Today was a good day

Last night Brad slept on Otis’ floor after a midnight monster freak out. I slept in our bed listening to Lucy cry intermittently since we are currently refusing her nocturnal desires of eating every 2 hours and sleeping on me. We greeted the day with exhaustion, but luckily showers and coffee managed to revive us and we ended up having an amazing day. Highlights . . .

Brad cooked us up some eggs and bacon. I put my pandora station on Beatles. And we had a lazy morning of LEGO building.

Otis and I had an epic battle of super hero strength.

We survived a children’s’ museum on the Sunday before Halloween. Brad put on a green shirt in a half attempt to be the Hulk or “Hunk” as Otis pronounces it. Te he!

I erupted into a fit of giggles when Brad told Otis “Don’t scratch your butt with your toothbrush.” This was only one of the numerous times today that Brad had me laughing uncontrollably.

I got to see a video of my nephew batting and pitching at an SDSU baseball event.

Lucy and Otis played together on the trampoline.

Brad and Otis built an impressive couch fort.

Lucy and I had an impromptu photo shoot.

Some days this is life.

It’s worth it though because then there are days like today.

Today was a good day. As I sit here writing this I know . . .

I want to remember days like these forever!

Dear Lucy- 5 Months

Dear Lucy-

Well Goose- I’m gonna let the photos do most of the “talking” for this letter. They perfectly capture your delight in life. This month you have been so so happy. Peekaboo sends you into giggle fits as does pretty much anything your brother does. You wear a smile on your face most of the time. You got your first cold and even that didn’t dampen your spirits. You desperately want to sit up and are getting pretty close to doing it unassisted. You are even thinking about sleeping better at night (tough love has resulted in you sleeping in your bed for 3-4 hour stretches).

I absolutely love watching the world through your eyes!!! What a magical place it can be! I love you so much!


Petaluma Proud

It’s been a long two weeks up here in Sonoma County. Our county was on fire. While we in Petaluma were never in clear and present danger, we were close enough to have bags packed and phones with the volume up all night. We were close enough to be surrounded by evacuation shelters. We were close enough to be forced inside with windows shut for two weeks due to horrible air quality.

The devastation is real, and tragic, and heart wrenching. At the same time, the community’s response is one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever witnessed. On Monday, October 9th grass roots efforts were all the evacuees had. Red Cross and FEMA weren’t here yet and the shelters were home grown operations supplied mainly by my neighbors. I made two trips to the shelter that Monday and you would have thought the pillows I brought (among other items) were made of pure gold. The residents of Petaluma rallied that day and did their best to take care of the evacuees. Later in the week the institutions took over and the town could have ceased their support, but no- the volunteer effort got stronger and more organized. Facebook pages were created with the purpose of providing minute to minute info about the needs of the time. Shelters didn’t need food or clothes but at any given hour of the day one shelter needed something. One morning a post popped up that the veterans hall shelter needed women’s running shoes, slippers, and flashlights. I thought “I have all 3!” However, the air was horrible and I didn’t want to drag my 4 month old and 3 year old out to breath it. So I posted that I had stuff if anyone could pick it up. I kid you not- within 27 minutes of the original post stating the need, someone had picked up my donations and driven them to the shelter. There were people that volunteered as drivers to pick donations up. Restaurants served free food to evacuees and first responders. Anyone with medical know how took shifts at the evacuation centers. Moms showed up at shelters to play with the displaced kids so their parents could have a moment to call insurance companies and plan their next step. I don’t know a single Petaluma resident who didn’t contribute in some way during this disaster. The community was smart, efficient, and so full of compassion and love! And the community is not done. We are committed to helping our neighbors for the long haul. The Petaluma Mothers Club (that I am a member of) has already collected over $20,000 in $25 gift cards to Target, Safeway, etc. that are being handed out to fire victims on a daily basis. And we are just one of the many organizations that has galvanized in support of these families that lost everything.

Last night I teared up as I watched the younger generation’s community spirit. We went to our favorite restaurant- The Block. Basically it’s a beer garden with a rotating roster of food trucks. It has a family friendly atmosphere complete with small kids play area and has become our home away from home. Eating a food truck taco, sipping a beer, and watching your 3 year old make new friends is our epitome of an excellent Saturday “night” (it’s usually only 5pm). Otis loves it there because every time we are there, without fail, a “big” kid or two offer to play with him. Last night it was an 8 year old girl who absolutely made Otis’ night. She built herself a chair out of wooden blocks and then noticed Otis watching her. She knelt down and said “do you want me to build you a chair?” When I thanked her for building him a chair she said “that’s ok. I’m really good at making chairs and I don’t really have anything else to do right now.” Ha ha!

For the next hour we watched this 8 year old and our 3 year old play tag and all sorts of games. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Otis smile so big. There’s something about seeing older kids take him under their wing that makes me ridiculously happy.

This town has always seemed special to me. When we moved in 8 years ago a neighbor brought us a sweet potato pie! When you go on a walk everyone you pass says hello. Kindness permeates this place I call home. I am truly proud to be a member of this community and love watching my kids join it!

If you’d like to make a contribution to the fire victims here are two ways I’d recommend:

1. Email a $25 gift card (target, Safeway, chevron, etc) to service@petalumamothersclub or mail a gift card to PMC P.O. Box 521 Petaluma, CA 94953. Please include your first and last name so we can thank you. These cards are being handed out by Petaluma People Services who is working hard to match homeless fire victims with families who have extra rooms in their house.

2. Buy a Petaluma Proud shirt here Proceeds are going to Petaluma People Services

Stairway to Paradise

There is a ballet called Who Cares? that holds a special place in my heart. It pairs two of my favorite artists- choreographer George Balanchine and composer George Gershwin. I first learned the Stairway to Paradise solo as a teen studying at the School of American Ballet in New York City. Of all the variations we learned that summer, it was by far my favorite.

Years later, in the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s school I was cast to dance that solo.

Even more years later at The Washington Ballet I was cast to dance that solo. It seems many people thought it was a good fit for me.

Now, I loved the part I had, but every dancer has parts that got away. There is always that role or piece that you longed to perform, but never got the chance to. For me it was The Man I Love pas de deux, also from Who Cares? The nuance of the dance so perfectly matches that enchanting song and I would have given anything to perform it.

Why am I writing about this now? Well this week I dreamt that a former rehearsal coach of mine, Jeff Edwards, called me and said I was needed to perform The Man I Love at a gala event. To clarify, I am still teaching ballet and I am now taking class once a week, but I haven’t performed in a decade. In typical unrealistic dream fashion they needed me to get there to rehearse it at that very moment. I said I would be there as soon as I could, but that being a breastfeeding mom I needed to pump first. Gotta love dreams! Well, I dropped everything, pumped, and rushed over and when I got to the rehearsal studio they said I was too late. Rats!

This is the crazy part . . . Yesterday my friend offered me tickets to see the broadway tour of An American in Paris– a ballet heavy show with a score by the Gershwins. As I sat in the theater last night listening to Stairway to Paradise, The Man I Love, and all of the other gorgeous songs, I was truly in my happy place.

I’m not sure why that music re-entered my life this week, but I’m so glad it did! I am always reminding my students that art exists to inspire us. Thank you universe for throwing these memories and art my way this week! I feel inspired and refreshed!