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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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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