Summer Family Visits

Just like we did last year (see here, here, and here), we traveled to Ohio and Livermore this summer to visit our families. First, Vivian and I spent ten days in Ohio with my family (and also attending my professional association‘s annual conference in Columbus, OH), and then we spent three days in Livermore with Dan’s family. In addition to visiting family, we also saw quite a few friends, explored some new/favorite areas in our hometowns, and, believe it or not, relaxed.

The pictures below highlight our Ohio trip:


Hanging Out with Uncle Matthew at His House in Pleasantville, Ohio


Another Picture at Uncle Matthew’s House


Vivian Loves Her Uncle Matthew and Nana


Brother, Sister, and Baby


Walking with Nana by the Columbus Dispatch in Downtown Columbus


Walking Around the Ohio Statehouse Before Our Tour

Visiting with High School Friends, Julie and Ely

Visiting with High School Friends, Julie and Ely


Vivian’s First STC Summit with my Coworker, Michael


Playing with Nana at Graeter’s Ice Cream Scoops & Chutes Indoor Playground


Eating Lunch at Bob Evans


Hanging Out with Uncle Lee


Vivian’s Great Grandma, Aunt Anna, and Mama at Ole Zim’s Wagon Shed


Vivian and Her Great Grandma

A Little Hesitant with Her Great Aunt Jane

Vivian Was a Little Hesitant with Her Great Aunt Jane


Vivian Playing with Aunt Anna


Vivian and Her Great Uncle Gerry

photo 32

Anna, Vivian, Me, and Mom at Anna’s Bridal Shower at Chateau Tebeau Winery


Anna’s Bridal Shower Guests at Chateau Tebeau Winery

photo 22

Cousins and Our Baby Girls


Visiting the Toledo Zoo

Toledo Zoo

Toledo Zoo Aquarium


Vivian and Her Papa


Vivian and Her Nana After a Tour of President Hayes’ House


Gathering Chicken Eggs at Papa’s with Aunt Anna

Sunday Afternoon Ohio Activity: Shooting Pellet Guns

Sunday Afternoon Ohio Activity: Shooting Pellet Guns


Vivian Laughing with Her Aunt Anna


Nana Painted This Adorable Table for Vivian

The pictures below highlight our Livermore trip:


Playing with Daddy’s Wooden Blocks from His Childhood


Fun with Pegs at Grandma and Grandpa’s


Ridem’ Cowgirl!


Wine Tasting at Tenuta Vineyards


4th of July Family Photo


Vivian with her Grandparents…Not so Happy:-(


Vivian and Uncle Alex Playing with Coin Banks


Vivian Riding in Uncle Alex’s Old Wagon


Hugs with Uncle Alex


Bowling with Grandpa


3rd of July Dinner with Vickie


Fountain Fun at Lizzie Fountain Park

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Disney Day

It’s been five months since we’ve been to Disneyland and California Adventure, so we figured that it was time to take Vivian back there. Also, we had free tickets that expired in early June. So, off to Disneyland we went last Sunday.

We met with with our new neighbors and friends, the Gonzalezes, in California Adventure. While there, we went on the Flik’s Flyers, Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train, King Triton’s Carousel (a first for everyone!), and The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure rides. We ate lunch, drank a beer, and then ventured over to Disneyland. While there, we went on the Disneyland Railroad, “it’s a small world,” and the Jungle Cruise. We ended our Disney day like we nearly always do now, with a visit to the Enchanted Tiki Room.


Sleeping Beauty’s Castle


Car’s Land in California Adventure


Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train


Outside Disneyland


“it’s a small world”

Vivian had already been on all but one of the rides before, but it was fun to see her excitement on them now that she’s a little older and “gets” them. We have two more free tickets that we need to use by the end of the year, so the next time that we go, it will most likely be Christmastime and Vivian will be over 1 1/2 years old. Wow!

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Spring in Seattle

Before Vivian was born, we traveled a lot. We love exploring new places and experiencing new things. We also love taking a break from reality, resting, and making some unique and special family memories. Obviously, having a baby makes all of that so much harder. But, not impossible! Since Vivian was born, we’ve continued to travel, but all but one of our trips has been to visit family. We were overdue for a Chambers family trip and since we want to travel to destinations that require flying as much as possible before Vivian turns 2 and we have to start buying her an airplane seat, we planned a family trip to Seattle. None of us had explored this city before and so we were all excited for this new adventure.

The last time that Vivian flew, she was almost 9 months old and not yet walking. We were wondering how she would do flying now that she is 13 months old and nearly running. Luckily, the 2+ hour flights to and from Seattle went off without a hitch. She spent a good chunk of each flight walking up and down the aisles. Up and down, up and down… She’s lucky that she is so cute and most people get a kick out of seeing a tiny little walker excitedly strolling the airplane aisles.

After we arrived in Seattle, we ate lunch and then checked into our wonderful VRBO home-away-from-home rental in Fauntleroy. From our little apartment, we had amazing views of Puget Sound. Already, our weary souls were being refreshed! We spent our first afternoon and evening walking down to and around Lincoln Park and taking a ferry ride through Puget Sound. We weren’t planning on taking a ferry ride, but the ferry happened to be docked in Fauntleroy when we were walking by, and so, despite not having any baby supplies with us or knowing where the ferry was going or how long it would be on the water, we boarded it! Our adventurous spirit worked in our favor and we had a lot of fun riding the ferry to Vashon Island, Southworth, and then back to Fauntleroy. After our ferry and park hiking adventure, Dan went to the local grocery store and stocked up on wine, cheese, crackers, and other goodies for our stay. We had grand visions of Vivian going to bed at around 8pm, like normal, and then us sitting outside, drinking wine, and watching the sun set. Our visions were quickly blurred when we put Vivian down for bed and instead of rolling over and quietly falling asleep, like she normally does, she screamed and howled. We are not a CIO family and so we picked her up and she hung out with us until she finally fell asleep way past her bedtime (and, frankly, ours, too!).

Ferry Ridin'

Ferry Ridin’

Walking Around the Yard in Our VRBO Rental - Check Out the View!

Walking Around the Yard in Our VRBO Rental – Check Out the View!

Day 2 had us venturing into downtown Seattle where we went to the Pike Place Market, Seattle Aquarium, Miner’s Landing/Great Wheel, and Starbucks Reserve Roastery. It was a long, but fun day. We have never been a family who lives and dies by Vivian’s schedule. She eats, naps, nurses, and plays wherever we are and wherever we go. So, she ate at Pike Place Market and while we wandered around the city, she nursed at the Seattle Aquarium and Starbucks Reserve Roastery, she napped in her stroller as we walked, and she played everywhere! After a very packed day, we were happy to head back to Fauntleroy to relax in our rental. Well, until we were super duper tired and Vivian was still up!


Riding the Great Wheel. Look at How Thrilled Vivian is – Ha!


Pike Place Market


At Miner’s Landing/Pier 57


After Riding the Great Wheel


Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room


Seattle Aquarium

On Day 3, we headed back into the city. First, we stopped at the Sunday Ballard Farmer’s Market where we quickly grabbed some very yummy and hot-out-of-the-oil donuts. Then we met up with my extended family for lunch and a long overdue catch up. After all that food, we walked through the Olympic Sculpture Park and then to the Seattle Center where we went to the top of the Space Needle and visited the Chihuly Garden and Glass. The Seattle Center was abuzz for the Northwest Folklife Festival, which, honestly, was just a giant, dirty hippie festival. We braved the crowds to see the International Fountain and then made a beeline for our car and our nice, quiet, clean rental!


Space Needle Professional Photo


Chihuly Garden and Glass


Olympic Sculpture Park


Visiting with My Great Uncle Art & Great Aunt Nancy

International Fountain at Seattle Center

International Fountain at Seattle Center

Atop the Space Needle

Atop the Space Needle

After two days in downtown Seattle, Dan and I yearned to get out of town and away from the crowds. On our third day in Seattle, we left Seattle proper and drove to Snoqualmie to see and hike to around the falls. We accomplished our goal of getting out of town, but not of getting away from people. Since it was Memorial Day and the falls are a popular destination, there were a lot of people checking them out. We hiked 3/4 mile down to the Snoqualmie River and then hiked back up to the top of the falls. Vivian loved hiking and we enjoyed seeing her have fun running around.


Hiking Down to the Snoqualmie River


Snoqualmie River


Snoqualmie Falls

After our adventure in kinda-sorta nature (well, we were in nature, but so was everyone else!), we ate lunch and then searched out a winery where we could taste some local wines. The first winery we attempted to find wasn’t where Google said it would be. So, we tried again and ended up at Fivash Cellars. We drove through a suburban area and parked in front of a house. A gentleman (the winemaker) stopped doing some yard work in front of the house (his house), greeted us, and invited us into his living room to taste his wines. Before walking into his house, he took off his shoes, and so, to be polite, I asked if we, too, should take off our shoes. He replied, “if you want to,” which I took to mean, “yes, please.” So, we tasted his wines with him in his living room in our socks:-)

Wine Tasting at Fivash Cellars

Wine Tasting at Fivash Cellars

My gosh, I’m getting exhausted now just writing about all of our activities! You’d think that after hiking, driving, eating, and wine tasting, we’d head home to rest and relax. But, nope! Next up, we drove by the Fremont Troll and then we went to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. This was one of our favorite activities during the trip. Although the fish ladder didn’t have any fish swimming through it, we did get to see boats move through both the large and small locks – all moving from Puget Sound to Lake Union. It was all very interesting to watch, although, afterwards, we were all nearing our breaking point!

Baby is Tired and Daddy is Loopy!

Baby is Tired and Daddy is Loopy!

We made one last stop at Fremont Brewing to taste some local microbrews and then we finally went back to our rental for the night.

On our last day in Seattle, we grabbed coffee (of course!) and made our way back to the airport and then finally back home. We had a wonderful family vacation and made many happy memories that I know we will cherish for years to come. It was really special to explore a new place as a family of three:-) Next up…something a bit more relaxing, perhaps, and tropical (Hawaii?!).

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A Daddy & Daughter Birthday Celebration

In April 2015, Dan turned 32 and Vivian turned 1. We celebrated in a big way with family and friends. It all started with this invitation:

Let's Celebrate!

Let’s Celebrate!

Vivian’s Nana, Aunt Anna, Grandma, and Grandpa flew in to join in the party festivities. Friends drove up from San Diego and in from all around Orange County and we ate, drank, swam, smashed cake, took pictures, and celebrated.

The Venue - The Arbors Club in Baker Ranch

The Venue – The Arbors Club in Baker Ranch









Vivian's Throne

Vivian’s Throne

Like Daddy, Like Daughter Picture Display

Like Daddy, Like Daughter Picture Display

Birthday Boy

Birthday Boy

Birthday Girl

Birthday Girl

Smash Cake Fun

Smash Cake Fun



Happy Birthday, Baby Girl! And, Happy Birthday Wonderful Husband! You are both so loved!

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A Sleepy Hike in Whiting Ranch

Now that we’ve moved, we have a new wilderness area in our “backyard.” We tried to introduce Vivian to it a few weeks ago on a morning hike. We arrived at Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park at around 10am. Vivian was fast asleep in her car seat after the 3 minute drive from our home to the park. We transferred her from her car seat to the Ergobaby carrier that I had strapped on and she didn’t wake up. We snapped a quick family photo before we started hiking.

Ready to Hike!

Ready to Hike!

We hiked all over the park for over two hours. Because one of the trails was closed, we had to backtrack quite a bit, instead of hiking a loop like we had planned. We hiked up and down and all around. And Vivian snoozed on, napping throughout the entire hike on me! I had brought a banana for her to snack on while we were hiking, but instead of her eating it, it got grossly smashed in my hiking pack and so I had to carry it in my hand during the entire hike so that it wouldn’t gross up anything else in the pack. Finally, Vivian’s eyes fluttered open just as we finished the hike. Whew – after all that hiking napping, she was thirsty!

Water Bottle Baby

Water Bottle Baby

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Vivian’s 2nd Easter

We have surpassed the “year of firsts.” Vivian is now beginning to experience her second round of annual holidays, starting with Easter. Last year, she celebrated like this:

Vivian's First Easter Basket

Vivian’s First Easter Basket

This year, our fast-walking, nearly one-year-old, celebrated like this:

Vivian's Second Easter Basket

Vivian’s Second Easter Basket

On Easter Saturday, our new community, Baker Ranch, hosted an Easter event with all sorts of kid fun like an egg hunt (see picture above), petting zoo, pony rides, small carnival rides, and, of course, a giant Easter bunny to sit with in a photo booth.

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

Petting Zoo Fun

Petting Zoo Fun

Pony Rides - Not Fun!

Pony Rides – Not Fun!

We had a blast at this event with Vivian and enjoyed attending it with our new neighbors. Vivian was not a fan of the Easter Bunny (are kids preprogrammed to be scared of figures such as these?!) or ponies (bummer!), but she enjoyed the petting zoo, little train ride, and egg hunt.

On Easter Sunday, we attended mass at Corpus Christi, our parish in Aliso Viejo, and then ate brunch at the local Panini Cafe.

Post-Mass Family Photo

Post-Mass Family Photo

Vivian in Her Easter Dress

Vivian in Her Easter Dress

Next up…Memorial Day? I think that the 4th of July will have more themed parties, outfits, and fun:-)

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We have a ONE YEAR old!

Happy Birthday, Vivian!

Happy Birthday, Vivian!

Look at this big girl riding her new birthday tricycle from Grandma and Grandpa. So cute!

Trike Riding

Trike Riding

More on this milestone later!

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