Museum Sunday

We headed out to the Science Center this morning (at Ezra’s request) only to find it completely packed with families. We initially thought people were just trying beat the 100+ degree temperatures, but realized they were there for Sid the Science Kid Day. Oops. So we walked over to the Natural History Museum instead.

We saw some fossils and then had lunch.

On the tortoise

Lunch at the Natural History Museum

After that we went to the Dinosaur Encounters show, where they have a paleontologist discussing dinosaurs and a giant T-Rex puppet that’s a little too life-like if you’re three years old. There was too large a crowd for me to make our way out, so Finn just squirmed on my lap and covered his eyes. Poor little guy.

But we managed to survive the trauma and went out to the newly retooled Butterfly Pavilion — now the Spider Pavilion.

The Spider Pavilion

Finn wasn’t so crazy about that either.

"Let's go out from here!"

Neither was I.

Alternative Transportation

There’s an Aveson family who, instead of driving a car the three miles from their house to school every morning, rides this:

How cool is this thing?

It’s called a Ped E Cab. I can totally see Bruce riding Ezra and Finn up to school on one of these in the future!

Kindergarten Week 3

Week 3 at Aveson went swimmingly — Ezra showed no signs of stress (nightmares, accidents, sleepwalking, etc.) like he had in Week 2 and he reported that he had a super day at each pickup. He’s starting to talk about other kids he’s meeting and loves his teachers. There was a dining night out fundraiser on Wednesday night which was well attended, and it was fun to walk through the restaurant and hear a couple of kids say, “Hey, that’s Ezra!” He’s a little clueless, but was very happy to see everyone. And he ran right up to his teachers and told them all about the paper airplane he and Bruce had made earlier in the day.

After school today he asked if we could go get ice cream because it was so hot (95 degrees according to the thermometer in my car). I thought it was a great idea so we went to the Baskin Robbins in Hastings Ranch. The boys got clown cones and had a messy, grand time.

Ice Cream Friday 3

Today’s Mail

I got a kick out of my mail today — five pieces of  junk mail. The great thing was that only one of them was addressed to someone who actually lives here.

Mail

And two were for people who aren’t living anywhere. I think the health insurance flyers are a little late.

A Little Celebrity

I asked our friend Colleen to do a post for Finn’s preschool fundraiser on her super website Hometown Pasadena. She graciously obliged and every time I see it I smile, so I thought I’d post a link.

Update: I decided to include a screen shot because I’m sure the link won’t last forever.

Saturday

We had a pretty laid back, enjoyable Saturday yesterday — did some shopping and some backyard demo and then had an impromptu barbecue with the Heffernans. First, here’s the demo. Finn’s not too sure about the whole thing, despite the ear mops.

Finn isn't quite sure of what Bruce is doing

I didn’t take many pictures because I was too busy relaxing as the kids played together without incident. They got pretty muddy and had baths before dinner. Then they sat on the stoop and had some hotdogs.

Ezra, Finn and Lucy have dinner on the stoop

Charlie wasn’t interested in dinner, but he was happy to play a game on the iPad while everyone else ate.

Charlie plays on the iPad

After dinner all the kids watched their latest obsession — Roadrunner cartoons. I don’t know what it is about that show, but all four kids think it’s the funniest thing they’ve ever seen and beg me all the time to watch. We gave in to their demands, turned on the iPad in the house, and enjoyed a quiet, relaxing adults-only dinner out back. It was great.

Wacky Wednesday

Ezra’s school has early dismissal on Wednesdays — 1:00 versus the regular 2:45 — so we have the whole afternoon together. Yesterday, in an effort to not win the Worst Mother of the Year award, I took the boys on an outing to the California Science Center. Ezra has been begging me to take him since we got back from Belize, but I was much too discombobulated last week to manage it. He loves the place, and he also wanted to get some Goobi magnetic construction toys from their gift shop.

We spent almost the entire visit in the Ecosystems exhibit, starting with the desert room. Finn loved (and waved to) the chuckwalla.

Finn waves to the chuckwalla at the Science Center

We went outside to find a mini ocean, complete with a ton of sea creatures and an area where you can pet some of them. Neither boy wanted to touch anything. Ezra was more interested in a display where you try to catch flying ping pong balls, which is meant to simulate how difficult it is for barnacles to catch their food. I think the meaning of the display was lost on him, but he could have stayed there forever trying to catch the balls.

Ezra loved this exhibit

Once inside again, we found another ping pong display. This one had different mechanisms to shoot the balls into a hole in the middle, simulating how different animals get to islands. Finn had a grand time when he found one he was good at — he celebrated each successful launch with a karate kick and “hi ya!”

Finn celebrates success

They also both liked the oversized nest (with sticks and eggs) and spent some time protecting their eggs.

Ezra protecting his eggs in the nest

We left in time to beat the traffic home. All in all, a successful outing. (And Ezra got his Goobi set, too.)

Happy Birthday, Bruce!

Yesterday was Bruce’s birthday and we decided to follow Ezra’s advice and go to La Grande Orange (because “they have cake there”). So we asked the Heffs to join us, hopped on the Metro and headed out. The boys like to look out the window on the train, especially when we’re in the middle of the freeway.

They like to look out the window

The kids were amazingly well-behaved, thanks in large part to Jerri and Bren bringing along a bunch of activity books to keep them busy. It allowed the adults to enjoy some pre-dinner cocktails — the Birthday Boy ordered a Manhattan.

The Birthday Boy! (Enjoying a Manhattan)

I’m not sure how we had the room for it, but dessert was consumed by all. Finn and Charlie tackled some chocolate cake and ice cream.

Finn and Charlie tackle dessert

Ezra and Lucy went for the red velvet cake and ice cream.

Lucy and Ezra had dessert too

And then it was time to head home. Everyone thought it was fun to make bird calls across the train tracks.

Calling out across the tracks

Here are the slackers on the other side.

The Heffs on the other side of the tracks

When we got to the end of the Gold Line, the boys took a while to watch the traffic go by on the freeway. Then home to bed. Happy Birthday to Papa!

Watching the traffic at the Sierra Madre Villa station

Anarchy!

Somehow Bruce had the energy to play a chasing game with Ezra, Finn, Lucy and Charlie on Monday night (after a great get-together at Casa Heff). My favorite parts are Finn’s dramatic falls after being frozen (and the fact that he’s carrying around a bag of lemons) and Charlie throwing punches at the end. Love these kids.

Kindergarten!

Ezra started Kindergarten in earnest yesterday at Aveson School of Leaders (a K-5 charter school in Altadena). All four of us went to school on his first day, as parents were invited to stay for a while to help the kids adjust. Ezra knows a few kids going there — three from Cottage and one from his summer school class at Hamilton. The boy from Hamilton is in Ezra’s class and they quickly got reacquainted. It’s hard to get information from him on how the day went, but he seemed to have a good time. At any rate, he was filthy and tired when I picked him up at 2:45, but he had eaten his whole lunch, which seem like the signs of a pretty good day. Here’s a slideshow of the pictures I took, including our celebratory after-school cupcake at Polkatots.

Time to Head Home

We started the long journey home on Saturday, September 4th at about noon when our original taxi driver, Armando, picked us — and our boat-load of luggage — up.

Armando (our original driver) picks us up to start the journey home

Ezra enjoyed his favorite seat on the boat.

Ezra

Jamma and Amy were ready.

Jamma and Amy are ready

On the gravel runway at the San Pedro Airport. We had to get out of the way of an oncoming plane that had just landed. And apparently someone crossed the runway on a bicycle, too! Just like LAX.

On the runway

Up in the air over San Pedro.

Up in the air

Finn promptly fell asleep on the 20-minute flight.

Finn fell asleep (it's a 20 minute flight)

Next up was the Belize City to Dallas leg. Once we got there, we checked into the Hyatt at the airport and stayed overnight, enjoying the cool air and comfy beds. The boys took a long bath after having only had showers for two weeks. They brought their little toy sharks, stingrays and coral pieces Jamma had given them into the bath and played for at least a half-hour.

In the morning, we realized at 9:00 that we had been wrong about our 11:20 flight time and that we were really on the 9:30 flight. So, needless to say, we missed that flight and had to get on the next one which was at 1:30. After the initial panic, we settled down, packed up, and checked in for the flight with an hour to kill. Luckily DFW has a monorail which runs around the airport, so we took the boys on that for quite a while. They loved it. Ezra liked to sit in front and drive, giving a play by play account of what we came upon.

Riding the monorail in Dallas

Finn had fun

Finally, it was time to board the plane. Upon take-off (literally as we were going down the runway), Finn fell asleep, so I got an hour to read my book in peace.

Finn fell asleep upon takeoff from Dallas

The boys did really great with all the travel. Bruce kept them busy by making pirate hats, a treasure map and swords out of newspaper.

Bruce made pirate hats and swords to keep the boys entertained

One more bus (to Lot C at Burbank Airport), and then we were driving home. Great timing that the next day was Labor Day because we were exhausted! But what a vacation!!!

San Pedro

Bruce and I took the boys into town one morning to do a little shopping and have lunch. We rented a golf cart and hit a couple of gift shops before stopping for lunch at Daniel’s restaurant on the water.

Lunch in San Pedro

Finn made a connection with our waiter, Emerson, and went back twice to talk to him (although Emerson thought Finn was telling him he was going to throw a big party, when really he was telling him he uses the big potty). Finn was disappointed in the misunderstanding, but he got over it.

Finn chats up Emerson (our waiter)

Upon returning the golf cart, the boys were excited to see a parrot on the roof and made me take a picture of it.

The parrot at the golf cart rental place

Snorkeling

Another highlight of our trip to Belize was a snorkeling excursion all six of us took (with our guides, Daniel and Manuel) to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley. The day started off with Daniel spotting a couple of dolphins in the water, so we stopped the boat and watched them play around for a while. The boys were delighted.

We rented snorkeling gear in town and made an attempt to get the kids to try it. They liked wearing the masks and snorkels in the boat …

Ezra and Finn check out each other's look

… but neither of them was interested in putting their faces in the water. I think we should have tried the masks without the snorkels first, but even that may not have worked. They both did spend some time in the water, and thanks to Jamma staying behind to watch them near the boat, Bruce, Amy and I got to go snorkeling for quite a while. Hol Chan provided a huge array of colorful fish, coral and marine life. I’ve never snorkeled before, and this trip was really breathtaking.

Next, we went to Shark Ray Alley and saw — wait for it — sharks! And lots of them.

More sharks!

Bruce and Amy got right in the water, while I stayed in the boat to comfort Finn who was mid-meltdown. (It was late in the day for him and he was ready for a nap.) Eventually, he calmed down and all three of us got in the water (although most of the sharks were gone by then).

Here’s Ezra.

Ezra swims in the ocean

Here’s Finn.

Finn swims in the ocean

And here’s me with a starfish.

Me and the starfish

Not surprisingly, Finn passed out on the boat ride home.

Sleepy Finn on the boat home from snorkeling

Daniel and Manuel started up the barbecue and proceeded to make us the most delicious dinner ever. It could be that we were all starving since it was about 3:30 and we hadn’t eaten since breakfast, but seriously, it was good food. Here’s the lobster and fish awaiting grill time.

Fish and lobster for dinner

And here’s Daniel making a big salad on the dock.

Daniel works on the salad

All in all, a perfect day in Belize.