Tag Archives: Daytrip

Scrapbook: Yosemite

5 Sep

I hope you are enjoying your Labor Day weekend! Right now we are just getting back from watching one of our oldest friends marry another good friend. Recently, though, we took a trip to Yosemite. As I mentioned earlier, we’re not going to be doing this again until she’s older. We had a good time, but herding her around and making sure she wasn’t discovering creative new ways to injure herself took all of our energy. We felt like the Secret Service, clearing the perimeter, ensuring at least one of us had a visual at all times, and trying to convince our VIP that she shouldn’t wander into the bike lane. It was exhausting.

But we had fun! Our favorite parts involved water, and not just because Isobel enjoyed it so much: the temperature was in the high nineties and I wanted to keel over every time I ventured into the sun. I’m used to this baking, relentless heat in my home in the Valley as it’s a part of living here. But there’s something demoralizing about getting excited to visit a lush forest, a national treasure,  and finding you’d prefer to sit in the car with the air conditioning on full blast. Sacrilege, I know.

We found solace in the Yosemite river twice. First, before our picnic we stopped by the lower portion of Yosemite Falls. The river was so low families were climbing in to cool off their toes and wade as deeply into the frigid water as they could stand. We climbed down to the river bed and the water was as shockingly cold as the sun was scorching. Usually venturing into the water at Yosemite Falls is only for those with a death wish, but this late in summer the river is more rock than water.

After our picnic, which was punctuated with constant requests from Isobel to “go pet the squirrels,” we hiked down river and found shady little spot just right for exploring. This was the most relaxed we were the whole trip, and it was nice to sit on the cool rocks and listen to the shushsush of the water and watch Isobel contentedly pretend her stick was a fishing pole. The best part (and you can see this in some of the pictures on my flickr) is that after we got there some dude decided that this spot on the river was the perfect place to stop and meditate among the beauty of nature. Which, I’m sure it was, but nature’s splendor had to compete with the joyous cries of my daughter repeatedly saying, “HOLA! I’M ISOBEL! DO YOU WANT TO GO FISHING WITH ME? YAY, I LIKE FISHING! ME TOO!”

I mean, we were there first, so he had to know what he was getting into when he plunked down into the lotus position. If he was actually able to tune out Isobel’s voice then we may have been in the presence of a Buddha himself. Also, while she was singing and shouting and splashing she was also wading into the river up to her shins. It’s a good thing I packed extra clothes.

If you’re interested, you can see more photos from our trip to Yosemite here, including a shot of the smoke from the wildfire that detoured our route by a good forty minutes.  I hope your weekend was long and relaxing.

Animal House

29 Jun

Back when I was still a working mother I had to take the occasional day off work when our babysitter for the day canceled. We were lucky enough to have family members on babysitting duty, but occasionally someone would be ill and our back ups were busy. I had to take a day off here or there when our childcare fell through, and the day I most frequently had to take was a Wednesday. Coincidentally, that is the same day my bestie Angela works from home. Which means, of course, ROAD TRIP!

(A really small road trip, but still.)

This particular day we drove to a local fruit stand that also has animals and a large park-like area. It was too early in the season for most of the animals to be out, but the place had a lot of chickens, so I snapped about 500 photos of Isobel chasing them.

Someday, Future Isobel is going to turn to me and ask, “Mom, what was I like when I was a toddler?”

And I’m going to have to say, “Well, you loved to chase chickens.” And I’ll have millions of pictures to prove it.

This meant of course she was a bad influence on Kingston, who decided to get in on this chicken-chasing game. The poor chickens were like, “Another one? Noooooooo!”

Aside from the chicken and a lone peacock (that the children also terrorized! with love!) the pens had two bored pigs and a goat that stood up when Isobel when over to him. I’m pretty sure he wanted to sell her a used car or talk to her about his cloven lord. I named him Mr. Tumnus.

After the kids decided they were done with animal pestering, we went inside the fruit stand itself to pick up some produce and munch on pumpkin rolls and apple strudel. The pumpkin roll was so killer I’m drooling now just thinking about it. It was worth all the chicken laps I had to run to get it.

They had a fake train for the kids to climb on that had a wasp on it. THOSE GODDAMN WASPS. Needless to say, it was murdered.

Yeah, Ignore Isobel’s crazy hair, please. She gets that from me.

I swear I brush it several times a day but it quickly returns to its natural state of looking like a haystack that fell into her eyes. If I ever had a concern about her being switched at birth I could just look at that hairline and be convinced she’s my daughter. I can’t wait for her pesky bangs to grow out so she’ll look less ragamuffin-y.

Since we had promised the kids animals and the fruit stand was kind of a disappointment, we drove the kids 30 miles south to a little zoo we knew about. The whole entire drive Isobel kept asking me, “Mama, see the animals? The animals?!” as if she was beginning to think I had lied and made up the whole concept of animals and that really we were driving 45 minutes to see another fake wooden train.

Eventually we arrived and I was so pleasantly surprised to see how lush and lovely the small zoo was. When I was a kid it was pretty run down and ghetto and the poor animals looked perpetually hot. I had heard it had been renovated but I didn’t realize it would be so dramatic. The animals all looked great.

This particular enclosure had all kinds of exotic deer and antelope, but Isobel and Kingston were enthralled by… the turkey. It’s hard for me to keep in mind that to a child every animal is exotic. A wrinkly old turkey is just as exotic as an antelope, a chicken is as amazing as a peacock, and a pig is as mind-blowing as a chupacabra.  (I’m pretty sure the zoo had a chupacabra. It was probably sleeping. They’re always sleeping. Lazy goatsuckers!)

I was really happy to see the mountain lion walking around. Most of the time the big cats in any zoo are sleeping, which is pretty much what their tinier, domestic versions do at my house. Isobel was not impressed by the mountain lion. I was pointing and exclaiming with glee like a Mountain Lion Fangirl and she was trying to look casual like, “I don’t know who this lady is. She’s just pushing me around in my stroller. It’s so hard to find good help these days.”

Both kids loved the monkeys, and Isobel was particularly fond of tattling on them. “Mom! Monkey is climbing!” or “No throwing, monkeys!” Kingston saw them immediately as potential climbing tutors.

We also saw a bear chilling in a hammock, and it was obvious that he was way cooler than any other animal in the zoo plus all zoo visitors. Angela immediately grabbed her phone to take a photo because she is some sort of Bear Fangirl.

Isobel told me the bear was cute, but we’re still working on the meaning of the word “cute” with her. So far the only other things she said were cute include: a garlic press at Target, a rock found in the middle of the street, a dirty sock from the hamper, and myself. She probably thinks cute means “boring.”

"Holy shit, I need to take a photo of this bear in a hammock!"

Kingston was kept busy repeatedly testing the fence for weaknesses. He’d make a wonderful velociraptor.

This raccoon looked exactly like Zorro in size and shape and body structure. He just needs to be orange and I’d have a hard time telling him apart from my cat. I guess there’s a reason they are called Maine Coons.

"Dump out the pellets, kid. Ima eat that cup."

The best part about feeding these goats pellets is that the pellets were just the appetizer. The main dish was actually the paper cup which they stole from my daughter’s hand and then fought for and ate.

"How good would that kid taste dipped in sweet and sour sauce?!"

Angela had to hold K back because those goats weren’t sated by that cup of pellets.They looked at Kingston with hunger in their eyes.

See that cracker in Isobel’s hand? Kingston is totally feeding his to the goats. I could totally see a photo like this on the front cover of our local paper. Headline would read: “CHILD FEEDS CRACKER TO BRAWLING GOATS WHILE GIRL LOOKS ON IN HORROR.”

Angela is swooping in to prevent them from gobbling him whole.

The undisputed highlight of the trip for the kids was this goat. Right as I was trying to get a feel-good twitter photo of Isobel next to some zoo animals it urinated everywhere, much to Isobel’s complete fascination. K toddled over, completely transfixed, and while the goat continued on to Act II of his performance. The captive audience watched as the goat pooped in front of them at eye-level.

We also walked by an exhibit that housed a fountain with two pigs making out. NBD.

Before we left I wanted to get the prerequisite cheesy photo of the two of them on the lion bench, smiling and looking all happy. Here’s Isobel, looking at me but not smiling, and Kingston, smiling but not looking at me.

Here’s Isobel, smiling but not looking at me, and Kingston trying to break free of photo time and climb up the lion’s head.

And finally, attempt number three. Isobel has moved on to Cheese Face and Kingston is smiling at some indiscernible spot on the ground.

I did get this adorable shot of Kingston, though.

Before we left they had fun in the little park area away from the animals. Angela and I realized this was the Children Enclosure Area. I’m not sure if we were supposed to feed those animals, but we totally did. We hit up the gift store before leaving to support the zoo and I bought a plastic pig that makes oinking noises when you push a button on its belly. While I paid for the pig Angela tried to rally the troops. Isobel was playing with a game they had set up on a low table and when Angela tried to usher her out the door Isobel sternly replied, “I’M WORKING.”

I know, kid. I didn’t want to leave, either.

Later that day, when I asked Isobel if she had fun at the zoo she said to me, voice full of awe, “Mama, goat go poo poo.” Of all the amazing things we saw that day, and all the fun we had with our friends, this single event stood out as the most pertinent and amazing.

Months later, and still to this day, she’ll occasionally come up to me and say, “Mama, goat go poo poo.”

Dreams Do Come True

18 Nov

I have some exciting news…

No, I’m not pregnant.


I’m so freaking excited. I never thought I’d be able to go to one of their live shows because tickets are very expensive. But when my cousin received four free tickets to the show in Sacramento, I jumped at the chance to watch Foofa smell her flowers LIVE!

My cousin did not actually win these tickets personally. My cousin’s friend won them from a radio station by being the 93rd caller or whatever. In fact, when my cousin’s friend Laurie won the tickets, she had no idea what Yo Gabba Gabba was. She thought it was some sort of Mexican band. After she found out the true nature of YGG she offered the tickets to my cousin and my cousin invited Isobel and me. Let’s hear it for blood relatives!

I’m a little nervous to strap two toddlers in a car and ride with them the hour and a half (give or take) to Sacramento on a Thursday night but HELL, how often do you get a chance to see DJ LANCE ROCK in his bright orange jumpsuit and Beefeater hat in person?! If at all possible my goal is to give him a high-five. Please pray to Baby Picard Jesus that my wish will be fulfilled.

Once we get to our state’s fine Capitol we are going to have dinner somewhere and head to the theater. I will probably be obnoxiously gabbing away on twitter all night (much like any other night, really) so prepare yourself for tweets that say things like LISTENING AND DANCING TO MUSIC IS AWESOME!

I love Yo Gabba Gabba. Not as much as Isobel does, obviously, but I love the singing and the dancing and the trippy cartoons. Vintage Sesame Street had its fair share of trippy cartoons and I turned out okay, so people who object to the weirdness of YGG need to shut it. I love DJ Lance and his spaghetti-noodle-like physique and his musical guests and Leslie and the Aquabats and Biz Markie and even the flying toast. I would rather eat snails than watch any production of Disney On Ice, but Yo Gabba Gabba live with special secret musical guest I am so down for.

I’ve heard stories about YGG live, including the one about asshole parents hoarding all the balloons so that their child gets like ten and others get none but I’m not worried: if someone tries to steal Isobel’s balloon I will pummel them with said balloon until they run screaming to their mommy. Sorry, punk. I give kids like you time outs for breakfast.

What the hell was I saying?

Dude, I’m taking a furlough day to take my daughter to go see Yo Gabba Gabba live and I’m going to enjoy the hell out of it.