Sunday, May 27, 2018

Some of Our Favorite Kid Places In California

I've been meaning to post about these places for a while (thus the old pictures of my kids that make me nostalgic and miss Dominic's curly locks!), and I figured right now is a great time since it's Memorial Day tomorrow, which means it's Blue Star season! What's Blue Star season? It's a collective list of TONS of museums nationwide that are free for military from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Last summer we benefitted greatly from this program, and I plan on utilizing it again this summer and hopefully check out some new places!

If you're not military, you should still check out these great places for kids (and adults). Happy beginning of summer!

The New Children's Museum in Sausalito
This place takes the cake for the best children's museum I have been to. Fantastic stuff for all ages, and would you check out that view?? The "museum" is a collection of exhibits in old Army barracks. It's so cool. I drove all the way up here from Monterey really wondering if it would be worth it and it was (helped that I saved like $50 thank you blue star!)

 ^^Still am obsessed with the view^^

The San Diego Botanic Gardens in Encinitas
 My other favorite place! My kids ask to go here all the time. Year round it's free for residents and military the first Tuesday of the month, and at Christmas they have such a fun Christmas festival complete with a sledding hill of man made snow. The gardens are gorgeous, and the children's garden is fantastic. We all love this place. Just writing about it is making me want to go this week and I think I will ha!
^^look at his hair. i miss it :( ^^

The New Children's Museum in San Diego
This place is fun--- a little difficult to manage a lot of kids since it's spread out on multiple floors, but it's right in the heart of San Diego so it's fun to come here and then walk around Seaport Village.

San Diego Children's Discovery Museum in Escondido
 This is a smaller children's museum--a morning here is enough and it's more ideal for younger kids which is why we like it. They have a cool outdoor area with a chicken coop that is fun.
On my bucket list this summer is all of the San Diego ones of course, but I also have a few on my list to go to in Utah like the Treehouse Museum and maybe the Natural History museum. The St. George Children's Museum is also a participant--love that spot too.

I also hope to check out more of the museums in San Diego that are on the list, so stay tuned!

By the way, here is the complete list of Blue Star participants organized by state.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mothers Day: Some media I'm loving lately about motherhood

A few months ago, my friend Mickelle took these pictures and I think Mothers Day is a fitting day to share them! She captured our lives at this moment pretty perfectly. Lots of energy, lots of snuggles, and lots of love. I didn't have her capture the lots of crying part because there's plenty of that but who remembers that years down the road?
Recently, I've seen a few shows that I have loved for their beauty and realness is capturing motherhood. It's nice to see more things coming out that show the difficulties in motherhood, but make sure to still show the beautiful moments with the more important message that it's all worth it.

Being Serena: A new documentary on HBO that is killing me that it only is a 30 minute episode a week. It's about Serena Williams discovering she was pregnant, still winning the Australian Open at 9 weeks pregnant, having difficulties with giving birth, and getting her body back to competition level. It's so good!! And a testament to how the female body is amazing. I love watching it.

Tully: Loved seeing this movie. I read lots of people complaining on the internet about the surprise plot twist ending, but I think it opens it up to lots of discussion about postpartum issues, and also thinking about what we would say to our younger selves if we were giving the chance. I thought it was an amazing film showing the array of emotions with being a wife and mother.

The Letdown: A show on netflix about first time moms dealing with the adjustment and struggles of life with a baby. What's funny is that I remember so many of those things, but now after the battle of toddlerhood, I want to tell the character on the show "just wait until they're two!" But I love the dry humor in it (it's based in Australia so it's classic dry British humor)

So there you go! Any other recommendations, please share :)
Happy Sunday, and Happy Mothers Day!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Motherhood Life Lately: So Happy We Live in SoCal

After living in Monterey, we knew we would end up in one of two places: either Southern California, or Northern Virginia. And when we would tell people, usually those who have never actually lived in the DC area would say "oh that would be so cool to live out there!" And I would be like "have you ever lived there?" ha. The only person that truly understood was Victor's boss in Okinawa who we visited in Germany. He said, "I hate Southern California, but for your stage of life with young kids, that's where you guys would want to be."

EXACTLY. Took the words right out of my mouth. I've lived in Northern Virginia, and the thought of living that traffic filled, cold winter, freaking humid summer with two little boys wasn't my ideal. I'm a big believer in the philosophy "bloom where you are planted" and I would have gone and tried to make the best of it, but I know now in my heart this is where we were supposed to be. 

To me, San Diego brings out the best in my mothering. When we are feeling cooped up, we can hop in the car down to the beach and that usually always cures our grumpiness. Year round I can do that, or take them to parks, botanic gardens (our favorite!) or if I'm feeling up for it, a drive down to Balboa Park or the Children's Museum downtown. And if I'm not feeling up for it? Then just go out in the backyard kids, and play out there all afternoon. We have a large fenced-in yard with a huge hill the boys love to climb and explore, and it is BLISS. 

Just yesterday I was on the phone with a friend who was asking me how we are liking it down here, and she asked whether the boys know how good they have it. And you know what? I think they do! Because when we were in Utah for Christmas and J saw that Cherry Hill was closed he asked why and even now he will ask, "why is it cold in Utah?" We came home from Utah in January and the next day my kids were outside playing barefoot in the backyard in their pajamas and after having to get so bundled to go outside, I think even they knew how nice it was to be back ha!

I love that we can have friends call last minute and say "we are coming into town tomorrow, want to go to Disneyland?" And we can totally swing it because it's one hour away. 

When I was talking to Victor about something I had done with the boys or was planning to do (can't remember) I said "this is exactly the reason I wanted to move down here. The boys are so happy here." And I am pretty happy too. I'm really coming to love this place. And I love that my kids are at an age where they can truly enjoy it too. 

Even visiting Victor when he has overnight duty is something to look forward to because his office overlooks the beach and we like to walk over there--it's a beautiful secluded beach with not a soul on it which is rare for Southern California. See photos below:
^^Gotta keep it real so this whole post isn't just saying how perfect everything is!^^

And some more pictures of my boys living their best lives scooting around the harbor and getting ice cream after:
Life isn't perfect and I still have my moments of losing my patience on the daily, but my boys are in a sweet spot right now where they are each other's friends, and me and Victor are their world. They love getting out and exploring, so it makes it easy to want to get out and explore new places with them. I still relish the freedom that we have in this stage of life. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

An Adventure to Joshua Tree

 Last week Victor was still gone on a work trip, and so was my friend Katelyn's husband, so we took our boys and went on our own little adventure out to the desert! We met up in Palm Desert for an afternoon of swimming and a night at a hotel which my kids LOVE, and the next day we drove up to Joshua Tree National Park and explored there.

When all is said and done, it was a success and we had a great time. But getting four little boys together was NUTS at times. They love to wrestle and fight which usually always goes too far and ends with tears, and they love to be noisy and run off in all directions! So it was chaotic at times, but I was still grateful to spend time with Katelyn and admire the beauty of the desert with her!

I really thought it was a beautiful national park. But if you're expecting beauty like Yosemite or Zion with grand vistas, you will be disappointed. You are out in the desert. So it's a different kind of beauty. The beauty of all the Joshua trees with their crazy outstretched arms, and the beauty of these awesome rock formations. It was an ideal place for kids to run around, play in dirt, and climb the rocks.
^^I spy some little explorers^^
^^the Joshua trees are so cool!^^
^^Elephant rock--so cute!^^
^^Skull Rock--looks like Voldemort haha^^
The one actual "hike" we did was up to a place called Arch Rock. The boys did really well on it--I think having a cool little destination goal helps them. When we took them places to just hang out is when they were craziest! They were proud of themselves that they made it to the arch. 
^^All of us finally in a picture together!^^
We also stopped at this cool little spot in the town of Joshua Tree after lunch.

I hope to go back again and explore some more. Fun story--my aunt and my mom were telling me that my grandma used to take them out there for their Easter Egg hunts for Easter. How cool is that?? I could totally see a "cool mom" doing that these days and sharing the idea on instagram haha. My grandma would have been one cool instagram mom, and I may just steal her idea for next year ;) Stay tuned!