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

Planning Ahead – Military Style

 

I am currently planning to move across the country during my husband’s pre-deployment leave. Doesn’t sound that crazy except…we don’t have orders yet. Yup, I’m planning ahead. (I know all you fellow mil-spouses are laughing.) There is a chance, a small chance but still a chance, that we will find out in a few months that we are getting orders back to Florida. If we are headed back, I’d prefer go before this deployment and have family around rather than wait until he gets back, move in the middle of school year, and have no family support for the 7+ months he’s away. I should add, if the orders say Florida, we will have about 3 weeks to completely plan the move before it’s time to go.

I feel like a crazy person. I’m currently filling out school applications. I talked to my old boss and have a job lined up. (A GREAT job, at that, which I now really want! Haha!) I contacted our realtor and have been looking at homes online. I’m getting moving quotes. I’m researching PODS and SmartBoxes and 1-800-PACK-RAT and every other movable storage unit. I’m checking out stops along the drive. I’m in full planning mode, just as I’d be if we were actually moving. But we are probably not. (Crazy person!)

I think this is the life of so many military families though. If we don’t plan for the possibility, we are behind the curve. There is a common saying in this life, “Hurry up and wait.” You have to get a million things done as fast as you can, get everything turned in, be ready for anything. Then you wait to find out what’s actually happening. The waiting is the hardest part. Now that I’m getting prepared for this only slightly possible move, I’m playing the waiting game. It will likely be 3 months before we hear and 3.5 months before we *possibly* move to Florida.

In between all the planning and quotes and research and applications, I’m also trying to enjoy our time where we are. It’s beautiful in southern California right now and we are living it up! Let’s be real, those Florida summers are nothing like they are here and I’m soaking up every last bit of this Cali sunshine (even if that last bit is for 3 more years). 😀

 

 

 

Castration

My toddler is hitting his terrible two’s and they are pretty terrible. I’ve been stressed and frustrated and tired. By the time my husband has returned home each evening, I’ve wanted to walk right out the door. Which leads to last night’s conversation:

Me: Today, while riding bikes to Vons, I was thinking about how I’d like to saw off your balls and watch them burn in a raging fire.

Husband: Is this because of toddler?

Me: Yes.

Husband: You know, there are doctors to do exactly this.

Me: Yes, but it’s be much less satisfying.

My husband laughed it off and I had a(nother) glass of sangria. On to a new day…

-KB

Dreaming of Europe

Shortly before I turned four, I moved to southern Spain. My dad was in the military. We were actually supposed to go to Italy but, three weeks before our move, orders were changed and Rota was our new destination. It. Was. Amazing.

We lived in Spain for three years. I spent my summers traveling around Europe. I lived in a tiny, safe, friendly little town. In school we learned Spanish starting in first grade. I would spend my afternoons outside, wandering around base with friends. Each holiday was spent with all the neighbors. There would be 40 people at one house. It was fun. It was a great way to spend my early childhood. It’s what I want for my boys.

I have had the strongest desire to move to Europe recently. It has always been there but lately it has really been tugging at me. We can’t move overseas right now. We are in Ca for at least another year. After here we have four “options”, one of which is to stay put. The other three are Florida, Hawaii, or Japan. We have a few month to decide on which order we want to list our preferences but, lets be real, it doesn’t matter how we order them, we will get what the Navy needs from my husband. (Hence the quotes around options above.)

After the next tour, we *may* have the option to move to Europe, most likely to Germany. This is when it is supposedly easiest for us to be stationed in Europe. My husband can take a joint tour job and the boys and I will traipse around Europe. At that point, the boys will be 5 and 10. How perfect!! But (and it’s a BIG BUTT), I hate the cold. I struggle in southern California with the chilly weather. I had a hard time in the winters in Jacksonville, Florida because a few days would see highs in the 40’s. I’m that person who needs a jacket when it’s 73*. Eek!

Maybe we will be sent to Japan next and I’ll learn to live in the cold? Maybe I’ll be that ridiculous American wearing 3 pairs of pants, 5 top layers, a hat, scarf, multiple pairs of socks, boots, and a ski mask to leave the house when it’s 35*? And, let’s be real, when I would leave for work in Jacksonville on those cold days, I would most certainly be wearing all of that, minus the ski mask. Maybe I’m getting way ahead of myself and we won’t be given the opportunity to live in Germany?

Sigh. I think I’m going to watch another House Hunters International.

-KB

Balboa Park with a Toddler and First Grader

Wednesday’s are early release days at my son’s school. When the husband is away, like he is now, it makes for a looooong time before bed for the boys. I like to take them somewhere to pass the time. This week we explored Balboa Park which we haven’t done since moving back this summer.

We started at the United Nations Building and Gift Shop. There are a bunch of houses to check out from many different countries but they are only open on weekend. Boo! The gift shop was really cool though. My first grader loved checking out all the knick-knacks from different countries. He wants to come back on a weekend and explore the houses. I think it would be best without the toddler.

From there we headed to the Organ Pavilion. It’s a great place for kids to run around. I was hoping to tire out the toddler and knew this was a great place to get out energy. We spent about 20 minutes running and playing and yelling and having a ball. Perfect place for a toddler! The first grader loved it as well.

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Walking out of the pavilion, we stumbled upon the Japanese Friendship Garden. My first grader really wanted to check it out so we paid $10 (for me, the boys were free) and made our way through the garden. It was beautiful, although I didn’t get to enjoy much as I was trying to keep a 20 month old on the path and quiet(ish) while people were meditating. The boys both loved the water features, particularly the toddler who tried to throw rocks, leaves, and sticks into the ponds. (Joy!) If you’re visiting Balboa Park with a toddler, I suggest you skip this one. It’s beautiful but it’s hard to enjoy the beauty while focused on the 20 month old sprinting through the flowers.

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After leaving the garden, we walked to the Model Railroad Museum. If you’re kids are at all into trains, TAKE THEM HERE!! It was pretty cool. They had so many model trains. We got there 30 minutes before closing so it was just $4 for the three of us. Score! There were multiple windowed areas with huge landscapes and hundreds of feet of track. At the back there is an area really meant for kids. We spent 20 minutes back there until they kicked us out. The toddler kept saying “choo choo!” and the first grader asked me three times before we got to the car if we could come back. Success!ZuKfEPxsS3+mhDNjJTNcXQ                         zIZ6wDU2RC6CaY+Lg62Okw

We ended out Balboa Park trip with a walk by the art museum which is closed on Wednesdays. The boys ran around the front steps and ate a snack before we headed back to the car. All in all, a perfect afternoon.

-KB