Lucy and Grandma

Grandma Linda loves her grandbabies. And the kids love their Grandma. Whenever we go to visit, they get the best undivided attention.
On Sunday night Lucy wanted Grandma to read her all sorts of stories (The Napping House being her favorite). It was too cute watching them, snuggled up in a blanket together:


The Carlsons came to visit

Last week my sister Saunja and her four kids came for a Spring Break visit. They live in Idaho, so we don't get to see them very often. It was a treat to have them here!
Sunday was Saunja's actual birthday so we were able to party with her, with all the Sunday night fixin's: Billiard's Tournament, crazy dancing, chit chatting, and yummy brownies and ice cream.
The birthday girl:
Me and Saunja. We've been told that we sound very much alike on the phone. Often my dad can't tell us apart:
For her present, I made this canvas with a stencil of her kids and their family motto. For more info, see my sewing blog here:
We gathered around the kitchen island,
sang a song,
enjoyed amaaaazing brownies WITH frosting and sprinkles on top (as they should be),
and took a bunch of pictures.....
Later that week, we headed back down to OC and spent the day in Newport Beach and Balboa Island. It was the PERFECT beach weather. Not too hot, not too cold.
Liesl, Saunja, and Lauren:
Liels was cute in her big Jackie O. glasses and was so helpful with all the little kids:
First we took a short ferry ride to "the island" (it's more like a peninsula). I have many memories of doing this as a child. And though it no longer costs 10 cents a ride, it was still a fun 10 minute outing.
Lucy and Gram:
Laura (holding Owen), Brinton, Liesl, Ava, Gram, Saunja, and Dane:
Lucy thought it was great fun riding on a "raft":
Owen loved it too, though I'm sure he wanted to climb overboard. I kept tight hold on him.
After the ferry ride, we walked to the beach area and played in the sand (and in the water, for some brave souls).
Lucy danced around in the new dress I made her:
And then she spent a hour building sandcastles.
I thought Owen was going to be difficult (charging into the water like Lucy did at his age). But he was rather content playing on the sand. He did discover the water eventually but once he took a nasty fall in the waves, he decided to play it safe for a while.
The water was pretty cold but still fun to wade in. Laura and Ava:
Cute/Funny/Crazy Dane:
Love the brother shot. Brinton and Dane:
We headed back to my parent's house afterward and finished the evening playing in the backyard:
And eating dinner at Wahoos (yummy chicken tacos, though I could still taste it the next morning):
We had a fun week hanging out with you guys! Glad you came down and got a break from the snow. We love you!

You wanna bet?

No, we didn't actually do any betting but we did spend our afternoon at the Santa Anita Race Tracks. It was their semi-annual Family Day so we decided to do more neighborhood exploring and checked it out.
Sadly, Owen was sick with a fever. He slept all morning long and we figured, we could stay at home the rest of the day (with me holding him) or we could venture out while he chilled in the stroller. Sorry Owen.
Taking another one for the team:
Lucy, on the other hand, was lively with excitement. All she was interested in was: seeing horses and (more importantly) riding horses. Since it was family day, they had a $2 pony ride area. Perfect! Sadly though, we got there at 2:55, it closed at 3pm and there were 20 people already in line. So they wouldn't sell us a ticket. Lucy was practically in tears. Thankfully we appeased her by petting this horse instead:
And then we told her we could go see an actual horse race! She thought that sounded fun.
The tracks have an amazing view of the beautiful mountains:
We waited for the race to start:
(with my ghastly white legs)
These guys wrangled the horses to the starting gate for the jockeys:
Getting excited:
Getting fed-up:
and learning the ropes? I'd love to know what Casey was telling her.
And....they're off!
Not sure what what more fun: watching the horses come around the bend, hearing the cheer of the crowds, or that awesome race announcer (talking at 60 miles an hour.)
It was fun taking pictures but I have no idea who won.
We finished the outing at the playground in the center of the race track. What a fun idea! There were families everywhere with beach umbrellas and picnics (beer and candied apples).
And that was our trip! I've always wondered what goes on in that large green race track. Now I know. My conclusions:

* It's not as glamorous as the Seabiscuit days.
* It's actually kind of a trashy place. The people there aren't necessarily trashy (as Casey pointed out to me)...but the venue allows for people to be trashy: lots of beer drinking, smoking, a few men without shirts on, women with minimal shirts on, betting, etc.
* Horses are really beautiful.
* It's fun to yell and cheer at a race.
* All I really wanted to yell was, "Come on, Dover, move yer bloomin' arse!"

As for the rest of our day....
While Owen took another nap, Casey surprised us all by making a run to the grocery store and coming back with this:
and this:
Lucy of course wanted to help carry everything inside and place each tulip in its vase.
Casey showed her how to cut Pineapple:
and then he made this for dinner!
A great closer to a sunny California day.