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

Ruiz Girls Flower Fields Adventure

Since we had to cancel our spring break travel plans due to the complications in my pregnancy; I had been determined to find fun day activities to do with the girls over their spring break last week.  To my surprise, I discovered that I hadn’t missed the Flower Fields in bloom this year! Jack Pot.  I also made weekend plans for the four of us to go to Adventure City and Knott’s but more on that later.  Without hesitation, I packed us plenty of snacks and changes of clothes for the potty training little.

Having never been there before and only having seen photos, I had no idea what to expect.  For the record, there are bathrooms located conveniently throughout the fields and port-a-potties in the most remote parts of the fields, so I wound up not really needing to use our portable potty.  Also, they sell delicious fresh squeezed lemonade, ice cream, and other delicious treats and snacks as well.  We stuck to our packed snacks due to my GD management and because we had lunch plans, but next time you bet we’ll at least munch on some funnel cake!

We bought our tickets online so we were able to proceed straight through the entrance; gotta love mobile ticketing!

As soon as we arrived, we ran toward the fields (the girls ran, I waddled behind lol) to get some photos. The fields have convenient little bridges to cross over the water ditches and designated photo op areas.  It’s important to remember that you are not allowed to go into the flowers or cross over the green tape; the flowers are blocked off to protect them and the people who ignored this rule were caught- there are staff patrolling the area in golf carts ensuring the flowers are left alone.  So, don’t be that person 🙂

 

The flowers are quite an extensive walk, so I opted to get us the wagon tickets which are $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 3-10.  You can buy them at the entrance with a card, or at the wagon waiting area in cash.  They also have an ATM located at the entrance for your convenience.  I’m so glad that I opted for the wagon ride into the fields; the girls loved the ride and we were able to see and enjoy more after since we weren’t too tired from all the walking.

Even though we got an overcast day, the girls and I had a blast and we got some awesome photos.

Not to mention the girls got many a compliment on their Latinx tees from Chiquitin Clothing!

After we finished our wagon ride and taking photos in the fields, we began the girls’ scavenger hunt.  They each had been given a “stamp passport” and told to look for the orange flags throughout the fields; when they collected all 8 stamps they could turn in their passports to the Mining area for a dollar off the mining fee ($4) where they can pick a pail of sand and sift through it themselves to discover gemstones which they get to take home!  The girls are still very excited about their gemstones and jealously care for them a-la “My preciousssss.”

 

 

As we went along collecting stamps and exploring, we found a couple more beautiful photo op spots, a little aviary with some interesting birds which the girls stopped to look at, and eventually came across this awesome little play area, “Santa’s Playground.” It was the most darling little playground!

 

Just look at how darling and fun this little playground is!!! AND there are benches where parents can just sit, relax, take pics, observe, enjoy their lemonade, etc.

 

We also really enjoyed running, (again I waddled), through the Sweet Pea maze- and oh so fragrant!

 

Even though it was a cloudy day and we got surprised by some drizzle, the day trip down to the Carslbad Flower Fields was a fun and successful one.  At $16 per adult and $8 for kids 3-10 yrs old, the trip was not only worth it but truly memorable.  And who doesn’t love taking pics of flowers?!  The flower fields will continue to be open to the public for the season until May 13th, 2018.

 

 

 

mommyhood · Uncategorized

Classifieds: Overwhelmed Mom of Two Seeks Lifetime Mom Bestie

wanted_ mom squad

A few weeks ago I met this really cool mom via my daughter’s school friend.   My daughter and her son had been begging for a playdate at each other’s houses and the teacher finally put us moms in touch.  After hosting her son at our house, she offered to host us at hers.  I arrived with my girls to their house on a Monday afternoon.  I hadn’t yet met her as I had picked up the kids from school for our playdate and the sitter had picked her son up at my house (We live a block from the school.)

She invited me in for coffee while our children played and within the hour we had bonded over both our, now cold, and full cups of coffee.  We had spent the hour intermittently jolting up mid-sentence to address a trip to the potty, mediate sharing battles, or check on the older children in the backyard. We also bonded over the fact that both our husbands were attorneys and apparently both our husbands hide away for half an hour to change when they come home- which drives us both nuts.  But by far, our  greatest common ground was that neither of us felt like we fit in with other moms in our area…  This momma spoke my language; she too didn’t fit in with the chic, put-together, corporate housewives with the perfect nails, Tory Burch flats, and fresh-from-the-salon blowouts.  She also expressed that she also didn’t fit in with the organic, fresh-squeezed, home-grown, home-made crunchy mom groups.  We seemed to share the same sarcastic tone and live in the same state of “multiple child-rearing chaos.”

I must admit, I think we may have overstayed our welcome; I tried to leave some six or seven times but our children were having a blast and we seemed to enjoy our, albeit consistently interrupted (mom life, am I right?), conversation.  So, three hours later we were finally in our car and headed back home.

My hubby was already home by the time we got back and bless his heart; I talked his ear off about this new potential mom friend for about two hours.

The next day I agonized over whether to text her or not.  Is it too soon to text her? Does it make me seem desperate? If I do text her, what do I say? Is it too soon to invite them back over to our house? Or out for coffee? I don’t want to come off as needy…

Then it hit me, how much making mom friends as an adult is like dating…

I opted to text her thanking her for her hospitality and offering to reciprocate

I have to agree with Bunmi Laditan; there really should be a match.com type site for moms seeking like-minded momma friends.  I even thought what my profile would say:

Mom of two under 5 seeking Lifetime mom bestie/mom squad. Must love coffee; coffee is life.  Must not be afraid to admit that motherhood is not all rainbows and butterflies. (If you’re one of those “Motherhood is a blessing and technicolor dream 24/7” moms; please move on.) If you enjoy making handmade crafts, that’s cool; just please don’t try to recruit me; glue guns/needles/insert-crafting-tool-here and I don’t mesh well.  Bonus: If you love binge-watching Gilmore Girls and Friends on Netflix over and over. Bonus: If cooking terrifies you.  Bonus: If you obsessively buy books you most likely won’t get around to reading for another ten years.  Mega Bonus: If you’re Latinx and speak Spanish.

 

Come to think of it…I hate that Bunmi put the idea of such a site in my head…it’s such a complete disappointment that it doesn’t exist. In fact, I feel like if Bunmi lived here or I lived in Canada, we’d likely be besties.

 

 

kid parties · mommyhood · parenting

Birthday Parties: To Combine Or Not To Combine?

Last year in August, three weeks before her little sister arrived, our munchkin girl had her last solo birthday party.  Once our second bundle of adventure arrived later that month, we knew we’d eventually have to answer the question of whether or not to combine their birthdays.

After some thought and discussions we opted to combine the girls birthday parties.  Our reasoning was three-fold; 1. The girls are close enough in age (three years to be exact), that the activities and themes wouldn’t be too age-inappropriate for either, 2. Most of our family and friends live out of town in San Diego and Los Angeles respectively; One celebration in the middle of the month between both their birthdays is much more accessible to our loved ones than a party at the beginning of the month and then again at the end of the month! And finally, 3. In today’s economical climate, it just makes more sense.  We are aware that our eldest will reach her teens while our youngest is still very much in childhood and we figure at that point we will give our eldest the option to opt out of a party and have a small outing with a few of her friends.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; we still have at least nine years before the dreaded teen years.  Let me stay in my bubble of denial a little while longer.

But I digress.

Once we decided to throw a combined birthday fete, I needed to pick a theme, because if you’ve met me for even five minutes you’ve come to know this about me: I never throw a party without a theme.  EVER.   Anyway,  I needed something versatile; something that would work for both my baby’s milestone first birthday and my munchkin turning four.  Cue my ever-so assertive munchkin; “Mami, I want a Jurassic World Cake!”  And like that I had a theme; Jurassic World… Oh, and I get to try to make it work for my one year old and her similar-aged baby besties.  CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

This was the first time we were throwing a big party in the backyard of our new home so my first order of business was to find what would hopefully become our go-to party rentals company.  After extensive research I took a chance on Guamos Jumpers and I’m so happy that I did; they offer wonderful package deals with the bounce house rental at very affordable prices.  The next item on my to-do list was to book a caterer to feed our friends and loved ones; we are Latinos and it is in our blood to be all-inclusive in our celebrations so our parties are usually never under 30 people.  This particular fiesta was planned for 50 adults, 18 children, and five babies.  A few weeks of extensive research and cold calls later; I took a chance on Tacos Las Reinas which was the most delicious decision.  Seriously, these ladies can cook! The tacos were as we say in the motherland, “para chuparse los dedos (so tasty that you lick your fingers)”  Rentals; check. Food; check.  Up next; the entertainment.  After our Dino Days excursion (see June’s post), I knew that the “Jurassic” critters that we had encountered had to make an appearance at the girl’s Dino Bash.  Jurassic Parties to the rescue; just check out the photos below!  Rentals; check.  Food; check.  Cool Jurassic reptiles; check.  Let’s not forget the cake! This year my goal was to minimize stress so I went with Albertson’s cakes and they did a fantastic job.

Thanks to Pinterest, I found a few cute ideas to accent the ambience and theme of the party; a dinosaur excavation site (special thanks to E for making the bones!), the munchkin’s dino friends scattered among the tables donning party hats, some dinosaur balloons, dino nuggets, and a failed attempt to make the fossil print sugar cookies from Pinterest because it’s not Pinterest unless you feel like a complete domestic failure.  Someday, most likely soon, I’ll write about my complicated relationship with Pinterest.  Why can’t I quit you, Pinterest?!

But I digress.

I have to say; none of this would have been possible without the loved chosen family (a term I use for those friends who have become the family you choose).  They know who they are; our girls’ Auntie D, Uncle R, and E who ran to pick up the cake that I forgot to pick up and who handled putting together the balloons and took care of my youngest so that I could be Mamarazzi, official photographer of the event.  And Auntie M who drove up the day before to help me run errands, prepare the things we could do the night prior, and who kept me from an emotional breakdown during my fossil print sugar cookie debacle of 2016.  Without these amazing people, this momma couldn’t have pulled it off.

This year was a success, don’t ask me about next year, I’ll be in denial about next year’s party for the next 8-9 months.

Party hat-wearing Dino guests

A few food pouches for the wee party guests
  Dinosaur Excavation Site (an any age party favorite)

Matching Family-saurus Tees by PricelessKids
Runaway Brachiosaurus balloon…
 One of the birthday girls; our fearless munchkin, wearing one of the Jurassic Parties critters; the Royal Python
Eek! 
Jurassic World Cake! (complete with volcano)

 Our sweet peach is 1! Baby Dino Smash Cake!

 Our birthday girls 🙂
Cake Smash!!!

An Adopt-A-Dinosaur table to thank our guests

Disneyland · family · mommyhood · parenting · toddlerhood

Our Disney Escapade

This past weekend we decided to spend the day between the Disneyland and California adventure parks; it was Dad’s bday weekend and he wanted to go. Since the munchkin and I frequent the park with our friends (we’re AP holders), we decided this day would be all about what Dad wanted to do. We caught all the shows we could squeeze into one day and even visited the Animation Academy in California Adventure since we’d never been in there before; by the way, this is an excellent place to hideout from the heat! 
(Heading out to Disneyland with Elsa and Winnie in tow)
(Let’s not forget the Elsa & Anna tee and Sofia the first sneakers!)

Our first stop was one of my husband’s favorite shows, (and it helps that our munchkin is obsessed with it too); Aladdin the musical. This show never gets old, and we snagged incredible seats this time; fourth row center and isle seats! (See photos below)

Up next was the Mickey & The Magic Map show at the Disneyland park followed by The Beauty & The Beast show at the Royal Theatre, (which my husband can’t get enough of. These guys are the kings of puns and one liners)
As we were leaving the Royal Theatre we noticed the Reception Hall wait was only 10 minutes, since we’ve never gone in, we decided to check it out. I knew this was where you meet the princesses; that particular day they were Snow White, Ariel, and a surprise royal guest (Cinderella). Now, I didn’t think Our munchkin would really care about them because A. She’s only seen The little mermaid and Beauty & The Beast out of the classical princess movies and B. She’s never shown much interest in any aside from Elsa and Sofia the First.
Now, if you don’t know me, you might now know that I’ve spent a significant amount of energy resisting introducing my toddler to the classic Disney princesses world. In fact, she saw The Little Mermaid while I was away.  My reasons are that I want her to see those movies when she has developed a little bit more of a criteria for herself on the princess stereotype. I want her to strive to be more than just a princess. I want her to know that she’s strong enough on her own; she need not wait for Prince Charming or a fairy godmother to rescue her or change her circumstances. And I acknowledge that Disney has taken significant leaps in the direction of changing with the times and writing princesses that are more self-sufficient, multi dimensional characters that little girls can look up to. Still, I resisted the princess thing until I couldn’t; it started with Sofia the First. I figure, at least Sofia teaches young viewers strong morals like how to handle challenges in friendships or staying true to your moral compass in spite of outside pressures, being yourself, and (my favorite); just because you’re a princess or a girl doesn’t mean you can’t compete in derby’s or participate in outdoor activities. 
Where was this going? Oh yeah:
So here we are about to meet three Disney classic princesses.  I couldn’t have imagined my munchkin’s reaction:
She was shy but in complete awe. It was as if her facial expression was saying, “you’re real!”
If there’s an equivalent of starstruck for toddlers, this was it. (See pics below).

Cinderella even told her how she was friends with Sofia (after seeing her Sofia the first sneakers) and our munchkin also showed her her Elsa doll. 

So yes, I’ve fought the good fight where the princess thing is concerned, but I must say, after seeing our munchkin’s face light up and witnessing what a magical moment this was for her; there’s not way I would trade that in. I figure she’s getting plenty of “more than just a princess,” toys, books, and empowering messages from me at home 😉
After our royal Disney encounter, we crossed back to catch the Disney Jr. Show but our peanut passed out so we decided a late lunch break was in order before the Pixar Play Parade. Let me tell you, the water spraying features in that parade were very welcome. In fact, I would say the soldiers guns, the alien’s laser blasters, and the gas nozzles the dancers carry in cars could all be additional soakers. Just sayin’.

(Knocked out for exactly one hour, she awoke when the Pixar parade music started!)

After the Pixar parade we crossed back over to Disneyland to catch the Frozen float and the Mickey’s Soundsational Parade. Our munchkin’s Elsa doll caught sight of Elsa (see photos) and she waved at her and made an “I’m flattered” gesture. Our peanut was elated!
(“Elsa! Elsa!”)
(Elsa spotted her doll!)

(“Bye bye, Elsa!”)

We crossed back over, ventured into the Animation Academy where we learned to draw Minnie Mouse in Steamboat Willie and took a break from the blazing heat 🙂
We ended our night with a prime viewing spot of the World of Color show; courtesy of our fast pass.
It was the perfect family birthday outing that my loving hubby wanted and deserved 🙂 Yay for APs! 
What has been your favorite or most memorable Disney visit?