OC Bubble Pop

OC Bubble Pop

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

Maya Angelou

(We were hosted by OC Bubble Pop, but all pictures and opinions are my own).

We are always looking for fun things to do right here in Orange County, which is why we were super excited to explore everything that OC Bubble Pop had to offer. OC Bubble Pop is conveniently located at The District Promenade in Tustin, right in the heart of Orange County. 

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Immediately when we walked in we were greeted by the incredibly friendly staff. It was super easy to get checked in but TIP: you can fill out the waiver online prior to your visit. My son (6) could hardly contain his excitement and rushed right in and ready to start exploring.

OC Bubble Pop offers various bubble stations ranging from dry-ice bubble making to a station where you get to actually stand inside of a life-size bubble!

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One of our favorite stops was the Bubble Smasher. Bubbles float across the station and your goal is to pop the bubble and make a basket at the same time. Super challenging, but so much fun! And don’t worry about picking up the balls on the floor. A staff member is standing by to help get that for you 🙂

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We also had on our eyes on the stations where you could build as big of a bubble as you possibly could. I couldn’t even believe some of the bubbles B was making! It’s pretty awesome to watch your kid have an idea and then watch it come try.

My son could have spent all day there! And OC Bubble Pop makes it super convenient for families of littles that DO want to spend all day there because the price of admission is good for ALL DAY! Does that get any better?! They also have semi-private birthday parties and events, and you get your very own party room.

My biggest takeaway from OC Bubble Pop was the staff and how clean it was! Never have I experienced such an attentive, kind, creative, and nurturing group of people. Every staff member was there to help, to guide, and to even play with your kid. I could tell they genuinely loved their job!

Thank you, OC Bubble Pop, for letting us explore your space, we will definitely be back!

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Have you been to OC Bubble Pop? Or anything similar where you live? Would you want to spend a day having bubbles of fun?!

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Last Night I Drank a Beer In The Shower

Last Night I Drank a Beer In The Shower

It was one of those days. I don’t even have to elaborate on that sentence for you to know what I mean. Whether you’re a parent or not, everyone has “those days”. The days where you just need a moment. You need some space, some time, A MOMENT, to just be.

If you’re local to Southern California then you know August and September (heck even October) can be some of our hottest months. It’s really quite a shame they make the kids go back to school during our “local summer” but I digress…Today was hot. I typically don’t mind the summer heat, but today I was not about it.

This time of year is historically busy for my work, and to throw in the “back to school” of it all, it’s just downright insane. Not to mention, we are at a new school with new rules, new friends, new processes, new teachers – it’s too much NEW.

With the heat comes the whiney kids. And the hungry kids, because they are too hot to eat, but yet somehow still find the energy to burn whatever they have stored up on the playground. And then the tired kids show up around 3pm because they haven’t eaten, they’ve burned all of their reserved energy, and they’ve whined themselves into a stupor.

But I’m a “cool mom” (despite the heat) and decided to team up with my sister and take our boys for a swim. I envisioned cooling down by dipping my toes in the pool, laughing at the kids as their dives turned into belly flops, and having easy conversations with my sister. Instead the above-mentioned kids showed up, and they brought friends – the ornery and argumentative kids.

Then something suddenly came up. My cute ponytail had drooped low behind my neck. The denim mini skirt I was wearing somehow had hiked its way up past my waist.  And I was sweating so much down my back it traveled down to my butt. It was time to call it quits.

Leaving to come home took way longer than it needed to. By the time we made it inside the door – I was done. I scrambled together some version of dinner while B showered, flipped on Spongebob Squarepants and said “It’s your lucky night! TV DINNER!” I opened the fridge and saw the most glorious cold beverage staring at me – Mexican Lager. But where could I find 15 minutes of solitude and drink this beer in piece? That’s right, the shower.

To be fair, I hadn’t drank a beer in the shower in probably 15 years. I’m not even sure if I ever had, but if I did, it for sure would have been in my “college days”.  I say “college days” because I didn’t go to college until 26, but consider my cruise ship days my college years.

It wasn’t even about having a drink, it was more about the fact that I needed a moment to myself that was all mine. I knew in that time my only moment was the shower. And to make the moment even sweeter, I added a beer. I have to say, it felt weird at first, but then it oddly felt so invigorating to be doing something out of the norm.

I soaked up every square inch of space within my moment of “me” and I genuinely don’t think I would have made it without it. Sometimes we just cannot make it to bed time and that’s okay! Throw your kid in front of the TV every once in awhile and allow yourself some time. Some days you just gotta drink that beer in the shower, ya know?

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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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Navigating Sports as a Single Mom

Navigating Sports as a Single Mom

My son is Mr. Sports. As soon as one season ends he’s on to the next. And not necessarily the same sport. He’ll jump from baseball to basketball to soccer to whatever else he can think of. I don’t think he has a love for a single sport yet so in the meantime he wants to try it all. And at 5 I think he should! He has his whole life to play one sport, now is the time for him to find out what he loves. But, as a single working mom, juggling this athletic life can be complicated.

Last year was our first full year in sports mode. Luckily, soccer was only a one-day commitment, which made the schedule juggle super easy. We moved on to baseball in the spring and I was so fortunate to have a job that was pretty flexible with adjusting my lunch hour to be there for games and practices when needed. I also have very helpful family members to pick up/drop off when I couldn’t. And now I have a different job this year where I get to work from home, so essentially I can take my son anywhere, anytime.

But it really got me thinking – what do single working moms (or dads) do during a sport season? From my experience, practices are in the afternoon (during regular business hours), and some games are during the week. Is your child not allowed to participate in their local little league due to scheduling conflicts? I haven’t been in this sports world for too long but I really feel that there is a demographic that is completely forgotten about. Not every family is able to logistically get to a practice and/or game. It’s really not fair that they can’t participate solely because they don’t live in a two-parent household or have family nearby that can help.

I am SO grateful for my current job situation but you never know when that can change. You never know when life is going to throw you upside down. I don’t have any answers but I think we should start a conversation. Children living in a single parent household (or even a two working parent household) shouldn’t have to sit out on a sports experience because practices are at 3pm. There has to be another way!

And while we’re here… why don’t we know the practice schedule when we sign up? Why don’t we know until 2 weeks before practices start? How is anybody supposed to plan anything?! It really just feels like they’re marketing towards families that have at least one at home parent.

Do you have any suggestions on how we can be more inclusive? I would love to hear in the comments.

Apple Picking in Oak Glen

“Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.” -Mark Twain

When I was a child, every year my family and I would go apple picking in Julian, CA. I loved it. We’d wake up really early, gather our warmest clothes, load up the car and drive (what felt like hours) out to Julian. Some years it was hot, others it was cold, but it didn’t matter. We’d walk the orchards and scour the trees for the BEST apples to take home so we could make apple pie. Once we finished picking apples we’d spent the rest of the day enjoying the small town. Going in out of the historic little shops, eating lunch, maybe taking a horse-drawn carriage ride all nestled under the blankets, and of course eat some fresh baked apple pie.

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As I got older we stopped going, but I couldn’t wait until my son was old enough to start this tradition with. Except when the time came, I was torn…Julian or Oak Glen?!  I had never heard been to Oak Glen, much less heard of it! So, I did some research, asked a lot of questions and 2 years ago I drove my son and I out to Oak Glen to start our new Fall tradition.

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This was our third year going to Oak Glen and every time I go, I find something new to do there! Below you will find my tips & tricks for apple picking in Oak Glen:

Oak Glen vs. Julian

Truth be told, I haven’t been to Julian since I was a kid so I can’t really speak on what they have there now. But, from what I’ve read, Oak Glen has a lot more activities for kids. Besides apple picking there is; pony rides, corn mazes, u-apple cider press, hay rides, petting zoos, apple tastings, and lots of games!

The big number one factor for me is the drive. Driving to Oak Glen is SO easy. I personally have a fear of driving windy roads (due to being in a car accident in Laguna Canyon several years ago). When I learned that the drive to Oak Glen was mostly on the freeway, I was sold. I took my son to a camel dairy farm 3 years ago, and it was just 20 minutes south of Julian. I wasn’t even thinking of that terrifying drive until I was in it, and I just can’t ever do that again. Oak Glen is freeway, streets, and then maybe a 15 minute drive up the mountain – no cliffs! If I can do it – you can do it!

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Go Early!

I personally have never experienced traffic on the 2 way highway, but I know that some people have. The main reason I say to go early is because there is so much to see and do. This year we couldn’t go up as early as I would have liked to. Parking was a little bit of an issue but not terrible. We had to park off the road a little further down from the orchard. But it was a totally doable walk. If you have littles, bring your small stroller. If you park on the street, you won’t want your big stroller taking up the road. Bottom line: go early and just enjoy the whole day! Which brings me to…

Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho

Yes, there are two Riley’s. No, they are not the same. Well, the Riley name is the same, but the owners of the property are different. This was our first year spending the entirety of our day here. It was amazing. We picked our apples on the Botanical Garden side this year. Truthfully, next year we’ll park on this side, but go pick apples across the street at their bigger property as they have a bigger variety of apples over there.

I will go into more details about Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho in another blog post, but here are just a handful of things you can do here:

  1. Apple Pick / Pumpkin Pick (depending when you go)
  2. U-press Apple Cider
  3. Eat at their Restaurant (we didn’t eat here this time as the line was down the road, but it smelled delicious!)
  4. Shop all kinds of yummy treats (even get a fresh baked apple pie to bring home)
  5. Taste different varieties of apples
  6. Petting zoo, pony rides, hay ride, corn maze, horse shoes and corn hole

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Bring a Picnic!

Like I mentioned above, the line for the restaurant was incredibly long and I’m sure it’s amazing. But if you have kids that are anything like my son, he will not want to wait an hour for a table. We always bring our lunch with us and luckily there is a HUGE grassy area to throw down a blanket and eat. There is not a lot of shade so either bring an umbrella or a big hat. They do have a few picnic benches under some trees but those get taken up quickly. You’ll see tons of families with their coolers and kids playing catch. It’s so awesome!

What Time of Year to Go

Personally, *HOT TIP* I would go as soon as they announce it’s time to pick apples. This year apple season came really early so you may have missed the initial announcement, or maybe you didn’t even know they made an announcement. Follow Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho on Facebook and you’ll never miss it again. This year I saw the post but I couldn’t make it out for a couple weeks. By the time we got there, a lot of the bigger and better apples were already gone. The trick is to try and go within a few days of when they release a specie of apple so that you get the first pick.

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What to Bring/Wear

  1. Depends on the weather, but most likely you’ll want to wear a hat and definitely bring sunscreen.
  2. Closed toed shoes. I know you can get hot, but you’ll come home with the dirtiest feet if you wear sandals.
  3. An ice chest/cooler with all of your food, water and snacks. The property is not that big so you can easily just slip back to your car to grab some food or more water.
  4. Backpack. You’ll definitely want to keep your wallet, water and sunscreen on you at all times,
  5. Cash. They do take credit/debit cards. But a couple of food booths only take cash. However, you can purchase with your card inside the store and bring them a voucher. But just bring the cash – it’s easier!

Those are my biggest tips for apple picking in Oak Glen. I’ll be sure to share in more details about Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho on my next blog post.

Do you go apple picking with your family? What are some of your Fall traditions?

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Will You Be Friends With My Son?

Will You Be Friends With My Son?

“Before you speak, think and be smart, it’s hard to fix a wrinkled heart.”

It’s the second week of Kindergarten and my son already got his feelings hurt. I knew it was coming because well, kids can be mean. But it didn’t hurt my heart any less – and it very obviously hurt my sons. So much so that he pushed the little boy that said ” I don’t like you. We’re not friends….I don’t like you – double.” Should my son have pushed? Absolutely not. But should he have stood up for himself? Absolutely yes.

My son is an innocent. He wears his heart on his sleeve, is built with happiness, and loves everybody. I honestly don’t think there’s somebody he’s met that he didn’t like. He thinks everybody is his friend and he can’t understand why somebody wouldn’t want to be his. In theory this sounds like an amazing human. But in reality, it’s hard putting somebody like that out in the world, knowing not everybody works like that. Heck, I don’t even work like that! I am perfectly content not making new friends and just going about my day. I have to work really hard to make conversation and build new relationship; especially when it comes to the parents of my sons friends. It’s so hard for me and I feel like it’s affecting my sons friendships. But, I’m working on it…

Little kids can be cliquey and a lot of the times I don’t think it’s intentional. It’s like they have blinders on and can only see what’s directly in front of them. They have a neighbor friend and that’s all they need. Why would they look around and try to be friends with the person next to them? The majority don’t have the instinct to do that. And that’s fine. But it’s hard to watch when my son is standing in front of a group of kids smiling, thinking he’s part of the group too. I know that they don’t notice him and it breaks my heart. I want to scream, “BE FRIENDS WITH MY SON! HE’S FUN! AND KIND!” But, I can’t…this is his journey that he needs to be on. Not mine, not ours. His.

For me this is the hardest part of parenting: letting our kids just figure it out. We can’t make all of the decisions for them, even as young as 5. I can’t be with him at school to guide him. All I can do is teach him at home, give him all of the resources and tools he needs so he can go out into the world and be successful. But, that’s not easy.

So what did I do after I heard my son got his feelings hurt and he made the poor decision to push? I wanted to cry. My son cried. His heart was sad but he also was worried that he wasn’t a kind person anymore. But, I reminded him that he was kind and he just needed to remember to use his kind heart. And I also let him know other acceptable forms of standing up for himself that didn’t involve hurting other people. He cried some more and said, “Mom, I just forgot to turn my heart on, that’s all.” We decided to pray. We asked God to help remind him to turn his heart on every morning.

I know I can’t be naive and think that this is the only time his feelings are going to be heart. But I wish it would be. I’m not asking for my son to be the most popular kid in school, I just hope and pray that he finds his little community of friends he can call home.

How are you adjusting to your kids at school? Have they had problems making friends? Would love to know your story – leave me a comment!

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