April Travel: San Diego Old Town and Zoo

Again, this is the third part of my blogs on our April travel adventures for more see April Travel: Downtown LA and April Travel: Baby Shower and First Flight.

We met up with Luke on Friday night in San Diego. My parents took us to Casa De Reyes which has become their favorite stop for food in Old Town. It was a beautiful balmy day and we sat outside in the courtyard taking in the sun before it set eating amazing Mexican food (the prawn enchiladas were amazing).

Zach was very happy to spend time with his Dad after being away for almost a week. We walked around the shops, enjoying the evening entertainment. When it got dark we exchanged a few items, said goodnight, and took the lighttrail to our hotel in the Gaslamp District.

The next day Luke at his conference all day so my Mom, Dad, and I took Zach to the San Diego Zoo. This Zoo holds a lot of memories for our family. I went there several times as a child and Luke and I went to this zoo as our last date right before our wedding.

We started our Zoo adventure with the tram ride and saw what was new since we’d been last (Africa Rocks). Then we explored the aviaries and rainforest trails on our way down to our lunch stop. Zach loved the spider monkeys and colorful birds. The waterfalls also caught his attention, hopefully he will see some REAL ones soon.

Zach took a nap while we explored the reptiles and reptile house after lunch.

Then later in the afternoon when he woke up we saw the big animals starting with the Hippo and baby Hippo, which Zach really didn’t see all he could see were the fish.

We looped around to end the day looking at the Elephants and Lions, then took the Kangaroos tram down to the Giraffes and Kangaroos.

But Zach’s favorite: the Zebra. He noticed the Zebra all the way from the tram ride so we went back to let him see him again. Whether it was the black and white stripes, or the fact that it’s the only animal that starts with the same letter as his name, he loved the Zebra.


When I went to this Zoo for the first time my parent’s got me a small stuffed giraffe because there was a baby giraffe then and I really enjoyed it. So we got Zach a small stuffed Zebra before we left, and he loves it.

We got back in time for Luke, Zach, and I to go out for dinner, we ended up going to Rockin Baja Lobster which was great. They had a salsa and chip bar and the three of us enjoyed a lobster bucket for two (Zach ate the chicken and beef that came with it). It was a great celebration meal for our first spring vacation as a family.

April Travel: downtown LA

This is my second blog in a series about our travels this past month. For more see : April Travel: Baby Shower and First Flight  and zachary 11 months. 

On Wednesday of our week in California, my Mom and I decided to take on a big adventure-chauffeuring Zach around downtown LA.

We took the newly expanded Gold line from Azusa all the way to Central Station in LA.

Zach loved riding the metro the starts and stops, the huge windows to look out of, and of course all the people. Once we got to LA we transferred lines and rode again all the way to Universal City.

For there we took the tram up the hill to Universal City Walk where we finally took a break and had lunch in the food court overlooking the Hard Rock café.

Mom and I enjoyed Pinks, who now has a burrito dog so I was able to have some carbs. Zach ate a few of my Mom’s fries and food we brought for him.

He loved being in the little umbrella stroller where he could see everything. Surprisingly he kept his bucket hat on but didn’t like the sunglasses.

We knew Zach would enjoy the lights, signs, and music of the City Walk. His eye were wide taking in the sights.

At the center of city walk there is a concrete pad with floor lights and water fountains that shoot up to music playing in the background. Kids love to play in the fountain and our welcome to do so.

We thought Zachary would really enjoy the dancing fountains. We were wrong. I think the cold, the fact that they were un-predictable, and much taller than him, made him very unsure. By the end he would step in the puddles if they were not on, but it took some warming up to get there.

Since my last time to City Walk they took out the wave maker at the Billabong store and to access the Universal fountain you have to go through security for the studio park. We were wondering if part of that was because they film Extra at the fountain daily. From a long distance we saw Mario Lopez trying on sunglasses for a show he was filming later in the day.

By this time, Zach was pretty tired, so tired that when the bucket hat slipped over his face he decided to take advantage of it and take a nap, right in the middle of the Ben and Jerry ice cream store. He slept all the way to Menchies where I got some yogurt and woke up just in time to try some no sugar added strawberry yogurt.

We took our time traveling back with the normal commuting crowd and got home just in time for dinner. It was a lot of work to haul a kid in a stroller around LA but the memories were as they say priceless.

April Travel: Baby Shower and First Flight

It’s taken a while to re-group from our long April travels. As Zach’s 11 month blog hinted, there were many new experiences for Zachary this month. So, in the next week or two I will be posting on our April adventures.

The Friday before my sister-in-law’s baby shower, my grandmother and mother flew in and Zach and I drove down to meet them. When we got back we settled in for the evening and worked on our travel plans for the next day. Zach had not met his great-grandma yet, and loved spending time with her, that night she read him a book and fed him his bottle.

The next day, Zach played with three generations of women while we packed everything for the weekend. That afternoon we drove up to the Poulsbo area. Zach was a trooper with the mini road trip, he slept a good portion of the time. We went downtown for a short break to stretch our legs and got a snack at the Danish bakery and some coffee. After a short stretch break down town, this we drove to the hotel, checked in, and met my dad’s parents for dinner.

Sunday morning all the family got together for breakfast. We got to spend a few minutes with Matt and Stina before the shower while everyone at her parent’s place were preparing and decorating.

At the shower Zach loved all the attention from the many moms and grandmas there. He discovered he loved balloons. He also wanted so badly to explore the presents, both before and after they were opened.

That night we drove back to our house and packed for a flight to LA. The next morning, very early, Luke dropped us off at the airport. We went through security, got breakfast, Zachary got out of his PJS and we were ready for our flight.

Zach loved the airport, the decorations, the huge windows, and watching the planes take off. He also did great on his first flight. It helped we were in the very back row, so less people to bother, and the stewardess was flirting with him the whole flight. He slept a little and enjoyed looking out the window, playing with the seat tray and eating snacks.

When in California we ate lunch with my grandmother then went to my parent’s house to regroup. It felt strange to share my childhood home with my child. Showing him my bedroom, having him take a bath where I took a bath growing up, but it was also fun.

My parents had trekked some of his toys from our house down back during spring break, so he had some familiar items. They also got a kiddy pool to use in the backyard along with a late Easter basket including a bucket, shovel, some pool toys, and a swimsuit. Zachary was a little unsure about the kiddy pool but learned to enjoy it after a little while as long as I was with him.

Also during that week Zach had his first hair cut. He was scratching and pulling at his ears because the hair was so long around them that it was tickling him. So we took him to the same person that cut my hair when I was little. He did great.

And that was the first part of our trip. More of our adventures to come.

Zachary: 11 months

Zachary is now 11 months old!

Well this has been a month of many many first and new experiences.

Zach had a great first Easter. He enjoyed dancing to worship songs at church and of course his first Egg hunt. He knew how to pick up the eggs and put them down in the basket and did so mostly on his own.

But he enjoyed opening his Easter basket which had shiny plastic eggs with yogurt bites in them even more.

Zachary met his great grandmother the next weekend and went on a short road trip with her, my mom, and myself to my sister-in-law’s baby shower. He did well traveling and spent the weekend with family receiving plenty of attention.

At the baby shower he wanted so badly to play with the presents, gift bags, and discovered he likes balloons.

We got back on Sunday, repacked, then Luke dropped us off at the airport the next morning. Zach went on his first plane ride from Portland to LA. He explored where his mom grew up and downtown LA. He then went on another road trip to San Diego where we met up with Luke.

There we explored old town and the Gaslamp district, the zoo, and toured the USS Midway all before another plane ride home. If this seems like a quick sum-up, it is, more on this adventure and plenty of pictures to come.

Alongside this adventurous month, Zach has been learning new skills.

Zach can stand mostly on his own, but he doesn’t know that yet. He wants at least one, preferable both hands of an adult to guide him when he walks around. He loves to push items around including boxes and chairs and will cruise all over the house.

Zachary has also started pointing using his whole hand loose at the wrist to point while saying “ooh”. Recently, he has been pointing at items such as the quilt in his bedroom, celling fans, lamps and other lights.

If we ask, Zach can give us an item, emphasis on can, he will give us his hands when they need to be washed too. And he is finally saying “mama”. Which of course makes me very happy.

Zachary is testing boundaries and knows the word “no”. He likes to go right back to “no” places like the fireplace or the few exposed cords in the living room. When we guide him to a new location, he will occasionally throw a tantrum, yes I have a mini-toddler already. In turn, Zach will sometimes say “nanana” or “nonono” to food he doesn’t want, or when he doesn’t want to do something. So, we know he knows what we are saying.

We try to go out outside at least a few minutes every sunny day now so Zach can enjoy his swing. Zach went to his first park play date this last week where he mainly enjoyed the swings, but did explore the jungle gym, with a lot of help.

I can’t believe Zachary is almost one!  I only have one monthly update left! Not to worry I am still planning share big changes with Zach. But I am also looking forward to writing about food, festivals, house projects and much more.

As well as there are other things that have been happening alongside Zach’s first year that I am probably due to catch you up on too.

Zachary: 10 Months

Zachary is now ten months old!  Our Zach is one busy little boy. Constantly on the go.

Zachary uses his walking toy almost everyday. He will sit comfortably on his knees to push buttons, turn nobs, and open the doors . Or he will pull himself to standing then take off walking, without any help! I have to pay attention because Zach can be halfway down the hallway in no time.

Zachary loves to play with his activity cube pulling objects in and out of the shape sorter. He likes to push the cube around  on his knees and open and close the story book on it.  If you ask Zach will put an object in or out of the sorter or a different  container. He will also hand you an object, again if you ask. If we hide an object under a blanket, pillow, or container he will  find it, almost every time.

This month furniture has been as interesting as toys. Zach uses the cedar chest, couches, ottomans, even the baby gate to pull up or cruise with. He wants so badly to look out the window, pulling up on the ledge on his tip toes. Zach has learned if he stand behind the window curtains he can play hide and seek with mommy. We also had to drop his crib this month because he had learned to pull up on it.

Zachary is crawling on all fours most of the time. He gives out great high fives and is working on waving bye bye. Zach loves to say “dada” “dog” and “kira”. He knows how to bang two objects together and is trying to figure out how to clap his hands.

Zachary has no hesitation exploring. When he falls down or gets stuck, most of the time he goes right back to it again. He knows how to sit when he falls backward or put out his hand to catch himself forward.

On sunny days this month Zach has enjoyed his swing. He loves the wind in his face and smiles and giggles, until he gets cold.

Zachary enjoyed corn beef  and wore green for St. Patrick’s day. Then Luke’s friends from Oregon stayed with us for Luke’s birthday weekend. Zach loved new people to play with and was thrilled to get so much attention. He also really enjoyed Dad’s birthday dinner out: Korean BBQ , when he was fed piece of meat for more than two hours straight.

This past weekend my parents came for a brief visit and to deliver my great-grandmother’s piano. Zachary was very curious about the piano and enjoyed sitting my lap and hitting the keys. He also is happy to have another piece of furniture to play with. I am excited to get it tuned and watch Zach dance around as I play.

We are looking forward to celebrating Zachary first Easter with NaiNai and Papa this next weekend.


Zachary: 9 Months

This was a month of milestones and new experiences for Zachary.

At the beginning of the month he extended his arms and started rocking on all fours. After that, he began to pull up on boxes.

That quickly changed to climbing up and down boxes of different heights, from shoe box all the way to diaper box. Now, Zachary is pulling himself into a standing position using his book crate.

With all of this physical development there have been a few tumbles and tears. So, we are teaching Zach to lean back and sit down if unbalanced. We are learning his “help I’m stuck” whine when he gets into a position he doesn’t know how to get out of.

With this new exercise Zach now favors finger foods and solids over puree. When he does eat puree, he insists on grabbing the spoon and feeding himself. Which of course is messy. It’s also much easier for Zachary to eat carbs and meat now that he has FOUR teeth on top! The first two cut through at the beginning of the month, the second two near the end. So, he now has 6 teeth total!

On our first snow day, Mom decided to build a fort. Zach loved exploring his tunnels and hiding with Mom and a few books. We went outside to explore the snow. But it was cold, Zachary had several jackets on, and it was almost nap time, so he didn’t think the outing was very fun.

A few weeks ago, we started attending Baby Books at the Library. Once a week a volunteer leads songs, structured play, and reads short books for babies and their caretakers. The first time, Zach was overwhelmed but by the end he was smiling and wiggling along with the rest. At Baby Books he saw bubbles for the first time, and got to crawl under a colorful parachute. Needless to say, he takes a nap on the way home, every time.

For Valentine’s Day Zach got a special treat: whipped cream and strawberries, strawberries are ok, but he really likes the cream. On President’s day weekend he spent the day with NaiNai and Papa so Mom and Dad could have a long needed day away. We had sushi, frozen yogurt, and saw not one by TWO movies.

At the end of the month we went to  Olympia”s Hands on Children’s Museum. There are lots of amazing interactive exhibits ready for Zach when he’s older. Fortunately they did have a special area called “Snug Harbor” designed for little ones. Zachary sat comfortably our laps while exploring puzzles, he slowly began to crawl around, but never too far from us. Zach’s not used that much stimulation or that many people. Even though it was a sunny day, the museum was very busy, it was great to see so many families taking time with their children.

The volunteers at MOPs say Zach has had a least one if not two growth spurts since Christmas.

There is proof they are right as he is now in the tallest slot for the infant car seat. He is already in 12 month PJs and his feet almost touch the foot rest of his highchair. Everyone says he will be crawling and cruising before we know it.


Happy Valentine’s Day

This year I have two sweethearts to celebrate for Valentine’s Day. Last year at this time we went on a mini baby-moon Day-cation and now I get to celebrate the love I have for my little boy.

Don’t worry Luke won’t be left out. As usual I will be making berry pie. For more see:  Valentine’s Pie and  pie remix

We will also the next weekend cash in on a Christmas present from NaiNai and Papa: movie gift card with babysitting included.

Whether it’s friends, family, or a significant other, hope you all get to spend Valentine’s with someone you care about.