Dad’s 60th Birthday

My dad celebrated his 60th birthday at The Happiest Place on Earth, and wouldn’t you know it — it was his twin brother’s birthday, too!

Our fam was super blessed to spend the day with my mom and dad, along with Uncle Perry, Aunt Barb, and cousin Eric and Melissa and her sister Caitlin.

I always feel like I’m taking too many pictures, and then I get home and find that I didn’t take NEARLY ENOUGH PICTURES. (Sigh.)

How do you get good pictures without sticking your camera in people’s faces all day long?

Answer: You don’t.

I was also trying out my new 50mm lens that Kyle got for my birthday(!), which has a smaller range than I’m used to. So fewer pictures turned out.

But here are a few that I liked:


Hazel in line for the carousel (I have a thing for the carousel…)




Stoic Augie




Kyle and Hazey




A picture of meeeee for once 🙂




Adelaide on the Storybook Land canal boats




Kyle in near tears on the Storybook Land canal boats (it’s so magical!)




The Sword in the Stone








Late lunch/early dinner birthday dessert with the twins




Birthday boys on Main Street USA with their new hats 🙂




Waiting for the Paint the Night parade. (The best parade ever so far in history…)




Then I made us all look at the window displays at the Emporium store. (The Aladdin one was especially good.)

Happy birthday, Dad! I hope this is your Happiest Year on Earth… so far 🙂

Saturday Afternoon in Little Tokyo

The Japanese American National Museum has a free family day every month, and since Adelaide just finished learning about Japan in history class, I decided to go with the kids this weekend.

The museum is across the street from a Metro stop, so we took the train from Pasadena to Little Tokyo.




The kids liked riding the train. Here’s Augie acting natural for a picture.




There was a truck outside the museum that people were supposed to paint on. We grabbed paint brushes and paint and added our designs.




When I returned the paint to the table, the guy there gave me a weird look. That’s when I realized I’d leaned in too close to the truck and Hazel’s ear and hair were covered in red paint. It looked like her ear was bleeding bright red blood.

So our first stop in the museum was the restroom.

After washing up, we walked out into the family activity area, only to find that we’d missed most of the festivities. There was an Asian-American Santa that we missed, and some sort of snowman craft. (Asian snowman?)

Not a big deal, though. I knew we would arrive late in the day, and mostly I wanted Adelaide to see some of the Japanese history stuff.

There were a few young people playing ukuleles onstage. They tried to make up a song on the spot, but they weren’t very good at improvising. The singer was making up lyrics by describing what he could see at that moment in the museum. I wanted to leave, but I didn’t want to dis the guy, so we stayed for the whole song.

Then we saw a cool mural.




We looked at a reconstructed barrack from the Japanese internment camps and some kimonos. Augie kept saying, “Let’s get out of this place!” Adelaide wanted to see a waterfall outside. So we spent a few minutes walking around, and then we went outside to look at the waterfall.




I decided that an hour at the Japanese American National Museum was long enough for a 7 and 4 year old, and we went back to the train stop.

We missed the train by a few seconds, but it was okay. The kids pretended to take a nap on the platform.




The next train rolled up a few minutes later.

I talked to a lady on the train with three kids (two teenage girls and a 9-year-old boy). I found out she was one year older than me, and her birthday is three days before mine. She lives just a few miles from me. She told me she has a gambling problem, and it’s her New Year’s resolution to fix it because she’s tired of being broke.

Talking to her, I felt like some hot shot, what with my husband, and my mild mannered kids, and my car parked at the train stop. But it wasn’t a good feeling. I wanted to be able to help her. I wasn’t prepared.

We went home and ate ice cream.

Hazel sitting on the porch

Hazel loves to go outside and sit on the porch. I think she likes watching the birds. I tried sneaking up on her, but she was onto me.

We’re all bitten up by mosquitoes these days. I thought we had eliminated their water sources, but after a couple of days with no bites, they’re back. It’s not just our house, though — Kyle said there are mosquitoes at his work out in Pasadena, so they must be all around this area now. I’ve killed two in the house today. One got away.

If you can’t get away from mosquitoes in California, where can you go?? And with our year-round warm weather, will they ever die? I guess we’ll see…

Road Trip // Summer 2015 // Part 4: MT

< Go back to part 3: WA

Montana was a surprise. I was expecting cowboys and mountain folk, but when we rolled into the parking lot of a grocery store in Bozeman, I could tell this was not the Wild West. Yes, there were plenty of pickup trucks: bright and shiny F150s and Chevy Silverados. And no shortage of men in cowboy hats, with their blonde, Botoxed cowgirls.

We had lunch at a cafeteria-style restaurant inside of a health food market. I think it was called the Co-Op. There were artsy paintings on the sidewalk and the utility boxes, and cute shops along the street.


Then we went on to our one “official” ($3) paid campsite, where we set up a tent and everything.montana-camp9montana-camp-8montana-camp-5montana-camp-sunset montana-camp-6b

Adelaide posed as mermaid Ariel on a rock.montana-camp6a Kyle and the kids explored the campsite.montana-camp-4a montana-camp3 montana-camp2They gathered some firewood, but then the camp host came and gave us some kiln-dried wood.
montanacamp1We loved slowing down and having some real camping time. So much so, we decided that next year, we’ll do less driving and more camping.

(Well, the same amount of driving, but spread out over more days.)

On to part 5: Yellowstone >

Road Trip // Summer 2015 // Part 3: WA

< Go back to part 2: OR

(Really? I only have FOUR photos that I edited for our day in Seattle? Shame on you, Emily of the past…)

You may have already realized that it doesn’t make sense to drive from California to Minnesota by way of Washington. Heaven knows we didn’t have the budget to drive an extra 828 miles out of our way. (Not to mention the potential wear and tear on our kids, tacking on another full day of driving.)

But I’d never been to Seattle and I’ve wanted to go there forever. Well, at least since watching the “Real World: Seattle” in 1998.

So almost forever.

My frugal nature was really not digging this plan, but there’s another part of me, the part of me whose life verse is Psalm 90:12:

Teach us to number our days
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Or, in The Message version:


And Kyle is always down for extra adventure. So we did it. We went to Seattle.



Seeing this sign was magical. I felt like, “We’re here! We’re actually IN Seattle. Wow.”

And henceforth, this sign will always remind me of our squealing brakes as we inched our way down the steep hill to the Public Market.

(Don’t worry, there was nothing actually quote-unquote “wrong” with our brakes. It’s just that we’d decided not to replace the shims — who’s ever heard of shims anyway? — because they weren’t necessary when we got the brakes replaced, but the mechanic said they’d eventually squeal if we didn’t replace them. And wouldn’t y’know? He was right.)

We scored a great parking spot right at the entrance to the farmer’s market. I saw buckets of sunflowers with honeybees all over them.

seattle-sunflowersWe walked all through the market. There was a pickle shop called Britt’s or Brittany’s and I wanted to take a photo for Kyle’s sister because her name is Brittany. But I didn’t. (Sorry, Britt!) (Here’s a link.)

In preparation for the trip, we asked some people what we should do in Seattle. Kyle’s friend Christian (who lived in the Seattle area for a while) said we should visit the public library. I was underwhelmed with his recommendation, but we thought hey, what the heck?

Turned out to be a pretty good suggestion.
seattle-library2 seattle-library1

Welp, that’s the end of the photos I edited!

Not pictured:

– The gorgeous drive up the coast from Oregon to Washington

– The ferry ride in to Seattle (an excellent recommendation from Kyle’s parents and the aforementioned Christian and his lovely wife Alexis). (I want to say we took the ferry from Bainbridge? But I’m too tired to look it up.)

– The impossibly delicious roast beef panini from Michou in/near the Public Market. (Thanks, Yelp!)

– Us getting slightly lost and walking into downtown Seattle, looking for the sandwich shop that was a few steps away from our car.

– Our visit to the first Starbucks (I just used the bathroom, didn’t get a coffee).

– Speaking of coffee, WE DIDN’T GET COFFEE IN SEATTLE. Obviously we need to go back.

– We also didn’t get clam chowder from the place with the very long line. Next time.

After Seattle, we stopped in Spokane for dinner at a very inappropriately-themed gourmet hot dog restaurant called…uh, I think it was Wild Dawgs or something like that.

The food was OK, but our visit was overshadowed by some drunk girl who had sat on the hanging sink in the bathroom and broke it off the wall, hurting her leg in the process.

Incidentally, it was the second time that Yelp led us to tasty food served in a restaurant totally inappropriate for children. (The first being Cheba Hut, a marijuana-themed sub sandwich shop in Oregon.) Thankfully our kids were 6 and under and none the wiser.

On to part 4: MT >