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.

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