Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pacifica Visit

It's been too long, but we had a chance to go visit the Noyes family in their new Pacifica home today. Some impressions on this visit:

  • They did a great job revamping their newly purchased fixer upper. The house looked updated and was very cozy.
  • Viviana is such a fun and chatty girl! I can't believe how much she said in such a short time. Definitely the life of the party.
  • Emma Rose is a beautiful, cuddly, and well-behaved baby. Everyone wanted to hold her and we have the pictures to prove it!
  • Aria and Vivi played pretty well together, although Vivi seemed to understand a little more about playing together, and not just playing next to each other.
  • It was definitely a great visit, and something we need to do more often.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Our Christmas Day

Our Christmas Day this year started out with stockings in the morning in Roseville, some relaxing and playing with new Christmas toys during the afternoon, and then dinner at the Penders' house in Lincoln. The second busy day in a row for Aria, but she handled it quite well since she was surrounded by new toys to play with.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve in Roseville

We made the drive up to Roseville again for Christmas Eve this year. This year will definitely be more memorable for Aria than last year. She played with her cousins this year (well, actually played near them is more like it), and got some cool toys (although most of her favorite toys were opened on Christmas mornings as part of the stockings).

We had a great time too, with a lot of food (too much, as usual), a lot of gifts (again, too much, as usual), and lots of great company (but not enough time, as usual, the holidays go by way too fast!).

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Always Dream Park

To fight the boredom at home today, I took Aria to the Always Dream Park in Fremont, near the Fremont library. It was a nice, smaller park with equipment more suitable for her age. It was also nice because it wasn't too crowded, with only a few other kids running around.

While she explored most of the park, I'd have to say her favorite was definitely the merry go round and the "balls". Although she did have a lot of fun sloshing in some puddles that were still left on the ground from a recent rain.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Holiday Train Ride

We did get a rather large group together today to go on the Fremont to Niles holiday train ride, complete with holiday lighting, decorations, and Santa. All the kiddies seemed to enjoy it (although they each had varying degrees of feelings towards Santa as he made his way through the train). Even though the train ride was a bit long for the younger kiddies, at least some of them were able to rest, and the others were pretty well occupied.

The evening ended with dinner at a couple of different restaurants (the group was too large to even attempt eating at the same location. Although we did end up choosing restaurants nearby each other) and some long drives home. Thanks for all that came from afar to join in this holiday adventure.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Brian's Birthday

We celebrated Brian's 37th birthday today by having dinner at City Beach. We were hoping to be able to play some Bocce (but the outdoor courts were flooded with rain) or play some pool and other games (but here was a corporate party that had rented out the entire play area) after dinner, but it just was not meant to be. Probably just as well since dinner took longer than expected and just running around outside for a little while on the Bocce courts tired Aria out. Next year, we'll just have to plan more in advance...

Here are some photos that were captured on Brian's special day:

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving this year was split between the two families: Thanksgiving day in Roseville with Brian's family, and then another Thanksgiving dinner at home mine. It was a bit hectic, but I appreciate everyone chipping in (especially for the dinner at our house: all I can say is "thank goodness for pre-prepared full meals from Safeway, but even reheating food can be quite an effort!"). Hope everyone had as much fun as I did!

Thanksgiving in Roseville:

Thanksgiving at Home:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Kitty Update

As some of you may be aware, we found some stray kitten in our backyard this past August. Luckily, we were able to find them all good new homes. Here are some photos from when they were still with us, and new photos of them in their new homes. Thanks to Jen for sending the new photos.



Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat!

We took Aria out trick or treating for the first time this year around the neighborhood. She got to go with Miriya and Jonah for a few houses (before it got too late and too dark). She seemed to get the hang of taking the candy and putting it into her treat bag pretty quickly, but she was still shy enough to be a little afraid to go right up to the strange neighbor's doors without some pretty firm encouragement from mommy or daddy.

We also "warned" my mom since she usually doesn't give out candy, and she got to visit Po Po and Willbe as well. Although she seemed nervous to be on the familiar porch, that nervousness went out the window when she saw Po Po open the door and she ran right into her arms.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mom's Yard - Done!

We took a short walk over to my mom's house today to take some photos of the now completed yards. Aria had a blast just running around and exploring all the new things: big rocks, little rocks, grass, trees, and just about eveverything else that she could get her little hands on.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

"Swanky" Pumpkin Patch & Corn Maze

On our drive home, we decided to stop off in Hollister at  Swank Farms to visit the pumpkin patch and the advertised corn maze. They build a completely new (large) corn maze every year, and since none of us had ever done one before, today seemed as good a day as any.

We got Aria strapped into her stroller and set off to try to complete the maze (by going through 20+ checkpoints and filling in a "Mad Lib" like story) in under an hour. With Brian as the navigator, and Ranica & Aria following, we completed the maze in just over 40 minutes. Pretty good taking into account that we did make a couple of pit stops to rehydrate (it was smoking hot out there!). Here is the map of our trek through the corn maze (ignore the satellite image - it has yet to be updated for the 2010 corn maze):

View Corn maze in a larger map

We also let Aria peruse through the pumpkin patch (she didn't really pick out a pumpkin, but walked by a few and pushed the wheelbarrow around) and got some yummy homemade fudge. Brian and Ranica also tried flinging a couple of pumpkins in the slingshot while Aria watched.

Hotel Room Fun

Aria did plenty of exploring at our hotel, the Embassy Suites in Monterey/Seaside. Here are a few photos of her adventures in our suite.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dennis the Menace Playground

Went to the Dennis the Menace playground in Monterey today. It was less than a 5-minute drive from our hotel and Aria loved it! She stayed with her daddy and closed the park down (at sunset) while mommy went to get a massage at the nearby Massage Envy (her anniversary present ;-D).

Aria's favorite activity by far was the large roller slide underneath the sun (literally!). She and daddy went down it many, many times.

Pinnacles National Monument

It was a bit of a drive from our Embassy Suites hotel in Monterey/Seaside, but we made it, thanks to the portable DVD player in the car (best invention ever! I don't know how parents did anything without DVD players - thanks to my own parents for putting up with me on long car rides). The drive out to Pinnacles National Monument was pretty smooth, except that the last 11 miles or so was on a one-lane road (meaning 1 lane, 2 directions) so that stretch took a good half hour to get through.

Once we got ready (diapers, flashlights, sunscreen - on, strapped on the baby, etc), we headed out on the Balconies Cave trail - a short, but interesting hike out to the caves. It was a pretty warm day so we took our time. The Pinnacles rock formations were really pretty and majestic, but we saw some pretty scary precarious rocks along the way.

Once we made it to the caves, it was a little disappointing when we realized that there was no way that we could make it all the way through with little Aria strapped on. The climb was dark and pretty steep, so we will have to come back for a visit when she's older. We did see another family come up the cave trail from the other side with a couple of young boys (probably 2/3 year-old and 4/5 year-old), so that seemed promising, especially since they mentioned that it wasn't their first time doing the cave hike.

  • Rating:
    Pros: Awesome rock formations, really cool caves (but since we didn't go all the way through, can't vouch for them quite yet).
    Cons: Pretty warm and dry. Not fun when there's a sniffly 16-month old with you.
  • Difficulty: Easy hike, but the cave terrain can be pretty treacherous.
  • Best Season:  
Today's Hiking Group: Brian, Ranica & Aria

Photo Album:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Happy Hollow Park & Zoo

For our 4th anniversary, we decided to take a family vacation to Monterey. On our way there, we stopped off at Happy Hollow Park & Zoo in San Jose for some fun. A tip for those who are interested in going: since we got there a little late (around 2 pm; park closes at 4pm), we were able to get in for free (just had to pay $10 for parking).

Since this was the first park with rides for Aria, we were a little nervous about how she would react. We started off slow with the merry-go-round, and she seemed to like that just fine, so we had her try her first solo ride on the Mini Putt-Putt. This time, she showed her excitement and we breathed a sigh of relief. All smiles and excitement and no crying = a great family outing.

In addition to the carousel and Mini Putt Putt, Aria enjoyed the Danny the Dragon train ride, the Granny Bugs and got to see a variety of barnyard and wild animals. Not bad for only 2 hours in the park. We also ventured over to the Japanese Friendship garden next door to the park after it closed down and where Aria saw her first live ducks.

Looking forward to next summer when Aria will be tall enough to go on more rides (hopefully). Let's hope that she will still want to go on them by then. Kids can be so fickle!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

After a night's stay at the 4-star Hilton in Scotts Valley (nice hotel, really comfy bed, but crowded pool and pretty pricey for an overnight stay), we hiked out at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park today. The redwood forest was absolutely beautiful, and the weather was perfect as we were nicely shaded by all the redwood trees.
  • Rating:
    Pros: Beautiful forest, lots to see and do (camping, train ride) and not too far from home.
    Cons: No more overnight hotel stay (too pricey) - next time we'll do a day trip.
  • Difficulty:
    Giving it an intermediate only because it took us a long time to trek the ~4 miles with 3 kiddies... Decent climb.
  • Best Season(s):
Today's Hiking Group: Brian, Ranica, Aria, James, Supak, Miriya, Jonah, Mike & Suporn

Photo Album:

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Roaring Camp Steam Train

We were at the Roaring Camp Railroads today out in Felton (near Santa Cruz) to ride the steam train. It was a beautiful ride up through the mountains and in the redwood forest. And the camp itself was a bustle of family activity, thanks to the Thomas train (maybe we'll try that next year)...

It was a long day, so Aria ended up falling asleep on our way out to Bear Mountain, but luckily was awake on the ride back.

Planning to take a hike tomorrow, so watch out for that post soon...

Today's Train Commuters:
Brian, Ranica, Aria, James, Supak, Miriya, Jonah, Mike & Suporn

Photo Album:

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Marin Headlands

Finally! We've been trying to do this Marin Headlands hike for so long (since last December), so we're really glad that the stars finally aligned and we were all able to make it out there today. We hiked from the parking lot out to the Marine Mammal Center where we learned about how they rehabilitate all kinds of sea creatures.

After a picnic lunch in the car (it was cold and windy!), we hiked out to the Point Bonita Lighthouse. It was a very interesting hike as it included going through a low-ceiling cave and crossing an old bridge (two at a time). But the view from the lighthouse and on this windy hike was absolutely beautiful.
  • Rating:
    Pros: Interesting viewpoints, lots of things to learn, look at.
    Cons: It's Marin - foggy and somewhat colder weather.
  • Difficulty:
    Very easy hike, with practically no climbing.
  • Best Season:
Today's Hiking Group: Brian, Ranica, Aria, Jib, Jam, Mike & Suporn

Photo Album:

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pool Time!

We went up to visit the family for Father's Day this year, and today Aria experienced her first time in the pool. She seemed to take right to the water, splashing around like it was her personal bathtub. We'll have to enroll her in swimming lessons ASAP!

Photo Album:

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sunol Regional Wilderness

Little Yosemite: We made a point to get out to Little Yosemite this weekend at the Sunol Regional Wilderness before it dried up for the year. Luckily, with all the rain that we got this year, we were able to go and see the falls later in the season than usual. Even though it was really warm, this was a pretty and enjoyable hike.
  • Rating:
    Pros: Peaceful river and beautiful waterfalls; Cons: a little crowded (wanted to get closer to the falls, but too many people) and the hike can get pretty dusty in hot, drier weather.
  • Difficulty:
    A slow and steady climb, very reasonable for the beginning hiker.
  • Best Season(s):
Hiking Stats: Courtesy of Google's MyTracks and Ranica's Android phone, we were able to capture the (approximate) stats from today's hike -
  • Total Time (including rest stops): 01 hr 32 mins
  • Total Hiking Time: 57 mins
  • Total Distance: 3.95 miles
  • Min Elevation: 291 ft
  • Max Elevation: 499 ft
  • Elevation Change (includes all climbs and dips): 1228 ft
Here is the actual map:

View Little Yosemite in a larger map

Today's Hiking Group: Brian, Ranica, Aria, Mike & Suporn.

Photo Album:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Don Edwards

Another close hike at Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge today. It was a beautiful sunny day, but that also meant there were lots of flies out and about. We found a rather picturesque "photo frame" that just begged for some photo ops with the kiddies.
  • Rating:
    Pros: Close by, can bring your stroller for the kiddies; Cons: Lots of pesky flies, no real "climb" to get to that great view up top
  • Difficulty:
    Pretty flat hike, great for beginners
  • Best Season(s):
Today's Hiking Group: James, Supak, Miriya, Jonah, Brian, Ranica, Aria, Mike, & Suporn.

Photo Album:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Quarry Lakes Picnic

We ventured out to another park near our house: Quarry Lakes for a picnic. It was such a beautiful day, and there aren't any large crowds here (I guess the $5 parking fee does deter some). The kids explored a bit, had a daddy-daughter race, and we had a picnic a la Dickey's BBQ.

Today's Picnickers: Philip, Angie, Vivi, Brian, Ranica, Aria, Mike & Suporn.

Photo Album:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Monterey Bay Aquarium

No actual hiking was involved, but we did walk (and ride in a stroller) a lot this weekend at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Just wanted to share a few of our photos from the weekend.

This weekend's ocean explorers: Mark, Mika, Aiden, Brian, Ranica, Aria, Mike & Suporn.

Photo Album:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Alum Rock Park

We initiated the the 2010 hiking year with a hike at Alum Rock Park in San Jose today.

And the day's outing would not have been complete without a visit to one of Brian's favorite Mexican restaurants for Veggie Tacos, El Buen Gusto Bakery #2.

  • Rating:
    Pros: Climb is rewarded by beautiful view of Eagle Rock and the city of San Jose, great company on this hike too; Cons: Can't climb Eagle Rock itself. :-P
  • Difficulty: 
    Moderate climb
  • Best Season(s):
Today's Hiking Group: Brian, Ranica, Aria, Mike, Suporn, Jam, Jib, & Kathy
Photo Album:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Coyote Hills #2

Valentine's Day/Chinese New Year Hike: Since Kammie & Esther were in town visiting, we decided to get out for a hike at Coyote Hills. Another foggy day at the park, but we had fun trekking about the marshes.
  • Rating:
    Pros: close by and part of park system that we have a parking pass to, different trails so can pick and choose level of hike; Cons: still foggy!
  • Difficulty:
    We chose a slight longer, easier hike this time
  • Best Season(s):
Today's Hiking Group: Brian, Ranica, Aria, Selena, Kammie & Esther

Photo Album: