Just because we were away from home and most of Renny’s friends didn’t mean that we wouldn’t party on his birthday (well, the Saturday after it). So party we did at the Ronald McDonald House!
We invited some friends that lived (relatively) close to the area and took advantage of a pretty backyard setting and some fancy BBQ grills. Much better facilities than what we would have had at our place, that’s for sure!
Thanks Danny, Julianna, Seth, Laura, and Ryan and Sarah, Paul, Grace, and Camille for spending a very warm afternoon with us. We loved celebrating Warren’s birthday with you!
This was a somewhat historic day. We lunched at “Pioneer Chicken,” an establishment I thought went the way of all cholesterol-raising greasy spoons. But lo! There it was on Sunset Boulevard, in all it’s tacky 1970’s decor and glory.
Pioneer Chicken was a mecca for me and Julianna, my best friend growing up– for all intents and purposes, my sister. As little girls, we begged our moms to let us ride our bikes down to the corner of Saticoy and Louise to pool our quarters together for some french fries (probably where my obsession started!) and chicken strips. We marvel now that our moms let us go at all knowing now the fretting that motherhood brings!
I don’t make it a point to frequent “B” grade restaurants, but this was an exception. I’ll never forget the devastation we felt the day that they closed our neighborhood franchise down. It was even worse when they eventually demolished it and turned the space into a parking lot. When I spotted this one just down the street from Maddie’s hospital I couldn’t believe it could be true! I called Julianna right away.
It was exactly as we remembered it: same twisty brown chairs, same pictures on the menu with the dude in the wagon, same BBQ sauce… We might as well have entered a time warp!
We passed the joy of the fatteningly delightful breaded chicken and crispy golden fries on to our children. The legacy lives on… except we’d never let our kids ride their bikes here in this neighborhood!
Warren is so proud to be a big brother. He’s had over a year and a half to get used to the idea. Now that Maddie is here he looks for every opportunity to be next to her, to hold her hand, to make her laugh. What joy seeing your babies get along brings!
But my good friend Christy was wise in thinking that even with his excitement he might become a tad weary of all the doting and gift bearing that would come with a new baby sister. And while she made one of the most beautiful quilts I’ve ever seen for Maddie:
She included this specially made T-shirt just for Renny:
Because he’s a TREEmendous big brother!
I told him that a package was coming for Maddie and that there might be something in it for him, as well. He couldn’t have been more excited! When it finally came we ripped it open to find his new shirt. He put it on immediately. He has barely worn anything else since.
The truth of that was evident when he sat on my lap and stated, “Mama. My shirt smells like butter!” After about 4 days straight I absolutely agreed.
There is a seal sanctuary in Carpinteria which hosts Harbor Seals each winter during their birthing season. We went with a whole slew of friends to witness a little bit of magic. They are quite a site to behold. You have to be extremely quiet since they’re very affraid of humans. In fact, one little seal pup, born that morning, was left behind by its mother when she and all of the adults fled from an ignorant human who took a walk on their beach. The docent there wasn’t sure the mother would come back. Very sad.
But the experience of seeing these animals was wonderful. We loved spending time with friends at the beach and then outdoors for lunch on such a glorious and warm day.
Thanks Julianna, Seth, Laura, and Ryan for coming up for another wildlife adventure!
Just around the corner from us is the Ellwood Butterfly Preserve. We took a Friday morning to walk down with Julianna, Seth, Laura, Ryan, and some other friends. It’s quite magical there as the Monarchs soar around the eucalyptus trees. The loop back home took us along the bluffs overlooking the ocean. Winter here is too kind to us.
This dialogue made me chuckle:
We loved spending time with you, our pseudo family! Adventures are more fun when you’re around.
We went with Katie, Jolie, Leah, and baby Calvin to the Candy Cane Train at the South Coast Railroad Museum. The kids loved it! The engineers (who I think loved it just as much, if not more) pointed out all the hidden Christmas decorations planted throughout the park. At the end, they got a candy cane. What more could a kid ask for?
Another great day! This time we went with Danny, Julianna, Seth, Laura, and Ryan the day after Thanksgiving. What a fun way to work off those extra helpings of stuffing, turkey, and pie! Check out the “Gallery” tab for more photos.
On Friday we went to the 57th Annual Christmas Parade in downtown Santa Barbara. This is the second year in a row that we’ve gone with our friends Billy, Ingrid, Billy, Seth, and Grace. Such great parade companions!
The kids had a blast watching the fire engines, balloons, and marching bands go by. And, although it’s a pretty long time to be sitting there and we have yet to see the end of the show, we loved being able to listen to the sounds and watch the sights of the Christmas season with good friends and good food.
Especially friends with which you can let loose and just be plain silly. Warren has such a friend: Justin. As Renny will tell you, he is his best buddy. No matter where they are or what they are doing, they are in it together, having a blast.
I love watching the two of them. They thoroughly enjoy being boys!