Garden Update

20 Jul

This year’s garden is doing amazingly well. We’ve got so many tomatoes, I gave some away to the neighbors. I have two honeydew melons that are close to ready. My pumpkin–or maybe it’s a watermelon?–is getting bigger. Will it turn orange? We’ll see!

Soon, we’ll be eating fresh broccoli and carrots. I might make some tzatziki with my dill. We just got our first red strawberry– and I’ve never heard anyone as excited as Michaela was when she spotted it.

My peas, peppers, grapes and blackberries are coming along.

I love summer!

How You’ve Grown!

20 Jul

Since taking my current job about two years ago, the amount of work travel I do has dropped to almost none. Mike travels a decent, amount, though. Some months, it seems like we’re in a constant state of flux, with one of us (usually him) coming or going practically every week. We’ve traveled a lot since the spring- I’ve taken multiple trips to the Bay Area, Mike and I did an East Coast extravaganza, our family traveled together to Oklahoma, Mike was in New Orleans for about a week, etc.

I’m fresh off a rip to Baltimore, where I presented at an industry conference. And even though I was able to talk to Michaela on the phone and do some video chatting with her and Mike, I still can’t get over how much it seems like she grew during the six days I was gone. Mike and Michaela were sweet enough to surprise me at the airport, and I feel like I almost didn’t recognize the big girl who came barreling into me while I waited for my bags. She seemed taller somehow, and even more verbal. It really hits home how much of a sponge kids are, how quickly they change, and how lucky I am to get to spend quality time with Michaela.


20 Jul

Mike’s Grandma Shirley–his stepdad’s mother–died today. I didn’t know her incredibly well, but every encounter I had with her was very pleasant. She was kind to me, and doted on Michaela.

She will be missed.

Independence Day Weekend

6 Jul

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How lovely to have a holiday fall on a Friday! This year, the 4th of July was on Friday, meaning I got the day off from work and then rolled into a gorgeous long weekend.

Mike’s cousins Maggie and Haley (and Haley’s boyfriend Aaron) came to visit us from Arizona, so we did something we don’t usually do: went to some San Diego tourist hot spots during the summer. Usually, like many locals, we lay low in the summertime. Let the “Zonies” visit the zoo and clog our beaches. We can enjoy them the rest of the year, when the weather is still beautiful but things are less crowded.

Our guests wanted to go to the beach on the 4th, but we are not totally insane and begged off. Instead they went, finding parking who knows how far away from the beach, and marveled at how crowded it was and how perfect the water temperature was. (They also came back sunburned and exhausted.)

We did take them to the San Diego Bay that night, though, to watch the fireworks. I’ve never done that, preferring to watch fireworks from somewhere less crowded (the roof of our house when I was a kid, then the patio of our house when Mike and I lived in Grant Hill). But it was really fun! We packed a great picnic dinner, Michaela was well-rested from a long afternoon nap, and we sat right on the water’s edge, watching four or five different fireworks displays.

The 5th of July saw us take them to Old Town for dinner at The Cosmopolitan, which we’d been past before but never eaten at. I really wanted to dine at Fiesta de los Reyes, but the two hour wait got me off that idea really quick. Good thing, too, because the food at The Cosmopolitan was delicious (among other things, Mike had the fried chicken and churros I had a porkchop, plus really flaky popovers with fig butter) and the courtyard we ate in was quaint. I can’t wait to eat there again!

We rounded off the touristy long weekend with a trip to Coronado today. We had brunch at a coffee shop that we’ve passed a million times but never eaten in (verdict: meh) and then walked down to the Del. We wandered through the lobby and past the shops, then out on the the beach. Our guests were dutifully impressed by the great cooling breeze and the massive sand castles someone had built, and Michaela had a blast digging holes and burying her feet in the sand.

Here’s to independence!

In My Garden

28 Jun

Each year, I plant some veggies in our garden, and generally speaking, each year I am really bad about watering it. That’s why this year, I made a plan! Sure, I could have planned to water regularly. But instead, I decided to rip out (well, have Mike rip out) some of the rose bushes in our back yard that were fed by sprinklers. The result is a space where I can plant things, secure in the knowledge that they’d get some water every other day for five minutes at 5:30 a.m.

Our house has two grapefruit trees and three orange trees. The basil and rosemary I planted last year are doing great. The blackberries, grapes, and eggplant I planted last year didn’t ever produce fruit, but I think they will this year.

This year, I added:

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Peas
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini

I have several tomato plants that are “volunteers” from last year’s crops, and at least two gourds that are left over from last year. I am pretty sure one is a pumpkin, but it may also be honeydew, and the other one may be more zucchini. I guess I’ll see soon enough!

Just call me Farmer John!

Her name is Rio

1 Jun

I wrote before about being excited for it to be summer. This weekend was a great example of why.

Yesterday (Saturday) morning, I took Michaela to a hip hop dance class. Her friend A. was there, too, which was great because Michaela wasn’t really into it. She was upset when I wanted to leave, but I knew if I stayed, she wouldn’t try. So A.’s mom and I heading to a coffee shop and grabbed some tea while the girls boogied.

In the evening, we went to our friends’ S. and A.’s house for a play date. Michaela hung out with the girls’ dad while their mom and I went to pick up Rubio’s, then the kids played while the adults watched some basketball. (That’s extra nice for me, since Mike and I don’t have cable and I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to watch the game.)

Today (Sunday), we were going to go to the outlets, but our neighbor from across the street came over saying his granddaughter L. was there, and asking if we wanted to have a play date. Michaela of course said yes, so L. came over and the girls had a picnic, played dress up, and otherwise hung out. L.’s grandmother came over and invited Michaela to go with them to the movies to see “Rio 2,” an offer we gladly accepted. They went off to watch the movie while Mike and I went out to lunch and did some open housing. So fun!

Once we were all back, it was time to head to F.’s house for a swim party and BBQ. Michaela and two of her friends swam and ate hot dogs and even watched a bit of “Frozen.” The grown ups ate and drank and chatted– and Mike flew his helicopter, taking video and (mostly) showing it off. It was lovely.

Here’s to many, many more weekends just like this one!

Interview with Michaela, Part 2

28 May

I’m shocked at how similar these answers are to the interview I did with Michaela about me. Maybe Mike and I are interchangeable?

1. Describe your dad. He has a blue Pac Man shirt on. He’s a boy.
2. What do you love most about your daddy? I get to spend time with his cute cheeks and shove them up.
3. What is your daddy’s favorite thing to do? Spend time with me.
4. What’s your favorite thing to do with daddy? Why? Get some cute snuggles. He’s just so cute.
5. What does daddy like to play with you? Blocks.
6. What does daddy do that’s silly? Play jokes on me.
7. When you’re scared or sad, what does daddy do to cheer you up? He gives me kisses.
8. If you could go anywhere with daddy, where would you want to go? To the Children’s Museum.
9. What do you do that makes daddy laugh? Play jokes on each other.
10. What does daddy do to show you she loves you? Gives me snuggles and kisses.
11. Why do you love daddy? Because he’s so cute when I shove his cheeks up!

Summer’s Coming

25 May

I am getting so excited for summer to be here! We have lots of great stuff planned this summer. heck, June alone promises a trip to Legoland, a visit to the lake in Oklahoma, a (solo, for me) trip to San Francisco for a baby shower, and a visit to the county fair… July includes a visit from Nana and Papa and a (solo) trip to Baltimore… August will see us going to Kansas for Mike’s brother’s wedding. So much fun!

Interview with Michaela

25 May

I did an interview with Michaela today, borrowing questions from this blog. I’ll be curious what she says next time I interview her!

1. Describe your mom. You have brown hair. You have an M in your name. I like licking the inside of your ear.
2. What do you love most about your mommy? That you’re funny.
3. What is your mommy’s favorite thing to do? Play games with dad.
4. What’s your favorite thing to do with mommy? Why? Go the zoo together. Because it’s just so fun, watching my monkeys.
5. What does mommy like to play with you? Peacock chase.
6. What does mommy do that’s silly? We play jokes on each other.
7. When you’re scared or sad, what does mommy do to cheer you up? Sometimes have ice cream. Sometimes have pizza. Sometimes have Jamba Juice.
8. If you could go anywhere with mommy, where would you want to go? To the Children’s Museum.
9. What do you do that makes mommy laugh? Play jokes on you.
10. What does mommy do to show you she loves you? Give me hugs and kisses.
11. Why do you love mommy? Because you’re just so beautiful and I love you so much. You’re just so cute when I shove your face up. And I like playing Daniel Tiger games on your phone.


25 May

Mike and I are fresh off a mini-vacation. We traveled last week to the East Coast, to attend a friend’s wedding and to do some sightseeing. It was glorious!

We are tremendously lucky that Mike’s mom came out and stayed with Michaela (who was thrilled to have one-on-one time with her nana). They had adventures of their own while Mike and I galavanted, first in Gettysburg, PA, then in New Jersey for the wedding, followed by a few days in Philadelphia.

Gettysburg was amazing. It was tremendously powerful. The site is huge, which I hadn’t necessarily been expecting. One of the highlights was the cyclorama, which is an enormous painting that depicts, very realistically, one of the skirmishes of the battle. The cyclorama has been restored and is in a new(ish) building that includes lights and sound effects that makes the fight very realistic. We talked for miles, seeing various sites and touring the museum. One of the things that I found so amazing was that the museum didn’t just have a lot of Civil War artifacts. It had artifacts that were matched very specifically to particular individuals. Not just famous generals, but rank-and-file soldiers. Everything from belt buckles to sabres to guns to backpacks and Bibles. It was fascinating. The fact that the community of Gettysburg came together after the battle to establish a memorial and to designate it as a sacred spot… What forethought!

I was struck, while at Gettysburg, but a very real connection to history. There are many explanations about why the Civil War was fought. It was about slavery. It was about economics. It was about states’ rights. The thing is, it impacted me in a very personal way. My ancestors were slaves. When I went to Mississippi several years ago, I saw the place they toiled. In bondage. And the Civil War made them free. There, at Gettysburg, the Union won a victory that made a major impact on millions of lives, including my ancestors’, and mine, and Michaela’s, and those of whatever children she may have. It was a very profound feeling.

It seems fitting, then, that I came home from the trip to my mother’s day present from Mike, a DNA test from National Geographic that will help shine a light on the details of my ancestry. I guess that’s the next phase of this journey.

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