Play Date: Cedar Grove Park– Tustin, California

If you’ve ever driven on the 5 South to San Diego I’m sure you have seen these signs from the freeway.

Marketplace pix

Who knew that about 5 minutes up the street from here there would be an amazing park for the whole family? Cedar Grove Park in Tustin Ranch is just 10 minutes from Santa Ana and is full of nature, trails, open space and distinct play areas for kids!


Cedar Grove Park 11385 Pioneer Rd Tustin, CA 92782


Run kids, run!

My daughter is a ball of energy; this park has so much to do and see that when we strategically plan a visit before bedtime it’s the earliest and easiest bedtime of the week!

There are three main play areas for the kids, a basketball court, huge cedar grove trail, an amphitheater, and a covered entertaining space (with tables and benches, we see people host baby showers and bday parties here every weekend). You and your family can spend all day here.

The first kid’s area is the covered play structure where they can be heard planning their latest pirate ship attack:


This area is really well thought out and is beyond safe.  All the kids seem to be drawn to the reptile and amphibian residents who (I’m not gonna lie) are a little creepy but inspire great adventures.


The second area is over a troll’s bridge and  has some modern art looking climbing structures and two baby and toddler swings.


This park makes me wish I was a kid again!

Play area #3 has been taken over by the kids but is an exercise space for everyone.  Maybe one day I will be bold enough to work out with my 4 yr old…hmmm…on second thought let the kids have it!


At the back of the park is a trail that leads to an 8 mile hike called the Peters Canyon Hiking Trail. You can explore aquatic animals all year from this underground spring-fed creek. The park and the surrounding canyon areas are so expansive it’s easy for one to find some zen and a nice escape from the city here.

I’m So Exhaust…Nevr Min

My time at Occidental College was amongst the most formative experiences in my life, in no small part because the diverse community of students helped shape my worldview.  I met a gang of smart, funny, passionate people @ Oxy and through the power of Facebook, we’ve been able to stay connected.  

Today, BBD is excited pass the mic a fellow Oxy Tiger, San Gabriel Valley native, wife and mother of two, Melissa Ramon.  

final collage picture

“Fight through the exhaustion.  It can’t win.  Who cares if I googled all the terrible things that sleep deprivation does to the human body and swear that they are all happening to me?”

My inner voice often has to soothe me these days.  She has to get me to claw my way through the day when I went to sleep at 1:45 a.m. and my 10 month old son got me up at 5:15 a.m. for the day.

I keep telling myself to suck it up!  There are women who’ve already showered and ran.   I can do this. The tiredness will wear off. My grandmother gave birth to 15 kids on a farm in the middle of El Salvador and somehow managed to make her family thrive.  The least I could do is make my son some damn organic baby food, but alas…I know I will just crack open the Earth’s Best pouch one more time!

baby food pic final copy

My struggle with being a mommy to the two most precious kids on earth, besides yours of course,  is the constant feeling of utter exhaustion.  As parents, I know we all go through our months of sleep deprivation but running after a 4 year old daughter and a 10 month old son has me seeing double. Everyone tells me that I am supposed to go to sleep by 10:00 p.m. at the latest.  Everyone reminds me that I need to have energy to keep up with them, but when do I get time for myself?  This may sound selfish, but I miss me!

This was Saturday morning:

5:15-5:30 a.m.: wake up with the baby, sing him a little good morning song, change him, try and open my eyes and walk down the stairs somehow.

baby and mama early a.m. picture final one

5:30-6:30 a.m.: feed my son, read Brown Bear, Brown Bear 4 times, make my husband some coffee (I don’t drink any caffeine but really wish I  did right about now) forget to drink water, or anything, for the next hour.

6:30-7:30 a.m.: set the baby down on the green foam mat I bought him (thinking I was being a good and safe mama) only to have him go anywhere but the mat for the next hour, remind myself to brush up on my baby proofing skills.

7:30-8:00 a.m.: give my poor husband the evil eye when he comes downstairs with our 4 year old, immediately feel guilty for doing this, yet decide to stick to my guns…realize I really do need to sleep more but quickly forget when I try to connect with my daughter who has been having some major morning grumpiness…wonder who she takes after?

final family pictures

8:00-8:30 a.m.: feed myself finally (kind of)…actually start to clean up the oatmeal I was trying to have for breakfast.  Clean it from myself and the floor since my son has a new love for watching gravity’s effect on shiny red bowls of hot ass oatmeal
8:30-8:35 a.m.:-spend 5 minutes telling myself that it’s ok for snapping about silly shit and that my kids will really still love me when they get older…and that I am sure my husband will forgive me too, soon enough.

Am I really going to write out the rest of my day?  It’s only 9:00 a.m.?  I think not!  You’re too tired to read it.  I am too tired to write it. But I tell you what I will do right now at 10:55 p.m.  Instead of sleeping,  I will carve out some precious moments for me.  I will read a few pages from at least two of the six books I just bought on my kindle.  I will watch too many episodes of “Girls”. I will text all of my girlfriends and check in on their days. I will definitely eat some damn frosted flakes, gluten and all–even though I’ve been trying to detox my body and have sworn for the last 16 days in a row to turn on the dvr and do some pilates to fix this baby weight and then some!

As Dylan Thomas wrote: “Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” I will rage against these precious night time hours ending. I will tell myself that I am enough, that I did enough and that I love enough. I will continue to live in this state of Exhaustion just another day more.  The kids need me tomorrow but I need myself more right now.  

Born in Los Angeles and raised in El Monte, Melissa Ramon is a work at home, stay at home mom of two. She holds a Comparative Literature degree and teaching credential from Occidental College and a Master’s degree in English Literature from Cal State L.A. When she is not writing, she supports homeschooling families in LA and Orange County. She prefers her tamales cooked properly…banana leaf wrapped and bone in! 

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