Saturday morning before we said our goodbyes we stopped by the Dennis the Menace park which is filled with big slides, jungle gyms and of course swings. It was a fun trip up the coast, and just the right amount of time off before Joy starts her new job.
Friday morning we packed up the car and headed to the Monterey Aquarium. It was an exciting day for everyone where we got to see the Penguins being fed in real life vs. watching it on their webcam. The coolest exhibit was the cuttlefish tank which i don’t think i’ve ever seen in real life. They’re super cute for being such funny looking creatures. He had lunch next door at Johnny Rockets for some burgers and fries. It was a good afternoon looking at all the fish but everyone was wiped out by midafternoon. We all took naps, and just spent time hanging out with each other while Jesse cooked up some tasty steaks.
Just a month later i finally carved out a few minutes to finish recapping our trip out to the Monterey Bay.
Thursday morning we woke up early and continued our drive up to Monterey, making a quick pitstop at Hearst Castle Visitor Center, Elephant Seal Vista Point, and Paso Robles for snack break.
We finally arrived in Monterey around 2pm meeting up with Nina who drove down from SF at our Airbnb house rental. I really wanted a place big enough beds for six adults and two kids. It was so good to finally get in, move all the luggage inside and just be able to sit down, and stretch out. Alice was super excited to see Kaylee, and was constantly chasing her around and trying to see what she brought. For dinner we went to Monterey’s Fish House for dinner for some bbq oysters and cioppino. After dinner we went to the Del Monte Beach to get some sand time in for Kaylee, but too bad the waves were a bit too loud for her to enjoy.
Time just flies when you’re dealing with the little one. I can’t even pull out my laptop to write anymore when she’s around because she instantly wants to crawl over and bang on the keys. So i’m just going to sum up my weekend trip up to Monterey. We’ve been to San Francisco a few times now with Alice and thought we should try something else, and figured Monterey would be a good location to meet up with Nina and Kaylee. I got a pretty good house rental on airbnb.com for two nights that basically fit us, my parents, and nina’s family and granted us access to a full kitchen and bbq.
Leading up to the 4th of July i really didn’t have any plans since i’ve just been busy with work. With my parents heading out of town, and no friends really doing anything i checked into our SPG account to see if we could go anywhere and was able to get a free room using our points at the US Grant in San Diego. They place is a fancier hotel than the Westin, and the best thing about it was all the water they gave us. The hotel, room, and staff were of course excellent, but the free water in the room and every time we got our car from the valet they gave us cold bottles of water for us.
We drove down Saturday morning and met up with Dr. Nomo for lunch in Little Italy and Pappalecco gelato for dessert.
For dinner we opted for some seafood at Spike Africe’s which was just across the street from our hotel. Decided that i wanted some seafood for dinner tonight so Spike seemed like a decent place to bring a baby to. Pretty casual, loud place, with plenty of space.
We stuck with the appetizer menu and some fresh oysters instead of getting any main courses.
Oysters were good.
Mussels were good.
Clam chowder was good and buttery
Poke was good.
Butterscotch dessert was great.
Sunday morning after breakfast at Influx we headed to the San Diego Zoo. The weather was really nice, and most of the important animals were still awake (i’m looking at you pandas!) which Alice loved.
To end the day we took the Skyfari back and forth to get a bird’s eye view of the entire zoo. Our little dare devil seemed to enjoy it too.
Monday we had a afternoon flight back to LA, that gave us enough time to walk around the city center when it was a little less busy and gave me time to meet up with James who i haven’t seen for years. He was my boss when i was an intern ten years ago and we’ve both moved on doing the whole wife and family deal so we don’t have many chances to hangout, so it was good to meet up with him while he was setting up his company’s trade show booth.
Our flight home became a little more stressful because when we got on the plane and started to taxi the pilot announced that there was a delay at LAX and would be grounded for 20 minutes (which turned into 40 minutes). I checked my phone and found that there was a suitcase left behind which meant the bomb squad had to be called in. Thankfully Alice went to sleep and she didn’t cause a fuss the entire flight back home.
I didn’t really have any good plans for Joy’s birthday but come Sunday morning i came up with an idea to at least get a birthday candle so i could place it on something we ate for breakfast. The bao we picked up from Good Mong Kok Bakery was the perfect cake replacement for her. The rest of the afternoon was spent shopping and going out for a late brunch.
For dinner we met up with Joy’s college friend Edward who’s been up north for the past year going to Optometry school and it was the first time we could meet up with him. We had burgers at Super Duper Burgers and hung out until it was time for Alice to go to sleep.
Saturday morning we woke up early and met up with Nina, Kaylee and Mom at the Ferry Building for breakfast. My sister picked up some waffles and coffee from blue bottle coffee, and walked around the farmers market where i saw Chris Cosentino picking up some produce for what i assume his restaurant. I guess i should have gotten a picture with him and Alice to match Kaylee’s picture with him.
After breakfast we walked to Pier 39 and stopped by this little park to let Kaylee play on the slide, and Alice got her first ride as well.
After walking around and viewing the sea lions Alice got a bit tired and passed out. Since Kaylee needed a nap too we stopped at Boudin Bakery for second breakfast, clam chowder in a bread bowl (Hog Island was closed for renovations).
We got a super discount with Nina’s Zoo pass. Alice was really fascinated by all the different fish and jellies. I don’t think she even blinked the entire time. She did get scared when a bunch of huge fish passed by her and took her by surprise.
In the evening we dropped Alice off at Nina’s house where my mom unknowningly accepted to watch both kids as we went to dinner at Bouche. It was a nice little French bistro where i enjoyed the fish and fried risotto balls, crab mashed potatoes, and their charcuterie plate. It was nice to be able to enjoy dinner without passing the kid back and forth taking turns to eat.
For Joy’s birthday and last hurrah before ending her maternity leave we headed up to San Francisco for a long weekend of fun, and new adventures. It was our first adventure flying with a baby in tow and boy was it an experience. My sister gave me a heads up that we should pack bags that can be held on our shoulders rather than rolly bags because SF has many stairs to get around, and having to deal with a stroller and bags is a nightmare. Thankfully getting through security at the airport was a breeze since we got to use an express lane and get through without any problems. Just he logistics of packing an extra bag and bringing the stroller was crazy, but we got through it. I’m not sure how we people deal with longer trips.
Once on the plane we fed Alice her bottle and she seemed to handle takeoff well, but i think half way through she started to get hot and started to fuss but didn’t cry thankfully.
We took the BART from the airport into the city and checked into the Westin St. Francis next to Union Square where Nina, Kaylee and my mom met up with us.
For dinner we took the F Line to Hllstones near Pier 39 and had a nice dinner with everyone. For dessert we went to a Korean Cafe near our hotel appropriately named Joy’s Place for some Waffles and Ice Cream.
For once in a long time my sister, and Joy had Thanksgiving and Black Friday off and so we headed up north for five days in the bay area. Tuesday morning i went to pick up a minivan but ended up coming away with a Chevy Tahoe instead because they delivered the wrong car. It was fine though as it was roomy enough and it was nice to try out an SUV for once. The drive didn’t take any longer than normal since Alice slept all the way there, except for our one lunch stop in Kettleman City. We opted for a McRib instead of In-N-Out, because you know, its McRib season.
The morning before Joy and I got back on a plane from Portland to Long Beach I booked a photographer to take some maternity photos for us. Originally I thought I would just do them, but after thinking about it I figured it was probably best that somebody else take care of it, and went with Colleen Sparks. It also helped that the she’s also was Aziz’s neighbor.
It was beneficial since she was able to pick us up and bring us to Cathedral Park which sits underneath St. John’s Bridge which gives plenty of things to take pictures by. We spent about an hour shooting around the parks in various places and I think they came out pretty well.