Monday, September 23, 2013

Fathering a Memory

This is the stuff that favorite childhood memories are made of. These are the moments that cast bonds between fathers and sons that transend the body and tie the spirit.

On this father-son day, it was the water that brought God into the moment. 

We joined our friends Brian and Ryan at Will Rodgers State Beach for the daddies to pass on a great love to their sons. Other great beaches to get cozy in the water or learn how to surf are Zuma tower 14, Mondos and Old Man's near San Diego.

On this day, I followed behind with my camera and an extra set of eyes. So glad I did.
 Howard with 5 yo Kaleb: here it comes!

 go Kaleb go!
not a big fan of water in the eyes
we did it!

With my dad, it was cowboy movies and action flicks. We watched Clint Eastwood bury the bad guys and medieval warriors storm castles. Not very active or enriching beyond the actual time we spent together. My brother, Danny couldn't recall our dad passing on any skills to him either. "He even hired someone to teach me how to drive a stick shift," he groused. Though he did report they watched the rise and fall of Mike Tyson on the tube together. I'm sensing a theme here. But in my father's defense, he immigrated us to this country and worked many hours each day to get us ahead. He was mostly just tired all the time.

All that hard work paid off. My father allowed my brother and me to spend days with our kids like last Sunday when the man I married got to share something that captured his heart with his sons.

And we got to hang out on the beach, just enjoying the day.

And we watched our kids gather the pieces of moments that will forever be the building blocks to their self worth and relationship with their own kids.

 Ryan and William (he's a little older)
 Brian and Jacob (he just looks a little older)
 watch out below!
Howard and Knox (the baby)

I'm going to be forever grateful for the sacrifices my father made for me to live the amazing life I get to live today.  It is the gratitude that will forever bind me to my father, instead of the memories of these types of moments. And it is with great compassion that I see the other hard-working fathers who have to sacrifice the time they could be spending with their families to make sure their kids can get ahead. 

These are the real undercover superheros.




Monday, September 2, 2013

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. 

video

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