Monday, October 26, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Zoo News

A couple weeks ago, Uncle Bobby and Aunt Kristen gave us some extra free tickets they had to go with them to the zoo. Unfortunately, Daddy had to work, but it was still a good time. Taylor enjoyed it much more than when she was 2 years old. She was really interested in the animals and was just enthralled in watching them eat and sleep. The San Diego Zoo also just so happened to be offering free child's admission through the month of October, but it wasn't as busy as I expected.

First stop: the sky tram!

Taylor said her favorite animal at the zoo was the elephant. They have a new elephant exhibit at the San Diego Zoo, but for some reason I didn't happen to get any pictures of it. I think I was busy lifting Taylor up to see them and listening to her talk about them. One of my favorites, however, has always been the giraffes. I did get some pictures of them.

We were lucky to get up close and personal with a couple of lions - a male and female. It was awesome. The male, in all his majesty, was just staring at us, right near the glass. The female laid up against the glass, and if it hadn't been there, we could have touched her. I wish I had gotten pictures, because there wasn't a fence to obscure the view, but I was too distracted by the moment to do so.

Instead, you get a picture of a goat.

I am amazed that Taylor didn't catch the swine flu after using one of the combs that are touched by hundreds of kids a day.

The bears, which are usually sleeping in the shady caves, were out and about.

We stopped for snacks - churros and cotton candy. Upon arriving at the zoo, the first animals we saw were the sea otters, but Taylor noticed a child there with cotton candy, and thus began the hunt for the allusive treat. All the stands seemed to be out of it, so it wasn't until the end of the day that I was finally able to indulge her.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Sweet End to a Ridiculous Day

This is going to be a long, detailed post. I feel it necessary to include all the events of this day, for a better understanding of how nice it was to end up in this beautiful, shady spot with my family, and an ice cream cone.

A couple weeks ago I was so excited about hearing of the Pacific Islander Festival. The island girl in me could hear the ukuleles playing and smell the pineapple and pork roasting days before. Even though the Bears game was going to be televised, Kennedy was selfless enough to allow me his Sunday afternoon for this event. It was to be over by 4:30, so that meant we had to hurry home after church to change (and Pastor chose this Sunday to keep us past 1 PM. ) It was 2:15 by the time we made it down to Mission Bay. I researched our parking options ahead of time. There were 3 parking lots with free bus shuttles and paid parking on the island where Ski Beach is located (where the festival was being held). The website advised to forego trying to park in the paid lot, due to limited spaces. We spotted the first free shuttle lot, but were in the wrong lane and already saw 2 buses there picking up passengers. We drove further to find the 2nd lot. It was VERY empty (3 cars) so we weren't even sure that the bus was still picking people up there. We pulled in and as soon as I got out of the car my skirt was in a losing battle with the wind. Thankfully I brought pants along for just such an occurrence. Unfortunately, despite that there were only 3 cars in the lot, one of them belonged to a couple of old men who were sitting at a nearby bench watching me try to change into pants. I worked swiftly, only to jump out of the car and see the bus pulling away. Apparently, the bus was right behind us and wasn't about to wait the 20 seconds it took me to put my pants on. Assuming the buses were on a route and would be back around to the first lot soon, we headed back there. And that's where we waited. And waited - for 20 minutes, with the scent of unattainable pineapple and roasted pork teasing my tastebuds. By this time it was 2:45. Here is Kennedy checking the scores on the game I was making him miss...

After we tired of waiting, we decided to just drive to Ski Beach and see about the paid parking. By this time we were considering it worth the $10 to not have to find out how much longer we'd be waiting, and we assumed (need to stop doing that) since the festival was to be over soon, some spots would be available. Well, come to find out, Ski Beach is a headache to find. Driving around that area made my head spin. We backtracked a couple times and ended up on a freeway somehow. When we finally found that parking lot, we were met with orange cones and a sign stating that the lot was full. There was a sea of people walking across the bridge, seeming to be coming from a parking area. Despite that the two day festival was to be over in an hour and half, there were still hundreds of people pouring in. I considered finding some parking and making that long trek across that bridge with the masses for about a half a second. I'd just hold out for next year.

Once we decided not to go to the Pacific Islander Festival, we set out to find a place to eat. It was 3:00 PM and Taylor was the only one who had eaten a meal that day. So we drove with our eyes peeled. I was in the mood for something tropical, like fish tacos, since I was missing out on my island faire. We thought it would be easy to stumble upon a little place serving fish tacos down around the Bay. It wasn't. We inadvertently ended up in Pacific Beach, where I was reminded of how old I am and how most young people these days make me want to slap some sense into them. We become our grandparents eventually. I never thought it would happen by the time I was 32. Oh the good old days... when gas was under a dollar and kids knew the right way to wear a baseball cap.

I caught this happening in the sky as we were driving. Another reminder that there was football going on. It says, "Go Chargers."

So we drove our way out of Pacific Beach and considered checking out the restaurant options in Old Town. We found out after circling the parking lots that while half of San Diego was eating pork at the Pacific Islander festival, the other half was eating Mexican food in Old Town. A ways down the road, just outside of Old Town, we saw a neat looking Mexican restaurant. After doing two u-turns and missing the entrance to their small parking lot twice, we opted out of a 3rd try - it just wasn't meant to be.

Somehow we ended up on Intestate 8, heading east, farther and farther from fish tacos. Kennedy kept saying, "Keep a look out for a restaurant that looks appetizing," but I couldn't see much from the freeway. By this time we were so hungry, we gave up on the fish tacos. The farther we drove, the closer we got to El Cajon, and the only time we ever go to El Cajon is to see a lady once a year who does our taxes. I wasn't very interested in visiting more than once this year, so, after stopping there for gas, I had expected Kennedy to get back on Interstate 8 heading west. He didn't. Why head west when you can go so much farther east? And to make a long story short (hahaha), after a bit of a drive later we ended up on an Indian reservation.

It was 4:00 PM.

Indian reservations in this area have: tribes, rattle snakes, and heat (close to 100 degrees on this particular day). Oh, and casinos. That's where everyone goes to eat and shop. So, we went to the shopping outlets on the property of Viejas Casino. The first restaurant I saw was Rubios. Fish tacos! But, having spent hours waiting to eat, we weren't about to settle on a fast food chain with an establishment within a mile of our house.

There was a pasta/pizza place that I was willing to give in to. In fact, as hungry as a was, I just wanted to shovel in some pasta and bread and be done with it. Kennedy wanted to check out the outlet map. We did. And he found a sushi place. I wasn't super excited. As I expected, it was over-priced and was being made by an 18 year old caucasian kid who told someone he'd been making sushi for 4 months. I thought of our favorite sushi place in Rancho Penasquitos where we could have gotten twice as much food for the price, and much better quality. But, I was grateful to have food in my stomach.

It was a hot day, so we found a nice bench to sit on in the shade. An elderly couple walked by with ice cream cones. That looked refreshing. We found a Cold Stone on the map, but that only led us to a closed-up shop. So we headed up to a place with a sign that said they had ice cream. They didn't. Well, they did, but it was packaged ice cream. So I remembered that we had passed a sign on our walk to the sushi place advertising ice cream cones at KFC for 59 cents. You can't pay me to eat their chicken, but the huge cones of soft serve they were dishing for 59 cents couldn't be passed up.

Sometimes the best memories are the ones that take a whole day to arrive at.

Monday, October 05, 2009

First Face Painting

They've been running a segment on Nick Jr. between cartoons on how to paint your face like Tolee and Rintoo from the show Ni Hao, Kai-Lan. This has had Taylor amazed and consumed with getting her face painted like Tolee. Tolee is a Koala. Sorry if that is not distinguishable from these photos. Kennedy did a craft run after work one day and happened to pick up face paints, which unfortunately did not include black. Who ever heard of a face paint kit without black. They had gray and white, but no black. The manual that came with it even suggested you can make gray by mixing black and white. How intelligent. Anyhow, their gray was too light and didn't show well against the blue, so I had to use purple.

Taylor had been waiting so long to do this (2 weeks is like 6 months to a 3 year old, especially when the face painting segment comes on everyday to remind you!), so she wasn't too concerned with the change of colors. She was so proud to be Tolee. She acted like she was a movie star.

Of course, someone had to be Rintoo! (Rintoo is a tiger. Not sure how a koala and a tiger are friends in China, but the kids like it.) Daddy was a good sport. The finished product was horrid, so I did not take pictures of that.

Fall is a Favorite

I remember going on field trips to Bate's Nut Farm as a child. It was
a family tradition, along with fall trips to Julian for apple picking.
A lot has changed in 20 years - many more people than I remember.
I guess word has gotten around. But the store and the petting zoo are
still there, and the pumpkins are still growing. There was kettle corn,
and funnel cake, and pies, and of course, nuts. They've added pony rides,
air jumpers, and a climbing wall, but we stuck with the traditional tractor hay ride.
Check it out before the season is over!
Bate's Nut Farm Website

We're growing the bangs out. It's a process.

I just realized how creepy goat eyes are.
Three goats nearly knocked me over trying to get the bag of food.
I was lucky to get some into Taylor's hand before they ravaged it.

There was a lot of whining while daddy was taking these pictures. Taylor wanted to go on the hay ride and we told her she could if she smiled for some photos with mommy. We ended up with a lot of fake smiles and more whining. She is in a whining stage. Hopefully she outgrows it soon; however, I believe it may be payback. I can remember whining at amusement parks as a child, but in fairness, I do have weak ankles, and I would get painful shin splits halfway through a day of walking. When I told my parents my legs hurt from walking, they thought I was just complaining, but really, I still have the problem. Maybe it stems back to the ankle braces I had to wear as a baby to straighten my feet. Anyway, I digress, Taylor was whining without excuse. :)

Since we are talking about whining... something happened the other day...

You know your child is growing up when they start out-witting you. After a full day of listening to Taylor whine about EVERYTHING, and knowing she hates to be referred to as a baby these days, I got fed up and asked her, "Are you a baby or a big girl? Babies cry and wear diapers. Do you want to cry and wear diapers or do you want to be a big girl?" She then asks, "Is Sleeping Beauty a baby?" Remembering the movie, I replied, "Yes, she was a baby, but she grew up to be a big girl princess." To which her response was, "Sleeping Beauty cried with the fairy godmothers." (Sleeping Beauty, the big girl, did cry when she found out she was betrothed.) CHECKMATE.