A couple of weeks ago, on a Friday afternoon, Clover and I were excited to head down to San Francisco in honor of Mary's birthday weekend! Anne, with lil' Marianne in tow, had arrived earlier that morning to stay for the weekend. Needless to say, I was stoked to get some play time with these two awesome ladies and for our own little ladies to as well.
We spent the late afternoon lounging in Mary's amazing sunroom, chatting and watching our little ones get reacquainted. While this was Mary and Anne's first time meeting in person, I had had the pleasure of hanging out with each of them on more than one occasion before and was glad to be seeing them again.
Mary, who is quite awesome in the kitchen, as Anne mentioned in her post, fed us well with yummy vegetarian enchiladas (I want that recipe Mary!) and nourishing chicken soup for the littles, before we all headed out into the night to battle our way into the Mission district for the Dia De Los Muertos festivities!
I say battle because of course thousands of people descending upon a common location in San Francisco, the most frustrating city to park in as it is, does not make for a smooth parking experience. Well, unless you are Mary's partner Jeff, apparently ;) Unfortunately, we had to take two cars and weren't all so lucky.
Though, as you can see from the photo above, our group finally did make it out onto the streets, at which point the battle shifted to making our way through crowds with wee ones at bedtime. While not ideal, we persevered!
We arrived at The Festival of Alters and took in the Letters to the Dead where note cards, pens, and clothespins were available.
Clover made use of them to leave a little love note to Guinness, our dearly departed kitty.
There were so many beautiful and lovingly created alters to admire. It was tough with crowds gathered 'round each and tired babes to motivate or carry, to truly appreciate the meaning and uniqueness of each, but we did our best to soak in their beauty.
One of several pools of floating flowers and candles. I took a moment to light one for my dad.
After making our way through the alters, we reconvened in preparation for the treck back to the cars.
Clover and Fern got a kick out of pointing out all the "scary" costumed folks to each other, though they seemed much more delighted by their presence than scared.
Shall we take a moment to appreciate Mary's gorgeous outfit, gunne, red velvet cape, marigolds, killer boots... I say, we shall :)
While I barely had time to reach for my camera, let alone try to properly frame a shot, I couldn't resist this juxtaposition of robed mother Marys!
For the final block or so, we caught up with the tail end of the procession winding its way through the streets. With arms ready to fall off from kid carrying. We would all sleep well that night.
Clover and I awoke bright and early the next morning in Mary's dream of an old timey bohemian dressing room which I kept meaning to photograph but never got around to. Luckily, Anne did.
Wandering down the hallway, to see if others had yet emerged, we stopped to admire the view of the sunrise lighting up the clouds over the city. I took the photo through a handmade glass window hanging... talk about perfect placement.
Morning coffee in the sunroom... pink morning light, plants, books, and playthings a'plenty. Clover and Fern filling their wee bellies with "hot winks" :)
With the kids growing and changing in leaps and bounds at these young ages, it's a surprise as to what the new dynamic will be when we get together after months between visits. With Clover and Fern having recently turned five and three, they seem to have hit a sweet spot in their age gap and were total bff's this time around :)
"beautiful food/ beautiful friends/ we give thanks" read another perfectly placed glass wall hanging in the kitchen.
Mary whipped up a batch of melty chocolate chip muffins. Winging it from scratch without all the called for ingredients, they turned out amazing. Mary the kitchen witch does it again!
Want to know what's even better than fresh from the oven melty chocolate chip muffins? Fresh from the oven melty chocolate chip muffins slathered in butter, that's what. Yeah, these kiddos were stoked. As was I!
Marianne may very well be the world's most perfectly mellow baby, though even she is not above a game of let's see how many alphabet magnets I can throw onto the floor before mom puts a stop to it. In fact, I think it might even be her favorite game. I was also secretly relieved to learn that she steals wallets every chance she gets ;)
It turned out to be a gorgeous day, unseasonably warm. Later that morning we walked the girls down to an idyllic little nearby park, set atop a hill and bordering a community garden, the sun was shining and we had the entire playground to ourselves.
By the way, how cute do both ladies look in these outfits? I'm patting myself on the back for uniting that matching handmade wrap skirt and vest ensemble (Goodwill find) with Mary who is clearly its rightful owner and yes, that is an applique roadrunner on the skirt and yes, both the vest and skirt are reversible. It looked even cuter on her than I had imagined it might!
It was so warm that Clover decided she needed to lose the long-sleeved dress she was wearing over her jeans. Of course, Fern then had to lose her top as well, only she had already lost her bottoms after they got wet on the slide. Next thing we knew...
Details, details... Mary has some really beautiful tattoos and I so love her Milla-made hair feather (hint hint, Milla ;)
After coaxing Clover and Fern back into their dresses, we wandered over by the adjacent community garden.
I did manage to get Clover to stop frolicking long enough to snap the one and only shot of the three of us together...
Heading back to Mary's house for a quick pit stop before loading the girls into the wagon for a walk to a nearby cafe for lunch.
The girls were pretty stinkin' cute all squished into the wagon together. We took turns pulling and while one mama pulled, you can bet the other two were snappin' pictures :)
After navigating our way through coffees and lunch in a crowded cafe with yummy food and slightly unruly children, it was back into the wagon and off to the nearest thrift store, of course! After some minor lunch shenanigans we were a bit hesitant to take the girls shopping, but decided to give it a go anyway.
It ended up working out really well actually, with Marianne being her usual mellow self and hanging with mama, Clover and Fern teamed up and each grabbed a shopping basket to start filling with the most random of things as they flitted about the shop. Luckily the shop was pretty small so they were fairly easy to keep track of as we scoured the racks for ourselves and each other. We were even able to concentrate enough while shopping to all ended up with something, success!
Clover and Fern each got to choose one item from their baskets to take home. Clover's find of the day was a small stuffed animal version of Punxsutawney Phil... Groundhog Day! Though she was convinced he was a beaver.
Here's Fern arriving home with her prized find of the day, a little bucket with heart shaped holes, perfect for foraging adventures with mom. Did you know that young Fern is a "bucket connoisseur"?
Marianne was asleep in Anne's arms by the time we made it back to Mary's. What a little sweetheart.
Clover and I stayed and hung out late into the afternoon, before heading back up to Santa Rosa, it being Lucas' birthday the next day.
It was such a treat spending time with Mary and Anne and their girls. Chatting as best we could between mama distractions. The three of us being self-proclaimed introverts/quiet types, made for plenty of quiet moments, and while I do wish I was better at striking up meaningful conversation, I did feel a kinship with them because of it, a sense of being with my people. Haha. I hope they did too.
I admire so many things about each of them, both as mamas and as individuals. I was happy for the chance to squeeze in some real life hangout time and definitely look forward to more chances in the future :)
If only Elizabeth, whose travel plans had to change at the last minute, could have been there as planned! I was so looking forward to meeting her, especially after having received such an amazing bioregional swap package from her earlier that week...
Treasures from Ireland, with wonderful items to delight all the senses: textures, colors, aromas, and flavors. Cute and cozy things to wear, an ADORABLE soft calico corduroy dress handed down from Elizabeth's daughter for Clover and a little fair-isle cardigan complete with elbow pads for me. This package calls up images of Fiona from The Secret of Roan Inish for me, which is a very good thing :)
That green jar
is was :) full of super tasty homemade pesto.
If you've seen Elizabeth's beautiful paintings, you already know that she has a dreamy way with color and I love how her cheerful color sense found its way in amongst all the earthy goodness.
Especially in the form of this painting, which I LOVE. I had so been hoping for one!
I love it even more after reading her description of the inspiration behind it:
"I was reading Roger Deakin's book wild wood, when I came across this beautiful part where he described sticking his out of his tent one Spring morning, in the the middle of a forest. He was laying on his back looking up at the trees. He described it as looking up the "skirts of trees". I loved the Idea, and this was my first attempt to describe that."
Thank you so much Elizabeth for your thoughtful creativity! This package was such a joy to receive. With yours now finally on its way, I'm thankful to have the chance to connect with you in this wonderful way. Getting to know each other by sharing bits of home. Thanks also to Mary for her brilliant swap idea and for hosting each year :)
Also in the spirit of giving thanks, from written posts and comments, to package exchanges, to in person meet-ups, I'm so thankful for all the ways in which this little corner of cyberspace allows me to forge connections with so many of you lovely people! THANK YOU for reading, whether you make your presence known or not, I do so appreciate it :)