Friday, June 27, 2014

California Dreamin'

After the last day of school the kiddos and myself headed to San Diego for a little get-away. What was I thinking?... by myself with 2 kids navigating a city I'm not familiar with was exhausting. That's really the best word for it. I was whipped every. single. day. But we enjoyed it and got to do lots of fun things. It was Ezra's 2nd time to San Diego, my 3rd and Libby's 1st. I didn't rend a car because I was too cheap to pay for the fee to keep it parked daily at our hotel plus the daily rental fee so instead we just used the trolley and bus system to get around. I have to say that I would HIGHLY recommend it. The Trolley/bus is free for kiddos on the weekends and a fare is only $2.25 each way so that was great savings for me. Monday I just bought a Compass Card which allows limitless rides for 4 days for $15.00 which was good for all of us. I have to say that when riding the Trolley we never got asked for our card. We just hopped on and off as we pleased. Same for the Coaster which is the Amtrak train that will take you to Legoland should you desire to go. We bought our tickets online ($72.00 total for 3 tickets round trip) then took the bus to the Santa Fe trolley depo and waiting for our train then boarded really easily. The train was super cozy and I loved being able to look out at the coast zooming by. That was one of my favorite parts of our entire trip really. Downsides to public transportation is you have to wait and you are at someone else's schedule. Waiting in hot train/bus stops with no shade for long periods of time with 2 small kids was sometimes a nightmare! Keeping the kids from getting too close to the tracks or out of the street and being squashed to oblivion was also nerve wracking. If the kids are older it's no problem but Libby at barely 3 years old sapped every ounce of my patience and energy trying to keep her alive :) Next week we are heading to Florida for a short weekend beach get away and I'm really looking forward to just getting to the beach and not running around all over kingdom come.

On the bus to the San Diego Zoo.  By the end of our trip Ezra could tell me what bus/trolley we needed to get to Sea World, the Zoo, etc.  Again another pro for the public transportation system is that it's very easy to navigate, a con though is that the stops usually are still a bit of a hike away from your final destination.


The zoo bus is one example.  It drops you off at the very bottom of the hill far from the entrance to the zoo.  If you haven't been to the San Diego zoo let me just tell you that you need to work on your cardio before you go.  The zoo is basically comprised of huge hills and steep declines so your calves, butt, and knees will take a beating.  ESPECIALLY if you are going to be pushing a double stroller like I was.  And you can't stop and take a break because most of the pathways are narrow people are behind you.  I was very thankful for my crossfit background even though I haven't done it in like a year I still think it really helped me to persevere and push through the "suck".  


Why is it so hard to get 2 kids to look at the camera and smile at the same time?!?!!


Here we are at one of the best zoos in the country and Libby is to busy to go in because she found an ANT!

My kids are nuts about goats.  We had to go to the petting zoo 3 times I think so they could see the goats. 



I wish wish wish I knew what bit of  information Libby was conveying to this goat.  It looks very top secret!



All hail the Queen!  
Giving her signature "wink"



The kids really love the sky bucket thingy.  Libby was pretty hesitant at first but then she loved it.



The second day in San Diego we went to Coronado Island and to the beach.  I had never been to a beach on the West coast before so I was really looking forward to it.  Even though there are buses that you can take across the bridge to Coronado I thought it would be more fun to take he ferry.  I have to make it known that there are 2 ferry landings.  One at Broadway Pier which is where these photos below are taken from and one at the Convention Center.  The departure times for the ferry's are much different which I wish I would have paid attention to because the first one from the Pier left at 9am (leaves every hour on the hour) and the first one from the Convention Center left at 9:30 am.  (leaves every 1/2 hour).  I say this because we showed up to the Broadway Pier at 9:10 right as the ferry was departing which meant that I had to keep the kids entertained for the next hour waiting for another ferry to come.  It was still early so it's not like we could walk over to the U.S.S Midway or anything.  Instead we just walked up and down the pier and I tried to keep Libby from falling through the holes in the wood.  
Ezra at Broadway Pier:




The retired U.S.S Midway in the background:
Finally our ferry returned and it was time to head out to Coronado:

I didn't get any photos of Coronado the city but it was wonderful!  I loved it and would love to go back and stay on the island.  It was very seaside village quaint with lots of restaurants and shops.  One word of caution though.  When you get off the ferry you will be met with lots of shops and restaurants.  I would recommend eating there right then before you head to the beach mainly because the bus that takes you to the beach drops you off "near" the beach then you have to hike quite a ways to the public entrance and then a longer way through really thick sand toting all your stuff and kids.  There were no bathrooms near the beach that I saw.  Of course we are there for 20 minutes before one of the kids tells me they have to go potty.  We basically wound up walking all the way back to the bus station and into the near by shopping center just to be told that there were no public restrooms.  So we decided just to eat lunch so we could potty and by the end of that fiasco I was NOT about to trek all the way back to the beach so we just waited for the bus to take us back to the ferry landing.  
My first impression of the beach was "Dear God it's freezing!!!"  I stayed far from the water but the kids didn't seem to care too much.

My second impression was that the water was really dark ( not what we're used to in Florida) and had LOTS of kelp in it.  
Now I'm not trying to knock their beaches but if you are used to a more Caribbean type idyllic beach setting then this is not the place for you.  
All Libby wanted to do was dig in the sand.




Ezra had fun letting his toy boat flow in and out with the tide.






After June 6th there is a bus that runs across the island from the ferry landing to the beach that you can ride for free.  I highly suggest looking at a bus schedule though so you can plan coming and going though because we were waiting in the blazing sun for over 30 minutes with no coverage.  

The next day we went to Legoland in Carlsbad.  We took the Coaster to Oceanside by mistake.  There are 2 Carlsbad stops.  One is "poinsetta" and the other is "Village".  I learned this the hard way because we got off the Coaster too soon at Oceanside and we were met with lots of vagrants and no taxis.  I asked a bus driver what we should do and she told us to take another bus to the Carlsbad Village depot then take a taxi from there to Legoland.  Well yeah, that didn't work either.  Again we got off the bus and there wasn't a taxi in sight.  In fact, it was kind of a ghost station.  So I had to use my phone to call a taxi (I called 3 different companies before someone answered their phone) and then waiting about 25-30 minutes for them to get there.  The driver then told me that there area TWO stations in Carlsbad and that we needed the Poinsetta one.  So lesson learned for sure that day.  Either rent a car and drive yourself or get off at the right station the first time :)  We finally arrived at Legoland TWO HOURS after our planned ETA because of the mix ups.

Here is Libby on the Coaster.





The entrance to Legoland has some huge letters and Lego figures.  I couldn't pass up the chance to take a pic of each kiddo standing next to their monogram.
Libby wasn't into it.
There is a really cool looking hotel associated with the park that I would have loved to stay at though I warn you it's VERY pricey!  
Just one of the many HUGE sculptures on the property.  They have a water park, amusement park, aquarium, and a theatre.  

Mr. Einstein
Ezra and my favorite part of the park was the Mini - USA.  Lots of different cities/monuments all done in Legos.
There's also a walk of history with several busts of  presidents and famous Hollywood types.  Ezra had to pose with his favorite president Mr. Lincoln :)

This Louisiana girl was thrilled when I saw that they had an entire cityscape dedicated to New Orleans!






Check out Jackson Square:
Growing up on Full House I couldn't pass up and photo of the colorful victorians from San Francisco.
There was a whole section just for Star Wars alone with all the the locations like Nabu, etc.

Libby had to keep touching Darth Vader to make sure he wasn't going to move.

The next day we took it easy and just went to the Seaport Village and looked at the boats in the Marina and then took a Seal Tour.  Libby fell asleep the second we hit the water and Ezra totally wasn't into it.  He just thought it was taking too long but I loved it and learned alot about San Diego history and got to see some adorable Sea Lions :)


Our last day was spent at Sea World which was probably everyone's favorite day because everyone was in a good mood and we got to pet sharks, starfish, sting rays, etc.  We stayed there the WHOLE day and saw every show they offered which was an amazing feat for Ezra.  He usually balks at clapping and loud noises not to mention large groups of people but he LOVED it and kept skuttleing me from one show to the other.  I didn't bring my camera on purpose that day.  I just couldn't bear to lug around so much stuff anymore so we just traveled light and it made it much more enjoyable though I do wish I had gotten a few picks of them petting the sharks, etc.