Last Saturday Paul and I woke up early and discovered that for once we had no plans for the weekend! With that realization, we quickly packed a daybag for Clara, hopped in the car and headed out for Napa Valley and Bodega Bay. The drive through gold and green vineyards heavy with black grapes was lovely. Many of the leaves on the vines are changing colors to rust and orange and plum and it was the perfect way to spend a fall day. I wish we had photos, but we just never pulled out the camera, and honestly, when you take as many photos as we do, sometimes it is nice to enjoy the moment and capture it only in your mind's eye. No photo we could have taken would have done the true thing justice anyway and besides, it gives us one more reason to do the drive again. We stopped for lunch at Gott's Roadside in St. Helena and had the absolute best chocolate shake I have ever tasted with our lunch. The onion rings and my chicken club sandwich were pretty insane too. After wandering through the shops on St. Helena's main thoroughfare, we drove out to Bodega Bay (where Alfred Hitchcock filmed "The Birds") before heading home. Bodega Bay was a big disappointment, and we won't do it again.
Then on Monday, my law school friend Dorothy flew out to stay with us for a few days with her 2 1/2 year old daughter Summer. I bullied Dorothy into taking Summer trick-or-treating with me and Clara and honestly, I had so much fun. Dorothy had left Summer's costume in Utah, so I just tied my coin skirt from Istanbul around her waist and draped two huge leis around her neck and we were off. I rediscovered how much I love trick-or-treating this year when we would walk up to a house decorated with orange lights, skeletons and glowing pumpkins and an elderly couple would answer the door together with jack-o-lantern grins on their faces.
Our neighborhood has a nice mix of older couples who have lived in these homes since they were built in the late 50's and young couples who have recently moved in. I realized how much joy these older neighbors who don't have kids in their homes anymore must feel to participate in Halloween and have the neighborhood kids ring their doorbells and engage in even the smallest of conversations with them. That kind of interaction doesn't happen nearly enough, I realized with chagrin while we were trick-or-treating, and I felt love for the two grandpas who live in the houses across the street from us and bring us plums from their yards in the summer and pick up our mail for us while we are on vacation. Anyway, enough about Halloween for this year. I can't wait for Clara to actually be able to toddle up to their doors next year and hold her own bucket. It will be darling, I just know it.
Finally, I have a few photos from the Monterey Bay Aquarium that I took yesterday. Dorothy and I drove down there with the girls and spent the afternoon looking at eels, hammerhead sharks, penguins, starfish, bluefin tuna, and jellyfish. Clara was entranced; absolutely fascinated. (Sorry for the quality of these photos - all I had was my iPhone.)
There is one huge room with a two-story clear wall running the entire length of the room called "The Open Ocean" where you watch schools of fish swim against a blue backdrop. There are no fake rocks or plants or anything else in the exhibit, just tons of water and fish and it really feels like you are 50 feet or more below the surface in the middle of a vast ocean. Clara just stared and stared as hammerheads and stingrays floated past us or schools of sardines glittered by en masse. I want to go again with Paul so he can see how much she loved it. The room was super dark though, so none of my photos turned out from that exhibit.
These three eels were super colorful and super gross. Eels creep me out.
|My little pearl.|
I even helped Clara touch her first starfish.
See the leopard shark swimming toward Dorothy's head? There were loads of them in this exhibit called "The Kelp Forest".
So, yeah, lots has been going on and we have been having fun times around here.
One last thing: November is National Adoption Month! You know how important adoption is around here, so we can't let it pass without mentioning how great the world of adoption is. We hope to have some really good adoption-related posts for you this month, so stay tuned and if anyone out there has any questions about adoption in general, our adoption plans for the future, or Clara's adoption, now is the time to leave a comment and we will see what we can do to answer them.