The Summer of Me

The Summer of Me

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.”

-John Lubbock

It’s been the summer of me. And I don’t feel guilty one bit. As some of you know, in the summer my son spends a big chunk of the week with his dad. When new friends hear this piece of information I am often times asked, “Oh, I’m so sorry. You must miss him a lot?” I very kindly respond, “No, not really.”

You see, I have my son 90% of the time during the school year. His dad doesn’t live in the same city, not even the same county, so logistically it’s hard to get down there between school and sports. While I wish his dad would move closer to us, it’s not our reality right now. So, the school year is 90% on me and it is exhausting.

Between school lunches, drop offs/pick ups, play dates, homework, school projects, emotional breakdowns, teacher gifts, household duties, my full time job, and my part time job…by June this mama is SPENT. Some days getting both us out of the door on time is a task and a half. While I yearn for the weekends – sometimes those are more hectic than weekdays!

I have a great co-parenting relationship that I am so grateful for, but it doesn’t make up for the lack of co-parenting in the flesh. I am the bad cop and hardly ever the good cop. I am the enforcer of house rules and hardly do we ever have the time to break the rules. I have to create schedules and structure so that my son and I can have happy and successful days. But, when all of that falls on the shoulders of one person, it can take a toll.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mom. I love my son. But when summer rolls around, it is my time to refuel. It is my time to regroup. It is 8 weeks of: mindless TV; hours spent on the couch in my robe; days of dishes piling up in the sink; laundry half done; beds unmade; clothes on the floor; cereal for dinner; staying up til midnight because I can; sleeping in until 8 because I can; solo Disneyland trips; and many Door Dash deliveries.

I never want to reflect on being a single mom as anything but positive. I don’t know any different. But no, I don’t feel guilty for my summer of me. And you shouldn’t either.

Good luck to all the mamas that are gearing up for the school year ahead. We got this! Also, does anybody know how many days until Christmas break?

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Summer at Knott’s Soak City

Summer at Knott’s Soak City

If you grew up in Orange County then you most likely spent countless hours at the infamous Wild Rivers. I have so many fond memories of many summers spent at this thrilling water park, I couldn’t wait until my son was old enough to take him to one! While Wild Rivers is gone (for now), we do have Knott’s Soak City right here in Orange County. For our first trip I had so many questions about what I needed to know, bring, do and etc. I had a hard time finding any real information so I’ve put together some helpful tips for your next Knott’s Soak City adventure!

Top 10 List of Things to Know When Visiting Knott’s Soak City

1. Buy Before You Go

Get your tickets before you go! Plan the date you want to visit the park, purchase your tickets online and save as much as $9 on your ticket. You can also take a peek at Goldstar and see what they have to offer.

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2. Get there early!

Knott’s Soak City opens at 10am but people will start lining up well before then. Once the doors are officially opened the line moves fairly quickly, but you will still need to go through security. You will also want to grab a spot ASAP! Which leads to me to…

3. Grab a Spot in the Shade

Shade is hard to come by so you will definitely want to head to the shaded areas first. I made that mistake and we only got half shaded chairs, which was kind of a bummer. We really only were in our chairs to eat lunch but it would have been nice to cool down. They do have shaded areas to eat lunch but the signs say you can only sit there for 30 minutes.

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4. Harbor Waterworks

We just happened to find chairs in front of Harbor Waterworks which ended up being perfect! If your kids are old enough to go off somewhat by themselves, this is the perfect area to set up camp. Even if you don’t have a chair over in this area, it’s a great place where the kids can run around and you can take a moment to breath! Just be careful of the big buckets of water that will dump out every so often. I learned this the hard way!

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5. Bring a Waterproof Phone Case

Somebody gave me this idea and it was the best advice! Because you’re rarely with all of your belongings this is the perfect way to keep your phone on you. It came in handy when I wanted to grab a few photos and videos. It also was really convenient to slide in a credit card. I used a Joto Waterproof Phone Case that I found on Amazon.

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6. Wear Your Flip Flops

The ground gets pretty hot as the day goes on so we had to put on our flip flops while we were walking from ride to ride. Trust me, you won’t be the only one. You’ll see a big pile of flip flops at the bottom of each ride!

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7. Rent a Tube

We didn’t rent a tube but I think on our next visit we will rent tubes. We went on a Friday so it was pretty crowded the later it got in the day. The rides that require a tube, you have to wait in line to get a tube and then wait in another ride to go down the ride. Also, if you want a tube in the wave pool or the lazy run, they are pretty hard to come by. But you can bring your rental tubes in any pool or on any ride!

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8. Make Your Own Cabana

You’re allowed to bring in a small cooler with water and sports drinks. But honestly, we brought in a lot of snacks and nobody said a word. I think you could probably bring in lunch under the radar. Many families also brought in wagon strollers and set up camp on the grass with their umbrellas. I don’t have an umbrella that will stand on grass, otherwise this seems like it would have been such a good idea!

9. How Tall Are You?

If you are under 48″ inches you are required to wear a life vest on any ride that doesn’t have tubes and in any of the pools. I suggest being a minimum of 42″ if you plan on going. If you are less than 42″ then you won’t be able to ride any of the rides..

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10. Lockers

When we first got there we immediately went to the lockers to put everything in there. The lockers range from $15-$25 depending on the size you get. But, I think next time we will skip the lockers and keep everything at our chairs. I would rather spend that money on rental tubes! And make sure you keep your valuables at home 🙂

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I hope this is helpful to you! Do you have any plans to visit Knott’s Soak City this summer? Or a water park in your town? Let me know in the comments!

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Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach

Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

-Thomas Merton

Growing up, every Summer my parents would take my sister and I to the Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach. We would look in awe of the glassblowers, get a new toe ring and maybe share a scoop of ice cream. Although I would never classify my parents as artists, their appreciation for art was always unintentionally present.

This year I decided to incorporate a visit to the Sawdust Festival in our Summer plans. To be honest I was a little apprehensive, as my son is only 5, but today we went for it and had a blast! We made a full day of it by stopping for lunch at Avila’s El Ranchito on PCH, caught the free shuttle in The Village and headed straight towards to our destination.

I am shamelessly the mom who is always thinking of what activity we can do next. I love being active. I love being creative. I love learning experiencing new (and old) things. And I really love taking my son along for the ride. Admittedly, it’s hard for me to slow down and remember it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Today was about the journey- and it was perfect.

The shuttle ride was fun in and of itself. We don’t get to experience the shuttle in our day-to-day lives, so it was a treat to walk to the stop, wait (somewhat patiently), check the shuttle on the tracker, and then FINALLY seeing it arrive. We really only went to two stops, but again, it’s about the journey 🙂

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The Trolley Tracker is really user friendly and such a great tool to use if you want to travel through Laguna Beach without the hassle of driving and parking your own car. I actually didn’t really need to use that much. We just walked around until we found the Free Shuttle sign, but we weren’t really in a rush so that worked for us.

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Once we arrived at The Sawdust Festival we jumped in line to purchase our tickets. You can purchase them online prior to arriving, but I opted to just pay at the door. And great news: kids 5 and under are free! I mean…does that ever happen!? You can check out the rest of the prices right here.

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The Sawdust Festival was everything I remember it being. Winding alleys leading down different paths, live music, and lots of art. Our first stop was at the Pottery Wheel where B got to make his own clay bowl. What an experience that was! I am so grateful to the young college kids who really take the time to help guide the kids as they mold their own creation. Once finished you have the option to take it home as is (once dried) for free! Or you can pay $25 to have it glazed and shipped to your home. We decided to have it glazed that way B can eat “cereal, oatmeal or fruit” out of it – B’s words 🙂

After that we made our way through all of the beautiful art. We saw; a man painting a picture of the ocean, the infamous glassblowers, and so many unique creations. Dip n’ Dots were calling our name so we took an ice cream break under the shade. Once our bellies were full we headed over to the kids art corner for a Rhyme & Drawing Class. I think this was the highlight of my day!

This art class was completely free and the man (Brent Kreischer) teaching the class was so incredible with the kids. He asked each kid to name their “favorite things” and then collectively name something that rhymed with each item, even if it wasn’t a word. His philosophy was: “Dr. Seuss made up words and followed no rules, and everyone enjoys Dr. Seuss.”

B was enthralled. I was impressed. Brent went around to each kid and they created a rhyme that complemented the picture that they drew. It was really wonderful.

Once we finished the class it was time to head back. On our way out we were stopped by a charismatic woman who offered to make B a balloon animal – he chose a Stegosauras.

As a whole I was really impressed by how kid friendly The Sawdust Festival was, and how attentive all of the artists were. We left with big smiles on our faces and B even asked me if we were going to come back next year. I think that is a big yes!

Have you been to the Sawdust Festival this year? What is your favorite thing to do there?

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