Thursday, April 25, 2013

Natural History Museum and Mothers Beach

Two big adventures this month!  Boy have we been active!  Now that the weather's been warming up, I've really felt myself come out of hibernation. :)

Natural History Museum - April 6, 2013
We joined our cousin Connie and her kids at the Natural History Museum. It is located just outside of USC at Exposition Park, which means that this was the perfect opportunity for us to ride the new Expo Train.  There is a train station 2 blocks from our house and there is a train stop literally, right outside the Natural History Museum.  It was perfect.
We ended up leaving the house for the train station fairly late, around 3:30, since Caitlin got up from her nap past 2pm and we needed to feed her lunch, nurse her, and get her dressed for our excursion.  After arriving at the train station, we had to figure out how to buy tickets, then we were on our way!  after a 14 minute ride, we arrived at the museum at 4pm.  Now, keep in mind the museum closes at 5pm, but 4pm was the earliest we could get there!  Luckily, tickets are half price after 4pm and we used our student id cards and got an even bigger discounted rate :D.
1 hour at the museum with a baby in tow is more than enough for us!  We saw dinosaur bones, gems, and went to the kid-friendly discovery area.
After the museum, we all went back to our house, so back on the train we went.  Connie drove straight to our house and arrived before we did! I guess at certain times, driving in LA traffic is actually faster than taking the train.
my babes

us gals

can you find adriana?

swimming with Shamu

Natural History Musuem
900 Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 763-3466

Mothers Beach (Marina Del Rey) - April 20, 2013
This day was one of the warmest day of the year. Perfect beach weather.
Of course, I'm not a fan of flocking to the popular, crowded, beaches like Santa Monica and Malibu (don't get me wrong, I like these beaches.  I just hate crowds).  But we didn't want to drive too far either.  Which beach to go to?
Then I remembered, earlier that week, I got an email from my Meetup group suggesting a play date at Mothers Beach in Marina Del Rey sometime in May.  Hey!  Why not go to Mothers Beach?!  It's very baby friendly (which is why it's called Mothers Beach) with no waves and it's actually quite unknown because it's tucked away within the marina.  There's shouldn't be too much of a crowd, I hoped.
If it wasn't for my Meetup, I would have completely forgotten about that beach; it's just not one of those beaches that ever comes to mind because it's not along the shore and no one ever talks about it.  But we have actually been there once, back in maybe 2007.  We found it because we were in the mood to grill some burgers at the beach but most beaches do not allow grilling along the shore.  The internet finally pointed us in the direction of Mothers Beach, where there is a covered picnic area with plenty of grills, just footsteps from the water.  So we went, grilled, ate, had a good time, and completely forgot about that place... til now.
Once again, we left the house at 3:30pm and arrived there close to 4pm.  We paid for 1 hour at the meter, figuring that Caitlin would be done playing after an hour and we could head off for an early sushi dinner at 5pm.  Boy were we wrong.  Caitlin had so much fun we had to go back and add another hour to the meter and canned the sushi dinner idea.  Caitlin was too busy having fun scooping sand, throwing sand, snuggling in the sand.  Then she had EVEN MORE fun leaving our beach blanket, crawling right into the water, and splashing up a storm!  I swear, that kid is suicidal.  Luckily for us, Mother's Beach is so baby-friendly, that there were no waves to pull her away and the water was incredibly shallow so Caitlin was able to splash around without fear of her drowing.  Of course, Jeff and I still nervously hovered over just in case, like the helicopter parents we are.

Mothers Beach. calm waters

 red shovel
jazz hands

we made sand imprints

ginger steps to the water

dove head first into the water


she loves splashing

it's like we were the only people there

drenched from head to toe

Marina Mother's Beach
4101 Admiralty Way
Marina del Rey, CA 90292

View the full album on picasa:

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Cherry Blossoms at Lake Balboa

Last February, when I was 1 month away from giving birth to Caitlin, I learned of a park not too far from our home that bloomed cherry blossoms every Spring, called Lake Balboa.  According to Yelp and other online sources, the trees bloomed sometime in mid-March and the blossoms were extremely abundant and beautiful.
A photo of Lake Balboa found on Yelp

I was unsure if I would be able to visit the park since I was due exactly in mid-March (the 14th).  If I went before mid March, maybe the trees would not have bloomed yet. If I wait too long, then I would be stuck with a newborn and not be able to go!  Then I found a website that published weekly updates on the cherry blossom status, and on it's latest update, there were no blooms yet.  Needless to say, I waited and waited and I eventually waited so long that newborn Caitlin arrived and I never got to go to the park.

This year, I was not going to let that happen.
Around late February, I scoured the internet looking for updates on the cherry blossom status.  No recent mentions on Yelp.  And the site with the weekly updates has not been updated since Spring of last year.  Finally, on March 23rd, I checked on Yelp, and voila!  A couple of people posted updates saying that they went the previous weekend and the cherry blossoms were in full bloom and to hurry on over.

Now, Jeff already knew that I have been wanting to visit the cherry blossoms for over a year.  The following day, we drove on over to Lake Balboa to shower ourselves in cherry blossom goodness.  Upon arriving, we saw some sparse cherry blossom trees with a few blooms.
Was that it?
the reality

With Caitlin, a picnic blanket, picnic food, and a heavy diaper bag in our arms, we trudged along the perimeter of the lake in search of abundant, lush, soft, pillowy, cherry blossom canopies.  After walking along about 1/3 of the way around the lake, we decided to simply picnic there.  The sparse trees was as good as it was going to get.
we picnic-ed under the lushest tree we could find
 yes, those are fries.  stop judging me.
Don't get me wrong, I still had a wonderful time at the lake and the weather was so perfect for the occasion.  Also, it was nice seeing cherry blossom trees for the first time.  But it was a far cry from the expectations I built up inside my head.  Maybe we went too early?  Or too late?  Or it was just a crappy year for the cherry blossoms in LA?

the lovely ladies
feeding her fingers to the swans

Overall, the three of us had a lot of fun and I was in full smiles knowing I got a camera full of pictures, a brain full of memories, and one more item scratched off my to-do list.

View the entire Lake Balboa album here:
Lake Balboa - Mar 24, 2013
Lake Balboa:
6300 Balboa Blvd
Encino, CA 91316

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Easter!

Hope everyone had a lovely Easter! 
While I am not religious, I enjoy celebrating Easter since it glorifies bunnies and pastel colors.  How fun!

And here is a picture of Caitlin enjoying her first life-sized bunny: