Dear little boy.

Right now, you are joy embodied. I pick you up out of your crib in the morning and you wrap one fat arm around my neck, the other around my left arm. You double- and triple-check to make sure that it's me, and you pat my back decidedly: "This. This is my mama."

I take a mental picture of the look on your face when you see your daddy in the morning. Even asleep, he is the center of your world. Another mental picture: you, clapping to the "Letter of the Day" on Sesame Street. The way you've learned to say "no" with a little scowl, and the way I need to hide my face so that you can't see me holding back a smile. Your laughter on the swings. Sticky, matted blonde curls on the back of your head after every meal. The first time you leaned in for an open-mouth kiss.

If I am very lucky, I'll live another sixty or seventy years. I'll see lots of wonderful things - the canals in Amsterdam, waterfalls in Croatia, sunsets from our backyard, new seasons, new roads. I can't imagine any holding a candle to your smile after you've eaten a strawberry.

I love you, little boy.



Yosemite Valley.

I can hardly put into words how beautiful all of Yosemite was. The round trip from our hotel in Mammoth Mountain was about five hours, but the scenery makes it more than worth it. I'd do it over a million times. Looking back through these photos already has me itching to return.
^^from the base of Yosemite Falls.^^
^^from the drive out^^
^^a thorough appreciation for waterfalls. it's genetic.^^
^^that grin. I can't even handle it.^^
 ^^in the stroller or on the shoulders at all times. Blake is the very best dad.^^
 ^^Mirror Lake, which doubles as Mirror Meadow in late summer.^^
 ^^and part of Vernal Falls, which was at the end of a pretty nutty hike up a mountain. not for strollers, but again, caution was not the name of our game on this trip.^^

One last series of trip photos coming your way this week! For our next trick, we bring baby down a dangerous dirt road to a ghost town in the middle of the desert. Blake and Stevie hold their breath for thirty minutes and win "Parents of the Year" award.


From turning 27.

*celebration under a pergola crawling with grape vines.
*birthday notes, written in script. 
*a massage, frozen yogurt, and long walk on the quiet evening streets of the Upper West Side.


Mammoth Mountain.

Only 500 photos from Mammoth Mountain, because moderation should really be reserved for other areas of life. And don't you worry - we're not even halfway done with the photos from this trip. How many photos is too many to take in one week? Don't know, don't care. 
^^here's little HH on his way to the mountain with "cooka" (a.k.a. Cookie Monster). Ask me how many times I vroomed his airplane as a distraction on our six hour car ride. Hint: the number exceeds the number of photos I took on the trip.^^
^^we stopped at the Lone Pine Film History Museum, and I never felt more like my father's daughter. Hugo mostly appreciated the steps in front of a few of the exhibits. and the chance to air out those chunker thighs.^^
^^and here's an exhibit. just in: this is the most exciting blog on the internet.^^
^^and then we arrived! we stayed at the Village Lodge, which was pretty wonderful in that it looks suspiciously like this other lodge. basically how I got Blake to take the trip.^^
^^see what I mean?^^
^^on our first full day, we hiked to a nearby waterfall (a speck in this photo). when we first got out of the car we thought we might blow off the mountain/freeze to death. but we're real daredevils (not really) and tested our luck, which actually played to our advantage. as soon as we had tree cover, the hike was great.^^
^^nearly frozen. still smiling.^^
^^rewarded. HH was totally thrilled.^^
 ^^we also stopped at the nearby Horseshoe Lake.^^

 ^^in the afternoon, we took the gondola up to the top of Mammoth Mountain. now, before you go racing to these gorgeous views, I would encourage you to ask yourself a few questions: are you afraid of heights? even a little bit? maybe a little more so if you're in a tiny glass box hanging from cables and blowing in the wind? if you answer "yes" to any of these questions, you might consider alternative, ground-based adventures. no one will judge you.^^
^^but if, like me, you prefer to ignore your God-given self-preservation instincts, line right up! the gondola is for you. make sure you bring your baby along to add an extra sprinkle of terror.^^
 ^^still, I guess it's *kind of* pretty at the top.^^
^^HH agreed. he's very brave.^^


Vegas, baby.

We devoted last week to family adventures - flying into Vegas, driving up through the Sierras into Yosemite, then making the return trip. It was exhausting, but so, so worth it. We love having new experiences as a family of three, and we're eager to inspire in Hugo a curiosity for life and people. 

In full transparency, Vegas (or at least the Strip) didn't thrill us. Profiting on human weakness doesn't sit well with me, and this appears to be the name of the game on the Strip. But making it worth the quick stop: flight prices (cheaper than SF), rental car prices (make sure the car and tires are relatively new if you're driving through the desert), some of the hotels (we stayed at the Tropicana at the beginning of the trip and the Westin at the end) and Mon Ami Gabi (right in front of the Bellagio fountains - we ate there twice). 

More to come! 


Dear husband.

On our sixth anniversary, we packed up our belongings and our baby (in a minivan!), then took the road from Vegas to Mammoth Mountain. We've seen a lot of roads in the last six years - bumpy roads and smooth, scenic roads. Roads I'm eager to put behind us and roads I'd gladly walk again. All made better with you.

In the last year, I've seen you become a father in the truest sense of the word. Witnessing your relationship with Hugo is one of my greatest delights. It makes me fall in love with you all over again.

We have new adventures ahead of us this year. New challenges to navigate and new blessings to look forward to. One thing I know: I will never tire of adventuring with you, Lawrence Blake.

Happy anniversary, my love.


From a morning walk.

The kind you could relive again and again and again.


Grateful for.

*early mornings on a train: a chance to catch up on email, reading.
*walks around the town green with a boy, a baby and a bulldog.
*our families, and the chance to live so close in this season of life.
*a sense of humor shared.
*the sight of sunset easing its way down between buildings, all glitter and glass.


Beach picnic.

On Saturday afternoon, we headed to the beach just down the street for a picnic with some friends from church. Neither of us frequented these local beaches growing up (the water can't really be classified as "blue"), but we may have to start the habit. There's something therapeutic about mild waves, sand in your toes and a baby boy in lobster overalls taking it all in like it's magic.