a week in southern cali

Posted on January 7th, 2014 by mountain girl  |  11 Comments »

We spent last week in San Diego!  It was the first time Zia and Cash and I saw the Pacific, and our first time in California.  We got a little hotel on the beach…

and went dashing giddily through sand and sea.

Besides being beach bums, we went on a whale watching ship, went to the Zoo, the Safari Park, Sea World, Birch Aquarium, Belmont Park, Balboa Park, Seaport Village, and Old Town.  We also went to a couple of museums and took a little cruise across the bay.  We bought Go San Diego Cards and they were so worth it.  We spent so much less than we would have otherwise.

Being at the beach was better than anything else we did, I think.  And of course, it was free.  The best things in life always are.

The surf was full of kelp, which is a great source of iodine and other trace minerals.  The kids were going out and pulling it in by the armloads.  But did I bring any home?  Of course not–even though I pay good money for a tiny container of it here in Colorado.

Here is Caleb with enough to make himself a (floor length) kelp skirt.

And here is Cash, helping himself to a mouthful. It was super salty–and sandy.

The Safari Park was a really cool place.  The animals had big expanses to roam in–definitely no cages there.

Rarrr!  Cash kept patting his chest, which means, “I’m scared.”  Usually he’s not really scared–he just knows he’s supposed to be, so he pats his chest.

I let this girl eat a whole bag of nothing but sugar and Red #40.  She was thrilled.

We went to the zoo at night.  Zia wanted her picture taken with all the “plastic animals”.  She was more excited about them than the real ones.

This sky tram at Sea World was a little freaky for some reason–maybe because it was over the water?  Heights don’t usually bother me, but I was glad when this ride was over.  Guess I’m just getting old.

Sea World was great because Zia (and I think Caleb) wanted to be there so much.  Besides that, I am not really a fun-park loving kind of girl.  Here I am amidst the craziness waiting for Zia to finish the humongous ropes playground and bouncy house.

Shamu!  Or one just like him.

Belmont Park is a great big midway.  The kids loved this place.  They did bumper cars and crazy twirly rides and roller coasters and had giant double-scoop ice cream cones.

Even the big kid.  He is obviously not sharing with the smallest kid.

I just rode this tame little boat with Zia and climbed the rock wall (in cowboy boots, of course).

I loved Birch Aquarium.  All the amazing little sea creatures make me so excited. My favorites are the seahorses

but I like the sea dragons even better.

These are leafy sea dragons.  Aren’t they incredible?

And these are weedy sea dragons.  Not quite as fairy-like, but still SO cool.

Balboa Park was a nice green park to walk around, with lots of museums and trams running through it.  Cash became very independent on this trip, and refused to be carried or strolled anywhere.  We call him Elvis in that collar.

Here we are at Seaport Village.  A nice lady came along and offered to take our picture–a bit murky, but the only picture we got of all of us together during the whole trip.

Seaport village was so pretty.  It was like a fishing town from a storybook. (If I Were Going, right, Mimi?)

It was a little windy and smelled like fish and sea.

And Boy, as always, was curious about everything.

Zia insisted on this dramatic I’m-about-to-be-eaten-by-a-shark pose.  The shark was painted on the outside of an ice cream shop on the beach.

This is the little beach right behind our hotel, and Cash flinging sand everywhere.

This balloon man was out by the harbor.  We found out he lives in Colorado–less than ten minutes down the road from us!

Whale-watching was fun.  On our 3-hour excursion out through San Diego Bay and into the Pacific, we saw several gray whales migrating south and two schools of dolphins, as well as lots of sea lions.

The gray whales are really amazing creatures–they have the longest migration of any mammal.  They travel about 12,000 miles each year, going from their summer feeding grounds in the Arctic all the way to the warm waters of Mexico to give birth to their calves and spend the coldest months of the winter.  The mothers have to teach their calves to swim before making the journey north again around late February.

That’s part of Mexico in the distance, seen from our whale-watching boat.  It is one of the four Coronado Islands of Tijuana, Baja California.  These islands are a Mexican wildlife refuge, and humans are not allowed on the land.  There is a small exception on the South Island, where just a few Mexican workers live.

We had so much fun in San Diego, but Monday morning came fast.  We left Southern Cali swathed in sun and 75 degrees…

and came home to 14 degrees and snow.  And, unfortunately, frozen water pipes which quickly led to a small swimming pool in our kitchen.  The water is turned off until the pipes can be repaired, we thawed snow to flush our toilets, haven’t showered or washed our laundry yet, and are hoping the damage isn’t too bad.

Otherwise, we’re pretty glad to be home.  It’s not sunny and 75, and it’s not the beach, but it’s home.  And oh how we love our sweet home.

And I’m sure I just broke all my records with the length of this post.  34 pictures–that’s a book!  I think I’ll publish it and sell it on Amazon: Where to go in San Diego: For Families with Kids Big and Small.

11 Responses to “a week in southern cali”

  1. Lyssa says on :

    Wow! What a great vacation, and a great time to have a much-needed break from the cold weather! Here in St. Louis, we experienced a foot of snow, -30 degree wind chills, and several days of staying indoors because the roads were too icy to drive (nobody bothered to plow anything). It’s finally starting to warm up, 33 degrees is a heat wave, but we’re expecting more snow tonight and tomorrow! I hope your pipes are cleared up and that you have running water again soon. Thanks for sharing your pictures!

  2. mountain girl says on :

    Thanks, Lyssa! Hope you guys stay warm!

  3. Mom & Dad says on :

    Hi honeee thanks for the great Cali pix – those lil ones are growing so fast & are just beautiful – sorry about the frozen mess – that is not good 🙁 we love u / mom

  4. mountain girl says on :

    Hi Mom,
    Glad you liked the pics–I literally had hundreds more, so it was hard to pick out just 34! Hopefully the copper pipe craziness will be resolved soon. 🙂

  5. GRANNY says on :


  6. mountain girl says on :

    Hope you had a nice trip too, Granny!

  7. Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom says on :

    Wow! Looks like an amazing vacation! Nice to get some warmth to break up the “long” winter.

    Beautiful photos! Love the kelp!

    Wishing you a blessed day.

  8. Colleen says on :

    I love all of the pictures from your trip! California is a great place to go during the winter for a break! I have been needing a break from the cold!!!! Normally I fly back to California, where my family lives, with all the kids in February! Seeing this is making me want to search for plane tickets! lol

    Hope you can get your pipe fixed SOON!!!

  9. Poco Mountain Girl » Blog Archive » slowing down says on :

    […] coming home from our trip, we’ve been down with the flu.  When I get sick, I try anything to get better, and no remedy […]

  10. Danielle says on :

    Lovely photo’s…our home town, my husband were born there, grew up there, met there, although we moved away going on 4 years now we go back several times a year to see family- you hit up many of our favorite places- the Beach, Zoo and Seaworld we never miss out on, the smell of the ocean is one I would love to bottle and the sound…wonderful to see what a great time your family had! Blessings from our family to yours, http://fourfarming.blogspot.com/

  11. Poco Mountain Girl » Blog Archive » 2014: how we lived it says on :

    […] We started the new year with a trip to San Diego (woo-hoo!), came home to frozen pipes and then came down with the flu (boo). Thankfully, the pipes […]