Lil’ Strikers Bumper Bowling League

A big part of me has wanted to take the girls bowling. The other part of me thought I was crazy, and so did my husband. However, I found the perfect opportunity to give the sport a chance, in an environment that welcomed my two, high-energy, preschoolers.

My husband is on vacation this week, and so are the girls, so I figured with man-to-man coverage, we would head to an alley. I started searching for bowling alleys nearby, and I stumbled across Saddleback Lanes in Mission Viejo. As I clicked on their website, one banner quickly caught my eye:

bowling banner
bowlingWait. A bowling league, that welcomes three-year olds, and is twin friendly?  This is phenomenal.  I immediately called Saddleback Lanes  to find out more information!

The Lil’ Strikers Bumper League is a 10 week league, but you can join anytime. The league meets on Mondays at 4 p.m. and the cost is $8 per person, which includes shoe rentals and two games of bowling! Since you are technically in a league, you also receive discounts when you return to the alley throughout the week. At the end of the league, the kids enjoy a pizza party and receive a trophy! We went on Monday, Aug 25, which was week 9 of the current league. The next league is expected to start in mid-September.

Every team in the league has 3 bowlers. Your team consists of 1 parent and 1 child or 1 parent and 2 children.  If you are only bowling with one child, then you will have a ghost bowler on your team. When the child bowls, the bumpers automatically come out. When the parent bowls, the bumpers go away. Bowling ramps are provided for the little ones, who can’t throw the ball down the alley yet and the kids bowl with six pound bowling balls.

bowling2We chose to make a 3-person team. My husband bowled with the girls and I was the safety monitor to make sure they were sitting down when everyone else was bowling, not getting over excited and running into the wrong lane after they knocked their pins down, and not pressing all of the buttons on the computers.

StrikeThe only problem we encountered was when Chelsea bowled a strike. She was on the verge of tears because she did not understand why she did not get to throw her second ball. Catastrophe.

By the end of our second game, Katelyn wanted to hurl her balls down the alley like daddy, so it was probably a great time to go.

For their first time bowling, the girls did great! Kate bowled a 74 and 82 and Chelsea bowled a 71 and 88. (Oh, and Daddy bowled a 225 in his second game. There. Now, it’s on record.)

Everyone had a blast and I am so glad we found this opportunity to introduce bowling to the girls. I have a feeling we will be laying some more pins down in the near future!

For more information on the Lil Strikers Bumper Bowling League, contact:

Saddleback Lanes
25402 Marguerite Parkway
Mission Viejo, CA 92692
949-586-5300

Cal Elite Kids: The One Stop Shop

I’ve been excited for the girls to turn three because I have wanted to sign them up for gymnastics or dance class. They are old enough to be in a class with just the teacher, and not a mommy and me class, and they are old enough to tell me what they do and do not like, which they happen to be great at!

The mommy and me classes do not always work for a mommy of twins. I could never do the parent and me swim, because I was outnumbered. We tried a parent and me soccer class, but when they knew I was there, one would get clingy and one would get crazy. The mommy and me gymnastics was hard, because while I was helping one, the other one was probably jumping off the highest balance beam she could find. Mommy and me classes typically equaled stress for Mommy.

Finally, they could be in a class, that they picked themselves, and I had the opportunity to sit back, relax, and enjoy watching them do something they love.

We stumbled upon a wonderful facility, Cal Elite Kids, in Rancho Santa Margarita, that offers a variety of programs including dance, gymnastics, swimming, tumbling, preschool and so much more! They also allow you to try your first class for free, which was magnificent!

First we tried gymnastics. My girls are balls of energy, so I was certain this would be the class they would choose. They were in the Tumblebees program, which is a 45-minute class designed for 2.5 to 4 year olds. It was absolutely adorable and I was pretty sure the deal was sealed when they saw the long trampoline they got to run across! But of course, I wanted to give them the opportunity to try the dance class before we made a decision.

So we did a trial class of preschool dance. They were in the Twirly Bees class, another 45-minute class designed for 2.5-4 year olds. The dance class started off with ballet. It was super cute, but I was still sure the trampoline from gymnastics would win their vote. Then, they got to put on tap shoes. Contest over. Dance wins. Shoes, that make music, on the floor? They were over the moon excited. All they want to do is wear their tap shoes now.

We also did a trial class of preschool swimming. The Waterbugs class is a 30-minute class designed for 2.5 to 4 year olds. There is a 4:1 student / teacher ratio in the class. They are introduced to age appropriate skills, that will progressively teach them how to swim.

Cal Elite Kids is fabulous and the prices are definitely competitive which is super important when you’re paying for two! It’s your one stop shop for classes, open gym, and yes, even parent’s night out!

Every Saturday night, parent’s night out is offered for children ages 3 and up, who are fully potty trained. You can drop them off from 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. for $22 per child or 5:30 – 11:30 p.m. for $32 per child! If you haven’t had a night out in a while, here’s your opportunity, and you know your kids will be having a ball while you are gone!

We are so glad we found Cal Elite Kids and look forward to watching our girls faces light up with excitement, every time we walk in their front door!

Cal Elite Kids
22982 Avenida Empresa
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA. 92688
Ph. (949) 589-1512
http://calelite.com

The Ultimate Preschooler Birthday Party

First of all…how is it even possible, that the girls just turned 3? I am completely baffled by that number. It seems like just yesterday I was holding two 5 pound babies in my arms!

Moving on…I think I may have found the ultimate, preschool-aged, birthday party venue!

This past weekend, the girls celebrated their 3rd birthday, with 14 of their friends, at Pump It Up in Lake Forest. The party was private, so the kids had the entire place to themselves for two hours!

What could be better than throwing a fabulous birthday party, at a super fun place to play, where jumping is allowed, screams and giggles are welcome, pictures can be taken for you, it was completely stress-free and best of all, you get to leave the mess behind!

There are several different packages to choose from when booking your party, which can be done online, over the phone, or in person.

We went with the deluxe package for 15 kids, which included access to the exclusive, Pump It Up invitation system (making evites a breeze), 80 minutes of private play (40-minutes in each arena), 2 slices of pizza per child, bottled water for each child (you also have the option of soda or juice), set-up, clean-up, paper goods, party photos, and amazing hosts! All we needed to bring was the cake!

40 minutes in Arena 1:

40 Minutes in Arena 2

40 Minutes in the Party Room

There are several other options you could add to your package if you choose, including additional party food (or you can bring your own approved food and beverages), party experiences (Go Glow!, Pirate Quest, Super Hero Training Quest, Boppin Balloon Bash), goodie bags and more!

Some important things to consider before booking your party, for safety reasons, children under 34″ are not permitted on the inflatables. Everyone who plays on the inflatables, must wear socks. Adults can play too!! In fact, I have had so many parents make the comment, “I’m not sure who had more fun, the kids or adults!” and I couldn’t agree more!

We had such a fun time celebrating the girls’ birthday, that I would highly recommend checking out your nearest Pump It Up, to celebrate your little one’s next birthday bash!

Pump It Up Irvine 16871 Noyes Ave, Irvine
(949)261-7867
Pump It Up
Lake Forest
26242 Dimension Drive, Suite 100, Lake Forest
(949)951-9663
Pump It Up
Huntington Beach
16351 Gothard St Suite C, Huntington Beach
(714)847-9663
Pump It Up Anaheim Hills 5397 E. Hunter Ave, Anaheim Hills
(714)693-9663

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Big Girl Bikes

Birthday gifts arrive one day late. Daddy assembles. 
DSC02755

Daddy asks girls if there is anything new in the garage. Katelyn finds bike. Chelsea finds old play-dough.

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Chelsea finds the bike too!

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The girls are wicked excited to be on their big girl bikes! 

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Time to take them for a spin! ???????????????????????????????This is where picture taking ends, since they had no idea how to use the brakes.

Goodbye, tricycles!

Twin Toddlers and a Puppy

I’ve heard a lot of people say that age 2 is hard, but age 3 is harder. Since my girls were about to turn 3, the only sensible thing to do, to make life easier, would be to get a puppy!

Meet (Mama) Mia! She was born in mid-March and is an Australian Shepherd and Terrier Mix.

Okay, now to justify my crazy thinking, for all of you who are laughing right now. I grew up with two dogs, and having those dogs, was a huge part of my childhood, that I will cherish forever. They were part of my family, and I loved them so much!

I wanted the girls to have the same experience, and grow up with a furry best friend. There isn’t a day that goes by (sometimes an hour) that I don’t hear one of them say, “I love Mia so much!” or “She is the best dog ever!”

I’ve been asked, why would you get a dog, when you are still in the potty training phase with twins? Here’s my answer, after the initial phase of potty training, I am so de-sensitized from anything that comes out of a human or animal, I felt like now was a perfect time to potty train a puppy!

When tantrums are thrown or the witching hour is approaching, nothing is like a bigger breath of fresh air, then that adorable ball of fur, always by my side.

We adopted Mia through I.C.A.R.E. Dog Rescue. The entire litter of puppies was dumped off at a dog groomers, and a good friend of mine, was actually the foster Mom for Mama Mia and one of her brothers.

I.C.A.R.E. Dog Rescue is a non-profit, all-breed, no kill dog rescue. They rescue dogs at risk of being euthanized from shelters, as well as abandoned, abused, and stray dogs. They also rescue many dogs that have been surrendered by their owners, for various reasons. They are a 100% volunteer-run and supported organization, that cannot survive without the help of loving fosters, volunteers, and benefactors.

We finally had the chance to meet Mia at anI.C.A.R.E. adoption event, at a PetSmart in Lake Forest. My husband knew, the moment I held Mia in my arms, she was going to be joining our family that night. She is absolutely, the sweetest dog, I have ever met, and we are thrilled to add her as the newest member of our family!

If you wait for the perfect timing, you’ll wait forever. We have talked about getting a dog for quite a while but we never knew when that day would actually come. When we met Mia, at PetSmart, we just knew in our hearts, it was meant to be.

“Mamma mia, here I go again
My my, how can I resist you!”
(Mamma Mia by ABBA Lyrics)

13.1 Milestone: Lessons Learned

HollieToday, was the day, I ran 13.1 miles as a participant in the 16th Annual Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half Marathon. Wait. Whaaaat? Yah, I know, I’m kind of in disbelief too.

I finished my first half marathon with a time of 2:03:23. I ran strong for the first ten miles, but struggled and had some pain in the final three. When I crossed the finish line, nothing else mattered, I felt like I was on top of the world.

Running my first half marathon was a huge accomplishment, for a girl who used to have an, “I’m only a sprinter, why run further than 400 meters anyway?” attitude.

I have learned a lot about myself since I started running last October.

PATIENCE
I’ve learned patience. Patience has never been my best virtue. Okay let’s face it, I am impulsive and when I get an idea, I just want to do it… now…seriously… right now. I joined a run club in mid-October of last year. The purpose of the run club was to train for a 10K in December. What do I do? Sign up for a 10K in November, just to make sure I can do it. I was not ready, not properly trained, and by the end of the race, miserable in a lot of pain…for days! Lesson learned. I trained for 12 weeks for this half marathon. I added mileage to my weekly long run one mile at a time. If I felt pain, I stopped. I listened to my body. The result was finding the patience to run for two hours and cross the finish line with the biggest smile on my face and the biggest sense of accomplishment. I worked hard for this moment.

RUN YOUR OWN RACE
I used to sprint, which means my focus, was only on the finish line, with the hopes of running as fast as possible to beat as many people as I could. When I am running long distance, I have finally accepted that I am in competition with no one but myself. I’m not running to be better than anyone else, besides myself. I just want to be a better person and better runner than I was yesterday. I’ve learned to pace myself. Today, when the gun went off, I knew to pace an easy first mile, because that’s how I had always run in my training. I had swarms of people running by me left and right. I didn’t care. I was in my own world. I was running my own race.

run

ACCEPT DEFEAT
I’ve learned that I need to appreciate and enjoy the days that I just had a great run. Some days, I can run eight miles without a care in the world, and other days, I feel like I’m going to collapse on the ground after just a mile. Me and running don’t always get along, actually, some days running just sucks. As in life, bad days are going to happen. They can be very discouraging, but most of the time, my next run is so much better. I keep telling myself, if it were easy, everyone would do it too. It could be my stubbornness or determination but I’m not going to give up. If I get knocked down, I will get up again (you’re never gonna keep me down).

MedalSET A GOAL
In order for me to stay focused and committed to my training, I have to have a goal that will keep me driven and motivated. My next race is already lined up, the Disneyland Half, in late-August. Since that is three months away, I would not be surprised if a another race pops up on my plate in the near future.

POSITIVE ATTITUDE
In life, a positive attitude is everything. In the past, I had convinced myself that I would never run a half marathon because I was not capable of achieving that goal. I was a sprinter. My body was not made to run long distance. When in reality, I did not have the patience nor the desire to put in the training, to prove myself wrong. When I go for a run and have a positive attitude, feeling great, and excited to get started, my run is usually awesome. When I go out the door, not really feeling it, my run usually sucks. It’s important to train your brain like your train your body. Today, before my race, I felt excited, focused and determined, and, at least for the first ten miles, had a great run! 90% of your race is your mental state that day. So smile, and be positive and make it a great run!

Although a little sore, I feel great this evening. I feel proud of my accomplishment. After so many years, I finally beat out the little voice in my head that always told me, “You can’t,” and never believed in me. That little voice was a liar. Today, I went the distance, for nobody else except myself.

Memorial Day Half

Lil’ Kickers Soccer Class

Now that the girls are starting to find their coordination and utilize their listening skills (sometimes), we decided to give soccer another go. I found a living social deal that included three introductory children’s soccer classes, for $20, at Lil’ Kickers!

Lil’ Kickers offers 50-minute classes, in both Garden Grove and Irvine, for children, 1.5 to 9 years old. Today, we were in the Cottontails Class (age 2.5 – 3.5) at the Irvine location. The Bunnies (18-24 months), Thumpers (2-3  years), and Cottontails (2.5-3.5), are parent and child classes, so parent involvement is required.

The class is designed to build some fundamentals like coordination, ball kicking, balance, dribbling the ball with your feet, and the biggest lesson of all, not to run around the field, carrying the ball in your arms.

This was the second week the girls were in class, and it was great to see the progression they had made already. There were several moments where my husband and I were able to step back and watch the girls participate, versus the week prior, where we had to help guide them a lot throughout the class. I love watching them grow and become independent.

Class started out with introductions.

Followed by some serious stretching.

Then we worked on sharpening our skills.

We played a lot of fun games, like Red Light, Green Light, (Yellow Light, Blue Light).

And one of my favorites, the Birdie game. The soccer field was the sky, and the players were the birds. They flew (ran) around the field until they were told they had to go protect the eggs (soccer ball) in their nest. When the eggs were in danger, the “birds” flew back to the nest and put one foot on the “egg” to keep them safe.

Lil’ Kickers was a lot of fun and the girls are excited to go back again next week!

For more information on Lil’ Kickers, you can visit their website at http://www.lilkickers.com! Registration is always open so you can sign up at any time. If you are new to Lil’ Kickers, you can try your first class for free! I’m sure your kids will have a ball!

Go Team!

Bucket List: Feet on Dugout

On Wednesday, my husband and I had our first date night this year! Where would we go? The Angels game of course!

It’s always been on my bucket list to be able to go to a baseball game, sit in the first row, and put my feet up on the dugout! Wednesday night, we had the opportunity, and I was over the moon, excited!

Feet on Dugout

The players were standing right there in front of me. They no longer appeared 3″ tall, like they did in the nose bleed seats!

photo 3

We were so close, I felt like I had to take a few practice swings too!

Trout Warmup

Even though the Halo did not light up that night, and the Angels were swept by the Mariners in their opening series, we still had an awesome time, and are stoked that baseball season is back! Angels Game

Special thanks to my amazing husband for making this night happen, and helping me cross one item off my bucket list.

Hubbs

 

Go Angels! 

 

Time For a Dentist Check-up!

Today, my girls were scheduled for their first dental cleaning. Naturally, I was nervous.

The first dental visit, which was a quick visual inspection of their teeth, resulted in a long wait, lots of tears, and a frustrated mommy.  I knew that was not going to be the dental office for us, so I was already dreading future dental visits with toddlers.

After a year slipped away, from that unpleasant experience, I realized it was time to schedule their first cleaning. I decided to go to my twin mommy’s and ask them for help in selecting the right dentist. I immediately had referrals coming in, and reassuringly, they were all for the same person, Dr. Tina Azin, in Rancho Santa Margarita.

These moms could not have been more right! Everything about this dental office was perfect! From the moment you walk in, you feel like you’re at a tropical beach. The staff greeted us right away and the girls headed straight into the Tiki Hut, where they found toys, and video games.

We signed in and were happy to find out they are a paper-free office, so a few digital signatures and we were ready to go! The girls were called back right away and were seen at the same time, which is fabulous when you have multiple children!

The girls climbed in their chairs and were excited about the “ride,” as the chair reclined backwards. What was even more exciting, was the fact that there were TV’s on the ceilings that were playing our all time favorite movie, Frozen! Katarina and Danny were the Registered Dental Assistants that did the cleanings, and they were awesome!

I was in shock. The girls laid back in their chairs, listened to Katarina and Danny, and had their teeth cleaned, flossed, followed by an application of fluoride, and they were 100% cooperative…the entire time! It was like watching a movie. Were these my kids?

After their cleaning, the girls received a goody bag, which to a toddler, was like receiving a pot of gold.

Next, Dr. Tina (Azin) came over for one final look. She counted Katelyn’s teeth and Kate was surprised to find out there were 20 in there! When it was time to count Chelsea’s teeth, Katelyn helped Dr. Tina count. She wanted to make sure sissy had 20 in her mouth too! (She did.)

Overall, the dental visit was amazing. The girls did great, the staff was wonderful, and they can’t wait to go back for their next check-up! Finding the right pediatric dentist is so important. Our girls felt so comfortable here, from the moment they walked in the door. We hope to continue visiting Dr. Azin’s office as long as possible!

 

Reaching for a Cure

So, why do you race?

Testing your limits? Focus on fitness? A sense of accomplishment? An adrenaline rush?

I run for all of these reasons, but to me, there is no greater race, then running for a cause, and raising awareness, and funds, for something you are extremely passionate about.

On Sunday, I raced in the 16th Annual Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF)Reaching for the Cure, 10K Run. The race was part of theRenegade Race Series and took place over two days, March 29-30, at Irvine Valley College.

This race meant more to me than words can say. About a year ago, I met the sweetest little boy, Brody, and his amazing mother, Elizabeth, at a localFit4Mom class. He immediately stole our hearts with his loveable smile. After talking to his mom, I found out Brody, was actually a cancer survivor.

Brody was born on February 20, 2011. He was always a happy baby. Around 8 months old, he began to have trouble keeping his food down, was vomiting daily, and coincidentally, tilting his head to one side. The pediatrician and specialists suggested that physical therapy and reflux medications should help. After numerous sessions and trying different medications, Brody’s vomiting only increased and his weight dropped substantially. His parents rushed him to the emergency room to demand answers.

On January 13, 2012, a CT scan revealed that Brody had a 2 inch by 2 inch tumor on his brain stem. He was admitted to Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) and scheduled for surgery three days later. The neurosurgeons removed 99% of the tumor. The risky surgery was successful, at least they thought.

A week later, Brody’s parents received the devastating news the Brody had atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (AT/RT), an extremely rare and aggressive form of brain cancer. According to statistics, only 30 children in the US are diagnosed with AT/RT each year. The neurosurgeon explained that even after surgery and chemotherapy treatment, Brody would have a very low chance of survival, roughly 10%.

His parents learned about a doctor at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles who specialized in brain tumors, as the basis of 20 years of research. Under his guidance, Brody began the fight of his life. His treatment lasted 7 months and included 2 rounds of intense chemotherapy, 3 rounds of high-dose chemotherapy, followed with stem cell rescue, and 28 sessions of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) photon radiation.

Brody completed treatment in August 2012, and has been cancer free ever since.

Each year, cancer kills more children and adolescents than any other disease. I was completely shocked to learn that pediatric cancer research only receives 3.8% of the total funding raised for cancer research each year! During the PCRF Reaching for the Cure Ride/Run race, 80% of all funds raised, go directly to research! Pediatric Cancer Research, saved Brody’s life.

This weekend, I ran for Team Brody.

Over 100 members signed up to be a part of Team Brody, to raise awareness for Pediatric Cancer Research. Team Brody, alone, raised over $8,000!

I’ve heard many people say, they are running for their lives. This weekend, over 7,000 people gathered in Orange County, to not only run or walk for their own life and health, but to take strides, to bring hope, and fund the crucial research we desperately need, to cure childhood cancer.

For updates on Brody’s progress, please follow his Facebook page:
Blossoms for Brody www.facebook.com/pages/Blossoms-for-Brody/170995623005581

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