Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Casa Bonita...again

Saturday we took the kids to Casa Bonita. Picture Pirates of the Caribbean meets Chuck E. Cheese. We all agree it has the worst food imaginable, and they know it too. That's why they make you buy a meal before you even walk in.

There were cliff divers and games and one really cranky child.

You live here, you gotta go there. Once. We've been four times. The place has been here since the seventies. It took them a year to build with all the caves and craziness. This may be our last time going. Unless they get a new menu. And a new chef. And maybe some new recipes.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Post Revision

I just read my last post. How depressing it sounded! I'm not sure what state of mind I was in at the time. Tired of having been in California as a single mom? The weather was amazing when I got back to Colorado, 60 degrees, which at this altitude is no-sweater weather. So I was very pro-Colorado. I'm going to revise the post. Truth be told, at the beginning of the trip I was really not wanting to come back to Colorado!

We still have not decided where we are going to retire. It will probably be Colorado or California. Dan wants Arizona on the list but I would like to be by at least one family member.

Pros of retiring in California:

Warm year round
Some family there
Warm year round
More diversity so there are people that look like our kiddos
Warm year round

Pros of retiring in Colorado:

The kids like snow
Good schools
Lots for kids to do
Less crowded

I'm guessing we will still be debating this in our minds until the day he retires.

Here's a few pictures from the trip I haven't posted:

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

End of Trip

We came back early from California on Saturday. The reasons are varied but the main one being a personal issue which I will probably blog about in the future. I learned a few things about my kids and myself after being gone for three weeks.

1. I don't like being on vacation without my husband.

2. As far as California goes, I love the weather and family and that's about it.

3. I really like my home here.

4. I do much better with the winter here if I get a little break.

5. Homeschooling was not nearly as much fun when you don't have all your stuff with you and the kids think they are on vacation.

6. I prefer a hotel to someone's home. It's just a little too personal for me. I felt I had to be so vigilant about the kids touching, using and not breaking things.

7. I missed wearing boots.

8. I will go through all this again at the beginning of January 2016. i.e, want to be somewhere warm. And it will pass and I will again realize what an amazing place Colorado is.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Second Time We Did Not Go To Jurupa Cutural Center

So the day after visiting the oasis preserve we headed out, for the second time, to the cultural center. We were about 40 minutes into the drive when I saw some giant dinosaurs off the highway. Hmmmmm. They were adjacent to the Cabazon Outlet Mall. There were picnic tables under one of the dinosaurs. Would lunch under a dinosaur be good enough? Could I call that a field trip? But then I saw the sign, of which I cut off the main part with my fabulous photography.

On the left part of the sign, the part not in the picture, it says Mr. Rex's Dinosaur Adventure - Robotic Dinosaur Museum. Sounds good? Yep. So we paid a hefty fee and went in.

It was a cute "museum", but not fully-functioning. Out of about 25 dinosaurs, three were working and making dinosaur noises. But that was sufficient to scare the girls so I was okay with it. Most of my pictures are too dark, but here is one of a moving dinosaur.

The robotic dinosaurs were inside and the larger non-robotic ones were outside. Each dinosaur had a little sign with information about it and the girls remembered quite a bit of what they learned in preschool last year.

Neither wanted to put their hands in this mouth but their sadistic momma talked them into it. They looked around for cords to make sure it wasn't robotic!

The we saw this.

If you can't tell, it's a door into a giant dinosaur. Should we go? They are afraid of dinosaurs and I'm afraid of heights. So, yes, we went.

We climbed the stairs. All the red paint made it very creepy.

We made it to the top!

We were up in this dinosaur's teeth!

There was also random gold-panning. Not sure what it had to do with dinosaurs???

Fun times!

But the best part of the trip was wearing flip flops and not being cold!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

First Time We Did Not Go To Jurupa Cultural Center

The Jurupa Cultural Center is one hour and twenty minutes from where we are staying. The pool heater is not working right now and we have been to the local park many many times. So it seemed to be time for a field trip to see the dinosaurs at the cultural center.

We had a busy weekend with Joey and family and the girls went to bed late Sunday and, of course, woke up early Monday. We got through school with only a spattering of whining. Then we packed our lunches and headed out. Anna disliked the drive immediately. She was tired and let me know she was bored several times. I had no desire to drive an hour and twenty minutes with her in this state. So I pulled off the freeway and looked on my phone map app for a park. Did I mention I think smart phones are one of the greatest inventions ever???

First I found the Coachella Valley National Wildlife Refuge. I went to their website and there was no visitors info at all. So I assumed you cannot visit. There was a link though, to something called the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve which seemed to be in or next to the refuge. This never came up on TripAdvisor when I was checking for things to do. Nevertheless, I decided this would be our field trip for the day.

From the highway you can see these clusters of palm trees which are fed by springs, literally oases.

My camera was doing it's not working thing half the time we were there so I have half the pictures I wanted to take. This land was originally owned by Louis Wilhelm. He lived here until he died and the land was donated to the government. His house still stands as the Visitor Center with the original fireplace. It is a log cabin made of palm tree logs!

We first went on a short hike to one of the palm groves to have lunch.

Then we took a hike up to the top of a hill.

View from the top...

The girls thought it was sooo cool. They were so excited to see all the little cars down below.

After the hikes we went to the Visitor Center. Here we learned about the California palm fruit and even ate some.

And then my camera died. So I have no pictures of Wilhelm's house except for the one of the girls eating the fruit. We next went out 100 yards to where the San Andreas fault lies. Again, no camera. If you don't know what the fault is you were not raised in California in the 60's and 70's when we were told that the next big earthquake would be on that fault and California would fall into the ocean. This bothered me a bit as a child!

The preserve was quite a learning experience and I'm glad we happened upon it by accident. I decided we would go to the cultural center the next day.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Joey, Brittany and Kids

Brittany and Joey came out this past weekend to spend a little time at the house here in Palm Desert. On Saturday the weather was great and we swam and then went to the park.

We had a spaghetti dinner and the kids were all in bed by 8:00. All of us adults were quite surprised! We ended up watching T.V. and playing Scategories. It was really fun!

In the morning the girls did shrinky-dinks. If you don't know what they are, you color some plastic sheets and then put them in the oven where they shrink and become charms. I remember doing them 10 20 30 40 OMG, 50 years ago!

The anticipation...

We planned on going to the street fair next, but as we were leaving it started to get drizzly. And that is how we came to go to the children's museum for the second time in two days. The girls were thrilled as we did not do everything during our six hour trip the first time!

We made it to the dress up area this time.

We only stayed three hours this time as we had to drive Dan to the airport. He cannot take a whole month off work. Poor guy, not rest for him!

We really enjoyed our visit with Brittany, Joey and the kids! So happy they were able to make it out.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

First Outing to the Children's Museum

Last week Becky and I took the kids to the local children's museum. It is a fantastic place. We didn't know we would be back two days later, but that's another story.

We spent a good deal of time at this table before we even went into the museum.

Again, we are not even in the museum yet and we spent well over thirty minutes here just playing with toys. So thankful of the weather!

This car is just for painting. Every day kids paint it a different color. I have no idea how many coats are on it now! Mia loved it and left before she really wanted to. Maks did not get the point of it. Every time he got close with the paintbrush he would back off. It took him several minutes to paint his first stroke. And then he was done!

Mia's favorite place was definitely the vet's office!

Anna's favorite was the pizza restaurant!

The girls and I were there for six hours, minus the one hour we walked over to a grocery store deli for lunch. Maks left a little earlier to take a nap.

Thank goodness we left something for later as we had no idea we would be back on Sunday!