Bring Out the Reese’s Pieces

I don’t remember Halloween being such a big deal in our family like it is in some, but I do remember my mom laboring over hand-made costumes like clowns and cats, and elephants. Sometime’s life feels a bit circular. When Autumn announced she no longer wanted to be a bumblebee this Halloween because “wearing the color black makes me feel sad”, we had to work on a fast Plan B. We re-purposed the bumblebee wings, found some inspiration from a Pottery Barn Kid’s catalog and voila, we had ourselves one “Autumn Fairy”. The night of October 30th as I’m putting in zippers and wrestling with sparkle tulle in the wee hours of the morning, I thought to myself, “How many other moms are staying up tonight doing exactly the same thing I am?” Lots, I’m sure.

We may have pressed the easy button on Carson’s costume, but he was just as adorable. Little man, no one can pull off a pumpkin beret like you.

We spent the evening with our extended family getting the cousins together in a fairy tale suburb of Marin. How perfect that Marley was a gnome (check out the amazing handmade costume by Lindsay & Wayne), Ashytn was a mushroom and their parents came as trees. A bunch of woodland storybook characters we were! Falling leaves and falling rain (hello Oregon childhood & wet costumes) along with the hoards of giddy kids made it feel like a scene from ET. Bring out the Reeses Pieces. Utter joy.

Sharing pics of my own mom’s creations for fun too – Thanks for the memories Mom. The ribbons on Autumn’s dress are dedicated to you. It may have taken 30 years, but we can finally cross that ribbon dress project off the list ; )

On the left: 1981 – Jody at age 4 (same age as Autumn above) in a clown costume my mom handmade. Brian had a matching one.

One the right: Brian as the cat, Jody as the elephant circa 1985? Nice work Mom.

First day of school! First day of school!

Wait, a year just passed? How did that happen? Yesterday Autumn started her second year at Presidio Preschool in their pre-K program. Even though she’s been going over the summer, the first day of school was still a big deal: new teachers, new students, new friends, and a new dress she helped make with Mom. I doubt we just started a tradition, but we had a great time and it helped establish her on her 17 year education track to become a dress designer – her stated career goal at age 3. We’re just trying to get our head around the process of enrolling her in a San Francisco kindergarten. We’ll need most of this next year to figure that out. Take your time little beauty. You’re growing up much too fast.

What a Difference a Decade Makes

In the words of Jermey Piven – Ten Years Man! Ten! In April 2001, Matt and I took our first backpacking trip together in Point Reyes National Seashore. I can hardly believe we’ve spent a decade outside together. Since then we’ve had countless adventures, the biggest of which is doubling the number of Sierra Souls in our household. It was time to go back to where it all began, minus the freeze dried lasagna maybe.

Over the weekend we opted to go put our new Humvee stroller (aka the “double wide”) to work and enjoyed a picnic together in the meadow halfway between the Vistors Center and Arch Rock. A hike? Uh, sure. sorta. I’m not sure what our twenty-something backpacking selves would have thought of rolling our kids on the same trail we walked years ago, but if parenting has taught me anything – it’s to stop being so judgmental and just appreciate that people are getting out and enjoying our public spaces. Especially sleep deprived sierrasoul-types. Autumn and Carson, you have no idea what you’re in for over the next ten years = ) Better grab your boots…

More photos from the day can be found on Jody’s Flickr site.

Finding The Silver Lining

2011 has not disappointed us. It has been just as nuts as we thought it would be. Two little kids, Matt’s job, and a new business has meant very little sleep in our home and moments when Matt and I barely recognize one another. We tell ourselves constantly, “It won’t always be like this”. But then there are times where I morn the same idea – It won’t always be like this. Carson will never be this little again, Autumn may not wonder at the world the same way she does today, and we may never again accomplish as much as we do right now.

Today we seized the rainy day and sought out the biggest puddles we could find. Autumn knew just what to do. We celebrated being home with one another, even if it was only a few short hours before Matt had to head out for a Saturday’s worth of work. Crissy Field didn’t disappoint and it was such a pleasure seeing smiles on our little girl’s face after so many days of life with a two year old. If you have kids over two – you know what I mean.

Even as I write this with an evening to myself I think, “Wow, I should really finish that presentation due Monday, or the plans I’m soposed to call the Architect about tomorrow, or maybe even take advantage of the moment to grab the Soft Scrub and remember what it was like to have a clean bathroom. All this before I hear Carson cry on the monitor and I have to go in and…
and well hold my little boy in the dark and enjoy snuggling away from the world. That my friends, is the silver lining. A pause in the dark to realize how precious the moment is – just before you fall asleep and miss it.

More photos from the day can be found here on Jody’s Flickr site.

One Week With Two

We made it a week. It was a true team effort. I honestly don’t know how families get through those first few days with a new baby and a toddler at home with husbands lesser than mine. Matt has become the ultimate caretaker in every way. He is Mr. Mom to Autumn, keeps the kitchen spotless, feeds us all delicious home cooked food, and delivers me extra hot, decaf, non-fat peppermint mochas after giving me time to take a nap. If there was a medal of honor for most wonderful husband, Matt has earned it over and over.

Did I mention I’m in the middle of a nasty cold too? It just seems mean spirited of Mother Nature. As if recovering from giving birth and caring for a newborn all night wasn’t exhausting already. I like to think of it as an “Oh Holy Rabbi” moment. (A reference to a story my mom used to tell us about a family that asked their Rabbi for help dealing with their crowded family quarters. The Rabbi asked them to bring each of their farm animals inside one by one despite their desperate pleas. After life was nearly unbearable, the Rabbi asked them to send the animals back outside and their home felt spacious and comfortable again.) I’m hoping once I feel better, being a new mom all over again with a toddler still in diapers and not sleeping through the night yet consistently will just feel that much easier.

I’m sleep deprived, and doing my best to make sure Autumn gets one-on-one time with Mom every day. She’s adjusting surprisingly well, but clearly misses having our undivided attention. We’ve tried to make life as fun as possible over the holidays including a trip with Dad to the zoo last Monday and a trip to the Children’s Museum scheduled for the whole family tomorrow. Carson and I will spend the entire time sitting down and nursing, but I’m really looking forward to getting out of the house!

Adjusting to the “New Normal” hasn’t been without its hiccups. Life is a blur, but a happy one. Carson is absolutely precious and puts smiles on our faces everyday. And yes, for those that remember from Autumn’s first weeks – we celebrated this special anniversary tonight with cupcakes. We deserve them.

Life’s a Beach

Our new digs are in the fog. I mean really deep into it. Summertime in San Francisco requires an open mind about what summer means. We wear fleece jackets, beanies and scarves in July as often as we would in January. That’s why when we get a weekend in the summer with no other plans – we head north, south, or east in search of a mystical summer that only appears in ads for hot dogs, mayonnaise, and Country Time lemonade. Head west – there’s only 25 blocks to the edge of the continent – and you’ll just find yourself deeper in the clouds.

We jumped on the day today and headed south to our favorite summer lunch spot in the small hamlet of Pescadero to be followed by some quality family beach time. Duarte’s Tavern has, and I’m not kidding here, the best soup on the planet. It’s a mix of green chili and cream of artichoke and is served with piping hot homemade bread. I could eat four bowls, even if I wasn’t pregnant. I look forward to this lunch a year in advance.

Once we stuffed ourselves so full it hurt a little bit (okay, a lot), we hit the beach and enjoyed some quality summertime fun. Autumn loves her sand toys almost as much as Elmo these days and had a ball. It wasn’t “warm” per se, but we were on a beach with nothing to do but hang out together and that’s a bit of summer that weather can’t touch. For more photos from the day, click here.

Thank you Easter Bunny

Tradition says to decorate the egg. But after the blue dye spilled all over Marley and Mason had Autumn covered in stickers, we decided decorating the kids was a helluva lot more fun.

Easter was a full blown weekend affair with egg decorating on Saturday and Easter egg hunts on Sunday. By the second egg of the hunt, Autumn had it all figured out and was looking for anything else the Easter Bunny might have decided to bring her beyond the bunny, dog (both stuffed), and stickers. She even got a smidgen of Scharffen Berger chocolate. Next year she’ll build on her experience and will give her cousins a run for their money when it comes to the egg count. See more photos from our holiday here.


Pumpkin Patchin’

Changing seasons and holidays come along whether we’re ready or not. It didn’t matter that I have a nasty cold, that traffic was sure to be brutal, or that Autumn isn’t even old enough to participate in the preparation of a Jack-o’-lantern. It was the last weekend before Halloween and Matt insisted we were going pumpkin patching at Half Moon Bay. I am so glad he did.

We pulled into Farmer John’s Pumpkin Patch, grabbed a wagon, and started hunting. For those we haven’t seen in awhile, Autumn has three words these days: Dada, Mama, and BALL! Where Matt and I saw pumpkins, Autumn saw bright orange balls everywhere for the taking. She trotted all over the place calling out “Ba-Boll, Ba-Boll”! And though I doubted it would work, she seemed to really enjoy being pulled around the patch in a wagon by her dad. It didn’t take long though until she decided sitting didn’t present enough of a challenge. When she tried to stand we pulled her out and she was ready to help Dad push our treasures to the car.

We came away with one gigantic pumpkin we plan to carve tomorrow morning and two pint sized “pumpkinitos” hand selected by our little girl. But the best part was a simple day together and seeing Dad and daughter having a blast. Here’s to new family traditions.

Happy Halloween!

See more photos from our day at the Pumpkin Patch