Just a little this & that from here & there
My head and heart have been very heavy since this past Friday. I can’t even wrap my head around it. Every time I try to really grasp what this must be like for those directly affected my brain hits an automatic “shut down” before I can dive in too deep. It’s literally unimaginable. My breath escapes me if I for one second imagine what life would be like if someone took Sadie out of my life. Uuuuggghhhh… I can’t even think it… I really can’t.
In light of this tragedy it has me thinking about guns and how I generally dislike everything about them. I get uncomfortable even glancing at a cop that has one in the holster of his belt. I look at it and think… look at this instrument of death, that little thing literally kills people. I shudder at the thought.
Growing up I lived in a house where guns were kept. My father is a Vietnam War Veteran and a Retired New York City Firefighter and kept a collection of guns in our home, my whole life. He is extremely experienced in gun handling and gun safety. And being a father of 3 he always made sure that the guns in our home were responsibly locked away out of reach and furthermore that we, as children, were educated about the dangers of guns. My father’s gun collection was locked up in a gun cabinet in the study of our home, a room that as little children we were rarely in. Our dad explained to us what guns were and what they did. I think it was safe to say that we understood the severity of a firearm even as very young children. He never used them. He wasn’t a hunter, or gun range shooter. They literally were just a collection and on occasion were shown to boys who would come over to take my sister and I out on dates. My dad really knows how to scare a guy into having his daughter home by 10pm.
One weekend day, my sister and I who were both under 10 years old at the time were playing in the study. Our parents had this amazing Encyclopedia collection that must have consisted of 20 or so books. We used to like looking at the anatomy pages and giggle looking at medical drawings of the penis, hehe. Well, somehow between anatomy and dolphins a little shiny silver key fell out onto the carpet. Jamie picked it up and we both looked at it and felt this rush of adrenaline. We just made a huge discovery. A discovery we were never meant to have unturned. We knew what it was, and we knew we weren’t allowed to do it. But the thrill was just too big to ignore. I walked to the door and made sure it was all the way closed so mom wouldn’t walk by and catch a glimpse of what we were about to do. And then Jamie and I stepped in front of the gun cabinet. We stuck the little key in, and turned it. The large heavy door swung open. And there we were looking face to face with handguns, rifles, bullets, a cross bow and a pretty large “crocodile dundee” type knife.
Our hands hovered into the forbidden gun cabinet. But they never made contact. We stopped ourselves before we went too far. We knew it was bad. Not just a bad that would get us in trouble but a bad that could do considerably more damage. We were afraid of these weapons. Even at our young age we understood that very bad things could come of these tools.
We closed up the cabinet, and used the same key to lock it back up and went back to the encyclopedia where we found the key trying to find exactly where it had fell from. But even that still felt so bad. It felt like we were doing something really wrong. So instead, Jamie and I found our mom and told her that we found something. We dropped the tiny little silver key into the palm of her hand and we said sorry. She turned pale as a ghost and immediately understood what we had stumbled upon. It scared the life out of her, just as it had for us.
Needless to say, the key was moved to a location that I never again found. And as the years have gone on the gun collection has dwindled and dwindled down to maybe one or two items. And I believe those have sentimental value of some sort.
My parents were two of the lucky ones. This story could have had an entirely different ending. Even with the most responsible of gun owners sometimes things can go wrong. Here in our household we discussed the topic on if we should or shouldn’t have a gun in the house for “protection.” We both agreed that the possibility of a tragic accident involving the gun occurring is higher than the chance of an armed break in.
And our house feels much safer without a firearm in it.
Last weekend marked the beginning of the Hanukkah Holiday. To be totally honest, Hanukkah doesn’t even hold a candle to Christmas celebrations. (pun intended) But we still did it as big as could be. We set the Pandora station to Hanukkah music – who knew they even had that? We lit our first candle, we let Sadie open her Hanukkah gift which is her new favorite toy ever by the way. That’s all on Dad. He chose this amazing wooden train set. It’s huge. I bought a large storage bin to store it all away, but so far I haven’t even had the chance to put it anywhere. It’s the first thing she wants to play with in the day and the last toy she touches before bath and bedtime.
After candles and gifts I prepared a big Hanukkah feast. Hanukkah food is funny. It’s everything fried, you are celebrating oil after all. So I made fried chicken using matzo as the batter, kale cooked in olive oil and a new take on the traditional latke. I always kind of hate having to eat latkes for dinner. It’s essentially a hash brown patty and in my opinion not worthy of being a meal. So I decided to go a little rogue and try frying mashed potatoes. It turned out so awesome. I’m glad I ventured out, this will definitely be returning next year. And for dessert… donuts, of course.
After we finished our meal and the candles all burned out – we headed out to walk around and check out Christmas decorations in our wildly festive neighborhood.
Warning! I am about to post tons of photos of homes decorated for the holidays. If you don’t like cheer I urge you to stop scrolling.
And to top it all off, we even ran into carolers… CAROLERS people!! I thought that only existed in movies!!
Well a happy ho ho ho to you and yours and if you celebrate the festival of lights enjoy these remaining few nights of it!
This year marks Sadie’s third Christmas season. Three Christmases we have had since being parents and yet somehow we still have never had a real Christmas tree. This year I was hell bent on changing that. We have a cheap Target brand polyester leafed four foot artificial Christmas tree collecting dust and most likely housing a small family of rats somewhere in the basement. And I really didn’t want to set that plastic pre-lit piece of garbage up in our house once again this year. I mean, we are a family now. We have a small child that for the first time is actually understanding what Christmas, Santa and Reindeer all mean. I wanted to give her the full on deal. Not the cheap “this’ll do” Christmas that we could do before when it was just the two of us.
The time is here now. These will be the memories that she will carry with her for her lifetime. The magic and wonderment of childhood Christmas. The decorations, the joy, the warm cozy stay at home feeling and the presents, of course, the presents!! So last week I told Devin that we had weekend plans. We were going to get a real Christmas tree and we were going to go see Santa and get a picture of Sadie on his lap. Devin was not amused by this plan. As I suspected he would, he gave the old “we have a perfectly fine tree in the basement.” To which I replied with a simple tip of the head and eyebrow raise. And he said, “ok fine.” Turns out… only one of these two things ended up happening.
Turns out it was Sadie who wasn’t amused by my Christmas plans in the end. She took one look inside the cozy log cabin inside Santa’s Village and saw an old man in bright red velvety pajamas staring at her offering a seat on his lap, and her response might as well have been flipping him the bird. She was sooooo pissed. Terrified to the deepest core of her being and she seemed to have a very deep hate, almost a personal vendetta against St. Nick. Seems as though he’s much more appealing when he’s in a cartoon or a book – not so much in real life.
The good news is that we got a real life tree. It was so much fun going to the nursery and picking out the one we liked the best. Figures we ended up with a charlie brown-esque tree. Out of all the ones they had we really liked the one that barely had any branches. It was cold and raining and so much fun. I feel like I enjoyed it just as much as Sadie did which is weird because I’m an adult and running errands isn’t supposed to be fun. But sometimes it just is.
Even though I didn’t get Sadie’s photo with Santa this year I’m grateful for the funny memory of trying to take her there. And I love our tree. It makes our house feel so much like home. Although we won’t even be spending Christmas morning in our house this year it makes me feel so happy to know that we are beginning to make these stories and memories for Sadie that she will have to hold forever. The stories she will one day tell her children. The traditions she will carry on with her own family some day. My parents made Christmas such a magical time for me as a kid. Nothing has ever compared to how exciting Christmas Eve and morning was in my household. I’m chomping at the bit for the opportunity to do the same for Sadie.
Even though my blood is only half Christmas and the other half Hanukkah, the Christmas runs deep in me. And I am so thrilled to share it with Sadie, who is after all, 75% Christmas. : )
About a year ago we moved to the Bay Area from LA. I had no friends and no family here and we moved right at the very beginning of a very long rainy season. I was so lonely and bored. Within weeks of our arrival here I took Sadie on a trip to the Oakland Zoo. In that very first trip I had found some sort of refuge in the small but entertaining animal park. Sadie loved it and it was something to do that we could spend several hours at and not get bored. That very day we decided to make the plunge and buy a membership.
Since that first visit to the zoo it has been the answer to many of our problems. Cranky day…zoo. Nowhere to go….zoo. Can’t get Sadie to nap…zoo. Feeling like I need a little exercise…zoo. Daddy needs a daddy & daughter date….zoo.
Beyond it being just something to do – we actually thoroughly enjoy it. All of us. Sadie is a natural born animal lover. I’ve yet to meet an animal that she is afraid of. She is compassionate about them and wants to know what they are doing and who their parents are. (very cute) She is gentle when petting or touching an animal no matter the size. It comes to no surprise to me that she turned out to be a self-declared vegetarian. Both Devin and I eat animal products and have never pressed vegetarianism on her, but she steers far away from it all on her own. She’d much prefer tofu and hummus to a cheeseburger or corndog. As a matter of fact when I offer her a corndog she’ll eat the breaded batter around the dog and leave the entire hotdog untouched. And uses chicken nuggets as a tool to scoop ketchup into her mouth but has absolutely no interest in taking even the tiniest of a nibble from the meat. It’s fine by me. I didn’t have a kid to have a mini-me. I had a kid to love and protect and to watch grow from basically nothing into whatever she wants to be.
Vegetarianism aside, there are things about her that are very much like me. She is an observer. She seems to know when a situation is tense, or a person is upset. Seeing another being in pain or upset greatly affects her. She seems to have deep empathy even at her remarkably young age. I’ve noticed this many a time before. When witnessing a child fall and cry or seeing a kid get reprimanded at a park. It affects her in ways that I can very much relate to.
I noticed it yet again at this particular visit to the zoo. We got there very early, before they opened actually. So we waited and played on the ramps in front of the entrance until they opened the doors. And once the doors opened we were quite literally the first and only people at the zoo. It was great to get to see the animals early in the morning awake and lively and living very naturally without having people hoot and holler and tap on their enclosures.
Sadie’s favorite part of the zoo is the reptile house. She’s a big lover of frogs and turtles. My favorite part of the zoo is the chimpanzees. They are so amazing to me. I love watching how they interact with each other and witnessing their very human reactions, emotions and features. I have a huge respect for these animals because I realize that we are not far off from each other.
I don’t really like taking pictures of the chimpanzees, even when they are doing incredibly adorable things like cuddled in blankets in cold early morning air, mainly because I feel rude – as if I was taking a picture of a stranger without permission who is looking directly into my eye. It just doesn’t feel right. So, this morning we get there and we are the only ones there like I mentioned. There weren’t too many chimps out, and the ones that were out were mostly snuggled up and still not exactly awake yet. Except for one, who as we approached climbed up on the top of a beam and sat perched facing towards us at eye level. We were obviously separated by glass, but we were only just a few feet apart from nose to nose. I held Sadie on my hip, and nodded at the chimpanzee. The chimpanzee nodded back. Sadie and I sat there for quite a while not really saying anything but just enjoying being there in such close proximity with no crowd around us. It was quiet and serene and felt very peaceful and natural. Call me crazy, but I felt some sort of a mutual respect between the species at that moment. Then noise started settling in on us. A group of teenagers started approaching probably from some sort of field trip. They were loud and laughing and carrying on, and immediately started making fun of the chimpanzee and each other as soon as they were in view of the exhibit. There was a very loud group laughter as one of the guys teased one of his friends that the chimpanzee looked just like his girlfriend. Almost instantly the chimpanzee that had been keeping company with Sadie and I leaped up into the air and grabbed a hold of the chain link fence that was above the glass partition between us. He (or she, not really sure) swung over to where the kids were standing and laughing and started howling and screaming and spit through the fence aiming at the kids. It then flung its body downward and thrust his fist with some serious velocity into the glass partition where the kids were pressed up against taking photos and video.
This action only created more of a reaction from the teenagers and they became wildly loud and started making horrible jokes about the chimps. The chimp was enraged. He continuously swung and kicked at the glass where the teenagers stood, but obviously was not making an impression on them. It broke my heart to see this beautiful animal locked up that should command respect but instead is a spectacle and completely disrespected.
Sadie’s heart was apparently in the same place as mine, because I look at her and her chin is puckered and quivering and her eyes are beginning to tear up. She says, “No, mama. Monkey shy.” And I kissed my sweet and understanding child and said, “Yes, honey. Let’s go. The chimpanzee doesn’t want to be looked at right now. Let’s leave him alone.” And she just says, “yes.”
And we walk away, hoping that others do too. But I doubt that happened.
Maybe I’m giving my two year old way too much credit. But I see a beautiful quality in her that is compassion. And not just compassion for people she knows and loves. Compassion for all people and animals as well. I can hardly think of a quality that I would rather have my child possess. Well, compassion and happiness. If you don’t have happiness to begin with, any other cherished quality would be hard to come by.
For our long Thanksgiving Holiday weekend Grandparents Foley came up to keep us some company. What was expected to be a gloomy and rainy few days turned out to be not so bad at all.
Like almost every other American we celebrated Thanksgiving. My sweet, thoughtful, amazing and hunky husband went ahead and ordered a pre-cooked Thanksgiving meal for us while I was away on my girls trip the weekend before, so that I wouldn’t have to be cooking all day. Turned out that the “pre-cooked” meal did indeed require quite a bit of cooking after all. And of course I wanted to add some of the dishes that are a tradition in our household that were not included in the pre-ordered meal.
But all in all it wasn’t too hectic. Things went smooth and delicious if I don’t say so myself. Plus this was the first year I’ve done Thanksgiving dinner all on my own. Last year was my first year hosting, but my mother was here and did at least half of the work : )
Sadie got to celebrate yet another birthday. Her Grandparents hadn’t seen her since her birthday in October so they came bearing gifts. I think she is expecting a birthday party at least once a month at this point. And the fact that Hanukkah is in a week and Christmas 2 weeks later isn’t helping… what a rough life this poor kid has.
After reviewing the photos from the weekend I realize besides for eating and opening gifts we apparently rode a lot of rides!
We took Sadie to the steam trains in Tilden Park for the first time. It turned out to be way cooler than I thought it would be and I’m looking forward to going again sometime soon. I also found out that dogs are allowed on too… maybe Berkeley would want a little choo choo action in her life.
And of course the trusty ol’ zoo always has everything that this child could possibly want: a petting zoo, animals, a playground and of course more rides.
But mostly our holiday was spent lounging around the house being cozy and strolling the neighborhood as it begins to turn very colorful and festive for the Christmas season.
Hope your Thanksgiving was a good one and welcome to December! Just remembered… isn’t the world ending in like a few days??
This is more of a one liner than it is a conversation but I’m standing in the kitchen prepping lunch, Sadie runs in frantically and struggling to hold and carry in a large sized blanket we keep on the couch. She wraps the blanket and her arms around my legs and says..”Mommy, protect my blanket!”
Out on a walk with Sadie a woman passes by and Sadie exclaims, “boy!” I say “No, that’s a girl.” And then proceed to quiz her on the sex of a few other people in her life:
Me – Sadie, am I a boy or girl?
Sadie – Boy!
Me – No, I’m a girl. Is Daddy a boy or girl?
Sadie – Boy!
Me – Good! Is Grandma a boy or girl?
Sadie – Girl!
Me – Great! Is Delphine a boy or a girl?
Sadie - Turtles swim in water.
In line at the post office Sadie starts cowering away in a corner and making the “Im Making Sumptin” face. When she’s all done she comes over to me followed by a very obvious stink coming from her diaper. I pick her up and whisper in her ear.. “Honey did you go poo poo?” She very loudly replies back, “Mommy, you make stinky fart!”
This past Sunday I celebrated a birthday; it was the 30th birthday I’ve celebrated. I am now really and officially all grown up. I’ve been asked by my mother and several others how it feels to be thirty…
I will tell you all just like I told my mother – I am so relieved to finally be thirty. You don’t know how uncomfortable I have felt in my 20-something skin for several years. I absolutely never felt my age in my mid-late twenties. That age just didn’t suit me. I feel more comfortable in my 30 year old skin than I ever have before. So there’s that.
There is also the subject of the celebration itself that needs to be discussed. I had no big wants or desires for my birthday. I told Devin I just wanted to sleep. Which to a mother of a young child is greater than any riches in the world. But I ended up getting waaaay more than I ever could have dreamt of.
On Friday at about 5pm Devin had just got home from work and there was a knock at the door. I picked up Sadie and answered the door and to my surprise it was my best friend Stephi and my sister Jamie standing at the door holding balloons. Total shock! I live an 8 hour drive away from them! Once my shock subsided a minimal amount and I was able to carry a conversation, I learned that they were picking me up and taking me away for two nights. The weekend was absolutely magical. Eating out at places with long lines that I could never have waited with a baby. Going to bars. Going out dancing. Sleeping in. Shopping. And talking with my girlfriends uninterrupted. A total miracle. To add a little extra cherry on top…. on the second night out I got another huge surprise in the form of my other friend from LA, Jolie, showing up at our hotel! Even my Bay Area mom friends came out for the night. It was such an amazing weekend and luckily Jamie caught the big surprise on film. You can watch it if you’d like…
I feel so fortunate to have friends and family that would go that extremely far out of their way to make me feel special. And indeed I did feel special.
This weekend away is now the longest I’ve ever been away from Sadie. Two nights… it’s a record! It was so wonderful and greatly needed. It felt good to be me and not me with a baby on my hip for a day or two.
It was also mighty big of Devin to take over Sadie for the entire weekend all alone. Believe me, I know it ain’t easy, and he did a phenomenal job. She had a great time and so did he. He might have taken her to the toy store 6 times and let her eat corndogs for breakfast, but hey… what are dads for?
And I’ll tell you… the reaction I got from Sadie when she saw me after two days was so precious and so beautiful that it makes me want to leave town more often. God, that love is out of this world. It’s so incredibly special.
He also had a very special day for me when I returned home on Sunday. Just when I thought all the excitement was over he really over did it with the gift giving. Including this lovely macbook air that I’m writing to you from today
I have a lot of love in my life and a lot to be thankful for. And on that note.. Happy Thanksgiving ya’ll!
I have a HUGE announcement to make guys. We had a huge discovery over here and we are so thrilled about it we just knew we had to share the news right away.
Dad has a mouth…
and a nose…
Like I said, we are just so overjoyed at this wonderful news that we had to share it with all ya’ll. We hope you are just as excited about the discovery of these features as we are.