family · kids · mommyhood · oc living · socal living · stay at home mom life · toddlerhood · Uncategorized

Ruiz Famille Adventures at Adventure City & Knott’s

We were confined to stay close to home over Spring Break due to my high risk pregnancy, but I wanted to make sure the girls had a fun Spring Break. So we took the girls to two theme parks over the last weekend of Spring Break (the first weekend was filled with birthday and Easter celebrations).  Saturday we ventured out to Adventure City in Stanton and Sunday we ventured over to Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park.  After living in Orange County for over five years, we had yet to experience either, so we were pretty excited and had no idea what to expect.

Saturday: Adventure City

We chose to do Adventure City on Saturday because our 5 yr old had Jiu Jitsu in the morning and I had read that this theme park wasn’t very big, so we figured a few hours ought to be enough.

It was very busy when we arrived; hello! Spring Break!

However, the ticket line wasn’t too line and we even got a discount on my ticket for being pregnant (because I couldn’t really ride anything).  At $19.95 per person (ages 1-54), we felt the price was very affordable for the fun packed into this little theme park.  We also opted to purchase the fun card for the arcade.

The Rides

This IS a really small theme park.  However, there is so much packed into it! The girls were able to ride all but two rides together; even our 2.5 yr old got in on the action- (she’s tall for her age, but most are 42″ minimum to ride alone or must be accompanied by an adult). The only rides our youngest was too short for was Rewind Racers and the Drop Zone. However, while the Hubs took our 5 yr old on those, I took our 2.5 yr old for a few turns on the Carousel.  My favorite moment has to be when the girls experienced the Freeway Coaster; our 5 yr old was over the moon about being able to ride alone “like a big girl,” and made a friend in line to ride with.  Our 2.5 yr old was excited to experience her VERY FIRST roller coaster with Papi like her big sister.  Their faces filled my heart with delight.  I honestly didn’t even mind having to sit out because seeing their joy was all I needed.

Just look at these faces!

Another perk at this park that I really appreciated was that there is a plethora of seating scattered throughout the park for pregnant mommas, grandparents, or other non-riders so they can watch and enjoy their littles on the rides.  There’s also plenty of shade and restrooms are conveniently located as well.  If your child loves trains, I highly recommend the Adventure City Express Train that you can all enjoy as a family- it circles the entire park and goes through some fun areas like the birthday party rooms.

 

Additional Fun

In addition to the rides, there is also a little petting zoo, an arcade, a rock climbing wall, and a Thomas & Friends area. We didn’t make it over to the Thomas & Friends area or the rock climbing wall but my girls loved the petting zoo, especially our 2.5 yr old.

IMG_7921

The arcade was also pretty great; even though we did have one incident of our tickets getting jammed after a game, the staff took care of it quickly and efficiently.  I found that the games were really kid friendly and it was pretty accessible for the girls to earn tickets- much more so than Chuck E. Cheese.  Our 2.5 yr old loved the fish bowl game and the feed the dog game, our 5 yr old loved them all!  I highly recommend getting the Fun Card if you plan on hitting up the arcade; it’s definitely worth it and more than enough to split among two kiddos!

 

If you haven’t been to this little gem of a theme park, I highly recommend you check it out! Parking is free (although when busy you do have to go to the lot that’s a short walk further away.) They offer re-entry, stroller rentals, locker rentals, wheel chair rentals, there are plenty of food, snacks, and treats to munch on, and you can purchase gift cards for loved ones! Their hours vary and can be found on their website where you can also purchase tickets in advance:

Adventure City

If they offered annual passes, we definitely would buy!

 

Sunday, Knott’s Berry Farm: 

We went to Knott’s the last day of the Boysenberry Festival and we opted not to try the Boysenberry goodies (though they smelled and looked delicious) because the lines were insanely long and the girls were already anxious to get on the rides.  By the time we arrived it was lunch time (we had church in the morning) so we fueled up at Johnny Rockets because milkshakes and fries are the lunch of champs, right?

Our 2.5 yr old crashed on my lap on a bench while Papi and big sis’ rode two of the rides on the Boardwalk area next to Johnny Rockets. It turned out to be the perfect arrangement as by the time they were done, our little woke up and was ready to head to Camp Snoopy.  I will say it was very crowded and I overheard a passholder say that it was due to the Boysenberry Festival.   Regardless, our girls were very patient in line and I made sure to walk over to buy drinks and snacks for them while they waited in line. It also worked out that I couldn’t ride with them because I became the designated “potty-taker” for our potty training little!

The first couple rides took a good while due to the length of the lines.  But they were well worth it as our girls LOVED them.

Again, look at those faces! I think even Papi was a kid again!

While I was accompanying our 5 yr old in line for the Linus Launcher, on which she could ride alone, I got a call from the Hubs that our 2.5 yr old had injured her finger and he was running her to First Aid.  He told me to let our 5yr old ride the Linus Launcher (she was up next) and then meet him at First Aid.  Our 5 yr old loved the ride and mommy did her best not to show my stress and worry.

IMG_8097

So excited to launch!

Your daredevil little will love this ride because they’ll feel like they’re flying since they get to lay on their belly!

As soon as the munchkin got off the ride, we high-tailed it over to First Aid to meet up with Papi and little sis’.  It turns out our 2.5 yr old had put her finger in a hole in the wooden fence at the Ferris Wheel ride and it had gotten stuck.  My husband was unaware and went to pull her off the fence when the line moved forward and hear a “snap.” He was worried and convinced that her finger was broken.  Luckily, First Aid had an ER nurse available and upon examination deemed that as she could bend, wiggle, and move it; it wasn’t broken.  We applied ice for the swelling and we were good to go.  The EMT and nurse were so patient and kind with our little and told us what to look out for as we kept an eye on her finger.  Furthermore, the EMT asked us what rides we wanted to go on that we hadn’t yet had a chance to experience and called in express passes for us to each ride! So for our last hour in the park we got to speed through 5 rides plus a bonus one that had no wait time! It was very nice of them and thanks to them, the girls still had a great time!

 

I’m not sure that I would invest in annual passes at this stage in our little’s lives yet as they can pretty much only do Camp Snoopy.  It felt really pricey for what it was.  However, we do feel it was a great Spring Break surprise and the girls really enjoyed it!

IMG_7971

 

What did you do over Spring Break with your kiddos? Share in the comments!

Advertisements
kids · marriage · oc living · Uncategorized

Our Anniversay Date with Luzia

IMG_7421
Celebrating 12 yrs together at Cirque’s “Luzia”

My husband and I have been together for 12yrs, married for 5 of those years, and since one of our first experiences together as a couple was Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo, we often return to a Cirque show to celebrate special occasions together.  This anniversary that show was Luzia.

As this anniversary approached, we didn’t really have a plan; as I have been struggling with HG we were unsure whether I’d be up for an evening out.  However, at the last minute we were able to reserve tickets to Luzia and decided to make an evening of it.  To say that I’m glad we went is an understatement.  The show is just beautiful!

Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia is a mesmerizing love letter to Mexico.   The show beautifully embodies varying elements from Mexican culture; our folklore, our music, our customs, and our country’s riches.

The opening act begins with a voice over telling the audience to fasten their seat belts and set our phones to airplane mode as if we were on a flight to Mexico.  A spotlight focuses on a figure at the top of the Grand Chapiteau and we see a clown parachuting in the air held by a harness and invisible wire.  He brilliantly performs the physicality of an actual sky diver or parachuter which combined with his hilarious facial expressions makes for a highly comedic opening.

Upon landing, the clown embarks on a dream journey through Mexico which takes you through a variety of tastes of its folklore some traditional, some modern but all a vivid, vibrant, celebratory depiction of Mexico.  In true Cirque fashion; 16 creators under the artistic guidance of Guy Laliberte and Jean-Francois Bouchard expertly weave the mastery of acrobatics and circus flair with technological elements such as the projection of images in the falling “rain” and robotic watering can creatures to heighten the magic of the show. Between the daring acrobatics, the gasp-inducing caliber of talent onstage, the breathtaking costumes and scenery, and the music; the show is definitely a memorable experience.  Speaking of the music; if you’re a regular Cirque patron, you’ve likely noticed that Cirque productions have a distinct musical signature to their compositions and Luzia does not disappoint in that department.  If anything, it surpasses the expectation laid by its predecessor productions.  Somehow, in Luzia Cirque composer Simon Carpentier manages to brilliantly pay homage to Mexican musical styles like Mariachi, Cumbia, and Pop Latino  while maintaining the signature artistic sound that is unique to Cirque.  In fact, we loved the music so much that we bought the album.  We’ve only done that one other time!

While we didn’t take the munchkins with us to this show, because, well, it’s our anniversary and we wanted alone adult time; this show is completely family friendly.  In fact, there were several kids of varying ages in the audience.  Had it not been our anniversary, we would’ve treated our girls to this enriching experience as well.  The colors, the music, the scenery, and the acts are definitely something that will be enjoyed by the whole family.  If you do decide to make it a kid-free date night, I highly recommend springing for the VIP lounge passes.  We were so glad we did; it includes an open bar 45 minutes before the show which includes popcorn, treats, and non-alcoholic beverages (which this preggo appreciated), as well as a selection of wine and beer.  The lounge is also open during intermission which was considerably more comfortable than standing around for 25 minutes.  Again, this preggo really appreciated that!

IMG_7418
The hubby enjoying the VIP Lounge

The Grand Chapiteau is fairly small so most seats are good view; however, I would stay clear of outer edge seats on the side sections, those were blocked by the lighting and sound scaffolding.  Luzia is running until March 25th and I can’t recommend it enough!

 

Have you seen it? Or are you planning to see it? Drop me a line and let me know what you thought!

 

Disney · kids · summer · summer activities · toddlerhood · toddlers

Summer Playdays

Disney Summer Play Days

Since we first moved here in 2014, we have been attending the Disney Summer Play Days.  My good friend, Robin, (who at the time was my new friend), introduced me to this awesome annual event held at the Disney Store.

In the past, we had to be very organized and call our local store ahead of time to see what time the Play Days event would be held each day.  However, this year they have made the event time 3pm, across the board. (I would still call your local store to confirm, just to be safe! )

Every year, the Summer Play Days event hosts different activities ranging from trivia challenges, art activities, and audience participation.  The prizes have also differed each year; our first year the kids received a lanyard and earned pins.  Last year it was tsum tsum charm wristbands and this year it is embroidered character patches!

 

The Summer Playdays event officially kicked off on June 10th, but don’t worry! There’s still time to jump in on the fun!

IMG_0003
Nothing like Summer Play Days with our Peeps! (my girls never look at the camera lol)

Visit the Disney Store for more information.

This is a fun, free event that’s offered daily and is a nice excuse to get out of the house on a weekly basis.  Note; though the event is offered daily, it is not necessary to attend daily.  Each new badge is released on Wednesdays, however, they will continue to handout the same badge until the following Wednesday’s release (or until supplies run out).  While you’re there, you can peruse the Disney Store summer deals (there’s usually good sales! And the clearance area always has some good and inexpensive finds!).

Enjoy!

N

camping · kids · parenting · toddlers

Our Great Camping Adventure

A couple of months ago, my husband surprised me with this amazing Vegas weekend getaway for my birthday complete with tickets to incredibly shows; including Le Reve and Cirque’s Zumanity.  Naturally, I wanted to do something special for his birthday.  I remembered that he’d been talking about wanting to go camping and realized this would be the perfect way to celebrate his birthday during the long Labor Day weekend.  Specially since we hadn’t been able to go camping since 2008! 

In order to try to make the experience as seamless as possible, I made sure to book our reservation for Saturday through Monday back in July.  I also researched and chose more of a “resort” campground; “resort” in this context referring to access to bathrooms, port-a-potties, showers, a cafe/general store on site, and park patrol.  Since it was our first time camping with the kiddos, I felt more at ease knowing we were only a few miles outside of the nearest major city and that there was a payphone on site.

The campground I chose was Camp Williams in Azusa and for our purposes, it was PERFECT.  Even in holiday traffic it was only an hour drive from where we live, it had friendly staff, each spot was only a few feet from the creek and had a picnic table, a patrol circulated the campground regularly, you can only enter the campground by checking in and receiving the access code at the main gate (which made us feel safe), and had token-operated showers, bathrooms, and port-a-potties throughout.  The campground also featured a small cafe and general store.  Unfortunately, the cafe wasn’t open while we were there, but even still, I was able to replenish our ice by purchasing ice from the store and even bought a few additional drinks and treats.  They even lent us jumper cables when one of our car’s battery’s died! As I mentioned; very friendly and helpful staff indeed!

For being our first camping experience with the kids, we had a pretty pleasant experience.

Upon arrival, the kids immediately wanted to get in the creek:

They even made instant friends with some fellow Campers!

E & the munchkin gathering rocks to build their own dam

Even Melisey got in on the water action; a rare occurrence!

The Birthday Guy!     

As you can see, Camp Williams is also pet friendly which made the trip that much more special to us since our poor puppy hardly ever gets to come along on our trips these days!
The creek was a big hit; I specially appreciated how shallow it was so that the girls could play without me worrying too much; our baby G was particularly fond of rock collecting:

On our second day we decided to go exploring and found a trail.  It was quite an adventure as some of the trail was covered by dried tree branches and twigs but well worth the mini hike!

Our fearless explorer and her sidekick ready to embark on our exploration

“Treacherous” crossings! lol

Lots of beautiful scenery

We found a Teepee!
Someone spent a great deal of time on this…

My explorers!

Our puppy spotted a lizard!

Proud Papa leading his pack

That’s right; this momma hikes with a baby! 

Our lil’ camper enjoying her books on her sleeping bag

We opted to bring our 4Moms pack n’ play and it made all the difference!

Deep conversations in the creek…
Nature brings out so many smiles!
Playing a competitive game of Loteria!
Baby G and E love camping!

Pensive by the creek…

This was one of my favorite things about camping; watching my 4 year old just sit quietly by the creek as she sang, or just contemplated nature as she tossed pebbles in the water….No electronic devices…Just her and her thoughts.  It was a beautiful thing to behold.

Home sweet home for the weekend

The munchkin and Dad even spotted a snake!

One of the things that I feel helped a great deal was that I was extremely OCD about being overly prepared where the kiddos were concerned.  A few of the things that I packed that made our lives easier were:

1. Portable potty for Alexcia (we bought Potette Plus when we began potty training her for on-the-go and it has been so useful since!).  We also brought extra bags for the potty with us.
2. Baby wipes & Toddler flushable wipes
3. A large container of Wet One’s for hand-washing/disinfecting purposes.
4. Horizon travel milks (I wasn’t sure how easily accessible water would be for washing so I opted to not use sippy cups all weekend and just buy individual milks).
5.  Baby/Toddler Snacks: Gerber Yogurt melts, Gerber puffs, Gerber Ravioli meals, Gerber lil’ crunchies, etc.
6. Gatorade bottles, water bottles, and a box of Honest kids juice
7. First-Aid kit containing fun band-aids and neosporin as well as a cold pack
8. Bug Spray and Sunscreen.

There’s so much more we brought with us but these are the things that made our lives easier where the wee ones were concerned.  We also brought plenty of board games suitable for all ages and played Loteria, The Good Dinosaur Memory game (which our munchkin kicked our butts in!), my husband and nice E played an intense game of chess, and a silly late night game of Brain Games (which was hilarious; let’s just say it has a very apt way of making you feel completely moronic.)  And of course, lets not forget the smores! Tragically, to my great heartbreak, it turned out our munchkin did not like smores.  However, we were happy to have introduced her to this great camping tradition and that she at least tried it (thought I did question if she was in fact my kid….)

Overall, I’d venture to say it was a very successful trip and we are excited for our next camping adventure!

If you had any doubts about camping with littles: this picture says it all…

 Have you camped with your little ones? I’d love to hear some of your experiences and tips!