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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ONE YEAR OLD!

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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Not All Museums are Boring

Last weekend, we braved traffic and drove south to San Diego to visit with friends and take Vivian to The New Children’s Museum. I have actually been to the museum before years ago with a friend and her two small children, but Dan had never been there and we were very excited to take our walking and exploring baby there. In fact, I was pretty giddy about it all. Unfortunately, Vivian wasn’t feeling 100% and, at not-quite-one-year-old, she wasn’t all that interested in a lot of the activities. But, we made the most of it and let her walk all around, play in the small-kid area, throw some building blocks around, ride on Rody for the first time, read some books, stare at her cute self in the mirror, make some music, and listen to some music. Our friend, Katie, was presenting in the Banfield Future Vet Program and so we listened to part of her presentation while eating lunch from the museum’s Green Bellies Cafe.

Family Museum Trip

Family Museum Trip

Driving a Car

Driving a Car

Playing with Building Blocks

Walking, walking, walking…

Playing with Balls in an Orange

Playing with Balls in an Orange

Riding Rody

Riding Rody

Looking at the Pretty Baby in the Mirror

Looking at the Pretty Baby in the Mirror

Following Daddy to the Reading Area

Following Daddy to the Reading Area

The museum wasn’t so big that it was overwhelming and it did have a lot of fun activities for kids. It will be even more fun to go back to it when Vivian is a little older and can participate in more of the activities (like sand play, painting, sculpting, building, etc.).

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Dana Point Festival of Whales

The weather in SoCal has already turned hot. Arg. We are not hot weather people. Give us cool temps, a warm sweatshirt, and some clouds almost any day! While you’re at it, throw in some mountains! But…we do live in coastal Southern California. So, sun and sand is what we get!

Sunny Day!

Sunny Day!

We decided to embrace the weather and nearby ocean last Sunday and check out the Dana Point Festival of Whales. The main draw to this event is the whale watching cruises that venture out into the ocean, but Dan was nervous about taking Vivian on an ocean-cruising vessel (even though she has learned how to float through swim lessons!). Dan went whale watching once as a child and got extremely sea sick. I’ve been whale watching three times as an adult and have never seen a darn whale. This time, we skipped the whale watching drama and instead walked around the harbor, ate a fish lunch overlooking the harbor entrance, and took a small boat ride from one end of the harbor to the other (Vivian’s first boat ride!). Welcome to summer (in March!) in SoCal!

Baby's First Boat Ride

Baby’s First Boat Ride

Festival of the Whales Boat Ride

Festival of Whales Boat Ride

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Chambers Family 2013 Photo Book

Yes, you read the title of this post correctly. 2013. Sigh. I’m two years behind (well, more like 14 months), but I finally did finish our 2013 family photo book. Without further ado, here it is:

Chambers Family 2013 Photo Book

Chambers Family 2013 Photo Book

I truly do love creating these photo books, even if they take me a long time to complete. It’s fun to look through our past in photos and remember all of the fun times we’ve experienced together. And 2013 sure was a fun year – lots of adventure, travel, and, of course, finding out that I was pregnant!

Now, on to the 2014 photo book…let’s hope that that one takes me fewer than 14 months to complete!

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Sunset Ocean-Front Dinner

Dan’s cousin, Glenn, from New Jersey, was in SoCal for a work sales conference and so we met up with him last Sunday night for dinner. He was staying at the absolutely beautiful Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes and we very much enjoyed watching the sun set from the terrace outside the lobby and walking around the amazing resort.

Sunset Family Photo

Sunset Family Photo

We ate dinner outside at Nelson’s, right next to the ocean, and had a great time catching up with Glenn, who we hadn’t seen in just over a year. It was so nice to have family in town and spend time with him!

Cousin Glenn Meets Vivian

Cousin Glenn Meets Vivian

Family Photo After Sunset

Family Photo After Sunset

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Vivian’s First Christmas

My Aunt Jane is appalled (as are my in-laws, I’m sure) that we don’t put up a Christmas tree. Or decorate our house for Christmas in any other way. But…we have never spent Christmas in our own house. That will change, starting next year, but this year, since we again had holiday travel plans, we skipped putting up a tree and instead flew to Ohio and stayed with my Mom, who put up a small, beautiful tree. So, Vivian did get to play underneath a Christmas tree and boy-oh-boy did she get to enjoy unwrapping the gifts below it.

Vivian spent her first Christmas in Ohio visiting with family and friends. She did great on the plane flights (her 4th set of flights in 8 months and her 2nd cross country!). Since we arrived in Ohio a few days before Christmas, we were able to visit with a few friends in the days leading up to the holiday. Dan and I even slipped out one evening without her to visit a friend at a local winery.

Visiting with Julie and Meeting Breeley

Visiting with Julie and Meeting Breeley

Night Out at the Winery with Britt and Jamie

Night Out at the Winery with Britt and Jamie

On Christmas Eve, per tradition, Mom made chicken noodle soup for dinner and we all (Mom, Dad, Matt, Anna, Tim, Uncle Lee, and us!) ate and then opened gifts. Dan and I met Dad, Matt, Anna, Tim, Aunt Jane, Uncle Kevin, Uncle Jim, Uncle Gerry, and Grandma at church for the Christmas Eve candlelight service, while Mom stayed home and watched Vivian.

We spent Christmas day at Uncle Gerry’s with my entire Damschroder family, which is always a lot of fun.

Our Family on Christmas Day

Our Family on Christmas Day

The Whole Dam (and Fuzzy) Family

The Whole Dam (and Fuzzy) Family

Vivian Napping with Papa

Vivian Napping with Papa

Family Christmas Photo in Front of Tree (4 Days After Christmas!)

Family Christmas Photo in Front of Tree (4 Days After Christmas!)

The day after Christmas, Dad, Anna, Tim, Dan, Vivian, and I drove up to our cabin in New York. I grew up vacationing at this cabin and it was really special to take Vivian up there. Unfortunately, there was no snow there this year, but we did go over to the local ski resort, Peek n’ Peak, so that we could at least show Vivian [fake] snow. While there, we found a sled sitting by the lodge door, so Tim grabbed it and Dan gave Vivian her first ride in a sled – it was too cute!

Vivian Sledding

Vivian Sledding

Sledding Cutie

Sledding Cutie

Snow!

Snow!

Family Snow Picture

Family Snow Picture

While at the cabin, we, of course, visited with our Amish neighbors, ate dinner at the French Creek Tavern, and ate breakfast at Dutch Village Restaurant in Clymer.

Family Picture in Front of Cabin

Family Picture in Front of Cabin

When we got back to Ohio after our New York visit, we wrapped up our family visits and then flew back to California.

Snuggles with Nana

Snuggles with Nana

Visiting Great Grandma

Visiting Great Grandma

We had a wonderful Christmas and Vivian loved spending time with all of my family. I am a little sad to be back home and not have my Mom’s amazing help anymore, but I am also excited for everything that California has in store for us in 2015!

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