Somehow along the way I forgot to write down the events surrounding and including Keana’s third birthday. As you all know, her birthday was March 22 and we had planned to go to Fresno to celebrate with Grandma Jennie. But Keana and Maia ended up getting pretty sick the week leading up to the weekend of the 22nd, that we felt a road trip would be about the worse possible thing, so we postponed it to the following weekend.
Instead we had a mellow celebration opening some gifts in the morning, including some that had been shipped in from the Grandmas, and enjoying a nice cheeseburger, fries, and vanilla shake in the backyard. It was sunny and warm with the slightest breeze to keep things cool. During Keana’s nap I ran to a local bakery and got a fruit tart for birthday dessert—they were all out of fun cake stuff—and some supplies to barbecue. When Keana woke up from her nap, we barbecued tri-tip and followed up dinner with candles, singing, and some tart. Even though it wasn’t the birthday extravaganza we had originally planned, it turned out well and we were all more than happy to just have it be a mellow event with just our Quadripod.
The following weekend, traveling on Friday March 28, we drove to Fresno for the birthday bash we had originally planned with Grandma Jennie. It was also Maia’s first long car ride and with the exception of the last hour, the drive was pretty smooth. Just outside Madera Maia had decided she was done and began to cry so we rolled up to Grandma Jennie’s house around 4 p.m. a little haggard. I think the drive took us about 5 hours with several stops. Shortly after we arrived Great Grandma Bev showed up with gifts for the girls which were, of course, met with great enthusiasm. Not long after that Grandma Jennie arrived and we ordered some pizza and had a nice low-key dinner.
The following day on Saturday, March 29, we went to Storyland which is this place in Fresno with life-sized representations of popular fairy tales. When you enter you’re greeted by the caterpillar from Alice In Wonderland and you proceed on down a path that takes you to The Three Little Pigs, Humpty Dumpty, Little Red Riding Hood and many others. Sarah actually used to go there when she was a kid and the place was supposedly recently renovated. However we found the entire place wasn’t quite up to spec. Owl’s house was rather rickety and once Sarah got Keana up, she didn’t feel safe because of wobbly railings and what not. Owls glass window pane was also askew and had chicken wire covering the hole that was left. There were also some rusty slides and my favorite was Mama Bear whose nose was smashed off and she her hand was missing. All that was left was a solitary strand of rebarb. Hilarious. I should add though, that many of the structures and story sets were fine and Keana loved all of it. There was a huge pirate ship that was pretty elaborate and in good shape that was fun to go on. The one regret we have is that we got there a little late in the morning, right before lunch, so the girls were tired and hungry. They were awesome though and we still had a great time.
We were going to head back on Sunday but we so worn out that we stayed another day and enjoyed a nice barbecue and yummy birthday cake at Grandma’s house. And as all good things end, so did this trip, and we packed it up Monday morning (5/31) and headed home. The first 45 minutes were rough, but after a pit-stop just outside Los Banos both Keana and Maia fell asleep so it was smooth sailing. Sarah also dozed on and off and I felt lucky to be the lone soldier at the wheel, whisking my ladies safely home (though the piercing pain from my bladder made me feel a little less soldierish). Anyway, we made the entire trip in about three hours which is record time with one kid, not to mention two!
The next big adventure happened on April 12 when we trekked down to Santa Cruz to visit Uncle Peter who was running a half-marathon with his running group “The Lost Boys”. Of course we got out of the house a little late and arrived in Santa Cruz around 10:30 a.m., starving, with Keana beginning to melt down and Maia crying angrily, signaling her full, melt down status. So we pulled up to one of our old favorite eatery, Harbor Cafe, for some refueling of biscuits, gravy, sausage, and eggs. By this point we were pretty frustrated and annoyed at a rough start to our supposed-to-be-fun weekend, but everything was better after breakfast. What can’t biscuits and gravy heal, really?
The Lost Boys—Peter, Oscar, Tim, Gilbert—and Dave, Peter’s old housemate, were actually just finishing breakfast as we arrived at Peter’s house, so the timing was perfect. Grandma Linda and Grandpa Sam were also in town from Fredericksburg, TX, but had to go to a wedding so we planned to see them later.
By the time we got caught up with Peter and everyone else, it was nap time, so Sarah, Keana, and Maia laid down while Peter and I went to the grocery store for barbecue supplies. After nap the four of us went to the beach while Peter got his nap. Sarah thought it would be fun to go to this “secret” beach she used to go to in college. It’s off of the busy beach drive Westcliff, but it’s secret because there aren’t any markers for it and to get there you just take a steep, skinny trail that winds randomly down from the main sidewalk. So we parked, got everything packed up and I carried Keana down while Sarah took Maia. It was a little precarious and when we got to the bottom I guess it looked like we needed help because a local came running over from his family and offered to take Keana for me. I accepted then helped Sarah and Maia down. Immediately it was clear this beach wasn’t much of a secret. It was a small beach, maybe 25 yards long, but there were kids playing wiffle ball, a guy fishing, a guy going out to kayak, four college kids hanging out, and at least four dogs running around—practically every beach activity known to man. We stayed for about 20 minutes and decided it was way too busy and moved on. Going up was easier than getting down, so we re-seated the kids and drove a little further on to Natural Bridges. The weather was hot and the beach was crowded, but there was much more space for our Quadripod. We had so much fun splashing in the ocean and chasing the waves. Keana is pretty fearless of the cold water, and though she didn’t get in above her knees, she stayed in the whole time we were there.
We had to tear ourselves away from the gorgeous beach but were excited to go back to Uncle Peter’s for dinner. Actually, the barbecue took place at his neighbor’s house, one of which is part of the running crew, and with the return of Grandma Linda and Grandpa Sam from the wedding, The Texans, The Quadripod, and The Lost Boys (with adjunct members) had a great evening with lots of laughs and great food. Maia slept on and off in the sling and Keana’s never had so many people at her beck and call to chase her through the house and around the yard. In fact, we were having so much fun that Keana missed her normal bedtime and we all ended up going to bed around 10:30 p.m. Peter and Oscar were kind enough to give up their entire two bedroom apartment for us, so Keana and I slept in a bed and Maia and Sarah slept in the other. We woke early, had breakfast, and then had second breakfasts when everyone in the other house woke up. Then we headed back to the beach to get our last fill of ocean time before heading back to the east bay. The drive home was rough with the kids so tired, and we had to stop in Fremont for dinner, but other than that, it was a beautiful weekend.