Wednesday, January 29, 2014

SoCal in January

We  planned to come home to NYC after our ~12 days in Washington state.  But the day before our flight was the great storm of 2014--- meaning the airline offered us the opportunity to change our route at no fee.  So since we had finally just gotten T adjusted to the time change, and since we were already in the west, and since Scott's school didn't start until later in the month, we thought it was a good time to head to SoCal. 
It only took me about 30 seconds after getting in the car to be sure that this was a good idea!

 The patio in the backyard is really, really great.  So much outdoor living space!
 We were excited to connect with our friends Rob and Jacque and Dane and Korine who were in town too!  Vaughn is really putting the moves on Tatum.  California fling!
 We went out for a game of bocce ball after church.  That's right, a measuring tape and all!  We are serious.  I couldn't help but think that if we had been in NYC, we would have been snowed in and frozen in like all our friends.  Ugh.
 Going for a slide down the skating half pipe!  
 This was my first time going down to San Clemente.  It is really amazing there.  
 I LOVE this photo.  I think I'm motivated enough to print and frame this right now.

That little sand baby kills me.  I'm pretty determined to get her to the Caribbean.  Have I mentioned that before?

I came upstairs and found THIS!  SO disgusting. But, I guess Tilly and Tatum have made peace.  They are apparently friends now :) 
 And the very BEST part of Southern California in January?  THE ORANGES.  T has gotten on the bandwagon and definitely eats her share!

Monday, January 27, 2014


Ever since Scott was a child, the night before SeaWorld has always been a sleepless night.
This time, it was more because we were all sick... but still. Sleepless :)
If you find yourself in SoCal in during weeks 2-4 of January, it's a great time to visit the parks!  Basically empty.  Kind of eerily empty in fact.  
We got great seats for all the shows, no elbowing anybody to feed the sting rays and we walked on to every single ride.
This tall blue ride was our first stop.  You sit inside and twirl upward, about as high as the space needle to get a view of the park and plan out your route!

The #1 reason we went to SeaWorld was for me to learn about otters.  I have been confused about whether otters have legs or a tail for many years, so Scott being the SeaWorld enthusiast that he is made it his mission to show me the truth.  Here they are my friends: legs!
T kind of loved it there.  I think SeaWorld is more age appropriate for her than Disneyland right now- we're saving that for a few more years.

Pretty great.
Feeding the sting rays was a real highlight!  I thought T would be pretty timid, but boy was I wrong.  She was braver than me!  She put her hand right under their body and laughed when the ray sucked up the fish.  Once she was finish feeding one fish, she'd stand up and say "More! More! More!"

This show was a favorite!  They did game shows with the animals- Dancing with the Stars, Survivor and then they did a little Gangnam Style dance at the end.  Too funny!
Scott made sure we were there to see the piranha feeding right on time.  And it's a good thing we were, the fish was devoured in 30 seconds flat.  It was way too easy to picture your leg being ripped out and eaten chunk after chunk in place of the dead fish they ate.  Watch out for piranhas, those things are fierce!
Carrying the sliced oranges in our backpack was heavy, but worth it!  (Says the girl who didn't carry the backpack...) They were the perfect snack during the orca show!
Have you seen Blackfish or heard about the controversy?
Basically (according to this documentary which may or may not be bias), Orca whales aren't being treated right in captivity, and because of that they lash out at their trainers at unpredictable times.   Orcas have killed a number of humans and as of 4 years ago, the trainers are not allowed to get in the water with them.  Trainers used to ride them, launch off their backs, ski on them, and dive off their noses.  Now, the shows are still very impressive and fun, but not nearly as interactive.
After the show, I cornered a trainer and asked her if she was around when trainers could be in with the whales.  "Yes."  I asked her if she wishes she could still go in with them. "Yes."  It was very clear that she had been trained as to what she can and can't talk about... But she had such emotion when answering about how she wishes she could still go in, I changed my perspective on the matter.  I think that yes, the whales live in pools that are too small, and their migration patterns and insticts are messed up-- but without SeaWorld and other places who show orcas to the public, SO MANY people would miss out on the majesty this is this two ton animal.  Trainers are aware of the dangers of their job and they chose it anyway.  Like Firefighters, sky dive instructors, policeman, any profession that is life threatening-- these people are aware of the risks and voluntarily choose to do this.  Bottom line:  I wish the trainer I spoke with could get in the water too.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Little Winter

We did our first babysitting swap in December!  It worked out great, and we got to go ice skating at Bryant Park!  Ice skating is free, skate rentals are about $15... Probably worth buying your own skates if you plan on going twice...

You may remember seeing some video clips of our sweet routines on the ice.  This was back when you could wear a sweater and a wool coat to keep warm.  Those days are no more.
 This was his first attempt.  He got lots of compliments for not falling,
 but his second attempt didn't end as well. 
 And my favorite part of that photo above is the mean mean rink man who literally came around at least every 5 minutes to tell us we were doing something wrong/breaking the rules.  Oh geez.
 And our first Bald Man hot chocolate!  It is very thick and very yummy.  But I don't think I could ever drink my own.  So rich.

If only my chicken pot pie tasted as good as it looks!

It was good, but lacking some flavor.  

Us girls ready for the big Christmas party! Check out T's boots.  So intense.
 This was our first snow.  Kind of a hassle.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

I know, this is really old news.  But, for the sake of record keeping.  Here goes.  
We decided NOT to go to the parade for two reasons #1: You must go very early to get a good spot, and #2:  It is FREEZING outside. 
Who wants to get up super early and wait for 4 hours with a cold, crying baby?  Doesn't sound too appealing to me.
So, we went to the Natural History museum the night before where they blow up the floats.  The trick is to go 2 hours early so you can get off at the closest subway stop (it is closed later on) and just enjoy the museum for a few hours before coming out and being right at the blow ups without any line!  The plan worked splendidly!
Look at those huge tanks of helium!  It was pretty impressive how they blow them up, each section is netted to keep them from flying away, and held down with over 100 sand bags.  There were probably 15-25 guys working on each float.  They take a few hours to inflate!
T girl doesn't keep her own gloves on, but she'll take Scotts any day!

So then we woke up and it was Thanksgiving. About 8am.  We decided we'd probably regret it if we didn't at least try going, so we got bundled up and headed to about 72nd street on Central Park West.  We were fairly far away, but the floats are huge and we could still see enough to make it worth the trip.  We stayed for about 40 min and went home before the crowds.  WIN.  All the smartest people brought ladders and sat up high on those to get the best views!  


I think next year when T is a little older she'll recognize more of the characters and love it even more!  All in all, a great way to start the day!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Unbelievable Part 2

I should really just call this series "Awkward Subway Stories" because there are so many unbelievable things that happen in the subway!!  

We were on our way to our ward Christmas party when Scott stood beside a sitting man who decided it was time for a nail trim.  So although he couldn't possibly have showered in at least 2 weeks, he got out his clippers right there on the train and started clipping away.  If the loud click didn't alert us that nails were coming our way, the flying, dirty fingernails right into our personal space was enough to make Scott throw up in his mouth.

The other day on the train I listened to a man talk for 7 stops (a long time!) about how The Jazz basketball team should be from Louisiana, and The Lakers should be from Michigan.  "It makes no sense!!!" he kept repeating.  "There's no lakes in Los Angeles, all the lakes are in MICHIGAN!  The Lakers should be Michigan's team!!  And the Jazz?  Louisiana is known for it's Jazz, Utah just has Mormons!  They don't have a clue about Jazz!"   Oh wow. 

I have found myself reminding Scott a lot lately to "just please clear your plate after dinner." The other day he told me "You know what Stefanie, sometimes I do remember to bring my plate to the kitchen, but I choose not to." <insert confused stares from Stefanie>  "I do that because I just want you to love me even more!"  Oh wow.  He wants me to serve him so that I love him more.  Unbelievable!

And the last, truly unbelievable thing to share is that I watched not one but TWO full length movies this week without doing any projects to keep me busy or falling asleep.  And neither of them were romantic comedies!  Premium Rush is about delivery bikers in NYC.  It's a total New York movie with most of the scenes at Columbia in the same buildings Scott uses, and down in Chinatown where we frequent often.  Compelling story, and maybe even too believable for my liking!  And the second show, Captain Phillips, based on the 2009 hijacking of US cargo ship by Somali pirates-- it's definitely a thriller.  At every point you think there is no way the situation could get worse, and then it does!  Both good shows, and it's a record broken that I stayed alert for both.

Happy Monday :)

Saturday, January 18, 2014