the sundry colorful tales that compose our days.

Posts tagged “auntie mato + uncle karson

Elliot’s Stage // the big week

Sure, Elliot, you want to join the Glee club?  OK, singing is a great skill to learn!  Oh, and you want to be in the Peter Pan Musical?  You bet—you love that story and it will be a fun experience.

Oh, wait—you mean your Glee Club recital and you Peter Pan performances and your piano studio recital are all on the same week . . . !!??

What did we get ourselves into??!

Yes, all of Elliot’s various activities somehow managed to culminate in performances during the same week.  Fortunately, there was no ballet performance added to the list.  We basically lived in the Veteran’s Memorial Hall where both her Glee club recital and Peter Pan performances were held.  We also spent whatever time we could carve out in front of the Piano—along with several early mornings before school at her piano studio—practicing her pieces.  And I have to say she handled it incredibly well (better than her parents!)  She even got sad when her early morning duet practices were over . . .

And before you grandmothers and great grandmothers and other “loving worriers” out there worry—she also got a lot of free play time.  Perhaps not as much as usual, but still some.  And lesson learned: find out when performances are before committing to activities!

Below are photos and videos from Elliot’s big performance week.

piano recital
featuring her first public performance of a song using both hands as well as her first performance of a duet (with friend Gabriella Sebastiani.) : 

glee club recital
Elliot and her two friends Matea (center) and Jocelyn (right) by themselves on a large stage in a packed auditorium—fearless girls! : 

Peter Pan
Elliot played a Lost Girl, The Bluebird of Happiness and a Fairy Friend and was joined in this production by her friends Kate and Gabriella.  This is a memory she’ll always treasure—she thrived being back stage and bonding with the other kids : 

Dancing her heart out at the cast party:

Playing with her congratulatory balloon at Taste of the Himalayas after her final performance:

Thanksgiving // 2010

Meema and Dampa came down to the Bay Area and we all spent Thanksgiving in the city with Mary and Karson. We also got to see their new house in Oakland and their new dog for the first times!

Elliot is 5!

Elliot’s fifth birthday was wonderful—a weekend full of friends, Mimi, princess parties, ballet, presents, cakes, toys and more fun than can fit in photos and video form . . .

Black Butte Ranch 2010

We took one of our favorite road trips to one of our favorite places to be with some of our favorite people.  There are a few videos below and be sure to click through to the rest of the entry to see a bunch of photos!

Here’s Elliot’s directorial debut—a short film about people who play tennis and the girl who films them:

Elliot gave a recital of the piano pieces she’s working on and finished it with an original, improvisational performance:


date night // Paul McCartney

As much as we love spending almost every hour with Elliot, we do require the occasional “date night” without her.  My parents kindly subsidized one of these evenings when she bought Sarah, Mary, Karson and me tickets (great seats, too!) to see Paul McCartney.  We grew up loving Macca, so it was a thrill to finally see him live—and it was such a good show regardless!

Click through for a couple more photos:


we heart Sonoma’s Fourth of July

One of our favorite days of the year in Sonoma is the Fourth of July.  This year was one of the best: started off with a pre-parade breakfast at our friends off-the-Plaza apartment as we watched people toting lawn chairs and wearing red, white & blue stream by; enjoyed the hometown parade; swam and barbecued (Karson’s a grilling genius); rode bikes everywhere; partied with some of Elliot’s school friends (and their parents) and watched the best fireworks show this side of the Mississippi.

Here’s another video we released under Belle Creative celebrating Sonoma’s parade and Fourth of July festivities:

fun weekend

We just closed out a weekend which was a culmination of two major projects we were working to promote: the Heels & Wheels fashion show and the Huichica Music Festival.  Auntie Mato came up to attend both and we had a nice weekend with her including some breakfast at Artisan Bakery with Lauren & Penny.

May trip 2010

We took to the road again to visit our family in Washington.  First up was a stay at Meema + Dampa’s in Bellevue where we got to see Meema sing in the Kirkland Choral Ensemble at the beautiful Bastyr as well as celebrate Dampa’s 60th birthday at the beach on Alki.

We finished up the trip with a stay in Federal Way at Mimi + Pop’s house during which time we went to see Lauren star in Seussical the Musical (a life-changing experience for her wide-eyed, adoring little cousin.)

Below are a couple videos and be sure to click through for more photos!


Dixon May Fair

As young children, my Sister and I considered our tiny, rural town in northern California—Dixon—to be the center of the world.  We felt especially assured of this fact every May when the glorious May Fair would descend upon our burg.

From the kickoff pancake breakfast and May Day Parade to the inexhaustible rides on motorcycles and ponies to lying in the bunk bed at night listening to the sound of live music filter in through the curtains on the warm, night breeze, we were in love with every minute of the Dixon May Fair.  I think we looked forward to it almost as much as Christmas or our birthdays.

So it was a thrill, this May, to take Elliot to the fair with my Sister and some friends—reliving childhood through the wide eyes of my daughter.

Click through for some more photos . . .


Meema, Dampa, Auntie Mato & Uncle Karson visit

thank you world.

We spent a happy, cozy Thanksgiving watching the parade, watching football, watching the oven and—finally—having dinner with Auntie Mato & Uncle Karson.  Click through for photos . . .


Happy birthday to Elliot

Balloons and presents. Trains and goats. Friends and cake. Sweetness and chaos. All items a four-year-old’s birthday should have. Click through for photos . . .


flower girl


Strange as it may sound, I thought a lot about what my sister’s wedding day would be like.  I can confidently say, she exceeded all expectations—which is what you get when one designer marries another designer and throws a d.i.y. shindig.

More after the jump . . .


we heart Sonoma: Fourth of July


Even after eight years, the novelty of a Sonoma Fourth of July is as shiny and crisp as a the vintage red firetrucks in the parade.   We love: the buzz of people walking by with lawn chairs in hand on hot summer mornings, schizophrenic hometown bands, barbecue smoke encircling historic buildings, bicycles with streamers, recognizing nearly everyone in the parade, building up an appetite in the pool for grilled food, front yard firecrackers, glowing parties circling Vallejo’s field, blankets and bottle openers and glow necklaces in a dusky meadow and a fireworks show to use up a year’s worth of oohs and ahhs.

an “old timey” take on the parade:

(for a more surrealistic version of the video, go here)

Click through for photos . . .


Mike + Scott


We recently enjoyed a visit from my cousins Mike (first cousin, once removed) and Scott (second cousin) who were staying with us on their way up north from Pomona, where Scott just received a degree in Physics, to Renton (near Seattle), where their family resides. I enjoyed getting to know them a little better and having a chance to introduce them to Sarah and Elliot.

Click through for more . . .


to black butte and back : the video experience

Here’s a short video I put together using the footage from last weekend’s trip to Black Butte Ranch to spend the weekend with family and celebrate my grandparents’ 60th anniversary.  It also documents one of Sarah’s and my favorite drives: Sonoma to Central Oregon.

Click through for a video of the luncheon, for those who are interested . . .


to black butte and back


These volcanoes have been around for millions of years.  Elliot has been gracing our presence for three and a half.  For sixty years, my grandparents Grandmere + Poppa have been enjoying wedded bliss.  To celebrate all these things, we took another road trip—also north—but this time veering off at Mt. Shasta on old interstate 97 to central Oregon and Black Butte Ranch.

click through for more . . .


a weekend in the city


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.

click through for more photos from the weekend . . .


short: Elliot has a baby rabbit. Peter has a chipmunk.

Here’s a compendium of moments from last summer’s stay in Black Butte Ranch, OR with Grandmere and Poppa.  Elliot delighted in the bike rides, the various swimming pools and simply playing outside.  But, as you can see, she had a particular passion for distributing baby animals to everyone.

Click through for some photos Sarah took during the trip . . .

(So So the mouse loves to eat couscous while listening to Yo-Yo Ma and talking about Boutros Boutros-Ghali.)


heart sonoma: train town (or “it’s just a statue, Meema” or “my horse is named Clopster”)


Elliot loves feeding goats.  She loves riding on trains.  She loves going on the roller coaster and on the airplanes and on the carousel.  She loves Train Town.  So when my parents visited this last weekend, we decided to spend part of a day there (sans poor Dampa, who had caught the flu.)  In fact, we love it so much, too, that we might’ve gone there even without a tot in tow.

Click through to see more . . .


silver bells . . .

xmas sf 08 peter sarah elliot macys

this weekend, we took Elliot to see a production of Peter Pan by a children’s theater in Fort Mason with Mary & Karson.  Elliot loved it, but did spend a large amount of time covering her ears and burying her face in our shoulders due to the constant threat of a Captain Hook appearance.  Later, we went down to Union Square to see the ice skaters, tree, lights and window displays . . . and have a bit of chocolate.

Enjoy Auntie Mato’s pictures from the evening (thank you Mary)

(not shown in the photos: after carrying Elliot on my shoulders, I had to take off my shirt and rub my shoulders in the middle of the sidewalk)