30 Jan 2015

San Francisco Travelogue: Tantrum

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On Tuesday 16th Dec, after we’ve had dinner at Crepes on Cole, I looked over the street and saw a vintage sign that read TANTRUM. In front of it there were three chair red, blue and white. What first caught my eyes was the name. I thought to myself that’s cool, a shop where children can have a bit of tantrum because they want a beautiful toy which I would be happy to buy. I really loved it on the spot. We went into the shop to browse, I didn’t have my big camera with me. I promised myself to go back and ask the owner to capture some photos. Time was getting out of hands so the last night of our stay in San Francisco, I went there to look for a gift for the kids.

I was so shy and was about to give up the idea of asking the shop assistant to snap some photos. Then I personified my fear and put it on a van and sent it off to another land. I went to the first shop assistant and I babbled to her about blog and how I wanted to capture some pictures of this creative shop to feature it on there. She smiled and agreed.

As I was capturing the photos with customers pouring into the shop, I smiled within myself because it would have been a pity if I didn’t overcome my fear and asked to photograph TANTRUM to showcase it on my blog.

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TANTRUM is located in my favourite San Francisco’s wonderful neighbourhood, Cole Valley. TANTRUM was opened in June of 2012 by Amanda a beautiful and sweet lady. As you step into the shop it feels like you’re entering a childhood dreamland. French romantic toys, dress up pieces, swan, bunny and mushroom lamps, classic wooden and soft toys, housewares, arts and crafts supply, vintage classic story and picture books…

What can I say?

TANTRUM is a unique and amazing space filled with magic, nostalgia and marvelousness!

Whilst there I found Toby, a classic wooden dog toy for my sweet TOI’s first birthday gift. Then AMI went there and found this cute tiny TV toy for AOI. I remember this toy from my childhood

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If you live in San Francisco or travelling there don’t miss the opportunity to visit TANTRUM. You can also shop on their online shop.

29 Jan 2015

12 Months + 14 Days: I Love You

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Dear TOI,
two Thursdays ago we celebrated 12 months since your birth. It feels like yesterday when your slippery body made his debut, I still see you as my tiny baby though you’re growing with a speed I can’t wrap my head around yet. I love you so deeply and that happened the moment I set my eyes on your sweet face. Since that moment I'm in love each day even when you are frustrated and slap or don't want to sleep unless I hold you on my tired shoulders. It’s so true that a woman’s heart grows a bit bigger with each child she gives birth to because I have so much love for both you and your sister. You two are my whole world and I really want to give you the best I can offer as a person and as a mother.

I love everything thing about you your faces, your hands, your voice, your strength, your mind… Oh, and I love your personality, so stubborn. The way you hold my neck when you cuddle me tight. The way you belly laugh. I laugh when I see you, and smile more from the blessing I feel when you waddle your tiny self up and down the house while following your sister. You are such a busy body. Sometimes you try to sneak past me because you are trying your best to hide something you know you can't have. You love trying to hide things behind the fridge. One thing that makes me smile is when you go under the kitchen table and start picking the food there. In those occasions you laugh, then I can't resist your belly laugh. Gosh, I love those moments. I pray you always keep your sense of humour. You like to lift things up. I love to watch you discovering your surroundings and I think you’re able to lift only things your strength allows you to. You like to brush your teeth.

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I love how you are kind to other children. I’ve noticed how you are able to share your toys with other children. You don’t pull things out of other children’s hands, maybe you are still young to do that. You like to play with your sister so much, you cuddle her and want to copy her. You know how to follow her upstairs. Sometimes you go up then call “Maaamama”, in your sweet baby voice. Lately when AOI’s best friend comes over you all three play together beautifully. I beam to see you all having fun.

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I don’t like it when you go through the kitchen drawers and empty half of its content onto the floor. That’s such a work load for both, I look at it as your dedicated way of helping me stay active. Another thing you do when you are in your mischievous state is taking clothes out of the draws in the bedroom or laundry bin. Taking books off the shelf.

You are scared of the sound of the vacuum cleaner just like your sister used to at your age. You like to pretend brushing the floor. She is not keen on the sound still but doesn’t run away like she used to, which you are still doing. Throughout the day you are busy, playing or keeping me on my toes. you cool down only when you are soundly asleep in the night. You still haven’t mastered the art of sleeping through the night.

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I love watching you sleep, when you manage to take afternoon naps. Being a mum of two is a hard work, sometimes I wonder if I’m doing a good job but your big smiles and your warm cuddles are the best prize. You’re my fun lovely son. I LOVE YOU so much, I pray you’ll always love me too.

Always mummy

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28 Jan 2015

San Francisco Travelogue: Cole Valley

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The loudest word that springs up in mind when I think about Cole Valley is LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!…

"Community" is the operative word in this thin slice of San Francisco real estate, bordered on the west by Stanyan Street and the Sutro Forest, on the south by Tank Hill and on the east by Clayton Street. Residents are largely families and young professionals, though there is no trace of the snootiness that has affected other parts of the city. Most of the businesses in Cole Valley are of the mom-and-pop variety, in lieu of chain stores or franchises, and shop owners are outwardly supportive of each other.

Food and coffee are the specialties in Cole Valley. In the three-block commercial strip along Cole Street and part of Carl Street, there are more than a dozen restaurants and cafés, some of which draw visitors from around the Bay Area. EOS, for instance, is considered one of the city's top dining spots, while Zazie is a magnet for locals on weekends for brunch. For historians and old-timers, traces of Cole Valley's past are still visible. Above the Crepes on Cole awning, along the Carl Street side, remains the old sign for the Other Café, a comedy spot where Robin Williams and Dana Carvey performed before they hit the big time. Even more historic are the photos in the Kezar Bar and Restaurant dating from the early 1900s, when the region was home to dairy farms. {via SFGATE}

I believe it was during an afternoon walk that I ended up in Cole Valley. I walked from our apartment on Clayton Street turned left towards the hill. I then turned off Carl Street and there it was, a beautiful place that took my heart by storm.

I didn’t know it name until the last Saturday in San Francisco when I went for a walk in the morning and ended talking to a nice local. He told me about the September Fair, and place comes alive even more during that time.

Cole Valley is tucked away few blocks from hectic Haight Street. It’s a community and you can tell the moment you end up there. I was more than happy to keep going there for just the most silliest thing, like going to walk up and down the street or buy a bottle of milk. One Tuesday we took the N Judah Muni Metro light rail at the intersection of Carl and Cole Streets, Sunset Tunnel to the center. When we got back in the evening we went out for dinner. We choose Crepes on Cole, because I love crepes. The portion was excellent and fed myself to my satisfaction.

It was during this evening outing that I saw Tantrum, {a whimsical children store which I’m going to feature soon on my blog}.

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From Cole Valley you can easily get to the hill’s summit for the panoramic view of San Francisco but I didn’t have the chance to do that. The neighbourhood is home to a mix of young professionals and hip families. Also it was popular with dot-commers during the late 1990s. During my nine o’clock morning walk on that Saturday, before we left San Francisco, I saw Zazie packed with locals and I wanted so much to mingle with them. With the fog stretching away down the valley, there was a sense of magic in the air.

I’ve always loved San Francisco for some reasons I can’t explain yet, now that I’ve found the neighbourhood for me, I know where it was meant to be.

I was so tempted to take I can’t believe I don’t have better photos than these one, well it will be my aim to capture better photographs during our next trip.

I left my heart in Cole Valley.

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#colevalley #sanfrancisco #baytourism #shoptantrum #tantrum #iheartsanfrancisco #sanfranciscoheartme

26 Jan 2015

Weekend Stills

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  • This weekend we kept our promise to skate as much as possible very seriously. We went skating on Saturday, one of friends organised a fun family skate event in the city and it awesome to be outside with friends eating ice and cream with chocolate chip on top. Sunday we went to practice AOI’s skating skills and she inspired me to skate a little. I should buy my own skate very soon.
  • At one point I taken back in time, in Janaury 2014, at the moment we first went to ice skate as family of four. TOI sat in the sleigh while daddy was skating around just like he did back in 2014 with AOI because baby TOI was few days old.

25 Jan 2015

4/52

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A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015

AOI and TOI: this week they wanted to hug each other so much. She would open her arms and he would go for a hug

TOI: snow baby, he wants to eat snow so much, he takes his gloves off and starts eating the snow. This week we spent so much in the snow outside and he enjoyed it.

AOI: She is getting very good at balancing on her ice skates. She loves skating and each time we go for practice she doesn’t want to leave the rink. This weekend she wanted to wear her princess dress. Thinking about her determination on the ice inspired me to put the skates on today.

#myheartisfull #mydaughter #proudmother #futureolympicskater

____________________

linking with: practicing simplicity

21 Jan 2015

Weekend Stills

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  • We celebrated TOI’s first birthday on Saturday. It was small and nice, with old friends and new ones.
  • not sure what’s going on, all he wanted was to get that candle, but after everyone sung happy birthday to him he understood that he was the birthday
  • he thinks he is a photographer
  • Mummy needs her cuddles
  • afternoon walk in the snow was in order after a beautiful birthday party

18 Jan 2015

3/52

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A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015

TOI: This week he turned one and his determination to hold onto the camera was achieved. He really has a passion for the camera.

AOI: She was hiding under the table and eating Oreo which she took from the top table after the birthday party was over

AOI and TOI: She wanted to photograph her brother while he was doing the cake smash. My children are into my passion for photography

_________________

linking with: practicing simplicity

16 Jan 2015

Afternoon Nap

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Today was a busy day. I cleaned the house in preparation for tomorrow birthday party. In the afternoon after we’ve had our tomato soup and cheese melt I wrapped TOI on my back and he felt asleep within minutes. I then called AOI to go get some books for me to read to her. We selected The Berenstain Bear Collections, I read about one and then I started to doze off.

In my state of sleep and reality I felt my toddler’s hands trying to open my eyelids. “Wake up, don’t sleep.” I heard her plead but I was too tired to open my eyes. “Let me sleep.” I told her. She cuddled me and fell asleep next to me.

Before deep sleep could lure me even further, I pulled myself to sit. I found my children soundly asleep. 

This moment took me back to last year, when we would all curl on the bed and fall asleep. It felt good and nostalgic.

15 Jan 2015

ONE Year Ago this Morning…

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Today my dear littlest turned one. One year ago today, I was feeling a little bit jelly in my knees and arms as if I was beaten up in a fight. I felt light headed, I slept as if in reality and dreamland. 

One year ago today I was a weak newly post-partum woman still reliving the events that happened just in the morning. I couldn’t get over the fact that as my toddler slept (11pm) I entered in labour and then by the time she woke up I had her baby brother in my arms (6:29am). 

I call my second baby a miracle baby because God listened to my prayers and he was born within the time frame I had in my visions. I went into labour in the middle of the night and before his sister woke up I had given birth to him. He was nice and cleaned by the time she was up and looking for her mother.

That day was sunny, yet cold. I remember crawling back into bed around 9am with my baby boy for a nap while daddy took care of AOI. I woke up and started taking over my IG feed with TOI’s pictures. I wanted the whole world to feel how I was feeling. I was over the moon and I couldn’t get down. In a way IG stabilised my emotions.

So, one year is a very important number for me when it comes to being a mother. Every other year is important too but my children turning 1 means we’ve come a very long way, both as a baby and as a mother.

14 Jan 2015

San Francisco Travelogue: Like a Local

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I can’t believe today marks a month and one day since I arrived in San Francisco. Only this past weekend I had the chance to go through all the photos I captured in whilst there. I have so many I’ve decided to do a mini series for my time there.

2010 was the last time I was in San Francisco. AMI and I rented an apartment together with some of his work colleagues. I was the only one not working so each time they were away for work I would go visit one of the major tourist attractions, always being conscious not to spend too much money.

Our 2014 trip AMI, the kids and I rented an apartment with AMI’s work colleagues and one of them had his family with him. Before arriving in San Francisco I planned the trip mainly because of the kids but also because this time I wanted to enjoy San Francisco as a local would do.

AMI booked the apartment. Later he told me that it will take us about thirty minutes on the bus to get into downtown from that apartment. The apartment we rented in 2010 was about fifteen minutes from downtown. I didn’t mind because the price was good compared to the highly priced hotels.

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At San Francisco airport we hired a taxi. The taxi driver drove past the old apartment, part a row of beautiful houses into a crowded street. Along the street I saw some homeless people, or people that look like they have drunk a bit too much. Also on the pavement near the apartment there was a broken bottle. My first thought was Where did we end up? Once in the apartment I was surprised to find an elegant decor. One of AMI’s colleague, the single one, was already in the apartment and the first thing he told us was “I think this is a dodgy area.”

I didn’t want to hear that because I was sure that AMI would have never rented an apartment in a bad neighbourhood knowing that we were taking the kids. I didn’t want to judge the place based on few facts.

The following day we decided, as a group, to go for a walk to the nearest Whole Food. For this reason I didn’t take my big camera. What turned out to be a quick stroll, turned into a lovely long walk in Golden Gate Park. Enjoying the sun and San Francisco street jazz just under the bridge opposite the Conservatory of Flowers. So we found out that Golden Gate Park is just ten minutes walk from our apartment. I didn’t know much about the area but later I found that we were living in the hipster neighbourhood of Haight Street {pity I didn’t take enough photos to show how the place looks like}.

It reminded me a bit of Soho in London.

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Sunday we woke early, had breakfast and we put the children in the chariot and strolled all the way to downtown San Francisco. Sunday market was happening and the were elder Chinese ladies selling few essentials. A man provided cool R&B music on his portable stereo positioned on his senior motor cart. The quiet morning, fresh sunny air and the lively people made me love San Francisco for its way of life. Hubby and I felt like a San Franciscan family. When we got back home AOI told me “Mummy is this our holiday home.”

“Yes.” I responded as I thought with kids staying in a hotel is not ideal. We went to @BurgeUrge, our local burger restaurant {there are many nice burger restaurants in San Francisco}, for lunch.

So what did I do as a local when in San Francisco?

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theodora ofosuhima aoi and toi in san franciscoI ate a yummy burger with the family

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theodora ofosuhima san francisco orange house IMG_6417I loved colourful houses

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#whattodo #sanfrancisco #travelogue #goldengatebridge #vintagebus

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