Monday, April 22, 2013


When I have Huelan for the day like I did this past Sunday, my strategy is usually to load up the schedule. It was a great east bay weekend to be outside, so we spent the entire day out and about.

We started at the Temescal farmers' market. We werent really hungry, but found room for a pretzel croissant anyway. Picked up a baby tomato plant. Huelan also supported these two girls who set up a lemonade stand- at a quarter a cup, we splurged and got two.

She's not real good at the scooter yet, but she's getting better. She practiced in between pointing out that dogs sometimes have spots and picking pebbles out of the dry mud creek.

As soon as that place got old, we headed to a park where she made a few friends and burried her lap in dirt. Her reward for that? Popsicle. Then, Home Depot for some potting soil. She knocked out on the way home as planned, which gave me some time to install the last sprinkler timers and drip lines in the yard.

(Side note: automatic sprinklers are awesome, life changing even. It's like the first time you have laundry inside your pad- just a whole different way of getting through the week. I really dislike lawn care, so this takes a huge load off. Now if only I could keep the dandelions at bay.)

When she woke up, it was time to get the baby tomato plant potted. By this time Liz was back from her girls' spa retreat and helped get the patio ready. We got the tomato settled in a sunny corner, and lounged on the deck to catch the rest of the sun.

Not a bad Sunday. Yes, it can be pretty mundane, but a daddy daughter day is never boring.

In the Jeans

Liz and Huelan went to Adrienne's bridal shower Saturday. Liz said that there was another mom/daughter wearing jean jackets.

I felt sorry for the other girls because, really, no one wants to compete with these two.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

See... Food!

Thankfully, she's not a particularly picky eater, but she does something kinda weird. Even if she doesn't want to eat any more, sometimes she'll keep putting food in her mouth and just chew it for a while. Masticating for hours. We've found her working broccoli cud from lunch after her nap.

It's gross, but when I ask her why, she says, "I just like to."

Thursday, April 11, 2013

We Did It! Lake Santa Margarita

We had a ton of questions coming in to this trip: how would we (Huelan) sleep, how would the kids get along, what was the drive going to be like.... it was endless.  Throw in the fact that Liz and I have never been camping together and what we ended up with was a couple of weeks of semi-anxious prep.  If it wasn't for the fact we've been so busy with Easter, weddings, showers, and birthdays, it might have actually been stressful.

But as it happened, this turned out to be an easy trip.  Of course it took some prepping- gathering supplies, packing clothes, and smoking meat- but we relied heavily on Omar's checklist to ease the anxiety.  

The campground was simple and all that we needed.  The drive-up camp spots allowed us to quickly unload gear (though knowing this made packing lean a little more difficult).  Before we knew it, tents were pitched, spots around the fire ring were staked out, and kids were exploring the hillside.  Grandma had the brilliant suggestion that we bring Huelan's bucket, and she had it filled in the first 20 minutes.

Camping is unique in that we weren't just getting out of the house, but it felt like we were really getting away- something totally different than our usual routine.  We were totally unscheduled and unplugged, which was a welcome change.  Didn't have to strap Huelan into a carseat all weekend!  

Of course the kids loved it.  With a meadow on one side and a grassy hill on the other, they had ample room to roam (though they were often content playing with a box in the gravel next to the car).  Throw in a short hike to the lake, a rabbit hunt, ladybugs, glow sticks, and marshmallow smores and the kids had plenty of stimulation.  Maybe a little too much at times- Huelan had one breakdown Saturday afternoon after missing her nap and passed out as Liz was carrying her back to camp (at six months pregnant, doesn't bat an eye at the idea of camping, quelling a tantrum, and carrying a passed out 3yo back up the hill- my vote for Ly Family MVP).  

But aside from that incident, which resulted in a 2-hour toddler coma, the kids got along smashingly, and most of the time it only took 1 or 2 adults to watch the entire gang.  Because isn't that the other part of getting the families together?  Not just letting the kids hang out and get to know one another, but letting the parents re-connect as well.  Of course it's fun and heartwarming to watch our kids hang out, play, explore and eat junk food together, but I think trips like this are just as much about getting the parents together, reminding  us that we're still people who crave good food and drink and laughter with good friends.  All the better if around a campfire.  

More Pics here, including liberal sampling from Cindy's Flickr album
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


The ah-ha moment when your kid realizes that something cool is happening, Egg Hunt edition:

More Easter Fun


I feel us treating holidays a little differently this year than we did last year.  What informs this feeling I think is that there's a possibility of her actually remembering some this stuff now.  She's definitely enjoying it more, maybe because we've only recently been able to build an extended sense of anticipation with her.

This Easter, we tried to be especially conscious of the build up.  With the egg dying, cookie baking, house decorating, making of cards, and finally leaving carrots out for the Easter Bunny (Huelan's idea), this is one of the first events that we felt she "got."  The egg hunt at Grandma's house was the big finale, and all the candy was the payoff.  Definitely burned in some reward center synapses in her toddler brain.

I do worry a little about overloading the pleasure centers in her noggin; near the end of the morning, there seems to be some diminishing return with each jellybean.  We saw it around Christmas and her birthday, too.  But I can't blame anyone for wanting to spoil her- I've accepted it as their right, duty even, stretching back eons.  It's the parents' job to reign the kids in later and teach them that there's more to a holiday than candy and presents.

That's why we keep this blog- so that if one of the kids end up in therapy and wants us to pay for it,  we can always point back to this record as incontrovertible proof that at least we tried to foster a positive childhood.  Might save us a few grand down the road....

Easter Pics Here, including a Saturday Easter fair at Dunsmuir Gardens, a hidden gem in East Oakland of all places.  We were rookies (no picnic blanket, chairs or anything really), but at least we got there early.  There were probably 2,000 people there when we left, and more trying to park.  Mulitiple highlights of that day: hand-feeding a pot bellied pig, petting a blue tongued skink, and face painting.

Edited to Add: I just heard Huelan ask Gosia, "What's next after Easter?"  Uh Oh. Arbor Day?
Posted by Picasa