RMNP and vacation pics

NaBloPoMo – Day 30

Yesterday, the fam and I all ventured into Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). It was pretty dang cold, but there was a lot of beauty to behold. It’s amazing how different the park looks in the winter as opposed to in the summer when we usually visit.

Julian fell asleep in the car, but the rest of us enjoyed seeing a couple large herds of elk. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many in one spot before. There had to be a few hundred. They were slowly making their way across the road as they migrated down to a lower elevation.

Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park - 11/29/07 More elk in RMNP

And Ava, Grandma, Grandpa and I took a little walk by a stream and Sprague Lake.

Ava, grandma and grandpa near Sprague Lake - 11/29/07 Ava on the bridge - 11/29/07 Sprague Lake

We saw this tree – frozen in time – on our walk.

Frozen pine tree

After RMNP, we had dinner out, then stopped at Safeway where Julian was looking so cute in the shopping cart with his lil hat on, I had to take his picture.

Julian in the cart - 11/29/07

The kids have been enjoying getting into things here at the resort. And when I say getting into things, I mean literally climbing into things. (Well, he had a little help getting into the sink.)

Kids in the ottoman - 11/29/07 Boy in the sink - 11/29/07 Fun in the sink - 11/29/07

We have one more day to enjoy here, then it’s back home for us. We might visit the Stanley Hotel today and do a little shopping in town. Right now I’m missing out on a rousing game of Candyland in the other room, so I’m outta here. 😉

The weather outside was frightful…

NaBloPoMo – Day 29

After packing everything but the kitchen sink (and I still forgot some things), and having an uneventful (no puking) drive, we made it into Estes Park yesterday. The wind was gusting all day and night and the temperature, with the windchill, felt like -4 degrees – proving to me that I could never live in the mountains during the winter.

The good news is that the cold temps kept us inside and gave way to some good family bonding.

With three other adults in the house to watch the kids, I figured I might sneak away into the bedroom to read “Pushed,” a book I have on loan from the library, but haven’t had time to read much yet. I read for about 5 minutes before Ava came in to ask, “How are you doing all by yourself in here?” I explained that sometimes people like to be alone, but she was not to be deterred. She was concerned that I was lonely and wanted to read with me. So we moved onto the bed and read our books together. It didn’t take long for Julian to come wandering in, requesting to join us on the bed and pretty soon it was the whole family together in bed, reading books.

Ava and mommy reading up in Estes Park - 11/29/074 in the bed - Estes Park 11/28/07

Later, Ava made cookies with Grandma. And Julian was happy to partake in one.

Ava rolling out cookie dough - 11/28/07Julian eating a cookie - 11/28/07

We didn’t have the best night’s sleep last night and Jody is now coming down with the cough that Ava’s had for over 2 weeks now, but we are still enjoying ourselves (it’s so beautiful here) and have plans to stay until Saturday now instead of Friday, unless of course we continue to be unable to get some good sleep. Today we are planning a drive into Rocky Mountain National Park and perhaps dinner out at a restaurant.

That’s all for now.

Always an adventure

NaBloPoMo – Day 27

Bet you were starting to wonder if I was going to get a post in today, weren’t you? Me too, but here it is!

Yesterday we did a little day trip to Estes Park to spend some time with my parents at their timeshare resort and we all went out for a late lunch together to this great restaurant called Poppy’s. If you are in Estes Park, check it out. 🙂

On the drive to Estes, I remarked to Jody that I once got carsick as a child while reading books in the car on a trip. And I wondered aloud if the same thing would happen to Ava who was, at the time, “reading” in the backseat. Not 5 minutes later, she threw up all over her shirt, and then some more into a washcloth I quickly hurled under her chin, and the some more into a Taco Bell cup also hurriedly shoved into her general direction. Oops. That’s what I get for putting that thought out into the universe.

I cleaned her up as best as I could while she was buckled into her carseat. After getting off of the two-lane windy mountain road, Jody pulled over and we were able to clean her up a bit more. At this point she decided she needed to go to the bathroom too, and I was so thankful Jody had the foresight to bring along a little potty with us. So she crouched in the back of the car and took care of business, as I rinsed her shirt off outside with my water bottle, and Jody sat in Ava’s carseat (LOL) to entertain Julian who had woken up from all of the commotion. What a sight we must have been.

Of course I hadn’t packed an extra shirt for her, but my parents had a washer/dryer at their place and Grandma got her shirt clean in no time. Thankfully, it did seem to really just be a case of motion sickness and not another round of the stomach flu (which Grandma and Grandpa both had on Thanksgiving Day this year).

Note to self: no more reading in the car on windy mountain roads.

We’re heading back up to Estes tomorrow for a few days of vacation and Jody and I are hoping to sneak out for a date or two. We actually got out tonight for a “date” of sorts while Grandma and Grandpa watched the kiddos, but it was only so we could go to another parents’ night at Ava’s school.

I’ve decided that I’m going to keep on blogging while on vacation. I really don’t think it will be that big of a deal. Between my mom’s laptop and Jody’s laptop and the WiFi at the resort, I should have no connectivity issues. I can’t promise anything extraordinary (though ya never know!), but I will be popping on. Oh, and tomorrow, at long last, I’m posting Julian’s birth story. 🙂

I took these pics (with a new point & shoot camera from HP that I’m trying out and will be giving away on my blog in the near future – woot, woot!) while we were up in Estes yesterday. The first one is the view as you are heading into the city. And the second one is about what our view of the mountains will be from our bedroom window.

Estes Park Mountains outside of Estes Park

Now I need to go figure out what all I need to pack for our little vacation. It seems like we are going to have to cram an awful lot of stuff (baby gate, fan AKA white noise maker, clothes, coats, hats, boots, food, kitchen sink…) into our Forester for a three-day trip. Wish me luck and a vomit-free drive this time!

Shopping, hiking and good “clean” fun (with pics)

Looking for Best Shot Monday? It’s the post below. 🙂

It was a marvelous weekend around here and it started early. Jody took Friday off of work so I could have a day to do things for myself. Woohoo! I started the day by running an errand to the post office to mail off my contest winners’ items. Then I hit up Kohl’s for their awesome end of the season clearance. Since the prices were so low, I figured I would pick up some things for the kids for next summer.

For Ava, I got 3 shirts, 1 skort, 1 dress, 1 pair of shorts and a pair of capri pants, all in size 5. (She’s wearing size 4T this summer, so I figure 5 is a safe bet.) It was the first time I’ve shopped for her in the girls’ department rather than the infant/toddler section and it was quite different. I guess once you are a girl, you want to start dressing like a little hootchie-mama. Ugh. I’m so not ready for that with a 4-year-old (which she will be next year). I managed to find some respectable things though and felt like I did all right. It just took more time to weed through the hootchie clothes.

For Julian, I got a bathing suit, 3 shirts, 1 sleeveless romper, 2 pairs of footed pajamas, 1 shorts/shirt set, and 1 long-sleeved romper all in size 24 months. I was surprised to see tons of cute little girls’ stuff left on clearance, but not nearly as much little boys’ stuff.

As I was walking up to the cash register, I thought about my own wardrobe which consists largely of green shirts this year and I decided to briefly look for some things for me. I found 1 t-shirt (in pink – woot!) and a camouflage skort.

All in all, I bought 18 items and, with my extra 15% discount coupon, it came up to a grand total of $94! Gotta love the bargains at Kohl’s. 🙂

After my shopping spree, I headed home to nurse Julian, then set out later in the day to do some reading (in peace and quiet). I stopped at Starbucks for a Blueberries ‘n Cream Frappuccino and found out they are having a story time, as well as a craft free of charge there on Thursday, so we might try to go to that. After I had my cool beverage, I went to Border’s to hang out in a comfy chair and read. (More on what I’m currently reading another time.)

After about an hour, I picked up pizza for dinner and headed home.

It was a lovely, relatively kid-free day, and being away from them for a few hours made me appreciate them all the more. I think Jody should take the day off more often. 🙂

On Saturday, I packed a picnic lunch and we drove up to Rocky Mountain National Park to do some hiking. We hiked to two lakes (Nymph and Dream). Ava rode in the backpack on Jody for part of the time and did a fair amount of hiking herself, and Julian rode in the Ergo on me the whole time.

Nymph Lake 8/11/07Daddy n the kids at Nymph Lake 8/11/07Ava & daddy hiking near Dream Lake 8/11/07Mama and Julian at Dream Lake 8/11/07
Ava having an apple 8/11/07Julian trying to have an apple 8/11/07Ava doing some bouldering 8/11/07Ava in the backpack on daddy 8/11/07

It was a beautiful day for hiking, and apart from not remembering how much elevation gain there was on that hike (which is all the harder when you are packing a kid – boy, was I getting winded!), it was a lot of fun. Ava really enjoyed hiking on her own and did well in the pack too. Julian started getting a little fussy at the second lake so we decided to call it a day and head back to the shuttle bus which took us to our car. Both kids conked out on the drive home, and I was close to doing so myself as well. 😉

On Sunday, I tackled some of the clutter I complained about over the weekend, specifically cleaning up my “office” area. I filled an entire Vitamin Cottage bag with paper and receipts to recycle! Why I’ve saved every single receipt from the grocery store (and every other place) for the past year or so is beyond me. I’ve developed a new system and it involves only saving receipts on things I might actually need to return – not groceries. (So smart, eh?)

I should’ve taken a before and after shot, because my desk looks sooo much better now. I feel better about it too. It was good to make a dent in the huge decluttering task I have before me.

It was nice to have a relaxing, fun and productive weekend all in one. 🙂

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Hooray! Jody gets back from San Francisco today! He’s been gone AGAIN for four days this past week. This week was harder than last. I’m sure it’s because it was two weeks in a row of having him gone. Ava seems to miss him a lot more this week too and had a couple of really rough nights, though thankfully she slept well last night and is actually still snoozing. She needs the Zzzzzzs. Anyway, I’m happy to say he shouldn’t have to travel again for a few months.

We hooked up with some friends yesterday at a cafe and the kids got to play while we listened to live music and had lunch. Then we let the kids play outside in the grass for a while. Ava found a nice pile of fresh top soil and proceeded to cover herself in it. Good times. 😉 It was a beautiful day – sunny and near 70 degrees.

Today is supposed to be gorgeous as well and we have plans to go to a St. Patty’s day bonfire tonight at some new friends’ house. It sounds like a really good time. They eat, drink, play instruments, sing songs and tell stories around the fire. I don’t know how late we will stay since Ava has been going to bed earlier these days (plus I’m scared of all the drunks on the roads), but I think if we bring her pjs and put her in them before driving home, we’ll be OK.

We’ve been watching a lot of YouTube around here lately. Ava loves watching old Muppet and Sesame Street skits. Here’s one we recently stumbled upon…

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the Muppets – the Swedish chef, Animal and Beaker. 🙂 Have fun and be safe.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCbuRA_D3KU]

Single parenting

Each time Jody travels for work, I have a renewed appreciation for single parents.

This week was the first time he had to leave for a few days (three to be exact) since I had Julian. I wasn’t looking forward to doing it all with both kids on my own, but I’m happy to report that we managed and even did fairly well. (His being out of town was another reason why my computer time was limited this week.)

I was quite happy and proud of myself for having both kids asleep by 8:30 all three nights. That rarely happens when we are both home! I think the fact that I was able to do dinner around 5 or 5:30 then still have plenty of time for Ava to wind down before bed helped a lot. When Jody is here working, he doesn’t get home until 6 at the earliest, usually more like 6:40, so we tend to eat dinner later than most people, which results in a later bedtime for Ava. (Of course we all got up at around 6:30 this morning which was at least an hour too early for me, but c’est la vie.)

We had some friends over for a playgroup yesterday which helped break up the time a bit. It was very nice for me to get some adult interaction and Ava enjoyed playing with her friends. And the weather has been nice the past few days so we spent a good chunk of time playing in the backyard each day. (Hooray for spring!)

Even though we made it through unscathed, I’m glad Jody only has to travel about once every quarter. I wouldn’t want to do this on a regular basis. And I’m glad I’ll have the weekend with Jody back home now so I can catch up on some Zzzzzzs. 😉

Our trip to MI (with lots of pics)

We had a very nice trip to MI and managed to fit quite a bit into a week and still have time to relax. The many pics below (taken with my lousy point & shoot camera since I didn’t want to risk damaging my nice one) show some of the highlights from the trip.

One thing we didn’t get any pics of though was our floating trip down the Au Sable River. My parents, Jody, Ava and I had four floaty lounge-chair type things that we tied together and floated down the river. Ava sat on daddy’s lap for most of the float, then came over to join me and baby brother for the end of it. It was a lot of fun, though got a bit chilly at the end when the wind started picking up.

I also feel bad because I didn’t get any good pics of Ava playing with her grandparents, mostly because when she was occupied with them, I was off doing something else. She had a lot of fun with them though – helping water flowers, picking vegetables in the garden, going for wagon rides around the neighborhood and reading books.

Jody got to golf a couple times with my dad, which was fun for him because he never golfs, but also made him realize how much practicing he’d need to do to be any good. 😉

It was nice to spend some time with my parents and not feel rushed to go do this, that or the other thing, which is usually how our visits go because there’s always some big function planned. They seem really happy and settled in their place in Oscoda.

On our last day in MI, we travelled back down state (since we were flying out of Detroit Airport) and stopped by my aunt, uncle and cousins’ house for lunch, then briefly saw my brother at his house before getting to the airport to catch our flight home. The flight was delayed about an hour and a half – first, waiting on the flight attendants, then, after they loaded us on the plane, waiting for the pilot (doh!). But we had a safe, uneventful flight home. 🙂

Click the pic to view it larger

A perfect day (though a little windy) at Lake Huron – 8/13/06:

Going swimming in the big lake – 8/13/06:

Practicing her golf swing with daddy (though after the way he golfed this week, it should’ve been grandma or grandpa helping her!) – 8/13/06:

We had s’more at a campfire in grandma and grandpa’s backyard (grandma and Aunt Carrie in the pic too) – 8/13/06:

At Foote Dam (with grandpa) – 8/14/06:

Chasing the fishies (minnows) down at “Three Pipes” on the Au Sable River – 8/15/06:

Looking for more fishies – 8/15/06:

Being a little fishy herself – 8/15/06:

Swimming with daddy – 8/15/06:

On the beach at Negwegon State Park (a beautiful secluded beach on the way to Alpena) – 8/17/06:

Rock thrower – 8/17/06:

In her own little world, exploring the beach – 8/17/06:

Walking on the beach with mommy – 8/17/06:

Stopping to check out the view (while Ava slept in the car) – 8/17/06:

Picking blueberries (she ate most of what she picked, right off the bushes) – 8/18/06:

Ava showing off a freshly-picked blueberry – 8/18/06:

Taking a break from picking to smile with grandma – 8/18/06:

Modeling the new tutu grandma and mommy made – 8/18/06:

Our family (in front of grandma and grandpa’s house) before the drive down state to the airport – 8/19/06:

Time to say good-bye to grandma and grandpa before we fly home to CO (at the airport in Detroit) – 8/19/06:

It’s good to be home (I confess I missed my bed and body pillow), though we’re not settled back into our groove yet. Ava and I went to a grape jelly canning “party” this morning at a friend’s house. I’d never canned anything myself before so it was cool to see how it’s all done and I’m excited to taste the jar of jelly we brought home. 🙂

I can’t believe that I’ll be 28 weeks along this week!! I’m really getting close to the end and I don’t feel ready at all. I have both a midwife appointment and acupuncturist appointment this week. I’m also going to look into seeing a chiropractor a time or two before baby boy comes to make sure I’m well-aligned. I’ve never been before, but I know it certainly can’t hurt.

In other news, my sister is all moved into her apartment just a few miles from our house. 🙂 We’ve seen her more times in the past few days than we have in the last year I think! She goes for her school (3rd year law) orientation tomorrow.

Well, the kiddo is going down for a nap, and I have things to do, so that’s all for now.

Off to the Great Lakes state :)

We’re heading out bright and ridiculously early Saturday (the 12th) morning to catch our 8 a.m. flight to Michigan, where we’ll be until the 19th, spending time primarily with my folks and sis (for a few days) up in Oscoda.

The weather looks to be sunny and in the 80s for the week (yay!), except for one day of possible rain. I can deal with that. 🙂

After flying into Detroit Metro Airport (cuz it was the cheapest [and I use the term loosely] flights we could get of the airports available to us in MI), Mom is picking us up for the four hour drive up to Oscoda. It’s going to be a loooong day of traveling. Thankfully we’ll have the rest of the week to rest and relax before the trip back home.


My parents live within a couple blocks of the Au Sable River (right pic) and Huron National Forest and within a couple miles of Lake Huron (left pic). We’re looking forward to doing lots of swimming, some nature walks, canoeing, campfires, seeing the sights and just plain relaxing.

For those of you who don’t know, I spent the first 22 years of my life in Michigan (in the Detroit area), before moving to Oklahoma for a year and a half, and eventually to Colorado – where I’ve lived for the past nearly six years now. So while I’m going back to my home state, it won’t really feel like going “home” since my parents sold the house I grew up in and moved four hours up north to Oscoda a few years ago.

Some interesting trivia about Oscoda (and surrounding areas)…
I asked my mom to check into natural or health food stores around there because I know we’ll want to pick up some things for the week. Well, there are no health food stores in Oscoda and they only have one grocery store chain (the other recently closed down), that apparently doesn’t carry any (or very little) organic food. There’s a Wal-mart Supercenter about 20 miles from there that you’d think would carry *some* organic foods, but mom checked it out and they don’t. Gah! Thankfully, I was able to track down one health food store – Marbie’s Nutrition – about 20 miles from Oscoda, so it looks like we’ll be paying ol’ Marbie a visit. 😉 Though it’s probably worth putting in a call to Marbie first to make sure they carry what I need. Anyway, I know health food stores exist in other parts of Michigan. Hell, they even have Trader Joe’s. We don’t have Trader Joe’s here! But still, the longer I’m away, the more I realize Michigan is such a DIFFERENT world than Colorado.

I know we’ll have a good time with the fam, and, even though I’m whining about it, we won’t die if we eat conventional food for a week. 😉 There are just a few things that I’d like to have on-hand, specifically for Ava. So we’ll do what we have to do. 🙂

I hope to check in once or twice while we’re there, but I’ll be on *gasp* dial-up so I’m not holding my breath for too much Internet time, which is good anyway since I hope to be enjoying the great outdoors. 🙂 “See” y’all in a week, with some pics and fun stories from the trip.

================================
Just for the record, I’m 26 weeks pregnant today – only 98 days left to go according to my baby-gaga ticker. Wow!! 🙂 Baby boy has been active as all getout lately. I swear my whole stomach lurches at times.
I talked to my midwife’s back-up a couple times this evening (because my midwife is out of town) about the abdominal discomfort I was having yesterday and today and the lightheadedness and it all sounds normal. She suggests I take a calcium/magnesium supplement to help with the round ligament pain, drink more water (is that possible??), and make sure my blood sugar isn’t dropping (i.e. eat) for the lightheadedness. She was very friendly and helpful and, while I wasn’t too concerned about what was going on, I feel much better after having talked to her.

Give me a break

I just read that the Transportation Safety Administration is, as of today, prohibiting all liquids from carry-on luggage.

“The TSA issued the directive early Thursday following the arrests in the United Kingdom of several people suspected of plotting to blow up aircraft flying from the UK to the United States. The TSA has raised the national alert level to orange, indicating its belief that some sort of threat against U.S. aviation still exists.
The directive states that liquids or gels – including beverages, shampoo, suntan lotion, creams, toothpaste, hair gel and similar items – will not be allowed through screening checkpoints. Concessionaires on the concourses can still sell such items, but have been instructed to tell passengers that the items cannot be taken aboard a plane.”

This is particularly maddening to me sine we are flying on Saturday. So are they going to deny me, a pregnant woman who needs to drink at least 64 oz. of water a day, water on the plane? And what about babies that aren’t breastfed? Are they going to deny them formula*? I understand the need for security, but sometimes I think things are taken a bit too damn far.

Jody seems to think I could take an empty water bottle through security and fill it up from a drinking fountain once we are through. That is, provided they don’t confiscate my bottle. Who knows what the protocol is for empty containers. Oy.

Anyway, I’m just sitting here saying to myself – “what the hell?”

===============================
I don’t think we are going to Jody’s work picnic at the reservoir today. I was having some abdominal discomfort yesterday and have been feeling a bit woozy today (I have a call into my midwife), and Ava had a fever last night, so I think we’d better just stay home and rest up for our trip (and the long wait through security). ;oP

===============================
**EDITED**: Perhaps I need to edit this post to include that there’s definitely more to this than just my being inconvenienced. OBVIOUSLY, I want everyone to be safe, but I think the way the government instigates these new procedures and protocols reactionarily (is that a word?) isn’t really the best way to handle things. It’s hard to take the threat levels and increased precautions seriously when the government/media is constantly trying to cram FUD (Fear – Uncertainty – Doubt) down our throats. It only takes one time of watching the evening news or a look through the news headlines to see how much FUD is out there. So sure I’m pissed that I can’t take my own water through security, but (as with most of the things I post about), there is a LARGER issue here.

*After hearing something on the news about breast milk and formula being allowed, I found this on the Department of Homeland Security‘s website:
“The only exceptions are baby formula, breast milk, or juice if a baby or small child is traveling; prescription medicine with a name that matches the passenger’s ticket; and insulin and essential other non-prescription medicines.”

Our trip to California (super long, with oodles of pics)

Long post ahead. Here’s what we did on our trip to California, along with tons of pics (click the pic to view it larger). I tried to save you by not posting too many “scenic” pics, but mostly pics that had us in them. I honestly didn’t take *that* many pics on this trip and didn’t get artistic with any of them. It was hard not having my camera of choice with me. ;oP

(Also, a disclaimer to all my veggie readers… I figure some of you probably missed the post where I said that I’m no longer vegetarian so I wanted to say it again so it doesn’t come as a shock to you all that I’m eating poultry and fish. I decided to follow what my body tells me I need with this pregnancy. I’m still cooking primarily vegetarian meals at home, but if I’m at a restaurant and I want chicken or fish, I order it.)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

We caught our flight at 5:22 p.m. from Denver to San Jose. Ava did great on the plane. We sat next to a very nice, friendly woman who enjoyed talking with and entertaining Ava for a good part of the flight. The view as we flew over the Rockies was amazing.

We picked up our rental car but the agent had trouble finding the right size carseat for Ava. She finally tracked one down but it didn’t have all the parts and, because of this, we weren’t able to fully secure it in the car. Arg.

After some confusion with our room at the Hotel Avante in Mountain View, we got checked into the right room. By that time it was after 9 and we hadn’t yet eaten dinner so we headed out in search of something. I spotted a Baja Fresh (Mexican grill food) and remembered reading good things about it on Julie‘s blog, so we stopped for dinner. It was really good and reminded us a lot of Wahoo Fish Tacos (but better because they had fresh guacamole and avocado slices, mmmm).

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Jody got up early to go into work at Google for a few hours before they went out for a team building trip horseback riding, with a tour of a vineyard and dinner.

Ava and I got up and ready and went out to breakfast at Denny’s. After that, we went to Shoreline Park where we went for a walk, watched geese and Ava threw sticks and rocks into a lake.






Then we picked up some lunch and headed back to the hotel for a nap.

That evening, after Jody got home, we went out to dinner at Frankie, Johnny, and Luigi’s for some awesome pizza. We stopped at Baskin Robin’s for some shakes on the way back to the hotel.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Jody went into work again, while Ava and I slept in. Then we got up and ready for the day. I packed up our things and we checked out of the hotel. Then we drove up to the “Googleplex” to join Jody for lunch in the cafeteria. It was a bit overwhelming. There were so many foods to choose from. I ended up having a big salad (loaded with avocados) and some Indian food.

Then Jody took us on a little tour and introduced us to some of the people on his team and in the area he works while out in CA. The campus is so big, your first time there is kind of like being a freshman back at college. Ava wowed everybody with her cutiepie charm.

Jody went back to work for a little while, and Ava and I headed over to a Trader Joe’s to check it out since I’ve heard many good things about them. I don’t know it they are all pretty small, but the one we found was on the small side (IMO). It seemed like a great store though and definitely reasonably-priced. We bought some organic strawberries and ate a few in the car.

Then we picked up Jody and started our drive to San Francisco. Traffic was horrendous at 4:30 p.m. (go figure). Unfortunately, Ava was really tired at that point and was having a hard time falling asleep in the car. She did get to nap for a little while, but not as long as she (or we) would’ve liked.

Jody dropped us off at the Argent Hotel while he went to take back the rental car. Ava and I got checked in and went up to our room on the 26th floor. The room was very nice. We had a lovely view of the city and could see the Bay Bridge from our window, as well as a little bit of Alcatraz.

After chilling in our room for a bit, we walked over to Chinatown for dinner. At the recommendation of the hotel concierge, we went to the Great Eastern Restaurant. Our dinner consisted of egg rolls, vegetable fried rice, sweet and sour chicken and cashew chicken, with orange slices for dessert. It was all delicious. That brings us to the present, where we are back in our hotel room. Chinatown was bigger than I thought it would be, with lots of neat looking shops. I hope to stop back in there another time to browse a bit.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

What a busy day!
We started it off by heading to the Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building. It’s definitely an impressive farmer’s market.

We walked out to the water and stopped for a peanut butter cookie before catching the trolley up to the Fisherman’s Wharf/Pier 39 area.

We stopped to look at the sea lions (which Ava originally called “dogs” – from all of the barking, of course – LOL).


Then we had lunch at a restaurant – Neptune’s Palace – overlooking the sea lions and bay. I had a salad and bread bowl of clam chowder soup and Jody had fish and chips. We also split some crab cakes (which Ava devoured).

After lunch we decided to take a ferry ride that goes around Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate Bridge. By that point, Ava was getting sleepy, but she did ok on the boat.




There was a group of Asian women on the boat who were totally enamored with Ava. A couple of them gave us “treats” to give to her, but if I couldn’t read the writing on the package (it was Korean I think), I wasn’t going to give it to her. Still nice of them though. There was also an Asian man on the boat ride who was using his electric razor to shave his face while we were out on the water. Strange. I took his picture. 😉

After the boat ride, we had a heck of a time finding a bus that would get us back to our hotel, so we ended up waiting 45 minutes to catch the historic trolley.
Ava was so tired at that point that she actually fell asleep on the trolley, despite it being quite loud with the trolley car driver ringing the bell left and right.

We hung out for a bit in the hotel, then decided to head out for some “American fare” (we got some suggestions from the hotel concierge) for dinner. First we walked over to the Metreon, but none of the restaurants there appealed to us. We did, however, pass a new cream puff place on the way and figured we’d head back there for dessert after dinner.

After walking around way too much and still not finding anything that sounded good, we came across Tad’s Steakhouse. It was very reasonably priced at like $6 a meal, though seemed a little shady, but we decided to stop anyway. We ended up getting a tuna melt and a turkey melt, both came with a baked potato and salad, and it was all, surprisingly, quite good. It was nice to only spend $15 on a tasty dinner after dropping at least $40 on previous meals.

We tried going back to the cream puff place for dessert, but they had closed at 8. So we walked around some more (and saw another guy stick-shaving his face in the middle of the sidewalk – what’s up with that?), finally stopping in a 7-11, which was just about the only thing open, for some Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, which we took back to our room.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

We got up this morning and caught a bus over to the Haight-Ashbury area (known for it’s huge hippie population in the ’60s), where we had a late breakfast at a place called All You Knead (recommended to me by Amy). I got poached eggs covered with avocado slices and Hollandaise sauce on English muffins and Jody got an omelette. Both came with potatoes too. We split it all with Ava. The food was awesome.

After eating, we walked along Haight street for a bit and stopped in a few stores, before it started sprinkling rain on us. We had planned to go to Golden Gate Park, and walked in it for a little ways, because I really wanted to see the Japanese Tea Garden, but the rain kept coming down harder and harder so we decided to head back. By the time we left the park, it was a downpour and we were soaked. Ava had the umbrella over her stroller so she was kept partially dry, but Jody and I were drenched.

We caught a bus into the Mission district, then had to get off there and wait for another 20 minutes for another bus to get us back to our hotel. The wait outside was quite cold and it continued to rain.

On our walk back to the hotel, we stopped at that cream puff shop from yesterday (Beard Papa’s – it’s Japanese) and picked up some cream puffs to take back to the room. They were tasty.

We got changed into dry clothes and Ava and I took a nap while Jody went out and bought himself a Play Station Portable. (I guess I shouldn’t leave him alone when he’s within walking distance of a Sony store. Oy.)

After our naps, we caught another bus to Little Italy where we had dinner at Caffe DeLucci. Jody got ravioli and I got fettucine with seared Ahi Tuna. Yummy! We all split a cannoli for dessert.

Then we headed back outside to catch the bus back to our hotel, I would’ve liked to walk around a bit, but it was raining again. On our walk back to the bus stop, a car came within inches of hitting Ava’s stroller (that she was in) and my leg. They just kept on driving too like they didn’t even see us. Thankfully, we were OK, but it was pretty scary.

Monday, May 22, 2006

(Ava playing in bed before getting up for the day.)

We got up and dressed and packed up our things before walking over to a little restaurant called Oh La La for some lunch (which we took back to our room). Jody got a chicken salad wrap and I got a falafel sandwich. We also got some of those “Naked” drinks. They are expensive but quite tasty and mine (which was a protein blend) had something like 37g of protein in it. Wow.

(One last pic in our hotel room.)

After eating our lunch and gathering up our things, we checked out of our hotel and caught a bus to the CalTrain station. We got our train tickets, and caught the train to Santa Clara where we then caught a bus over to the San Jose airport.


Once at the airport, we still had a good 2 1/2 hours before our flight so Ava played a bit in a kids’ play area and we got some lunch and let Ava run around.

The flight back to Denver had a lot of turbulence over the Rocky Mountains, but Ava slept for the last half of the flight, which was good – she needed to get a nap in.

It’s good to be home and getting back into our routine. 🙂

———————————————————
All in all it was a really nice trip. California is a beautiful state and I can definitely see the appeal of living there (avocados – wink, wink), but I still prefer Colorado. 🙂 While having some humidity in the air was nice out there, I guess I’ve grown accustomed to the dryness here.

It would’ve been nice if the weather cooperated the whole time we were in SF, because we would’ve gotten to see more of the city, but c’est la vie. I am sure we could’ve spent several more days there and still not seen everything we wanted to. (And we would’ve gone broke trying! LOL)

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions and help with things to do while in CA. I appreciate it! 🙂

As an aside, Jody and I were talking about how well-traveled our li’l kid is. Just on this trip alone she rode on a plane, boat, bus, trolley and train (the boat, bus, trolley and train were all a first for her). It took me 31 years to get to the western U.S. coast and Ava’s been to both coasts before her 2nd birthday. I guess the world is a smaller place now than it used to be.