Zoo Day

Today was a public school “unassigned day” (code for unofficially observing a religious holiday that much of the student population would’ve skipped school for anyway), so I took the oldest to the zoo. I couldn’t remember the last time I had taken him to the zoo, so I knew it was probably long overdue.One of the good things about going to the zoo on a public school holiday is, even though more people are there than during the week, fewer school groups are milling about. That means you don’t have to fight through a mass of fifteen kids from a class to see the animals.We also got to see these two brother giraffes duke it out. If you’ve never seen giraffes fight, it’s pretty interesting. They just kept butting up against each other and swinging their heads into each other’s sides repeatedly.There were also a lot of animals out close to the fences. I think today was the first time I’ve ever seen that elephant that close and not behind a tree.

A Year In Pictures

I come up with some faintly insane ideas. My latest one was a year-long photo project. That’s not an insane idea in itself, but I was going to go about it using polaroids. It only took a few days of research to realize just how expensive that would be ($1.10/photo x 365 days, not to mention buying the camera…) and decide that it would be cheaper to buy myself the DSLR I have been wanting and I could take as many pictures as I want. I take so many pictures already anyway. I managed to take over 125 just yesterday during 20 minutes of a swim class…

So I changed the method of the photo project. Instead of physical photos, I’m gathering them in a Tumblr. A couple times a week I queue up a set of pictures. I have one for each day, of a project I worked on that day. Right now it is going to be a massive amount of cross-stitch pictures. I have a fairly intense project I’m working on a deadline, and some smaller ones that were on a deadline, but since it has passed are now just things I want to get finished already.

Follow my photo project here, and you can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter for more random photos and updates of what I’m doing.

Summertime is for Making Things

One of the best parts of summertime is being able to take the kids outside and make messy stuff. Like playdough:

Especially green playdough to be used as garbage in the trash truck. I used this no-cook recipe from Instructables so baby could help me stir. We had to wash hands about six times in the whole process, but being outside it just involved turning the hose on.

I also made a lot of cookies. As in 72 cookies. 72 medium sized stars topped with 72 mini stars. In rainbow colors.

I started out with red, yellow, green, and blue dough, making twelve of each because that is what fits on the tray at a time. Then I mashed the yellow and blue each with half of the red to get orange and purple. Then, with the leftover orange, purple, and green I made mini stars to “glue” on top of the larger stars.

I used white cookie icing to stick the stars together, making sure I had the same number of each kind and didn’t use the same color together.

Exhaustion, Sickness, and Pictures

Not all of which are mine. Most of which aren’t, actually.

The exhaustion was, though. I ended up in bed at eight, asleep by nine. Granted, I’m usually in bed by nine-thirty on a normal night, but I basically couldn’t stand up any longer. Strange, since I slept the night before just fine.

I’ve also been thrown up on twice this week. Well, not physically thrown up on, but I’ve had two separate children blow chunks under my watch. The first was my fault for giving cheese toast with antibiotics, and the second one came out of nowhere. We left a nice little mark on the park today…

After all that loveliness, how about some pictures?

Baby’s first experience with the DSLR. (Mama, ignore that last sentence. Baby did not use your camera. That is not jelly smeared on the shutter button…) He went back and forth between, “Cheese,” and “Heavy,” but these are some pretty good pictures as far as blurry pictures of feet go. I think he’s ready for his own Instagram account.

Welcome Home Gifts

After two weeks away, the little ones and their parents came home. While they were away, I was tasked with clearing off the chalk wall in the oldest’s room. I went a step further and added a nice little “Welcome Home” mural above the window.

The boys brought me a few things back from Martha’s Vineyard, as well. Not a week goes by without having to take the oldest to the Lego store, therefore this was one of the things they brought back:

It now resides on the shelf below my winter-themed Simpsons figures from last Christmas, plus a shadowbox diorama from their trip to Mexico and among other little gifts.

I also got a “Black Dog” t-shirt, just like the ones they get every year. They definitely get my color scheme, eh?

Now we have mostly settled back into our daily routine, except for this being the last week of summer. Next week there is Kindergarten orientation and the first day of school. Yes, this early in August we are headed back to school. Seems kinda ridiculously early, but it is happening. And so will the traffic.

Let’s Get Cultured

Don’t worry, no mold here. I’m talking about going to the museum. The J. Paul Getty Museum, to be exact. That is where we spent our Saturday afternoon.

After getting to the bus stop way early, having lunch at Starbucks, and waiting ten minutes after the bus was supposed to come, we decided to spend the extra $5 over bus pass price to just park at the museum. Way better decision, no way would it have been enjoyable to take an hour and a half bus ride back after all the walking.

We waited a while to take the tram to the top of the hill to get to the museum. It’s a really cool place, lots of great architecture. This is the front entrance hall:

We visited some of the 16th or 17th century paintings (I can’t remember exactly which era they were) with their special iPod tour guide thing, then traded those back in to go explore a few other exhibits on our own. We saw a special dance exhibit in the research center, then went to see the photographs in the photography center.

After that we were very tired and hungry and ready to head home. Unfortunately, the line for the tram was at least twice as long to go down as it had been to go up. We were told it was only a fifteen minute walk down. I think someone had been given the wrong info, but we did at least get to see a few good views on the way down:

Let’s Hit The Beach (And Aquarium)

Though it was two separate days.

Tuesday, after I got off work, we decided to hit the beach. You know, considering I’ve lived on the coast for almost six years now and can count the number of times I’ve been to the beach on one hand, we thought it was a necessary vacation activity. That and we were very pale:

Of course, being summer it was quite crowded, as were the roads to and from Santa Monica. So we thought we’d take Sunset back to the valley and avoid major traffic. Bad idea, because we missed the announcement that the break in the water main at UCLA had closed Sunset. We ended up traveling through UCLA, and even heavier traffic. But we eventually got home and got some pizza, just added a bit of sightseeing to our trip.

The next day we went to the Aquarium of the Pacific. And for lunch stopped at the Bubba Gump restaurant located across the driveway…Anyway, here are lots of pictures:

These are jellyfish sharing a tank with a tiny octopus through the magic of TV reflections.

Sea dragons and sea horses.

Soon-to-be baby sharks, still in their eggs with windows added.

Birds, for some reason.

Not-so-camera-shy penguins.

And lots of jellyfish, other fish, and shrimp.

I’ve put all 286 photos into a nice little Google+ Photo Album if you’d like to see more of the sea creatures we encountered. Tomorrow, The Getty Center.