Sunday, March 1, 2015

Summer vacation in Arizona? Yes! #FamilyTravel

Would you ever consider a summer vacation in the hot desert in the summer? We did!

Looking back at past family travel  photos this week, I was reminded of the fun we had in Arizona (June 2011). If you seek out specific locations and fantastic swimming pools, Arizona can be an enjoyable and kid-friendly family vacation. If you are from a non-desert area like the southeast or northeast, Arizona provides a unique landscape and an experience that isn't your same-old summer beach trip.

How did we decide to do a summer vacation in Arizona? I was looking for a kid-friendly US resort with a great pool area. Several travel articles popped up in my Google search which led me to The Arizona Grand Resort - a hotel with an attached waterpark!  Amelia was only three years old at the time, so swimming and light sightseeing were the only things on our summer vacation agenda. Phoenix was also an easy flight from Atlanta, so it seemed like a perfect summer vacation choice. We began searching for things to do with kids in the Phoenix area and ended up with a fantastic summer trip.

Water is a must for summertime in the desert, so start your vacation search by looking for water activities and inviting family swimming pools.  We began our Arizona summer vacation with a few days at the Arizona Grand Resort enjoying their attached Oasis Waterpark and on-site dining.

Arizona Grand Resort and Oasis Waterpark
We took a drive one day to Slide Rock State Park in Sedona, Arizona where visitors can climb over red rocks and venture into a valley with a natural slippery rock water slide.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Why southerners do snow "a li'l different"

We survived another winter storm in the Atlanta area this week and I think I speak for most when I say bring on spring!

Winter storms are an enormous news event here. Schools close out of an abundance of caution, often with no precipitation nor ice to be seen for 100+ miles. Grocery stores get slammed with shoppers and parents frantically dig through closets trying to find whatever winter gear they can scrounge up, whether it actually fits the kids or not.

So... why is that flake on the forecast such a BIG deal in the South?

Down here, we do snow "a li'l different". It's just the way it is. There are some hard facts as to why the panic ensues. For instance...

Actual meterological stuff! 
In the northern areas of the US, precipitation plus freezing temperatures = snow. Down here, when precipitation hits a warmer atmosphere, it generally comes down as sleet, "wintry mix", or a really wet snow. Yesterday evening, the snow came down in giant, wet flakes for hours but then it turned to rain. The rain melted a lot of the good fluffy snow - and guess what happens overnight once the temperatures drop below 32 again? Ice. And in case you didn't know, driving on ice is pretty much impossible.

Snowplows are expensive!
State governments do not have endless funds. If politicians proposed spending a large chunk of change on snow equipment that may or may not be used even once per year, they would have to give up something else. Like traffic improvements. Or runways. Or textbooks... you get the idea. Winter weather is not common in the South, so funds are spent elsewhere. When a large winter event occurs, our roads can't be cleared quickly. We can't even salt everywhere ahead of time because there just aren't enough trucks to go around.

Then there are the psychological effects of a winter storm in the South. Some kind of excitement/panic sensor triggers in our brains and we go a little bit nuts.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A snow day - with actual snow!

This time, our "snow day" actually had snow! School was delayed two hours, with the announcement coming mere minutes before everyone left for school or got onto buses (apparently some children were already ON buses - epic fail, county. Try better next time). An hour or so later, school was cancelled for the entire day.

This is why: it actually snowed!

The snow fell fast in our suburban area and roads became white quickly. They were still technically driveable, but Atlanta drivers are fast and quite careless. It was a good call to keep us off the roads with children.

So what do you do when school is delayed/cancelled and everyone is already up and ready for the day? You go outside and play at 8:15am! We never know when we will see snow in our own yard, so we make the best of whatever we have.

I hate to break it to the local moms who need a break from their children, but we have a "big" snow supposedly coming tomorrow afternoon. Our winter is not over yet!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Science: it's good for little minds!

Everything we do each day has something to do with science. We woke up. We breathed in and out. The weather outside our front door showed off wintry precipitation. Our food changed as it was cooked for breakfast. Encouraging children to understand and recognize science helps them to develop their brains and improve upon reasoning and questioning skills.

So... since our Atlanta "snow event" ended up looking something like this:

... we ventured out of the house to Cartersville, Georgia to the Tellus Science Museum. The snow did not cooperate as Amelia had hoped; no sledding, no snowmen. We had a few icy pellets over the deck, but that is about it. It was just cold and windy and time to get out of the house.

Tellus Science Museum was built several years ago conveniently next to I-75 and it is a fun outing for the kids. It isn't so huge that it takes up your entire day (2 1/2 or 3 hours is perfect), but it has plenty of interactive exhibits and interesting models and artifacts to view.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Trunki: our favorite luggage for little travelers (#giveaway)

What better activity is there on a cold and windy winter Friday than to daydream about past vacations to warm and sunny destinations? I am longing for sunshine and sand between my toes, thinking of our island-hopping adventures in Hawaii and the fantastic service and turquoise waters at Beaches Resorts Turks and Caicos.

And lucky for you, I am also feeling nostalgic and generous! How about a giveaway to celebrate my five-year blogging anniversary and to get our minds on tropical warmth? Thinking back over five years of pondering, writing, and traveling, I have identified one of my favorite items and I would like to give you a chance to win. I was introduced to this item via a fellow blogger and giveaway years ago and I am going to share the same love with one of you.

Have you heard of the Trunki? 
Trunki images via

The Trunki is Melissa and Doug's ride-on luggage for little kids. We have had one for several years. Amelia has outgrown the ride-on part, but we just dug it out of the closet to hand down to Andrew. The Trunki ride-on luggage is built out of sturdy plastic and ours looks brand new, even after many travels with a toddler. Even though Andrew cannot ride on it just yet, the small size of the Trunki is convenient for hauling small clothes, toys and books, or various baby items. And the wheels and strap make it easy for Amelia to roll through an airport or hotel hallway when we need an extra hand. Plus, it is colorful and cute!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The have-it-all-mom: Revisiting my very first blog post (5 years and 1 month later)

I managed to miss my 5-year blogging anniversary last month, so today I pulled up the archives. I was five years younger when I wrote this, a mom of one, trying to figure out where I fit in the world of work and parenting. The blog was originally titled "Three Moms In One: A Balancing Act", because I wanted to be the happy mom, the "perfect" mom, and the working mom - all tied up in one neat little got-it-all-together package. I also knew it was going to be a perpetual balancing act to even attempt such a feat.

Many things have changed in five years. Other things have not. I still hold a soft spot, however, for this first rambling, personal, very real post. 

Know what's funny? I wore this SAME outfit at home today.

- - -
What do you mean, three moms? 
 originally posted January 21, 2010
Doing the mommy thing is not easy. No one said it would be. But I don't think I realized just how much I would bounce around the emotional spectrum on a daily basis. As a chronic over-achiever, I thought I could be the Perfect Mom, the Happy Mom, & the Working Mom without skipping a beat. 21-1/2 months after my gorgeous Amelia's birth, the realization that these three identities don't always mesh is hitting me in the face... and it hurts.

The Perfect Mom reads all the books, follows the rules, and ends up with a brilliant, sweet, and happy child. It's all a breeze, right? Ha. More like impossible. The pressure placed on a mom, both by herself and by society is astronomical. And unrealistic. And just plain stupid. Especially when said child nears the dreaded age of two.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Fun and memorable 'no-snow' snow day! #Atlanta

It seems a lot of moms complain (a lot) about snow days, but I still experience childlike excitement. Even when it doesn't snow at all! We had a no-snow snow day yesterday...

In fact, it was around 41 degrees and raining. Most other school systems were already out for Presidents' Day and last year's SnowJam2015 made school and government officials increasingly sensitive in regards to weather, so they declared schools closed far in advance. Saturday night, actually! They probably should have waited as our winter forecasts can change dramatically in a matter of hours, but regardless, we were home yesterday and made an extra-special 'no-snow' snow day out of it. I don't complain about my child being home; I love to spend time with her! So I push aside my nagging work tasks (it's a snow day, after all!) and try to make it a fun day for all.   

Do you want to know our formula for creating a really fun and memorable no-snow snow day?

#1 - Blankets and stuffed animals
Oh, and comfortable clothes/PJs as well. The no-snow snow day is all about comfort and lounging at home. Even if roads are fine, it is probably too yucky or cold to go out, so we stay cozy. I enjoyed my soft fleece leggings and over-sized fleece tunic from Target. Best work-at-home-mom clothing, ever. Andrew was happy in his footie PJs.

#2 - Movies
We select movies featuring snow, of course! If we cannot get any fluffy white stuff outside our door, we can live vicariously through films. Two favorites are Frozen (although Amelia, believe it or not, is not a huge fan) and Rise of the Guardians. Clearly, Jack Frost missed us yesterday; although I hear he made his presence quite known in middle Tennessee.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...