I recently took Lucas to L.A. for a mini weekend trip to visit my friends Joy, Bonnie, and Christine. It was the perfect little quick trip before school started. Lucas had flown on a plane several times when he was younger but he doesn't remember it at all so this trip was extra special for him. Plus, it was an adventure with just mama. These one-on-one excursions have become so important to both of us since Theo was born.
We had a pretty early flight which meant I had to wake Lucas up earlier than he would normally get up. Probably not the best way to start the trip, but we had to catch our BART train. Also, Lucas had been a bit under the weather for over a week. Poor guy. Poor me. But we made it and Lucas was awesome on the plane ride. He looked out the window, did some coloring, reading, and played with his cars and Legos. I didn't even have to bust out the Kindle Fire for movies.
When we arrived, L.A. was HOT. I expected it to be pretty warm but when L.A. has a heat wave, it is no joke. My friend Bonnie picked us up from the airport and took us straight to one of the yummiest places called Republique. It reminded me a bit of Tartine but with a much larger menu of sweet and savory treats and dishes. We ordered the Kimchi Fried Rice (I could seriously eat this every day), the Smoked Salmon Tartine, a variety of sweet desserts (something chocolatey, something fruity, and something fried with custard inside), and Golden Juice (a healthy and refreshing combo of yellow carrot, pineapple, golden beet, and orange juice). When I go out to eat with Bonnie, I know it's going to be good and my belly is going to be full.
Our next stop was to pick up Joy from her studio. I've seen so many pictures of her space but seeing it in real life was pretty cool. It's bright, open, and full of fun props and furniture. Since we had already eaten, we decided to stick to something a little on the lighter side. We went to Mendocino Farms for a salad and numerous refills of pink lemonade. Did I mention L.A. was in a heat wave? It was really nice to catch up with Joy since we have both been so busy. She is also due with baby #2 in November so I wanted to see her big ol' belly and Ruby before baby comes.
We decided to stay in for dinner that night (Joy's husband Bob picked up some super yummy food from Forage) and just relaxed as Ruby and Lucas got to know each other. They were way too cute together and hit it off instantly -- playing in her tent with flashlights, playing with stickers and tattoos, etc. In the morning Ruby and Lucas went outside to play with some cool inexpensive airplanes Bob got from the drugstore. Some of my favorite photos are from this little play session -- cheap planes plus active 4-year old boy made for a very quick play date. It was really sweet to see how Ruby seemed in awe of this wild savage older boy and how Lucas tried to take care of Ruby (helping to put on her shoes and telling Bob that he would keep her safe).
Later that afternoon my friend Christine and her insanely cute son Henry (tell me he does not look like John Leguizamo but a hundred times smaller and cuter?) picked us up and took us to the LACMA. We all had a blast here! The boys got to run around, climb, and explore. They climbed on the pillars in front of the museum and kept saying, "Can you do this, dude?!" It was hilarious.
The Metropolis Exhibit was pretty amazing with all the cars and trains zipping around at a super fast speed. Needless to say, Lucas and Henry were in total awe.
After the LACMA, we went to Sycamore Kitchen for a little snack and a drink. Oh, and side note: while walking to the restaurant, Lucas proceeded to pull his pants down and pee on the street behind a car! He just couldn't hold it and I didn't see him in time. I was partially mortified but also had to laugh it off. Luckily Christine was with me on that one. ;)
That night we went to the Americana at Brand. It was kind of funny going to a mall but It was a nice outdoor one with a big grassy play area for the kids to run around. We also rode on a trolley which the kids loved, had a nice dinner at Katsuya, and ran around some more on the grass before heading home.
The next day our flight wasn't until 6 p.m. so we had the whole day to hang out and do something easy going. After a quick breakfast at Lemon Poppy Kitchen (the kale and barley breakfast bowl was delicious) we went to a fun little water park nearby for some splashing around in the heat. We met up with Joy's good friend Marisa who I went to high school with and is good friends with one of my good friends Tina. Get that? Small world! I finally met Marisa's sweet family, Garrett, Cameron, and baby Kaia (a total thunder thigh sweet pea!).
Before our flight we just lounged around at Joy's house. Lucas fell in love with their cat Max - petting her, covering her with a blanket "to keep her warm", and giving her lots of kisses.
Even though L.A. is a quick hour flight away, it took us a while to get home. After we landed, we hopped onto a shuttle that took us to the BART station, then took one BART train, transferred to another BART train, and then drove home. With his glassy eyes and blank stare, Lucas was fading fast but he was a total trooper.
Overall we had a great trip. Thanks so much to Joy, Bob, and Ruby for hosting us and to Bonnie and Christine for hanging out and taking us to yummy places to eat. Next time I'll bring Theo! I must say, it's nice to have some routine back in our lives. :)
A few tips for traveling with a 4-year old:
+ Bring one or two of their favorite little toys (Lucas loves his cars and Legos)
+ Bring even more little surprises (i.e. new markers, new book or magazine, new toy, new toy pouch)
+ Bring headphones and something to play a movie or some games on
+ Bring lots of tasty snacks
+ Put all of the above in their backpack (maybe a new one?)
+ Try not to do too much in one day while traveling. Lucas was incredibly tired from not sleeping well, being a little under the weather, the crazy heat, and packing in a lot of activities in one day. Phew!
One last thing. The sweet Victoria of SF Girl By Bay is going to L.A. soon and is doing a giveaway through instagram. Simply tag your instagrams of L.A. using #SFGIRLINLA by September 18th and you could win a $100 amazon gift card just for contributing. See more details here.