Category Archives: Family

Congratulations, Mom :)

Thursday was a big day: the last day of school for most students, and for my mom, her REAL last day of school. As of Friday morning, she’s officially retired!!!

After three decades, thousands of students, and remarkable results year after year, I’m so happy she’s starting a new chapter. A few weeks ago, Diego, my dad and I surprised her in her classroom. I expected it would be a brief stop-and-chat, imagining she would be busy with students and a little tired from the end of the week.

I was so wrong.

She was bursting with energy, thrilled to introduce Diego to all her students, colleagues and friends. I loved meeting her friends, who all shared their excitement for her, and how much they’ll miss her passion, energy, and the impact she’s had on the school.

And the students! They were so engaged, so curious, and thoughtful in their questions. As Diego is far from school age, I think the last time I was at a middle school was years ago, visiting my mom. Reading the news, I’m constantly concerned about the state of young people. The media portrays middle school students in terrifying and depressing stories, and it’s easy to worry about the future.

It was incredibly inspiring to catch a glimpse at school of students who seem to have a very bright future. The collective energy of the teachers and students restored my faith that things are going to be ok.

My mom is certainly a part of that positive momentum. Growing up, watching her wake before dawn, often come home after dark, spend many weekends late in the night grading-and this is just the outside the classroom effort I saw!-I know moving the needle toward positive change was not easy and took a monumental effort.

How she managed to do all of that, year after year, and with tremendous results (her students grew by leaps and bounds) AND provide such unbelievable attention and love to Janou and me, I have no idea. I truly don’t. In my brief time as a mother, whenever I’m struggling with navigating this whole work-motherhood-life thing (all the time), I always think of my mom and her incredible effort for inspiration.

Mom, I’m thrilled for you and so impressed by your career. I love you and I’m SO excited for this new step. Congratulations!!

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It’s been a while!

We’re leaving for our summer vacation tomorrow-our first family vacation!—and I’m so excited and full of exclamation marks I can’t sleep. So, just taking a moment to jot down some spring memories.

Over the last month-ish, we….

Went on a date! David had a conference in SF that lined up perfectly with my parent’s visit = a trip to the city! It was really nice to enjoy a long dinner and relax a little, knowing Diego was happily playing with his grandparents.

Visited the zoo :) The last time this trio went to the zoo, they were all so tiny. This year:

Last year:

Celebrated Justice in Aging! The development team put on an awesome spring fundraiser and it was great to have all three offices together in SF.

Wine tasting :) Molly and John generously hosted us in Napa and it was SUCH a treat to be in a magical place with incredible company. Diego basically fell in love with Sutter and I felt so refreshed after a weekend soaking motherhood advice and stories with Molly and Kirstin  over delicious glasses of Malbec.

Visited Mom at work! We flew to Irvine for Morher’s Day and got to surprise my mom in her classroom. It was also Diego’s first time in a classroom :)

Hanging out around the neighborhood. Diego loved the musician at the Sunday Farmer’s market and scooted right to the front to dance. It’s been freezing in Oakland, but on the sunny, warmer days, we try to get the park after Daycare. On Tuesdays, the library is open later, and I love taking him to play and check out a week’s worth of books.

Sending good thoughts for the first summer weekend!

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Cabin camping in Point Reyes

While I would love to be a mom who easily packs and takes on camping adventures, I am so, so, far from that person. David and I have camped a grand total of two times, and both times we tagged along with expert  friends. Expert camping friends who also cook incredible food, plan everything perfectly, basically make camping look really easy.

Knowing I’m a novice, and knowing how much we loved our previous trips, cabin camping at Samuel P. Taylor Park seemed like a great way to dip our toes in the whole camping-as-a-family thing, while staying comfortable (and warm!).

Friday afternoon, we drove out to Marin. The drive was gorgeous. We usually take 580 to Point Reyes, but David had a meeting in SF, so we took 101 across the Golden Gate bridge.  The bridge was packed, full of people marveling at the city views in the afternoon sun.

Silvia met us as the cabin and we all got settled before leaving for a trail walk. The cabins were built relatively recently (2012) and were perfectly clean, with electricity, an electric stove, and mattress pads-no tents needed.

We picked this camping date as it was the only one available-the cabins get booked up 6 months out. We really lucked out with the weather-it was warm, and the park was green and lush, especially after last week’s rain.

After the trail, David started dinner. Outside each cabin is a picnic table, fire pit, and barbecue. This is my favorite part of camping: spending hours outside, around a fire, and eating cheese and crackers, while waiting for a yummy camp dinner. David made incredible burgers and veggie kebobs. Our hiking backpack ended up being much more useful as a highchair. Maybe we just need to go on more hikes? It was totally worth bringing it for meals-Diego was perfectly happy to sit, snack on goldfish and edamame, and supervise dinner prep. I was also really grateful we went camping with Silvia. It was really wonderful to have grandma help with Diego and spend time together.

The only thing missing from our camping cuisine was s’mores-next time! Still, it was nice and cozy drinking tea by the fire, while watching the stars come out.

The next morning, David made an mushroom, egg and sausage scramble, and we enjoyed breakfast in the crisp morning air. For a brief hike, we tried putting Diego in the Ergo, but halfway through, he was NOT HAVING IT. On to David’s shoulders he went!

We said goodbye to the Madrone cabins and drove over to Point Reyes Station for CHEESE. I love visiting Cowgirl Creamery and seeing the stacks of Red Hawk and Mt. Tam in the dairy window.

With bags full of Humboldt Fog and turkey sandwiches, we made our way through green hills of happy cows over to Drakes Beach. At this point in the day, it was quite warm, not a cloud in the sky, and WINDY. I was reminded of the hilarious chaos of beach tent assembly in the wind, but David eventually got it, and we enjoyed a delicious lunch while watching the water.

While I took a power nap in the tent, this brave little Pisces crawled into the water-again! I love this photo Silvia snapped of David and Diego.

After exploring the water, Diego was freezing, and it was time to go home. Hope to get back to Point Reyes soon. I’ll be keeping my eye out for openings at the Samuel Taylor cabins-they are awesome.

Sending good thoughts for the weekend!

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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.


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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