Monday, October 6, 2014

California Adventures: Tidepool Morning, Beach Lunch, and UCSC Afternoon

On the last morning, before my parents left, we all took one last walk together down on the beach to explore the tidepools.


It was a beautiful, overcast morning. 


Evan got a nice nap while we took in the gentle surf.


Such a sweet little boy.


After the walk, my parents took off, and Evan and I stopped for a quick lunch on the beach. 


It was a gorgeous afternoon, and reminded me why I love the California coast so much.


Evan was lulled to sleep by the crashing waves.


On the walk back, we couldn't help but appreciate our picturesque rental.


After our little adventure, we headed up to UCSC to visit with Jerome, Ed's faculty advisor from grad school and the man who officiated over our wedding. 


After our visit, we headed over to the graduate housing, where Ed and I first met. 


I'd forgotten how beautiful it was. My room was that top window,  and Ed's was the floor below.


It was so surreal to be back here with our little boy.


I couldn't tell you how many times I went up and down these stairs between our apartments. And that first time I went down those stairs, after Ed and I had talked so long on our phones that my battery died, and I realized I could just go and see him to finish our conversation in person. 


And this doorway, where I met Ed for the very first time. Where we chatted about running and I gave him my phone number, and floated back up to my floor. 


This is where our family began. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Celebrating 29!

(Warning...super long post! Lots of pictures :) )

What could be a better way to celebrate beginning the last year of my 20s, than with these two. 


Ed had to be in Tucson for work my birthday weekend, so Evan and I decided to tag along for an expenses mostly paid birthday celebration. Ed was busy for most of the Saturday, so Evan and I got to head out and explore together. 

I had some big plans about going on a long walk around downtown Tucson, but the heat (plus parking) got the best of me and changed our plan to starting with the Tucson Art Museum. 



Before going inside, we walked around the courtyard, taking in some of the outdoor sculptures.


The museum was lots of fun, and Evan was fantastic and fell asleep not long after we started, letting me enjoy the art without needing to worry about him. It was pretty small, especially since I've really only gone to museums in big cities, like London or San Francisco, but I enjoyed what I saw. 


Once I'd finished looking through the museum, Evan woke up, so we headed to the car for a diaper change and a feeding before the next part of our day. 


Evan was in a very happy and silly mood - an increasingly common occurrence lately that makes my heart smile. 


Once we were all taken care off, he went back in the stroller as we headed to the western art section of the museum, that was in a different building.


This section was probably my favorite - I think that being in the southwest, Western Art is definitely in its element. 


Evan was wide awake for this exhibit and seemed to enjoy what he could see. 


As we left the museum, I couldn't resist snapping a "mommy and me" picture.


When we got to the museum, I spotted a beautiful building across the street, and even though it was over 100 degrees at that point, we decided to go check it out. 


It ended up being the Pima County courthouse, and was beautiful. 


Lots of gorgeous architectural details. 


By this point, I was getting quite hungry. I'd planned to eat at the Museum Cafe, but a quick peek at the menu showed that that wasn't the right choice - too many breakfast options and not much for lunch. So, I pulled up yelp on my phone and looked for a place walking distance away, as Evan had just fallen asleep. El Charro popped up, so off we went. 

When we arrived, I realized that I'd been there before, with my brother-in-law Tom and his wife, Irma. After a few minutes, we were sat, and I enjoyed a thoroughly indulgent lunch, very much off the paleo diet :). 


Evan stayed asleep while I got to enjoy beer battered fish tacos, chips and fresh salsa, Kiltlifter (a local beer I love), and a good book. Even better, Evan slept through almost the entire lunch so it was very relaxing. I also made sure to order myself a slice of tres leches cake to enjoy back at the hotel later. After eating no sugar for 5 weeks, I was so excited to enjoy a treat!

As soon as we headed back to the car, Ed called to let us know he was back at the hotel, so we hurried home to meet him.

Evan loved all the extra space in our room, perfect for some tummy time.



Evan has started getting very interested in the camera, which is pretty fun. 


Of course, once he realized he was being photographed, he had to show off a little. 


And of course, give us a big smile. 


He is really on the move lately!


Sometimes, we still like to hold our little boy like a "baby" even though he's so squirmy, he doesn't tolerate it too often (unless he's eating) :). 


Thus began my afternoon and evening of total relaxation! Ed took over Evan care while I headed to the pool, swam some laps, and chatted with my mom while enjoying sitting in the shade. Then, I came back in (once Ed had gotten Evan down for his nap) and took a thoroughly luxurious bath, complete with wine and cake. 

Before we knew it, it was time to head to dinner. Little Boy was a bit behind schedule, so Ed sent me ahead to the restaurant, while he took care of one last feeding and hopefully settled him enough that he would fall asleep while we enjoyed a romantic dinner for two at the Lodge restaurant. 

I had a blissful 30 minutes with a glass of wine and my book at the restaurant, before my boys arrived. 


Evan was very much not asleep, but was the perfect baby. And about 15 minutes after arriving, he conked out, and stayed that way for the entire 2 1/2 hour meal. 


It was so nice to get this little break from being a "mom" while we enjoyed yummy food and plenty of wine (the kitchen was incredibly behind, so we got some complimentary drinks). 


I even got a special birthday dessert!


Even better than enjoying my mom free time was the realization during the night, when Ed was feeding Evan and not me, how much I love being a mom and missed taking care of Evan. I don't think I'd ever gone that long without holding him in my arms and I missed him! I actually ended up getting him up at 5 to feed him and cuddle my little boy. I loved a break, but I love being a mom more, and am happy to wait to have another baby free night for a long while. 

The next morning, Ed took Evan on an adventure in Sabino Canyon while I got to enjoy a room to myself and some extra sleep. 


Evan got to go on his first run, a lofty 7.6 miler with "fun" obstacles like stream crossings, thanks to all the rains they'd been having. 


Ed promised he was very careful :)


Ed enjoyed doing a little mini photoshoot with Evan at the turnaround.


Someone was getting a little sleepy...


And decided he was totally over pictures. 

A couple hours later, they returned to a very relaxed and happy mama and we all went out to breakfast for bagels, another fun non paleo treat. 


So, so lucky.


Love these two!


After breakfast, we decided to brave the heat and head to the Sonoran Desert Museum, more like a combination botanical garden and zoo. 


It was a gorgeous day, if a little warm. 


It's amazing how much the desert landscape has grown on me since moving here. I still prefer grassy open hills and oak trees, but I now very much see the beauty of the Sonoran. 


One of the first places we headed was the hummingbird exhibit, which let us get up close to some beautiful birds. 



Outside, there were lots of blooming plants with lots of butterflies and bees. 


There was a nice paved pathway, perfect for the stroller.


We stopped for a lunch break, and Ed headed off for some solo exploration while Evan had his own bite to eat. 


Afterwards, we got to check out some more exciting animals. 


Our favorite was the river otter. It seemed to love Evan, especially his feet, and kept trying to play with them through the glass. So cute!!


Unfortunately, about this point, Evan decided he was done with the stroller, so Ed took over. His helmet makes his little head so big, so I lent him my hat, which fit perfectly :). 


Evan certainly knows how to work his daddy. 


Of course, in Ed's arms, Evan could see a whole lot better.


Ed wouldn't let him get too close to the rattlesnake, though.  "I don't trust the glass" he said...


We took a brief detour out to this beautiful viewing platform. 



This exhibit was the creepiest. With the regular lights, it looked like an empty box. But, with the blacklight? Scorpions. Uck.


After a long day and a long weekend, we were finally ready to head home. To remember the little friend Evan made, we got him his own little otter to bring home.


What a fantastic way to celebrate turning 29. I am so excited for this next year with my wonderful family.