Thursday, January 24, 2008

Otters and Jellyfish and Elephant Seals, oh my!

It's Thursday, and I'm just now getting around to writing about our fabulous weekend. It was so good, i had to have time to gather my thoughts (ok, I'm lying, but you'll indulge me, won't you?).

Friday night, Rich, Vivian & I drove up to Monterey (and listened to a very interesting book: "The Year of Living Biblically" -- I highly recommend). I've been wanting to take Vivian to the aquarium for months, but it took a while for schedules to align. I have very fond memories of going to the Aquarium as a kid, and I couldn't wait to be able to share that with my family.

On Saturday, we, along with my dad, Grant & Mel and their son Mark, headed over to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Well, almost. Before we went to the aquarium, we headed out to breakfast (because these babies wake up early! Believe me, this group of people would otherwise never voluntarily be out the door for breakfast at 9:30 a.m. on a Saturday when on vacation). And then we had to head back to the hotel for mid-morning naps (babies, not adults -- although aren't adult naps awesome?). So we finally headed over to the Aquarium at about 12:30 p.m.

This aquarium is awesome. I've been to zoos and aquariums all over the country, and this is still my favorite. You just get so close to the animals and see them in great detail. I was afraid that Vivian would be too young to be able to get anything out of the visit, but she really seemed to enjoy it. Fast moving animals, like the otters, were just a blur to her, but she was fascinated by the bright colors of the jellyfish, which moved slow enough for her to follow.

We stayed until closing time, and then took the kids back for naps. Dinner was (awesome) pizza eaten with friends.

Sunday, we took the opportunity to bum around and tour the area. We drove 17-Mile Drive and were in awe of the scenery. It was just beautiful.

Monday, we checked out of our little hotel, leaving our friends and my dad. We decided to drive down the coast, taking the 1 from Monterey down to Paso Robles and then the 101 into LA. We'd stop every once in a while to take in the beautiful sights.

We happened to pull over in Piedras Blancas, which is the periodic home to hundreds of elephant seals. It turns out that it is currently mating season for the elephant seals (late December to early February). The females come ashore to give birth and then the males line up to mate again. The beach was covered with seals!

The beach was even more covered than this photo shows (we forgot our camera!). It was just incredible. And then, as we looked on, an elephant seal gave birth right in front of us, maybe 30-40 feet away. It was the most beautiful, amazing site I've ever seen in nature (beyond Vivian's birth, of course). Rich & I were so moved, we could hardly speak. We stood there for 20 minutes, just watching the mom clean her baby (and the sea gulls trying to sneak a beak into the placenta). It wasn't until Vivian had had enough of the cold and the wind that we left.

The weekend totally recharged me. Sometimes just connecting with friends and family for a few days can completely change your point of view and remind you of what's really important.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I love making clothes for Vivian, but it can be hard to have enough time and energy to sew something complex in the time from when she goes to sleep and I fall into bed.

I was going through my fabric stash when I found an old pair of Richard's jeans. I noticed that the width of the leg was the same as the width of Viv's jacket.
So with a few cuts, and a couple of seams, I turned one leg of his jeans into a vest! After I sewed it together, I broke out the embroidery floss and stitched her first and middle initials on the front, and her name on the back.


I loved how this project turned out, especially given that it took all of about 2 1/2 hours to complete.

And to finish on a completely different topic, I leave you with a photo that depicts how things are going at home, now that we've introduced Vivian to solid foods.

This is what Vivian thinks of carrots!

Thursday, January 03, 2008


For 2007, I had 1 resolution: no emergency room visits. And other than passing through on the way to the maternity ward for Vivian's early entrance, I was able to keep that one. I'm pretty proud about that.

For 2008, I’m going to be a bit more ambitious.

Craft-Related Resolutions

1. RIIIPPPIIITT! I pledge to actually frog those projects that are unflattering, undesirable or otherwise unwearable. I will reclaim the yarn, and therefore cut down on the need for stash enhancement.

2. Reorganize the Craft Closet. I have a lovely walk-in closet that I have designated for my craft supplies and sewing machine, but it has become so cluttered that I can’t find anything and can barely weave my way back to the sewing machine. This will change.

3. Get back to sewing more of my clothes. I used to sew about 50% of my wardrobe, but pregnancy, having a small child and the craft closet disorganization (see above) have stymied my efforts. I have a huge fabric stash, and I need to get back to using it.

4. Finally finish knitting Richard’s sweater (started in Nov. 2005 and lying dormant ever since). It’s the Baseball sweater from Knitty’s Man issue, and I have the back and 1 sleeve done. He wants an intarsia picture of Elvis Costello worked on the front. I have the chart worked out, but I just need to get up the courage to do it.

General Life Resolutions

1. Exercise. I’m not going to focus on losing weight, but I just want to have more energy. So whether it’s taking a walk after work every day or hitting the gym, I’m going to exercise.

2. Better organize Vivian’s nursery. I’ve seen great tips on the ikea hacks blog, and I want to copy some of them for her room, such as using a CD shelf to store diapers.

3. Cook dinner at least 3 nights a week. I was doing pretty good on this already before, but the holidays made it difficult to be consistent.

4. Start a college fund for Vivian. I think we're going to open a 529 account for her, even just with $50 a month. My goal is to have enough saved for her to pay for undergraduate at a state school – if she wants to go private or grad school, that’s what loans are for.

I think that’s enough for one year. A bit of a stretch, but still totally achievable.