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Travel

Travel

We’ve all seen those stories about college kids in other countries studying abroad only to never come home because they go missing, right? Or those kids whose parents took them on a trip to some magical, tropical island and poof! they disappear into thin air? Well, my dad lives 2,162 Miles from home in Mexico for 8 months of the year and this morning, he was missing. Let me restate, as far as I knew this morning, he had been missing for 8 days! This is not something that I would normally talk about but it happened and my nerves are pretty much shot so I’m trying to process all of this the only way I know how.

This morning I received a phone call from my sister, asking if I had heard from my father. My mom still works so she is still in the states all year round. Me, not hearing from my father for a week or even a month is not cause for concern but my mom gets daily phone calls. No phone call since July 27th. None. We called AT&T and the phone has not pinged since that day and every time we call it, it goes straight to voicemail. There is no ringing. My dad is in his 60’s.  So, I go into full panic mode. I’m a fixer. I can’t wait for things to work themselves out. That is not me. I was one hair away from hopping a plane to Mexico.

The first thing I did was call the phone to confirm that it is, in fact, going directly to voicemail. It is. I know because I called 75 times (sort of like when, in disbelief, I found out I was pregnant and took 17 pregnancy tests). Still, it went straight to Voicemail.  Then I did what any sane person would do, I called all my brothers and sisters and then I called the town. Yes, the town he lives in ….in MEXICO!

He lives in a very small town and back in the 80’s before cell phones and people having landlines, in this particularly small part of Mexico, we called the post office. I called that number and in my best rusty Spanish, I asked someone (anyone) to please go check on my father and to either call me back and let me know what was going on or to have him call me. Do you know how hard it is to track down someone who lives virtually off the grid? Think trying to locate Lewis and Clark without a cellphone or GPS. The nice woman on the other end said she would call me as soon as she knew anything. Meanwhile, I had to wait. I am not good at waiting. I am the worst waiter in the history of the world, especially when it potentially relates to the health and safety of my father.

So, I did what any insane with worry person would do, I Facebooked every cousin I know and asked them to ask their parents to call the city, call their family and friends in that small town and then I called in the big guns. I called my best friend  (Who speaks Spanish like a native) and had her inquire on my behalf. This was all within 30 minutes of my original call, one Xanax and a phone call to a long lost uncle. Desperate times, desperate measures my friends.

You see, my dad is a healthy 66-years old man, he rides his bike and runs and is a very much a loner. He likes his solitude. I guess he needed the quiet after living in a house with 6 kids for all those years. Anyways, the nice woman at the post office told my BFF that she had went to the house after “Debi” ( that’s me the crazy one) called and it wasn’t broken into and his vehicles were there and he was probably just out riding his bike, as he does daily. Apparently, everyone knows him in town and she told us not to worry she would go check again in a bit. Then my cousin walked into the post office and said, I just saw him riding his bike in the plaza.  Weird, right? I still wasn’t satisfied. I needed eyes on the old man STAT!

I had no solace. I spent my morning crying and imagining the worst possible scenario. I went to a dark place in my head. I was imagining that I would need to rush a passport and grab a flight to Mexico to collect a body.A BODY! I couldn’t handle it. I was on the verge of hysterics I was sure he’d gone off into the mountains and either gotten hit by a car, bitten by a snake or worse. WORSE!! Mexico worse, not US worse. The worst.

Just as the Xanax kicked in and I was about to call the federales in Mexico and then the embassy, the phone rang. It was my sister telling me that my dad was on the phone with my mom. His iPhone has died. I’m sure he is annoyed that I called the city multiple times and sent people over to find him. He is a very private person but he should know that if someone I love goes missing, I’ll never quit looking until I find him. I don’t give up. So, here I sit emotionally drained from this mornings events and all I want to do is hug my dad but that won’t be happening until November.

I always thought the worst feeling in the world was when your kid wandered off in the Target and hid under the racks for 2 seconds and it scared the crap out of you but apparently, losing your dad in another country where you can’t just look for him or call the cops is a pretty close second. I’m thinking of putting a chip in my dad next time he’s home. I’m not kidding. I’m not sure I can handle this happening again. A contingency plan has to be put into place or an intervention…for me.

What would you have done if a family member went missing while in another country?

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mom, driver, minivan, #Swaggerwagon, crazy

Do you refer to your car as a swagger wagon? Wait! Have you heard that the latest technology in minivans makes it so that I can yell at my kids in the car without having to scream over the Kids Bop #71 millionth edition CD and the two of them out octaving one another to the tune of, “NO, YOU’RE THE worst sister ever!” What?

Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post about the swagger wagon; I just think that this is really cool and I want these features STAT.

Apparently, Toyota knows that parenting is hard work and it is not for the weak. Quite frankly, we can use a few more tools in our parenting toolbox especially in times of parenting desperation like road trips or 10 minutes drives to school or around the block. The 2015 Toyota Sienna has not one but TWO features that I cannot believe were not already invented. When you have kids you need all the blind spot detection, three rows of seating, airbags, entertainment system, auto warning this and that and braking in times of danger. You need all the safety bells and whistles, don’t let your husband convince you otherwise. He’s not the poor bastard driving around town in a vehicle covered in Goldfish dust with sippy cups and overpriced hard plastic, educational toys being hurled at HIS head trying to look cool with the Wiggles blasting on the radio.

Damn it people, we’ve got babies on board! I did not house those little people so some damn drunk driver can run a red light and t-bone us and I certainly didn’t sign a waiver allowing my sanity to be taken away on loooooonnnnnnggggggg road trips to places like Disney World nor did I read the fine print that said that I may or may not have to dislocate my shoulder to hand toys and sippy cups hurled and then cried for immediately while driving back to toddlers who think its funny. P.S. It was not funny! Why did no one warn me about teenagers texting on the road? I want all the blue tooths. Every time I go on the road, it feels like I’m in a game of frogger as I try to avoid all the texters, drunkards and stay in the line and not miss my exit all while little people are shouting at me and licking one another and choking on cheerios. It’s like extreme driving. I need a xanax just thinking about it.

Anyways, what are the two features I am referring to? Wait for it….
“Driver Easy Speak.” It uses a built-in microphone to amplify a parent’s voice through speakers in the back seats. Translation: You no longer have to actually scream at your children, you can whisper (that’s more scary any ways) into a built in megaphone. Take that, little people and the best part is this is not two-way. It’s just me, talking at them…all day long! So, instead of yelling, “If you lick your brother’s face one more time…I’ll drop you off at the orphanage!!” YOU can now simply whisper from the comfort of your front seat, “I see dead people!”

It also has what they are calling an optional “pull-down “conversation” mirror” I call it eyes in the back of your head and wait…wasn’t that already invented? I mean, isn’t that what your rearview mirror is for? Well, except for when you are backing up and the camera comes on and the kids could literally be back there setting shit on fire because you can not see a damn thing. Anyways, I like the idea of eyes in the back of my head and I convinced my little ones that I did in fact have this condition a long time ago. My 7-year-old still checks the back of my head from time to time. I think instead of a mirror, I’d prefer a camera…right there in my rear view left side that watched the backseats. You know, security footage to be used in a court of law.

I was so excited that for half a second, I actually considered swapping out my Enclave for the Toyota Sienna 2015 and then I remembered that I am allergic to minivans so, sadly no #Swaggerwagon for me but I do love these features and the new commercials. This one is my favorite.

P.S. Does anyone else hear Missy Elliot’s “Get UR Freak on” every time they see the word “Swaggerwagon” I’m serious? No? Maybe that says more about me than it does about you? I did learn to drive in an extended van with a bed in the back.

What’s the number one feature you look for in your mom Swagger wagon?

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Boston harbor, Faneuil hall, freedpm trail, historical Boston, Boston, family travel, fun, New England, family travel, things to do in Boston, Massachusetts

I’ve made a short list of things to do in Boston when traveling with children.

When my family was in Boston,Massachusetts we saw and did a lot of wonderful things.Honestly, too many things to mention in one post but I would like to mention some of our favorites.

I won’t lie, I drug my kids all over Bean town. It was like Disney World to me. There was just so much to see and I only had 6 days to see it. This trip has made me realize that I like about 7 to immerse myself in a city and the key to any great trip is to talk to the locals. They live there and they know the best places to go, see, do and eat (Boston foodie post coming soon)

Things to do in Boston when traveling with kids

The Boston Children’s Museum located at 308 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

Boston Children's Museum, Boston, family travel, fun, New England, family travel, things to do in Boston, Massachusetts

This was one of my children’s favorite places. It is enormous, we were lucky enough to be spending that day with friends and it was a welcome break from the hot June Day. Quick fact: The Boston Children’s Museum is the second oldest children’s museums in the world. It was founded in 1913 by a group of visionary educators. For over 100 years it has been engaging children in joyful discovery experiences that instill an appreciation of our world, develop foundational skills, and spark a lifelong love of learning.

Boston Children's Museum, Boston, family travel, fun, New England, family travel, things to do in Boston, Massachusetts
It is huge and three floors of solid fun. If you want to tire your little ones out while stimulating their brains and hearing their non-stop giggles, you will love this place as much as we did. The Museum’s exhibits emphasize hands-on engagement and learning through experience, employing play as a tool to spark the inherent creativity, curiosity, and imagination of children. Designed for children and families, Museum exhibits focus on science, culture, environmental awareness, health & fitness, and the arts. My girls’ favorite exhibits were Arthur’s world and the art room. We could have stayed there for days but closing time was at 5 pm.

Boston Children's Museum, Boston, family travel, fun, New England, family travel, things to do in Boston, Massachusetts

The Boston Harbor Cruise New England Aquarium Whale Watch Cruise at 1 Long Wharf, Boston, MA 02110.

whale, Boston harbor cruises, whale watching, New England, family travel, things to do in Boston, Massachusetts

I was so excited to do the whale watch, probably more so than the kids. It was the one thing, aside from walking the Freedom trail that had me acting all squee-like.
The BHC hi-speed catamaran provided a fast, comfortable way for about 400 passengers to see, what I consider to be, the ocean’s most magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, up close and personal. The “in their natural habitat” was the most important part to me because no matter how badly I’ve been wanting to see these amazing creatures, ethically, I refuse to see them in captivity.
In 3 hours (yes, believe me the Gilligan island song played non-stop in my mind), BHC gets you to and from your destination; Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary, a rich feeding ground for whales and dolphins. There is a NEAQ-trained naturalist on board to point out which kind of whale you are seeing and give you some background on each one. This was very helpful to us and educational to the children, especially since we were on board with a large group of field trip children.

If you’ve never been on a whale watching tour, be prepared for breathtaking views all around. It’s like flying without all of that pesky altitude and seeing a whale beside your boat for the first time feels a little like seeing a baby be born. It will stop you in your tracks in amazement. While on our tour we spotted a finback, a humpback and a couple minke whales. It is something we will never forget. Also, if you go on the tour and don’t get to see any whales, no worries, BHC guarantees their whale watching tours and you will be issued a ticket to return for another cruise. For me, the BHC Whale watching cruise is something everyone should try, at least once, though I fully intend to go again on our next visit.

Faneuil Hall located at 1 Faneuil Hall Square, Boston, MA 02109

Faneuil hall, freedpm trail, historical Boston, Boston, family travel, fun, New England, family travel, things to do in Boston, Massachusetts
Faneiul Hall Marketplace is located in downtown Boston in walking distance from the harbor. In 1742 our nation’s fathers proclaimed it “The Cradle of Liberty” today, it is a buzzing marketplace with over 70 retailers and 160,000 square feet of space on Boston’s iconic festival marketplace. The kids loved it.
Faneuil Hall’s cobblestone streets are filled with music, laughter and people of all ages shopping and watching as street performers and musicians dazzled the crowds. Our girls thought the caricature and balloon artists located directly outside Faneuil hall were the best. There is definitely something for everyone.

Faneuil hall, freedpm trail, historical Boston, Boston, family travel, fun, New England, family travel, things to do in Boston, Massachusetts
You can enjoy unique, locally loved, and nationally recognized shops while indulging in the a variety of cuisines at the many restaurants, pubs (Cheers was one of our favorites) and the world-famous Quincy Market.

Faneuil hall, freedom trail, historical Boston, Boston, family travel, fun, New England, family travel, things to do in Boston, Massachusetts
You can also start walking the Freedom Trail, right from here!

What are your favorite things to do in Boston?

 

Disclosure: I was provided tickets to Boston’s Children Museum and the BHC Whale Watching Tour but every single one of my opinions about these two places were my own. Stay tuned for Part 2 of things to do in Boston coming next week.

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Boston, Family Travel, travel, #Latina Traveler, #Latina, #Boston, #Travel,Westin Waterfront Boston,

I went to Boston and fell in love.

I am serious. I just got back from Boston and I have fallen madly, deeply and head over heels in love. The people, the food, the beautiful harbor and the accents that had me wanting to ask everyone I met to please say “The Hopper” it was my litmus test, the more “Ha-Pah” it was the more I loved it.

Boston, Family Travel, travel, #Latina Traveler, #Latina, #Boston, #Travel,Westin Waterfront Boston,

It was the first trip to Boston for the girls and I. We stayed at the Westin Waterfront Boston, which I would highly recommend because not only was it very clean it is conveniently within walking distance to the harbor, Faneuil Hall, The Freedom Trail, The Aquarium, Harbor Cruises, Boston Common and the Redline. It has amazing views of the Boston Skyline and the Harbor and let’s not forget about those “heavenly” beds that the Westin is famous for, which was like sleeping in a hug. The Westin Waterfront Boston also happens to not only house 3 great restaurants and a Starbucks and delicious room service, you are in walking distance to some of the greatest seafood in the country. They even helped me draft an itinerary specific to my children’s ages ahead of time. But more important than all of that, the staff and service is beyond anything I have ever experienced and I have stayed in some really upscale boutique hotels.

First, let me start by saying that this is NOT a sponsored post. I was not in Boston or the Westin Waterfront working with the hotel or the visitors bureau. I was there with my family, tagging along on a conference with my husband. I was having an adventure with my girls in my new favorite city. I never thought any city could beat my love for New Orleans or my hometown of Chicago but I was WRONG!

Boston, Family Travel, travel, #Latina Traveler, #Latina, #Boston, #Travel,Westin Waterfront Boston,

Being a blogger, I tweeted and Instagramed some of our trip to share with family and friends because I was so excited to be in Boston. This trip was almost 25 years in the making for me. I also tweeted before we left because I was sooooo excited to be finally going to Bean Town.  There started my relationship with the Westin Waterfront Boston, like most of my relationships these days. Twitter was my introduction.

When we arrived, there were some of my children’s favorite snacks waiting for us in the room with the breathtaking view after a 14-hour drive in the car… with kids. The only thing that could have made it better was a Jameson and Ginger for mommy and daddy. We were exhausted and starving, so this was a welcome and unexpected surprise.

Boston, Family Travel, travel, #Latina Traveler, #Latina, #Boston, #Travel,Westin Waterfront Boston,

Oh wait let me back up, I forgot to tell you that the Saturday night we arrived in Boston, the Boston Westin Waterfront was hosting a Walking Dead Fan Convention. What? I can’t believe I didn’t know beforehand. I am a huge Walking Dead fan. I so would have gone zombie mom for it. Anyways, imagine my surprise when I walked into the Westin Waterfront looking like an unintentional walking dead in my traveling yoga pants and running shirt (because obviously I was working out in the car all the way there) and completely disheveled hair, no make-up wanting nothing more to get to my room (You know the feeling) when a very adorable, kind gentleman held the elevator for us, nodded and said have a good night. Turned out he was Jon Bernthal….effing SHANE from Walking Dead! WHAT?? He was not sporting the Shane haircut, but lighter hair, scruffilicious facial hair and its actually even more attractive in person than he ever appeared on the show. Of course, I saw him, thought he looked familiar but couldn’t place the face and as soon as the elevator doors shut, our bellman told us that there was a Walking Dead convention there all week and the place was crawling with Walking Dead cast. So, alas, no photo proof but the memory is mine forever.

Boston, Family Travel, travel, #Latina Traveler, #Latina, #Boston, #Travel,Westin Waterfront Boston,

Anyways, needless to say our trip started out with a bang and only went up from there. Too much information to share in one post, so I will be sharing travel tips for Boston in a series that I will run on Wednesdays for the next few weeks.  But I can tell you this, growing up in the Chicago land area and traveling quite a bit in my life I can say that Boston had some of the kindest, most polite strangers I have ever met. It was apparent by strangers stopping during rush hour to point us in the right direction, explaining to us how the MBTA worked, chivalrous men giving us their seats on the subway/buses, hotel staff offering local restaurant favorites, one woman letting our child cut her in a very long line to the restroom so she wouldn’t pee on herself.

Boston, Family Travel, travel, #Latina Traveler, #Latina, #Boston, #Travel,Westin Waterfront Boston, Cambridge firefighters

I won’t even tell you about Firefighter Jeremy Marrache at the Cambridge Firehouse who not only saved the day at Harvard by giving one of the girls a Band-Aid for her booboo but actually took the time to give the kids a tour, let them on the fire truck, wear gear and demonstrated how to slide the poll simply because 4 little kids wanted to in the middle of a hot Wednesday. It was a day the kids will never forget. Thank you FFOP Jeremy Marrache!

Boston, Family Travel, travel, #Latina Traveler, #Latina, #Boston, #Travel,Westin Waterfront Boston,

Yes, Boston and its people rocked my socks off. The awesome staff at the Westin Waterfront Boston who went above and beyond on the last night we were there. I tweeted a photo of my view from my bed where I was very sick with extreme dehydration from walking all day in the hot sun with only one Aquafina ( yes, poor choices were made, my friends), they surprised me by sending up room service with crackers, spring water, tea  and a note telling me to feel better. Now, THAT is good customer service. It was simply one of the kindest things anyone has ever done for me without being asked to so. That made me a Westin Waterfront Boston fan forever and I can’t say enough good things about them, not in a lifetime of telling you how great they were.Boston, Family Travel, travel, #Latina Traveler, #Latina, #Boston, #Travel,Westin Waterfront Boston,

There is lots more to tell and I will be sharing all my tips for traveling to Boston as a family in the coming weeks. And, don’t think I’m not working on the Big Guy to make the move to one of the cleanest, friendliest and most fun and entertaining cities I’ve ever been to with my family. Can’t wait for our next adventure.

If you haven’t taken your family to Boston, what are you waiting for?

 

 

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Tacey Fedora, Juliette Sweater, Aventura Clothing, #AventuraLife, Fashion, Travel, Sponsored, Aventura, Eco-friendly clothing, green fashion

I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had the chance to share some very important news. No, exhale, I am NOT pregnant. We’re not having that announcement ever again. My uterus has gone on holiday. I will just live vicariously through all my friends and family who keep having their own sweet, baby smell bundles that keep making my ovaries twitch. My announcement is that I am a brand, spanking new addition to the Aventura Clothing ambassador family and I am thrilled.

Aventura Clothing is an awesome family owned brand that’s been around since 1965 with a focus on environmental sustainability and high quality fashion for the modern woman on the move.  Aventura Clothing is a socially conscious and each piece is carefully crafted to be comfortable with a focus on an active lifestyle using materials like organic cotton, bamboo blends and recycled polyester. The eco-friendly styles prevent synthetic fertilizers and farm chemicals from polluting the soil. Aventura Clothing is the perfect marriage between comfort and style plus you can feel good about wearing it because no earth was harmed in the making of your fashion.

I received my first order right before we went on spring break and you better believe I took all of it to Disney World with me. Everything I ordered was lightweight and in bright, summery colors so it was perfect for the Florida heat and professional enough to wear to a conference. Bonus, it all traveled easily and most without wrinkling. Aventura is a traveler’s perfect choice in fashion.

I chose three different outfits with a few simple, classic pieces that could be easily swapped in and out to create several different outfits. I will highlight them individually as the summer goes on but today, I would like to highlight three of my favorite pieces.

The Tacey Fedora

The paper straw fedora has a unique geometric pattern and stylish black hat band. It fits like a glove and looks adorable with just about anything you wear it with. Bonus: It hides my bad hair days easily and no one’s the wiser. This may be my new favorite piece for all seasons.

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Tacey Fedora, Juliette Sweater, Aventura Clothing, #AventuraLife, Fashion, Travel, Sponsored, Aventura, Eco-friendly clothing, green fashion, Latina

Taken on a beautiful day, May 31, 2014.

The Juliette Sweater in Silver Sconce

The Juliette is the perfect lightweight sweater for spring, summer or fall. With a name like Juliette, how can your mind not conjure up images of feminine perfection.It’s comfortable and stylish looking with just the right amount of sass. I love the feminine cut and drape. It hugs my Latina girl curves but hangs in a way that doesn’t look like it’s too small. I’m embarrassed to admit it but since it’s arrival, it’s been worn more times than it probably should have been. I just love it.

The Mayfield Dress

It’s perfect for every occasion that calls for classic elegance from an afternoon networking at a conference to an evening spent enjoying drinks over casual conversation with your favorite guy, this dress is ready for all your summertime soirees. The rayon from bamboo and modal blend drapes beautifully and is as soft as silk without all the fuss. The Mayfield dress traveled for 18 hours in my suitcase on the road trip from ndiana to Florida and didn’t wrinkle, at all. I just pulled it out of my suitcase, hung it up, paired with a pair of cute sandals, the Redford jacket in white and the Presley scarf in sea blue and out the door I went; business cards in hand, dressed to impress.

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Mayfield Dress, Presley Scarf, Redford Jacket, Aventura Clothing, #AventuraLife, Fashion, Travel, Sponsored, Aventura, Eco-friendly clothing, green fashion

Taken March 28th, REALLY, REALLY early in the morning after a late night and 18 hours traveling in the car with my children:)

If you would like to try Aventura clothing for yourself, I have some discount codes to share with you. The codes are good for a one-time use up to $250 for 60% off retail pricing. That’s an awesome deal. Believe me I know because I am about to use one for myself to order the Waverly maxi dress which normally retails for $87 and with the discount code, I can get it for $34.80. Oh yes, it will be mine. I will give out 10 discount codes to the first 10 requests I receive.

If you had the 60% discount, what would you spend it on from Aventura Clothing?

 

Disclosure: I am a 2014 Aventura Clothing Ambassador and was provided product for review but all opinions and thoughts are my own.

 

 

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travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting

When my family and I traveled to Orlando, Florida recently, we had the pleasure of attending Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba at Disney World. We love taking our girls to the theater and letting them enjoy cultural events while they are still young enough to really enjoy the magic because of the infinite possibilities of their imaginations and let them develop a love for the arts naturally.We’ve been taking them to the ballet and the Chicago Shakespeare theater for years; next stop, Broadway. La Nouba tells the fascinating story of the boundless and festive journey of the imagination. The Big Guy and I first saw La Nouba on our honeymoon in 1999. Since then, the Cirque du Soleil and, more specifically, La Nouba have held a special place in our heart. So, imagine how excited we were to share it with our daughters?

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting, Disney World

In case you are unfamiliar with Cirque du Soleil, it is a version of the circus that is humane, uses no animals and captivates the audience, young and old alike, with acrobatic feats that defy the imagination and music that makes your feel like the whole thing is a wonderful, magical dream. Dazzling costumes, dramatic lighting, bizarre choreography and ethereal operatic music set the stage for clownish observations, a human puppet and a host of amazing acrobats that all bend and weave together to create one of the most exciting and engaging shows under the soleil.

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting, Disney World

A door opens and the two worlds collide. Enter the attic of make-believe, where the mundane meets the marvelous. Dreams and nightmares intertwine. La Nouba which calls on both individual and collective memory, is an unforgettable journey into a world at once threatening and exhilarating, frightening and familiar. La Nouba beckons to us, challenges us to uncover passions we thought we had lost long ago; to frolic in our childhood dreams and enter a place where the extraordinary transforms and overcomes the ordinary.

 

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting, Disney World

We took our daughters, ages 6 and 9 at the time, and they both were enthralled with the performers. My 6-year-old LOVED the Titan, especially when he performed on the trampolines and the little girls doing the Diabolos act. In fact, she made me buy her her very own set and plays with them almost daily. My 9-year-old was smitten with the Green Bird and the dancers. The Big Guy finds the power track/ trampoline act to be the big show stopper. Me, I must confess, I am mesmerized by the aerial ballet in silk. The show definitely has something for everyone and I could go on for days talking about La Nouba but as a picture is worth a 1000 words, a production like La Nouba leaves me speechless. La Nouba is something that has to be experienced to be believed and to fully enjoy it.

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting, Disney World

Next time you are at Disney World, and I know you will be if you have kids, if you are on the fence on whether or not to take your children to see La Nouba, I am here to tell you that it will be something they will never forget.

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting

Have you been to a Cirque du Soleil production? What was your favorite act or character?

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting, Disney World

If you’ve seen La Nouba, what was your favorite part of the show?

Photo Cirque du Soleil

Disclosure: I was provided 2 tickets for review purposes, but all opinions and thoughts are my own. I’ve been in love with La Nouba since the first time I saw it on my honeymoon in 1999.

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Honda, Odyssey, minivan

Dear Minivan Mommies,

Do NOT go gentle into that good night. Fight it. Rage against the temptation nay the spiritual castration that is the minivan. Sure they make them in secret agent squirrel charcoal and sleek Land Rover black. Ooh, they try to fool us into believing those minivans are cool. But remember your senses woman, a grocery getter, is the station wagon of the 70s, is the fast track to Loserville…population you and every other pajama jean wearing mother in the pick up line.

Sure my Mommy friends have tried to convince me that their minivan is cool. They pull up to stoplights all over suburbia and rev up their engine, taunting me beckoning me to race them. Their tricked out grocery getter van versus my sleek, sturdy, gas guzzling SUV. Any way you slice it ladies, no matter how tricked out your minivan may be…you my friend are no SUV.

I don’t care if it has a built in movie room, seating for 16, plush leather interior, a bed, a kitchen and a craft room. I don’t care if you can fit the entire football team and cheer squad in that bitch. I don’t even care if there’s a built in wine cooler and keg refrigerator for tailgating. I may have just lied to myself, a wine cooler and keg fridge could possibly cause me to take a second look. So what if you come with all the bells and whistles for less than the cost of my yearly Starbucks habit. I will not be seduced. Hell, your minivan’s baby changer/bather/breastfeeder combo and human butler do not impress me. I have standards.

You can’t look cool, singing the Wiggles and driving a small bus. You are not sexy with your pony tail blowing in the wind as your onstar directs you to the nearest Starbucks. I don’t give a flying rat’s ass what that creepy bald guy told you at the dealership. Tell him he can keep his pajama jeans, you don’t need them. You want a big SUV, with a lot of power so that you can show all the other soccer moms who’s really the boss and it ain’t Tony Danza. It’s the mom with the biggest tank and the most European vehicle.Keep in mind that SUV also comes in handy for running punk student drivers off the road, if the need should ever arise. I’m just saying.

I think Minivans should be outlawed. Every time I pull up behind one, I instinctively want to ram it in the rear.I loathe them. I look at the minivan and I see all the hopes and dreams of the women behind the wheel…crushed into dust as they soldier on, getting their groceries, taxing their children and having their spirit stolen from them. I see dead people where there used to be vibrant, independent women.

I know this is an irrational fear of a vehicle but I refuse to go gentle into that good night. I will fight it kicking and screaming. I will throw a full on two-year-old tantrum, I don’t care who stares with gaping mouth. I will rage against the minivan for as long as I can take breath into my chest and as long as I can fit my kids into my SUV. I am throwing down the gauntlet and vowing to you to never have more kids than I can fit into an SUV, no matter how you tart it up and prance it around in front of me.I will not fall for your sultry, vixen like ways. I will resist temptation. Are you pro minivan? Anti-minivan?

Are you a recent convert to the church of minivan?

**This post originally went live on October 11, 2011 but I have been looking at new vehicles and I needed the reminder to be strong because I’ve got to admit with 2 kids, that new Honda Odyssey minivan with the built-in vacuum cleaner “almost” made me a convert. I am afraid of what might happen if I actually test drove that minivan.

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We all know that Disney World is a magical place filled with fairy dust and fueled on the laughter and happiness of children. It happens to be one of our favorite places, and when I say our, I mean my husband and I.

For some reason, it seems like since we had children we just haven’t had the time or money to go. Nonetheless, we love Disney and our girls desperately want to go.

We are actually planning on surprising them with a couple days in Disney World in June, as a side trip on a surprise visit to Orlando. I plan on filming them when we tell them. Stay tuned. I am pretty sure that my 7-year-old might just faint on the spot and my 4-year-old, I am fairly positive that she will do a happy dance along with some woohoo! followed by some, ” You’re the best mommy I ever had!” I can’t wait.

But it made me think, with only two days to blow my little girls’ minds, I better figure out what the coolest things to do at Disney World with little kids actually is.

  • The Magic Kingdom and the Main Street electrical parade and fireworks
  • Explore Cinderella’s castle
  • Meet the Princesses and get their autographs
  • Go see Cirque du Soleil
  • Take a Ride on a Fringe-Topped Surrey, family style
  • Sushi and Karaoke at the Swan and Dolphin
  • Go to the Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater at MGM
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • It’s a Small World
  • Mad Tea Party

I am sure there are loads more that I am forgetting, but for right now, these are on my list.

What do you recommend as a must see at Disney World for a 4 and 7 year old?

 

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airplane, flying, jet plane, claustrophobia

Flying for the First Time

In a couple weeks, I will be flying on an airplane for the first time ever. Not that I’ve ever flown without an airplane. I don’t have wings, have never jumped off a building or been catapulted across a field or shot out of a canon. Yes, I do realize that I am forty and have never flown. In case you were wondering, it has nothing to do with a fear of heights or death. Though, honestly, I would prefer not to die on my first flight. I’m not counting on one of those ironic moments where I waited half my life to take my first flight only to crash. That would be completely uncool. No, I’ve never flown because I’ve just never had the opportunity.

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