Dear Mr. Westin Verasa Napa: No thank you.

Westin_Napa_Exterior

For our wedding anniversary, we decided to do a quick getaway trip with the family. Our criteria were – nice fancy hotel, pool access, good foods and of course kid friendly. After research we came down to Ritz Carlton in HMB or The Westin Verasa in Napa. We went with the latter. They are both similar in pricing but the room size at The Westin was more than double the size of Ritz.

Day One: We were able to check into our 2 bedroom suite early that day so it was a bonus. The room was pretty impressive in terms of size (2 bedroom king suites + 2 bathrooms + full size kitchen + dining room + family room + balcony / porch) and it was up to my level of cleanliness. I am huge on a place that’s clean especially when I have little ones that likes to run and crawl around everywhere. We poked around town that day and went swimming at the pool and then grabbed dinner at Oxbow Market (5 min walk).

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Day Two: We woke up the next morning and our coffee maker did not work and was able to get it replaced after talking to the front desk several times (I think she needed coffee too since she was not very focus on what I was saying). We headed out to town to get some early lunch and I called the front desk asking if they could do housekeeping since we will be out for a few hours and would like to have the room all clean so I can come back and get the kids settle and put the baby down for a nap. I was told it was not a problem. We went to Grace’s Table for lunch and it was super yummy. I highly recommend the pork belly and the corn bread. We then stopped in at Target to get some supplies. We returned to the hotel and was surprised that our room has not been cleaned as promised. We had originally planned to put the baby down for a nap and the older ones can go play in the pool. As we were rethinking our plans for the day, our hotel room opened and 2 maintenance guy came in and said they need to fix our fridge and it would only take 5 minutes. They came out of nowhere and they seem to be used to just walking into hotel room unannounced. Then one of the guy asked what is wrong because we had these confused and frustrated expression on our face. I told them about the housekeeping that I’ve specifically asked for this morning and was told that it would be taken care of and how they just came into our room out of no where. He then proceeded to tell us that housekeeping has their own schedule and the front desk does not know what they are talking about so when I was told yes, it really does not mean anything. As we were talking, the housekeeping cart rolled up and she asked me if she can come in. We let her in so she can do her thing. We did not want to go out and sit somewhere for 40 minutes since it was crazy hot out that day (100 plus degrees) and the baby was very tired. We just moved from room to room so she can clean. I asked the housekeeper to please vacuumed since I got kids and baby rolling all over the floor and somehow she thought I said I will help her vacuum so she gave me the vacuum. It’s weird but at that moment, I did not care since I wanted the place to be clean and I knew she was in a rush and probably would not do it if we were not there watching her. To top it off, while we are waiting around, we’ve noticed the courtyard outside our room was setting up a bunch of tables for what seem to be a party. As the set up progress, we’ve noticed that they were setting up the bar right up against our balcony/porch area which is also an access for us to go in/out. My husband went and asked them what is going on and he was told that there will be a private party starting at 7pm and yes, they will be right up against our balcony/porch. I was pretty annoyed and upset because all these things happened back to back. I talked with a staff walking down the hall about all of this and he said we should have been told of the party when we checked in since parties are booked in advance. I told them that it’s more annoying the fact that it’s literally outside our balcony where we would like to sit and hang out after the kids go to bed. But with the party, we are not going to be able to enjoy our own space since the party is all around us. The staff called the front desk and explained to the manager about our frustration and I was put on the phone and I told him it’s pretty upsetting since we are paying a pretty good price for our room but we pretty much got a suckie day and can’t use our balcony at night. Long story short, he gave me a late check out of 1pm instead of 12pm and a $100 off. The party was somewhat quiet and it ended around 9:30pm and what was loud was when the staff came and cleaned up all the furniture.

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Day Three:  Our plan was to hang out in the pool all morning to make up for our lost afternoon the day before and then take our time to get ready to check out. But in the morning we saw a note along with our check out bill that the pool will be closed for routine maintenance until 11:30am. What the what!? We were pretty pissed since I would think I would be told of this when I spoke with the manager the day before that I would like a late check out because we wanted to enjoy the pool in the morning with the kids when its open at 8am.  Again, we had to change our plan.

In summary – the kids had fun because they love the space in the hotel room and the fact that they shared a room with a king size bed. Aside from all the mishaps, we had a nice little time but we would not come back to this place especially for the price we paid for the room. We could stay at the Solage Calistoga for almost the same price.

Pro – the size of the 2 bedroom suites is great | the crib is nice and clean | I got a high chair for my whole stay AND they have hand held shower which is something I always asked for because it is great when you have little ones when it comes to bath time.

Con – service is not great | unhelpful staff | it takes a long time for someone to answer calls | unknowledgeable staff |

We want to do more little trip around the area before the summer ends with the kids. Some of the places we are thinking about are:

Solage Calistoga | Ritz Carlton HMB | Dream Inn | Cavallo Point |

I welcome any suggestions please, even rentals with a pool and/or right by the beach. A place like Kid & Coe is on our choices too.

Happy Summer.

HELLO SUMMER | GOODBYE SUMMER

Hello! Hello! Hello! The summer came and went and somehow it’s has been so busy that I seriously have not had time to blog. But I am here now. Lets do a quick recap of our summer.

We did a bunch of fun stuff locally and Milo was in school as usual and Matilda had a longer break since her baby class ended in July. We had family members visiting with us for a short time and the kids enjoy their company.  Milo’s eyes have been stable and it’s great but at the same time, I have to think twice about it since its rare that nothing major had happened. (YEAH to that of course!)

My hubby took on our summer project of repainting all our bedrooms. I was of no help in the paint department because my job was to keep the kids away during the process. We did all the rooms in white and I am loving it. We purchased some new furniture for the kids’ room. Our room used to be chocolate brown and now it’s SO bright. We keep thinking that we turned on some bright lights but really, its just the white wall. It’s nice because it is bright for Milo when he is playing in our room. I  have to figure out all the decorations for all the rooms. It will take some time because I never seem to have time to do all the things I want!!

We ended our summer by going to a wedding of our friend and Milo had a blast because he is one dancing machine and he loved taking silly pictures in the photobooth.

I had a bunch of projects on my own and it was a challenge to illustrate what I needed but I did it. I lost some time because my back gave out on me for no reason and I was in pain for a week, then my right hand decided to swell up and it turned out to be some kind of arthritis and that took forever to heal and it still gets bad when I use my right hand too much which sucks a big one since I am right handed. (I guess my body is telling me that I am getting old!)

Here are a bunch of pictures from the summer and I am sure I have left out a bunch of stuff but I am sure you won’t miss it since you don’t even know what. And if I think of it, I will be sure to share at a later time.

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1) Milo: Top: Gap Kids 2) Matilda: Top: JCrew 3) Milo: Top: Sugarman | Pants: MiniBoden | Shoes: New Balance || Matilda: Top: Zara + MUJI | Pants: MotherCare | Shoes: Zara

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4) Matilda: Shirt: MiniBoden 5) Milo: Shirt: Uniqlo 6) Matilda: Top: JCrew | Pants: Target | Shoes: Milo’s || Milo: Top: KingKow | Pants: MiniBoden | Shoes: New Balance

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7+8+9) Matilda: Jacket: North Face | Pants: Target || Milo: Jacket: North Face
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10+11) Milo and Matilda wearing Matilda’s bumblebee costume from last Halloween 12) Milo dressed as Chewbacca
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13) Matilda: Top: Mighty Fine tee | Pants: Target 14) Milo: Top: Mighty Fine tee | Pants: MiniBoden
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16) Matilda: Top: MiniBoden | Pants: Hanna Anderson 17) Milo: Top: Target | Pants: MiniBoden
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19) Milo: Top: Uniqlo | Pants: MiniBoden || Matilda: Top: Splendid | Pants: GapKids 20) Milo: Top: Mighty Fine tee 21) Matilda: Top: Old Navy | Milo: Top: Old Navy | Swim trunks: Hanna Anderson
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22) Matilda: Top: Splendid | Pants: Target 22) Milo: Top: Target | Pants: MiniBoden 23) Matilda: Top: MUJI + MiniBoden | Pants: Target
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23+24+25) Milo: Top: Target | Matilda: Top: MiniBoden

Thank you Summer 2012, it was great to know you. We will catch you next year!
xoxo
me

A LITTLE SOMETHING SOMETHING MORE ABOUT MY M+M.

milo had an EUA yesterday morning and when the doctor came out and said let me tell you the good news first, i thought, oh crap. the cornea infection in his left eye(home of the prosthesis shell)cleared up so we dont need to worry about that anymore and at some point in the near future, another prosthesis shell will be placed back in (not looking forward to that). as for the right eye, his pressure is still higher than what it should be so the doctor is jacking up the dosage on one of his eye drop to see if that will help. (he suspects that the existing valve is blocked by the growth of his iris.) we will go in for another EUA in one month and if the pressure is still high, the doctor will try to pull back his iris and if that is not possible, a new valve will be placed. i guess milo had a good run on his ahmed valve since he had it placed when he was 3 months old and its actually pretty unusual for it to be working for so long for a child. we got lucky and i really hope that whatever happens, his pressure will be under control soon because that is his only seeing eye and its already slightly damaged (the ophthalmologist estimate about a 20/100 vision + tunnel vision due to glaucoma).

the many great faces of milo.

but aside from this, milo has been great since his last EUA. with the prosthesis shell out of his eye and his infection being detected and treated, he hasnt had an episode of eyes shutting or painful breakdown and he is not sensitive to light as much. we have been doing our fun summer-ventures and its been really nice to see him so happy.

he will be starting a new regular preschool end of august and we got him a new big boy lunch bag (he saw the catalog and said thats what he wanted and i thought it would be a great little new thing for him for his new big boy school).

the always smiling matilda.

matilda has started eating solid for almost a month and she loves food so far and i am loving my Beaba food maker. it makes making food so much easier. i want to use it to make smoothie for myself every time i am making fresh fruit for her.

the summer is not over yet and the weather has been great this year (sorry east coast peeps)! we will continue to check off our summer-venture list. yeah.

OH! THE PLACES WE WILL GO.

milo’s summer session at ECE ended last week SO HELLO SUMMER FUN TIME! we use summertime as an excuse to do more fun time with our little ones. well, it was actually last year we started this so called tradition since milo was old enough to go on adventures. so with the summer almost coming to an end, as i am constantly being reminded by the consuming world with back to school sale and pre fall season sale, i am going to share with you some fun places around us in the san francisco bay area. if you have any other places, please DO share and if you would like to meet up and join us, let me know too.

SAN FRANCISCO ZOO.

CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES. – we took milo last year and i think he was a bit too young but i think he is ready for it again.

HAPPY HOLLOW.

MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM. this place kicks my bum bum i tell you. i love going there. i would love to spend a night in a nearby town someday soon with my kids and make it a quick getaway that is not so far from home.

BAY AREA DISCOVERY MUSEUM.

FAIRYLAND.

PIXIELAND AMUSEMENT PARK.

STOW LAKE AT GOLDEN GATE PARK.

PARKSIDE AQUATIC PARK | SAN MATEO.

GILROY GARDENS.

LEMOS FARM.

HIDDEN VILLA.

PHIPPS FARM. well known around the bay for self-picking produce farm.

SAN FRANCISCO FIRE DEPARTMENT MUSEUM. free admission. and you can always stop by your local fire station for a visit, they are usually pretty nice about you walking in.

CHILDREN’S DISCOVERY MUSEUM | SAN JOSE.

ROARING CAMP RAILROADS. – we took milo there for the first time last year for a special Day Out with Thomas and it was fun if your kids love train as much as mine. *and please try to bring your own food because the food is not good. i know when you go to zoos, amusement parks & kids places, the food is not only overpriced but its not so good. but seriously, when we went last year we thought the food was pretty nasty. they are doing another Day Out with Thomas end of July and August, so, get your tickets if you want to go.

TILDEN PARK STEAM TRAIN.

BILLY JONES WILDCAT RAILROAD.

NILES CANYON RAILWAY.

BARON PARK GARDEN RAILWAY.

PALO ALTO JUNIOR MUSEUM & ZOO.

i dont think we will hit all these places but this is the list we will be starting from. we will at least try to visit one of these places each week, and if its not too far, we could even hit two of these places a week. but then again, we will be using this list all year round.

and oh yes, for those of you who would like to take your little ones to a movie theatre, theres a family friendly screening of Winnie the Pooh this saturday (july 23rd) at Redwood City’s AMC at 10:30am. its a good chance to take your little ones since they leave all the lights on and turn down the volume and you dont have to worry about your child crying or talking since its all about that. the Metreon use to have Reel Mom but they canceled that program a little bit ago. i have been trying hard to find more family screening/mom screening around the bay area but its hard. all i can do is to call each theater and unfortunately with the summer season and all summer part time job, most of the people that answer the phone has no idea what you are talking about. so, if you do want to inquire, ask for the manager and you can ask him/her if they are interested in hosting such events. good luck and please tell me if you know more places.

HAPPY SUMMER FUN FUN WITH YOUR FAMILY.
(and if you dont have little ones yet, some of these places are good places to take your date.)

SUMMER FUN.

let the summerfuntime begins.
milo has one month of summer school at his Early Start School and after that he will move on to a new preschool. its going to be tough since he has known all the teachers there since he was 8 weeks old when i started baby class with him. but at least matilda and i have started baby class so i will still get to see the wonderful teachers. i think it is me that is going to miss the school more than him. but thats not the point of this post, its about summerfuntime. my hubby and i started to generate a list of things we will do with milo and matilda during this summer. i cant wait and i will share some of them with you for those that are local. yeah.

happy summerfun time to you and don’t forget sunblock and don’t forget to say shoo shoo mosquitoes.

xoxo
me

PARCA DAY AT THE FAIR.

Tuesday, June 14th : PARCA day at the fair.
for people with developmental disabilities & their immediate families.
start time – 11am and rides will be open and free unti 12pm.

i never went but i signed up (thats right, you have to sign up here.)

i think it would be good for milo having that extra hour before its open to the public since he does get pretty anxious around a large crowd especially when there are lots of kids running around. he tends to step back, stay close to us and don’t really want to participate. its all because he does not have much peripheral vision on his only eye and things can get a little too much for him visually.

looking forward to this and i cant wait to see you + your family and your little ones.
and yeah for funnel cakes and cotton candy and all things sweets.

summer is here.

i want to take my little dude to these amazing places this summer.

ive been dreaming of summer getaways and i want to do something different besides visiting friends and families. just something cool to do with my little dude and my mansomehandboy (and for myself). and these are the places that i really really want to go. its better than taking your child to disneyland or anything. i want to i want to. where should i go first!!!!???


the treehouse that i can never have in my backyard.

The Giraffe Manor. need i say more. it took me a bit to realize that this is an actual place.


Sky Cycle.crazee japanese. a good excuse to go to japan again.

i want all this for my perfect imaginary day.

i see this ad everywhere i go when i am here on vacation. i want it and i am finding a place to get my hair cut just like hers. i am trying grow my hair long again but i want a head of new fresh and healthy hair. SO, it might take a couple rounds of short hair style before getting new growth. this is a good style to start.

this is a perfect warm weather day dress. i think i had something like this when i was young (except for the high slit on the side).

toggle buttons! its hard to find these on a non kid jacket.

ive been wanting a bike but now i think i want this (Amish made Scooter. YES> AMISH MADE.) instead.

for the arrival of warm weather and warmer weather approaching i want to find ways to do more fun outside stuff with more fun warm weather clothing. and all this together is EXACTLY what i want and what i could wear everyday.