Here Comes Santa

Vivian met Santa for the first time last weekend at the clubhouse at our new home community, Baker Ranch. It was great – there were no lines, we were allowed to visit with Santa as long as we wanted, it didn’t cost a dime, we were able to take as many of our own pictures as we wanted, Vivian was interested in Santa, and then, of course, Vivian realized that Santa is a very scary thing and she started crying.

Hmm...who is this Santa person?

Hmm…who is this Santa person?

Ah! I don't like him! Save me, Mama!

Ah! I don’t like him! Save me, Mama!

Too cute! We did get a nice family photo with Santa, though, too.

Family Photo with Santa

Family Photo with Santa

After visiting Santa, we ate doughnut holes and chocolate milk, went on a ride atop a fire truck (which Vivian was way more excited about than we expected she would be), and listened to carolers.

Vivian and Alexander Listening to Christmas Carolers

Vivian and Alexander Listening to Christmas Carolers

It was a lot of fun attending this event and watching Vivian’s reaction to Santa. We are so excited to be moving into our new home in this new community in 2015!

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Christmastime at the Happiest Place on Earth

The title of this post is a bit misleading because I definitely don’t think that Disneyland, with its high prices and long lines, is the happiest place on Earth, but that’s where we were last Saturday. Vivian’s been to Disneyland twice in her life – when she was 5 and 6 weeks old, I believe. Obviously, at those young ages, she wasn’t able to enjoy any of the Disney magic. Now that she’s 8 months old, though, we were excited to take her back to the parks because we knew that she would enjoy the lights, sounds, and activity. The parks were very busy, but we were able to take her on Flik’s FlyersHeimlich’s Chew Chew Train, and The Little Mermaid in California Adventure and “it’s a small world,” Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Pinocchio’s Daring Journey in Disneyland. We especially enjoyed taking her on “it’s a small world” because it’s a long ride with lots of lights and singing – she was fascinated! We also had fun taking her on The Little Mermaid (even thought she’d already been on it) because Dan’s sings one of the songs from it to her.

The parks were decorated for the holidays and quite beautiful.

Familytime at Christmastime at Disneyland Main Street

Familytime at Christmastime at Disneyland Main Street

Despite all the busyness at the parks, we were happy to spend the day together and see Vivian’s growing interaction with the exciting world around her.

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Turkey Time!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. However, every year I manage to exhaust myself to the point of tears, thereby getting very little satisfaction out of Thanksgiving. I hope that after this year’s break down, I have learned my lesson. Time will tell…

After a nearly 9-hour drive the night before Thanksgiving, we arrived in Livermore at 1:30am. After unloading the car, unpacking, prepping for the following morning, nursing Vivian, and getting ready for bed, I had 3.5 hours to sleep before my alarm rudely woke me up. Early on Thanksgiving morning, I quietly snuck out of the house before anyone else was awake, got back into the car, strapped on my breast pump, and drove to Walnut Creek, about 30 minutes away. Then I ran 10K in the Forma Gym Turkey Trot, which follows my tradition of running turkey trot races on Thanksgiving morning (see here, here, and here). I enjoyed the race, but I ran it so slow. Slower than ever. Slower even than last year when I was 23 weeks pregnant. My final time was 1:11:39. But…I hadn’t run at all prior to this race in over three months. Although slow, I did prove to myself that less than 8 months after having a baby, I can run 6.2 miles without stopping. Slowly.

After finishing my race, I drove to Campbell, south of San Jose, and about 45 minutes away, to gas up the car and pick up some friends that were going to join us for Thanksgiving dinner.  Then it was back to Livermore to pump some more, shower, direct some cooking, and bake a pie. And have a nervous, exhausted breakdown. I sat down for a few minutes to eat and then was back up and in the kitchen scrubbing pots and pans and sweeping the floor while Dan drove our friends back to Campbell. At the end of the day, after nursing, bathing, and putting Vivian to bed, I could hardly wait to collapse in bed myself.

Our Happy Little Turkey

Our Happy Little Turkey

Friends on Thanksgiving

Friends on Thanksgiving

Family on Thanksgiving

Family on Thanksgiving

Friday was a new day, though! And Dan hung out with Vivian in the morning so I could rest a little longer. Whew!

Vivian Listens Intently to Her Daddy Playing the Piano

Vivian Listens Intently to Her Daddy Playing the Piano

We took a walk to downtown Livermore and then Dan and I got to see a movie (Horrible Bosses 2 – hilarious!) and taste some wine at Swirl on the Square (One Hope was being poured) and John Christopher Cellars. Grandma and Grandpa watched Vivian while we were out, which was very nice.

Wine Tasting on Date Night

Wine Tasting on Date Night

On Saturday, we relaxed inside while the weather outside was wonderfully gloomy and Fall-like. In the afternoon, we finally got off our butts and took Vivian (and Dan’s mom) wine tasting at McGrail Vineyards and Winery.

Wine Tasting with Vivian

Wine Tasting with Vivian

McGrail Vineyards and Winery

McGrail Vineyards and Winery

Our drive home on Sunday was so long and horrible that I won’t say anything else about it, except that we are never doing it with a baby ever again. On a more positive note, though, we did all arrive back home safely, and truly, that is what matters most.

Now, on to Christmas!

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A Ritzy Holiday Start

Dan chose our Saturday family activity last weekend and I chose our Sunday family activity. We went to The Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel to watch their Christmas tree lighting ceremony. While there, we walked around the resort grounds and lobbies, drank free hot cocoa, and watched the sun set over the ocean. Finally, Santa arrived with his elves, the tree was lit, and “snow” (soap?) started falling. Vivian loved all the commotion and people and noise and we loved seeing her happy and excited!

Walking Around the Ritz

Walking Around The Ritz

First Family Christmas Photo

First Family Christmas Photo

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Petting the [Guinea] Pigs

Our Saturday family outing last weekend was suggested by Dan and was a huge hit with Vivian: We took her to Zoomars Petting Zoo in San Juan Capistrano (right behind our wedding venue). She’s only seven months old, but right now, she is so fascinated with the world around her. We spent most of our time at the zoo in the guinea pig pen. Vivian loved looking at the guinea pigs scampering around her and was too cute reaching her hand out to touch them. In my book, guinea pigs are rats, but boy did my little baby look adorable with those rodents!

Petting the Guinea Pigs

Petting the Guinea Pigs

Covered in Guinea Pigs

Covered in Guinea Pigs

One of the workers (zoo keepers?) kindly got a rabbit out of the rabbit pen so that Vivian could pet its soft fur.

Petting a Bunny

Petting a Bunny

Daddy helped Vivian feed a goat.

Goats Love Ice Cream Cones

Goats Love Ice Cream Cones

Unfortunately, Vivian was too young to ride a pony:-( We’ll have to come back when she’s over one year old so that she can do that.

She did spend some time in the corn box (this was her second corn box life experience!).

Corn Box Fun

Corn Box Fun

And she didn’t break any rules when she sat on a bunch of straw bales.

Hay is for Horses! This is Straw!

Hay is for Horses! This is Straw!

Vivian was definitely one of the youngest kiddos at the zoo, but it will definitely be fun to bring her back whens she’s older. I have a feeling that she’s really going to like seeing the chickens and horse at Papa’s at Christmas time now!

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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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