November 2008

Monthly Archive

i need a little napa

Posted by lynn on 17 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: travel

Paraduxx Pairing

Our last wine country getaway included a tiny, 2.5-month old Melina. While toting her around to various wineries and even patio seating at a fancy, square-side restaurant in downtown Healdsburg was pure joy as parents of a newborn, this year we decided to leave her home with Grandma and Grandpa Weiss so we could enjoy our first uninterrupted weekend alone in almost 18 months.

Rubicon (aka Niebaum Coppola)

Yes, it was fabulous. Yes, we did talk about the Jelly Bean (and Kai), but not the whole time. Yes, I did call my mom to see how she was doing, but only twice in two days. Yes, Melina and my folks had a blast, though it sounds like she took a little longer to warm up to Grandpa than Grandma.

Heading into Artesa

We had two fabulous dinners in Napa (one by candle and holiday lights on the patio of Bleaux Magnolia, and the other at Celedon in the old Grist Mill). And we tasted a fair amount of wine. Along with most local-ish folks, we’ve firmly solidified that Highway 29 is “the Disneyland of wine country,” overcrowded, over-priced, and while fun on a certain level just not quite what we we’re seeking.

Joey by the Torpedo, Artesa

Francis Ford Coppola’s gorgeous and tasty winery has been re-named Rubicon and now charges $25 a head for tasting and a tour – so you can’t even opt to split. So many tourists swarmed V. Sattui’s picnic lawn it looked like it had been over-run with giant ants. Luckily we did enjoy a more subdued cheese and wine pairing at one of our favorites, Paraduxx, on the Silverado Trail.

Fountain @ Artesa

And the next morning we visited two wineries (Artesa and Folio) in the Carneros Valley that made up for all of Saturday’s fluff. Artesa sits high on a hilltop overlooking the bay. Several angular fountains lead up to the large, post-modern tasting room. The service was friendly, the pours generous, and the wine delicious.

Can you see us in the reflection? Artesa Vineyards

We ended up joining our first wine club here – it’s under an hour’s drive from Berkeley, after all, and picking up our quarterly shipments will give a good excuse for day trips to wine country. I have grand visions of inviting a couple friends to join us for complimentary tastings on the terrace, while the kids explore all the fountains without annoying the other patrons…. Hey, anything’s possible, right?

how do you get 9 toddlers to sit still?

Posted by lynn on 12 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: friends, melina

Mama's Finger


With food, of course! (And apologies to Krista for subconsciously taking your blog post title – it’s just too appropriate.) A couple weeks ago our play/moms group decided to do a repeat performance of last October’s photo shoot at Sears.


Arms Up!

At that time not a single baby was sitting up solo, which meant the coolest shot ever was of all of them lying on their backs in a circle, 10 little heads facing inward. (See below.)

In a full year we’ve only lost one (ok two – baby and mom) member of our group. Very cool. But the kiddos are all incredibly mobile now, so instead of Sears we decided to do the photo shoot at a local park. For two hours the kids played and the photographer photographed.

I Love Mama & My Shoe

Tots 'n Moms

Towards the end we decided to organize and put all nine toddlers (ages 16-17 months) on a bench for the official group shot. Melia’s daddy Ryan took some funny video (scroll to the bottom of the post) of how this all went down. I’m still amazed we got them all quiet and still for even a few minutes. Annie’s Bunny Love cereal and goldfish to the rescue!

Nine Tots on a Bench

Babes in a Circle: October, 2007

I’m a little disappointed that the photog didn’t seem to spend much time on Meli. (It’s the mama bear in me, I’m sure.) We didn’t get many super-smiley shots of our super-smiley girl. But there were a few sweet ones, and I’ve posted them here. Enjoy.

And take a look at how much all the kids have changed since last October’s circle shot. By complete coincidence, Melina is between the same two kids she was a year ago. Can’t you tell?

election 08

Posted by lynn on 05 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: community, kai

I can’t let today pass without at least saying something brief about the overwhelming significance of this election. All the obvious remarks go without saying. I mean, even five-year-old Kai had the talking points down: “We want Obama to win because he gives money to schools and health care. McCain is bad because he gives money to war.”

We watched the results from the living room of our friends, the Zarlings. We stuck around with two uber-tired kids long enough to hear both speeches. As Kai sat in my lap watching McCain’s concession, I said “Look – he’s not a sore loser. He’s congratulating Obama, and that’s the right thing to do.” By the time Obama appeared in victory, Kai’s eyes were heavy, and my own body felt overwhelmed by pride, relief, and joy. How wonderful is it that Kai and Melina will never remember a time when a black person can’t become president, or when a woman (all politics aside – and there are plenty of them!) can’t run for one of the nation’s highest offices. It’s about time.

17 months and all smiles

Posted by lynn on 05 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: melina

Aunt Sharon's Piano

This month, we’ve noticed Melina’s personality coming into fuller bloom. As always, she’s a super happy, friendly girl. Her favorite things these days include drawing, stickers, the see saw at the park, any book featuring animals, bananas, or colors, and any dog or cat she meets on the street. She’s obsessed with feeding Thor, even when his bowl is full. She has a new stuffed dog (Baby Ein) that rivals Chop Eater and her little blankies as snuggle toys.

Driving Bro Bro's Backpack

Melina also loves her brother’s wheeled school backpack, almost as much as she loves Kai himself. Kai sometimes lets her roll it all the way from his classroom to the car. At this point, I think she thinks it’s hers. She now also drags her own lunch bag behind her on the way to daycare, and is oblivious to the lack of wheels.

Thor Cat

Melina seems to like order, as much as a 1-year-old can. She knows her stuffed animals and blankies belong on the wine fridge when she eats, not in the booster seat with her at the table. She follows directions well (when she’s not testing limits) and likes to put things back where she found them. Then take them out again. She also tends to bring us things that look fragile. But all bets are off with popup books and their tempting tabs, just waiting to be pulled off the page.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

She can point out a handful of body parts, including her belly, knees, ears, and nose. When I say “little girl?” she points to herself. She also likes giving herself kisses in full-length mirrors. One teacher at daycare recently said, “She’s pretty quiet, isn’t she? Very busy, though.” She’s definitely an explorer, and in new situations seems to take things in for a while before jumping into action.


Nevertheless, she has tons of words, and one phrase: “Up pppuh!” (“Up, please!”) and likes to climb into and up just about anything – including our wine rack. (Good thing Grandpa bolted it to the wall!) Her latest game is to “lock” herself into a room, then knock on the door saying “knock knock!” (which sounds like “not not!”) until we open it. Then she shuts it and starts all over again.

Horsey (Meli Says: Rock Rock...)

We’re starting to see her turn into a bit of a night owl. Ok, that may be a stretch since she usually goes to bed at 8pm. But while her 5-year-old brother hits the pillow at the same time and goes straight to dreamland, Meli babbles herself to sleep – and sometimes uses the walls for a drum concert – nearly every night, regardless of whether Kai is with her in the room or not. (He’s learned to ignore her – or join in – instead of complaining.) She also seems to pick up steam right after dinner and bath. And of course, we remain incredibly fortunate in that she’ll sometimes sleep until 9am on weekends. Not always, but it’s not unusual.

obama mamas

Posted by lynn on 03 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: community, friends

Bagels + Obama Training Video (Quinn, Pamela, Joey, Meli)

Obama's S Berkeley HQ (Meli and I passed by on a walk)

With just two days left to go before the election, my writing buddy Pamela decided to organize an Obama Mamas phone party on Sunday. She invited a bunch of moms, dads, and toddlers to her family’s SF home, where half the adults took the kids to the park, and the other half of us stayed behind to make calls to swing state voters on behalf of the Obama campaign.

I got through a list of 25 Ohio voters. About a third of the numbers were disconnected or wrong (including one being a Starbucks), and we all left voice messages on at least half our numbers.

Quinn w/ Jessica

Joey w/ Meli and Aiden

I did connect with a handful of voters, including a couple elderly folks. (Ages are listed on the call sheet.) When I asked the first who she would be supporting on Tuesday she responded: “Well, I’m a democrat.” (implied: Obama, duh!) The second was a man who had to step away for a minute to turn down the TV volume. He came back and said “Sorry, I was watching the Browns.” When I asked who he’d be supporting on Tuesday he said “Obama, of course. We had a vigil for him this morning and will again on Tuesday. My daughter’s taking me to vote, it’s just three minutes away at the high school. Yes, Obama’s the man…”

Thank you for your time, sir. As Pamela would say, “Saving the world one phone call at a time.”

happy halloween!

Posted by lynn on 01 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: friends, kai, melina

Spaceship with Mikaela@ Habitot

Ghost dough with Suli @ Habitot

Some adults get really into Halloween. I have two answers this. One I’ll borrow from a co-worker, who the other day said something like “I spend the entire year being so creative in so many ways and for so many occasions. This just isn’t one of them.” The other, of course, is “It’s all about the kids!”

I'm stuck! Playing @ Habitot

Kai, Melina, Melia (back) + Emma @ potluck

We had a jam-packed Halloween afternoon and evening. Kai started celebrating early: Kids Club after school program had parties on both Thursday and Friday afternoons. For our part, Melina and I spent Halloween afternoon at a “not-so-spooky” party for tots at hands-on Habitot museum. We met up with friends Suli and Mikaela who joined Meli playing with ghost dough, slime, and a bean bag toss.

Anticipation: Trick-or-treating


We met Daddy for a quick beer at Jupiter across the street, then picked up Kai and headed to our monthly play group potluck – complete with trick-or-treating! Kai’s mom even joined us for half of our walk down the block. It only took Meli two houses to catch on to the whole trick-or-treat routine, and Kai served the role of proud big brother, teaching her to run from one house to the next and to pick exactly two candies from each bowl.

I'll race you to the next house!

Aren't we cute?

Luckily, she has no idea that her prized collection is actually super tasty treats. We’ll hold off another year before introducing her to the sugary side of trick-or-treating.

Happy Halloween, everyone!