Friday, May 27, 2016

Two Day Whirlwind Romance

Last weekend I fell in love. With Blackthorne.

No, the object of my swooning is not some tragic protagonist in an 18th century novel, it's a gloriously quirky 4-storied cottage nestled in the woods of the Inverness mountains near the San Francisco Bay.

These pictures seriously do not do it justice. Every inch of its handsome structure was beautifully decorated and curated by some designer who did a darn good job.

And there was a hot tub! No grand cottage is complete without one.

The only problem was the staircase. Long and narrow like a cathedral tower, little Noah refused to step foot on them. And so I became his personal stair piggy-backing elevator the entire 2 days we were there. Ugh.

Blackthorne is one of those places I would see casually flipping through a travel and leisure magazine at the dental office and NEVER think of booking a stay at. 

1. Because I'm lazy and like hobbits, don't like venturing far from home. And 
2. Because I'm cheap, like hobbits.
I'm basically a hobbit?!

But thank goodness for life-long friends who are our complete opposites and call you up on a random Wednesday morning to see if you'd like to go on a big trip the next day.

Most of the "cool" experiences I've had in life, I attribute completely and solely to this girl. I'm pretty sure, one day, she'll be the reason I parachute out of an airplane or some other such nonsense.

But as if staying in such a charming lodge wasn't enough, we had myriad other delights!

One of the house guests was an expert in Japanese pancake art! She made Judah a jaguar y'all (his favorite animal)! WOW!

And made Noah a bulldozer! IMPRESSIVE!

I got to dabble in the dark arts of Virtual Reality - I was like unto a god (while looking like a dweeb).

And we visited a cool nature center complete with surrounding kid-friendly hiking trails.

One of the trails led to a preserved Native American village. The kids enjoyed running into every teepee. One day I'll tell Judah about the slaughter of the first peoples and he'll feel as sad as I did during the visit. But until then - all smiles!

There were beautiful views of Tomales Bay and the kids enjoyed picking up all kinds of sea shells along the shore.

We passed by a quaint little town that had artisanal shops like Cow Girl Creamery.

An old man in a wheelchair passed by while we sat down to rest and exclaimed - Let me take your picture!

I handed him my iPhone and he confessed he did not know how to use it.

Not a bad shot for a non-phone shooter!

Afterward he kept thanking us for just being there. Family, it's a beautiful thing, he kept on saying.

We didn't bother correcting him about our actual non-blood relations.

Because, well, he pretty much got it right.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Curious Guy and Shy Guy

It's update time!


Noah is really into asking about my favorites. Not like as a followup to me first asking him about his favorites - just as a random opening conversation question. It's weird to me because Judah never once asked me what my favorite anything is. Judah is definitely more passive and Noah more active when it comes to finding out about the world.

Every day Noah asks things like:

Mommy, what's your favorite color?
What's your second favorite color?
Sky Blue
What's your third favorite color?
*seriously, my third one?* Magenta
What's your fourth favorite color?
*what the heck is wrong with this kid?!* Uh...Grass Green

Sometimes he asks what my favorite animal is.
Or my favorite number.
Or ice cream flavor.

Today he asked me my favorite shape.

I replied - Circle.

He said his favorite was a cube.

I was pretty sure he meant square.

But then he talked about the time we made cubes out of toothpicks and marshmallows. Okay, you win Noah. I'm sorry I'm always underestimating your knowledge. You're still my baby!!!!


Judah is so shy it's kind of unbelievable. Except I totally believe it because it's EXACTLY me.

As a kid I used to wait until everyone was out of the house - then I'd put on my special dancing outfit (pink long t-shirt pajama tied with my mom's pink bathrobe tie) and put on techno music and dance my heart out.

And then the other week I put on some dance music and watched Judah start grooving for a second only to freeze and say - Mommy, I'm embarrassed. I love dancing but I don't want to do it in front of you.


I've always hated being ashamed of my self-expression - what's the good of dancing and singing if you can't do it WITH others? So I tried my best to coax Judah out of his shyness. And with the help of Taylor Swift, before I knew it, we were twirling around the playroom doing all kinds of made up "real" moves - twirl, spin-around, break-apart, under my legs!

It made me feel redeemed.

But Judah's still too shy to sing his made-up songs in front of me. Instead, the most I can get him to do is take my smartphone to a secluded room, record the song by himself, and then hand me the device while he goes back to hide in said secluded room as I listen to the song he just recorded.

For that one function alone, I'm glad I got a smartphone.

It's filled with the fingerprints of his soul - a barely braved whisper of his true self.