Posts Tagged ‘family’

Epic Fail

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

My personal challenge for the month of October was to post every day. No. Matter. What. The goal was to jumpstart my blog mojo and get back to regular posts.

I managed 10 out of 31 possible posts. That’s 30%. I’m a teacher. I know that even if I were to curve the grades – that sucker is still a big whopping F.

But you know, I learned a few things along the way:
1. I’m human. Not Wonder Woman. Sometimes, I just don’t measure up.
2. Don’t make commitments when the husband is going in for major surgery and work is off-the-hook busy. Kind of an amateur move. Not to be repeated.
3. Life goes on.

I did manage to snap a few great photos and want to share some great times we had leading up to Dan’s surgery. As I posted here, we’ve had my mom on hand to help during a really stressful time. (She’s a trooper, by the way. More on that later.) The weekend before Dan went to the hospital, we decided to take a trip north to Petaluma to have lunch, get out of the house and leave the city behind. It was a lovely day, and Ryan had a great time shopping, playing and keeping us all sane.

Here are a few snapshots of our last “normal” day:

Lunch by the river.

Beer. Yum.

Trying out a new ride.

She stopped in her tracks...

... and ran inside to get a closer look at these. It was all we could do to drag her out of the window display!

We toured Petaluma's back alleys. She nearly ran into the tattoo parlor in excitement! (Oh and Bunny joined us for the afternoon.)

A petting zoo at the playground! "Bunny, meet bunny."


These photos were taken on Oct. 15, so I made it about halfway through the month before tanking miserably. Not bad for half a month! I’ll do better next time – I’m a veteran Challenger now.

Slowly, we’re getting back to normal here at Chez Hartmann. Dan had a bit of an initial setback, but is now back on the PT bandwagon. The new knee is going to be awesome. Once he breaks it in and works out a few kinks.

Thanks for hanging in and reading along.



The Pink One Cometh (October Challenge: Day 10)

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

Fallen behind a bit on the October Challenge, but I’m picking it up and running with it this morning. Here we go!

Pinky flew in on Thursday evening for her extended visit to the Hartmann household. Usually, she comes for short, quick trips to see us, catch the sites and give Ryan a few smooches. But this time, she’s here for a whole month – and we couldn’t be more excited! You see, Dan heads in for knee surgery tomorrow, and Pinky is the army of one we’ve enlisted to help hold everything together while Dan is in the hospital and recovering for a few weeks.

So, as you can imagine, it’s been busy here at THL for the last week or so. Lots going on – mental and psychological preparations for surgery. It always takes Ryan some time to get used to new people -particularly when it seems like they are going to stick around and sleep on the couch. Being the highly-trained kid person and grandmother extraordinaire that she is, Pinky rolls with it all really well. She even babysat while we had a date night last night! Date night?! What a concept!

Here are a couple of pics from her August visit that capture The Pink One in action. Warming up the kiddo and taking it all in stride.

Playing peek-a-boo in the otter habitat at the zoo.


Raise a glass to Pinky! Three cheers for The Pink One!

We’re off to the hospital tomorrow morning. I may manage another post in the meantime, but I’m not promising anything. Please send Dan all your get-well wishes and healing vibes! We’ll take all the positive energy we can get.

~ Susan

Indian Summer (October Challenge: Day 8)

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

The thing about fall in the Bay Area is that it is incredibly subtle, and it’s taken 15 years for me to develop the sensitivity to notice it. To an East Coaster used to dramatic autumnal color changes and huge temperatures shifts, fall in Northern California is a bit underwhelming. Even though we get most of our warmest days of the year during September and October, the air develops a crispness (particularly at night) and some even trees lose their leaves.

But unlike the east coast, winter here is the greenest season, when the rains feed the plants and major growth happens. Temperatures rarely drop below the mid-fifties during the day and frost only comes a handful of times at most. The most dramatic shift is actually the wintry light – even though it doesn’t feel particularly wintery, the light shifts as the sun sits lower in the sky. Shadows are different. And, even in the greenness of it all, it’s winter-like. Albeit a mild one.

And so this afternoon, we enjoyed a beautiful fall day in Oakland – the sun was warm, but the air was crisp. The light cast it’s autumnal shadows and we enjoyed the season. We had our first rains last week, and the garden is starting to green up. Here are a few snapshots of our day:

Chasing bubbles...


... caught one!

Art - au plein air.

All smiles!

By the power of technology - Grand Dad was able to join our outdoor fun... from Pennsylvania!

Spray bottles make for hours of artistic and watery fun!

It was a lovely afternoon, full of family time and fun. We’re gearing up for a dramatic and stressful few weeks here at THL (more on that later), and so a day of simple fun in the backyard was the absolute PERFECT way to spend the day. It was lovely to just stop and enjoy the fleeting moments of indian summer. Tomorrow the week starts, and we’re off and running again.

The Possibility of a Blank Canvas (October Challenge Day 2)

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

Sunday is supposed to be the day of rest. But somehow, it’s one of our busiest days of the week. It’s always full of grocery shopping, farmers markets, laundry and cooking for the week. Inevitably, we think we’ll still manage to squeeze in something social or shopping or whatever. Today was no different, and here we are at the end of the day with time waning and a busy work week looming before us. Of course, my to-do list still has items on it, and I have no idea when they’ll happen – next Sunday, I guess? So, rather than dwelling on all the mundane things I did today, and the rest that I didn’t, I thought I’d share a bit about a fun and more creative project we took on last weekend.

Recently , Ryan has taken an interest in colors and coloring. So, we painted two 2′ by 4′ plywood boards with chalkboard paint. Tough, eh? Probably the easiest kid-oriented home improvement project ever undertaken.

They might not look like much. But really, these are canvases for HOURS of entertainment to come. $20 INCREDIBLY well spent.


Artists at work.

Early typographic training is underway!

Erase and repeat.

The artist in her element.

Plywood, a can of spray paint and some chalk. BRILLIANT.

And so, as we start our week and get caught up in the day-to-day melodrama of life and work, here’s to keeping our perspective fresh, creative and new – with eyes open to the possibility of blank canvases…


Lambtown 2011 (aka October Challenge: Day 1)

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

Confession: I’ve fallen off the blogging wagon lately. I’ve been taking photos and thinking of interesting post topics, but haven’t managed to actually compose anything at all. I’d like to blame technology and the fact that my computer was so freaking old that posting to THL seemed to take AGES and I spent hours uploading and posting photos. I’d also like to blame life for being far too hectic and my kid who never sits still long enough for me to take her photo these days.

However – all excuses aside – I mostly just need a kick in the pants to get the ball rolling again. So here goes… [commence self-kicking]

Tonight I am pleased to announce the This Hartmann Life OCTOBER CHALLENGE: I hereby challenge myself to post to the blog every day this month. (Dan may have to be badgered encouraged  to post too, although he is thoroughly ambivalent about this endeavor). The goal is to give myself the kick I need to get the blog rolling again and my blogging mojo flowing. Here goes!

Day 1: Lambtown 2011

Some of our more devoted readers may recall that this time last year we discovered Northern California’s best kept agricultural fair secret: Lambtown USA. It’s the California sheep and wool festival and also includes the state alpaca judging contests. It’s an hour’s drive from Oakland and a million miles away in attitude. It’s got a small town Americana vibe and lots of friendly people and animals. There’s also a fiber festival with spinners, knitters, dyers and weavers demonstrating their crafts and selling fabulous wares.

This year, our good friends Liz and Judith came along and brought a couple of teenagers with them. I wasn’t sure that the teenagers would be as enthralled with the fiber fair vibe as I am, but they seemed to enjoy themselves well enough. Neither had ever been to an event like this before, so at least it will go down in the books as a first! Not so sure they’ll be itching to go again next year… we’ll see.

We checked out the barns, watched some sheep judging and learned about alpacas from a friendly rancher and his kids who were showing their alpacas as part of a 4-H project. Pretty cool, and interesting to boot!


What do you think? Best in Show?

Last year Ryan was enthralled with the animals. This year she thought they were cool, but really just wanted to push the stroller around the barns… I guess after all those visits to the zoo, this city girl is a seasoned veteran at 21 months!

Hello Gorgeous! Seriously, is this not the cutest livestock you've ever seen??? I wonder if Oakland has any anti-alpaca codes. Think how cute he'd be in the backyard!

There was an incredibly well-stocked baby animal petting area – probably the best ever. And this caught all of our attention for a while before lunch. How can you not be drawn to a miss-mash of piglets, chickens, geese, baby ducks, a baby cow, baby goats, bunnies, baby alpacas, AND a baby donkey? All in one enclosure. It was crazy. But fun. Very high cute quotient.

Enjoying the baby animal farm menagerie. Some serious observation underway. Even Bunny got in on the action!

And so, a great day was had by all. I even managed to squeeze in some fiber shopping (11 oz. Cormo roving! Hello winter woolies…) and ran into some folks from AVFKW’s Commuknitty nights. Fun all around.

And so the CHALLENGE is off to a good start. We’ve got quite a month ahead of us here at THL… stay tuned!


Happy Summer!

Monday, May 30th, 2011

It’s been quiet here at This Hartmann Life lately. Not because there hasn’t been anything going on, but because we’ve been so busy that blogging has taken a back seat to actually getting things done! We’ve overhauled the backyard (details forthcoming), and were able to enjoy some of the warmth and sunshine of the holiday weekend. We bought a brand-spanking-new kiddie pool and set up for an afternoon of fun. Here are a few snapshots of a lovely afternoon full of family and fun with the kiddo…


Testing the waters.

Splish splash!

Ryan ultimately decided that it was too cold to stay in the pool, so much of the afternoon was spent running around, exploring, splashing and throwing things into the water. It was windy out – hey, she’s no dummy!

Watching Daddy blow bubbles in the wind.

Ready to put out some fires!

Exploring the flowers in the garden. (Verbena bonariensis for those who are curious.)

Future Gatorade model, perhaps?

Who am I? I'm Ry-Ry!

We hope you had a fantastic weekend and managed to have some fun in the sun!



Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Well, Thanksgiving 2010 was a great success! And Ryan fared really well, considering there was a lot of commotion and new people around all day. Somehow, in the all the merriment and excitement, I neglected to take any proper holiday photos. But rest assured, a great time was had by all and no one left hungry! We had dinner at Pamela’s house for the second year in a row, and had a great time. She’s is a great host, and pulled off a fabulous meal with all the trimmings despite having had a cold in the week leading up to the Big Day. (Mega trooper points for Pamela)

The aftermath of the feast.

Following dinner, Pamela and Ryan treated us all to a holiday sing-a-long, with Ryan playing the rhythm section. It was a lot of fun to say the least. Ryan is really loving music these days. It’s so fun for us to see her personality emerging more everyday!

The rhythm section.


I hope you all had restful Thanksgiving celebrations full of friends, family and whatever traditions suit your fancy!


Little Bo Peep…

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

As many of my nearest and dearest can attest, I have become wool-obsessed in recent years. I am a knitter, and wool is where it’s at. Being the incredibly supportive spouse that he is, Dan allowed me to drag the family out to Dixon to the Lambtown Festival last Saturday. Besides, it’s good to get out of the city from time to time and reconnect with my agricultural roots.

Lambtown is a gathering of all things sheep – sheep breeders showing meat and fiber animals, vendors selling lamb delicacies of all sorts, weavers, spinners, knitters and a host of others who revel in wooly things. There was food, music and dancing. It was fun. And only two bucks to get in! Can’t beat that.

In addition to sheep, this year’s festival included the California Alpaca Association’s annual competition. And I must say that alpacas are probably the cutest barnyard animals I’ve ever seen. I think they may be my new favorite livestock… Ryan loved the music, the dancing (Dixon’s local dance studio students were so cute in their pink and sparkly tutus) and – most importantly – THE ANIMALS. I wasn’t sure how she’d respond to the festival or if she’d even take in the surroundings. But she had a great time that day, and Dan and I had a blast watching her check out the sights.

Let me pet them! They’re like the cats, but BIGGER and they can’t hide on top of the fridge!

Very serious stuff, this alpaca business...

A mutual cuteness appreciation moment.

We watched some of the sheep competitions, and I had to keep myself from giggling and thinking of “Best in Show”. The tension was palpable and it was all very serious in the judging ring. Lots of nail biting and breath holding in the crowd. Ryan loved it all, and paid no attention to the drama.

The ewe on the right took home the Blue Ribbon… probably not her best angle.

So, a great day was had by all. And I didn’t even buy any new yarn…(Hear that sound? That’s our bank account breathing a sigh of relief).



Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

I’ve been a bit behind with the blog posts lately, so please bear with me as I do a bit of housekeeping (or is it “blogkeeping”?) during the next few weeks. On Memorial Day weekend, Ryan was christened at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church here in lovely Oakland. It was a beautiful day made all the more special, because Father Mauricio agreed to perform the Christening on an odd Sunday while my mom was in town (it was actually the kick-off Sunday of the the Church’s Gay Pride Month). It was really great to have Mom here to celebrate Ryan’s day! They even sang “All Things Bright and Beautiful” my school song when I went to Holy Trinity back in elementary school. Mom and I shared a moment…

(Note: you may recognize the dress from a previous blog post. I’ll link to it if I can figure out how to do it.)

Ryan handled the attention, crowds and general unfamiliarness of the day incredibly well, and barely cried when Fr. Mauricio poured water over her head. Dan and I were very proud of her. Her Godparents are Uncle Adam, Uncle Rich and Auntie Camsie. She is one lucky little lady! We’re so glad they all agreed to be there for her!

Fr. Mauricio presenting Ryan to the congregation during the Peace.

After the service, we all came back to the house for a party (and Ryan desperately needed a nap). It was a really fun day. We were so happy that so many friends and family were able to attend!

Relaxing back at the house post-ceremony. Bill even survived the triple whammy of an early morning, church and a baby. Thanks Bill!

Lucas Belli made his first appearance at a Hartmann party! We love his little blue moon boots that he wore especially for the occasion.

Jan and Herb came down from Petaluma! We were glad they finally got to meet Ryan.

Liz and Judith took a break from househunting to swing by after church!

Mike. Chill. As Always.

Proud Mama!

Daddy and Ryan. All smiles!

After all the hustle and bustle of getting ready for the Christening and party, we took the rest of the weekend easy. On Memorial Day, we went for a walk around Berkeley Marina, checked out some kites, watched the waves and enjoyed the beautiful weather. A great day to end a great weekend!

Mom, Dan and Ryan enjoying the scenery and a laugh.


6 Months! Can you believe it?

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Hey Everybody! Can you believe that today is my 6 month birthday?!? Time is certainly flying by… It’s been a while since I’ve checked in, so I thought I’d take a few minutes to let you know some of the things I’ve been up to lately. I have included a few audio files, so that I can really express myself completely. Click on the links when you come to them in the post.

So, one of my biggest accomplishments in the past few weeks has been getting used to eating solid food. I’m getting pretty good at it, if I do say so myself! Here’s a list of my foods so far:

THUMBS WAY UP: Peaches (can’t get enough of them!), Butternut squash, Sweet potato, Potato, Peas


YUCK: Avocado (although Mommy is threatening to make me try it again next week, because she thinks it’s good for me)

Yum. Peas.

Spoons are totally optional.

My days are pretty fun and I like my routines. After I get home from Blue Skies, Mommy and I play for a little while or go for a walk. Then, right after Daddy gets home, we have dinner and I get ready for bath time. Daddy always gives me a bath and it’s one of my favorite times of the day. Sometimes I even want to stay in after I’ve started pruning and getting cold! I love it. Tonight, I was kicking my feet and splashing big time. Other times, I like to play with my toys or just sit and soak. It’s a great way to end the day and spend some quality time with Daddy.

Bath time is one of the highlights of my day!

Tonight, when I got out of the tub I found a surprise waiting for me in my crib – it was Emily! She’s been trying to figure out how to get in for months… she pretends that she’s a grump and doesn’t really like me, but I know she’s just putting on an act. We call her Emily Grumperpuss.

Busted in the crib!

Over the weekend, we just stayed home and had lots of fun playing together. Bella even joined in! She really loves to play with my toys and to lay on all of the soft and fuzzy blankets. She’s been particularly friendly since she started taking her Kitty Prozac recently. Now she comes out to play more and doesn’t just hide in the bedroom. I think we’ll be great friends once I can crawl around and chase her…

Family time. Just hangin’. Bella even joined in the fun!

So, now for the fun part – I’ve made a few audio recordings that I think will really let me express myself and give you a sense of my personality.

I am pretty chatty these days, particularly when there’s something on my mind. Sometimes I just have to express myself, you know?

Here’s the first one. I really like playing. And I’ll pretty much play with anything around – even if it’s not a baby toy! My favorite lately has been a little red bowl in the kitchen. Playing with red bowl (Click the link, and then click AGAIN on the next page.)

I love to laugh, and I am very ticklish!

Here’s another one. Mommy was making the funniest faces! Giggle glee (Remember, click and then click again.)

And, last but not least. Lest you think that I’m always happy (well, I am most of the time…), sometimes I just have to let it all out. So Unhappy

Sometimes, I get up on the wrong side of the bed. Hey, I’m human!

Well, I gotta run. It’s been fun checking in with you and letting you see into my life a bit more. We’ll keep you posted as new things happen. Thanks for reading!