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!

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!

Pacific Northwest Trip

Kaia's playground High-school friends + babies Swimmer friend + babies Chillin in Seattle

We spent 9 days in the Pacific Northwest during the rainiest season of the year! But it was still a wonderful trip :)

We saw more friends than I had ever thought possible! We stayed with Jessica’s high school friend Lindsey, her husband Dave, and daughter Kaia for a few days. Another high school friend, Kathryn flew in with her son, James, and they also stayed with us there. So it was like a big slumber party!! We spent the days chasing the kids around the house, playgrounds and museums, and spent the evenings catching up. It was great!! We also saw family friend’s the McMath’s, along with their 4 kids and 8 grand-kids! Another highlight was going to Ann-Marie’s (another high school friend) parents’ home to see Ann-Marie’s family, which included a sweet newborn baby boy! It was like old times at her parents home, everything looked the same, but our lives had all changed so much over the years.

Then we moved downtown for a few days (thank you Dana) and stayed at a great Kimpton hotel, which was super kid friendly. While there, I managed to catch up with all of Emily’s old swimmer friends: Dana, Kelly and Hillary! Jessica had some adult time out on the town with great friend Jen, and we also met up with Jessica’s cousin Seth on Northwest 23rd for lunch. The kids enjoyed riding the trains downtown and playing along the waterfront. Our last big hurrah while in Portland was a potluck party set up by Jessica’s old sorority sisters. So much fun visiting with everyone, but definitely threw the kids off their schedule with all the socializing and events.

Next we headed up to Seattle to see two families from our Wharton days. We stayed with Amy and Z and their adorable twins Gabe and Zara for two nights and filled the days with parks, walks and playgrounds. We also met up with the Sharma family and their newest addition, little Alex.

View photos of our trip to Portland and Seattle

Wharton Family Reunion in Kauai – 2012

We spent a fun filled week in Kauai with great friends!! A total of four couples and five children made the trip (from SF, Dallas, Seattle and NYC) and we all stayed in one big house in Poipu Beach. It had been a few years since we’d all seen each other, and we planned this trip around Amy’s 40th birthday party. It also happened to fall on our 7-year wedding anniversary, which was a bonus. It was wonderful, wild, chaotic, exhausting and tons of fun all at the same time. It was great staying together because during naps and after the kids all went to bed, we were able to hang out together and catch up over dinner and drinks. We took turns cooking and even splurged on a private chef one night. We took a few day trips around the island; the highlights were Waimea Canyon and Kauai’s north shore. Otherwise, we spent most of our time at a kiddie beach that was shallow, calm and full of sea-life!

View photos of our trip to Kauai

Wrapping up the summer (omg – time flies!)

We packed a lot of fun into the final few weeks of summer vacation. From a weekend up at Pine Mountain Lake to play-dates to museums to picnics to birthday parties to wine tasting to karate classes and more! All the while chasing around two very active young ones. Having Logan on the go has added a whole new element to outings. He has no fear of falling or leaving Mom/Dad’s side or climbing on anything and everything. He is a very confident mover who loves his new found freedom!! It is so fun to watch him explore on his own and see the smile on his face when he does something new on his own!

Things Logan is doing:
> saying “thank you” when we give him things
> climbing on stools
> giving kisses
> asking for more (usually sounds like moh moh, moh moh)
> wanting to eat anything that anyone else is eating
> slamming our cabinets together, trying to break the baby-locks
> pulling his sister’s hair
> hating diaper changes
> drinking from his own sippy cup
> trying to eat with a fork (an adult fork, he will have it no other way)

Things Malina is doing:
> being incredibly understanding when Logan pulls her hair
> speaking a bit of Spanish, mostly “hola” and “por favor” for now
> getting ready for her second year of preschool
> going to the bottom of the pool for rings
> playing hop-scotch
> weaning monkey as her milk has dried up
> ‘reading’ to her monkey baby
> getting very good at hide and go seek

View photos of Pine Mountain Lake
View photos of mostly Logan
View photos of miscellaneous events from June and July
View photos of Quinn’s birthday, around town, and Rams Gate

Logan is 11 months old

This month was actually rather low-key! We had a visit from an old MBA school friend, Susanne, who currently lives in Dallas. It was wonderful to see her and catch up. As a bonus, she was great with Malina and Logan and became very popular as everyone was vying for her time. Malina apparently thought that Susanne sounded like Little Lamb, so Malina nick-named her Mary Had a Little Lamb … and the name stuck!

We also spent a weekend hanging out with Aunt Emily and Rob down in Mountain View. While there, Logan decided it was time to start walking while holding onto furniture. A very fun and exciting milestone, but also a bit tough when you’re in not somewhere that is baby-proofed. That said, Logan loves the new found freedom and switches back and forth between the fast crawl and the slow walking with support. Malina loved the visit and enjoyed playing in their yard and garden!

As Logan has become a bit more mobile, it has been really fun to watch him play with/follow/try to copy Malina as she moves from room to room playing. Sometimes he will plop down in the middle of a room and just watch her with great excitement. He lets out loud shrieks of joy when she does something funny or something that involves him. He is constantly amazed by her and we can tell that he already looks up to her.

When Logan sees an opportunity to crawl off, he always heads for a toilet, a pipe or an electrical outlet. His favorite pastimes are swishing around toilet water and pulling Malian’s nightlight out of the socket. I am not sure what to make of this. Our biggest challenge with him being so mobile is that he won’t stay still for a second, so diaper changes and outfit changes are a real fight and involve lots of crying and pinning him down. Hopefully this phase passes quickly!

Otherwise, our month was filled with family time, visiting friends and Malina’s 3rd birthday (which has it’s own blog post).

View photos of Logan’s eleventh 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

Family Trip to Utah!

We flew to Salt Lake City to spend a long weekend with old friends. The main event was Kathryn’s baby shower, but it was also an opportunity to meet all the new babies that have been born in the past several months (Kaia, Briella and Logan).

It was Logan’s first flight and he did incredibly well … he slept the entire flight (both ways). Malina had her own seat; we used a CARES Harness (for additional safety), and she did very well with it. Our outbound flight was delayed, so the pilot let her spend several minutes in the cockpit pressing buttons!!

Kathryn and Eric have a beautiful (and large) home, so all of our families were able to stay in one place. It felt like a big slumber party. It was nice for all of the moms to commiserate in the middle of the night as we were all feeding/shushing our non-sleeping babies.

As far as activities went, we threw a baby shower for future Baby Boy Dahlin, we had a professional photographer photo-shoot, we threw a surprise baby shower for Baby Briella, the entire crew ate dinner out (during which Logan “blew out” of his diaper) and we walked around Temple Square to check out the Christmas lights in 16-degree weather!

It was such a great weekend, but a total whirlwind. I hope we can do it again every year :)

View photos of our quick trip to Utah

Logan is 5 months old

The big event this past month was HALLOWEEN! Malina was so excited about it this year and really enjoyed walking around our neighborhood checking out all the decorations in the days leading up to
Halloween. She is very detail oriented and would notice when a given house added more decoration. Malina picked out her own costume, and dressed up as Wonder Woman this year. Logan wore a hand me down costume from a friend and was a cuddly little monkey :)

It seems that we are finally getting settled into more of routine as Logan’s daytime sleep is becoming more predictable. This means more outdoor activities and more play dates with friends (both of which make Malina very happy)! That said, we’re still spending more time indoors than we used to, so Malina has had a lot of time to perfect her coloring, painting, and puzzle doing skills :)

Logan continues to make us smile each and every day. He remains low key!! He loves to smile, make raspberries, drool, push up during tummy time … but most of all, he just loves to be held. He also really likes his milk! I often pump, since I work, and he will lock his eyes onto a bottle of milk and watch as we move it around. If he sees the fridge open and the bottle go inside, he bursts out into tears. It’s hilarious. This guy loves his milk! He is also very interested in food, he stares at us when we eat and he actually opens and closes his mouth and smacks his lips when food is out. Perhaps the cutest thing of all, is how much he loves and admires his big sister! He watches her everywhere she goes, she tries to imitate her actions, and he giggles when she gently pets him. He truly knows that she is a special little person in his life!

Malina continues to loves preschool and learns new things every day. Most recently, she has started adding the word “actually” to many of her sentences. It sounds so cute. Malina has made 2 best friends at school and she tells us about them all the time. She is also working to help potty train them, since she is the only kid in the class who uses the toilet. We had our first “parent-teacher” conference this week and they had nothing but positive things to say about Malina. We were a little concerned that she may play too rough with the other kids (as she does on play dates), but they said she is very sweet and nurturing and even helps cheer kids up when they start to cry (i.e. when they miss mom and dad). We were very proud and only hope every parent teacher conference will be this positive ;)

View photos of Logan’s fifth month

Malina and Eliza = Besties!

Malina and Eliza are truly the best of friends. We are close friends with Eliza’s parents so we see them often, but the girls also run into each other randomly out and about in the Marina, at places like the library, the park, and drop in gymnastics. They give a high pitch little squeal when they see each other from a distance. The always greet and part with a hug and kiss. Here are a few photos of them hanging out recently.

View photos of Malina and Eliza

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.

A visit from the Turcinov Family

Our friends Amy and Z, along with 13 month old twins Gabe and Zara, came down from Seattle to visit us this past weekend. We managed to cram all 7 adults and children into our flat for the weekend and it actually worked out really well!! The toddlers had a ton of fun playing together and the parents got to relax and catch up during their naps. We spent a lot of our time together just hanging out around the house, but we did make it out to The Academy of Sciences (Zara loves butterflies) and the beach.

While at home, Malina did a great job of sharing all her toys and her bedroom. When she wasn’t busy running around naked, she was giving out lots of hugs. Gabe and Zara were good sports about all the hugs. And when they weren’t busy with that, they were generally sticking everything imaginable in their mouths!

View photos of the Turcinov visit.