Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Stuff to do with kids in L.A. -- Griffith Park

Giffith Park is an awesome place for littles -- especially boys.  Three mini train rides, real full size trains to climb in, and Batman's hideout.

Here's the observatory, which we didn't go to (we had other objectives)...

The mini train ride...

The Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum was another little train ride, even smaller I think -- you had to sort-of straddle the train cars.  There was a long line and Bob was about a half inch too short; we waited for a few minutes but then decided to move on because what he really wanted was to drive the trains anyway.  So I asked for my donation back and we went along to Travel Town.

Checking out the big trains and pretending to "steer" was very exciting.

We rushed out of there and set off searching for Bronson Canyon -- the Bat Cave (used to film some scenes from the '60s Batman series).  We followed directions from Wikipedia and found the spot just in time before the sun set.

Ben climbed up onto a cliff and took this panorama.  See those specks in the center?  That's my cousin Erica standing, and me crouched with Owie in the Ergo trying to comfort Bob, who was carrying a boulder against my advisement and fell and "bwote his hand!"  A near disaster, but after a few minutes of double baby holding, we recovered.

Mini train ride: $2.50 x 3 = $7.50
Live Steamers donation: $6
We ain't waitin, gimme that back: -$6
Total spent: a whopping $7.50

Fun adventure.  And fun to see you, Erica!  We miss you!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Cheap stuff to do in L.A. -- The Pier at Redondo Beach

Planning a vacation itinerary when you're traveling with babies is a little bit tricky.  For the first few days adjusting to the time change Bobby took a nap that lasted pretty much the entire day, like, 10am-2pm.  We had some super fun times and intense playing card battles during naps, but by day four Ben and I said, Forget this.  They're napping in the car.  Last time we were in California we took Bob (at almost two) to the San Diego Zoo but it was a good thing we stayed in San Diego the night before and got there early because Bob was passed out by noon and it was already wicked hot by that hour.  {Maybe the heat's the same at every hour; don't know.}  Point is: we knew that wherever we went, we wouldn't last all that long.  And besides, we were on a limited travel budget.  So we were looking for excursions that were free, or close to it.  Here's what we did.  Part one.

Redondo Pier

Ben's Gram lives in Redondo Beach so this was an easy one for us.  The highlights: walking around the pier over the ocean and chasing seagulls (of course!); playing in the arcade (by far bob's favorite part -- and we don't even put money in the machines for him! aren't we mean?); lots of cool mosaics and murals (which = great photo ops, but I wasn't trying to force anything, and the pups weren't exactly running over saying mom, please take my picture here); exploring the beach and getting all soaked (good thing we saved this for last!); checking out the shops (although we were in the market for just one thing: sunglasses for bob because I forgot to pack his.  we found a yellow pair he loved for $5).  oh, and climbing on everything.  you'll notice that's a theme with bob.  and owie's catching on quickly.

We paid $6 to park for 3 hours.  We spent $5 on sunglasses which, yes!, made it home with us.  And that's it.  And it was awesome.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

We're baaack! {and Owen is ONE}

{wrote this yesterday, on owen's actual birthday, but didn't get all the pics in til tonight...}

Our little Owie Bowie is ONE today.  What!?  A year flies by.  Must be getting old, eh?

As if to assert his ONEness, Owen was suddenly walking and talking today.  Well, not quite, but -- he stood himself up and took about four controlled steps over to the couch (controlled being the key word; over the past couple of weeks he's had a few good running jaunts, but he's always been just a bit too eager for his own good and ended up on the floor).  And -- today he started saying two things other than dada, nana, and mama.  He was playing with blocks and stacked one on top of another three and exclaimed, "ididit!"  (He was copying me and Ben with something similar yesterday, but we weren't totally sure he knew what he was saying.)  "You stacked it?" I asked him.  "Stack!" he said.  Then over and over: "ididit!"  "stack!"  So darn cute.

Grandmother made him {me} a cheesecake and he seemed to love it, despite already having fallen asleep at dinner {he's got fine taste buds, this one}.

It was nice having a little break from blogland while we were in California.  No sitting in front of a computer, just enjoying the sun and my pups and having my love on vacation and time with family.  {And as a bonus, I had a huge reading list to come back to.  Still working my way through it!}

We had so much fun on our trip.  SO much fun.  Thank you SO much Grandma and Gram for making it happen for us, and thanks Grandmother for the airport rides and post-vacation recovery meals.  Boy is it lame to return to this cold weather!  But at the same time, of course it's good to be home.  Today Bob said, "Mom, I'm very happy we came back to our house."  And I'm happy to be back at our house, too. I just wish it was on a beach in SoCal.  Just kidding.  Kind-of.

Some favorite photos and moments from the trip {just a few; more to come}...

{did you know about this trick for air travel with car seats?  wrap the latch straps around a carryon suitcase and latch them onto a metal ring.  click the top tether strap to the ring also and tighten everything.  done.  don't have to carry the seat, plus it doubles as a kid or stuff carrier.}

Seven plus hours of airplane time (times two) with two little people was... a challenge.  Not awful, mostly cute even.  But we had our low points for sure.  One of which occurred immediately prior to the peaceful moment pictured below.  Bob was actually the easy one for the most part.  The pups took turns riding in the car seat and sitting on our laps (mostly mine).  Bob was much easier on the lap; Owen was a little maniac who didn't want to sit still for one minute.  Ironic how all carryon items must be securely stowed but babies can just hang out and crawl from seat to seat.  Anyway, with the help of several new toys and books, lots of packed snacks, the flights' beverage service, and a few trips up and down the aisle for stretching little legs, we survived.

And... we saw Richard Simmons exit the plane we were waiting to board.

"We're baaa-aaack!" he said as he walked into the terminal.  Can't you just hear the voice in your head?  That's exactly what it sounded like.  The voice, the outfit, the hair -- I feel like my life is just a little more complete now.

The rest of this week: cheap stuff to do with kids in LA.  Stay tuned.
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