We’re Going to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo

Dear Erin,

Yesterday, we went back to the zoo. With only one child’s nap time to plan around (now that you’ve taken your two back home), we actually made it. And this time Charles got to come, too.


Little Mister wasn’t totally into the rhinos (“horsies”) or the giraffes (“puppies”). Not even the monkeys (“kitties”) did much for him, which surprised me. You’d think he’d appreciate how many similarities he shares with them.

But like his mom, the boy was most interested in the tigers.


I was a little less excited at him being quite so close to the tiger. See that double-headed shadow in the bottom left corner? That’s Charles holding LM. There were a couple of fences between them, though, and at least no one ever got aggressive.

It was a gorgeous day and very interesting. Saw plenty of different animals, went looking for frogs and found snakes instead. And we just missed a practical lesson on reproduction in the lion enclosure! (Timing is everything.)



Turkey Gluten Dinner

Dear Kristen,

This has been so fun to be home in Cracker Land – warm, lovely green, and full of family.  Its been SO fun and busy that I actually forgot what day of the week it was and is.

Which isn’t that abnormal.

But that’s an issue for another day.

So today is Saturday – not Friday.  Sorry.  I thought it was Thursday – which is silly since Thursday was none other than Turkey Day.

And we did it well.



Gluten-filled deliciousness.  And everyone enjoyed all those glutens.

Different Strokes

Dear Erin,

It’s the start of “the most wonderful time of the year,” and that’s mostly because we’re spending it all together. It makes my heart happy to know you’re just in the other room and to watch the kids all playing together.


Charles, Little Mister, and I came in a few days ago, and I’ve had some time to notice differences between here and home that I don’t usually think of but that always surprise me once I’m back here. For example:

  1. The green. Obviously.
  2. Building on that, though, is the riot of plant life. In CA – especially right now with the drought – it seems like an uncultivated space is a dry, brown, possibly trashed space. Here, though, a patch of ground left to itself will soon be covered with twenty different species of plants.
  3. So, the upshot is that I feel like at home there are more people than plants, and here, there are more plants than people.
  4. Also, everything seems so big here. The houses are bigger; the yards are bigger; the long, flat spaces are much bigger.
  5. The trees are not technically bigger, but there are more of them, and I don’t often see many of the really big trees at home, so I’m going to count them, too.
  6. Apparently the cars run bigger because the roads, parking lots, and parking spaces are all bigger, too. (It’s so nice!)
  7. Charles says those bigger cars, besides going faster, also drive crazier. I find this hard to believe, but he swears it’s true.
  8. The cold feels colder and the warm feels warmer because of the humidity. The AC at my in-laws’ house was set at 75, and I was freezing. (To be fair, there was some discussion of whether or not the thermostat was broken; I wasn’t the only one cold.)
  9. And they just give you bags at the store here. You don’t have to pay for them!
  10. Finally – and this is the mind-blowing thing after 4 1/2 years in Silicon Valley – there is NOT a coffee shop on every. Single. Street corner. How am I supposed to get my Starbucks / Peet’s / Philz fix without driving more than five minutes?

Over Mothering

Dear Kristen,

I don’t think Little Mister could have had more fun than making play-doh and going into a bounce house!  So much fun for him.  He’s more adventurous than his older cousin, but his younger cousin is exhibiting a healthy dose of curiosity and bravery.  (I caught him trying to climb the stairs on the outside of the banister…)  Little Mister is welcome to teach Little Man some of his tricks!

Its good to let them make messes, fall down, bonk their knees and elbows, and all the things that kids need to learn to handle. That’s good mothering, I think.  We all make mistakes and need to handle the consequences of them, whether that’s cleaning up messes, getting a time out, or…

…staying up half the night with Little Man.


That was the result last night of “over mothering.”  MY mistake.  Let me explain.

Little Man is a light sleeper in general.  There are times he sleeps deeply, but most nights there is crying out in the night, restlessness, etc.  Maybe when he learns to walk, we’ll have another sleep walker on our hands.  But I’m not worried, since he can’t walk with his eyes open.  When these midnight outbursts occur, we just wait a few minutes and its done 98% of the time.

I should’ve remembered he was a light sleeper. Who cares if it was a little chilly in his room?  He had pjs and a fleece sleepsack on – that’s enough, right?  Did he really need that blanket?  Did he really need to be a little warmer?

Apparently not.  I placed a blanket on top of him, his pacifier near him and walked out the door.  That’s when the screaming started.  Waited a few minutes.  Screaming. Waited a few more.  Still screaming.  So…almost two hours, one bottle, and three episodes of Goldie and Bear and he was comfortable enough to sleep again.

Note to self: Do not add warmth to the baby’s slumber.  Just keep the door closed until the morning.

Just Being A Boy

Dear Erin,

I’m SO GLAD you’ve finally started making your store public! The only downside is that I’ve got my eye on certain things in that store, and now anybody could buy them before I get to it. But it’s probably not fair of me to ask you to set aside half your inventory just for me, so I can give them to my friends, right?

Well, after the excitement of last weekend, this week has been somewhat quieter. Especially as I picked up a cold bug somewhere, so I’ve been riding that out for the last few days. We seem to have turned a corner today, thankfully. So we played at home this week.


That’s the outcome of homemade play dough. Well, that’s the initial outcome. The longer-term outcome is that much of the area around this part of the house is now covered in fine cornstarch dust after I vacuumed up the immediate mess. And Little Mister still has yet to really get in to the concept of play dough. He thought this batch was cheese. Because it was orange.

We also checked out the semimonthly offering of a church up the road in Los Gatos. Twice a month, they fill their gym with tons and tons of preschool appropriate toys and open it to the community. So for $2, you can turn your kid loose (more or less) for two hours in a wonderland of trains, cars, kitchens, bounce houses, puzzles, slides, balls, basketball hoops, craft supplies, and all manner of toys that light up and go beep.


LM’s favorites were the bounce house and the train tables, where things were surprisingly competitive. He mostly wanted to hand trains to me to hold, which the slightly older kids playing there were not happy about. Perhaps if we go back often, I’ll be teaching him the term “possessive” earlier than I would have expected.

As for your hints to Charles, I’m pretty sure I know what his answer would be: Maybe we can look into a sewing machine when the yarn stash fits back into the two boxes it’s supposed to live in, instead of the three boxes and five bags which form its current abode. Like I said, I don’t really need to pick up another craft at the moment. I don’t remember if I told you this before, but I saw a conversation about figuring out how much time is represented in your stash. You estimate that you might go through one skein a week (that’s a high estimate for me these days, but let’s ignore that) and then you know how long it’s going to take you to knit through what you’ve got (not counting all the lovely wool that you just won’t be able resist adding in the future).

It works out to about 1.5 years. So we’ll bring the subject up again around my birthday of 2017.