Happy Valentine’s Day!

Last night, David and I were talking about Valentine’s Day, and the first card he ever gave me. We had *barely* started dating right around the holiday, so I definitely wasn’t expecting anything. Which made receiving this card, a few days before Valentine’s Day 2007 all the more delightful and hilarious:

As he noted in the card:

I’m not much of a scrapbooker (I truly rely on this for capturing my memories), but last night, we read through one of the only scrapbooks I’ve made, and it was a trip to recount old memories. We’ve exchanged many, many cards over the years, but this is one of the few that’s survived my innate KonMari urge to purge. And I’m so glad I did. Along with these few photos of those goofy UCLA students, 12 years ago :)

Happy Valentine’s Day!!


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10 moments in January

Happy February! Current soundtrack: the dishwasher whirring and HAIL hitting the windows. It’s chilly and stormy and I’m grateful to be home with a cozy blanket. Here’s a few moments I didn’t get a chance to write about earlier, that I hope to remember from January:

1) Snow at the beach:

I wrote about our recent Tahoe trip, but I want to remember what a bizarre thrill it was to walk along the beach with the bitter cold and snow in the background.

2) Parks and puddles.

Rain, rain, rain. Thankfully, Diego loves his rain-boots and I try not to get too grossed out by all the mud puddles.

3) Tiny sous chef!

I’m trying to re-frame how I think about our tiny kitchen. Part of that just means spending more time in it, reminding myself that I actually do enjoy cooking, and the pleasure of cooking doesn’t require a large, perfect kitchen. (But let’s be clear, I definitely miss our old kitchen). Anyway, Diego wants in on this kitchen time fun, so I’ve figured out an easy corner for him to hang out and play with soap and water when I cook. It’s a total mess, but he loves it, and I love the company.

4) Catherine’s Calistoga Bachelorette weekend!

Catherine’s wedding is less than a month away! Her friends threw her a beautiful bridal shower at Farmstead and her sister planned an incredible weekend at the prettiest AirBnB in Calistoga.

I still remember meeting Catherine, over 15 years ago. It was our first few days of college, and we were sitting in Moore 100, eager and nervous freshmen. Since then, she’s introduced me to SO much: dry shampoo (meaning she’s literally saved me days of my life in hair washes), the magnificent J Crew (many trips to the Century City store in college), Coral Tree and Literati cafe, the chocolate cake at Kramerbooks, the meatballs at ShopHouse (RIP), and an incredibly fascinating and memorable weekend at Norman Mailer’s house in Cape Cod.

What I could not get over, as we sat around the fireplace, listening to friends from preschool and DC grown-up life share Catherine stories, was how much they all felt like Catherine’s friendship shaped how they grew up. Catherine delights in her friends. When you’re 5 or 25, knowing you have a friend who is there for you, remembering incredible details about your past that you likely forgot, but she remembers-it’s rare. It really means something. It was a special weekend seeing friends and family who love Catherine and I can’t wait to celebrate with everyone in March!

5) This cheeseboard.

We left the winery in Napa and it was pouring and cold and definitely time for yoga pants and snacks. We pulled up to the cozy house walked in to a wonderful scene. Liz and Laura prepped this incredible cheeseboard and there was a fire, friends, and no responsibilities. It was decadent and lovely.

6) These two :)

While I was in Calistoga, these two had quite the weekend adventure! They explored the science center in Berkeley, had giant deli sandwhiches, took the MUNI to a park in SF and even joined a march! I can’t help but  feel guilty before leaving Diego for any kind of trip, but he and David always seem to have a great time.

7) Donut delight

Much to Diego’s delight, Terry and Julie hosted a coffee and donuts party at their beautiful house. It was so nice to see so many Bruins babies all together and such a treat to see Diego live his best life: scooting around in this Batmobile, devouring a chocolate donut. So much joy.

8) All the winter things: Winter cooking

For Christmas this year, David’s family did a book exchange, and thanks to Alina, I got the book I’ve been wanting for yearsDinner: A Love Story. David’s go-to dish is DALS Pork Ragu, and while I constantly check the book out from the library, it’s a rare one that I wanted in my possession (it sparks joy :)). Anyway, all to say, between the cookbook and my personal Kitchen Appreciation campaign, I’ve been cooking a lot more. In particular, I’ve been making this bread once a week, and it has contributed to some delicious dinners.

9) Winter sunsets:

All the rain means a very clear sky and incredible evening sunsets. Love that afternoon walks around the neighborhood can go later, as the days get a tiny bit longer.

10) Winter reading:

I ended 2018 reading two incredible memoirs-Becoming [have you heard of it? :)] and Educated-and decided to stick with the genre for January. I absolutley loved Glynnis MacNicol’s No One Tells You ThisOf all the motherhood books I’ve read recently (and I’ve read a lot!) interestingly, this book, full of observations of other mothers, provided the most interesting insight. She is candid about her joy and sadness, and her reflections really stuck with me. Like this one, where she writes about a week caring for her sister’s children:

“Parents, especially women, have a habit of talking about motherhood as though it were an exotic mystical land where everything is dazzling; as if they’d walked through a closet and the world has suddenly gone Technicolor. Or at least that’s how it often felt, listening to them from the shores of childless land. With each breakfast rush and school run and nighttime snuggle, I was traveling further and further into that land, if only as a tourist. It did not feel mystical, unless you count the hallucinatory effect of having no sleep. But it was electrifying. There was a deep charge in this, a sense of propulsion and deep, absolute necessity.”

I love that-not mystical, but an electrifying charge of necessity. I also read and really liked Curtis Sittenfeld’s new book of short stories, You Think It, I’ll Say It. I’m not generally interested in short stories, but these were all compelling, and it was a fun read.

That’s it for January!

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The Real Year is 2040

I’ve been thinking about this idea all weekend. Cup of Jo posted this Mark Duplass video on Friday, and I love his sweet thoughts on re-framing the exhaustion of parenting and focusing on the present.

This afternoon, Diego and I were cuddled up, reading his garbage truck book. He’s somehow managed to destroy the book, ripping every cardboard page off the spine. So really, we were reading his garbage truck cards. Anyway, I’m pointing out the pictures of the green truck, the orange houses, reading along, but thinking of a million other things. I wasn’t feeling terribly exhausted, but definitely just going through the reading motions. My mind wandered back to that video, and the 2040 idea.

Imagine it’s 2040, and you suddenly get 3 minutes, just 3 minutes, to be back in this moment.

I suddenly focused back to the present. I felt the tiny weight of Diego’s sweet little body, curled up against my chest. His wavy hair, slightly matted in the back from baby nap sweat, poofy up on top. He holds the book up against his baby belly, which I just love because he’s so lanky, but thankfully has a precious belly. His “recessed chin,” that when he was a few weeks old, his pediatrician assured us he would “probably grow out of.” He’s already sort of grown out of it, and that thought makes my heart ache, realizing of how much babyness is in the past. Thankfully, he still has a little baby double chin, which gets even more pronounced when he throws his head back and forth in a fit of giggles, a scene that basically defines joy. “Bid-duck” he says, which we think means Big Truck, and he turns the pages to the next card, the truck squishing all the trash into a compactor.

And then, in less than three minutes, the moment is over. He’s begging for agua and the cup is in the other room, and we’re off to the next distraction.

I’m not great at this whole Being Present in the Moment thing. I’m definitely working on it and love discovering ideas to help. Never thought some of my favorite mindfulness advice would come from an actor on Instagram, I guess that’s parenting in 2019 :)

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Snow :)

The rain continues in Oakland-hooray!-but this weekend, we got to play in the SNOW!

We drove up to North Lake Tahoe Friday afternoon and joined our friends at a beautiful AirBnB.

The weekend was delightfully low-key, full of laughter and way too short. Lake Tahoe is too beautiful-and too long of a drive-for just two nights. Hoping that next time we return, we stay for longer time!

Diego slept most of the drive up, and woke up about 20 minutes before we arrived. THANK YOU, DIEGO. As we approached the house, he kept saying, “Isla!” “Georgia!” We must have told him a hundred times that we were going to see his friends, and he was very excited.

Saturday morning, we bundled up and drove to North Lake Tahoe Regional Park for some sledding. I imagine the snow was perfect a few days earlier, but it was still quite nice for sledding.

We couldn’t figure out if Diego enjoyed sledding, but after every “run,” he kept saying “more, more” so…I think he had fun?

As much as I love getting out, during these trips, I absolutely adore the cozy afternoons together, snacking, playing games, watching toddler concerts.

Saturday night, Zac made a perfectly crisp Moscow Mule, Jon sous-vide’d delicious tri tip, and we had an incredible family dinner. After the babies went to sleep, the Attigas introduced us to Code Names. I can’t stop thinking about how much I want to play that game again.

This photo makes it look super intense-and it was. And so, so fun.

Narges made a beautiful photo book for all the children, and on the last page, she had this photo-from out last winter Tahoe trip in 2015:

That was the last trip before the babies joined the crew :) And here we are, a few years later, in 2019:

Beyond grateful for the friendship with these beautiful families.

Sunday morning started wayyyyy too early, when Diego woke up a few hours after we went to sleep, ready to PLAY. We took our time driving home, stopping in Davis to play in their awesome parks.

Sometimes I feel like I have no concept of time, or time’s passage. If I saw that 2015 photo, without the date in my phone, it would take a moment to figure out just how much life has passed since that snapshot. And then, there’s moments where it hits: whoa. Time is flying. Sunday morning, we were loading up the car, and I had to grab something from downstairs. Isla and Diego were playing in the living room, and just before I ran down the stairs, I said “Isla, I’ll be right back, can you be in charge of Diego and watch him?” It was probably a 20 second assignment, and Isla was wonderful. When I was back upstairs, and saw the two of them, it hit me.

Wait a minute, this sweet child, who didn’t even exist when we started these trips, is now watching my baby, the same baby who was also just a wish, a dream, when we started going to Tahoe in 2014? We started these family trips in 2014? FIVE years ago? We moved back to California almost five years ago?

Wow, time is flying. And I’m so, so grateful for these friendships to anchor these years, and for all the memories we’ve built together.

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Rainy days

Good morning! It’s Wednesday and I’m waiting on the platform for BART. It’s been rainy here-thank goodness-so we’ve been pretty housebound.

Diego totally surprised us a few months ago with his yoga moves. I guess he learned it in daycare? He’s leading David in some morning stretches :)

We went on a longer evening walk last week, taking advantage of the ~slightly~longer days, and walked by this incredibly festive and patriotic house. The little banner under the “Take back the House” sign says: “We did it!!” And thank goodness. Trying to remember the incredible relief we felt in November, as federal actions grow more and more concerning.

Diego is more than slightly obsessed with his rain boots, so we did a lot of puddle jumping this weekend. He got a little too excited, and scratched up his face, but as always, it freaked me out more than it affected him.

That’s all for me on this cloudy Wednesday! I keep going to the library hoping I’ll find a good book, but I can’t seem to settle on anything. Hoping to find something soon. Until then, there’s Maisel, Season 2 :)

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