Our second trip with baby turned out to be a big,unexpected,random adventure. Random guests,random conversations,random learning experiences. Gabe invited a friend, so I invited a friend. A six year old God Child friend by the name of Dominic. Just me and four dudes.How exactly would life be with two little ones to take care of? Hard. That's how. After being blessed with the perfect baby, Kingston, we often wonder if we will get this lucky twice and if we are ready for baby #2? We began our 8 hour trek at 7 am and arrived in Marina del Rey, California at 7pm. Two children= lots of rest breaks, rest stops, snacks, and milk. Coffee was a must every single morning and Rosè was a must every afternoon.
Pinks hotdogs was definitely on the top of the list for food. Located in La Brea,near Hollywood, this tiny little stand has been up and running since 1977. As regular hot dog eaters and makers, our hotdog standard is high. We were impressed with the large menu and the various topping options. I had a classic chili cheese dog with bacon strips and french fries on top, Gabe had a pastrami dog with sauerkraut.Dominic had an onion ring and BBQ topped hot dog named "the lord of the rings" that he absolutely loved. I am happy to report that pinks hotdogs are Blacktop Grill approved, two thumbs up. I can see why they are an LA must.
I've always wanted to visit the LACMA. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has been on my bucket list for a long time and I was happy to finally check it off the list. Kingston and Dominic were lucky enough to see the works of Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, and Jackson Pollack. I know one day they will appreciate this experience and this trip. For me, the LACMA brought back my love of art, and my appreciation for beautiful paintings and surroundings. The smells, the colors, the vaulted ceilings and being in the presence of greatness makes you feel as though it can all be inhaled and internally absorbed somehow.
We had lunch at the famous Trejos Tacos in La Brea. Here we dined on Jackfruit tacos, carne asada tacos, fried chicken burritos and almond milk,date sweetened Horchata. The restaurant itself is situated in a nice little corner with lots of outdoor shaded space. There was a line, as expected for any restaurant visited by Mr. Anthony Bourdain, but It moved quickly. We were in awe over the fact that Machete himself concocted a recipe that turned fruit into meat.Like some sort of biblical pork magic, the jackfruit is slow cooked and simmered in spices and pulled apart. The pork magic is then set on to a warm hand sized thick corn tortilla and topped with cabbage,lime, tomato, tortilla chips and green tomatillo salsa.
We spent the afternoon at The Grove. Fancy mall with a nice outdoor area for lounging on grass. There is also a large farmers market inside with fresh fruits,vegetables and French gourmet cheese and wine shops all over.Here, we were able to try the Insta-famous Sprinkles Cupcakes. As a connoisseur of desserts, I have to say these were amongst the best cupcakes I've ever had in my entire life. I had the triple cinnamon, and he had the lemon blueberry. They were perfection. I was half expecting the deliciousness to be all hype. We also made a stop in the French dessert shop Luduree. My life's dream is to spend summers in France. I feel as though somehow France follows me everywhere I go and this was another example of it. Blog posts from Paris coming soon. All in due time. They say I'm a dreamer...but I'm not the only one.
It was interesting to expose Dominic to all different types of food. Witout hesitation or fear he tried Persian food, he tried Salvadoranian papusas, he ventured out and tried different types of seafood including calamari. It was a challenge convincing a six-year-old to try all these things but he did and I'm sure he was glad he did, If only for the tales of bravery he would get to tell.
Unexpectedly, Fourth of July was a hot mess. We somehow got lost on our way to the beach. Our hotel was situated .07 miles from Venice beach and inexplicably the navigation took us the scenic route about 6 miles through the Marina. We walked until it was too late to turn back. This isn't the first time the GPS has led us astray, and somehow I'm always in charge of the map. Perhaps someone with better sense of direction should navigate from now on? Just a thought. It was light out when we left our hotel . When we arrived in Venice Beach, it was just in time for the fireworks at 9 PM. We ran fast into the first restaurant we found, sat and had sausage and Margherita pizzas. We made it out just in time to watch the fireworks in Venice Beach. Nobody spoke as we sat there and watched the fireworks on the beach, our feet throbbing. The only one unfazed and un bothered was Dominic who was happy to play on the beach and smiled so big the whole evening. Give a kid pizza and a beach and he's happy. Simplicity. Nevemind the 6 miles we just walked in flip flops with no restrooms or water. We then proceeded to walk the .07 miles back to our hotel room. This was approximately 20 minutes, a short walk, still a silent walk.
The next morning we got on the road and headed back home to Tucson. We made a pitstop in San Diego so the kids could play on the beach and stretch out. Kingston fearlessly crawled into the ocean. I had to physically restrain him from leaping in several times. I had one eye on Dominic and one eye on Kingston the entire afternoon. I was fresh out of eyeballs. When gabe found us he declared "There you are, you blended in with all the soccer moms." I looked around and all the women and families around us looked really happy but also frazzled and stressed. Children were running all over the place. I think it was here I decided one baby is enough, I'd like to keep an eyeball on myself from time to time. The ability to be a mother is priceless and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I feel lucky and blessed everyday , but the ability to be with yourself and love your own time is ok too.
The trip overall was an amazing one. I was excited to be able to show Dominic new things and help him become more independent and mature. I take the task of being his godmother seriously, and he is always in the back of my mind and in my prayers. My wish for him is that he grows up to have a happy, fulfilled, adventurous life. They say you choose God parents who you would like your children to be like. For me, it is an honor to be chosen. I will continue to show him the light. As for Kingston, we will continue strapping him into the car seat and taking him everywhere until it's become normal for him. He's our little traveling baby.