Half Moon Bay Miramar Beach

Photo and text by Gabrielle.

In July, you may remember I wrote a post with an identical title, and I’m toying with making it a regular once-a-month feature. In the old blogging days, before Instagram and Facebook and Pinterest, random thoughts like these might have become short blog posts. Those were the days where I would post on the blog 3 or more times a day! Things have changed and now my blogging is much more long-form — with lots of words, or lots of photos, or both. And those shorter posts have migrated to my social media accounts.

But sometimes I miss having those shorter posts here on the blog — because I know there are Design Mom readers who don’t follow along on social media. So a compilation post like this could be a good way to share all those little thoughts without overwhelming people with too many posts. And it’s also a way to let people share their thoughts on all sorts of topics. We’ll see. As you know, it’s always a big experiment for me. : )

On to the randomness!

1) The first thing I’m dying to tell you is that the backyard bridge is done! And the zip line is up! I’m super excited to share all the details with you. If I’ve hesitated, it’s because I’m finding it’s hard to capture a full photo that gives a sense of the scale — though I keep trying. I suppose I just need to share what I have so far. The whole thing is pretty dang fantastic, and the additions have added a major does of magic to the yard. If you’re feeling impatient for the post, definitely take a look at Instagram — I’ve shared (and continue to share) lots of photos there.

2) Summer is coming to an end. It’s been a good summer. Very laid back. And I’m not ready to face the daily school grind again. I’m holding on to these last two weeks of summer vacation with everything I’ve got! We signed up the youngest four for one more session of swimming lessons, and I’ve put a moratorium on screen time so that the kids get outside as much as possible. (Honestly, with the new bridge and zipline, it’s not that hard to tempt them to get out doors.)

3) Next week is our wedding anniversary! It’s a big one and we wanted to make sure we marked it properly, so Ben Blair and I (just the two of us!) are heading out on a little getaway. We’re going to Lake Louise in Canada! It is hard to express how excited I am about this little trip.

I’ve never been to Lake Louise, but I read about it when I was 19 year old — it was featured in a fashion article in the now defunct Victoria magazine. (Do any of you remember that magazine? I LOVED it!) I was so taken with the images of the mountain lake that I immediately got on the phone with the resort there to see if they were hiring. I was picturing a summer job in the mountains! But alas, it was quickly established that unless I had a work visa, I couldn’t get a job in Canada.

It was the first time I had ever heard of a work visa. I had no idea up until then. Hah! And though I couldn’t go there for work, I’ve had Lake Louise on my travel wish list ever since.

Have you ever been? Please tell me it’s as awesome in real life as it is in my head!

4) But: I seemed to have lost my passport!!! And I’ve never lost my passport. I’m actually pretty decent at keeping track of my stuff and I don’t typically lose things at all. I’m mystified. I remember having it at Alt Summer in June, but I haven’t seen it since. And it’s not in the usual spot where I keep it. So now I need to make a last minute appointment in San Francisco at the passport office.

I’m nervous this won’t work out and so I’m trying not to think about it and I keep searching new places in the house hoping my passport isn’t lost after all. It’s so last minute. We leave on Sunday! But I had no idea the passport was missing.

UPDATE: Passport found!! Huge sigh of relief.

5) We started back to school dates. I go shopping with each kid one-on-one. We pick out something for the first day of school and get a cupcake or go out to lunch. It’s a great way to connect with each child individually and hear their thoughts, hopes and fears about the upcoming school year.

Since I’m traveling next week, this is the key week for making it happen. Do you do something similar? It’s a pretty new tradition for us. We only started these back to school dates when we moved here. But the kids already seem to think of this as a long-standing tradition.

6) Maude is very close to getting her license. She has a permit and asks to drive at every opportunity — and of course, we want her to get as much time behind the wheel as possible. I feel like driving well is so much about logging hours. Right?

Not much to report on this. Just something that’s on my mind.

7) On Friday, we took a break from backyard construction and went to the beach. We tried a new-to-us beach on Half Moon Bay called Miramar. You can see it in the photo at top. The pros: beautiful, plenty of space, great waves, clean sand. The cons: no ice cream shack or surfboard rentals right on the beach.

Apparently it’s known as a surfing beach — and there was a surf camp going on while we were there. We loved it and will definitely be back.

8) Erin Conner, the architect I mentioned last month, is coming to take measurements on Wednesday morning. So awesome! I grin every time I think about the upcoming transformation in the master bedroom and bath. I know it’s going to be a ton of work, and totally disruptive. But worth it!

9) Remember I mentioned the kids have been taking sailing lessons? Well, Ben Blair has too. And suddenly, we now sail!!

We’re totally beginners of course, but we’ve spent two afternoons with rented sail boats on Lake Merritt here in Oakland so we can practice. (I say we, but I mean the family, and not me — I haven’t taken any lessons at all yet.) The thing that has surprised me the most: how much vocabulary there is that is related to sailing only. I feel like I’m learning a new language. Hah!

The other thing that has been a wonderful surprise: how much we love sailing. We love it so much that we’re killing ourselves that we didn’t start lessons the moment we moved here — it feels like wasted time. Because being able to sail is an amazing way to take advantage of one of the best parts of living here: the water!

Do you have any experience sailing? We’re laughing, because we’re so new to it but find ourselves already scheming about sailing off to exotic locales.

Anyway. As I said, lots of randomness. Feel free to comment on any topic above — or consider this an open thread and bring up a completely different topic. I can’t wait to hear what’s on your mind!