Wednesday, July 30, 2008


This weekend, our family went on our annual trip to Carpinteria. My parents rent a condo each year and invite us to visit. We arrived on Saturday and headed straight to the beach. Ryan has been an avid fan of the sand since he was old enough to crawl, but he didn't care too much for the waves. Every time a wave washed up on the sand, he would yell, "STAY!" And of course it wouldn't, so he would get angry and start to cry. We tried jumping over the waves and splashing in them, but he would not change his mind. I was surprised because he loves to swim in the pool so much.

The one thing he really has mentioned since he got home from our trip is that he played with baby Hank, the son of some family friends, who spilled his bucket of water while they were playing. At this point in his retelling, he wags his finger and says, "no, no!", to baby Hank. Too funny.

Checking out the sand

Running from Daddy (and the scary speedo man)

Chasing seagulls

Contemplating the waves

Montecito Inn and Cafe

Our Saturday ended with a date to the Montecito Cafe while Ryan stayed with Pa and Grandma. I love this restaurant more than any other eatery. We started out with a salad of mixed greens and slices of baked apple and fried brie. Next, Phil had lamb with a tomato, Kalamata olive, and mint sauce, and I had grilled Ahi with a saffron caper sauce.
Dessert is my favorite part of any meal and to my delight, the cafe had added something new to the menu; a red velvet cupcake. Our table was across from the dessert prep station and I looked at that cupcake all evening. I knew I had to have it. It was beautiful when it arrived. The cupcake had a delicious swirl of cream cheese frosting with a dark chocolate wafer sticking out of the top. The wafer was first to be eaten, followed by a bite of the decadent cake. When I cut into it, I thought perhaps there was a flaw, as the centered appeared to be undercooked. I investigated with a fork, and discovered, that it was perfection after all. It's center was filled with raspberry jam. Below is a picture of what I sadly could not finish. If ever you find yourself in the Santa Barbara area, this restaurant will not disappoint.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Storyland Nostalgia

Our visit to Storyland brought back memories of a friend's wedding that took place at the venue. This wedding was probably one of the most enjoyable weddings I've ever attended.

Jessi and I sitting on the toadstools with Heather in the background

Jessi and Sara posing on the clock

Our train ride through the magically land

Justin, Jessi, and I in front of King Arthur's Castle


This weekend, Phil, Ryan, and I went to Fresno to visit Phil's mom and Don and his dad and Pat. On Saturday, Grammy Beth and Papa Don took all of us to the zoo. The first thing that I discovered upon arrival is that my camera had a dead battery, however, Grammy has posted pictures on her blog and I also stole some pictures from her blog.

Ryan was a little overwhelmed by the zoo and how big the animals were, but the petting zoo really suited him fine.

We spent about 2 hours there, then we took Ryan to Storyland to ride the train, which he had been asking to ride for most of the morning.

While in line to buy our tickets, I got caught up in the moment and the nostalgia, and decided that we should get the Storyland pass as well as train tickets, not thinking how long we had been out in the sun and how much longer we would be there with the Storyland pass. We had to wait 15 minutes for the next train to run, so we took Ryan to Hansel and Gretel's candy house and up and down a slide. Phil, Ryan, Grammy, and I all took turns going down the slide, which tickled Ryan.

The train finally arrived and and Ryan was elated. The train fascinated him and he was engrossed in every turn and bump. The train made a stop at Playland, where Ryan could see kids on a race car carousel ride, at which point he reached for the ride and started yelling, "help! help!" Grammy, of course, came to the rescue and bought Ryan tickets to ride. Lucky for Ryan, his height was to his advantage, and he was tall enough to ride the cars by himself. He grinned for the whole ride as turned his little steering wheel.

As the ride was ending, the train whistled for us to board. We quickly grabbed Ryan and jumped back on board. The train took us to Storyland, where we all realized just how hungry and tired we were. Phil and Don sprang to action and went to Piemonte's to pick up some delicious sandwiches for a picnic lunch while Grammy and I took Ryan through Storyland. We went to King Arthur's castle first, which was air conditioned and heavenly.

Ryan sat down at the round table and asked, "Eat? Pray?". We told him no and that we would have to wait some more for our food. We visited the Three Bears house next, which is one of Ryan's FAVORITE and most life changing stories as he reminds us that big things are, "PAPAS", and little things are "babies".

He loved sitting in each of the bears' chairs, but again he asked us, "Eat? Pray?". We visited each one of the little vignettes at record speeds and continued to be asked, "Eat? Pray?", until we finally sat at the picnic tables outside Storyland and Phil and Papa arrived with our glorious sandwiches and saved the day. Phil now says that Piemonte's is one of the best lunches of all times, partly because their sandwiches are the best, and partly because he was near "starvation."

I can't wait to visit the parks again, but maybe just separately next time.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Best Tacos

Yesterday, Phil took me to Tacos Las Salsas for lunch. He's been raving about their tacos for months and had been promising to take me. This restaurant lived up to his hype. It is a tiny hole in the wall restaurant in Greenacres, next to Car Quest and we had to arrive at 11:45 in order to miss the lunch rush and get a table. Phil ordered the adovada (pork steak) tacos and I had an asada taco and a barbacoa taco. The salsa on the tacos was amazing. My dilemma is that I had a definite favorite of the two tacos, although, I'm not sure which taco was which, so I don't know which one to recommend. I think it was the barbocoa that I loved, but Phil's tacos were also delicious. Ryan had rice and beans and they were the best I've ever tasted. If the food wasn't wonderful enough, the price surely justifies everything; Tacos are only $.75! Our whole meal including tip was $9.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Attention Grandparents...

Here is a video of Ryan doing his ABC puzzle. I thought you all might enjoy.