Tom and Ruth asked me to go to Fresno with the family to watch the kids while they went to a Mona Vie/Team convention. I am not sold on Mona Vie or Team, but I am sold on family and those grandkids, so I took a day off work for a long weekend in Fresno.
After getting to our hotel (the Radisson) Friday, we walked to Joe’s Steakhouse. Ruth, good on-line researcher that she is, found a hamburger lunch special at Joe’s. (I liked the name. Joe and Steakhouse are among two of my favorite words, not that I can remember the last time I have gone to a steakhouse!) The restaurant was full of cowboy décor but empty of people. Well, it was late for lunch and early for dinner. The waitress said they weren’t doing that special anymore. Ruth reminded her that it is currently on the website. The waitress said they had a new webmaster. Ruth expressed hope that they would honor their advertising. Ruth was very pleasant but firm. I am not sure, but I think she won. The hamburgers were ok, not the excellent food we expected from the word steakhouse, but not bad. The kids really enjoyed the lunch.
The kids and I hung out in the hotel room while Tom and Ruth crossed the street to the convention. Since we were right across the street, friends who were in a cheaper place further away had their teenage girl baby sitter and the week(s?) old baby come to our room. They were both very quiet and cute. I was glad that Sophie (my laptop) had come along. The Hinds had brought some DVDs but the hotel room didn’t come with a DVD player. Sophie to the rescue! Ruth and Tom came back with Pizza for supper and came back again around 9pm to see the kids before bedtime. Then back to their meetings until around midnight. (Another reason I do not belong in Team!)
I woke up at my usual 5ish Saturday morning and was lying there wondering what I wanted to do about it when surprisingly the Esther and Jared woke up soon after. Although they were using soft voices, Ruth woke up and then Naomi. The folks were not pleased that the kids were up before the sun, but the kids got to see the sunrise as our window faced east.
Tom and Ruth returned to their Team Meetings which they seemed to be enjoying thoroughly. The kids and I headed out to the Pioneer Day Breakfast being held behind the Fresno Temple. We met up with our cousins David & Melissa, their daughter and nephew who had heard Hinds were coming to Fresno and told them about the breakfast. (Melissa’s great grandfather is my ex-husband Glen’s grandfather.) We go there just as they were announcing last call for seconds, but we got scrambled eggs, sausage and cinnamon roll. Not bad. The only thing I know we missed is orange juice, but we got milk. Naomi loved the cinnamon roll. Got it all over herself. Esther played Stick Pull and Tug-of-War. Jared got his face painted. The kids had snowcones. I think they passed on the cotton candy.
It was getting pretty hot as the Pioneer Day wound down and the kids were eager to visit the Splash Park in Playland. First we walked around the Fresno Temple. It is a good bit smaller than the Sacramento Temple, which is a smallish temple. I think it is a wonderful plan to have more small temples close to more people!
Roeding Park is a bit like Sacramento’s William Land Park – Zoo, Storyland, Playland, duck ponds, picnic areas. Roeding has playground which William Land does not. I don’t know if Roeding has a golf course or a outdoor theater, but we didn’t look around all that much. At the Splash Park, I admit I was selective about the rules I read. I seem to have missed the rule about being in swim clothes, but I definitely noted the rule about walking not running on wet cement. Jared and Esther played for over an hour. Naomi and I dabbled a little, just got our feet wet, but mostly sat in the shade and watched. Jared’s cat face disappeared leaving only smudges here and there.
Finally, refreshed, the kids were ready to move on. Esther was too cold then for their promised carousel ride, so we went exploring at Storyland. I told Esther I wasn’t buying the key because the kids wouldn’t hold still long enough to listen to the stories, so the nice lady “loaned” Esther “her” key. (She only turned on one story book, partly because she hadn’t realized what they were. It was fuzzy and hard to understand, so that was that. But she liked wearing a “golden” key around her neck). When Esther tried to return the key as we left, a different nice lady told her to keep it. Story Land is somewhat like Sacramento’s Fairytale Town only it appears older, both in style of the storybook characters and the need for maintenance and repairs. What a fun place for children to explore! Shady trails winding up down and around. Not ADA or stroller accessible everywhere, so as the kids happily scampered up stairs I would keep one eye on them while looking for a stroller friendly route to their destination. The kids were not much interested in the literary aspect of the park, but they loved exploring, running and climbing. From StoryLand we went back for their carousel ride.
Ride over, Esther and Jared felt ready for sandwiches so it was time to go to Subway. Jared had the sandwich of the day – roast beef. Esther and I shared a bacon sandwich –tomato for me, not for her. Naomi had bits of each.
By then it was 4ish. I thought the zoo closed at 5:30, but we had heard that Fresno has an especially nice zoo, so we went. The ticket lady told us the zoo closed at 6pm, however when Ruth and I were exchanging text messages about whether the kids were available for a parental visit a few minutes after 6 we were still having a wild time at the zoo. We did drift out then. The zoo had lots of shaded paths. Nice. The kids had a great time at the dinosaur diggings convinced that they were real. We saw sea lions, elephants, fresh water rays, and a two toed sloth as well as animals that we might find at our own Sacramento Zoo. The Fresno zebras were more white than the Sacramento zebras -different species. The grizzly bear was smaller than I expected. A young bear, or have I blown them up in my imagination? I bet it would look bigger if we met in the forest!
We had a great day. Naomi was an angel all day long. As soon as we approached the hotel room door, she began to fuss. Not as bad as Friday. (She cried for hours Friday evening before and after Ruth’s 9pm visit.) Ruth had brought a cooler full of food. For Friday’s dinner we paraded through the hotel carrying our bowls of macaroni and cheese down to the microwave in the little Java shop off the lobby and then back to our room. Jared was in the tub when Esther who had been eating slowly announced that she felt sick. I grabbed an almost empty waste basket out of the bathroom and she used it. Too much outside in the heat, probably. She just stayed quiet the rest of the evening and was better in the morning. We watched Harry Potter until the folks came and told the kids to go to bed. After Tom and Ruth left again (they didn’t finish until after 2), Naomi cried and cried, but Esther managed to soothe her and she went to sleep.
We were a little late to Sacrament Meeting. I was surprised how far we had to go to get to an LDS chapel. A couple of good talks about honoring our pioneer heritage by a young married couple. Then we hurried back to the convention center for the Team Interdenominational Church Service. Testimonies of the Lord Jesus Christ. Can’t argue with that. We finished packing. Tom loaded up the car. Tom and Ruth went to more meetings. The kids and I, along with a couple of teens and their charges (1 year and nearly new), hung out in the hotel room until 2. The other babies’ parents were done then. It was also check out time, so the kids and I hung out in the lobby for another hour or so. Oh, we went out to a little garden area by the pool for a few minutes – it was too hot to say out there and it was small with nothing to do. Except look for Jared’s tooth which came out as soon as we got to the little garden seat. We didn’t find it.
When it was time to get in the car to head home Jared nearly cried, but it was none too soon for me. Esther, Jared and Naomi were great, but I was ready to be home.