Friday, July 27, 2012

Proud Mama

No pictures to share tonight, just a short story.

I knew I was experiencing my most proud moment as a mother today once I figured out exactly what was going on.  Louisa and I were at the grocery store, buying ingredients for these two recipes.  She was being particularly pleasant, sitting in the child-seat of the cart when we wheeled up to aisle 8 to pay for our food.

There was some confusion about flour tortillas - particularly which size was on sale - the 6 inch or the 10 inch, so we waited for at least seven minutes.  While we waited I made faces at Lou and tickled her chin and she giggled.  Then I turned  to read the covers of US Weekly and People when I heard, "ehh, ehh."  

That sound, said quietly and somewhat politely, in combination with a pointing finger, means, I want that.  My first thought was, seriously, how does she know how good candy bars are? But I turned and followed her finger to the toothbrush sale!  Just the fact that there were $0.98 toothbrushes for sale next to the candy was awesome, but the fact that Louisa wanted a toothbrush was so so so awesome that I bought her one.  I gave into her candy-aisle begging because in general, I want to do everything I can to encourage good dental hygiene.  Just ask Nate how strict I am about dental hygiene.  Strict.  When you have insurance, there is no reason not to go for a cleaning at least once per year.  But that is a rant for another post.

Oh Loubear, you made your mama proud.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

All of the Raindrops

Louisa and I like to think that we brought the rain.  Of course, usually when you visit someone, they want you to bring sunshine, but everyone needs rain so much right now that we're happy with our choice of hostess gift.  And as for the rain spoiling our fun, it hasn't.  We're in Oconomowoc and mostly when it's not raining, it's been too hot to be outside, so rain is great!  It's been a nice visit, with plenty of time for long afternoon naps, visits with friends and evening baths.  Sarah and Oliver are here too.  These are the kind of visits that are oh-so-memorable.

Meanwhile, Nate is trekking around China for work.  The thirteen hour time difference is easy to figure out, so we've been able to use Facetime to talk.  Loubear digs that. Well, until she accidentally hangs up on Nate because she needs to be holding the iPod. Using the laptop is better, so we'll make sure to have it charged up from now on.  I'm glad we didn't decide to stay in California while he was gone.  It would have been long and lonely, I'm afraid.

On another note, I think you'll be glad to see that I finally updated our blog header.  We no longer live on an isthmus.  I thought about re-naming the blog Three Valley Girls and a MacDaddy, but I didn't get a chance to approve that with Nate before the big edit last night.  Actually, that is not true...I just thought of that title now.  If you have a good idea, leave a comment!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Baby Beluga in the deep blue sea

Louisa loves Baby Beluga, the happy arctic whale that swims in the warm waters with his mama.  Anne and Andrew got to have the song ingrained in their heads this weekend when they visited us in Campbell.  Andrew also pointed out a few inaccuracies in the lyrics.  Can you find them?  Louisa was timid around them both at first, but Anne soon inched her way into "favorite aunt" running by singing endless verses of Baby Beluga, as well as other songs such as Tender Shepherd, Powder Blue and Baby Duke of York.

On Saturday we all went to The Mystery Spot on our way down to Santa Cruz to visit the dog beach and a favorite restaurant, 515 Kitchen and Cocktails.  Then on Sunday we went to church together at the San Jose CRC, visited the Campbell Farmers' Market and went on a 12-mile (round-trip) bike ride to Los Gatos for their outdoor concert series.  We packed a picnic and enjoyed musical selections performed by the San Jose opera group.  We also posed for one of my all-time favorite pictures.  The second photo is pretty fun too:

It was such a nice visit and we can't wait to see them again!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Blue skies for me, blue skies for Lou

Not too much to say, but lots of cute pictures to share.  Yesterday I potted our herbs while Louisa napped and today we met some friends at the outdoor concert downtown Campbell.  Have I mentioned how much I love Campbell?  We can walk or bike everywhere we need to go and it's such a happening place.  People around here talk about how much they love Campbell too. They mostly talk about it's centrality...close to the mountains, the beach, and the city.  Today someone also boasted that it's reasonably priced (housing-wise) compared to the surrounding areas. Relatively speaking, I suppose that's true. And Nate just reminded me that we will probably never live somewhere with nicer weather than this.  I'm not very interested in finding a job these days and I blame the weather for that.  Maybe if it rains...

So anyway, the photos.  Our toddler-friendly herb garden:

Louisa loves to hang out on the back patio, so today while she explored, I snapped some pictures.  A few of my favorites:

Sing it, Louisa!
And finally, fun at the concert:

Hannah and Kate (Nate's co-worker's daughter and wife, also from WI)

Jacob, one of Lou's older boyfriends

Jacob and Heather

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Clip clip here, snip snip there

I knew as soon as I got excited about my daily blogging that I would stop.  So, sorry about that.  It's probably better this way though, right?  Daily posts means too much for you to read.

Today was a productive day.  Ries got a snazzy new haircut which means I found a groomer that I like.  And the whole shebang costs only $10 more than it did in Madison.  Not bad.

I also went running with Louisa, which felt great.  I've been making excuses, but I really need to get back at it.  I feel good when I run and more importantly, I feel good after I run.  And we're training for a 9K in mid-September.  Yep, we're training.  It's a women's-only race that has a stroller division, so Louisa is an integral part of the training.  Abbie is flying out with her stroller and Mr. Max to run with us!

After the run, we had a nice lunch play-date with some more new friends - Karen and her 3 kids (almost 5, almost 3, and almost 1), Shelly and her daughter (16 months) and Jen and her kids (almost 3 and 3 months).  Very fun.  I met Karen at the church where her husband preaches: San Jose CRC.  We look forward to going back to this church soon!  I thought about bringing my camera so I'd have something for my post tonight, but wanted to make a good impression :)  So the photos above will have to do.

Tonight after Louisa went to bed, I finished her curtains.  Because she's sleeping, I didn't hang them yet, but here is a sneak preview:

Sunday, July 15, 2012

We're on a Roll

Regan, a friend of ours from Madison, moved to Denmark with her family (husband and two boys) earlier this year.  I just learned of her blog - Three Years in Denmark and was inspired by her blogging skills...she posts daily!  So thanks to Regan's inspiration, we're on a roll.  I'm on a roll.  Makes me sing the song by Over the Rhine in my head while I get my daily blog on.

Today we:

  1. walked to church
  2. felt less than an instant bond to this particular church
  3. walked to the farmers' market
  4. bought herbs (mint, lemongrass, Italian parsley, silver thyme, Italian oregano and basil) for the empty pots in our sun-drenched backyard

After this morning excursion, Lou tried to nap but was apparently too excited to sleep.  Instead of napping, we loaded up the bikes and drove to Santa Cruz.  It was chilly there (65 degrees) but we were prepared with sweatshirts, so it felt nice.  "Its beach" is a off-leash dog beach and Ries had tons of fun.  Not to mention the fun Lou had.  Well, she had fun until she had her daily poop.  Then she was uncomfortable (see picture # 3 below). Nate saved the day by biking back to the car and getting her diaper bag.  I'm still amazed at the number of places I go without the essentials: wipes, cloth diaper, diaper cover, wet bag.  Someday I'll learn.

Good news!  I'm visiting Wisconsin soon because Nate is going to China for the first time.  See some of you soon!  Even better news!  Before we go to Wisconsin, we get to see Anne and Andrew!  They are coming this weekend after a visit with Andrew's sister and her fiancĂ©.  Louisa can't wait to re-meet those funny faces in her favorite board book.

Making Ries pose for a picture with her biggest fan

Probably saying, "doggie"
Snuggling in close post-poop
Looking for dogs

Ries gets gotten by a golden doodle

Outdoor Living in California

I think outdoor living spaces are very trendy right now no matter where you are in the country, but the concept is definitely popular here in the bay area.  Things can get pretty fancy: outdoor counches, built-in barbecues and fire la la.  I do dream of having a comfy, outdoor living room someday, but not now.  I bring it up now because I took some pictures of Lou in our favorite outdoor living space today.  Now that she learned how to crawl up on our chairs in front, she loves doing it.  I actually don't mind, because she'll sit out there for quite sometime.  Today she had an iPod to hold while she sat, but yesterday it was a book.  As some of you know, Lou is usually content as long as she's holding something (or two things) in her little paw(s).

Nate spent the morning fixing up our bikes for a ride tomorrow, so Louisa, Ries and I rode down the Los Gatos Creek Trail to the dog park this evening to test things out.  We all enjoyed the ride, although Louisa enjoyed the dog park even more.  Her favorite phrase (only phrase?) is still "hi doggie, goggie, doggie, doggie," so seeing lots of dogs running around together is really exciting for her!  Here's our set-up:

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Museum & New Friends

We had a lovely outing today with two new friends.  We went to the San Jose Children's Museum with Heather and her son Jacob.  Marcia befriended Heather and her family at a outdoor concert in downtown Campbell last week and we've since met up three more times!   Jacob just turned two in May, so he and Lou are just about a year apart.  Heather also has a 9 week old baby that she was able to leave at home with her husband who works from home on Fridays.  On our drive to and from the museum, Heather filled me in on her favorite restaurants, nail salons and hair salons.  When the time comes for a haircut or that all-important pedicure, I'll know right where to go!  Heather likes Nail Spa by Tammy in part because they give you trail mix and tea during your pedicure.  Sounds awesome.

While I was typing the paragraph above, I was watching Lou through the window while she sat outside on the front porch.  Our neighbor and her son walked by so I hurried out to make sure that she, the neighbor, knew that Lou was not left alone.  I invited her in and then she invited us on a walk.  So another friend for me and another older boyfriend for Louisa!  Giddeon, Alisa's son, is two!

Here are some sweet pictures from our day at the museum:

Firewoman Louisa

Driving the fire truck

Staring up at the automatic bubble-maker in the bubble room

To good, long naps!

Louisa gave me one of the best gifts today: a 3.5 hour nap in the middle of the day.  The funny thing is, I am just now sitting down to sketch out plans for her black-out curtains.  It's interesting how quickly babies change their routines and how we parents like to pretend we know why they change.  For instance, earlier this year I decided that Lou's room needed to be darker in order for her to sleep well.  I made black-out curtains, hung them in her room, and - poof! - she started taking longer naps and sleeping in later each morning.  So sure, I say it was the curtains, but really it could have been a coincidence.  BUT, coincidence or not, I'm making more curtains (the old ones are too small).  I'm excited to make more because the first time around I didn't understand the directions perfectly.

On a totally separate note, please send your congratulatory remarks at your convenience: I passed my California driving (written) test today!  I was pretty proud of my ability to entertain Louisa while taking a somewhat challenging multiple choice exam.  Thirty-six questions long and you can get up to six wrong before you have to retake the test.  I got three wrong, including the question about the legal alcohol limit.  Who keeps that information in their head?!  Lou and I also successfully removed our Bucky Badger plates (tear, sniff) and attached the new California plates.  No wonder she napped so well!

Every blog post needs some pictures, so here are two from today.  We walked to the farmers' market and bought these delicious berries.  Tasty!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

California Dreaming

No, actually, this is no dream.  It's real.  And it's good for the most part, unless you spend your evening sorting pictures of fun times in Madison.  That can make you sad.

I think it's also sad when visitors leave.  Marcia came to visit us July 4th through the 10th.  We had a wonderful time if you erase Sunday when three of the four of us were couch and bedridden with food poisoning.  There were only two redeeming things about this experience.  The first is that you feel so so  good after feeling so so bad and it's good to appreciate feeling good. The second is that I had the opportunity to be a good citizen and report an episode (or three) of food poisoning to the local health department.  Unfortunately they didn't call me back.  Nate thinks I should also report it to the restaurant that poisoned us so we can get a free meal.  I'm not sure if I want a free meal from them though.

We were able to show Marcia around our neighborhood - which we love - during walks to and from the community pool, Trader Joe's, downtown (we attended an outdoor concert on Thursday and more live music at First Fridays) and Whole Foods.  On Saturday we went up to "the city" as they call it around here.  That would be San Francisco.  It was bustling because the weather was divine: 70's and sunny.  Although it would be fun to live in San Fran, I'm glad we don't because while it's usually overcast and cool up there, it's 80 and sunny down here in the south valley.  The pictures below are all from our day trip to the city.

I'll leave you with a sweet little image that you have to imagine (before showing you some actual images): we arrive at the airport on Tuesday morning and Louisa has opened Marcia's pinkish lipstick and smeared it all over her hands.  She actually did a pretty decent job on her lips too.  Of course the frenzy to clean up her hands eliminated our opportunity to take a picture, so you'll just have to imagine how stinking cute it was.

Oh, and one more thing to share.  Dinner tonight was tasty!  I had some ricotta cheese left over from a turkey burger recipe that I made last week, so I googled "ricotta recipes" and found this spinach sausage pie.  With pre-made pie crusts from Trader Joe's and frozen, chopped spinach, it was delicious and easy.  Highly recommended.  Don't skip the egg wash on top - it makes it beautiful.

Sweet mother / son photo

The city was sunny, but the bridge was still partially cloud covered

Lou's concerned eyebrows

Thankfully not an accurate depiction of our family

Sportin' her new WI gear

See Where Our Pictures Were Taken