California Mom’s guide to Gibson Ranch Country Park

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“We passed through Sacramento on the way to Tahoe” was a statement I heard often during the six years I lived in Orange County and later, Los Angeles. It was said innocently, but it always kinda irked me because my hometown has so much more to offer than your average passer through town and I never understood why more people couldn’t make the distinction between Sacramento and say, Modesto (no offense to Modesto). Home to over a million residents, the Sacramento region has an NBA team, a United Soccer League team (there’s talk about them becoming an MLS team) and a minor league baseball team, which is a Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. It also has a lengthy history dating back to Sutter’s Fort, The Gold Rush and the Central Pacific Railroad. It’s home to the Crocker Art Museum which houses internationally recognized art pieces, not to mention our rich pool of local artists. We have endless nightlife options and a booming restaurant scene (even according to our Bay Area frienemies). PLUS, we’ve been declared the ‘Farm-to-Fork’ Capital of America, which means you can rest assured that your food is most likely sustainably sourced from a nearby farm. I should probably also mention that Sacramento is the Capital of the sixth largest economy in the world, but I’m assuming you already know that.

californiamomsimage-1Hopefully all of this info has drawn you into visiting if you haven’t already, because I’ve teamed up with a group of California Mom bloggers (check out their links at the end of this post) and we are spilling our local knowledge of places to take your kids throughout our beautiful state. I decided to share about a less obvious spot, Gibson Ranch Country Park, about 20ish minutes outside of Sacramento, because it’s a destination you wouldn’t easily find just by googling.

Located in Elverta, CA, this 30 plus acres park is still within Sacramento County lines, but you’ll feel like you’re out in the country. When you enter the property, you’ll almost immediately see horses peacefully grazing, as well as endless natural fields, heritage oak trees and a pond filled with fish, ducks and geese. I immediately feel a sense of tranquility when I enter; I roll down the windows and let that clean country air blow through the car.

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Here are a few activities you can do while you’re there:

Feed the Ducks

I’ve been reading more and more about how feeding bread to ducks is bad for them, so here are some alternative options, or pick-up some duck feed

Have a Picnic

There are shaded picnic tables all around the pond, near the playground

Let the Kids Play

There’s a large playground close to the pond

Go Fishing

The pond is stocked with catfish and trout

Fly a Kite

The park’s wide-open fields are the perfect spot

Run Around

Just set the kids loose! There are acres of fields for them to run around and wear themselves out

Visit the Stables

You can see the horses close-up, or you can call ahead and see if there are any horses available to rent for a little ride around the property

Hike

There are five-ish miles of trail

Host an Event

Gibson Ranch accommodates parties as large as weddings and as small as family BBQs – I’m thinking this could be a good spot for my son’s 4th birthday in September 🙂

Go Camping

You can reserve a campsite or even a rustic cabin

 

This park is seriously cool – it’s a must see if you’re ever out this way, even if you are just passing through on your way to Tahoe 🙂

Be sure to head over to these other California moms and check out some of their favorite spots:

8 Relationship Tactics that Keep us Strong

photogfavs065.jpgAfter being married for 5 ½ years (together for 8 ½) I wanted to offer up a few tips for keeping the relationship strong. We’re no experts in the world of marriage and by no means are we perfect, but I feel like we’ve found a groove to where I can honestly say we are happily married and I could actually give some marriage advice. Relationships aren’t a one size fits all thing; we are all unique, but I still think some of these could be transferred into any relationship.

WE ARE KIND; WHEN WE’RE NOT, WE SAY SORRY

So this one is really tested when you become a parent. Sleep deprivation combined with the frustration of toddler meltdowns, crying babies and constant messes will turn kindness flat on its face. But what saves us is that we recognize when we snap at one another and apologize almost immediately. The second a bratty remark leaves my lips, I do my best to always apologize and admit that I’m just frustrated with the situation, not him. He does the same. It’s so very important not to be stubborn – be quick to offer up an apology when you’re being an a-hole.

WE OVER COMMUNICATE

When we had pre-marital meetings with our Pastor before we got married, he talked to us about the number one cause of divorce according to his many years of marriage counseling, which is poor communication. Whether it’s poor communication about money, the kids, needs, whatever. To combat this, the most impactful thing we’ve done is had little relationship check-ins. We try to do them every week (that often doesn’t happen) but we do them often enough and just sort of ask each other how we’re doing: “Is there anything that’s been bugging you? Is there anything you’ve been meaning to discuss with me but haven’t had the chance?” This is when you MUST be honest because bottling up stuff is damaging in the long run.

WE PRAY TOGETHER

Obviously this doesn’t apply to all relationships, but for us this is a big thing. Going to church and worshiping together, praying together and for each other brings a level of intimacy that nothing else can. It deepens the level of trust and love that we already have.

WE GO ON DATES

This is the no brainer one that everyone knows, but it can be super challenging after you have kids. It is so very important to take time alone together.

WE LAUGH AT OUR KIDS

Kids can be super annoying and sometimes all we can do is laugh at how insane our baby is acting, or how silly our toddler’s tantrum is. Making fun of our kids brings us closer together and pulls our heads out of the frustration of parenthood. To be clear, we don’t do it in front of them; trying not to damage their self esteem haha.

WE TAKE TIME APART

Scheduling time with friends is super important in keeping our relationship strong. Time away with just the girls can be so rejuvenating and I’m sure guys feel the same way.

WE TELL EACH OTHER OUR NEEDS

Your needs can be absolutely anything; whether you or your partner need more physical intimacy, more verbal intimacy or something simple like needing occasional flowers, a chore done, help with the kids, encouraging words, more hugs, time away from the kids – whatever it is. In my less mature years, I used to think “he should know I need this” or “I wish I didn’t have to tell him to do xyz.” Through experience, I’ve learned that is a stupid way to think, so now I just tell Ryan when I feel like I have a need that isn’t being met. Your needs matter and it’s your spouse’s job to meet them as much as possible; but it’s your job to meet his/hers to the best of your ability also.

WE ARE AWARE OF EACH OTHER’S LOVE LANGUAGE

Take this quiz and find out, share the results with your spouse, show your love accordingly.