Salt & Fog

The Art of Veronica Casson


Exploring Golden Gate Park

Adventures & ParentingVeronica Casson2 Comments
GGP+posible header

It’s impossible to not succumb to routine when you are a stay-at-home mom. Which is fine. Kids need routine. It helps them developmentally. It gives them a sense of control. But, It can be dangerous. While routine is grand, it’s equally as important to change it up sometimes and open ourselves up to new experiences.

In years past I spent almost the entirety of the week with only Luke and myself. Now that he is three, attends preschool three mornings a week, sees grandparents once or twice a week and Julie is able to work from home on Friday, our days are not as solitary as they once were. As many parents will understand this is both a relief and a tragedy.

With all this in mind I vowed to treat last Thursday a special day. Not just a day to get through until dinner time. A day to look for magic.

Here's what I did:

I let Luke decide what we were going to do. (With some guidance of course.)

I offered him these suggestions: go to a museum, explore golden gate park, go for a hike along the coast.

When I told him he got to pick his eyes grew really wide and  super serious. "I want to do Golden Park in Fran Fran-Frisco, " he said.



In case you don't know, towards the west end of Golden Gate park not far from Ocean Beach, there is a Buffalo Paddock where six or seven large bison roam about gnawing on the grass and begrudgingly posing for pictures.

Luke could already see one from his window when we were parking. He got so excited he started singing to them.


They are so big! Until I am standing next to them, I forget how massive and prehistoric the Buffalo are.


Luke said, “I want to see them from all sides” so we walked along the perimeter of the fence and discovered an expansive sandy dog park hidden in the trees.


Byron found a pack of mid-sized dogs to run around with. Luke was nudged into a game of fetch by a friendly lab. Every time the dog would retrieve the ball and drop it at Luke's feet he would crack up.

gg dogpark



We unpacked our picnic of string cheese, salami, veggies sticks and yogurt dip at Spreckles lake. Home of the San Francisco Model Yacht Club (SFMYC)m Spreckles Lake is  a man-made reservoir created exclusively for model boat builders. It’s the only place in San Francisco you can drive a model boat without a permit. Who knew?



Apparently you can get a kid to sit still and  eat for a while if you can just get others to drive models ships around.  Good tip for you there.

gg eatinh


While we were cleaning up lunch Luke spotted a gopher peaking out of his den. It would hide for a few moments and just when Luke thought it was gone it would pop up again creating another giggling fit. Oddly Byron could care less.


Stow Lake

boating house

I think the docks, boathouse and grounds surrounding Stow Lake are darling. I had no intention of actually going on the boats, I just brought Luke there as we were near by and I enjoy the atmosphere. Once he realized getting in one of the boats and floating about was an option, there was no going back.


I was nervous about my steering and rowing abilities, but, trying to not let that show, I piled the boys into one end of the boat and pushed off the other. There were a few times we spun out of control, and once we almost collided with a nest of seagulls but other than that I did all right. Oh, we got turned around in a tunnel once too when I tried to take a photo. But who’s counting?. We were able to do the whole circuit before our hour rental ran out, no one fell in, and we all had a wonderful time. Even Byron did I think.

Stow Lake Birds
Luke and V Stow Lake

Before leaving we split an order of fries in the boathouse while Luke repeated stories of everything we had done that day. He still does too. So worth getting out of my comfort zone.

Byron in Stow Lake Boathouse entryway.

Byron in Stow Lake Boathouse entryway.

Stow Lake Monkey Bars

Mom's Group 101

Adventures & ParentingVeronica Casson2 Comments
momgroup header

The big question here is, 'Do you need a mom’s group?

Are you now, or are you soon going to be, a new parent?  If so, then the answer is yes.

If you have an older child, let’s say 6 months or older, the answer is...maybe.
Below are some of the benefits that I hope will help you in your decision. 


Reasons to join a mom's group:


This was the number one reason for me. Especially if you are a first time mom, you're going to want to talk to someone during the day that can actually respond to you. Even if it's a lame response because they are as tired as you are. Probably even more so because  they get where you’re at because they’re right there with you.


While this may just sound like complaining to your friends or maybe even your spouse, other new moms get it in a different way. They are probably feeling the same thing. No matter how many times you tell other people your new mom problems, they just won’t get it until they are in it.  It can be damn hard to be a parent, especially early on. You’re not alone. Everyone else in the group is in it for a reason too. It can feel very validating when you need it most.


From diapers to potty training, napping to sleep councilors (yes that’s a thing) to feedback on any thing that has been troubling you can and will get answered. "Any ideas on how to handle a picky eater?" Seriously, everyone does thing called being a mom for the first time and no one knows what they are doing. A mom’s group is the way we all teach, and help each other.


Pediatricians, diaper services, hand-me down clothes, that one toy all the kids want to play with (It’s probably this as it was always the biggest hit from ages 6 months to walking in my group). I have never in my adult life been the beneficiary of so much good will and free stuff as I had when was a new mom. People have stuff and advice they want to share. Problems they have researched. They cannot wait to help you with yours. Just remember to pay it back in kind (you will though, don’t worry).


 Yes, early on the babies will all just be lying there in a circle staring up at you, maybe once in a while rolling into one another. Eventually though, they’re going to want to play with other kids. It will be in really short doses at first, and mostly just parallel play, but it will help socialize them. You want kids that are socialized. You don’t want to have the kid that cannot handle being around other children and when other parents see you coming to the playground they all quickly gather their things and leave. (Don’t worry, that too shall pass!)

One of the best reasons to join a mom's group is for the lifelong connections that will continue long after the group has dissolved. Playdates will be had. — Tweet This

Q&A: When should you join?

Do you have a baby?
Yes? Then the answer is NOW. Try it at least twice. Then you will know if it is the right group for you.

Are you going to have a kid in the very near future? Are you in your third trimester?Then the answer is join soon if you feel like it. I think joining and attending up to a couple months in advance can be helpful. It is nice to have a community set up before you have your baby and your time to research such things becomes limited. An added bonus is that many groups have an established meal plan to help with those tricky early days.

How do I join?

As far as I can tell the number one way to find Mom’s group is through The CEO has even mentioned how surprised he was that moms groups became the highest percentage of users.

If one is available nearby, fill out their application (these usually take under five minutes), and once accepted, go ahead and RSVP to a few that fit with your daily timeframe. Most have multiple times slots due to changing nap schedules.



When the little ones get a little older, story times are great. Most every library has a story time that, while sometimes dull for the parents (sorry being honest here), story time is great for the kids. Regardless if you are a part of a moms group, you should go to a story time now and again. It exposes kids to the joys of reading and there is almost always a sing-along part that has group interaction. Very often they will also have information on local mom's groups or events. When story time is over go, ahead and ask the moderator (which is sometimes, but not always a staff librarian) their suggestions for fun things to attend.


Playgrounds and Children's stores:

You have children. You will be at one of these sometime this week. Chat up another mom with a child in your age bracket. Chances are, they are as eager for adult conversations as you. Outside of the internet, other moms are the best resource you will find.


Google Search

Still coming up empty? Go ahead and Google your town and “mom's group.” Something should come up. If not, expand your search to include nearby towns or your county.

What are your thoughts on moms groups? Do you find them helpful?