Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bay Area Babies

We took advantage of the long, holiday weekend to head up to Livermore with nothing on our agenda except some very serious baby play dates.

We hit the road (late) in the six o'clock hour on Saturday morning which worked out well. Alice was cheerful and cooperative and we only had to brake for coffee and a quick potty/snack pit-stop. 
Alice totally digs sitting in the big seats. We're parked, obviously.
As we hoped, Alice had enough day left in her once we arrived for a long visit with our good friends.
Alice and Eli had a lot of fun playing together, or at least near each other. And we all had a lot of fun watching them be cute - the two of them together can paralyze unsuspecting onlookers with their cuteness. Eli totally went in for a kiss (at our urging), but he was a bit too forward for Alice who backed into Jon's chest and glued herself there.

can you believe him?
Aw, she's wearing his sweater... And those hats!!

They took a (super romantic) wagon ride when we all went for a nature walk around the old dairy grounds. We had forgotten to bring most of Alice's accoutrements, but Eli was kind enough to share his sweater and cup. Eli was a wonderful tour guide, pointing out all the local wildlife and flora to his little lady friend.
there's some...
and there's some...
over there?
yes, right over there!

Alice was pretty obsessed with the wagon, opening and closing the little door and climbing in and out. At some point I had to forcibly remove her from it, kicking and screaming, because Eli was saying "my turn, come on" and dragging her away. I think this sweet hug was captured before Alice hogged his toy:

They had fun playing in the leaves and picking up golf balls that had strayed from the driving range next door. Alice could not get over the piles and piles of balls and ran around pointing to each one "ball, ball, ball, ball, ball..."

a ball!
stashing a ball in the storage compartment.
fun with sticks!
We had also forgotten to bring Alice's food over to their house, but Eli was kind enough to share his dinner and our picky eater surprised us all by chowing down on a turkey and cheese sandwich.
eating a sandwich. like, whoa. I was ecstatic.
Alice had also surprised us earlier by devouring some appetizers of chips filled with cheese dip, and then surprised herself when she bent over too forcefully and lost a bit of her lunch. No photos of that... 

After dinner, Alice and Eli enjoyed a little "art time," and Alice got to color with markers for the very first time. She was pretty fascinated, mainly with the lids, and got a little cranky about getting ink all over her hands. Let it be known that I'm officially the worst mom ever because I completely forgot to bring home Alice's very first marker masterpiece. Ugh.

By 6pm, Alice was up way past her bedtime and though Eli usually stays up a bit later, he hadn't napped and was flagging a bit as well. Alice taught Eli how to play her new favorite game, and they had a rousing round of "nigh-nigh" on their little cushions.

Our visit with Eli and his parents was an extra bonus for our weekend because the main reason for our trip was to meet another best friend's newborn son. Soren was born on Valentine's Day and was only five days old when we made his acquaintance on Sunday. I was so excited I could hardly sleep the night before. Because, I mean:

I love how this photo totally looks like I'm trying to pretend he's Alice's new sibling...
a perfect baby with his beautiful mama.
As excited as I was to meet and hold this fresh little bundle, I was almost more excited to see my dear friends as new parents. It was so wonderful to see them with their new son. My own initiation into motherhood certainly felt miraculous, but the miracle really touches me when I see people I love becoming and being such amazing moms. Motherhood (and fatherhood) is a truly indescribable state of existence and I love watching them experience it and knowing that we understand it for each other now and have each other to lean on. I don't think I could feel nearly as strong and successful in my role as a mother if I didn't have other mothers to share the knowledge and the burden of this terribly powerful love.

We had a wonderful visit with the new bundle (and his parents) and I scored a nice, long cuddle nap. Alice was getting a bit restless and perhaps a bit jealous that another baby was monopolizing my attention, so we left everyone to get some rest before Alice threw an unsalvageable tantrum and headed to our second destination of the day/weekend:
These are, no joke, the best pancakes we've ever had. This is a local, sticky table institution for good reason. We've been trying to get back since our first visit in 2010 and were looking forward to it almost as much as seeing our friends (I'm only exaggerating a little bit). Jon and I each ordered a full stack (five pancakes) since I knew I'd have to share with Alice, but my sister went for the more conservative short stack. The waitress practically did a double take, asked if we were sure, and told us she'd never had an order like that. I didn't quite know what to make of her reaction. What do other people order at a pancake house?? Anyway, I did share with Alice and I only ate a short stack's worth, but I'd rather have too many pancakes than two few! We also ordered one scrambled egg and a side of sausage for Alice and were totally bowled over and overjoyed when she actually ATE them!
sorry for sharing a photo of a gross toddler plate, I was just too excited.
Tired, happy, and stuffed full of pancakes, we headed back to the East Bay. My dad was sweeping the patio when we got home and Alice was thrilled to join him in a shared favorite activity. 
they sweep.

We spent the rest of the afternoon watching videos of Alice (she's such a narcissist), cooking, eating, drinking, and playing board games. 
Auntie Shantje teaches Alice to crochet
It was a wonderful weekend, full of friends, family and love, and I left with a brimming heart and renewed spirit. I love being with family and hanging out with my friends and their children. I love seeing our kids interact. I love seeing my friends being the great parents they are, and watching and learning how they're doing it. I just wish we all lived closer so we could do it more often.

What did YOU do over the long weekend? Eat any pancakes? Visit any sticky spoon joints? Seen any cute kids, lately? 


  1. Beautiful pictures Erin! What a terrific weekend the 3 of you had. *sniff* I miss my kids being little......

  2. we drove up to livermore to visit family last weekend too! and it looks like you guys had just as much fun enjoying your weekend as we did.

    although, i am definitely adding "eat pancakes" to my must do list next time. :)

  3. Amy, your family is in Livermore?? We should have had a play date! Or maybe, we should just have one down here, aren't we right next door?

    Millbrae is a bit far to drive for pancakes, but we try to get there anytime we're already headed that direction.

  4. So many great pictures and it sounds like an all together AWESOME weekend. Did Shannon make the hats?! They are beyond adorable.

    Love what you said about friends having babies. I look forward to that time! Yes, I realize I had babies very young so a lot of my friends (scratch that) ALL of my best friends aren't even married yet. But when the day comes for them to be parents I will be overjoyed to share that special bond with them.

  5. Leah, Eli's mama made Alice's hat and gave it to her for Christmas - Alice LOVES it. She did not make his Winnie the Pooh hat, though. So cute!

  6. I really hope I take such perfect pictures of my babies when they come along!

  7. Love the photos Erin! And we loved spending time with your beautiful family. I want to plan a trip to come down and see the Senges on their home turf...

    Also, Soren is adorable! What a pretty newborn. And so tiny and curled up - it makes me want another one.

  8. Man, I love all those pictures of the wagon ride. Eli really was a serious tour guide. Cute overload for sure. It was a superb weekend and I can't wait for the next one! xo

  9. i sent you an email. i hope it didn't get lost in your spam. but i'd love to meet up sometime and playdate/ chat over coffee since we are 818 neighbors. :)


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