San Francisco Days and Roasted Tomatoes


One of my favorite houses in the neighborhood.


Out on a trek through the woods of Golden Gate Park with this mini hiker!  

Hey there friends– Back from 3 weeks in San Francisco with new baby Oscar and his dear family. Missing them all from here.

We made this new favorite roast tomato pasta for dinner one evening there, and liked it so much we did it again a couple days later when friends dropped to meet that Oscar!

It’s super simple and the tomatoes and garlic smell incredible roasting in the oven!

ROASTED TOMATO PASTA
8 oz. mini ravioli (or your favorite pasta)*
2 cups small cherry tomatoes (red or yellow)
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
a few grinds of fresh pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

garnish: parmesan romano cheese, grated & sprig of marjoram or basil

In a large bowl, stir together the cherry tomatoes, red onion, chopped bell pepper, garlic, basil, salt, pepper and olive oil.  Then turn it all out onto a baking sheet that has been lined with foil.  Scrape all the extra oil out of the mixing bowl on to the tomatoes.

Pop the tomatoes into a 400 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are just starting to brown a bit.

While they are cooking, cook up your favorite pasta according to the directions on the package.

Drain the pasta and spread it on a pretty platter.  Spoon the tomatoes and all the juices on the baking sheet over the pasta.  Serve it hot with a sprinkle of parmesan.  So so good!

*I used mini ravioli from Trader Joe’s here, but fresh ravioli is the best!

Hi again–

Just wanted to drop in a few more photos of our SF days (bits I want to remember)– Baby snuggling, good talks, quiet meals together, plenty of playground time with an almost 2 year old.  So glad we could be there.

     
Brand new little Oscar, at the hospital and on his way home for the first time.

     
Lois lined up with kids waiting to get in the library for story time.  With Mom on the playground.  Lois & Grandma Duplo tower!

     
And one Sunday morning Larry and I went out on the town– Breakfast at my favorite ever bakery– B Patisserie.  A wonderful worshipful morning of church at Reality SF.  And then off to a cool new cafe for lunch– Theorita, specializing in pies like the baker’s grandma used to make (we split a piece of chocolate, pecan bourbon pie for dessert!)

So glad to have those days to watch our Oscar come into the big wide world– and see him blossom and grow in his new family.  Thanks Ani & Brian for everything!

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P.S. Here’s a few other favorite simple pasta recipes:
Broccoli, Chicken & Bacon Pasta
Pasta e Fagioli Soup
Saucy Tomato Chicken & Pasta
Creamy Lemon Chicken & Pasta

New Guy in the Family


Lois gets to know her brand new brother Oscar at the hospital.
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Hey there friends– Up in San Francisco for a couple weeks, chipping in to care for our new little grand-guy, Oscar.  And also hanging out with his big (almost 2 year old) sis, Lois.  It’s pure joy.

I could sit forever with this one week old on my lap, taking to him about all he has ahead– walking and singing, bedtime books and trips to the zoo.  I’ve told him about chocolate cake and how much he’s loved by so many people.


First family of four photo– Oscar’s very first day in the big wide world!


And the little star himself — baby Oscar!!
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There’s just so many things I want him to know!  So I’m writing them down and someday (when he can read??) I’ll send them to him:

To Oscar–Things I Want You to Know For Sure:

#1.  You are so deeply loved– by mom & dad, by sister Lois, by Grandpa & me… and a long list of dear people!

#2.  I will be happy to play with you– hide & seek, legos, and even (my unfavorite) Candy Land game.

#3.  I’m ready to cheer you on at each new step ahead, on every new adventure.  (Save me a seat at your college graduation!!)

#4.  I’ll always be ready to listen  — to your knock jokes & long stories & anything you want to talk through.

#5.  We have some good times ahead!!  Family Christmases, camping hikes, birthday cakes and lots of snuggly story times.

#6.  I promise see you as your own little person– helping you grow and change in your own unique way.  I simply cannot wait to see the wonderful grown up guy you become!

#7.  You can count on Grandpa and me to be there when you need us– just text (or whatever kids will do to communicate in the future!) and we’ll come running.

#8.  I will always remember the day you were born.  We were waiting to see who you would be!!  And you were perfect!

#9.  I will pray for you in your years ahead–  for you to grow and learn and walk in the way God has for you.

#10.  You have the whole world ahead of you little Oscar. What will it be like??  God bless you, sweet boy, in all the years to come.
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And here’s a few more photos of our time together:
     

    

     
 Above photos:  Scooter Girl!  Lois checking in on her baby Oscar.  Our girl mixing up a peach cobbler with Grandma.  Afternoon out with Ani for tea & treats at Andytown.  Lois’ walk in Golden Gate Park with Gr. Larry.  Shiny Oscar after his first bath at home.
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And P.S.
Spent this summer quilting up a little blanket for baby Oscar– such a fun project anticipating and praying for this little guy as I stitched along.
     

Links for a few more quilt pics–
A Quilt for Baby Otto
Quilt of Many Colors –Laurel & John’s Wedding Quilt
Quilt Story — A Quilt for Baby Lois
Little Quilts — Charlotte (7) & Maryann  (5) make tiny quilts
San Francisco Quilt Delivery–  Ani & Brian’s wedding Quilt

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And some last thoughts:

“Babies are such a nice way to start people”  –Don Herald

“Every child begins the world again.”   –Henry David Thoreau

“If your baby is beautiful and perfect, never cries or fusses, sleeps on schedule and burps on demand, an angel all the time, you’re the grandma.”   (that’s me!)   — Theresa Bloomingdale.

“Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord”  –Psalm 127:3

So very thankful for the life of this dear little one and all he has to come.  Love you tiny Oscar.

Big City Travels– Tokyo

Hello there– On with our saga of travels with Ani & Brian!! We stayed a few days in bustling, efficient Tokyo  –checked in to our Air BnB, a sleek modern small home, just 8 feet wide, but equipped with tech conveniences that made it a great little place to stay.  Here’s our pint sized traveler Lois coming out the front door.

Our first morning we wandered down some shopping streets to a complex of temples crowded with  Japanese visitors enjoying the sunny day out.

     

With the help of the super subway system and Brian’s navigation, we touristed around town– from the city of views of City Hall to the alleys of food stands surrounding the famous fish market and for a Sunday stroll through a huge city park.

     

     

     
bottom 2 photos:  famous “egg on a stick stand” and my favorite– ginger octopus/shrimp on a stick!  –from the food stands by the fish market.

There were a couple favorite shopping stops. Near our Air Bnb was a long street of kitchen/restaurant supply stores!!  Loved that.  And downtown, the nine story Muji store– super designed housewares, clothing, stationery and a stylish cafe.

     

     

To complete the trip, we found a couple of wonderful Ramen places, a department store with a whole floor of food venders and a roof top park to picnic with your purchases,  and an old style  restaurant where you sit on the floor around a large grill and cook seafood pancakes.

     

     

     

From Tokyo, we boarded the bullet train south to Kyoto, passing Mount Fuji out our window along the way.  From amazing Tokyo to beautiful Kyoto…

Loving Hong Kong


Hi friends– more of our traveling adventures– spent a few days in Hong Kong with Ani & Brian, trying out the noodles, markets and tourist destinations.  Loved it all!

Hong Kong is bigger and crazier and more full of people than I had imagined–walking through the streets and passageways was fascinating– here’s a look:

     

The one thing I had seen and really wanted to do was to ride the historic Star Ferry!  We crossed from Kowloon to the Hong Kong Island– Lois sitting with Gr. Larry.

     

We spent a fascinating morning in the well curated Hong Kong History Museum– from prehistoric jungle, through the rise of Chinese culture, the British occupation to the present.

     

     

And we trekked up the mountain in a trolley to Victoria Peak.  Once there, we took a stroll on the path overlooking the city– and met up with some adorable students who were interviewing tourists with questions about their stay in Hong Kong.

     


View of the City as we hurdled down the mountain on a crazy bus ride.

We passed through several markets as we made our way through the city– meat & vegetable stands, a tailor, one street full of plant shops and plenty of places to sit and eat.

     

     

We subwayed and then took a bus up to a hillside area of beautiful shrines and temples.  We visited the place where Brian’s grandfather is interned and enjoyed a morning in the quiet of that place.

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And last but not least, we pretty much ate our way across Hong Kong.  Brian & Ani have a talent for finding delicious out of the way places.

     

     

     


(photos: famous noodle and shrimp dumpling place, the cook at work,  a friendly waiter sits down to eat with us!, meatball soup, Thai dinner in a fancy mall, street food lunch, sweet milky Hong Kong tea with breakfast, Larry picks up a purple yam ice cream from McDonalds, pineapple bun and lemon tea.)

So many pictures!!  Thanks for sticking with me. Brian and Ani guided us to these and more interesting corners of Hong Kong– thanks A & B for letting us tag along on this glorious adventure!

photo: stop at the Hong Kong Zoo

China Family


Hello all– More of our recent travels (If you are absolutely bored by other people’s trip photos, you might just want to skip this post!!).  We had an exciting eventful couple weeks traveling with our kids, Ani, Brian and Little Lois to China, Hong Kong and Japan!  We started off in China, visiting our son-in-law Brian’s extended family there.  Such warm, kind people.  Here’s our China stay…

The first morning 18 month old Lois met up with her 100 year old Great Grandmother.
     

And the most fascinating part of the trip for me was wandering into the now mostly abandoned village with Brian’s Dad, Kai and his sister, who had grown up there.  Kai showed us the well, where they drew their water and we peeked through the now empty places that were his home.

     

     

You know we had plenty to eat along the way!  Brian’s family were so generous and we shared some lovely meals together.

     

And our last day together we strolled through the along the river and through the city park.

     

So thankful that we had the chance to meet the Brian and Kai’s warm and welcoming family.  I’m hoping they come to California one day so we can care for them like they took such good care of us.  (photo: Brian’s aunt and Little Lois hit it off!)

Home with Kids In SF

Hello there– Just home from a kid-filled week in San Francisco– Lots of quiet days breaking out the crayons and building blocks and library books.  I’m grateful to have sweet days with the 4 grand-kids up there.

My big occupation was keeping company with Little Lois while her Mom went to work– Here we are around the house.

     

One day Uncle Aaron picked us up for a morning with the cousins– Mae, Eero & baby Otto.
      

There was a park day out with friends.
     

And a morning inspection of the house remodel -almost done!!

     

It was a fine full week– love seeing how those grand-kids are growing and changing!  Thanks thanks Ani & Brian– and Aaron too.  It’s always the best to be together.

Wandering in Wisconsin

Friends— We arrived in in Wisconsin for our John & Laurel’s wedding (more on that later!!) and since then have been taking in fun and food with our other kids winding our way across  the state.  A little “scrapbooking” of some of the best bits…

We crossed the Mississippi River into Iowa to explore the Effigy Mounds National Monument–a series of Native American burial mounds set in a forest overlooking the Mississippi.  A green and leafy afternoon hike.  Loved it!

     


photos:  forest, pretty lichen, Larry, Brian & Lois on the trail, the Mississippi River, The 3 Heungs by some burial mounds.

Next stop– the Great Wolf Lodge complete with the country’s biggest indoor/outdoor waterpark.  Aside from my first harrowing trip down a water slide, it was a lot of fun splashing with grand-girls in the water.

     

photos: Charlotte, Jobay & Maryann complete with wolf ears,  Jobay– the rope bridge champ!, 3 bathing beauties, in the lobby of the Great Wolf Lodge.

A trip over to Milwaukee, demands a brewery tour. A little beer sampling and an animated tour guide named Winston made it a lively afternoon.

     


photos: Lakefront Brewery building. after tour snacks, Winston, soft pretzels and savory spreads.

Next morning, we walked along Lake Michigan to reach the Milwaukee Art Museum, a monumental structure, by the architect, Santiago Calatrava (Spanish!).

     


Lakeside view of the museum, Ani in the reception hall, Larry by a Chihuly glass work, Lois on the prowl at the museum.

One more stop, at the Pabst Mansion, built in the 1890’s by the brewing family, an elegant look at their sumptuous life.

     


photos:  The Past Mansion, the womens’ salon, bathroom doors, our bright tour guide with Captain Pabst, the servants dining room.

Finally, Larry and I explored the Milwaukee Public Museum–a well done natural history museum–complete with butterfly room!!

     
photos:  Display of the museum exhibits back in the 1800’s. The butterfly room and a couple of it’s residents.

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It was a fine full week, traveling across the green and glorious state of Wisconsin– thanks to Micah & Jodi & those 3 fun girls, thanks to Ani & Brian and our littlest tourist.  You all made it such a wonderful time together.  I am thankful.

Sweet Times in San Francisco


Bayside in Marin

Hello all– Back from 10 days in San Francisco with our kids– lot of kid cuddling, book reading, house visiting and a lively 4th of July!  Hope you will be so kind as to indulge my little scrapbooking post with some favorite moments…

Celebrated Aaron’s birthday with some cake help from Mae & Eero …
     


Aaron talking through the photos with M & E from his new birthday book.

And then we headed north for a day away from the city–lunch on the deck, making s’mores, looking for ladybugs and Eero on the “porch swing!”

   

Back home Jessica & Mae started by making berry muffins and ended with morning kitchen hugs.
     

Then I moved over to stay with Ani & Brian. First stop– over to see the remodel progress on their house!  Peeking out the back window– and Brian at the future front door!

   

On the 4th of July we crossed the bridge to Sausalito to watch Brian play with the Cal Alumni Band in the 4th of July parade–and Little Lois was a the flag waver with her Grandma Jackie!

     

And we had some great days out & about in the city– having fun in the local library, special lunch at Hook Fish Co., Super Duper Burger picnic in the park, “field trip” to Fort Point.

     

And a highlight was hanging out with Little Lois while her mom went to work for 3 days of our week.  (She’s learning to creep & crawl!!)

Truly so thankful for sweet times with AA & Jessica, Mae & Eero, with Ani & Brian & Lois.  Loved every moment!!

 

San Francisco — Grandma Style!

 

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Hi friends– Two of our kids and their families live in San Francisco, so we’re often trekking up the Interstate.  Usually our stays are laced with scenic hikes, new restaurants, favorite books shops, and some fun touristing (I’m talking the Delores Mission around the corner from Bi Rite Ice Cream!).

But I’m just home from almost 3 weeks in SF with a whole new agenda– meeting and welcoming new baby Lois!  It was all snuggles on the couch, stroller walks, diaper changes and lots of early firsts–first bath, first visit to her pediatrician, first outing downtown…  I was besotted.  And loved the quieter, gentler version of this SF visit.

So here’s some highlights from those magical days with Little Lois and her newly minted parents, Ani & Brian.

Since our Lois arrived 10 days early, we spent her first few days washing up baby clothes and sheets and blankets and organizing her new room, things we had planned to do before she was born.
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There were some fun “firsts”– Here she is on her first day out to lunch,  her first check up with the pediatrician, after her first bath,  watching her first Cal Berkeley game with her grandma, her first trip down town SF.
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And, happily for me, there are two other grand-kids just across town.  So we there was some more chances to grand-mother away with our Mae and Eero.  Love those 2 bright and spunky kids.  photos: Mae in the box of buddies, out for a walk, story time with Gr. Larry, and Eero and his Dad watch a video of him knocking down the tower of blocks.
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And the best part of a grandma’s trip to SF?  The sweetest bit for me is watching our kids be such smart and tender parents.  It’s a whole new time of life for them and it’s a joy to watch them take it up so well.
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It was a marvelous memorable time and I’m so thankful that little Lois is here.  So much joy.
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Thanks Aaron, Jessica, Mae & Eero for the fun hang-outs!! And thanks too, to Ani & Brian for the sweetest time with the new baby Lois.

Quilt Story

Hi all– I think I’ve already mentioned (a few times!!) that our daughter Ani is expecting a baby girl!  I couldn’t be more happy and excited!  So when she came down from San Francisco in July, we trekked on over to the huge M&L fabric shop so she could pick out fabric for a baby quilt.  And here’s how it went…

First, Ani loaded down with fabric and batting at M&L. (Larry and her Brian came along, but are not big fabric shoppers, so they found the donut shop across the parking lot!)
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We hurried home (after a stop a local taqueria) and cut out the squares to be stitched into the quilt.
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So this summer, I stitched away, a lot of it sitting in from the the t.v. and watching the Olympics! And finally it was done. The front is quilting cotton and the back, fuzzy flannel.
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And a couple weekends ago, Ani opened the quilt at a beautiful baby shower with friends and family.
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Now I’m just waiting to take a picture of the new sweet little baby girl all tucked up in her quilt!  Can’t wait!

P.S. I really posted this for you Daisy– hope to see pics of your baby quilt soon!!  xox

Road Trip to San Francisco with those Grand-girls

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Morning fog across the hills at the old Fort Baker on the Bay (now a hotel, restaurant)

Hello friends–Just back from a trip up the coast with 3 girls in the backseat to San Francisco to hang out with their aunts, uncles and cousins.  We had a lot of crazy kid centric fun–  And stuck to our two rules– #1. No Grumping  #2. One Ice Cream Every Day!!   Here’s my favorite bits of the trip:

First stop, across the Golden Gate Bridge to the Discovery Museum, a wonderland for kids.
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Ani & Brian treated three girls all dressed in their best to a fancy Tea Party!
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We strolled down to Ocean Beach to take in a Corgi Fest!!  Over 600 Corgis on the run across the sand and in the water!!
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And there were plenty of picnics and playgrounds to round out the week!  (This day we were at the west end of Golden Gate Park!)
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And the sweetest for me is seeing those cousins–jump and laugh and color and play together.  Big Hugs for Maryann, Charlotte, Jobay and Little Mae (and Eero back by the window!!).
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Thanks once again Ani & Brian, AA & Jessica for the good times together.  There’s nothing I love more than days with you all. It’s the best.

Spring Break in San Francisco

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Hello friends– Sending off a little scrapbook of our Easter week in San Francisco.  We stayed with all of our kids up there and spent out days talking, eating and playing with grand-kids.  What could be better than that?

Good times catching up with Ani & Brian– including a yumcious fajita lunch around their table.
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And loved the morning walk in the woods with Aaron, Jessica and baby Eero on board.
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Mae told us her favorite museum in SF was the Discovery Museum across the bridge, so we spend an active morning there watching her and little Eero having a ball.
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Larry and I took a restful woodsy trek downward through the Presidio and then found ourselves trudging up a set of city steps to make our way home.
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And there were plenty of memorable meals out on the town (including Delfina Pizzeria).  thanks Aaron, Jessica, Ani and Brian for a fine full week with you.  It was the best!
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Quick San Francisco Weekend

IMG_3707Hi all– It was a grand grandkid time.  If you some grandkids yourself, you know what I mean.  We made a dash up to SF last weekend to talk and play and read books and eat with our kids. There were some sweet moments.  Here’s my favorites…

Saturday morning we trekked north across the bridge to the old Fort Baker, historic military quarters, that have now been transformed into a lodge.  We ate at the the Murray Circle restaurant there, overlooking the Bay and the Golden Gate.  (pictures: Mae & her mom waiting for brunch, view from our table on the porch, chicken hash & eggs)
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We took a blustery afternoon stroll down to Ocean Beach through the Sunset– blue skies and some good sand digging with our Mae.  (pictures: Aaron & Grandpa with Mae, some good sandy digging, walk up from the beach).
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And it was good to just kick back around the house and have some grand-kid time.  (pictures: Grandpa and Eero having a “conversation,”  opening some belated Christmas gifts together)
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Sunday we ended up at Ani & Brian’s for for luscious lunch.  It was the last day of their “vegetarian January” so we got in on butternut squash soup and a bright citrus salad!  Love hanging out with them and, of course, that dog Harry.  (pictures: warming soup!  Bri & Ani, and out walking with that Harry.)
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Thankful for a weekend with you all– thanks for the office tour AA, thanks for the time to talk at coffee Jessica–you know I love that, thanks for the hugs & books & smiles Eero and Mae, thanks for the beach walk & the beautiful lunch Ani & Bri.  It was the best!

Wonderful (& Wild) Wedding Weekend

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Sunset at Paul and Andrea’s  Beautiful Beachside Wedding

Hello all– Last weekend we went from a little house of 2 people to a bulging house of 11.  Kids came in for our niece adorable Andrea’s wedding and I loved every crowded noisy minute of it.

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And we sandwiched a little more fun into the weekend with kids in tow.
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11791899_10153160423171478_1343325681399519460_oIt warmed a mom’s heart to have kids around the house and all dressed up (!) for the lovely wedding together– thanks all –for the memorable weekend!!

Good Times in Big Bear

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Taking a break on our hike along the town ridge trail, overlooking the lake. 

Hi all– just back from a long-ish weekend in Big Bear with some of our kids.  And-yikes!– I took too many pictures.  Here’s a bunch to remember the good times together–  Monumental hikes, water gun fights, picnic dinner by the lake, reading on the back deck under the pine trees…

Warning: I’m about to test your limits of endurance on how many photos should be loaded onto one post.

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Brian and little Jobay lead the hike.  Charlotte at the trailhead ready to climb.

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Ani and Brian start up the trail with Harry.  Brian the rock climber!

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View from the top of Castle Rock (This is Jodi’s picture– I did not made it that high!)

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Three little mountain goats and their Dad.  Grandpa Larry & Charlotte point out the trail!

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The whole group together at the end of the Castle Rock Trail.  (Do we look beat?  We are!)

Of course, we had some good eating together –our favorite pastime.
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Gr. Larry serves up the pizza at Saucy Mama’s & grills burgers to eat out on the porch.

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The last night we all ran through the grocery store to pick up an impromptu picnic for dinner under the pine trees by the lake.

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Jobay has something to say to her dad– and french toast back at the cabin for breakfast.

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And, of course, you can’t have too much ice cream on vacation!!

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And we celebrated Chinese “Dragon Boat Day” with an afternoon lesson on how to make sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves– followed by a luscious (& spicy!) Chinese feast at a place M&J like in Big Bear.  Ganbei!

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We spent a sunny morning out on the lake in paddle boats– lots of splashing and crashing and an occasional high-five  going on.

And mostly we just hung out around the cabin–
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The girls pushed their way through the rose thicket to “explore” behind the cabin, gathering pine cones and picking wild flowers.

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Brian hanging out on the back porch– and the last spring wild roses blooming in the yard.

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There were screaming rides for 3 grand-girls on the swing!

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And ferocious water gun fights with Aunt Ani —  and a tranquil view off the back porch.

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Good times at the Big Bear Cabin for Larry, Jodi, Brian Jobay, Ani, Maryann, Micah and Charlotte.  So glad for the days there with them all.

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So thanks you all for making the trek up to Big Bear.   It was just grand!

P.S.– Thanks bunches Ani & Jodi for all the photos I stole from your Facebook page.

Meeting our new little Eero

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Aaron with his new little Eero (thanks for the photo, Jessica)

Hi Friends–  We made a quick trip, up the interstate to San Francisco this past weekend to meet brand new baby Eero!  So much cuddling and singing and studying that little guys sweet face.  It was a joy.  Plus we got to hang out with his big sister Mae and their fine parents, A + J.  And good times, too with Ani and Brian.  Here’s just a few pics:

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DSC02569We loved being at Aaron and Jessica’s– the chance to play with our grand-girl Mae and catch up with our kids and have a scrumptious Mother’s Day waffle breakfast around their table.

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11259859_10153369268704665_5428222334612262377_nAnd we had some great Ani & Brian hang out time too– a snacky lunch at the Sunset Brewing Company and Ani’s yeasty waffles.  Plus another momental hike down to the beach for coffee and back up through Golden Gate Park.  It was grand.

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So long for now little Eero.  Hope to see you again real soon– God bless and keep you.

Moments with Mae

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Hi there friends–  Well, last weekend was a whirl of sweet fun.  Aaron and Jessica were on a trip so they brought me up to San Francisco and flew Laurel out from Chicago and Ani trekked a couple miles across town for a “Girls Weekend” to babysit our Mae!!     Here’s the highlights:

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There was squishy Playdough and lots of story reading.

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We set out along the park and down to Mae’s favorite breakfast spot for oatmeal topped with yogurt, nuts and fruit.  Here’s she’s looking over all the toppings with Aunt Ani.

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10317781_10103864566669223_8585837015772320323_o   10830491_10103864566664233_8849017285676404723_oAnd Uncle Brian ferried us all down to Chrissy Field for a Taco picnic, some bouncy ball playing and a walk along the bay toward the Golden Gate.

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And at the end of the day, there was always bath time– It was three days with little Mae and my two girls– “the aunties”. What could be better than that?

 

Crafting Christmas Wreaths

IMG_3220Hi friends– I’m not much of a Christmas crafter– No painted ornaments, no knitted stockings…   But when we were up in SF over Thanksgiving, Jessica took us down to Studio Choo– for a morning wiring together Christmas wreaths– and it couldn’t have been more fun!

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We got a quick lesson and then were left with bountiful buckets of greens and berries and the tools to go to work!…

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It took us a while.  And every wreath was individual– from Ani’s pinkish flowery wreath to Jessica’s asymmetrical berry laden one.

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All around the studio, everything was beautifully organic.

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So fun to watch how each wreath developed stem by stem wired around the ring.

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Thanks Jessica for one of the best “Girls’ Day Out” ever!!

 

San Francisco Great Eight

IMG_4185A view across the water to the Bay Bridge late one night in San Francisco.

Hi friends– If you have already read too many posts about SF on this blog, feel free to skip right on over this one– because here I go again.  I just love, love time with our kids up there and want to remember all the sweet moments.  I do read these things over and over to relive all the fun–my little bloggy scrapbook.  So here is the “great eight” of my week in San Francisco:

IMG_4080     IMG_3991IMG_3999     IMG_4018    #1. One sunny morning I set off alone on a 5 hour walk, down through the cozy houses of the Sunset, the length of Golden Gate Park, past Stowe lake, through wooded glens, up to the glass conservatory, then to Cole Valley for lunch and down bustling Irving Street with a stop for reading and a sweet blueberry mini pie.

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IMG_4105     IMG_4116     #2.  Ani’s day off, we headed downtown for a “girls’ day out–”  Started off at the new Yelp offices where she’ll be working starting next week.  The best taco lunch was followed by a stroll down to the Ferry Building for a little shopping.  then we circled around to Samovar for tea and scones with terrific city views.

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#3.  Loved the couple great meals at Bar Jules with Jessica, Aaron and baby Mae.  I especially like it’s changing concise blackboard menu, the bowls of fresh produce on the counter, the cooking bustle in plain view.  If I could start a restaurant (my secret day dream), it would look a lot like Bar Jules. Thanks AA & J.

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IMG_3965     IMG_4208#4.  If you know me, then you know one of the best parts of any trip to SF is cuddling our new baby Mae.  She’s nearly three months old and we couldn’t love that girl more.  I had my first chance to read her a book!! Now that was fun!

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#5.  We had the happy coincidence of visiting SF the same week as Jessica’s sis and her family from New York.  Great to catch up with Jaci and Dave, two of the dearest people around– and to spend an adventurous night out at the Exploritorium with their 2 boys.

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IMG_4221     IMG_4227#6.  Thursday Aaron, baby Mae and I drove over to Wise Sons Delicatessen for a quiet lunch, followed by a downhill walk, strollering Mae along the bay to watch the bobbing boats and kite surfers.  Nothing better than a good walk & talk with one of my kids.  Just what a mom loves.

IMG_4125     IMG_4156#7.  Ani, Brian, Harry the dog and I headed to Golden Gate Park with a stop on the way at the Wooly Pig Cafe to pick up super sandwiches and some bacon/maple taffy for dessert.  Harry had big fun running to his heart’s content across the grass and we just sat and soaked up the sunshine.

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IMG_4309     IMG_4311    #8.  At the end of the week, Larry drove on up to join us.  Saturday we walked down for coffee and just kept on walking to the ocean, along the cliffs, through neighborhoods and back across the park for home.  Brian’s phone, which tracks his every step, told us our morning coffee walk ended up being 7.5 miles!  Last photo, Harry ran ahead and waited for us at the front door.  Welcome Home!

All in all, it was a marvelous, memorable week.  Thanks Brian, Ani, Aaron, Jessica and baby Mae for all the good times together…

Good Times at Big Bear

photoHi friends– Back from a weekend up in the mountains with our Ani and Brian.  Larry’s folks have a tidy little cabin up there surrounded by tall pine trees and cool breezes.  We mostly hiked or sat on the deck, reading and talking.  And, of course, we happily ate our way through the weekend.  Love time with our kids.

IMG_3562     IMG_3601We took a couple mountain walks– above the town on a hiking path and down on the boardwalk along the lake at the end of the afternoon.

IMG_3543     IMG_3582A A weekend at the cabin is just great–in a quiet sort of way.  No rush, easy meals, sitting out back with the wind whispering through the tall pines.

IMG_3575     IMG_3544    .   .   .  We always manage to eat well with Ani & Brian.  My “fave” is picnic lunch out on the deck.  We sat and ate and talked into the afternoon.  And I had the most beautiful blueberry waffle at the Teddy Bear Cafe– but unfortunately I hungrily gobbled it down before I remembered to take picture to show you!  (and it was blueberry delicious!)

IMG_3565     IMG_3542It’s a restoring couple days, getting away from the hurry of home to the tranquility of tall trees and open spaces.  The biggest decisions of the day are if you want to read or take a nap or perhaps, where to walk for dinner.

IMG_3591     IMG_3553Thanks Ani & Brian for making the trek down south and spending a fine weekend up at the Big Bear cabin.  It was just grand to be with you.