Category Archives: FuN ThiNgS to do wiTh KiDs

A Crazy Idea

They said it couldn’t be done. A girlfriend said the thought alone gave her an anxiety attack. But I did do it. And it wasn’t so bad.
I took my son to Hurricane Harbor and Magic Mountain….on the same day. And we went without my husband. 
It could have been much worse. The morning we planned to go, my other son, 5 year old Kaleb opted out. He said he didn’t want to go, that he’d rather go to sports camp or hang out at his friend’s, our neighbors, house. He’s not really into waterplay, didn’t know we’d also be going to Magic Mountain and is definitely a handful. Maybe two. So I didn’t argue and let him go play while 3 year old Knox and I sped off to meet our friends at Hurricane Harbor. We didn’t hurry because we have season passes.
The water park is divided into sections. The little kids section is called Castaway Cove and there is more than enough to do there to last a whole day if your kids are under 54″. A multi-level structure with spouting water coming from all directions, attached water slides, water cannons and even a tire swing, sits in the middle of the shallow water “cove.” 

 It is flanked by a few other water slides that can be ranked from “flat – scoot your tushy down by pushing your hands to move” 


 to “yes you’re actually moving and can get a decent ride but nothing too scary.” 

Knox had fun getting his hair wet with his friend, Haley. 

 He also loved the River Cruise although I felt like we needed a bath in disinfectant after we left that lazy latrine river. It didn’t smell or anything but there were just so many people, it creeped me out. He also loved the Forgotten Sea Wave Pool with its programmed waves but you have to either hold on to your kid or put him in a raft or life preserver (which you can rent or are provided) because the waves can get rambunctious.
There are plenty of lounge chairs provided by the park but even though there are so many, they get taken fast. So, either get there early or use the lockers for your stuff. Chances are you’ll only be using the chair as a place holder or meeting spot for your group.
For older kids there is another section called Splash Island that is a little more thrilling and has height requirements between 36″ to 40″ – although when I went on another day with my husband, we took 36″ Knox down all the slides his heart desired. He likes water and being splashed and it appeared the ride attendants didn’t mind as long as we were watching.
There is a 100 gallon water bucket overhead there….that slowly fills up…..

And then dumps down

Knox loved it. Kaleb, (on the previous trip) not so much.
Eventually Knox complained about being cold (the water is cool which is great on a normal triple digit temp day, but on this day it was only in the low 80s) so we decided to walk across the park to Magic Mountain.
We had bought a season pass last year for both parks because there is this little known section in Magic Mountain called Bugs Bunny World http://www.sixflags.com/magicmountain/rides/kidsrides.aspx 
that has a couple small roller coasters and a bunch of slow moving, animated rides. There’s also a multi-story  “clubhouse” called Looney Tunes Lodge where kids can run around, climb, slide and blast each other with foam balls. And there are usually no lines for any of it. After experiencing the hours long wait times at Disneyland, this was a very appealing selling point for us.
Last year they also featured a live show with all the Looney Tunes characters in which both my boys loved to participate. It makes for great home videos. 


It wasn’t playing this time but I hope it comes back.
On this day, Haley and Knox got to ride the roller coaster,

Cruise on a practice date in their jeep,

And cuddle in Bugs Bunny’s house on his oversized pink sofa chair.

Knox even got to test his strength in the Strong Man hammer game. 



He didn’t actually ring the bell but after paying the modest $5 game fee, everyone is a winner. So, he walked away with a Batman cape for his effort.
It was a great day. Knox was a great listener. And we can’t wait to go back.

You can read the LA Parent version of this post HERE

Living Life On the Sidewalk

How many of us are waiting for something to happen so our “real” life can begin? When I graduate from college then my life can start. When I get married, when I have a baby, when I get that job, when we move into that new house….I know I fall into this category. Over and over again. I’m always waiting for the next big thing to happen so my life can really start.

Yesterday I shared a moment with my children when they discovered caterpillars on the park sidewalk.

I’m not sure if they too are already fantasizing about the day their “real” lives will begin (though I do hear Kaleb say things like, “Mommy when I turn five, then can I watch Power Rangers?” ~ he just turned four!) but it was at that moment that I realized that this was my actual life and it was already happening! I’ve done most of the stuff on my list: I graduated from college. I had a fulfilling career. I met an amazing man and married him. I had two incredible children and inherited one from my husband. My life is on. There is no reason to keep delaying my full appreciation of it.

I recently heard that people don’t realize that they’re happy until the moment’s over. That made me so sad. It made me want to horde every moment so I can use every bit of it up while I still had it. Everything changes. Sometimes not fast enough, sometimes much too fast. But once it’s gone, it’s just a memory. I’m going to try and make my memories ones of moments I don’t regret not appreciating.

Kinda Camping

If you put your face close enough, these days, Kaleb may reach up and give it a squeeze. He may explore your cheeks with soft, tentative fingers and sometimes you might even get a heartbreaking giggle. And if you’re still standing, he’ll knock you over if he accompanies this burst of love with a cavernous display of his toothless gums. Or maybe that’s just me.


He’s really gotten very social lately. He smiles at strangers when they stop to compliment him in a store (as mommy tries to slyly back away from the nice, potential germ-carriers).

He used to cry when someone would stick their faces to close to his “turf” but no longer. He may glance at me for a quick smile of reassurance and then he’ll turn it on for his guest.

His mystery crying has stopped. I guess he’s old enough to start becoming a bigger part of this world (see previous entry). If he cries, there’s a tangible explanation. Mostly it’s because he’s tired. Mommy will sometimes lug him around because she’s still learning to live between nap times. Sometimes it’s hunger (And that’s a particularly loud one. No mistaking that one for say – boredom).

The hair blow dryer has become my best friend. Times when he’s too tired and fussy to sleep are quickly remedied with a 10 minute blast of rushing air (pointed away from the baby, of course!). I tried this as a potential remedy when I read that this “white noise” mimics the sound he heard in my womb. I don’t know, I wasn’t there but I’ll tell you – it works like a charm.

Turns out he’s a multi-tasker. He’s found his thumb and will suck on the little bitty thing whenever his heart desires. And sometimes it desires right in the middle of mealtime. Boob will compete with thumb for oral terrain. And sometimes he’ll miss his mouth and instead stick his thumb in or on his nose or maybe his eye. Occasionally it’ll end up in his ear.

We went camping last week. Well, kinda camping. We rented a motorhome so the baby would be more comfortable.


Now, I have always had very strong opinions about people who camp in motorhomes (Howard always laughs when I go down this road). When you have access to a bed and don’t have to walk across a campground in the middle on the night to pee, you’re not camping. When you can watch a DVD on a giant TV set and listen to the radio, you are not roughing it. I know some may disagree but I don’t care. If you don’t have to give up some of the modern conveniences to focus instead on the beauty of nature and your inner strength to endure it, what is the point of leaving your living room? Just make a day trip.

Anyway, we rented a pretty sweet 33-foot motorhome “for Kaleb’s sake.”

We parked it at our favorite surf beach in San Onofre.

And took turns surfing.


Kaleb joined in on the fun.

Though his “board” is the land-locked training wheel version.

(duh)

Our friend Rebekah came down to join us for the day.

And my college friend, Kelly also visited with her two little girls.

They actually camped!

We played Trackball.

 

We made s’mores by the campfire.

We had a blast.

Camping is fun in a motorhome. Even if it’s not all that rough.