I woke up on Sunday, Annie’s actual birthday, and snuck into her room to leave her a present on the floor:

Birthday Balloons

Her face when she woke up and saw the balloons was awesome:

Birthday Balloons

Balloon war!

birthday balloons

Next it was time to eat, so we had birthday cake for breakfast. Obviously.

Birthday cake for breakfast

We wanted to do something fun, so we called my parents and then we all drove up the coast to the Santa Barbara Zoo. The SB Zoo is much smaller than its Los Angeles counterpart – it’s the perfect size for a child to walk through without getting over-tired. It’s also a stone’s throw from the beach, so the weather is much nicer and the whole place has a relaxed vibe. I hadn’t been there in years, easily since an elementary school field trip. If my mom were writing this blog she’d now stop to tell you the story about how I got lost at the Santa Barbara Zoo on one of these field trips, but I will swear until my dying day it was my brother who got lost. *I* have an excellent sense of direction.

Anyway. On the drive up, Mike told Annie we were going to the zoo to see animal houses. Those two words stuck in her head, and over the course of the next few hours she ran around screaming, “ANIMAL HOOOOOOOOUSE!” like a tiny belligerent fraternity boy.



We saw the otters at feeding time, and the penguins, which Annie was pissed she couldn’t pet.

Want PET peng-in!!!

Then we came to the elephant area and you guys. I legit thought this elephant was dead:

I legit thought this elephant was dead

So I tell my dad, “yo, that elephant is toast,” and he pulls out his phone to google, “Do elephants sleep laying down?” Meanwhile, Annie is imitating an elephant’s trunk and yelling, “El-phant sleeeeping! ANIMAL HOOOOOOOUSE!!!” and it’s chaos.

my elephant imitation: let me show it to you

Fact: Elephants can sleep standing up OR laying down. Something else I have in common with elephants.

We all got to feed a giraffe, which was really cool. I thought Annie would be scared but she was totally into it.

feeding the giraffe

The giraffe was totally into licking all of us, which made me be totally into disinfecting everything.

Annie couldn’t stop talking about the giraffe, which was super-cute.


When we’d had enough of the Animal Hoooooooooouse we went to the beach. It was the magic hour:


Annie was not a fan of the pier. She couldn’t verbalize it, but I could see the confusion on her face. She could see light between the wood beams, and was afraid to fall. I understood because I used to be afraid of the same thing (or maybe I’m projecting).

The road stretches out before her

The family on Annie's birthday

We left as the sun was setting, and as we loaded Annie into the car I could tell she was going to fall asleep on the drive home. Before I got in the car I looked at the sunset, it was so pretty.

Santa Barbara Sunset

Then we all listened to Annie scream herself to sleep for the next hour. Let the Terrible Twos begin!