A Quick Trip Up North...

A few weeks ago we ventured up to Concord to visit some fam. MAAAAN. There's just something about the bay area, ya know? The weather is perfection! I know southern California is supposed to be where it's at, but the heat waves down here remind me of a certain place where the catci grow rampant and the summers are terrible *cough Arizona cough* I guess I'm in love with the bay area more.

We explored a little area called Walnut Creek the evening we got there, and went to bed relatively early. I say "early" meaning everyone was in bed with their jammies on by 830pm, but I didn't fall asleep until James did about 11:30pm. WHY DO TODDLERS HATE SLEEP WHEN THEY'RE ON VACATION?? Ok ok, I know it's a new place, they're excited, they're not in their routine-but seriously--he didn't fall asleep until 3 hours after his head hit the pillow. Sigh.

So day 2 was a little rough since he didn't sleep much, but it was a great day! We explored Fisherman's Wharf, took them to Pier 39 to see the sea lions, which Henry LOVED.

We also ventured into the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, which was really well done! I was half expecting it to be lame, you know the kind of museums with white out on the descriptions/labels, but it was clean and the displays were top notch! Here's a blurry snap of James "swimming"...

Then we walked over to Ghirardelli square, but it was under construction so we had to settle for the awesome view below in another Ghirardelli shop. Here are some photos that James took near there...

Finally, we ended our day at The Walt Disney Family Museum located in the Presidio...

For 218 years, the Presidio served as an army post for three nations. World and local events, from military campaigns to World Fairs and earthquakes, left their mark. Come enjoy the history and the natural beauty of the Presidio. Explore centuries of architecture. Reflect in a national cemetery. Walk along an historic airfield, through forests or to beaches, and admire spectacular vistas. -NPS Website

This was our second time at the museum, the first time we rushed through in about an hour because we went near closing time. Now, I have to admit something, I am not a one hour museum type person, and I'm sort of a snob when it comes to the displays (see paragraph above re: SF Maritime museum). And I am a "LET'S READ ALL OF THE THINGS TWICE!" type of a museum person. So we were there for a few hours. I gotta love my husband and children for being so patient with me since it was a beautiful cocktail of one of my favorite persons ever AND a fabulous museum! The nerd-O-meter was at a 10, I was on cloud 9, please use any and all metaphors pertaining to my level of Disney geekdom in this situation. Here are some snaps I took with my iPhone because Henry slept in the ergo and I couldn't use my Canon...

There's a diorama of all the attractions (past and present) that have been at Disneyland! 

Walt's fave foods!

He loved to collect miniatures!

Walt Disney receiving one statuette and seven miniature statuettes from Shirley Temple for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs-

I love this! Reminds me of Mitch and his box on his dresser filled with memories and loved treasures.

Henry and I sitting on one of the original Griffith park benches :)


On our last day, we took a mini trip to Muir Woods, so Mitch could have his chance to nerd out. It was sooo beautiful, and the boys had fun too! Mitch did the ocean view hike while my mom and I walked around with the boys. Also, we SCORED the very first parking spot next to the visitor's center which was a total blessing, because NO PARKING ANYWHERE. I had to include that parking spot thing in this post because it was so wonderful we were all high-fiving each other, so that's how you know it made our day!

Post hike gift from mom :)

James took this! 

Shout out to my momma---we had a great trip and really needed it! Thank you for loving us!!

Fall Fun...

A few weeks ago we hopped in the van and took a tiny trip to Oak Glen/Riley's Farm! This was our 2nd time and the boys really loved it! James especially liked running up and down the pumpkin patch with dad trying to find a good pumpkin, and Henry loved making "moo" sounds back to the cows! My mother in law was able to come with us which was really nice, and the boys really enjoyed hanging out with "MeMaw"!

We went a little late in the season for apples, but we got a few good ones, and we didn't find any GREAT pumpkins, but the boys picked a few small ones which we actually have sitting on our kitchen counter right now. The pumpkins are hangin' in there, but they look a little sad and squishy because James kept throwing them like they were balls, ha!

After Riley's we drove up a little further and MeMaw treated us to lunch at Apple Annie's, which I have to admit---dessert was the BEST, you guys (no photo, it was that delicious). Here are some photos I took from that fun day...


Last week we strapped the boys into their chop shop wagon that Mitch customized and hit up Downtown Brea. We mainly went for cake pops and a cool photo opportunity to pose by a giant pumpkin...

Yes...that is Henry's bottle he threw out.


On Monday we went to the Irvine Regional Park, where we all took a ride on the choo-choo! There was a pumpkin patch, hay maze, jumpers, face painting, all the fun fall festive stuff!


Hope you have some fun fall festivities planned this weekend! 
And I cannot believe Halloween is next Friday! Seriously? Wasn't it just 4th of July? Am I really that old person saying, "Wasn't it just 1955? What do you mean corduroy isn't cool anymore? Since when does TAB soda not exist?", but whatever- I'm embracing my age and pretty much admitting that time goes way too fast these days.

PS-I'm excited to share our family themed costumes with y'all! Stay tuned... 

Mission Bay Photos...

A few weeks back we took a little trip down south to everybody's favorite city, San Diego!

We were only there for 2 days and went straight to Mission Bay, which I oddly remember being so fun when I was kid. James liked it because the water was calm (even though he kicked and screamed and did NOT want to go in) as he played with his sand toys. And Henry hung out with me in the little beach tent and ate snacks. Lots of snacks. This kid should actually be a snacks spokesperson. Mitch just hung out and watched James play, took a little walk with him to an island not too far down the bay, and then joined Henry in some snacking. Overall, it was pretty cool except for the trash and the questionable characters hanging out...think Dangerous Minds. It just wasn't they way our childhood minds remembered it, which I think happens a lot these days. For example: I for one, will never EVER try watching Howard the Duck again. 

But we still had fun with the boys and that's what it's all about, right?!

Here are some snapshots of the day!


Snack: string-cheese 

Snack: a peach

Oh, this boy! 

Do you see Henry eyeing James's PB+J?!

J.F Photography #1

J.F Photography #2

J.F Photography #3

Not pictured: our hotel, the pool, the pizza for dinner, the breakfast here the next day, photos of the Naval ship we took James to see, and the water/splash pad we took the boys to before heading home! 

A Little Napa Getaway...

My mom loves us. So much in fact she had us come up and visit her in Concord Ca. for a few days! It was a rather quick trip, but 100% worth it because we saw my mama! And the boys did SO GOOD on the 8 hour drive up there! List of stuff I packed for them: SNACKS (a ton), books (new from the library to keep James interested, and some of his fave from home), appropriate aged toys for each boy like Hotwheels for James and teething toys for Henry, and absolutely NO iPAD because truthfully, we forgot. Oopsies.

We got in late Thursday night about 10pm, had a little something to eat (jk, mom got us some bomb tacos and tamales-thanks mom!) and we chatted and just hung out. Here are some snaps of the boys on the road...

I love this man. Thanks for driving babe.

The next day we got ready to hit the road again and check out Napa. We had never been before, but had heard it was SO BEAUTIFUL. All those dreamy things are very true. It was like heaven on earth, or like Italy, or like some sort of fantasy land with rolling green hills, BIG blue skies speckled with fluffy white clouds, and some seriously delicious clean air. AKA, heaven on earth

My mom getting some snuggle time with her grandsons before we head out.

It was about an 80 minute drive so we just took in the scenery while both boys napped, and made a pit stop to use the bathroom at a neat little winery village (I don't know if that's what they really are, but it's pretty much what they are) and even that was awesome. Men in blazers, women wearing CHICO clothing, it was all very posh and totally out of my league, but I still loved it. I felt like I was at some sort of fancy countryclub and everyone knew the dress code except me. It was really funny.

We continued to a winery called Castello di Amorosa, a quaint little winery that was actually not quaint and was in fact a giant castle! James LOVED it! Actually, we all loved it! "The authentically-styled, 13th century, Tuscan castle and winery" was a complete beauty, and such a fun place to take some photos...

Why does he look so BIG here? Somebody hold me.

FB profile pic?? Heck ya!

Then we drove around some more until we spotted a camping spot where we stopped to eat some snacks. Again, a fun spot to take some photos...and see a rattlesnake! Teddy, you're our hero for warning/saving us!

After that, we drove around some more until we spotted a Petrified Forest. We stopped. SO COOL!

After the forest, we headed back to Concord where we had a delicious dinner at the hotel restaurant with my mama. Did I mention it was DELICIOUS?? We had steak...the kind that Ron Swanson would approve of. 

The next day we went to Denny's for breakfast with my mom, nina Evelyn, and brother. We all caught up and laughed and enjoyed one another's company. I loved it. Such a perfect end to a quick trip.

So thankful for our little getaway. Mom, you're the best, I love you so much!


Last month James + I (and Henry) embarked on an adventure together! We flew all the way to JFK to hang with my brother, nephew, and mama.

Let me begin by admitting how nervous I was. I haven't always been the "worrying" type when it came to myself doing things like traveling to a big city, or even a different country, but when you add your children to the mix, not to mention being at the end of the second trimester (I was actually a few days shy of beginning the third when we left), it makes one seriously question whether or not even driving 100 miles away from home is the best decision.

Do I regret it? HECK NO! I LOVE NYC!!! And I love my family even more than that!

But here are a few tips for those that are flying with a toddler for the first time:
  • Pack lots of toys. Seriously. The carryon had at least 5 brand new toys (thanks 99 cents store!) 
  • Pack lots of snacks. We had goldfish, raisins, crackers, bananas, cheerios, etc.
  • Pack an i-pad if you have one
  • Pack at least 2 pairs of extra clothes. James had an accident on the flight home and I was so grateful for that second set of clothes just in case he had another one
  • And last, but most certainly not least, GET A SEAT FOR YOUR TODDLER!

With that said, the last point is a serious must. James did great on the flight to JFK, we had an entire aisle to ourselves consisting of James, my brother, my nephew and myself. The boys sat between my brother and me which worked out great and they fell asleep after a couple of hours since it was a red eye flight.

The flight home to Long Beach was a different story. James was up 3.5 out of 4.5 hours of the flight. In my arms. During nap time. In between a man in his late 40's and another man in his late 70's. OUCH. I know...

They were pretty cool for the most part, luckily the guy by the window had a son close in age to James so he knew what to expect from a rowdy toddler. The older man in the aisle seat was okay, he just huffed and puffed a few times but nothing too rude. And James was so great considering the long flight and being stuck between two strangers...have I mentioned I was so proud of him?  Well, I was. He's bound to be an adventurer someday!

We started out our first day by driving from JFK to Conneticit to visit mom. She was doing some work at the Yale Medical Center (which is so cool of her!), and had some time off that weekend. The weather was rainy and cold which was the complete opposite of California at the time, I think we were in the 80's that week. Conneticut was so green! It reminded me a lot of Oregon and I know you know how much I love me some Oregon! We drove around and mom gave us a quick tour of Yale. We had dinner at a place called, "BAR", if you're ever in New Haven please try the mashed potato pizza!

The next day we took the boys to the Yale Peabody Museum, a natural history museum located on the Yale grounds. James LOVED the big dinosaur bones. I can't wait for him to be a little bigger so he can ask me a million questions about them. Please remind me I said that, mmkay?

On our last full day we drove back to NYC and took the kids to Central Park, FAO Scharwz, and took a pony ride thru Central Park. Mom really wanted us to do the pony ride, and I'm so thankful for her setting up the whole trip. There's nothing like being with loved ones in a new city experiencing what are sure to be the best memories of your life!

And the next day, we were home! 

The Great New York City Adventure!

Something pretty spectacular happened to me almost 2 months ago...I went to New York City!

Let me begin by saying, it really is everything you dream it to be...and MORE. 

Skyscrapers, taxi cabs, cool shops, delicious food, rats (just kidding, I didn't see one single rat!), rude people, hip people, homeless people, touristy-people, fancy people, smart people, rude people (I'm talking to you rude lady that cut in front of us at FAO Shwarz!) and so much more. 

I went with a close acquaintance Jenny, who turned into a friend, who turned into someone that listened to some of my deepest secrets one night, who also turned out to be one of the funniest people I know! 

We went to visit another friend, Amanda, who lives in Brooklyn and is a Starbucks store manager in Brooklyn Heights. We both know Amanda from Starbucks, and we have both worked with her in separate stores at different points in our lives. So the connecting factor here is...STARBUCKS! Crazy, huh? 

I worked with Amanda at Harbor + Chapman in Downtown Fullerton back in 2007-2008, she was my assistant store manager back then. I was so bummed when she told me she was transferring stores, and then later moving to NYC for school. But as it turns out, NYC has been great to her! She has her own store now, and a super cool BF named Topher that loves comic books, coffee (go figure) and has a great tattoo with the same name as my great grandpa Cecil. (He's a keeper Amanda!)

We also got to spend time with Amanda's sister, Alicia, another bux partner extraordinaire! Alicia is super cool and even faced the cold (what was cold to Jenny + I) to get us some delish donuts from DOUGH. Thanks Alicia! She also took us to Central Park where we saw a really scary guy that tried to put a hex on her (she made eye contact with him! Agggghhh!) and then to a tasty dinner in the back of a tiny Italian bistro where we sat under the stars and gas-lit heaters and talked and sang Christmas music and ate bomb food and soaked up each other's awesomeness (you're so jealous right now, huh?).

So here's some i-phone photos of my adventure in NYC for you to enjoy!

A really lame start to my trip: a 12 hour stop/go/flight-delay to JFK
 (but actually not JFK/ I landed in La Guardia) 

On the G train with Jenny, Topher + Amanda

5th ave, you guys. And Jenny photo bombing my sweet pic. Doesn't this building look like Gimbel's?!

Walking around the big apple during Christmas time is A MUST!


Times Square!

Starbucks in Times Square! (seriously HUGE!)

Rock Center ice skating rink and my "ohmahgaw" face. Where's LIZ LEMON!?

Extremely fancy chocolates at THIS PLACE on 5th ave.

Completely geeked out over this building when I saw the plaque.

DUMBO! Check out this pic of the carousel under water after Hurricane Sandy hit= super creepy!

One Girl Cookies: Seriously had one of the best whoopie pies in my life from here. Don't believe me? Look at the pie in the photo below. BOOM!

Pumpkin whoopie + "You've Got Mail". Perfection.

Some delicious coffee.

Dinner at that little Italian bistro I mentioned...

We saw GRACE on Broadway with an amazing cast featuring Ed Asner, Paul Rudd, Michael Shannon, and Kate Arrington. The play was deep and a lot to process, but so good! After the play, we stood outside to get some autographs on our Playbill's, and that's when this happened...

"Hey Paul, can you say 'Slappa da bass?!"-me
"Huh? Oh. 'Slappa da bass!"-Paul Rudd

And that was one of my favorite life moments.

9/11 memorial. It was an incredibly heavy feeling seeing those names and knowing the tragedy that occurred on that soil.

The Freedom Tower

The big Apple kahuna. 

The Ritz Carlton across from the Apple Store + Central Park.

Had to get the boy a teddy bear!

ZOLTAR is in FAO Schwarz just in case you want to be BIG :)

Strawberry Fields in Central Park on the anniversary of John Lennon's death (video coming soon!)

Central Park and a suspicious Elmo character...

Canal Street! "handbag? perfume? you like watch? I give it to you for 15 dolla!" ALL the live long day. Of course I bought a bag for my mom, a hat for my nephew, and a few I LOVE NY clothes! It's Canal Street! It's what you do!

A super chilly night walking in the rain after the 9/11 memorial. We were trying to find a bathroom. We finally found a PRET and stopped to have hot chocolate and warm up. 


Ready to head out again, post hot cocoa!

Union Square Market! So much fun! See that blue light in the sky? That's the Empire State Building!

Jenny: a connoisseur of all things TEA.

Crumbs! All I have to say is, there's a few shops near LA! GOOOOO!

My extremely fatigued self saying g'bye to NYC while we waited for our cab to JFK.

Kissing Brooklyn g'bye.

Special shout out to Mitchell for booking the flight for me and saying, "You need a vacation." It was so great to feel like Ana again, not just Ana the wife and mama, but Ana the adventurer. So thanks hubs! And thank you Jenny for venturing with me, and of course Amanda, Topher + Alicia for your hospitality! You guys are the bees knees! Brooklyn is lucky to have ya! New York City...I got 3 words for ya...I'll BE BACK!