Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Vacation part III: Pool time, Horst family & Mrs Knott's chicken dinner

It was technically our third day of our vacation (if you count the first day of driving)  and we still hadn't gone swimming. We knew Maisie would be so happy floating around, so we suited up and made our way down to the 89 degree outdoor pool on the third story floor. It was super windy so as long as you were submerged it was fine, but if the air hit your wet skin... burr. We all ended up in the hot tub about 20 minutes in because it had a step Maisie could hang out on that shielded her from the wind so she could stay plenty warm with just her legs submerged.




Austin was throwing me Maisie's plug while I took this picture, so that's why he looks so serious.
 But look at Maisie she looks so ethereal.

Our dear friends the Horsts were our neighbors we ment in our first apartment in Hillsboro. We were acquaintances during my pregnancy, but it wasn't until after Maisie was born (like a week after) that we all became super close. We always bragged about how we had the best neighbors in the world. I mean who has living room picnics with their neighbors? Well, we did and often too. Who goes to their neighbors to borrow something and then ends up staying for 4 hours just chatting up a storm. That's right we did. I remember when it would be nap time and both Maisie and Livvie would be sleeping so Meg and I would just talk on the phone for hours even though we were only a flight of stairs away. We knew we had a good thing going and it was heartbreaking when we moved away from them. I look back and remember those times and it's so warm and cozy. Not only just because we had a small little baby, but we were never lonely. We had people that could completely relate to us and if we ever needed anything, we knew who to turn to. Shoot, Meg is the one who taught me the best swaddle tricks ever. But the best part of our friendship was that we could completely be ourselves. We would have super serious talks late at night, make fun of each other, have full conversations in fake German accents, contemplate life together and talk about how much Lord of the Rings changed our life. 

Anyway, long story short, they moved into the heart of Portland when we moved into our house in Beaverton and then we moved to California 7 months later and a few months after us they moved to California as well, but down south. I can't tell you how happy I am to have them a mere 5 hours away opposed to 12. We always talk about how we are destined to be neighbors again, just because they set the bar high. I hate referring to them as neighbors though because the truth is they are so much more than that. They are life long friends. When we have exciting news Meg is one of the first people I call and Derek for Austin. We have even been talking to each other over the phone while our husbands are talking to each other on their phones in another room. When Meg or I need to vent about stay at home mommy troubles, you best believe we have each others back. We miss them so much and that's why when we decided to head down we made a big point to see them. I could have lived without Disneyland, but not getting my Horst fix? No way.

So they made their way down to Newport while we freshened up after the pool and while Maisie took a cat nap. Then we met them outside our hotel and made plans to follow them to the beach. Like I mentioned before it was super windy, so we stood on Newport's cliff and yelled into the wind, probably looking like freaks (maybe not freaks, but definitely not upper class Newport folk). 




We ended up in Fashion Island allowing the girls to play outside but be sheltered from the gusto wind. So we found a great patch of grass outside the Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus and let our girls go crazy. Yes, thats how we roll, playing infront of fancy department stores. It was so much fun. There was even a 16 month old boy named Luca out there, sporting a leather jacket and boy, was he a chick magnet. I think Maisie was in love, but maybe with his toys and not so much him. Either way, it was good to see all of them play. Ella in my mind will always be 6 months old, so seeing her running around and with a mouth full of teeth, is just crazy. And Livvie? She is like a real person now. Not just a little girl, but a full on person. When I was crossing the street she yelled from the other side "Come on Sammie! You can do it!" haha! It was so good to see them. We laughed a lot and we kept saying how good it was to be together again. And it was so good.







After our rendezvous with the Horst family we made our way to dinner where I have eaten so many times when I was little. We used to wait in long lines just to get a table and let me tell you it's so worth it. Outside Knott's Berry Farm there's a restaurant that serves the best fried chicken and mashed potatoes and gravy ever. And their creamy chicken noodle soup? The best. Their boysenberry ice cream and pie? Amazing. I knew Austin had to go, so I made a big deal about going to dinner there. Austin was not disappointed and Maisie had two full bowls full of the soup, so I am pretty sure she liked it too.

Clever name huh? No false advertisements here.
You can see the roller coaster in the background. 

Maisie loves Snoopy and all of the old Charlie Brown movies. It all started around Halloween when we started watching "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" and then we added the Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines and summer camp movies to our collection as well and she loves them all.  Some mornings she will ask "Snoopy?" and I have to tell you it doesn't bother me one bit that we watch holiday movies no where near holiday time. I think the pumpkin one is her favorite. Snoopy imagining he's hunting down the Red Baron? It's just great. Anyway, Knott's berry farm's mascot just happens to be Snoopy so across from the restaurant they had a whole store full of Charlie Brown and Snoopy memorabilia. We of course had to go in because Maisie had spotted it on our way into the restaurant. And of course we ended up getting Maisie a Snoopy stuffed animal (you should have seen how happy Maisie was in that store. It was like Maisie crack. She was going crazy kissing all of the different snoopy stuffed animals)  because we are suckers. We also purchased the whole Holiday collection on Blu-ray because Austin is a DVD snob. I will admit it looks and sounds so much better, but I won't turn down a DVD just because the quality isn't the best there is. That's another issue though.


After the Snoopy store we stood in the parking lot where the famous wooden roller coaster "Ghost rider" goes through. Maisie would yell for more after it roared passed and when we asked her if she wanted to ride go on it she would excitedly yell "yeah yeah!!" I think we have a little thrill seeker on our hands and I like that about her. She's brave and I think when she's a bit taller we are going to have a blast taking her on her first thrill rides.

We made our way back to the hotel where we all passed out before 11 o'clock and we had a long day of driving ahead of us so getting some sleep was a good idea. But there was one more thing we had to do before we could leave. Something Austin had been waiting to do since we were dating, but I will do a separate post about that because this post is already the length of a novel.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Vacation part II: Disneyland

Even as we were driving down to our vacation we were still undecided if Disneyland was something we wanted to do this trip or not. We were going back and forth because we didn't know if we would get our bang for our buck with Maisie and the weather predicted rain (it rains in southern California?). We set our alarms early for Saturday morning and decided we would see how the weather was in the morning and go from there. We woke up, opened the curtains and sure enough rain. Not pouring, but misty and very wet. We were still debating the idea until Austin said "lets just do it". We were Oregonians after all and if anything this would be in our favor because the locals wouldn't dare brave the rain (IE shorter lines). We made a stop at target so I could pick up some rain boots because I only had my fryes with me (note to self: I need some real *all weather* shoes). It was still drizzling by the time we got to Disneyland and just as we thought, there were barely any lines. I think the longest we had to wait for a ride was 15 minutes (dang Peter Pan and Nemo) but other than that, we pretty much walked right on. Around 3 o'clock it completely stopped raining and didn't start raining again until 11:30 pm as we were leaving the park. 

Maisie was so happy. I knew she would be excited, but I thought she would eventually get bored or over stimulated, but nope, never once did she melt down, cry or even complain. She was in heaven (after all it is called the happiest place on earth right?). I was also surprised how many rides she could go on at her age. More than 30 and seeing how she's still free until 3 it was awesome! Her first ride? The jungle cruise. She was in awe (see picture below). Her second ride? Pirates of the Caribbean and again she had a blast. During the dark parts she would nuzzle in close, but when asked if she wanted to ride it again it was a big yes. 

Other rides:
Peter Pan, Pinochio, Dumbo, King Arthur's Carousel, Autopia, The many adventures of Winnie the Pooh, the Haunted Mansion, Mr Toad, Buzz Lightgear's astro blaster, Nemo, Story book land, Small World and so many more!

Maisie's favorites?
Dumbo, Winnie the Pooh, Small World and the Jungle cruise, but she liked all the others too.

Towards the end of the night they did a projection show on the face of the "It's a Small World" building. All the lights, colors, clips and music put Maisie into a trance. It was beautiful and while "When you wish upon a star" played I was flooded by memories of this very thing as a kid, standing in awe and trying to take in everything, the sight, smell and sound in the best I could. As I was remembering those moments, I was hit with a feeling with how this will always be such a happy memory for us. Now, Maisie might not fully remember this trip, but I will forever. I will always remember how her face lit up and how happy she was just to be there and how happy we all were being there together. In that moment I felt so proud of us. 

I didn't take as many pictures as I had planned, but between dodging the rain and bouncing from one ride to the next it was quite difficult.
But alas, here are some pictures of our trip to Disneyland:



Jungle cruise *the picture mentioned above







We had so much fun that we are starting to plan the next time we can go down again. This time maybe meet up with my parents and sister that way Maisie can run around while me and Austin ride the "big kid" rides. It will have to be in the summer too because we don't want to wear panchos again.

Also, if you have a toddler and are thinking about planning a trip to Disneyland, do it! Even though Austin and I didn't get to go on the bigger rides, it was well worth the sacrifice. It was definitely worth the money too seeing how there was so much a toddler can do there. I mean the place was made for kids right?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Vacation part I: Newport & Huntington Beach

Two Fridays ago we left on our very first road trip to southern California. I was so excited to show Austin and Maisie where a big part of my childhood in Huntington Beach took place. The street where I learned to ride a bike, the beach that holds so many memories and the food that despite my best efforts to mimic, fall short.

We were packed up and on the road by 10 am we listened to the new Gotye CD and discovered that "Somebody that I used to know" is Maisie's all time favorite song ever. She would become very upset and ask for more when there were still two notes left of the song and no joke we listened to that song over and over for 3 hours straight. Maisie started to sing along with the words "somebody" emphasis on the EE and "know" which she thinks is "no" but her almost terrible two year old mind would think that right? I love that she has good taste in music though. If it were some kid song I am pretty sure I would have pulled a Van Gogh. 

Other of her favorite songs other than Gotye
Florence and the Machine's "Dog days are over"
Pinback's "Good to sea"
Foster the People's "Pumped up kicks"
Freelance Whales' "Hannah"

Side note: Maisie thinks the first little part of "Somebody that I used to know" sounds like little stars. She makes the twinkle-twinkle sign every time. Genius? Yes, I think so. Imagination at it's finest.

We were making great time and still didn't need a refill of gas 5 hours in (that would has been impossible in our van). Our trusty new (to us) Volkswagen climbed up the Grapevine no problem. It was about 3 o'clock when we made our way through the pass and as soon as we laid our eyes on LA, traffic started. We were so close (about an hour away from our destination) but we sat in LA traffic for 3 hours before we were actually driving the speed limit again and we were still 30 miles away.

We finally got to our hotel in Newport (I would have loved to stay in Huntington, but it was much more expensive and we found a really good deal for a resort in Newport and it was only 10 miles down PCH to Huntington's Main street, so it wasn't far at all) unpacked the car, used the restroom, changed Maisie's diaper and then we were off to dinner. We made our way to Main street and finally decided on BJ's because who doesn't love a salad and deep dish pizza? We finished up dinner and then we walked around the street shops and up and down the pier. It was so nice to be there with my little family.

Pictures from the first night of our vacation:


I call him "Wolfie"



In the words of my little Maisie- "BLUE!! GREEN!! BLUE!! GREEEEN!!"


Wednesday, March 21, 2012


March 12th was my 24th birthday. The only thing planned was to go out on a date so we called a married couple that are friends of ours and asked if they would mind hanging out at our place while Maisie was down for the night while we went out for a few hours. They were awesome about it too. Seth had to work the next morning, but him and Leia were both very sweet to come over to give us a night out, just the two of us. Oh and did I mention they have a 3 month old? (who is seriously one of the cutest babies I have ever seen) what good friends they are to help us out like that. We are so grateful for them.

The day started off with a slow morning wake up. We fed Maisie breakfast, got ready for the day and started to make our way towards Capitola (by Santa Cruz) for lunch and a beach day. We ate at a restaurant called Gale's. Oh. My. Goodness. It was so delicious. We had the most difficult time picking out our food and then of course there was an array of gorgeous desserts. We even picked a couple up for Seth and Leia as a thank you. Everything was just so beautiful and delicious.

After lunch we found a kite shop where we bought our first little kite. A no assembly required, fool proof kite complete with a long rainbow colored tail and storage bag. We walked to the beach where we basked in the sun, flew our trusty little kite, searched for seashells and watched as Maisie ran bravely up and down the shore.

After a few hours we decided to make our way back home so we could feed Maisie some dinner and get her ready for bed as we got ready for our date. Maisie went down better than expected seeing how it was day lights savings the day before, so 8 o'clock really felt like 7 o'clock, but we made sure to tire her out the best we could at the beach. Seth, Leia and Quincy came over we thanked them a million times as they tried to get us out the door. 

Since we were having a late dinner, we were going back and forth between restaurant ideas. Austin suggested sushi and I was feeling brave (it was my birthday after all) so sushi it was. Austin's work gets catered by this restaurant occasionally so Austin knew it was a good place. I was more of a wimp than expected, but I did try raw tuna, salmon row and a little grilled eel. I never realized how expensive sushi is! Holy moly. My overall reaction was "it was ok." I found it unappetizing to get full off of, but for a few bites it was great. The texture is a hard thing to get over. Maybe with time I will find it better, but I think I filled my sushi quota for a while.

After dinner we went to a fancy bowling alley for a quick game. We were both terrible, but it made for some good laughs. Austin did get one strike and I got one spare, but other than that it was pretty pathetic. Haha

Pictures of my birthday extravaganza.

Phone pictures:
24 collage

Camera pictures:



I'm zaubermaus (magic mouse) Austin is eisbaer (polar bear) these fake German nick names are way better than our fake German names we picked out in our high school German class- Helga and Heinz.

Oregon Instagram

oregon collage

1) naked cat chase. 2) jacuzzi tub. 3) old picture of Nat, Austin and me. 4) Maisie in her old jumper.
5) young Austin & Nat being flamboyant. 6) my parents 25th. 7) coloring on grandpas iPad. 8) see 5.
9) high school pride. 10) homemade rocking horse. 11) future pianist. 12) Olympians.
13) one of our engagement pictures. 14) Oregon sunset. 15) Mockingjay. 16) new pjs.

Oregon Visit

 I just finished a gigantic post recapping me and Maisie's trip to Oregon, but when I went to publish it, Blogger decided it didn't want to publish or even save the dang post so now it's gone forever. Since I am already so behind on posting and too irritated to do it all over again, I think I will do the shortened condensed version.

Austin was going on a week long business trip to Michigan and instead of being cooped up by our lonesome here in California my in- laws flew me and Maisie out to Portland for a little visit.

Even more condensed:
worst flight ever. newbie pilot who I was convinced was going to kill us all. Fuddruckers. 8 hour fast and furious stomach flu {Maisie first then me 12 hours later}. recoup. lots of Jeopardy. knitting. play dates with Keenan. Miranda gets the flu. shopping. La Has. Love Love. Nat & Meg. Taphouse. Tess. Mockingjay. Kelsey. toms fiasco. wonderful night flight home with only 19 people on the plane {it was so nice}. Maisie giggling while running into her Dada's arms. live pianist playing Phantom of the Opera on the piano in the San Jose Airport.

I didn't take many photos using my camera {fail} but I did take tons with my phone, but I will save those for the next post.




blue eye. green eye.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ponderosa Park

 Last week we had three days in a row of 75+ degree weather. It was glorious. We spent two whole days in different local parks basking in the warm California sunshine. We are still trying to find our favorite park, I think we are still leaning towards Central park, but there are still many more to explore.

Here are a handful of pictures from our day at Ponderosa Park.