Tuesday, January 31

Something Fun Everyday: Trains, Lizards and Golf

OK, we didn't actually golf today. However, I thought Porter looked like he was dressed to go golfing. 

Really, we met Adlai at Travel Town for some train climbing. Porter was, as is usual these days, a total wild man.

Also, we found a very bold lizard that let the boys do some quiet observation for a minute or two before dashing off to the safety of some boulders.

Saturday, January 28

My Hiking Cuties

We found a new trail today that is close by with a really nice wooded area for picnics.
At bedtime tonight Porter was completely overtired from a full day of hiking, awesome They Might Be Giants concert, and friends over late for dinner. Tim had finally gotten him a little settled down in bed by calmly talking about all the nice fun we had today. At the mention of this hiking spot, Porter broke into tears again, wailing, "But we didn't have a picnic on the rock! Waaahhh!" To be fair we had discussed sitting down for snacks somewhere, but everyone was so caught up in exploration that we kept meandering the trails. Poor boy doesn't miss a beat, but that is fine because that cute picnic area is calling Tim & I also so we will be back there soon.

Wednesday, January 25

San Diego Model Train Museum

It was no surprise that Porter loved this huge model train museum A LOT. However, the rest of us enjoyed it more than I expected. The detail was amazing and there was room, after room, after hallway of model landscapes with trains and vehicles and people. I also really dug the cute little hobby guys tucked in behind the windows driving their trains, tinkering with controllers and eating potato chips. So cute. 
It took him about 30 minutes before he moved from the first viewing window.

The whole place was full of little hidden details. Shark in the swimming pool! There was also a really fun scene with a stegosaurus being unloaded from a cargo train car. And Superman on a clock tower. 
I really wonder how many more hours he would have stood at these windows if the museum had not been closing (and we had to drag him out screaming). 

The Model Train Museum was within Balboa Park, an amazing park in San Diego. Not only is the park full of beautiful architecture and gardens, but it is crammed with museums. I am not sure how we will ever get to visiting them all, now that we discovered the model trains! 

Tuesday, January 24

Rainy San Diego Day

We had planned our second day in San Diego to be a little low key. The weather cooperated perfectly, giving us a nice, relaxing rainy morning to take it slow. We decided our best course of action was a swim in the heated pool, followed by a hot tub soak. 
 Then off to the beautiful botanical gardens in Balboa Park. 
These big old greenhouses always make me nostalgic for my Cornell days, hiding in the greenhouses up there among ferns, orchids, and pothos in the middle of winter.

Next up, a picnic lunch in the park, timed perfectly with the rain clouds clearing out.
These guys are a bunch of goofballs.
After lunch we found Porter's favorite place on earth, an enormous model train museum. I think that probably deserves a post of it's own. The trains left everyone in high spirits, which led to goofy racing around.
Porter's hair is getting a bit long. I love this shot of him shoving it back in between bursts of running.
At this wishing well, together we all tossed in the one lonely penny my wallet contained. Our wish (for awake pandas, not sleeping lumps) came true the next day.

Friday, January 20

Sea World

We decided to wreck Matilda's perfect attendance record at school and play hookie today.
 I don't think she minded!

The theme park was almost deserted today with no crowds anywhere. At lunch we practically had the cafe to ourselves, vying for table space only with the aggressive heron who was quite interested in our food. 

Wednesday, January 18

Dear Matilda's Mom

In school right now the curriculum focus for Matilda's class is food. I, of course, cannot help myself and have been offering up lots of ideas and maybe too much "help" to the teacher. She seems to be politely ignoring my efforts to plan a field trip to the farmers market, probably wisely. However, she was quite pleased to welcome me into class yesterday to share a huge variety of produce and talk with the kids about farmers markets. I went totally overboard in my enthusiastic market shopping and brought way more items than we could cover in 30 minutes with 22 rowdy, over-excited kids. I had a blast, but left wondering how they could possibly have absorbed anything from the rushed and disorganized presentation. It also proved to me that I am no match for a kindergarten class. Despite the chaos, the kids all participated eagerly, tried lots of food, and seemed to generally enjoy it. For tasting we cut up purple and white potatoes, turnips, fennel, cucumbers, cauliflower, radishes, purple and white carrots, pommelo, blood oranges and mandarins. 

As I picked Matilda up today she was bursting at the seams to share the thank you notes that each child in her class made for me. It was a fantastic treat to read through and see all the drawings. I have included below a few drawings and some of the notes (spelling corrected for your reading ease) written from the children.

Dear Matilda's mom,
Thank you for bringing the carrots and the cauliflower. I really liked them. 

Dear Matilda's mom,
Thank you for bringing in the vegetables. I love what you did because I love you.

Dear Matilda's mom, 
Thank you for the vegetables.

Dear Matilda's mom,
Thank you for the food but I only liked 1 kind of food and that food was the blood orange.

Dear Matilda's mom,
Thank you for the vegetables because I like the vegetables because the vegetables is healthy. 

Dear Matilda's mom,
Thank you for showing the vegetables. I like learning about vegetables because I like vegetables.

Dear Matilda's mom, 
Thank you for giving all of the food. I love you.
Dear Mama,
Thank you for the fennel I liked. It was yummy because it tasted like licorice. Matilda
Note that in Matilda's picture above she depicted herself with a big, raised blue hand. She actually did a fairly poor job of raising her hand and waiting to be called on. I suppose if your mom is in class covering all your favorite veggies it might be hard to remember that little rule. It is also worth noting that Matilda ate 2 raw potatoes, 1 big raw turnip and 1/2 a bulb of fennel after the presentation yesterday. At least we won't have a problem eating our way through all the extra produce I purchased for the kids to manhandle!

This picture below is probably my favorite because it really captures the mobbed feeling I had at the end of the class when all the hands were clamoring up at me for the last few sample items I had on my tray. Maybe those sad faces indicate that not everyone got to sample as much as they would have liked?

Monday, January 16

Today's Cell Phone Pics

Porter wanted his shirt off for nap time today. My sweet sleeping boy; he is so exhausting these days that naps are especially savored.

Matilda was certain the birthday party we were attending today required "fancy dress" so she donned this Alice meets Wonder Woman ensemble.
My snacker is a goof.

Everything is Sandy

We had another fun outing to the beach with our sled. This time we invited more friends along to multiply the good time.  It is official; I prefer the beach at winter time.

 After they lured the birds in with breadcrumbs, the kids all chased them around for a bit. It took quite a while for the gulls and pigeons to give up on more bread and wander off.

Our exciting animal encounter for the day was a pair of sea lions swimming in the surf. They stuck around for a bit for us to see them bobbing up in the water, jumping around and even barking! We all theorized that they were yelling at the surfers not too far from them.

Sunday, January 15

Role Reversal

One of the really fun things about having these schmancy new phones is easily sending pictures back and forth. Most days I send a picture or two to Tim of our adventures. Often I will send a particularly goofy one to other family members, too. It is a nice way to stay connected and share the kids with family. Today was a work day for me and I got to see how nice it is on the receiving end. Here are some of the pics I got:

  This bearskin rug was pretty much a show stopper for the kids. Porter hollered, "What is that!!?" The tour guide at the William Hart Museum confirmed that kids always are intrigued by the Kodiak carpet.
Chick-Fil-A now features those squeeze pouches of applesauce in their kids meal. If my kids were not already completely enamored, they are now for certain. 

Friday, January 13

Porter Playdate

I took Porter and one of his pals to the zoo yesterday; they were both so excited to go. His gal pal is a younger sibling too, so she also just gets brought along for her older sister's social calendar without any of her own "social engagements." It was so sweet to see how thrilled they were to be having a special outing together. 

Splashing in the water fountain.
Not watching animals, actually entranced by the big excavators and diggers working on the new rainforest area at the zoo. 

Thursday, January 12

Christmas Card Photo Shoot

Now that Christmas cards are well in the past I am finally remembering to post a few cute pictures from the day we got our photo for the card. Tim managed to capture some really cute shots of the kids, individually and together which is always the challenge! It is nice to see them all again a month later.

2011 Christmas Card Shoot 12-03-11

2011 Christmas Card Shoot 12-03-11

2011 Christmas Card Shoot 12-03-11

2011 Christmas Card Shoot 12-03-11

And here is the final product!