Category Archives: Family

Lee’s birthday weekend!

Wednesday was my my dad’s birthday! Happy Birthday, Dad! Feeling very grateful for the weekend we spent together celebrating.  Knowing this was a special birthday and we would all want to be together, my mom generously invited us to an awesome weekend in San Francisco.  We spent two nights in the city, enjoying good restaurants, celebrating Dad and seeing friends.  Some photos from the trip:

It only took two false starts and one-almost-forgotten piece of luggage to get the three of us and allllllll the baby stuff in the car and on the road.  We met up with my parents at the hotel and headed straight to lunch at Wayfare Tavern. It was around the corner from our hotel and I’ve always wanted to try the fried chicken (so good!).


Ha! We look like two kids whose parents let them try a sip of beer at Thanksgiving. My mule was refreshing, but David’s Tavern Sour was incredible.


A special moment: David showing Diego the Transamerica Pyramid.  He fell in love with the building as a kid, and credits it for sparking his interest in cities.

Although we were celebrating my dad, my parents kindly offered to watch Diego Saturday night so we could go out (hooray for grandparents!!).  On the way to dinner, David and I realized that while we had been out a few times without Diego, this would be our first dinner out together.  We made a reservation for Le Colonial and got a table on the pretty patio. I LOVE the tile floor.



After watching the SF episode of The Layover, I’ve been SO curious to check out the Tonga Room.  We never made it when we lived in Oakland and I was eager to check it out.


What a TRIP.  The hourly rain, the band in the pool, and the over-the-top kitschy absurdity of it all was totally charming.  AND we got to hang out with Mr. Bress and Orit!


AND, it being Memorial Day Weekend, it was only fitting to run into a bunch of (much, much, younger) former tour guides while dancing to Sweet Caroline.

After the late (for us) night, we were all up bright and early the next morning for a walk through Muir Woods. Diego’s first national park!

In my growing collection of “David walking with stroller” photos, the backdrop of this one is my favorite. 

After the good walk, my dad recommended Mill Valley for lunch. It was a delightfully, charming surprise! And lunch at Kitchen Sunnyside was just right.

That evening, we all got dressed up for the main event: Dad’s birthday dinner! COULD NOT HANDLE this outfit. Such a dapper little Diego!

I think Thanksgiving was the last time we were all together for dinner. My heart felt so grateful and happy to be gathered at a table with my favorite people, toasting to my dad. He deserves to be celebrated every weekend. Very, very thankful we got to thank him together on this special weekend.

And dinner at Chaya was exceptional. Such a treat!

In a fortuitous twist of events, Taryn and Jenna happened to be in the Bay Area for the weekend.  We originally planned on picnicking at Dolores on Monday morning, but facing a chilly morning, we opted for the Ferry Building instead. Can’t describe how special it was to meet my best friend’s amazing wife AND introduce them to Diego!

14 years of friendship!!

Kicking off a week of Diego and baby meetings, we all got to meet sweet baby William! Molly, John and sweet Sutter joined us and we got to admire their charming baby boy. Baby Bruins!!

After Gotts for burgers and milkshakes, it was time to head back home. So thankful for the weekend of food, friends, the city, and most of all, celebrating Lee!!!

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Filed under Family, Travel

4 weeks-Spring Break Ed.

Happy Monday! Last week was pretty special because we had an all-star visitor:

My mom! Hooray!! Thanks to her Spring Break, she was able to spend the whole week with us, hanging with Diego and helping us out.  It was wonderful. I kept toasting to Spring Break because it seriously felt like a bit of a vacation-she made the week so nice.

I’ve always loved Southwest Magazine-reading it is one of the best parts of the best airline-and when Brad joined them, I think the magazine got even better.  My mom brought her copy with her, as the issue was particularly timely.  I read the 6 articles during a 3:00 a.m. feeding and found them all insightful and reassuring.  It was nice to read something about babies off-my phone and not in a heavy-handed parenting book.

My mom is pulling a Julie and Julia and working her way through Ina Garten’s latest cookbook.  We’re very happy guinea pigs! She made incredible brisketchipotle popcornavocado saladfilet with mustard and mushrooms, and many delicious breakfasts and pasta dinners.  See what I mean about feeling like a vacation?

And another perk-getting out of town! We met up with my mom’s best friend Holly for lunch in Benicia at First Street Cafe (I’ve been thinking about their scones since December).  I’ve known Holly since I was very little and introducing her to Diego felt like family-a very special afternoon.

Another first from the week-our first evening out alone.  Mom offered to watch Diego, so Tuesday night we headed out on the town, just the two of us… a City Council meeting! Ha.  The council was voting on an important issue and David and I both wanted to weigh in, so off we went.  Thankfully, it was a great night for the city, and a productive and efficient meeting.  We were back home with Diego after a few hours :)

Friday afternoon we visited David in his office and introduced Diego to his colleagues.  PS-baby socks? Is our kid just super tiny or are they a lost cause? The socks never stay on!

After the office tour, we enjoyed sliders and beer at Cast Iron for lunch. One of two Cast Iron visits last week.

And on Saturday, we went right back to the Belding Building to celebrate the opening of Channel Brewing Company :) 

Soon it was time for Spring Break to end and my mom flew back to Irvine.  Man, I wish Irvine and Stockton were a short drive away. Last night Diego was….fussy.  Fussy is a nice way to put it. Anyway, it was a looooooong night.  This morning, as we’re racking our sleep-deprived brains trying to figure out what happened to our sweet, nap-happy child (growth spurt? sleep regression? Regressing from what-he’s only four weeks old!), David goes, “I don’t know, maybe he misses his grandma?” So, maybe that’s it? We all wish spring break lasted longer!

Sunday marked 4 weeks since we went to the hospital to deliver Diego.  This whole time thing is nutty-it feels like way longer, way shorter, all the cliches.  It was time to take the Welcome Home sign off, so we took one last picture )

And yesterday, we introduced Diego to brunch! Cast Iron opened for brunch for the first time, and it was a hit. Long lines, happy customers.  David and I don’t usually go out for brunch, but this brunch was WORTH IT. Creative, delicious, and a happy environment (still thinking about the ricotta pancakes…)

Sending good thoughts for the week ahead :)


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Filed under Baby, Family

Summer in Winter weekend

This weekend, I escaped the rainy weather and flew to Southern California for a quick weekend with family and friends.

After some delays, I arrived at LAX and made my way to Rachel and Adam’s. They had just returned (literally hours earlier) from a holiday trip to Paris and graciously  hosted me for the night. It was so nice to catch up over burrito bowls and hear all about their trip :)

The next morning, I met up with Taryn’s friends for brunch and we all celebrated the beautiful bride to be! Caity rented an AMAZING house with spectacular views of LA.

I’m so bummed to miss Taryn’s spring wedding, but it was very special to toast to one of my oldest, best friends and revel in her joy and excitement. Taryn is a friend who is always so generous and excited for her friends and she gives so much to her friendships. It was very special to celebrate her, and her marriage, and surround her with love!

I truly love living in Northern California, but when it’s the beginning of January and there’s sunshine and a gorgeous pool, life in LA seems ultra tempting…

My mom and I spent Sunday relaxing in the Westside (I relaxed, Mom was wonderful and navigated all the LA driving :)).

We drove past the Beverly Hilton and saw the impressive preparations for the Golden Globes. (Speaking of, thank you, 2017, for Meryl Streep’s speech).

After lunch, I got a very nice prenatal massage. With the warm weather, the therapist opened the doors to the spa patio. At first I thought-eek! Privacy!–but no one was there and it was such a pleasant, relaxing, almost-summer breeze.

We ended the day with a sunset walk on the Manhattan Beach esplanade. Much to the dismay of locals (we overheard one power-walker lament: “ugh! Remember when it used to be quiet here?”) it was packed with tourists and sunset-gazers. How could it not be? So gorgeous in the middle of January!

This morning, after some rain delays, I flew back to Oakland. Not sure when I’ll fly again-so strange!

And now-almost back home in Stockton. Sending good thoughts for the week ahead :)

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Filed under Family, Weekends

Holiday break :)

We’re wrapping up this holiday vacation and I’m loving every moment of family time and rest. It’s a rainy morning, so thought I would jot down some happy memories from the first half of vacation:


Writing this to remember next year: when waffling between taking a few days off before Christmas or saving the vacation days: TAKE THE DAYS. I’m really grateful I was able to take Thursday and Friday off (thanks, vacation policy!). Between my post election low-grade depression, the unrelenting winter cold/virus that hit our office, and general pregnancy sleepiness, it was particularly helpful to have a bit more time this year.

I mostly took care of overdue errands on Thursday (doctor, car check up, Christmas shopping), but Thursday night we went out for our traditional Christmas burgers and milkshakes at Bob’s on the Marina. Delicious! 


Photo from Silvia

After a cozy brunch and afternoon with Adri in Benencia, David made a pot of rich Cacio e pepe for dinner. I took over the living room to wrap up presents (a day early-that never happens) and watched one of my all-time favorite holiday movies.


We hosted Christmas Eve dinner for the fist time!

Photo from Silvia

David made an incredible prime rib and sides and we opened presents after dinner. It’s been years since we hosted Thanksgiving dinners and I forgot how tiring hosting a holiday dinner is! And I didn’t even cook! Eek. Grateful we could all be together.

David, Abuelita and Silvia :)

This was the first Christmas Eve we’ve ever spent in our own home. We left the tree lights on overnight and a plate of cookies by the fireplace…it just felt right.


It was kind of neat to wake up, at home, on Christmas morning. And it was CHILLY! We drove over to David’s dad’s house and opened presents with the family. His family hosted an incredible breakfast buffet, with Belgian waffles-my favorite. 

David and his new diaper bag backpack-getting ready :)

Soon it was time for our other holiday tradition: midday flight to Irvine!

Thankfully, it’s an easy, short flight and my parents live super close to the airport. 3 1/2 hours later, we gathered around Janou’s gorgeous appetizers, sinking in to a festive afternoon.

After Christmas crackers and Mom’s delicious prime rib and scalloped potatoes, we curled up by the fireplace and Katie and Kevin came over for dessert. I can’t adequately articulate how special it was to all be together, in one place, listening to Katie and Janou’s stories of their exiting adventures, soaking up the Christmas hygge spirit. So special!


After sleeping in (hooray!!!), David and I decided to try for the Beachcomber for lunch. It’s always such a kick seeing the beautifully decorated tree sitting on the  beach.

David’s drink, the Beachcomber, couldn’t have been more ridiculous and he LOVED it. Noting to try making it in the future: Cherry Cruzan Rum, Svedka Lemonade, and Cranberry Juice.

That night we drove to Manhattan Beach for dinner with some of my UCLA favorites at Tin Roof Bistro. It definitely wasn’t enough time to fully catch up but a treat briefly be together.


Engagement celebrations!!!!! Max’s family graciously hosted an engagement lunch at True Food Kitchen to celebrate Janou and Max. It was so special to kick off their wedding celebrations together and get to know Max’s family. Can’t wait for the wedding!!!

After lunch, Janou, David and I drove to UCLA. The sun was beginning to set and we just marveled at the beautiful campus.

We couldn’t resist checking out our ceremony location and taking some photos…looking quite different now than in July 2014!

And of course, some Diddy Riese before heading home :)


More quiet and lounging and then a special Christmas lunch! I took my dad to lunch at the Disneyland Grand Californian Hotel, flipping a tradition from my childhood, when he used to take me out for special Disneyland days.

The hotel was gorgeous and spectacularly decorated for the holidays. I loved having the afternoon to catch up with my dad. Very special.

That night, over latkas and salad, we all celebrated Hannukah together.


Jen Tan and I had plans to hang out and when she mentioned Salt and Straw in Venice, our plans were SET.

Despite the lines and hype it’s surprisingly not overrated-the ice cream is that good. After an appetizer of salted caramel ice cream, we enjoyed a delicious lunch at Gjelina. I peppered Jen with about 800 pregnancy and baby questions and she patiently reassured me about all of it. So grateful for my wise and expert friends.

Later that evening, I met up with the UCLA favorites at Belmont Shore in Long Beach. It was especially nice to have more time to catch up some more.


One last morning of sleeping in and laziness in Irvine. It was rainy and cozy, and Janou’s pumpkin pancakes were a delicious way to greet the day. After lounging, we got our act together and ventured out for wedding dress shopping!

We checked out a few spots and got a better idea of the different types of dress styles. And, of course, Janou makes every dress look stunning :)


And now, it’s the last day of 2016! After a super early flight this morning, I took a very long winter’s nap. And now, we’re off to San Jose to greet the New Year with some of our best friends. Very grateful for this restful holiday break and the time with family and friends :)

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Filed under Family, Holiday

Thanksgiving 2016

Greetings from the Monday morning BART train! After several days of total relaxation and quiet, trying to mentally prep myself to get back into gear. Excited that there’s only four more weeks until Christmas but ever aware of all the work that needs to get done before the end of year…Before totally jumping into reality, wanted to jot down a few happy moments from a beautiful Thanksgiving.

We drove to Irvine and arrived in the early afternoon. Throughout the weekend, I read Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth (SO good book) and had to smile when I noticed the stunning book cover matched my mom’s beautiful tablescape.

Janou and Mom went all out with incredible food. Before driving down, David asked, “so, what’s a Gordon Thanksgiving like?”  I realized I wasn’t totally sure-it had been a solid decade since we were all together for the holiday.  I’m SO grateful we were together this year-and it was all delicious. Especially the turkey-perfect that night, perfect for sandwiches the next day.

The next morning, we relaxed at home and I went for a nice walk with my dad. That afternoon, David and I drove to my favorite beach. It was warm enough to lay out in the sand and David and I promptly fell asleep.

Loved waking up from a late afternoon nap to this view.  An afternoon at Crystal Cove is one of the places I try to mentally travel to when totally frustrated with the world.  When the commute home is long and horrible and I wonder-why do I do this? Why do we live in a state that is so expensive that I have to endure this long commute? I think of the beach, the warmth, the weather, and the gorgeous natural beauty throughout the state, and remember why it’s worth it.

After a relaxing afternoon, we eventually made our way home. Everyone was gathered around the living room, drinking wine and relishing leftovers before the fire.  It was so cozy! We talked a lot about politics and the concerning state of the world. No answers to any of it, but it felt good to vent and laugh and be together.

Pretty soon it was Saturday morning and time to begin the drive back up north. I met up with Natalie for brunch at Plums (omgoodness, their hazelnut pancakes) and then we began loading the car.

Too short of a trip! But thankful we all got to be cozy together.

We hit a lot of rain and traffic on the way, so I was extra grateful for podcasts (love The WeedsThe Axe Files, and of course, Wait Wait..). The temperature plummeted on the drive through the Grapevine-pretty wild to compare those beach views to the snow-just 24 hours later!

Even though the drive was long, it was nice to return Saturday night and have a quiet day yesterday. We caught up on house cleaning and grocery shopping (thrilling) and picked out our Christmas tree (actually thrilling!).

David made chili and cornbread and decorated the tree. I got cozy, and curled up with my new favorite afternoon drink and the first episode of the new Gilmore Girls. Emily Gilmore’s Mari Kondo moment was hilarious and heartbreaking-much like the Winter episode.

And suddenly, it’s Monday morning, back to reality. Incredibly grateful for this weekend and sending good thoughts for the week ahead :)

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Filed under Family, Holiday