Saturday, February 20, 2016

How to Keep Mountain Lions Away in Big Sur

This weekend we did a hike I had been wanting to do at the Big Sur State Park. It was a perfect day to do it. With the weather at least. Our normally adventurous J was having none of it. He cried the whole drive there and the entire hike up to the falls. And by cry, I mean a yelling/growl that everyone could hear. But hey, the sign at the beginning of the hike that warned against mountain lions said that making lots of noise keeps them away, so it was more like we were doing everyone a favor, right?? Oh man. It was bad. 

We made it to the falls, and J was still inconsolable. He just laid on the ground crying. I'm sure everyone just thought we were the best parents. Eventually and gradually he just wanted to snuggle. Then he fell asleep on the way down, the drive home, and then for three hours after that. He's been cutting new teeth lately, so we think maybe it is that?? Who knows.

But the hike was really pretty. About two miles round trip in the gorgeous redwood forest. I just love seeing these majestic trees. This hike had a decent incline so that we made it up high enough to see the redwoods from the bottom as they soared up to the sky, and then from the tops of them, unable to see their bottoms.
Family photo attempt:
And then before he fell asleep. Poor little guy.
They're just so impressive to me!
If you are visiting Big Sur, this was a good hike. Not too difficult, but you still get your heart rate up on the way up. One lady even said to her friend after seeing me coming down with a baby strapped to me "oh, we'll be able to make it up." Should I be irritated, offended, or flattered? I just thought it was amusing, I guess!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Weekend Getaway in Santa Cruz

For Valentine's and the holiday weekend, we were itching to have a getaway aka feel like we were traveling ha. Just forty miles north of Monterey is the surfer/college/laid back city of Santa Cruz. We haven't really explored that area and we had a great time! Santa Cruz not only has a gorgeous coast line, but it also has a really fun downtown and a fun beach boardwalk. It also has a gorgeous redwood forest (I need to blog about it!). Our hotel was up near those redwoods so it really felt like we were on a mini-trip with the change of scenery. 

It also is a good ten degrees warmer in Santa Cruz than in Monterey, which was definitely appreciated. No sweaters at the beach!

This was our first stop: Natural Bridges State Park. J was in heaven trying to run away from me straight into the water. 
I've become like how Jim Gaffigan is--I told Victor we needed a hotel with a swimming pool. Swimming pools make J so happy which makes me happy.

Our Valentine's evening was at the original Pizza my Heart--appropriate for Love Day! There's also one in Monterey and it's delicious.
Fun at the boardwalk!

Dominic was there too!
...And after all that, he was totally on sensory overload and cried pretty much the whole way home. I've been wanting to take him to Disneyland, but after this I'm not so sure haha! Also do you like our new minivan stroller?? It's strange toting around a double. So big!

Until next time, Santa Cruz! We had a lovely time and can't wait to go back.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Decade of Travel

My passport expires this year. So I am in the process of getting a new one for some summer travel, because although it expires in November, never ever forget that most countries require at least 6 months validity to enter. We learned this lesson the very hard way if you recall--cancelling our trip to Bali the day of. Be ye not so stupid!

Anyway, I've been looking through it, and it's crazy how this little book brings me so much happiness. I love that the cover is kind of wonky because it got wet when I was kayaking down the Li River in China. 

I never changed my name on my passport because I really wanted to try to fill this one up. I love that it got so full of stamps and visas I had to order extra pages...which unfortunately didn't get any stamps since we moved back to the States sooner than expected. But still, that means I almost filled up my entire passport which makes me so happy! I am such a big dork because looking back on my passport stamps is something that brings me joy haha. 

This little book is full of nine and a half years of awesome adventures and memories. It also represents dreams and goals fulfilled, because as I left for college, my dream was to be able to travel more. Fifteen countries and counting. Wait, sixteen. I forget about Canada because they didn't give me a stamp which made me so mad--it counts!
First adventure with this passport: China. and Thailand after that. 
Mission, and being able to visit it again a few times. 
Oh yeah, and that time we went to Ukraine. 
And some amazing travels in Asia with my little family. 
It's been a pretty great decade!

Monday, February 8, 2016

My 18-month-old, Monster Truck Enthusiast

Since I last did an update on my Sweet no-longer-a-baby J, he has entered the stage of discovering obsessions, and for him, it's all about trucks. He loves some sports as well: he loves to yell out "touchdown!" with his arms up to any sports success, like when he makes a basket in his basketball hoop. I don't want to correct him. But seeing his love for trucks develop is so fun, and it fuels my obsession now with them, like always pointing out the big trucks for him to see him get excited. I've never ever cared about trucks and look at me now!

What started as showing J little cartoon videos of trucks on my ipad has turned into him LOVING watching monster truck rallies. He has watched so many of them. So many that now I even know the workings of monster trucks. What has happened to me?? Funny story: just yesterday a friend posted a picture that the "Grave Digger" came and filled up with gas the same place as her--and only now do I know that "Grave Digger" is like, a totally important monster truck (name that movie ha). And the first thing I thought was how excited J would be to see that. I am just obsessed with this kid, and can you blame me??
Look at all his teeth! Two more up top are coming through.
You'll also notice his big old cut on his forehead, and other cuts and bruises. Don't know the reason for the forehead cut, but he just had a big bruise on his cheek finally fade away--that was from him thinking he was Evel Knieval riding his scooter off the couch. He is fearless, and pain doesn't scare him. He cries, and then he's back to the same shenanigans. He is just a hoot!

My sweet little boy J. I love you so much! I can't believe you are a year and a half year old.