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August 30, 2008

portrait of a tired baby

Sleepy Vivi
Sleepy Vivi Two
Even when she's fighting sleep (which feels like an everyday occurrence) she still manages to smile. These beautiful portraits were shot by our neighbor Ari.

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August 29, 2008

arata pumpkin farm

Arata Pumpkin Farm
Maze Above
Gorilla Max
Haymaze Thisway
Max Maze
On our way home we stopped by Arata Pumpkin Farm to check out the life-size hay maze. The farm felt like the set of a horror flick with run down unused stuffs scattered about and only one whack job guy working there — and not a pumpkin to be seen. I kept thinking "all work and no play" while seeing the hedge maze from the Shining in my mind. Huh. Anyway, for $5 each (he wanted to charge full price for baby Vivi in a carrier, but I pushed back! He still charged for our 3 year old!) we entered the maze. It's not an easy maze, I'll give them that. We spent about 45 minutes and only got half way. Turns out I was the best leader, but we couldn't finish because we all got too hungry, too hot, too tired and all that goes along with the monotony of going back and forth trying each outcome. But let me just say, this is the perfect activity for a group of say 12 year old boys!

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August 28, 2008

pigeon point lighthouse

Pigeon Distance
Pigeon View
Pigeon Point

harley farms

Pointing Goat
The signage pointing the way to Harley Farms is subtle, engaging and lovingly made — it's simply  genius. Cheese Sign
Goat Parking
Pointing Finger
Happy Goat
Goat Face
Unlike Phipps Farm, Harley Farms is amazing. The place is clean, well organized, loving cared for and above all these are happy happy goats. The grounds are beautifully landscaped and the goats lovingly groomed which really made me fall instantly for this farm. The owner and her staff were very sweet and helpful, but they were also busy packing up for the Slow Food Event taking place in San Francisco the next day, so sadly there wasn't much cheese for us to taste. However we did get to taste the Monet, and it was delicious.
Hayloft Tablesetting
Above the tasting room and cheese shop is an amazing room called the hay loft. It's a space anyone can rent and it would be an amazing place to throw a special party.
View Pescadero
A view of the town of Pescadero from Bean Hollow Road which is a nice detour that connects back to HWY 1.

car napping

Sleeping Vivi
Sleeping Max
There's nothing like a long drive. The kids almost always fall asleep and I get some quiet, adult time, ah ahhhh. (And oh how I love thee drive-thru!!)

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strawberry fields forever

Swanton Scene
Swanton Berry
Swanton Store

The next morning we decided to go to a pick-it-yourself farm. Max really wanted ollalieberries, but it turns out those are only in season in June and July. Late August is strawberry picking season and fortunately we all love strawberries too. Swanton Berry Farm doesn't look too remarkable from the highway, but once you get into the store and walk to the field you'll love it. They give you a few boxes and tell you to enjoy the picking and, of course, sample as many as you'd like. We strolled out to the field and had such a good time tasting and picking. Max was loving it and got really into finding the berries with the most unusual shapes. Afterward we all had pink stained faces and fingers. We took home $15 dollars worth (they sell by weight) which was the equivalent to 16 baskets. We'd normally pay about $3 a basket for organic strawberries, so that's $48 worth of strawberries! Once we got home, Mr. C immediately turned them all into a delicious jam, which we had on his fresh made popovers the very next morning. Mmmmmm so good!

Swanton Tractors
Sunflower Bee
Strawberry Field
Berry Pickin Max
Max Thinking Picking
Picking Grin
Max Eating Berry
Perfect Strawberries

Vivi Shoving
Vivi Strawberry Face

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August 27, 2008

dinner at duarte's tavern

Duarts Tavern
Max Tries Fish
Olliaberry Baby
Many people told us to try the artichoke soup and fruit pies at Duarte's Tavern, both were delicious in an old time, classic recipe kinda way. Max was a daring eater and tried smelt —he loved it too. We all were totally mad for the olallieberry pie, but Vivi was most especially crazy!

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phipps farm, pescadero

Historic Pescadero
Landscape Pescadero
While the kids slept in the car we drove the coast highway. We tried to drive through to check out Ano Nuevo state park, but when you drive in it's about 100 yards to a dead end parking lot — you can't see anything special until you get out and start walking. Since we couldn't ditch the kids, this idea was a bust. We then drove up to Pescadero thinking we'd check out Phipps & Harley Farms once the kids woke up. Pescadero turns out to be a really quiet, sleepy little town — don't blink.
Phipps Sign
Grumpy Max
Phipps Nursery
White Parrot
Max woke up on the grumpy side of his car seat. It took him awhile to warm up to the idea of exploring the Phipps Country Store. Phipps is a weird place. It's out of touch, run down and pretty depressing on one hand, while on the other, it's exotic, bizarre and creepy. The white haired, hunched over, thin and tiny old woman working at the cash register was the only employee. She was hardly doing much, not that I blame her, but it left the property feeling even more abandoned than it looked.

There were some gorgeous birds, like this lovely white parrot who repeatedly performed flip tricks for us, but then there were some horrific birds pecking and eating a dead bird. Yikes! This was one of the most obvious moments when we started to realize just how bad it is at Phipps. Once you tour the rest of the farm you'll see many chickens, peacocks, geese and other birds— plus goats, sheep and pigs who are all living in a really neglectful environment. You can see the abuse in the animals ugly behavior and their shredded, scarred bodies. Many looked so bad I had to avert my eyes. I felt too pained to document it so you won't see images of the horror here, but heed my warning and skip Phipps when next you are in Pescadero.
Phipps Tractors
Phipps Oldtractor
Rusty Tractor
When you aren't horrified by the unhappily cages animals, you will find some neat old antique tractors scattered about the property.
Phipps Beans
Yellow Eyebean
Apparently Phipps is also well known for it's dried beans. They did have a large selection, but the store had the same run down and dirty feeling of the rest of property which really didn't inspire me to purchase anything. Instead I gave a donation to the animals — in the hopes they'll get fed.
Goat Shut
We left Phipps hoping to make it to Harley Farms, but they'd closed shop just a few minutes before we got there. Bummer, 'til tomorrow...

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costanoa coast

Ca Beach
Rocky Beach
After breakfast we strolled along the trail behind the Douglas cabins and crossed highway one and made our way down to the beach. The day was gorgeous and we were all alone on a lovely beach. There wasn't much tide-pooling to be found but we did find lots of sticks, seaweed and rocks so there was plenty to do right there. We also each took turns splashing our feet in the icy cold waves. Another family came along a little while later with two kids just about the same age as ours and we all had an impromptu playgroup. It was great fun!
Max Smile Beach
Sun Vivi
Cbeach Max
Portrait Max Beach

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August 26, 2008

camp costanoa

Costanoa Sign
Cosatanoa Trees
We arrived just after 4 pm. It was an easy drive, just slightly over an hour but you'd never know you were so close to San Francisco — the feel of Costanoa is as though it's miles away from civilization. It took me a few hours to slow down and warm up to the pace of the place and to settle into my experience. I had imagined it to be more pampering and fancy since we had chosen a lodge room rather than tent or cabin — plus there's a spa. Costanoa is a pretty basic California coastal place, it's rustic and straight-forward. Keep that in mind when visiting and bring what ever extras you need.
The Lodge
Lodge Room
We chose the no roughing it route and stayed in the lodge. After having thoroughly checked the place out, I think all the accommodations have their strengths and weakness. The tents are spartan but I kinda liked that about them. It'd be nice to treat the stay like a retreat and spend the time just reading or walking the many trails. Tents on the edges closest to the lodge were my favorite (Cypress) as they have the most trees and had chairs on the backside rather than chairs in the front facing the parking areas. The shared bathrooms are well crafted and clean plus each has a relaxing center hang out area with a fire going each night. The (Douglas Fir) cabins are much more spacious, protected, secluded, and have nice decks — some even have porch swings. Each cabin has two sides so it'd be ideal to rent the whole cabin with a friend or another family so you like your neighbors. The cabins don't have bathrooms so you have to walk to the shared facility. Check the map on the site carefully before booking.
Lodge Lawn
If choosing a lodge room ask to be facing the backside lawn as it has the nicest view. The room we had was very spartan but fine. The lighting was pretty bad, especially in the bathroom, but that's my biggest complaint. My husband's biggest complain would be no cell phone service and spotty free wireless. There was a mini bar, coffee maker, clock radio with cd player and the lobby has fresh filter water cooler. The bathroom was big enough for us to set up the pack-n-play for Vivi and it had a rolling barn style door so we could get her to sleep early, close the door, and still hang out in the room. The king size bed was pretty comfortable and given that we normally sleep three in a queen size it felt luxurious to have to much rolling over space. Our room was really close to the hot tub which Max visted often and we all enjoyed our morning sunrise view. We saw deer, quail, and bunnies while looking out the glass doors. We also enjoyed hanging out each night in front of the roaring fire and toasting smores. Max made "dates" with different girls he picked up during dinner. One girl he simply called "pretty girl" (that one family was eerily unfriendly) two others he met were Katrina and Zoe. After smores one night, which Max graciously hosted, he asked Katrina to join him in the "hot pool" (aka tub). I'm so not kidding. Max is a smooth operator.
Lifesize Chess
After almost every meal, Max insisted on exploring the life size chess game on the lawn behind the restaurant. There is also a quaint kids playground in the back where I pushed Vivi in a bucket swing. Max wasn't too into the playground, but he loved the chess set. In fact he loved it so much that if anyone tried to capture one of his pieces he broke down in tears. But by the end of our stay he finally started to enjoy capturing and succumbing — Katrina helped him get into and over it.
Max Cascade
When we ate at Cascade, Max wanted to sit by the fireplace when ever possible. The staff was very accommodating to his request. In fact, I read a lot of reviews on Yelp and Trip Advisor and heard from a few friends that the restaurant was pretty bad and that the service was slow to terrible — so my expectations were very low. We only had one poorly serviced meal while most of the staff who helped us were either normal or even super nice. The food was just fine — it's on par with Chow or Home. The fresh banana bread is particularly good, the lattes were enjoyable and I really liked the pasta primavera (had it 2x). Also they give you coupons for $8 off per person per breakfast which makes it a no-brainer to eat on site. The restaurant is filled with families so it's super kid friendly. We met many many nice people while eating there. Reviewers also complained about the general store, but again I disagree with what I read. The store has a little bit of everything from foods and sundries to sand toys, kites, music and clothes and they stock nice high end quality items not cheezy stuffs.

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August 25, 2008


Costanoa Webimage
We are off for a few days to nearby Costanoa — which they call an eco-adventure resort but I've been told it's pretty much fancy camping (or camping for wimps). I read about it originally here. Either way we are looking forward to retreating from "normal" life and enjoying some nature adventures of our own. We've got the new Bob Revolution for pushing Max long distances (it's amazing!) plus a kite — consider the fun already started!

I've gathered some recommendations of things to do while there:
Duarte's Tavern
Davenport Roadhouse
Arcangeli Grocery Company/Norm's Market
Mercado & Taqueria De Amigos (wow amazing yelp reviews!)
Gazo's Grill

Seashore & tidepools
Ano Nuevo State Reserve
Pigeon Lighthouse
Harley Farms Goat Dairy: tour and milk goats, sample goat cheese. Need reservations — weekends only.
Arata Pumpkin Farm
Phipps Country Store & Farm
Coastways Ranch (for olallieberries) and Swanton Berry Farm (organic strawberries)
Bonnydoon Vineyard: Wine tasting and picnic — other wineries for more of the same
Roaring Camp Railroads: Ride steam trains through the redwoods or take a beach train through Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Seymour Marine Discovery Center
Rancho Del Oso State Park and Nature & History Center

Marine Biology primer for preschoolers

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August 24, 2008

gocco printing

Shower Concept Image
Above is the original image concept for Aunnie's bridal shower invitation. It's a simple message — pure and sweet — just like their love. Lexi and Rey have the real thing!
Pg-5 Gocco
Mr. C had a great idea, which was to print the bridal shower invites using our DIY gooco machine. It's the modern version of the japanese woodcut print. But oh my gawd, as fun as it is, it's really time consuming and a totally imperfect art.

Many thanks to my fabulous neighbor Yoriko who got this machine for me (xxoo!!) . Riso has stopped making them so I feel really lucky to have one. I found an abundance of supplies at ARCH in Potrero Hill, online you can order stuff at Paper Source.

After reading many tutorial's and examining these wonderfully helpful sites, we were on our way.
Felt Cafe Turorial
Get Crafty Tutorial
The Small Object Tutorial
The Lab Partners Process
e-How Process
gocco techniques
Happily Artwork
Here's the original xerox positioned in the screen, it was made haphazardly at our local kinkos and didn't turn out quite right. I bet using a laser printer would yield better results. There's also the gocco carbon pen to consider —though the ones that came with our kit are super fine tipped so big solids would be a pain to fill. In the future I now know not to try a distressed look without using a halftone screen because the distressing really didn't translate well. In the end it looked like we didn't ink the press properly rather than the vintage weathered look we were going for. Oh well!
Bad Gocco Screen
Bad Gocco Screen Hearts-1
One really important detail we learned was to NOT leave the original carbon xerox attached to the screen after exposure. The first screens we exposed by holding down the gocco for about 5 seconds. Afterward we left the originals attached for many minutes while we mixed ink. When we were ready to ink the screen we tried to remove the xerox paper original and found that the paper was so so so stuck it wouldn't come off and that the dark solid areas had cause a complete carbon screen fusion — see the hearts screen image above. We then did the exposures again and this time pulled the original paper off the screens as fast as possible, eh voila, see-through perfection! See below:
Gocco Screen
Next we mixed inks and then did the first pass of printing which was the pink hearts. The ink took a long time to dry so we weren't able to do the second ink run until early this am. In fact as I write this entry the cards are still drying.
Gocco Inks
Gocco Ink
Inked Gocco
Heart Cards
Final Cards
Final Card
The final cards are drying...keep an eye on your mailbox.

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August 22, 2008

zoo day

Nadia Tommy Max
Peacock Max
Max Wackosmile
Into the fog we went to enjoy the morning strolling through the zoo. Nadia, Tommy and Max all had a great time and I enjoyed hanging out with Aunnie and Julieann. But that miss Vivienne gave me a run as she refused to sleep and wailed through most of the route — joy. I thought these two peacock portraits were amusing. They show a glimpse into Max's mercurial mind and his amazing morphing facial talents.

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August 18, 2008

cool globes

Cool Globes
Butterfly Effect Globe
Earth Sweater

Today Vivi and I strolled along the Chrissy Field beach path and came across a public art show called "cool globes: Hot ideas for a cooler planet" What a fun way to educate and inspire the public about alternative fuels and other ways we can reduce, reuse an recycle in the hopes we can make mother earth healthier. Above are my favorites— including the one for knitters titled "wear a sweater!"

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August 17, 2008

first bowl

Max-First Bowl
After months of playing too much wii bowling, Max finally talked us into playing a real set. He'd been asking to play for weeks it seemed. We headed to Yerba Buena's bowling alley. Though the lightest ball - a six pounder- was too heavy for him, he managed to bowl fairly well. We were all thankful for the gutter guards. Most importantly he really enjoyed himself. He cried when we said no to another game, but we promised to return again soon.

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August 15, 2008

mother & daughter

Mommy Vivisluis

August 14, 2008

san juan batista

Sjb Graveyard
Sjb Ourlady

August 13, 2008

grassy grins

Vivi Grass Grin1
Vivi Grass Grin2
Vivi Grass Grin3
The never napping (!) Ms. Vivi seen here enjoying herself on the grass near the San Luis Obispo mission.

old mill

Madonna Oldmill
Old Mill Figurine
Old Mill Walls
Old Mill Chandelier
Annie Vivi Oldmill
One line of thinking was that Vivienne would love the waterfall and moving figurines, perhaps even the sound of the waterfall and motor would lull her to sleep...ha ha ha! The wall in Old Mill was picture book madness and Vivi couldn't tear her eyes away from it, not even for one second. We had to turn it off and keep it off and even then it was hard to keep her from wanting to bang, beat, eat, and crawl all over it. Aside from Vivi's issues, the rooms wallpaper kept little bunny and I in a glittering despair! Please make it stop!! Well, you must know that the Madonna Inn doesn't let up, not for one teeny tiny second — be prepared.

Old Mill aside, Julie cruise director - aka Auntie - and I had a marvelous time! We gossiped away the time on the long drives and even managed to read the manual and figure out how to fill the car up with oil when the warning light came on (!). We leisurely strolled the lovely tree lined streets of SLO and enjoyed all the trip advisor recommended dining places such as Tsurugi, Novo and Linnaea's. All in all a lovely time. xxoo

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san luis obispo mission

Slo Mission
Slo Mission Trees

August 12, 2008

paris violets

Paris Violets
Stain Glass Door
Paris Violets Bath
Paris Violet Bath2
Paris Lighting
Paris Violets Painting

I was actually charmed by this room (not including the iron lamps over the bedside tables). The light up paintings, the painted wall murals, the violet floral hand painted sink basins and the stain glass window were all low art but in the most fabulously heightened tacky way. Plus the purple carpet was a brilliant touch! The grinning Ms. Vivienne was right at home. I'd stay in Paris Violets again for sure.

Vivi Paris Violets2
Vivi Paris Violets
Vivi Paris Violets3
Vivi Paris Violet4

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madonna inn

Madonna Vacancy
Madonna Inn Stairs
Madonna Inn Stairs2
Madonna Inn Copper
Madonna Inn Dining
Madonna Inn Icebucket
Madonna Inn View
Little bunny and decided to jaunt off for a few days and enjoy some sisterly 'girls only' time. We headed down the coast to San Luis Obispo. We stayed at the Madonna Inn — a strange place indeed. The hotel features some insane "interior design" if you can call it that. I thought the whole place was wildly visually assaulting, but in an amusing disneyland kinda way. It's aged, run-down and in desperate need of updating while at the same time being very clean and well kept, a strange paradox.

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August 11, 2008

blubbery lips

August 8, 2008

finished jojo sweater

Vivi Finished Sweater
Sweater Buttons
Vivi Insweater
Drum roll please : : : : it fits!! yah! It took me a year (minus 21 days) to complete. But it is adorable and there are no visible mistakes which really pleases me. I could have a done a better job seaming and blocking, but I was in such a hurry at the end to get it on her to I just made do. I love the sweet pink shoulder buttons and the embroidered lazy daisy flowers best. It feels great to have finally finished a knitting project!

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August 7, 2008

jack benny forever

Citizen Cupcakes
Cupcakes are the start to a perfect day! Especially when they are delivered from Citizen Cake (sweet Sabrina!) Oh my, the decadent ding dong inspired chocolate one had me making all sorts of yummy noises —which of course intrigued Vivi to no end. Thanks to Mr. C for making this happen all the way from NYC.
Max Painting2
Max Hearts
Max Painting

For my birthday I requested Max make me a painting. He did not disappoint! With the help of teacher Tina, Max painted a gigantic birthday card for me — it's huge! And it's super sparkly. I love it! They also made me a birthday crown, but Max is having a really hard time sharing it, tee hee.

Embroidered Pillow1
Embroidered Pillow2
A little Sherry birdie told me this was on the way, and I've been holding onto the box for days now just waiting to open it. This lovely embroidered animal pillow by K Studio does not disappoint. It's stunning! It's made with a super soft brown linen fabric which really shows off the shiny illustrated thread plus it's very well constructed. I love it! It's has a bunny on it!! And you are so sweet for noticing exactly what I like and giving it to me — awe thank you so very much. I will cherish it always and try so hard to keep in away from the sticky little fingers and sharp claw dangers that lurk about my home. xxoo
Birthday Flowers-2
I received many wonderful birthday wishes, even a few daring singers who left me happy birthday songs to make me smile. Voicemail has never been so fun! I also had many emails and even Facebook wall to wall greetings. I'm so impressed with everyone (and I really need to get better about adding birthday reminders to my calendar, sorry I suck at that!)

After a delicious and decadent lunch with friends at Bar Bamino (!), my super sweet sister and her fiancee (ohh I just had to type that word!) took the kids and I out for a comfy and casual dinner at Chow. Plus Yaya spoiled me with these gorgeous and colorful flowers. My kitchen is looking so lovely. My eyes are so happy when they rest on the above beauties.

Sunflowers Patty
Handpainted Card
My lovely friend Patty dropped by these yellow sun shiny flowers too with a delightfully warm card that is so stunningly beautiful. What a gorgeously painted handmade masterpiece.

Apparently the super famous (but a bit before my time) comedian Jack Benny insisted he was 39 years old when asked his age ( he celebrated his 39th birthday 41 times). I think I will follow in his brilliant footsteps.

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August 6, 2008

friend in nut

Friend In Nut

Mon Mon sent me a link to Lama Designs, a site filled with adorable latin american goodies including my new favorite little toy thingee called "friend in nut". How ridiculously cute are those little ceramic drops!!
Tea Pot Cold

Or this "teapot with a cold" — painfully cute!

Striped Monkey
This stuffed striped monkey is also pretty darn squeezable.

Ok and what is this mommy giveaway website I found on her blog?? Gotta check that out later, whoa on the cool free stuff.

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August 3, 2008

preschool pixs

Closeup Max
Max Megan

Officer Max-2
Smiling Officer
Max's wonderful room three teacher Nina, snapped these images of Max during the school year and sent them to us. I love seeing him through her eyes.

August 1, 2008

lazy days of summer

Max Bucketswing
Vivi Bucketswing
See the little beans swinging the afternoon away at "frog and bunny park" aka Holly Park in Bernal Heights.

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