This girl is picky.

It is pretty much the most annoying thing ever.

I mean, I was not a picky eater when I was a kid. I feel like, "Hey, I was good to my parents! Why did I end up with a picky one!?"

She won't eat anything that I give her. It's such a game. It has to be presented to her in just the right fashion, with just the right amount of eye contact. It has to be just the right temperature, served in just the right container or cut in just the right shape. Or else, it's a no-go. She picks it up very meticulously between her two fingers, gives it a little taste with her tongue, looks straight at me while she lets it dangle over the side of her high chair, and then... very dramatically drops it on the ground. She knows I hate it when she does that. So, lately she has actually been hoarding it on her lap, and then slowly and stealthily pushing it through the leg holes of her chair.


She won't eat sticky things. She doesn't like getting her hands wet, or even moist for that matter. She wants to feed herself most days, but then- "Oh! Today I would like to be spoon fed!" Every once in awhile I feel like I have a winner- the food and presentation were right on and she's EATING! Then, the next second, she looks at you like you are crazy for even offering.

These are the many picky faces of Eliza during breakfast the other day. I mean, if she's going to drive me crazy. I should at least get a few laughs out of it. She's so dramatic!

Did I mention, that the only things she will "usually" eat without fail are recipes that involve a whole lot of work? I can make green curry lentil soup and she will guzzle it down- which is great! She can get a lot of nutrients from that. But, who the heck has time to make green curry lentil soup for three meals a day!? Why won't she just eat a few chunks of cantaloupe like a normal toddler?!

Oh, and one more for good measure:



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This weekend we took a trip up to Mendocino to celebrate our anniversary. We haven't taken a trip in awhile. I forget how important they are to me, and to us. I don't need to go far, but I do need to get away from the every day. Not because I want to "get away" from my every day- but, because finding myself in a new environment allows me to step away, look in, and make sure I'm on the right track. Also, I believe in seeing new things- even if it's only a couple of hours away!

Eliza tagged along for the trip, which made the views that much cuter, eh? A good friend was kind enough to give us her family's Kelty pack, and Eliza loved it! Lately, she hasn't been too interested in any of our carriers. But, the Kelty pack was perfect because she was comfortable, but could still get a great view. And, you really can't beat the Northern California coast. Crashing waves, cliffs dripping with succulents, and a whitewashed lighthouse. We had the greatest time at sunset, watching Eliza trying to walk around on a huge bed of plants. She couldn't get a footing, so she would tumble every couple of steps- laughing and laughing as she rolled around on her face. 

She had a ball on this trip! The beach, the fields, the inn where we stayed the night- endless new spaces for her to explore. She loves digging her little fingers into the sand, or pulling things out of our bags one at a time. More than that, she loves to clutch things for long periods of time. When we would hike, she wanted to hold a hunk of bread in her hand the entire time. She might take a nibble every once in awhile, but mostly she just likes to hold it.

We explored the tiny towns and cute shops, hiked around the coast, and stopped in a redwood grove on the way home. We also stopped at Sea Glass Beach! The beach used to be a dump, and is now covered in glass "pebbles" from years of waves- brown, green, white, and the rare blue. Eliza would squat down and dig her fingers in the sea glass with a huge smile on her face. We collected a few in our shirt pockets, and after she noticed us doing this she kept trying to help by dumping big rocks down my shirt.

I decided that Sam and I are old souls. We were pretty much the only people in the town under the age of 75. Every coastline and town was dotted with happy, old couples hiking out into the sunset and it made me smile. Every single woman I ran across would fawn over Eliza and say, "Oh, I have a granddaughter/son that is one year old, too!" And, to top it off- we stayed at the inn where Murder She Wrote was filmed. HA! But, you know what? We had a great time. I love beautiful, peaceful places. I love adventures. And, I love my family.

Also, I love Sam. I don't know if I've said it enough lately. I think it's easy for me to get wrapped up in gushing about how much I love Eliza. But, can I take a second to gush about my husband? It's been four of the most amazing years. I couldn't have dreamed up a more perfect partner in this life of mine. He is patient and kind and loving. He makes me so happy. I was getting all weepy the other day looking at old photos of mine, from our dating days and our wedding day and our newlywed days. It's my anniversary, so I can say this: I love Rox & Sam. We are pretty great.

Ok, I'm done now. (Until next year!) 

Thank you for whisking us away to Mendocino for the weekend, Sam. I love you!

Also, extra points for Sam for driving while I puked into a bag for the full length of the Richmond Bridge, and then pulling over and suppressing a gag while disposing of my plastic bag of vomit. (Now that's love!) Yep. Food poisoning from a taco shop in Cloverdale. Yikes!

one year.


Eliza Roxie is one year old. I took these pictures on her birthday, but I have been avoiding writing this post. It makes me a little sad.

My mom and I were commenting that these past two weeks have been crazy to witness. Eliza has grown up leaps and bounds from the time we picked my mom up from the airport. We were counting her baby steps those first few days. Now, she's waddling around the house like it's nothing. When she started walking, her stress level fell a billion notches. I look down at this happy baby with those long spike pigtails, walking around with a big ol' smile on her face and I have to laugh. Let's be honest, people. Eliza is a bit intense. But, it's like she figured out life, and she's so proud of herself.

For her birthday, Eliza gave us the best gift. She suddenly started developing this beautiful cuddling phase. I am completely drunk on it- taking in every extra second of these tiny embraces. She never used to allow cuddling. Ever. And now, she waddles over  to hug my legs tightly, rolls over to scoot up against my face, and hands out big, wet open-mouthed kisses. She even allows me to snuggle with her before she falls asleep every night. I can't get enough of it!

This has been the most amazing year of my life. I really never knew I could love like this. I don't think it existed until she came. It's a special kind of love. I can't believe I could ever be trusted with such a beautiful being. She is so pure and perfect.

I have struggled with hard things. In the past, I have found myself in dark places. But, I could never imagine the hard things that I would be going through during this first year of life- and yet, I never found myself in those dark places. I can be in tears, in absolute frustration, but then I look at those eyes and I melt. There is always light in her, and she always bring me home. Eliza and Sam are my everything. I am so grateful for my family. The older Eliza gets, the more I see Sam in that little face and I couldn't be happier.

I absolutely can not quite grasp the fact that she has been here for an entire year, now. Lately, everything around me has triggered so many memories. The flowers that are in bloom, the fact that my mom was visiting- all of it pointing back to this time last year when I gave birth to a tiny thing, and we gave her a name and held her in our arms. 

We love you so much, Baby Girl.

Eliza at one year:
-says "Uh, Oh," "Hi" and many other sounds that sound similar to words but not quite
-claps and points
-squats and carries items around
-likes to drag bags behind her
-loves her scoot bike like crazy
-makes a clicking noise with her mouth when she wants food
-sort of a picky eater lately
-finally broke 16 pounds! HA!
-sleeps well at night, and takes two hearty naps
-starting to see glimpses of tiny toddler "tantrums"
-loves wrap her legs around your leg like koala bear
-loves water lately- giggles like crazy and splashes around
-so much more chill, very proud of herself lately
-six teeth
-loves reading books
-loves the slide- you have to be quick or else she will launch herself down alone
-beach baby
-you can catch her dancing if a song has a good beat
-her hair has lightened up even more in the sun
-has wild fits of giggles in the late afternoon- it makes me laugh
-loves to explore boxes and drawers of "things"
-will carry things off and hide them (Daddy's wedding ring, credit cards, phones, remotes..)
-she's getting so smart- it always surprises me what she understands

mama's visit.

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My mama came to visit! Two weeks jam-packed full of fun- I can't stop smiling looking at all of these pictures. I miss her already.

After the birthday party festivities wrapped up, we spent the second week marking off our Bay Area bucket list. We went to the Oakland Zoo with friends to celebrate Eliza's birthday, explored the South Bay where my mom used to live, took a movie tour of San Francisco, spent Mother's Day driving through Muir Woods and relaxing at Stinson Beach, saw a movie at the fabulous Deco Alameda Theater, and of course, my very own Berkeley tour- lunch at Gregoire's, exploring UC campus (including a trip up the Sather Tower), dessert at Cream, and shopping at Elmwood and 4th Street. We stuffed our faces with Bay Area food and treats, and (hopefully) walked it all off in the California sunshine. Eliza gained four new Sandy Starr Originals- handmade outfits made right on my dining room table! My sewing machine got more use these past two weeks than it has in the past two years. And, Mama hit up every amazing fabric store, lace museum, and quilting museum in the Bay.

I love my mama. I miss my family every day. It's weird to think that I have been living away from home for so long now. But, these past two weeks have been a dream. I loved being able to share my world with her. And, even though it took Eliza awhile to warm up, by the end of the trip she was giggling and cuddling with her grandma. In fact, as I was uploading these photos, she kept pointing and smiling and laughing. She loves her Grandma!

keller beach.

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My friends and I discovered the most perfect beach only 10 minutes away from our house. The first week we found it, Eliza and I went four times and threw Sam a birthday party there. Keller Beach, at Point Richmond, is totally tucked away, never crowded, and just beautiful. So, of course, on one of the first days of my mom's visit we hit the beach with our friends!

Eliza loves the beach, especially with her little fellas. She loves crawling around after the boys. We were cracking up watching the kids play- Baby Stephen clutching a dead crab he found on the beach, Ruka singing made up songs, and Eliza shoving fistfuls of sand in her mouth. And, I couldn't stop smiling as I watched Eliza with my mom. She normally doesn't like to dip into the water- but on this day, she let my mom take her out and she would get a huge smile when a wave came in and tickled her feet. 

We have had such a great time with my mom, and we are excited about all of our plans for this next week! So far, we spent a day at Golden Gate Park, threw a birthday party, explored Berkeley, and now my mom is busy at the sewing machine making more cute outfits for Eliza. I really do have the best Mama...

happy birthday!

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We celebrated Eliza's birthday on Saturday! 

All I wanted was a party in the park, with colors, balloons, food, a perfect cake, and friends- I mean, that's all Eliza wanted for her birthday.... HA! So, I might have let the party get away from me. The morning was pretty stressful, and it seemed like nothing was going right. But, after I finally cooled off, I realized that the only thing that mattered were our amazing friends, and our beautiful baby girl. 

It was a great day for a party- bright and breezy. We had a cookout at Cedar Rose Park, here in Berkeley. The kids played with bubbles and ran around the playscape. We had a piñata and confetti filled cascarones. And, Eliza had a ball. She was all smiles, and only just slightly overwhelmed by all of the excitement. She was just lovin' it!

My mom made her the cutest birthday romper to match her party. I couldn't get enough of it. My friend, Amanda, took a huge load off me by making that beautiful cake for Eliza. Surprisingly, Eliza wasn't into her smash cake! She was a bit nervous about the audience, and when I stuck her hand in the frosting she got upset. But, she had no problem eating every animal cracker that fell on the ground, busting open a box of nerds  from the piñata when I wasn't looking, and sucking on a cascarone that dyed her mouth red. Whoops.

Our friends were so generous and kind, and showered her with nice gifts. We were incredibly overwhelmed with gratitude by all who came. I can't believe how much love we feel for all of our friends. When everyone started showing up, I could immediately feel myself calm down and just start to enjoy the party. It's hard throwing a party for someone you love so much. I wanted it to be special, and I was really upset when things were not working out. I can't believe how patient my husband and mom were. They were both by my side when Eliza was born, and I couldn't have been happier to have them here to celebrate this first beautiful year. We love you so much, Baby Girl. This day was for you!

My favorite part of the day was when we pulled out her new scoot bike, and she just lit up like crazy. She was so excited and happy and wanted us to push her around the park all afternoon. That smile just kills...