Bay Area Trip – Baby’s First!

At the end of June and beginning of July, we went on our first family trip – to the Bay Area to visit Dan’s family and our friends. This trip included many firsts for our girls – Lillian’s first flight, county fair, and winery – and both girls’ first real train ride. The trip was very active (what trip of ours isn’t?!) and fun, but tiring, too, mostly just because everything with an infant in tow is exhausting. We were so happy that Vivian got a lot of play time in with her grandparents, who she adores, and that Lillian got a lot of snuggles from her grandparents, who we are sure she will come to adore, also.

Day 1: The girls and I flew up to Oakland on a Tuesday morning and met Dan’s dad at the baggage claim area. He helped us load up our suitcases and the stroller and then we all went back to Livermore.

First Flight Alone with Both Girls!

First Flight Alone with Both Girls!

This trip gave Dan’s parents the opportunity to hold Lillian for the first time!

Grandma Snuggles for Lillian

Grandma Snuggles for Lillian

Grandpa Snuggles for Lillian

Grandpa Snuggles for Lillian

After settling in and taking naps, we went to a children’s concert at one of the local libraries. Vivian knew nearly all of the songs and had fun singing and dancing.

Children's Concert at the Library

Children’s Concert at the Library

Later on that evening, after a stressful dinner out at Panera Bread (everyone wants Mama!), the girls and I grabbed ice cream sandwiches at CREAM and met up with our friends Cory and Kiira in downtown Livermore. When Kirra stepped away for a few seconds with one of the girls, Cory whispered quietly to me that he was planning to propose to her in three days! They are now happily engaged and I’m so excited for their upcoming wedding.

Downtown Livermore with Cory and Kiira

Downtown Livermore with Cory and Kiira

Day 2: The following morning, we went to the main branch of the Livermore Public Library, which is beautiful and bustling. Vivian attended a “Music and Movement” story time and she loved it!

Music and Movement at the Livermore Library

Music and Movement at the Livermore Public Library

Later in the afternoon, we went to the Alameda County Fair. Dan’s dad dropped us girls off and then went and picked up Alex to join us. The fair wasn’t nearly as busy – or as large – as I feared and we had a great time (until it was time to leave…but that’s another story for another time!).

Vivian's First Fair Ribbon - For Building with Legos

Vivian’s First Fair Ribbon – For Building with Legos

Uncle Alex Holding Lillian for the First Time at the Fair

Uncle Alex Holding Lillian for the First Time at the Fair

Vivian Brushing a Goat in the Fair's Petting Zoo

Vivian Brushing a Goat in the Fair’s Petting Zoo

Vivian Loves Carousels!

Vivian Loves Carousels!

Day 3: After a very busy previous two days, we spent most of this day “relaxing” and letting Vivian play at home. Vivian loved petting Wima, the cat, and picking out a new toy at the local toy store during our one outing outside of the house. Lillian was less thrilled to be at the toy store, but she got a new toy, too.

Pets for Wima

Pets for Wima

New Toys!

New Toys!

Day 4: After staying close to home the day before, we were ready for an outing further away from the house today. So, we packed up and went to the Oakland Zoo! Dan’s dad came along for the fun (and the help!) and we all had a really great day. The zoo isn’t too large and wasn’t too crowded and so we were able to see it all without completely exhausting ourselves. In addition to seeing the animals, we also went on another carousel and a train ride through the zoo.

Oakland Zoo Entrance

Oakland Zoo Entrance

Family Photo with Flamingos

Family Photo with Flamingos

Late that night, after us girls were all in bed, Dan flew into Oakland and his parents picked him up so that he could spend the rest of the trip with us.

Day 5: Although Dan’s parents were so, so, so helpful with the girls (I really can’t stress that enough!), it was nice to have Dan back with us. Not only did we miss him, but he was available for middle-of-the-night cries and early morning wakings and I was grateful to have even more help, especially on the fringe hours of the day.

Dan’s parents took Vivian to visit Hagemann Ranch in the morning while Dan and I tackled taking care of Lillian (newborns are SO much work!). While at the Ranch, Vivian got to pet her third goat of the trip, in addition to bunnies and other animals.

Petting a Goat at Hagemann Ranch

Petting a Goat at Hagemann Ranch

After lunch at home, Dan and I and the girls loaded up in the car and drove across the Bay to Pacifica to meet our friends, the Pilapils, for a visit. We all went on a nice beach walk and took the kiddos to a local playground. It was wonderful to see them and their house, which we hadn’t yet visited since they bought it nearly two years ago. Afterwards, we went out for a sushi dinner in Half Moon Bay, I grabbed a coffee, and we made our way back to the East Bay.

Pacifica State Beach Walk

Pacifica State Beach Walk

Vivian got to see Dan’s dad’s model train set in action in the evening, which both of them enjoyed.

Trains with Grandpa

Trains with Grandpa

Day 6: Sunday is bowling day in the Chambers house and everyone except for Lillian and me went to the bowling alley to bowl a game. It’s so adorable to see Vivian in her little rented bowling shoes.

Dinosaur Bowling

Dinosaur Bowling

In the afternoon, Dan and I and the girls braved the heat and took the girls on their first real train ride on the Niles Canyon Railway. We were transported via a diesel engine from Sunol to Niles and then via a steam engine from Niles to Sunol.

Boarding the Niles Canyon Railway

Boarding the Niles Canyon Railway in Sunol

After our train ride, we dropped Vivian off to play with Grandma and Grandpa and Dan and I took Lillian to her first winery – Rios-Lovell Estate Winery. We always try to go to one “new to us” winery when we are in Livermore and this was our pick on this trip. We had a very enjoyable time and bought a few good bottles to bring home with us. It was fitting for us to take Lillian here, since Vivian’s first winery outing was also to a winery in the Livermore Valley.

Lillian's First Winery!

Lillian’s First Winery!

Day 7 – 4th of July: We had a low-key 4th of July holiday planned, which was fine with us! Dan had some friends from high school and college over in the morning for a visit, we walked up to Starbucks for an afternoon family coffee date, and then everyone except for Lillian and me walked to downtown Livermore for the fireworks. This was our second year in a row celebrating the 4th of July in Livermore and Vivian’s second time seeing the fireworks.

Afternoon Coffee

Afternoon Coffee

Downtown Livermore Fireworks

Downtown Livermore Fireworks in Jammies

Day 8: In the morning, Dan’s mom and I took the girls (well, Vivian) to a Kindermusik class in Pleasanton at Prim Pop. Vivian has been going to a Music Together music class for a few months and she loves it and she loved this music class, too. The format was very familiar to her and she loved the bubble machine at the end of class!

Kindermusik Bubbles

Kindermusik Bubbles

In the afternoon, Dan and I took the girls over to our friends, the Krimetzes, for lunch. We were so lucky to see so many friends on this trip and catch up with everyone!

Day 9: Finally, after spending nine days in the Bay Area, it was time for us all to fly home together. We spent the morning packing up and saying our goodbyes and getting in those last family photos.

The Chambers Family

The Chambers Family

We had a really wonderful trip, despite the exhaustion that comes with two kiddos (and especially a newborn). We feel so fortunate that our girls get such great quality time with their grandparents and Uncle Alex in their home environment. Dan and I have such fond memories of going to visit our grandparents as children and I hope that our girls will, too!

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Introducing Lillian Diane Chambers

Lillian Diane Chambers was born six days before her due date on May 11, 2016. She was born via a scheduled c-section due to many complications with my pregnancy. She was 7 lbs. exactly and 21.5″ long. We chose her middle name to honor both of our mothers who share the same first name of Diane.

Lillian had major surgery just 18 hours after she was born to repair an annular pancreas. We knew that she was going to need surgery very shortly after her birth and so we were as prepared as we could be for it. Her surgery was very successful and six days after she was born, she was allowed to begin eating. Eleven days after she was born, she was released from the hospital. We are so extremely thankful that Lillian is now healthy, happy, and home.

Welcome to the World, Lillian!

Welcome to the World, Lillian!


Newborn Photos at 2 Weeks Old

Newborn Photos at 2 Weeks Old


KM2A2762

Pretty in Purple


KM2A2800

Gorgeous!


Mama's Love

Mama’s Love


Proud Daddy

Proud Daddy


Sisters...Still Getting to Know Each Other

Sisters…Still Getting to Know Each Other


Our Newest Addition

Our Newest Addition


Family of Four!

Family of Four!

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TWO YEARS OLD!

Our sweet little girl is now TWO years old. This past year has been so amazing and fun with her and we are loving this age. She is a very smart little girl (can count to ten and sing the alphabet), enjoys singing, is a great eater, generally listens and obeys well, and loves us so much. We, of course, love her so much, too!

TWO!!

TWO!!

We didn’t have a big party for her this year, but we still made her birthday special with presents, a trip to the mall, and a family dinner out at a restaurant.

Playing at the Laguna Hills Mall

Playing at the Laguna Hills Mall

Playing at the Laguna Hills Mall

Playing at the Laguna Hills Mall

Waiting for Mama at the Laguna Hills Mall

Waiting for Mama at Gymboree the Laguna Hills Mall

Coloring at Dinner

Coloring at Dinner

Opening a Present

Opening a Present from Her Great Aunt Jane

Feeding Daddy at Dinner

Feeding Daddy at Dinner

Birthday Dessert

Birthday Dessert

All Smiles After Dinner

All Smiles After Dinner

Playing with her New Kitchen

Playing with Her New Kitchen from Her Nana

Vivian started her birthday celebrations last weekend with Grandma and Grandpa in Livermore and will continue them over the next week. She didn’t open all of her gifts on her actual birthday, so she has more to dig in to. Also, we’re planning on having cake and milk/juice to celebrate her at an upcoming neighborhood happy hour at the park. And, of course, she’ll be having a blast playing with her new toys for quite some time to come.

Happy Birthday, Vivian Ruth!

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Daddy/Daughter Trip to Livermore

Yup, you read the title of this post correctly. Vivian had TWO back-to-back daddy/daughter trips. First, she traveled to Oklahoma City for Easter, and then, last weekend, she flew up to Oakland to spend the weekend with Dan’s parents and brother. This last flight occurred just days before she turned two years old, at which point she no longer qualifies as a free lap infant. In the first two years of her life, she flew on 15 different trips and a total of 45 separate flights (takeoffs and landings), not counting the one helicopter flight in Hawaii. Amazing, especially considering that I was nearly 16 years old the first time I ever flew on an airplane! We certainly took full advantage of traveling with her while she was “free” and now that she’s no longer free, and there is a new baby soon to join our family, I’m sure that our travel frequency will decrease. It sure was fun while it lasted, though!

I dropped Vivian and Dan off at the Orange County airport. As they were flying up to Oakland, I was dealing with this:

Snoopy and The Cone of Shame

Snoopy and The Cone of Shame

Snoopy had gotten into a small altercation with a disabled pigeon in our backyard and got a cut on his snout. I took him to the vet to make sure it wasn’t infected (thank goodness we invested in Banfield’s Wellness Plan) and he came home with some medicated pads and The Cone of Shame. The vet said that he should leave The Cone of Shame on 24/7 for ten days. “He’d get used to it,” he said. I was very skeptical and reminded the vet that this is the dog who jumped out of a second story window. After returning from the vet, I dropped Snoopy off at home in the backyard and went to join friends at the park for a Friday neighborhood happy hour. When I returned home, two hours later, Snoopy’s collar and The Cone of Shame were both off of him and on the ground. I told the vet it wouldn’t work! He probably had that thing off of him in under five minutes. [I called the vet the next morning and politely requested that they refund me the money that I spent on The Cone of Shame, which they did.]

While I spent the rest of the weekend prepping baby items around the house and attending Book Club (to discuss a book that I did not finish and do not plan to finish), Dan and Vivian spent quality time with his parents and brother and also got to see a few nearby family friends.

They walked around downtown Livermore and saw the new Disney movie, Zootopia, which they all loved.

Outdoor Art in Downtown Livermore - Sunday with Jessie by Susan Geissler

Outdoor Art in Downtown Livermore – Sunday with Jessie by Susan Geissler

Waiting for the Movie to Start

Waiting for the Movie to Start

Zootopia!

Zootopia!

They also went bowling with Alex.

Putting Her First Pair of Bowling Shoes On (By Herself, Of Course)

Putting Her First Pair of Bowling Shoes On (By Herself, Of Course)

Daddy & Daughter in Matching Bowling Shoes!

Daddy & Daughter in Matching Bowling Shoes!

Bowling with Her...Sweatshirt

Bowling with Her…Sweatshirt

Vivian started her second birthday celebrations early and opened many presents from Grandma and Grandpa and enjoyed cupcakes at the bowling alley.

Opening Birthday Presents with Grandma

Opening Birthday Presents with Grandma

Cupcake Face with Uncle Alex

Cupcake Face with Uncle Alex

Cheese!

Cheese!

Before flying home to Mama, Vivian also enjoyed a few good jumps on Grandma and Grandpa’s bed.

No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed!

No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed!

Although it was hard to be away from Dan and Vivian for two weekends in a row, I am so glad that they got to spend quality time with family. And now, we’re all settled in back at home and staying put until Baby Girl Chambers #2 arrives in a month or so!

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Daddy/Daughter Trip to OKC

We had a family trip to Oklahoma City planned for Easter weekend. I booked flights, the hotel, a rental car, airport parking, and Snoopy’s pet hotel stay in early January. And then, six days before we were scheduled to start our trip, my doctors told me that since I’d be 32 weeks pregnant and am at a higher risk for preterm labor, that I could not travel. Bust! But…my travel restrictions did not mean that Dan and Vivian could not travel, and since the purpose of the trip was to visit Dan’s sister, Robin, and her family, I encouraged them to still go (and leave me at home to rest and relax!).

And so, off they went, on their very first daddy/daughter trip.

Airport Dropoff

Airport Dropoff in Orange County

After a layover in Salt Lake City, they arrived in Oklahoma City on Holy Thursday ready to join Robin and her family for dinner at Panera Bread. Dan and Vivian got to meet Baby Isaiah (now 8 months old) for the first time and they also got to see Robin’s house for the first time, even though they moved into it over two years ago.

On the second day of their trip (Good Friday), they visited the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History where Vivian and her cousin, Autumn, were able to see dinosaur skeletons, “dig” for fossils,  and run among the exhibits.

Dinosaurs!

Dinosaurs!

After the museum, they hung out at Robin’s house. The adults got to chat and catch up and the kids had a blast playing together. This is how they spent most of the remainder of the trip, in addition to one venture to the hotel’s swimming pool.

Cousins Playing with Handmade Gifts from Grandma

Cousins Playing with Handmade Gifts from Grandma

Swingset Fun!

Swingset Fun!

On Easter Sunday, they all attended a Methodist church service and then the girls went on a backyard Easter egg hunt.

Hunting for Eggs

Hunting for Eggs

Eating Chocolate - Best Part of Easter!

Eating Chocolate – Best Part of Easter!

Dan and Vivian flew back to Orange County by way of Atlanta (!!) on the evening of Easter. It was a long day of travel for them and neither one of them were feeling that great, but they made it home and this Mama was oh-so-happy. I was happy to have my family back together, but also happy that the two of them got to experience this special adventure together and got in some great family bonding time.

Siblings and Kiddos

Siblings and Kiddos

Since Dan and Vivian returned home so late on Easter, I didn’t get to spend much of the holiday celebrating with them (instead, I went to mass by myself and then to brunch at a friend’s house). I’m glad, though, that we were able to participate in our community’s Easter activities the previous weekend, including a quick photo session with the Easter Bunny.

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

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Strawberry Pickin’

It’s strawberry season in SoCal (which is still odd to me, because strawberry season doesn’t happen until June in Ohio), so we took Vivian on a strawberry tour at Tanaka Farms. She really enjoyed playing on the tractor, riding in the wagon behind the tractor, picking and eating strawberries, and running between bales of straw. And we really enjoyed seeing her so happy (and bringing home fresh picked strawberries to eat for breakfast during the upcoming week).

Family Pic at Tanaka Farms

Family Pic at Tanaka Farms

Driving the Tractor (She LOVED this!)

Driving the Tractor (She LOVED this!)

Future Strawberry Picker

Future Strawberry Picker

Picking Strawberries

Picking Strawberries

Eating Strawberries

Eating Strawberries

Tanaka Farms offers summer watermelon tours and so we hope to take Vivian on one of those this July/August (she loves eating watermelon). It’s nice to have a wonderful fruit/vegetable farm so close by!

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Springtime in Ohio

Okay…it really wasn’t technically Spring when Vivian and I went to Ohio at the beginning of March. It was actually cold, dreary, and brown, and even snowed one morning (but sadly melted before Vivian could go outside and play in it). But, well, we went to Ohio, and it was March. Close enough.

We planned this trip because it coincided with my cousin’s daughter’s baptism. I was honored to be asked to be her godmother. So, since Vivian still qualifies as a lap infant (and I want her to have as much time with family as possible), she and I went to Ohio and Dan and Snoopy stayed in California. I’ve traveled/flown many times alone with Vivian – even to Ohio – and I feel like I have it down pretty well. This time, I didn’t bring a stroller, because I knew we wouldn’t really use it and she’d just want to walk or want me to carry her anyways. We certainly wouldn’t have used it during our stay in Ohio, but, honestly, I could have used it in the airports! In order to get around successfully, I had to strap our backpack on my back and Vivian on my front in our Ergo Performance Carrier. So, I had two babies on my front (ouch!). We survived, though, and no one is worse for the wear.

Off to Ohio!

Off to Ohio!

We had a couple of hours to kill during a layover in Chicago on our way to Detroit and, as usual, we spent it at the Chicago Children’s Museum at O’Hare. Vivian had a blast playing and running around!

Run, run, run!

Run, Run, Run!

When we finally made it to Detroit, and then to Ohio, we were ready for dinner, bath, and bed. Oh, and some more playtime.

Playing with Papa

Playing with Papa

On Saturday, we had a lovely, relaxing morning, before finally going over to my dad’s to hang out with him and have Vivian help him collect eggs from his chickens. She loves the chickens and collecting the eggs and it was adorable to see her running around with them.

Chicken Chores

Chicken Chores

When she wasn’t running after chickens, she was playing with Anna’s kitchen playset that our grandfather made for her when she was a child. Vivian loved that, too!

A 25-year-Old Treasure Trove

A 25-year-Old Treasure Trove

Later that night, after dinner, Mom, Vivian, and I went to an art gallery showing at Kirwen Art Gallery in a nearby town. My uncle and cousin have worked for years to restore the old church in which the gallery is housed. Vivian enjoyed the live band and snacks and even some of the art.

Life Imitating Art

Life Imitating Art

With My Cousin and His Girlfriend, Creators of the Art on the Wall

With My Cousin and His Girlfriend, Creators of the Art on the Wall

On Sunday, we picked up my Uncle Lee and then drove 2 hours down to Columbus to attend mass, my goddaughter’s baptism, and a reception honoring the beautiful baby in the church hall. It was wonderful to see so much family!

The Oberhausers at the Baptism

The Oberhausers at the Baptism

Vivian Loves Uncle Matthew and His Girlfriend, Rebecca

Vivian Loves Uncle Matthew and His Girlfriend, Rebecca

Vivian Loves Uncle Lee, Too, Even Though She Doesn't Show It

Vivian Loves Uncle Lee, Too, Even Though She Doesn’t Show It

Before driving back to Helena, we stopped to visit my friend, Julie, and her two girls. Vivian enjoyed playing with Julie’s oldest daughter, Breeley, and all of Breeley’s awesome toys.

Visiting Friends

Visiting Friends

On the last day of our trip, before flying back to California, we again rested and relaxed. Vivian helped collect chicken eggs at Papa’s and visited the horse and doggies down the street. We all visited with Grandma, too. The next time we’re in Ohio, we anticipate it being for Grandma’s 90th birthday celebration in September!

Laughs with Her Great Grandma

Laughs with Great Grandma

Saying Goodbye to Her Nana

Saying Goodbye to Nana

Final Playtime at the Toledo Airport Before Flying Home to California

Final Playtime at the Toledo Airport Before Flying Home to California

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