Colorado Plains

Last weekend, Vivian went on her third trip via airplane and I went on my second trip via airplane alone with her. We flew to Colorado to spend the weekend with my sister, Anna, and her boyfriend, Tim, on their cattle ranch in Roggen. Vivian did great on the flights and I did well traveling alone with her. I think I have this traveling-alone-on-an-airplane-with-an-infant thing down pretty well. The hardest parts of the trip are going through security (because I have to single-handedly dismantle Vivian’s stroller and carseat and put everything through the x-ray scanners) and bagging/unbagging the carseat at the plane’s gate. Luckily, there are many kindhearted and helpful people who are very happy to help me when they see me struggling.

We had a fairly low-key weekend in Colorado. We managed to schedule our trip a mere day before the snow and bitter cold rolled in, so we enjoyed warm temperatures and blue skies.

While in Colorado we visited Anna’s new job.

Anna and Vivian Hard at Work

Anna and Vivian Hard at Work

We also went wine tasting at River Garden Winery, which had just opened in August 2014.

Wine Tasting!

Wine Tasting!

We took a short walk at Banner Lakes right before sunset.

Walking at Banner Lakes

Walking at Banner Lakes

We attended Tim’s family church, Kiowa Creek Community Church, and visited with all of Tim’s immediate family, which was nice.

And, we ate! Anna made delicious breakfast and dinners (Chicken Spaghetti and Chicken Lettuce Wraps) for us and sent us home with some amazing homemade pumpkin cinnamon rolls.

We had a wonderful time visiting and can’t wait to go back!

The Girls

The Girls

Tim, Anna, and Vivian

Tim, Anna, and Vivian

Note: To get Tim to agree to be in the above picture (he hates being photographed), Anna had to agree to change Vivian’s diaper. It was the first diaper ever that Anna changed!

Vivian Loves Her Aunt Anna

Vivian Loves Her Aunt Anna

Vivian Playing at Anna and Tim's

Vivian Playing at Anna and Tim’s

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Boo! Baby

In the weeks leading up to Halloween, we attended the Fall Festival at Baker Ranch and took Vivian to her first pumpkin patch at Tanaka Farms.

Fall Fest Fun

Fall Fest Fun

Pumpkins are Tasty

Pumpkins are Tasty

Family Photo at Fall Festival

Family Photo at Sunny/Hot Fall Festival

Vivian was six months old on her first Halloween, but she still celebrated by trick-or-treating and looking extra cute in her pumpkin pajamas.

Vivian's Halloween Daytime Outfit

Vivian’s Halloween Daytime Outfit

All Smiles on the Way to Daycare

All Smiles on the Way to Daycare

Pumpkin Baby

Pumpkin Baby

CRAWLING Baby

CRAWLING Baby

Trick-or-Treating with Jakob

Trick-or-Treating with Jakob

Mmm...Chocolate!

Mmm…Chocolate!

Family Photo on Halloween Night

Family Photo on Halloween Night

Next up, Thanksgiving! This is such a fun time of the year!

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Fun with Family

While my family was in town for Vivian’s baptism we were able to do a few fun things together with Vivian around Orange County. I love tailoring family and friend visits to their likes/interests and creating custom travel itineraries for them while they are visiting us. Of course, though, my ability to do this has significantly waned since giving birth to Vivian. Now I have to consider her needs first for every outing. No matter, though, as I think she enjoyed the fun things that we did with my family while they were visiting (or, if she didn’t enjoy them, they at least pacified her enough to snooze through them and wake up refreshed after the outing was over!).

On the day that my family arrived, we lunched at Stadium Brewing Company, which was especially fun for my brother, who enjoys tasting many types of beer.

Lunch at Stadium Brewery

Lunch at Stadium

Since Halloween was just around the corner from my family’s visit, we took Vivian to Tanaka Farms to pick out pumpkins.

My Family at the Pile of Pumpkins

My Family at the Pile of Pumpkins

Three Generations in the Pumpkin Patch

Three Generations in the Pumpkin Patch

Working Our Way Through the Corn Maze

Working Our Way Through the Corn Maze

Five years ago when Dan’s and my relationship was still new, we went to Tanaka Farms and picked out pumpkins to carve. Here’s a throwback to our outing in 2009:

Tanaka Farms 2009

Tanaka Farms 2009

101809 008

Tanaka Farms 2009

Five years later, we’re married and have a baby!

One morning, everyone except for me went for a hike in Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park to the Top of the World. I stayed home to pump, shower, and do house chores.

Heading Out on a Hike

Heading Out on a Hike

And one evening, we all went to a new winery, Rancho Capistrano Winery, to do a little wine tasting.

Wine Tasting at Rancho Capistrano Winery

Wine Tasting at Rancho Capistrano Winery

I think that my family had a great time visiting with us in SoCal and seeing a few new sites. If nothing else, they loooooved spending time with cutie Vivian:-)

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Cholla Trail Hike

A few weeks ago, Dan wanted to go on a Saturday evening hike with Vivian and Snoopy in Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park. Although I love hiking, I was less than enthusiastic. The exhaustion of motherhood can really bring me down. I was tired and lacking energy. It was important to Dan, though, so I agreed to go on the hike. And I’m so glad that I did. It was wonderful to be outside and in nature with my family during my favorite time of the day (dusk). Dan pushed Vivian in the running stroller and I hiked with Snoopy on his leash. We went up a pretty steep hill…and then, of course, had to go back down. So, we also got in a good workout. In the future, if we hike the Cholla Trail again, though, I would not bring Vivian in the stroller. The trail really is too steep and rutted for a stroller and it would probably work out better for her to be in a carrier.

Hiking Up...

Hiking Up…

...And Up...

…And Up…

Vivian's View on the Hike

Dan’s View on the Hike

Snoopy Loves Hiking!

Snoopy Loves Hiking!

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Baptizing Baby

Vivian was baptized according to the rite of the Roman Catholic Church on October 25, 2014. Her ceremony was held at Corpus Christi Church. She was surrounded by her parents, of course; both sets of her grandparents; and both of her uncles. Her Uncle Matthew is her godfather. She wore her father’s baptismal gown, which was made by Dan’s godmother and which he wore at his own baptism over 31 years ago. It was a very special day for Vivian and we are so pleased that she is “officially” baptized.

Baptized by Water (and Deacon Bob Kelleher)

Baptized by Water (and Deacon Bob Kelleher)

Lighting the Baptismal Candle

Lighting the Baptismal Candle

Our Family

Our Family

Vivian with Her Parents, Godfather, and the Deacon

Vivian with Her Parents, Godfather, and the Deacon

Mama and Vivian

Mama and Vivian

Uncle Matthew (the Godfather) and Vivian

Uncle Matthew (her Godfather) and Vivian

Uncle Alex Holding Vivian

Uncle Alex Holding Vivian

Dan's Family

Dan’s Family

Carrie's Family

Carrie’s Family

Vivian's Baptism Supports/Family

Vivian’s Baptism Supporters/Family

Baptism Brunch at Sapphire  Laguna

Baptism Brunch at Sapphire Laguna

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SUP Date

One of the items on Dan’s and my pre-baby “to do” list was to go stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). Neither one of us had ever done it and it’s actually a very convenient activity for us to do since we live so close to the ocean. But, in the 2 1/2 years that we were married before Vivian was born, we never got around to going stand-up paddleboarding:-( Once I had become a giant pregnant woman, I thought that that this item would never get checked off our list. That board had paddled away, so to speak. Although there are a lot of things that you can do with a baby, stand-up paddleboarding is definitely not one of them! Anyway…one of my awesome coworkers and friends had been asking when she could watch Vivian again and we agreed on a date. Once we had the date nailed down, Dan and I started thinking about what we would like to do sans baby. Sure, we could go out to a nice, fancy dinner, but we could always do that with Vivian. It didn’t take long before we both agreed that stand-up paddleboarding would be a great date day activity!

I bought a Groupon for the two of us to rent SUPs from Newport Fun Tours. We got a 30 second tutorial on how to SUP and then were pushed off into Newport Harbor. Our rental was valid for two hours, but I was initially convinced that we’d only be on the water for 30-45 minutes. It really didn’t take us too long, though, to get our sea legs. Dan fell into the water pretty early on in our adventure, but since it was such a hot day, it actually felt really good to get wet. I didn’t mind getting wet, but I was a little turned off by the murky water in parts of the harbor. We started off slow, paddling around small Newport Isle, before venturing out into the larger harbor and paddling around Lido Isle. We gained confidence and were soon expertly paddling around the harbor, dodging Duffy boats, gawking at the mansions flanking the water, and and coasting through the wake created by yachts cruising by.

We even had an interesting (and scary – for Dan!) encounter with wildlife. A Duffy boat had sidled up to a dock on Lido Isle where a large sea lion was hanging out. Dan paddled towards the sea lion to check him out, but couldn’t stop as quickly as he had hoped. He glided toward the sea lion and got way to close for the sea lion’s comfort (and Dan’s, too). The sea lion moved his behemoth body and roared at Dan, telling him to BACK OFF! Dan, who was only a few feet away from the sea lion, could not back away fast enough and fell off his paddleboard and into the harbor. Of course, me and everyone on the Duffy boat were just watching in curious horror, wondering if the sea lion was going to further go after Dan. Dan thought that the sea lion was for sure going to jump into the water after him. As Dan resurfaced in the water and grabbed his paddleboard, though, he realized that the sea lion had already accomplished his goal – getting Dan to back off. Dan felt a little embarrassed about his fall, especially since he did not mean to get so close to the animal.

Our Paddle Path Around Newport Harbor

Our Paddle Path Around Newport Harbor

We finished our four mile paddle around the harbor right before the sun set. After wobbling to our car, we picked up dinner from Ho Sum Bistro and then picked up our cute baby. Dan and I agreed that this was a perfect date day!

SUP Date

SUP Date

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Going to Grammy & Papa’s

After two visits this past summer to visit Grandma and Grandpa Chambers in Livermore, it was time for Vivian to make a cross country flight to visit her Grammy and Papa Damschroder in Ohio. Although she’d met her Grammy (my mom) and Aunt Anna (my sister) before, she hadn’t yet met her Papa (my dad), Uncle Matthew (my brother and Vivian’s soon-to-be godfather), only living great grandparent (my dad’s mom, Ruth, who is one of Vivian’s namesakes), and the rest of my extended family. So, when Vivian was 4 months old, in August 2014, we boarded a plane in Orange County, picked up Anna during a layover in Denver, and then kept flying east until we hit corn fields, long summer evenings, thunderstorms, and green grass.

Vivian Flying with Anna and Dan

Vivian Flying with Anna and Dan

Big Girl!

Big Girl!

The day after we arrived in Ohio, we attended my cousin Judd’s wedding and reception near Cleveland. After driving for two hours to get to the wedding, I needed to nurse Vivian during the [very quiet] Catholic ceremony. Nursing her wasn’t a big deal, but her spitting up what looked like a gallon of breast milk and then pooping out another gallon was. Her adorable dress was covered in all sorts of nastiness. Dan and I slunk to the back of the church and slipped into the bride’s room to clean her up. She spent the rest of the service in a onesie, which is what I probably should have dressed her in in the first place!

Anyway, after the ceremony, Vivian got to meet a lot of my mom’s extended family.

Vivian Meeting Cousin Sue

Vivian Meeting My Mom’s Cousin Sue

While waiting for the reception to begin, we all went out to a local brewery and eatery.

Waiting for the Reception to Begin at Fat Head's Brewery & Saloon

Waiting for the Reception to Begin at Fat Head’s Brewery & Saloon

At the reception, Vivian spent time with more extended family.

Aunt Deb, Uncle Den, & Vivian

Aunt Deb, Uncle Den, & Vivian

Photo Booth Fun with Cousin Sue, Uncle Tim, and Uncle Lee

Photo Booth Fun with Cousin Sue, Uncle Tim, and Uncle Lee

Dan and I also enjoyed our time with each other and my family.

Chambers Photo Booth Fun

Chambers Photo Booth Fun

Caught Sucking Her Thumb!

Caught Sucking Her Thumb!

It's been three years now since our own wedding!

It’s been three years now since our own wedding!

My Mom and Her Girls

My Mom and Her Girls

With the Bride, Sarah

With the Bride, Sarah

It was truly great to see so many of my mom’s family and for them to meet Vivian. The two hour drive home from the wedding reception did not go well (poor Vivian woke up very upset in her car seat), but after a nursing break at a rest stop, we all made it home and in bed.

The morning after the wedding, we went to my dad’s church. I had to nurse her there during the service, also. And, she also spit up A LOT. Churches make our baby puke?!

After church, we went over to my dad’s for a family BBQ. Vivian met her great grandma and all of her great aunts and uncles and second cousins on my dad’s side of the family.

Vivian Meets Her Great Grandma

Vivian Meets Her Great Grandma

Vivian and Her Aunt Anna

Vivian and Her Aunt Anna

Vivian Wearing a Hooded Poncho Her Great Aunt Jane Made for Her

Vivian Wearing a Hooded Poncho Her Great Aunt Jane Made for Her

Dan Shows Vivian How to Wear the Hooded Poncho

Dan Shows Vivian How to Wear the Hooded Poncho

Vivian and Her Papa

Vivian and Her Papa

The Whole Dam Family (Minus Matthew)

The Whole Dam Family (Minus Matthew)

Grandma and Her Great Grandkids

Grandma and Her Great Grand Kids

My Family (Minus Matthew)

My Family (Minus Matthew)

Four Generations!

Four Generations!

Grandma and Her Grand and Great Grand Kids (Minus Matthew)

Grandma and Her Grand and Great Grand Kids (Minus Matthew)

Dan flew back to California earlier than Vivian and me, but before he did, we showed him around the Sandusky County Fair, even though the fair hadn’t technically started yet.

Walking Around the Fair

Walking Around the Fair

Papa Showing Vivian the Chicken Barn at the Fair

Papa Showing Vivian the Chicken Barn at the Fair

Chambers Family at the Fair

Chambers Family at the Fair

Vivian in a Corn Box at the Fair

Vivian in a Corn Box at the Fair

Vivian and Dan at the Fair

Vivian and Dan at the Fair

After Dan flew home, Vivian and I spent our time hanging out with family and friends.

Vivian with Her Grammy and Great Uncle Lee

Vivian with Her Grammy and Great Uncle Lee

Vivian Visiting Her First Dead President (Rutherford B. Hayes)

Vivian Visiting Her First Dead President (Rutherford B. Hayes)

Grammy and Vivian in Spiegel Grove

Grammy and Vivian in Spiegel Grove

Visiting Julie at Chateau Tebeau Winery

Visiting Julie at Chateau Tebeau Winery

Vivian Eyeing Anna's Wine at Chateau Tebeau Winery

Vivian Eyeing Anna’s Wine at Chateau Tebeau Winery

Another Visit with Grandma

Another Visit with Grandma

Uncle Matthew Loves Vivian!

Uncle Matthew Loves Vivian!

Playing with Papa

Playing with Papa

Anna, Matthew, Vivian, and Me

Anna, Matthew, Vivian, and Me

We even made a return trip to the fair.

Watching the Sheep Show with Aunt Anna

Watching the Sheep Show with Aunt Anna

When Vivian and I returned to California after a week, my mom came with us. She watched Vivian during my first week back to work. Vivian really took to my mom. I was so happy to see them bonding! Somehow, my mom was always able to quickly get her to fall asleep for her naps and my mom always seemed to get WAY more done during the day than I ever could with Vivian around (baking, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.). My mom really made my transition back to work doable. I miss her now so much! So does Vivian!

Vivian and Grammy

Vivian and Grammy

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