Wednesday was my step son Jesse's 19th birthday. The day started off early for Jesse with a personal wakeup call from his Dad and me. It was complete with a birthday cupcake (Funfetti of course) and an off key birthday song.
Jesse then got up to spend the day with his girlfriend Brin. They went out to breakfast, bowling and then to the mall to shop for some new clothes.
They got home about 5pm in time to pick up Mike for the drive to Moreno Valley to meet Brandon and me. Our plans were to drive to downtown Riverside to go out to dinner to the Old Spaghetti Factory and to visit the Mission Inn.
Once they got to our work in Moreno Valley, we all piled into 1 car for the 10 mile trip to downtown Riverside. This was my first time downtown. Mike and Brandon have both been to jury duty, so they had been to Riverside before.
This was our first time to this particular Old Spaghetti Factory. They are all pretty much the same. I love that they are in old buildings with lots of charm.
Here is Brandon waiting by the front door. Most of my photos will be a little blurry as the lighting is quite low in restaurants and I didn't want to use the flash.
We had to wait about 10 minutes for a table. At first they wanted to put us in a booth, but we had 5 of us. And we are the tubby family. So I didn't think we could all fit & be comfortable. So we opted for a table instead. Jesse was a little sad. He wanted to sit in a booth. But he didn't want to be squished either. They had enough of that with 3 of them in the back seat of our little car for the 10 mile ride from work.
Here is Jesse and his girlfriend Brin.
Look at the lovebirds.
Mike and Brandon waiting for dinner.
Jesse eating his spaghetti. Jesse had a spaghetti combo with meat sauce & Mizithra cheese. Brin had Fettuccine Alfredo, Mike had the spaghetti combo but with clam sauce & Mizithra cheese. Brandon & I both had the baked lasagna. Dinner was very yummy.
My self portrait. You'd think I would be better at taking these shots by now. But no.
Here is Mike outside of the Spaghetti Factory. This street has portions that have fake trees with real vines that grow across a trellis over the sidewalk. The tree trunks look pretty real until you realize they are concrete.
After dinner we decided to walk the four blocks to the Mission Inn to see the Christmas lights.
Here was our first glimpse.
Inside the lobby they have a fireplace mantel all decorated for Christmas. Here is Jesse standing in front of it. They only let you in the lobby in the hotel unless you are a guest.
In the lobby they also have this chair that was President Taft's chair. At least that is what is engraved at the top. Here is Mike sitting in the chair. Does anyone know if President Taft was fat? As this chair was huge!!!!
The lobby is quite small. Here is Brandon's back as he walks back to the front door. Sorry for another blurry photo. I really need to learn how to take photos in low light.
Across the street from the Mission Inn there was an ice skating rink set up for Christmas. Here is Mike & Brandon watching the skaters. There was this little boy about 7 who was skating along the edge holding onto the wall. He kept having to say "Excuse me, excuse me" to everyone as he pulled himself along the wall as there were so many people standing on the outside of the wall watching. Brin really wanted to go ice skating & kept begging Jesse to do it. But Jesse had a bad experience skating once where he broke his arm. He wasn't about to repeat that, especially on his birthday.
Here are some of the palm trees all lit up.
Another self portrait of Mike & me. I didn't realize that Mike had a toothpick in his mouth. Looks like he is trying to stick it up his nose. Once a boy, always a boy.
Here is the view in the front of the Mission Inn.
On the walk back to the car, the kids stopped at this sundial.
Mike & Jesse at the sundial.
And one final view of the side of the Mission Inn as we left.
It was fun seeing all the Christmas lights. I mean, birthday lights. That is what Mike calls them. Both of his boys have December birthdays. So their entire lives they have been told that everyone puts up birthday lights in celebration of their birthdays. Pretty special huh?
We left downtown Riverside a little after 9pm. We then drove back to my office in Moreno Valley to pick up the other car. Mike, Brandon & I drove home in one car. Jesse & Brin took the other car. Jesse has a curfew of 10pm on weeknights. He asked me if he had to be home by 10pm (which I knew he couldn't make as it would take him over an hour to take Brin home & get back to our house). I told him since it was his birthday I would cut him some slack. He didn't have to be home until 10:05pm. He didn't think it was too funny. But I did.
It was fun spending the evening with my family. And it was fun getting to eat at the Old Spaghetti Factory (it had been years for me), and seeing the Mission Inn all lit up for Christmas. Now I need to get our Christmas, I mean, birthday lights up.
Tomorrow we are heading to San Diego as Andrea's oldest son Zak is going through the temple. He leaves for the MTC on 12/16. That is less than 2 weeks. I spoke to Andrea today & she is getting a little sad thinking about her child being gone for 2 whole years. But it will be a good experience for Zak. So check back next week as I'm sure I'll post photos.