Monday, June 20, 2011

Breathe. Just Breathe.

No, you're not dreaming. I actually posted again! After a brief (ahem -- 11 month) hiatus! I have a lot of catching up to do. No promises. This is a guilt-free blog. Someday I'll catch up. You'll get a random blog about last July and boating from last summer. Someday I might actually post something that happened within the last month. But for now, enjoy at your leisure, or not at all!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Trip to the Oakland Zoo

While Pammie was here, we got a chance to go to the Oakland Zoo. There was a group of my friends going for our little field trips, so we decided it would be a fun thing to do with Pammie. Boy, oh boy, it was HOT. Oakland is not supposed to be this hot. We saw some not-so-pink pink flamingos.
 And some Sun Bears, who, as it turns out, don't really like the sun all that much.
 When we went to go see the otters, it was really funny. Ethan said, "Hi, Otters" when we walked up to the wall to see the otters, and these otters raced over to greet us. They must have been expecting us!
 They have several super huge turtles that were all resting in the shade.
 Ethan thought this thing was pretty cool and asked for a picture.
 Can you believe this turtle is just chillin' on the back of an alligator?
 Here we found some of our friends, enjoying the same crazy turtle/alligator spectacle.
 Next, we headed down to the petting area and the boy had a lot of fun brushing all the animals. They also had an excellent set of misters, so even though it wasn't all that pleasant smelling with the goats, I was more than happy to hang out.
 I can't see a warthog and not have tunes from the Lion King running through my head.
 Ethan is getting a much closer look at something.
 Here's more of our little crew.
 I think it would be funny to see this number of children running around amidst all the strollers.
 We took a lot of rest breaks in the shade. There are a lot of hills in Oakland, and the zoo is no exception! We definitely got our workout for the day.
 This was as many kids as we could sandwich on the bench.
 This was our "family shot." We had about 7 attempts, and Ethan is jumping up and down in every one.
 Pammie and I took the train ride around a small portion of the zoo with the boys. It was really all Ethan wanted to do since we got there.
 I love this shot of the boys.
 So, funny story, directly after coming through this tunnel, there is a fake snake on the side (they had little fake animals posed along the route of the train). My mom, who is deathly afraid of snakes, was sitting on the same side as said snake and nearly had a heart attack as we came out of the tunnel. I was so bummed I didn't capture her reaction on camera. It was priceless.
 On the extremely short train ride we pretty much just saw kangaroos and Emus. As cool as they are, I don't think it was worth the $15 to see them. Although maybe seeing Pammie pee her pants from the snake scare was worth it (okay, not actually peeing her pants).

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pammie's Beach House Week #2

We went back to the beach house with Pammie and was also joined my my Aunt Dani, Aunt Lori, and her husband, Martin. We decided it was a great time to keep driving and go and see Hearst Castle. We've been going down to the beach house for so long now, and have talked about this trip for, what seems like, forever. It was fun to actually make it happen this time!
 We got two backpacks for the boys, thinking we might be able to keep control of them a little but better this way.
 Wouldn't you love to take a dip in that?
 Pretty much, everything was over the top immaculate and ornate.
 We got lost in seeing so many different rooms, all so elaborate.
 Ethan spied this little fountain and squealed, "He's peeing in the water!" Thankfully, everyone on the tour heard it too!
 Wow, this is a HUGE dining hall!
 Here's the group of us!
 And the amazing indoor pool, with real gold inlay.
 We had time to do two different tours. The second one involved a lot of stair climbing.
 Check out their view! I love California's coastline!
 I think I was most amazed by all the ceilings. This is Mr. Hearst's personal study.
 I also just loved the architecture.
 I think if I were to stay here, I would like the room in the highest tower. Such nice natural lighting!
 I thought the boys did remarkably well. It was a 2 1/2 hour drive down and then 4 hours of asking them not to touch anything, even the carpet. That's a lot of asking of a three-year-old.
 Look at the wood work under the roof!
 I thought the kitchen was totally sweet. And he had stainless steel countertops, that I had to point out to John (only because of our long running joke about our stainless steel dining table that he hates and I  love).
 What an amazing set up!
 I LOVED this old mixer! It made me want to go home and start cooking after I saw it.
 The grounds were all so beautiful. It also made me want to landscape our yards. If I only had 345 billion dollars...
 After the castle, we drive north to see the elephant seals.
 This guy was coming out of the ocean. It looked like a lot of hard work.
 Just look at all this laziness! Looks nice, doesn't it?
 We took everyone to the Julia Pfieffer State Park to see the waterfall running onto the beach.
 It turned out to be the perfect time for good lighting, and a good family picture!
 We love our Grammie Pammie!
 One of the girls! We had so much fun! Thank you for another fabulous weekend, Pammie! So glad everyone was able to come!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Happy Birthday to Tara

I turned 31 this year! Yikes! That sounds so old! I did hear a report on the radio that said that women hit their peak at age 32 (physically), thank goodness I still have another year then before I can really get depressed about it! For my birthday, we went to 1515, one of our favorite restaurants. We ended up sitting next to the owner's entire family and had a grand old time. They kept sending things over to us that they were requesting for their grandkids. And their kids were far louder than ours, so that's always a good thing.

 The owner promised Ethan some ice cream if he was a good boy at the beginning of the meal, and he told Ethan to give him the "thumbs up" sign as soon as he was ready for it. Ethan was so excited and kept asking if it was time for the ice cream yet. The owner definitely came through for Ethan, the minute Ethan's little thumb went up, the owner called the waiter over to bring us some ice cream for the boys!
The owner found out it was my birthday too, and sent over a little dessert for us! What a nice surprise!
 Here's to another good year!