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

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

Our First RV Outing!!

Last weekend we were supposed to take Roxie out for her first overnight. Long story short, due to the Navy, the weekend didn’t go as planned (shocking, I know). We did still manage to get her out to a campsite where we had awesome family time.

On Saturday afternoon we headed to Sweetwater Summit Regional Park in Bonita, CA. We got to our campsite around 1630. After hooking up to power, the boys and dog headed to the park while I got started cooking dinner. I brought my Instant Pot and made turkey chili. I’ll post a recipe later because it turned out really well! They came back before dinner was ready and built a campfire and played on the bed. We enjoyed our delicious dinner sitting outside by the fire. Everyone really enjoyed themselves, except the dog who was a little freaked out about the whole situation. (She did enjoy the chili though.) After cleaning up, we roasted marshmallows and made s’mores. This was probably the best part of our evening. The air was cool but the fire was warm. We sat around (as much as a 20 month old will allow) and talked and ate and laughed. Perfect first evening in Roxie.

Any tips or ideas for taking your RV out in SoCal with a toddler?

Roxie the RV

So…we went to Vegas and came home with an RV! (No, we did not win her, we bought her.) She’s a little thing, Class B. We are very excited. We’ll be taking her out tomorrow to spend the day at the beach. Look for her soon on Outdoorsy! We’ll be renting her when we don’t plan to travel.

Which, speaking of traveling, we are starting to plan our Yosemite vacation! Deployment is coming this summer so we will be taking the boys, dog, and Roxie on a two week vacation before the husband leaves. Any Yosemite travel tips? I’d love to hear them!

-KB

 

40 Before 40

I have always liked lists. And travel. And reading. And cooking. And the list goes on. :o) So I thought I should put together a list of things I’d like to do before I’m 40 which include many of the things I mentioned previously. I have about 8.5 years to complete this list. I may or may not add to it. We shall see as time goes on. They are in no particular order and I will post each time I complete one.

  1. Cook all the recipes from one cookbook.
  2. Visit 5 (more) foreign countries.
  3. Go on a trip in an RV.
  4. Take a yoga class.
  5. Break my half marathon time.
  6. Raise money for a homeless shelter.
  7. Go on a girls vacation.
  8. Go to a concert.
  9. Read 100 books.
  10. Set up a backyard movie and have lots of kids over to watch.
  11. See all 50 states.
  12. Do a strict pull-up.
  13. Attend Oktoberfest in Germany.
  14. Try stand up paddle boarding.
  15. Complete a triathlon.
  16. Celebrate New Year’s Eve in a foreign country.
  17. Learn to play a new sport.
  18. Spend a month doing an act of kindness every day.
  19. Go white water rafting.
  20. Ski in a foreign country.
  21. Learn conversational Spanish.
  22. Go wine tasting in Napa.
  23. Write a children’s book.
  24. Buy a meal for a stranger.
  25. Do a handstand push-up.
  26. Dead lift 300lbs.
  27. Sell something I created.
  28. Go apple picking.
  29. Visit Mt. Rushmore.
  30. Go on a family vacation with all my family (parents, brother and family, sister, and of course my own husband and kids).
  31. Go to an NBA game.
  32. Send a care package to a service member I don’t know.
  33. Blog every day for a month.
  34. Take a cooking class.
  35. Relax in a natural hot spring.
  36. Plan and execute a full day surprise date for the husband.
  37. Spend an entire day at the spa.
  38. Have a minimum of 6 months of expenses in savings.
  39. Eat a meal cooked by a celebrity chef.
  40. Host a cookie exchange.

What are some of your “bucket list” items? Anything you think I should add?

-KB

 

These are a few of my favorite things…

Being a military spouse has its ups and downs. I am more frequently asked about the harder or more frustrating parts of our lifestyle. But I prefer to talk about the aspects I love…

  1.  Wine: I can go into the Exchange and buy ten bottles of wine and no one will bat     an eye. I get more of a knowing glance than anything else. One day I even had a woman say, “Oh, your husband’s deployed? You many need more than that!” Even when he’s home, this lifestyle can ware on my nerves and a nice glass of rosé is all I need to unwind after the boys are asleep.
  2. Friends: I think this is one of the best things about being a military spouse. The friendships which form are stronger than any other. No one knows what this life is truly like more than those living through it with you. I’ve been fortunate to have a great group of women surround me with each new squadron and command my husband has joined. Also, I live in a big military town. Everywhere I go I meet other spouses and have formed some strong bonds with them as well. We need one another. And, friends always bring wine over. (Never leave your house wine-less. You never know when someone will need a bottle!)
  3. Traveling: I love to travel and, since we meet lots of people doing this life, we know people all over the world! There is always someone who is willing to open their home or share their knowledge about a place we are headed. Also, since we move every few years, we are forced to travel. I’ve driven across the country 4 times and been up and down both coasts. With bases all across the country there are frequently places to stay for a reasonable price. And, Space A flights, while unreliable, are a cheap way to fly if you have the time. I’m 37 states in, just 13 more to go. We are hoping for an overseas tour soon so we can explore a new continent!
  4. Moving: This is one of those things that many people despise but I love. I get an itch every few years to be somewhere new. Searching for a new house. Looking at fun things to do with the kids around town. Finding new restaurants. New friends. There are so many things to love about moving! I get so excited to find and explore a new place that I get to call home. With every move, we try to put a new destination at the top of our wish list.
  5. Homecoming: Deployments sucks. Homecoming doesn’t make up for your spouse being gone 6-15 months but it is so nice. And fun. It is such a happy moment getting to so see your spouse after so many months. The joy is overwhelming. It’s also a relief. Those months are stressful. It can feel like a burden lifted off your shoulders just from the stress relief of seeing your spouses face and feeling their embrace. Homecomings…

 

Don’t get me wrong, there are many other parts of this life I love, these are just a sampling. I’m sure I’ll get around to posting about other favorites soon.

-KB