Friday, May 24, 2013

Knott's Soak City Open for Summer!

Great news for Southern California residents! One of the best ways to beat the heat this summer is Knott's Berry Farm's Soak City - especially now that Wild Rivers is no longer in business. I don't know about you, but the older I get, the more grumpy I become about hot weather. I do not want to spend my summer being too hot and uncomfortable, so I'm planning on being in water as much as possible (even though my bikini body isn't what I'd like it to be - yet).
My kids love this water play area!
Photo Credit: Knott's Soak City
As a mom of three non-proficient swimmers, we gravitate towards the relaxing, small-scale attractions. I love the lazy river and the wave pool. The kids love the interactive water play areas especially. I would so enjoy getting a cabana for the day this summer and live large; but I doubt it's in our budget.
Even though you're chillaxin', DON'T pee in the pool!
Photo Credit: Knott's Soak City
Here's some facts about Knott's Soak City in Buena Park:
  • 13-acre water park.
  • Designed with a Southern California theme inspired by the beach and surf hot spots of the 1950’s 
  • One of the safest water parks in the United States with excellent lifeguard staff. 
  • Pacific Spin is the most action-packed water adventure - it's a multi-person raft ride with a 132-foot long tunnel that drops 75 feet into a six-story funnel and ends in a waterfall splash. 
  • Other high-adrenaline attractions include Old Man Falls or Banzai Falls. 
  • Tidal Wave Bay wave pool is one of the world’s largest. 
  • Sunset River is 1,700-foot.-long (1/3 mile), the shape of a figure-eight and is one of the widest and longest lazy rivers anywhere! 
  • 35 private cabanas available for rent by the day and are furnished with lounge chairs and your own private dining area; complete with food service and free inner-tube rentals. 
  •   Open daily in the summer, May 25th through September 2nd and weekends only September 7th through 15th. 
  • Regular admission is $34.99 and $24.99 for juniors (ages 3-11) and seniors (62 and over). Kids under 3 years old are free. 
  • Knott’s Soak City Season Pass is valid at both the Palm Springs and Orange County locations. Prices are $59.99 for regular admission, juniors (3-11) and seniors (62+) currently; they will go up May 27th. Payment plans available as low as $9.99/month for six months.
  • Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel, adjacent to the water park, offers family vacation options including theme park and water park tickets - or (866) 752-2444. 
See you there?
LOVE this red polka dot retro bikini. 

*Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this awesome article!  No animals or children were hurt in the writing of this post.

We Lost a Lot of Good Men that Day

In Remembrance of Three Good Fish

We came home from work and school Wednesday with Blaze floating fins up in the fish bowl. The water was a little cloudy, so it was hard to tell where he was at first. That was Big Chickadee's fish so she was crying and doing a lot of blaming - basically going through the stages of grief. She blamed the L'il Chicken Hawk for the death, saying he put his hand in the bowl, moved the rock structure thus cutting off Blaze's fin so he couldn't swim.

I swiped up the tiny corpse in a paper towel, she petted him and we said a prayer and said our goodbyes. Then we flushed ol' Blaze down the toilet. Here are some of the condolences I gave, "He lived a good life." "We lost a lot of good men that day." "He gave us such joy." "We will remember him fondly." Daddy-O tried hard not to laugh, but I took it pretty seriously; dealing with death and showing kids how to grieve is an important right of passage.

I then set about putting fresh water in the bowl and creating a clean environment for the remaining two fish, Diesel and Elvis. After that, Elvis freaked out swimming from the top of the bowl to the bottom in a frenetic manner. I think he was concerned for his fallen comrade. Sadly, the next morning when we woke up and went to feed them, both Diesel and Elvis were lying fins up at the bottom of the bowl. Dead from broken hearts.

So we notified their next of kin, L'il Chickadee and L'il Chicken Hawk, and they took it fairly well. I saw a little tear in my daughter's eye when we flushed them down the toilet after the prayer. She told me, "I'm going to tell Mackenzie at school," with a sad little sniff. We all had heavy hearts that morning.

As I expected, the fish were a distant memory by the end of the day. They each took a peek in the fish tank as they walked by and saw their little guppies were still gone - swimming wild and free in ocean heaven by now. I had drained all the water out and left the pretty bowl out for a nice display. In my heart of hearts, I'm relieved we don't have to worry about getting a fish-sitter for the weekend when we're out of town, but keep that on the D.L.

Their lives with us were short - May 12 - May 22, 2013 - a total of 10 days. We will never forget you Blaze, Diesel and Elvis!  R.I.P.
Three Good Fish in Their Glory Days
Happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 17, 2013

If You Give a Mom a Fish Bowl

Diesel, Blaze and Elvis in their honky tonk saloon.
Here's proof that we're a family that loves to take on more responsibility! We just got each child their own guppie - one blue, yellow and orange. (This is in addition to our cat and our gentle giant dog as well as our full time jobs outside the home.)
I picked up this cute honky tonk aquarium for $1 at a garage sale - which was the inspiration for buying the fish. So, in going with the wild west theme, the fish's names are Diesel, Blaze and Elvis. I'm glad the kids finally came around to see things my way with their naming.

With the addition of these new fish and my new victory garden, I have no clue how we are ever going to go on a vacation again without paying a housesitter. Even a little trip seems complicated with the potential for loss of life for fish and plant life.

I told the kids that we'll watch and see whose fish is alive longest. Of course we had to review the basic, seemingly-obvious guidelines: 
  • Fish don't like to be pet like a cat
  • Fish don't breathe our air
  • You can't overfeed them
Of course, Day 1, they attempted all three fatal missteps. I think we properly educated them now though, so it hasn't happened again.

It probably is a little crazy to have so many pet responsibilities for such a busy family like ours. Both our adjacent neighbors are bachelors who keep their lives so simple and unencumbered. For me though, having living things to take care of and watch grow is really living. I want my children to have the companionship of childhood pets and the memories that go along with it. I couldn't imagine not having pets. But then again, it does make it harder to live spontaneously sometimes - very much like the effect kids have on your life. At least fish are easy to part with when they die (in my opinion). I cried at my first fish's funeral when I was a girl, but I recovered easily. Now I have a cold heart and wouldn't cry if any pet died. Kidding. 

It's funny though how fast the novelty wears off for the children. I am sensing their gradual disinterest in fish caretaking; I'll be the sole care provider in no time. How much you wanna bet? Which means the fish may die sooner than expected... But at least we'll have a beautiful fishbowl filled with colorful rocks and structure.

Boot Barn

Sunday, May 12, 2013

See Mom Play on Mother's Day!

I had an awesome Mother's Day filled with sun, fun, food, family and adventure!

Daddy-O let me sleep in an extra hour - until 7:00 am - which was not much, but much appreciated. We then hurried ourselves down to Dana Point Harbor for breakfast before every restaurant filled up. We didn't have reservations, because we're 'spontaneous' like that. We were lucky to get seated right by the window on the patio of the Wind and Sea restaurant and had a delicious buffet complete with bottomless mimosas; hell yeah! I loved looking at all of my homemade cards, drawings and poems the kids created at school and home. 

Dana Point Harbor, California
After walking around the harbor and looking at cute, beachy art exhibits, we hopped on a whale watching tour with Dana Wharf, with free champagne for moms; hell yeah! We saw a fin whale, some California sea lions and one 'Naughty Yachty' on our two hour tour. It was relaxing and beautiful and I questioned why we never do things like that more often; it's so close to home and so fun! It's uncanny that my day-to-day routine revolves around either being cooped up indoors at home or in the office as well as on the road between home, schools and work. Very unsatisfying. 

Fin Whale Sighting; Dana Point, California
Bottomless Champagne for Mother's Day!
California Sea Lions; Dana Point, California
After our tour, we went to Green Thumb Nursery to pick up stuff to start a vegetable garden in our backyard - as if we need to take on more responsibility. But, I'm discouraged with the state of our backyard and I thought we could put the space of dead grass for a higher purpose before we have to resort to a rock garden. I am a little unclear at what all it will require to maintain our new garden, but I'm hoping to make a few salads out of it by the end of the summer. I'm concerned that we spent more than we'll get out of it, but I have faith that it's going to be a rewarding experience regardless of the trouble. We planted a raspberry bush, blueberry bush, corn, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, green beans, basil and cilantro. We got the seedlings so we don't have to fuss with growing them from seeds. Cross your fingers for us! 
My little Victory Garden. I will not succumb to defeat!
I ended the day surrounded by piles of laundry as usual, but all in all, it was an excellent Mother's Day and I feel loved and cherished. How was your Mother's Day? 
Surfside Sports

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Gladiator in Training

My intent to go to the gym after work for once actually worked tonight! Daddy-O left work early to pick up all three kids which allowed me to go to the gym solo and unencumbered - what a novelty!

I did 15 minutes on the elliptical machine, 10 minutes on the treadmill (without peeing my pants - yay) and then I did a 60 minute Body Pump class (weight lifting with lots of reps set to music in a group setting). I am very proud of myself and I know I'm going to be sore tomorrow. I'm on a mission to tone my office ass and get my flat, tone stomach back. I say no to plumpness!

My friends and I signed up for the Gladiator Rock and Run race at the Irvine Great Park on June 8th, so I really need to be building my endurance and strength. Otherwise I may just be hanging out at the beer garden at the finish line instead of tackling the obstacles like a stud.  But really, I'm having buyer's remorse; I should have just signed up to be a cheerleader on the sidelines. I'm not quitting now though.

All this in the name of recreation and work life balance!