Archive for the ‘AD’ Category

AD #8 – Off to the Oakland Zoo

We decided to take Leo to the zoo and hit up the Oakland Zoo because it is closer than the San Francisco Zoo and have heard that it is better as well.

We will definitely check out the San Francisco Zoo to form our own opinion plus they have polar bears.

I LOVE me some Polar Bears!

The drive to the zoo was super quick and we arrived at about 11 am on Sunday; I was a little nervous going on a weekend day but it was not terribly crowded.

Parking is $7.

Admission for adults is $13.75 each and tots under two are free.

The front entrance:

The weather was perfect!

We took Leo to see all of the animals and I think he was more excited to see the other kids and how excited they got over the animals.

If he saw the kids squeal and laugh he would squeal and laugh but when we were checking out the animals alone he wasn’t really aware that there was anything to be excited about.

Two exceptions:

At the Elephants he started kicking his legs when one got close to eat apples and carrots.

There was a bird exhibit that had 10 or so different types of birds; some of them were chasing each other and there was one incredibly loud bird making a honking noise. Incredibly visually stimulating along with the bird chatter.

Joey and I both loved the Giraffe exhibit. Look at the little baby in the backgroud! Awwwww!

We stopped at a random taco stand that was near the hyenas and for zoo food it was pretty dang good.

There is a goat petting area that was minimally supervised, which was a bit terrifying for me but then again I don’t think most people are afraid a goat is going to bite off their kid’s hand.

Despite my irrational totally normal fears, I helped Leo pet a goat.

The zoo is fairly small and we were able to check everything out in about two hours. Perfect early afternoon trip and still able to make it home and not feel like you spent the whole day out in the sun.

We are thinking about getting a membership which offers discounts at other zoos; 50% off at the San Francisco Zoo and the Aquarium.

That’s some sweet business right there!

On our way out we stopped at the rides section and took Leo on the carousel; HIGHLIGHT of his entire life. I have never seen him enjoy something so much. He laughed and squealed it was beyond awesome. I admit I teared up a bit and Leo cried too when the ride was over.

I have to throw this last photo in because it makes me laugh! How great is it that my little Leo the lion is posed on a statue looking like he is giving a big ROAR!

With admission, parking, ride tickets, and the small taco snack we got out of there for $47; not bad my friends.

Have any of you been to your local zoos lately?


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The day after we got back from LA we went to the Alameda County Fair; I know you are thinking that we are crazy. Do all that driving and then drive some more, but I have very fond memories of going as a kid and of Joey and I going the first month we were dating.

That fair involved many beers, a bruised tush (me) and Mardi Gras beads.

September 2009

This one was far more tame including the squabbling that comes after a spat; amazing how that happens when you become parents. ūüėČ

Notice the stroller and the back pack/diaper bag.


First stop was grabbing some fair food which was a giant turkey leg for Joey which he chowed down, shaved ice for Bird, carmel apple for me, ice cream for all, and of course some beer.

Leo shared my chocolate dipped ice cream cone, which he loved. Can you tell?!

No fair is complete without beer especially on a hot day.

We visited the barn yard area and Leo got to pet a Lionhead Bunny and smell pig poop.

Not sure if he liked the animals or not but I figure we should expose him to as many things as possible.

The “we all need a picture with Leo” trio.

Here I am again looking all photogenic and shiz!

On the way out Joey wanted to try his luck shooting hoops for a prize.

Three basketballs for $5 and wouldn’t you know it third times a charm and the booth kid tried to hand Joey a HUGE neon green gorilla.

Joey said “no, no, what else do you have?”

I ran up and asked if he had a lion and he disappeared for a moment and brought this guy back.


Good job!

Update: This lion committed treason and was beheaded as punishment.

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That’s right I am now 30.

I will tell you something, the lead up to the big day was worse than the actuality of turning 30.

I wanted to be in Los Angeles with all my girls to celebrate so we planned to be there from Tuesday, July 3 – Friday, July 6.

On Monday, I noticed that the Junkwagon (my 2004 Toyota Corolla) was having some slipping clutch issues and did not feel comfortable driving her without getting the problem looked at.

We dropped her off at the Toyota dealership. Side note: the guy at the dealership, that helped me had the last name McCracken. I know right?! How awesome is that?!

At 9am on Tuesday (we had planned on leaving at 8am) McCracken called to report that we were indeed due for a new clutch to the tune of $1400. Nothing like a huge number to take the wind out of your birthday road trip sails.

Took the old gal to a mom and pop shop for a second opinion and they agreed that it was time and gave us an estimate that was $300 lower than the dealership.

Now we are down our road tripping car. ūüė¶

Long story short we somehow end up renting Chrysler 300m.


Yup. Leo was big pimp’n, taking the car out at night cruising Ventura Blvd looking for other babies.

On the fourth we scooped up my sister, Bird, from the airport and went to visit Leo’s great-grandmother (he is named after her late husband).

So sweet. (SBI)

While visiting Leo crawled across the room for the first time on his hands and knees with his belly off the floor. Kid is changing so fast it is shocking sometimes.

My lovely friend Chelle invited us to a BBQ/pool party, which was a lot of fun and she provided excellent grub.

This was Leo’s first time swimming and he had a great time. Loved the water but kept trying to chew on the concrete lip of the pool. What is that?! Concrete and glass; the kid thinks he’s a wild animal. While in the pool, Leo had a scary moment (for him) when he rolled off of my legs and went under the water for 2 seconds.

On the big day after I got my birthday song and my wonderful gifts we went to our FAVORITE bagel place. Manhattan Bagel on Wilshire in Santa Monica. Delicious!

Then off to visited Grandpa David (Joey’s father).

Returning to the scene of last year’s birthday crime, Bird and I got a pedicure at my favorite nail salon.

Gotta love his Affliction shirt!

I always feel a little awkward when a man does my pedicure; gives me a vibe reminiscent of that conversation between Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield about Marcellus Wallace’s wife and foot massages.

Prior to going back to the hotel to get ready for my birthday dinner we went a walked up and down the Venice Beach Boardwalk.

Dinner was at BJ’s which I know is not exactly the place to have your 30th but it is kid-friendly and group-friendly.

I had an amazingly fantastic time and the dinner was the perfect topper to a special day for me.

Now that I am 30 it’s not so scary and I am happy about the place where I am at in my life. Of course some things could be different or better in some areas but overall life is good. I have a man who loves me, a beautiful child who melts my heart, amazing friends, and the best sister in the whole world.

Lucky girl over here. ūüôā

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As promised: The Rhine House

In AD#3 (which after looking should be AD#2; I somehow skipped the number 2. Whoops) we went to Napa; I promised you photos of the Rhine House when we went for our next bimonthly pickup.

We did our pickup on Tuesday last week.

Amazingly awe inspiring!

I’ve always had a thing for hydrangeas. I like the purple ones best.

I LOVE stained glass!

FREE wine tasting, huge fireplace, and a WHOLE wall of wine.

Grand Staircase.

The architectural details are phenomenal.

Throwing in the fam.

This is where we are every other month. How cool is that?

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AD #5

The plan: Roseville

Habitat for Humanity Restore

Hobby Lobby

– Napa (bimonthly pickup)

Not every plan actually works out and often times it turns into a comedy of errors (I’ll have to tell you about our biggest one ever later).

This AD falls into the latter category.

We drove to Roseville which is a suburb of Sacramento and is only a destination because of the two stores I listed above.

Half way there we realized that we forgot the ergo and the stroller. Good planning guys.

I had forgotten that I had a telephone meeting scheduled with a career counselor at one. We had just passed our destination (Joey is an AWFUL navigator) when she called me.

45 bang my head on the damn steering wheel frustrating minutes later we were on our way.

The Roseville Restore is in this HUGE industrial park and is incredibly hard to find.

We finally arrive and this is what we see.

WTF?! Super bummer and I feel dumb. Who drives 80 miles without checking store times?!


We regroup and head to the Hobby Lobby.

We look up the directions and once again drive past our destination (guess who is navigating?).

My mission is to find things for current and future projects.

I was feeling aggravated and stressed due to the career counselor call and could not focus on the task at hand.

Over the past year or so I collected some items to create a shadow box of sorts for a friend of ours. Joey squashed the idea telling me that he thinks shadow boxes are super lame.


I bought a regular frame and laid it out, what do you think?

Sorry for the Bad IPhone pic (SBI)

Leo is always a big hit wherever we go, “look at all that hair” yada yada yada.

This marvelous day our handsome little boy dressed in BLUE was referred to as a female TWICE.


Bright spot of the day: we stumble upon this super cute find.

Leo the Photobomber liked them too!

At 50% off giving us a “It’s a deal Silvia” at less than 8 smackers, I think they will make a great addition to the nursery.

We stopped for lunch at Chevy’s which I pronounce incorrectly as Che-vies like Chevy Chase.

Nothing makes a day better than some chips & salsa and some beer.

Leo got a little jealous and grabbed onto Joey’s beer and dumped the entire glass into his face and all over his outfit.


At the end of the day we had 180 miles under our belts to go to a craft store and eat a chain restaurant.

Even though things didn’t go the way I had planned (I plan like Joey navigates) we spent the day together as a family.

What is better than that?

For future ADs I will leave the planning to Joey and handle the navigation myself.

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AD #4

We went over budget this week so we needed an Adventure Day that was cheap.

Joey decided that we were going to drive through Tilden Park, which is about 15 minutes from where we live.

I knew the park existed and we have driven around the perimeter on the way to other places, but I did not realize how cool it was.

There is a carousel that is 100 years old, steam trains, golf courses, picnic areas, campgrounds, and a small farm.

It was a little late in the day to experience any of the above things due to us being slackers. Leo has been super fussy due to a new tooth poking its way out.

As we were cruising through the park, I saw these stairways leading down in to the forest (I’m not sure what constitutes a forest, but this is what it feels like to me) from the road.

We pulled off the road and I strapped Leo into the Ergo and we set off for a hike.

After seeing this sign:

We got smart and “marked” the unmarked trail that led back to our car with this:

I wanted to pee all around the area, but Joey vetoed that idea. Punk.

We look awesome in our non hiking gear.

As we were walking down the hill, I could see water between the trees and low and behold there is a lake down there.

I love the lapping sound a lake makes; my dream is to own a home that is on a lake with a dock leading from my bedroom to the water.

Crazy this close to home and we were are in the middle of the forest with no cars, no noise and hardly any people.

This was one of the only other group of people we saw on our hike.

Leo is not really loving the Ergo anymore so I swung him around onto my back and he was a lot happier.

One trail we were on started to taper off and become more overgrown and the growth appeared to be poison ivy. Did we immediately get out of this supposed poison like normal rational people?! Nah, we just kept on truck’n like a couple of morons.

After we hiked for a couple of hours we luckily found our way out and made it back to the car.

We drove into Berkley which has amazing views of the bay and great houses.

Off of Fish Ranch road, which takes you back to the freeway, there are pull offs so you can park and take in the view.

I snapped some pictures albeit not very good ones due to the time of day and the fog.

This guy looked so relaxed I couldn’t help but be a creeper and snap his photo.

Remember AD#3 when we went to Twin Peaks?

Here is a picture Joey and Leo on a different visit (February) at Twin Peaks.

This photo shows you that we are on the opposite side of the bay and that TP looks like a set of boobs.

That is the Bay Bridge that leads into San Francisco.

It was a fun/sweaty day.

We plan on visiting again to show Leo the trains, carousel, and the farm.

Bonus: It wasn‚Äôt just cheap it was free and as I always say ‚ÄúFree is in our budget!‚ÄĚ

P.S. So far so good on the poison ivy front.

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AD #3

Joey’s good friend and his girlfriend came into town over the weekend and we acted as tour guides and decided to push this into AD #3.

We are members of the Beringer Winery wine club and we were due to pick up our bimonthly selection, so we HAD to go to Napa. Terrible isn’t it?!

The five of us climbed into the jeep and headed on up.

First stop was in downtown Napa to walk the shops and then off to the Franciscan Winery.

Fountain in front of Franciscan Winery, these are our lovely guests.

The winery had the best air conditioning EVER. Hands down. I’m serious about my AC. There is probably medication for this too, in addition to this.

Beautiful interior, friendly sommeliers, $15 dollars for the tasting, and a cheese platter. The cheese was DELICIOUS (notice that it is GONE), I am becoming a huge fan of gouda.

The wine on the other hand not so great, I am not a wine connoisseur in any sense of the word nor do I consider myself a wine snob, but I was not impressed.

Rosey with a hint of watermelon. Yucky!

SAVOR that wine!

Wine tasting with child; that’s how we roll!

My take on wine and wine tasting, you ask?!

I actually find the whole process quite pretentious with phony baloneys swirling and sniffing their wine as if they had any idea what they were doing. Looking down their noses at those of us who just think that there are two types of wine; wine you like and wine you don’t (I stole that line from Chuck).

After finishing, we drove over to the American Culinary Institute which is housed in an amazing castle like building.

Not the best shot, but you get the point.

I am completely in LOVE with the look of this place and plan to eat at the restaurant there the next time we do a pick up. SO EXCITED!

Arriving at Beringer we popped Leo into his stroller and headed up to the wine tasting area which had a wheelchair stroller (because a winery is an age appropriate place for an infant) accessible path that lead to an elevator.

I love my stroller and surprisingly I like this photo of myself.

I felt like such a dork taking the elevator and it was SO loud that people were staring at me.


I love the wine tasting area and shop at Beringer, they have old framed photos hung around the room with lots of wood architectural details. As members we have free tastings, which is such a bonus especially if we plan to bring out of town guests to Napa. Free is in our budget!

Chuck is on the right.

Our sommelier was Chuck who was a fantastic older gentleman with a slight case of RBO.

Playing “toss the ball in the air” to entertain Leo.

Auntie Bird sent Leo the outfit and is Daddy handsome or what?!

Leo is having a great time, some older ladies were chatting him up and he was loving that.

That’s Utah white.

We picked up our club wine at the Rhine House (gorgeous freaking mansion), I did not get any photos of the interior. I will get better at this I promise. Next time we go I will post photos. Here are some shots of the fountain outside including us getting photo bombed by someone who enjoyed his wine a smidge too much.

See what I mean?!

The look on Leo’s face cracks me up.

We drove through the Petrified Forest , stopped in Petaluma for lunch and ended up at this little seafood shack which had really good food and AMAZING chocolate dipped ice cream cones.

Our guests wanted to see the ocean during their trip since they are in a landlocked state so we drove over the Golden Gate bridge

…to Ocean Beach.

This is my artisty photo.

Last stop of the day was Twin Peaks, which is a spot that overlooks San Francisco and has a breathtaking view if you happen to go up there when the sky is clear.

It was freezing cold and have I told you how unphotogenic I am?

Awww…love birds.

We cruised home across Bay Bridge with the sun setting behind us after a full day of sightseeing and lots of driving.

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