Monthly Archives: March 2018

Weekend in Irvine

​Hello, Friday! Before jumping into a new weekend, just want to remember last week’s visit to see my parents. Diego is quite the Northern-Southern California frequent flyer, but this was his first flight out of OAK. And-his first AirBART! Three cheers for public transit to the plane.

The airport was packed (Friday evening flight), but while we were waiting at the gate, I looked up and guess who I saw….

Uncle Max!! One of these gentlemen in micro-fleece was en route to grandma’s house, and the other off to Vegas…

Speaking of grandmothers…the next morning, we joined an impressive group of grandparents, students, and families at the Irvine March for Our Lives. I’ll be honest, when I heard the words “Irvine” and “march,” I kind of expected it might just be my family, standing on a corner with signs. Irvine doesn’t exactly scream political activism.

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Wow. Was I wrong. The turnout was amazing. And passionate! And incredibly inspiring. I was most heartened by the enthusiasm from all the cars driving by.

I’m nervous about getting too hopeful–November is still many months away–but I’m hoping the activists and voters maintain their stamina and turnout for the midterms.

After incredible tacos at Puesto, Janou and I went for a walk at the beach. I can’t remember the last time to the two of us had a free afternoon to go for a walk (my mom watched Diego-hooray!) and it was really nice to enjoy the scenery and catch up.


That evening, we all met up at the park before heading home for a birthday dinner for Diego! My mom made delicious arroz con pollo-so comforting and cozy.

The next morning, Mom packed up a picnic breakfast for the beach. Bagels + beach + fresh air are all a happy start to the day.



It was a beautiful spring morning. Soon, it was time to head back-this time, Janou joined us for the flight! Flying with a teething baby seems to be my thing, and he’s getting verrrrry wiggly. But we all made it back, relaxed and refreshed from a beautiful weekend with family.

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Winter moments

​It’s officially spring! The sun came out this afternoon, and Diego and I went on a gorgeous walk after daycare. A few weeks ago, while reflecting on Diego’s first year, I was very grateful for all the moments documented in this little journal. Still, there’s so much that I missed. Some of it is stored in phone photos, some of it logged in memories, but overall, I want to do a better job at scrapbooking.

Anyway, with winter now over, here’s a few simple moments to remember from this winter:

 

 

The last few delicious dinners in our old house. Oh man, I definitely miss that kitchen. Here’s David making Coq Au Vin. The night before, I was watching a SATC re-run on my laptop, and Carrie was doing her whole “I’m soo cosmopolitan, I never cook,” spiel, and she said, “I’m more Coco Chanel than Coq Au Vin.” I look over, and David’s immediately searching Coq Au Vin recipes. I thought, hmmm…thanks for the inspiration, SATC! The dinner was delicious.

We took my favorite family selfie on a January day in the city. 99 times out of a 100 we take a selfie and something is off, but this one! This one worked. And I love it.

And then we spent much of January either sick or packing (or sick and packing). Have you ever tried moving with a 10 month old? A lot of two steps forward, one step back. This is one of our last Sunday breakfasts in the old house. I loved that dining room, and the pretty windows, and the way the sun beamed in through the front of the house in the morning.

And then we moved! And soon after I took a quick trip to DC for work, and Diego “helped” me pack. While in DC, I lost my wallet. This experience is only notable because I finally lived through that frequent security-line question: what happens if you lose your ID before a flight? It turns out, if you don’t have any identifying information, TSA pulls you aside and calls some government phone number. The TSA agent asks you personal questions about yourself and the person on the other line knows the answers. So, yes, Big Brother is real, but I was able to get on my flight home.


My parents came to visit and we had the coziest winter lunch at Wayfare Tavern. On our last trip to the restaurant, Diego was two months old, and happy to quietly chill in the booth. A year-ish later, and let’s just say….he was much more animated and mobile…dining out is getting interesting!

Speaking of our wiggly baby, someone could not contain his excitement when Jen came to visit with her babies! It was thrilling to finally meet Sachi and adorable to see sweet Dashiell with his little siblings and Diego.

Despite the move, new daycare, new city, new age, probably the most significant thing to happen in Diego’s life this winter: trying chocolate. He loved it. This photo is one of the rare moments he actually looked up from the mug.

David and I spent 24 hours in Napa and Sonoma and it was beautiful. It’s been pretty cold and rainy since that trip, so I’m grateful we got away on a gorgeous afternoon.

We’ve been watching Somebody Feed Phil, and it’s giving me big time wanderlust. I’m finding myself pretending (in my head) I’m somewhere international. For example, in DC, it was damp and gray, so I pretended I was in London: I went to Pret a Manger a million times for English breakfast tea and only listened to the BBC Woman’s Hour podcast. Last week, at Point Reyes, I imagined we were in the Scottish Highlands, as we walked through the green rolling hills. And a few weeks ago, during a gorgeous afternoon with the Budaks at the Lafayette Reservoir, I took a mental vacation back in time to walking around the beautiful Langholmen island and admiring nature in Sweden.

Back in reality, in March, I got pretttyyyy emotional thinking about Diego’s first year, and spent much of that week in nostalgic reflection.

Diego’s birthday coincided with Daylight Savings, and I am loving the longer days. It is such a delight to go to the park and on long walks around the neighborhood after daycare.  The evening light is pretty spectacular, and when I’m feeling ambitious, we’ll walk up to Berkeley and take in Bay views. Other times, we just tool around closer to home and get to know the pretty streets and houses.

 

 

​Four days after Diego’s birthday, I turned 33. This year, since we live closer to our friends, I was super excited to celebrate with everyone. We planned a barbecue at Tilden Park, but ended up cancelling due to the cold weather and rain. I was bummed, but we had a relaxing day at home, complete with corned beef and cabbage and a little Irish music for St. Patrick’s Day.

And on Sunday, the rain cleared up, and we spent the day introducing Diego to Pt. Reyes! This brave baby completely surprised us by crawling through the sand, straight into the water. It was cold, but not freezing, and he seemed to love it. Definitely a Pisces baby!

Grateful for this winter and looking forward to spring :)

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Diego’s birthday weekend! 

Hello! Happy Friday :) It is 2 in the afternoon, I’m cozy in my bed, it’s been raining on and off, and I have a lavender rosemary candle on. Today is my birthday! I took the day off from work and Diego is taking a nap (HOORAY!!). I’m relaxing and reflecting on last weekend.

Kirstin had the brilliant idea to write Diego a letter for his first birthday, so I got out all of my wild emotions in a letter to him Sunday night. Now, I’ll just jot down some of our happy memories celebrating our sweet baby’s first birthday!

Saturday morning, we had a party with David’s family. The whole week leading up to his birthday weekend, I was kind of an emotional mess. But when it came time to celebrate, suddenly the excitement took over, and I got in to the festive spirit. Silvia watched Diego in the morning while we ran a few errands to prep. As we drove around, just the two of us, I couldn’t help but think of the Saturday morning, a year ago. We went to brunch and walked along the reservoir, and it was the last day it was just the two of us. It felt sweet to be back in the car, just us, anticipating another special weekend.

Something about picking up his birthday cake, seeing the little hat, made me feel like, oh man, we are parents.

David’s family went all out and prepped an incredible tacquiza. It was delicious.

Diego even tried his first taco!!

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Beyond the incredible food, I’m so grateful Silvia is such a talented photographer. I love looking back at these photos of Diego and his birthday cake:

He hesitated for a moment, and then he REALLY went for it. He was pretty bonkers for the afternoon, but watching his delight with the cake was totally worth it.

A little over a year ago, we gathered with the same family and friends to celebrate a baby shower, and anticipate what it would be like to meet this baby. It felt very special to be surrounded by everyone again, wrapping Diego in birthday love.

The sunset that night was amazing!!

The next day, after crepes at the Farmer’s market, the sun came out and it was too beautiful to be inside. We grabbed the stroller and took Diego on a birthday BART ride. I’m pretty sure no one has EVER been this happy on BART. He was elated! I think he liked being able to sit between both of us and watch the view. Usually, in the car, he’s either alone or stuck with me, and I think he genuinely enjoyed being together. Or maybe the train ride was just that exciting?

Anyway, we walked to the park near the Ferry Building and played there for a while.

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The park near us doesn’t have bucket swings and he got a real kick out of these:

We celebrated his birthday eve with shakes and french fries at Gotts.

The next morning, Diego’s real birthday, started wayyyyy too early as it was the morning after Daylight Savings. We were all pretty sleepy, but snapped a quick photo before heading to daycare/work.

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Glad we got these photos. When we came home and tried to take his year old photo, he was so wiggly and excited, he kept scooting off the couch! So, we popped open the champagne we had been saving to celebrate his first year, and took a photo of that instead :)

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Cheers to Diego, to one year, and to all we have learned together! When I was in labor, to calm myself down, I kept telling myself, just think of all you have to look forward to. Someday you’re going to take this baby to the beach, someday this baby is going to see the ocean. I kept picturing a baby at Crystal Cove. Focusing on that hope and dream (sort of) centered me. Taking Diego to the beach has certainly been a highlight this year. But I had no idea how many other remarkable moments were in store. The thrill of seeing Diego at the ocean is matched by the way my heart soars in the morning, when I see Diego and David snuggled up in bed together. Or when I pick him up at daycare and he nearly lunges into my arms. Or when I watch him on the playground, observing other kids, trying to piece together how he fits in in this world, and figure out what they are doing. Learning more about who he is, and who he is becoming, is a thrill I never could have dreamed of. I’m so grateful for all of it, and incredibly thankful for this year and Diego.

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Hello, March 

I wrote this four days ago, but never finished. Now that it is the night before Diego turns 1 (!!!!) a whole new stream of emotion and reflection has taken over. Hoping to write about that, and his first year, tonight. For now, some thoughts from earlier this week:

We’re less than a week away from Daylight Savings Time (beginning? Ending?) and longer days. The extra hour of sunshine will always make me think of Diego as he was born in Daylight Savings Sunday. Trying to wrap my mind around the fact Diego will be one on Monday.


I’m far more emotional about it than I anticipated. It hit me hard on Monday. When I first went back to work, and was constantly pumping, I felt this very intense emotional and physical pull all day long. It was like my arms needed Diego, like I couldn’t completely concentrate, because of this incredible need to hold him, and have him snuggled up with me.


Thankfully, with time (and when I stopped pumping—ALL THE PRAISE HANDS) this pull mostly calmed down. Though I still, to this day, like clock-work, at 2 pm, fiercely miss Diego. I generally have to take a quick break, scroll through some baby photos, but thankfully, it’s not an all day thing.

ANYWAY, all to say, that yesterday, that all-day nagging feeling returned. I felt pretty bluesy and surprisingly extremely emotional thinking about my baby turning 1. David and I are spending most nights re-watching baby clips, and I burst into tears the other night thinking about the baby-baby stage being over. Despite the fact I have an absurd library of photos on my phone, I keep worrying, did I take enough photos? Did I pause enough? How did it all go by so fast?


And yet…it wasn’t really that fast. (I know, I know, it’s the longest-shortest time). There were streatches that were very trying. The exhaustion aside, the initial few weeks post-birth, the total self-doubt when I returned to work, the complete chaos as we navigated new jobs/long commutes, all made for some lonnnng days.

I was thinking about those moments a lot the other day, feeling a bit of a sense of regret as I reflected on Diego’s first year. And then, I curled up, and read a lot of  journal entries from those moments. Sure, I noted how tired I was, but my overwhelming sense in those moments, at that time, was joy and wonder at this sweet baby. Reading about Diego’s first first two weeks or his first baseball game-both of these were during times that I remember feeling particularly exhausted, confused, and very unsure of myself-and yet, all of that was just background noise. What really mattered, and what I did soak up at the time, was complete delight in all of Diego’s antics.

And thinking of his darling antics helps me avoid being tooo emotional about time marching on.  I am loving observing him engage more with the world. He tries to “play” with toddlers at the park, and “dances” (little bounces) to music, and babbles to himself in the car-seat. The other night, we were in the midst of an absurdly messy dinner (why do babies insist on rubbing food all over their eyes???) and I could feel myself getting frustrated. I started joking around with Diego and he exploded into a fit of giggles, and it was like this whoooosh of fresh air and fun exploded and made us all so happy.

So that’s how I was feeling as we kicked off March :)

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24 hours in Wine Country

Many, many years ago, I remember sitting in a movie theater, watching Bridget Jones’s Diary, and feeling absolutely giddy for her as she embarked on her “full blown mini-break holiday weekend.” Of course, her weekend ended disastrously, but watching their convertible speed off into the English countryside, I remember thinking, oh man, I can’t wait to grow up and go on mini-break holiday weekends.

I would love to tell 16 year old Fay, that for once, you’re actually right! Holiday weekend trips are awesome, and totally worth going through that whole growing up thing. While I love big trips and faraway travel, sometimes, a super quick getaway provides exactly the right magical vacation restoration, with way less planning and commitment.

Two weeks ago, my parents came to visit, and were kind enough to watch Diego while David and I went away for the night. Rachel and Adam were visiting Napa for a few days, and so a quick trip to Napa and Sonoma sounded like a great way to get away, drink some delicious wine, and see friends.

Image may contain: 5 people, including Adam Howard, Rachel Patta Howard, Fay Gordon and David Garcia, people smiling, people standing, sky, mountain, outdoor and nature

They are in the Vineyard 29 wine club, and we started the afternoon with a private tasting at the vineyard. I’ve never done a private tasting before and it was awesome. Austin, our guide, detailed all of the technology and innovation behind the production-side of the wine and then led us through an incredible tasting. The views from the tasting were spectacular, and, while I’m still learning about wine, from my naive perspective-the wine was phenomenal.

After several hours at Vineyard 29, we crossed the street to Trinchero. Rory was such an adorable trouper! He was so patient during the tasting and just a happy, calm baby throughout the day.

The later afternoon sunlight really was golden, and we all thoroughly enjoyed the wine and relaxing on the patio. Also, give me a glass of wine, afternoon sun, and an Adirondack chair, and I’m good for a while.

Eventually, the sun dipped behind the valley, and the temperature dropped dramatically. We said goodbye to the Howards, and headed off in search of a burger from Gotts. The line was absurd, so we got tacos at a place next door, and hit the road for our hotel.

I found a deal at the Fairmont Sonoma that was too good to pass up, but I completely underestimated the winding drive! Thankfully, David drove, and it was totally fine–if not a bit of a white knuckle ride–but note to self: 1) when wine tasting in Sonoma, stay in Sonoma, 2) when wine tasting in Napa, stay in Napa.

I say that but….I should add a: 3) when you find a crazy ridiculous rate at the Fairmont Sonoma, absolutely stay there, it is so worth the drive.

The hotel is gorgeous, and everything was just so nice. In addition to the beautiful hotel, the on-site Willow Stream Spa is worth the trip alone. The weekend was already quite a splurge, so I didn’t get a treatment, but I definitely took advantage of the day pass on Sunday morning. The spa’s complex of thermal mineral pools are incredibly calming, but I was most surprised by how much I enjoyed the zero gravity chair room. Previously, I had only seen these chairs in lounge chair form, but they were basically beds, in a dark room with soothing music and hot tea. The chairs actually kind of resembled the loungers from Wall-E, which is a little disturbing, but they were so relaxing!

Anyway, after the spa morning and lunch in downtown Sonoma, it was time to say goodbye wine country and head back home to our Diego-bear. Very grateful for the quick trip away, but always happy to come home.

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