From the moment we knew we would relocate here, Greg and I set a goal to explore Southern California as much as possible. We want adventures (old and new). We want the local's insight. And we want to take advantage of this area with our growing children.
So far we have a 50% success rate. The other 50% of those weekends we've crashed at volleyball games or cross country meets or school events.
I think it's the constant sun and warm weather. It makes you slow down after a while.
#1 - Julian
Julian is a tiny town up in the mountains west of San Diego. And their apple pie is famous.
Ask any San Diegan. Or Southern Californian. We were actually shocked at the universal agreement. But you MUST go to the Julian Pie Company - not one of the several dozen copycats along the downtown walkway. We didn't mind either way. The entire town smells like freshly baked pie mixed with the cool mountain air. It's lovely!
So they have amazing pie. They also have apple picking, souvenir shops, scenic hikes/trails, and the surprising relic gold mines from the 1850s-1930s. I was not expecting them to be as cool as they turned out to be. We loved our tour!
#2 - San Diego Safari Park
Greg's work held their annual family party at San Diego's Safari Park in the middle of September. In spite of visiting San Diego over a dozen times in the past 10 years, we've never been here. It was delightful! I loved it 10x more than the zoo.
We got there early to avoid crowds and the heat. The whole valley is beautiful!
In August the Tijuana border patrol caught someone smuggling in a baby tiger (pictured above). It made national headlines and the little guy was placed in temporary residence at the Safari. He's completely adorable - he captivated all of us! Three weeks ago a zoo in the mid-west sent the SD Safari another tiger cub who was rejected by his mother. So now the two tigers have each other as playmates.
#3 - Wednesday Afternoons
Every Wednesday afternoon Pretty Girl and Bubbs have a half day. After the first week, I realized this was a fantastic window to go exploring. So we've been checking out different beaches, site-seeing and taking in the many many museums. The SD downtown Children's Museum has been our favorite one so far.
It's already become such a tradition, that Bubbs usually asks Tuesday night as I tuck him in - "Where are we going to go play together tomorrow?"
#4 - San Diego Zoo
Part of Greg's work party included zoo tickets for later in the month. We caught the last Saturday in September. Unfortunately, James was out of town. We used the spare ticket to invite one of Andrew's friends - Eschaan. He's a first generation American citizen. His parents are heart surgeons from New Delhi, India.
We've been to this zoo before, but I have to say this time around was even better.
#5 - Mission Bay
I've wanted to do this bike ride for a long, long time. Every time we'd drive to Sea World over the years, I would drool as we passed a portion of the trail. But we've never had our bikes when visiting San Diego. Now we do. Watch out! Much more is coming...
Mission Bay was so beautiful! It was around 70 degrees the entire ride and very little foot traffic. The only negative - and I hate saying this - were the tourists who rented bikes. They have no clue about bike etiquette. No warnings when they'd pass you. You could tell several had been drinking (at 10 in the morning!) I was proud of my children who have near flawless biking skills and manners when it comes to cycling pathways.
#6 - LDS Women's Conference
I love having Pretty Girl as my daughter. And I love that two times a year we get to attend an incredibly uplifting, spiritual-feast-of-a-meeting together. I get to grow into a better woman and Pretty Girl becomes even more fabulous!
"You don't...build out of pessimism or cynicism. You look with optimism, work with faith, and things happen." - President Hinckley (quoted by Sister Eubank)
#7 - Date Nights
There have definitely been several week-day nights where Greg and I have stolen away for a quick walk on our family beach sans children. We're not complaining in the slightest. We're going to be doing this as much as possible.
#8 - The Rest of September...
The dark side of California (the DMV), Andrew is still obsessed with anything Brandon Mull writes, and Pretty Girl's teacher is also an amateur photographer - which means every so often I get these gorgeous snapshots of my daughter. Can we keep this teacher forever, please?!