A few weeks ago, my children and I had the wonderful opportunity to view the new Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital at its grand opening. The new facility, which includes added square footage, making it the largest children’s hospital in North America and the most technologically advanced in the world, is nothing short of spectacular. The hospital was designed to advance health care in a world of ever-evolving innovative technology. New technologies such as robotic surgery and next-generation imaging tools will improve the way patients are cared for. Fortunately, more families will be able to benefit from this state of the art facility with the expansion of surgery, imaging, and diagnostic capacity and incorporating the latest technology to allow kids the opportunity to have the best and most coordinated, collaborative care, and of course lots of beds. There was a strong emphasis placed on the needs of families during the design and construction of the new hospital. The facility boasts of well-designed bedroom suites not only for the comfort of its young patients, but also to accommodate parents. The suites all have tub and shower; two television screens; smart room designs with features such as caring team members names will pop up on the screen when they enter the room; family offices, so parents can have some quiet work time; simple design elements, like floors that absorb sound so patients and loved ones are not distracted by constant heavy walking.
There are other neat features at the new hospital like the healing garden, outdoor play areas, indoor play areas, Harvest Cafe, Tribute Wall, the amazing art pieces, and so much more. Since our three children have had surgery at the old facility, and at that time we felt that it was still cutting edge, we wanted to know the fate of the old facility. We were told that it will focus on neonatal care. Oh, how I wish our experience was at this new facility. They certainly would not be able to get rid of us. Those of you who will be having your children at the new hospital, you are lucky. Your children will be very well taken care of, with the most advanced technology and in the care of some of the world’s best doctors. The environment will help put you in a better frame of mind, no matter what your family may be going through. This facility is truly a gem and will be fully opened in December.
A new grocery store that has added to this list of fantastic places to shop for locally grown foods and locally sourced products, opens here in Palo Alto. The long awaited College Terrace Market located 2100 El Camino Real, had its soft opening this past Wednesday, and will officially host its grand opening in two weeks.
My family was back decorating gingerbread houses at the Four Seasons this past Sunday. What a blast we had!
The best part about the experience was to witness the fun, intensity, and maturity my kids developed since their last experience, a year ago. They were so excited about decorating, that they were strategizing for weeks what candy they would use for different parts of their houses. My eleven-year-old was especially excited since he has developed the tradition of bringing his decorated gingerbread house to his classroom. This year he decided to go a step further and personalized it with his school’s name. My daughter, on the other hand, wanted to create something that she and her siblings can snack on until, well it’s gone.
Unfortunately, this year Stew was not able to join us since he had to leave town on a business trip to the East Coast, but nonetheless, we had fun.The kids brought a friend and, my dear friend and photog Charu, joined us with her daughter. We had a great group.
This year the crowd was definitely bigger. There was an ecliptic mix of people and interesting teams. There were the girlfriends, the co-workers, the neighbors, the older couples, a fraternity of men with beards, many young families, I even ran into a few families from my younger son’s school. Everyone was just excited as we were to attend this amazing workshop.
Once again, Executive Pastry Chef Eric Keppler did not disappoint with his step by step tutorial, on how to decorate your Quattro Perfect House: on creating the roof, icicles and hardscape for the gingerbread house. Then he went around giving feedback to each table. He starts preparing for this event right after summer, to make sure that he leaves no stones unturned to create a memorable experience for all.
With the help of a design team, the team at Quattro created a very festive atmosphere. This year the candy bar was circular with miniature houses and a winterscape in the center, and this layout created more of an intimate feel while the snacks and drinks were on an adjacent table. The bar this year was in the same room.
The Four Seasons Quattro restaurant team was there every step of the way to guide folks and to supply extra icing, drinks, or to extend compliments to everyone while they worked on their masterpieces. What a fantastic experience!
My children would not allow me to skip this event next year, so again we will be decorating our very own mini Palo Alto house just in time for the Holidays.
There is no doubt that December is one of the most cherished months of the year – by both young and old. The reasons are quite obvious for everyone: fun-filled Holiday activities, religious traditions, family and friend togetherness, tolerance, generosity and goodwill. As every year, the Palo Alto community puts on its festive clothes and invites everyone to enjoy the seasonal merriness. So are you ready for some traditional wintery fun? Here 15 amazing family-friendly Holiday events in the Palo Alto Area that you can definitely enjoy with your beloved ones.
Great news Palo Alto, Lemonade Restaurant is set to open this Friday, June 24, at the newly redesigned 151 University Avenue location.
This will be Lemonade’s second of 6 planned locations in the Bay Area. The first opened two months ago in the Buena Yerba area in San Francisco, and more locations to open in Walnut Creek, Burlingame, Sunset and West Portal. With 22 other locations in Southern California – Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange County, Lemonade is now heading North to share its highly popular restaurant concept with our Bay Area residents.
A few weeks ago some Palo Alto schools enforced code blue lockdown, due to a manhunt for a suspect. The students had received training or drills on code blue and code red, and staff and students knew exactly what to do in either circumstance. For code blue, all doors in and out of the classrooms and school are locked, and teaching continues in the classrooms. Students are encouraged to continue with what they are doing until it was safe for them to go outside. Code red is a bit more serious, and children are directed to hide in their classrooms, curtains and blinds closed, lights out, all doors are locked and listen to instructions on when it is safe or free from active danger.
During the recent code blue lockdown, it seems that everyone at my children’s school were very composed and kept calm, except maybe for one little girl who was crying quietly at her desk, hearing police sirens and helicopters and she thought that whoever was near may soon come to her classroom. That little girl was my dear 8 year old daughter. She would later tell me how scared she felt and she thought that she was in danger. My heart sank to my feet. The principal had sent an email on the incident so we knew some of the details. I still felt helpless as I tried to reassure her that whoever the officers were looking for, was now in police custody and that she had nothing to fear.
The next day she refused to go to school and nothing I said would convince her to go. I attempted to put her at ease by saying that this was an isolated incident and that everything would be fine when she goes back to school and that her teacher who was away would be back. She still insisted that she was not going. So after trying to negotiate to no avail, I told her that I had alerted her teacher that she would not be coming in for the day, and I would try to take her out and get her mind off the incident.
I was thinking on a whim and trying to figure out what to do to get her back to school soon, before too much time went by, and she would develop a fear of school. My plan for the day was also to reach out to the Palo Alto Police Department and see if they would allow her come by and speak to one of the officers, who can let her know that the suspect was caught, he is not a threat to our community and that if there was something more serious at school they would have implemented a code red.
So I called the Police Department and a lovely lady answered the phone. I told her about my unusual request to come by and she tried to transfer my call, but the officer that she was putting me through to was not at his/her desk, so she indicated that she will have someone contact me. Within 5 minutes, an officer identified himself as Agent Green; that he is a School Resource Officer; and works with the schools during code drills and other community outreach programs, and he was here to listen to my request and see how he could help.
I went through the story with him, he listened. He had the most comforting voice. He also gave me a briefing on code blue procedures, mentioned that they could be used for any eminent danger that needed to be contained, including gas leaks, a bob cat on the run, a very serious accident near school, etc.
It felt remarkably outstanding that this officer was taking his time to explain how I should handle the situation: how I should talk to my daughter, what I should say to her. It was a trying moment for me, as I wanted to be sensitive to the way she felt, at the same time I did not want her to dislike her home away from home. Agent Green also gave me his direct mobile contact and said that I can contact him if I needed more help with the situation, or if there is anything he can do to help, please reach out.
I put on my brave mommy face, met my daughter in the playroom and did just as Agent Green indicated. She was very attentive, and her attitude changed immediately. After a brief moment, she said that she would go to school under one circumstance. So when she requested that Agent Green meet her at school, I did not know how the request would have been received, but Agent Green happily obliged, and we drove into the school together just before lunch. He met with her for a brief moment, she smiled because she recognized him from her drills. He gave her a badge for being a very brave girl, a few stickers and reassured her that everything will be ok. He would later contact me to find out how her day went and was pleased to hear that she was happy to be back at school again.
I was just blown away by how compassionate and considerate Agent Green was, and how he helped me with a very challenging situation, taking time away from his busy schedule. With all the recent negativity that surrounds police departments within the US, it was so amazing to attest that our experience with Palo Alto Police Department and Agent Green in particular has been exceptional. It is obvious that Agent Green’s training and personality and the culture that surrounds our Police Department allowed him to use his judgement and make a great effort to show empathy, compassion and a great sense of community. Thank you Agent Green, for taking the time to help make a difference in our lives.
It always seems to be a challenge choosing the right summer camp for our children. With so many options, it is even more challenging knowing where to start. This year we tried to identify some of the camps that are going to be hosted at Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) locations to make the decision a bit easier. Some people are set on their favorites camps no matter where they are located, but for those of you having a hard time deciding, hopefully the benefits can help you make up your mind.
There are several benefits in choosing a camp at your child’s school: your child may know someone who is also attending the camp (a best friend or classmate) or it may be closer to home, (a neighborhood school). In addition, familiarity with the location takes out the stress of camp anxiety in your child. Some camps may even offer discounts to local families or they may offer the possibility to negotiate a group discount.
We researched the camps, and here is a list of camps located in PAUSD schools:
Tava Kitchen in Palo Alto unveils its new look and a fresh new menu
Wednesday evening, I was very delighted to experience the unveiling of the new Tava Kitchen. Tava Kitchen is part the fine restaurants and eateries located at Town and Country Village. What makes Tava Kitchen unique is its visually pleasing and equally great tasting, bespoke food, for a very reasonable price.