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A portrait of my children once a week, every week in 2014…

Beach Reed_May31:2014 Finnlagh_May2014Alina_disney day May 2014Baby #4_34w+5d//Reed: fishie swimming trunks, oversized shovel, and determination

//Finnlagh: always engaged in some activity requiring a helmet

//Alina: headband and summer up-do in the late-afternoon sun

//Baby#4: feet peek-a-booing out from under a generous belly umbrella (34w+5d)

XO,

N&N

ps: Grant and I celebrated a decade of love-at-first-sight on May 31st…Has it really been 10 years? I am so very grateful every day for the wonderful life we’ve built together.

Joining in with Jodi of Practising Simplicity

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A portrait of my children once a week, every week in 2014…

Reed_18May2014Finn beach gladiator_18May2014Alina surf jump_18May2014Baby#4_32weeks+5//Reed: arriving at the beach with Papa and reaching out gleefully for the ocean

//Finnlagh: not quite sure how he came to choose a gladiator hat as a suitable accessory, but anything goes on a Sunday morning

//Alina: surf jumper extraordinaire, captured at just the right moment

//Baby#4: marking 32weeks+5 with a whole lot of love

XO,

N&N

Joining in with Jodi of Practising Simplicity

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Celebrate: 21 Months*

20140408-171329.jpg20140408-171544.jpg20140408-171604.jpg20140408-171619.jpg20140408-172142.jpg20140408-172200.jpg20140408-172206.jpg20140408-172212.jpg20140408-172223.jpg20140408-172235.jpg20140408-172245.jpg20140408-172305.jpg20140408-190001.jpg20140408-172345.jpgA sizzling day in southern California to celebrate 21 months of our little lad! We headed to Arroyo Burro (also known here in Santa Barbara as Hendry’s Beach) and took in some rays at lunchtime, skimming the surface of the waves with our toes, running through the sand, and enjoying frosty milkshakes. Arroyo Burro is barely a 5-minute drive from our house, and yet we always seem to neglect it in favour of other farther-flung destinations — a mistake we are not likely to repeat: it’s pretty much picture-perfect. A scenic drive after lunch, followed by a stop at our local farm (we got fresh organic strawberries, Bacon avocados, Ojai pixie tangerines and limes– prime season), baseball practice and a family swim in the pool before dusk… it seems that life with Reed is always reason enough to celebrate.

XO,

N&N

 

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A portrait of my children once a week, every week in 2014…

Reed_hula hoopFinnlagh+birdparadiseAlina_mandarin//Reed: these acrobatic antics with a hula hoop are a daily occurrence –if ever you can’t find him, look down at the ground!

//Finnlagh: with his favourite flowers, Birds of Paradise, or ‘flamingo bushes’ as he likes to call them, and slightly wary of the sharp beak

//Alina: humming a tune from ‘Frozen’… Even with her eyes closed she’s still so expressive

Happy 200th blog post!

XO,
N&N

Postcards from San Francisco

SF-CityOverview





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We spent a fantastic few days in San Francisco and the Bay area, and merely scratched the surface of everything Fog City and its surroundings have to offer. While there, we stayed in downtown San Francisco, but also headed to Berkeley, Oakland, Sausalito and Palo Alto.

To Stay:

Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco
Located downtown in the SoMa district next to Yerba Buena Gardens, the hotel is an immaculate, modern oasis with well-appointed rooms, comfy king-sized beds, high-end finishes and sumptuous bathrooms filled with L’Occitane and BVLGARI bath products, robes and cosy slippers (provided even for the littlest feet). As most of our readers know, Grant is an Executive Sous Chef for Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, and we always feel so relaxed and wonderful staying with Four Seasons when we travel –the employees are kind and helpful plus food and service are always top notch.

To Eat & Drink:

Smitten// Gastronomy enthusiasts will enjoy having their preferred flavours of ice cream made-to-order right before their eyes. Our kids loved the novelty of watching liquid nitrogen at work. We tried salted caramel, vanilla and Earl Grey tea chocolate chip.
Yank Sing// Traditional and contemporary dim sum features cartload after cartload of scrumptious food. Yank Sing is the highest Zagat-rated dim sum in San Francisco, and we are very much inclined to agree.
MKT// located on the 5th floor in FS San Francisco, MKT offers steak, seafood, communal and small plates as well as great views of downtown. The house-smoked pork chop and sugar pumpkin walnut scallops with black garlic vinaigrette are not to be missed. As a rare treat, I had a (virgin) Mojito with pickled strawberry that was out of this world.
Boccalone (aka Tasty Salted Pig Parts)// We visited their salumeria in the Ferry Building during the week-end farmer’s market, and heard ooh’s and aah’s from other customers about their salumi cone (featuring prosciutto crudo or mixed salumi).
Blue Bottle Coffee// Offering artisan micro-brewed coffee and modern espresso bar, Blue Bottle uses small batches so each varietal can be roasted individually. They use only certified organic beans farmed from pesticide-free, traditional farming methods. The coffee? Delicious hot or iced.
Tartine Bakery & Cafe// If you can get through the line at James Beard Award-winner Tartine, you’ll get to try some of their amazing bread (which is only available after 4.30 pm). Tarts, cookies and savoury items are offered too.

To Play:

Golden Gate Park// We especially loved the Koret Children’s play area and carousel for our kids, but the park also features the de Young Museum (SF’s oldest museum featuring an array of art), a Japanese tea garden, conservatory, botanical gardens, the California Academy of Sciences, and even a bison paddock.
Golden Gate Bridge// Drive, bike or walk over this famous of American bridges that feels, as Grant so aptly put it, “like the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver on steroids.” Tolls: free leaving San Francisco, but $6 (pay-by-license plate) or $5 (FasTrak) heading back into the city. My toll bill arrived in the mail shortly after our return home, complete with a picture of my car and license plate number. Travel tip: if you are going to be away from home for longer than 2-3 weeks (and unable to receive your mail) after using this kind of toll bridge, make sure to call them and get your bill paid. They gave me approximately 3-4 weeks to pay my bill; if you are late, the price jumps from $6 to $31.
Muir Woods// Federally protected forest land featuring coastal redwood trees. If you live in Southern California like us, and are used to mostly tropical trees and succulents, it’s a real treat to be surrounded by moss, treetops and trails.
Haight-Ashbury// Former stomping grounds of hippies and counter-culture, this area of San Francisco is filled with painted ladies (American architecture term for colourfully painted Victorian and Edwardian houses).

San Francisco: we will definitely be back!

XO,
N&N

19 months **

Reed_19mos.4Reed Anders at 19 months is a high-energy, talkative, dichotomy of a boy — on the one hand, the most cooperative little guy you’ve ever met, and at others, so willful and masterful at yielding his newfound toddler independence, you just stand aside and let him do his thing. For ages, we have marvelled at Reed’s cooperation: sticking out his mini hands and toes to have his nails clipped, lying down patiently and stretching out his legs whenever he needs a change, stepping into his pant legs one at a time and helping to pull them up, eating whatever it is that you put in front of him, sharing anything and everything he is given… Then there is the strong, eagerly precocious guy who refuses strollers, high chairs, and constraints on his freedom of any kind, all the while running at top speed and shrieking and shoving aside your hands with a firm “no.”

Through it all he is bright-eyed, kind and loving (perhaps the most affectionate of all of our children), and around our neighbourhood, known as the boy with the easiest smile around. An inquisitive old soul, Reed has to be shown only once before he appropriates your knowledge or skills for his own. “That’s mine. I did that. BRAVO!” (applause applause applause)

Such is the lucky fortune of the third-born, who looks up intently and locks eyes with you, pulling you into his conversation, parroting what all the other ‘big kids’ on the block seem to do.

Those toddler days seem so far away with Alina and Finnlagh, and yet we are so glad to be discovering them anew with Reed, rolling with the moments (oftentimes cheerfully compliant, sometimes obstinately) as best we can. Come July, we will have the arrival of #4, and we’ll start the process all over again…

Rough-and-tumble Reed: we adore you.

XO,

N&N

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