Finally getting this post up on the blog. We went on vacation to southern California a few weeks ago and it’s taken forever for me to write a recap of it. I know it’s not fitness or nutrition related but we had a great time and learned few tips and tricks of taking a trip with a toddler that (if you have littles) you might find helpful. Or it’s just an excuse to look at fun pics of our trip 🙂
We mainly went out there to visit my parents, but we squeezed in several activities for the little munchkin (and for us). If you’re traveling to southern California anytime soon, you’ll definitely want to stop at a few of these places. Because little miss still takes an afternoon nap, we tried to schedule most of our activities in the morning and then leave the afternoon open for naptime and hot tub time for the parents 😉 This schedule worked out perfectly for us because we got enough ‘fun’ time in without filling the schedule too much and wearing ourselves out.
So here’s what we did…
Travel day…these days always make me a little nervous. We’ve had several good plane experiences but one bad one that has made me a little paranoid when we fly. We bring all.the.things. First off, lots of snacks, and salty snacks in particular to make her thirsty so she will drink on the ascent and descent. We brought goldfish, saltine crackers, fruit snacks (I heard these were also good for popping their ears but she didn’t like them), craisins, and nilla wafers…basically all the treats she never gets at home. We also put apple juice in her water bottle because that also guarantees that she’ll drink it (we never give her juice at home). We were lucky on this flight though because there was an empty seat next to us, so while she was on my lap during take-off and landing, during the whole flight she had her own seat!
And it was AWESOME! She loved sitting in her own seat and really entertained herself with her stickers and books. We brought a lot of stickers with us because she loves them, but we also brought a couple of her favorite toys and books to keep her entertained. We landed around dinner time and went out to dinner which was a mistake.
Dinner was good but after the long travel day and no nap, little miss was done. She did not want to sit and eat dinner (whoops, too many snacks). Andrew and I had to switch off who ate and who walked her around. It was like we had a newborn or something. Then, on the way to my parents’ house after dinner she completely lost it. Oh the fit. It was a big one. Full on screaming in the carseat for 40 min until she finally screamed herself to sleep. That night was a rough one too because she woke up every couple of hours (I think maybe because she was in a new place). Travel days are never any fun.
I was ready for a fun day after our travel day/night. Today we went to the San Diego Zoo. Arguably, one of the best zoos in the country. We thought it would be worth it to buy at two day pass for each of us and take 2 days to see the zoo. This was totally worth it! This zoo is so huge and has so many animals to see in it, it would’ve been super tough and a little stressful to try and squeeze it all into one loooong day. So instead, we decided to take our time and do a half day twice.
Of all the animals in the zoo, Madeleine’s favorites were the ducks and flamingos haha. She loved all the squawking and quacking.
We did let her walk around the zoo a little holding our hands. This helped her not get too ‘cabin fever-ish’ in her stroller.
We also treated ourselves to some yummy ice cream and a cookie! #vacation
Also…note to parents…this zoo has beer and wine available at all the restaurants and kiosks, so they know how to help the parents make it through a zoo day 😉
This day was probably my favorite vacation day. We wanted to take Madeleine to a beach since she’s only been to a beach once for about 5 min (on our last California trip that was jam packed with too much stuff). We decided to look up children’s beaches in the area and found a little hidden gem!
La Jolla has a lovely little cove that has a man-made wall around the sides of the beach to prevent wind. This meant that there was absolutely no wind and the waves were much tamer. Perfect for a little one! We spent a few hours on this beach (which was longer than I thought M would last) and she had a blast!
She loved walking allll around the little beach and after a few introductions, she loved running straight into the water. It wasn’t too hot, but just warm enough. The water was cold but easy to get used to after a few times in. It was just so perfect.
I would’ve gone back to the beach every day if we could’ve. We all had such a great time!
And then, of course, we made the obligatory stop at In-N-Out. #truthtime…I don’t really like In-N-Out…I hope we can still be friends. I know that goes against everyone’s opinion, but I’ve just never been a fan. We stopped though, and decided to re-try it and see if we had missed something. I can report that after trying the burger and fries once more…we still don’t like it. Sorry, friends! But the hat was adorable.
This was the only day that I thought we maybe could’ve spent doing something else. San Diego has a relatively new Children’s Museum downtown. We thought this would be a fun experience for Madeleine. Unfortunately, it cost $42 and we spent the entire time moving Madeleine from exhibit to exhibit.
Most of the areas would’ve been fun if she was 4 or 5. The exhibit she wanted to stay in was a big toddler area that had soft, plushy blankets and things to climb on. She spent about 30 min in here and we felt a little bummed that we spent 42 bucks for her to play on blankets.
We only stayed a couple hours and we could tell M was bored and we were too.
One bright note is that we went around the corner and went to the famous Richard Walker’s Pancake House. Pancakes SO big, I could barely finish two of them! So delicious and very different from what I thought it would be. I thought it would be this big, busy place but it was very quaint and small.
After naptime, we went to Stone Brewery in Escondido. We LOVE this place. We come here every time we’re in California. The atmosphere so cool. They have a water feature inside and a beautiful beer garden outside. Also, their food is phenomenal. If you’re ever in southern California, I HIGHLY recommend you check out Stone.
Saturday was a more relaxing day. We hung out at my parents’ house. They live on an avocado grove with tons of citrus trees around so we walked all over the grove. This was so fun, as we haven’t really seen the entire grove.
You guys, it was so cool. The bottom of the grove felt like a totally different ecosystem than the top of the grove. It was cooler, had different foliage, and they even have a creek towards the bottom of their property.
We also pulled Madeleine around in the wagon that I used to have when I was little! She helped pick limes, oranges, and even a pomegranate! So fun, you guys.
During her nap, we did what every parent should do while on vacation during naptime…get in the hot tub! We relaxed her entire naptime which felt so weird because usually her naptime is my most productive time of the day, but, hey, it was vacation!
This night was Andrew’s and my night away. We left the babe with my parents and headed on down to downtown San Diego to eat some sushi and have some delicious dessert. We walked around downtown a little bit, which was fun but it was a little chillier than we anticipated so the night ended earlier than expected. Note to self (and you guys), February in San Diego at night can get quite chilly, so bring a jacket!
The next morning, we went to the Maritime Cafe because I wanted ‘coffee on a boat’. It’s a tiny, little kiosk with some tasty coffee drinks and it’s on a boat. So we drank our coffee on a boat and thoroughly enjoyed looking out onto the bay.
You guys, I love the ocean. I could just stay on the pier all day long. I love the smell, the sounds, and it brings back so many wonderful memories for me. I grew up as a Navy brat, and because of that, we always lived on a coast, so I grew up with the ocean. I love it love it love it! After we got our coffee on the boat, we walked along the boardwalk for a while just soaking up the sun and sea.
When we finished our coffees, we drove down to SeaPort Village and went to The Edgewater Grill. This is one of our favorite spots because you can sit outside and look onto the ocean. Can you tell we just always want to be by the ocean?! After our late brunch, we headed back up north to be with the babe.
Back home, we hung out some more by the pool and chatted with my parents until the babe woke up from her nap. Then we went to this little Mexican restaurant for dinner and I ate almost nothing because I was still so stuffed from our brunch!
Monday, we decided to go back to the zoo for our second ticket day. We saw more of the bigger animals today like the elephants, giraffes, and rhinos, oh my!
These animals were fun for Madeleine because most of them were moving around so there was actually something to see. It was a little cooler this day, so we were bundled up in our jackets and walking around helped keep us warm.
Travel day…and we’ve now learned to always fly on Tuesdays, in the middle of February because we got another half empty plane which meant another seat for Madeleine all to herself. It was a successful flight, I think especially because it was mid-morning so no naps were missed. We got home around 3 or 4 so she still had enough time to nap before dinner and we had time to unpack and start laundry right away.
Overall, we had a great trip and enjoyed our time with my parents and relaxing. I can’t wait for our next family vacation!
Until next time,