Having a baby has meant having lots of visitors, which Tessa and I have loved. People have come from far and wide to help us celebrate and cope (sometimes in that order, usually in the opposite). So far, the farthest and widest folks (in distance, not stature) were Ted's brother's family, hailing from Boise. They popped in for a long weekend to get away from the cold and to meet their newest family member when she was only a week old. We totally loved having them, though I don't think they got enough sleep while they were here (what nanny-less parents do?)
The highlight of the trip for us (besides 5-yr-old Colin requesting me to feed Tessa so he could see me whip out my hooter) was going to The Huntington together. Ted and I hadn't been there since we were engaged, though it's a mere 15 minutes from our door. It was Tessa's first outing, when she was a wee 8 days old, and she handled all three hours like a pro - fast asleep in her stroller, putting on her best "cute" face for all the passersby, and it was an ideal spot for Colin and 2-yr-old Becca, who are nerds in training. Their parents are both nature-loving doctors.
This post includes an onslaught of pics from the day, with commentary, of course.
I look like a fat idiot in this first picture, goofiest smile in history, so I'm pulling the "just gave birth" card and letting you know that since this day, no pictures have been snapped of anything but my face, and won't be, until I'm down to my svelte size 2 again. I mean, 12. Gee, I always miss that "1"!
I'm only including these for prosperity's sake (because I expect to make a lot of money as a postpartum poster child).
Our first photo as a family that doesn't include any hospital gowns or those fancy disposable shower cap things:
The first of several strippings for Becca. The girl loves to get wet.
Colin was fascinated by the fish. Such joy! And it had only been 5 minutes since we'd entered the park.
After the many wonders of the fountain, it was off to the whimsical and interactive Children's Garden, completely befitting curious minds and playful young bodies. I adored this place, and mentally reprimanded myself for never having gone here before, then shortly forgave myself again, realizing I didn't have a reason to. Who goes to kid-specific stuff when they are kidless?
Ted got a shot of me behind a tree cut into the shape of a cactus. I was going for a "Did I just walk into an oven? 'Cause it is HOT out here!" look, but I basically just pulled off "I'm a dork."
There was a darling vine-covered playhouse complete with itty bitty chairs and a table. I wanted to shrink a couple feet and play here for hours. As it was, I could barely bend over at the time. Stupid stitches.. I kept looking at Marnie wondering, "How does she stand up and sit down so quickly??"
The fountains in this place were so stinking cool. This was one that had tiny arms that vibrated as quickly as a hummingbird's wings to make these tiny waves. The water tickles your hand when you gently touch the surface.
Next layer of clothing came off REAL fast. Marnie was convinced the other patrons were going to think they were white trash with the naked toddler running around. No way. I've seen white trash, and this ain't it. Only plumb cuteness.
Cool fountain #3. The flow was cycloning clockwise down the hole in the middle, so kids tried to change the flow to counter-clockwise, but Colin was fully entertained just putting leaves and rocks into the hole.
Another one of semi-naked Becca. Hey, I'm just happy to know I'm not the only one in the family.
You'll see a bunch of flora pics here. I just love the unusual plants and colors and such. And hey, you'd expect pictures like this from an afternoon at "Huntington Gardens", so bear with my indulgence. I shouldn't have used that word. Now I want some thick chocolate brownies. With skim milk, because I'm watching my weight.
Over in the corner was a huge magnet with a load of iron filings around it. Kids were putting the filings between the two ends of the magnet, and Becca obviously wasn't shy. She should have just kept her shirt off, because she sure got filthy after 10 minutes in this spot. To clean up, she made a trip over to the timed mist-makers. Seriously, I loved this place.
Another shameless shot of the vine-covered playhouse, this time with Tessa and her dad. She was conked out.
They built a gorgeous atrium right next to the Children's Garden that sports some of the coolest stuff for a family of nerds. We had a hard time leaving. Did you guys know that bogs can be up to 20 METERS deep??
There's a simulated rainforest in here, so it's pretty warm and humid. As a result, the collection of orchids was stunning. Since Ted's dad grows them in his greenhouse, he took the camera and went wild with it. So Del, these are for you:
And just to give you an idea of the size of this white and yellow one, we put Tessa's head up to it. She put on her chubby face for the picture, double chin and all. Notice she's still fast asleep despite all the man-handling.
We made our way outside again to dry out our armpits and catch as much as we could before the park closed. Here was a swath of my favorite succulents in the place: the golden barrels.
The Chinese Garden was breath-taking. So much detail everywhere you looked. Unfortunately, we only stayed long enough to feed Tessa. She was STARVING after all that sitting!
A week later, Ted's parents came into town and wanted to go to the Huntington as well. I dropped them off on my way to See's Candy (where I only got 3 pieces of candy instead of 5 - I told you, I'm watching my weight) and when I picked them up later, I saw all of China walking out. I quickly snapped a photo of this guy, trying to make it look like I was taking a picture of something/someone nearby, but unfortunately there was nothing else in a 10-yard radius nearly as noteworthy as...the umbrella hat. He was totally onto me.