I like to think of myself as a camper. You know, someone who camps. Like a girl scout. But not. A camper. Growing up near the Adirondacks, my family camped a lot. I also went to summer camp for almost 10 years. I can build a fire and set up a tent. I have some mean canoe skills too.

But, truth be told, I haven’t been camping in probably three years. We went a few times in Washington, but since Willa was born, we’ve been scared. Sharing a hotel room with her is daunting enough, let alone a tent. Until recently, I just didn’t really understand how it would work. Our tent is a backpacking 2-person tent that barely fits the two of us and our dog. As I’ve mentioned, Willa is a great sleeper in a crib of some sort, but she’s never been much into the family bed idea. Where would she sleep? Squished between the sleeping bags and Bryna? That had to be a suffocation hazard, no?


But then a friend of mine organized a camping trip for a group of us and our littles, who are all about the same age. It seemed like the perfect chance to take the plunge! So, last weekend, we all headed up to a campsite near Pine Junction. Aside from the fact I ended up insanely exhausted the next day, the trip was a huge success! Much fun had by all. The city kids got nice and dirty, we swam in a (natural!) lake, and indulged in campfire cones after the littles went to bed. And apparently, I was really overthinking (or underthinking?) the sleeping situation. All we really needed was a tent big enough for a travel crib.


It all went so well that I’ve been feeling really sad we can’t get back the last two years of no camping trips and go a few more times. But there’s always the future, right? More family camping trips! We just need to invest in an awesome “family tent” like the one our friends lent us. And some type of mattress pad! (Can I still call myself “a camper” if I don’t sleep on the rock-hard ground? Maybe just for use when pregnant? Oconto ladies, what do you think?)

DSC04199DSC04214^^we drove to nearby wellington lake for an afternoon swim/play in the water. i wasn’t wearing my bathing suit but i still couldn’t resist a dip in the inviting lake. it was so refreshing! (plus we had to get our money’s worth because they charge a steep $5 per person and $5 per vehicle to get in!)^^

DSC04266DSC04285DSC04281^^i’d been saving this nescafé gold (straight from taiwan thanks to my dear friend bai) for a special occasion. and it totally hit the spot in the fresh air of the early morning. milk and sugar already mixed in? yes please!^^

DSC04292^^future “camper”!?^^

Huge thanks to NM for organizing everything, GB and SL for being awesome camping companions, MH for lending the tent, and RKGB for the delightful coffee hook-up!


party animal

Prior to Willa’s arrival in our lives, I could be quoted as saying something to the effect of “I’m not going to be tied down by her sleep schedule.” Or, “Kids don’t have to go to bed at a certain time.” My overall philosophy on this matter remains largely the same, but I now know how quickly things can deteriorate when a tired baby or toddler is in the mix. Those newborns I see sleeping in public places in carseats? Yeah, Willa gave that up when she was about 4 weeks old. When she got really tired as a baby, she’d just cry. And cry and cry and cry. On a plane, I could only ever get her to sleep by nursing her.  “When she gets tired enough, she’ll sleep,” people would say. Nope. Not this one. Then there was the time she was 20 months and we took her to Costa Rica. She didn’t sleep a wink our evening flight down there. She was up for over 12 hours.

But you know where Willa does sleep really well? In her crib. Or now her bed. At night. Yep, seven to seven since seven months. She’s pretty awesome like that. I’m all for flexibility, but why mess up a good thing? And even her naps have gotten much better too. In her bed that is. On the go? 20 minutes max. If it happens at all.

The point of this ramble is that going into last weekend’s familiy wedding, we were a bit nervous about how Willa would do with the late nights a festive weekend required. Plus the time difference put us at a disadvantage. But the part of me who said those things back in the day kept reminding myself that kids need to be adaptable. And everything would turn out okay. Right?


Well, hey! Guess what? It did! Willa proved to be the life of the party. She stayed up past her bedtime three nights in a row, making it until almost midnight on the night of the wedding. She danced and danced and ran circles around her lame-o pregnant mom. She slept in her carseat on the drive home and then barely woke up when I moved her to her crib. She slept in until 9am the next day. And the day after that. And then easily slipped right back into her regular schedule. Score! A toddler sleep machine! Proud parents over here. As a wise family friend has always said, “Add up the pluses. To hell with the minuses.” I think that applies particularly well to parenting.

DSC04048DSC04061^^photos above from night number two of partying. she was up till almost 10. after eating some cupcake herself, she then decided to distribute it around the room. any guest she could find got a little crumb. “why, thank you crazy toddler,” they must have all been thinking…^^

DSC04077^^”that the moon. means it’s naptime. i say bye-bye.” she wisely declared.^^

DSC04109DSC04122DSC04125 DSC04145DSC04157 DSC04152

Sooooo, those are some pictures of our little lady in action! Such a fun weekend. And most importantly: huge congratulations and all the best to the happy couple!

burma superstar

I had Burmese food last weekend! It was sensational! I’m very excited about it! Can you tell by the exclaimation points!?

On Thursday, we flew to San Francisco for a family wedding. Our flight left early in the morning, so we were on the ground in California by 9am. We opted for a rental car this trip so we could have some flexibility, and the timing worked out perfectly; we pulled up to Clement Street at 11:20am, and Burma Superstar opens at 11:30. Rumor has it there are usually long waits, but due to our lucky impeccable timing, we were able to snag a table right away. Willa was a bit out of it from the morning of travel (and the fact we woke her up from her carseat snooze), but luckily she settled in happily once she heard rice was involved.

DSC03916DSC03918^^rainbow salad. we weren’t sure which to pick – this one or the tea leaf salad, but we wanted to be sure to try some noodles, so we went with the rainbow. i’d say it was very good but not out of this world. it could have used a tad more kick.^^

DSC03924DSC03928^^chicken and tofu kebat. now this dish was FANTASTIC. it had so much flavor it was unbelievable. i used the spoon to eat every last drop of the sauce.^^

DSC03936DSC03935^^willa would like you to know that the coconut rice was also quite above average.^^

DSC03938^^when we finished lunch there were a good number of people waiting outside. it really is a destination restaurant but i’d say the hype is justified. it’s impressive how good their food is after being open for over 20 years.^^

DSC03956 DSC03961DSC03965^^after lunch we enjoyed walking around the neighborhood (clement street in inner richmond). we found a great cantonese bakery where we enjoyed an egg custard and a black bean cake. oh and also, i’m pregnant. haven’t i mentioned that? 28 weeks in this pic!^^


rosenberg’s bagels + delicatessen


I wouldn’t describe myself as a bagel lover. Donuts? Yes! But bagels? They’re good, sure. Growing up I loved having a bagel that my dad had picked up at the local bagel shop. When I was in college at Middlebury, nothing compared to a bagel egger sandwich at the Middlebury Bagel Deli. So good.

But then we moved to Seattle, and bagels were a joke. So bad. No one in Seattle could make a decent bagel. Even the places that were rumored to be good were just mediocre. Sure, it too bad, but I was never bagel-obsessed enough to really mourn the loss. I just moved on with life, bagel-free.

And yet, when I heard that some smart fellow (Josh Pollack) was opening up a new bagel shop in Denver and engineering the mineral content of the water to make perfect New York style bagels, I was indeed intrigued.


We finally got to Rosenberg’s last Sunday, and although the outside looked a little unpromising (we came in the back entrance off 26th and there isn’t yet any signage), there was a long line at 9:30am. Things moved pretty quickly, and we got to the front of the 20-some person line in 10-15 minutes. Most people were opting to take their orders to go, so there was ample seating. The space was super cool without being overly trendy. Pollack apparently wanted to restore the art-deco history of the space, and he has definitely achieved that with just a few modern touches.


The bagels were indeed perfect. Crispy on the outside but doughy and appropriately chewy on the inside. The fish options on the menu looked fantastic (salmon galore! cod! trout! hand-cut!), but we opted for eggs. I got one of their specialties, “The Frenchie” (think French toast meets egg sandwich), while Dan tried egg, bacon, and cheddar on a poppyseed bagel. It was great to try something unique, but I ultimately prefered the basic egg sandwich. It was just done so well. Most importantly, the bacon was the perfect crispness so you could take bites. There’s nothing worse than bacon that slides off a sandwich on the first bite, right?


They had a fancypants espresso machine whipping up fantastic drinks (Boxcar Roasters coffee, I think? Shoot. I can’t remember for sure.), and I enjoyed an iced latte (small complaint: no liquid sweetener besides honey which isn’t super cold-water soluble!). Another food trend observation: lots of people were drinking cold brew bottled coffee from the fridge case, which seems like an odd choice to me when you’re in a place that has an espresso bar…I do think it’s delicious and a great option when there isn’t one, but…?

Anyway. In case there was any confusion, the verdict on Rosenberg’s is: go now! I cannot wait to go again. Who knew how much I was missing bagels?


a lost balloon

Last night we went to a birthday party. Willa’s friend was turning two, and it was a beautiful summer evening for a gathering. Willa and her little friends played inside and out while the adults socialized over yummy food and drinks.


At one point in the evening, the kids grabbed a few helium-filled balloons and started running around the yard with them, pulling at their strings and watching them bounce back up towards the sky. Moments after the above picture was taken, Willa accidentally let go of the string on her balloon, and it floated up, just out of my reach. I glanced at the balloon floating up into the sky, first thinking about how we’d lost one of the party decorations, and then about how balloons are probably not the best thing for the atmosphere. But after those thoughts quickly came and went, I looked back to Willa, and immediately recognized in her her face complete disappointment. She looked so sad. Tears filled her eyes as she whimpered, “my balloon…”

Over the next hour, the party saw a few more balloons lost into the sky. At one point a cluster of several balloons floated up, up, up. Willa couldn’t take it. She cried and fussed and told us that she “was sad.” Once home and getting ready for bed, she repeated how sad she was about the balloons.

This is a new stage of parenting. Experiencing the world through a young child’s eyes. Seeing her highs and lows as she learns about all the little things that can make up a day. It’s so wonderful to see her joy, but I’m sensing this is just the beginning of having to also endure her sadness.