Ava turns 18 months!

Today our sweet baby girl turns a year and a half old! It was only a few days after her first birthday that we moved from San Diego back to Seattle, which means we’ve now been back for six months. Time has flown by and we’ve settled in nicely to our new home. More importantly, we’re only about 7 weeks away from Elise’s due date! Jessica has been busy painting and getting her room ready, and I keep telling Ava that she’s about to be a big sister. Very exciting times for us.

We’re still getting used to living without Bruno. The house feels so much quieter these days and we talk about him frequently. We both still feel really bad about letting him go and have been checking the website regularly to see if he has found a new home. So far he’s still at the shelter but hopefully it won’t be long before someone adopts him. I’d by lying if I said I didn’t miss him.

I got my motorcycle back this week. Had it shipped from my Mom’s house in Vegas and it got here in perfect condition. I just went and got Washington plates for it this morning. Summer is obviously the best time to ride in Washington so I’m glad to have it back. There won’t be much time available for joyriding this summer but I’m looking forward to riding it to work. Every time I get on that thing I end up with an ear to ear grin.

We got to visit with my Mom and Denny on Thursday evening. They were in town for the annual Card Player Cruises trip to Alaska. My Mom hadn’t seen our new house yet so we all had dinner at El Gaucho, then Mom, Ava and I came back to the house so they could hang out for a while. She’ll be back on Friday to spend the weekend with us, but unfortunately I have to fly to Phoenix that Sunday night for work. I’ll still get a couple days with her, but more importantly she has an entire weekend with Ava.

Tonight Jessica and I are meeting our good friends Jodi and Leon for dinner at Rover’s. We celebrated Jessica’s 30th birthday at Rover’s and had one of the best meals of our lives. Its the best French restaurant in Seattle but unfortunately it will be closing in about a month so the chef can move on to open a new place. The Maitre D’ is an old friend that I worked at El Gaucho with for years so I’m sure he’ll take good care of us tonight. I’ve always wanted to go to a French restaurant with my friend Leon because he has worked at some of the finest French restaurants in the country and knows so much about the cuisine. Dinners like these don’t come around often so we’re very excited.

Auntie Dana is going to watch Ava tonight when we go out. Ava loves going over there and Dana is so good with her so its a perfect fit. Our little girl is growing up fast and I think its going to be amplified once Elise arrives. It won’t be much longer before we’re referring to her age in years rather than months. Here’s a few recent pics. Happy 18 months baby girl – we love you so much!!!

Always climbing up on something

Getting ready to go see Nana

Goodbye Bruno – We love you buddy

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.

Bruno as a puppy at the shelter
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

Mother’s Day – 2013

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 Benedict
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

Visiting Mom in Vegas

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!