Gulf Shores Trip

For the last few years, almost my whole family( just missing an aunt and uncle) have been going on family trips. The reason? My mom is a twin and those two with their kids and husbands would go on family trips. It ended at the end of the 1980s and my dad missed how close the family was. My dad died in 2015 and to honor him, my sisters and I wanted to restart them. We started small with just us and my mom, then added my aunt and now my cousins too. So we have spouses and kids which makes it bigger. This year it was my job to plan the trip. I picked Gulf Shores, Alabama because I had never been but heard good things about it.

Here is how the trip went:

Friday: 

We decided to fly in to Mobile which is about 1 hour away. My family is mostly in the Missouri/Illinois area but I am not there. We are the only ones who flew. When my husband, son and I landed, we went to a brewery in Mobile called Haight Blue. The beer selection was very small but the place was cool and had a nice view. We then stopped to buy some groceries and drove to the house we rented.

IMG_20190621_151006274 (1)

Haight Blue Brewery

The house we rented looked small but it was huge. It had 10 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. Plus a wraparound screened porch. The best part? Private beach in the bay. When my son saw that, he immediately got in the water and was ready to play. The house also had a private dock across the street with a slide.

IMG_20190624_095759858_HDR (1)

The house

Saturday:

My husband forgot his swimsuit so we went in to actual Gulf Shores to get him one. We did lunch at Tacky Jacks and then went to Big Beach Brewing. Big Beach has a ton of beers. Very laid back, we really enjoyed it. Afterwards, I met up with my mom, aunt, sister and uncle to go on a dolphin boat tour. The tour was called Sunny Lady and we saw some many dolphins. My son loved seeing them all. The boat captain even had a parrot that the kids could pet.

Sunday:

My little family did family pictures on the beach in the morning. We used Orange Beach Family Photography. I liked her a lot. The session was a quick mini one but she got some good photos.  When we got back to our rented house, it was a lazy day. Most people just hung out on the porch or played in the water. My son had sand toys so he played on the beach a lot. One time when we were in the water, a dolphin swam up and was about 10 feet away from my son. One of my sisters and I decided to go parasailing. She went when she was like 10 in Mexico and I had never been. We loved it! It was probably my favorite part of the whole trip. It was so much fun. When we were in the air, we were able to see schools of sting rays and a tiger shark.

Monday: 

Time to go home. We got some more beach time in before we packed up the house and left. It was a quick trip but a good one.

IMG_20190622_085851187 (1)

Private Beach

Advertisements

November 2018 Update

Holiday season has come and gone and as always, as it is with most people, it was very busy. So I will update on the holidays later this week but let’s do a November update first.

Travel

I started November by going on a girls trip or a Mom’s Weekend if you will. Basically, we all met in the same playdate group and have become friends. One mom has a beach house in her family so once a year, we get it for the weekend. I went down on Friday night with one of the moms. We stayed up drinking, eating and chatting.

IMG_20181103_084125855 (1)

Beach jump after surfing

The next day I woke up early with a few of the moms who we all did Stand Up Paddleboard. It was so cold outside and windy but the water was actually a nice temperature. The waves? Not so much. We all had a lot of difficulties. So we played instead and I surfed instead. I have not surfed since 2013 and I miss it. I had so much fun surfing. I definitely need to get out there more. We spent the rest of the day eating, walking on the beach, drinking and hanging out. Lots of laugh. We left on Sunday. There was about 8 of us. I always love Mom Weekend.

Family and Friends

When I got back home from Moms Weekend, it was my nephews bday party so we went to that. It was just family and really nice.

IMG_20181112_100422025 (1)

Zoo Sprouts

I took my son to the zoo for one a class. The zoo has classes called Zoo Sprouts where they teach little toddlers about the animals. My son loves the classes so I took a day off from work and we had a fun day at the zoo.

IMG_20181113_190050039 (1)

Zoo Lights

The day after our zoo trip, we went back for the members only Zoo Lights sneak peek. I highly recommend going then because it is not as crowded so it is more enjoyable.

We, as in my son and I, went to a bday party for a baby. My son had fun playing with the toys and eating cake. We couldn’t stay long at the party because I was meeting some friends for dinner that night.

Running

I ran in the Cypress Half Marathon. I have done this race the last 3 years I think. The course is flat and usually the weather cooperates. This year was not my year. My time is perfectly fine but I was in pain. My foot has been hurting on and off and it was definitely on that day. Because of that, my core was also hurting because of overcompensating for my foot. It was still fun though.

Thanksgiving

We went to my mom’s house for Thanksgiving this year. We arrived on Wednesday and hung out with my family. We did a little Christmas celebration since my family wouldn’t see my son at Christmas. We also went to my moms friends house for a Thanksgiving party. That night I got drinks with my college roommate/best friend. It was nice to catch up.

IMG_20181122_124105267 (1)

Thanksgiving walk to see the ducks

Thanksgiving lunch was at my mom’s house this year so I helped her cook some of the dishes. My husband and I ran in the Chesterfield Turkey Trot which is such a hilly course. I forget every time how hilly it is. It is a nice way to start the day though.

On Friday, my son, husband and I went to the St. Louis Zoo. There was nobody there. We got great free parking and the zoo is free too. We had a lot of fun looking at all of the zoo animals. When we got back, we went to a new brewery called Greer Brewery. It was really nice, lots of games, they serve pretzels and has great beers so it was a winner for us.

Our last full day in St. Louis was Saturday. My husband and I ran in the Girl Scout Run for Cookies 5K with one of our Houston friends. Another hilly race but always fun. They have hot chocolate and girl scout cookies when you finish. I was actually surprised and placed 2nd in my age group.

 

That was my November. Doesn’t seem like much but it was really busy but a lot of fun too.

 

 

Fort Worth Vacation

Last week my family did a mini-vacay in Fort Worth. I was already there for my volunteer job so my husband and son got in the car and drove on up. We stayed at the Texan Gaylord. It is huge! For this summer, they have Smurf stuff everywhere and special Smurf classes, escape room, parade, etc. They also have a water park on their property with a shuttle to take you back to the hotel. We really liked staying there and have plans to come back sometime in the future.

Thursday:

IMG_20180705_125310123

Our room

I was there first so I checked in, like 3 hours early. Luckily for me, they had a King-sized room ready. This room was huge. It was a corner room so we had two full walls of windows. There was plenty of room for my son to play with his Lego’s we bought. The room also had a mini-fridge so we could buy milk. When my family got there, they were starving so we ate at the hotel at their Tex-Mex restaurant which sits on the restaurants Riverwalk (it is supposed to look like San Antonio). The drinks and food were good but pricey but this is also hotel prices. We then got changed and went to the pool. The pool was so crowded and there was a DJ playing. There were no chairs left but a family was leaving and told us to take theirs. We played in the water for over an hour and got ready to go out.

We decided to go see the Fort Worth Stockyards. Since neither of us have ever been, we didn’t know what to expect. My son did not enjoy them. He thought there would be animals that he could see and we only saw a couple. My husband loves country music so we did go to Billy Bob’s for some food and to listen. We then headed back to the hotel and put on Netflix which you can do straight from the remote.

IMG_20180704_211257634_LL

hotel

Friday: 

Since we are all sharing a King-size bed(our toddler likes to sleep with us anyway), we all just cuddled up and slept in which is really nice. I decided to get up and go workout at Grapevine Crossfit. When I got back, I showered real quick and we went to Legoland. I had bought tickets for 10 am months ago and recommend buying in advance. When we got there at 10, people who did not have tickets couldn’t get any until 2. When we left Legoland, it was 3:30 with the last entry being 5.

IMG_20180706_103936218

Legoland

My son loves building and loves Legos so this was perfect for him. He built a lot, did a ride, watched a movie and built some more. When he was ready for lunch, we went through the gift shop and bought him a set.

For lunch we did Rainforest Cafe. Even though it is touristy, in a bunch of cities and overpriced, we knew our son would love it and he did. After lunch we did the Sealife aquarium. I had bought the combo tickets for that and Legoland. The aquarium was cute and my son enjoyed looking at the fishes. He really liked this turtle activity where you took care of a turtle and the tube with the sharks swimming over you.

We also went to Grapevine Brewery Co. for some drinks and Tolberts for some Chili. They win a lot of awards and my husband has known about them for a while.

Saturday: 

I had signed us up to run at Rahr and Son’s Red White and Brew Fun Run. It was not a race, just a fun run. We stayed there for a bit and headed back to the hotel. My husband originally wanted to leave on Saturday but we decided to stay an extra day since we were having such a great time. We went to Jake’s Burgers for lunch which I recommend. When we got back, they had a balloon animal artist so my son got a balloon animal.

That night we went to the Paradise Springs Waterpark which is a part of your stay. We went close to closing time. The reason: crowds and not as sunny. We wanted to go when maybe people would start going to dinner. We stayed until they closed which was almost two hours and probably the perfect amount of time with our toddler. My son loved the lazy river, the slides* and they had these swings in the water.

*You have to go feet first for safety and half way down, my son turned his little body to go head first. He got in trouble with the lifeguard.

On Sunday we drove home. It was a really nice vacation and I really enjoyed it. We will definitely have to go back to Ft. Worth another time.

Kentucky Lakes

In June, my whole family met at Kentucky Lakes for a long weekend. For most of my family, it was only a few hours drive. For me, we flew into Nashville and rented a car. From Nashville to our rental home, it was two hours.

We got there on a Friday and left on Monday. Some of my family bought boats and wave runners with them. Other people bought water floats and noodles. It was a lot of fun. We rented two houses and there was a firepit between the houses. We also shared a dock to put everything. We were on a quiet cove so you could swim in the lake from our dock.

IMG_20180624_080608646

Quiet Cove

Some things we did:

Friday- Some of us met at Paducah Brewing Co. The food was good and so was the pizza. We then went to stores and met back at the houses. That night, my whole family went out to eat at Moors Head Resort at their restaurant Ralphs.

Saturday- We played in the water all day. My husband and I got out to go do a crossfit workout. Otherwise it was boating and swimming.

Sunday- More water time. My husband borrowed the owners kayak and went kayaking. My little family also went to a brewpub called The Dam.

Monday- One last boat ride. Then time to go home.

We had to drive back to Nashville and had awhile since our flight was delayed. We went to a Trails of Tears museum. We then went and explored Nashville like at Jackalope Brewery.

We loved Kentucky Lakes and really enjoyed the rental we stayed at. This is a place I would definitely go visit again.

Where we stayed.

December Updates

December just flew by..sorta. Sometimes I was like “Man, four weeks until Winter Break” and other times it flew by. I can’t believe it is now 2018. I really do not make resolutions but I am going to try this year to take time to breathe. Like it is okay to stay in my house and relax. I don’t always have to be on the move. Anyway, my life in December.

Working Out

Last month before my big race so I did some long runs this month like a 20 miler. I felt great on that run. I also hit some PRs at Crossfit. December has been pretty cold here(for Houston) which is my favorite running temperatures. I love it in the 40s. There has also been hot humid days too. It was very weird and explains why everyone got sick this month.

Camping

After my 20 miler, we went camping at Lost Maples State Park which is like 60 miles west of San Antonio. It was in the 30s throughout the night and rainy. My husband packed our car and forgot to pack my suitcase so my coat, socks, everything was in my house. So I was really cold. The next morning though, we went on a nice hike as a family(dog too) and it was beautiful. Highly recommend that park.

IMG_20171217_083135543

Lost Maples State Park

Friends

We had a lot of fun with friends in December. I started December with a baby shower for a friend which my husband even went because it was at a playground so the kids could play. The night I went with a friend to an ugly sweater party. I had a couple of Christmas Light Runs with friends which are my favorite. I did a dinner with some sorority sisters. I saw my college roommate/sorority sister and went on a brewery tour with a friend before New Years.  Some of this will be extended on.

Brewery

On the 30th, we went with a friend to two new to us breweries.  They are both close to me and one hasn’t officially had their grand opening.  We went to Wicked Boxer Brewery and Bearded Fox. Wicked Boxer is new and hasn’t had their big grand opening yet.  The space was small but cute. Bearded Fox has been open for a while and has stuff for kids, free popcorn and had a food truck on site which was nice.

IMG_20171230_135747518

Wicked Boxer Brewery

Travel

I had to take a weekend trip to Dallas for a training for my volunteer job. We stayed at a Marriott because it was next door to the training. The hotel was nice and the food was good. The gym looked pretty nice but I didn’t work out in there. They had little maps of running routes in the area so I did that. I ran before the sun came up since my training was early and the only problem was one of the routes you went on a cute path except it was dark, no lights, and no one could see it. So the next day, I turned before the path and just ran in a neighborhood instead.

IMG_20171208_185341797

Dallas/Addison Marriott Quorum by the Galleria

Health

My son had an appointment with his allergist and he is still allergic to peanuts but not as bad as last year which is a good sign. I did feel bad because the night before, my son was cleaning up his toys and fell right on the coffee table so his cheek was all cut up and bruised.

Holidays

For the holidays we traveled to St. Louis to see my mom, aunts, sister, etc. We stayed with my mom and got in Christmas Eve. I had won a free drink ticket on my flight for knowing my Christmas trivia. My sister had ordered my favorite pizza for when we arrived. It was cold the whole time I was in St. Louis like 18 degrees as the high cold. The only good thing, there was snow the whole time.

IMG_20171225_073144201

White Christmas. Deers in my moms backyard.

For Christmas we went to Illinois to have lunch at my aunt’s house. It was nice to see everyone including my cousins. The night my mom, sister and I went and saw Father Figure which I do not recommend. We did get Steak N Shake beforehand so that was enjoyable.

On Tuesday we went to Myseum to let Eli play all day. He had a blast and it was a great place. That night I caught dinner with my college roommate, her husband and her daughter at Kirkwood Station Brewery. It is always great to see her.

On Wednesday we went to Chesterfield Sports Fusion to play mini golf. Unfortunately my son had no interest in playing minigolf so it was a bust.

We left super early the next day. So it was a great trip but short.

For New Years Eve, some friends came to a restaurant by me to eat dinner and celebrate. I was home at like 8:30 and then watched Dick Clark’s NYE or whatever it is called. Very low-key but whatever.

 

So that was my December summed up pretty quickly. Last thing, I saw the movie Miss You Already and I really enjoyed it.

Maine and Boston Trip

About a week and a half ago, my family flew up to Boston to get to a wedding in Maine.  It was our first time in that part of the country.

Friday

Our flight became sketchy because it was delayed and a hurricane came into town. They also did not know if the crew had worked too many hours. They said if we could fly, we would just board right away without cleaning the plane. It was some kind of miracle because we could fly and we hardly felt the wind. We flew JetBlue which was my first time with that carrier.  We loved it.  The seats were big and there was plenty of leg space. Plus free Wifi through Amazon and 3 free movies you could choose from your own TV.  We wish they flew more out of our airport to more cities.

Saturday

We stayed at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bedford Glen on Saturday morning. Our flight did not get in to after 1 am.  We basically slept and left. We then drove up to Maine.  The wedding was in Harrison Maine at an all girls camp. It was beautiful.  The weather was in the high 40s/low 70s and just perfect.  Sunny day too. We were staying at the camp for the wedding and found our cabin. We ate lunch in the mess hall and ran into some friends to go to the Norway Brewing Co which was about 10 minutes away. Afterwards it was time for the wedding.  The couple found a babysitter for the little ones so my son had a blast.  I know they went to the camps gymnastic studio and played in a foam pit and they ate Mac n Cheese. He was sound asleep when I made it back to the cabin.

Sunday

I ran in a local 5K race so I could get Maine off my bucket list.  The people were so nice. There was even a soda company there named Capt Eli, and they gave my son a shirt since his name is Eli. After the race, we went back to the camp and ate breakfast with everyone. As people left, we decided to head to our hotel room in Portland, Maine. We stayed at the Fireside Inn. They let us check-in early so we had some time to rest before our family photos.

21430500_745433828720_7515059572945215252_n

Fort Williams Park

We ate lunch at Sea Dog Brewery which has a restaurant.  The food and beer were really good and my son loved all the dog decorations. We then met our photographer at Fort Williams Park for our family photos. We do not have the photos yet, but we loved her.  We went with Strawberry Patch photography and she was awesome. The park itself was beautiful. Jagged coastlines and a lighthouse. Plus we even played for a bit in the ocean. It is one of those places where you wish you could have a summer-house up there.  I definitely want to go back.

21432919_745434073230_2321058218090930871_n

Fort Williams Park

Afterwards we grabbed a bite to eat at Foulmouthed Brewery before heading back to the hotel room to rest and sleep.

Monday

We started the drive back to Boston to catch our flight the next day. We stopped in the cutest fisherman town of Portsmouth New Hampshire to eat lunch at Portsmouth Brewery. Another place with good food and good beer. We also went to a little toy shop in town to get our son a new toy for our flight.

We stayed at the Hilton in Dedham that night. We also learned that all the airports in our city were closed so our flight was cancelled.  I called JetBlue and they put us on the first flight out which was Thursday. Since that meant two more nights, we needed to find a hotel but Boston is so expensive.

Tuesday

My husband returned our rent-a-car which was a Mini Van (and not our style) for a smaller car. He also talked to our hotel about our situation. Hilton extended our stay with the cheapest rates in all of Boston (cheaper than even the motels in not great areas) and gave us free breakfast. Hilton Hotels will now always be my top choice to stay. They were so accommodating and nice to us.

With having a place to stay, we decided to tour Boston. Since we both love history, we walked the Freedom Trail to look at places involved in the start of the American Revolution. We stopped for a bit to eat lunch at Cheers because we have to be tourists. The trail was really nice especially because it stayed about 70 the whole time. We also had friends who were also stuck in Boston so we met them at Harpoon Brewery for a few beers and then went out for oysters.

21272313_745433110160_6386130545980169997_n

Where everybody knows your name

Wednesday

We took another historical walking tour but this time in Salem, MA.  We were deciding between Salem or Falls River (Lizzie Borden) and my husband decided on Salem. The weather was again perfect. Afterwards, we had dinner at Shake Shack and called it a night…until we learned our flight was cancelled again.  This time I got a flight for Dallas.

Thursday

Caught my flight to Dallas and we had a rent-a-car to drive back to Houston. We had a Mini Van because the compact cars were going for $600 more. Our friends also got on our flight so we drove them in the van. My dog this whole trip was at the kennel. I called them to let them know I would be 15 minutes late so they stayed open so I could go pick him up. One last thing about Jetblue, well two, they never gave us a hard time about changing flights and they have the best snacks.

 

It was a great trip but I had such guilt that my town was going through something horrible (still is) and I was having a fun little vacation. I also felt bad that my dog was stuck at a kennel during a hurricane.  He was fine the whole time, as I called everyday.

Quick Trip to Memphis

Last week I did a quick trip to Memphis.  I was not even gone 48 hours. I have a volunteer job and they sent me to a conference. I lucked out in having a friend who could babysit one day and my husband going into work late another day until I got home.

Wednesday

I arrived in Memphis with a delay. It was storming around the country so it was a mess at the airport.  I was supposed to be there at 5:45 and then at a happy hour gathering at 6:15 but did not get to the hotel until 7 so I ended up being about 20 minutes late to the dinner portion.  We were staying the Sheraton Downtown.  It is a little older but still nice.  Excellent service and staff. They also have a skywalk to take you to the convention center which is where my event was so it was convenient.

20170712_191355

My room

20170712_211802

Pretty good Memphis beer I tried

Thursday

20170713_063535

Tom Lee Memorial

I woke up early and threw on my running clothes. I had made a route in my head but wanted to ask the hotel staff if it is safe. The agreed that my route would be good.  They said I might see some homeless people but that is all. Since I was unaware of my surroundings, I ran without music and I texted my husband before and after my run so that someone would know where I was running. I also brought my phone for pictures. I ran through downtown and to the Riverwalk and Tom Lee Park.  There were plenty of people out and a lot of runners. It was a really nice run. My way back, I changed it up a bit to go see Beale St. I also ran by the Peabody but didn’t go in and see the ducks because it was only 6:45 am.

20170713_133421

St. Jude Children’s Hospital

The rest of the morning, I listened to speakers. I then go to take a tour of St. Jude Children’s Hospital which was the whole point of my trip. I finally got to visit the hospital I fundraise for. Afterwards, I ate dinner at Central BBQ and walked across the street to tour the National Civil Rights Museum. Central BBQ was really enjoyable. The museum was awesome.  It was very interactive and they way they set the museum was nice.  I really liked it and was surprised by how much they had.

20170713_202404

Civil Rights Museum at Lorraine Motel

Friday

Went home.  So it was a very quick trip but really enjoyable.

Family Vacation to East TN

Last Thursday my family of three hopped on an airport and headed to Tennessee for a family vacation. In the past, it has just been my mom, sisters and I but this time we opened it up to the whole family. So my sisters, my mom, my aunt, my cousins and the kids all came.  We had about 18 people there (my family is pretty small, we were only missing 2 people). My son finally got to meet his cousins too.

Thursday:

This was our arrival date. We were staying in Rogersville, TN which is in the middle of nowhere.  The reason we were staying there: we found a canoe/floating place that allowed toddlers.  We also had to stay at a hotel that was dog friendly so Rogersville was our destination.  There is nothing much in the town but we made do.  My family was the only one flying because we live the farthest away. We flew into Nashville and then drove. For lunch we stopped in Knoxville and ate at Smoky Mountain Brewery.  We loved the beers and loved that they had a kids menu and crayons. We also enjoyed the food too.  We ended up buying two 6-mix/match-packs to go. We made it to the hotel at about 2 and my mom, one sister, aunt and uncle were there at about 3:30. Soon others arrived but the last group got in at about 7:50. We ate dinner but a lot of restaurants in town close at 8 or 9.  We did not want fast food.  We ate at a place called O’Henrys which the hotel staff recommended.  I liked it and very kid friendly but my family did not.

20170622_080349 (1)

Nashville Airport

Friday:

The hotel we stayed at had free breakfast so we all just ate once we woke up.  My son was the youngest at 2 and the oldest of the grandkids is 21.  Most were high school range. The weather looked rainy our whole weekend but we were not going to let that stop us. We had made reservations at River Place on the Clinch to float down the river.  We were going to do the 3 mile route.  We decided to postpone by one hour to give the weather a chance to clear. It ended up raining on us for about 30 minutes and then cleared to be a beautiful day.  We were on the river for about 5 hours.  We packed lunches, played in the water and just relaxed. It was perfect.  The place was very laid back too.

That night, I had to go pick-up a packet for a race I was doing the next day.  Packet pick-up was one hour away in Johnson City at the Yee-Haw Brewery.  Only my family went on this side excursion.  Yee-Haw brewery was an awesome place.  They had old school games like Skee Ball, good beer and a restaurant attached to it called White Duck Taco Shop. Service was fast too.  My husband and I really enjoyed ourselves.  They also had a free concert across the railroad tracks too so we went to that for a little bit.

20170624_154308

Came back to see the Maid tucked in Monkey

Saturday: 

We woke up early to get to my race in Johnson City.  My mom came to my hotel room to watch my little guy.  I did the Tweetsie Trail Half Marathon and 10k.  I decided to only do the 10K as I was on vacation. The race is small but really put together, I will do more of a recap later.  After my race, we made it back to the hotel at about 9:30 and my son was eating in the lobby. My family decided to go hike that day after lunch. We did fast food for lunch which my car ate at Pal’s because we have never heard of that before. We recommend it. We hiked at Warriors Path State Park in Kingsport.  The trail we originally wanted to go on was closed so we did the Devil’s Backbone. We hiked about half mile to a photo-op spot and turned around. That night we went to Rogersville City Park and had a BBQ.

20170624_125103

Good Milkshake

20170624_141903

Monsters climbing Devils Backbone

20170624_143037

Finished our hike

Sunday: 

One of my cousins and her family were leaving because they had to work on Monday.  We took some family photos before they left. After they left, my sisters began calling different places and we ended up renting a pontoon boat and wave runner for 6 hours.  The place is called H20 Sports in Dandridge and we were on Lake Douglas.  My family had some much fun boating, playing in the water and playing on the wave runner.  My son loved the boat ride and loved swimming in the water.  It was a great day for it too. We decided to eat a Mexican Grill called Toros before we headed back to Nashville.  Our flight was at 5:30 in the morning and we had a hotel room that night in Nashville.  We left right from the restaurant because it was one hour closer than going back to Rogersville to say goodbye.  It is always hard leaving family though.

20170625_143840

Smoky Mountains over Lake Douglas

photo0 (9)

Swimming in Lake Douglas

Last Thoughts:

  • My son slept in bed with us and man, that was too much freedom.  Hopefully he will mature some before our next trip in late August.
  • Thankfully he got right back on his regular sleeping schedule.
  • We have decided to do this every year.  So I am planning next year.  We thought it might be easier to do the same weekend every year so people will know in advance.
  • The flight back was so smooth as my son slept the whole time.  The way there?  Not so much.  He was very upset that he had to have his own seat and seatbelt. Luckily he did eventually sleep.

 

Cruisin

This is an overdue post but now I have time to write it.  Back in September, I took my first cruise.  We decided to take a shorter one since it was the beginning of the school year so we did Thursday-Monday. I went with my mom, sisters and aunt.  Since my dad died, he have made more commitments to travel together.  We sailed out of New Orleans with me getting there Thursday morning.  My family had never been to New Orleans so they flew down there a couple of days earlier.

We decided to go on Carnivals Triumph for our trip as it was our first cruise.  We made sure to book two rooms and that they both had balconies.  A must in my opinion.  Our rooms adjoined so they took away the divider on our balconies.  My room had three people in it so I slept on this bunk type bed that came from the wall/ceiling.  It wasn’t bad but I could feel my oldness. I didn’t take a picture of it but I did take plenty of pictures of the towel animals that were so cute. I even took a class on how to make them.

20160925_104711

Elephant Towel Animal

My sisters and mom were behind the ear motion sickness patches while my aunt and I did without.  We were both fine.  We only had one stop on our cruise which was to Cozumel. We had already booked our excursion beforehand but had to book a new one since ours was cancelled.  It was real easy though to do that and our new excursion was cheaper so we had some extra money.

Our boat left at 4 and we were on the boat at 1. I was running late to get there at 1 because I also had to stop at Cafe Du Monde. We grabbed a late lunch and put on our bathing suits.  I highly recommend carrying a swimsuit in your carry-on.  It took a couple of hours for our luggage to get to our room.  The first night we watched a movie on the deck of the boat too.

Friday: We participated in a boat scavenger hunt which helped me figure out where things were too. My oldest sister and I did some trivia (we did a lot of trivia on the boat) and we went to a Battle of the Sexes game.  We also made this our fancy dinner and took some fun photos and enjoyed the comedy show.

Saturday: It was excursion day.  We were on a catamaran and went snorkeling.  Once we were done snorkeling, they took us to a private beach with tons of water toys like inflatable slides, obstacle courses and so on. Plus tons of alcohol. It was really fun.  When we got back, we shopped around Cozumel for a little bit.  I got shirts for my family and my son a maraca.

20160924_095625

That’s me paddle boarding.  Thanks to the captain for taking this pic.

Sunday: It was a lazy day as it was our last day.  Lots of pool time.  I did workout a few times on the boat by either doing my own WOD (I have some good travel workouts) or by running. We ended up eating at the fancy restaurant 3 times because we all loved this molten chocolate cake they serve.

Monday: We docked and you have to wait forever to get off the ship but you also have to be our of your room. When we finally got off, we decided to get to the airport and switch to earlier flights.  Yeah, none of us were able to so we sat in the New Orleans airport for 5 hours. We were at different terminals so we couldn’t even go through security. Not the best time but we made it work.

Verdict: Would I cruise again?  Yes, I would.  Would I take kids? Yes but under some conditions.  My son is almost 2, I would not take him until his was able to hang out in the kid area and have fun.  Right now, no.  I saw lots of kids having fun but they were also 8-ish. I would always go on some type of excursion too just to get off the boat, or at least see the area we were in.

Traveling with baby

So I traveled over Thanksgiving, which was way over a month ago but I never got a chance to blog about it.

I want to start with traveling with babies tips and then talk about Thanksgiving in St. Louis.  My son is 20 months old and has flown about 7 times.  His first flight was at 4 months old. Every flight has been a different experience.

  1. Get to the airport with extra time.  There is nothing worse than being super stressed about making your flight on time because not only will baby sense it, it will throw everything else off.
  2. Bring plenty of snacks.  If you are doing liquid snacks, like pouches, be warned that if they are over 4 oz. they will have to open them and check them.  If you think you brought too many snacks, pack more.
  3. You can bring liquids with you but security will check them in the bottle or sippy so again need to plan extra time.
  4. Bring a toy/object they love and will want to play with on the plane.
  5. Have an extra set of clothes for you and baby in your carry-on.  Trust me. Nothing like spending a couple of hours as an adult in pee clothes.
  6. Have something in their mouth for takeoff/landing.
  7. Pack things so that they are easy to reach for.

Those are just some of my tips.  Again, every flight is different.  My son flew great at 4 months to NM and a month later he has a screaming meltdown on the flight to Mexico.

For Thanksgiving we flew to St. Louis on a Tuesday and barely made the flight (had to turn around because I left his passport at home).  So Tuesday we made it for dinner and that was all.

Wednesday was so much fun.  We went to the St. Louis Zoo which was a gloomy day in the low 50s but no one was there because it looked like rain.  We got to see all the animals without crowds.  We then took him to Build-a-Bear inside the zoo.  St. Louis is where Build-a-Bear started so they have a special one in the zoo filled with zoo animals.  My son picked a Painted Dog (which we saw the exhibit).  It was so cute and fun to see him make his little dog.  He did so good.  If you have never been to the St. Louis Zoo, it is a must.  It is free and ranked one of the best zoos in the nature.  It is inside Forest Park which is a huge beautiful park.

Thursday was Thanksgiving but my husband and I ran in the Chesterfield Turkey Trot.  My son stayed home at Grandmas.  Afterwards, we had our Thanksgiving meal.

On Friday the girls in my family decided to go see a movie.  Afterwards, my husband, son and I met up with my college roommate and her husband to eat and drink some beer at Kirkwood Station Brewery. It was really good food and beer.

Saturday we ran in the Run for Cookies 5 miler.  It was the first year we have done it where my husband did not place. Afterwards, the girls in my family took my son to the mall for their playground, carousel and train ride.

We left very early Sunday morning. It was a good trip and we were glad we got to see a lot of people and do a lot of things.  My son enjoyed himself.