Wednesday, October 1, 2014

happy birthday mom!

Today marks the birthday of my fabulous mother.

While she's my biggest blog fan, she isn't so into the sappy ones around these parts so I won't write much.  

opening the ceremony at our wedding

showing everyone how it's done at rancho la puerta

dinner out in san francisco on one of her many visits to 
come hang and help out with little samantha

I'll only wish a happiest of birthdays to the best mom a girl could ask for.  


Monday, September 29, 2014

sat night

This past Saturday night I left Stefan home with little Samantha to head up to sunny Healdsburg for a surprise 30th birthday party for the lovely Sarah Jenks.  While both Stefan and Samantha were invited to the soiree, we decided to spare Samantha the 2ish hour drive up and not subject the party guests to the distraction of a baby (no matter how adorable :).  Stefan sacrificed himself to stay home with his little lady while I got a night of luxury up in wine country.

For the big 3-0, Sarah's sweet (and sneaky!) husband had arranged for a private outdoor dinner among the grape vines at Kelley & Young Wines.  Not only did the guest list include 15 of her closest friends, her family also all flew in from out of town to surprise her.

We all gathered at the gorgeous Kelley & Young property around 5pm.

Every detail of the set-up was perfect, from the gorgeous setting to the lovely tablescape to the beautiful blooms.

While we waited for the guest of honor to arrive, we sipped on Sauvignon Blanc and munched on a spread of savory snacks, all prepared by the fabulous Claudine Dagit of Stilettos & Spice.

When Sarah finally arrived, she could NOT have been more surprised.  She immediately sprinted over to give everyone a big hug.

While I was enjoying this succulent menu:

Stefan was enjoying this one:

And while I was slowly dining on heirloom tomatoes,

fresh melon with Serrano ham,

tender flank steak with crispy potatoes, and - best of all - flourless chocolate cake with freshly whipped cream,

Stefan was slaving away at home - doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen, all while watching little Samantha. 

Totally and completely fair. :)

As much fun as I had getting spoiled up in Healdsburg, I couldn't wait to get back to my two favorite people.
(And my very clean kitchen.)


Friday, September 26, 2014

2 months!

Little Samantha is two months old today!

It's my birthday today?

I can't believe this crazy, unreal day was two whole months ago!

Right after she was born, Stefan asked the head nurse 
in the nursery if he could take his shirt off to do skin-to-skin 
with our new little babe, to which she replied: 
"Absolutely not."
He kept his shirt on but couldn't put his new little girl down!

I know they say the days are long and the years are short, but my goodness have the days felt SHORT!  Didn't we just bring her home yesterday?  I packed Samantha's newborn clothes away the other day (she's in solid 0-3 month territory now) and was feeling all sorts of nostalgia (and I am totally NOT that kind of girl).  I know it's soooo cliche but time seems to just be evaporating.  

A look back at 1 month.

Some of Samantha's favorites at 2 months include...

Checking out her elephant mobile.

Absolutely fascinated.

Watching the Packers play.

Go pack go!

Hanging out in her Ferrari of baby chairs.

The Mamaroo.

Sleeping on dad.

In his special chair.
With her special octopus toy.
(Which my mom really, really loves :)

Over-the-knees superwoman position.

Thanks to baby-miracle-worker Randy!

Running errands with mom.

Dancing to some rocking German tunes.


And best of all: smiling!!! 

Our happy, little Princess Leia - we can't get enough.


Thursday, September 25, 2014


You may remember that I spent of good chunk of last summer in Switzerland learning German.  My time there was well worth it and not just because I got lots of time with Stefan's family and got to do some traveling, but also because by the end of the month I could actually carry a conversation.

Walking the dog with Stefan's mom:

In Berlin with our good German friends Frank and Marlene:

But when I touched back down in the States, my German speaking became - well - non-existent.  I had the best of intentions, but whenever Stefan and I would practice, the conversation would ultimately deteriorate into English.  While I could talk about what I ate or said or did, I couldn't discuss anything of depth, and when you have limited time to conversate each evening, depth is of the essence.

So when Stefan's dad and Edith were here, I expected us to speak mostly English and/or for me to not participate all that much in the conversation.  But surprisingly to everyone (most of all to me!), my German came back fairly easily.  I quickly remembered key words and phrases and was able to partake in conversation (albeit basic and slooooow conversation) without issue.  (Particularly after a glass or two of wine.)

But while my high German was passable, Swiss German (an extremely heavy dialect of German not understandable to high German speakers and the actual language spoken by Stefan's family when they aren't accommodating me) was another beast altogether.  While they mostly spoke high German around me, Swiss German naturally entered the conversation given that it's their true native tongue.  

My ultimate end goal is this secret language.  We're raising Samantha to speak English, Swiss German and high German.  My biggest fear is that her and her dad will be able to talk in Swiss code without me understanding: i.e., "Samantha - your mother's cooking tastes like dog poo tonight, doesn't it?"  "Yes daddy - I could not agree more.  Let's order pizza when she goes to sleep at 8pm."
So naturally I tried to pick up on as much of this special language as possible.

Throughout the weekend, particularly on our hike on Sunday, I heard one particular Swiss German expression used over and over.

I listened carefully for it and noticed it being used in all sorts of different situations.  I was sure I had struck Swiss German gold!  If I could learn this key phrase, I could simply begin sprinkling it into my high German and before you knew it, I'd be a legit Swiss German Heidi-li. 

That night, as we sat down to takeout from the very best Thai spot (that happens to be right around the corner in our new hood)...

...I decided to ask about this golden phrase.

As soon as there was a lull in conversation, I went for it:
"Was ist 'oberhohl'?"
I eagerly awaited glowing compliments on how wonderful I was for learning such a key Swiss phrase.  "KK, du bist so intelligent!  Du bist so perfekt mit deine Schweizerdeutsche!" I expected them to tell me.

Instead I got dead silence.
And then uproarious laughter.
"What is it?" I begged, mortified by a clearly nicht so gut mistake.
More un-containable cackling.
"Is that not a word?" I pleaded.
"No - hahahahahhahaa - it's - hahahahahaha - a - hahaha - word," Stefan managed.
"Tell me!" I implored.
"It means 'unbelievably stupid' like 'the stupidest of stupid'.  Where did you learn that?  Did my brother teach you that?" Stefan continued as his dad and Edith continued to appear to be dying from their never-ending laughter.
"You all have been saying it all day long." I offered sheepishly.

They all looked at each other.
"Us?  We have been saying this word??" Stefan's dad asked as he looked at his wife and son.  They all wondered who had been the one to toss around this not-very-nice expression for my Swiss-German virgin ears to hear.

Eventually, they all calmed down from their laughter, we finished our dinner, and Edith and Urs headed back to their hotel.
Later that night as Stefan was changing Samantha's diaper, I heard him say my not-so-golden phrase.
"THERE!  That's it.  Did you just call our daughter the stupidest of stupid??" I asked him appalled.
"Lueg emol!  Not oberhohl." He replied as he began laughing again and went to text his dad and Edith the debunked mystery of my new word.  "It means 'have a look here' or 'look at that'!"


Well lueg emol, I guess I may be a tad bit oberhohl myself. :)


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

a city hike

Sunday AM (post our 7+ course dinner) we opted to take Samantha for her very first hike.  Luckily, San Francisco is home to all sorts of scenic trails allowing you to enjoy nature's finest without needing to leave the city.  Stefan selected one of his fav marathon training routes (featuring stellar views of the Golden Gate) to show our special Swiss guests what our fine city has to offer.

We started on an old bunker right near the Golden Gate's city-side.

While the wind off the Pacific was chilly, Samantha was one happy little baby tucked away in her Solly wrap.

Stefan led us along the (very steep!) trail lining the Pacific.

While this trail was one I used to frequent on many-a-run pre-pregnancy, having not exercised whatsoever in 7 weeks thanks to my post-C-section rules, my legs were really feeling it.

But with good conversation and sensational views making the time pass by all too quickly, it wasn't long before the Golden Gate was far in the distance.

Our hike ended at the Cliff House where we refueled on their eggs and to-die-for signature popovers with butter and strawberry preserves.  Well-worth the tough trail!

We had such a wonderful, jam-packed weekend of fun with these two, it was very hard to see them go!

Bis bald Nonno and Edith!


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

persimmons, husk cherries + cornmeal toast

On Saturday, we made a trip to the Ferry Building Farmer's Market.  We used to frequent this hot spot regularly, but with the move and work schedules and Samantha, it had been ages since we'd pay it a visit.  While I'd like to say my motivation in going there was completely altruistic (wanting to show our guests a San Francisco staple), it was actually quite selfish: with persimmon season starting any day now, I was hoping I might be able to nab some of these prized jewels.

Fortunately, I was in luck.

While the market didn't have the plethora of varieties I was hoping for, there was one stand that was rocking some coveted first-of-the-season Hachiyas.  I obviously couldn't leave without some.  

In addition to the persimmons and some super sweet summer peaches, we got another farmer's market favorite of mine: Juju Bes.

While Nonno and I have similar tastes in most things (strawberry jam by the spoonful, mushrooms with just about anything, and arriving early to all things), he was NOT a fan of these little treats.

We I did lots of sampling of all things.  Our very polite Swiss guests opted to mostly just look rather take advantage of the free food.  

I, on the other hand, nabbed every giveaway I could get my hands on, which equated to about 2.5 times a normal person's lunch.

Free samples?
Yes please!

We also stumbled upon a fruit I had never seen before:

husk or ground cherries

Thinking this would be the first and last time I saw these weird-looking snacks, I obviously opted to sample.  They did not disappoint.

Later that night we took Edith and Urs out to Michelin-starred restaurant Sons & Daughters as a 60th birthday present to Stefan's dad.  We did the restaurant's seven-course dinner with wine pairings, and lo and behold, not one but two courses featured these exact same mystery fruits!  We had a heirloom tomato soup with basil creme and ground cherries to start and then candied versions of the special fruit as an extra finale post final course.

In addition to our 7 courses, we got three amazing bread courses: a mini caraway rye loaf, handmade pretzel rolls, and - my personal favorite - cornmeal toast:

We had such a wonderful time wining and dining and chatting, before we knew it, it was midnight!  Always the sign of a fabulous evening.

Tune back in tomorrow for how we worked off our very decadent Saturday night!