blogging · momblog · parenthood · personal blog · Uncategorized · vacation

Family vacation to Florida!

This summer our big vacation with the girls was going to Orlando Florida. We left the week after Emerald got out of school, it gave her something to look forward to since she was a little sad school was over (she is five I am sure this will change when she is older). Brock flew out with the girls and I and we got all of our belongings into two carry-ons and three backpacks! IMG_20180602_091741045Brock hates that you have to pay for luggage so this mama crammed it all in just a couple of bags. We also brought both of the girls car seats, but no stroller this time, my babies are all grown up. When we dropped off Violet’s carseat she thought the man was throwing it out because he put it in a large bag 😂 She was so worried about her carseat and did not want to leave it. IMG_20180602_093236134Loading with the girls was a breeze and it was so nice to have everything you could possibly need in the couple of bags we brought. Both the girls each had a backpack with a few toys they had picked to bring, their blankies, tablets and some coloring books and crayons/markers. I also put a baggie in each of their backpacks with snacks and lollipops for when they could not handle the plane ride anymore. I was amazed the girls had such a great time on the plane ride, I was next to both of them and Brock was just across the aisle from us.  I somehow forgot the headsets so we could watch movies and listen to music so we had to buy them on the flight (what can I say I feel like every trip something is forgotten . . . at least this was the only thing and it was an easy fix. The girls loved looking out the window at all the pretty clouds and the beautiful blue skies and imagined what the clouds looked like.IMG_20180602_155146745_HDR

When we finally made it to Florida that evening my brother came and picked us up and we did drive through on the way to the hotel because you know the kiddos were so starving, not really they are a little on the dramatic side. The girls were so excited to finally see all their cousins and could not wait to get to the hotel. We stayed at the Star Island Resort in Orlando and had a three bedroom suite. Almost all my family stayed in one condo together, Brock and I with the girls shared one room that had two beds although we had the rest of the cousins sleeping on our floor most of the nights. The kids all wanted to spend as much time together as possible, it was so sweet. IMG_20180603_114824600We spent the days there swimming, playing video games and board games and everybody was having such a wonderful time. When we would go swimming I kept both are girls and puddle jumpers which made me feel way more safe about them running around the pool area especially with all the kids playing together. Since it’s so hot and humid in Florida we did stay inside a little bit playing video games and we got everybody in on doing some dance games it was hilarious. IMG_20180603_143607251There was also a miniature golf course at the resort and we had a great time everyone played not necessarily well but everybody tried even the little ones. Since my entire family, siblings and parents and kids were there we all got together for family photos. A nice man walking by took the family pictures of the entire group. There was 19 of us all together in the picture so it was very sweet of the person to help out and take a group picture of all of us. IMG_20180604_122601445_HDRThis Resort also had playgrounds, that was great to let the kids get out their energy when we were not swimming there was also pingpong and outdoor jenga. It also had swans that you could ride around on a pond and bikes, but for some reason they did not have this available the entire time we were there, such a bummer. They also played outdoor movies each night but we never went to go see these so we did miss out on a few things.

Well after two full days of fun my younger brother and his family left so we packed each day with lots of fun things mostly swimming and after each time the kids would go swimming they would come back to the hotel room and sit inside the big jacuzzi tub to all rinse off together. We also did night swimming which the girls have never done before and they thought was so much fun. IMG_20180605_152631074_HDRBrock ended up leaving the day after my brother so that he could head back to work, but the girls and I stayed with the rest of the family. We left only a couple days later, on our last day there my brother drove home to Jacksonville and the rest of us headed to the Crayola Experience which was close to the airport.

This was such a great place so worth the money we got to make our own crayons and watch how they make batches of crayons. We also melted crayons into cool arts and crafts the girls had the best time. I would highly recommend this for anybody in the Orlando area I wish they had one of these out near us. I even wish we got more time at this place but unfortunately we had to leave to head out on our flight. We booked the same flight as my parents and my sisters family, we got the seats across the aisle from my parents. Well, on the way home our flight ended up having a two-hour delay which is terrible when you have two tired kids.

We ate dinner at the airport and then waited around . . . I end up getting ice cream and cookies and trying to find things to entertain the girls while waiting. Luckily on the flight home the girls were exhausted and fell asleep which was very nice for me I got to watch a movie, although I had to watch it from Violet’s screen since my sound did not work for my seat and my mom also had this problem. When we landed Brock was there to pick up the girls and I plus my parents and our trip was over. Overall it was a wonderful trip and it was so fun getting to see all of my siblings and their kids but we were definitely happy to be home and sleeping in our own beds. Although you know me always ready to plan the next vacation.

blogging · cruise · family · mom life · parenthood · personal blog · Uncategorized · vacation

Family cruise!

IMG_20180322_143117_126Well we finally did our first family cruise with both the girls. It was a lot of fun, but so exhausting. We did a 3 night mexico cruise during Emerald’s spring break so she would not miss any school. Brock’s mom and two sisters also came with us. I took a few days to pack since I was trying to get everything in one medium size suitcase and a backpack for all four of us (which I totally did) We we’re not sure how Violet would be (I had crazy insomnia before the cruise cuz I was so stressed out about Violet my wild child running off the ship) so we wanted our hands free and boarding the ship to be as easy as possible.

Well our drive down to the ship it was on the cooler side and a little rainy😒. Thankfully I had planned for this and we all had jackets. Boarding went really well and we carried all our luggage on instead of checking it that way we had anything we might need for Violet (including her mermaid tail blanket that we can’t go anywhere without) We got to our room that had a king bed and two bunks, the girls called their castles. Violet was also convinced that we were at a hotel and she wanted to go back to the big ship. We also had a giant window that the girls immediately wanted to look out.

After dropping off our luggage and the girls jumping around on the beds we headed up for some food because that is what you do most of the time on a cruise is EAT! We sat outside while having our burgers and of course I got pooped on by a seagull. 🤦 Brock cleaned off my jacket and all I could do was laugh.

Yes Violet ditched her jacket right away and got an ice-cream cone. Emerald was so excited for all the fun things she had planned.

We did the early seating for dinner at 6 which was perfect for the girls. We of course ordered way too much food but we wanted to try so many things off the menu plus it’s all included so why not try it! We put Emerald and Violet in the Camp Carnival each evening after dinner so that Brock and I could have a little time to go and do things we wanted to do plus it was a nice little break for us. The girls had a blast in the Camp Carnival they thought it was so much fun and they would always ask us each day to go back to it especially Emerald, I definitely think this was the highlight of the cruise for her she met so many friends. Brock and I loved that Camp Carnival gave us a phone in case anything happened with the girls which we ended up using way more than I ever thought we would. The calls were always because of violet not wanting to be there anymore she also had one night of an accident in her pants because she couldn’t wipe herself after going to the bathroom. The joys of having children and being a parent.

I tried to dress us all in clothes we could wear all day and be comfortable, plus decent enough for dinner.

The first full day we were in Ensenada Mexico we stayed on the boat with the girls we were a little concerned about safety in Mexico, but we had a wonderful time we played mini-golf went swimming and did all the water slides(well Brock and the girls did the waterslides and I watched, the water was too cold for me)

Staying on the boat also made it easier to have Violet take a nap and we all ended up napping. That night was what we called “fancy night” and the girls were so excited they had brought their fanciest dresses (Emerald got a new dress for this occasion since that girls is always growing) to wear to dinner. It was another late night of shows and comedy and the girls stayed in Camp Carnival again after dinner.

The next day was a “sea day” and the pools were crowded so we tried to find other things that the girls would find fun so we did the towel folding class and the towel Theater which they had for the kids. The girls loved both these things they especially loved every night in our room there would be a new towel animal that typically got loved to death by Violet.

The last night of our cruise and I was ready to be home I had started getting really bad motion sickness they say the last day is always the worst because they stay out at sea. Again we put the girls in Camp Carnival after dinner and went to some comedy shows then we went and got them out to bring them to the last show of the cruise they loved it.

The next morning we were docked back at Long Beach and it was time to pack up and go home. Even though I went into this Cruise very stressed out and ended up being a wonderful time for the family. We will definitely be doing another Cruise in the future well maybe the far future. We have been off the cruise a couple days and I still feel like I’m on the boat rocking. Well now we are thinking about what our next family trip will be, I love all the adventures I get to share with my family.

blogging · family · mom life · parenthood · personal blog · Uncategorized · vacation

Family weekend trip to Solvang CA

Family time is so important to us. The girls are growing up so fast and I want to make sure that they have the best childhood we can give them. So we try to do little trips or family days just the four of us to make sure the girls know that we love and care about them and want to spend time with them. This time we did a weekend trip to Solvang. It was a quick trip we only stayed one night at a hotel. We ended up staying in Buellton which is five minuets away from Solvang, but the hotels are half the price, we stayed at Pea Soup Anderson’s Inn and it was only $100 for a Saturday night, felt like a steal.

We headed up Saturday morning leaving our house at 930am and we only hit traffic in Montecito since they had only reopened the freeway there a few days ago after the mudslide that happened. It saddened me driving through there seeing the aftermath of what the residence had been thru, I can’t even imagine.

We reached the first winery, Lincourt (if you have read my other posts we are member here and we love it!) We had a picnic on the grass area right in front of the tasting room where there is plenty of room for the girls to run around. We had not been in a little while so we had two shipments of wine to pick up. 🙂 The girls had so much fun, they love picnics! Emerald especially loved it since it was all food she had picked out the day before at Trader Joes.

The picnic was followed by dancing and rolling down the grassy hill (Brock and I did not participate in I think it might have been frowned upon if Brock and I rolled down the hill lol)

Next we went to Quicksilver Ranch which is right next to the winery. This place has so many mini ponies! This is another one of our go to places (even when we don’t have the girls with us when we go to Solvang) this time the girls got to walk with one of the mini horses while it was being brought over to a pin to be groomed. The girls were so excited they got to pet the horse for a little while although Violet kept asking the man if she could brush the pony 🙂

After the mini ponies we went to another winery, Firestone Vineyards. Here we got a table outside and let the girls run around again while we tasted wine. This is another one of favorite places, it sits up on a little hill that overlooks the vineyard and is beautiful (although January is not the most beautiful time for vineyards) I unfortunately did not take many pictures at this place . . . sometimes I need a break from picture taking and I try to just enjoy the moments, but we did take pictures inside the wine tasting room on the huge chair they had.

After this winery we went to our hotel, Pea Soup Anderson’s Inn, for a nap the girls were very tired from all of the running around and lets face it Brock and I were pretty tired too. The hotel is pretty clean and a nice enough room for one night plus we don’t spend a ton of time in our room anyway. After naps it was too late for the Ostrich farm so we walked around Solvang for a few minutes before heading to dinner at Hadsten House Restaurant.IMG_20180127_190029618 I have been going to this restaurant for years . . . it has definitely changed through out the years and I miss the large ravioli that they used to have, but we made it for happy hour (early dinner when you have kiddos) The girls were completely wild the whole dinner . . . Emerald making hats out of her napkin and Violet singing her heart out. Brock took the girls on a couple of walks during dinner so they could get their wiggles out. After dinner we headed back to the hotel because the girls really wanted to go swimming, we mostly stayed in the hot tub since it was pretty cold out plus Emerald can stand up in it on her own which makes her so happy. Then it was bed time, it was a long day and we had more to do the next day. We had breakfast at the hotel which was just pastries and juice from one of the bakeries in Solvang.

Our first stop for the day was the Ostrichland USA we got there right when they opened which was pretty nice there were only a couple of other people there. The girls had so much fun feeding the Ostrich and Emu. Brock was having the girls pet them and sure enough first Emerald got bit on her arm and she thought it was funny because Brock told her they were trying to eat the butterfly on her jacket and then a few minutes later Violet got bit on the finger and she screamed her head off. There was no calming her down so her and I went and washed off her hands and she was done but Emerald went and got more food to keep feeding these crazy birds. When we left Violet said she had fun but did not want to go next to one again. Next we headed to the Folded Hills Farmstead, but they were not open. Their website said they opened at 11am, but no such luck. So instead we had a picnic in the back of our car and let the girls pet the animals that are there. This is one of Emerald’s favorite things, if animals are there she loves it. Violet was over the animals pretty quickly and just wanted to eat. Emerald told us the only way she will move from our house is if we move to a farm were she can pick all the animals we will have lol.

We stayed at the farm for awhile before hitting the road. We headed to Ventura for in-n-out lunch and a bathroom break. Then back to our little home we went. It was a short trip, but we packed it as full as possible. I love doing life with my family.

italy · personal blog · vacation

Our trip to Italy

My husband and I took a nine day trip to Italy and we left the kids with our parents. IT WAS AMAZING!!!! As parents I think it is easy to forget about about our significant other or ourselves and we put so much attention on our children. It was so nice for Brock and I to get away and not have to worry about anything. I think all parents should get away at least once a year if they can to refresh. We came back feeling like way better parents because we put time into ourselves and our relationship. Anyway, about the trip. It took an entire day to fly to Italy, ugh. We flew American Airlines there and it was fine just a regular flight nothing great about it, and we had a layover in Philadelphia which helped break up the flight a little.

Our first stop was Rome! We stayed at Hotel Relais Dei Papi which was only a few blocks away from Vatican City. Well when we got to the hotel completely jet lagged and had just taken a shuttle from the airport we were told they had overbooked the rooms and they did not have one available for us. WHAT THE HECK PEOPLE!!!!! They then said they had reserved a suite for us at a sister hotel right down the street. Ok calmed down a little  . . . .with all that the concierge at out hotel was soooooo amazing he spent so much time going over with us everything that was a must see and the best way to get everywhere. Mostly I think they felt pretty terrible that they made such a mistake. Well we walk over to the new hotel with a bell boy and it was beautiful. Some how it worked out to our advantage getting bumped to another hotel.  The first thing we did when we got to our room was shower to try to wake ourselves up after that long flight, crazy jet lag, and thefrustration of going to another Hotel. We left our room and went exploring all the amazing sights of Rome. We had no real agenda other than to see as many monuments as we could. That day we only lasted until about 8 at night and we were pushing ourselves to keep going. The bed was not so comfortable and we did not sleep great but I think we were running on the excitement of the city.

The next day we got up early so that we could do a tour of Vatican City, Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica. We did a tour through I Love Rome which was wonderful. There is no way that we would have been able to see all those things on our own, each place has a long line to even get in, but with the tour we got to pass the line and head straight in. We missed seeing the Pope by a day, such a bummer but we did get to learn so much about the Vatican History and what all of the Popes contributed to the Vatican and what they stole from each other as the years went by, very interesting. The Sistine Chapel was beautiful but extremely crowded and I might be a terrible person but I honestly thought a lot of the other artwork through out the Vatican was even more majestic. We finished in St Peter’s Basilica which was very large and beautiful and once the tour was finished Brock and I stayed there to explore the levels below the church which hosts many tombs. We gave ourselves enough time to grab something to eat before heading to our next tour, yes another tour in one day, what can I say we packed our days so full trying to see everything. We met up with our group also through I Love Rome at the Arch of Constantine. This was a tour of the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill which also I don’t know how we could have made it through seeing all of this if we did not have a tour guide. This day was one of my favorites of this trip and I loved Rome. I was in awe seeing everything from so many years ago. Sad to say but history was never my strong suit but getting to see so much in person I have no words. Once done we got some Gelato even tho it was raining. We ended the day with going to one of the restaurants that our Concierge had suggested. Also our bags were moved back to the original hotel we booked and we were sad to see our suite gone but we woke to a wonderful breakfast and delicious cappuccinos. The hotel was nice but still the beds were not to nice for me.

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Our last full day in Rome we went exploring on our own again and tried to go all the places we had not seen yet. Also I got Brock to drink Espresso . . . he put a lot of sugar and still was not a big fan but he drank it.

The next morning we ate breakfast and headed to the train station because we were headed to Florence. Florence was a lot smaller than Rome and was BEAUTIFUL! It was a very quant city and we were able to find our Hotel pretty easily, it was right next to the Duomo, it was Hotel Axial. We dropped off our luggage and went exploring we of course stopped for some gelato as we made our way through out the city. That night we had dinner at the first place that I actually LOVED the food, La Buchetta.

The next day we filled it again with tours, we  headed to Pisa on a bus tour and my goodness the tower leans way more then I could have imagined. They allow you to climb the tower but Brock and I decided to skip that part of the tour and go grab lunch instead and explore a little of the city. The minute we got back to Florence we were back on the bus to head to Chianti

The minute we got back to Florence we were back on the bus to head to Chianti to do a little wine tasting. Brock and I loved this! The bus was mostly filled with a younger crowd who clearly wanted to drink 🙂 The first winery was a small boutique vineyard, that 20 years ago was the vineyard who had supplied the wine for the Vatican but since has opened it doors to the public. It was absolutely stunning and the women who owned it was so sweet. We stopped at a little market area on the way to the next winery and Brock and I shared some mozzarella gelato with some cured ham onto and then got some baked goods at the bakery. The next winery was quite large but very delicious including the extra glass we got after the tour. We then headed back to Florence and back to our hotel since we had a train ride to Venice to catch the next morning.

The train ride had so many beautiful views including it started snowing while we were on the train and everything was getting a white blanket. We stayed at Hotel Scandinavia in Venice. We had such a hard time finding this hotel it felt like we were walking in circles and they have no cars or bikes on the island which would be difficult to have any way since there are SOOOOOO many bridges with stairs. (caring luggage was not so fun halfway through looking for our hotel Brock had to carry all of the luggage up and down all the stairs for me he is amazing, plus it was raining) We finally found our hotel and we were exhausted. Although this hotel was lovely, everything in it was antiques including all the furniture in our room and an actual key to get in our room. You could leave the key with the front desk when you left so that you would not loose the key while you were out exploring. We did not do any tour here, we planned on spending our time here to rest and take in all of the amazing beauty and lifestyle.

We also decided here that I was not the best at reading or speaking Italian. 🙂 this was where I ordered cuddle fish instead of Cod oops. And strangely this was the first place we ate spaghetti. Brock tried pizza in each city we went and I must say I was not a huge fan of most of the pizza. Well we ended out trip with a dinner at the Michelin stared restaurant at the Met. Which I was so excited about I love beautiful and delicious food so this was definitely my pick. The hotel that the restaurant was in was magical and had such a wonderful ambiance, I was in love. The several course dinner was stunning and left us both IMG_20171115_182847_028beyond full, I did the vegetarian menu and Brock did the traditional and we were so glad we did both so that we could try so many things on the menu and off the menu. We were definitely not disappointed. We went back to our hotel and had to be up really early the next morning for our flight home. We even had to order a special water taxi to take us to the airport since the trains were not running yet. I must say that was the first time I have taken a boat to an airport. We flew home on British Airways we had a quick layover in London and that long leg of the fight was soon long. We got up several times to walk around and I started feeling a little stir crazy but was so glad to be headed home to sleep in my own comfy bed. Brock’s mom picked us up from the airport with Emerald, but we did not get to see Violet for a few more days until we got her from my parents. It was nice to have a few days to regroup and spend one on one time with Emerald. The girls were so happy to see us! It was a wonderful trip and now Brock is talking about planning our next adventure, maybe this time we will take the girls?!?!? Im thinking maybe Hawaii or possibly visiting family in Florida.We shall see!