One of my favorite fast weekday-friendly hikes in Los Angeles is Runyon Canyon. (It’s also the go-to hike for half of the rest of everyone who lives here, but whatevs.) I figured that hiking Runyon Canyon with a stroller was essentially possible, though every time I went alone, I assessed: Would this part of the terrain support a stroller? Can you get from here to there pushing wheels? Just how much harder is this hike when you’re hiking for three?
Last year on Valentine’s Day, we were taking in the Paris views from high up in the Eiffel Tower, with two babes baking in my belly. It was pretty hard to top.
But this year, we spent the holiday having an entirely different kind of travel experience that was much less far flung, but also in some ways much more exotic. Aviation fans and general travelphiles: You’re going to want to check this one out.
Our date was to — wait for it — the Pan Am Experience, a 1970s aviation-theme dinner party set in a 747.
My very favorite hike in Los Angeles is the Hollywood Sign trail. It’s a little jewel box of an outing in so many ways: It’s got epic views (obvi) with appeal for locals and out-of-towners alike. It strikes the right balance between challenging and still chat-friendly in terms of difficulty. And it’s right in the middle of town, making it accessible for a quick-ish jaunt if time is limited (as it always is these days), solo or with friends.
It was also closed for nine months, while a dispute with neighbors over parking and congestion and other havoc tied things up. But as of this week, it is at long last open again. So I gave it a go yesterday, and it held up every bit to my memory.
Funny story. On the advice of another twin mom friend, I registered for the Bob Revolution SE Duallie double stroller, which she said was the absolute best pick for an active lifestyle with twins — great for jogging, hiking, beach walks (so basically, my life — or at least, the life I want to live).
We received the stroller as a very generous shower gift from my husband’s company, where his team even assembled it for us and tied it with a big bow, a la a Christmastime car commercial. Only problem was: It didn’t fit in our car. Matter of fact, we’d soon discover that nothing we’d need for twins fit in our compact hatchback — not any double stroller, and not even my husband when the two car seats were installed. So in my 36th week or so of pregnancy we copped to reality and bought an SUV.
I often hear people talk about how awful it was for them, or must be for me, to be heavily pregnant in the summertime. And I generally disagree wholeheartedly—it’s been mostly fine! But there is one majorly uncomfortable issue with being pregnant in these hot months, and it’s not the heat. Here’s the real reason why summertime pregnancy is tough: FOMO.
Given I’m carrying twins—and big ones at that, about six pounds each (!!) at last measure—I outgrew maternity jeans weeks ago, and closed-toed shoes on my swollen dogs sound like torture. So, thanks especially to my wardrobe of flow-y caftans and maxi dresses from the likes of Rachel Pally and T Bags, being pregnant in the summer suits me just fine (notwithstanding that three-week period when our home AC decided to poop out, because: Murphy’s Law).
But there’s this: Summer is my jam. My husband has always said I have a solar battery, and I get totally charged when things heat up. I want to be everywhere, every weekend: somewhere far flung out of town, somewhere fab within driving range, or at the beach or hiking right here in L.A.
Now that I’m close to 36 weeks pregnant and using a motorized cart just to get around Target, aint none of that happening.
My best friends all planned a camping/July 4 party weekend in Northern California, and I gulped with—what was it? Envy? Longing? (Maybe acid reflux.) It would be the first time, pretty much ever, that I’d miss out on a trip like that. I even sort of half considered, “Well, maybe…” and then I’d remembered that these days I cannot actually turn over in bed without David’s help, or make it to the bathroom at night without using multiple pieces of furniture as crutches, or that I could go into labor any day. So even relentlessly, mercilessly festive me had to admit it was time to wave the white flag on that idea.
File this one under B for better late than never — but since I’m on a remodeling-post roll, I’m inspired to share a couple of before-and-after photos from our 1930s kitchen remodel… which we completed two years ago.
I can’t overstate how much I loved this house when we first saw it. It felt so right. It was like that magical Say Yes to the Dress moment. Is this the one? Oh yes, gurrrl, this is the one. But I’ve said a hundred times before on this blog, the only thing not ideal about this house is its size, at about 1,350 square feet. (Fine for a couple, but not so much for growing into as a family.) The kitchen was among the rooms in particular that did not feel large, but part of the problem wasn’t actually the size itself, but rather the dearth of storage. There seemed to be just a few cabinets willy nilly, but nothing that maximized the space.
What happens when you have a two-bedroom house and two babies on the way? Well, first thing is you can kiss your sweet home office goodbye in favor of a nursery. Second thing is, you can figure out what the heck to do instead if you are a writer-editor who works from home.
Our solution (after considering other options like buying a new house, for instance) was to go for a detached garage office conversion. At first, I was opposed to this idea (proposed by husband), because I’m not sure you really see ROI from a future sale of a home, unless you add square footage onto the main house. But I really started to warm up to the idea when I began realizing its utility as a major custom feature for a new mom who makes her living as I do; I can be close enough to be accessible, but still two closed doors away from babies and nanny and noise enough to have the reasonable expectation of actual work. That’s a setup that works for me.
Beyond that, we needed to maintain some storage space. Otherwise, what would happen to husband’s 23 crates of ’90s hip-hop records from his DJing days, or my endless hoard of sentimental artifacts (I know, I know, call A&E — but I just love life and people and memories)? So we divided the garage into partial raw storage, and partial office space. That sounds sort of simple, but required hoop jumping to accommodate the movement of the existing garage door, as well as un-motorizing it so the motor didn’t run through the ceiling of our space.
One of my best friend’s Holocaust-survivor bubbies had an expression. She’d say — and you have to imagine this in an old-country accent — “Everywhere is it nice, but home is it the best.”
This is more or less my own life’s most fundamental mantra, and the underpinning beneath every word written on this blog. I want to go everywhere and see everything, and in between I want to come home to my own coordinates, on my teeny-tiny piece of the earth, and sit in my sweet little 1,350-square-foot house, surrounded by my family and my friends and rascally cats. That’s the nougat filling if travel is the chocolate coating.
So quite literally every time I touch down at LAX, or pull into the driveway after a long time away, I say out loud — affecting the same Yiddish accent — “Everywhere is it nice, but home is it the best.”
After more than six weeks out of our house, living with parents and in-laws and traveling out of town every single weekend, our bathroom remodel finally wrapped up and allowed us to move back in earlier this month. And by then, home felt more luxurious than even the most far-flung five-star resort.
What are your thoughts on maternity photography?
Hoo-boy, I have seen some hokey-ass things that I did not want to replicate — weird props, blowing fans, heart-shaped hands, body paint (?), airbrushed insets a la Sears (?!), belly kissing (?!?). But given we’re expecting two babies, I am thinking of this pregnancy as a one-shot deal if all goes well. That means I have no more than 10 more weeks to be pregnant left in this lifetime. (I will miss the cutting in bathroom lines indiscriminately, but not the back pain). And I felt we should document this moment for posterity.
Hubby was very eh on the matter of a maternity photo shoot, and I get that. I do. But that’s not to say I ever squandered a Kodak moment in this life either. (Have you met me?) Lucky for us, we know one of the most talented photographers in town — Sean Twomey over at 2Me Studios — who happens to be a low-key, fuss-free pleasure to work with. So we set aside a Saturday morning on a gorgeous day for a Los Angeles maternity photography shoot that really felt like hanging out in the park among friends with no pressure and no wild expectations.
Surely I must be one of those people who’s not happy unless she’s in constant motion, whether that means traveling (three countries per 10-day vacation is about our speed), or keeping busy at home.
The latest piece of evidence: On Tuesday, which is the day I hit 19 weeks pregnant (or exactly halfway on the twins full-term scale), we’ll move out of our house as we begin demo for a two-month remodel. To recap: a home remodel while pregnant. One that requires moving out. And moving in with parents and in-laws. For six weeks. Gulp.