One rainy Sunday in San Diego, California, we were trying to decide what we should do to keep the kids and ourselves entertained and indoors. After looking around at the wonderful museums in Balboa Park, we decided to check out the Fleet Science Center. My husband and I are both engineers, so a science museum was a no-brainer for us. AND, we love to gently push our kids towards STEM-related fun.
The Science Center was awesome, but in all honesty, was made for kids in elementary and middle school and less so for toddlers and pre-schoolers. Chris and I did have fun trying out the hands-on exhibits and trying to explain everything to two wandering kiddos.
We decided to buy a pass to The Art of The Brick while we were there. This was a special traveling exhibit, showing off the works of Nathan Sawaya. His story is pretty amazing and it's definitely worth a read over here.
Below are a few pictures of some of his exhibits. Keep in mind all that intricacy you see is built, brick by brick, with Legos! My 9-year-old self would have freaked out.
Last week we spent some time in sunny San Diego, California. As you will see we didn't really see much of the sun while we were there (good for southern California, not so good for our vacation). We did manage to get to do a lot of fun things, some indoors, while we were there. We also packed all of our rain gear, so we were ready for whatever kind of precipitation we had to deal with. In fact, I think we were more prepared than 90% of the people we saw. Most everyone else was still walking around in flip flops and sweatshirts in the pouring rain. Rain is an oddity for San Diego.
But I digress, here are a few photos and tidbits from our trip.
This was our first day in San Diego and while it was nice to get out and explore, it was also Inauguration Day. Which, in all honesty, I would have liked to watch some of that momentous day on live television. However, one of the blessings of the modern age is that we were able to go back to the hotel and find it all online. I got to stare at baby seahorses while the rest of the country either celebrated or cried. Baby seahorses are much more calming. :)
The next day we met my brother at the San Diego Zoo and dodged some more rain clouds.
Haha, I love this picture.
The next few days we spent exploring Balboa Park, checked out the Fleet Science Center (more on that tomorrow), and took a detour to Point Loma. There are loads of things to do in and around San Diego, so it wasn't hard to find good activities for us and the kids.
Chris had a lot of fun jumping around on the rocks.
On our last day in California, we had planned on going to Legoland, which was right near our hotel and a great activity for a (finally) sunny day. As it turns out, and only as we discovered the morning of, Legoland is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the winter. Bummer.
After a quick change of plans, we decided to drive north and go to Disneyland instead! Not a bad switch, right?
"Mom, what is that giant duck doing hugging my sister?"
My favorite ride was closed! It's A Small World was closed for repair...
p.s. It may look like Elinor hates us and/or Disneyland, but she really did have a good time. I like to think that she 'suffers no fools'.
I'm just finishing up our video, which is my favorite part of coming home from a trip. I should have it ready later this week!
So later this week we are headed out of town for a little late birthday, mid-winter, vacation. Usually at this point in the travel prep, I'm searching the internet trying to find great ways to entertain my young children on the plane. I'm heading to the store to buy toys and candy and other patented parenting bribery. Just last spring we went on a long flight to NYC from Montana. I was mildly terrified of flying for +6 hours with two kids under the age of 4. Thankfully, even despite the fact that our flight was majorly delayed, we were able to have a pretty stress free travel day.
So how did we do that? Even when we sat on the tarmac for hours with a plane full of cranky adults and seats in coach? Let me tell you that first of all, there wasn't any magic gadgets or treats involved. The key was my husband and I both spent time playing and focusing on our kids. I do think my children are relatively easy going, so that is definitely a BIG help. But most kids can be easily entertained with playing with the SkyMall magazine for at least an hour or more if you go through it with them and play with them. As long we kept calm and interested in what they wanted to do, everyone was happy. If the parents are cool and calm and not stressed, the kids will be follow that. Having toys and books with you is always a good idea, but don't be surprised if you don't need half of them if you do it right.
Take my advice for what it's worth (unsolicited and free) but you don't need to spend time individually wrapping toys for each hour of your flight. You don't need to pay money for iPad games that they'll only play once. Just be prepared to spend 95% of your time (if they are awake) playing with your kids. They love you, they want to play with you, and they might really enjoy the flight more that way.
Also, I usually get air sickness, to some degree or another. I noticed once I was fully engaged on what my kids were doing, I didn't have enough time to stress or worry about the plane falling out of the sky. I was too busy figuring out to make paper airplanes out of SkyMall pages. Win-win.
But before we get to all of that, I thought I'd share a few photos from our wintery holiday vacation in Idaho with my family. It was freezing cold (actually below freezing), but very warm and cozy inside my parent's house with most of my siblings and their kids all staying under the same roof.
It's a rather crazy tradition, really. At some point, our whole family (my parents, their six children, their significant others, and their children) can't all fit in one house anymore for the holidays. Finally this year, some of us had to stay at a hotel just to make sure everyone had a bed and a little bit of their own space. Also, somehow my parents have internet that is worse than dial-up speed, so keeping everyone entertained for days at a time is no small feat. There were definitely many crafts going on, programming questions being solved (that's my husband in his element), baking, sledding, skiing, gingerbread house making, shopping, and a fair amount of healthy discussions about politics.
My girls had an absolute blast hanging out with their cousins. They also suited up once a day to go outside into the sub-zero temperatures and snow storms to visit the animals with my Mom. Chloe had lots of fun snuggling up to Lucky (the horse). Who, I believe, was just happy to have a warm body petting him.
We got lots of resting in and didn't think about work or working on a house for at least 7 days. That was worth all the bathroom sharing and the long drive through Wyoming.