Monthly Archives: November 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

It’s back to reality after a nice, long Thanksgiving break. David and I actually got to go on a Real Grownup International vacation to Mexico City, and I can’t wait to write all about the incredible city. We also were able to spend a few restorative days at my parent’s house, bookending our trip in Irvine. Here’s some memories from Camp Dewberry:

Diego and I flew down early, and were lucky to have a whole row (THE BEST). Diego immediately dug in to his favorite reading materials.

And quickly resumed his daily Dewberry routine: running around the neighborhood with his shopping cart, playing basketball, destroying Duplo towers, and reading pop-up and Spot books over and over and over.

We enjoyed a few beautiful walks around Crystal Cove, always a highlight of a trip to Irvine.

Janou, Max and MaryJo cooked an incredible Thanksgiving dinner, full of beautiful fresh produce from MaryJo’s farm. We got back super late Thursday night, and enjoyed the incredible leftovers the rest of the weekend.

Before our flight Saturday night, we checked out Centennial Farm, and Diego ran around, reveling in the sight of the lambs, cows and pigs.

Our flight home was PACKED, and the Oakland airport was bananas. It was a reminder how nutty holiday travel can be and I was grateful we had such a short flight and trip home.

It was especially nice to have a quiet Sunday, just venturing out to TJs and a Christmas tree lot.

Don’t let this minimalist tree fool you, it’s actually embarrassing how much we spent on basically a branch and a few green sprigs. I’ve been reading about the Christmas tree shortage (interesting economics lesson: 2008 recession = farmers cut back on planting. Fast forward 10 years, there’s now a dearth of mature trees). Anyway, it’s all worth it, as I’ve relished the last few nights, curling up next to it the twinkle lights, George Winston music playing, working my way through Becoming. Hooray for holiday hyyge time :)

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Holiday brunch at the Grand Californian

I’m learning that spontaneous outings are with a toddler are rare-most events require nap-planning and a lot of logistics. But when it does work out, there’s immense joy in spontaneity. On Sunday, we were lucky enough to enjoy a unplanned holiday brunch at Disney’s Grand Californian hotel.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve always loved special outings to Disneyland hotels, and have dreamed of one day taking Diego to Disneyland. I’m in no rush to take him to the actual theme park-the cost, the crowds, the fact he’s far too young to get it-it’ll be a while until we do the whole thing.

Still, there’s something undeniably magical about Disney at the holidays. We were in Irvine this weekend, and I decided to check out reservations at the Storyteller Cafe. It was totally booked.

Thankfully, my parents and David were game to wing it (realizing just how planned out my average day is when a reservationless morning at Disney feels like really living on the edge). As we pulled up to the hotel around 9, the Cast Member asked, “Do you know what day it is today?” No idea. “It’s the big guys birthday! Tell Mickey, Happy 90th!”

There was a totally reasonable wait for a table, and we walked around Downtown Disney for a bit. Diego went bonkers with excitement in the Lego store-it’s wild that he’s at an age where he’s starting to recognize toys and stories.

The character breakfast is certainly a splurge, but worth it. Diego was cautiously mesmerized by the characters, slow to warm up to them, and then clapping along with the Zipadeedodah character parade. I think he found the other children as exciting as the characters-I love watching him interact with the world.

And, it was so nice to be in a restaurant that completely caters to children. Usually, if we all go out, I’m slowly doling out raisins or goldfish one by one, we’re coloring like maniacs to keep Diego entertained, and then eating as quickly as possible/taking turns before we wrap up the meal. And, this is not a Diego critique-he’s (usually) a pretty good restaurant companion! But it’s the reality of being 20 months old and trying to sit still. Anyway, all to say, it was a delight to slowly enjoy the meal, watching Diego’s face light up in wonder, totally entertained, and never worry when he dropped food from his high chair.

All in all, two big thumbs up to the Mickey’s 90th birthday and brunch at the Storyteller Cafe.

After breakfast, we admired the Christmas decorations in the lobby. The hotel is gorgeous and the decorations are equally stunning. Watching Diego check out the tree really put me in the holiday spirit. Getting very excited to enjoy the season together!

And the best part? After all that holiday hoopla and excitement? We still made it home in time for his nap :)

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Baby shower weekend

This weekend, I had an interesting (and delightful!) experience attending three baby showers in a 24 hours. Going in to the weekend, I hadn’t expected to be so moved by the events, but man, they were beautiful.

Diego and David with his cousins, celebrating Alina’s baby-to-be :)

Our state is currently reeling from multiple horrific tragedies and ongoing wildfire destruction. The fires were constantly top of mind, with so much smoke, the city smelled like a campsite and the sky was completely hazy.

It’s difficult to be positive, or even future-thinking, when so many are facing such harrowing circumstances. And that’s probably ok-I think it’s important to be aware and thoughtful of reality.

At the same time, wallowing in misery doesn’t help anyone, so it was especially nice to be distracted by such joyful events this weekend.

And what joy! Over the two days, we saw friends and family, which is always the best tonic.

Diego and Colin at baby Cora’s Sip and See

Beyond the buoying effect of gathering together, was the extra joy preparing for these sweet babies. As we were unloading pink gift bags at Katie’s uncle’s house, and looking around the long table of joyful family at Tia Sonia’s, and watching giddy toddlers on tricycles at the Hirsh home, I felt this overwhelming sense of…I know it sounds cheesy…but love. So many acts of love and hope, of people gathering together to say, “Hey, baby! We’re so excited for you! And we’re here for you and your family!”

As someone who did literally nothing other than show up, I’ll say it takes a lot of work to put on a baby shower. And what is love if not putting in work to show someone you care?

Last night, as we passed around the sweetest handmade stuffed rabbit, cooed over the tiniest little headbands, and gushed over the tear-jerking power of the Nancy Tillman books, my heart felt full and hopeful for the future. While vitriolic Twitter spats and terrifying news personalities can lead me to think everyone is awful and we’re headed for doom, seeing all the love and care and effort this weekend certainly challenged that narrative.

It was a beautiful weekend. Today, we observed Veterans Day and the three of us spent the day together.

We mostly stayed home-my attempt to find an indoor play place open on the holiday was unsuccessful-but it was nice and cozy.

We started the day with a rare treat: brunch at Rockridge Cafe. We walked around the neighborhood for a bit, before heading to Trader Joe’s and hunkering down for the day. We watched a zillion SNL re-runs, read the paper, cooked, and had a lot of time to just delight in Diego.

Hoping the fires are soon contained and praying for recovery for all impacted.

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Filed under Observations


Hmmm….October. I generally love this month-leaves, sweaters, fall-the whole thing. Looking through photos, there were many happy moments. At the same time…October hit me like a ton of bricks. Think the compounded exhaustion and current world tragedies caught up to me. Thankfully, I’m feeling a bit better and just grateful for friends and family to lean on when I get overwhelmed.

Anyway, the beginning of the month was kind of a fog. We spent the second half of the month traveling and at my parent’s house, and I think the break in routine (and break in childcare responsibilities) helped. Here’s some moments I want to remember from October:

1) First trip to the Little Farm: Add this to the list of Why Did it Take us so Long to Get Here places. So close, so easy, and for Diego, pure MAGIC. He was positively gleeful feeding that cow.

2) Sunday dinner and babies!

The Dillons had us over for dinner and made an incredible feast. Mushroom bread pudding! Homemade sauerkraut! Perfectly mixed cocktails! Just a simple Sunday night dinner. Diego is now old enough to start recognizing his friends, and he was delighted to play with them.

3) #LiveLaughSarkar:

Ashley and Jay got married! Their wedding was spectacular, at a gorgeous estate in La Quinta. It was beautiful to see the joy they both shared, and the energy at the wedding was contagious. Ashley has an incredible, professional eye for design and everything was visually stunning. We would have traveled anywhere for the wedding, but it was really special to have an excuse to spend a weekend in Palm Springs!

4) La Quinta weekend:

My parents kindly watched Diego, and David and I got to spend the wedding weekend relaxing at the pool in La Quinta. It could not have come at a better time-the abundant sunshine, delicious food, and festive distractions really lifted my spirits. Also-THE POOLS. The resort has 41 pools! And they are all gorgeous like this! It was incredible to relax and spend time with David.

5) David’s birthday!

David turned 34 during our Southern California travels, and we celebrated with a BBQ at my parent’s house. You know when you feel like a photo really captures someone’s real smile? I love this photo, because it’s so authentically David. He loves cuddling with Diego, and you can feel his serene joy in this moment.

6) Dinner with Katie :)

The best part of a work trip to Alexandria, VA? Dinner with Katie! I think it took the server five trips to our table before we finally looked at a menu, we were distracted with chatting. I swear, Chardonnay tastes better when catching up with Katie Burch.

7) Pretty Potomac Views:

The conference was in a bit of an odd location for transit, but it was right by the Potomac. The water views were gorgeous.

8) Diego at Camp Dewberry:

Diego was in Irvine for a week and a half, and he has an absolute blast. Check out his pride with all his shopping cart goodies!

9) Crystal Cove:

On Sunday, the three of us took a walk around Crystal Cove. I try to get there anytime we’re in Irvine-it’s my second favorite place in the world (between UCLA and Fed Hill in Baltimore). There’s really nothing like breathing in that fresh ocean air.

10) Desert Botanical Garden:

I had a few hours before a flight home from Phoenix, and the wizards at TripAdvisor recommended the Desert Botanical Garden. It was worth the trip, particularly at the end of the day. There were so many families taking Christmas card photos-and of course, the lighting was stunning!

And the next day, it was Halloween and now here we are: NOVEMBER. November, November, November. Lots of tension, lots of stress, very very anxious about Tuesday…

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Filed under 10 moments from the month