Friday, March 15, 2013

Happy 1st Birthday Caitlin!

On March 14 (yesterday) Caitlin turned 1 year old!
Even though she has only been in our lives for 1 year, it definitely feels like she has always been around.  I can't imagine life without her.

Caitlin's birthday celebration has been split into 3 low key events:
1. Playtime at Pretend City with our cousin Connie and her family.
Pretend City is an indoor play area, set up to look like a fictional city, with their own beach, bank, doctor's office, theater, Ralphs, cafe, restaurant, farm, library... the list goes on.  Caitlin had a great time, especially because she was reunited with her BFF.
Can't wait for us to go back.

2. Cake Smash on the day of her birthday.
I baked Caitlin a zuchinni bread "cake" with cream cheese frosting.  The morning of her birthday, before Jeff went to work, we laid out a bed sheet on the church lawn (directly across the street from our home), plopped Caitlin down in front of the cake, and let her go to town!  To my surprise, Caitlin timidly poked at the frosting, offered the frosting to Jeff, and crawled away.  Jeff had to break pieces of the "cake" off and hand it to her to give her an idea what she was supposed to be doing.
What a funny, dainty, little princess.

3. Intimate birthday party at the grandparents house.
This will be next weekend, after my sister flies in from Seattle (she still has yet to meet Caitlin!).  The party attendees will consist of my parents, my two sisters, and my sister's husband.  There should be delicious airy Chinese cake for Caitlin's cake, and dinner afterward  (or perhaps we should do it the other way around?).

A big "thank you" for those who gave Caitlin a birthday gift and/or wished Caitlin a "Happy Birthday".  It really means a lot to me.

Please check our "family" blog soon for Caitlin's 12-month reflection blog post and MORE pictures! (I'll write it up as soon as I can get a little more computer time! That is hard to come by around here!)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

San Diego Trip -Feb 21-25

During the end of February, we took a mini vacation to San Diego!
For Jeff's work, they were attending a job fair at UCSD on Feb 22 and they needed 3 software engineers to recruit at the job fair.  Jeff thought that it would be a great idea to use the opportunity to do a family trip down in San Diego.
The few days leading up to the trip, Caitlin was sick and teething so I was nervous about the trip and considered not going. Luckily, by Thursday morning, Caitlin's cold symptoms and teething pain subsided (maybe the 2 were related?) so we packed up and headed down to San Diego that afternoon.

Thursday - Feb 21
Because we only have the 3:30pm-6pm window to leave the house (since Caitlin needs to eat and sleep all other times), that was the only window of time to drive to San Diego, which sadly, coincided with rush hour traffic.  We left the house at 3:35pm and got there just past 6pm.  I spent the first hour of the drive trying to entertain Caitlin by giving things to Caitlin to play with. By the 2nd hour, Caitlin had ENOUGH of the car ride and wanted out, and no toy would change her mind.  She cried then entire 2nd hour of the drive, then threw up (she throws up when she's upset) then fell asleep (she cried it out! =O).  She spent the remaining 30 minutes of the car ride sleeping and woke when we arrived at the hotel.
We were in a rush to get to our hotel room because Jeff had to leave for a meeting at 6:30pm but because Caitlin's bedtime is at 8pm, I needed Jeff to help me set up Caitlin's traveling crib and tub before he left for the meeting.  Also, because Caitlin is a light sleeper, we cannot unpack, or eat, or do anything in the hotel room once Caitlin is asleep, so that meant that I needed Jeff to help me unpack, get all the necessary things for that evening, and order me some dinner from room service before he left for the meeting.
We left our keys with the valet, had a bellhop help us with our stuff (we had a lot! Caitlin makes us travel heavy!) and checked in.  We lost some time due to the receptionist having trouble finding our reservation, but eventually everything was squared away so we got to our room and hastily unpacked, set up Caitlin's stuff, ordered dinner and sent Jeff off to his meeting.
By 7pm, room service arrived (I ordered the salmon so Caitlin can eat it for dinner), and Caitlin was SO happy to see the dinner.  She must have been hungry from the car ride and the throwing up since she gobbled up the dinner so quickly; I think she ate more salmon than I did.
We finished dinner a little past 8pm (Caitlin is a SLOW eater) so it was already past Caitlin's bedtime.  I did her bedtime routine: bath, lotion, pjs, nursed, and what happened?  Caitlin was still wide awake!!  I think it was due to: her taking a brief nap in the car, her in a brand new environment, and her fearing that I was going to dump her in that foreign crib (she was correct!).  I placed her into her traveling crib and Caitlin let out the loudest cry ever.  I picked her up, nursed her on both sides again, then placed her back into her crib.  The wailing continued.  It was past 9pm by this time.  I let her cry for a couple of minutes then I nursed her again, and Caitlin passed out.  Phew.  I transferred her to the crib at 9:40 and she continued sleeping.  It was nearly 2 hours past her normal bedtime.  Jeff arrived back at the hotel room shortly after 10:00pm and before I was able to finish telling him about my adventure with getting Caitlin to sleep, Caitlin woke up again!  I picked her up, cuddled her in my arms, and she dozed back to sleep.  Thank goodness!  Caitlin slept the rest of the night without an incident.  Luckily, getting Caitlin to go to sleep the remainder of the days of our trip got easier.

Friday - Feb 22
Jeff left early in the morning to go work the job fair.  Too bad, as I was hoping to do a family breakfast together at the hotel's restaurant, or eat breakfast with his colleagues.  Caitlin and I needed breakfast so we went to the hotel's resturant, El Adobe, and ordered food to-go, and we returned back to our hotel room to eat on the beautiful balcony.  After a meal that lasted 1.5 hours, Caitlin easily went down for her nap and so did I.  After Caitlin woke from her nap, I got ourselves ready to go out and explore UCSD.  Instead of eating lunch in our hotel room, I packed a sack lunch for Caitlin and myself (mainly consisting of breakfast leftovers and some snacks I brought from home), so we were able to leave for our afternoon excursion slightly earlier than usual (2:30pm rather than 3:30pm).  I picked up a map of UCSD (which turned out to be useless) from the hotel front desk and we walked from the hotel to UCSD and explored.  We had fun sight seeing the campus.  We saw the sun god statue, the Geisel library, and Price Center.
At around 3pm, I got a text from Jeff saying that the job fair was over.  I decided to surprise Jeff at the job fair by visiting him and his colleagues, so after asking 4 random people to point me in the right direction of the job fair, I finally made it! Jeff and his colleagues were completely beat from the job fair since they had to stand and talk the entire time, as there were students lining up the entire time, all wanting a chance to work at Hulu.  After Jeff was done with the job fair, he was able to join Caitlin and me on our UCSD exploration and picnic lunch.  We retired back to the hotel afterward to unwind.  For dinner, we tried to go to the hotel restaurant, Mustangs and Burros, but they had a very long wait and because it was already 6pm (dangerously close to Caitlin's bedtime), we couldn't afford to wait so we retreated back to our room and ordered room service instead.  After dinner, it was time for Caitlin's bath and then she was off to bed while Jeff and I spent the rest of the night reading and chatting in the bathroom (we can't read or chat in the hotel room, we may wake Caitlin!).  We went to bed at 10:30pm, it was niiiice.

Saturday - Feb 23
Saturday was interview day.  Students that dropped off their resumes at the job fair got called back for an interview if their resume looked impressive.  Despite receiving a large pile of resumes the day before, only 4 got called back for an interview.  Because Jeff's first interview didn't start until later in the morning, Jeff, Caitlin, and I were able to enjoy the breakfast buffet at the hotel.  They had typical breakfast fare (eggs, bacon, french toast, pastries, potatoes, lox, etc).  Caitlin mainly filled up on berries (what a berry fiend!) and I smuggled some boxed cheerios and her unfinished cup of yogurt for her to eat later in the day. While Jeff did the interviews in the late morning, Caitlin and I explored the hotel property and gardens, and also spied on Jeff during an interview (hehe).  Caitlin had her mid morning snack in one of the hotel's gardens. It was so perfect that it was a beautiful, warm, sunny, morning.  Noon time rolled around so we headed back to our hotel room and I put Caitlin down for her nap.  During her nap, I sipped a cup of hot green tea and read a magazine in the bathroom (I know, my life is so glamorous). As I started crawling into bed for a catnap, I got a text from Jeff saying that he was done for the day and was returning to the hotel room.  That was fast!
After Caitlin woke from her nap, I fed her lunch in the hotel room (Jeff and I were still stuffed from breakfast buffet) then we headed out to La Jolla Cove for some sight seeing. 
When we arrived at La Jolla Cove, what did we find?  Seals and newborn baby seals!  What a nice surprise!! We learned from a seal activist that we were in the middle of birthing season for seals and the seals decided to use La Jolla Cove's "children's pool" (the name of the man-made cove made for children to wade and swim in) as their birthing ground. 
We snapped lots of pictures and enjoyed a snack on the sand.  It was nearing dinner time so we decided to walk to the nearby Village of La Jolla to get some Korean food at Little Korea.  It was so hard to find food to eat in the Village because most places were either upscale (not baby friendly) or a bar (not baby friendly!).  We returned back to the hotel room and fed Caitlin a stick of cheddar cheese and the leftover Korean food since she was too fussy at the restaurant to eat.  Then it was time for Caitlin's bath, her bedtime, and for us to hide in the bathroom for the remainder of the evening.

Sunday - Feb 24
We stayed an additional 2 days at the hotel (on our dime) so we could enjoy San Diego even more.  Sunday morning started with Sunday brunch (how can it not?).  We found a nearby a place on Yelp called The Shores, which was accurately named, as it was right on the beach.  Jeff, Caitlin, and I enjoyed omelets while we watched surfers, divers, and kayakers enter the water.  The most amusing part, was watching the kayakers flip over in their kayak as they tried to enter the water.  Of course, I know that I would suffer the same fate if I tried.
After breakfast, we found a small playground and park area, called Kellogg Park, right next to the restaurant so we let Caitlin play .  We left when it got close to Caitlin's nap time.  Because we planned to go to San Diego Zoo in the afternoon (and they close at 5pm!) to maximize our time there, we put Caitlin down for her nap 20 minutes early so we could try and get to the zoo a bit early.  After Caitlin's nap, it was a mad dash to get ready for the zoo and head on over.  To also maximize our time at the zoo, we skipped Caitlin's lunch and packed her some crackers, food pouches, and cheese for her sack lunch (and we didn't need lunch since we had brunch already).  We arrived at the zoo at around 3pm and waited a bit for Jeff's cousin and her 2 kids to arrive.  Even though we brought a stroller to the zoo, Caitlin refused to sit in it so I wore her instead.  It was fun hanging out with Jeff's cousin and her kids (I thought I hated kids, but these kids were really awesome).  The zoo animals were cute, but I think Caitlin was a bit too young to appreciate or even acknowledge them.  Caitlin got really grumpy while I was wearing her, so we took turns carrying her in our arms.  It took us a while to figure out that Caitlin was grumpy because she was hungry since she didn't get a real lunch.  Whoops. What were our favorite animals at the zoo? The capybaras (there were mama and baby capybaras!), the elephants, and giraffes. 
We left the park at closing time (5pm) and we went to a nearby Mexican place, El Indio, for dinner.  I normally don't like Mexican food, but I really enjoyed this place; the food was good, the price is dirt cheap, and they sell jamaica and horchata.  Once again, Caitlin was too fussy to eat dinner at the restaurant so I took her food (fish tacos) to-go and I fed her back in the hotel room.  After dinner, it was time for Caitlin's bath, her bedtime, and for us to hide in the bathroom for the remainder of the evening.

Monday - Feb 25
The day we returned home! I was hoping to leave the hotel by 10am so we could get home by noon for Caitlin's nap but we didn't leave until 10:30.  It was so hard to pack up all our stuff while there was a baby scurrying around!  I let Caitlin play on the balcony since it was our last day and she loved that balcony so much. 
Once we were finally ready to go we called the front desk, who had the valet bring our car to the loading area for us and also sent a bellhop to take our luggage.  This hotel has fantastic service, the best of any hotel we've ever stayed at.  Employees whose jobs had nothing to do with us went out of their way to help us at every turn!  For the ride home, I sat in the backseat with Caitlin and entertained her during the entire car ride.  Caitlin didn't cry once!  Phew.  I was dreading the drive after the awful drive there on Thursday.  Also, because we drove back in the morning, there was no traffic at all and we made it home in slightly under 2 hours.  The house was a frigid 50 degrees so we waited for the central heat to warm up the house while Jeff, Caitlin, and I waited on the front lawn, under the sun, on the green grass.
It was good to be home.

The photos taken during my trip are uploaded to Picasa.  Check them out here.  There are captions on the photos too.
San Diego - Feb 21-25, 2013