No Longer So Cal Residents

This military life has been great to us. We have been fortunate to continually get great locations and commands. That is still true now as we are back in Florida! We’ve actually been back for quite a while (almost a year!) but life has gotten in my way and kept me from  blogging about this big change. That stops now!

There are so many wonderful things about our town that I am hoping to share over the summer. I will also add a post (or two or three) about our cross-country move in our RV! It was a blast. I am back to teaching in a brick and mortar school which I love.

Teacher Life, Military Wife is back. Stay tuned for more!

 

 

Doha, Qatar

I had the opportunity to join The Husband on a port call a few months ago!! They pulled into Doha, Qatar. Neither of us had been there before but we had a wonderful time.

I booked a room at the Intercontinental. There are two in Doha. We stayed at the beach resort, not The City. I became an IHG rewards member so I could book a club level room. It’s free and totally worth it. I paid about $100 extra for us to have breakfast each morning. Also included in the club level room is snacks from 12-2, tea with tea sandwiches and desserts from 3-5, and drinks and hors d’oeuvres from 6-8. The room was just slightly more expensive but we drank and ate plenty to make up for the difference.

The hotel was right on the water. We stepped into the gulf but was was about 95*F so we hung out on the beach and in the pool. The pool was large and rarely had anyone swimming. I loved that the pool, while not deep, was not super shallow. The deepest part was around 5.5 ft.

The room itself was nice with a comfortable bed. We had a view of some other hotels and a water recreation area. There was a well stocked mini-fridge. The shower, once we learned how to use it, was nice. The only thing we didn’t love was the toilet which was rectangular. Apparently I don’t have a rectangular behind because it was uncomfortable.

We weren’t able to do much sightseeing but I did go to the Museum of Islamic Art. I was fortunate to be able to travel with a friend to Doha. Since we landed around 2am we had a long time to wait before our husbands arrived. After a nap, we got up and headed to the museum. The art ranges from in time period, origin, and medium. It was pretty fascinating. I know very little about art but I really enjoyed the few hours we spent touring the museum. It is certainly worth a look if you happen to find yourself in Doha.

 

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Museum of Islamic Art
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Museum of Islamic Art

The Souk was another place we checked out. There were multiple sections, including an animal souk. We saw so many different types of animals! There is a falcon souk which we made it to but were late and most of the shops were closed. Bummer!

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Animal Souk
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Walking through the Souk
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Souk Architecture

I was only in town a three nights but we made our dinners count. We ate at a restaurant in the souk one night. It was fabulous with shimmering decor covering the walls and ceiling. The pictures do not do this place justice.

Another night we headed to Nobu Doha. MMmmm! I have no idea what we ordered. We asked the waiter to choose the courses for us. We liked everything we ate and loved 3 of the dishes. It was expensive but I’ll only ever be in Doha once!

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Nobu Doha

Overall, we had a great time. I don’t intend to go back but I’m so happy I made the trip. And – I’m closer to fulfilling my 40 before 40 list!

Have you ever been to Doha? What were your favorite things to do do there?

 

 

 

 

A Very San Diego Spring Break

Last week was my son’s spring break. It was just me and the boys as the Husband is on an underway and I wanted to have some fun. Here is how we spent our week:

Monday: Carlsbad Flower Field

I wasn’t sure how fun this would be for the boys but I wanted to take them anyway. They both ended up having a great time. We paid the extra money for a tractor ride around the field. It was beautiful. If you have kids and want to see the whole field, I recommend the tractor ride.

Highlights for the boys were the tractor ride and play ground. My older son really liked collecting stamps from different areas, too.  You can easily spend 3 hours playing and walking around and there are lots of good photo ops.

 

Tuesday: Air and Space Museum

We made the mistake of going on a free Tuesday. I didn’t know this until we were walking in. IT. WAS. PACKED. It was so packed that it was uncomfortable. As soon as we walked in I saw the speed exhibit and we made our way through the crown to the entrance. It’s $5 a person to get in but I felt it was worth it.

This exhibit was significantly less crowded. We were able to try out all the activities. There was pedal car racing, hot wheels tracks, tire changing, simulating car crashes with little disks, and much more. We spent an hour and a half exploring the speed area, which is rather small but had a lot for each boy to try.

We then ventured back into the main area. It was so crowded that the only exhibits you could really see were in the air. It was hard to maneuver a stroller around. We spent about 15 minutes trying to make our way through when we called it quits and headed for the exit. I’d love to come back another time when it’s not a free day. I think the boys would both enjoy looking at the planes.

 

Wednesday: Rockin Jump Tot Time

It was agreed that Rockin Jump was everyone’s favorite activity. Rockin Jump in Mira Mesa has a toddler time every Tuesday and Wednesday from 9-11. It’s just for kids 6 and under. They open all but one of the jump area for kids and their parents to play. For one parent and one child it’s $7 and then $3 for every other child. I thought this was super reasonable compared to normal jump prices.

We played the full two hours and had a blast. There is a normal jump area, dodge ball court, basketball hoops, a giant air bag, and a foam pit. The 6 year old loved the air  bag and the almost 2 year old was obsessed with the foam pit. Thankfully they were right across from one another so I could watch both kids at the same time. We will be back!!

 

Thursday: San Diego Zoo Safari Park

We have zoo passes but haven’t been to the Safari Park since we moved back to San Diego last summer. It’s about 45 minutes from where we live in San Diego but it is a lot of fun! During the spring they have a butterfly exhibit where you walk through a room filled with butterflies. Filled! They were everywhere. Landing on everything and everybody. If you plan to go and want butterflies to land on you I recommend wearing red, yellow, orange, pink, or purple, but you don’t need to. They are likely to land on you even if you’re not dressed as a flower. I would also recommend that you get to the park when it opens at 9am and head straight to the butterflies. The lines get incredibly long.

From the butterflies we headed to the safari tram. This is in “Africa”. Along the way we passed the Lemur Walk where you can actually walk WITH lemurs! You go into the enclosure and the lemurs are walking around. You must be 5 or older which was a huge bummer since we had the toddler and no other adult. The 6 year old was disappointed but he’s looking forward to going in next time when there are two adults. By the time we made our way to the tram, it was about a 5 minute wait. The tram drives you around the entire exhibit and you are able to see tons of animals living together. It was so fun listening to the boys yell out about different animals they were seeing. The ride is about 30 minutes long. When we got back to the beginning the wait was an hour long. This is something else I recommend you do early.

We caught the bird show which all three of us loved. The birds fly right over your head. We also saw baby cheetahs and lots of elephants!

I would recommend bringing water, comfortable shoes, and sun screen. Escondido, where the park is located, gets much hotter than San Diego. It was 81* at the Park when we left and 69* when we made it back home!

Something else pretty cool is that there are lots of different “safari” options. Most have a younger age limit of at least 3 and range in price from $54 to $690. I think it’s something we will try with the older boy at least once.

 

Friday: San Diego Zoo

The zoo is a favorite of ours. We come at least once a month. Today we brought friends with us and explored the cheetahs, koala’s, and giraffes. We when walked through Africa Rocks. This new area opened last fall and has been a lot of fun. They have a troop of baboons, 3 leopards, lots of penguins and sharks, and a few monkey species. They used to have two honey badgers as well but they have been moved. The toddler was getting tired at this point so we headed to the Skyfari and headed home. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures! I guess I’ll have to write a post on the zoo another day.

If you’re looking for fun, child-friendly, places in San Diego, just ask! I know of a bunch more!

-KB

Two Days in L.A. with Kids (Part 2)

If you haven’t already read about our time at the California Science Center, click here.

Leaving the Science Center, we headed to our campsite for the night. We stayed at Anaheim RV Park. The staff was friendly and facilities very clean. I’ve never stayed at an RV park before so I have no comparison, but it was rather boring to look at. Just a giant parking lot, a few bathroom buildings, and a pool. It was too chilly to test out the pool but it looked nice! They also offer free coffee and a muffin for each person in your party in the morning. If you’re headed to Disneyland, a shuttle will pick you up from the entrance of the park. Overall, it was a nice stay.

Once settled, we made a quick dinner and called it a night. Both boys did really well. It was the first time we made it overnight in the RV!!

Wednesday morning we woke up, cleaned the RV, ate breakfast, and headed to Disney!! I love the Disney parks. February is a great time to go. The weather is generally nice and the crowds are low. We waited about 10-20 minutes for each ride, including Big Thunder Mountain. The only downside to Disney in February is that most maintenance is completed during this time. For us, Main Street was closed. You could walk along the sidewalks and go into shops, but there were no parades which my boys love. The Disney Marching Band was out frequently and all over the park which made up for the parades. The toddler loved watching them and didn’t mind the loud sounds.

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As for rides, we started with the train at the entrance. This is for two reasons: 1) both boys loves trains and 2) it gets us away from the crowds at the front of the park. We exited the train at Toon Town. My boys don’t care for that area so we skipped it but I know most toddlers and young kids love this area of the park.

We hopped onto It’s A Small World. The toddler was SO excited to be in a boat. If you have only been to Disney World, this ride is a little different. First, you start off outside. Second, except for one area, all the music is in English.

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From here, the husband took the 6 year old to the Matterhorn and I took the toddler to the Storybook ride. After Matterhorn, the boys headed to Pirates of the Caribbean and I took the toddler to the water. My husband and I switched off and I then took the 6 year old to Big Thunder Mountain. This was his favorite ride of the day. He went back later to ride it with my husband. 🙂

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While we were riding Big Thunder Mountain, the Toddler and Husband went on Winnie the Pooh and then to Tom Sawyers Island. I had never explored the island before. It was a lot of fun for all four of us. The boys loved climbing through the caves and walking along the unstable bridges. It’s also exciting for the Toddler to ride a boat back and forth across the water.

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After Tom Sawyer’s Island, we left and headed to Disney’s California Adventure. We walked straight back to A Bugs Land. This is the perfect toddler amusement park. There are a bunch of rides which both the 6 year old and the toddler enjoy. We rode Tuck and Roll’s Drive ‘Em Buggies, Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train, Francis’ Lady Bug Boogie, and Flik’s Flyers. I forgot to get any pictures of these. While we did this, the Husband rode Guardian’s of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! We both loved Tower of Terror and his opinion was that Disney should have done more to transform the ride. It is essential the same exact ride but with new decor and music.

It was after this that we decided to head home. It was a wonderful and quick vacation. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick getaway with kids. Both boys enjoyed themselves as did the husband and I. There is so much more to do in L.A. I know we have barely scratched the surface. I’m looking forward to many more trips!!

-KB

Two Days in L.A. with Kids (Part 1)

Last month the husband and I took the kids to L.A.! It was an awesome, quick trip which we hope to do more of in the next few years (if we remain in San Diego).

We left town at nine Tuesday morning and made it to the California Science Center around 11. If you’re ever in L.A., I suggest you visit the Science Center. It was a lot of fun for all four of us (how often does that happen?!).

The 6 year old wanted to start with the ecosystem exhibit. The exhibit features multiple rooms with different ecosystems. You can learn about the plants and animals that live in each and there are interactive elements in every room. In the arctic, there is a large wall of ice. There were a bunch of hand prints from people before us holding their hands on the wall long enough to make an indent. The River Room allows kids to make rivers through sand. I think this was the 6 year old’s favorite activity. We created dams and he watched the water create a lake. There is a kelp forest, island zone, and rot room. Both boys loved the Rocky Shore area where we could watch water rise and fall and touch aquatic life.

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After the ecosystems, we checked out the Space Shuttle. We’ve seen two before and it’s never that exciting for the kids. There isn’t much to do except gawk at how this large spacecraft made it to space and read about the history of space exploration. Boring for kids and as adults with kids, we had to watch them instead of reading. hC%wNC0WRO6n0Kq+mi19BQ

From here we headed to the RV for lunch. The Husband spent an hour and a half in the RV with the toddler after lunch while the kid and I went back in to explore.

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My older son is in first grade and they were learning about sound in school. I was really excited when we walked into Creative World and they had a few exhibits on sound. I took pictures and emailed them to his teacher.

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Creative World also featured hands on exhibits pertaining to earthquakes, magnets, designing towns, building large structures, and helping the environment. Some of these exhibits were very old and seemed out of date but the 6 year old still loved this area.

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When the Toddler woke up, we went to the discovery room. This area is designed for toddlers and young children. Both boys enjoyed this room but we had to cut our time short so we could get to our parking spot for the evening.

More on where we parked and day 2 coming soon!

-KB

February Reads

This month I finished 2 books. At the end of January I started Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman. Ever since reading A Man Called Ove last year I have wanted to read everything he had published. I’m on my way…

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

Britt-Marie is a “nagbag” who takes a job in a soon-to-be ghost town after her husband has a heart-attach which she learns about from his mistress. The town is full of shady and interesting characters Britt-Marie gets to know throughout the book. The way Backman introduces and develops each character is just what I’ve come to expect of him. They are deep and thoughtful and so interesting. He plans out his books so you come to understand all the nuances of each character’s personality as the story progresses leaving out little while making the story so interesting. 5/5 stars!

 

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

I read this book second but I wish I had read it first. I didn’t know the two were related and this is a precursor to Britt-Marie Was Here. While they don’t need to both be read, or read in a particular order, but they overlap with some characters and time wise, this book comes first. That being said, this book was not what I had expected. And I loved it. It follows a girl’s journey as she gives apology letters to people her grandmother knew. I can’t really begin to describe this book. It is part fantasy, part reality, part hilarity, part sadness, and completely enjoyable. There is a made up land within the story which I wish I had written out as I remember better when I physically write and I occasionally mixed up which “land” was which. (If you read the book, which I recommend, you’ll understand what I mean by this.) Even better, I wish Backman had provided a map as mentioned in the story.

 

For March I plan on finishing Beartown and then…I’m not sure. Our public library doesn’t have any other books by Backman so I’ll have to find something new. Any suggestions?

-KB

 

 

 

Weekly Workouts Feb 12-18

This week continues with CrossFit and half marathon training!

Monday:

This workout is a leg killer!

AMRAP 6min, 7min, 8min
40 DB Walking Lunges 2 x 20#
30 DB Snatch 20#
15 Toes-to-Bar (modified to kipping knee raises)
15 Box Jump Overs 24/20
15 Slam Balls 40/30
Max Cal Bike/Row
Rest 2 minutes between rounds

Totals: 98-108-116

Tuesday:

30 minutes of 3 minutes running, 2 minutes walking.

Wednesday: I was exhausted and really struggled with this workout.

AMRAP in 12 minutes of: 3+19 rounds
20 cal Row
10 Overhead Squats (started at 35# but had to drop to 15#)
80 Single Jumps

Thursday:

4 Rounds For Time of: 15:44mins
200m Run
10 Double Kettlebell Deadlift 20#
10 Burpee Box Jump Overs 20
4 Bar Muscle Ups (modified)

Friday:

“Rest” day: we went to the San Diego Zoo.

Saturday:

3 miles – 2 min run/2 min walk. I picked up my pace quite a bit this run. My miles were about 45 seconds faster per mile this week than last week. 🙂

Sunday:

Rest day