For Valentine's weekend, we ended up taking a trip down south to San Diego for a family function on Saturday. My parents got us connecting rooms at the Marriott Marina in downtown, so it was them, us with Alex, and my sister, her fiance, and daughter.
Alex being a little silly before we left.
On the way down, we stopped at the LUX Art Institute in Encinitas. It is a small facility, but a beautiful, modern building on a gorgeous hillside plot.
The family thing was at a buffet right on the Mexican border--seriously, if you tripped you'd be in Mexico. I got a chance to see my cousin's daughter, who is only a few months old. Alex got a chance to clown around with the kids.
Afterwards, we headed to the hotel. My sister's daughter, Jasmine, was ooohing and aaahing at the Cinderella carriages that she could see from our balcony. They were going around the Seaport Village, next to the hotel. Well, later that night, David and I went for a stroll and found out how much a ride cost, $40, which is not too bad if you have enough people. When we got upstairs around 10pm, the kids were still awake. So we took them down and had a ride.
We only had David's camera phone, so the pictures didn't come out to bright or clear (there was cobblestone). But Jasmine loved it. The driver told her that it was supposed to be his night off, but Cinderella called and asked him to go and wait for a girl named Jasmine and to give her a ride in Cinderella's personal carriage.
The next morning, that's all Jasmine could talk about. Here she is talking to David and Alex on the balcony.
Me and one of my Valentine guys.
I wonder where Alex gets it:
Before we headed home, we went to Cabrillo National Monument, on the tip of the peninsula overlooking the Pacific and San Diego Bay. Here's a few shots:
A week or two ago on American Idol, Andrew Garcia appeared and gave a little tribute to departed judge, Paula Abdul. His version of "Straight Up" made you think, "Hey! That song is actually pretty good."
In mid-January, we went with Miki and Tkay up to her aunt's cabin in Idyllwild. We had never been to there before, and we drove through parts of Riverside and Perris that we didn't know existed.
For going up to the mountains, the journey was pretty easy compared to other local mountains. We left before the sun came up, so that Maia would be sleeping and not get carsick. So we arrived at the cabin before 9am, just in time for breakfast.
The cabin is huge. We couldn't even fit it in the frame of the camera. It's around 2 years old and has 4 bedrooms--1 master suite on 1 side of the house, and the other 3 spread on 2 levels on the other side. There is a great room in the center with the kitchen, big screen tv and pool table.
There was no snow, as we were at 5500 feet and it hadn't snowed for a few weeks. Though there was a week's worth of storms coming as we left.
My phone somehow erased all of my pictures before I could download them, so all we have are a few that David took on the first morning before he got sick.
Later in the morning, the dad's took the kids up the street to look at a fire truck.
Can you smell the fresh air?
Behind the house is a ravine, with a small creek running through it. We all went down to have a look.
Right after the picture above, Alex step in the water.
We had a great time and hope to visit one time when there is some snow.
Whenever I babysit Leila, one of the things she loves to do is play dress up. I have a bunch of costume jewelry, old hats and other stuff that she loves to put on and parade around. This time she just wanted a hat, and Alex joined in the fun. David took some photos of the two goofing around.
Here is a tip we found out on getting kids to smile. If you have a fancy camera with a digital display that swivels out, turn the display around so that the person being photographed can see themselves. Alex usually doesn't want to smile for my camera phone, but when he sees himself on the display on David's camera, his inner ham comes out.
Glee. Where do I begin? We both like watching the non-singing parts as the story is pretty funny and well written, though it does get quite campy. And Jane Lynch is hilarious as the coach of the cheerleaders. But sometimes when they start singing, it can pull me out of the story and sometimes make me cringe. What especially pulls me out is how the performances never sound live, but lip-synched, even though I know that the actors are the actual singers.
Regardless, it's still a good show, returning in April, that has done some catch versions of popular songs.