Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I remember...

Maddie and I will be wearing red, white and blue today to remember the victims of 9/11.  I will be hugging my daughter and husband extra tight this evening and praying for all of the families who lost a loved one on that tragic day.

Monday, September 10, 2012


I have a fever and unfortunately, more cow bell is not the cure for me.

I have baby fever so bad right now!  I feel like my sweet daughter is becoming less and less of a baby every day and she is steadfastly entering toddlerhood with each new milestone.  With this realization I now long to have another newborn baby in our home, the funny thing is is that my friends who have babies the same age as Madeleine are going through a similar baby fever right now.  There must be some chemical or emotion reaction that comes with a child's first birthday that makes a mother want to have another one.

We're not quite ready to add another baby to our family right now so in to curb my desire to care for and cuddle something small and cute we were considering adopting a second dog.  Our current dog, Sox, is a wonderful family pet.

 This is Sox at the beach with us 

Although I felt like adopting another dog was the perfect solution, Mike was a little more skeptical of bringing another animal into our home when we do have plans to eventually bring two more babies into our home.  So we researched and talked and talked some more and searched the local Humane Society and SPCA adoptable pets for our next addition.  We even took Sox to meet a Great Dane/Pit Bull mix this weekend but it turned out to be a less than enjoyable experience for both Sox and Maddie.   So our conclusion...we're a one dog family.  At least for now anyway.  And in the meantime, my baby fever is still running rampant!  So I'll try to sooth myself with remembering how cute and cuddly Sox was when she was a puppy and because she is still a very snuggly and affectionate dog, I can still cuddle her as much as I need to while Maddie cruises around the house at warp speeds.  :) 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Home Renovation Progress

Our home is currently being renovated, and while it's underway we're living about 2 hours west of our home in the bay area.  Which is awesome because it's only 30 minutes away from the ocean, but it sucks because we're now apartment dwellers and our dog is in serious need of her backyard.

This was our house after one week of construction:

And unfortunately I didn't think to take any pictures of the exterior of our house the last time that we saw it but here is what the new addition looks like from the interior from about a week ago:

The arches are where the old back of our house was.  There is now a step down that leads into an open concept family room/dining room with a hallway that leads to a laundry room and master suite.

The double doors are where the new back of our house is. Yay!

Framing is done, plumbing is underway, electrical is pretty much done (aside from the actual installation of switches and lights), all exterior doors and windows are installed.  It's really starting to come together.  Our next to-do items for our home renovation are selecting all tile for the kitchen backsplash (countertops are carrarra marble, floors are wood), tile for the master bathroom and shower floor will be a hexagon marble mosaic, master bath shower walls and bathtub backsplash will be subway tiles, and tile for our entryway.  I also need to select paint for pretty much the whole house except for our original living room (it's the only part of the house that has been untouched).

I have to say, the part of our home renovation that I'm most excited about is the new fireplace (we left the original fireplace, in the original living room, untouched):

The new fireplace will mimic this fireplace (except there will be a TV hanging where that mirror is hanging):

I'm so excited to see the whole project completed and happy that we'll be back in just in time for the holiday season.  Unfortunately, we won't be back in time to celebrate Madeleine's first birthday in our home.  But I do have a plan to make her first birthday and special and memorable one, even if it won't be at home. :)

Have you ever done any remodeling to your home?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Family Vacation Part Two

The rest of our vacation days were filled with time spent at the kid's pool at the resort and wandering around the west and south areas of Maui.  Highlights included:

Threes Restaurant in Kehei

Mike and Maddie at the outdoor patio at Threes

We're from California but we had the best nachos we've EVER had at Threes.  They were delicious!!  The three of us shared them as an appetizer and I can't remember what we had after that because the nachos were so mind blowingly good!  

Cabanas at the Kid's Pool at the Four Seasons

 A view from one of the cabanas

We spent most of our vacation relaxing in a cabana by the kids pool at the resort for several reasons: 1. we could see the ocean from pretty much any seat so even though we weren't sitting on the beach (because our baby can't resist eating a handful of sand) relaxing by the pool was a very close next best thing.  Additionally, the kids pool is awesome, it's two tiered and had a huge waterfall and a small slide and a very cute little heated wading area that was shallow enough for Maddie to walk about in.  Mike and I would go in the pool with Maddie get back out and put her in the pack n play that the staff provided and then they would bring us lunch, Maddie would nap, we'd each read or talk or relax and when she woke up we'd head back up to the room to refresh and get ready for our evening.  It was relaxing and fun and most importantly, the three of us were spending lots of time together. :)


We went to Paia as a day trip but we went early in the morning and had breakfast there and wandered around all of the eclectic shops that line the main road that goes through Paia.  We ate at a little crepe restaurant and both of our meals were very yummy and Maddie nibbled off of both of ours.  The bulk of the shopping that we did on this trip was in Paia, they had the cutest baby items, home items and scarves and accessories that I had seen anywhere else on the island.

Adults Pool at the Four Seasons Resort 

 View from the adults only infinity pool 

 Mike at the swim up bar

 Me at the swim up bar

Mike enjoyed a local beer

The second time that we had a nanny scheduled for an afternoon we put our name in with the adult pool cabana staff in the morning so that by the time we were ready they had a couple chairs open and available for us.  (We could have left the property or gone snorkeling, paddle boarding, scooba, etc but I'm a little paranoid about the "what ifs" of someone else watching my daughter so I decided that we would stay very easily accessible in case a "what if" situation occurred, of course nothing ever happened but still.)  The adult pool views was amazing as was the swim up bar.  Mike and I each had a drink and we shared their huge appetizer sampler platter.  This afternoon was so fun just hanging out with my husband and being dorks and relaxing.  Next time we go I'll know to put our names in in advance so that we can do this twice.

Surfing Goat Dairy Farm 

Maddie and I feeding one of the Goats 

We went to the Surfing Goat Dairy and fed the goats and enjoyed a free sampling of cheese (soooo yummy, I will definitely place an order to have some cheese shipped) but unfortunately we missed the tour of the farm.  The farm was very quaint and family friendly.  Definitely a good family activity to do with young kids.  

Road to Hana

On a whim we drove the road to Hana.  Maddie slept the whole way to Hana, then we stopped and had lunch in Hana and decided that we would drive all the way around and stop in at the winery on the back side and head back to the hotel.  Since Maddie was awake at this point Mike sat in the back with her while I drove.  This was my third time doing to taking the Road to Hana and Mike's second time.  We did this on our honeymoon but it was a chartered trip and we didn't really get to see very much, and because of the time of year that we traveled there were very few waterfalls to be seen.  This time we saw HUGE waterfalls at almost every turn and saw a ton of mountain goats on the backside of the island (where there are lots of unpaved roads, note if you plan on doing this yourself, I highly recommend renting an SUV or Jeep...not a sedan).


 Mike at Ferraro's

Mike at Kimo's

Maddie at Kimo's 

 View from Kimo's

Cotton Candy at Duo - and the best red wine I've ever had, Groth Cabernet 

Mike, Maddie and I before we went to dinner at Duo (taken my nanny Liah)

We ate at Spago once for one of our nanny nights and at Duo for the other night.  Both restaurants were on site and both were very good and very expensive.  Mike and I both preferred Duo over Spago for both food and ambiance and Mike liked Ferraro's food better than Spago or Duo (note, we never had dinner at Ferraro's, only lunch).  We enjoyed a lot of room service because it was just easy for us with the baby, everything we had from room service was excellent.  I wish I had a permanent room service option at home. haha!  One night we wandered over to the Grand Wailea for dinner and we were struck by how spoiled we had been with excellent service and excellent food at the Four Seasons.  During a day trip to Lahina we stopped by Kimo's for lunch on their deck and it was also very good.  Mike had a BBQ lunch plate and I had a caprese salad sandwich.  And in case you forgot, the best thing we had on our trip was the nachos at Threes! Sooooooooo good!

Extra Stuff

Mike went golfing one afternoon at a golf course just down the road in Wailea, he loved it and rented clubs from the course with no problems.  I had 3 spa treatments while we were at the Four Seasons, a pedicure, a massage and a facial.  My pedicure was mediocre at best (I had it done at the Orchid salon) and outrageously expensive, I wouldn't recommend getting a pedicure there and I will not return in the future.  However, the massage I had was one of the best I've ever had in my life at the spa at Four Seasons and the facial was also great and my skin was glowing two days later.  I also took advantage of one of the Four Seasons advertised specials and was able to do the massage and facial in a package for only $200 total, which is an excellent deal anywhere, especially when the services were amazing!  But I do regret the pedicure, it was one of the worst pedicures I've ever had for $85.

On our last night on Maui the resort surprised us yet again:

A book, cookies and juice for Maddie and some more sweet treats for Mike and I to share.

Overall, this was hands down the best vacation that Mike or I have ever taken.  We both now appreciate what family vacations are for: spending quality time with one another.  It's sad but true that this was the most time that Mike and Maddie had spent together since Mike was home the first two weeks after she was born.  When we came back home and Mike went back to work Maddie was saying dada non stop.  I know that she was missing spending so much time with her daddy and Mike told me that he missed Maddie too.  The best part for me is that Maddie was happy and having fun, my husband was relaxing and enjoying his family and when those two are happy it's all I need.  We'll definitely return next August for another amazing family vacation and hopefully we can make it an annual tradition.

What's the best vacation you've ever been on?  What made it so great?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Family Vacation Part One

Our first family vacation was a huge success!  Relaxing, family focused and sooooo much fun!  We went to Maui and spent 9 nights at the Four Seasons at Wailea.  Our entire vacation was incredible, there were only a few hiccups and they were extremely minor.  This was our first time flying with Maddie and she had absolutely zero issues (however, I should add that we majorly lucked out and had the entire row to ourselves on our flight there and back, so we basically ended up with a free seat for her each way).  She had a bottle on take off and and fell asleep on me soon after and slept for half of each flight, and another bottle during our descent and waved at everyone as they boarded and debarked the plane.  Seriously, she's such an easy baby!

Sleeping on me during our flight home 

Before we left I tried to pack as much of our house into our two small suitcases as possible, and I wavered on whether or not we should bring our stroller AND carseat.  I knew we'd rent a car because we wanted to go to Lahina and we wanted to take Maddie to the Maui aquarium.  Because I was so indecisive on the issue I asked hubby what he thought and together we decided to not take our carseat but to rent one through the rental car company.  Turns out that was a HUGE mistake.  The carseat that they gave us to rent was disgustingly filthy, beyond the point of just wiping it off, the cloth portion and belts of the carseat needed to be removed and thrown into a washing machine, since this was a carseat that they presented us with I didn't want to test my luck on another carseat from the rental agency.  So our 2nd stop of our vacation was to the local Walmart to buy a carseat that would suffice through our vacation.  Unfortunately, our selection was pretty limited and because I have only researched a few convertible carseats (none of which were an option here) I picked one pretty blindly.  Maddie hated the temporary carseat and so did I.  Key word here is temporary, we both only had to endure the crappy carseat until our vacation was over and we didn't plan on doing a lot of driving anyway.  

Maddie taking a nap in her carseat during our drive back from Hana

Once we finally made our way to our hotel we were very happy with our decision to stay at the Four Seasons.  This was our first time staying in a Four Seasons hotel ever and we felt like we were definitely getting what we paid for as soon as we arrived.  Upon arrival we were very pleasantly greeted (all 3 of us) with either leis or shell necklaces (I got the lei, Mike and Maddie each got a shell necklace, a big masculine one for Mike and a small dainty one for Maddie) while our luggage was whisked away to our room and our car was whisked away by valet.  During our check in Maddie received not one but three toys while they were checking us in from the kind woman at the front desk.  While we were settling into our room we were yet again surprised by a delivery of cookies, chocolate milk and sand toys for Maddie and a pineapple cake for Mike and me to share.  In our room they had already set up a crib complete with bumper and teething guard (no, not a pack n play that most hotels provide but an actual crib), baby proofed the room with outlet blocks and had baby sized toiletries waiting in the bathroom for Maddie including a miniature bathrobe.  It was so cute and such a good feeling to know that our baby was as welcome at the hotel as we were.  

Baby toiletries and sponges that spelled our daughter's name

After settling in we enjoyed a quick lunch at Ferraro's (Mike's favorite restaurant on their property) took a walk to the nearby Shops at Wailea to pick up some diapers and a few other necessities.  On our way to the Shops at Wailea we passed through the Grand Wailea, neighboring the Four Seasons, and got lost three times in the sprawling resort just trying to get from the beach to the valet area of the resort.  It is a HUGE hotel.  On our walk to and from the shops we walked along the Wailea boardwalk and enjoyed the setting sun.  It was a long flight and a bumpy start to our vacation with the carseat fiasco but we were finally starting to relax.

We saw this thing at the Grand Wailea and it was spinning REALLY fast...I still have no idea what it is

The Beautiful Sunset at the Wailea Boardwalk

On our second day we started off by venturing down to the beach area with Maddie and her newly acquired sand toys in tow.  Maddie isn't a newcomer to sandy beaches by any means.  Since we're only a hop, skip and a jump from Santa Cruz she's been hitting the beach all summer and she has become very fond of sand.  Especially very finely grained sand, actually the more fine the sand the more she likes it.  I know this because she likes to eat sand, especially when it's not rocky.  

This is from a day we spent at the beach in Aptos in July...with sand all over her face 

I was hoping that she would outgrow eating sand before we went to Maui but unfortunately she showed me that she liked eating Maui sand even more than California sand so our time spent at the beach was pretty short.  It was a beautiful beach though and we did take her into the ocean a few times (to get all of the sand off of her) which she seemed very uncertain about.  

Maddie and me sitting on a lounge chair on the beach, I'm trying to unsuccessfully distract her from the sand

The beach from the front row of beach chairs at the Four Seasons

Since Maddie was fighting me to continue shoveling sand in her face was neither relaxing nor fun we decided to ditch the beach and do something a little more baby friendly, the Maui Ocean Center.  This was right up our alley.  Lots to see and very kid friendly.  We brought our BOB jogging stroller on our trip with us as well as our Ergo baby carrier, but unfortunately I didn't use the baby carrier as much as I should have and brought the BOB along more than we should have.  We took the stroller to the aquarium but ended up switching Maddie off in our arms between the two of us so she could see all of the different fish and exhibits.  She spent about 5 minutes total in the stroller...the Ergo would have been perfect, oh well.  She loved the aquarium and this was Mike's first time going to an aquarium with Maddie and he loved her excited expressions. 

Maui aquariums are so much more colorful than California aquariums

One of the reasons that we decided to go with the Four Seasons over renting a condo or staying with another hotel is that they offer nannying services.  Mike and I decided to take advantage of the nanny services at the hotel and booked two afternoons and two evenings to have by ourselves.  The second day we had an afternoon nanny shift from noon to 4:00.  Our nanny showed up 5 minutes early and was well trained, informed, very warm, nice and playful.  Maddie liked her instantly and we felt very comfortable leaving our daughter with someone who is not only trusted by the hotel but by other parents just like us who take advantage of the nanny service everyday (Liah, our nanny that was we were assigned for each of our 4 time slots, was amazing, we highly recommend her and will happily request her next time we return).  So Mike and I went to Ferraro's for a lunch by ourselves (this was the first time we've had lunch together alone since Maddie was born!) and then we went and laid out on two vacant lounge chairs overlooking the ocean (we first tried to get a couple chairs at the adults only pool but apparently you need to put your name in way in advance to get chairs out there, at least we now knew that for the future).  It was a simple afternoon but so relaxing and so nice to just enjoy my husband's company without either of us worrying about something.  When we returned to our room (30 minutes early, because although we weren't worrying about her we still felt a little anxious about leaving Maddie with someone new) we found Maddie snoozing peacefully in her crib.  Instant exhale for both of us.  Our daughter was sleeping, we were relaxing.  Vacation success! 

Enjoying our first baby free afternoon

How we found Maddie when we got back to our room :) 

Have you ever vacationed in Hawaii with an infant?  How was your experience?