This is the first magnolia tree in the Lake Merritt Gardens to bloom. The petals are deeper in color and the tree is much taller than the last. It is surrounded by other taller trees and it is a beautiful sight to see the bright magenta flowers through the branches.
January in Oakland means magnolia season so I have decided to photograph them with my good camera this year. This first tree is a small one near the Gardens of Lake Merritt (which could be also be considered Lakeside park) near the lawn bowling area. It is also the one that I will always remember a little two-year-old Emma saying “look mama, magnolahs!”
Things I like, a gift guide of sorts. Some of these I have, some are on my wish list.
Cardigan sweater, this one is from Everlane.
Heath coffee mug, with a bag of a favorite roasted beans.
Favorite cookies from Miette, the salty walnut shortbread are the best!
Wrist worms by Sandra Juto.
Lodge cast iron dutch oven, for baking bread and slow cooking beans in the oven, among other things.
Lately Emma has really been into mermaids and I think that this video that we watched might have had something to do with it. It is very beautiful and gets me excited to teach animation to Em when she is ready. I found this video on the blog of Kirsten Rickert, the creative director for the film. It was illustrated and animated by Michelle of Dancey Pants Disco.
As Emma Clover approaches her fourth birthday I am thinking about our past year together, and how she really has changed into a big kid. She took ballet and music classes and went on play dates. She started the using the potty and was quickly toilet trained. We took BART trains and buses all over and had grand adventures. She remained a lover of books and pretty much asked every moment for me to read to her. We tended to a garden at the Lake Merritt toddler gardens. It was super fun times!
As far as clothes go we still buy most pieces second hand. There are so many great children resale shops in Berkeley and Oakland, as well as thrift stores that also carry gently used children’s clothes. We shop at Ruby’s Garden, Silver Moon Kids, Out of the Closet, Savers and Grove Street Kids. I buy clothes that are functional, colorful and easy to wear. I have bought a few things new of course, like underpants and a bathing suit. Emma picks out dresses and leggings to wear pretty much every day.
Emma wore mary jane style sneakers with velcro from Keds and Keen, as well as her Saucony sneakers, Saltwater sandals and Crocs rainboots. We have had good luck with socks from the Gap and Stride Rite.
For potty training we had a Baby Bjorn potty around for a couple years that she could practice on. We bought a step stool for her to use to wash hands early on as well. This year we got a seat for the toilet and a travel seat and they have worked wonderfully. I put her travel seat and wipes as well as extra clothes in the Baggu bags to bring along in the stroller. I still have to pick her up to set her on the toilet. We both love when we go to the Oakland museum or Ruby’s Garden because they have step stools for the kiddos to use and she can be totally independent in the restroom.
Almost every day for the past year Clover has played with her Calico Critters. Last year around her birthday she received a playhouse for them and she loves it so much. She gets new animals every once in a while but every piece is well loved. She and I collected wooden toys to create a Little Bear collection this year too. She mastered puzzles and loves to create things with art supplies. This has also been the year of dress up, mostly in fancy, frilly dresses.
We have an extensive book collection and visit the libraries in Oakland and Berkeley regularly. Emma loves Frog and Toad, Little Bear and anything written by Richard Scarry. She loves Elsa Beskow books and has a large collection of Chi’s Sweet Home. We have started adding Magic School Bus books to our collection as we find them as well. She loves fairy tales and we are lucky to visit Fairyland to watch puppet shows and attend story time. They also have a great library in their reading room.
This year we bought a Bob stroller and I really, really wish that we would have bought it two years ago. We have had two different strollers in that time and they did not fit our needs at all. Now we have a Bob jogging stroller and it rocks. Since we do not have a car, a good stroller can make a big difference. ^_^