Ava’s photo gallery

I’ve been slacking lately on adding more photo galleries to our website, but tonight I decided it was about time that I added one for Ava. I knew this would be an ordeal because we have so many pictures of her, but it’s well worth the time. I went through and picked out my favorite photos of her and tried to keep them as close to chronological order as possible. The order isn’t perfect, but from here on out it should be. Here’s a couple pics that were taken by my good friend Leon when he and his wife babysat Ava last weekend. There are plenty more in the gallery. Enjoy!

My new Jiu–Jitsu school

Today I joined the Gracie Barra (pronounced ‘BaHa’) school in Bellevue, Wa. It’s a super famous school that was started by Carlos Gracie Jr. in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They have nearly 400 schools worldwide, including 6 within 30 minutes of my house. Although its a Gracie school, it’s from a different part of the family than the school I went to in San Diego and the two are not affiliated. While the school that I previously attended is known for self defense, this school is the most famous tournament jiu–jitsu school in the world so I’m excited about the idea of competing some day. For now, however, I need to focus on getting back in shape and getting up to speed with this curriculum.

Getting back on the mat tonight was great, but it was also very humbling. The Gracie Combatives program that I completed as a white belt in San Diego was all about self defense on the street, and was meant to defeat an ‘unskilled’ opponent. Unskilled just means that they don’t know jiu–jitsu. After competing that program you move onto the Master Cycle, which is much more advanced and teaches you how to deal with skilled opponents. Since we moved right after I received my blue belt, I never really got the chance to grapple with advanced opponents, which puts me at a disadvantage at my new school. I have no doubt that I’ll catch up quickly, but for now I need to be comfortable with the fact that I’m going to get tapped out a lot. It doesn’t really matter though, I’m just happy to be taking classes, meeting people, getting exercise, and learning lots of new techniques.

All else is going well. Looks like we won’t be able to visit with Jim, Brenda, Kristy and Madi this weekend but hopefully we’ll be able to get together with them soon. Still looking forward to the party at Butch and Carol’s on Sunday night. Here’s a picture of Ava sporting her fauxhawk today in the tub.

Ava's fauxhawk

A fun day with Anna

Yesterday Jessica and I took our niece Anna downtown to see ‘Rise of the Guardians’, followed by lunch at Il Fornio. We’ve been wanting to do this for a while in order to celebrate her belated birthday but haven’t been able to schedule anything sooner due to everyone’s busy schedule. It turned out to be a lot of fun for everyone. Dana and Brad watched Ava while we were gone, then we watched the Seahawks game once we got home. It was an incredible comeback followed by a last second loss from a long field goal. Tough way to end the season but they definitely overachieved this year and I’m glad we got back to Seattle in time to feel the excitement about them all around town.

Next weekend will be a busy one; I’m working a private party Saturday night at El Gaucho, then on Sunday we finally get to visit with Jim, Brenda, Kristy and Madi, which we’ve been wanting to do since getting back to Seattle. After that we’re attending a birthday party for Butch, which is also a coming home party for us that Carol is throwing. It should be a great weekend.

Our first “Baby E” visit

I worked from home today so the three of us could take a visit to the Eastside Birthing Center. This was our first activity related to our new baby and it went really well. We’re referring to the new baby as “Baby E” because we’ve decided that we don’t want to find out what we’re having, but we know its name will begin with an E. If it’s a boy his name will be Enzo, and if it’s a girl her name will be Eleanor, although she will probably go by Ellie or Elle. Although we had initially planned on finding out the sex as soon as possible, we have since decided to leave it as a surprise. We wouldn’t have been able to do it the first time around because everything was all so new, but we’re much more at ease this time through and like the idea of keeping it a surprise. I can’t think of too many greater surprises life will have in store for us and we wanted to keep this pregnancy unique from the first.

In the spirit of keeping this pregnancy unique, we’re leaning away from delivering at a hospital and are more interested in a birthing center. We certainly didn’t have a bad experience at the hospital in San Diego, and we wouldn’t have been interested in doing things any other way at that time, but this being our second time through we’re more interested in being in a comfortable environment with people that we’ve dealt with throughout the pregnancy. When Ava was born we only saw our doctor for about an hour throughout the entire process. The rest of the time was spent with various nurses that we had never met. Everyone we dealt with was great, but it would have been better to have some familiar faces around. There was a lot of pressure by the hospital staff to have a C–section, which thankfully we did not do, and Jessica spent the entire time in bed, which wasn’t very ideal.

We really enjoyed our visit to the Eastside Birthing Center today, and although we haven’t completely made up our minds quite yet, we feel that this may be the best place for us. We met with the owner, who is one of the three midwives that work there, and really liked her. Ava immediately ran up to her and jumped in her arms, which was a good sign. Ultimately this is Jessica’s decision but I gave her my honest opinion, which was that its a nice place with very warm and caring people. If she decides to go there I will be completely on board. We’re going to give it a couple days before making a decision but we’re feeling good about everything for now.

Our new website

I’ve been planning on designing and building a new family website for a while now, but haven’t been able to make time until recently. Now that we’re all settled into our new jobs and home, and I’ve had a break from school, I decided to finally step up and get it done. My goal was to have this new site completed before starting back up at school, and classes begin tomorrow, so I’m just in time. Jessica and I came up with the color scheme and general layout a couple months ago while we were still living in San Diego, but I’ve only been able to work on it sporadically until these past two weeks. I really love the site, both for its design and its functionality.

One of my favorite new features of this site is the ability for visitors to leave comments on our posts. I say ‘our’ posts because Jessica will now finally be able to write posts along with me, which is really cool. Previously she would have had to learn HTML to write posts but this new site has an admin panel for her to login to and write posts in. Users will have the option to register an account with PellegriniPage.com or login with their existing Facebook, Twitter, or Google account. Even if you don’t have one of those accounts, and you don’t want to register with our site, you’ll still be able to leave comments if you wish.

One of the things that bothered me most about the old version of the site was that the entire site was on one page, which made it very slow to load. We really wanted an archiving system for this new site, so now you have the ability to browse older posts by month. There is also a search bar in the header which makes it easy to find specific posts. The other main thing I didn’t like about the old site was its lack of mobile support. There was only one version of the codebase, which was meant specifically for computer screens. If you visited it on a phone or tablet there was just a shrunk down version of the same site being served and it didn’t look very good. For this new site I have developed 3 versions: one for desktop and laptop computers, one for tablets and high resolution phones, and one for low resolution phones. Although the mobile versions don’t include the animated photo slider in the header, they are much cleaner and easier to read without requiring any zooming or orientation changes. I will point out that not all of the advanced functionality works on the mobile versions but you will certainly be able to read posts, comment on posts, search, and login from any device.

The new site also includes a photo gallery section which is still in progress. We have so many photos and I didn’t want to delay the launching of the site just because I didn’t have all of them optimized and ready for the web quite yet. I haven’t even attempted to tackle all of our baby photos yet but should be doing so fairly soon. The site will most likely be seeing some upgrades in the near future but already I’m extremely happy with it and consider it the best work I’ve ever done. It will certainly make a nice portfolio piece for me, but more importantly it will be much more user friendly and interactive for our visitors. Hope you all enjoy it as much as we do.

Happy New Year – 2013

Today Jessica and I are enjoying a much needed day off together after an incredibly long day yesterday. I worked a normal day at Amazon, then went to Gaucho to bartend at 4:00. Jessica had been there since 2:00 getting things setup, and we proceeded to have a long, busy night. It was a lot of fun though and I’m glad I did it. I definitely plan on filling in there whenever I can. It’s a nice change of pace from the office environment and I always enjoy seeing my old friends from the restaurant industry. Plus we’re saving to buy a house so any extra work will benefit the cause.

Our darling baby Ava got to spend the night with Auntie Dana, Uncle Brad, and her cousins Kallan and Anna. This was only the second time she has spent the night away from us, so we were very happy to get her back this morning. After Dana and Brad dropped Ava off the three of us went to IHOP for breakfast, then got home in time for our friend Laurel to come over for a visit. Looks like the rest of the day will be spent taking the dogs for a walk and watching football/movies. I’m going back to work tomorrow morning but it will be a short week from here on out.

2012 was a great year for us that was full of unexpected change and pleasant surprises. We’re so happy to be back home in Seattle, near lots of family and friends, and excited about all of the good things to come in 2013. Obviously bringing a new addition to our family will be the best part of this year. We’re so fortunate in every way. Happy 2013 to all of our loved ones, both near and far. It’s going to be a great year.