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.

This post has 4 Comments.


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 double-feature

corbalfamily Films has long been known for producing and distributing the best foreign, art-house and toddler films on the planet. the latest two films in the cff roster, from renowned director Rickey J.C., are no exception. teaming up (yet again) with international beauties Shara Fitzjarrald and Parker Jane Corbal, Rickey J.C. has created a double bill of cinematic genius, certain to touch, tickle, and delight audiences world wide. but enough of my yackin’, let’s boogie.

corbalfamily Films presents: bestfriends

cff 2008

corbalfamily Films presents: what’s your name? Parker Jane

cff 2008

About this post

Written by Rick on October 12, 2008.

Categories: General, Parker Jane, Rick, Video.

This post has 1 Comment.

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,


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Written by Erin on May 24, 2008.

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

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Starting the new year off right.

As Rick had mentioned in his previous post, we’ve been kept busy (best described as being in a constant state of mouths-hanging-open) by Parker Jane’s experience of constantly growing, learning, and understanding. But it has been far too long, and far too much has happened in her little world, so it’s time for an end-of-year-in-review. Accompanying this post is a gigantic flickr update with tons of old & new photos.

October (I started to write this post back then but never finished):
Parker Jane’s “worm” scoot evolved into a full fledged crawl early in the month. And she was off! She is particularly fast when one of us opens the refrigerator door – she likes the bright light and the cold surfaces. We try to be energy efficient in our household, though, so keeping the fridge door open for her just won’t work out. Once she mastered crawling, she got fast to work at pulling herself up to standing. This is a challenging stage, not because of all the little bumps and bonks, but knowing that she needs to experience the bumps and bonks in order to learn and improve. She’s also at the age where she looks to make sure you’re watching before she starts wailing.

international super model PJ Hunter presents: plush toy in mouth while crawling

Later in the month we spent time with both sets of grandparents for early Halloween celebrations. We went with my parents to “Bates Nut Farm” with hundreds of other people who only wanted to pick out a pumpkin and take a picture, but found themselves among a huge fall festival. Next year this extravaganza will be more worthwhile, but for an 8 month old who’s in need of a nap, it was much more than we bargained for. Luckily, we were able to find parking, see the farm animals, take the pumpkin pictures, and get out in a half an hour. Then we visited San Jose for a quick weekend and sought out a pumpkin patch nearby. Parker Jane impressed her great-grandma at her first piano lesson and had lots of fun banging on the keys. She had some good one-on-one time with Grammy and showed her how much she has changed in only two months.

A Halloween first: Parker Jane as “pumpkin”, and Shara as “pea pod”. Eight months old, and they flawlessly stay in character. Kids these days, huh?

The day of the surgery came and went (see previous post), and afterwards our life and home quickly adjusted to Parker Jane 2.0. It was incredible to see the change in activity level and endurance within just one day of the surgery. It makes perfect sense when you see the before and after photos of her pulmonary valve; obviously her laid-back and mellow nature was greatly influenced by the constraints of this valve. That is still her nature for the most part, but along with a more functional valve came a sassy, goofy, and sometimes stubborn side to her personality. This whole experience has made the job of being Parker Jane’s mom all the more joyful and fulfilling.

We hosted thanksgiving this year, and boy were we thankful it was a nice day, otherwise our almost 30 guests would have been crammed into our tiny little apartment. Luckily it was a gorgeous fall day and we were able to sit outside and enjoy all the wonderful food. It was truly a day to give thanks for the people in our lives, and an honor to be in the company of our incredible and loving family and friends. That being said, it will probably be a few more years until we host thanksgiving again.

Grandma and Grandpa Wright with Parker Jane on Thanksgiving – yes, Parker Jane did eat quite a bit of everything you see on that plate.

December – present:
Parker Jane and I visited my parents in Escondido for a pre-Christmas weekend mid-month since they’d be traveling and we’d be in San Jose for the holidays. We mostly just spent time together watching Parker Jane, but one afternoon we went out to Kit Carson Park to see a sculpture garden called Queen Califia’s Magical Circle by the artist Niki de Saint Phalle. (LINK) It is all colorful mosaic glass, tile, and rocks, and very kid-friendly. Parker Jane could have spent all day there touching the sculpture and crawling around; it will be so fun to bring her back as she grows up. We improvised a Christmas morning gift opening while we were there. Her gift-opening skills did not improve much up through Christmas, as she was much more impressed with the ribbon than ripping paper or the actual gift. I hear this changes by the one year birthday?

Scaling their magnificent Ruins, explorer Parker Jane Corbal seeks to find the truth behind the long lost but not forgotten tribes of Escondido.

Parker Jane’s Aunt Kristen and Uncle Chris made the trip up to San Jose with us, so the 6 hour ride wasn’t as boring as it usually is for Parker Jane. We were in the bay area for five relaxing days through Christmas. We had a wonderful vacation spending good time with family and friends, and not doing much else aside from eating and playing with the baby. Parker Jane got to visit with her cousin Mya twice while we were there. Mya is 11 months older and is mostly responsible for Parker Jane’s fabulous hand-me-down wardrobe. The two combined are a cute-force to be reckoned with. I’m so looking forward to watching these girls grow up together, and for the yet-to-be cousins too!

What? We were just…the cabinet? no, we weren’t…aren’t we cute?

I had predicted that Parker Jane would walk by her 10 month birthday (Christmas day), but now I’m thinking it will be closer to a year. She’s a fast and efficient cruiser now (walking while holding onto something), and every once in a while we catch her standing very briefly. She loves to hold onto our hands and walk with us; she practically runs sometimes! One of her new loves is a big purple ball her Grammy gave her. She’s taken to kicking the ball while walking with one of us. She’s gotten really good at it – so good it’s got me thinking that she’s going to be the next Mia Hamm.

In fact, she half-said “ball” on Christmas for the first time. It comes out more like “baa”, but she obviously associates the word she is saying with the actual thing. “Duck” is not too far behind, and sounds like “dut”. Parker Jane delights in hearing the different sounds (and volumes) her voice, tongue, and lips can make. It appears much more so recently that when she’s babbling at us or at something, her intent is to communicate something. What that thing is though, is always up for debate!

What began as a wet open mouthed slobber on the cheek has evolved into a sweet and tender kiss. There’s no telling when you’ll get a kiss from Parker Jane, but when it happens, there’s no avoiding the warm and fuzzy feeling that engulfs you.

I recently told someone that Parker Jane is like a garbage can – she’ll eat anything! That’s not a really nice way to put it, but it’s kind of true. I’m constantly amazed at her openness to new foods – foods I even didn’t start eating until my 20′s! As long as it’s soft enough for her chew/gum (she’s only got two bottom teeth so far) she’ll eat it and open her mouth for more. She loves avocado best of all; she’ll eat it at every meal if offered. A true California girl.

We rang in the new year very quietly, with my parents watching the ball drop on TV. Parker Jane slept as we kissed her after midnight. 2008 promises to be a very good year and we have a lot to look forward to.

- For me, this month will be spent re-focusing on my business and starting to build it again (see www.seaofgreengardening.com). Rick starts an online grammar refresher course through the Pasadena City College.
- In February I am going on vacation in Mexico with some girlfriends. Parker Jane will turn one on the 25th!
- Shara turns one on March 1st! Rick turns 31. I have jury duty.
- Our friends Derek and Mary are having a baby in April. Rick and I are going to ride in a 50 mile bike race with my dad from Rosarito to Ensenada, Mexico.
- In May, bachelorette party madness will ensue in the the mountains for my sister-in-law Kristen. Rick and I celebrate 6 years of marriage.
- Kristen marries Chris in June, in Santa Cruz. I’m a proud big sister matron of honor. Somehow Parker Jane will walk down the aisle as a flower girl.
- The summer will most definitely be hot, and we’ll have the Olympics and the Presidential campaigning to keep us entertained.
- In November, I turn 32. Two days later we have an opportunity to elect someone who hopefully will lead our country in a better direction than it’s been going in the last eight years. If all goes well, I expect an optimistic end to another good year.

And now, for all you videophiles: mealtime Conversation

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Written by Erin on January 16, 2008.

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

This post has 1 Comment.