Posted in California Livin'

Summer Days

The kids are finishing up their fourth week of school already and I am tired of the triple digits hell that is our California weather. I am ready for fall weather, pumpkin candies and lattes, and the smell of a fire going in my fireplace. And even though we STILL haven’t gotten on a plane with the kids (fingers crossed for next year!) I know that we had a good summer this year and have the pictures to remind me.

That afternoon the kids spent shooting dollar spot sticky frogs at the ceiling…

 

When I made my son pose in front of a movie billboard without realizing how hella inappropriate it was

Inappropriate movie

Trips to Knotts that never disappoint

 

One more picture from the OC Fair because it was that much fun

OC Fair Family

Celebrated Hubby’s 40th at Raging Waters

 

Pool Action

 

I hope you are enjoying the last remaining days of summer. Tell me something fun you did. Thank you for reading!

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Posted in California Livin'

Best Laid Plans

10 years ago this summer, I was 8 months pregnant with my oldest and riding shotgun in my 2001 Dodge Durango. I was holding my stomach with one hand and the other onto the oh shit bar above the passenger window. Hubby and I were were up in the mountains trying to find a watering hole with our nephews. But even in an SUV, driving the unpaved roads was treacherous. I held my breath a few times, fearful that we were going to tip sideways. After a while hubby gave up and we ended up at Lake Gregory. Fast forward to this July and we tried to find Aztec Falls again with our seven and nine year old. This time we were in our Kia Soul and it went as well as you would expect. We did a lot of driving in reverse and received some dirty looks from dune buggy drivers. We gave up a little sooner this round, for the safety of the four of us and our little car. Then we took the kids back to the same lake we went to a decade ago.

Lake Gregory is located in Crestline, California. It is surrounded by pine trees, has inflatable water slides, and sandy beaches. After we pulled into the parking lot and I dry heaved from car sickness, we paid $40 for the four of us to get in for the last two hours of the day. But there was water and the kids made a strong case (i.e., whined) until we walked in.

The kids eventually agreed to go into the water after 10 minutes of screaming, “The fish are touching me!” Scarlet swam back and forth to the buoy, making me breathe a sigh of relief that the swim lessons she had in June were worth it. Wesley wore a life jacket and swam a little bit but was more interested in digging holes and trying to look cool.

 

 

Their dad played catch with them with a random Lego they found in the water and of course that is what entertained them the most.

 

 

We did have lunch at a McDonald’s with the prettiest view, which balanced out the crowds and heat.

 

 

The kids are back in school this week but the memories of summer will stick around for a while.

Posted in California Livin'

The OC

My first year of college found me moving to the OC in Southern California. As soon as I saw the Nutwood exit to CSUF, I felt at home. The OC has many wonderful things about it: the beach, Disneyland, awesome food, and numerous others. But for me, I finally felt that I belonged somewhere after 18 years. I met my husband there and we lived in the OC until our daughter was a month old. And even though we don’t live there anymore, we try to go back as often as possible. This month we checked a couple of items off our Summer Bucket List by going to the fair and a professional baseball game.

We arrived at the OC fair in Costa Mesa, where it is right up the street from the beach and the weather was a breezy 80 degrees. After paying for our fair admission at ½ off because we got there early (Bargain alert!), we were greeted by these Steam Punk clowns that looked like they were on hiatus from Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story:

We spent the expected but overpriced money so the kids could ride some rides (Bargain alert: rides were ½ off for the first two hours. Score!) and play some games:

We sampled as much fair food as we could. That included tacos, deep fried Oreos and pecan pie, cherry pop rocks doughnuts (you will never try a better doughnut), and $11 beers for my hubby and I.

We walked through the exhibits, which takes me back to my childhood when my sister and I would follow my mom around them. There were amazing cakes and my girl found a Harry Potter quilt that she had to take a picture with:

After we left the fair we headed back up the freeway to Angel stadium in Anaheim. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were playing against the Tampa Bay Rays and it was Disney night. This was the kids first MLB game and I was so excited for them to experience the game and all it has to offer. There was a Disney’s California Adventure Guardians of the Galaxy area where they could hula hoop and dance to music, play games for prizes, and take pictures:

Guardians of the Galaxy

When we actually stayed at our seats, the kids shocked me by enjoying the game. And Wesley stole my heart when he kissed me and said, “Let’s get on the kiss cam Mom!”:

Kiss Cam

We were rewarded at the end of the game with amazing fireworks where I watched the kids’ expressions more than the actual show. And when we arrived back at our car after the game, we were treated with more fireworks from Disneyland.

The fair and an Angel game made for a fun day for the family and I. The OC will always feel like home so continuing to show the kids where mom and dad met and lived before they came will always be of importance to me.

Posted in California Livin'

Water Park Fun: Soak City

Sunshine and water are synonymous with California. As much as I love the way the beach looks, sand isn’t my thing. But Southern California doesn’t just have beaches aplenty. There is also a number of water parks at our disposal. There is Raging Waters, Hurricane Harbor, Soak City, and a lot of other smaller parks. As pass holders to Knott’s Berry Farm, my family is able to visit Knott’s water park Soak City from May to September every year. Soak City is 13 acres of wet attractions for every age from Gremmie Lagoon to Tidal Wave Bay.

Soak City 1

Gremmie Lagoon is a play area for the little ones. There is a submarine to be explored, mini slides for the babies, and shallow enough water that parents can breathe a little easier. My kids loved it when they were smaller but now they go to the Beach House. The Beach House is a fun house of bigger and taller slides, water guns to shoot, and a gigantic bucket that dumps itself on fun seekers and unsuspecting victims once it has been filled with water.

Soak City just went through a renovation and opened with new rides for families to have fun together and for those who are a little more daring. The Wedge is a ride where my group of four could ride down on a tube together that wasn’t too fast but enough where we laughed the whole way. It is also my kids’ new favorite ride. Shore Break is a 2 person tube ride where you start off on an enclosed tube and come out halfway through. You then fall down a steep drop (the best part IMO) at the end. Another part of Shore Break are four enclosed tubes where you get in, they close a plastic cover over you, and then you fall to your death (or maybe that’s just what I picture in my head). Hubby was the only one brave enough to try it (that was a hard no from me and the kids) and he said that moment before you fall was definitely terrifying but it was fun (he didn’t change any of our minds). We all love Banzai Falls, a mat race that ensures you will squeal and have water up your nose, no matter who wins.

Staples of our visits to Soak City are Sunset River and Tidal Wave Bay. Sunset River, aka Lazy River, is the one place I could stay the whole time. Give me a tube, put my tush in it, and I am good to go. It is never really overcrowded, the water is always a comfortable temperature and clean, and the kids love it just as much as the adults do. Tidal Wave Bay is a wave pool where the water turns into waves around every 10 minutes. There are 10+ lifeguards at all times here but it still isn’t my favorite part of the park now that my kids insist on not wearing life jackets (which is only required up to 48”).

Soak City

There are food, drinks, and desserts to purchase at the park but we stick to our Knott’s souvenir bottle that we purchase every year with the renewal of passes. It runs us about $35 and we can get drinks all year long without being charged. We don’t eat in the park because there are too many good options available to us once we leave the park that are cheaper and taste much better. And one other thing we don’t take advantage of is their lockers. The cost is enough of a deterrent ($20+ last time I checked).

Knott’s Soak City is a fun, clean, and affordable water park for us to visit during the summer. We try to get there when they first open (or even the hour before when they allow that for pass holders) to get a good row of chairs and not have to wait in long lines for the best rides. We are on year five of having passes and none of us have gotten tired of going so I don’t think this tradition will be stopping any time soon.

Soak City 2

Where do you live? Do you have a water park or beach you love to visit? I want to know!