To celebrate Sarah’s birthday, we drove down to L.A. for Elliot’s first visit to Disneyland. Though short, the trip was more fun than we could have planned. A beautiful drive, a late night Michael Jackson dance party, Peter Pan notes, cupcakes, Donald Duck kisses, tears, pirates, laughter, pirates, fireworks, hijinx with Seth and B-List celebrity sightings at breakfast . . . we couldn’t have asked for more.
Sarah and I lived in the city for years before moving to the rural oasis of Sonoma. We still try and get our city fix as often as possible, and we love exposing Elliot to the associated culture. With Mary and Karson living in the city, it’s often quite easy. However, it was made much easier for us, recently, when our sister-in-law-in-law gave us a gift certificate for two nights in a suite at the Prescott off Union Square as a thanks for helping her create a web site.
We packed up our many bags and potty training seat and stuffed animals and made the quick drive through vineyards, past Marin and over the Golden Gate. Elliot was giddy with excitement as we entered our hotel room, and we were pretty excited, too. We were excited to feel like a guests in what we consider one of our ‘home towns.’ As Friday nights are often our movie night, we decided not to postpone the tradition. We ate popcorn, peanut butter sandwiches and watched 101 Dalmations in the comfort of our suite’s living room.
The rest of the weekend included complimentary continental breakfasts in a Wolfgang Puck restaurant, eating at a favorite restaurant The Citrus Club, walking through the Conservatory of Flowers, enjoying jasmine tea in the Japanese Tea Garden, spending time with Mary & Karson, riding buses and visiting MOMA.
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Elliot’s really gravitating towards trying to read and write. In preschool and at home, she’s been learning out to sound out words and can often be heard doing it on her own. She’s constantly seeing words and trying to sound them out. Recent examples include: looking at an old shirt Sarah was wearing and asking, “Mommy, what’s “kuh-an-juh-awl?” Sarah informed her that it was pronounced “Kangol”; looking at my screen printing supplies and reading the words “print” and “red.” This is not something we’ve necessarily pushed, but whenever she asks how to spell words or what sounds words make, we’re always more than happy to help her figure it out.
As seen in the photo above, she also loves to write out letters while sounding them out. Sometimes they are attempts at writing words (“love”, “peter pan”, “friend”, etc) and sometimes they are just stream-of-thought strings of letters. Pretty soon her notes to Peter Pan will have perfect spelling/grammer!
We had beautiful weather today—a bit cold, but warm enough to enjoy being outside in the sunshine. We did so by having a picnic dinner on the Plaza where Elliot played on the playground and we enjoyed the waning sun and long shadows before heading down the block to the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art. This evening, there was an opening reception for members to innagurate the new exhibit featuring artwork from local school children, curated by high school interns. The program, A.R.T.S., is a wonderful replacement for the severely lacking public school art programs.
Elliot absolutely adored all the colorful, playful, imaginative artwork created by the schoolchildren and walked around the museum happily, often giggling at the whimsical nature expressed by all the pieces. She even broke out into some spontaneous dancing to the effervescent live piano playing.
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Elliot surprised us with a couple drawings recently. The first was the one above, which she told us was a giraffe (we could see that) and a horse with a long tail (ok.) This is probably the most representationally accurate drawing we’ve ever seen her do (at least, of the giraffe.) We love it!
The second drawing was of her with Peter Pan, Tinkerbell and Tinkerbell’s fairy friends.
We loved the way Elliot created the glow around the fairies! She told us that the item above Peter Pan was a “broken rock” . . . not sure what that means. Also, note the new way Elliot has been drawing eyes: a pupil in the middle, an iris around it and then what would be the eyelids around it all. She came up with this technique without our assistance and the drawings were totally done on her own. She’s our little artist!
After living in the city for several years, Sarah and I felt the call of the country and moved (virtually overnight) to Sonoma. We were swept off our feet by the historic and pastoral, yet culturally progressive and sophisticated, setting and lifestyle. Shortly after we moved in, a new Nepalese restaurant, Taste of the Himalayas, opened up in one of the winding paseos leading off of the central Plaza. After their saag paneer first melted on our palettes, we were forever under its spell and it has remained our favorite restaurant ever since. In fact, the Place des Pyrenees, as the brick byway it resides on is called, has become one of our most-loved spots in Sonoma.
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After the last post about Elliot’s notes to Peter Pan, our friend Marisa suggested we ghostwrite a note from Peter Pan to Elliot. We left it on the door where her notes were–she found it later in the morning. As we read it to her, a smile lifted the corners of her mouth, the eyes widened and before long she was running to tell Mommy and jumping up and down. I captured as much as I could on the iPhone, but the lighting was less than ideal and the girl in question was moving so quickly.
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