Posts Tagged by Travel
|August 13, 2014||Posted by Madeline @ Food, Fitness, and Family under Travel|
Based on the messages I got yesterday it’s good to know I am not the only one who has struggled with traveling with more than one kid Although the getting there and home part was pretty challenging our trip to Nashville was a ton of fun!
Friday morning I still had to go to school so I was off bright and early for Grand Rounds at the hospital followed by getting “checked off” on my lumbar puncture skills. So if any of you need an LP I am your girl I kid. Chris and the girls picked me up and we were off to the airport where the chaos ensued. Our first flight to Atlanta was pretty uneventful but we ended up delayed in ATL for two hours due to weather. I am a very anxious flyer so the turbulence getting to Nashville had me pretty on edge but we got to our hotel with 30 minutes to pull ourselves together for the rehearsal dinner.
We stayed at the Union Station hotel right in downtown Nashville. It used to be a train station and was by far one of the coolest hotels I’ve stayed in architecturally. It’s a Marriott hotel which is our personal favorite to stay in. Every morning there was a coffee station set up in the lobby which I appreciated Chris and I also hit up the fitness center and I used the business center to study for my test on Monday. Overall the hotel was fantastic!
The rehearsal dinner was actually held at the hotel so we didn’t have far to go. Chris’ aunt and uncle hosted it and it was really nice. There was a great buffet of food which was awesome after a day of traveling. One of Chris’ aunt’s friends watched our girls upstairs so we got to spend some quality adult time catching up with family.
Saturday morning we were up bright and early for breakfast and then Chris and I hit up the gym for a CrossFit workout. I put it together and we were both smoked after it. It left us significantly starving so it was time to find some lunch. After consulting Urban Spoon I saw that Whiskey Kitchen was in walking distance and we were off!
We got the triple dipper as an appetizer which included queso, salsa, and white bean hummus. All three were SO GOOD. For my lunch I got fish and chips. and for once there was a tartar sauce that was delicious. After stuffing our faces Chris took a nap with the kids while I got some study time in. Before we knew it though it was time to head to the church for the wedding!
It was a beautiful wedding and Emmalyne loved seeing the “princess”. A fun story – when the vocalist started singing Emmalyne said “mom, it’s Ariel” ha. Someone has watched The Little Mermaid too many times After the wedding we hit the reception for some good food and a night of dancing. Emmie wasn’t sure how she felt about it at first but then ended up twirling all over the dance floor until it was time for bed.
Sunday morning we headed to Chris’ aunts house for brunch and some more family time before it was time to head to the airport. You guys already know how our trip home went Needless to say it was a whirlwind weekend but it was worth it for the girls to get to spend some quality time with their family and to celebrate a new marriage!
|August 12, 2014||Posted by Madeline @ Food, Fitness, and Family under Parenthood|
When I first realized we would be traveling for the first time with two kids I was excited! I mean, I had traveled a TON with Emmalyne (40+ flights) so how much harder it could be? I was expecting to be able to share with you some awesome tips about how to fly with two kids. My only tip? Don’t do it. I kid …. kind of.
My mom-ego was devastated this weekend as we traveled the short distance from Savannah to Nashville. So much so that I break out in a cold sweat thinking about our cross-country trip for Christmas. It was so bad I wanted to curl up in the fetal position at the airport in Atlanta. So instead, here are some things to avoid while flying with two kids. Lessons learned my friends. Lessons learned.
1. Know you are going to have way too much stuff.
You would think we could “pack light” since we were only gone for a weekend right? Well traveling with kids means that packing light no longer exists. Since we were going to a wedding we needed a hanging suitcase for my dresses, Chris’ suit, and the girl’s clothes. We also packed a large bag for me and the girls and a carry-on for Chris. Not TOO bad until you add in two car seats. Needless to say it was a mess.
2. Tantrums happen.
I had to chase Emmalyne while wearing Bryn too many times to count while Chris checked our luggage. Then I was THAT mom whose kid was on the ground screaming because I wouldn’t let her run away. Fun times I tell you. Just know that there is a good chance that a toddler will be a toddler in the airport and tantrums are going to happen. Know how you want to handle them so when you’re faced with the inevitable you’ll be ready.
3. Avoid sugar.
Everyone says to bribe your kids with suckers or candy. While one is fine a ton are not. The sugar high is real guys. Em was out of control on the way back after getting too many sweets from grandma.
4. When in doubt, size up on your rental car.
Chris booked us a rental car with Hertz that was supposed to fit 4 suitcases. So when our 3 wouldn’t fit we were in trouble. Hertz pretty much forced us to upgrade our car to a larger one even though there were other mid-sized SUVs that would have fit our stuff and in the same category we rented. Instead our rental car cost pretty much doubled. Side note: even if you just drive a little bit fill up your gas tank. They charged us $45 for ~2 gallons of gas. Major OOPS on our part.
5. Just keep smiling.
At some point you’re going to get to your destination and be able to collapse. Keep your eyes on the prize. If all of you get there alive and somewhat sane you had a successful trip.
Needless to say our traveling did not go “as planned” and it was incredibly stressful. If we could drive from GA to AZ/NV for Christmas I think we would so we didn’t have to repeat this again. Just further proof that even if we feel like we have this “mom thing” down, our kids take the opportunity to show you how much you still have to learn. :)
What is your biggest travel tip? Moms of more than two – how do you do it?!
|April 4, 2014||Posted by Madeline @ Food, Fitness, and Family under Travel|
Yesterday we wrapped up our quick trip to Jacksonville with a trip to the Jacksonville Zoo. We loaded up the car and got to the zoo right as it opened at 9AM. I have learned over the years that the absolute best zoo experiences come first thing in the morning. We may or may not have been the first family in line Emmalyne is at an age now where she gets things and I love watching her enjoy new experiences.
The Jacksonville Zoo is organized by different trails relating to animals from different parts of the world. There is the Asia Loop, Australian Loop, Florida Loop, etc. By getting there nice and early the animals were all out and seemed to be in great moods. One of our favorites of the day was this giraffe. Her name was Naomi and we definitely ended up buying Em a stuffed giraffe that she promptly named Naomi as we were leaving.
We got the tickets that included all the additional attractions the zoo offers. This included butterfly hollow (which was kind of like Butterfly Wonderland but not quite as cool), Stingray Bay, the 4D movie, and the train. Emmalyne could hardly contain herself as we were waiting for the “choo-choo”!
We spent most of the morning hot on Em’s heels as she ran from one adventure to the next. I wish I could bottle up toddler energy and sell it for profit because it’s insane.
Luckily for all of us Bryn was willing to come along for the ride. She is such as relaxed and easy baby. Bryn loved just chilling in the Ergo or smiling at all the other people. Bonus points for me? I figured out how to nurse her in the Ergo so we didn’t even have to stop for snacks She also took some good naps while we were there and I enjoyed the snuggles.
The last activity we did at the zoo was let Emmalyne have at it in the splash pad. We didn’t bring her swim suit so we improvised
It was an absolutely beautiful day to be at the zoo and I was full of joy watching the wonder and excitement in Em’s eyes. We ended what was the perfect morning with a little treat before getting in the car for the drive home.
Em’s eyes were shut and she was asleep before we were even out of the parking lot. You know she had fun
Our fun is continuing through the weekend. Chris and I are doing a mud run tomorrow and his brother gets in town tomorrow night. I am going to soak up my last 3 days off before jumping back in to 10 weeks of chaos. Have a happy Friday!
|April 3, 2014||Posted by Madeline @ Food, Fitness, and Family under Travel|
Hello from Jacksonville! We woke up yesterday morning, loaded up the car, and hit the road singing songs from Frozen all the way We got down to Jacksonville around 11AM and headed straight to Chris heaven …. Chipotle.
After a quick lunch it was time to do some SHOPPING. As I mentioned yesterday, my MacBook mouse trackpad has had a mind of its own for the last few weeks. It’s given be tons of anxiety since I NEED my computer not only for everything that is PA school but also for the little bit of work I still do freelancing. The closest Apple store to us is in Jacksonville so I was anxiously waiting for this trip to get it fixed. In addition to that, apparently I killed my iPhone battery with over-use. OOPS. So Apple made a pretty penny off of me yesterday between buying a new trackpad, installing it, and upgrading my phone.
I drowned my sorrows at one of MY happy places …. Lululemon.
We stayed the night at the Residence Inn by Marriott by Jacksonville Town Center and I have nothing but good things to say about our room and stay. First, we had a one bedroom suite so the bedroom was separate from the living area. This is a key feature for us to be able to put the girls down and still stay up past 7PM. The room was really nice and had a full kitchen.
Since Emmalyne missed her nap this afternoon Chris and I decided to just pick up dinner and eat at the hotel room. After chowing down I headed to the hotel gym for a quick workout. Again, I was really impressed. There were a couple treadmills, and elliptical, a bike, dumbbells, bench, and medicine balls. The nice touches were fresh towels on all the machines, cold filtered water, and complimentary headphones.
Probably one of the nicest surprise features? They do FREE dinner with FREE wine and beer! WINNING. I definitely could go for a nice cold beer after a fun day of shopping
This morning we are heading straight to the Jacksonville Zoo before making the trek home. Have a great day
–> Just in case you were wondering, I wasn’t compensated by Marriott in any way. Chris and I are just HUGE fans of the Marriott chain. Our room in Jacksonville was free due to Marriott reward points and we will definitely be staying at Residence Inn again.
|August 29, 2013||Posted by Madeline @ Food, Fitness, and Family under Arizona, Travel|
We had the coolest experience when we were in Arizona and I am so excited to share it with you guys today! Last weekend, my sister wanted to find something new and fun for us all to do. One of her friends suggested Butterfly Wonderland and we thought why not! Butterfly Wonderland is in Scottsdale, AZ and features an indoor rainforest experience with the largest butterfly pavilion in the US.
Not going to lie … tickets were pricey ($18.95 for adults, $16.95 for military/seniors, and $9.95 for children ages 3-11) but honestly? It is worth it. Our experience started with a 3D movie about the Monarch butterfly which was unreal. The distances those little beauties travel is insane! After that, we went into the butterfly emergence gallery which showcased the metamorphic process etc. From there, the real adventure began.
We were led into a small room before entering the pavilion where some safety tips were discussed. First, you have to watch where you step in the pavilion because the butterflies like to warm themselves on the concrete. Second, don’t touch the butterflies. Butterflies taste with their feet and are really delicate. It was ok if they landed on you though. From there, we were off!
Butterfly Wonderland adds 2,000 new butterflies to the exhibit every single week. This was immediately obvious with the hundreds of butterflies flying everywhere. Everywhere you looked there were more! Em wasn’t sure what she thought at first and stuck close to her Mimi. Within seconds of being in the pavilion my nephew Thomas had a butterfly land on him. There were so many different kinds of varying sizes and colors. It was kind of overwhelming!
Pretty soon Em warmed up to the experience and started pointing out the butterflies and checking out the flowers. Due to the pavilion being a rainforest environment, it was pretty hot and humid. We were all pretty sweaty by the end!
Beyond the butterfly pavilion, there is also a small cafe, live ant colony, honeybee hive, and rivers of the Amazon aquatic exhibit. There was so many informational and fun things to check out. My mom thinks that this is going to be a HUGE 2nd grade field-trip destination once everyone hears about it. Butterfly Wonderland just opened in May so it is still relatively new to the valley.
If you’re visiting Phoenix and live there, I highly recommend checking it out. We had kids aged 2-13 with us and everyone had a blast. The adults too! It was a unique and fun experience for everyone.
What is a cool local experience you have had?