Thursday, December 29, 2011

Disneyland - Aria's 1st Time

A bit of a last minute trip, but we made the long drive down to Anaheim during our end-of-year break with some friends. It was Aria's first trip ever, and it was the first time in a long time for both Brian and myself. We were lucky enough to go with some "Disneyland veterans" so we were able to squeeze the best activities into the 2-day trip.

Aria was such a trooper during the trip as well. Her favorite ride was the merry-go-round, but she enjoyed quite a few of the other rides as well. Per usual, she had a hard time sticking to her sleep and nap schedule just because everything was so different and she just had to be a part of all the action. Poor thing as so tired by the end of our day in Disneyland, she finally didn't struggle when we put her into the stroller.

The holiday decorations in the park were absolutely beautiful and the special holiday editions of certain rides (It's a Small World and the Haunted Mansion - yes, we did take Aria into the Haunted Mansion :-P) were a real treat. Really glad we got this first trip under our belt and we will definitely be ready for a return trip (maybe when it isn't so crowded though) some time in the near (ish) future.

Here are just a few photos from our trip:

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

We spent Christmas Eve with the family up in Roseville again this year. Aria is really starting to interact with her cousins more and she definitely has gotten the hang of opening presents. She is really good at only opening the ones that are handed to her though (and still needs some encouragement to start the ripping of wrapping paper). Most of the time, she is more interested in the already opened toys lying around (or the ones that her cousins just opened).

There was lots of snacks, food, playtime, and opening of gifts as usual. We also had the pleasure of sharing some happy news with the family as well. :-) And Aria got to decorate her first ever gingerbread house (with a little help from mommy of course).

Here are some photos from our little holiday adventure:

Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treat - 2011

Aria dressed as Elmo this year for Halloween and we met up with Miriya and Jonah again for some trick or treating. Even though we didn't make it too far in the neighborhood (I think they're still too a little too young to travel and collect a lot of candy), we all had a lot of fun.

Below are just a few of the photos I snapped while trying to coral all of the kiddies safely.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Perry's Pumpkin Patch - 2011

Aria and I joined the Wolf family this evening and visited Perry's Pumpkin Patch out in Ardenwood. We had a lot of fun exploring all the pumpkins, pointing out the "flowah" cutouts, climbing the haystack, and going through the maze. It was a little difficult snapping that perfect shot while also trying to keep an eye on her, but I managed to get a few shots in.

We may also make a repeat visit soon with Brian since he was unable to join us due to having to work late...

Here a few of the shots I got of the kiddies in the pumpkin patch:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dry Creek Regional #2

A nearby impromptu hike close by today at Dry Creek Regional (spurred on by the need for a social workout due to copious amounts of food ingested in the last week). Ironically, we stopped at Sonic for a late lunch afterwards (not very healthy, but very yummy and convenient!).

Not a lot of photos taken since this is a "repeat" hike, but wanted to document the path we took anyway:

View 2011-08-21 12:11 Dry Creek in a larger map

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Thomas & a Short Henry Cowell Hike

Since he's only out here a couple weekends, we decided to take Aria to go see Thomas since she's been so interested in trains lately. It must have been the late night out at the ball game, but poor little thing was so tired, she fell asleep on the train ride (I don't blame her - the rocking motion was enough to get me sleepy as well).

She did catch a pretty good nap though and woke up to take short trek into the Henry Cowell Regional park to visit the tall redwood trees. Such a fun event though - maybe we'll visit again next year!

Friday, July 29, 2011

A's Fireworks Game

 It was a night of firsts for Aria:
  • First time on the BART train
  • First Oakland A's game (or any sporting event for that matter)
  • First fireworks show
She was such a trooper too - it ended up being a very long game, and with the fireworks show, we didn't get home until almost midnight. But as usual, she didn't nap at all while we were out, but conked out pretty soon after we got her into her crib.

Here are some photos from the game:

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Seacliff State Beach

After the crazy weather we were having (another rainy day in June??!!), we finally got lucky with a nice day where we could take a walk down to the beach from our vacation house rental. 

 It wasn't a long day at the beach, but we definitely got some surf, sand and sun in before the vacation was over...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gilroy Gardens

Another vacation day, another day at an amusement park. This time we drove out to Gilroy Gardens to enjoy some kiddie amusement and some beautiful gardens.

The park was an overall joy, with the exception of the lunch service. Our recommendation for anyone planning a visit there: do whatever possible (eat before you get there, pack a lunch (you need to leave it in the car though since no outside is permitted), or hide a snack or 2 with the kids' snacks) to not have to buy lunch. The service for lunch took 50 minutes (and 35 of those were just waiting to order)!

Regardless, we did have a good time:

Monday, June 27, 2011

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

On the first official day of our family vacation, we went to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk for some sun and fun. Luckily, the weather was beautiful (sunny and in the 70s) for a day at the boardwalk.

We spent all day there, alternating between kiddie and grown-up rides and attractions. Aria finally did conk out even among the excitement, and that's a good thing because we didn't end up getting back home until after 11pm.

Here are some photos of our day at the Boardwalk:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

iFly (I Cry)

We took the Penders family to iFly today for their indoor sky diving adventure. We weren't 100% sure that the Savannah and Siena would enjoy it, but we thought we'd give it a shot.

Overall, Courtney and Reno had some great flights, but the girls didn't quite take to being in the wind tunnel. Either way, it was an enjoyable little adventure and I'm glad we were able to give them that experience.

Here are some photos to capture the afternoon's flights:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Jib's High School Graduation

We're all so proud of our new high school graudate, Jib. She graduated with honors today from James Logan and we were able to share the special day with her and family.

The day started at the high school graduation ceremony, followed by a lunch at Ray's Sushi (and froyo at So Frais), and finally a graduation party thrown in her honor. There was lots of smile, food, and family all around. Congratulations again Jibby!

Here are just a few more photos from our day of celebration:

Saturday, June 11, 2011

San Mateo County Fair

We had the opportunity to visit the first day at the San Mateo County Fair today. We even got free parking and admission, thanks to Emergency Preparedness Day.

The exhibits and carnival were fun, and the food was excellent as well. Unfortunately Aria and Vivi were still too little to go on most of the carnival rides, but we made do by going on both of the carousels a few times. Hopefully they will meet the minimum height requirements soon so they can enjoy the rides.

Here are just some photos that were taken today:

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Adventure: In Our Own Neighborhood and Backyard (Literally)

We finally had a sunny day (still a little cold because of the wind, but sunny) so we enjoyed it outside today. In the morning, we had Aria running around with a "soccer" ball with Brian and we went to the park for some playground and basketball fun in the evening.

So at least our Memorial Day was relaxing, but active...

Some photos of all the action:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Aria's 2nd Birthday Party

It's Aria Time! As you may have noticed, we've been spending the last week or so really prepping for Aria's 2nd birthday part. Well, today was the big day and it was a success! It was a smaller party than last year, but packed with lots of games, presents, and fun, all to a Timmy Time theme (one of her favorite shows).

There were a lot of games (paper airplane flying contest, pin the tail on Mittens, and a bean bag toss) and lots of time for mingling and outdoor fun.

We were hoping that Aria would be able to stay up the whole party, but by the time we sat her down for her cupcake, she was oh-so-tired. She was able to take a nap and was much revived (and happy to tear through her new presents). Most fortunate of all, the party ended just before the rain started - yes, rain during Memorial Day weekend this year. Crazy!).

Here are some more photos from the party:

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

After visiting our local Kelly Moore paint store (to pick out paint colors for my mom's house), we took her Ray's Sushi for dinner and to meet up with some other moms and family. We were lucky enough to have a tatami room where the kids could roam around to keep themselves busy after eating dinner. All in all, a great celebration for all the moms.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Del Valle Regional Park

We drove out to Livermore for a hike at Del Valle Regional Park today. We were hoping for a more green landscaping, but unfortunately, the hills of the Bay Area are turning brown already. There was still some beautiful views of the lake and it was a great hike (got 5+ miles in according to myTracks), but it was definitely dry and not friendly to the allergies of most of the hikers today...

We also decided to have lunch before the hike today lakeside on the East Beach. Although the winds were gusty and a little chilly, it was a beautiful view and Aria loved walking up and down the water front to explore. She got dangerously close to the edge (and right into the water as well), but luckily her water resistant shoes prevented her from getting too wet (it's a good thing too, because I managed to pack her an extra set of everything except for socks and shoes). Lake was so nice with access to boating and kayaking that we will probably go back to visit soon, and perhaps camp on the campgrounds.

  • Rating: Pros:  Beautiful views of the lake and a nice active hike. Access to both the trails and a beach/play area is a plus as well.
    Cons: Would have gotten a 4 tree rating had it not been for the extreme dryness and windiness. Allergy flareups were rampant (will definitely take some Claritin-D with us the next time around)!
  • Difficulty:  The climb that we took was more steep than needed to be, but this allowed us to see the best view of the lake and surrounding areas.
  • Best Season:  Spring is definitely the time to go, preferrably during one of the dry weekends of the rainy season. Avoid the hike as much as possible (but lake area might be nice) in the summer time as it will get very hot in Livermore.
  • Today's Hiking Group: Mike, Suporn, Brian, Ranica & Aria
Today's hike statistics, courtesy of myTracks:

View 2011-05-07 11:57 Lake Del Valle in a larger map

And as always, some photos of the beach picnic lunch and the hike:

Saturday, April 30, 2011

RJ turns 1!

We attended RJ's first birthday party today (he's 1 already?!) and had lots of fun at the baseball themed fiesta. With a bouncer in the backyard, toys in the play room and lots of other kids to play with, Aria had a blast as well.

RJ is still such a happy baby and loved his baseball cake. I've included just a few photos of him having a ball while making a ooey gooey chocolatey mess.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

(An Early) Easter Egg Hunt

We were all lucky to have the Easter Bunny (a.k.a. Grandma and Grandpa) hold an early Easter Egg hunt today. All the kids got their own turn (in their own rooms) to find their special eggs and Easter baskets. Even though Aria and RJ had a little more help finding their eggs, they all did pretty well.

And after the excitement, we had a yummy lunch and dessert before heading back to the Bay Area.

More photos from the hunts:

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Siena's 4th Birthday - Pirates!

It was Siena's 4th birthday party today and the Holmgrens visited the Penders and their pirate guests to help celebrate. The birthday girl was decked out in a cute pirate t-shirt and pink tutu and all the guests got to wear pirate bandanas and eyepatches too.

As always, the food was delicious and there were lots of kids running around having fun and just being kids.

Here are some photos of the festivities:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Great America

Since we had some time today, we decided to visit Great America to activate our season passes (great deal through Costco which will allow us to visit Great America and Gilroy Gardens all season long). Although we only stayed for a couple of hours, we packed in some rides and attractions for Aria (she seemed to enjoy the rides, but may have been too tired to really show it) and get our season pass photos taken care of. Hopefully, we'll be able to visit some more this summer (and perhaps even through Halloween)...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve

Our first official hike with a group this season was a success. We drove out to the Oakland Hills to visit the Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve. It was a relatively easy hike which was good for the kiddies. We were a little concerned about how muddy the trails would be due to the recent rains and also about the weather overall, but except for a few little puddles here and there (or "sloppy slops" as Miriya called them) and some brief bouts of chilly wind, we had a pretty smooth hike.

  • Rating: Pros:  Beautiful views of Oakland and the East Bay, cool vista points, easy enough hike with kids, bathrooms available
    Cons: Maybe still a little chilly
  • Difficulty: A few steeper climbs, but the trail we took was pretty easy on the knees
  • Best Season:
  • Today's Hiking Group: Mike, Suporn, James, Supak, Miriya, Jonah, Brian, Ranica & Aria
Here is a map of the route we took today, courtesy of myTracks:

View 2011-04-09 10:45 Sibley in a larger map

And as always, some more photos:

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Jib's 18th Birthday

I can't believe it, but Jib turned 18 today! There was a celebration complete with the 4 Fs: food, friends, family and fun.

Little Yosemite & the Wildflowers

Today was a good opportunity to get outside and enjoy some of the beautiful weather that we've been having, so we drove out to the Sunol Regional Wilderness park and visit "Little Yosemite" again. We figured that with all the rain that we've been getting, the falls and the river should be flowing nicely. We weren't disappointed - the water rushing was louder than we had ever heard before.

We got to test out the Deuter Kid Comfort backpack (both of us) and it was perfect for us. Although we still need to make a few adjustments (wiggly Aria figured out how to get out of the shoulder straps and stood up while Brian was taking a breather on the side of the trail), it was a very comfortable and convenient way for all of us to enjoy the easy trail hike out to Little Yosemite.

We also lucked out as it was the Wildflower Festival today where they had live music (Aria loved the band, Extended Roots and the band appreciated her dancing and applause as well), arts & crafts activities, guided hikes, and lots of families enjoying the various booths from parks across the East Bay. All in all, a really good day to pick going on a hike there (the parking and crowd control was decent).

Here is our route, courtesy of myTracks:

View 2011-04-02 10:54 Sunol Regional in a larger map

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Another Day in the Park

Even though it was cloudy today, we took Aria to a local park today and were pleasantly surprised. The park had lots of new equipment and she had a blast exploring it all. It was also not so crowded today, and the fellow park-goers were super friendly (Aria got some ball chasing time in because of these friendly neighbors - next time, we'll have to remember to bring a ball or two with us)...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Lake Tahoe Trip - 2011

For the 3-day weekend, we made the trip out to Lake Tahoe to visit the Galvan's cabin. More snow on the ground this year than last year, but it didn't snow (much) while we were there. A more relaxed trip this time, but everyone did get a chance to have a little fun out in the snow.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Lake Elizabeth Park

Since it was such a lovely day today, we took Aria to the "big kids" park at Lake Elizabeth this afternoon. Although some of the playground equipment was definitely too difficult for her to manuever though, she did a good job in holding her own with all the other older kids (and boy, was that park crawling with a crowd of older kids today!). She mostly stuck to playing in the sand, crawling through tunnels, and going down the slides (both forward and backward). After about an hour of play, we were all ready to go home to relax (and nap).

Our Little Drummer Girl

Just a few photos to share, but here is Aria improvising on her new "drum" in the kitchen today while I did some dishes.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Happy 70th Birthday Mrs. H!

After months of planning, we had a surprise 70th birthday party for Mrs. H today at the Penders' house in Lincoln. We had a nice crowd gathered from all over and I know that Mrs. H appreciated it.

Even though there was a slight snafu in the timing of the guest of honor's arrival (there was a Buca di Beppo truck parked in the driveway when they arrived), she was sufficiently surprised. Thanks to all who pitched in and made this event such a successful and memorable time!