Saturday we set out to celebrate The Bug's birthday. It's actually not quite here yet but we always celebrate on the second weekend of the month. You can read about our early day adventures here. It didn't start out too great and in fact we thought the day might be totally ruined in the first 30 minutes. But we were able to save the day and it turned out to be one of the sweetest days we've ever had. I think there was something nice in the day for everyone and we ended it on a very sweet note.
My goal for our family is that we take full advantage of living on Southern California and adventure out to all the different, super cool areas and activities. One of the adventures on my list was to return to Balboa Island. I went there once in college but literally have no memory of it. I was with a friend, it was nighttime. I've been wanting to get to know Orange County better so Newport was a great place to start. I've been to Newport a few times but I still don't know it well.
I decided we could make a fun day of several layers of activity. I imagined that everyone, but most importantly The Bug, would enjoy a variety of short activities that were things we didn't do frequently. We would take the ferry to Balboa Peninsula, take a boat tour of Newport Harbor, spend some time at the Fun Zone on the rides, take a ride on our bikes along the waterfront and spend some time on the beach. When we weren't able to get our bikes there, that part of my plan was over but we made more than a full day of it anyway.
We parked the car, walked to the Ferry and were able to walk right on. Five minutes later we were getting out tickets on the harbor tour and that sailed just ten minutes later. The tour was broken up into two 45 minute segments so The Man and The Bug went for food while we docked after the first leg of our journey going out of the harbor to where the sea lions gather. We started the second leg of our tour, the harbor area and homes of the rich and famous, with pizza and chicken sandwiches. This was just the beginning of the good eats for the day.
The entire 90 minute tour was really fun and interesting. The tour guide was a lot of fun and it was clear he lived in the area with his very current knowledge of local happenings and social scene The sun was bright, the breeze was lovely and we had the front row seat on the boat. Great view and a fun time together.
From here our day took an interesting and entertaining turn. The Bug wanted to ride the bucking "bull" bullshark at the Fun Zone. However a ticket for one ride was $10. But an entire day's pass was $30. The Man went and bought her a $30 pass thinking if she goes a few extra times and rides the other two rides she'll have made it worth it. Little did we know that we would spend the next three hours with her riding the three rides about 20 times. She was having a blast on the never-ending waterslide, housed within a big inflatable bubble, the bungy cord trampoline and the bucking bullshark Burt.
It was fun to sit in the sun and watch her. Over the course of the afternoon she became an expert at each event. She learned to do backflips on the bungy trampoline, she met other kids and took turns with them on the never ending bubble waterslide and each time she rode bucking Burt she ask for the operator to make Burt buck more wildly than the last time.
The Man and I took turns wandering around a bit while she had the time of her life. Eventually we pulled her away to walk around the island and get something to eat. By almost dinner time we had only traveled a few hundred feet onto the island. It seems The Man's major activity for the day was investigating food options. He was very interested to try the famous local specialty the frozen banana. He also found a spot that made great bacon, egg and cheese croissants and we stopped there for an early dinner snack. They were big so The Bug and I shared one.
As part of my Now Is My Time project, one of my major assignments is self-care. So I felt like it was a good opportunity for me to ask to do one thing that would be special for me on this day too. I asked if we could walk to the pier and watch the sunset from the beach. Beach sunsets are so good for the soul!
When we got to the pier there were dozens of people fishing, even families tag teaming the effort. People were pulling loads of small fish and quickly throwing their lines back in the water. The Bug spent quite a while watching the fishing operations. The sunset as expected was stunning. I have to say that asking for that opportunity and being able to share it with my family made me very happy and gave me a real sense of
As darkness overtook the island we stopped at the beach playground for a few minutes, then wandered a few shops. Then it was time for a treat. I think we were each very happy with our choices. I got a chocolate/vanilla swirl ice cream cone, The Man got a frozen banana and The Bug went way out and got a big back of cotton candy. We were all in heaven.
You'll laugh when you hear where we went next. Right back to the Fun Zone where The Bug added another 10+ rides to her bungy trampoline and bullshark riding tally. We could not believe she would be so entertained for the entire day there, but she kept going until she had totally run out of energy about the time they were closing at 8 p.m. About the same time The Man appeared with a basket of chicken fingers and hot french fries and a pulled pork sandwich. Holy delicious carnival food Bat Man. Boy did these treats hit the spot about that time of night, just as things were cooling down.
Sounds like a full day, right? But we still had two last hurrahs left. The Bug and her Dad had the cutest daddy-daughter ferris wheel ride and we ended the day off on a lovely little walk and wander along the waterfront homes path. It was so peaceful and quite with the water on one side and being able to enjoy a closer up view of the homes on the other side. There was something special about that walk, we were so happy together, contented, at peace, relaxed and joyful.
After that we headed back to the ferry and made the crossing to our car. The Bug quickly changed into clean, dry, warm clothes and we all got jackets on to warm up a bit before we headed home. It didn't take long before The Bug started exhibiting signs of total kid exhaustion and mentioned that she felt a little queasy. I can't imagine why?! I think we'd mentioned that possibility to her earlier...a few times. Before we even got to the freeway she was completely passed out asleep in the back seat.
While we were on our end of day walk we got the best report on the day we could've hoped for. She said, "Who would want a party and lots of presents when you could have this day instead? I had you guys, a boat ride, Fun Zone, the beach, harbor tour, ferris wheel. This was the best birthday celebration!" That made me so happy and I was glad all the planning and scheming we did in advance and scrambling we did once the car broke down all worked out to still give us the best day we could've given her. The smiles on her face were worth a million bucks.
This day was also great encouragement for me to keep planning fun outings in Southern California. I have another really special one up my sleeve and I'm more encouraged than ever to keep planning these weekend excursions. Can't wait for our next chance.