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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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.

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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Self Care Is Not Selfish

Self Care Is Not Selfish

I often say that it’s bittersweet sharing time with my son. At the bottom of my heart, I wish that I could spend every single day with him. But, I know that it’s not an option, so I choose to make the most of my time with him and without him. The first year of his life, I did not spend more than a couple of hours away from him. His dad lived more than an hour away and I was nursing him. Oh, and did I mention I had a really hard time pumping? I gave up on my pumping dreams when he was about 4 months old. Nursing was a really big priority for me, so we were attached (literally) for 13 solid months.

During the first few months of B’s life I was apart of the most wonderful mommy and me group called: The New Mom School. I met some of the most amazing women there; all journeying with me in our new role as “MOM”. I remember at the time a lot was said about taking care of ourselves, making sure we carved out time in the day to clear our heads so that we could continue to be the best mom that we could be. They called it “Self Care”. Self care? What was that? I was a single mom and didn’t have the luxury of self care. I remember wanting so badly to go to a friends birthday dinner without my son. I tried all day to pump and I just couldn’t. I had two choices: to stay home or bring him with me. I brought him with me. It was hectic and scary but we both survived. And it was from that moment on I made the choice to always bring him with me where ever I went (within reason of course). I didn’t want to be a slave to my home because I am the furthest thing from a homebody. And I also didn’t want to be a typical single mom who couldn’t enjoy her life.

When the time came for Braden to spend time at his dads house, I slowly started to feel like I got my groove back. I started to make plans with friends, day trips to LA and DIY projects at home. But, it wasn’t until Braden was about 3 years old where I finally started to feel like myself again. For a long time I really struggled with watching my friends with kids who were married going on these great family vacations, buying homes and new cars. I felt so behind. I wanted to stay home with my son, but I also wanted to start building a life for the two of us.

After I started working full time it felt like I was coming into my own. It was and still is a very tough inner struggle and a huge balancing act being a working single mom. I never want B to feel that he is missing out on anything because I work. I wish I could put into words how much of a juggle it is – but it is really important to me to be there every single second I have available. I have some friends that say I can’t do it all, or I can’t be there for it all, but so far I haven’t missed anything. And I will be damn sure to be there for everything. I know that in the end I am doing what’s best for me and my son. Even though I may not be where I wish I was but I know that every day I am working towards that goal.

With that said, when B is with his dad, that is my time for self care. I didn’t get much of it in the first few years of his life, but I think I’m making up for lost time! It’s not often I get to have a full weekend “off duty”, or really ever? But you better believe I will soak up the 36 hours every week, that I get to myself. It isn’t much, but I’ll take it!

And honestly, I am pretty damn lucky in the coparenting department.  Our coparenting relationship has not always been this way, but I am so grateful that we have made it to the place that we are. I know a lot of people tell me “I’m so lucky”, but this is not luck. We have both worked equally as hard to get to this place for the sake of our son (and our sanity). Without him and his wonderful girlfriend I wouldn’t be able to do some of the things I enjoy doing. Especially my fabulous weekend with NYSNC (more on that later!).It truly does take a village to raise kids – especially if you are doing it solo. And if you are, please take those moments you have to yourself to remember who you are because we were somebody before we became a mom. Self care is not selfish!

Before I end this I just want to say,  if you are struggling in your coparenting relationship, please know that if you truly want it to work, it can! I wasn’t sure we would ever be in such a good place, but we are, and I am so grateful. So please, stay hopeful and continue to do the work – you’ll get there!

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Slumber Party Time!

Slumber Party Time!

Have you hosted a slumber party for your kids yet? My son has been begging to have one for months! He kept asking me if we could invite friends over from school, but it just didn’t feel like the right time yet. To be honest, there are just so many “what if’s” when it comes to having your kid sleep away from home. I knew I wasn’t ready for that, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever be? Anyone outside of family, just seems a bit risky, so we opted to have his cousins come over.

I really had no idea what to expect, but it truly was a lot of fun! We had obligations until the early evening, so we couldn’t start until around 6. The evening officially started with dinner, followed by some painting, and then of course hide and seek! I think this was the highlight of the evening. We were all screaming and giggling so hard – including myself.

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Of course chaos ensued so I felt it was time to unwind with a movie. But first we had to get all ready for bed. It was hysterical watching everyone put on their pajamas and try the different toothpastes… who knew toothpaste was so exciting!

I couldn’t believe it, but everyone agreed on a movie (yay for Secret Life of Pets!). I think they only lasted about 30 minutes, so we turned it off, everyone picked out a book to read, and then it was lights out!

Looking back, everyone really did fall asleep fairly quickly, but in the moment I was worried we would all be up all night! After going in there a few times to remind them it was bed time, everyone fell fast asleep and stayed asleep all night long! Success!

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Morning came around soon enough, then it was time for breakfast and one last round of hide and seek – this time outside! It was a perfect way to end the slumber party.

Have you hosted a slumber party alone? Do you feel comfortable having your kids spend the night at a friends or family members house? I think my biggest challenge was keeping them entertained but yet giving them enough space to play on their own. I just have the one son, so I wasn’t used to the “he did this/she said that” – in other words, tattling. Man that is exhausting! At one point I told them no more tattling… but it didn’t really stick. Hopefully as they get older, this will subside. Or that may be wishful thinking!

I’d love to hear any tips you have to handle multiple kids, or any great slumber party hacks in the comments below! I think by the time I’ve recovered from this one, I’ll be ready for the next!

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Home Depot Kids Workshop

Home Depot Kids Workshop

Last weekend, I took my son to Home Depot in Mission Viejo for their FREE kids workshop, to build a birdhouse.  This workshop is held once a month for kids between the ages of 5-12 and every class they make something different. We had never been before, so I really had no idea what to expect. I called a couple of days before asking what time they suggested we be there as the website listed it was open from 9am-12pm. The woman I spoke to said I should be there at 9am as it gets really crowded and boy was she right!

We got there just before 9am, the parking lot was filling up and about 4 people had already started on their birdhouse. We made our way to check in and we were greeted by a very friendly Home Depot employee. He informed us that unfortunately, they didn’t receive any mini aprons for the kids this month. I completely forgot that we were supposed to even receive one! Instead he handed B a plastic “hard hat” and his kit to make the birdhouse.

The kit came with everything you need to make the birdhouse, including; step-by-step directions, a birdhouse pin, and 2 suction cups that are used to help hang your birdhouse. I was really impressed with the directions and how thorough they were. Being a boy mom (or at least a mom to MY boy) I really have learned that my son loves to build and makes things. Luckily, so do I! And thankfully, I took stagecraft in high school so I know a thing or too about tools (hello, “righty-tighty & lefty-loosey”)! But, sometimes directions go over my head and I get frustrated. This time though – piece of cake!

It was really cute watching all of the kids work hard building their birdhouses. The website states this workshop is for ages 5-12, but they don’t check and I definitely saw kids younger than 5 there. Heck, my son isn’t 5 until June and he was there! Some parents let their kids lead the way and others did most of the building. There definitely were parts B needed some assistance, as hammering can get kind of crazy.

After the birdhouse was built we went over to the painting table. They offered 3 different paints, sponge brushes and paper plates. With no direction from me, the painting began. It’s always so special watching my son make something from his vision.

Once finished, I put B’s pin on his shirt and started to look around. The place had really filled up! Most of the kids had their aprons on from previous workshop, with pins all over them. It got me really excited to continue this monthly workshop. I really love the idea of bringing the community together to do something special. The whole project took about 45 minutes from start to finish. By the time we finished, there was a line down the parking lot and I think every spot was taken! It really was a lot of fun and I am looking forward to doing it again.

If you know me, then you know I am all about the activities. I don’t like TV or idle hands, so I try to squeeze in as many activities as possible. The fact that this was free was even better! We will definitely be back next month to make a windmill. To learn more about the Home Depot kids workshop in your area click here!

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