New Orleans

Our drive to New Orleans coincided with a huge storm hitting middle America and the east coast, which gave us a whole day of rain to look forward to. As Floridians, were used to driving in the rain. But driving an RV amongst people who don’t know how to drive in the rain could spell disaster. So we took precautions – we left early and drove under the speed limit the whole way. We may have annoyed some people, but we got to our destination in one piece.

We pulled into a Walmart to grab lunch for the boys when Damon realized the car battery was dead. I have no idea why the battery keeps dieing – Damon thinks it’s the extra things in the car (like our heated seats), that are draining the battery. On the plus side, we bought that battery at a Walmart, so we were able to return the dead one and got a replacement for free!

Our RV park is located just a few miles from downtown New Orleans, which means it’s pretty small and tight. At least we’d be able to get to local attractions quickly. I’d been looking forward to the pool here, but the weather didn’t look promising – cold and rainy.

Thanks to the time changes, fall back plus moving over a time zone, the boys were asleep by 7! Always nice to go to bed early, but it meant an early morning for us the next day.

As predicted, it was cold and rainy, so we took our crazy boys to the Louisiana Children’s Museum. This is exactly what they needed. This two-story facility was filled with hands on activities perfect for the boys. We spent three hours there before they needed lunch. In fact, the museum worked so well, that both boys fell asleep after they had lunch.

After some thrifting, we decided to head back to the RV. The owner of the park warned us that the main highways basically becomes a parking lot from 3p-6p. Don’t have to tell us twice!

The next day was another early, cold, and wet morning. No problem – we headed to the aquarium!

Damon was hesitant to visit as our last few visits to aquariums weren’t very successful. As we approached the building, mini-man got very excited and started talking about sish. Always a good sign.

One saving grace was the aquarium was completely dead. Little-dude had fallen asleep, so mini-man and I were able to just sit and look at fish for as long as we needed.

This aquarium was an amazing combination of detailed exhibits while being interesting for kids. It was also the perfect size for kids to walk around and not get too tired.

The next day we were finally given some dry, sunny weather. We took advantage and took the boys to a local park. In addition to being an amazing playground, it was house in a beautiful park filled with old oak trees.

While the boys played, we noticed a train going around the park and learned that just a few feet a way was a small, kids amusement park.

After we finished the playground, we searched out the train and made the last one of the day. It wrapped the perimeter of the whole park – one of the longest kid trains we’d found. It was so calming that both boys fell asleep.

Of course, as soon as we got back to the car, they both woke up. So we decided to head to Cafe Du Monde. Everything I’ve ever read or heard from people about New Orleans is that Cafe Du Monde is a must.

And I can see why. Despite being busy, we found a table quickly and got served instantly. As soon as the server brought out the beniets, little-dude dove right in. I think he at half of our order! After I had half of one, I offered it to mini-man, who, to our shock, tried! And liked it! He kept shouting ‘YUMMY!’. You know it’s good if the picky three year liked it.

Afterwards, we walked around the French Quarter a bit, enjoying the architecture and the atmosphere.

Our last in New Orleans was absolutely perfect outside and we had nothing planned. However, mini-man started talking about wild animals, which inspired us to visit the Audobon Zoo.

And I am so glad we visited. This was by far the best zoos we’ve ever visited. The quality of each exhibit and habitat was outstanding – lots of detail, an ability to get close to the animals without compromising animal comfort, and a variety of exhibits to explore.

Everywhere we walked, there was something new to see. Although it’s a large zoo, it felt small and cozy. My favorite things was the oak tree lined pathways. These are old trees and I appreciated that the park maintained them and worked them into the expert of the park.

My other favorite part was their attention to children. Many zoo provide a playground and that’s it. In addition to a playground at the front, the zoo offered a water play area and climbing structures, with slides, in each area of the park. It was a great way to see the animals with the boys and let them play at the same time. It was the very first time we’d stayed at a place from open to close.

We did so much at this stop and I feel like we got a very good feel for the city of New Orleans. I’m glad it’s close to Orlando. We hope to come back soon and spend some more time there. But, for now, it’s time to get to Florida!

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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. 

California Adventure: Irving Park Railroad 

Last December was our first jolly holiday season with Mini-man and I wanted to take him to some fun holiday events.

Thanks to local mommy blogs, I was introduced to the Irving Park Railroad, which was hosting a Santas Village and Christmas Train.

We went early in the day – 1. to avoid crowds and 2. To not keep mini-man up too late. 

First we rode the train to the North Pole. We decided to skip meeting Santa – mini-man isn’t a fan of people in costumes and he freaks out (and I refuse to force him to do things that scare him). So we got back on the train and headed back to the village. The train ride was cute but mini-man wasn’t quite sure what to make of the whole experience.

Mini-man was too young to enjoy any of the games that were there but he had fun exploring the maze and just walking around.

After a while, we decided to explore the rest of the park. What we found was a beautiful park that’s perfect for families. I wish we could have gone more (it’s 90 minutes from where we are and that’s too long to keep mini-man in his car seat).