Weekend in Russian River

Fall weekend in the Russian River

We recently spent a long weekend near the Russian River. Nick and I have enjoyed a few trips to the area over the years—in fact, Nick swam the river for an Ironman triathlon—but we'd yet to take Will. I found the perfect family-friendly Airbnb on a ranch in the small town of Guerneville. We spent most of our time on the ranch because there was so much to do and explore right on the property, from feeding a pig to juicing apples.

The ranch has two guest suites, so our friends Susie, Jamie, and their baby came along as well, which made the trip even more fun. When the babies went to bed, we hung out by a campfire making s'mores—with our baby monitors nearby, of course. Here are some highlights from the trip.

Little explorer

Will wandering the ranch in the morning.

Feeding a pig on a farm
Feeding acorns to the pig
Acorns for pigs

Baby meets a pig

We fed acorns to Betty the pig. Who knew that pigs love acorns?

Chickens on the ranch

There were chickens and ducks on the ranch, too.

mama + baby

Susie and baby Dickson enjoying some fall sunshine.

Pomegranate trees

Baby picking pomegranates

The ranch was full of fruit trees, like these pomegranate trees.

Apple picking in the Russian River

And these apple trees. So we got to work making apple juice.

Fall apple picking

Family-friendly fall activities: apple picking!

Step one: Pick some apples.

Washing apples before juicing

Babies washing apples for juicing

Step two: Make babies wash the apples.

Loading apples into the juice press

Step three: Load the apples in the juice press.

Pressing apples for juice

Step four: Press, press, press.

Making apple juice at Apple Ranch in Guerneville, CA

Step five: Collect and drink all of the juice.

Baby's first apple juice

This was Will's first taste of apple juice and he was hooked.

apple juice fresh from the press
Freshly pressed apple juice 
Will was covered in apple juice by the time we finished bottling it.

tub life

outdoor tub on a ranch

Outdoor tub at Apple Ranch in Guerneville, CA

Good thing he loved chilling in this outdoor tub.

sweet family

Our cute friends.

exploring the ranch

Our little explorer heading towards the woods.

Johnson's Beach - Russian River, CA

We ended the trip with a visit to the river.

running along the river

wading in the river

water baby

Russian River fun

Will waded right in. He definitely takes after his dad!

father-son love

See more of our family-friendly getaways in Hood River, Oregon, and Carmel, California.

Mini Maverick

Toddler Halloween costume: Top Gun Mini Maverick

Will is one-and-a-half years old and obsessed with airplanes, so it seemed appropriate to dress him up as a pilot for Halloween. But we couldn't let him be just any pilot. This kid has a need for speed, just like Top Gun's Maverick. For Will's costume, we copied Maverick's grounded look: jeans, a white t-shirt, a Top Gun bomber jacket, and of course, aviators. Oh, and a whole lot of swagger. Welcome to the danger zone.

Toddler Top Gun costume: mini Maverick

Toddler Top Gun bomber jacket

Top Gun bomber jacket - toddler size

Toddler aviators and bomber jacket

Can this baby pull off a bomber jacket or what? The little girl dressed as Alice who kept running up to Will at the neighborhood Halloween parade seemed to agree.

Halloween parade

Nick and I got in on the Top Gun theme and wore bomber jackets and aviators, too.

Father-son Top Gun Halloween costume

Family Halloween costume - Top Gun pilots

Mother-son Top Gun Halloween costume

One more of these two (cue the music from the volleyball scene): Playing, playing with the boys!

Playing, playing with the boys | Top Gun father-son costume

What a difference a year makes—scroll down a bit in this post to see last Halloween's little minion!

A Year of Motherhood

a year of motherhood
I feel so lucky to share my birthday month with my son Will. In April, my husband surprised me with the best birthday present ever: a mother-son photo session. These pictures capture one year older for me, one year old for Will, and one year of motherhood. What a special thing to have documented.

mother-son photo session


one year old baby boy

nursery photos

mother and son nursery photo session

baby's favorite books - Hello! London

baby's favorite books - All Aboard California

mother son love

mother and baby boy photos

breastfeeding at one year old
Photos by Meg Perotti, who also captured Will at almost three months, our maternity photos, and our first baby.