December Nights at Balboa Park

I’ve always loved Balboa Park, noooo, not the part where the men hook up for sex in the public restrooms, the part with the museums. Back in my early 20’s they had one museum a month free. Aside from the beach, this was a fun activity for a starving college student.

Another thing that’s really cool about Balboa Park? “December Nights” It was called, “Christmas on the Prado” when I was a kid, but it’s still the same. Santa, The Nativity, The Christmas lights, hot chocolate and holiday cheer.

Pjdaddy and I took the kids Friday night. It was wonderful. We took a 2nd cousin who’s 5, not sure if he’s “removed” or anything because I don’t know how all that cousin stuff works, and we went with some long time friends. We brought the cousin thinking he’d play with Garren, but it turns out he developed a crush on Madeleine and spent the evening walking into walls and being silly to make her laugh. At one point we were in line to see The Nativity and he and Madeleine were having a deep discussion about what were to happen if they got lost, he told Madeleine, “I will never leave you. I am a boy and it is my job to take care of little girls if they get lost.” The people behind us thought it was hysterical. I did too. 

They had an ethnic food fair and an International Christmas Festival at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. My kids got to try soda from Sweden, a chocolate dessert from Scotland and my non-adventurous children ate hot dogs from America.


You know how many shots I went thru to find one where I didn’t look like a complete and total lard ass? And no, I have no idea why pjdaddy felt the need to spread his legs SOOO freaking wide. Although he has impregnated me 6 times. IYKWIMAITYD. Here’s our family Christmas photo taken in front of a big tree they light up every year. No, it didn’t dawn on me to actually get a picture of the tree.

Our kids got a picture with Santa. We waited in a long line to see him. Interesting how well behaved kids are when they’re in line to see “The Great One”. I didn’t have to behave as I already knew I was getting coal. They have it set up so you can see Santa, but if you want a picture with him, you have to pay $5. Of course if you don’t pay to get a picture with Santa, you get stink eye. I got a whoooole lotta stink eye as kid, after kid, after kid, after kid, after kid went and sat on his lap and my friend Laurie took their photo. In all 6 kids got their photos taken. Santa told them to hurry up and get the show on the road. If he’d actually asked him what they wanted for Christmas he prolly would have told them they’d shoot their eye out, or something to that affect. He did look like Santa however, so I’ll give him that, but that’s it!


I’ve never seen Gavin so fascinated with anything as he was of Santa. Unfortunately I didn’t get the photo, but he turned and just stared into Santa’s eyes with pure awe. Santa took every photo with his mouth open. Cotton mouth anyone?

Here’s Graham finding out I want him to sit on Santa’s lap.


Ha, just kidding Graham. You can stand next to Santa.

Poor Garren was starting to not feel so well and wound up looking like crap in his Santa photo. To make it up to him, I’ll post a picture of him at the train museum.

Madeleine insists on having me take photos of her eating all the time. “Mom, take a picture of me eating this.” Mom, take a picture of me eating this.”  I freaking hate pictures of me like that. I picture people thinking, “no wonder she’s chunky, she doesn’t stop eating” . “She’s eating in every picture.” ” COW!”  Issues much?


My Godmother, Shirley, was kind enough to buy ALL the kids hot chocolate and a ginger bread cookie.

All the museums were free that evening, but the kids were getting pretty worn out by this time and wanted to go home. There was however, one museum that was required visiting as far as I was concerned. The Train Museum. Garren and Gavin are obsessed with trains and I would be a fool to not hit this place when it was free.


Poor kid looks miserable doesn’t he?

We found out too late there was a beer garden, but all in all it was a wonderful evening. Oh, and it turns out they still have free museums on the first Tuesday of the month, but it’s even better now, all the museums are free that day.

Did I mention I’m glad to be back home?


  1. That picture of your little one in front of the train museum is priceless!!!! When they said “a picture is worth a thousand words!” they had that very little boy in mind. WOW!

  2. And the punctuation queen does it again! I didn’t mean, in my comment above, that he is a very little boy…I meant, *that* very, little boy. Actually I’m not sure of the exact punctuation for the sentence. But hopefully you get it. *lol*

  3. Great family picture! Use it for your Christmas cards. “Gabin” as Drewsicle would say, looks just adorable with Santa. And I do like that pic of Graham. He’s a happy little camper, isn’t he? :) Took Drewsicle to see the model train displays – something about those trains that little boys just love. Madeleine gets new boyfriends every where she goes – I won’t tell you know who. It’ll break his heart.

  4. I think you look good. Gah. Don’t be so hard on yourself!!

    We are going to hit several light events this week while hubby is off work! Should be fun…

  5. This post had me laughing. You all look like you were having a great time.

  6. Oh! I never knew there was cruising at Balboa Park.

    Good thing, too, ‘cuz the Rittenhouse family wouldn’t have enjoyed its Saturday there quite so much, knowing that on the premises … never mind.

    The high point for me that day was running into the various wedding parties. Squeeky shot this magnificent photo:


    Made me wish I could get married again, just to upgrade my groomsmen.

  7. PJ – Cute pix. . . Thanks for sharing.

  8. Awwww such a cute family! Love the pictures and the stories. I don’t think I’ve ever been to San Diego during Chrismtas. HMPH!

  9. Dear PJMomma,

    I was recently made aware of your 2008 complaint and apologize for taking so long to respond. According to, “stink eye” is a facial expression of distrust, distain or disapproval.
    Please realize that I am only a volunteer Santa Claus. In fact, everybody associated with the Community Christmas Center is a volunteer. We attempt to make every child’s visit with Santa a positive experience. Fortunately, it appears that all six of your children did pose multiple times for an individual picture taken with Santa. I would offer your money back, but since you didn’t pay to have our photographer take any of your picture(s), a refund is impossible. (Many people buy one picture and take several more with their own cameras.) This December, please bring your family to the front of the line to pose for as many pictures as you like. I promise not to smile.

    Santa Claus

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s