Been so long … it’s not even funny …

Yeah … it’s been about 2 years.

My excuses?  We moved.  We settled in.  We moved back out and renovated.  Then we moved back in.  I got a new job, a way harder job. We’ve just been too busy “being” and “doing” to reflect as much as we’d like. The good news, we never stopped taking photos.  So we’re going to take a broad sweep, get some photos out there, but never “catch up”.

2013

View photos of the end of Malina’s 2nd year of preschool!

View photos of Logan turning 2!

View photos of our Father’s Day Hike!

View photos of our fun times play with blocks, our bikes, and riding trains!

View photos of us playing, hanging with friends, and petting chickens!

View photos of us traveling around Colorado! These photos are totally out of order, but include a wonderful family reunion in Montezuma, CO, a few days in Telluride, a trip to Estes National Park, and visits with friends in Denver.

2015
We spent spring break 2015 in and around Mt. Shasta – check out our adventures!

Logan is TWO!

How is my baby boy turning 2 years old already? Even though he is far too big to be a “baby”, I still enjoy my sweet cuddly moments with him when he is drinking milk before bed. 

Otherwise, he is incredibly busy! He has several 3 and 4 word sentences, most of which go something like … “I can do it”, “Loggie do it”, “I did it”, “I want it”, and “Where is Meenah?”. On occasion he will throw out a 6 word sentence, which always surprises us!

He can also carry on basic conversations. Today, as he returned to the house with Sandra, it went like this:
Mom: Hi Logan! How was your morning?
Logan: Good. Playground! Cold.
Mom: Did you have a nice time?
Logan: Yes, with trucks, vroom!
Mom: How nice. What are you doing now?
Logan: Nap. Milk. Monkey.

More than anything, I love the cute imperfect words:
Pee-pack for piggyback
Bluebies for blueberries
Structure for any type of construction site
Packpack for backpack
No-no for motorcycle (err, Mom might have had something to do with that one ;)
Hain for hand

You are very interested in how things work, especially things with wheels. You are always checking out the stroller wheels as well as shopping cart wheels. You also stop to check out every single bike locked on the sidewalk to see how the pedals turn … you go forwards and backwards, you are just mesmerized by it. You also have great ears! In our old 1927 home, you can hear the water in the pipes and you’ve started to pick up on this and ask “where the water” while you lift your little hands into the air and cock your head. We told you that it’s in the pipes in the walls, so whenever you hear the rushing water sound you look around, find a wall, put your ear up to it and say “pipes”!

I never imagined that you would be such a sweet and empathetic little boy. You care so much about the people around you; you’re always helping and giving in situations that I think would be too complex for you to understand. You just have such a big heart filled with so much love that you’re always putting your family and friends first … this usually involved a sweet treat or a coveted toy that you share instead of indulging on your own, even though you love it and want it for yourself.

Statistics:
3 feet tall!
30 pounds!
** At this exact age, Malina was 1 inch shorter and 2.5 pounds lighter.

Logan is happy and healthy … and we feel so fortunate to have him in our lives.

Pajaro Dunes Trip

 

Cuties!

Family Boardwalk Rides

Love our view

We trekked down to Pajaro Dunes (between Santa Cruz and Monterey) with several families to spend time with old friends and celebrate Eliot’s 5th birthday! There was something along the lines of 17 adults, 7 toddlers and 2 infants … so it was crazy time all the time. With different bedtimes, naps times, and eating routines, we spent the majority of our time hanging out in the house and catching up. Our place was right on the beach, so we also enjoyed the sand and water :) Unfortunately, it was too cold for most of us to swim (well, except for Bill and Eric who dove in). One of the highlights was supposed to be a train ride on a real steam engine in Felton, CA … but tEliot's 5th birthdayhere was a fire and the train was canceled. The kids were bummed but we replaced it with a trip to the famous Santa Cruz boardwalk, which was awesome for the kids! Malina has no fear, she rode every ride that her height would allow for, including the log ride and those chairs that swing around about 50 feet off the ground, as well as a real roller coaster. She couldn’t get enough!! Logan didn’t enjoy it quite as much though.

All in all, a crazy busy weekend chasing young ones around a 3 story house, but at the same time, wonderful to really catch up with great friends!

View photos of our trip to Pajaro Dunes!

Happy Holidays!

Fairmont Hotel Super Heroes!MessyStory-time with GG Wine Country

We stayed local for Hanukkah and Christmas this year. After all of our travel over the previous months, it seemed like the best decision for everyone. We spent the weekends leading up to the holidays doing all the usual stuff, like seeing the lights downtown, attending holiday parties with friends, touring the Fairmont Hotel, checking out the Xmas tree in Union Square, and walking through the largest (real) gingerbread house in the country… all of which the kids only sort of enjoy. Thus far we have totally skipped the long lines and crying that typically come with sitting on Santa’s lap, and I couldn’t be happier about this decision!

Jessica’s parents and Grandma stayed with us from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day. Since Chuck and I both had a few days off work, we became tourists in our own city and saw several of the scenic sights that we haven’t toured in years. The highlights being the (ah-mazing) Point Bonita Lighthouse near Rodeo Beach, wine tasting in Sonoma County, and the old bunkers along the coast. We all (including Emily and Rob, who live on the Peninsula now) spent Christmas Day in Livermore with Jessica’s other grandparents. It was an eventful afternoon and evening filled with good food and lots of laughs. New Years Eve ended up being nice and mellow, as we spent the evening in — something we haven’t done in years.

As a side note, you are going to start seeing Logan in more dresses and skirts. That has nothing to do with living in San Francisco, but everything to do with Logan’s LOVE for his big sister Malina. He wants to do EVERYTHING that she does. EVERYTHING! And in this household, we aren’t concerned about his current obsession with tutus having any impact on his future self!

View photos of Christmas 2012
View photos of Hanukkah 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 – Florida and Alabama!

We decided to visit both sides of the family this Thanksgiving! First we flew to Jacksonville to see Grandpa Chuck as well as Great Uncle Larry and Great Aunt Alice for several days. It was a long day of travel, with 2 flights and 2+ hours of driving, which meant 8am PST to 2am EST from door to door. The kids did really well, considering, but they were so tired when we arrived in Flagler Beach. We went to the beach and toured the historic town of St. Augustine. We also took walks around their Larry and Alice’s neighborhood, visited local playgrounds and had breakfast at a great brunch spot. We celebrated an early Thanksgiving on Wednesday and enjoyed Alice’s amazing food. Malina enjoyed making a special apple cake with Aunt Alice. All in all, it was a great visit! Continue reading

Mostly Halloween

October was spent enjoying the amazing weather San Francisco always has to offer this time of year! We took a long hike with friends and enjoyed Fentons famous ice-cream afterwards. We visited our favorite pumpkin patch up in Petaluma and had a great time, despite the heat. We routed for the Giants during the World Series. We painted, yes painted, the pumpkins we purchased this year … and of course we went trick-or-treating on Halloween (despite the rain).

View photos of our pumpkin patch visit
View photos of pumpkin painting
View photos of wet trick-or-treating

Preschool!

Today was Malina’s first day of her second year of pre-school. She is in a great classroom this year with 2 of her best friends and her favorite teacher, Dara, from last year :) The drop off was smooth, there were no tears (from Malina or me). At pick up she was all smiles and chatting about how much she enjoyed the day (well, half day, preschool is only 4 hours). Her preschool is a Reggio Emilia program, which we love, and we will learn more about the focus for the year next week.

View photos of Malina’s first day of preschool

Logan is ONE YEAR OLD … Bye bye baby, and hello toddler!

I truly can’t believe it’s been a year. In many ways, it feels like he has been part of our family forever, but in other ways it feels like he was just a tiny 6-pound baby yesterday! Logan truly is the sweetest little boy we could have ever imagined. He rounds out our family perfectly; our handsome, sweet, loving, curious, patient, and perpetually happy son.

I think the greatest thing about having 2 children is to see the bond that has formed between them. Without a doubt, Logan knows that Malina is the most important and special person in his life. He follows her around constantly! Everything she does makes him laugh and he often tries to mimic her actions. Malina loves Logan so much and is always helping out (with everything from bottles to diaper changes) and she is always looking out for him. If someone is holding him and he starts to cry, she will say “Mommy, get him, he doesn’t like that person!”. She also tries to teach him everything she knows, and we have to remind her that he is still a baby and can’t do most of those things yet. One of the cutest things Malina has been doing is treating her monkey like her baby, so when I nurse Logan, she nurses monkey, when I put Logan to bed, she puts monkey to bed, and when I complain that Logan bit me or accidently head butt me, she will complain of monkey doing something similar (and even show me her boo boo). It’s been pretty funny to see this evolve and it’s something she came up with all on her own.

As usual, Logan has been busy! He has become a very fast crawler and if he sees something he wants, like a fridge door open or a potty with the lid up, he will put his head down and fast crawl to his destination with the hopes of getting there before the door has shut or the lid has gone down. If he is too late, he shrieks a loud protest, and then moves on to something else. He has also become very good at pulling to standing and cruising along the walls, furniture and people’s legs. He even lets go and stands up on his own for several seconds… and then he starts to clap for himself (because he is so proud) which usually causes him to fall down. We don’t have stairs at home, but anytime we go somewhere with stairs, he goes into climbing mode and doesn’t seem to tire when it comes to climbing up them.

Logan has also done a great job on the food front… he literally eats anything I set in front on him, from raw leaves of spinach to beets to salmon, he gobbles it all down. The only thing he doesn’t seem to really like is sweet stuff, like the sweeter fruits. We also started his “dairy challenge” a few weeks ago and so far so good! Logan loves it, his body seems to digest it now, and Mom is really enjoying her lattes again. Ahhhh!! No more dairy allergy! As we ramp up the dairy, we are phasing out the breastmilk. While I will NOT miss pumping, I will miss all the cuddling… so we are taking it slow because I know Logan enjoys it too. Next up, a soy challenge in July.

Logan has been working on his vocabulary! So far he says:
Mama
Dada (very loud)
Uh oh (as you intentionally drop peas off the side of your high chair)
Stuck (when your toy walker get close to a wall and you can’t turn it)
Bye bye and waving while doing it
Nya nya for Sandra
And the most adorable thing you just started is blowing kisses out of your cute little chubby hand

For Logan’s first birthday party, we had a small family celebration with Mom, Dad, Sister, Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt and Great Grandma. We sang to him, gave him his first taste of sugar, and let him try to open his own gifts. I think he had a great time! As I expected though, Logan was not into his birthday cake, he just stared at it, then knocked it off his tray, and then picked at it a tiny bit. I am okay with him not having a sweet tooth. The next morning we packed up and spent a week in Lake Tahoe (sans Chuck). The trip was wonderful! We stayed in a nice home very close to the lake, took a few hikes, and just enjoyed being close to nature.

Logan’s well baby statistics:
Height = 30.5 inches (80th %)
Weight = 24 pounds and 13 ounces (88th %)
Head circ = 49 cm (99th %)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEET LOGAN!

View photos of Logan’s twelfth month

Malina is THREE years old

<- that was then and this is now ->

It is hard to believe that our baby girl just turned three years old! She is growing up so quickly! It has been an incredible journey thus far to watch Malina transform from a fragile newborn (photos here) into a confident preschooler. She has her own friends, her own (very strong) opinions, likes & dislikes, and a strong sense of self. When I ask her “Who loves Malina?” she will say “Malina!” and then she will rattle off her family members, teachers and friends, too. But I think it’s so great that she always names herself first.

Like all toddlers, Malina has her ups and downs and is incredibly emotional at times, but I am going to focus on the positive stuff here!

I am constantly impressed at how well Malina deals with major transitions!! The birth of her brother Logan was smooth, she loves him so much and is incredibly caring the majority of the time (but does take an occasional swipe). The move from the Marina to Laurel Heights and a new bedroom was a non-event for her. She was thrilled with her new, albeit much smaller, room. As far as the transition into preschool, she enters the classroom with enthusiasm each day (after a brief grasp on an adult leg) and comes home with wonderful stories about the day. The move from a crib to a big girl bed happened in just one night, and since then she has stayed in that bed for each and every nap and night – it’s been amazing! We are so proud of Malina and her ability to confront change head on and just embrace it.

Malina is a social little lady, she loves her friends and each morning she asks me who she is going to see that day. She checks in to see if she has preschool, a play-date or a birthday party to attend, or perhaps a trip to a museum. Once she has her day figured out, she asks about the details of who she is seeing when and where and if there will be time to go to the playground or swimming in between. It is very cute. Anytime we have friends over, even if they are adult friends, she offers to show them her room and then asks them to help her build a structure with her bristle blocks or her mag-formers. She hates to go to bed when we have guests over. And if the conversation veers away from all things toddler, she says “stop talking!” and brings it right on back to her level.

Things I love doing with Malina:
> cuddling together and reading a book (over and over and over)
> working on a Friday project together (usually a science or garden activity)
> watching the wheels turn in her brain as she is learning or seeing something for the first time
> listening to her negotiate for one more book or one more graham cracker
> seeing the look of excitement on her face when she accomplishes something new
> just slowing down and looking at the world through her eyes every now and then …

According to Malina:
favorite color = orange (and red)
best friend at school = Lulu
favorite food = cereal
favorite book = anything by Dr. Seuss, LadyBug Girl, and Goosey (aka – Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes)
favorite in-house activity = a pretend hike to San Diego
favorite toy = bristle blocks
favorite playground = Clay Street
favorite out-of-house activity = music class with teacher Barb!

At Malina’s 3 year check-up her stats were:
Height = 39 inches @ 90th %
Weight = 34 pounds @ 55th %

We held her 3rd birthday party at a KinderGym type location and invited 18 of her closest friends (and their parents). Everyone had a great time playing together and we tried to capture all the cutest moments. Unbeknownst to us, several important settings on our camera had been changed, so the majority of the photos have bizarre coloring and are blurry. Bummer.

View photos of Malina’s 3rd birthday

Logan is SEVEN months old

The first half of Logan’s seventh month was spent celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas and spending time with family. We hosted a holiday party at our house and had several other families over. We had a beautiful tree and decorated it, as well as our house, with lots of ornaments and decorations passed down from Chuck’s mom and dad. Jessica’s parents and grandmother flew to San Francisco on Christmas Eve and we spent Christmas day in Livermore with Jessica’s other grandparents, aunt and cousin. It was great to see everyone!! Emily and her boyfriend Rob spent the holidays in Australia, with his family.

Logan clearly didn’t understand the concept of gifts, but he did enjoy tearing off wrapping paper and putting it directly into his mouth! He received several things, mostly books about cars/trucks/machinery and a few play trucks. He is enjoying them and also very good about sharing them with his big sister.

Malina really enjoyed the holidays. She isn’t old enough to expect gifts yet, which was great, because there was no whining! She received puzzles, books, art supplies, slippers and a rain cover for her stroller (since we walk her to school, rain or shine).

And what did Chuck and I get each other for the holidays? New desk chairs! Oh yeah, we are romantic ;) But Jessica did receive a beautiful watch for her birthday a few weeks earlier!

We spent New Year’s weekend in Sonoma with another family who has 2 children close in age to Malina and Logan. It was nice to get away for a few days and relax with friends. We did everything from wine tasting to kiddie train rides to cooking s’mores over a fire to spending time in the hot tub! Malina had her first ever slumber party; she and Eliza shared a room … but at 4am they hosted a “jail break”, got each other out of their respective beds and started running around, very proud of their accomplishment!! Luckily we woke up before they strayed more than 10 feet from their bedroom door.

Logan has really taken a liking to solids, which isn’t a surprise, given his size. So far he has tasted:
butternut squash
sweet potato
avocado
banana (may be allergic)
prune
rice cereal
oat cereal
pear

We also moved some furniture around! Malina moved into her very own big girl bed!! We are only 48 hours into the transition, but she has done an amazing job so far, staying in bed the entire time, and we are very proud of her. Logan finally moved out of his co-sleeper bed and into a crib! I think he likes it because he is a big boy and he has more space.

View photos of Logan’s seventh month

Malina’s 2nd Birthday – Photos

We celebrated Malina’s 2nd birthday at our house with 12 of Malina’s closest baby friends and their parents and siblings. We hired Malina’s favorite Little Bears musician to come over and sing with the kids for an hour. She brought her instruments as well as instruments for the kids. It was a total success, everyone had a great time!
Malina definitely understood that it was a special day and she kept asking for her crown and her chocolate cupcake :) It was adorable. She also practiced singing “Happy Birthday” so she knew all the words by the time we all sang to her!

We waited to open her gifts until her actual birthday and took a few pictures there as well.

We can’t believe how quickly our little lady is growing up!! We are trying to cherish every moment (good and bad), knowing that time passes so quickly.

Happy Birthday Malina!!

View photos of Malina’s 2nd Birthday!
Also, check out her birthday video below.

Jessica’s Family’s Visit!

Jessica’s Mom and Dad and Grandmother flew in for a few days in late April. Both Jessica and Emily, as well as both sets of Grandparents live in California, so it’s like a one stop shop to see everyone :) Since Jessica’s parents used to live in the Bay Area, they aren’t into the touristy things, other than great exhibits that come to our museums and not theirs … which means we spend most of the time visiting with family and taking Malina to her favorite spots.

Their visit overlapped with Baby Boy Anderson’s Sprinkle event hosted by our good friends Will, Sarah and TJ. If you aren’t familiar with a “sprinkle”, it’s a gift free celebration for baby #2 (or any sibling after #1). It is a nice way to celebrate the baby, but without all the fanfare. The theme for our event was “ice-cream social”, so everyone brought a different topping and we made huge ice cream sundaes and floats. Malina had her first taste of chocolate ice cream ever and it was love at first taste! She couldn’t get enough … in the photos you will see it all over her faces, clothing and even her ear?!!? All in all, we had a great afternoon; it was wonderful to see so many friends and celebrate with everyone :)

View photos of Jessica’s family’s visit and the sprinkle.

Easter egg hunt at the zoo

Golden Gate Mom’s Group hosted a big Spring event at the SF Zoo last weekend, they had live music, entertainment, bouncy houses, food, bubbles, face painting and an Easter Egg hunt. We hung out with friends Andy, Laurel and baby Eliza most of the time. Malina and Eliza had a great time running around. Chuck and I used it as an opportunity to evaluate and compare every double stroller on the market :)

The Easter Egg hunt was a bust for the most part though, too many over zealous, type-A, Bay Area parents that ran over everyone else to get eggs for their kids!?! So we picked up one egg and placed it safely away from the madness (no joke – parents were tripping over other children to get “the right shot”), then we set it on the ground and let Malina retrieve it. She’d had enough at that point and headed for the playground. No interest in plastic eggs filled with candy (whew)!

However, the following day she happened upon another Easter Egg hunt and did pick up (and re-hide) several eggs that didn’t belong to her.

View photos of our Easter Egg hunt at the zoo.

Baby Bigelow baby shower in Denver

Jessica and two other friends hosted a baby shower weekend extravaganza for Lindsey in Denver, CO. Jessica has known Lindsey since junior high school, and they have remained close over the years! Lindsey was a traveling nurse for quite a while, and did 2 stints in SF, which were a lot of fun!!

Lindsey and her husband Dave now live near Breckenridge, CO, so we decided to host the event in “the city”. Thirteen people flew or drove in to help Lindsey celebrate Baby Bigelow! This number didn’t include significant others and children who were there also. As luck would have it, Chuck got the weekend off work (for the most part), so he and Malina went with Jessica to CO, but weren’t part of the main events. However, the two of them did have some great bonding time together!!

The itinerary included spa time, a girls lunch, walks around town (it was freezing), a large group dinner (families invited as well), and a brunch just for the girls. In addition to all of this, we made a few side plans to see friends Lauren/Trent who were visiting CO at the same time, Wharton friends Kate/Patrick/Teddy who now live in CO, and Jessica’s cousins the Hamilton/Bloombaums.

It was an exhausting and chaotic 3 days but well worth it! As usual, I wish we had taken more photos, we missed entire events, but I guess those parts will have to remain memories.

View photos of our weekend in Denver.