Funny thing. I wished Hither & Thither a happy sixth birthday last year, but I got ahead of myself somehow—a few years back, in fact! Someone finally corrected me. This year marks six years. The first post was a picture-less entry written by Aron, on January 19, 2009.
What I didn’t get wrong is that every year on here is worth celebrating. And it never ceases to surprise me—even as its demands ebb and flow—how much of a role Hither & Thither plays in my life now. I’m so grateful for all of the readers whom it engages—those who have come along since the start (when Aron and I were writing it together in New York) and those who just recently started reading. For me, it’s so rewarding to have such a supportive space in which to grow as a writer and a photographer, and to build a career of my own vision. But of course it’s often the conversations, the friendships made, the back & forth, that’s best of all.
Thank you, as ever, for reading. With a trademark lack of brevity, I’ve compiled a look back at this year’s highlights. I so enjoyed looking back through some of my favorite posts again; I hope you will enjoy this, too:
I was very pregnant in January, and the nearing birth of our daughter occupied a lot of my thoughts. I shared a printable packing list for Labor & Delivery at the hospital, talked tips for introducing your second child to your first, went on a no-kids weekend trip in Tahoe with Aron, and shared photos from my beautiful baby shower. I also wrapped up a six-month campaign with Old Navy, talking about my workout essentials, looked back at the time I did a juice cleanse, and got my editorial calendar under control (I still use this).
February brought us Skyler, our precious baby girl. And the post I wrote about her first week of life is perhaps my favorite of all to look back on. I can’t believe that was nearly a year ago. While I got to know her (taking her on a few fun outings, like to Shed in Healdsburg, with Aron), Rachael helped out by contributing some wonderful guest posts for the “Infancy. Again.” series. I also updated the Yucatan travelogue (with cave diving in Tulum!), mastered Marinara sauce, and talked about our experience with getting our toddler onto a balance bike.
In March, I shared photos of nearby Almond orchards in full bloom (such an incredibly pretty sight), and got inspired to make maple-almond butter at home. I pulled out my collection of parenting books and reacquainted myself with the sleep schedules and feeding patterns of a newborn (boy was Skyler ever pickier than Hudson was), caught up on the latest articles in parenting, and taught myself to make homemade Oreo filling (the latter thing probably deeply related to the first two). I worked with Target Baby on a series of posts, and I still love looking back at the first one: 10 Things that make motherhood sweeter at home. So happy we were prompted to stop and take more pictures of me and Skyler together. It’s actually interesting to me to see how many of my favorite posts were funded this year. I think it’s a good thing, ultimately!
April was beautiful here, and we went on lots of walks through the UC Davis arboretum and revisited our picnic-making skills for Central Park picnics on Wednesday nights. (Here’s a cheat sheet to really great picnic sandwiches.) We worked with a friend on Skyler’s birth announcements; I tested my DIY skill and made a garland of Olive branches for a dinner party; I updated the travelogue for Roatan (an under-appreciated Caribbean destination with fantastic diving); and I wrote about my thoughts on Hudson’s emerging appreciation of superheroes. I also gave a “2 Kids, 2 Months in” update about life with two kids. But perhaps the most notable—definitely in terms of time spent—were the home tour posts that I ran this month (our living and dining rooms, the backyard, our bedroom & the kids’ bedrooms, and the office) after our house was featured with an interview on A Cup of Jo. It was a literal juggling act to take those photos with an 8-week-old hanging (sometimes literally) along.
May is always packed with celebrations. Both of my parents have birthdays, and Aron and I celebrate our wedding anniversary. But Mother’s Day weekend was my favorite of all, and I shared photos on here. One of the highlights was lunch at Redd, in Napa—the same place we’d gone when I was pregnant with Hudson. I wrote about using a remote rather than an extended arm for family photos, about our experience with a mini crib, and about what I always pack in a carry-on. We talked about the place you should eat when visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium, about my mother-in-law’s blackberries, and I shared details about a special baby gift one can make for a friend.
By June, we were ready to take Skyler out on the road, and I wrote about our family trip to DisneyWorld in Orlando. (Wow, that feels like ages ago!) At the same time, I revisited the idea of what makes for a good babymoon (ah, simpler times). I confessed that I’ve put a lot of thought into dry shampoos, shared some ideas for what to get dads on Father’s Day, and made lots of versions of this squash salad. By the end of the month, we left on our Pacific Northwest road trip between Seattle, Wenatchee, and Portland (which I actually wrote about in July).
July is one of my favorite months. We usually stay close to home to celebrate the Fourth of July and Hudson’s birthday close to home. This year’s 4th of July was made even more fun by getting to watch Hudson ride a “big boy” pedal bike in the bike parade. His 3rd birthday party, a few weeks later, was full of cute kiddos and creepy crawlers. Aron and I, meanwhile, sneaked out for a date on the Napa Wine Train, and spent some time updating the laundry room (which was spurred by my becoming party of the Target Made-to-Matter blogger project).
August brought details of our trip to Los Angeles (the west side)—including a favorite stop at Blue Plate Oysterette. Skyler turned 6 months old (and started teething in earnest) and Hudson was a champ when it came to potty training. Aron and I took advantage of the long, warm evenings and rode our bikes around Davis. I started working with a contributor for the first time—Shoko Wanger—and, with her help, started two new series: 5 Things (an ongoing travel series) and The Work We Do (a series about the career paths of various creatives). At the end of the month, we left for Italy!
September started with our being in Italy a few more weeks, and while I shared pictures on Instagram, I waited until we got back to write a full travelogue. In the meantime, I talked about what I carried in my diaper bag while we were traveling, and shared details of an amazing espresso break in Rome. All that pizza and pasta had me inspired to make more salads. I worked with MasterCard on their OneMoreDay campaign and talked about making travel a part of one’s life. And I also got to go back to New York for a day, where I checked out the third portion of the High Line and attended an incredible Austrian dinner.
By October, I had finished editing all of those Italy photos and shared three travelogue entries: Rome, Tuscany, and Positano. I also shared some thoughts on traveling with kids, lest all the smiles and glamorous photos make one forget that it can be very unglamorous a lot of the time. I interviewed my friend about a trend in OB/PreNatal Care called Centering, took notes on how to really embrace fall at the Full Belly Farm Hoes Down Festival (even as it was scorching hot that day), discovered how great audio books are in the car for kids, and celebrated Halloween! This year, we were all characters from Peter Pan.
November brought a mini series on preschoolers, with picks for best books, best toys, and best creative gifts for preschoolers. I shared my favorite (mess-free) way to de-seed a Pomegranate (which happens to be a good activity for preschoolers, if we’re on that subject). We flew to Maui and stayed at the Grand Wailea, so I came up with five activities using only Cheerios and a few other items to keeps kids occupied on a long flight. Skyler turned 9 months old and had a blast crawling around the observation tower at the DeYoung museum in San Francisco. We checked out the Renegade Craft fair and shared some favorite picks from the event. I got a tutorial in (cheating at) latte art. Hudson ran in his first race—the Turkey trot. And, of course, we celebrated (Skyler’s first) Thanksgiving!
December was packed with fun, family activities. Aron and I had sat down for lunch one day without the kids and planned out 25 days worth of activities for an advent calendar. (Like having a S’mores party and making homemade peppermint marshmallows!) I shared many of these in the holiday round-up posts: part one, and part two. One of my favorite outings was actually non-holiday specific: we went to Tilden Park to ride the beautiful steam train and I shared photos in a round-up of ideas for what to do with kids in Berkeley, California. Aron and I returned to the Bay on another occasion to visit the Remodelista Market at the Heath factory. And I talked about long walks one might do, if (somewhat) inspired by Cheryl Strayed’s story of walking the Pacific Crest Trail. I also shared favorite tips for making a cheese board, and had a week of gift guides (for her, for him, for the (traveling) kiddo, and for everyone else)—including some thoughts on a gift of experience, in this case visiting some of our country’s national parks.
It was a fantastic year, both on here and at home. In fact, simply by virtue of it being the year that brought us Skyler, it will forever be one for the books.
Thank you so much for reading along and so often engaging with the content on Hither & Thither. I really enjoy and appreciate it.[All photos ours (taken by me or Aron) except that of the Cenote Ik-Kil]