Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Big Hair Big Houses Big State Big Move

It has been decided, we're moving to Dallas. I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty diappointed.  I had this great rose colored fantasy in my head of my two daughters and I trotting around NYC for the next two years, after which they would both be in a world class private school, I would attend law school at Columbia, we would all take family strolls through Central Park and trips to Broadway and the museums to take in the arts. Sigh. My dreams have been stomped and pooped on and replaced with visions of staunch republicans and bible thumping church goers staring at me as I melt to death taking my kids to the park in the scorching Texas heat.

Don't Mess With Texas, haha

Today I'm licking my wounds and mourning the loss of what I thought was my eminent NYC future. Maybe tomorrow I'll come around and start researching Dallas and what it's all about. For whatever reason I equate Texas with Florida and I HATE Florida. It's hot, humid, dirty and OMG the people there are insanely rude but not in a cool way like in Chicago or NYC but just asshole rude like they they want to get punched in the face because they have nothing in life to lose. I'll also need to start making a list of relocation musts and to-dos and figuring out a way to maximize our time remaining in California. I see a few Disneyland, San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Lake Tahoe trips in my near future aka the best of the best of California.  

Have you ever relocated your family? Have you ever moved to a location that you weren't crazy about? 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Up and Moving

Our days in California will soon be numbered.  Hubby has had people head hunting him for quite some time and it's looking to be the right time to make a career change, which will also in our case mean a change of scenery. 

Our Current Home: Sacramento, California

At this point our future home looks to be either New York City (however, Hubby keeps telling me that all New York families with any brains about them actually live in Hoboken, New Jersey because it's substantially more affordable yet still just a 12 minute train ride away from the city.) NYC is my first choice because it's always been a dream of mine to live in New York City. All of the best movies occur in NYC, the best books are based in NYC and it's where I've dreamed that I would live since I was a girl. So if I finally, actually get the opportunity to live in NYC, you can bet that I'll be living in NYC...New Jersey won't cut it for me. 

The city so nice, they named it twice

Dallas, Texas is another option, however, I'm not gonna lie, I'm really not excited (read: nearly in tears) about living in Texas.  Earlier this year we went to Florida for a mini Disney World trip since Hubby was already there for work Maddie and I flew the red eye out there to meet him (it was the worst trip ever, in case you were wondering) and I discovered that I really hate Florida. Now I'm worried that I will really hate Texas because 1. it's always hotter than hell, like Florida 2. it's always humid when it's hot because it's like living in hell, like Florida and 3. it's SUPER republican which I think will be a slap in the face to my little California girl bubble that I live in. With that said, my research has shown that Dallas is one of the top cities in the nation that people are relocating too and it's actually 15% less expensive than our current home town. That's also quite the opposite of the 93% increase in cost of living when comparing our home town to NYC. Of course, the Dallas career opportunity is the front runner for Hubby too. So basically the logical choice is Dallas, but my heart is still with NYC. 

Everything is bigger in Texas, except for the cost of living! 

Lastly, our 3rd option is Santa Barbara, California. We've been to Santa Barbara about a half dozen times in the last 10 years. We both love it there and it's within driving distance of our friends and family...but it's also the least exciting option for Hubby. This is what they call compromise. Santa Barbara is beautiful, there is a lot going on from an outdoor activity standpoint, great for families, lots of culture and even though it is more expensive it's not make-your-eyes-bulge expensive.  

A very beautiful, very expensive town

Decisions, decisions.  

Which locale would you choose? 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Mommy Remorse

Our new baby girl, Elodie Faye, has arrived and she's absolutely beautiful, perfectly healthy and (knock on wood) turning out to be as easy of a baby as her big sister, Madeleine.  Madeleine is adjusting to being a big sister better than I could have hoped for and my body is feeling GREAT just 9 days after my c-section.  Life sounds pretty grand, right? So where is this remorse that I speak of in the heading? Well, it comes from my mommy-ingrained desire to make everything perfectly equal between both of my girls.

Miss Elodie sleeping the day away at one week old

When Madeleine was born I took newborn pictures of her myself with my new then Nikon DSLR camera.  This time around I was realistic in that I'd either be juggling a toddler while trying to snap pictures of my newborn or that I would be just too tired and let these first weeks pass me by while procrastinating about having newborn pictures done.

The picture I took of Madeleine and used for her birth announcement 

So this time around I planned ahead and booked a photographer for Elodie's newborn pictures.  Here is where my remorse comes into play.  Our photographer took 4 hours on Friday morning to capture beautifully, artful poses of our teeny tiny daughter. They are undoubtedly pictures that we'll treasure forever of this newborn phase that lasts just a short time.  My amature newborn pictures of Madeleine pale in comparison.  

Our photographer taking pics of Elodie

When we were finished with our shoot and on our way back home hubby and I looked at each other and agreed that we should have hired a photographer for Madeleine's newborn pictures as well.  Although I did take pictures of Madeleine when she was a newborn, they honestly do not compare to what we'll have from Elodie's shoot.  

The unfortunate part of remorse, is that often times there is nothing that you can do to remedy the situation.  My sweet Madeleine is now a jumping, running, chatty almost two year old and I can't go back and have professional newborn pictures taken of her.  Additionally, I don't think there is anything I can do to even the score.  I'll just hope that when they're older and looking at their baby books neither of them will ask why Elodie's newborn pictures appear to be of a much higher quality than Madeleine's. 

Do you have remorse about doing something for one of your children but not the other?  Do you strive to make things as equal as possible between your children? 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Playing Catch Up

We're expecting our second child! :)

Miss Gabriella Faye, expected arrival on 8/6/13

Our second baby, another girl (!!!!), is due August 6th, just about two months shy of Madeleine's second birthday.

We are so excited to have another baby, and we're especially thrilled that Madeleine is going to have a sister. :) It always seems like siblings that are the same gender are closer than siblings that are the opposite gender.

Our interim only child, has been very busy being an extraordinarily curious (read: mischievous) toddler. :) She loves reading, running, dancing and giggling exuberantly while she throws toys for our dog Sox. Her favorite activity as of late has been throwing plastic Easter eggs for our dog and then laughing hysterically as Sox tries in vain to trap the very slippery eggs on the hardwood floors. Her favorite toys are books of all kinds; board books, children's books, she even loves cracking open one of the various novels on our bookshelves.

Madeleine reading Hop on Pop 

Currently, we're in the midst of planning our 2013 summer vacation (which will actually be happening this spring since Miss Gabriella is arriving this summer), working on daily educational toddler activities, Maddie and I are both trying to learn French (with plans of a French family vacation in 2-3 years) as well as working on Maddie's English vocabulary and working on adopting a Montessori centered homeschooling approach, working on a new nursery for Gabbie and a big girl bedroom for Maddie, and planting our first family vegetable garden (which happens to be entirely in containers at the moment until we can have our soil tested to be sure that our home renovation last year hasn't caused any major damage to our soil.) 

Looking forward to getting back into the swing of blogging on at least a semi-regular basis. :) 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I remember...

Maddie and I will be wearing red, white and blue today to remember the victims of 9/11.  I will be hugging my daughter and husband extra tight this evening and praying for all of the families who lost a loved one on that tragic day.

Monday, September 10, 2012


I have a fever and unfortunately, more cow bell is not the cure for me.

I have baby fever so bad right now!  I feel like my sweet daughter is becoming less and less of a baby every day and she is steadfastly entering toddlerhood with each new milestone.  With this realization I now long to have another newborn baby in our home, the funny thing is is that my friends who have babies the same age as Madeleine are going through a similar baby fever right now.  There must be some chemical or emotion reaction that comes with a child's first birthday that makes a mother want to have another one.

We're not quite ready to add another baby to our family right now so in to curb my desire to care for and cuddle something small and cute we were considering adopting a second dog.  Our current dog, Sox, is a wonderful family pet.

 This is Sox at the beach with us 

Although I felt like adopting another dog was the perfect solution, Mike was a little more skeptical of bringing another animal into our home when we do have plans to eventually bring two more babies into our home.  So we researched and talked and talked some more and searched the local Humane Society and SPCA adoptable pets for our next addition.  We even took Sox to meet a Great Dane/Pit Bull mix this weekend but it turned out to be a less than enjoyable experience for both Sox and Maddie.   So our conclusion...we're a one dog family.  At least for now anyway.  And in the meantime, my baby fever is still running rampant!  So I'll try to sooth myself with remembering how cute and cuddly Sox was when she was a puppy and because she is still a very snuggly and affectionate dog, I can still cuddle her as much as I need to while Maddie cruises around the house at warp speeds.  :) 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Home Renovation Progress

Our home is currently being renovated, and while it's underway we're living about 2 hours west of our home in the bay area.  Which is awesome because it's only 30 minutes away from the ocean, but it sucks because we're now apartment dwellers and our dog is in serious need of her backyard.

This was our house after one week of construction:

And unfortunately I didn't think to take any pictures of the exterior of our house the last time that we saw it but here is what the new addition looks like from the interior from about a week ago:

The arches are where the old back of our house was.  There is now a step down that leads into an open concept family room/dining room with a hallway that leads to a laundry room and master suite.

The double doors are where the new back of our house is. Yay!

Framing is done, plumbing is underway, electrical is pretty much done (aside from the actual installation of switches and lights), all exterior doors and windows are installed.  It's really starting to come together.  Our next to-do items for our home renovation are selecting all tile for the kitchen backsplash (countertops are carrarra marble, floors are wood), tile for the master bathroom and shower floor will be a hexagon marble mosaic, master bath shower walls and bathtub backsplash will be subway tiles, and tile for our entryway.  I also need to select paint for pretty much the whole house except for our original living room (it's the only part of the house that has been untouched).

I have to say, the part of our home renovation that I'm most excited about is the new fireplace (we left the original fireplace, in the original living room, untouched):

The new fireplace will mimic this fireplace (except there will be a TV hanging where that mirror is hanging):

I'm so excited to see the whole project completed and happy that we'll be back in just in time for the holiday season.  Unfortunately, we won't be back in time to celebrate Madeleine's first birthday in our home.  But I do have a plan to make her first birthday and special and memorable one, even if it won't be at home. :)

Have you ever done any remodeling to your home?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Family Vacation Part Two

The rest of our vacation days were filled with time spent at the kid's pool at the resort and wandering around the west and south areas of Maui.  Highlights included:

Threes Restaurant in Kehei

Mike and Maddie at the outdoor patio at Threes

We're from California but we had the best nachos we've EVER had at Threes.  They were delicious!!  The three of us shared them as an appetizer and I can't remember what we had after that because the nachos were so mind blowingly good!  

Cabanas at the Kid's Pool at the Four Seasons

 A view from one of the cabanas

We spent most of our vacation relaxing in a cabana by the kids pool at the resort for several reasons: 1. we could see the ocean from pretty much any seat so even though we weren't sitting on the beach (because our baby can't resist eating a handful of sand) relaxing by the pool was a very close next best thing.  Additionally, the kids pool is awesome, it's two tiered and had a huge waterfall and a small slide and a very cute little heated wading area that was shallow enough for Maddie to walk about in.  Mike and I would go in the pool with Maddie get back out and put her in the pack n play that the staff provided and then they would bring us lunch, Maddie would nap, we'd each read or talk or relax and when she woke up we'd head back up to the room to refresh and get ready for our evening.  It was relaxing and fun and most importantly, the three of us were spending lots of time together. :)


We went to Paia as a day trip but we went early in the morning and had breakfast there and wandered around all of the eclectic shops that line the main road that goes through Paia.  We ate at a little crepe restaurant and both of our meals were very yummy and Maddie nibbled off of both of ours.  The bulk of the shopping that we did on this trip was in Paia, they had the cutest baby items, home items and scarves and accessories that I had seen anywhere else on the island.

Adults Pool at the Four Seasons Resort 

 View from the adults only infinity pool 

 Mike at the swim up bar

 Me at the swim up bar

Mike enjoyed a local beer

The second time that we had a nanny scheduled for an afternoon we put our name in with the adult pool cabana staff in the morning so that by the time we were ready they had a couple chairs open and available for us.  (We could have left the property or gone snorkeling, paddle boarding, scooba, etc but I'm a little paranoid about the "what ifs" of someone else watching my daughter so I decided that we would stay very easily accessible in case a "what if" situation occurred, of course nothing ever happened but still.)  The adult pool views was amazing as was the swim up bar.  Mike and I each had a drink and we shared their huge appetizer sampler platter.  This afternoon was so fun just hanging out with my husband and being dorks and relaxing.  Next time we go I'll know to put our names in in advance so that we can do this twice.

Surfing Goat Dairy Farm 

Maddie and I feeding one of the Goats 

We went to the Surfing Goat Dairy and fed the goats and enjoyed a free sampling of cheese (soooo yummy, I will definitely place an order to have some cheese shipped) but unfortunately we missed the tour of the farm.  The farm was very quaint and family friendly.  Definitely a good family activity to do with young kids.  

Road to Hana

On a whim we drove the road to Hana.  Maddie slept the whole way to Hana, then we stopped and had lunch in Hana and decided that we would drive all the way around and stop in at the winery on the back side and head back to the hotel.  Since Maddie was awake at this point Mike sat in the back with her while I drove.  This was my third time doing to taking the Road to Hana and Mike's second time.  We did this on our honeymoon but it was a chartered trip and we didn't really get to see very much, and because of the time of year that we traveled there were very few waterfalls to be seen.  This time we saw HUGE waterfalls at almost every turn and saw a ton of mountain goats on the backside of the island (where there are lots of unpaved roads, note if you plan on doing this yourself, I highly recommend renting an SUV or Jeep...not a sedan).


 Mike at Ferraro's

Mike at Kimo's

Maddie at Kimo's 

 View from Kimo's

Cotton Candy at Duo - and the best red wine I've ever had, Groth Cabernet 

Mike, Maddie and I before we went to dinner at Duo (taken my nanny Liah)

We ate at Spago once for one of our nanny nights and at Duo for the other night.  Both restaurants were on site and both were very good and very expensive.  Mike and I both preferred Duo over Spago for both food and ambiance and Mike liked Ferraro's food better than Spago or Duo (note, we never had dinner at Ferraro's, only lunch).  We enjoyed a lot of room service because it was just easy for us with the baby, everything we had from room service was excellent.  I wish I had a permanent room service option at home. haha!  One night we wandered over to the Grand Wailea for dinner and we were struck by how spoiled we had been with excellent service and excellent food at the Four Seasons.  During a day trip to Lahina we stopped by Kimo's for lunch on their deck and it was also very good.  Mike had a BBQ lunch plate and I had a caprese salad sandwich.  And in case you forgot, the best thing we had on our trip was the nachos at Threes! Sooooooooo good!

Extra Stuff

Mike went golfing one afternoon at a golf course just down the road in Wailea, he loved it and rented clubs from the course with no problems.  I had 3 spa treatments while we were at the Four Seasons, a pedicure, a massage and a facial.  My pedicure was mediocre at best (I had it done at the Orchid salon) and outrageously expensive, I wouldn't recommend getting a pedicure there and I will not return in the future.  However, the massage I had was one of the best I've ever had in my life at the spa at Four Seasons and the facial was also great and my skin was glowing two days later.  I also took advantage of one of the Four Seasons advertised specials and was able to do the massage and facial in a package for only $200 total, which is an excellent deal anywhere, especially when the services were amazing!  But I do regret the pedicure, it was one of the worst pedicures I've ever had for $85.

On our last night on Maui the resort surprised us yet again:

A book, cookies and juice for Maddie and some more sweet treats for Mike and I to share.

Overall, this was hands down the best vacation that Mike or I have ever taken.  We both now appreciate what family vacations are for: spending quality time with one another.  It's sad but true that this was the most time that Mike and Maddie had spent together since Mike was home the first two weeks after she was born.  When we came back home and Mike went back to work Maddie was saying dada non stop.  I know that she was missing spending so much time with her daddy and Mike told me that he missed Maddie too.  The best part for me is that Maddie was happy and having fun, my husband was relaxing and enjoying his family and when those two are happy it's all I need.  We'll definitely return next August for another amazing family vacation and hopefully we can make it an annual tradition.

What's the best vacation you've ever been on?  What made it so great?