Spring Break! And Then a Bit More

This is Baguette’s first year in school, which means that we just had her first Spring Break. No, we did not take her to Mazatlan or South Padre Island or the Bahamas.

We went to Mammoth with some friends! There, we got to enjoy the cold weather.

Sled

Village

And we also got to be cozy.

Fireplace

Blanket

But why stop there? Why, indeed. Because this is possible in California–and because Mr. Sandwich had signed up for a half-Ironman triathlon–ten or so days later, we also went to Oceanside and Carlsbad.

Mr. Sandwich drove down early for registration, and Baguette and I took the train. She’s enjoying our train trips.

Train

She also enjoyed the beach, as she always does.

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And we got to cheer on our racer of choice!

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Places to eat in Mammoth

Burgers (amazing patty melt)
CJ’s Grill (splurgy, but some of the best fish and chips I’ve had)
Looney Bean Coffee Coffee!
Shea Schats Bakery (the roast beef sandwich is basically a slab of prime rib with bread and condiments)
Erick Schat’s Bakkery–Bishop (the lemon blueberry shortbread bites are amazing)

Places to eat in Oceanside/Carlsbad
Banana Dang (sweet coffee)
Bobby’s Hideaway Cafe (meatloaf)

Santa Barbara: The Good

Back again from Santa Barbara, which has become our summer tradition. It’s not that we aren’t willing to travel anywhere else, it’s just that Santa Barbara is so nice, and so easy–easy to get to, and easy to be in. We got to see friends and family, and we revisited some greatest hits:

I know what you're thinking. We packed too much stuff.
I know what you’re thinking. We packed too much stuff.

Although we did need an awful lot of it.

Wait, where's Baguette?
Wait, where’s Baguette?
Rug removed, not for aesthetics, but for marker avoidance
Rug removed, not for aesthetics, but for marker avoidance
Baguette's first train ride, to Carpinteria 15 minutes away
Baguette’s first train ride, to Carpinteria 15 minutes away
Baguette's second train ride, returning from Carpinteria
Baguette’s second train ride, returning from Carpinteria
The goats will eat food handed to them through the fence, but that is not how Baguette rolls.
The goats will eat food handed to them through the fence, but that is not how Baguette rolls.

We found a new-to-us restaurant–Kyle’s Kitchen, which each month donates a portion of their proceeds to special needs organizations in the community.

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And also makes very tasty burgers.

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After years of driving by and saying, “Next time I want to check out that place,” we explored Tri-County Produce.

Featuring a Brussels sprout the likes of which I had never before seen
Featuring a Brussels sprout the likes of which I had never before seen

Of course we went to the beach, again and again and again.

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Where Mr. Sandwich made sand castles, and Baguette destroyed them.

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And then, on the way home, this happened.

Like Christmas in July for drought-stricken Californians
Like Christmas in July for drought-stricken Californians

Summer in Santa Barbara

I wish we could spend the whole summer in Santa Barbara, but I really can’t complain about having a week there. While Kauai is our top vacation spot, it’s a little out of our reach right now. Three plane tickets are expensive, and Mr. Sandwich and I agree that Baguette is not yet ready for the flight experience.

Fortunately, Santa Barbara is only about an hour and 15 minutes away by car (if traffic isn’t bad, which it often is). So for the last four summers, we’ve gone to Santa Barbara for our vacation. We prefer to rent a condo or other place to stay, and have had mixed success with that based on budget and timing (year 1–Motel 6; year 2–studio which I mistakenly thought had a kitchen; year 3–Homewood Suites in Oxnard, which was further away but a terrific place to stay; year 4–cottage behind the owner’s house, and dingdingding I think we have a winner).

As on prior visits, we went to the Santa Barbara Zoo (three times), destroyed sandcastles and splashed at Leadbetter Beach (twice), visited the ducks and the elaborate playscape at Alice Keck Park and the adjacent Alameda Plaza, and drove out to Ballard to see Sicilian donkeys at Seein’ Spots Farm.

Elephants

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Ducks

Playground1

Playground2

Donkey

Because we had a kitchen, we ate breakfast in the cottage most days. While I like to go out to breakfast, I don’t like to have to go out to breakfast. We did get pancakes once at Garret’s Old Fashion, which is becoming a must-do on our Santa Barbara trips, but most mornings I was really happy with my toast and sunflower seed butter accompanied by yogurt and berries.

We did tend to eat lunch and dinner out, although even then we brought home leftovers that covered a few more meals. The standout new-to-us place was Eureka! In addition to excellent burgers, they had an array of beers and whiskeys.

By the way, in the past we’ve looked for bookstores in Santa Barbara. Apparently my previous Google searches failed miserably, because it turns out that there’s been an amazing one in our go-to neighborhood the whole time. It’s an independent store, and it’s got a children’s section that is large enough to be a separate children’s bookstore. So if you’re ever in Santa Barbara, stop by Chaucer’s Bookstore. You won’t be sorry.

Chaucer's Bookstore in Santa Barbara

And of course, we also paid a visit to McConnell’s.

McConnels

In the end, Baguette didn’t want to leave Santa Barbara–and, truth be told, neither did we.

Sand Pail List – What I Want To Do This Summer

SandPailList

Happy First Day of Summer, all!

Last year I created my first Sand Pail List, and I think I can call it a rousing 50% success.

This year’s list has some similar items, but with a few changes:

Go to the park
I’m pretty confident we’ll do this; we have a (mostly) weekly playdate with Bestie and her parents, and I’ve gotten into the habit of taking Baguette to the playground on our own as well. She loves the sand and the playscapes, but she also loves “running on the grass!”

Go to the beach
We want to go at least four times. That number is arbitrary, so maybe more. We all love the beach. To motivate us, I bought Mr. Sandwich this beach blanket made of nylon parachute silk.

Go to the pool
The public pool near our home re-opened last year, and we took Baguette several times toward the end of the summer. This year, we started going on Father’s Day, which fell on their opening weekend.

Work on my photography skills
Mr. Sandwich bought me a book that I really liked. He bought it for me probably a year and a half ago. I still need to put it into practice. Between an active subject (Baguette) and a sleepy subject (Wicket), I should be able to try a variety of approaches.

Go to a summer concert

I’m not sure Baguette is ready for this, and Sunday nights are not the easiest–but with a little planning, maybe we can get to one of the concerts at a park a few miles away.

Get (a little bit) organized
I want to clear off part of the living room bookcase for Baguette’s toys–which requires cleaning out part of the other bookcases and getting rid of a bunch of books. I don’t think it will be fun or easy, but it really should be satisfying.

So what’s on your Sand Pail List?

If you want to use the Sand Pail icon, feel free! You can find it on Flickr.

How Was Your Weekend?

Ours started a day early, kind of. On Friday, Baguette’s cast came off (huzzah!). What was her response to this development?

Sock all gone. I got a foot!

At the moment she walks with that foot turned out, and she still has a bit of a peg-leg pirate walk, but she’s rapidly getting back to her normal gait–and activity.

Since she’s Baguette, that activity includes not sleeping. We were up at midnight, driving around Los Angeles and environs at midnight. (You think I’m kidding? I’m not. We’re talking at least 20 miles of driving, and not all of it in town.)

Since we’re the Sandwiches, Saturday did not mean sleeping in early. Quite the opposite: we got up at 3:30, because Mr. Sandwich was entered in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon. He did quite well, finishing in the top 1/3 of his age division, and Baguette got to spend the morning on the beach. Let me tell you, this is one fearless toddler. And that means that when you’re her parent, and she won’t stop rushing toward the waves, you are definitely not fearless.

An early morning and extensive beach time did not mean that she had a good nap. No, she slept for about 30 minutes and then was awake for the entire afternoon.

Awake and tantrum-y.

But eventually even her strength of will could not overcome her exhaustion, and at 6:30 p.m. (6:30!)she passed out on my lap. We carefully moved her into the bed and settled in for a night of streaming video. That’s right, it was Date Night, Sandwich Edition. What did we watch? Captain America, of course (Avengers not being available yet, and both of us feeling that Thor would be ruined–ruined, I tell you!–by the presence of Natalie Portman). Now, Cap has never been my favorite superhero, and I had some issues with the movie–but it was fun, and we really enjoyed the chance to curl up on the couch and watch something of our own choosing while endlessly petting the dog’s stomach (Wicket is indifferent to TV as long as she is getting petted).

We made it to bed at about 11, which meant that when Baguette woke up at 3:30, I really, really hoped we’d be able to get her back to sleep. We couldn’t. But that’s okay, because we would have been getting up too soon anyhow: shortly after 5, I left for the ER, where it was determined that yes, I had another kidney stone.

Some Dilaudid and several hours of fitful sleep later, Mr. Sandwich and Baguette arrived to pick me up. We went out for breakfast and picked up some groceries, and then went home so that Baguette and I could nap. Which we both did, successfully. Our evening was low-key, and we made it to bed at about 9. Everyone slept through the night, and Baguette woke up on her own at 6, which (combined with the night before) tells me that, barring teething or broken legs, her tendency is to sleep for 9 hours at night.

Meanwhile, I’m still tired. You?

Captain America Shield

Photo by abuckingham, via Flickr.

Sand Pail List, Revisited

Sand and Toys

In May, I created my “Sand Pail List” of things I wanted to accomplish this summer. How’d we do? Let’s take a look:

Going to the park
We did go to local playgrounds, but not nearly as often as I’d intended–except for when we were in Santa Barbara. We went to a lot of playgrounds in Santa Barbara.

Summer concerts
Not one. Turns out that the ones held in my friend’s town are on Sunday nights, which didn’t work for us, and we never investigated the ones closer to home. Maybe next year.

Going to the beach
We got to the beach three times this summer, and are going again once Baguette gets her cast off. Labor Day may be over, but southern California’s summer is not.

Swimming lessons
Happening right now! Well, not right now. But we’ve enrolled Baguette in the current session at our local Y, because you cannot keep her out of the water. (Me, either.)

Cooking
Err . . . I’ve done a little, but certainly not as much as I meant to. And I still haven’t gotten back to that farmers’ market.

Well, there’s always fall. What should I call that one–maybe Leaf Bag List? I wonder if that works in the land of no fall colors.

Photo by ~W~, via Flickr.

Santa Barbara Sojourn

Santa Barbara – what’s not to love?
Every girl needs a jaunty hat. Even if it’s her mother’s.
Exhibits were made to be climbed.
Whee!
A girl after my own heart–when I was trying online dating, my full ad title was “Mary Jane Watson Seeks Peter Parker; No Green Goblins Need Apply.”
Time for a run (so, also a girl after her Daddy’s own heart).
BEACCCHHHH!
Photo by Mr. Sandwich
Giraffes enjoy being hand-fed romaine lettuce, and Baguette enjoys hand-feeding romaine lettuce to giraffes. Win-win!
Who needs a straw cup?
Never go in against a Sicilian donkey when grooming is on the line!
Baguette’s first time on the carousel. Mommy’s first time not riding a horse.
Finally! The beach!
We are not sure when the beach became so important to her life. This is her third trip ever.

Sand Pail List

Pail

The latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens (and with that, I am officially my mother–or, since she read Woman’s Day and Family Circle, perhaps one of her close cousins) encourages people to make a “Sand Pail List” of things you want to accomplish before the end of summer. It’s like a Bucket List, but only for summer. And presumably without bringing death into the equation. So here’s what I’m thinking about:

Going to the park
Baguette loves to run free, and we’re lucky enough to live near several public parks. I want to make the most of them.

Summer concerts
One of my friends lets us know about outdoor concerts in a park close to her. It sounds like a great family event, and I’d love for Baguette to meet her boys. Plus I’m not sure I’ve seen this friend since shortly after Baguette was born.

Going to the beach
We live close enough–why don’t we go more often? I want to go at least three times this summer.

Swimming lessons
Baguette loves the pool, and she finally loves the tub–she’s even teaching herself to put her face in the water. I want to make sure we start her on swim lessons this summer.

Cooking

This is a perennial goal of mine. Baguette and I love summer produce, and there’s a farmers’ market near our house every Sunday. I want to get back into the habit of buying food there and making healthy family dinners.

How about you?

Photo by k.l.macke, via Flickr.

Another New Theme

Much as I love the beach, and beach vacations (which surprises even me), I wasn’t loving that theme. Maybe this one will stick.

So why am I surprised that I love the beach and beach vacations? After all, what Pere Sandwich says about the beach is true: it can make you sandy, salty, and sore. Beyond that, I am pale. Seriously, I have had English people tell me I’m pale. And if you think I’m pale, you should see Baguette.

Well, in spite of the grit of salt and sand, and my propensity to sunburn, I’ve discovered that the beach actually is relaxing. And for those of you who think that you don’t have “beach-worthy” bodies. I say this: the beach is not looking at you. And if someone is looking at you and you’re the worst thing they’ve ever seen, well, then, that person lacks real issues in his or her life. Because most of us look normal, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

So kick back, lay out, splash around, and have a good time. After all, that’s what really makes you look great.