Boo at the Zoo

At 16 months old, this year won’t even rank in Victoria’s most memorable Halloweens; nevertheless I was excited to dress her up and do a few Halloweeney activities. Yesterday we went to the SF Zoo’s “Boo at the Zoo” and had a lovely time. The petting zoo was probably the highlight.

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She also enjoyed seeing prairie dogs, red pandas, lemurs, and meerkats. She was a champ and put up with the costume after I cruelly ignored her initial pleas of “off!”, but after I got my fill of cute photos I relented. She was into the idea of being a cat, but not so much into the idea of a tutu.

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Without yards of tulle to trip over, she also got to enjoy the toddler playground.

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A fun, exhausting afternoon for both of us.

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Alameda

We spent the morning and early afternoon on the island of Alameda. First, Victoria experienced her first beach.

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Her review: sand does not stay in your hands when you pick it up, which is confounding at first, but ultimately fascinating. It is also not good to eat, but it is fun to drop handfuls of it onto mom’s pants.

I’ve been doing some freelance work with a company based in Alameda, so we went to visit their offices. Working remotely from Alaska, I had never been there in person before, or ever met many of the people whom I’ve worked with face to face. After introductions, they took us to lunch at Rock Wall Winery, where I had a delicious pulled pork sandwich and an even deliciouser glass of Zinfandel. We sat outside facing an amazing view of San Francisco, and Victoria slept peacefully in her car seat, probably dreaming up many more uses for sand.

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Flight

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I haven’t been able to keep up with my Project 365 over the last week or so. First, I’m hurtling through each day trying to both work and work on moving. My head is constantly spinning. Second, there is too much emotion. The gravity of these changes seems too immense to allow for a daily cute picture with funny caption. It would be disingenuous to the situation, but I don’t have time for a deep and lengthy blog entry every day, nor am I sure what those pictures-a-day would even look like. So I’ve been shirking.

I also realize that documenting a major change like this will probably be more valuable for me to look back on than the more random images that I post day to day. So I do want to keep up the Project.

I’m on my way to San Francisco for a week-plus to find an apartment. When I say San Francisco, I actually mean anywhere that ISN’T San Francisco. I’d love to live in the City, but housing wasn’t affordable when I was there before, and it’s exploded since I left. So I’ll be hoping for Oakland, happy with Alameda, and open to suburban possibilities with longer commutes. At the moment I’m sitting in the Seattle airport, running on about 4 hours of sleep, and hoping that this not-so-great cup of coffee will either kick in or else completely fail so I can sleep on my next flight.

I’m worried. Worried about leaving Seth and Vic behind, and worried about how much I’m going to miss them. Worried about pumping and breastfeeding and the subconscious habit I’ve developed of grabbing my boobs to see how full they are. Gotta curb that one. I’m worried about finding a good apartment in a good place that’s ideal for the whole family. I’m worried about so many things about the move in general, but I’m making myself focus on the immediate worries of this trip. And then there’s the job, which I am so incredibly excited for, but I know will be a challenge. And after 2.5 years working from home, interacting with people primarily through chat, will I have difficulty reintegrating into the office environment?

Lots of thoughts. Too many for my medium-sized head. How do I take a meaningful daily picture to reflect it all?

Tooth

Vic’s been exhibiting teething signs since she was three months old. There was even a rough patch on the roof of her mouth around 6 months and we were sure a tooth was breaking through. Lots of sound, little fury. So when she started sleeping very poorly for a stretch of time last week, the last thing we thought of was teething. It doesn’t help that she won’t show us her mouth, and really hates it when you try to coerce her into anything. At some point I opened my mouth and she excitedly reached in to touch my teeth, while at the same time going a little gape-jawed, allowing me to reach in and feel around. Sure enough, the first tooth has broken through, with the second one well on the way! In this picture, Seth demonstrates the tooth-checking procedure.

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Back Outside

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The past year has been a time of transition. Around the same time that we welcomed baby Victoria into our lives, Seth realized that his career path in IT was not something that he could easily realize here in Alaska. More importantly, he realized that he didn’t want to. Much discussion and soul-searching has taken him on a new path. A path that I think will be more than fulfilling, but will also require schooling.

I have been working remotely, at home, not infrequently in my pajamas. Sounds great, sure, but it has also been isolating. I left a career that meant a lot to me, and friends that meant even more.

I have been offered an excellent job back in San Francisco. This will give me the ability to support our family while Seth completes his schooling. We can’t say no. It’s a life-changing decision. We leave behind our loved ones for a chance at something new – something that will hopefully benefit Victoria as much as it does her parents. As excited as I am to return to the place that felt like home to me for so many years, I ache to leave the family that has become mine.

Bottom of Her Heart

On Valentine’s Day a couple of weeks ago, a very special present was awaiting Seth and I in Victoria’s cubby at daycare. She had made us her very first Valentine!

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As I read the front of the card, I could tell that all of the nursery room teachers were holding in their giggles. Then I opened the card.

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That’s right, a butt print of my daughter. Am I a bad mom for thinking this isn’t so cute as much as it’s just… weird? At least will have something to embarrass her with that’s a little more unique than boring old naked baby photos.