Things I wish we brought with us to Universal Studios

Planning a trip can take weeks, sometimes months. I like to plan a couple months in advance for trips, especially big trips, like going to Florida for a week. But sometimes you just have to go on random road trips. Like deciding Friday afternoon that you want to go to Florida for a week, and get a 5 day pass to Universal Studios, and leave Sunday morning at 4am to drive 24 hours straight there. Oh, and doing all that with 3 little kids.

I tend to over pack. Ask my husband, it drives him nuts. I’m the person that packs 20 pairs of underwear, 15 outfits, and 3 pairs of shoes, for a 1 week trip knowing full well I can do laundry there, and won’t even wear half of what I packed, and only actually use 1 pair of shoes. So when I had about 24 hours to pack for a family of 5 for 1 week in Florida, it was a bit crazy around here. And I forgot some stuff. Even with all my lists I made.

So here is what I wish I had brought with us. That in hindsight, may seem obvious.

1. Extra sunscreen. Especially a bottle to actually put in my backpack that I brought to Universal Studios with us every day.

2. Umbrellas, or better yet ponchos. It rains in Florida, a lot. One day when we were at Universal Studios, we got caught outside in a Tropical Storm! There was no shelter expect a patio umbrella with 8 other people under it. In the middle of a Tropical Storm. A storm that lasted 30 minutes, soaked us all, and knocked down palm trees. Oh and I should mention that my daughter is scared of storms. Not out greatest moment.

3. Fan water bottles. I have two at home. I got them for like $4 each. But I forgot them at home. They would have been super awesome to have in the Florida heat walking around an amusement park all day. And yes the do sell some at Universal. But they were smaller, and the ones I saw were $15. I seriously could not justify buying them. We made do with ice cream and lots of slushes.

4. Stroller. Yes my daughter is 5. So let’s hear it mommy shamers. No my kid doesn’t use a stroller on a regular basis. But spending all day, every day for 5 days, at Universal Studios, in that heat, chasing after her big brothers, a stroller was nice to have. Plus I could hang bags on it. So yes, I did give in and bought one of those cheap little ones from a department store. When the cost of one of those was the same as renting a stroller for 1 day from Universal, it made sense to buy one. We found her a cute one with a canopy and a basket underneath. Perfect for holding extra bottles of water, and putting bags on.

5. A hat and sunglasses. I managed to pack a hat for everyone else in the family, but me. And I managed to pack all the sunglasses, expect for my 13 year old. Not my finest moment.

6. Extra hand sanitizer. I love those pocket size ones, but they can be lost easily. It would have been really nice if I had thrown in the extra one like I had debated about before leaving the house.

7. Bathing Suit. We didn’t actually go to the water park, but there is a splash pad and water play area in one of the kids areas. I did pack extra clothes, so that was good. I just never thought to throw in a bathing suit.

8. Change. Pennies and quarters. My daughter kept finding those machines that you put a penny in and and some quarters and you get some thing with a design on it out of the machine. I can’t for the life of me think of what they are called at the moment.

9. Portable charger for my phone. Between taking pictures, videos, using the Universal Studios app, sending pictures to grand parents, my battery took a hit each day.

10. Wipes/ Hand wipes. For messy faces and hands covered in melted ice cream and chocolate. So much easier than having to take them into a crowded bathroom.

 

Having listed all the things I forgot, you would think I was horrible at packing, have no idea what I was doing, and that we didn’t have a great time. But none of that is true. We had an amazing time. And I do know how to pack. I just was very forgetful this time on such short notice for a trip!

So hopefully this list will help you, and me, next time!

~ Michelle

Countdown To Back To School

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It’s summer. A time when everyone expects moms to jump up and down for joy because their darling children will be home 24/7 for what can sometimes feel like forever…

Don’t get me wrong, I love summer vacation. But I miss the structure that the school year brings. All the hard work we as a family have put into our routine, our schedule, it is all thrown right out the window in the summer.

I plan and plan for summer vacation, to the point that I’m tired and left feeling drained. Then summer vacation happens, and 75% of those plans go out the window. Every year. Every single year. Which just leaves me feeling somewhat disappointed that all that effort and time was wasted.

Then there is the dreaded “I’m bored” from the kids, or the sibling fighting. Fighting over nothing. “Mom I think he looked at me all weird like!” Seriously kid?!

Oh how I have a love/hate relationship with summer vacation. I like the relaxing mornings compared to the rush of getting to school. But I still have to get my kids up and fed, clean up after them, feed the again and again and again, because they have apparently never eaten before and must eat all day long during the summer.

Summer vacation is far from relaxing when you are a mom. I have 3 kids, and so far summer vacation has consisted of breaking up fights, dealing with the I’m bored, going on adventures only to have them fight in the car, dealing with the constant parade through my kitchen, the endless toys and mess inside and outside my house. Its not as simple as checking the living room for toys before bed, I have to check outside too now.

I miss my kids when they are in school, I honestly do. But right now, school is looking pretty good.

Maybe its because I am such an introvert, that I feel most comfortable when things are done a certain way, and I just find all this more draining than other moms do. Maybe its because I haven’t slept properly since my daughter was born. Maybe its the not having a single moment to myself thing. The lack of adult conversation. Maybe its the feeling so alone in the summer when its just me and the kids day in and day out.

Blame it on what you want.

As much as I love my kids, love the extra time with them, love the extra cuddles, love the extra talks, as much as I love being able to go on adventures and spend so much time with them. As much fun as we have already had, and will have, I am counting down to the first day of school! (Which of course I will cry over. Don’t judge!)

Do you feel the same way? How do you deal with summer vacation with kids?

~Michelle

 

Lets Go Geocaching

Have you ever gone geocaching? Have you even heard about it? If not, you can read more here and join in all the fun on the Geocaching website. We used to do this a lot, but since we have had our daughter it has slowed down. This weekend we had a whole outing for it and found 3! Needless to say the boys were thrilled. Here are some pictures from our Geocaching adventure.

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Micro Geocache

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The Boys found a treasure!

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I spy with my little eye a Geocache hiding in the tree

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Peaceful pathway along our travels

I can’t wait to go on more adventures with my little family. Do you have a Wordless Wednesday post? Link up below.

~ Michelle

Legoland Toronto

We recently took our very first visit to Legoland in the Vaughn Mall.

Legoland

Honestly I wasn’t sure what to expect. Usually I google and research a place, like to the point that I know the most useless random facts about a place, before we even leave the house. However this time I figured that since it is Lego, it was pretty much self-explanatory.
Should I have ended up researching it? No. It wasn’t needed. However I probably should have packed more snacks for my daughter.

Legoland was awesome, for my boys. They were the perfect age, 8 and 9 years old. They loved it. We spent hours in there. They went from room to room to room, they built Lego, took it apart, built something else. Over and over again. I loved that the place was set up in such a way that when they were playing I could actually sit down and just enjoy watching them.

My daughter on the other hand, she’s 1. She could have cared less for any of it. Although Duplo blocks they had did manage to hold her attention for a little bit of time. Mostly she just enjoyed watching everything and chasing after her brothers.

I was amazed at the amount of detail that went into everything there and all the displays they had. The mini city of Toronto was AMAZING! I loved it. And it was interactive, and had fireworks on the wall that went off. My daughter actually really enjoyed that room, especially when the fireworks went off.

legoland
And here I am proud of myself when I make a Lego box. Clearly I have to step up my game just a wee bit!

I can see how it is easy to spend hours in there, as long as your kids love Lego that is. They had rides, indoor playground, and Lego building stations, they had a build your own race car and race track. It was pretty awesome!

I can’t wait to go back. But next time I think I will see if Grandpa and Grandma want some time with their grand-daughter. She didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as the boys and it wasn’t really geared towards her age.

Have you ever been to Legoland before? 
Seeing the one in Toronto makes me excited to go see the one in Florida one day! 

~ Michelle

10 Fun Ways To Be Active With Your Kids This Summer

Its June, which means it is time to start the summer fun!

Here are 10 fun and easy ways to be active with your kids! Which we all know being active is important to every one, and what better way than to do it together?!

summer fun

1. Walk. So simple and free! A walk can be simple, a walk around your neighbourhood, a nature walk, walking to and from school, walking to the store.

2. Play with a ball. Kick it, throw it, chase it, bat it, whatever it is you do, just have fun with it. Pick a game where you keep score, person with the lowest score cleans the kitchen, or maybe has to clean their bedroom!

3. Make an obstacle course. Inside on a rainy day, or outside on a nice sunny day. Use chairs, sofa cushions, brooms, boxes, rope, whatever you have on hand. Or make one up at the playground, have to do things in a certain order.

4. Playground fun. Visit different playgrounds in your area, or visit some out of town ones. Have a lake near you? Visit a park near a lake and have a nice picnic lunch.

5. Water World. Set up a kiddie pool to splash in, set up buckets of water balloons, water guns (if you allow those), sprinkler.

6. Bike ride. Local bike ride, or head to a small town nearby and explore. Small towns tend to have the best ice cream, just saying.

7. Walking tour. Visit a new town or city and walk around.

8. Learn or take up a sport as a family. Soccer, baseball, basketball. Whichever tickles your fancy.

9. Set up a sports day. Have different sports you need to do, running, short distance, long distance, long jump, and such. Invite extended family. Even make a craft day before and make up ribbons.

10. Dance. Dance party in the kitchen while cooking. Dance party in the living room. Dance party in the backyard, wait till sunset and have some glow sticks! Who doesn’t love glow sticks?!

How do you plan on staying active this summer with your kids?

~ Michelle

Lets Keep The Wonder Alive

This. This picture. I love it.


To you this may just be a picture of a little girl standing in some grass. To me it is so much more. This picture is of my daughter, and when I look at this I see her beautiful spirit, her curiosity, her adventurous nature, I see her exploring the world around her, I also see her trying to talk to a bird that was in the grass, and the pure joy she got from seeing that bird and hearing it sing. There are no words to express the joy on her face, and the happiness I felt seeing her experience this.

To often in this life I am consumed by stress and worry. I will often forget to stop and enjoy the little things or even to stop and look for the little things. This picture reminds me to slow down. To enjoy the world around us, to look for the good in it. It reminds me to find the joy in everything around us, even the simple things – like a bird singing.

I love watching the world through my children’s eyes. I wish I could see it myself, experience it the way they do with pure joy and innocence. It is sad that as adults we tend to lose this ability. It is a good thing I have my children with me to remind me of this daily.

I hope and pray my children can hold on to their adventurous and innocent spirit for the rest of their lives.

How often do you stop and smell the roses?

~ Michelle

Weekend Adventures

Last weekend was beautiful. The sun was out. The birds were singing. It was pure bliss.

Such a weekend warranted a visit to the lake and flower store.

Here are a few pictures from our weekend adventure.

       I love the flower in the last picture. It makes me homesick for Kenya. We used to have these in all colors all around. I love seeing them here.

Do you have a Wordless Wednesday post? Or a Not-So Wordless Wednesday post? Link up below and share!

~ Michelle