Thursday, December 13, 2012

New Traditions

Having started a family, now we have begun to start our own holiday traditions. It's perhaps a bit premature to call them traditions, having just started this year, but hopefully they will be. Miss Pumpkin has only been allowed to watch cartoons a handful of times, and usually not for more than a few minutes. But a couple weeks ago, we got home late and it happened to be the night the Charlie Brown Christmas special was on. Since she was already up late, I poured her a cup of milk, put her in her jammies, and we snuggled up with Scoop to watch the special. To my surprise, she watched the whole thing! (And by that, I mean the classic part, we skipped the second half hour which was something new?)

Her attention gave me hope for the upcoming Nutcracker show.
We went on Sunday, and I'd  say she watched half - with a few walks taken throughout. She loved the dancing, she just had a little trouble sitting still. Once I got her focused, she was so excited she started talking (yelling) to the dancers. It was pretty cute and everyone was so gracious (the usher said "it's a kid's show, she should be allowed to talk to the dancers.")

I'm looking forward to many more years of Charlie Brown, and the Nutcracker, and hopefully even more traditions to come.

Friday, October 12, 2012


For Father's Day, we got Chris tickets to see the Diamondbacks play at San Francisco on a Thursday afternoon in September. Once the extended Gabel clan made plans to visit us the following day, we decided to ask Grandma to come a little early and babysit so the two of us could have one night in the city. (I think I showed a lot of restraint in not texting Rita too many times while we were gone.) It was nice to have some alone time, but we woke up on Friday morning missing our little Pumpkin and headed straight home after a quick breakfast. Here are some highlights via Instagram: 

AT&T Park

At Fisherman's Wharf, for clam chowdah in a bread bowl

Newspaper-themed bar in the old Examiner press room

Coffee and almond croissant at Tartine

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rainbow Birthday

Pumpkin's first birthday was about 10 weeks ago, so I figured it's high time I post something from the celebration. We just had a small gathering at our house, but I was pretty excited about decorating nonetheless. Once I found the invitation, I settled on a rainbow theme. Finding ideas for decorations was easy thanks to Pinterest and a few favorite blogs ...
Month-by-Month picture banner inspired by Kara's Party Ideas, via Pinterest.

Fringed number 1 inspired by Oh Happy Day.
(I made it on posterboard instead of taping to the wall.)

Streamers inspired by Oh Chickadee

Oreo Pop favors from Makoodle.

Pennants made from leftover paper from the photos at top, now serving as bedroom decor.
Since we were out of town for a few days the week before the birthday, I put the decorations up early, so it was fun to have the house look festive for a couple extra weeks. The most fun part, though, was watching Pumpkin dig into her cake. I can't believe how fast the first year went by!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Earlier this month, Pumpkin and I went with our friends Jason and Rebecca to see the Great Reno Balloon Race. This is one of my favorite Reno events, and even more fun now with a little one to enjoy. We got up at 4 a.m. to see the Glow Show and Dawn Patrol, but the mass ascension - where all the balloons fill and lift off at the same - is my favorite.

Darth is a crowd favorite.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Reflecting forward

Eleven years ago today, I woke up in my boss's house in Monterey. He and his wife were on vacation, I was watching their youngest daughter while they were gone. She was in elementary school, possibly junior high, and as I French-braided her hair into pigtails, we heard the news on the radio of an airplane hitting one of the towers. I went downstairs and turned on the TV and watched as the second tower fell. The girl didn't grasp the enormity of what was happening, but thought it sounded like a good excuse to get out of school (I didn't buy it).

I fell out of touch with this family that was a part of my life for five years. I don't know anything about this girl now, if she went to college, what career path she chose. I know when she was a little girl she insisted on wearing a pig costume all the time. I know anytime I watched her she wanted me to braid her hair. I know she liked to help at her dad's store. I know that because we were together on Sept. 11, I will always think of and remember her as that sweet kid on this day.

This morning, I pulled my own daughter's hair into pigtails. I dropped her off at school. She doesn't know the significance of this day, and I don't know at what age or to what extent she will. I don't know how growing up in a post Sept. 11 world will shape her worldview. I don't know if she will want me to French braid her hair into pigtails for school, or if she will become so infatuated with a costume that she will insist on wearing it to the grocery store. I don't know what career path she will choose.

At almost 14 months, I do know that her laugh lights up this house. She loves her dog Scoop, and blows her kisses when we leave in the morning. She says "momma," "dada," "baby," "hi," "bye," "up," "yeah," and "no." She has recently developed an independent streak, and doesn't want to be carried or hold hands while walking. She knows where her nose, toes and tongue are. She knows dogs say woof and cows say mmmmm. She likes water but is scared of waves. She'd rather be on pavement than grass. She loves books. She loves her friends, and the fish tank, at school. She dances when she hears music. If given the opportunity, she splashes in the dog water bowl and unspools the toilet paper roll. She puts tupperware "hats" on her head. She loves to hold a blankie, and uses them to play peekaboo. She delights.

Each day so far has been an amazing journey of getting to know this little person my baby is becoming. I look forward to discovering so much more.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Baby Momma Drama

Our girl is tall, and she has a lot of hair. This sometimes means that folks assume she is older than she is.

A couple weeks ago, we went out to breakfast at a new location of a favorite restaurant. One of the owners came by, being that they were in their first day of business, to see how everything was. She looked at Pumpkin and said, "You're too old for a binky!" (Now, I will confess, we are not exactly thrilled that she still uses a pacifier. But after talking with her pediatrician, he said it is fine for her and her teeth and it's better than her sucking her thumb, and he was more concerned that we get her off the bottle. So, that is what we are focusing on.) Why do we as parents do this to each other? I am sure I have been guilty (if not vocally, then in my internal dialogue) of judging another parent's choice. But it's hard enough being a parent without having to worry what other people think. In our conversation with the restaurant owner, when she realized Pumpkin was only 13 months old, she was surprised. She has twins, and at 2 they are still quite small. Maybe she didn't think she was too old for a paci after all. Maybe she did. Either way, she should have kept it to herself. I know it served as a reminder to me to try to remember that when I see another mom and child (or anyone, really) that I don't know their situation, and I shouldn't form an opinion on first impression, and certainly should keep it to myself if I do.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Just Beachy

 When I was about 12 weeks pregnant, we visited family in Southern California. As we walked on the beach that January, I thought about our little pumpkin, and bringing her to play on the same beach my mom brought me to when I was a baby, that my dad brought me and my sister to every summer as we grew up.
 In July, as Pumpkin's first birthday approached, we had that chance while visiting for the Fourth of July and a Family Reunion.
Seeing her touch her toes in the water for the first time, playing in the sand, was so special - and it was great to share it with my sister and dad as well.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I'm glad I got to be with you here in our nation's capital

Our trip to Washington D.C., Virginia and Maryland was back in April, but I wanted to share a few pics. We had an awesome time visiting Mena and Miguel, The Nevins and The Volkmanns and have already started a list of the things we didn't get to do for next time!

We'll always have Yuma 
Casa Blanca
Monumental Moment
Dad, Lincoln is so boring
View of the capitol from the Newseum
The Girls

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

10 and 11

It seems we've gotten a bit behind on our posts! Our little pumpkin has turned 10 and 11 months, and the weeks are flying by! Soon she will be 1 - can you believe it! Every day it seems she is doing something new. She loves to eat, and likes just about everything - so much so that she steals food from the other kiddos at daycare. She is crawling everywhere, pulling up to standing on everything, and has recently started "bear crawling," a sure sign she is getting ready to walk! She has said her first word, baby, and has also said "hi" and "bye" and she sure is trying hard to say "dog" but it usually comes out "dah." Speaking of dogs, she loves Scoop and just lights up when she sees her. When I take her to school, if she can see the dogs at the homes across the street, she giggles and waves at them. She dances now, and plays peekaboo with her blankie. She is just so much fun!

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Pumpkin's first Easter was a lot of fun. Her great Aunt Louise and Uncle Bill left her an Easter basket the night before, and she had lots of fun with the wrapping on Easter morning.

In the afternoon, we met friends Julie and John at Aces Ballpark for an Easter Egg Hunt before the baseball game. Pumpkin had no interest in going after the eggs and instead started crying when we walked toward the eggs in hopes that she would follow us.

Once settled on our blanket on the grass, though, she enjoyed her first ballgame. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Nine months!

Miss Pumpkin turned 9 months while we were in D.C.! (More on that soon.)

She is getting so big, crawling all over the place, pulling herself to standing and eating Cheerios! She is also definitely forming opinions about things, and doesn't like it when you take away, say, the dog's water bowl or Mama's tennis shoes. While she is mostly still babbling, it does seem like she has "Mama" figured out.

At her 9-month checkup she weighed 17 pounds, 3 ounces (25th percentile) and measured 28 inches (75th percentile) and her doctor suggested she may be a basketball player one day. 

We borrowed her buddy's age blocks while we were visiting. As you can see, it's getting hard to get her to sit still for a photo! We've had a lot of fun lately getting her to try new foods and activities. It's amazing how much she grows and learns so quickly!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Baby Shower

Our friends Erin and Sandor are baking up a little buddy for Pumpkin, so she and I were very excited to help with their baby shower.

We came straight from seeing the Easter Bunny, note that Pumpkin still has the egg in her hand ... she didn't let it go for four hours and even dunked it in the dogs' water bowl. (At four hours she discovered the balloons.)

I was excited to make the desserts - mini rice krispie "cupcakes" and yellow buttermilk cupcakes with vanilla frosting. I thought they turned out pretty cute (and yummy!) if I do say so myself ;-)

Erin and Sandor are always helping us out in one way or another and take good care of all their friends, so we know they are going to be terrific parents.

Sarah, Erin, me and Pumpkin

Me, Erin and Julie

We had a great time celebrating the soon-to-arrive baby girl and are looking forward to meeting her!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Easter Bunny

Pumpkin and I hopped over to a local boutique the weekend before Easter to meet the Easter bunny. Pumpkin wasn't scared at all ... maybe because the bunny had a friendly face, or maybe because the bunny gave her a white, plastic Easter egg - it has been her favorite toy ever since.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Our friends Chris and Carlie down the street left their dog Amara with us when they went on vacation a couple weeks ago. They will be taking Scoop for us during an upcoming trip as well. This time, Scoop and Amara warmed to each other much quicker than last year, but Scoop is still far more interested in playing with Amara than the other way around. They are opposite personalities - but I think they both enjoyed each other's company.