RV Stop #1 – Fort De Soto

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We’ve said goodbye to Winter Garden RV Resort – our holding place while we finished prepping the house to sell – and headed to our first stop on our road trip, Fort De Soto, Florida.

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This beautiful RV park is inside of the Fort De Soto state park – home to quiet beaches and a historic old fort. If you want a quiet beach weekend, this is the place to go.

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We learned a lot even before we arrived.

  • The two-hour drive occurred during a big thunder storm, complete with thunder and lightning, which made for a very shaky drive. The kids slept most of the way and didn’t seem to notice that anything was wrong. The cats are a different story – the meowed the whole time (I hope they get used to driving soon).
  • Once we arrived, we had to do our first back-in setup (this is when you have to back the trailer into the site). Since I’m navigationally challenged, Damon took the task upon himself and managed to get us set up without hitting anything!

Since it was still rainy when we arrived, we decided to stay inside and have a quiet evening with the kids.

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After sleeping in, we decided that the kids needed to get out, so we took them to the Children’s Exploration Museum. This place is so much fun – the room is divided into different sections, giving kids a lot of options for play. Mini-man loved a lot of the sections and had an amazing time.

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The next day we spent at the campground exploring. This place is very old Florida, with lots of trees, water, and wildlife. It was very relaxing to walk around. A few minutes from our site was a cute children’s playground that mini-man adored.

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On our last day, we decided to be brave and take the kids to the beach. I’d heard that North Beach was a great place to take kids, so we headed there.

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At first, we thought the beach near the playground would be ideal, but the waves were really high. Instead, we let mini-man play on the playground for a bit, then headed further up the beach.
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This new location was perfect- hardly any waves and nice, warm water. Mini-man went in instantly with Damon. I sat at the edge with little-dude and let him get his feet wet (he liked the water but the waves scared him). All-in-all, a pretty successful trip (minus all the sand we brought back).
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Today we head to our next stop, Terra Ciea, just 30 minutes from Fort De Soto. Fingers crossed we can get everything ready before check-out. Last time, it took us several hours to get going. This time, we have just four. Wish us luck!

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On the Road at Last

We did it! The house is listed, the trailer is setup, the car is prepped – time to get this show on the road. Of course. For our first time picking up and leaving, it took a little effort to actually leave:

  1. You have to stow everything! And with a very curious toddler around, you can imagine how hard it was to get everything put away. Damon had to go back at one point after we got into the car to pick up some last minute things
  2. Once things are stowed you can’t get to anything until you reach your destination (unless you want to squeeze your way through). So I had to prepare several snack bags for everyone in the car.
  3. Triple check everything! For an RV to work it needs to be plugged and hooked up to lots of things. Damon got in the car and almost drove off before he saw that the power was still hooked up. Then he forgot that the propane was still on. Lesson learned – do several walk arounds before leaving.
  4. Driving in rain is hard. Of course we leave just as one of our lovely Florida thunderstorms shows up, making it a little harder to steer the car (it’s very bumpy back here)

Not too bad for beginner, especially with two young children to care for as well. Hopefully we’ll get faster as we progress. For now, we are thrilled to be on the road, heading to Fort de Soto, Florida.

Home, Sweet Home … For Now

We bought our RV and SUV a few days before little-dude joined our family. We decided to take a small break from moving to adjust to being a family of four and allow me time to heal from child birth. 

Two weeks ago, we talked with our Realtor and are getting the house ready to sell. Which means we need a place to put the RV. After some research we found a cute place close to the house so we could be nearby while we sell the house and move into the RV. 

The actual trip to the RV resort was nerve racking for me – this made it real. Everything’s been abstract for months but actually seeing the resort made it real. And I have to admit, I’m still nervous. This is such a drastic change from what I’m used to. 

However, I’m also kinda excited – the resort is walking distance to parks, restaurants, and much more. Now we will have the opportunity to get out more as a family. 

It took some time to get the RV here as the place we bought it from kept “losing” our moving information. Thankfully, we managed to get the RV to it’s new home a few days ago.

We now have about half our stuff in the RV and spent our first official night. So far, so good. We still have some work to do, but it’s getting there.

California Adventures: The Kidspace Museum

After a few months of braving the LA streets, I decided to get a little braver and take mini-man someplace a little further away – The Kidspace Museum in Pasadena.

While the drive was trickier – going on small roads up the mountains – it was definitely worth it.

The Kidspace Museum is a perfect place for kids. There are three distinct zones – outdoor science, indoor creative play, and outdoor exploring.

We got a three month pass and have loved taking mini-man here. If you have little kids I highly recommend checking this place out. 

Monday Motivation: Six Years of Marriage

Six years ago, my best friend and I made it official. However, I felt married to him long before our wedding day. For me, our wedding day was just making our relationship legally binding. 

Damon and I had met five years prior, at Disney right after a hurricane hit. We were friends immediately. 

Soon after we were selected for a special training class. During this class Damon got up to get some pens for the class. He tripped, and the pens went flying. He turned beet red and I thought he was the cutest thing ever. He asked me out later that afternoon. 

I knew he was special immediately. However, there was a point where I wondered if he was too old for me. Fortunately, some part of my brain yelled at me, telling me it was dumb to stop seeing someone fantastic just because of age.

Soon after that, we traveled to Disneyland together and I knew this guy was special. I wasn’t 100% positive that I would marry him but I knew that he would be an important person in my life. 

So as you can imagine, by the time our wedding day rolled around it was just another day of adventure with Damon. We were already an awesome partnership, which continues to this day. 

I love our life and adventures together. It hasn’t been easy but nothing valuable in life is every easy. And I can’t wait to see what this road ahead has in store for us.

California Adventures: Disneyland

As a self-proclaimed Disney geek (and proud of it) I couldn’t come to California and not visit Disneyland. Since mini-man was little we decided to just visit a couple of times.

Our first trip was when mini-man was six-months old. Looking back, he might have been a bit too young – but we still had fun. He really enjoyed the outdoor rides – the carousel and Casey Jr. He didn’t quite understand the dark rides – Winnie the Pooh.

However, it was a stressful visit – it was hot, crowded, and we didn’t really have goals to accomplish anything.

After this visit we waited a year to go back. The main reason we went back was so I could see Paint the Night before it left. But this time, I was more prepared.

After the first visit, I realized I couldn’t power through the park and try to do everything – kids just can’t do that.

This time I researched everything and made a loose goals for the day. I wanted everyone to have fun.

In the end, the goals worked really well and everyone had fun. What worked best was taking lots of breaks to let mini-man walk and explore in his own.

And I got to see Paint the Night (which was incredible!). Best of all, mini-man loved seeing it too. 

I am so happy that we got to go to Disneyland and create some great memories. 

California Adventures: The Los Angeles Zoo

As many of you know – I hate driving in Los Angeles. However, mini-man was getting bigger and I really wanted to started taking him places where he could explore. I decided to give the Los Angeles Zoo a try.

On our first visit, Damon drive with me so I could get to know the route. However, the route included driving on the highway and even during slow times, people in LA drives recklessly.

We had a blast on our trip to the zoo. Mini-man lived walking around and exploring. I really wanted to take him back but I needed to find a different way.

A few days later, I decided to take mini-man to the zoo myself. But this time, I avoided the highway. Instead I took smaller streets. It might have taken a few minutes more but it was way easier for me. 

I felt so accomplished for facing my fear of driving in LA and thrilled to take mini-man to the zoo.

Since then, we have visited to zoo at least once a week and gotten to explore this really amazing zoo. I highly recommend it to anyone with kids – it’s a great place to let them explore and see new things. And if you get an annual pass, you can come back often and not feel you have to stay all day of your kids get tired. I usually take mini-man in the morning and stay a few hours until he’s ready for his nap.

And be sure not to miss their Christmas Light-Up event – the while zoo is lit up with beautiful lights. Its a great, and affordable, holiday experience.

I will definitely miss having this zoo so close to us.

My Heart is With Orlando

I have lived in Orlando for over 2o years. During that time I experienced several hurricanes – including Charlie, a category 3 storm, which did a lot of damage to Central Florida.

Hurricanes are very dangerous and can cause a lot of damage. We are unable to get back to our house before the storm hits, so we hope that everything is ok. Foruntatly, our contractor is doing some work and is keeping an eye I’m things for us.

This is a scary time for Florida. I hope everyone back home old days safe and that there is minimal damage.  We will see you soon

California Adventure: The Queen Mary

Over the holidays we won tickets to see the Christmas version of the Queen Mary. 

The area consisted to rides, mazes, an indoor snow tube ride, an ice exhibit themed to ‘A Christmas Carole’, and a tour of the Queen Mary.

First off, I am so Glad we went after Christmas as there were hardly any people there.

We started in the ice exhibit – beautfully themed to ‘A Christmas Carole’. The detail was exquisite. Mini-man was fascinated the whole time.

Next, we decided to go outside to warm up. We took mini-man through a maze and he had a blast! (especially in the ball pit).

Damon really wanted to try the snow tuning so we headed back inside of the ice tent. I skipped since mini-man was attached to me at the time and I felt I couldn’t leave him.

Mini-man was too small for any of the rides, so we headed over to tour the Queen Mary. I kid you not, I felt like I was on the Titanic. There should have been Lord’s and Ladies walking around the deck. I loved getting to go back in time on the gorgeous ship. 

I also learned that several scenes rom the first Love Boat were shot on board (eek!). And, as it turned it, this was the same port where the Love Boat docked and shot their in port scenes (double eek!)

The sun was setting and mini-man was tired so we decided to head home. I’m glad we got to experience this fun exhibit and ship.

Monday Motivation

Nothing in life worth having us easy to get. I have an amazing relationship with Damon. 

From the outside, people think our relationship looks perfect and easy. However, it looks this way because one of simple principle – work through the pain. So many couples argue and fight with one another instead of facing the pain and working through the issue. This in turn causes the problems to increase overtime and eventually fall apart. When this happens you are essentially telling your partner that ignoring your problems is more important than your spouse.

How do I know this? Because I lived through it with my parents. They constantly argued and allowed their resistance to face the issues overshadow their relationship. It even spilled over into my sister and me – constantly being bullied and shamed for our opinions because it conflicted with our parents issues. 

This lead to a very unhealthy relationship between me and my parents. I was determined to not have a marriage like theirs and to have a good relationship with my children. My efforts to that end causes a great deal of tension between us and more bullying. I eventually came to the hard conclusion that I can’t fix them. They won’t change and being in a relationship with them was toxic to my happiness.

From the start, Damon saw how toxic my families relationship was and helped me to work on it. The result is an amazing relationship with each other. We agree to work through our pain in the moment. While it’s hard we always come out on the other end a stronger couple and much happier. 

However, we don’t always do this. We accept that we aren’t perfect. That it’s ok to take a breath for a little bit and then return. It shows an ability to question what’s happening and come back to one another with questions. 

It’s not easy but it’s definitely worth it.