Monday, August 26, 2013

Saying Goodbye to the Millar Family

It is so crazy for me to think that I first met Lisa back during the fall semester of 2002; almost 11 years ago!  Our friendship began as we spent a life changing semester teaching in New Zealand.  I can honestly say that her friendship over the past decade has been so inspiring and full of love, support, and fun.  Last summer when she called to tell me she was moving to the bay area with her husband and daughter, I couldn't have been happier!  We had such a fun year of frequent play dates and adventures around the bay area.  It has been so much fun to have her so close and watch our kids interact with each other.

We wanted to get together one last time before leaving the bay area, so Dallas, Daxton, and I met up with Lisa, Maddie, and Luke at the Cheesecake Factory in Walnut Creek.  It was such a fun night filled with great conversation, great food, and great company.

Trying to get a descent picture of Lisa and I with our kiddos...
Love this girl so much!

Daxton got a little crazy towards the end of dinner, but had a blast watching Maddie from across the table.

Such cute daddies!
I don't think they meant to be so matchy matchy...

The Millar Family
One of the sweetest, most loving families I know!

Up to this point I had done very well with controlling my emotions and denying the fact that I would be moving thousands of miles away from everything I know.  Having to say goodbye to Lisa changed all of that.  Needless to say, she opened the flood gates and it was pretty impossible to turn them off after.  I feel so extremely blessed to have such incredible friends.  She's been and continues to be one of the most amazing examples of Christlike love and positivity.  I sure do love her and her sweet family!
I am going to miss them greatly.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Last Trip to CA Academy of Sciences

I couldn't leave the bay area without going to the CA Academy of Sciences one last time.  My sister-in-law, Heather, and I took her three youngest kids and Daxton for our last adventure in the city together.  It was the perfect way to see one of my favorite places in the city I have fallen in love with over these last few years.

Ellis, Will, and I at the entrance to the museum.

Our first destination was the rainforest dome.  Everyone loved watching for little butterflies and looking at all the different exhibits throughout the different levels of the rainforest.
We watched the macaws for awhile and referenced several lines from Rio...

Stopping to look at all the different butterflies...

Views from the upper levels looking down into the pond and underwater viewing tunnel.

Daxton showing off his sweet and sour sides...
He was mad that I wouldn't let him out of the stroller since there was too big a crowd around us.

Staring contest...

Daxton was very curious and focused on the butterflies circling around him.  I love how he furrows his brows when focusing.

Some of our new friends...
 Obviously I was VERY excited to see the butterflies!

After climbing the three different levels of the rainforest, we took the elevator straight down into the water of the aquarium.  The aquarium takes up the entire bottom level and stretches to a couple of the upper levels in the larger tanks.  Daxton and I both love aquariums so we had a blast watching all the different fish.  You have to walk through an underwater viewing tunnel in order to enter the aquarium.  It was a perfect spot for a snack break and to get up close and personal with several different freshwater fish.

Our whole group
LtoR: Olive, Heather, Will, Ellis, Me, and Daxton
Love my little Elly Belly

 We then headed to the saltwater exhibits...

Exploring the touch pools...

Our favorite tank was the large saltwater floor to ceiling viewing room.  The kids had a blast watching all the different colorful reef fish.

I absolutely LOVE Daxton and Olive's interaction in the picture below...priceless!

We all loved the Jelly Tube

Nothing like an impromptu dance party with the ocean on top of you!

A view from above looking down into the saltwater tank.

After the rainforest and aquarium, we decided to eat lunch on the outdoor patio.  Daxton may have been a bit too excited about the raspberries...
After lunch we let the kids explore the outdoor area.  I couldn't help but be in awe of how old Daxton is looking.  Where did our baby go?  He's definitely a toddler now!

After lunch we headed towards the Africa exhibit.  On our way we walked along the circumference of the planetarium where there were sting rays and sharks swimming below.

We also looked at the different freshwater tubes...

 Posing in the Africa exhibit...

We ended by visiting the African penguins.  Daxton loved the different penguins swimming so close to the glass.

The main reason why the day was so perfect...
Amazing company!
I love my sister and nieces and nephews so much.  
I always have so much fun with them!

When we got back to the east bay, we all went out to dinner at Chipotle before calling it a day.  Will found a perfect relaxing spot at the front of Daxton's stroller...Daxton wasn't too happy about it...

But the biggest news from the day...
We decided to turn his car seat around!  He is now facing forward and loving every minute of it.  He's growing up too fast!

Feeding the Ducks at the Martinez Wetlands

One of the last adventures I was able to go on with some of my girlfriends was to the Martinez Wetlands.  It is about 15 minutes from our apartments and has great walking trails throughout the wetlands leading to the ocean.  Hundreds of birds live within this habitat so we thought it would be a great opportunity to bring bread for the birds to snack on.  The kids had a blast feeding and chasing the birds around the beach and park.

L to R: Sienna, Kaiden, Ava, and Daxton (Brooks and Hadley came a little later.)

Daxton took awhile to get used to the number of birds, but ended up having a blast.  He was especially mad at me when I wouldn't let him charge into the lake after the birds.

Best little buddies
Kaiden and Daxton

Sweetest neighbors ever!
Ava and Sienna
We loved living across the sidewalk to these two adorable sisters.

The second Brooks showed up, he started chasing after the birds.  It was pretty funny to see hundreds of birds take to the sky in order to get clear of his path!  While on the other hand, sweet Hadley sat calmly in her stroller smiling at everyone.

Jules and Michelle getting snuggles in with their little ones.

After feeding the birds, we all decided to walk around the park and out to the pier.  On our way we found some great cattails that Brooks was super excited about.

Just taking a break for a thoughtful loving mother moment...

Once we got out to the pier the wind picked up pretty crazy.  The kids loved being able to explore although we did have to keep a close eye on each of them!

Alana, Sienna, Kaiden, and Jules

The sweet Moore family
Alana, Sienna, and Ava (with baby #3 coming soon!)

Daxton and I trying to pose in the sun and wind...

A very windy group shot!
Brooks, Michelle, Hadley, Jules, Kaiden, Me, Daxton, Alana, Ava, and Sienna
It was a great afternoon!
I know I've said this time and again, but I've been blessed with great friends.  I will miss them all very much!

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