Saturday, June 28, 2008

Road trip to Los Angeles

Lucas and I made a road trip to Los Angeles for a few days. My goal was to visit friends and his was to visit Legoland. There are tons of pictures in this post, so if you don't want to scroll all afternoon, just know that we did both and had an awesome time.

Even the drive down in 100+ degree heat was fun. Lucas was a real trooper during the long ride. I was armed with hours and hours of audio books, but most of the time he just hung out. I would peek back once in a while and he's be playing with his stash of cars that he brought, looking at his watch, or just looking out the window.

We turned off the air conditioning and rolled down the windows as we drove up the Grapevine to prevent our car from overheating. Luckily, it was only in the high 90s for most of this part. We kept ourselves cool by drinking tons of water and our washcloths, which we would soak in water and refresh our skin - it really did the trick. Lucas never once complained about how hot it was, even when temperatures hit 113 in Valencia - the hottest weather I had ever experienced!

We got to Jeanne's house in West LA and headed straight for Venice Beach. Lucas LOVED playing in the ocean.

We went out to dinner straight from the beach. We walked down Main street to World Cafe in Santa Monica. It was one of my favorite haunts when I was in my 20s, where I would go to eat and drink with friends. One crazy night, I remember (well, I didn't personally remember, but my friends told me later) that I took over the piano in the restaurant and belted out some classical tunes. This time, we dined outside on the patio and had a great time (and yes, I kept my cocktails alcohol-free).
After the picture was taken, he opened his mouth and showed me all the bread he had stored in his chubby little cheeks. What a cheeky little monkey!

When we weren't at the beach, we kept Lucas cool, and entertained, in her backyard by spraying him with the hose. He loved it and could have done this for hours.

Jeanne and I are big Scrabble players. We played Scrabble sitting next to each other on the same couch, passing the laptop back and forth, so we could finish our games on Facebook.
Inside the house, Lucas befriended Jeanne's cat, who he affectionately renamed Jellybean, and who I not so affectionately renamed, "Stay the hell away from me". But I was glad to see that my dislike of cats hasn't affected Lucas. Though sometimes he would squeeze Jellybean a little too much, that cat was very tolerant if things got too intense. When Lucas would be jumping around the house, JB would run and hide, which of course Lucas saw as a sign to play hide and seek. Poor cat!When he wasn't playing with Jellybean, Lucas was taking photos with my iPhone. He would mostly take pictures of his toys. On day 2, we headed out to the beach in the early morning with my rollerblades and Lucas' bike. I had been telling Lucas that one of my favorite things to do was rollerblade up and down the boardwalk along the water. He couldn't wait to try it. We rode for a long time. Lucas was racing up and down the boardwalk, having an awesome time, I couldn't keep up with him. He was good about respecting the rules of the road and stopping once in a while so I could catch up. People would turn and look at him and comment on what a good biker he is.
Then we headed to south Orange County to stay with my friend Venita and her family. Again, it was still so hot, but the kids wanted to go out so we biked along this path and went to a park.

Monday morning we were bound for Legoland! We were pleasantly surprised to learn that our Volvo afforded us a premium parking spot, just by the main entrance.

However, I was not so pleasantly surprised when the tickets to get in to Legoland for me and Lucas were almost $100 (it would have been over $100, had it not been for a nice lady who handed us a coupon as we approached the ticket gate).

Lucas spent a lot of time in this position, pointing and saying, "Mom look, it's made of Legos!"

Some of the things were pretty incredible, like this area where all the little models were made of Legos. Here Lucas is pointing out the cable car that is made of Legos. Or this mini replica of the Hollywood Bowl, and all the little people were also made of Legos. I told Lucas that maybe when he grows up his job could be to make these models for Legoland. He looked at me in astonishment that such a cool job could exist for grown-ups.Lucas could have spent a lot of time in this area, but we decided to move on and go on some rides. We did the roller coaster several times in a row, since there wasn't much of a line. Legoland was great, becuase most of the rides were just at his level, but Lucas has a cautious streak that made a couple rides a little scary for him.

Here's a sweet photo of Lucas and Isabella holding hands as we walked through Legoland.

This was probably one of the most exciting moments at Legoland, when Lucas stood next to Darth Vader and R2D2, both made entirely of Legos.
There were still a few things we didn't get to do. We walked by the Lego building stations, but I didn't really want to spend all that money so Lucas could play with Legos (which he can do all day at home for free). And then there was the water park. While we were prepared with his swimming gear and extra dry clothes, it looked a little chaotic with lots of bigger kids running around. And I didn't have my swim gear to go in with him. But he had so much fun at the other parts that he didn't really miss them.

We hit the road before rush hour and went back to Venita's. The fun part about Southern California is that almost all my college friends still live there. So Venita invited our college roommate Toni and her son over for dinner that night. I hadn't seen Toni since 1993 - 15 years! Even though we had not spoken in all that time, we had so much fun, it was like no time had passed at all.

It was great to see our kids playing so well together. Even Lucas gladly stopped running around for a minute to get his photo taken with the rest of the kids. We were sad to leave the next day. We had such a great time and Lucas got to be such good friends with Venita's kids. I packed up the car and we drove north.

We stopped off in West Hollywood to have brunch with another college friend of mine. We reconnected via Facebook earlier this year, but only emailed back and forth. When we met up at the restaurant, it was like no time had passed, let alone 13 years!

We tried to piece together how we lost contact all those years ago, we had never had a falling out or fight with eachother. But I guess that's just what happens sometimes. After we talked about that, Natasha said, "Now I know we'll be friends forever," and I agreed. Then we moved on to the present. She got me caught up with what she was up to and the other folks I had lost contact with over the years. It was so nice to make that connection with her again.

The ride back home was nice, much cooler than the ride down to LA. Of course, I introduced Lucas to Andersen's pea soup. While he never touches my split pea soup, he sopped up the soup at Andersen's with lots of good crusty bread.

While we had a great time, it was nice to come home.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Yoga on the go

Lucas struck up a nice child's pose at Elephant Pharmacy as he watched a yoga video in the yoga section of the store.

I love the fact that our drug store even has a yoga section ... only in Berkeley.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Overcoming your fears

Lucas has some issues with eating certain fruit: oranges that are "too juicy" or eating any fruit that has mild brown spots. And until just recently, he would refuse to eat a fruit salad, even if he liked all the fruit that was in it, preferring instead to eat the fruit separately.

The other day I served him up a fruit salad for breakfast. We had had somewhat of a trying morning, so he was silently eating his meal.

Then he said, "Mommy, look I'm all done," and he showed me the empty bowl.

Me: Wasn't that a good fruit salad?
Lucas: Yeah, I even ate the pieces of juicy orange.
Me: Really? What did you think?
Lucas: I still didn't like it, but I ate it. It made me shiver. See, I'm still shivering (I look over and indeed, he was.)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Looking for answers?

We strolled through the book store this evening and en route to the children's section, we passed through the philosophy section. A book cover caught Lucas' attention. It was called "The Big Questions" or something like that. I think he picked it up because the cover was black and somewhat menacing.

He picked it up and asked what it was about. I took this as a sign that maybe I could get some answers to life's biggest questions from my 4 11/12 year old. So I rattled off some of the questions on the inside flap of the book:

Me: What is love?
Lucas: It's when you like someone very very very much.

Me: How can people best adapt to change?
Lucas: If you find some coins, just leave them there because they belong to someone else. (Obviously he thought the question was about THAT kind of change.)

Me: Why is it so hard to achieve peace?
Lucas: Because some people don't act nice to other people.

If you want answers to any profound questions about life, just ask Lucas.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Day trip to SF - Kiteboarding races

On Friday Lucas and I headed out for our SF adventure, with the ultimate goal of getting to Crissy Field in San Francisco to watch the national kiteboarding championships.

As always, Lucas had fun just riding on the BART train over to SF. He entertained some out-of-towners sitting across from us with facts about BART, like "You know we're going to go underwater soon. But you can't see the sharks because we'll be in a tunnel. Actually, it's called the Tube."

It was still warm and sunny when we arrived in SF, reason enough for Lucas to caper down through the streets to the Ferry Building where we picked up some lunch to-go.En route to Crissy Field, we stopped for a pit stop at this candy store. Upon entrance they accost you with huge baskets and tell you you can fill it up with candy for something like $5. I politely declined and opted for the 4-year old torture route, telling Lucas that from these barrels and barrels of candy, he could pick out two pieces. As you can imagine, this took quite a while as he deliberated among the array of brightly-colored taffies, chocolates, and other sugary doo-dads. He opted for a piece of chocolate chip taffy and a chocolate square.
When we finally made it to Crissy Field around noon and it was freezing! Plus we were informed that the races wouldn't be starting until 1pm. It was so cold and windy that Lucas even asked for his sweatshirt, but still opted to hold out on the long pants which I packed just in case.

This picture doesn't show it, but Lucas really enjoyed his fancy sandwich of brie, arugula and fig jam. The crusty bread was a far cry from the standard soft sandwich bread he gets at home. But he loved it and made pirate sounds as he ate.
We whiled away the time playing on the beach. Yes, even I, with the motto, "I love the beach, except for all that sand," laid down and played in the sand as that was the only way I could keep warm. I was tempted to ask Lucas to bury me in the sand, but I decided I would only do that if the temperatures got lower than 50 degrees.

After about an hour, we ventured to the little cafe nearby for some hot chocolate to warm up my old bones. We sat down with our hot chocolates and Lucas looked into his and said, "I don't think they put extra chocolate in mine," which he's heard me mutter often enough when we go out for cocoa.
As we ran back out, we saw the kites already up in the sky. This guys even let us look at his kite up close. We watched the races for a bit, it was pretty cool, but Lucas was more interested in playing in the sand.We started the long trek back to downtown to catch the BART station. With a pit stop at Cocoa Bella. After much hemming and hawing, Lucas finally chose a hazelnut chocolate ganache truffle. I'm sure the somewhat snooty salesperson was amused when Lucas said, "Can I please have the one that looks like a snail?"

Friday, June 13, 2008

I scream, you scream...

I guess we eat a lot of ice cream. Actually, it's just when we get together with my family, which seems to be often. Maybe we get together so much because we all need/want a good excuse to eat a lot of ice cream?

Here are some random shots of us from the past couple weeks, eating ice cream...

Monday, June 09, 2008

While I was sleeping

I love taking long afternoon naps. But yesterday I found these pictures on my camera. Kevin and Lucas were quite the mischievous duo -- just look at Lucas' face!

From now on, I'll have to hide my camera.