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Monday, December 7, 2009

that's what the holidays are all about

i'm kind of blogging out of order here - wan-niversary dinner at yamashiro on friday was fab, but i haven't downloaded the pics yet. heh. i'll get to it, if anyone gives a crap.

on saturday, the bean and i were guests at in-n-out's annual kids' christmas party. yes, a christmas party. in-n-out is well known for being a christian organization, but because the grub is so delicious, folks don't seem to care if they're PC or not. at least, i don't think so.

anyway, around 9:30, we got off the freeway and managed to find a parking spot here:

despite our somewhat early arrival (it started at 9:00), there were already an assload of people there. we got in line to check in and checked out the happenings for the day:

we were all given red wristbands, which served as our ticket for food and activities. the bean was pretty fascinated with hers. "cheeseburger!" she said, pointing to the company logo.

when i spied this sign, i decided it would be a good idea to take her to see santa ASAP. besides, she was in a good mood, and it was better to give this a shot when she was fresh and alert.

so we bypassed all the fun stuff - for the moment - and made our way into the warehouse to find santa. there was face painting, a petting zoo, a pony ride, even snow sledding. they really went all out for this thing, as they always do. in-n-out employees are fiercely loyal, and they really go the extra mile to keep them that way.

the line for santa was already redonkulous. but we got in it anyway, knowing it would only get longer as it got later and more folks arrived.

there was a DJ spinning holiday tunes and playing games with the kids that came to dance on the fake grass.

as the minutes ticked by, i tried to keep the bean entertained. she was pretty entranced with the balloons and other christmas decor, and gave me her funny little half-smile.

we tried to keep her pumped up and excited for meeting santa, and when we asked her if she was ready to sit on his lap and what she was going to ask him for, she nodded excitedly and said "emenemenemens!" ah, my child is so easy to please.

there were about six little tents set up in the "santa's village" area, carefully blocked off from each other so that the kids wouldn't see that there was more than one santa. it was a cute idea that helped keep the line moving and still preserve the magic.

and then it was finally our turn. the bean looks a little shell-shocked, doesn't she?

but when she was handed this fun goody bag, she lit up like, well, a christmas tree. too bad she didn't want to smile for the camera.

right as we exited the village, we spied this table laden down with christmas cookies, and when she saw the cookies topped with mini m&ms, she gave that cheshire cat-style grin again.

it had gotten butt ass hot in there, what with the 49028754 people and the heaters that had been placed all around the warehouse. i was sweating my ass off, of course, and so we grabbed a couple of cookies and hightailed it outta there, back outside and into the cool air. tables and chairs were set up out there underneath giant tents, so we grabbed seats and watched the bean happily pick the m&ms off of her cookie.

she washed it down with some chocolate milk while i examined that goody bag to see what was in there.

when the cookie had been picked clean, she placed it on the table, took a long draw off of her straw, and said "done!" indeed.

meanwhile, our burgers were ready. yes, i ate a double-double at 10:30 in the morning. what of it?

her burger was more modest. a plain cheeseburger with spread, cut in half.

as soon as we wolfed those down, we made our way to the petting zoo and checked out the "aminals." she was excited to see them, but was more hesitant when it came to actually touching the things.

and when we got inside, she wasn't so sure and tried to hide.

but she warmed up quickly and ended up having a great time being around the creatures we've studied in her picture books every day.

she's getting pretty good at smiling for the camera when we take our arm's length self-portraits.

next up: her very first pony ride! i have to admit, i feel sorry for these poor things, tied to a bar and forced to saunter around in endless circles.

i really wasn't sure how she would handle this. but i should've known better - from the moment the girl picked her up and sat her down in the saddle, she didn't stop smiling and clapping. she was SO excited, and i kicked myself for bringing the "big" camera and not the little point-and-shoot with video capabilities. dammit. her excitement was freaking awesome, and now i think she's going to want a pony.

she clapped and waved as she passed by on her horsey. it was adorable.

afterwards, we picked up her official santa portrait. haha, i love it.

and because it had been about 15 minutes since we'd eaten, we decided to get some "ice freeeem." the guy who owns this ice cream company is one of the former owners of baskin robbins, and is a good friend of the snyder family, owners of in-n-out.

the bean really enjoyed her treat. and it's really helped teach her how to use a spoon. she doesn't get too messy anymore when she feeds herself.

our last stop was a ride on the little train that wound around the party area. "choo choo!" pointed the bean.

our train ride gave us a lovely view of the cookout trucks, port-a-potties, and an up-close look at the fleet of company big rigs. exciting, right?

we'd parked a little ways down the street, in the maintenance yard. look, in-n-out gas!

this is where their training department is located.

the same building houses the official company store, where you can pick up t-shirts, sweatshirts, christmas ornaments, and other paraphernalia embazoned with the in-n-out logo.

look - the same cold cup i was so stoked to find at starbucks! i decided to scoop up one of these. and, um, i might have snaked the straw to use with my 'bucks cup.

just in case you wanted to hit it up, here's all the info on the store. you know, if you found yourself in dire need of an in-n-out jacket or something.

all that excitement was too much for the bean. we'd barely buckled her in before she passed the eff out.

as we made our way to the freeway, we passed the skeleton of an old store, which was built back in the 50's. it replaced the very first in-n-out, which was demolished when the freeway linking the san gabriel valley to downtown los angeles was built. it currently stands empty and sad while the powers-that-be decide what to do with it. i think they should make a museum out of it, but that's just me. i'm sentimental and nostalgic like that.


  1. I have been living in so. cal my entire life and had no idea this place existed! I have learned so much from reading your blog. Looks like you had a fantastic time!! The bean is so cute and her vocabulary is amazing. You must be so proud of her!

  2. how fun! ditto pp, I had no idea in'n'out went to such lengths for the holidays. the pics are super cute, looks like the bean (and her mama) had a blast.

  3. Fun! While in Pasadena we enjoyed an In 'N Out picnic - yum! Looks like a fun day.

  4. How fun! I worked at In-N-Out for 4 years and I love the way they go all out for certain events.

  5. I have yet to decide whether the whole kids and Santa thing is creepy or cute. I love the idea, and it makes for great pictures, but really the whole "small children on large man's lap" thing gives me pause.

  6. I love how the bean picked off the M&M's off the cookie and claimed to be done. sounds like something my girls would do too!

  7. usch fun! love the pony ride.
    wishing you could send a few double doubles out to the midwest!

  8. Why do big cheeks look so good on your kid and so awful on me?

    Life is unfair.

  9. I gasped when I saw that In n Out cold cup! You know you are one lucky beotch to get a Starbucks one, right?! They are sold out everywhere and being flipped on eBay :(

  10. How fun! I had no idea this exists. The bean is so dang cute. Why am I not cute with my chubby cheeks? The pictures of her on a pony are priceless.

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