Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fun at the Zoo

My little sis on the train...we went on it too, not too bad a ride for a buck

These little guys were so cute, but man the stench from that water was not! I held my breath long enough to get a pic and get out!

Taj like the button on Brannon's hat more than he like the bears in this exhibit:)

I can't remember what was behind this glass, but man it must have been exciting!

My sister and I found the most ridiculous hats...I don't know what moved us to actually put them on our heads, but we thought a picture was a swell idea

Brannon soaked Taj under the misty things, but Taj loved it. He kept raising both hands in the air, giving thanks to the heavens for the rain...

Pound that glass baby...There was actually a little sign that tells you not to tap on the glass, but we figured since Taj is a baby we could bend the rules a bit. Actually when Taj was pounding on the glass a lady thought it was her kids and yelled at them...oops!

This is one of the most vile things I've ever seen...wanna take a ride?
There was a scale to weigh yourself by this exhibit, so we all jumped on and I swear it weighed heavy because when Brannon got on the scale, red lights started blinking and it was like "Congratulations! You weigh as much as a baby elephant!" Congratulations??? There must be something wrong with that scale...

Taj and his daddy taking a ride on the carousel (I can't believe they charge you two bucks to go around in a few circles on this thing!)

Taj did like the elephant; he kept pointing his little finger at it and spouting off all kinds of baby babble.........
This is the monkey checking out Taj and he too wasn't very impressed...

This is Taj checking out the monkey above...he really wasn't too impressed with this fellow...

We decided to take Taj to the zoo since he's already very keen on animals. We had the usual zoo experience: hot, humid, crowded, and stinky, but Taj enjoyed it, so it was worth it. It really is a cool experience to want to see your child learning something new and finding joy in that. I don't believe there is any other calling in life like parenthood that will inspire one to better.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Out of Diapers!

So I just thought I'd share one of my worst baby experiences to date that I had today. I had an appointment with the lady doctor today and I brought Taj along, thinking it would be a quick appointment...I was so wrong! It started in the waiting room with a stinky vapor, which I found to be coming from my own child! The best part is that when I checked him, I got poo on my finger (it was up the back bad)....the best part actually is that I was out of diapers and I only had two wipees left!!! I prayed that Taj would be able to make it until the appointment was over, but he started screaming because his bum was hurting while we were still in the waiting room. At my wits end, I knew I had to improvise and I was kindly directed to an empty exam room to change Taj (much to the relief of the other people in the waiting room). With Taj still screaming, I looked around the room frantically for anything that I could made into a diaper... no dice, only giant q-tips, a tissue box, and paper towels. Then I thought I could just line the dirty diaper with paper towels, but the diaper was beyond salvagable, so that was out of the question! I ended up throwing the dirty diaper in the trash can in the room, which was unkind to those who would enter, but I didn't know what else to do with it. I pulled like 20 paper towels out of the dispenser and folded them in half and lined Taj's shorts with them. When I picked Taj up, the white paper over the bed was covered in poo, Taj's snot, and his tears...I left that too because I didn't know how to pull clean paper over the bed (I know, I feel really bad about it, but I was honestly going to have a nervous breakdown). I put Taj back in his stroller, so no one would be able to tell that he wasn't wearing a diaper if he decided to pee. I was seriously sweating by the time we settled back in the waiting room. I got this appointment by chance and I thought if anything else went wrong, I would just have to reschedule and wait two months to get back in, but thank heavens the rest of the appointment went okay. By the time we got home, Taj had peed, but at least we were home and he really didn't make that big of a mess thanks to those handy paper towels. I know some of you are probably laughing and saying that I have worse than this to come, but the Lord knows I can only handle so much!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Camping in the Uintas

The remnants of a night filled with smores and idle campfire chatter

This was taken on our "hike" through mounds of oak brush and over grown sage brush. When I complained about there not being a trail Brannon told me "I make my own trails, I always have." I reminded him that that doesn't always get you good things in life. We miraculously made it back to camp with shoes full of stickers after being bushwacked and scatched by the surrounding vegetation. Brannon said he knew where we were the whole time...I had my doubts, but I suppose that's because I couldn't see over the shrubbery to get a feel for where we were at...anyway...

Bran carved our names in this tree...who knows, maybe we will see it someday again....

The boys enjoying the campfire light...Taj trying to escape the confines of the stroller in hopes of roaming the forest floor

Our little homestead
On a whim (yes we were spontaneous for the first time in a long time since having Taj) we decided to go camping in the Uintas when Brannon got off work. Once we actually got to the mountains, we spent nearly an hour looking for a "primitive" camp spot as Brannon wouldn't have it any other way. And once we found that spot, we drove in circles to find the perfectly strategic parking spot (much to my extreme annoyance:)) Finally we parked and moved on to arguing over where to put the tent. Then we got settled in and I cooked dinner.
We were sure that we'd see nobody else remotely close to us, but at about 9:30 that night a car came rolling into our territory and a couple of hippies started pitching a tent a few hundred feet away. We didn't really take further notice of them until later that night once we finally got Taj to sleep. We slept in a tiny, little two man tent and Taj went nuts when we put him down in it. He went wall to wall as fast as he could and loved scratching the sides of tent because of the zip zip noise it made. Anyway, once he fell asleep the hippie party began. I'm pretty sure they drank the night away and I didn't know it was possible for one person to laugh for hours on end...I shudder when I hear the echoes of that laugh in my head today. The worst part about these people is that they used a five gallon water cooler as a toilet, complete with a roll of toilet paper and wet wipes sitting next to about disgusting! What sleep we were able to get was disrupted by the pine cones Brannon was sleeping on and the pile of sticks wedged under my back. We forgot a foam pad (as if that really would have helped:)) Taj slept like a champ though and that's what really counts because that makes for a better day for all of us.
In the morning I cooked breakfast and we went on a hike before packing up and heading home. We really did have a lot of fun despite the minor disturbances. I was so proud that we made it a whole night under the stars. I usually get really scared because of all the animal noises and we end up spending the night in the car, but I'm sure the hippies scared the animals away and for that I'm glad that they were there....


There are two villians in my home: 1) the moaning toilet and 2) a creaky door hinge. Both live every waking hour to destroy nap time with their horrendous squeaks, squalls, and obnoxious whining and to obliterate the sanity that naptime gives me. Every time someone flushes the toilet, the toilet whines and moans in protest for about the next five minutes and the noise is obnoxiously loud enough to wake up Taj from his nap. As for the door, it is the very door to Taj's bedroom and every time I open it, there is a certain hinge that lets out a hair-bristling CrEAk! The said creak will effectively wake Taj up as well. I've tried opening the door really fast, opening it just a bit to wedge my head in, but to no avail the creak is both predictable and spontaneous. Everyone knows that waking a sleeping baby can and will ruin the rest of the day, or at least the next three hours...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Much Needed Getaway

Way cool set in California Adventure

Another, slightly better pic with the Hollywood sign

This is before take off on the ferry

I love this really is quite magical...that is what is so cool about Disneyland, you feel like a kid again

We waited in line for this Toy Story games ride for almost an hour thinking we were in line for the roller coaster ride. The whole time we were like "Why are there so many kids in this line? They're not tall enough! This ride is way too scary for them!" Joke's on us huh? It was a fun ride though and I would recommend it:)

Bran loved the Buffalo house, most of the houses did have a theme

Like the folks in Beverly Hills, everyone here builds on stilts on the hillside and literally right on top of their neighbors' houses, you wouldn't believe how packed it was!

More murals

This alley way doesn't look narrow, but it really is...a golf car is the only thing that could fit...all their alley ways were this tight...

Nice view of the harbor from the hillside

Back behind the wheel where he belongs...this was a way fun tour, but expensive...note: everything is expensive in California!

This is what everyone drives on Catalina...we only saw a few actually cars....why you ask? A) because the island is tiny B) gas is 8.00 a gallon...

You want culture???? This is real culture...

That guy is definitely making sure the sun doesn't scorch his delicate the hat:)

Getting fried at the beach, well at least Bran was, some guys were like "Dude, you're gonna fry! You've got white skin, you better be careful!"

A lot of buildings in Catalina had murals painted on them...

We took this badboy for a spin and found out how hard it is to pedal in sink...we also found out (thanks to Brannon) that you can pop wheelies on curbs and ride on hillsides on this thing, needless to say I was an unwilling participant, so I let him pedal by himself:)

Posin at the port

My hair was so ratty and gross by the end of the ferry ride, notice how Bran has his eye closed cause my hair was blowing in it...hahaha

This was our ride to Catalina, pretty smooth too

I thought this John Wayne look-alike was fake, but he's a real guy and that's what he does for hours on end, crazy huh? He was way good at it.
One of many colorful locals on the streets in Hollywood

The Walk of Fame

The hollywood pick-up truck

A lot of the homeless people work in teams to earn money...some would dress up in costumes and pose with people for pictures for tips...

This is me walking all over Tom Cruise:)

High fashion mannequins on Rodeo Drive

You wouldn't believe the people who walk on this street...I've never seen such fashion sense!

Recognize this house??? This was the Fresh Prince of Belaire house, cool huh?

This monstrosity is one of Leonardo Decapario's haciendas in Beverly really was quite ugly. It had stains running down the sides of it and by they way, all these people who live in the hills build their houses on stilts and some houses fall down completely because the hills are constantly think people would use a little common sense, but who needs that if you have money?

Nicholis Cage's front gates, could even see the dang house!

Any Grease fans???? This is John Travolta's pad.

The front gates of Belaire, where The Fresh Prince resided

Memorabilia outside of Micheal Jackson's gate

Micheal Jackson's front gates, still being guarded and swarms of people still surrounding it...weird
Look to the left and the teeny tiny letters say "Hollywood" (that is what the tour guide means when they say that you get to take your picture "next" to the Hollywood sign)

This pizza was huge! One slice was about the size of a small pizza

Cool place, but the neon sign flickered so much that is hurt our eyes and we had to eat with our backs to it, good thing we're not epileptic

Kodak theatre, no red carpet events today unfortunately...

This is the ticket booth to a famous theater...I can't remembe what it's called, but Jimmy Kimmel does his show here....
The famed Chinese theater, check out all the tourists, what a nightmare.....

The weird spaceship-like building is the Capitol Records was hard to get a good pic

Just a sample of the local graffiti on the freeway

What a waste of space, but kind of cool too

Brannon and I have never been on vacation together...we didn't even go on a honeymoon because we were so busy with work and school. I'm sure that our story is the same for a lot of poor college students, so we decided to splurge a bit and go somewhere before summer's end. Brannon let me plan the vacay so we went to California. If it would have been up to him (and he reminded me of this several times on the trip) we would have gone camping in the mountains because he likes trucks and trailers and four wheelers and campfires and etc....I have to say that the horrid freeways and traffic in California were catalysts for his comments. We got lost two out of the three days we were there for about two hours at a time each time we did get lost and we got pulled over when we went on a wrong exit and swerved back on the freeway. Luckily we didn't get a ticket because the cop could tell that we were totally lost with the maps scattered all over our rental car. When we told him where we were trying to go, he laughed and told us we were way off (no duh!), but then he was nice enough to write down the right directions for us. We took a Tom Tom with us so we didn't get lost and she, Margaret (yeah we named the Tom Tom) contributed to our being lost, so we fired her for the rest of the trip. Other than the traffic and confusing freeways, we did have a really good time. We spent the first day in Hollywood where we toured movie star homes (we didn't actually go inside them, we just peeked at them through the bushes like the paperazzi). I did get some cool pics of Micheal Jackson's front gate though and of the famed Rodeo Drive. The next day we went to Catalina via ferry. The ride over was soooo cold and windy and this big lady came outside on deck where we were to throw up downwind from me, so I made a beeline out of there. Lucky for me and other passengers she decided to humor us and go into the bathroom instead. We spent the day walking around the cool little town of Avalon, sunbathing on the beach, we rented a two person bicycle and rode that for an hour, and then Brannon needed something with a motor, so we rented a golf cart and took a driving tour around the island, which was way cool. The ferry ride back was way better than the ride over and we got to see dolphins, seals, and a whale. We spent our last day at Disneyland and California Adventure. We are now bonfide Disneyland lovers. That one day made the traffic worth it. Our hotel was nice except for the first night. At like four in the morning our door opened up, blinding us both with orange light from outside, and there was a big guy standing there. He was like "expletive! They gave us the wrong room!" The shut the door and Bran and I were still half asleep, but Brannon managed to blame it on me when he said "Why didn't lock the door?" Hello!!! I was not the last person in the room! Oh well, I just told Bran it was a good thing that guy wasn't a murderer or something. The hotel gave us a gift certificate to their restaurant to make up for the incident, so I guess it wasn't too bad that someone walked into our room in the middle of the night. My mom and sisters came to our house and watched Taj for us so that we didn't have to drag him all over California...they were saints:) Anyway, here are some pics from our little adventure...