Tag Archives: essentials

only the essentials

As I dwell on our current circumstances and how we all exist now in what is basically a one room studio with a big closet we can access, I realize how few things we use. Its all here in this room: books on the shelf, photos on the wall, blankets and pillows, Emma’s dollhouse, our electronics and a functional kitchen. We have access to laundry down the hall and more clothes and shoes than we need. We have the best food we can buy. We have clean water. Outside is the lake, garden, libraries, museums. What else could we need?

When I read about people fleeing their homes and rushing to grab those precious itemsĀ that they do not want to lose I wonder what would I take? Photos, hard drives, friends’ artwork, momentos? They are spread all over our home. I keep the things I love and use all around me and would be floundering to collect them all if I had to evacuate in a hurry. I would want to take everything! It is an interesting thought exercise for me. At the very least I should better organize our important documents since our individual social security cards, birth certificates, and passports are kept in different locations in the closet!

Emma Clover, almost four!


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. ^_^

Here is more information about our first three years in stuff. And baby essentials for year one.