What Holiday Season in San Diego is complete without a visit to the Hotel del Coronado? So we crossed the bridge and met up with Nonno, Nanna, Zio Robert, Zia Marna, and Cugina Abigail for an afternoon of holiday cheer.
Plug: Find more festive fun at sandiego.org/holidays
Images from Holidays at the Hotel del Coronado
After seeing a friend’s Facebook post highlighting a six-mile hike with a baby, I knew that’s what wanted to do for my birthday. After some quick Googling, I found out the dad in the photo was wearing the Osprey Poco Plus. The Poco Plus normally retails for just under $300, but thankfully Mama did a quick Crackslist (Craigslist for the uninitiated) search and found a “used-once” Poco Plus for a lot less! Met up with the dad-with-the-bad-back the next day and scored an almost mint condition baby-hiking backpack.
So on my birthday, we donned our “used-twice” hiking clothes, test-fitted Alessio in the Poco Plus, packed up the car and made the 45ish minute drive to the foot of Stonewall Peak in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Once parked, I strapped Alessio and the backpack on and we began the ascent up to Stonewall Peak.
Thankfully the cool fall San Diego weather made the 2 mile hike up to the peak enjoyable (of course, I still sweated like a pig thanks to the extra 40ish pounds strapped to my back). After reaching the top and taking in the views, we stopped for a snack and switched baby-carriers. All the way down, Mama had the joy of feeling Alessio tug at her hair while he entertained himself from his comfortable perch!
Once back at the base station, we made the quick drive up to Julian for a so-so lunch at The Bailey BBQ (they had no house beers on tap!), picked up an apple pie (it’s required in order for you to leave the small town), and enjoyed a flight of craft beers at Nickel Beer Company accompanied by some lovely drunken political rants.
All-in-all, it was a great and relaxing birthday and I look forward to doing it again!
Photo’s From the Stonewall Peak Ascent
Alessio, strapped comfortably to my back, and me before the sweat stains. Photo by Mama.
The Osprey Poco Plus provides a drool pad that Alessio gladly used. Photo by Mama.
Taking in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park while asking “Are We Almost There? Just 1.75 more miles!” Photo by Mama.
The leaves actually do change color in San Diego! Photo by Mama.
Thankfully it was a bright Friday afternoon because the trails were almost empty and it could get spooky at night! Photo by Mama.
Mama just loved the contrast of the Silver Trees against the bright blue sky. Photo by Mama.
The stairs leading up to Stonewall Peak were the scariest part of the hike thanks to being slightly off balance with a baby strapped to your back…and the fact the Mama picked a shortcut! Photo by Mama.
After an hour and 15 minutes, we arrived at the top of Stonewall Peak for spectacular views of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Photo by Mama.
Mama overlooking her domain! Photo by Papa.
As you can see, the Poco Plus is a winner! Alessio passed out and even kept on sleeping after we had taken the pack off. Photo by Papa.
Trying to be a little more emo with the light shining through the desolate flora. Photo by Papa.
Love that scrunched up smile! Alessio was excited to feel the coarse sand and rub his string cheese in it. Photo by Papa.
Mama and Alessio having a good time at the top of Stonewall Peak. Photo by Papa.
I love this shot! Osprey should just send me a usage check and they can feature it in their upcoming advertisements! Photo by Papa.
Mama and Alessio just hiking down the Stonewall Peak. Photo by Papa.
Really tried to capture the red in the leaves. Photo by Papa.
Mama excited to almost be at the bottom and to take off the pack…so that Alessio will stop pulling her hair!
Just a beautiful tree against a blue sky right next to where we parked.
To get in the Halloween spirit, Mama and I took Alessio to Suzie’s Farm’s Pumpkin Palooza for his first farm and his first pumpkin patch. He didn’t care that the fields were almost picked clean since he saw chickens, vines, costumed kids, sugar skulls and more. Can’t wait until next year when he will walk around the patch and pick his perfect pumpkin!
When one pumpkin just isn’t enough, a wheelbarrow is all you need. Brought to you by the Wheelbarrow Association of America
Alessio watching the chickens feast on a few pumpkins.
The horror of chickens feeding on the flesh of dead pumpkins. And parents just let their children watch!
Mama and Alessio wading through the pumpkin patch in search of the perfect pumpkin.
Will Mama and Alessio pick the Champion style of pumpkin?
Or will they pick a Triamble pumpkin?
Mama and Alessio checking to see if this is the pumpkin he wanted to bring home.
In order to pick the perfect pumpkin you must first be the perfect pumpkin.
Alessio is not quite sure if this is the pumpkin he wants.
Alessio thinks he see’s better pumpkins over there.
We must taste test anything before we deem it to be the perfect pumpkin.
Is this the perfect pumpkin? We must inspect it!
Is that a g-g-g-g-ghost?
Just the boys hanging out at Suzie’s Farm’s Pumpkin Palooza.
A college friend decided it was time to get hitched to his girlfriend and this gave us the perfect opportunity to make up for a not-so-great trip to San Francisco we took a few years ago. After packing 12 bags for Alessio and a shopping bag for ourselves, the three of us flew north to “The City” in August 2014.
During our short jaunt to the Bay area, the three of us enjoyed:
- A quiet flight that Alessio slept through most of
- Staying in an amazing apartment (seriously, it was bigger than our condo and had an amazing patio)
- Hanging out with Zia Trista at The Willows and meeting her new “friend” John
- Trying not to cry (me, not Alessio) as BigA92J (otherwise known as Andy) married Sarah, the love of his life
- Catching up with some ol’ college chums and enjoying the classic tune of Bro Hymn
- Taking a walking tour of Fisherman’s Wharf while Mama ate and drank the best of San Francisco with Zia Trista
- Chatting on the patio with Zio Stephen, Zia Kirsten and Unkie Joe on our luxurious patio until one of the neighbors yelled at us at 10:01 PM
- Walking around the Palace of Fine Arts during a cool and wet San Francisco morning
- Finding a parking spot right in front of Zia Trista’s apartment
- And finally, another quiet flight home
Images of Alessio’s First Trip to San Francisco
Alessio trying to crawl on the beautiful hardwood floor or our AirBnB in the Marina District.
“Don’t I look cute,” Alessio, August 2014
While Mama enjoyed the best eats of San Francisco with Zia Trista, Alessio and I sat for a while and enjoyed the view from Fort Mason Great Meadow
Alessio enjoying some time out of the Ergo
Alessio loves his blankets…which is better than the grass which he also likes to shove into his mouth
Since I have been to San Francisco around a bajillion times, Mama was at a dining event with Zia Trista, and Alessio was asleep, I took an audio tour using a new app called Detour.
Alessio loved going on the tour of Fisherman’s Wharf. I know this because he fell asleep about 5 minutes in.
Learned a bit about the fishing boats at Fisherman’s Wharf on the Detour tour.
Looks like the birds enjoy the view as well…I mean it couldn’t have been the fish!
How have I never been here before! Would of stayed longer but Alessio was asleep.
Birds! The birds are everywhere! Even atop the USS Pampanito submarine.
Just a reminder that there are boats at Fisherman’s Wharf
The Bush Man strikes again!
After a nap, Alessio was excited to once again hang out on the grass at the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park. Sadly, Ghiradelli was not on the afternoon’s list of things to do
After enjoying the best of San Francisco’s eats with Zia Trista, Mama joined us for some time in the park
Of all the toys he enjoyed the most, the water bottle Mama picked up from the food event was his favorite
One of my favorite shots with Alessio. The two of us just hanging out and enjoying San Francisco
Alessio and I giving our best looks
Mama and Alessio checking out San Francisco Bay
Insert The Rock jokes here…
Take a long walk along a long pier in San Francisco
Did you know that the Golden Gate Bridge is not actually made of gold? The more you know…
It took us two days to realize that the Palace of Fine Arts was about two blocks away from where we were staying. Of course we were much farther way when I took this photo
My artistic shot of the trip
Mama and Alessio admiring the ducks at the Palace of Fine Arts
In July of 2014, I packed up the car with one suitcase for Mama and me and filled up the rest of the trunk space with everything needed for a small 21 pound human being (which is a lot!). By the grace of the gods, Alessio rocked the 8ish hour journey and was all smiles when we arrived.
After arriving, we handed over our child to one of the cugini (it did not matter who) and enjoyed a relaxing weekend in the mountains of Arizona that included plenty of chatting, eating (thanks to everyone who cooked), coffee, a piñata, and visits to Downtown Prescott. I even managed to sneak in visits to two local breweries (Prescott Brewing Company and Granite Mountain Brewing)!
All three of us are looking forward to the next Prescott Family Reunion…in about three years since that seems to be our modus operandi.
Images from Prescott, AZ
Mama and Alessio checking out the artwork as we wait for our food at The Raven Cafe.
Alessio excited to be out of state for the first time in his life.
So our cugina-in-law Pam is a professional family photographer and while we didn’t beg, she was kind enough to take a few photos of Alessio for us.
Earlier in the week, the weather forecast called for rain and thunderstorms. To our dismay, we were greeted with sunny skies. However, it did rain one morning and all was well.
The newest member of the Bernasconi clan is also the first to have teeth! I think he looks a little perturbed because he already has four teeth and more are coming in. From what I hear, the process of growing teeth is uncomfortable. However, I got a great big smile out of Logan when we jumped around like House of Pain was playing.
I am sure cugino Mando was saying something very important and deep.
Cugini Vinny and Sonny exploring the forests of Prescott.
Cugina Ariana excited to explore the creek across the street from the cabin.
It’s not a cabin in the woods without a tire swing!
Just playing around with the camera and caught some light breaking through the trees.
Since we didn’t have the highchair, Mama’s lap had to serve as a seat and a stray food catcher.
Since there are so many Bernasconis, there is always a birthday and the need for a piñata.
This year’s birthday boy was for cugino Tino (the one holding the stick).
Prozio Santo enjoys playing Piñata Master from high above.
Instead of hitting the piñata with a stick, he wanted to put it in his mouth. In a few years, he will be shoving the candy into his boca.
Alessio needed a break after the excitement from his first piñata.
Who needs a two hand grip when your bo staff skills are tight!
Cugino Vinny one ups his little brother by using both hands!
Cugina Ariana preparing to show the piñata who’s boss!
Cugino Mando preps cugino Dom to utilize his karate skills on the piñata. A true karate master has no need for the sense of sight.
Cugino Dominick was out to destroy the piñata so prozio Santo had to make sure Dom only grazed the piñata.
Going for the death blow with a jump shot.
Cugino Enzo cooled the piñata with a slight breeze from the whiff as the stick flew by.
Cugina Gabriella’s dad prepares the blindfold…so that he can get her in the car and to the nunnery before she meets those high school boys. I kid, I kid!
Gabriella would never hurt the piñata because she is a member of Flagstaff’s leftist Cardboard Objects Filled with Candy Have Rights Organization.
Utilizing all of his Miecraft skills, cugino Angelo prepares to break open the piñata and collect all of the resources so he can continue to build his spaceship.
Cugino Louis prepared to break open the piñata and then he remember that is was Tino’s to destroy!
How do you catch a crisp photo of a teenager breaking open his birthday piñata? You don’t unless you have thousands of dollars of camera equipment!
After the excitement of the piñata, we all needed to relax and enjoy a few adult drinks.
The beautiful thing about being in the woods are the stars.
Trying to hone my nighttime photography skills. Need to get a remote so I can take longer exposures.