Happenings – 2 1/2 – The Animal Picnic

as stated in many posts since this site started, we’ve been meaning to post for quite some time now but just haven’t been able to do so. so many happenings have happened to Corbalfamily since the last post months ago, and we have found ourselves too busy with living each happening, that we haven’t made time to record and share those happenings. luckily, many of you who frequent the site are the very people who we have shared these happenings with.

all the same, this site does keep our dearest friends and family up to date on what we are doing, and so i will mention a few things:
1. we moved! L.A. to Santa Cruz and we are very happy with the decision. we painfully miss our family and friends in southern california, and still think of them all the time. we do not miss the 30+ degree temperature difference. Fog in the morning, what a beautiful thing.
2. Parker Jane took her first plane ride(s) as we visited friends in Kansas City, and Chicago; so many fun times, so much gracious hospitality, and the oh so lovely Maeve Gaspar (who you can see on our Flickr page) took her first step while we visiting.
3. Erin got a job at Hidden Gardens Nursery and is quickly learning the ways of Northern California climates. the nursery boasts chicken keeping, worm composting and sustainable gardening – all aspects of gardening Erin is very passionate about. future plans to start up her business again are unknown, but certainly possible as she is awesome and her work is beautiful.
4. despite covering the town with my resume, i am sadly still unemployed (or as the great Jonathan calls it “funemployed”). and it has been fun; I spend most of my time with Parker Jane. but i do need and want a job all the same. a few Waldorf teaching possibilities have surfaced and i am pursuing them feverishly, so please send your best thoughts.

5. Parker Jane is blossoming at an unfathomable rate.

- her vocabulary increases everyday and we are now having involved conversations about anything and everything.
- she is fully potty trained (except a diaper at night) and took on the task with such responsibility that Erin and I are still amazed at how quickly and fully she adapted.
- she of course still loves books and devours many a day.
- Parker Jane is now the owner of two pet fish (one of the fish is named Tug, and the other is yet to be named; although she has considered Adeer and Sleepoke.
- Parker Jane’s favorite food is no longer sushi, but instead PB & J.
- today, Parker Jane is 2 1/2 years old. it has been mentioned that children at half ages are much more of a handful. i will agree, as recently Parker Jane has become much more challenging in many aspects. at the same time, she is still so incredibly agreeable, even-tempered, loving, generous, compassionate, helpful and on and on and on that the extra challenge she has brought recently is peacefully welcomed by Erin and i.

now, for a little bit of media.
first: visit our Flickr page for a recent upload of about 80 pictures.
second: a video. what tickles me the most about this video is that some of you have experienced it’s content, randomly, in public, with Erin and i also joining in.

corbalfamily films presents: The Animal Picnic

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Written by Rick on August 24, 2009.

Categories: Erin, Family, Friends, General, Parker Jane, Rick, Video.

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Children under 3 years old receive free entrance into Disneyland. Score!
Admission is also free if it’s your birthday. Double Score!

As you may have guessed, the Corbal Family went to good ol’ Disneyland for Rick’s birthday. What can we say? It was awesome, even better than my own experience as a child. It sounds totally corny, but it really is a magical place.

Now there’s a two-for-one admission promotion going on. Dare we go again before the move?!?

Witness the mind-blowing effects of Mickey Mouse on a two year old:
corbalfamily films presents: Mickey Koala Bear?

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Written by Rick on May 6, 2009.

Categories: Erin, General, Parker Jane, Rick, Video.

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Today, Parker Jane turns two. It is to be celebrated with cupcakes and her best friend Shara. Who could ask for more?

post cupcake

Last weekend, we all threw a birthday party for PJ and Shara at Griffith Park. It was a perfect day for a picnic lunch and a ride on the merry-go-round. Family and friends came from miles around to celebrate among the balloons and bubbles. A gigantic post to our Flickr page has pictures from the party, and then some.

And then some… I guess that would contain pictures of our life since November. And boy, hasn’t the world changed since then? The world of Corbal Family certainly has. Rick and I made a decision late last year that we had been meaning to make ever since we moved to Los Angeles: to move back to Santa Cruz. We were overjoyed at the official decision and all the excitement that goes along with pursuing a dream. The giddiness wore off though, as we told our friends and family here in the south-land (that will be the only time I ever say that) of our plans to move away, and to take Parker Jane with us.

Our reasons to move are still compelling us. Over the past 6.5 years, Los Angeles has gotten to be too big for us. We want quiet, trees, countryside, and a small community for Parker Jane to grow up in. Call it back to the land, or whatever, it is a pull that has become so much stronger since PJ was born. It’s been a tough road at times here, living in Los Angeles. But I refuse to talk negatively of it. I will honestly miss our life here, and most of all our wonderful friends and family. Without them, we probably would have high-tailed it back to Santa Cruz in a few months. It is with tremendous sadness and inexplicable excitement that we are making this move. The dream is this: we find a little house up (up, up) in the Santa Cruz mountains with a little bit of land. We have chickens and a dog and a fireplace. The rest will come together in time.

Needless to say, we’ll be busy with the move until we relocate in June. Updates are likely to be scarce, but that’s par for the course for this blog. So, in an attempt to appease those who are about to give up on us, and in honor of our beautiful birthday girl, Rick has compiled a video of PJ’s best moments over the last several months. Enjoy!

But first, these things
- Parker Jane constantly asks: “what is that?” and “what’s that say?”
- Parker Jane consistently leaves out the number 4 when counting to 10.
- Parker Jane enjoys kale. she also likes spinach, beets, ruttabaga, and kolrabi. seriously.
- Parker Jane is known to say – at the appropriate time even – “that’s okay baby”.
- Parker Jane often says “running”, while running.
- Parker Jane shares her birthday with her amazing Great Grandmother Zoccoli; 80 years apart.
- Parker Jane loves books. LOVES books. the Altadena library is her home away from home.
- Parker Jane loves dogs.
- Parker Jane loves horses.
- Parker Jane loves her mommy.
- Parker Jane loves her daddy.
- Parker Jane is a truly special little girl; her mommy and daddy love her dearly.

this morning, on a walk with daddy

corbalfamily Films presents: the Parker Jane collection volume1

cff 2009

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Written by Rick on February 26, 2009.

Categories: Erin, Family, Friends, General, Parker Jane, Rick, Video.

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Corbalfamily and the All Corbal Family Band Presents:

we’ll get to the song in a second, but first:

a post from rick, finally!

i wanted to tell you what is new with me. and i will also share some more Parker Jane later, but this first.

two saturdays ago i began a training program to become a Waldorf Teacher. i am excited for the possibilities i see this program revealing to me, and while i have only attended two classes so far, my connection to the material already feels very real. also, during one of my lessons i glanced out a window and noticed a circle of second year students throwing an imaginary ball around, and they were in to it. so that was awesome too. more later. *for those not familiar with Waldorf Education, you can click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldorf_education for a small but accurate overview of information.

Parker Jane is blowing my mind. it’s hard to know what to mention because there is so much, so often. she can be so bright, and so day-dreamy at the same time. Parker Jane laughs more than she cries, and will devour a mountain of books in the blink of an eye. she is no longer the big eater that many of you remember her as; her appetite isn’t poor, she’s just to busy to eat. Parker Jane is a little girl now, a very happy little girl. she amazing, but i’m her daddy, so i’m biased. but still right.

i bought this shirt for Parker Jane.

Erin is lovely, and amazing as well, and she completes the little family that is Corbal.

speaking of Corbal-
as promised, Corbalfamily and the All Corbal Family Band Presents:
pitseleh (you are)

(turn up volume – press the arrow to start the song – rock out!)

*unless i am mistaken, pitseleh means “little one” in Yiddish.

Corbalfamily and the All Corbal Family Band
rick corbal: vocal, guitar
erin corbal: recorder, is there anything else?
parker jane corbal: ballshoeshoeshooooohatAnnie hatJude idothatidoitdoit doitdooeywha whowwowdaddydaddydaddy napdaddylalu
jude corbal: washtub bass, suspicious looks
annie corbal: cello, shedding

have a lovely tuesday.

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Written by Rick on September 15, 2008.

Categories: Annie, Erin, General, Jude, Parker Jane, Rick.

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the summer post

Today is my fourth day of being laid-up with a sickness that I learned today to be bronchitis, so, I write.

I slept, whined and moaned my way through the week until last night, when I felt well enough to go to a friend’s wedding. And I actually felt a LOT better, especially after chasing my cold medicine with wine and dancing for hours on end. Apparently that was the eye of the storm of my sickness and I awoke with no voice and flaming glands this morning. I need to get well enough to work next week, so I headed for urgent care this morning, armed with a days worth of reading material. I was pleased to wait less than an hour to see a super-friendly doctor who sent me on my way with amoxicillin and the promise that I’ll feel much better tomorrow. I sure hope super-friendly doctor is right. Since I work outside, I almost never get sick. But when I do, I’m always so miserably incapacitated and unprepared. It’s days like these I realize that I take my day-to-day well being for granted, and, how incredibly fortunate I am to have health insurance.

And now my bout with bronchitis has been forever immortalized in our almost quarterly updated blog, how pathetic! On to the big update….

June brought the wedding of Kristen – Rick’s sister – and her now-husband Chris Giangregorio. It was a fantastic weekend of wonderful family and friends, culminating in a very exciting day. Rick was a groomsman and I was the matron of honor. It was a true honor to stand next to Kristen that day – I am blessed to have her in my life as a sister and one of my very best friends.

Parker Jane was a flower girl alongside her cousin Mya.

post wedding cracker time

We had decided that the girls would be carried down the aisle and it turned out to be a good call – as Rick was walking PJ in, she was busily tossing petals from her basket, but when she looked up to see all eyes on her, she froze with a single petal in her hand, expressionless, for the rest of the procession.

Parker Jane’s little cousin Amanda had her first birthday party in July. It was fun to watch as PJ got caught up in the excitement with the other toddlers. For the most part she hangs back in a group of kids and is amused by just by watching them. She’s particularly interested in older boys – she’ll just stare at them in awe. Amanda wasn’t too keen on her birthday cake and poked at it a few times. Apparently, this sign is a green light for other toddlers to move in on the cake. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Parker Jane lick her lips and saunter up to where Amanda was sitting… I was able to intercept before the coup.

The absolute highlight of the summer was our four weeks spent at Corbal’s Casa Serena in July and August. Earlier this year, Rick and I had kicked around the idea of taking an extended period of time off to unplug and unwind in the mountains. We had spent two very busy weeks at the cabin last August when Parker Jane was just 6 months old (!) and wanted to try to do it again this year… just for a little bit longer. So, we made it happen, and it turned out to be such an invaluable time.

Over the last few years, the family had undertaken the project of updating the cabin’s 1981 interior. Last year we changed out curtains and installed some ceiling fans. This year though, with such a significant amount of time on our hands, Rick and I felt that it was only right that we make a significant contribution to the effort. Our project: paint the inside of the house. This was not daunting to someone (me) who hasn’t painted a wall – much less a two story house – in many years. It took only one full day – I mean dawn till dusk – of painting for us to realize that we’d never finish the whole house in the limited time we had without company. So we set our goal for at least finishing the downstairs, and we did it! We probably could have gotten a good part of the upstairs done as well if we hadn’t decided to paint all the ceilings as well. Yes, we (Rick) painted the ceilings too. We were crazed and covered in paint specks for five days, but we finished it, and it looks fabulous, and in retrospect, we had fun doing it. This and the several other home improvement projects we completed made us feel confident that whenever we’re able to buy our first house – which will most certainly be a junker – we’ll be able to do a lot of the work ourselves, just as we would like it.

We had planned for family and some friends to come and visit during our stay, and rightly so, the majority of our four weeks were spent with company coming and going. While we were initially conflicted by not having as much “alone time” as we had originally imagined, the time we spent with our loved ones was priceless – we shared unique experiences with each group or individual that allowed time for us to connect and truly enjoy each other’s company. As it turns out, we spent most of the eight days we did have alone together working on the house, which was an equally valuable experience. We made a point to get out in the evenings and stretch our legs, and of course Parker Jane provided non-stop entertainment so that made it all the better. It is refreshing to live – even briefly – in a state where time doesn’t matter. Time was everything and nothing to us for four weeks. Absolutely reinvigorating. I highly recommend it!

We would have stayed longer had we not had tickets to see Radiohead at the Hollywood Bowl in late August. This band continues to blow my mind, and the show was accompanied by an especially fascinating “light show” – a term which does the phenomenon itself no service whatsoever. It was a great show despite the snoozer LA crowd, and the surprise cover of Neil Young’s “Tell Me Why” was as delicate as lace.

Parker Jane is now 18 months old, and such a significant age requires the customary trip to the doctor for a check-up. Since the beginning of her life, PJ has seen two different doctors at these benchmarks; one her pediatrician, and the other her cardiologist. We learned at her recent cardiologist visit that it would be the last one. Her doctor feels that the slight murmur that remained after the surgery is normal and insignificant compared to what it used to be. Needless to say, this is very good news, and I feel like we can finally close the door on that scary chapter of our lives.

this picture was taken five days ago, and that is a disco ball in a birdcage behind Parker Jane

The bad news is that she’s developed a fear of doctor’s offices and screams bloody murder before we even get to the examination room. I’ve learned from our last visit NOT to tell her that she won’t be hurt if there are vaccinations to be given. The way she looked at me after… Anyway, all is well with her – she’s still on the small size for her age – 22lbs, 31inches. From what I can tell she’s growing up as opposed to out – that belly isn’t quite as rotund, and her arms and legs are getting so long. Baby features are giving way to little girl looks. Her hair has a lot to do with it. When we were in the mountains, her hair was getting in her eyes and bothering her so I cut some quick bangs. They really suit her and make her look so grown up… sassy even.

pre bangs

Somewhere between last week and this week Parker Jane started putting together two and three word sentences. I’m constantly impressed by her growing vocabulary, sharp memory (very, very sharp!), and unmistakable self confidence. She has chosen her blankie – a soft nubby green blanket with satin backing. I’m now on the hunt for a replacement should something ever happen to the original. She loves it, like her favorite stuffed animals, fiercely. And, as always, she’s crazy about Shara (Shay-da!)

bangs (with Shara, with bangs)

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Written by Erin on September 8, 2008.

Categories: Erin, Family, Friends, General, Parker Jane, Rick.

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Oh, yeah… we have a blog!

Could it be that the last Parker Jane update was at her first birthday? Shame on us, really. So much has happened and she has changed so much since then.

This Sunday she will be 15 months old!

PJ shares a birthday with George Harrison so i suppose having his hair is okay

This post is accompanied by an update to our flickr page. So much of what’s been going on can be seen in those photos.

Parker Jane went from cautious first steps just before her birthday to a full gallop – without knowing how to stop – in a matter of one month. Her mobility is astounding and she revels in her independence now. Just because she can, she’ll veer off in any direction at any given time. Accidents abound in our daily lives as a result.

the waves weren’t very good that day

She’s quite a talker theses days too, and will repeat words and expressions she likes. She picked up “ooo-wee!” and “okie-dokie” from her grammy last weekend. Her daily favorites are “apple”, “hi”, “bye”, “monkey”, “duck/y”, and “book/y”. The word I’m proudest of: “octopus” (sounds more like “oppu”, but she says it and points to the octopus in a couple of different books. It’s strange how prominent octopi are in kids books.)

too busy drinkin’ to talk

A month-and-a-half ago we experienced a banner moment in Parker Jane development: the death of the pacifier (or “plug” as we liked to call it). Parker Jane had developed a bit of a runny nose and was forced to breath predominately out of her mouth because of it. Breathing from the mouth hampered pacifier sucking, so while Parker Jane still clung to the comfort of the pacifier, her use during this time was greatly diminished. So we took the pacifier away. Not knowing what might happen, we waited for the longing cry, but it never came. Nor did it come the next day, or the next, and within 3-4 days we knew that the pacifier had become a thing of the past. In honor of the passing of our dear friend “plug”, we offer you this:

Just this evening we had a breakthrough. She said “poo-poo” then took her customary squat and did her business. This was worthy of a phone call to daddy on his way to work. We have brought out her training potty, and attempt to have her sit on it every day, but haven’t even begun to think about potty training. I think it’ll be obvious when she’s ready for that. In the meantime it’s just another thing to climb and stand on in the bathroom.

A large part of our daily lives with Parker Jane involve her bringing books for us to read to her. It is something we are very pleased with and love to encourage. She gets so much pleasure from perusing her book baskets and plopping down on our laps with her selection. She’s got a decent library growing, and somehow I still get a kick out of reading “Goodnight Sweet Butterflies” for the 300th time. But there are a few of those books… you know, the one she picks out and brings to you with gusto while you grimace and try to talk her out of it. The one that you hide underneath the sofa until she finds it the next day, whining and clawing to reach it, and then insisting you read it on the spot. Twice. We don’t have cable service which means we don’t have TV, and while Fantasia has been popped in the VCR a few times, Parker Jane has no interest in TV. When the time is right I’m sure we will introduce old Sesame Street episodes, old Disney Movies and of course the Beatles’ animated film Yellow Submarine. But for now, an annoying book Parker Jane is compelled to look at over and over still insights more imagination and interaction than Teletubbies, and we are happy to read it.

with a wagon and a bff like Shara, who needs t.v.

Parker Jane is by nature a very easy going and happy toddler. She is strong-willed and stubborn yet generous with her affection. Plush toys and our very forgiving cats cannot escape Parker Jane’s kisses. And she’s getting better at giving her mom and dad kisses, too (but only upon request). Strange – no longer a baby, but not yet a little girl. I love this stage as much as I’ve loved every other one. Her rapid development is a lot to keep up with, and we’re now challenged with the tricky task of discipline.

discipline, with a clown like this? we’ll see

As for me, I’m refocusing on my family and business in the wake of the LA Garden Show. It was really satisfying working within the show’s theme (“A Vision for Sustainability”) and creating a “green” space for all to see (and a theme I’d like to explore more in my future work). Leading up to the opening of the show and during the installation, I was struck by the whole process feeling reminiscent of preparing for one of my college photography exhibits. There was a similar energy of creation on that lawn, and though we were all doing our own work, it felt like a collaborative effort between all of the designers to put on the show. It was a very exciting, humbling, and affirming moment in my career.

front view of finished design

Rick spends four nights a week in South Pasadena serving California Cuisine to the rich and famous (actually, rich and demanding). In his spare time, Rick continues to write, build and create works of art; his current focus being the development of a small, independent literary press for publication of his written material as well as friends and other talented writers.

May 18, 2008 marked six years of marriage for Rick and I. While not always a walk in the park, our love for each other remains strong enough to topple any wall and hurdle any barrier. And moving forward with Parker Jane as a part of our family, this love will only grow.

holding hands is still magic, that’s why we still do it (PJ now included)

In case we neglect to post for another three months, I thought I might add here a three month projection for the Corbal Family. In June Parker Jane will be a flower girl in her Aunt Kristen’s wedding. What she’ll do when faced with a basket of petals then led down the aisle in front of 200 people, no one knows… but there’s a good chance that I’ll be carrying her. July will be hot and uncomfortable. Parker Jane will spend most of her time in just a diaper. In August we hope to spend a few weeks at the Casa Serena in the mountains and enjoy the simple life. That’s what I see on the horizon, so just go with that until you hear again from us again. But we’ll try very hard to stop in sooner.

love to all,


About this post

Written by Erin on May 24, 2008.

Categories: Annie, Erin, Family, Friends, General, Jude, Parker Jane, Rick, Video.

This post has 3 Comments.