Understanding Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

May 10, 2015

mother and babyMarin Mommies presents a guest article by Marin parent coach, infant/toddler sleep researcher, and family therapist Angelique Millette.

May is Postpartum Mood Disorders Awareness Month and it seems fitting to write about postpartum depression and anxiety since they are so often linked to sleep deprivation in parents. In fact, very often when parents do reach out to me to make sleep changes, not only may they be experiencing sleep deprivation but they may also have symptoms of depression or anxiety or both. In fact, depression and anxiety are so common postpartum that up to 15 to 20% of women will experience some mild mood changes during or after the birth of their child, making mood disorders the most common postpartum disorder. In addition, new research is showing that up to 10 to 15% of fathers will experience a mood disorder such as anxiety or depression following the birth of their child.

Marin Mother's Day Weekend Events, May 8, 9 & 10

May 8, 2015
Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this Mother's Day weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

Also, make sure you check our our guides to family-friendly Mother's Day brunches in Marin. Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 8

  • Sing and Dance with Miss Kitty
    San Rafael Public Library
    Friday, 10:30–11:15 am

    Join Marin County favorite Miss Kitty for a series of fun family concerts just right for children aged birth to 8 years old. Free, no registration required! Location: 1100 E Street, San Rafael. For more info, call (415) 485-3322 or visit their website.
  • Seussical, the Musical
    The Playhouse in San Anselmo
    Friday & Saturday, 7:30 pm and Sunday, 2 pm

    The Stapleton Theatre Company presents Seussical, the Musical. Tickets: $20 adults, student $14. Purchase tickets here. For more information, visit their website.
  • Concert at Old St. Hilary’s
    Old St. Hilary's Church, Tiburon
    Friday, 8 pm

    The 15-voice women's vocal ensemble Musae and the 16 voice men's choir Ragazzi Continuo will present songs referencing beauty, transformation, and maternalism with works by Guillaume Dufay, Vytautas Miskinis, Stephen Smith, and Zae Munn among others. Expect a variety of musical genres to be included some light-hearted and some serious. Tickets: $20 general, $15 youth and seniors. To purchase tickets, visit their website.

Saturday, May 9

  • Marin Human Race 5K Race
    Marin Center Fairgrounds and Lagoon
    Saturday, 7 am-noon

    The Marin Human Race is the largest collaborative fundraiser in our county! Join over 3,000 Marin residents to run, walk, or roll the five-kilometer racecourse at Marin Center Fairgrounds and Lagoon. Enjoy a community fair highlighting local nonprofits and businesses, kids’ races, live music, pancake breakfast, complimentary refreshments, prizes, kids' fair with games and activities, giveaways and more. Location: 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • International Migratory Bird Day for the Family
    Muir Woods National Monument
    Saturday, 8 am–2 pm

    Bring the entire family to Muir Woods for their 15th annual International Migratory Bird Day. This free event is filled with activities and fun for all ages. If ever you were a little curious about our fine feathered friends, this is a great chance to dive in and learn what you can do to help migrating birds. Reservations not required. For more info, visit their website.
  • Living History Day
    Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park
    Saturday, 10 am–5 pm

    All are invited to meet the vaqueros, traders, cooks, craftsmen and women, and others who lived in Old California. Have fun weaving baskets, creating candles, playing games, and dancing at the Rancho. Adults $3; ages 6–16 $2; 5 and under free. Location: 3325 Adobe Road in Petaluma. For more info, visit their website.
  • Mothers Day Art in the Park
    McInnis Park, San Rafael
    Saturday, 10 am–noon

    Kids can work with Marin Parks rangers to make a special piece of art to give to Mom on Mothers Day. Supplies, smocks, and healthy snacks provided. Meet at the Hillside picnic area at 310 Smith Ranch Road. Free. For more info, visit their website.
  • Mother’s Day Family Campout
    Slide Ranch, Muir Beach
    Saturday, 10 am to Sunday, 1 pm

    Honor your mom with a special weekend that will be fun and memorable for the whole family! Meet the goat and chicken moms at the ranch, explore the garden and trails, cook farm-to-table treats, and make your mom nature crafts like lavender herb pillows and homemade picture frames to take home. A low tide on Sunday will make tidepool exploration possible too. Fee: $80 per person; kids age 2 and under free. Children must be accompanied by an adult. To reserve your spot, call (415) 381.6155 or visit their website.

Make a Classic Pineapple Upside Down Cake for Mom

May 7, 2015

Pineapple upside down cakeThis Mother's Day, why not make an old school dessert for Mom—pineapple upside down cake. Pineapple upside down cake is really old school, dating back to the 1920s when canned pineapple from was introduced to the US market by the Hawaiian Pineapple Company, which would eventually become Dole Foods.

Featuring moist and light cake topped with sweet pineapple and a caramelized brown sugar topping, it's no wonder this dessert has been popular for nearly a century. In our recipe, we use fresh pineapple, but you can substitute canned if you don't want to mess around with cutting up and trimming a fresh one. It's equally good with both.


For the topping:

Marin Movies in the Park for Summer 2015

May 6, 2015

Film Night in the Park Marin County SummerSummer means its time for Film Night in the Park, the annual series of free outdoor movies presented on a giant screen at parks in Marin County. Show time for all the movies is 8 pm, but arrive a little early for music, a raffle, and a cartoon. Reminiscent of the drive-in movies of yesteryear, Film Night in the Park is noted for its audience participation, with cheers for heroes, boos and hisses for villains, sing-alongs, and hearty applause.

This season's offerings are a fun mix of recent hits like Star Trek Into Darkness, Box Trolls, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Big Hero 6 and classics including Raiders of the Lost Ark, Toy Story, and Bedknobs & Broomsticks. There's definitely something for everyone!

The Downtown Novato Farmers Market Opens Tonight

May 5, 2015

The downtown Novato Farmers Market opens for its 2015 season this evening, Tuesday, May 5. The market takes place from 4 to 8 pm at their new location on Grant Avenue between 1st and 4th Streets. Come check out an abundance of fresh produce from local farms, pony rides, bounce houses, live music, and fresh prepared foods from local vendors.

Bring the family for an evening of fun on Grant Avenue. Each year the Novato Farmers Market grows and improves, and boasts an impressive array of some of the Bay Area’s finest food purveyors, producers, farmers, and ranchers.

The Novato Farmers Market takes place every Tuesday evening from 4 to 8 pm from May 5 through September 29, 2015. Customer parking for the Farmers’ Market will be offered at the old Pini’s lot located at 1107 Grant Avenue. For more info, visit their website.

The Circus is Coming to Town Memorial Day Weekend

May 5, 2015

American Crown Circus as St. Vincent'sIt's not every day that the circus comes to town, but it'll be here in Marin this Memorial Day weekend! American Crown Circus sets up its big top on the grounds of St. Vincent's School for Boys in Marinwood, just south of Novato, on May 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25. American Crown Circus is a family run, bilingual circus that features acrobats, high wire acts, and clowns (but no exotic animals). Read about our visit to the circus here.

The circus is the major fundraiser for the Rotary Club of Novato Sunrise, which has brought a professional traveling tent circus to Marin every year since 1997. Profits from the circus support local community projects.

There will be 10 performances and all, with shows on Thursday, May 21 and Friday, May 22 at 6:30 pm; Saturday and Sunday, May 23 and 24 at 1:30, 4, and 6:30 pm each day; and on Monday, May 26 at 1:30 and 4 pm. Advance tickets are $14; two children under 12 admitted free per paid advance adult ticket. Advance tickets are available online and at Matt & Jeff's Car Wash in Vintage Oaks and Redwood Credit Union in Novato. Tickets at the gate cost $20 for adults and $5 for children. Parking fee $5.

Insider's Guide to the 2015 Mountain Play: Peter Pan!

May 4, 2015

Peter Pan cast 2015 Mountain Play

One of Marin County's most beloved and unique events is the famous Mountain Play—an outdoor theater experience high on the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais that's been going strong for over a century! This year's 102nd Mountain Play production is the timeless Broadway musical Peter Pan, based on J.M. Barrie's classic tale of the boy who wouldn't grow up, the villanous Captain Hook, and the Darling children, and Neverland.

Featuring classic songs like, "I Won't Grow Up", "I Gotta Crow", and "I'm Flying", the Mountain Play's production of Peter Pan is directed by Michael Schwartz and features Melissa Wolfklain as Peter Pan, Jeff Wiesen as Captain Hook/Mr. Darline, Susan Zelinsky as Mrs. Darling, and Davide Yen as Smee. Musical direction is, as usual,  Debra Chambliss.

Performances take place at 2 pm at Mt. Tam's Cushing Memorial Amphitheater on May 24 and 31, and June 7, 13, 14, and 21. General seating ticket prices range from $25–$40, and children 3 and under are free. Reserved seats start at $60. Order tickets online here or by phone at (415) 383-1100.

Tacos al Pastor with Homemade Corn Tortillas

May 4, 2015

tacos al pastorThere's something about authentic style tacos that's so delicious, and one of our favorite variations is tacos al pastor, which consist of pork marinated in a red chile sauce with grilled pineapple. In taquerias the pork is usually cooked on one of those vertical spits (like the ones used to cook shawarma or gyros), but we make a simplified version that we cook on the grill and I think it's a great approximation of the real deal. The enzymes in the pineapple help tenderize the pork, and the sweetness plays off the flavor of the red chile and spices.

It's also fun—and surprisingly easy—to make your own corn tortillas, and there's nothing quite like a freshly made tortilla hot out of the pan. It helps to have a cast iron tortilla press, but you can use a rolling pin in a pinch. The kids love to make their own tortillas, although we leave the cooking to a grownup, since they're baked in a hot cast iron pan. Actually, quite a few of the tortillas never make it to the taco part of the meal, since they're so good on their own.

If you've never had a fresh, hand made tortilla, you're in for a treat. They're really quite unlike the packaged kind you get at the store, and they're really delicious. One more tip: rinse your chopped white onion in cold water and let drain before you use it to top your tacos. This really takes away a lot of the strong raw onion flavor.


for the tacos

Tools for a Natural Birth: Practical Advice from a Home Birth Midwife

May 4, 2015

Home birth midwifeMarin Mommies presents a guest article by local Certfied Licensed Midwife Lea Ritter.

I am frequently asked by the women I work with how they can best prepare for an unmedicated birth. As a home birth midwife I deliver babies born to low-risk women wanting a more natural, low-intervention birth. There is no one type of woman who chooses natural birth, whether at home or hospital. I have attended the births of doctors, lawyers, artists, home makers, teachers, sailors and other midwives. Home birth is not just for the super crunchy among us, but that's a seperate topic. Regardless of where you choose to have your baby, if you are wanting a low or no intervention "natural" birth, preparation is key.

Birth is an experience like no other in our lives. Giving birth is exciting and new and brings with it the most precious gift and greatest challenge: motherhood. There are many known benefits to giving birth as naturally as possible, all of which I will not go into here, but lets assume it is something you are interested in. How do you prepare?

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