Happy Birthday Grandma Beep!

Last Saturday was Grandma Beep’s (AKA my mom’s) birthday. While each birthday is a milestone in its own right, this one ended in a “5”, and T loves anything five right now because he’s five-years-old. So we decided to head down for the weekend and help properly celebrate this one in person.

We kicked off the day at 5:50 a.m., all thanks to an alarm clock with feet named T. Anyway, regardless of the early wake-up call and after a semi-leisurely wake-up, we headed to San Diego’s Mission Valley area to have breakfast with one of my mom’s dearest friends (I kind-of dig her, too). I can’t believe I didn’t capture any pictures of our time at Adam’s Steak ‘n Eggs as this is my mom’s favorite breakfast spot in town (maybe anywhere really – where else can you start the day with a tasty Ramos Fizz and a plate of corn fritters?!), but it was divine as always. It’s a lifelong favorite of mine also. Glad T’s now been there a few times in his early life already himself.

T and Grandma Beep at the entrance to the new "Koalafornia" Outback Exhibit at the San Diego Zoo.

T and Grandma Beep at the entrance to the new “Koalafornia” Outback Exhibit at the San Diego Zoo.

Kudos to the San Diego Zoo for a genius marketing idea for their new Outback exhibit.

Kudos to the San Diego Zoo for a genius marketing idea for their new Outback exhibit.

T at the San Diego Zoo's new Outback exhibit comparing his hand to a koala's and touching a kangaroo pelt. The newly opened area has many hands-on and other kid- and family-oriented activities to education the public about the animals of this unique region of the world.

T at the San Diego Zoo’s new Outback exhibit comparing his hand to a koala’s and touching a kangaroo pelt. The newly opened area has many hands-on and other kid- and family-oriented activities to educate the public about the animals of this unique region of the world.

A wide shot of the newly opened "Koalafornia Dreamin' " exhibit at the San Diego Zoo.

A wide shot of the newly opened “Koalafornia Dreamin’ ” exhibit at the San Diego Zoo.

T and some other kids climbing a "eucalyptus tree" at Koalafornia Dreamin' inside the San Diego Zoo.

T and some other kids climbing a “eucalyptus tree” at Koalafornia Dreamin’ inside the San Diego Zoo.

We started our day out at the San Diego Zoo, which is one of my mom’s favorite places, if not her favorite. The zoo recently opened its “Koalafornia” exhibit; while not the exact and formal name, boy is that some fantastic marketing. This is a newly zoned part of the zoo for Outback and other Australian animals that includes a much larger area for the koalas (to sleep), hands-on stations for the kids, and other educational outreach.

The kookabura bird inside the newly opened Outback exhibit at the San Diego Zoo.

A kookaburra bird on display at the newly opened Outback exhibit at the San Diego Zoo.

T checking out the Tazmanian devil enclosure inside the new Outback region at the San Diego Zoo.

T checking out the Tasmanian devil enclosure inside the new Outback region at the San Diego Zoo.

Grandma Beep showing T...

Grandma Beep showing T…

... a sleeping koala! Yes, Koalafornia is mostly just a larger area for the koalas to sleep, but I bet they are loving all of the new space at night. We will need to go back for "Night Zoo" later this summer to check it out!

… A sleeping koala! Yes, Koalafornia mostly appears to us zoo visitors as just a larger area for the koalas to sleep, but I bet they enjoy roaming all that new space at night. We will need to go back for “Night Zoo” later this summer to check them out!

For the last several years, the zoo has been reconstructing many of its exhibits to be expansive enough to group animals together by regions, similar to that of the Wild Animal Park (AKA San Diego Safari Park). I can see how that’s a better way to house and exhibit the animals in that it’s more natural for them to live this way in captivity than just putting a bunch of enclosures and cages all in a row. It’s probably a lot more humane, too.

T and Grandma Beep looking down at a tiger at the San Diego Zoo.

T and Grandma Beep in Tiger River, another of the regional animal habitats at the San Diego Zoo.

Glad the tiger was up and active!

Glad the tiger was up and active!

T is for T... and Tiger.

T is for T… and Tiger.

We also got to see a lot of other animals than just sleeping koalas. T insisted we go see the tigers because “tiger starts with T and so does T (his name).” OK, no problem. And thank you, tigers, for cooperating and actually being awake and out for your photo opps.

The baby panda was climbing the tree as his mom was climbing the walls waiting for lunch!

The baby panda was climbing the tree as his mom was climbing the walls waiting for lunch!

I guess climbing trees was a common theme during our visit to the San Diego Zoo!

I guess climbing trees was a common theme during our visit to the San Diego Zoo!

Close-up of T with hippo at the San Diego Zoo.

Close-up of T with a hippo at the San Diego Zoo.

T hanging around with the monkeys at the San Diego Zoo.

T hanging around with the monkeys at the San Diego Zoo.

The pandas, gazelle, and hippo were out as well. Some obviously were more active than others, but at least all were close-up enough for T and us to see them whatever they were doing!

Hey, T, your feet can't be that tired yet!

Hey, T, your feet can’t be that tired yet!

Grandma Beep and T on the Skyfari at the San Diego Zoo.

Grandma Beep and T on the Skyfari at the San Diego Zoo.

And thank goodness for those “sky buckets.” That’s T’s name for the Skyfari aerial tramway that connects one end of the zoo with the other. We were at the zoo for over four hours, and if not for those sky buckets, we’d have done a lot more walking up and down those hills than the couple of miles we probably easily did.

T crashed after our 4+ hour outing at the San Diego Zoo, but the nap was short-lived as we had birds to go feed!

T crashed after our 4+ hours at the San Diego Zoo, but the nap was short-lived as it was time to go and feed the birds!

T up and at 'em feeding the birds at La Jolla Cove.

T up and at ’em feeding the birds near La Jolla Cove.

Grandma loves to laugh. I am glad I got this shot. Happy Birthday, Mom!

My mom loves to laugh. I am glad I got this shot. Happy Birthday, Grandma Beep!

T about to fly away with the birds at La Jolla Cove.

T about to fly away with the birds near La Jolla Cove.

Grandma Beep and T feeding the birds together at La Jolla Cove near Windansea Beach.

Grandma Beep and T feeding the birds together at Windansea Beach near La Jolla Cove.

Three generations together. Happy Birthday, Grandma Beep!

Three generations together. Happy Birthday, Grandma Beep!

After the zoo, we headed to Windansea Beach near La Jolla Cove to feed birds. This is another of my mom’s favorite spots in all of San Diego combined with one of her favorite things to go outdoors and do. She likes to save up old pieces and crusts of bread to take with her so she can feed the seagulls in one of San Diego’s most scenic spots. I’ve gone to feed birds with her many a time during my adult life, and now T gets to go with her, too. I think you can see how much fun we had here together, even if the birds were being pretty picky about the bread (those rich La Jolla seagulls, ha!).

Love those mariachis at Fidel's!

Love those mariachis at Fidel’s!

T made me take this picture of the two of them, though he really didn't have to "make me" do it at all! So cute!

T made me take this picture of the two of them, though he really didn’t have to “make me” do it at all! So cute!

We capped off the long day out around town with dinner at Fidel’s in Solana Beach, another of my mom’s favorites (mine, too… grew up going here after the races!). She not just got her usual chicken burrito-cheese enchilada combo, but she even got serenaded by the mariachis, too. Oh, and we probably had the strongest margaritas we’d had in quite some time. Wowzers! (Note for next time: The “Margarita de la Casa” is NOT the same as Fidel’s Original House Margarita.)

P1040222

T and I had a fantastic day and weekend celebrating Grandma Beep’s birthday, and I think she had a pretty good time, too. Hope the rest of your birthday month is filled with even more of your favorite things, Mom! xxoo