I know I must say this a lot, but there is truly nothing better than being Wren's Mumma. You other moms out there get it. It is the most fulfilling thing in the universe helping her through the world, teaching her how to navigate and understand the things and people around her. She is so perceptive and mostly aware, except for her habit of running and looking behind her! She loves to be chased. It's one of her favorites along with music, art and animals. She is a natural artist and nurturer. Daniel and I cannot get enough of her. We are both so in love with our sweet girl. 

Happy, Happy Birthday Sweet Wren!!!!!!