Born and Born Again

20 days ago our son Orion was born.  🙂

Introducing Orion Eli Saalik aka “Cookie”

It was the most incredible experience of my life.  I can’t for a moment imagine his birth to have been any better than it was, which of course makes me feel very lucky.  My labor was 6 hours and I pushed for about 45 minutes before he arrived first into a tub of warm water and then into my arms.  I cried, I shook, I was in total awe of the entire experience.  I was in awe of my husband’s amazing support through the process.  I was in awe of my strength to endure the delivery 100% medication-free and without the assistance of a hospital or doctor.  My midwife was there – checking on me occasionally as I labored, as were two outstanding doulas.  But for the most part it was just me, my husband and my mother in the room.  My sister was there taking photos for me.  I kept inward, going into a cavernous deep place within, separating my mind from my body and allowing my physical self to do it’s work.  I remember staying pretty quiet, even as Orion crowned.  I remember a lot of breathing…. oh how breathing made all the difference.

In the end, here he is. He is laying silently against my chest as I write this (I’m wearing my Maya wrap – a must for parents interested in attachment-parenting) and he is the absolute light of my life.  I’ve never felt so motivated to work so hard every day.  My reward is knowing he’s healthy and knowing that every day I have the privilege of helping to create this person’s childhood.  What a responsibility we have as parents.

I’m filled to the brim.  🙂



Embracing Life and All It’s ‘F*ck It’ Moments…

Facing my future – in a bikini.

If pregnancy has taught me anything it’s that I am not in control over a single thing except my own perspective.  Life doesn’t just give us ups and downs – it IS the ups and downs.  We can expect to be facing as many trials and tribulations as we will be facing moments of bliss and utter happiness.  Some say, it’s only because of the darkness that we’re even able to see the light.  Whatever metaphor rocks your boat – let’s just say, I’m getting the drift (finally).

I used to feel like in order for my life to be fulfilled it had to go a certain way.  A and B would take place and lead to C and D and E would follow.  I invested so much energy into that tried and true pattern that anything that came along and fluffed my feathers was quickly dismissed or fretted over.  I’ve never had to be patient for anything.  When jobs got boring, I quit them.  When cities got boring I moved.  When boyfriends got boring….well you get the point.  But you can’t walk away from or even pause the tape when it comes to becoming a mother.  Nature has you in the driver’s seat with one foot strapped to the gas pedal and two hands strapped to the wheel.  You’re going to be there and all you can do in the mean time is wait and be that ever-haunting “P” word…patient.  Ugh.

So patience isn’t so bad after all.  At least I’ve had plenty of time to figure a few things out about myself.  In fact I’d say the past two and a half trimesters have taught me more about myself than the past 28 years.  Maybe its just my time to grow up.  Or maybe it’s nature’s way of smoothing a woman out into a mother.  Either way I know that I have to stand by my convictions and put aside my fears and for the love of all that is holy – I need to let life take it’s time with me.  Because whether it’s in this life or the next, all we really have is time.


If we are facing in the right direction,

all we have to do is keep on walking.


The i Files

Up late, strolling through memory lane via my iPhone photos.  Looking back on the journey since returning to California – it’s been pretty on the NICE side.

Juicing with Mom. ❤


Chillaxin at the pool, eating farm fresh cherries.


Progress! Me at almost 7 months….this fella is gettin big!


The coolest chick under 3 feet (my niece). We kick it hard – me her and her teddy bear.


Bowling with the fam. Several people got whopped by a pregnant chick that night.


My sister tuned 30! She’s amazing!!


The garden at William Land Park…oddly named “The Rock Garden”. Meh.


“Hold my hat and necklace.” He said before taking off into a field of grass to do back flips.


A Mommy-to-Be Intro

Daddy and I. (photo credit: Anthony Ratcliff)

Kept seeing this intro thing go around on Tumblr and decided to fill mine out.  It kind of reminds me of those surveys that used to go around on Myspace…  It’s always fun to answer questions about yourself, right?

Well it is to me.  :p


Name: Ashley
Age: 28
Birth Date: May 17
Birth Place: Oakland, California
Height: 5’5″

How did you find out you were pregnant?: I kept peeing on myself a little.  My sister practically forced me to take a pregnancy test.
What kind of pregnancy test did you take?: My sister got one for me, I think it was EPT
How many?: One was quite enough
What were your first symptoms?: I think sore boobs.  It felt like they had mutated and turned against me.
Who did you tell first?: My sister, aside from the person who was in the room with me when I took the test.
Who was with you when you found out?: My husband Saalik.  I dragged him into the bathroom at 6 AM.
Was baby planned?: Yes indeedy
When was baby conceived?: Mid-December in Brooklyn, NY.
How far were you when you found out?: About 4 weeks

Due date: So far it’s September 7th (these things change)
Do you know the sex?:  Yep
If so, boy or girl?:  Boy!
Any names?: We have a name, but won’t be announcing it publicly.
Any ultrasounds?: I’ve had 4 or 5
Have you heard the heartbeat?: Yep – amazing each time.  Very strong.
Baby ethnicity?: Black on black.  😉
Who do you think baby will look like?: My husband and I both have such strong facial features.  I have NO IDEA.
Will baby have any siblings?: He has a very eager half brother.  That is all for a while.
Have you and dad felt baby move?: Every single day.  The highlight of our life at the moment.
Did you have morning sickness?: Oh boy did I!!  I had it on the subway in New York – even worse.
Did you have any cravings?: Lemonade, ice cold water, apples, ice cream, root beer, VERY spicy food and strangest of all….hot links.  I’m a vegetarian.
Did you have any mood swings?: Yes, but not terrible.  My husband may say different.
Are you a high risk pregnancy?:  Not at all.  A healthy lady of ideal child bearing age with a normal pre-pregnancy weight.
Any complications?: Two UTI’s and a small issue with drinking enough water in the beginning.  Its REALLY hard to down water when you’re nauseous.
Formula or breastfeeding?: Breastfeeding to the best of my abilities
Have you bought anything for baby yet?: Half a dozen or so outfits (couldn’t help it), a blanket and some shoes and booties.  Also received some gifts from friends and family.  But the baby shower isn’t for another few weeks.
When did you start to show?: Surprisingly early – around 10 or 11 weeks.  
How long could you wear your regular clothes?: For quite a while.  I don’t think I transitioned until around 15 weeks.  I just wore a lot of loose and stretchy clothes.
Are you excited?: <<< Probably the dumbest question I’ve ever heard.  Of course.
Who will help with baby after their born?: My mom plans on taking most of September off, and my sister will be around as well.  Daddy will be working but is willing to take the night shift.
What is your favorite thing about being pregnant?: All of it.  The kicks, the movements, the glow, the belly.  I love every minute of it.
What is the worst thing about being pregnant?: Nothing I can’t handle.  But there’s difficulty sleeping, muscle pain, Braxton Hicks contractions, skin stretching and itching, food aversions, less energy and of course…the waiting.  
What one thing do you miss doing since being pregnant?:  I miss having more comfortable sex.  Also wine and cheeba.  But nothing I can’t live without for a while.  
Any days you wish you weren’t pregnant?: Nope.  Not even the day I had to get off the subway to throw up, or the day I passed out on the 4 train.
Are you ready for baby?: I am ready for today.  Tomorrow I’ll be ready for tomorrow.
How many kids do you want?: I want as many as I can afford and handle and raise according to the lifestyle that I believe in. (aka – ONE most likely)
Do you talk to your baby?: Yes.  Always when I’m in the car alone.  I sing to him at night sometimes and I always apologize to him when I get upset at stuff.  I feel guilty because I know my mood affects him.
Do you like kids?: I love children – the idea of them and their innocence.  I tend to only LIKE children of close friends and close family.  I find that kids are a product of their parents and therefore can be awesome or quite the opposite.
How far along are you now?: 26 weeks and 5 days

…And Many More…

In honor of my 28th birthday I thought I’d share some of my favorite lessons learned this past year…











..and my favorite…

A Girl Could Get Used to This…

Hail to long, lazy, sun-drenched California days.

Today was some full blown Spring/ Summer weather.  The sun shone so bright and strong that it prompted the Mr. and I to ease our way out onto the back patio and work on our respective projects.  My husband diligently tore into one of his freelance projects (he’s a graphic designer) while satisfyingly sipping on an Anchor Steam beer; and I tapped away at my laptop keyboard organizing my baby shower guest list and polishing off a strawberry popsicle.  The blue jays chirped, the breeze blew through my afro and aside from the fact that wasps kept popping up and breaking into the serenity it was a perfect scene.  After the day’s heat got to be almost too much I suggested we throw on our skives at head to the pool.

These are the things I missed about California while in NYC.  The long laid out days, the sun, the birds and the palm trees.  The sense of laid backness that tends to infuse itself into every bit of your surroundings.  I never quite noticed it before…but I think people are happier on the West coast.  Must be all the vitamin D.  *shrugs*

The belly was on full display!

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