Florida has been on my mind of late with all of the news about Hurricane Matthew. While we were there earlier this year we visited the Moat Marine Laboratory & Aquarium in Sarasota. I hadn’t been there before but my parents had, and they suggested it as a good place to spend the day with the kids, and it was. The kids got to see fish and marine mammals that they can’t see locally. My oldest pet a sting ray which was a pretty big deal for him, and there was lots and lots of talk about the sharks. My favourite was the jelly fish, I can watch them all day.
When I turned 16 many many moons ago I did not ask for a party instead I asked to go to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). My dad took the day off work (which never happened) and my mom arranged for my three siblings to be escorted to and from school. My boyfriend at the time came along and the four of us headed to Toronto for the day.
This was my first trip to an art gallery, or at least the first one that I remember. Years later, I became a student at the Ontario College of Art and Design. OCAD is in the backyard of the AGO, and my student card served as entrance to the AGO thus I was in frequent attendance. Continue reading
Every once in a while it’s important to take a break. A break from things you love (like writing this blog) and things that you don’t. Recently I went on vacation and took a break from many things including parenting. My husband and I went away for a few days together because it’s important for our marriage. I love my kids but I love my husband too, and sometimes we need to be together without the kids. Thankfully my parents are happy to step in and have let us escape more than once.
We contemplated going on a cruise but I have in the past struggled with motion, and given that my brain is still healing we opted for a land based adventure. I may have been fine on a cruise but when someone was meddling around in the part of my brain that controls balance I am going to air on the side of caution for the next 6 months or so.
Our land based adventure involved a fair amount of driving, which for me means a fair amount of knitting. I knit a pair of socks while we were cruising around south Florida. We went to the Florida Keys and Miami. We had a few very relaxing kid free days with lots of time to chat (if you know my husband you understand the humour). Anyway it gave us time to reconnect which is critical to the success of our marriage.
We started just south of Tampa and drove to Homestead where we stayed in a dive (which was a bit of an accident), but we survived the night. We also took the opportunity to hit up Red Lobster. It has been years since I have been to Red Lobster (we don’t have one where we live), and those cheese buns are fantastic.
In the AM we made a quick escape to the Keys and drove all the way to Key West where we spent the day, and evening. We didn’t stay in Key West because it’s pricey, instead we opted to stay in Marathon (another of the keys). In the morning after a trip to IHOP (how can you resist) we drove to Miami Beach. Our hotel was perfectly positioned right on the beach. We walked the beach for hours while I took too many photos. We had dinner on the strip and I drank the biggest margarita I have ever seen, twice.
We spent the following day relaxing poolside before the drive back along alligator alley to life with kids. The kids had an amazing time with their grandparents (pictures below prove it), and we had a great time without them. It’s important for them to spend a little time without us, and for us to spend time without them, we all appreciate each other more after a little time apart.
This past Valentine’s Day I spent time with my parents, my kids, my husband and an astronaut. Yes an astronaut. We spent Valentine’s Day at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It was an out of this world Valentine’s day.
I have been to Florida many times and the Kennedy Space Center was not on my list of destinations until I married an aerospace engineer. My oldest was an astronaut for Halloween so I knew that it would be of interest to him as well. As luck would have it my parents wrangled a mini-van as a rental car and we all piled in for a astro-ordinary Valentine’s Day outing.
In keeping with family tradition the kids were wearing their heart shirts. As long as they request holiday specific t-shirts and will happily wear them I will keep making them.
This year we spent Family Day at Legoland in Florida. In case you are reading this in another part of Canada family day in BC is a week earlier than Family Day in other parts of Canada. I have no idea why.
Our kids are 3.5 and almost 7 which is the perfect age for Legoland especially when our 3.5 year old is really, really tall. Even though he is young he was tall enough for all of the rides (42″) which definitely made for a more pleasurable experience because we didn’t ever have to tell him that he was too short to ride on a ride.
We headed to Legoland on superbowl Sunday which I consider to be very smart planning (as a football fan my husband didn’t agree). The park wasn’t super busy and we didn’t wait in line very long for any of the attractions which meant that we could see a lot in the time we had. After a Lego overload at the park we checked into the Legoland hotel for a little more visual stimulation.
The hotel was a fantastic for place for kids. Inside the lobby there was a castle with moats filled with Lego, a pure delight for kids. The rooms were very well designed with a kids bunk area which made for some happy travelers. In the room there was a short quiz that unlocked a treasure chest with some goodies for the kids. I signed my oldest up for a master builder workshop where he learned how to build a shark from one of the parks master Lego builders.
After a restful sleep we attacked the park for another day of fun, but only after a swim in the heated hotel pool. The kids were excited to swim with Lego blocks. It was an awesome way to spend Family day, and I would highly recommend it if you get the chance.