Photos and Videos From Our Palo Alto Trip

Happy New Year! How was your break? As in prior years, we spent the last couple of weeks in Palo Alto where we visited family and Sonya consumed massive amounts of Russian chocolate cheese or CbIPOK. Basically this is cheesecake covered in chocolate, but my Russian in-laws insist it’s very healthy.


Our first visit was to Stanford. Sonya took her Micro Mini and scooted around campus while Yan and I strolled around sipping coffee from the student lounge. The colors in Palo Alto this time of year are quite extraordinary. From late morning to late afternoon the sun hits at such an angle that the leaves on the trees sparkle and you feel just so thankful not to be in New York where the temperature was an ungodly four degrees Fahrenheit. 🙂

As in prior years, we stayed at Yan’s parents house in Midtown Palo Alto. Sonya was thrilled to help decorate their beautiful New Year’s tree.

And Yan dressed up as Ded Moroz, the Russian Father Frost. It was a frightening experience for all.

Good thing we had an amazing Russian meal (and Vodka) to help erase that memory…


A highlight of the gifts received this year was an easel from Ikea which has a chalkboard on one side and a white board on the other.

Sonya said it was a parrot and I think she may be an artistic genius now 🙂

Above all, Sonya loved to draw portraits of our family (though I am not sure whether the below video should concern me or not)…

Since my brother, three sisters-in-law, two nephews and niece are also in the Bay Area, we spent some time with them too. It was so amazing to see Sonya and her cousin Zoe play together. They are just a few months apart in age, and yet I can tell are soul sisters. 🙂

My best photos are a blur as Sonya and Zoe ran in circles around one another



Sonya gave her sweet baby cousin David a side eye as they played a duet on his piano

Finally, we were able to spend a couple days in one of our favorite places in the world (where Yan and I also got married…) Calistoga! It was Sonya’s first visit and such a special time for us.


We decided to do the most touristy thing possible and take the tram up Sterling Vineyards. Sonya loved the ride and the food. It culminated in a wine/graham cracker tasting.


When we got back to Palo Alto, Sonya made a big speech leap! She is now articulating the “Z” sound so much more clearly (with some help).

As we left Sonya’s grandparent’s house for New York, Sonya sighed. “But I will miss Baba. I love her….also, chocolate cheese.”



Author: Missy Kvitko

Born in Fargo, North Dakota, I grew up in Minnesota. After graduating from Macalester College in 2004, I moved to New York City. For 10 years I worked in the field of public relations, representing professional services firms and financial services (in particular alternative asset managers) In 2014, my life changed dramatically with the birth of my first child, Sonya Rose. Born with severe to profound hearing loss. Sonya's care has become my full time job. It is also the best job I have ever had. My husband, Sonya and I live in Manhattan. Please feel free to email me anytime at, or find me on instagram (@mmkvitko) and twitter (@HearSonyaRose). Thank you so much for reading.

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