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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kids Party at Williams-Sonoma

Williams-Sonoma puts on a Kids Holiday Party each year for the staff. They block several conference rooms on 3 floors and reserve them for facepainting, crafts, cookies and milk, and pictures with Santa against an (appropriately) Pottery Barn-esque background. (Pottery Barn is part of the suite of brands under Williams-Sonoma). Fun!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sadly Saying Sayonara to Sarah

 We have a wonderful nanny, Sarah, that has taken care of Jack since Mindy went back to work in April. She is going back to school at the beginning of the year and while we are happy for this positive turn in her life, we are all sad not to have her in our lives each day.

Sarah cheerily greets Jack and Stella every morning and the routine begins: Stella jumps on her and begs for pats while Jack clings to Mom until he's in his highchair and feeling satisfied eating anything yummy that Sarah concocts. Sarah sings along to a playlist of Sesame Street tunes, the Wiggles, and Christmas music while she helps Jack with breakfast. It's all very sweet. There are playdates, playgrounds, and playtime on the living room floor during the days. And Jack bends down to look through the grate in the door as Sarah leaves down the stairs at the end of the day.

We'll miss you Sarah!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fall Visit to Boston

We made a quick trip to Boston a couple of weeks ago to see Lola, Grandpa, family, and as many friends as we could.  Regrettably, we didn't get a chance to see everyone we wanted to on this trip back East - we live on baby time and between naps now which makes it hard - but Jack is in training to keep up with the typically hectic holiday schedule that we usually keep so he will be good to go in 2012.

Jack enjoyed his time with Grandpa who held his hand through big piles of Fall leaves and caught him at the end of the slide at the playground. Binks, the cat, was a big source of amusement. Grandpa introduced Jack (and us) to some low pressure tennis balls made especially for kids - he can't wait to teach Jack tennis and golf. We visited with the Jose's and Jack especially had fun with his little cousins who took him under their wing and played under the dining room table together and eagerly shared their toys with him.

Jack and Grandpa Jimmy
We stayed with Lola who spoiled Jack with warm new PJs for the cold New England nights and lots of toys to keep him occupied. Jack especially loved dumping out all the giant lego blocks from their container and building towers. We had a lot of fun visiting the Children's Museum and the Aquarium and taking walks around the City.

Jack and Lola
One day we had brunch with Mindy's good friend Maggie, her husband Scott, and their little one, Lola. Maggie and family travelled up from Long Island for the weekend so we were very happy to be able to see them and Lola who was just a couple of months old the last time we got together.

Mindy (528 months), Tom (461 months), Maggie (526 months), Scott (547 months)
Jack (21 months), Lola (14 months)
On another day we visited with Mindy's friend, Eileen. She made us an elaborate lunch and let Jack empty out her cabinets of Tupperware to bang around with and romp through the leaves in her backyard. Jack was especially fascinated by their pet frog.

Mindy, Jack, Eileen
Lucky for us, Jack has turned out to be a pretty good traveler. He slept a bit on way to Boston and only fell asleep the absolute moment we touched down on the way home, but he wasn't THAT kid who was kicking the seat in front of him and screaming up and down the aisles so we feel thankful.

CLICK HERE for more pictures of our trip to Boston.

Check out the video below of Jack's budding harmonica skills:

Check out the video below of Jack on the slide:

Check out the video below of Jack at the Children's Museum:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

First Trick or Treating

With Jack's perfectly sized handcrafted and personalized treat bag in hand (thanks Sarah!), we took Jack out for his first attempt at trick-or-treating. He was a little wary of it all at first, but soon got the hang of walking up and getting a piece of candy to put in his bag.

We headed to Fair Oaks street again this year which is closed to traffic each Halloween night. The houses are all creatively decked out, people hang out on their steps to welcome the throngs of kids, and there's even a "Fear Oaks" haunted house and Thriller dance off to benefit a local musical youth theatre company.

Jack was a cow this year as you've seen in previous blog posts. He's still young enough that we can choose his costume with no fuss so we intentionally chose a cow -- which are sacred and revered in the Hindu tradition -- and Tom and I wore our beautiful Indian clothes again that we wore at friend's wedding when we travelled to India a couple of years ago.

Click on any picture to make it larger.


Here's Jack in action, battling the crowd to get at a piece of candy, and then a very cool video of shadow puppets and animation that someone projected in their window.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Go Giants!

San Francisco won the World Series tonight, 3-1 over the Texas Rangers! There are news helicopters hovering above, people honking their horns, fireworks, and the sounds of ambulances all at once outside our window -- and Jack's sleeping through it all.

Puddle Jumper

Goodbye Indian Summer, here comes Winter with its wet weather. It rained for the first time in months this past weekend which gave Jack a new toy to play with - puddles! Here he is outfitted with his new rain coat and boots for this first occasion of many this season.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

We have a wonderful nanny, Sarah, who helped Jack wish you all a Happy Halloween.
"Witch hands" are actual (Jack) sized!
Click for a larger view.

Sarah also crafted Jack's Halloween bag for his first treats this year.
Happy Halloween!

Let the Halloween Festivities Continue

We had some more Halloween fun last weekend at an annual event sponsored by the Golden Gate Mother's Group and held at a local playground.

CLICK HERE  for pictures. And click on the video to watch Jack choose a pumpkin to decorate, play with bubbles, balls, rings, parachutes, and more.

This weekend, we visited the San Francisco Zoo for their annual Boo at the Zoo event. It was a soggy day, but we had fun watching the grizzlies feast on Halloween treats, posing as peacocks, and exploring the grounds until naptime.

CLICK HERE for more pictures of our trip to the Zoo.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Let the Halloween Festivities Begin

San Francisco comes alive during Halloween - it's a high holiday here - and this weekend we kicked off our Halloween festivities. We went to the Goblin Jamboree Fundraiser at the Bay Area Discovery Museum this weekend and had more fun than Jack I think!

There were pony rides, a petting zoo, pumpkin patch, jumpy houses, and lots and lots of spooky fun activities for the kids.

It was a real Fall day today - windy, cool, and overcast. Perfect weather for Jack's snuggly fleecy cow costume this year.

CLICK HERE for more pictures of our fun day.

We started our fun with Jack's first pony ride:

The three of us also rode the Pumpkin Ride which seemed like fun from the outside but sent Mindy into a nauseous state with the first spin. She kept her eyes shut tight the entire time but kept the video going and managed to capture Jack giggling (and her shrieking and asking when the ride is over).

Jack's first time in a jumpy house - first time for Mom & Dad too.
We didn't know you were supposed to take off his socks so he was
slip, sliding, and falling all over the place and didn't get to jump much!

Jack hunting for toy spiders in the hay

A spooky man at the Ghost Office would appear and hand out small prizes

Not THE Pollock, but close!

There's this small fun museum in Berkeley called Habitot. There are several stations where your wee one can stand at mission control in front of a spaceship, man the register at the grocery store, or play with paints and clay. We put an apron on Jack and let him have it with the paintbrushes. In typical methodical Jackson fashion, and like any great artist, he was very focussed on his masterpiece.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dandelions with Daddy

It's been pretty warm in San Francisco as we're wrapping up our Indian Summer - our summer doesn't really start until September. And each time the weather climbs we take the opportunity to pull out Jack's Hawaiin shirt and short ensemble that we love; it was given to us by one of Tom's friends who recently visited Hawaii. The all cotton set comes with shorts and a Hawaiian shirt adorned with surfboards, leis, and waves.

Even though it's our Indian summer, it's still Fall, and the grass is looking browner and and the dandelions have turned from yellow flowers to silvery billowy tufts of seeds. Here's Jack and Daddy having fun in the warm sun and making wishes on a dandelion.


Lego Duplos

Legos makes their same bright colored blocks a little bigger, taller, and wider for younger kids and calls them Duplos. The bigger size is just right for smaller hands to manipulate. Jack loves his Duplos:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I've Got Your Back

Stella has a new doggie bed - which Jack loves.

Jack likes to run over to it and flop right down. Stella is so sweet, she just moves out of the way. But sometimes they both get to enjoy it and each other.

Here's one of those days:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Snuggle Up

We have a "nanny share" arrangement with another couple who have a daughter just around the same age as Jack.

Our nanny, Sarah, is a smart, patient, caring, young woman who has nannied for other families on the East and West coasts and is wonderful with the kids. She takes care of both kids at the same time as we alternate houses with the other couple every other week or two.

This arrangement has worked out really well for us. Jack benefits from a consistent caregiver, in familiar homey environments, and has fun with a playmate during the day. Typical along gender lines, the kids complement each other nicely as the other couple's daughter is more verbally advanced and Jack is more advanced in his motor skills.

One day the kids were playing and crawled into this little kid-sized armchair we have. Then, Sarah quickly immortalized this sweet moment and snapped this shot.

When Rocks Were Fun

Jumpin' and Jivin'

We have a lot of pictures of Stella the lazy lovebug - sitting, napping, smiling. She is a bulldog after all, and not a greyhound. But she also likes to chase a frisbee and play tug of war. She doesn't bring back the frisbee, but trying to pry it from her teeth is part of her fun. And you will rarely win at tug of war with Stella, but you'll both enjoy the game. Then afterwards, it's nap time again. Here are some clips of Stella jumpin' and jivin' at the park with Tom.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dog Days of Summer

"The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco." - Mark Twain

It's usually 60 degrees in San Francisco during the traditional summer months, and then we heat up during Indian Summer in September and October. Not this week. After weeks of overcast gray days and windy cold nights, we are having our first mini-heat wave. Today was 88 degrees in the city and there is more of the same expected this week.

However, poor Stella doesn't do well in the heat. We took her out for a quick "walk" this evening - down the block - and the dog days of summer just got the best of her. Tom had to carry her the rest of the way home.

Sunday at St. Francis Fountain & Diner

St. Francis Fountain & Diner, since 1918
There's this old fashioned diner in the Mission district called the St. Francis Fountain & Diner that serves a knock-out breakfast. The diner started out as an old fashioned ice cream parlor and expanded in recent years to include a full service kitchen. It has been in continuous operation since 1918.

The interior has a candy counter with "penny" candy in big glass containers, dark wooden booths line the side walls, and there's a counter with bright white tiles and black stools. There's even an abandoned wooden phone booth in the corner.

The menu, however, is decidedly modern with the usual brunch options in addition to vegan dishes and soy ice cream sundaes. Friendly hipsters serve up the food. 

It's become a weekend morning favorite of ours. Afterwords we go across the street to the playground and burn off a few calories before nap time.

Watch the videos below to take a peak into our day.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Baby Dal, Lullaby Thai, and Que Pasa Calabasas

You know we love love love to eat all types of food, but we are both very uninspired cooks.

So much like we "cook" for ourselves, we make easy meals for Jack that are organic and nutritious but are more like a mish mash of whatever's in the fridge that doesn't require a pot, pan, or stovetop.

Jack is past the baby food stage and has been self-feeding for months, but we still like the convenience of baby food - now it's more like a sauce to be combined with whatever is at hand and presto, you have the beginnings of a meal.

There are lots of international food options just outside our door, and we want Jack to be exposed to different flavors and spices. But we're not inclined to take cooking lessons on how to make a wonderful international dishes, and we don't want to solely rely on sharing what we're eating when we eat out since we don't always know the preparation of the food (could be exposed to peanuts, etc. which he's allergic to right now, etc.)

We recently found some great baby food at Whole Foods. With names like Lullaby Thai and Baby Dal, you get the picture. Each jar has a mix of organic veggies and spices from around the world. We use it as a base and mix it with tofu, veggies, etc.

Jack's a big fan of the Baby Dal (fun fact: Dal means lentil in India), check out the video below.

Buddha Belly

I recently upgraded my decrepit old iPhone to the new iPhone 4. The new iPhone has a feature where you can take videos and upload them easily to YouTube. So you'll be seeing a lot more short videos on the blog in the future.

This is one we call, Buddha Belly.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


We generally set aside time each Saturday to do something fun with Jack. This past weekend we went to Fairyland which is a short ride over the Bay Bridge to Lake Merritt in Oakland, CA.

Fairyland is a small fairytale theme park that is hilariously retro, low tech, and kitsch. There are storybook settings throughout the park to explore -- Beatrix Potter, Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs, There was a Crooked Man, etc. Some have slides or animals, interactive exhibits, or just nooks and crannies to walk in and out of and climb on. There's the Jolly Trolly train, carousel, puppet shows, and even a children's theatre.

The most unique feature of Fairyland is the "magic key" that you purchase before entering. There are kiosks set up at each of the storybook sets. When you enter your key, a song and/or story is played.

The park is an institution in Oakland and is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. The sets don't look like they have changed or been updated in 60 years either, and the wear and tear of the sets is evident. But that didn't bother Jack or us. We had a fun afternoon at Fairyland like the past few generations before us undoubtedly did as well.

CLICK HERE for pictures of our day at Lake Merritt and Fairyland.

Watch the video below to see Jack enjoying the sunshine at Lake Merritt before we hit Fairyland.

Watch the video below to see Jack meeting Snow White and her dwarfs.

Quick Kiss

Jack likes to pick up his toys, hold them up to you, and make you kiss them. Now if we can just get him to kiss us.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fourth of July Fun

We are having even more fun as Jack gets older, more mobile, and interested in exploring. Today we took a trip to the amazing Bay Area Discovery Museum. The museum is located just on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge at Fort Baker (formerly a military outpost and now part of the National Park System) and has spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge and bay.

The museum has a fun Tot Spot for with a faux rock stream complete with plastic fish and frogs, and lilypad room with three waterbed-like ponds and a waterfall tunnel. We had so much fun exploring the Tot Spot that we ran out of time to explore the other areas of the museum before naptime.

Play the video below to watch Jack with the Fishes & Froggies at the rock stream:

Play the video below to watch Jack giggle his way across one "pond" of lilypads and crawl through the waterfall tunnel that connects to the other "pond":

CLICK HERE to see all the pictures of our day at the museum.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fathers and Sons

Jack often likes to hold Tom's hand as we stroll along. It's a father and son moment that always makes me smile and seems so perfect on Father's Day.

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there -- Mindy and Tom's Dad especially -- we are thinking of you and wish that we all lived closer.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Jack's First Haircut

UPDATE 6/27/10: Check out the latest digital scrapbook page from Mindy's Aunt Pauline - love it, keep them coming!

Original post from 6/19/10:

We've trimmed Jack's hair with those little blunt craft scissors before, but he's recently grown a rat tail in the back and hair was curling into his ears -- time for a real haircut.

We visited Kids Cuts for Jack's first big boy haircut. It's a cool local salon with cars for chairs and stations equipped with TVs playing cartoons.

They know their stuff and we were in and out in record time with a little packet of hair for Jack's baby book.

CLICK HERE for more pictures of Jack's first haircut.

PLAY the video below to watch the action.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Jack meets Aunt Carrie

We recently went to Portland, OR to visit with Tom's parents and his Aunt Carrie who was visiting from Minnesota. Carrie drove from Minnesota with Luther, her yellow tabby. We hadn't seen Carrie in a couple of years so we were really happy to see her and excited to introduce Jack to his Aunt. Carrie is one current, cool chick - she does the books for her local organic foods store, is active in her church and sometimes fills in for their minister, and we're envious of her fancy Mac laptop. Jack had fun spending time with Carrie, Grandma, and Grandpa and was fascinated by Luther who often hid safely behind the sofa -- only to look up and see Jack peering down at him.

Carris is a Minnesota transplant and a born and bred New Englander -- so you know she's a fan of LL Bean. She got Jack the cutest LL Bean slippers which are perfect for chilly San Francisco mornings on hardwood floors.

CLICK HERE for more pictures of our fun visit with Jack's Aunt Carrie, Grandma and Grandpa Blossom.

99th Annual Bay to Breakers

On May 16th, Tom ran the Bay to Breakers road race with his cousin-in-law, Brad. Brad, his wife Kerrie, and daughter Alie, road tripped it from Sacramento the day before and stayed with us. We rose early the next day for the start of the race.

The Bay to Breakers is a very fun San Francisco institution that is in its 99th year. The race starts at one end of the city near the Bay (starting by the Embarcadero near the Bay Bridge) and winds its way 12 kilometers through the city and Golden Gate Park (approx 7.5 miles) to the Breakers (at Ocean Beach). The start line is a mix of runners and walkers and kicks off with 60,000 race participants throwing tortillas in the air. In typical San Francisco free-spiritedness, race participants dress up in costumes or go naked. Public drunkenness and urination are prevalent. People cheer from the sidelines while hanging from their windows and atop roofs, and turn their speakers towards the street and crank the music. It's a party from start to finish.

Tom ran in 1:23:12 and he and Brad were both in the first 10,000 to make it across the finish line. This is Tom's second year running the Bay to Breakers. CLICK HERE for pictures of the last time Tom ran to get a sense of the costumes and fun.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Windy Day at the Beach

We recently ventured south and went to Mavericks where a big-wave surf contest of the same name is held each year sometime in January through March, depending on wave conditions. The contest draws the world's best and the bravest big-wave surfers to the invitation-only contest. Strong winter storms combined with an unusually shaped underwater rock formation make for a break that creates waves nearing 5 stories tall.

For us, though, it's just a nice sunny walk to the beach with great views of the extreme kayakers in the frigid Pacific. And for Jack, it's like going to one big windy sandbox.

In making our way to the beach, we passed a rock which was inscribed with what looked like POO - which of course we found amusing. After a little research, we found that the rock is likely a tribute to Mark Foo, a popular big-wave Hawaiian surfer who sadly succumbed to the dangerous surf in 1994's contest.

CLICK HERE for more pictures of our day, and below for a video of the surf and turf.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Barb Art

Mindy's Aunt Barbara lives in Tulsa but often sends her love to Jack with digital scrapbook pages. Here's her latest fab creation. Click the image to make it bigger. Thanks Aunt Barb!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Booboo and Boogers

Booboo: Jack took a spill last weekend at the playground and scraped the skin near his right eye - just the first of many playground mishaps, we're sure.

Boogers: he's had a runny nose for a week now. But then again, he gets a little runny nose for a couple of weeks nearly every other month or so.

Neither of these were going to prevent us from having a little fun this weekend and visiting the playground.

CLICK HERE for more pictures of him and us playing.

Stella 4/17/2008, Dogfest 4/17/2010

Stella had her 2nd birthday yesterday! We celebrated our good girl's day with a trip to DogFest 2010 at Duboce Park, a few blocks from home.

DogFest is a day of fun for dogs and kids alike and the proceeds benefit a neighborhood elementary school.

Stella visited a "mobile doggie spa" to have her nails trimmed, sampled lots of treats, enjoyed romping around, and even met a couple of other bulldogs.

In typical San Francisco fashion, there was quite an array of doggie individualism on display from tutus to dyed pink fur to costumes, as well as an "Animal Communicator" in case your pooch needs some spiritual healing.

She was one pooped dog on the way home:

CLICK HERE for more pictures of Stella's special day.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter Day

We spent Easter Day with Tom's cousins in Sacramento. Cousins Kathy and Barry recently retired, bought a lovely home on a golf course community, and hosted Easter dinner in their new house.

Jack was dressed up in his Easter finest with a white shirt, matching vest, and tie decorated with bulldogs - a Christmas present from cousin Anne.

Kathy and Barry lived in their previous home for over 20 years with their son, Derek, who is now graduated from college and lives in San Diego. Derek used to have this little-man La-Z-Boy recliner that Tom remembered from when Derek was a kid. Tom always got a kick out of little Derek sitting in his little chair next to his big Dad in his own recliner.

Turns out that Kathy and Barry kept the chair all these years and moved it with them to the new house - and now they've passed the throne on to Jack.

We see lots of reading time in our future together in his new chair.