Happy six years, Hither & Thither!

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It’s been a fantastic year. I can’t believe this past Sunday marked six years of blogging on Hither & Thither. It continues to inspire me—owing so much to the feedback and comraderie I get from readers, but also thanks to the joy of having an outlet to practice skills like writing and photography and to the joy of documenting and sharing personal milestones. I would have never expected this to become the rewarding work that it has, when Aron and I first started building the space together on that cold January day. (He wrote the first post! With no photos!)

I really enjoyed looking back over highlights last year, at five years, and hoped you might again, too. (Warning: it’s a long one!) …


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In January, having gotten a bit more settled in our new home, I shared some photos of our bedroom and family room, and talked about visiting a couple of my favorite design stores in Los Angeles. I discovered the best (easiest) way to cook perfect, soft-boiled eggs and started hatching a plan for a truffle farm. I was happy to contribute to Wayfare Magazine and make some picks for Luvocracy in To & From, and I had a chance to read Peter Rabbit to kids at a babyGap event. As a family, we traveled to Southern California and shared travel details from Palm Springs, Joshua Tree, and the Aquarium of the Pacific. And we tried to give Aron a break while he recovered from emergency back surgery.

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February brought us a new (very furry) member of the family. We shared tips we gleaned for visiting Disneyland with a toddler, after having a wonderful time with Hudson—even on busy, President’s day weekend. Feeling wanderlust for further flung destinations had me revisiting a road trip through Vermont and a (pre-kid) summer holiday in Corsica. I also fielded some awesome travel questions from you, here. (I still hope to spend more time posting my answers to many of these!) We talked wedding shoes and ideal summer sandals for the closet; and quick ikea chair hacks for the office. On the food & drink front, I found an easy way to bring Momofuku Milk Bar to California, choose a favorite Port, and we discovered a new favorite winery in Sonoma.

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In March, we got out and explored local treasures: Aron and I spent a weekend in San Francisco (just the two of us!) and we discovered how lovely the Capay Valley is when it fills with Almond Blossoms. And we welcomed spring with a Crawfish Boil, a Blood Orange Salad, and Pimm’s Cups (oh, and a local tradition: Pig Day). I went back to bangs (a perennial dilemma), and shared my haircut inspiration. We talked about amazing beaches in Brazil. And we revisited the subject of hearing protection for kids.

 

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In April, I talked a bit about making new friends (it was around this time that I started feeling I’d really found some great new friends in our home town); going on date nights; and funny, family rituals—like screaming in tunnels. Hudson and I joined Aron on a business trip to nearby Oakland and made friends with the sheep at Berkeley’s Little Farm; and we tested some food truck fare at the Alameda Flea. I discovered that 2-year-olds are hilarious when hunting for Easter Eggs; and decided that I need a Bicycle Bar Cart come summer. (Perhaps I should have added it to this Mother’s Day Gift list, because I’m still waiting.) Also highlights? Discovering a new way to eat my favorite vegetable (asparagus), and learning how to style Brogues (aka Oxfords) in the spring.

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I took that advice and, in May, wore my Brogues all over Paris! We had a lovely if somewhat different sort of trip there, than on past visits, traveling with a toddler. Throughout that week away, I patted myself on the back for what felt like a major accomplishment: this was the month that I finally posted an extended travelogue of our trip to Bali (8 posts in all)! It actually was a month or so later that I wrote about Paris (parts one and two). We talked a lot about food: from frozen bananas in celebration of Arrested Development, to homemade Magic Shell anytime you need a boost; from Micheladas for Cinco de Mayo to half-birthday cakes and local strawberries at farms just minutes from our home. We picked blackberries with Hudson’s grandma, and I enjoyed a wonderful Mother’s Day and wedding anniversary weekend. But we also had our first visit to the hospital with Hudson since he was born—which, fortunately, passed quickly.

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By June, it felt like summer had arrived here (a surprise after our five years in New York) and we spent Father’s Day picking Apricots by a creek and, soon after, spent a Sunday looking for Lavender fields in a nearby valley. In our own yard, we learned how colorful succulents can be and moved on from hot to iced coffee. I reminisced about Paris, sharing our Paris apartment rental, the truth about high chairs in the City of Light, some of the best French toys, and a jaw-dropping vertical garden I stumbled upon in the 2e arrondissement. Finally, though I didn’t know it, I was pregnant when I talked about different perspectives on the ideal family size.

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July flew by in a flash: between Fourth of July and Hudson’s second birthday, we had plenty to celebrate. (And I had plenty to get nostalgic about.) Aron got a new bike to ride around town, we discovered the Full Belly Farm dinner series in Capay Valley, and we went whitewater rafting on the American River. I took a trip to New York for AltNY, and Aron flew out to meet me for a fun, adults-only weekend in the city. It spurred me to write a fan-letter to Fatty Crab; to create a pancake recipe in homage to the Peels muffin; to share favorite images from the summer phenomenon called Manhattanhenge; and to look forward to concerts in Central Park. And we talked about grilling summer vegetables.

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In August, we shared that we were expecting (I can’t wait to see if her profile looks like it does in this ultrasound). We took Hudson to ride a Cable Car in San Francisco (and ate our weight in Dim Sum). We took amazing trips to Lake Tahoe, Angora Lakes, and Maui. I wondered what it would be like to have an 80-foot slide in your home and looked back at Aron’s and my first home together, in Los Angeles. I learned how to make one’s own caftan (but ended up buying one anyway). We spent every Wednesday night at Farmers’ market picnics in the park, and I shared a favorite date night close to home.

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In September, Hudson started attending nursery school five-mornings-a-week, and you helped me with ideas for toddler lunches. I shared three travelogues: one from our summer trip to Maui, an updated travelogue from a trip to Croatia & Montenegro, and a look back at Sardinia. We had been living in Davis for exactly one year now, and our enthusiasm for our new home grew as, locally, we escaped for a romantic weekend in Calistoga, a day of swimming among the boulders in South Yuba River, and for an incredible birthday dinner at Full Belly Farm (I turned 35!). All within a couple of hours’ drive! We talked about tips for Oktoberfest, even as I shared my favorite non-alcoholic beers. I thought about wallpapering and shared my favorite wallpapers for kids’ rooms. And we looked toward Halloween, with ideas for costumes for babies. Finally, I perfected my scrambled eggs recipe—though I still need to try this one for accompanying Lamingtons.

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October brought a lot of travel as well: We all drove down to Monterey, where Aron had a conference, and enjoyed sea life at the Aquarium as well as in all of the tidepools nearby. The following week, to celebrate Aron’s birthday, we took a quick trip to Yosemite. I shared a Yosemite travelogue about spending a fall weekend in the valley, including having brunch at the gorgeous Ahwahnee.  We went apple– and chestnut-picking in nearby Apple Hill; talked about flea markets near and far; and looked back at a visit to a beautiful winery just 30 minutes outside of Davis.  I shared how to make the best buttermilk waffles (ever), and even though we were still picking tomatoes around here, we looked toward fall with a super-simple (delicious) alternative to pumpkin pie and a round-up of wishlisted fall boots.  And of course, it was Halloween! We carved pumpkins, looked back at my favorite family-themed costumes from over the years—and came up with a new family costume. Aron was such a hit!

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In November, I revealed a brand-new design for Hither & Thither! It happened around the same time we went (slightly) off the grid in Grand Cayman for a week. We started gearing up for the holidays, thinking about Thanksgiving resources, earthy mushrooms for cozy dinners, wreath-making tutorials, and inspired advent calendars. We talked about clothes for tall guys. And I couldn’t decide whether I’d rather be bundled up in an A-Frame in the mountains or back in warmer waters, swimming with Manatees.

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December was all about the holidays. I shared four gift guides (for him, her, the kiddos, and anyone else), revealed some dressed-up maternity basics for parties, and talked about how to open a bottle of champagne. We flew to New York and spent nearly a week in the city as a family (here’s the New York City travelogue)—we even visited Santa on 34th Street! Aron and I took in a concert after an afternoon in the city, and then spent an abbreviated weekend there, in San Francisco, as a family. And of course we reveled in family down-time and Christmas celebrations at home. In spare time, I updated and republished our Ireland travelogue. And we took home tens of pounds of sweet Mandarins from nearby Placer County. I can tell you that around this time I also started very pregnant (i.e. less comfortable) and we started putting together a nursery for our little girl—due soon!  (Thank goodness!)

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Thank you so much for reading along, for all of the comments and emails you send my way, and for sharing Hither & Thither with others. Cheers to another full and memorable year, friends!

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