California Adventure: Irving Park Railroad 

Last December was our first jolly holiday season with Mini-man and I wanted to take him to some fun holiday events.

Thanks to local mommy blogs, I was introduced to the Irving Park Railroad, which was hosting a Santas Village and Christmas Train.

We went early in the day – 1. to avoid crowds and 2. To not keep mini-man up too late. 

First we rode the train to the North Pole. We decided to skip meeting Santa – mini-man isn’t a fan of people in costumes and he freaks out (and I refuse to force him to do things that scare him). So we got back on the train and headed back to the village. The train ride was cute but mini-man wasn’t quite sure what to make of the whole experience.

Mini-man was too young to enjoy any of the games that were there but he had fun exploring the maze and just walking around.

After a while, we decided to explore the rest of the park. What we found was a beautiful park that’s perfect for families. I wish we could have gone more (it’s 90 minutes from where we are and that’s too long to keep mini-man in his car seat). 

California Adventure: San Diego

I was born in San Diego (die-hard Charger and Padres girl right here), so I made it a priority to visit while we were in California.

We managed to get two visits in. On our first visit we took a train down to San Diego. 

We had fun visiting the World Famous San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld San Diego.

Our second visit was a stop in one of our cruises and I set up a sailing excursion along the bay. It was a beautiful day to see the city and very relaxing.

However, fours hours on a sail boat is a bit resticrive for a one-year old. Fortunately, we found an amazing playground really close to our ship. Mini-man had a blast swinging, running around, and getting wet. 

San Diego is such a beautiful place. I am so glad that I got to share it with my family.

California Adventures: San Francisco

We spent a wonderful day in San Francisco as one of the stops on our cruise. Unfortunately, I was getting over a cold and Damon was healing from a dental procedure. So our first stop was a pharmacy. And, of course, along the way, mini-man fell asleep. On the plus side, it gave us time to get to the pharmacy and make some plans.

When we go on cruises, we try to be adventurous and not make concrete plans. We just make a list of goals and try to accomplish as much as possible. 

Our first stop was a trip on a San Francisco Trolley ( a must as Damon LOVES trains!). Unfortunately, that love doesn’t seem to have been passed on to mini-man. The gears on the trolley made loud noises and it freaked him out. He clung to me and cried a lot. 

Luckily, we got to the end of the line pretty quickly, which happened to be really close to a park. Mini-man loves being able to run around.

At this point, we were pretty hungry, so we headed to lunch. We stumbled upon a highly rated burger place and man were those burgers good! Mini-man loved the fries 😝

After filling up, we headed back towards the area where the ship was docked and managed to make our way to Ghirardelli! I think our adventure was a bit much for mini-man – he fell asleep again! But Damon and I were able to enjoy some amazing ice cream.

Once mini-man woke up, we were able to play in the grass with the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.

Our next stop was the infamous Fisherman’s Warf, where we got to look at The Rock (I always think of Sean Connery). During this stops, Damon sat on a wooden bench to rest. At one point he wanted to get a picture and slid down the bench – and received a splinter!

Once we got back, Damon felt uncomfortable so we went in search of the onboard doctor. Much to Our surprise, we discovered that the splinter was an inch long! Thank goodness for the doctor.

Afterwards, we decided to walk around the ship and stumbled upon a gorgeous sunset by the Golden Gate Bridge. Silver lining – we got to see this beautiful sunset due to Damon’s injury.

A definite adventure for us but a fun time was had by all 💗

California Adventures: Pasadena

Pasadena is a beautiful city just north of  Glendale. I wish we could have experienced more in Pasadena, but we did enjoy several activities and sites, including:

  • The Rose Parade

  • The Pasadena City Orchestra

  • The Kidspace Museum

  • And of course, The Gamble House – a.k.a. Doc Browns House!

California Adventures: Food!

I am a huge foodie. Something I only discovered when I got to college and love spending time eating and/or making amazing food. In fact, when I was very annoyed when I was pregnant because my body only wanted healthy food. Any good with spice or variety made me ill.

So when I found out we were moving to Glendale I was thrilled. In Orlando, we have good food but it’s mainly large, chain restaurants. California is home to a wide variety of food and restaurants.

Some of my favorites include:

  • Porto’s Barkery (and dangerous since it was within walking distance)
  • Frida’s Mexican Restaurant
  • Sushi on Brand
  •  Trattori Amici
  • Everest Burger
  • Too many fast food restaurants within walking distance
  • See’s

I’ll really miss all these amazing culinary experiences. 

California Adventures: Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is a perfect sea-side town. Quaint shops line the main street, beautiful beaches, and wonderul restaurants.

We had a wonderful day walking through town, enjoying a delicous Mexican lunch while watching this small town come to life.

California Adventures: Our Apartment


As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I dislike driving. Added to the fact that I’m shy and it makes living in a new place difficult for me. However, with a new child, I wanted to be able to take him places to have fun. 

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when we found our apartment in Glendale. 

Large hallways allowed mini-man to race around in his walker and learn to walk. 

Nice, spacious public areas with ample seating, bbq’s, and firepits. 

An amazing pool area with cabanas to enjoy.

The apartment itself has been great for our family – lots of space for mini-man to play!.

All-in-all, a fun place for mini-man to explore for the past year. 

California Adventures: Cruising

As any mom knows, trying to travel with young children can be difficult. So what is a couple of travelers to do when they want to see a lot of places but also have a baby? Cruising!

As Floridians, we have taken a lot of cruises to most of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. So we were eager to have the chance to explore a lot of the west coast without restricting mini-man to his car seat.

We managed to take two cruises while we were here – one along the west coast, stopping in San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and San Diego, and one to the Mexican Riviera (very love boat).

We absolutely loved these vacations. We got to see a lot of what the west coast has to offer while getting to relax and enjoy ourselves. I’d highly recommend both of these cruises to any family.

California Adventures: Glendale

One I’m the things I hate most about California is driving – the freeways are crazy and filled with reckless, speeding drivers. Add a baby into the car and I become a mess behind the wheel. So when Damon got transferred, I was adamant that our new place be close to activities for us to enjoy without a lot of driving.

Where we ended up met a lot of those requirements – downtown Glendale!

Why? We are within walking distance to a variety of stores and restaurants – including: the Americana, Glendale Galleria, Goodwill, Chipotle, Burger King, and much more. I am going to miss being so close to a variety of  restautants (sushi, italian, Mexicans…). At home, most restaurants are chain restaurants that don’t offer a lot of variety. 

Walking distance to fun playgrounds for mini-man to enjoy.

We are also within close distance to stores and play areas to enjoy as a family.

As much as I am thrilled to be going home, I will miss Glendale.

California Adventure: The Beach

One of the first weekend we were here we took mini-man to the beach. A big change from Orlando, where the nearest beach is 90 minutes away and has tons of public access, the closest beach to uabwas several hours away. Then when we finally arrived, there was very little public parking and access to the beach was limited – very rocky terrain.

But being the adventurous people we are, we went down the path and ended up in a rocky area of the beach. After walking for over an hour we finally found a spot where we could sit – but you can imagine how tired we all were. We cooled off in the ocean – mini-man loved his feet in the water – but were more than ready to head home.

At this point mini-man was crying and I didn’t have the energy to go back the way we came. Unfortunately, each access point back to the car was private. Damon and I agreed to split at this point – he want back the way we came and I headed for the nearest public access point with mini-man.

Thank goodness we met some nice people who let mini-man and me use their private access. I got to the shade and called Damon immediately. As soon as he showed up, mini-man passed out.

Needless to say this adventurous trip was a bit much for all of us. We soon discovered that our pool was just steps away from our front door and a  much easier place to take mini-man for some water fun.