Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Good times in Colorado

We went to Colorado back to back in September and October for weddings.  It was great to see so many old friends and family.  

Penelope is so deeply in love with Wendy & Mike's dog Darla that she's been asking to Skype with her for weeks.  Today we finally did.  Only we mostly Skyped with Wendy and Maddoc.  Darla was busy taking a nap while soaking in some sun rays.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Savor the moment

Sometimes we all tell each other what the best part(s) of our day was when we put the girls to bed.  Today was an easy one for me.  The best part of my day was walking Penelope to school this afternoon.  She and I were holding hands and Amelia was riding in her push car singing songs (Twinkle Twinkle, and other lullabies).  Penelope was giddy with excitement at the prospect of rain this afternoon at school (she was fully outfitted with her rain boots, rain coat and umbrella).  She looked up at me at smiled a big smile every minute or so and a couple of times told me how much she liked Amelia's singing (which is rare as they are usually sharing or competing for the stage).  I told her I liked it too.  It was a perfect mommy moment.  I wish I could capture a moment like this and put in in a jar and save it for later.  When I need to remember a beautiful memory to lift me up or in many many years from now when my memory has faded.

Penelope got her rain.  It started raining during pre-school and hasn't stopped since.  She had great puddles to splash in as we walked home from school.  It's good to be a kid.  

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Photo Shoot

One day in August the girls and I met our friends for a play date in Union Square in SF.  It wasn't the most successful playdate...okay, I'll be honest and say that it was an absolutely exhausting undertaking.  We started out the morning with people watching & coffee drinking while the girls danced and played (after spilling hot chocolate all down their new dresses that I had finished the night before).  Then we popped into a 3 story Williams-Sonoma and then went onto the Cheesecake Factory for lunch.  Normally, my girls do really well at restaurants.  But not today.  Lunch seemed to be unusually slow & went into Amelia's nap time.  Penelope was tired and emotional over some silly conflict between her and her friend.  Amelia spilled some water and broke a plate.  Within minutes of getting out of that booth at Cheesecake Factory into the fresh air, Penelope and her friend worked things out.  We listed to the last song of the band playing in Union Square & then then left.  The girls both fell asleep at some point on the way home.  I had hoped that I could just park the car in the driveway and they would stay asleep for a while.  But they're too smart for that.  They woke up about 5 minutes later cranky as can be.  I knew neither of them would go back to sleep and so I decided to grab the dog and head up to Frenchman's Lake (an old dried up lake in the beautiful Stanford neighborhood) where I've been wanting to do a photo shoot.  They didn't really want to be photographed until I promised them chocolate if they cooperated.  I pretty pleased with the pictures as I had two cranky and dirty girls.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Doctor is In

We recently took Sadie in for her annual check-up.  We were driving home from dinner the other night (prior to her appointment) and Jiffer and I were explaining what a veterinarian was and why Sadie was going to go see one.  We told her that a veterinarian was an animal doctor.  That they treat dogs, cats, and various other animals depending on their practice and training.  At some point one of us said that a vet is a dog doctor.  Penelope asked, "A dog doctor?"  "Yes, a dog doctor".  "A dog doctor?"  "YES, A DOG DOCTOR!"  This went on and on for a few minutes.  We continued to explain that they aren't always doctors for dogs, but also cats, guinea pigs, bunnies, etc.  She kept on until Jiffer just about lost it in frustration of answering the same question 50 times until she finally said something that made me figure out what was getting her.  "So is a dog doctor just for dogs?"  I asked her if she thought Sadie's doctor was going to be a dog?  That was it.  She thought a dog doctor (i.e. veterinarian) was actually a dog.  She wanted to know if a dog doctor only treated dogs or if they treated other animals.  Once Jiffer and I figured this out, it totally melted away any frustration and made us opened our eyes to the sweet innocence and magical world of our little 4 year old.  Would a guinea pig doctor big a guinea pig?  I don't see why not.  Makes a little bit of sense, right?  Ah, I LOVE seeing through the eyes of a four year old.  Which reminds me of a fantastic quote I read again today at Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose.  I'll post that shortly.  It's a lovely quote that would serve me well as a mother to read it every day.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sewing Spree

My sewing spree was inspired by a a class I took in sewing with knits as well as my week without Jiffer (he was in Lyons, Colorado doing an instrument building class through the Rocky Grass Academy).  One of these days, my sister-in-law, Becky & I will get our sewing blog up and running.  In the meantime, I will post them here: 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Birthday Girl!

I can't believe Amelia is 2 already.  Where does the time go?  It has been really fun to see her personality more and more.  She's definitely got some spunk like her big sister, but can be kind of laid back and will go with the flow when we need her to.  She idolizes Penelope.  She even matches the same pitch of the shriek Penelope makes when they're playing.  It's been so incredible watching the girls become playmates and best buddies.  The Gorden's join us for a very simple party for her.  Becky and I made an Elmo (one of Amelia's favorite characters) cake for her.  She loved it!  She went straight for the black icing.  Happy Birthday Amelia!  We love you!



Wednesday, June 29, 2011

1 year down

Jiffer's completed his first year of a two year program at Stanford University's CCRMA program.  He's done some very interesting things throughout the course of the year.  A few posts ago, I promised a link to some of his recordings from this year...you can access those at www.elcajonmusic.com.  You can check out his other work at his CCRMA website.

Way to go Jiffer!  You're such a talented and hardworking musician & engineer!


A couple of nights ago, I took one of my favorite shirts that I bought from a boutique in Breckenridge, Colorado years ago and turned it into a dress for Amelia. Turns out the bodice of my shirt was already perfect length and silhouette for her.  I cut the dress out of the bodice and made ties from the 3/4 length sleeves.  Now Amelia has a new dress and the shirt can live on!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

4 Years

Dear Penelope,

You never cease to amaze me.  You challenge me and open my heart & mind in ways I never imagined.  Somehow after 4 years, we still haven't figured out how to best help you go to sleep at night.  I wish I could get inside of your little mind, so I could better help you.  Sometimes we talk about things we might want to dream about.  Happy things.  Tonight when you were going to bed, you told Daddy and me that you wanted to dream about all of our friends and family from Colorado, Missouri and California getting together...and playing Ring Around the Rosy, even  the dogs (especially Darla, Wendy & Mike's dog).  I hope I always stop and smell the roses with you even when I have loads of stuff to do.  I love seeing the world through your eyes.  And while you and Amelia fight like siblings do, you can be very loving and patient with her.  She adores you.  Raising you makes me want to be a better person.  I love you.


Friday, April 22, 2011

My kinder garden

A couple of nights ago I was putting Penelope to bed when she started asking me questions about preschool and what school she would go to when she turned 4 and 5 and so on.  I think she found it a little confusing because, although she'll turn 4 in a couple of weeks, she won't be in the '4s' preschool program until next fall / school year.  Kind of an advanced concept for a 3 or 4 year old.  Anyways, she started asking me about kindergarten.  I told her I didn't know what school she would go to and whether or it would be in California, Colorado or somewhere else.  She seemed to think we needed to move to Missouri or Colorado for kindergarten, since Mommy may not know where the kindergarten classes are in California.  I guess our experience of getting to know this place (navigating to new places and some times getting lost and doing lots of u-turns in the process) has made a strong impression on her.  And also since we know other kindergartners in Colorado and Missouri. Anyways, I assure her that we will find a great kindergarten class for her no matter where we live and that all that matters is that our family is together.  Her reply was, "Mommy, will they have flowers there?"  And I say that I didn't know, but it would be nice if they did.  And I asked her why she wondered that.  And then I realized what she was talking about.  She figured that they would surely grow flowers in a kinder GARDEN, right?  That just about melted my heart right then and there.  Do you know what the word kindergarten means?  It's a German word which translates to 'Children's Garden'.  What a lovely and appropriately used word.  I hope I remember these very sweet little conversations when she's older and a lot less innocent. 

Monday, April 4, 2011


Yesterday we planted a garden in our backyard with the help of Jason and Becky.  It took about 3 hours to buy prep and get it all planted.  We planted tomatoes, pickling cucumbers, a variety of peppers, onions, and a bunch of herbs.  It was a great afternoon filled with sunshine and family.  Grow garden grow.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Is it spring yet?

 My newest sewing project.  I guess I'm ready for spring.

Much needed getaway

Thanks to a very generous offer from Becky & Jason to watch our girls, Jiffer and I went on a little mini vacation to the Napa Valley last weekend.  We had a fantastic time (except for the part when the fire alarm went off in our hotel at 7:15am - but I'll get to that later).  When we arrived at Hotel Avia in downtown Napa, we got to witness the first 'snow' (if you can call it that in 50 degree weather) in this area since 1976.  It lasted less than a minute...and then we saw it snow again on our way into the first winery we visited Swanson Vineyards.  We did some tasting at the Sip Shoppe at Swanson.  They call it a candy store for adults.  Yes indeed.


After that, we went to Round Pond, an incredibly beautiful family owned estate producing not only wine, but olive oils and vinegars.  We were served some pretty incredible food and wine pairings.  They, of course, had no problem catering to my vegetarian diet (thank you California).  One of the bites I had involved a crostini and kale pesto.  Yum.

Back at the hotel, we enjoyed a complimentary wine tasting and chair massage.  It was almost a perfect trip.  Time for us to 'reconnect' as a couple in a beautiful setting with delicious food and wine.  Jiffer and I were especially excited about the sleeping in part.  We haven't done that more than a handful of times since 2007.  A little after 7am, defining smoke alarms sounded and we had to evacuate the hotel.  You've got to be kidding me.  Our ONE, yes one morning to sleep in.  False alarm.  Whoops. 

Thanks Becky & Jason.  We owe you.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Some beautiful sights

My mom came in town recently and we used her visit as a good excuse to do a couple of small trips to the beaches of northern California.  We did a day trip to Half Moon Bay exploring Moss Beach and having lunch in downtown.  There is a little hike that leads you to a grove of beautiful Cypress trees and some other beautiful tree (not sure of the name) and overlooks the beach.  This is the second time the girls and I visited this area.

I love this series of our family - Penelope's become quite the photogenic one

We also went on a two day trip to Point Reyes.  Point Reyes was amazing!  I'm not sure which was more beautiful.  The dramatic seashore or the beautiful rolling hills and dairy farms that we drove through to access the shore.  It reminded me of Ireland except their were tons of dairy cows roaming the hills instead of sheep.  We went to the North Beach which warns against getting too close to the water because they have 'sneaker waves' that are extremely dangerous.  The surf was spectacular.  We were told the waves were 17 feet tall.  The house we rented - The Blackthorne Inn - was very unique and cozy.  We would definitely like to go back again some day. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


You're probably thinking, it's a little late to be talking about New Years resolutions.  Well maybe you're right.  But that's not really what this is.  This is a little something I came up with tonight that I think will help me be a happier person and a better mom, wife, friend, stranger on the street.  I went to a class at Parents Nursery School tonight because it is my obligation to do so as a member of the co-op.  As with most nights after leaving the school, I feel both a small sense of camaraderie (about the trials and tribulations of parenting) as well as inspired to apply what I like about the new and old ideas discussed to my own parenting.  I think tonight was especially inspiring because I rode my bike and had a drink / appetizer with a friend before the meeting.  The ride home was lovely.  A peaceful and quiet night sky and Orion staring down at me...

I recently had a real change of heart about being apart of this co-op.  I am so grateful of this experience for many reasons, but one of the most powerful ones for me right now, is that I am 'forced' to participate in parent educations nights.  It's not that I wouldn't have otherwise wanted to educated myself as a parent, but now I'm expected to do so as a part of the school (much easier to do so when it's expected of you) and it's really opening my eyes.  The two other wonderful parts of this experience are 1) Penelope loves school and seems to be learning and growing in all kinds of healthy ways and 2) It's truly a lovely community of families who are unique, international, caring, giving, and who are all going through similar things.  This is especially nice given the fact that I recently moved to a place where I have no existing community and friends.  Don't get me wrong, I'm worn to a nubbin at the end of my work or 'volunteer' day, but all of the good stuff outweighs this, somehow.

Back to the resolution.  Just a small, but powerful little thing:  I'd like to reduce the number of times someone (anyone who notices me) sees me during the day where I'm looking hurried or annoyed.  To me, an improvement in way, would signify that I'm learning to slow down and be a little more present.  I'm confident this would improve the quality of my life and everyone around me.   Wish me good luck.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Fabric binge

The fabulous Harts Fabrics store in Santa Cruz was having a big sale on the morning of Superbowl Sunday.  I guess they figured that most of their clientele weren't big football fans.  Anyways, I went down with my brother, Jason, Penelope and Amelia.  Jason offered to come with me to watch the girls as long as I got him back before the game (what a nice brother!).  It was probably a good thing that I had limited time otherwise I would've broken the bank and spent the entire day there.  I ended up with mostly really great fabric for little girls clothing, but picked up a little bit of some Japanese Echino 'glasses' fabric to make a throw pillow cover for my sofa.  Here it is!  

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

View from the top

We finally went to check out the Hoover tower at Stanford.  We lucked out with a very sunny and clear day and had a spectacular view over the valley, up to San Francisco and to San Jose some 250 feet up in the air.