I know you're probably thinking, "Huh? where's part 2 of Eva's party goodies??" No worries, that's forthcoming. We recently took a uber-fun day trip to the Russian River area to celebrate my birthday, and I know if I don't post the pictures now, they will be forever lost in the archives...
The Russian River area is a super popular vacation spot because of its proximity to the San Francisco Bay Area. It's about an 1.5-hr drive from us, very doable as a day trip.
We first stopped by the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve just north of Guerneville, which brings back fond (and some not-so-fond) memories of our road trip to the Redwood National Park when Eva was 11 weeks old (what a difference a year makes, more on that later).
Bryson was not too happy to find that like most CA State Parks, Armstrong is not exactly dog-friendly. He's not allowed on any trails, but this park actually offers a decent paved road that runs through the park and takes you inside the redwood forest, unlike some parks that confine your poor pooch to the parking lot.
Bryson's such a good boy- whenever we get to a spot where doggies aren't welcomed, we'll tie him to the stroller and he'll just wait there, probably hoping for treats from the random passerby's (he's probably used to his demotion in the pecking order by now. Poor Bry Bry...)
At last, we found a tree stump that's close enough to the road that we could hoist him up for a photo op. Now he has proof that he was actually there with us. Say cheese!
Eva had a great time practicing her "one-finger" walk (she's ultra-cautious, and even though she could walk quite a few steps at home without holding onto anything, she would not let go of that one finger whenever she's out).
And here, look what difference *almost* a year makes:
Eva @ 2.5 months:
Our next stop was to dip our feet in the Russian River itself. We drove around quite a bit, and to Bryson's dismay, we couldn't find a public beach that allows dog access, so he took a nice nap while Eva got her feet wet.
Pooped... Mama, I need one of those baby neck pillow thingies...
We've heard a lot about Fort Ross, an old Russian fort up the coast from Guerneville that's now a designated historic park, and since Eva's napping, we decided to make the 45-min drive up to check it out.
I have to say it was nothing like I expected- it was a nicely preserved compound nestled in this most scenic, serene coastal location. It's pretty remote and thus not very well visited, which adds to its air of mystique (honestly, a few of these buildings were a slight bit eerie, I would never visit it after dark). But at dusk when we were there, it was beautiful.
The rooms inside all the buildings are so well-staged, you really feel like you're immersed in a different time and place. I can almost see someone dressed in full-on period clothing jumping out at me. OK, it was a bit spooky.
And Eva, this is the part where people throw misbehaving children into the oven.
For more pictures of this fabulous day, check out our flickr album.