We’ve been waiting for this day to come for a while now, the day where Ava sleeps all night long without interruption. She finally did it last night by sleeping from 11:30pm to 9:30am! Yesterday was a long day for her and she was tired, so I guess that means we have to start going on hikes more often. I don’t normally write posts on consecutive days but this was a night to remember.
Today we celebrated Ava’s three month mark with Dana, Brad, Kallan and Anna, who are down here on vacation for the week. We started off with a beautiful hike at Torrey Pines State Park, then headed down to the beach so Ava could dip her feet in the ocean for the first time. The water was pretty cold so I don’t think she enjoyed it as much as we did, but she didn’t fuss much so that was nice. After a walk on the beach we had lunch at the Brigantine in Del Mar. Since it’s part of the company Jessica works for we always get well taken care of and the view is great.
Kallan had a tax return burning a hole in his pocket so after lunch we went up the coast to Hansen’s Surf Shop in Encinitas and did some shopping. He got a ton of stuff: hoodie, pair of vans, belt, shorts, and a t-shirt so he was super stoked. I got a hat, a pair of socks, and a long sleeve t–shirt, Brad got a new hoodie and Anna got a really cool snowboarding jacket. We took our time heading home and stopped to let the kids get frozen yogurt. Once we got home Jessica did Ava’s monthly photo shoot and she got a great shot. Ava is exhausted after all this activity so the three of us are in for the night. Enjoy the pics from today!
Walking up the hill to the trailhead
Ava dipping her feet in the ocean for the first time
Tomorrow would be my Dad’s 84th birthday. Hard to believe considering I’m only 31 but it’s true. I have a lot of great stories about my dad but the story of how he got the name Elmer is one of my all-time favorites.
Elmer Michael Pellegrini was born on February 24th, 1928 in Aberdeen Washington, a town then occupied predominantly by loggers and Norwegian/Swedish fishermen. Aberdeen gained fame and recognition over 60 years later when the band Nirvana and their front man Kurt Cobain, an Aberdeen native, made it big.
My grandparents, Modesto (aka Mike) Pellegrini and Norina Lora Giuntoli (aka Gigi) were both 100% Italians who had emigrated separately about 15 years earlier. I don’t know how my grandparents met or what brought them to a Scandinavian fishing town on the western coast of Washington state, but that’s where they were. The most important thing to know about the time period that my Dad and his older sister Norma were born in was that it was the 20’s, and it was prohibition. This was unfortunate for my grandpa Mike because, for better or worse, he liked to drink.
Grandpa Mike died long before I was born but my dad always said he was a very smart and crafty guy. One example of this was the fact that he had a hidden bootlegging room behind a false wall in their house. In order to access the room, you had to pull on a coat hook that was wired to a hidden door. Crafty indeed.
Now, back to my dad’s name. Grandpa Mike was friends with a Norwegian guy named Elmer Gibson who just so happened to be the Aberdeen town sheriff. Mr. Gibson knew that my grandpa was a bootlegger so he made a deal with him. He told him that if he named his first born son after him, he wouldn’t take him to jail for bootlegging. Their first child was a daughter named Norma, born on June 15, 1926. Then a couple years later on February 24, 1928, my dad was born, and my grandpa kept his word, most likely making my dad the only full blooded Italian named Elmer in the history of Italians.
A few years later my grandpa Mike was paid a visit by the Feds. Apparently his bootlegging stature had grown beyond the oversight of a small town sheriff. My dad was probably 3 or 4 at the time and was so eager to show off how cool and smart his dad was that when the federal agents arrived at their house, he proudly pulled the coat hook to show them the hidden bootlegging room. I don’t know what happened after that but it couldn’t have been good.
The best thing about this weekend is that we get to celebrate my Dad’s birthday with my sister Dana, her husband Brad, and her two kids Kallan and Anna. This will be their first time meeting Ava so it should be a lot of fun. I know nothing would make my dad happier. I think of him daily, even more now that I’m a dad, and hope to do as good of a job with my kids that he did with his. Happy birthday dad!
This is one of my favorite pictures of my dad – taken in Hawaii, October 18, 1993
Dad & Gigi
Dad and my Godfather Pete when my parents were married in Sun Valley, Idaho
Dad and I on my sister Lora’s wedding day – September 12, 1992
Last night Jessica and I took Ava to the drive–in for a double feature. We never used to go to the drive–in before moving to San Diego but have been quite a few times since. It’s always fun to load up the car with snacks and hang out there for the night, but last night was definitely the most disappointing pair of movies we’ve seen yet. We saw ‘Safe House’ with Denzell Washington and Ryan Reynolds, followed by ‘Contraband’ with Mark Wahlberg. Both movies looked good based on their previews, but both were a disappointment. Neither of us are very tough when it comes to movie critique, but both movies seemed very cookie cutter and predictable. We agreed on the way home that we wouldn’t be interested in seeing either film again and wouldn’t recommend them for anyone else to see. Oh well. It was still a fun way to spend a Saturday night, especially since Ava had never been before. It won’t be long before we’re taking her to see kid movies…
Jessica went back to work at Azul this week. She decided to save the final week of her paid family leave for our family trip to Colorado next month, so Wednesday was her first day back. She was sad to leave Ava but at least she’s with me and not a babysitter. Since we work so close to each other in La Jolla it’s pretty easy to exchange Ava and bring her back to my office at the end of the day when Jessica is going into work. Ava was with me at the office on Friday from 3:00 to 6:00 while I was finishing things off and she couldn’t have been better. Everyone there loves her!
In addition to going back to work, Jessica decided this week to start studying graphic design in order to eventually be able to switch careers and work from home. I had mentioned to her a while back that my company hires contract designers from all around the country that work from home, plus I hire designers to work on my freelance projects, and now that she’s a Mom the idea of working from home on a normal daytime schedule sounds quite appealing. I gave her some books to get started with and she’s been studying hard every day. Since she already has a bachelor’s degree in business marketing, she doesn’t need to go back to school to get into this field; she just needs a really good portfolio of work. I’ve been working on putting together a curriculum for her and it’s been a lot of fun. I can’t wait for the day that she and I can start working together! Jessica has always had a passion for interior design so this should be right up her alley. This new direction is very exciting for both of us and could lead to great things.
Ava is doing quite well these days. She is regularly sleeping for 6–7 consecutive hours each night and seems to have figured out her natural schedule. With Jessica working again, Ava and I are getting a lot more one on one time and I’m loving it. She smiles all the time and behaves better than I ever could have hoped for. We still have some outbursts, like last night when I gave her a bath, but in general she is a very happy baby. Enjoy the new pics below.
We spent Ava’s first Super Bowl Sunday relaxing at home, watching the game, and watching last night’s UFC. I was pulling for the Patriots but the Giants had their number, again. No biggie though, it was a good game and a nice day at home with my girls. We moved into a new office on Friday at work so today Jessica was more than happy to help gather all kinds of sports and music posters around our house and get them ready for me to take to work. I’m also bringing in our old flat screen tv and the Nintendo Wii, plus I’m on the lookout for a mini fridge. We’re making our new office, affectionately known as "The Factory" into the ultimate bachelor pad / production studio. It’s so cool working for a company that wants you to have fun at work and encourages us to decorate as we please.
Here’s a few pics of Ava, Jessica and I taken over the weekend. Happy Monday!
Grandma almost got away with it!
Meal time with Mom
"Watching" the game with Dad
After spending the last two weeks with us, Grandma Amy went home to Colorado yesterday. We had a great time and are always very thankful of all she does. We’re already looking forward to our annual trip to Colorado, which is only about five or six weeks away. That will be Ava’s first trip on an airplane and her first opportunity to meet a relative other than a grandparent from her mom’s side of the family. Enjoy some of the new pics below.