We’ve been busy!

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!

Dinner at Lupo

Hanging out at Stanley Park

Apple – the word of the day

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.

Jess and Bruno stumble

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.

Jeff Bridges and The Abiders

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.

Our 3rd Anniversary

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.