Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Finding adventure

In my quest to find new things to do and places to explore in the overly familiar OC, I came across Heritage park. A charming park made up of a cluster of colonial style buildings with playgrounds hidden in each one, all set on a man made island surrounded by a moat. One of those places where kids could spend hours exploring every nook and cranny, letting their imaginations and energy run wild. That is if it's not a sweltering 100 degrees outside. The indoor playgrounds did offer relief from the sun, but with sweat dripping down their red faces we packed it up and headed out but vowed to come back.  

A flat tire wasn't on the agenda and was made worse when we couldn't find the lock to get the wheel off. A long grumpy hour or so was spent in a parking lot on the side of the road, but thankfully we eventually got on our way again.

We headed to Balboa Island, walked the boardwalk, ate some ice cream then rented bikes and road along the Newport Beach boardwalk. This was one of my favorite parts of our trip. The adorable beach houses, blue skies, sunshine, family time, crashing waves...just so iconic California. And that surry bike made for a killer quad work out. We just finished Christmas, but going through these pictures is making me crave a summer vacation!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Knott's Berry Farm

Today was a turning point. No crying, no strollers, no anxiety about kids running off and everyone was tall enough for the rides they wanted. Today marks the first day I actually enjoyed going to an amusement park.

This just about broke my heart. Ryder loved the flying space ship at Aussie World, but this flying ship was a different story. With every drop he let out the most heartbreaking grunting cry. I felt so helpless. I got up to ask them to stop the ride when it began to slow down and he could finally get off. Poor, poor baby.

After recovering from the trauma, he fell in love with this ride and asked to go on it over, and over and over, and over....

And Maddox discovered his love for roller coasters, I was impressed how he conquered the big ones like a champ

Today was a good day. No, today was a great day. Today was a game changer.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Palm Springs

Before we left NZ I was determined to come back and do more exploring in our own back yard. Our first school break was coming up and I had a whole list of places we could explore, but when it came down to it the kids (and Jason) would much rather go to California and ride roller coasters than watch the world famous hot air balloon festival in New Mexico. I was a tad bit disappointed, but even though we've been to Cali more times than I can count, we managed to find a few new things to check out. Everyone was happy in the end. We've driven through Palm Springs countless times, admiring the hundreds of windmills but never stopping. Jason found this gondola ride up the mountain, and although I admit I was a little hesitant at first, given my track record with panic attacks on these things, but I'm so glad we went. It was such a beautiful and peaceful way to spend the day. This was the first time since we've been back that I felt I could completely devote all my time and attention to my family. Sunshine on a crisp day, wooded hiking trails, nature scavenger hunt, picnic on the rocks and zero distractions. My happy place.