Day Trip: Bolinas, California

When the weekend weather approaches 70 degrees, we pack up our car and head up to Bolinas. It's a chill little beach town about an hour north of SF. Many folks day trip to Stinson Beach, but it's worth driving the 20 extra minutes to reach Bolinas, which is more low key and flies under the radar.

Nico wore his SPF suit for the first time, but we mostly kept him shaded under this tent. :) The waves are consistent but small in Bolinas, so this will probably be where Lucas teaches Nico to surf for the first time. Just the thought of it makes my heart swell.
We picked up Ike's sandwiches on the way out of SF. After eating lunch on the beach, the dudes spent hours surfing and we lounged in the sun with pups and babies.
We typically hit up Smiley's, a local dive bar, after beach days, but they don't allow pups or babes, so sadly those days are over for a while. We hopped across the street and hung out on the back patio at Coast Cafe, which was perfect for our little group. We didn't eat, but the fish & chips looked and smelled great.
We drove back to the city, and swung by Hook Fish Co. in the outer sunset for fish burritos and guacamole on the way home. Such a great day. See you soon, Bolinas. 

Our Weekend Trip: Valle de Guadalupe

A friend of mine traveled to Valle de Guadalupe a few years ago, and I was in awe of her pictures. It seemed like the ideal destination for someone who loves food and wine and its relatively close to us, so I immediately added it to my bucket list. We planned to go last year, but then I unexpectedly got pregnant and had to back burner the trip. It wouldn't be fun to visit wine country and not be able to drink all the wine. Opportunity knocked again when my parents offered to watch Nico for my birthday weekend. We wanted to visit somewhere new but also relatively close (because we're paranoid new parents), so it seemed like the perfect choice. We went for three nights last weekend, and had such a blast. Here are a few photos from our trip.
We flew into San Diego, rented a car, pit stopped at The Taco Stand downtown for guacamole, shrimp tacos, and beers, and then made the 1.5 hour drive across the border. We've never actually driven across the U.S. / Mexico border, so we didn't know what to expect, but we were super surprised that we didn't actually have to stop - we just drove straight through. Luckily, Enterprise upgraded us to an SUV. We did very little planning ahead of time, and the roads in Valle de Guadalupe were all dirt roads filled with pot holes. It was tough but manageable to drive in an SUV, but it would have been next to impossible to do in a smaller car.
We stayed at La Villa del Valle, a bed and breakfast conveniently located in the middle of the valley. The villa has a pool and hot tub, expansive views of the wine region, and cozy rooms with private balconies (and fire pits!). On our first day we checked in, immediately changed into our bathing suits, and hit up the pool and hot tub. I trust my parents completely, but I definitely had new mom anxiety and guilt over leaving Nico for the first time. I cried when we left in the morning and then again on our flight, but about two sips into my first glass of wine at the pool, I was over it - ha. We booked dinner at the restaurant on site, Corazon de Tierra, which was a fancy 7 course dinner featuring dishes like seared duck and oysters. It's funny how adult we felt in that moment, after lots of recent take out dinners or early evening restaurant visits with baby in tow. 
On day two, we had an amazing, Mexican breakfast at the hotel and a couples massage, and I swear it was the best massage I've had in a long time. I don't feel particularly stressed on a day-to-day basis, but I could feel tension melt away from my shoulders. 
We showered and drove to lunch at Lomita. We had amazing food all weekend, but Lucas and I agree that Lomita was our favorite meal of the trip. We drank chilled rosé and feasted on ceviche, pork tacos, and grilled chicken. 
Later that day, we did two wine tastings at Monte Xanic and Vena Cava. Monte Xanic was a bigger winery and felt a bit more corporate, and Vena Cava was smaller and offered a more personal tasting experience. My advice to anyone traveling to Valle de Guadalupe is to focus on the smaller, more boutique wineries like Vena Cava, but I'm glad we experienced both. We were still stuffed from lunch, but Vena Cava also had a really cute food truck with delicious looking food.
We had dinner at Fauna, which has communal style seating and family-style food. The portions were huge and the cocktails and food were amazing. We sipped on mezcal old fashioned cocktails (so good) and ate grilled pork and fresh oysters. The architecture of the property was really cool, but we arrived after dark, so we made plans to return the next day for a wine tasting so we could explore a bit more. 
The next day we had breakfast at the hotel again, and then we drove around and explored a bit. We had lunch at Deckman's, a Michelin-starred restaurant in the heart of the valley. In terms of ambiance, this was our favorite spot. The restaurant is tucked beside wine vines and there is a huge open-air kitchen, so you can see all of your food being prepared right next to the table. Luckily we booked our reservations far enough in advance, because we heard from folks at our hotel that they were unable to get into Deckman's.  We loved it and can't wait to return. 
After lunch, we popped back over to Bruma (property where Fauna is) for a wine tasting, which is conveniently right next door to Deckman's. From there, we went back to the hotel to relax by our fire pit before dinner. The hotel brought around snacks and wine every day from 5-6 PM.

On the last night, we went to Finca Altozano for dinner. The vibe was lively - it was filled with families and couples eating, hanging out on the grounds, and everyone seemed to be having fun. We had grilled octopus, pork tacos, churros, and of course, wine. It was the perfect casual but delicious way to end our whirlwind foodie weekend. 
We were worried about the long lines at the border, so we decided to get up and head out at 6:30 AM, so we would get to the border by 8:00 AM. Luckily, the lines were only 10 minutes when we arrived, but the lines can get up to 5 hours long, so we didn't want to risk it. We grabbed coffee in San Diego, checked out the surf in La Jolla, hit up a SoulCycle class to sweat out some of the wine we consumed, and had one final brunch before flying home to see our little dude.
The entire trip we kept saying it was the best foodie trip we've ever taken. The cocktails, wine, and food were world class, and we cannot wait to return. It was the best way to unwind, reconnect, and feel like adults again for a few days. Mexico, we love you so much!

3 months old!

Nico turned 3 months old on Tuesday. I can't actually get a focused pic of him these days (even with our DSLR) because he's constantly kicking and squirming. He will only lay on my chest when he's really tired, which hurts my heart a little bit, but it's also pretty amazing to see him growing stronger and more alert by the day.

Month 3 brought lots of changes and growth for our little babe. He's now 12.5 pounds (give or take!) and still a long and lean little dude. We spent a weekend in Santa Cruz with our friends, and we were slightly worried it would throw off his stellar sleep patterns, but he crushed it with a 12 hour stretch. He's napping consistently in his crib (yay!) 2x / day and continues to sleep 10-12 hours straight at night. He's doing lots of social smiling and cooing, and his face completely lights up every time we pick him up from his bassinet or crib after a nap. Nico started swim lessons at 10 weeks at La Petite Baleen in Fort Mason, which is the cutest thing in the entire world. He just loves the water so much and looks around and smiles the entire time. We also just started a mommy and me class at DayOne Baby, and to be honest, I'd been really reluctant of joining mom groups, but a little extra support can't hurt, right?

Happy 3 months, buddy. Love you to the moon and back.

Weekend in Santa Cruz

One of the best parts about living in San Francisco is the close proximity to so many weekend destinations, like Tahoe, Napa, Sonoma, Carmel, and Santa Cruz. We spent the weekend at our friends' house in Santa Cruz, which is about 1.5 hours from SF. Their house is steps from Pleasure Point, which is Lucas's favorite surf spot, so we spent the weekend snuggling babies, drinking wine, and surfing (him, not me!).
Our friend, Derek, took his 4 year old out to ride the waves, and I could see how excited Lucas was about taking Nico out in a few years.
Some of our local favorite SC spots are:
  • Verve - local coffee chain - Verve has recently expanded across California to San Francisco and LA, but the coffee shop originates in Santa Cruz. We always walk to the location on 41st Ave for coffee, kouign amanns, and the world's best avocado toast.
  • Zameen - lunch and dinner spot - Zameen has great chicken and rice bowls and greek salads. 
  • Penny Ice Creamery - local ice cream shop - Penny's has inventive flavors like salted butter toffee and cardamom pistachio.
  • Patine - home boutique - an adorable home goods store with vintage French linens and antiques. You can also find their booth at the Alameda Flea Market every month.
  • Sawyer Land + Sea Supply - local surf shop - Santa Cruz has no shortage of surf shops, but Sawyer is my favorite. It's a hipster shop with curated selection of clothes, books, and surf gear for surfers and non-surfers alike.

What we packed in our hospital bag

Towards the end of my pregnancy, I started researching what to pack in our hospital bag. I think there was so much out of my control, especially when I was playing the waiting game towards the end, that it felt good to be able to prepare in a small way. Despite living a short 7 minute drive from the hospital, I did a ton of research about what to pack. Just like everyone warned me, most of the stuff I brought turned out to be completely useless, but I was really happy with certain things. Here's my $0.02:

1. An extra bag for all the swag: The hospital sends you home with a ton of stuff - diapers, wipes, vaseline, medicine, a sitz bath, witch hazel, pads, and more. My parents had to bring me a bag to carry it all home in, so next time I'll definitely pack an extra bag to stow away all of the free stuff.

2. Hairdryer: I'm sure everyone's experience is different, but I was really happy that I packed a hairdryer and curling iron. When I was in labor / hooked up to an IV, I couldn't shower, so I was itching to feel clean and human again after ~12 hours in the delivery room + being covered in all of the bodily fluids that labor and a newborn bring (ha). I delivered Nico in the late afternoon, and then we spent a few hours in the delivery room and finally landed in our postpartum room around 6 pm. I ate dinner, fed Nico, and then had the best night of sleep of my entire life. The next morning, my mom came to the hospital and helped me shower and fix my hair. I felt like a new person, and even though I was still bloated and sore, it was nice to feel a little more like myself.

3. Dark nightgown + robe: They put me in a hospital gown the moment I checked into the hospital and with the postpartum bleeding, I really didn't feel like wearing anything else for the first day. But by day 2, I was ready to wear something a little less bulky, and I was super happy to have a black nightgown and lightweight robe (I also packed navy PJs, but it was easier to breastfeed in a gown). I have an Eloise gown and robe Anthropologie (wearing it in the pictures here!), but I don't think that brand still exists? I also love the Eberjey gowns and robes. Target also sells nursing gowns, so you don't have to wear a nursing bra underneath.

4. Our pillows: This might be the best thing Lucas and I packed. I was SO happy to have my memory foam pillow to sleep on. I'm not kidding when I say that I had the best night of sleep after delivering Nico. Even with the nurses bringing him in every 2-3 hours to feed, I still slept like a rock in between those feedings and having my own pillow was a huge part of that. 

5. Water bottle: I was SO thirsty the entire time I was in the hospital. The hospital obviously provided cups (side note: I was surprised that the hospital used these deli containers as cups) but I was happy to have my own large water bottle with a straw to prop up in the bed while I was breastfeeding Nico.

6. Slippers or slipper socks: The nurses encouraged me to walk the halls as much as possible, so I was grateful to have my slipper socks. The hospital actually provided some too, but mine were warmer and had better grips for walking on the slippery floors.

7. Makeup + Toiletries: The hospital only provided a basic bar of soap, so I packed my own toiletries. I only packed the essentials: some light makeup, shampoo, conditioner, face wash, moisturizer, lip balm, and body lotion, but I was so happy to have them. Side note: having my lip balm was the best thing ever. Hospitals are so dry, so I was constantly reapplying. I also wish we'd packed a nail file, because Nico's nails were long and sharp when he was born. I had to send my dad out to Walgreens for a nail file, so next time I'll tuck one away in my toiletry kit.

8. Nursing bra: I bought a few nursing bras, but I brought along this soft one from Target to the hospital. It felt like I was nursing around the clock, but we had a lot of visitors, including my dad, so I liked having a little coverage and support.

9. Camera: We brought along our nicer DSLR to take pictures.

10. Speaker: Lucas made a few Spotify playlists for us to listen to on our UE Boom. Wifi and cell reception were spotty, at best, but thankfully he pre-downloaded some of the music.

11. Chargers: We brought along chargers for all of our devices. This was one of the things we almost forgot, because we couldn't pre-pack them. Luckily we grabbed them at the last minute, because we definitely did a lot of FaceTime sessions with our relatives from the hospital.

12. Laptop: We didn't have a ton of spare time (I was surprised by how busy our time at the hospital was) but while I was on my Pitocin IV and waiting to fully dilate, we did watch Jeopardy on Lucas's laptop (nerd alert) to keep my mind off of things.

13. Going home outfit for the baby: We brought 2-3 outfits in different sizes (premie, newborn, and 0-3 months) because we weren't sure how big he would be. We also packed a hat, because babies lose all of their body heat through the tops of their heads, and Nico was born in the heart of winter.

14. Boppy pillow: I was really glad to have our Boppy at the hospital. Nico was a little guy, weighing only 6 lbs, 7 oz, but those hospital feeds last for 30 minutes, and my arms became really sore, especially because I was still pretty weak from labor. I was happy to have the pillow to alleviate some of the pressure on my arms and back.

14. Carseat: We installed the base of the carseat before heading to the hospital. We found it really complicated (amateur hour!), so we made an appointment with the California Highway Patrol to show us the ropes. Right before checking out, we loaded him into the seat (it was tricky to figure it out) and the nurses dispatched us. It was a breeze to snap the seat into the car since we already had the base installed.

That's it - next time, one small overnight bag will do just fine. Our postpartum room was really small, so there wasn't a ton of room for bulky bags, and we sent a lot of stuff home with my parents at night. I read lots of what to bring lists, and in my opinion, these are things you DON'T need include: snacks, swaddles and blankets, a breast pump, pads, diapers, wipes, breast pads, towels, or any other clothes. Take advantage of all of the free stuff the hospital will provide.