baker beach.

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So, California just has to be the best place on earth. I mean- look at this. It's February! The only problem is, you have to time things just right and be ready to be spontaneous. Today we took the babies to Baker Beach because someone was smart enough to look at the weather forecast and realize that it was going to be an absolutely perfect day today- followed by an entire week of Bay Area winter rain (which rarely happens these days). So, we threw on our swimsuits and headed for the most photogenic beach on the coast. I mean, sand, waves, and the Golden Gate Bridge. You can't beat it.

It was perfect and sunny, and the babies stuffed their faces with sand to their hearts content. We are all looking forward to those sand filled diapers....

Stephen spent much of the afternoon carefully collecting rocks in a bucket, and patiently allowing the other babies to throw them all out of the bucket. Eliza would secretly take little nibbles of sand, while Nolan grabbed huge globs and crawled around with a sand beard on his face. They were all so happy to be in the sun, and Eliza kept laughing hysterically for no reason at all. I love the Bay Area! It's where all my dreams come true.

I love watching these babies play. They each have their own unique personalities and they are growing and changing all of the time. Even though they are all different ages, they play together and help each other. Sometimes there are tears and crazy, but most of the time they are  happy and excited to see each other. Eliza is so lucky to have such handsome, little boyfriends! 

Thanks for a beautiful day, Baker Beach! Ladies, why is it that we are not here every day of the year??

tea for two.

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This weekend I helped host a baby shower for a good friend. She has two little boys, and it was going to be her first baby girl- so we decided that it needed to be the girliest, little tea party we could think of. We spared no sugar!

It's a good thing that I am a hoarder of pretty things, because it came together so easily. I pulled out all of the vases and bottles from our wedding reception, vintage books, and my collection of tea cups. (I swear I am 26 going on 90.) I wanted it to be just a happy, little garden tea party. This was some of the inspiration I pulled together. 

I found this tutorial for a paper flower arch and made it my own. I knew that Eliza's schedule wasn't going to allow me very much time for anything too complicated, so the coffee filter flowers would be a super, easy and fun project. I made all of the flowers in like an hour, during her nap. The whole thing cost me $1 for the filters, and I used some tissue paper and twine that I already had. I dyed half of the flowers using an old set of Crayola watercolors. The arranging of the swag took awhile- mostly because it kept looking so wonky and I would have to walk away from it and come back to shift everything around a bit. 

Tyrah pulled together some amazing treats, and since it was a breakfast shower she went all out with the croissants. YES. I love baked goods in the morn. We also set up a tea station, with five kinds of tea, peach honey sticks, and clove candy stir sticks. And, each guest could leave with a little box of tea for home.

Our baby mama was too cute, and it was so much fun seeing how happy she was with all of the girly sweetness. My favorite part was watching her get all dressed up for the photo booth. I set up a bunch of my vintage hats and jewelry in the sunroom for a quick photo shoot. Every girl loves playing dress-up!

Leslie, you are darling. And I know that baby will be darling, too. Happy day!

tomales bay.

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For President's Day, our friends invited us to have oysters at Point Reyes. We were totally clueless, thinking we were going to a restaurant they liked or something. But, we totally couldn't expect this- thanks for treating us to the best day! We drove out to the Tomales Bay Oyster Company- it was perfectly sunny, and we were all loving the cold wind whipping through our hair.

So, Christyn and Stephen were total pros. They brought cheese and homemade bread, grapes, strawberries, and San Pellegrino. First, you buy a huge bag of fresh oysters from this huge stand. Then you set up shop on one of the picnic tables, each with a grill and a fat slab of wood block with a horseshoe nailed to it. They taught us how to shuck the oysters with these funny gloves and a special knife. You season it with spices, garlic, and lemon- then you throw 'em on the grill or just eat it raw. SO GOOD. I might have been a little skeptical about eating them raw, but the grilled ones were just about the tastiest things I've ever eaten. The boys each ate like 10 of them. Between those, the snacks, and the grilled veggies, I think we were all about to pop after. Plus, nothing tastes better than fresh air and food.

Oh, and for dessert they carved out oranges, filled them with brownie batter, and stuck them on the coals. What? Yes, it was as good as you're thinking.

Eliza was so happy and content all day. She snacked on everything, and chilled in her puff coat. It was a great day. I can't stop smiling just thinking about it...

nine months.

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Eliza is 9 months old. That's 3/4 of a year! Nothing new or huge happened this month, except that I feel that Eliza is suddenly way too grown up. I mean, she was already standing and crawling and babbling last month- but, this month she is suddenly faster and stronger and smarter. It's too much! Everything just looks and sounds so much more "kid-like" and I can't keep up.

Stop growing, girl!

Now that she's older, our days are much more structured. I'm just starting to feel the "not enough hours in the day" mama stress. Between meals, naps, play, park, walks, appointments, and errands- I feel like our day just disappears. Also, I took a position teaching a few classes at Montclair Dance Academy, and I am absolutely loving it. It has been the perfect amount of time, with some really great students. And, it is giving Eliza a chance to be away from me for one afternoon a week. Every mother is different, but for me this was a hard decision to make. We are together all day every day. To some people that sounds crazy. And trust me, on some days it is crazy. But, I'm glad that we are doing this. It gives me a creative outlet, and Eliza gets to hang out at our friend's house all afternoon.

She is doing surprisingly great, by the way. Amanda can always make Eliza happy. Once, when Eliza was like a month old, Amanda came over one afternoon- she made my bed (at least the sheets were washed!) and rocked Eliza for like an hour. She didn't cry once for her the whole time, and this was back in the day when E literally never. stopped. crying. (Literally, not figuratively.) I'm grateful to have such magical friends who can keep my babe happy. And, who have cute baby friends and loads of great toys!

At the end of the day, I pick up my little one and take her home to put her to bed. I don't know what our future holds for us, but I just can't imagine being away from this girl for longer than a few hours on a Tuesday afternoon. It just goes too fast. Eliza, I love you, but if you don't slow down I just might have to lock you away. So, please stop growing up, and don't you DARE take your first steps when I'm not there! My mama-heart couldn't handle that.

Eliza at nine months:
-sitting, standing, crawling- and she's FAST.
-walks along the couch and when you hold her hands
-babbling sounds conversational
-two bottom teeth, and two fangs
-loves her baths in the big tub
-teeny, tiny girl- weighing in at 14 lb 5 oz.
-just got put on a high-fat diet- lucky girl!
-waves "hello" at her own face
-makes funny sniffy faces
-still our outdoors adventure girl
-had one random week where she was heart-warmingly cuddly
-has "stations" in the house where she returns to play
-loves banging things, and pulling things out
-only wants to feed herself
-loves bread, bread, and more bread
-pretty adventurous in trying new foods
-but, I have to be really creative to get her to actually stop and eat
-such a happy and giggly girl
-really good in public- loves people watching
-loves older babies and kids
-her first ventures into day-time babysitting have been a success!
-always bonking her head (poor girl)
-little lounger
-she's really good at communicating her needs
-loves chasing and being chased
-big toothy, crooked grin
-so easy to get this girl to laugh these days- we are loving it!

dolores park.

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So, a couple of my friends and I have made a goal to "go" somewhere at least once a week. It's not that we don't get out- we are park hopping all day, taking the babes on hikes, and knocking out as many bakeries and ice cream shops as we can. Basically our days look like this:

Nap Time.
"Totland in 5? Ok, see you there."
Nap Time.
"Farmer's Market for ice cream in 5? See you there!"

I love that you can walk pretty much anywhere in Berkeley, or at the most a 5 minute drive. But, we realized we haven't been taking advantage of the Bay Area as much as should. So, we are going to take mini trips to San Francisco and other areas to try out new parks and museums- and of course, they might be chosen based on the local eats. We tend to eat a lot. (When people come to visit, I have every meal planned out. But, not much in between.)

Last week we went to the playground at Dolores Park in San Francisco. Sam and I had spent time at the park before, and explored the Mission. But, for some reason I didn't even notice the playground. It is probably the coolest park I have ever seen, and you can't beat the view. The babies spent the morning crawling all over, climbing the structures, and chasing pigeons. The play structures are so well-designed, and they have these neat musical installations in the tot area. The big kid section has huge slides and crazy things to climb. And, I liked that the park was covered in the bouncy rubber, instead of messy sand and wood chips. Except that it had just rained, so the babies got pretty soaked from crawling around.

Any other Bay Area recommendations? We're feeling pretty adventurous.