I was really sad upon starting this post to find out that the maker of the Rolli-Rider is no longer making them. The Rolli-Rider is hands-down one of the greatest toys we've bought for the big guy so far. It is what is referred to as a balance bike, or running bike; a small wooden bike without pedals and a limited turning radius that allows toddlers to teach themselves how to ride a bike. Apparently very popular in Europe, we get lots of second looks and comments when the big guy rides it. We picked the Rolli-Rider up at a flea market when the big guy was exactly two-and-a-half. He hopped on it while at the flea market, and walked it all over the place. By the next day he was speed-walking. The next, running. Within 2 weeks, coasting. He can now, after 3 months, ride it down fairly big hills, and coast about 50 yards. He did this all by himself without me holding on to the bike, or coaching him at all. The idea is that when he's big enough to switch to a big-boy bike, he'll already have learned to balance and steer. Add in the pedaling (learned from riding his trike) and he'll never need training wheels.
Our family has crashed the annual vacation of the Weimer clan for the last three years. They have been going to the Feather River Resort in Graeagle California for the last 30 years. This year in particular I realized what a magical place Graeagle is.
Several months ago I discovered Lenore Skenazy's Free Range Kids and have since realized what a gift a little freedom is. While I am thrilled that we live in a family-friendly community that will allow my son to walk to school, the park, and the local market when he is a little older; being in Graeagle gave him infinitely more freedom to roam at the ripe old age of 2.5.
While mom & dad sat on the porch Big Guy could ride his bike, throw rocks in the creek, search for dandilions, golf, and hang with other kids. We knew there were other members of the clan sitting on their porches all around the camp. Instant community. We've realized what an important thing this is for a child. We'll be back again and again.
Riding the Rolli-Rider in the great outdoors.
PB&J on the porch.
World's biggest dandelion.
Pastries inthe morning. Nothing says love like a ham and cheese croissant in the sun.
One of the things I love in our new kitchen is the layout. We now have enough low storage that I can dedicate an entire to my son's things. He can get his own dishes and utensils, as well as access his play food & stove.
We chose soapstone for our countertops for a few reasons. First, I love how it looks. It has a similar look to honed granite, but feels more traditional. We also liked that it was a little more unique than the granite you see in most remodels these days. Soapstone is great surface in a kitchen, impervious to stains and acids. It is less porous than granite, but it is softer. Which means it can scratch. But on the other hand, any scratches you get can be lightly sanded away. Over time, you get a surface with character. The one drawback is that the stone has to be oiled & buffed for asthetic reasons, almost every day for the first couple of weeks you have it. By the time it is a year or so old, it should be oiled about once a month. If you don't oil it, the stone starts to turn back from the rich grey/black to a light grey.
The farmhouse sink is another favorite in the new kitchen. My mom always swore by a double sink, and can't understand how I do dishes in it without a side for soapy water and a side for rinsing. But I really do love that I can fit huge roasting pans, big bowls, dogs, and babies in it.
This is how the kitchen looked shortly after we moved in. The previous owners kindly left their french country window treatments to complement the blue tile, oak cabinets, and yellow walls. The thing we hated most about the kitchen is that it was completely cut off from the rest of the house. We decided to open up the wall and combine the kitchen with the breakfast room, adding a peninsula for a large work area, and majorly improving the flow of the house.
I'll follow up with some of the material choices we made in the kitchen, and how we are liking them.
As this is supposed to be a blog about the things I love in my own life, it seems time to start talking about my house. When my husband and I found our house, about 1.5 years ago, we weren't really looking to move. We were happily located in the heart of San Francisco, praying that the day our tiny flat felt too small for three people and two dogs wouldn't come too soon. But in preparation for that day, we were casually exploring neighborhoods in the East Bay.
We started a fun Sunday tradition of driving around during our son's naptime checking out the open houses that I had written down. We would roshambo for who got to go in and look first, and then swap baby-guarding duty. My husband would eventually spot some amazing house (not on my list) and insist he look at it. I generally passed on those, since there's nothing worse than falling in love with a beautiful house that is way out of your price range.
One Sunday, my husband did his beautiful-house-in-the-perfect-neighborhood spotting thing. This time I did want to check it out, since I had seen the listing before and thought it was close to being in our price range. In fact, the only reason that I hadn't put it on our list is that the house was a 1930's tudor revival, and way too "cute" for his taste. Anyhow, I won the roshambo and got to take the first peek. I fell in love at once, and quickly sent my husband in. He loved it too. A miracle.
We decided to put in a ridiculous low-ball offer, and the sellers accepted. And that is how our house found us. Fast forward through the next hellish month where we move all our our baby and dog paraphenalia out of our SF flat (while shacking up with my folks), stage it, list it, sell it, and move. On day 2 in our new home we asked ourseles why we had waited so long to make our exodus out of the city. We were home.
Lest you think that our dream house came to us in perfect shape, this entry is just a precurser to a series of posts on our home renovation. I've got a fix-it list about a hundred items long. A few major items have been completed already, so up next will be kitchen and bath renovation photos.
It's true. I love you. I love morning walks to dog beach, and watching our unlikely swimmers fetch ball after ball. I love your long quiet evenings, when dusk lasts until 10pm. I love fingers stained with cherry juice, and fresh cobbler and jam. I love wading in the lake and watching my husband catch (or not catch) trout from the dock. Boat rides, I love you too. I love croquet in the yard, the family of skunks nesting under the shed, and endless games of canasta. I love my son throwing rocks in the creek, and watching his first fireworks display. I love your storms, violent and quick, clearing out days of heavy air. My only regret is when our time is up and we fly back home. Another year until we see you again.
This is my mom uniform. Ugh.
T-shirt. Dark wash jeans. Cashmere hoodie. Sneaks. And because this picture was taken in winter, a down vest. I have a pile of t-shirts in both short and long sleeves. At the moment, my closet contains 4 pairs of jeans in various shades of dark. Family members have noticed my love for cashmere hoodies, so I now have one in red, black, grey, blue, and tan.
Living in the bay area climate has really narrowed down my wardrobe choices. On any given day, jeans are probably weather appropriate. We only get a handful of hot days, on which I scrounge around for a pair of shorts to go with my t-shirt. Not to mention, most of my days involve getting down on the floor or out to the park to play with a 2.5 year old. I'm never sure how those moms who wear cute dresses and kitten heels do it. That's not to say that I don't own dresses and kitten heels. I do. I just pass them over for the jeans and T-shirts every day.
None the less, I've vowed to mix it up a little bit. I'm hoping to post a cute, playground tested, non-jeans-and-tshirt outfit ASAP. Built from things I already have in my own closet. Its time to go closet shopping...
Going to the Alameda Antique Fair is one of our new favorite family outings. We get up as early as I can manage to peel my eyelids open (7:30 a.m. this weekend) and stop in town for bagels. The Antique Fair opens at 6am, and we're quickly learning that the early bird gets the worm. This week I had my eye on some beautiful vintage industrial metal cabinets. But since I couldn't figure out where we'd put them, no deal. Here are a few things we did come home with:
and the piece de resistance:
We saw the vendor with these vintage bus roll signs a couple of months back, but didn't buy. This time, we just couldn't pass them up. The one we bought is about 6 feet long, and ready to hang. I love it because it has a lot of wear. Can't wait to find the perfect spot in our house to hang it.