Tag Archives: traveling


Great picture of the kids?

Great picture of the kids?

We went to Disney World last week.  This picture sums it up. I put it on Facebook so a lot of you may have seen it, but it’s still my favorite.

I’ve decided I may put a little too much energy into planning vacations.  Because they never go as planned and no one is every perfectly happy.  And even when your kids beg to go on a ride, they duck for the picture.

I studied for this trip for hours but not the right way, I think.  Disney World is an EXPERIENCE not a ride.  Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot are also about shows and just being there.  We tried to run from ride to ride and we got in a lot of rides, but I wish we’d seen more shows and worried less about the rides.  There’s a life lesson in there.  Mickey would be proud.

The last night we were there, I told the kids we were staying for the fireworks at Magic Kingdom.  They’re at 10pm.  Our youngest 2 had been going to bed at 9pm (or earlier) and waking up at 7am.  We got to the park when it opened, took a two hour break in the afternoon and then headed back.

At 8:30pm my 5 yr old asked if it was time to go to bed.  At 9pm he asked again.  At 9:30 he asked once more.  I told him we were waiting for the fireworks.  He asked if they could light them now.

At 10, we started watching the fireworks.  During a pause, he asked if they could be over now.  After the fireworks, we had one more scavenger hunt map to complete before we became pirates.  I asked him to go with me.  We became pirates.  It wasn’t as big a deal as I was expecting.

I asked my 7 and 5 yr old to go on Pirates of the Caribbean one more time to celebrate our pirate-hood.  He fell asleep 2 minutes into the ride.

I took him home after this.  I can take a hint.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have two birthday parties, and a triathlon this week.  (One party was last night.  15 kindergarteners.  Fill in the blanks.) And laundry.  We’ll see if I’ve learned to enjoy the experience…

Carry On, Carry On

Today is a vent and gripe.  I feel as though that is sufficient warning.

2nd warning: this post is truly written from a married woman with small children’s point of view.  I can’t prove it, but I think it’s written this way because I’m a married woman with small children.  And I wrote it.
Recently I read a book in my book club where the author goes on a 3 month hike in order to overcome life challenges and “find herself” or something like that.  I have issues with books where the author has a life crisis, leaves everything and everyone and “finds themselves” while on an excursion in Europe or in the woods for an extended amount of time.
These books frustrate me because most of us can’t/won’t do this but still have life changing experiences we have to live through along with complex relationships with spouses and kids and friends and annoying neighbors.
I want a book where the author makes it through the day by blasting music in the laundry room; who sings Carry On at the top of her voice while driving to the school to volunteer; who gets in the car and wonders what would happen if they just kept driving, but doesn’t; who would give anything in the world to take a 3 month walk in the woods but instead gets up, makes her kids breakfast and lunch, figures out dinner and does everything she can to smile at everyone and not take out her angst on those around her.  At the end of the “leave everything books,” there is a sense of accomplishment: I did something amazing.  At the end of my book, there would be the fact that what the author did that’s amazing is get up every single day and do the same thing and know that she would keep doing it and find her sanity in the middle of THAT and have to keep finding it.  (But always suspecting that it is somewhere behind the dryer with the lost socks.)

Sometimes we can get a weekend away, but instead of preparing for our trip by getting a divorce, selling all of our possessions and buying a tent, we arrange frozen meals, babysitters, finish laundry, and leave activities for everyone involved all the while knowing that we will be coming back to exactly what we are leaving.
Is there a book like that out there?  Would anyone read it?  Is it written as fiction?  Does everything come together at the end for her or is it more honest and she admits that she knows once she gets through this stage of life, the next one will just have a different theme song…
In my lowly opinion, it takes real strength to stay sane while visiting the same dinosaur museum 3x a year for the last 10 years.
Thank you for reading.  I appreciate your attention.  Now if you don’t mind, I must go read up on the two hypotheses that explain Cretaceous extinction and try once again to learn the correct pronunciation of creatures that died THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO CAN WE JUST MOVE ON?

Thoughts in a Hotel Room.

It just looks relaxing. I want to be there right now.

I recently spent a night at a hotel.  I love hotels.  I love places where I don’t make the bed.  (Wait- that could be my bedroom. Let me rephrase.)

I love places where I don’t make the bed but the bed is made anyhow.  By 3pm.

I find I think the same things every time I go to a hotel but they seem fresh and new each time somehow.

  1. This washer and dryer are better than mine.  I should come here and do my laundry.  Except I would be hanging out in a hotel for 6 hours twice a week.  And I’ll have to carry my laundry through the lobby.  And they may realize I’m not staying here anymore. (I’ve been known to stay in a hotel in my own town so I can get some writing done.  And so I can sleep without waking up abruptly to find a child standing over me and then asking me for a drink of water they could get themselves.)
  2. How clean are these sheets?  (This one usually only occurs when I’ve watched a 60 Minutes special on cleanliness within the month.  I can put it out of my mind with more time.)
  3. Why doesn’t anyone make my bed for me?
  4. Does the plastic bag ice liner really protect the ice from germs when it doesn’t really fit the container?
  5. How did I pack an extra outfit for each child, swimwear and goggles for each child, an activity for car travel for each child, video game chargers so there will be no fighting, snacks for down time, and my husband’s itinerary and only one pair of undies for me?
  6. Why do I do all the packing?
  7. Next time, I’m getting my own room.

Mexico Traveling Tips for Families

I travel a lot.  I’ve tried to downplay it, but it’s hard to explain week-long disappearances.  So I’ve decided that I won’t talk about it, but I’ll write about it.

My family recently went to a Mexican resort.  I guess my kids got some cultural exposure, but I’m not completely sure.  We did go to church while there, but I think all they learned during that time is that church is even more boring when you don’t understand a word of it.  Martin Luther was a genius.

But I thought I would pass on a few things I learned while on vacation.  We were in Mexico for a week and then spent four days in Salt Lake City, creating wonderful family time with nightmare dual-season packing.

  1. Teaching your children to ask for “Pina Colada no alcohol” is a great idea.  Not monitoring how many “Pina Colada no alcohol”s they order will result in many, many bathroom breaks.
  2. While watching Fire Dancing is awe-inspiring, having your child tell you that’s what they want to do with their life is not.
  3. When buying candy for your children, read the ingredients even if you don’t speak the language.
  4. Here is a language lesson: The ingredient Chile in Spanish means really hot caramels that will cause small children to cry.
  5. Theater/voice majors work in resorts or on cruises upon graduation everywhere.

I hope this has helped you.  I would also like to add that I refuse to buy anything from street vendors until they tell me “This is a special price, just for you.”  And no matter what language or country, I never seem to be disappointed.

Waxing Prolific

Every other year, my husband and I and possibly the rest of the family, go somewhere warm to run away from the winter.

Every other year, I decide I should wax my legs so I don’t have to pack a cumbersome razor.  (I’m always afraid I’ll get held at security for carrying a Venus.)

And having the hair of the two largest parts of my body ripped out by its follicles is humbling.  Humility is a good thing.

It helps me realize vanity, especially painful vanity, may be a bad thing.

I think this again when, having not shaved for over a week because I need 3 weeks of growth for the complete stranger about to get to know me really well to see the unbelievably light hair on my legs, my husband decides we should go to the YMCA to teach our kids how to snorkel.

You would think I would care more about what people I actually know think about me with two weeks growth rather than what complete strangers in another country who I will never see again will think about my completely hairless legs.

But it truly isn’t about that.

I really don’t want to pack a razor.

I don't have any pictures of my hairy legs.  I have no idea why I have this picture, but it works.

I don't have any pictures of my hairy legs. I have no idea why I have this picture, but it works.

Skiing: My Nordic Heritage

So this weekend I found myself in long johns under clothes under ski pants and a heavy winter coat with a ski mask and a hat, wool socks, heavy gloves, hand warmers and goggles sitting on a moving chair twenty feet above the ground with long, thin boards strapped to my feet feeling every centimeter of skin not covered in the 5 F degree weather.

The moving chair was taking me to the top of a mountain with no way of getting down it except sliding down.  And I kept doing it.  For three days.

(I want to take this time to personally apologize to my thighs for not doing enough squats before this weekend.  My thighs have complained and I have heard them.  I am doing a Jillian Michaels workout tomorrow.  I’m pretty sure.)

When you think about it, skiing is insane.  People get injured all the time and the highlight of my ski days is the hot chocolate.  Midway through the day, I loosen my boots, warm up, drink hot chocolate and then go back out.

I actually enjoy this.

And I force my children to do it.

I know, my son looks completely tortured because I force him to ski.

I blame my Nordic Heritage.  And my parents.  They gave me that heritage.  (Although, I may have been switched at birth and my actual parents live in the Bahamas; a secret redheaded Nordic settlement on Nassau.)

Heading to Writers’ Conference

I am off to a writer’s conference.  It is my second one ever.  I didn’t think I felt very nervous about it but I think my chocolate cake and cheetos lunch may have proven otherwise.

Last year I went to see what it was like and to see if this is what I wanted to do.  I left invigerated and excited.  I was over excited and tried to increase my blog readers and pretty much I was social networking more than actually writing.  Then summer came and everything came to a hault.

This year I am going for the education of it.  I don’t spend much time with adults who enjoy writing like I do and it is so nice to spend three days talking about things I enjoy, not that I don’t enjoy talking about dentistry every single day of my life.  BRUSH AND FLOSS PEOPLE; BRUSH AND FLOSS.

I also enjoy going alone.  I think everyone needs something that is just theirs and this conference is mine.  Spouses don’t go because even while eating you are selling yourself, your work, making connections.  Children don’t go unless they are part of the youth writing conference so there is no crying (except for in the pitch sessions when editors and agents tell you they aren’t interested.  But that is only in one room. I guess it does carry over to the bar as well, but that is all in one general area.)

So I am pretty excited to go to a writer’s conference where I will spend the next three days never leaving a hotel and listening and talking about writing from 8 am to 10 pm.  I probably won’t be able to do it again for a few years so I am going to thoroughly enjoy this one!  Wish me luck.  It’s in Canada and you know how hard it is to get in and out of that country.