Today was a really difficult day for us because we had to surrender our dog Bruno to a shelter. Bruno first entered our lives in the summer of 2009. My Mom was in Seattle visiting for my birthday and the 3 of us decided to go to the animal shelter. Jessica was the first one to find him and immediately she fell in love. Those big floppy ears and long legs were hilarious and he was instantly gravitated towards us, so my Mom got him as my birthday present. He had been found at Myrtle Edwards Park in Seattle and was assumed to be about 6 months old, so I decided to give him my Grandma’s birthday: January 30th.
Bruno accompanied us on many adventures, including trips to the Cascade Mountains in Washington, the beaches of Southern California, and the desert of Nevada. He never saw a cat or squirrel he didn’t want to chase, but was so clumsy due to his long legs that he couldn’t even run without falling over. His gate resembled a horse more than a dog, meaning he got lots of attention anytime we took him out in public. He is without a doubt the goofiest and most individual dog I’ve ever seen in my life.
Bruno was far from perfect though. He has food aggression issues that are most likely due to the time he spent abandoned in the park. Meal times were often intense between him and Bella but it was never more than we could handle. Bruno is the kind of dog that needs a lot of exercise and time outside; if he doesn’t get those things he starts acting out, which is exactly what has been going on with us for the past 6-8 months. The combination of having a child, plus me getting a day job and going back to school meant that our family had no more time to go to the dog park and take them out on daily walks. Slowly Bruno started acting out more and more, which included peeing in the house daily and escaping from the yard. His life was turning into being shut into rooms by himself and being chained up outside.
Obviously this was a self–perpetuating cycle that only got worse. Bruno didn’t deserve this type of life and Jessica was going insane trying to clean up after him while caring for Ava. This was only going to get worse once Elise arrived, so we made a decision to find him a new home. Jessica was able to find a no–kill shelter in Woodinville that was happy to take him, so today we took him in. I knew this was going to be tough, but it’s been much worse than I originally expected. I’ve never had a dog for this long before and we built a great bond between the two of us. He’s my boy and I feel so guilty that I wasn’t able to do more for him.
This is one of those situations where your brain knows that you’re doing the right thing, both for us and for Bruno, but your emotions won’t listen. I came home from work today and the house felt so quiet and empty without him. I’m sure the shelter will find a great family or person to adopt him and he will soon be living the life that he deserves, but it’s really hard to cope with the fact that I’m never going to see him again. My Mom has always told me that getting a pet means you’re setting yourself up for heartbreak down the road, and that’s exactly how Jess and I are feeling right now. If my little girls read this someday I hope they understand that doing the right thing is often going to be really difficult, but that’s how you know it’s right.
Bruno, you’ve been such a good boy. I’m sorry we couldn’t give you the life you deserve, but I promise we will never forget you. You will always be a member of our family.
This was the first time we saw Bruno at the shelter
This is probably my favorite picture of Bruno. We had only had him about a month at the time.
Walker Hounds are known as "couch hounds"… You can see why
Hangin’ out with Momma
Daddy long legs
Playing at the beach in San Diego
Our final night together
His last morning at the house
By Michael Pellegrini
Today we got to celebrate Jessica’s second year as a Mom. This is a special year because it will bring us our second addition to the family. We’re inside of 9 weeks until the official due date so the clock is definitely ticking. Jess and I both spoke to our Moms today and got to send our love. Amy and Tom are having fun at Disneyland today. My Mom and Denny went to their annual Foreigner concert last night and had a great time.
The thought of going to a restaurant this morning for brunch wasn’t very appealing, especially since Jessica had to work last night, so yesterday Ava and I went grocery shopping at QFC to pick out lots of special ingredients for brunch this morning at home. We got to see Kallan at work for the first time. He gave us the VIP treatment by opening up a check stand just for us when we were ready to leave.
For brunch this morning we had Crab–Prosciutto Eggs Benedict with homemade hollandaise and roasted potatoes. I had never done a Benedict before and had to learn how to make hollandaise, but it came out well. After brunch we took the dogs on a walk and got to try out our new stroller. We got a convertible model that can carry one baby or two. Its way more modern looking than I was imagining and its a jogger. We’re turning into those nerdy parents that have cool kid accessories.
After brunch we got to hang out at home for a bit. Unfortunately Jess had to work tonight but she’ll be off early. I’m staying home with Ava and getting ready for another big week at work. I’m interviewing a candidate for the first time on my own tomorrow morning, which can be chalked up to the list of things that I always assumed I would do here at some point, just not this soon. There’s going to be considerable more work travel coming up, but I’ve set a travel cutoff date of June 24 so that I don’t have to worry about being away when Elise decides to make her appearance.
I got a chance to speak to my Aunt Norma today. I think of her constantly but we haven’t spoken in quite a while. It was so good to hear her voice and update her on everything going on with us. We’re going to pick a date to get together soon so she can finally meet Ava. I can’t wait for that to happen, its going to be really special to see them together.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms in our lives. We love you all and hope you’re having a great day. Here’s a few recent pictures of our family.
Crab–Prosciutto Eggs Benedict with roasted potatoes
Family photo after our walk. It’s impossible to get everyone looking at the same time.
Mother’s Day 2013
Blurry but still cute
By Michael Pellegrini
I’m getting ready to board a plane at SeaTac Airport so I can visit my Mom this weekend. We haven’t seen each other since Ava’s birthday so it will be great to have a visit. I’m also very excited to be getting my motorcycle ready to ship up to Seattle. It’s been in Mom’s garage since November so I’m totally ready to go out for a ride tomorrow. It’s going to be a quick trip since I’m coming home on Sunday but at least I can take her out to an early Mother’s Day brunch on Sunday.
There has been a lot of travel in my life lately and it’s not going to stop anytime soon. Last weekend Jessica and I drove up to Vancouver BC for her birthday. I hadn’t been up there in more than a decade and forgot how much I love that city. It’s so much more international than anywhere I’ve been on the west coast, plus it’s a lot cleaner and the people are so friendly. I could definitely see Jess and I retiring there someday but for now its nice to have it such a short drive away. We’ve gotten used to 5.5 hour drives from San Diego to Vegas, so a 2.5 hour trip to Vancouver feels like nothing.
Whenever we go anywhere we always like to go out to eat, and this trip was no exception. I did some research on Vancouver’s dining scene before going up there and was able to find a couple great places. We went to a modern Italian place called Lupo on Friday, which is in the Yaletown neighborhood of Vancouver. Its in an old house that was converted into a restaurant. The service was good and the food was great. You could tell how much effort went into the visual presentation of the plates. Portions were a bit small but I’m okay with that.
The following day we walked all around Vancouver and did some shopping. I’ve officially adopted the Vancouver Canucks as my hockey team so we went to their team store to get a t–shirt. That night we went to the casino to watch the UFC, then had dinner at a fancy steakhouse called Gotham. I’d been there on my last trip and thought it would be fun to check it out again. It feels a lot like El Gaucho, and you can’t go wrong with a prime steak. Hopefully it won’t be long before we’re back up there. I can see that being our regular getaway from now on.
Grandma Amy is still with us and will be watching Ava while I’m away this weekend. She’s flying out Tuesday morning, and so am I, so we’ll probably go to the airport together. I’m heading back to Southern California for work. It looks like I’ll be travelling for work every other week for the next month or so, but I’ve already told them that I can’t travel after the middle of June since Elise could arrive at any time. Work has been going really well lately and I’m continuing to learn so much. I’ve been really busy with school this quarter, especially with my Macroeconomics class, but my grades are good and the weeks are flying by so I can’t complain. Looking forward to a nice weekend with my Mom and a much overdue ride on my bike!
By Michael Pellegrini
Wow, it’s hard to even know where to start. The past two weeks have been really busy for all of us here at the Pellegrini house. I’ll focus on some of the high lights.
Two weekends ago we took Ava to the zoo for her first time. It was a very typical Sunday in Seattle, sightly over cast and drizzling on and off all day. We didn’t let it stop us, we just layered up and headed out for a fun family afternoon. Ava seemed to really enjoy the whole experience. She tried to learn many of the names of the animals we saw and laughed and clapped the whole afternoon. I think that her most enthusiastic response was to the giraffes, her eyes lit up and she kept pointing and saying “ooh”. On our way out of the park we decided to upgrade to a yearly membership so that I can bring the girls back as many times as we want this summer.
The rest of the next week was pretty routine then on Friday, Michael and I left Ava at home with my mom and we headed off on a three day weekend to Vancouver, BC to celebrate my 33rd birthday. I think I have a crush on Vancouver. It is such a cool city. I have visited a handful of times before but this was the first time Michael and I went together. We literally walked all over the city, we estimated that in 3 days we probably walked about 12 miles. On Friday we drove up and down West 4th, North Vancouver and took a quick driving tour of the University of BC. After that we checked into the hotel and headed out to Stanley Park for a few hours. That evening we had dinner at a cute, little modern Italian restaurant called Lupo and did a little bar hopping.
Saturday was spent shopping in the morning, an afternoon movie, UFC 159 that evening and another great dinner at a Gotham Steakhouse. Sunday we slept in a bit and then went out to a local hotspot for brunch. We went back to Stanley Park for one more look and the city and a little fresh air before we started the drive home. It was a great birthday weekend, lots of great eating (we love to eat) a little shopping, people watching, bar hopping, and lots and lots of walking about the city. We spent most of the drive home talking about all the things we want to see and do on our next trip up.
This week I am planning on getting as much done on Elise’s nursery as possible while I have my Mom here to help. We are in the final stretch, the third trimester, and have about 10 weeks (if she’s on time) to go!
By Jessica Pellegrini
Ava’s vocabulary has been growing steadily lately and it seems like everyday she is saying or signing a new word. Yesterday she did the sign for ‘bird’ several times when one landed near her, and last night she came over to us carrying Jessica’s rain boot and said "shoe." It’s really exciting to see her learning and communicating so much, and I’m not constantly looking forward to what she discovers next. Today however, was all about one word – apple. Jessica asked me this afternoon to feed Ava an apple for dinner tonight because she’s been saying and signing the word for apple all day. Jessica has been on an apple kick lately and it seems to have rubbed off on Ava.
I decided to surprise Ava by slicing the apple before dinner and pairing it with some string cheese (which she loves), but when I gave it to her she didn’t recognize it as an apple because it was sliced into small pieces. I tried to explain that it was an apple, and she kept saying the word apple, but she wouldn’t eat it. I was in the middle of homework so I decided to give her a few minutes with the sliced apple while I worked on my paper. When I came back about 15 minutes later I found her covered in chewed up apple. Apparently she liked the flavor, but not the texture. It was pretty cute though. She used to do the exact same thing with oranges and blueberries but now eats them entirely, so I’m sure apple will follow suit soon enough.
It’s nice to be having a mellow normal week this week considering how crazy last week was. Jessica tripping over Bruno and falling down the stairs was very scary but luckily everything turned out all right. She had her phone with her and was able to call me immediately. I had carpooled with my manager that day and luckily I was driving or else I could have been stuck at work. I felt bad to leave him but made it home in record time. We were able to get into the doctor’s office for an emergency ultrasound and found out that our baby girl was doing fine.
You don’t think about all that could be wrong in that situation until getting to the doctor’s office. Until then the only thing on your mind is getting there, but after the news comes in that the baby is okay you start thinking of how bad it could have been. Hearing that she was okay caused a rush of emotion that you didn’t allow yourself to feel during the heat of the moment.
Unfortunately this situation felt oddly appropriate based on Jessica’s fainting incident at a grocery store in San Diego a couple years ago. It turned out to be the only incident during her pregnancy with Ava so hopefully this will be the only incident of this pregnancy as well. I keep getting tempted to refer to our new baby girl as Elise but we haven’t finalized her name quite yet. That’s definitely my preference so we’ll see what happens.
Luckily for us, Jessica’s boss Cooper is a friend of ours and when I told him what happened he immediately gave her the week off to recover. It was restaurant week in Seattle meaning that things were crazy busy, but it didn’t matter to him. He even went out of his way to call and check on her both days when I was out of town to make sure everything was okay. This really meant a lot to both of us. I was hoping to thank him in person when I worked at Gaucho on Saturday night but he wasn’t there.
Tomorrow is Friday meaning another week has flown by. No traveling this week, which is nice, but lots and lots of coding. I’m constantly learning new stuff at work and am getting closer to taking a leadership role within a project. I’m really busy with school these days but am looking forward to taking the family to the zoo on Sunday if the weather permits it. Here’s a pic of Ava making a mess of her fruit and cheese dinner.
By Michael Pellegrini
This afternoon came with a little bit of a scare. Bruno and I took a tumble down our stairs. I can’t say for certain who’s fault it was exactly, but it ended with me laying flat on my back on our hard slate entry way flooring. Bruno was cowering in the bathroom because he knew something was wrong. Meanwhile Ava and Bella are sound asleep. My first thought was of the baby and my first reaction was to call Michael. Luckily I was holding my cell phone so I dialed Michael up at work and gave him a brief run down of what happened. He, of course, was instantly concerned and rushed home to help. We called our midwife who suggested we head straight in to get an ultrasound to make sure that everything was ok with our littlest girl.
Thankfully we were able to get into Eastside Maternal Medicine instead of having to head to the ER. The staff was very sweet and extremely reassuring. They looked at several different things and everything was exactly as it should be. All in all, myself and baby were very lucky. I will be sore for the next few days but that’s nothing that I can’t handle and I’m so very thankful that things worked out the way they did. Now I have an excuse to sit around and relax while Michael is gone for work the next two days.
By Jessica Pellegrini
Last night Jessica and I went to see Jeff Bridges and The Abiders at the Moore Theater in Seattle. Although he is much better known as an actor, Bridges is also a talented musician with an album that we regularly listen to in the car. We’ve known about this upcoming show for a while but weren’t able to purchase tickets online unless we wanted to pay double face value. We decided to risk it so Jessica took the night off and we just went to the box office to see if tickets were available. Luckily they were and we ended up seeing a great show.
I’ve been a big fan of Bridges ever since seeing The Big Lebowski many years ago, and then I had the pleasure of meeting him one evening at El Gaucho. I was bartending when he and his wife came in for dinner, which was shortly before we moved to San Diego in 2010, and I ended up buying him a drink. We chatted for a moment and I remember loving how genuinely friendly he was. He took the time to ask me about myself and couldn’t have been nicer.
It was immediately obvious at last night’s show that I wasn’t the only Lebowski fan in the audience. The first time he made reference to his character "The Dude," the place erupted. He played a couple songs from the movie, one of which was saved for closing out the night at the end of their encore. In between songs he told stories about his life and where a lot of these songs come from. We ended up having a really nice time so it’s good we took the chance and decided to go.
Ava stayed home with a babysitter last night, which meant she insisted on staying up later than normal. I was fine with it though because today is Saturday and she allowed us all to sleep in. My new quarter at school begins tomorrow so I’ve got to get back into homework mode. Five quarters to go until graduation and this is my final quarter with any type of prerequisite class. After this quarter I’ll be doing nothing but programming in Java, which is what I joined for and have been looking forward to for a while. This quarter will include Macro Economics, Systems Acquisition and Sourcing, System Integration and Organization Deployment, and Math 305, which is a statistics class. In other words, this quarter is going to suck, but it will be sometime very shortly after this quarter that our new baby girl will be here, so we have something very big to look forward to.
Jessica is working tonight and tomorrow night so it looks like Ava and I are in for the weekend. I’m flying to Southern California for two days this week to conduct user experience tests with our fulfillment center associates on a new web application I’m working on. It’s going to be two very long days with minimal sleep in between, but it should be really interesting. I’m expecting our findings from these tests to be pivotal for the development cycle. Everything is going very well in the world of Amazon. I’ve been there long enough now to know what people are talking about and have been able to get started on multiple projects. I have a manager and a mentor that are both dedicated to helping me advance within the company, so everything is on the up and up.
Going out twice in one week is most uncommon these days but it was our anniversary week and both nights were super fun. We’ve now got Vancouver B.C. for Jessica’s birthday weekend later this month to look forward to. Grandma Amy will be coming out to visit and watch Ava while we’re gone, then my Mom will be visiting next month. Lots of good stuff around the corner.
By Michael Pellegrini
Last night we celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary by going out to dinner and doing some shopping. Since it was a weekday I went to work like normal, then met Jessica and Ava in Queen Anne at Laurel’s place. Ava spent the next few hours with Laurel while Jess and I went out. We had dinner at The Capital Grille, which is a nice steakhouse downtown that neither of us had ever been to. Two of my best friends, Leon Palmer and Craig Perez, both work there and luckily they were both working last night, so we got to visit with them and get caught up.
Dinner was excellent; they took outstanding care of us and treated us to much more than we could have ever expected. After dinner we went shopping downtown for our anniversary gifts. Jessica had ordered me a new pair of Doc Martens boots but they were a size too big, so we went to the Doc Martens store on 2nd avenue and got a different size. After that we went to Nordstrom so Jessica could pick out a new hand bag. She’s been wanting a new one for a while so I thought it would make a nice gift. She ended up finding something she loved so we were both happy.
I’ll never forget getting the news that Jessica was pregnant on our 1st anniversary, so that’s going to be pretty tough to beat, but last night was a really great night. We’ve been so fortunate to be able to say that every year keeps getting better for us, and that will certainly be the case this year with our new addition to the family. Speaking of which, we’ve decided to reconsider names for our little girl but haven’t finalized quite yet. The new name frontrunner is Elise, which we both like, so we’ll see if it sticks. I’m hoping it does since it was my idea Only 3 more months until our new little sweetheart arrives.
By Michael Pellegrini
We were invited to Jim and Diane’s Easter Sunday party today, so the three of us went over and had a nice time. Ava kept busy running around outside and going up and down the patio stairs. We tried laying her down for a nap twice but there was too much going on for her to fall asleep. There were several kids over there so they had an Easter egg hunt in the yard. Ava didn’t seem very interested in hunting for eggs but was having fun regardless.
Eventually Ava wore down and needed to go home for a nap but we had a really nice time. Jessica is working tonight so Ava and I are relaxing at home. I’ve got another big week at work starting tomorrow, plus Jessica and I are celebrating our third anniversary on Wednesday night. I was about to say it’s hard to believe it’s already been three years, but when you consider the impending arrival of our second daughter it kinda puts things into perspective.
Yesterday Jessica went to Julie’s baby shower, which was being held at the big green house (BGH) we used to live in. She still hadn’t seen some of our friends that live there so it was good for her to go and catch up. Friday night Jess and I worked together at El Gaucho. I was expecting to bartend but when I arrived I found out that I would be serving a private 5 course wine dinner featuring wines from DeLille Cellars here in Washington. At first I thought they were kidding but it ended up being a lot of fun. I haven’t worked in El Gaucho’s dining room in a really long time so it was cool that Jess was there.
Here are a few pics of Ava today at the party:
By Michael Pellegrini
Tomorrow night I’m flying to Phoenix with my manager and another co–worker to conduct an "Expert Review" on Monday of an existing software system in our fulfillment centers. We’re going to look at what they have been using and brainstorm some new ideas for a more modern, user friendly tool. I’ve never been to Phoenix before and it’s supposed to be 80 degrees, so I’m all for it, however it doesn’t look like I’ll be seeing much sun while I’m there; mostly just warehouses and rental cars. We’re only in town for 21 hours so its going to be a little hectic.
All else is going very well. Just finished another quarter at school today and have a two week break. Only 15 months to go until graduation. Jessica is doing great in her pregnancy and seems much more at ease now that she knows what we’re having. I keep telling Ava that she’s going to have a little sister but it seems to be falling on deaf ears. Ava and I are getting an unexpected night at home together this evening because the private party that I was supposed to bartend at El Gaucho for ended up getting cancelled. This was a relief. I think we’re going to spend the rest of the night watching movies and trying to keep her play room clean.
By Michael Pellegrini