My 32nd birthday

Without question the best part of this birthday is the fact that it’s my first one as a dad. Although today is my actual birthday, we celebrated over the weekend with Amy and Tom up in Los Angeles. Thursday night Jessica and I went out to dinner at De Medici, an Italian restaurant in San Diego’s Gaslamp District that I’ve been wanting to check out for a long time. We had an excellent meal and definitely plan on going back there sometime soon. Friday morning we hit the road and drove up to Beverly Hills. I took a Jiu–Jitsu class at the new Gracie Academy, then met up with the girls and toured around looking at all the beautiful houses. We had lunch on the Sunset Strip then drove over to Santa Monica. It wouldn’t be a trip to L.A. without traffic and we got more than our fair share on our way to Santa Monica. It ended up taking about an hour and fifteen minutes to go just over 10 miles, but it was fun once we got there. Jessica’s friend Erin lives near there so she came out to visit us. We met up with Tom in Santa Monica as well. After walking around the pier we headed over to the Promenade and had a nice dinner.

After dinner Amy and Tom stuck around L.A. while Jessica, Ava and I headed north to our hotel. We were all up early the next morning and arrived at Six Flags right when they opened. We spent about 8 hours riding roller coasters and were exhausted by the end of the day. I still can’t believe how crazy the X2 ride was! Yesterday Amy and Tom flew out early so Jessica, Ava and I took our time leaving the hotel. After breakfast we went to the Hollywood walk of fame and took plenty of pictures of our favorite celebrity stars. We then headed over to the South Bay part of L.A. and drove around Manhattan Beach. We had a nice lunch in Hermosa Beach and then headed home to relax and watch the Olympics.

Today I’m back at work, looking forward to my Jiu–Jitsu class at 11:00 so I can tell all my buddies about the new academy in Beverly Hills. Jessica and Ava are coming to La Jolla after class to meet me for lunch, so that should be fun. This morning I woke Ava up and she gave me the biggest smile. No daddy could ask for a better birthday present. I want to send a big thank you to Amy and Tom for everything they do. They treated us to a very memorable weekend and we appreciate it so much! Enjoy the latest pictures.

Santa Monica Pier
Ava’s first trip to the Santa Monica pier

It’s hard to tell, but this is Michael Jackson’s Hollywood star

Jessica and Ava in front of the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre

Ava and I in Hermosa Beach
Ava and I on the Hermosa Beach pier

Ava turns 8 months old!

Today our little Ava turned 8 months old! She spent the day with Mom and Grandma doing photos and hanging around the house. Yesterday Jessica’s cousin Lauren came over with her daughter Malena and the girls played together while Jessica, Amy and Lauren had a nice lunch. Ava must have been exhausted because she fell asleep at 6:45 and didn’t wake up until 7:00 the next morning. Today I had two jiu–jitsu classes in between working a ton to finish our latest project. Lately I’m the first or second one in the office and one of the last to leave, but the project we’re completing is really impressive and I’m glad to be a part of it. After work tomorrow Jessica and I are going out to dinner at De Medici, an Italian restaurant in the Gaslamp District that I’ve always wanted to check out, then the four of us are heading out early on Friday morning and heading to Beverly Hills.

There is a brand new Gracie Academy in Beverly Hills so I’m doing a class there at 11:30, then we’re just going to hang out and bounce around L.A. for the rest of the day. We’re meeting Tom at LAX that evening, going out to eat, then heading to our hotel in north L.A. county after. Saturday morning we’ll be up early and on the shuttle to Six Flags amusement park. Amazingly enough, Jessica and I have never been on a roller coaster together and we both love them. Six Flags has some of the best roller coasters in the world so we’re both super excited! Sunday morning Amy and Tom fly out of town early so Jessica, Ava and I will take our time heading home and probably spend more time in L.A.. We’ve been planning this weekend for over a year so it should be super fun. I’m sure we’ll have lots of pictures very soon but enjoy these for now.

Hanging out at the beach
Hanging out in the beach tent.
Playing in the sand for the first time
Playing in the sand for the first time.

Our little 8 month old!

Welcome back Grandma!

Last night Amy flew into town from Florida to stay with us for the week. This morning Jessica, Amy and Ava went to Target while I had Jiu–Jitsu and now we’re getting ready to go out to lunch. Tomorrow we’re doing a beach day in Encinitas, so that should be fun… and crowded. I’m taking Friday off work next week so we can go up to L.A. for the weekend. Tom will be meeting us in L.A. Friday night for dinner and all of us are going to Six Flags on Saturday. Can’t wait for that! Should be a really good week.

Ava doing sign language!

For the last couple months we have been doing basic sign language with Ava and there is no doubt that she is starting to pick it up. She has given Jessica the sign for milk a couple times now and does it again as soon as she sees the bottle. This is so exciting! She’s like a little sponge absorbing everything she can. The fact that she is starting to communicate with us blows my mind. She’s only 7 months old after all. Now that we know she is learning signs we’re doing our best to teach her new ones as often as possible. She’s already such a happy baby but if she can easily tell us what she wants she will be even less likely to get upset. We couldn’t be more proud of her.

I received my second stripe in Gracie Jiu–Jitsu today, which means that I have 40 hours of instruction under my belt (pardon the pun) and can start attending our ‘Reflex Development’ class on Saturday mornings. This is a more advanced class that requires a mouthguard and gloves. My Jiu–Jitsu buddies at work are a bit jealous because they want to come to this class but they have to get to 40 hours first. I’ll definitely be going this Saturday.

The day after tomorrow will be the one year anniversary from our first post on this website. It’s hard to believe how different (and better) our lives are now that we have Ava. At this time last year I was bartending, had just gotten back into web design, and was hoping to find a job in the tech industry. Today I’m a senior production developer at an amazing company, working right by the beach in La Jolla, doing development work for companies like GE, Nike and Mattel, and going to school to finish my bachelor’s degree. It almost doesn’t even seem possible but it all worked out so perfectly. I’ve been extremely fortunate.

Jessica and Ava had lunch with our friend Natasha today at the Olive Garden. She’s doing yoga tonight while Ava and I hang out at home. Between her yoga classes and her Zumba classes she’s keeping busy and having a lot of fun. Natasha is going to Zumba with her tomorrow night and it sounds like Amy is going to try it when she comes out to visit on the 20th. I’m just glad she has some private time to do something she enjoys. Lisa told me she has about 150 more photos of Ava for us so hopefully we’ll have some new pics up here soon.

Ava’s latest photo shoot

Yesterday my friend Lisa from work came over to do a photo shoot with Ava. Lisa mostly does weddings and engagement photos but has been wanting to get into baby photos. She asked if she could do a shoot with Ava for her portfolio and we thought it would be fun. It didn’t take long for her to take about 150 photos in a variety of rooms and outfits. This morning when I came into work she gave me four photos that she edited last night and they turned out great! We’ve got plenty more to look forward to in the near future but I wanted to post these first four right away. Jessica also got a really cute pic of Ava and I earlier that morning. Enjoy.