Sunday, November 16, 2014

You Only Turn 435 Once

It's true. You do. And, next year as my brother in law pointed out, we will be turning 536, so we REALLY need to make this year count. And, it got off to a great start. Friday was for celebrating all things Xander, and Saturday and Sunday were for all things celebrating Mama. Xander celebrated his 4th birthday at school with his friends and later that evening with most of his cousins at the Dublin Chuck E. Cheese. Mama celebrated with Alex who whisked her away for a night in the most adorable cottage you've ever seen nestled among Redwood trees right in the heart of Mill Valley at the Mill Valley Inn. Mama and Alex celebrated, laughed, drank, ate, walked, slept, shopped, people watched, snuggled by the fire, read and just thoroughly enjoyed 24 hours free of responsibilities. For those 24 hours I literally didn't have a care in the world. Perfect way to ring in year 35.....Take a peek.....

Xander's cement truck! The cement truck and a skateboard are the only things this little guy wanted. He got the cement truck (and padrino has the skateboard for him, he just doesn't know it yet!)

And, Alex and X COMPLETELY surprised me. After getting my gift last week, I was NOT expecting anything else. So I was totally shocked when they had a present for me Friday morning. It was this pink locker. Now it might not be a big thing for you, but when I was a little girl I had a pink locker EXACTLY like this one from a store in San Clemente,called Cheers. I saw this locker at an awesome toy store in our mall and shared the story with Alex, "I had this as a little girl. It was my most favorite thing. I loved it. I think my dad threw it away when I went to college. I was devastated, etc." I just need to get some flower stickers for it and it will be a spitting image of the pink locker from my youth. 

Friday night we drove to the Bay, where we celebrated Xander's birthday at Chuck E. Cheese.

Xander and one of his cousins, Aaliyah. 

Xander and most of his cousins...Giancarlo was there but didn't want to get in the picture. The only other cousins missing are Marcello, Santiago and Zeke. 

After Chuck E. Cheese, we went back to Alex's parents house where we enjoyed a Baskin Robbins Ice Cream cake to celebrate our 435th birthday. 

The next morning we left Xander and Daisy with Alex's parents, and we went to Mill Valley for the night. One of my most favorite places in California, I would love to be able to live there one day. I'm hoping once Alex becomes a longshoreman and we move to the Bay, that's where we'll move. Alex got us one of the cottages at the Mill Valley Inn. Conveniently located downtown, we were close to everything and didn't need our car once. It was so incredibly relaxing! We loved every minute of it!

Look at these gorgeous Redwoods right in front of our cottage!

And how cozy is this? Comfy bed, hardwood floor and fireplace! We had a fire going nearly the entire time!

People watching in downtown Mill Valley.

The Depot Cafe & Books I love this place. It totally reminds me of this cafe and book store I loved as a young girl in San Diego at Sea Port Village. 

Breakfast at The Depot Cafe. Look how yummy that bagel and lox is! Oh, and the peppered bacon was to die for!

I love all of Mill Valley's nooks and crannies.

Just a few of the stores we popped into. I bought the most amazing smelling candle from The Goods. 

I finished a wonderful Christmas story about a man travelling cross county on a train. It was fantastic. It was absolutely marvelous to finish a book. It put me in the greatest mood! 

After a LOOOOONNNNGGGG afternoon nap, we emerged around 4:15 and took an afternoon stroll around town. Leaves were falling, the air had turned cool and the sky was the most marvelous shade of grey. It was the perfect autumn day!

Ready for some afternoon drinks, we went to Mill Valley Beer Works where one or two drinks turned into 2 1/2 hours later, five drinks and one awesome cheese board. Perfect way to kill time before dinner! Alex and I had so much fun chatting, people watching, talking about the future, just enjoying each other. That moment we shared is an example of my most favorite moments with him.

I stuck to the Banshee Pinot Noir all night, at least while there! 

I had just figured out how to use the selfie feature on my new Windows phone.

Another selfie, but you can't even tell it's a selfie.

More Mill Valley nooks and crannies...

I don't remember what Alex was saying here, but I love this candid shot. I was trying his chocolate stout. Whatever he said I thought was REALLY funny. 

Cheese board complete with Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam, persimmons, the most creamy gruyere I've ever had, a Point Reyes blue and a goat cheese. The grilled toast was to die for.

When we returned back to the cottage to freshen up for dinner, this chocolate cake, and bottle of Syrah was waiting for me courtesy of the Inn wishing me a happy 35th.

Image courtesy of Bungalow 44

I can't believe I forgot to take a picture of Bungalow 44. I loved this place! We had an incredibly delicious dinner. It was warm, toasty and filled to the brim with people so if you go, I definitely recommend making a reservation. The Frank Lloyd Wright style architecture and ultra craftsman ambiance just made it the perfect place to have my special 35th birthday dinner with Alex. 

See what I'm saying? Toasty and popping!

I just photographed the appetizers probably because we literally devoured our dinners, but the appetizers were scrumptious, too. Pumpkin gnocchi and corkscrew pasta and cheese with mushrooms, bacon and crunchy onions. God, it was so good. Alex had steak for dinner with a bone marrow butter and I ordered scallops with a rock shrimp risotto. We were stuffed to the gills!

Good thing we had to walk back to our hotel room. Once we did get back, Alex built another warm, glowing fire for us. The weekend was just perfect. It literally could not have been ANY more perfect. It was everything I could have ever asked/dreamed/lusted/wanted. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Xander's Birthday is Gonna Pop

This year we're celebrating Xander's birthday with dinner at a Chuck E Cheese in the Bay Area with his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins and the following week, Alex and I are taking him to Disneyland. One of the things I do love about Xander's school now is all of the fun birthday parties he is getting invited to. Not wanting him to feel left out, we're bringing in his favorite berries for lunch tomorrow and I came up with the brilliant idea to give Xander's other favorite, popcorn, to the kids to take home. I always loved the idea of giving gifts to others on YOUR birthday. It's something my parents started with me while I was in preschool. Until I was in second grade I used to bring in a Little Golden Book for everyone in my class. At this stage in his life, Xander LOVES popcorn. I hit up my local Popcornopolis, bought 13 bags of the Cupcake Confetti Popcorn, made little tags that said, "Thanks for making my birthday "POP" at school! Love, Xander", and tied them with turquoise ribbon. I think the kids will enjoy getting these fun little surprises in celebration of a fun little boy, Xander Kaige Hernandez....