Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Stanford Picnic

One morning a few weeks ago, the girls and I packed a picnic and a blanket and headed over to Palo Alto to see what Stanford had to offer us. 

Once we parked the car, we walked a bit until we found a grassy patch under the trees by the Cantor Art Center.

We shed our shoes and stretched out on the blanket.

And enjoyed being outdoors on a beautiful day.

When one of us started getting antsy, circles were run around the Rodin sculptures in the garden.

And when we needed a restroom we made our way to the arts center itself.

On our way in, Alice played "shake the bees" among the lavender.  Then I realized that "shake the bees" meant trying to pinch the bees off of the top of the plants with her fingers.

We entered the Cantor Center by way of a spectacular, light-filled room and an array of bronze sculptures, including Rodin's famous The Thinker.

Spirits were lagging by the second floor, so we thought we'd just head home.

And maybe take a rest.

But, as we strolled by Memorial Court and the main quad, we realized that it was the perfect spot to take a spin on the balance bike.

Alice saw this innocent looking trio walking towards her and shouted, "Mom, hurry, we have to get away from these three monsters!" They actually didn't seem that offended.

She greeted The Burghers of Calais.

As the afternoon wore on, spirits once again dipped a bit.

There was a standoff which resulted in my having to pretend to leave so that Alice would follow me to the car. She began wailing but followed along behind me, her head hanging, shoulders drooping, feet dragging, and arms crossed in a pitiful self-embrace. I'm guessing that crying children trailing behind briskly walking mothers aren't common around campus, judging from the two different people who emerged from nearby buildings to investigate the racket and come to the rescue of what they were sure was a child in serious distress.

And even though we lost the car for a while and spent nearly 45 minutes wandering among what seemed like hundreds of identical buildings, we arrived back to our two hour parking spot after nearly four hours and saw that there was no ticket on our windshield.  

We decided that Stanford has plenty to offer three adventurous girls on a lovely summer day!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Adults Only

When we decided to move to California, I joked that priority #1 would be to find a place to live and priority #2 would be to find a good an available babysitter.  There were a couple of other items on the list that ended up taking precedence over the babysitter (like the grocery store and the gas station), but not many.  Now that we've come to the end (I hope) of many months of dwelling in the logistics of new baby, new job, new city and new house, we've been making up for lost time by getting out on our own for some dates.

For our anniversary, Matt surprised me with an aerial tour of the San Francisco Bay. 

Not surprisingly, I was a little nervous once I figured out what we would be doing. I irrationally became even more nervous when I saw that our pilot was wearing braces on his teeth.  (I'm sorry, but they just scream "I'm really working hard in pre-Algebra this year" to me.)  I relaxed a little when he told me that he had spent eight years in the Peruvian air force and had been flying for about twenty years. Then I became nervous again when, before takeoff, he asked for our help in "watching out for other planes in the sky."  He barked some important sounding code commands into his radio: I relaxed.  I noticed the "low fuel levels" light flickering on and off: nervous again. 

Finally, once we got up in the sky, I loosened up and really enjoyed the experience.


This guy doesn't seem to get nervous.

It was quite an outing and a fantastic introduction to the Bay area.


A few weeks later, I planned a day of wine tasting in Napa to celebrate Matt's birthday. ( maybe each of us was motivated by just a hint of self interest. cough airplanerideforme cough winetastingforMatt cough)

I decided that as long as we were in for a penny, we might as well be in for a pound, so I found someone to drive our car for us all day. I wasn't sure if the expense was going to be worth it, but... most definitely was! We visited four different wineries and tasted a few different wines at each. It felt like a mini vacation in a day.


We can't wait to see what else Northern California has to offer. But, I promise that in the meantime, I'll return to our regularly scheduled programming of squishy baby photos and funny Alice stories.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Out of Words

It's hard for me to know what to say about our Baby Jo.  Our sturdy, pudgy, gregarious Joanna lights up our lives every day.  But, unlike writing about her older sister, I can't just quote a bunch of funny things she says or record a few naughty deeds and call it a blog post.

I wrote up a whole post entitled "The Sweet Spot" in which I tried to accurately describe just exactly how delightful Joanna is these days without descending into something boring or trite.  I failed in the description and succeeded in being both boring and trite.

In that discarded post, I described the little horizontal jig that Joanna performs when we rescue her from her crib or bouncy seat.

I explained how her hands are in constant motion, wrists rotating, palms flipping from one side to the other; how she examines those two hands like a scientist looking at a slide under a microscope; and how, even when I try to still them as I feed her by giving her my finger as an anchor to grab onto, she still maintains a steady open-shut regimen with her fingers on mine, like she's running on a battery that needs to fully charge before she can stop.

I gushed about her thighs, her dimply knuckles, and the roll of pudge where her forearm meets her hand in a single crease, and I mentioned how she follows Alice's every move with an expression on her face that most people reserve for watching unicorns waltz with angels.

I wrote about how I can make her laugh by bicep curling her up to my face and nuzzling into her neck, and I detailed the way that, when I pick her up and hold her right in front of me, she looks right in my eyes, grabs my face with both hands, and beams as if to say, "You're mine. I'm so glad we're together."

It's all been said or thought by a million parents before.  And that doesn't make any of the things about little babies at this stage any less wonderful, but it does make it hard to try to write them down without cringing.  You may as well write about how delicious chocolate is, how exciting it is to see a rainbow, or how exhilarating it is to run a marathon (I wouldn't know, but I've read it enough times to know I don't want to read about it again).

One of the reasons I keep adding to this blog is so that one day, when the kids are grown up, I can look back on the photos and stories, and they will spark my otherwise terrible memory.  I want to remember just how enchanting this baby is right now and how she makes me feel every time I squeeze her close.

So, rather than feebly describe the details, I'll just leave it at this: we're falling more and more in love with this little girl every day.