Girls Night In

It was kind of a rough week around here. We’ve all been a coughing, sneezing, cold sweaty mess this week. The whole house has been battling the common cold in one form or another. Fortunately for us, it only presented itself as stuffy nose for Elise. Michael and I had mild fevers, sinus headaches, stuffy and runny noses, the whole sha-bang. Poor little Ava, although she took it like a champ, she was down and out for over a week. We decided it was best for all of us that we played it easy all week and rested as much as possible. Plus, we didn’t want to spread our germs to anyone else. It was disappointing that we had to cancel dinner plans with family earlier in the week but it was the best for everyone. Yesterday was the first time that the girls and I had much activity all week.

Ava went shopping with Daddy at Costco in the morning while Elise and I stayed home and cleaned the house and did laundry. After Michael and Ava returned with a load of booty from Costco I headed out to the grocery store to fill in the gaps for our nights dinner and daily needs. We all spent the rest of the day either napping (the girls) or preparing for our evening. I finished cleaning and setting the table and Michael jumped into the kitchen and began his mise en place for dinner. We all hosted our first dinner party since moving back!

It was a “Girls Night In” with Chef MP. Included, by the handsome Chef, was an all night playlist from our favorite artists and a digital menu. Yes, a digital menu. Michael put together the menu that morning and then designed and coded it and sent a link out to each of our guests. It was so cool. Here’s a link if you want to see what we enjoyed: It was a delicious seafood feast that everyone loved. It was not an easy task to accommodate all of the dietary needs at the table. Michael did an awesome job making everyone happy.

Our guests for the evening were some old friends that we’ve been wanting to connect with for far too long now. It’s frustrating how easy it is to let life get in the way of making time for good friends. Julianne and Penny two ladies that we love and admire. These woman have been in our lives for longer than the two of us have been together. They are practically the reason that Michael and I became a couple. I could go on and on about both of them but I’ll just say that they are old (in time, not age), dear friends and it was a pleasure hosting them. Our beloved friend, Laurel joined us as well. She has known JJ and Penny for a long time but has not seen either of them since our wedding, more than 3 years ago.

Lucky Michael, spent the night with 4 women, 2 little girls and a female dog. He pretty much hosted the whole event on his own (he did all the hard work). We enjoyed a nice, long, leisurely 3 course dinner at the table. Sharing wine, good memories and stories of recent adventures. We ended the evening with the girls both asleep and all of the adults curled up on the couch enjoying dessert and laughs with Planet Earth playing in the background. It was an awesome night.

Today we are all at home relaxing like we love to do on Sundays. This week I start back to work on Wednesday and will be working 4 nights in a row. Its likely going to be a little rough to work that many nights consecutively after over 3 months off but I’m sure I’ll be fine. I’m not sure what my schedule is going to look like every week but my hope is that it’s usually only 3 nights a week with Sunday and Mondays off. We’ll see. I have mixed feelings about going back but am looking forward to a little time out of the house with some more consistent adult interaction. My reservations are only because I worry that Michael will struggle to get homework done on nights that I’m gone. I know that we will all figure things out and find a routine that works for us, I just find it hard not to worry in the interim.

Michael is off school for one more week. His classes start back up next weekend. I imagine that he will spend as much time as possible on his new project (the recipe site) this week. He is really enjoying putting it together and I love being able to be the middleman and help out a little. We’ve already had some great things sent to us. It will, no doubt, be a great site. Keep all the recipes and stories coming.

Here are a few pics of our friends getting a little snuggle time with Elise. I think that she loves to be held more than anything. It’s always a sweet, special moment to witness someone you care about meeting your child for the first time. Simple pleasures.

Julianne and Elise
Julianne and Elise

Penny and Elise
Penny and Elise

Happy Birthday Bella!

My good, old, sweet Bella turned 9 today. I can’t believe how much has changed in the 9 years for the two of us. She was only 6 weeks old when I met her at a home shelter near Woodinville called Lil Waif. The woman sheltering the litter called me first because she knew that I was thinking about getting another dog. I had recently lost a 6 month old puppy from one of her previous litters to an over aggressive monster trunk in downtown Kirkland (very tragic event that led to Bella). I met all 5 pups at one time and they were a strange looking mix of adorableness.

Bella’s mom was a Labrador Retriever and her Dad was a German Shepard/ Rottweiler mix. I chose Bella because she was to me the cutest, female, and strangely enough she was the only one that didn’t whine when I put her down, she just sat quietly looking at me like she knew she would eventually be coming home with me. It was a weird instant connection. Two weeks later just before Thanksgiving of 2004 I brought her home; my first true responsibility. At one point I would probably have phrased that as I brought home my first “baby” but now that seems strange to say. Bella was however the first living being that depended on only me. Because of this she has changed me in many ways, forced me to grow up and has given me a different perspective on unconditional love. It never fails to amaze me how excited she is to see me each and every time I come home.

Bella truly is a great dog. Not one without her annoying quirks but still a great, loyal, loving and most of the time mellow girl. She has moved from Kirkland to Woodinville to Queen Anne then Ballard next Pacific Beach, San Diego to La Mesa, CA and now Bellevue, WA! In 9 years that’s a lot of adjusting and each time she has proved to be an adaptable family member. She has lived with over 10 different roommates and was affectionately welcomed into the Pellegrini family by Michael when we moved in together in 2008. Although we still refer to her as Bella Rudd (it has a ring to it) she is definitely a Pellegrini. Her favorite thing to do at home is sleep, she loves chasing Ava around the front yard these days and can not resist the urge to swim if within 75 feet of almost any body of water no mater how big or small. Her nicknames include, Bellers, Belle, Bells, Bella Rudd, B, Old Maid and the Fun Hater. She has proved to be a great dog with kids and does not even flinch when Ava pokes and pulls at her. We all love Bella.

Happy Birthday, Bella! You’re a good girl.

The rest of the family is doing ok. Everyone has been a little under the weather the past few days. Thankfully Elise appears to be the only one with no symptoms of illness. She is doing wonderful and attended her first wedding with Michael and I this past weekend on Whidbey Island. She was an amazing wedding guest and didn’t do anything but enjoy herself all afternoon and well into the night.

Ava is continuing to get better every day but is still not her vibrant, unstoppable self these past few days. She has been enjoying a lot more down time than normal which I have to admit is kind of nice. She isn’t usually one to lay down and watch a movie with you but we have been doing a bit of that and enjoying it. She had a great weekend with Grandma while we were out of town and the 3 of us dropped her off at the airport yesterday. It was, of course, another awesome trip. So much so, that I think we are all a bit exhausted from it. Combine that and this little bug and we are all on a little bit of forced downtime.

We have a few dinner parties planned for the week. One with Dana, Brad, Kallan and Anna tomorrow night at their house here in Bellevue. Another planned for Saturday at our house with a few friends. Michael is off school for the week and it’s my last week off before I start back up part time on 10/1. We’ll make the most of it with a good mix of fun, family and down time.

Bella on her 9th birthday
Bella on her 9th birthday

Melissa and Jamie's wedding on Whidbey Island
Melissa and Jamie’s wedding on Whidbey Island

Send us your recipes

Michael has been hard at work on a new project and we would love all of your help with it. He is putting together a family recipe website to share all of ours and hopefully your recipes with each other. It’s a site that is helping him learn a new skill and it’s something that we think will be really nice to expand on over the years. We want to include as much information about the dish as possible. Here’s what you can send us:

About this dish (2-3 sentences about the dish, or the person the dish is inspired by)
Photo (Optional – can be a photo of the dish or the person the dish is inspired by)
List of ingredients
Cooking instructions

The categories of recipes on the site will be: Breakfast, Salads, Soups, Entrees, Sides & Deserts. We’d love any of your contributions as soon as you can, but you can continue to send us more over time as well. Once the site is up and running we will send out another email letting you all know about it. Please send all of your information to me at this email address:

We look forward to seeing and trying all of your favorite foods. The more contributions we get the better. Thank you!

A Weekend on Whidbey Island

Yesterday I took the day off work so Jessica, Elise and I could go to Whidbey Island for Jessica’s friend Melissa’s wedding. Ava stayed home with Grandma for the weekend but we decided to bring Elise because there are going to be four other newborns at the wedding, three of which are girls whose names start with the letter ‘E’. We have Evelyn, Ellie, and Elise, all of whom are less than 6 months old. Pretty funny.

Friday was pretty much the perfect day. For those who aren’t familiar with Whidbey Island, you drive north from Seattle for about a half hour to a town called Mukilteo, then you catch a ferry ride about 20 minutes out into the Puget Sound. Whidbey Island is probably most well known for the mussels that come from Penn Cove, which is north in a small town called Coupeville. It’s got a nice laid back vibe with beautiful views all around of the water and neighboring islands.

After getting off the ferry we drove a few miles to the center of town on the island. Jessica and I were starving, but so was Elise, and that takes precedence. We walked down to the beach and sat on a picnic table while Elise ate. Once it was our turn to eat we went to a little French bistro we found on Yelp called ‘Prima.’ The ratings were good so we decided to check it out, and I’m so glad we did because the meal was excellent. We started off with cocktails, snails cooked in garlic butter, and the brochette du jour, which ended up being a beef skewer with grilled onions and a tomato compote. For our main course Jessica had wild prawns with truffle honey and I had a reuben sandwich with fries. We also shared a bowl of Penn Cove mussels cooked in lemon, white wine and shallots. Every single thing we had to eat was delicious! We sat outside so we could enjoy the nice weather and Elise was as perfect as can be. She was awake the whole time but never made a peep. This ended up being the highlight of the day. I would definitely recommend Prima to anyone on Whidbey Island looking for a nice meal with some French flair thrown in.

After lunch we checked into our cottage, which was about 3 miles north from where we had eaten. It’s on a section of the Island called Bells Beach, and it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s a small cottage owned by a local resident that has been remodeled and turned into a bed & breakfast. I took a couple short video clips giving a tour of the place that can be found at the bottom of this post. If you watch the video you’ll see that there’s a nice mix of old–world charm and modern amenities. You’ll also notice the incredible view we have! There’s a nice big deck out front, a huge lawn, and our own private tram that takes us down to the beach.

We were pretty tired after getting checked in so the three of us took a nap, then watched a little TV before getting ready for dinner. We went into town to pickup a few groceries and a pizza, then came back to the cottage to eat. After dinner we went up the road about a mile to the house where Melissa, her soon–to–be husband Jaime, and several of their family members were staying. They were having a pretty big party with deserts and drinks so we thought it would be fun to stop by and say hello. As usual, having a baby in your arms at any kind of social situation means you will quickly be engaged in conversations, mostly with mothers asking how old she is and whether or not she’s normally awake at this time of night. We weren’t there for too long but it was nice seeing everyone. I think the wedding later today is going to be a lot of fun. They seem like a great group of people.

After that we went back to the cottage and finally enjoyed a bottle of champagne that was given to us by Johnny, my old boss from the Tractor Room in San Diego, as a gift when Ava was born. It’s a nice bottle that we’ve been holding onto for a while now so it was good to finally get to enjoy it. We fell asleep watching a movie and had planned to sleep in today, but the bright beautiful view woke everyone up at 8:00 and we decided to stay up. We’ve got several hours before we head out to the wedding so I think we may take a walk on our private beach. We’ll be staying here again tonight then heading home tomorrow after breakfast. I’m hoping to be home by 1:00 to watch the Seahawks game but we’ll see how it goes.

We got a couple updates from Grandma yesterday and it sounds like they’re having a great time. Ava has been sick for the first time this week so it was hard to leave her, but she seemed almost 100% by the time we left. Earlier in the week she had a fever and stomach ache, which was a first for her, but she toughed it out like a champ. She really is a tough little kid. She takes all kinds of spills at home but always dusts herself off and keeps going. She’s definitely a lot tougher than I was as a kid. I’m sure my Mom could attest to that.

Looking forward to a nice afternoon/evening with everyone later today. Although we’re only an hour from home it definitely feels like we’re on vacation. I love little weekend getaways like this, especially considering how many fun places there are to visit in the vicinity of our home.

Happy in her car seat
Happy in her car seat

Jessica feeding Elise on the beach
Feeding Elise on the beach

Click here to watch part 1 of the tour of the Bells Beach cottage

Part 2 of our cottage tour

Elise turns 2 months

Today was a big day. Started out with breakfast at home, then went out for a day of park–hopping. We picked the grandparents up and toured downtown Seattle on our way to the Ballard Locks. We spent lots of time watching the boats, talking to fellow tourists, chasing after Ava, and enjoying the typical Seattle weather. After almost 2 hours we decided it was time for a new park and headed over to Gasworks.

We got to Gasworks and planned to setup our picnic and enjoy the views for a bit, but instead it was more like sitting in goose poop, eating half our snacks while the other half remained forgotten at home in the fridge. We made the best of it and enjoyed some dried fruit, candied nuts and crackers, and sat looking out over Lake Union, reminiscing about the Grandparents last visit to Seattle, which was for our wedding. We worked in shifts chasing Ava all around the park and decided on getting ice cream at Molly Moon’s.

Again we packed everyone up in the car and drove a few blocks up the hill for what we had been told was some of the top rated ice cream in the country. We each got our own snack and sat inside the small creamery next to a nice family from Illinois with 3 small girls. There were plenty of sticky fingers at the table. After some outstanding ice cream everyone was ready for a little rest before dinner.

After relaxing and cleaning up at home the family went out for dinner in downtown Bellevue while Ava got to play at the drop–in. It was a very full and enjoyable day. Both girls were great the whole time and are happy to go anywhere you like. Elise is growing fast and doing very well. She’s such a good baby.

Elise 2 Months
Elise at 2 months

At the Ballard Locks
At the Ballard Locks

Elise and her Great Grandma
Elise and her Great Grandma

Like Mother Like Daughter
Like Mother Like Daughter

Good bye iPhone

On a somewhat spur of the moment move, we both got new cell phones tonight. He text me this morning to see if I would be ready to update my phone, something we’ve been talking about for a while now. I happily agreed. We were both ready to turn in our iPhones and upgrade to something new. For me it was mostly for a better camera, nicer screen, and fresh style. Agreeing to the switch also means learning a completely new operating system, Android, and all new apps. Ugh.

Michael got a HTC One and I got a Samsung Galaxy S4. Speaking for myself, please excuse any delays in my responses. After having an iPhone for so many years this is going to take me a while to get used to. I actually had to have Michael show me where the home and power keys were. He gave me a nice little tutorial on the basics but it will probably take me a good day maybe two (depending on the willingness of the girls) to get used to it.

For now both of the girls are finally asleep and we can play with our phone for the rest of the night.

Another good weekend

We’re relaxing at home on the couch tonight wrapping up another very good weekend. I worked an event at The University of Washington most of the day on Friday. It was their 12th annual Recognition Gala. It was a grand event for 530 of the University’s most generous donors. It took place in both the Odegarrd and Suzzallo Libraries. Me and 29 co-workers set up make shift kitchens, bars, dish rooms, drink stations, etc within the stacks of the library. Dinner was held in a large ballroom. The special guests of the evening were Costco co-founder Jeff Brotman and his wife Sandy. The night was filled with several prestigious guests, it was the largest and most magnificent event I have ever worked. I had a lot of fun. It was not only nice to get out and reconnect with some of my co-workers but I also met employees from both our Bellevue and Tacoma locations. It was a long, almost 12 hour shift but I’m glad that I was able to work it. I will definitely enjoy this last month off but I look forward to going back to work in October.

Saturday we slept in a bit and spent a relaxing day at home watching college football and playing outside. Michael started a meat lovers chili in the crock pot for Sunday and we watched a great baseball documentary that evening. It wasn’t an exciting day but it was great all the same.

Today was a lot like Saturday. We had family breakfast around 9:30 followed by the Seahawks season opener against the Carolina Panthers. My friend, Laurel, is a big Seahawks fan and came over to join us for the game. The Seahawks pulled off the win to start the season off with a bang. Great morning. The weather did a 180 by 2:00 and was nice and sunny out so we all went out for an afternoon walk. After letting the chili simmer for 24 hours we tried out our first slow cooked meal of the season. Another winner. It was awesome! Michael added 5 different meats, 2 different beans, mushrooms and bell peppers with lots of seasoning and a touch of fresh rosemary. After dinner we continued to finish watching the rest of the football game. Now it’s just a little more relaxation time before bed. What a great Sunday, I know that it’s about as close to perfect for Michael as it gets and I totally agree. Another good weekend in the books.
This week brings us more visitors, doctors appointments, 2 month milestones and so much more.

A nice day at home with my little girls

Today Jessica is working a private event for El Gaucho at the University of Washington. This is her first time working since having Elise so it’s a big day for us. She won’t be going back to work on a regular basis for another month, but they needed help today and she stepped up. What we didn’t realize until last weekend was that they were going to need her there at 1:00pm. Luckily my manager at work is super cool and allowed me to work from home today. In the end I wound up working 11 hours, which is more than I would have done had I gone into the office, especially on a Friday.

For the past week I’ve been writing software tests at work, which isn’t something I normally do, but it needed to be done in order for us to get some new features ready for the application we’re building. Software tests are little programs that test the various different functionalities of an application. Before you can release an application you need to know that it’s working correctly, and software tests are vital in making that verification. I volunteered to do it, knowing that the tests needed to be written in a language that I have no experience writing. There was a pretty steep learning curve but after a couple days I pretty much had the hang of it. I didn’t really think much of it, and ended up enjoying the work quite a bit, but my manager was really impressed and gave me some nice public praise. One of the software engineers who reviewed my work told me I should consider switching career tracks and focus on writing software tests. He meant it as a compliment but I thought it was funny. Although I love what I do as a web developer, and don’t plan on changing career paths anytime soon, it’s been nice to learn something new and know that I have other talents related to the tech world.

With Jessica being gone all day that meant that I had to take care of Ava and Elise while working. I was a little nervous about how this was going to play out. The three of us haven’t spent this much time alone together but everything ended up going great. There were a couple funny moments where I found myself holding Elise in my left arm, feeding her a bottle which I was using my lips to hold steady, while typing work emails and coding with my right hand. It was challenging but I think its important to cherish times like these and not get too caught up in the moment. No matter how difficult having two very small children can be, I know it won’t be long before Jessica and I find ourselves longing for the days when the girls were so young. It’s important to enjoy every stage while you can because it won’t be here for long.

In addition to getting a ton of software tests written today (284 to be exact), I was able to unload the dishwasher and clean up the play room. I still haven’t found the time to shower or make dinner for myself but that’s how it goes. Jessica told me she expects to be home around midnight, and I’m going to do my absolute best to wait up for her and see how the event was, but I can’t make any guarantees. Coding for that long makes your eyes hurt and your brain numb. After I finally eat dinner it’s going to take everything I’ve got just to keep my eyes open.

Since today was all about work, tomorrow will be all about school. As expected, the further I go with school the more challenging it becomes, but I’m starting to learn some pretty cool stuff. I can finally say that I’m actually enjoying the curriculum, plus it’s starting to help me out at work, so that’s good. Now that football season is here I’m doing everything I can to keep Sundays completely free. I don’t care how many hours I have to work Monday through Saturday, I just want to be able to relax at home on Sundays with my family and watch some football. One of my favorite Sunday traditions during football season is to start a crockpot with something delicious in the morning, let it cook all day while I’m watching games, and then have a nice dinner at the start of the night game. Although Jessica doesn’t love watching games like I do, she’s always very considerate and wants me to enjoy my day off. I don’t think she minds the home cooked meals either…

Next week we’ve got more visitors coming into town. Amy and Tom are flying in from Florida on Wednesday, then Amy’s parents arrive from Iowa on Thursday. We don’t have room for four visitors so they’re staying at a hotel nearby. I’m sure everyone is getting excited to see the girls, especially Elise since none of them but Amy has seen her in person yet. I think their visit lasts a week, but Amy is sticking around to watch Ava the following weekend while Jessica and I spend the weekend in Whidbey Island for her friend’s wedding. We’re bringing Elise with us so that Ava and Grandma can have lots of fun playing together.

As usual, the train keeps chugging along and we rarely find ourselves with any dull moments. My Mom is planning on coming out for a visit in October, then again in November when we celebrate Ava’s second birthday. It was great seeing Rick and Chris last week and I’m looking forward to seeing more family next week. I’m sure there will be plenty of new pictures coming soon.

A great weekend with Rick and Chris

Yesterday Rick and Chris flew back to Iowa after spending four days with us. It was a great trip that flew by too quickly. We had a really nice dinner at El Gaucho on Friday night, then spent the day Saturday roaming around downtown around the market. Family trips to the city can be pretty challenging with a toddler but we made the most of it. Ava got lots of attention due to her face being covered in melted chocolate.

Rick built a really nice gate for our front patio, so now we don’t have to worry about Ava falling down those concrete stairs. We also have a swing in our front yard, plus he did some other helpful home repair type stuff that neither of us know how to do. It’s always really nice having him out for a visit and I hope we get to see more of them this coming year. We definitely appreciate all that they do.

Today has been a very nice relaxing day. The whole family slept in late, then we went to the park so Ava could run around. The time at the park was short lived, mostly because Ava wants to cruise around in her wagon. We had no idea she would love her wagon so much but its turned out to be a huge hit. Thanks again Jim and Brenda.

Looks like the rest of the day will be pretty relaxing. I’m going to spend some time on homework, then we’re going to make dinner and watch a movie. Back to the grind tomorrow morning, but at least its a short week. Speaking of work, Jessica is working a private event that El Gaucho is catering at the University of Washington on Friday evening. That will be my first night home alone with both girls. I’m going to try to move my homework around so that I don’t have anything to work on that night. Jessica won’t be going back to work regularly for another month but this event looks pretty cool so it should be a good night for her.

We got lots of cute photos during Rick and Chris’ visit. Here’s a few of our favorites.

Elise napping with Grandpa
Elise napping with Grandpa

Happy Grandparents
Happy Grandparents

Elise and Grandpa
Elise and Grandpa

Ava and Daddy
Ava and Daddy playing in the yard

Ava throwing a fit at the market
Ava throwing a fit at the market

Elise is getting big

Good Bye Dad

My Dad and his wife Chris just left town after a great 4 day visit. It was a much more relaxing visit than I could have ever imagined. We worked on various projects around the house Thursday and Friday in between time spent playing with the girls, catching up and relaxing. Because of all of my Dad’s hard work we now have a beautiful front gate to protect Ava from the stairs, a swing in the front yard and chandeliers properly hung in the nursery. On Friday, I had the pleasure of being sent off to the spa for a nice swedish massage and spa pedicure while Grandpa and Grandma held down the fort at home. It was so nice to get out by myself to be pampered. I got home to find both babysitters and Elise sleeping on the couch with Ava napping alone in her room. It was an adorable site to come home to. After only about 20 minutes I was followed by Laurel who came over to babysit and was thoughtful enough to come over early so that we could get ready for our evening out easier. She was and always is so helpful with the girls, it allowed me even more time to pamper myself with a home manicure. I also spent my time getting ready and got to enjoy the process instead of being pulled in 20 directions and rushing the whole time. We had dinner that night with my Uncle Butch and Aunt Carol at El Gaucho. It was, of course, an amazing dinner. I had my first oyster in almost a year (yum) and a delicious cocktail (one of my firsts not the first). They treated us like the family that we are and everyone had a great night. All around a great day, one of the best I’ve had in a while!

Saturday was a full day with breakfast at home and then a little play time at the house and nap time while the first half of Iowa’s season opener played. After Ava woke up we all headed downtown for the afternoon. The plan was to start at the market and get stuff to make dinner then spend the rest of our time just wandering around downtown. It seemed like a simple enough plan but when you have a toddler with you even the simplest thing can become impossible. We stumbled on our old friend Emery while entering the market. He was just finishing up his “shift” at the Local Color as a street performer. He does crazy, amazing things like hula hoop while spinning his guitar over head and signing a song about how much he loves his Mom and Dad. We enjoyed his last number of the day and headed off to purchase some goodies and get some good people watching in. Ava was doing great to start and loved Emery’s song and dance, she seemed to enjoy all the commotion of the shoppers and vendors but after only about 20 minutes she became cranky. We tried to fix it with treats of chocolate doughnuts and crepes but that just made a sticky mess. She desperately wanted to get out of the stroller and run around; in a busy downtown market that’s not an option. She proceeded to get more cranky and unruly so we headed north out of the market in search of a way to turn the day around.

Needless to say we left the market a little dejected. It’s a tough pill to swallow when you head out on a family adventure and it backfires on you. We wanted to try and salvage the trip out so we decided to head to the Seattle Center to play around in the water fountain and run around as much as possible. We were about one block away from the center when we remembered that it’s Bumbershoot this weekend and the Seattle Center has been taken over by concert goers. Another fail… at this point we figured it was best to just head back to the car and start to get things ready for dinner.

We had Butch and Carol join us for dinner again this time at our house. Michael made fresh seafood pappardelle with ingredients from the market. We enjoyed chocolate cake and port for dessert and lots of good wine and laughs the whole night. It was a great way to wrap up the visit. It’s always so hard to say good bye to family when they are visiting. I know that my Dad especially had a difficult time saying good bye to both Ava and Elise.

We hope to see more of Dad and Chris this next year. It’s a different experience for the girls with each of their grandparents and I want them to be able to enjoy all of their family as much as possible. I had a great time getting to see my Dad and watching him play with Ava and hold Elise. We had a hard time getting him to put the baby down, she smelled like his aftershave the whole time. They had an instant connection and he was continuously able to lull her to sleep. It was a very sweet sight to see. Although it was a quick trip it was filled with great family time and I think that everyone had a memorable visit.