Sunday, July 31, 2011

Congratulations, Mommy!

 Noelle likes the medal!

This weekend was the San Francisco Marathon! We decided to make a mini-family vacation out of the event. We got a sitter for the dogs and drove into the city Saturday morning.

Before settling into our hotel near Union Square, we hit up the race expo to pick up my number. Race expos are always very crowded, and this one was worse then most. Once I had my number in hand, we couldn't get out of there fast enough.

Ready to race =)

After some lunch and then relaxing at the hotel a bit (read, "Noelle's nap") we headed out for a bit of sightseeing. Nothing too crazy (I was saving energy for the race) but we were able to squeeze in some San Fran highlights.
Walking around Nob Hill; trolley in the background!

The gates to China Town

Noelle scored (another) new hat!

Sunday morning was race day. I headed out for the 5:30 am race start. I wish I had taken a camera with me, because the best thing about this marathon is how beautiful the course is. Yes, it is very hilly, but it's San Francisco, after all! Highlights included running on the road bed of the Golden Gate Bridge (beautiful!), going through the waterfront districts, the city's beautiful Golden Gate Park (like NYC's central park) and cruising down historic Haight St.

The best part of the race, though, was being met by Alex and Noelle at the finish line! After a shower and some relaxing at the hotel (read "naps for everyone!") we stopped for lunch and some sight-seeing around Fisherman's Wharf. Noelle also picked up another souvenir, a Chinese rubber brush artwork of her name. Now, we all need a weekend to recover from our weekend =)

That's the prettiest my name has looked yet!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Visits and Wine Tasting Part II

This was a busy week at our house. Alex is out of town for two weeks for some meetings in Pasadena (yeah, we just moved from there!). Fortunately, Noelle and I had some visitors to keep us distracted.

First, Grandma and Grandpa Brock came by. Grandpa Brock hadn't seen Noelle since December. So, he got to be surprised by how big she is! Grandpa had to leave on Wednesday for work and Grandma stayed on a few more days. Noelle sure loved all of the attention!

Getting a Good-Night Hug from Grandpa

A Little Tired the Next Night, with Grandma

Of Course, food was a big part of the week!

Next, Noelle had a visit from her Aunt Stacy and Uncle Ian. All kinds of fun ensued - eating, playing, even a trip to Thai Temple. The best part (from the adults point of view) was a wine tasting trip to Napa =)

We went to two wineries this time. They were actually in Calistoga, CA (north of Napa). The first was Sterling Vineyards. Sterling is a beautiful estate, with gorgeous views from their estate atop a hill. They offer a self-guided tour, where you get 5 wine tastings as you walk through the estate. A unique touch is that you ride a gondola to get up to the winery!

Stacy & Ian in the Gondola

Noelle enjoying the Ride

Gorgeous Views from the top!

Next we headed over to Cuvaison Estate Wines, just a half mile away. The draw of Cuvaison was their adorable picnic area. After our tasting, we bought a bottle of wine and headed over to the picnic tables to enjoy it and some food while Noelle napped. She was a doll and a great sport about being dragged around wineries (again).

Sleeping Soundly

Happy and Well Rested after the Nap!

Now, we're both resting and recovering from our busy weekend!

Monday, July 18, 2011

10 Months Old

10 Months Old!

We say it every month, but time sure is flying! Pretty soon, we'll have to start counting time in years instead of months. It's hard to believe... until you look at Noelle and see how big she has gotten!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Noelle's BIG News...

My Daddy is going to be a Cornell Professor!

Yesterday was a very big day for the Hayes family; Alex accepted an offer to be an Assistant Professor in Cornell's Astronomy Department!

We couldn't be more thrilled. The job, the university and the location are all things we love. Call us crazy, but we're happy about returning to Cornell and its four-season climate. Also very exciting is the prospect of the science Alex will be able to do there. Cornell's Astronomy department has exceptional people for Alex to collaborate with.

The plan is to move to Ithaca in 2013. Until then, we both have much to do at UC Berkeley, which we're extremely lucky to be associated with. Hopefully, we'll build some good cross-university collaborations!

Note: Special thanks to Grandpa Brock (also a Cornell alumni) for the "I get my hugs at Cornell" shirt!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Back to Reality

With the move officially behind us, tomorrow it's back to reality with the start of our jobs. Alex will be starting his Miller Fellowship at Berkeley, I'll be beginning an engineering management role at Berkeley's Space Science Lab and baby girl will be making friends at her new day care.

We went back and forth over which day care option to use for Noelle. The two front runners were Berkley's fancy child development center and an in-home day care, run by a very nice women, a few blocks from our home. Berkeley's center, while extremely nice, is much more expensive and more inconvenient with very limited hours. The home day care seemed very nice the three times we visited and all of the kids there were happy and well-mannered. So, for now at least, that option won out. We'll see how it goes tomorrow =)

The last few days we took advantage of our remaining vacation. On Friday we went wine tasting in Sonoma! Noelle was a real trooper; she took a nap on the way up and then another one while we had lunch!

Ah, wine country is so beautiful!

Noelle enjoying the tasting room

Another tasting room; another place to play!

On Saturday we headed over to a local landmark, the Tilden Park Merry-Go-Round. Since it's just a few miles from our home, we will likely become frequent visitors, especially as Noelle gets old enough to really enjoy it.

The 100-year-old Merry-Go-Round

Cute baby horses for Noelle!

Note that Noelle's favorite part of the ride was gnawing on the brass handle bar. Our poor little teether has been miserable the past few days. Her next two top teeth finally broke through this morning. Six teeth and counting =)

After the ride, we headed into the park for a nice picnic. Below, Noelle has crammed every blueberry in sight into her mouth!

My mouth is too full to smile!

The final milestone for the weekend was Noelle's first spaghetti meal. We didn't even try to keep this from being messy.

Yum, where's more pasta?!?