Friday, May 29, 2009

Dorina signs books in LA and San Francisco

In April, I was invited to sign books at the LA Times Book Festival. It was a fabulous event with dozens of bookstores and publishers who welcomed authors to sign books. The public was invited and I enjoyed meeting all the kids and parents who bought signed copies of CORA COOKS PANCIT.
One of the cool parts of this experience was meeting other Filipino authors and poets like Estrella Sybinsky and her hubby. We had such a great time "talking story" about living in Hawaii and cooking up our fave Filipino delicacies.

One of the thrills of being part of the LA Times Festival of Books was seeing my fave celebrity chef, Giada de Laurentis. (Yes, my daughter is named after this Italian mama!)
Giada was there for a live interview at the Food Tent and she signed copies of her latest cookbook, Giada's Kitchen. Unfortunately, the hundreds of people in line for her autograph deterred us from actually meeting her. Maybe next time!
Next stop on the book signing train was San Francisco. We stayed in Pleasanton with my Auntie Sheilah (Dad's first cousin). We enjoyed her "bed and breakfast" little condo and fabulous healthy food.
The signing was at Books, Inc. - and independent bookstore in Palo Alto. This signing was part of Kids Otter Read Day Around the Bay and I had 30 minutes to entertain the kid audience. I started by serving up the famous "pancit" to let kids taste what the book was all about. Meilani helped me pass out spoons and the kids helped me swirl the noodles like in the book.
I enjoyed reading the book to the kids and sharing with them about the illustrations. They had fun looking for all the bears and penguins and dogs featured on each page by illustrator Kristi Valiant.
Lots of family from the Bay Area showsd up. We even met some cousins we haven't seen in years. Even my college roomie, Jen Vander Meulen, showed up with her family as a surprise. They drove two hours from Escalon.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sister Time is the new Gilmore focus

These days Meilani has a new best friend. It was a little rough in the first few weeks of Giada's life. Meilani was sick and still trying to figure out her place in our new family dynamic. Now that the girls are almost 3 years and 3 months old there's a very different story. Meilani's new playmate is Giada.

Meilani announces throughout the day how much she LOVES her baby sister and how cute she is. Meilani love to help with diapers and fetching things for mama while she's breastfeeding Giada.

Meilani takes great pride in bathing her baby. (Is Giada pulling sister's hair?)

A friend gave us their double jogging stroller so another fave sister outing is in the stroller. Meilani holds Giada's hand and they gaze up at the trees together. Sure, every day isn't perfect and sometimes Mama and Daddy have to stress the word "Gentle" still but we've seen much progress in the Gilmore girl relationship.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tea for Two: Celebrating Mother's Day

This year Meilani and I attended the "Mommy and Me Tea" at our church, The Bridge, to make Mother's Day/weekend special.
Meilani has really been excited about tea parties since Christmas when Auntie Caron gave her a tea set. She often plays pretend tea parties with her dolls and hosts a Story time for them as well. On Saturday, we dressed up in "tea party attire," including a fabulous vbrown party dress (See slide show above) Mama found for Meilani at the Coast. Meilani loved the puppet show presented for the little girls at the party.
We sat at DeeDee Baumann's table, which was decorated so beautifully with giant roses from her garden. Her daughter, Abi, is just a little older than Meilani. We enjoyed homemade scones with lemon curd, cucumber tea sandwiches, chocolate cookies and various kinds of tea. We also heard a message about mothers and daughters given by Serena Isaak. She compared each of her daughters to different types of tea - so sweet.
On Sunday, we sat with Nana Maria in church and celebrated Mother's Day with her.
After church, we headed for Woodward Park with Nana, Papa and Nama Chris for a picnic. I loved sitting in the shade with my daughters and mothers. No cooking. No dishes. Great conversation. And then we headed home for an afternoon nap. Bliss.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Surprise! Grandma Chris turns 6 (the zero doesn't count!)

We had great fun this year for Grandma's birthday. Believe it or not we pulled off a surprise party to ring in the big 6-0! We invited Grandma Chris over for dinner at our house but she didn't know we also invited a whole bunch of other friends to join us. We even kept it a secret from Grandpa Larry!
We invited godsons Matt and Cody and their parents, Steve and Aliza to join in the festivities. Melissa and daughter Sarah also came for the fun. Mom's dear friends Geannie and Bill Cornelison and Nana Maria also helped with the party.

Meilani greeted Nama at the door in her party dress...
And after Steve gave the signal, we all yelled SURPRISE!
Grandma was truly shocked. We ushered her to the back patio where the dinner party began. Complete with lanterns and a full Italian meal, we celebrated hearty. We served up Grandma's fave: Eggplant Parmesan. For the meat eaters in the crowd, we had Pesto Ravioli with Chicken sausage.

Nama enjoyed hearing the entertainment on the keyboard by Matt and Cody along with a poem read by Sarah. Each guest also shared a story or blessing for Grandma's birthday and we presented her with a binder full of blessings from family and friends.

For dessert we indulged in fruit, cookies and pretzels dipped in our elegant chocolate fountain. Meilani helped sing to Nama and present her with the birthday candle before she opened her gifts. She did her own rendition of the birthday song!

What a fun way to celebrate. Grandma/Mom, we are so blessed to have you in our lives! Thank you for all your love, support, mercy and grace...

Meilani's first haircut

Ok, maybe this doesn't count as a first haircut since really we kept it long and only "blunted the edges," according to our hairstylist. But it was a big deal for Meilani girl to sit still in the chair like Mama does. (Our cousin Jan actually scared her into staying still!) The result was beautiful hair with its natural wave - no big curls yet...

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Gilmores Enjoy Egg-stra special Easter with family and friends

Happy Easter - Love, the Gilmore family!

This year we hosted an Easter meal at our house with both sets of grandparents and our friends Forest and Stacie, who are like family to us as well.

After a grand church celebration, we all enjoyed lunch at our house - complete with turkey (not ham) and lots of yummy fixin's.
The grandmas spoiled us all with Easter bags and baskets full of goodies.

We even played the Armenian egg cracking game led by Nama Chris.

After lunch, we adults made an easter egg hunt for Meilani. Life is good when you are the only mobile grandchild on a holiday!

We rounded out our festivities with these fabulous Strawberry White chocolate parfaits. Yum-o!