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Jess Liotta
San Francisco, CA
A Montessori teacher with a passion for outdoor/garden education, cooking, eating, traveling, and photography.
Interests: montessori, teaching, garden education, outdoor education, photography, nikon, traveling, eating, cooking, geeky things, san francisco
Recent Activity
PART TWO: Labor and Birth! (See lots of photos to illustrate this story in this flickr set) Colin got back and I was out of the shower. We settled down in the nerditorium and put an episode of Sherlock from last season on, thinking it'd be a nice distraction - on the theory that one ignores contractions for as long as possible. As we ate I timed contractions which were continuing on a roughly one to one and a half minute duration and coming every two to five minutes. Although they were progressing into more discomfort I was still able... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2013 at Sandpaper Letters
So, let's talk about how this kid finally made his appearance! This is quite long. I loved reading birthing stories heavy on the details. I found having a lot of very real, very detailed information was extremely useful to me in feeling out what the full range of labors can be like, and I want to give that back to someone else if they feel they need it. This is Part One, covering up to the point of labor actually starting. WARNING: Both parts of this story will contain icky body-stuff details, if you're sensitive to that kinda thing (but... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2013 at Sandpaper Letters
Kai happily playing on his own bed in his own room, post-nap I've been very lucky in my limited time as a parent so far. Most of the things I theorized about what having a baby would be like have been confirmed by the experience. Not buying a stroller and using slings/carriers instead: totally the right decision. Elimination communication and cloth diapering: Going awesomely. And most importantly, Colin and I made a conscious decision that we would not think of Kai as a presence for whom we needed to change everything; rather, we wanted to try to find ways to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2011 at Sandpaper Letters
This morning, this video came up on a natural playscape discussion group I belong to: "Outdoor Preschool: Norway" on YouTube Please watch this if you have the time and have children, think you might want to have children, are a teacher, or care at all about education. Reading and watching things about "forest kindergartens" (as they are often called) is the only time I've felt my devotion to Montessori education challenged at all. But before I go into that, I need to have a bit of a squee in bullet point form about how many things I LOVE in this... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2010 at Sandpaper Letters
Muffins freeze amazingly well, too! When I was 9 months pregnant I cooked and froze a TON of meals for my future baby-frazzled self. I also baked muffins: cornbread, zucchini, bran raisin, blueberry, and carrot-ginger-cornmeal. Oh, and currant scones. I froze after baking. Then, every day for breakfast post-baby, we popped a couple in the microwave for 20 seconds. Hot muffins ensued!
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One of the things about having a baby that I didn't expect (but totally should have, given my years of teaching experience) is the gradual way that things change. I think to myself: "Oh, when did he start doing [thing?] I should write about that." But then I'd think, it's just one small change, and I have plenty of time to try to capture more of his milestones in writing. And then I turn around and I realize all those tiny changes accumulate, and all of a sudden he's 5 months old as of yesterday. He can support his weight... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2010 at Sandpaper Letters
By last Christmas, we knew we would be moving to a house in Oakland soon. Our apartment, TimeCube, was amazing, but it was unquestionably a deathtrap in terms of small children. (To say nothing of having no internal doors, which meant that we could expect to have guests basically never.) It was very hard facing the decision to move, because we LOVED that apartment. It was our first home together, and what a great space it was. So: as a Christmas present last year, Colin got me the BEST THING EVER. He spent hours secretly using the lego CAD software... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2010 at Sandpaper Letters
Unsurprisingly, we have kept pretty busy lately! Big projects of late: *Working on Kai's bedroom. I have a long long post I've mostly written about his room and the Montessori philosophy behind it; hopefully we'll have the last major bits complete in the next week or two and I can take pictures and post it. I'm very happy with how it's turned out so far. *More family visiting! Grandma Pat: Uncle Sean: Uncle Bryan: Aunt Becky came too, though I lack photographic evidence, she came bearing AWESOME gifts - Blue Footed Booby Baby feet. *We also had a bit of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 23, 2010 at Sandpaper Letters
I do wonder how much of a person's personality can be glimpsed when he or she is just a very tiny baby. I know that a lot of baby habits are at least semi-universal, but there still seems to be things that Kai does which could be portentous. (Or maybe I'm just reading way too much into nothing. That could be it, too!) One of his habits that I love the most is how *interested* he continues to be in things. ALL THINGS. Even when he's very upset about something, if he has the chance to look at something fascinating... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2010 at Sandpaper Letters
(I wrote this over a period of several days, which is apparently the only way I can find time to write a long blog post right now. Please excuse any temporal/tense weirdnesses or contradictions in the following text! Also, in the interest of getting this posted ever, I'm not inserting photos this time. But feel free to check out our July set of Kai photos.) Three weeks today since we've come home, and dare I say we've achieved some kind of new routine? Our days look something like this: Kai wakes up around 7 AM, generally. He eats, then Colin... Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2010 at Sandpaper Letters
Everyone in the childbirth class we took at our Birth Center has been sending out birth stories to the group as their babies have been born. We were the last ones to go, and I just wrote this up and sent it out. I figured I'd also post it here - it starts with my water breaking and ends with the cesarean, where the previous two posts pick up. FYI, Serena is my midwife, who we had intended be the one to deliver Kai. Of course, he had his own plans! * * * Hello everyone! Well, the last of... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2010 at Sandpaper Letters
It would go without saying that so much has happened these past few days. I want to keep it written down, at least early on, so that I can look back and remember. This is long long long and likely not to be of interest to everyone, but mostly it's for us. My first time seeing Kai post-surgery. When last I wrote, Kai was off receiving antibiotics and being observed for a possible infection. All the bacterial cultures came back negative, meaning he likely never had any infection at all, and we were able to stop the antibiotics a little... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2010 at Sandpaper Letters
A quick update from the hospital. For any of you not in the loop, our son Kai was born by c-section after he turned breech right before active labor started (little devil!). Because my water had broken 24hours previously and my temperature was elevated, it was assumed I had an infection and so i have been getting antibiotics. Yesterday evening the pediatrician on call let us know that he was breathing a bit fast and his temperature was also elevating a bit. He's definitely doing very well now, but just to rule out anything funky he's also getting a course... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2010 at Sandpaper Letters
I've been horribly neglecting this poor blog recently, having gotten out of the habit of writing. But I was thinking about what a shame it would be to look back on this time in our lives and not have anything recorded. And so I'm going to try to write down some of what we've been up to lately. I still have more things besides these big points to hit - family visiting, our trip to Chicago (Alinea!!), our victories at the most recent SF Food Wars... but for now, this already overly-long update will have to do. HOUSE: We officially... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2010 at Sandpaper Letters
There was a great discussion on this topic on the Ohdeedoh blog awhile back. I commented on it under the name veraciousjess, with a bunch of references to books and resources on this topic. Other people had super suggestions as well. You can find it here: Also, this great article was shared on the Earthplay discussion group recently. So inspiring!
Toggle Commented Apr 23, 2010 on in pursuit of Nature, small-style at Sew Liberated
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Mar 16, 2010
One week from today is moving day! Our home is currently a sea of boxes piled all willy-nilly. Currently boxed up are books, liquor, my desk, our games (board and video), movies, and our project materials. Still to go: The kitchen, tchotchkes, art, clothes, the bathrooms, the closets, the storage room, um.... yeah. Our progress is a lot more impressive if you understand the sheer number of books we have, I promise! We dropped by the house today to see if some repairs we'd requested had been finished, and dropped off all our potted plants. I also poked around in... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2010 at Sandpaper Letters
One of the Big Decisions we made upon embarking on this whole reproduction thing was to consider moving out of our beloved San Francisco TimeCube to a house in Oakland. We've lived in this apartment for two and a half years and it's been a joy the entire time. Deciding to move was based on a number of factors, but it really boils down to: 1. We live in a giant cube, meaning, 2. We have no doors except on the bathroom, meaning, 3. Post-kid we would never have houseguests ever again ever, nor could we isolate loud adults/sleeping child... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2010 at Sandpaper Letters
Daily photo from November 19th, now being made public: I've still been taking daily photos, even if I haven't been uploading them. They're all hanging out in lightroom. You see, we've been a bit distracted lately. Plans are rapidly changing, because life is taking unexpected, surprising, awesome, alarming (and many other adjectives) turns. Yep - we've unlocked the Pregnancy Achievement, which in theory should be in play until the end of June. OMG SURPRISE BABY LOL was the solution to the puzzle we made our family (and then friends) solve over Thanksgiving weekend. (See the puzzle here, and the solution... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2009 at Sandpaper Letters
One of my goals for our very much in-progress outdoor area is to align it more with our climate needs. We've been plagued with this cycle that goes something like this: 1. Disposable plants that are inappropriate for our weather are purchased and planted en masse. 2. They aren't watered enough, and wither and die. 3. GOTO 1. Slowly I've been trying to introduce drought tolerant (and California native, when possible) plants to our garden, along with removing the things that really ought not to be there. This has been going very well so far - well enough that we... Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2009 at Sandpaper Letters
Today I had the great honor of competing in my second SF Food Wars contest: the Mini Cupcake Clash! (Yes, I wrote the sign myself - teacher handwriting FTW! Teacher preparedness FTW, too - that was my emergency backup sign, the first one having gotten a cupcake upended on top of it...) I represented with my apple spice cupcake, topped with gravenstein apple cider cream cheese frosting and a drizzle of fresh caramel sauce. I had a minor frosting fail where I didn't count on the thickness of the cream cheese plus the small size of the tips I was... Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2009 at Sandpaper Letters
I've decided that it's time to graduate to a new blog! Hopefully this will become a repository for all the thoughts I'm having on things that interest me lately. Mostly I'll be talking about garden work, school/Montessori thoughts, photography - and probably a fair amount of food, travel, and general life stuff as appropriate. "Sandpaper Letters" refers to the material in a Montessori classroom used for teaching the sound and formation of letters. The child is encouraged to trace the letters with his or her fingertips, which are formed with a slightly rough material on a smooth background, while simultaneously... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2009 at Sandpaper Letters
This is a placeholder for something more betterer. The Tacoma Glass Museum, taken on our summer 2009 trip to the Pacific Northwest. Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2009 at Sandpaper Letters