Category Archives: Vacation

Mom Bloggers Tweetup at Seaworld

seaworld

This Sunday, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Seaworld with a fabulous crew of mom bloggers. All thanks to Ted Murphy at IZEA and Wendy Piersall at Sparkplugging.com, we were able to spend an entire day at the park soaking up all things aquatic. I had never been to Orlando’s Seaworld before and was very excited to see what all the fuss was about. And while I wasn’t able to bring my children, I got to see the park through the eyes of the other mom blogger’s children – all while plying them with cotton candy.

So who did I go with? Well the wonderful Shellie from Blog 4 Mom , the brilliant Susan from Egg Marketing and Sometimes Parenting Sucks , the wildly witty Britt from Miss Britt, and the beautiful Melanie from Modern Mami. And had I ever met these women before? Well, here and there on Twitter or in passing at Blog Her last year – but for the most part we met as strangers. But c’mon. Give us some credit. We blog, we’re moms, we had pleeeenty in common. We really had a wonderful day together and I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to hang out with them and their families.

Now what about the park? From sea exhibit to shining sea exhibit, I had an amazing time. Since it is February, the weather was perfect and the park was not very crowded. We walked casually to each section, we never felt too overwhelmed by other visitors and enjoyed every sea creature we saw.

The dolphin area was amazing. Visitors had the chance to feed dolphins and reach out to pet them if they happened to be at arms length. You could truly enjoy this creatures curiousity – they are such wonderful and social animals. The under water viewing area was impressive. The dolphins peered right back at us, swimming slowly by. I think they were equally entertained.

After checking out some wonderful manatee (and debating with husbands whether they are technically considered “cute” – which they are), we went to the Blue Horizons Whale and Dolphin show. I happened to capture the finale on video to share with my children and all of you.

Afterwards, we grabbed some lunch and then headed over to the shark exhibit. I really enjoyed being able to move through the shark tank and see them swim over us. I also appreciated seeing how thick that glass was separating us and the sharks!

The big event for the afternoon was the Shamu Show “Believe”. We all made sure to get spots as close to the front without technically being in the “splash zone”. If the kids had a choice however, we would have been right down front, bracing for wave impact. Nope. We mom bloggers are practical, we stayed dry. But I did catch that finale on video also.

At this point, the kids had been pretty good about following our agenda so we let them run wild in Shamu’s Happy Harbor while we chatted. Or should I say, the moms chatted and the dads braved the climbing contraption with netted tubes three stories above us. While we compared blog tips and tweeted from iphones, the dad’s sweated their way through it all, each coming back down exhausted and a bit overwhelmed. Be prepared if you head up into that maze yourselves, it is not really built for adults sizes or large crowds and can get very warm!

Our final stop was for the wild at heart. A few of the mom bloggers braved the Kraken – a ginormous roller coaster found at the back of the park. It absolutely took my breath away and was an incredible ride. Awesome for sure, but it left me seeing stars a bit on the way back to the car. (Groan, am I getting too old for roller coasters? …never.)

All in all, it was an amazing day. Seaworld is wonderful park for every aged family member. While it brings a lot of the Florida sea life to visitors, it does a great job giving us real accessibility to the animals. Afterwards, visitors are left with an educational visit and a true appreciation for what is really living in our oceans.  

Find some time when it won’t be crowded at Seaworld and go yourself!

**Update**

Izea is sponsoring a Seaworld trip for four! The contest begins February 11th and ends March 10th and is very easy to enter. Go check it out!

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Filed under Animal appreciation, Bloggers, Children, Florida, Reccomendations, Reviews, Theme Parks, Vacation

Rehabbing from BlogHer08… but Hopped Up on Twitter.

I have returned safely from BlogHer08 and slipped back into vacation life with my family. But here I sit. Vaguely slack jawed, short of breath, over-stimmed and kinda tweaked out. BlogHer08. It got to me. It’s as if my inner blogging hard drive uploaded some monstrous load of software and now it just needs to reboot before it can function at all. There is far too much to process, too many business cards to look through, pictures to upload and blogs to visit. I’m not ready to post about it (but I will be, oh, I will be). 

And oh no. A techie analogy. And I am SO not techie. What has HAPPENED to me?

See, clearly BlogHer got under my skin. Like pouring water on a Gremlin or discovering new super hero Spidie-Senses after being bitten by the BlogHer bug… there is no turning back now. Blogging is running in my veins, has me dreaming in widgets and seeing in technorati.

And do you know what else BlogHer08 did to me? Those sneaky sneaky women. Like crafty drug pushers, all whispering in the hallways between sessions “you gotta do it, you gotta try it, EVERYBODY (there) is doing it”… I DID do it. During an insane moment at a table surrounded by women silently tweeting away to one another in a frenzy, I signed up for Twitter. For the networking possibilities, I told myself. For the good of my blog, I rationalized. Uh-huh. As the 3 R’s says, I’ve drunk the Kool-aid now. There’s no turning back. A blogging Gremlin cracked out on Twitter. Get me to rehab. FAST.

So that’s really what I am doing here. I have put myself into a little bit of Blogger’s Rehab. As I type this, I am outside at our tiny family beach cottage, enjoying the peaceful world around me. I am soaking in the silence and watching the sun in the trees while the rest of the household naps. What a beautiful world this is here. Far from the conference site, the sessions, the swag. Just me and my family, together, relaxing our brains and rebooting our inner hard drives. 

However. I can’t help but notice. The birds. Do you know what they are doing? THEY’RE TWEETING.

(….if ya wanna find me on twitter you can find me at “Morningsidemom”, i’m checking it, i’m watching it, everyone thinks I am out here with my book, with my new bff – my HP – tucked safely away in my back pack. No. I am out here, hunched over, I don’t hear the birds… but I hear a whole lot of tweeting… so so much tweeting….)

9 Comments

Filed under Blog love, BlogHer Conference, Twitter, Uncategorized, Vacation

Vacation Blogging, all I ever wanted.

I am in a packing frenzy and have very little time for any mucking about. Except, I have to share this bit of advice: don’t put your packing off until the last minute. Especially, when it is just you alone packing for everyone and you have two small children nipping at your heels.

Oh, and don’t save the laundry until the last day either. Washing colors and whites recklessly because you just want it DONE, is honestly not so smart.

And I also wouldn’t decide that you don’t have enough luggage until the last day and then haul the kids out and spend a half hour hemming and hawing over the cute luggage patterns in the outlet store (“Would THIS one be cute to bring to BlogHer, what do you think T.?” Blank stare. “If I am a good boy, can I have a Popsicle?” I’ll take that as a yes…).

And then don’t STAY in the outlet store once you’ve found what you need. Whatever you do. Don’t decide that maybe now is the time to spruce up the house with some new vases from the Home Decoration section. And then after 20 minutes of more hemming and hawing, don’t then decide that there isn’t any extra money to be spending on stuff like this and put it all back. It also might not be so smart to have spent so much time accomplishing nothing, that it’s close to lunchtime, and your two year old is having a cracker throwing, sippy cup tossing, mommy kicking, red faced squealing tantrum in the shopping cart. Yup, bad.

And then, once the kids are home and fed, don’t then decide to call your neighbor and gab about the mean couple at the fourth of July party. Because that can go on forever, establishing why they snubbed you or how they were rude to your neighbor’s children (for example, when my neighbor’s daughter approached their baby to say hello, the mom yelped in a panic “Oh my son is allergic!” and scooped him up. Allergic? To what?? …Ok, ok, I’m over it).

And then don’t realize you have not ordered your son’s school uniform and hem and haw (“hemming and hawing”, it’s a true skill of mine) over which colored polo shirts to get. He looks FINE in yellow, just buy the damn shirts already.

And whatever you do, for the love of Pete, don’t get on the computer. STAY FAR FAR AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER. Its eeevil. It will suck you in. It will steal hours out of that last valuable day while you ponder if the post you are composing is an utter waste of time and just a silly statement of the obvious. (Press “publish” and get on with it, girl!)

Groan. I am horrified, the afternoon is almost over! Please, if you are also heading out tomorrow for your vacation but have found yourself sitting here reading this (waste of time, stating the way too obvious) post, don’t follow my hopeless example. Please refrain from all this silly mucking about and procrastination. It will be your down fall, let me tell you. Just buck up and get packing. Spend the time preparing, read your list and check it twice, and do right by your suitcase.

Because you know what packing is all about? It’s not about having absolutely everything while you are on vacation (because, c’mon, we’re not heading into the Amazon, Wal Mart is -unfortunately- everywhere and you can always get what you need). A smart and thorough packing job, my friends, is about avoiding that certain moment in the car the next day. I am sure you know what I am talking about. After you are all packed up, and in the car (probably a little bit later than you’d like), and you’re excitedly speeding down the highway, it’s that moment when you think out loud “I feel like I forgot something.” And then, if you didn’t do a stellar job like you SHOULD have the day before, you probbaly have forgotten something. So then you need to decide if you should turn around. I hate that moment. I detest that moment. Realizing I have, in fact, forgotten something and then demanding we turn around has sent my (hates to be late) husband to the brink, let me tell you. Not such a good way to start that family vaca.

So, whatever you do, if its your day to pack before vacation: don’t shop, don’t call friends, don’t tinker and dawdle and daydream, and above all else, DON’T GET ON THE COMPUTER. Get packing and have a clean conscious that you did your best. While driving to the airport, allow yourself to laugh in the face of that “moment” and respond aloud “Well, I didn’t forget anything”, and then sit back, put your shades on and smile smugly …even if the “are we there yets?” have started up in the backseat.

Ok folks, I’m outa here. I will be blogging from the road, to be sure. Who knows where or when you will hear from me next but I will be back here, harassing you all, soon enough. Peace out.

5 Comments

Filed under Packing, Procrastination, Travel, Vacation

How to numb your brain in one week.

The only bit of knowledge I dare share with you this evening is my formula for complete and total brain nummage. This formula is hardly unique – and I fear many of you have enjoyed and subsequently suffered from this sort of forumla on many occasions. But here it goes anyway. Who knows. Maybe your brain is firing on all cylinders, and thats just boring, and you would like to figure out a way to make it stop. Read away, this plan should reeeeally do the trick.

(Note: Definition of the Caroline word “Nummage”: Having been numbed to a point of total neural failure.)

1 five year old birthday party for T. At home. With games, a star wars theme, self-frosted box cake, pinata, sprinklers, candy, music, beers, balloons, streamers, heat, wet kids, costumed kids, light sabering kids, screaming kids, and exhausted kids.

1 morning of sheer panic packing for a week’s vacation to the beach. Where are the UV shirts? Did you pack both blankies AND mickey mouse? Don’t forget the mega super value box of goldfish. Did we pack “Return of the Jedi”? No he doesn’t want “The Phantom Menace”, its gotta be “Return of the Jedi”, he’s ALLLLL about Luke getting away from Jabba and Boba Fett falling into the Sarlac Pit (…what?…). Wait. This place has STAIRS???? What place has STAIRS in Florida!!!! GET THE BABY GATE GET THE BABY GATE!!!

3 hours of driving to our beach destination. And we actually heard it. I thought it only happened in movies. But we heard it. The notoriously whined, in a continuous loop, starting after hour one: “Uhhhh… ARE WE THERE YET?”

7 of us – my fam, my brother, his wife, and one gloriously inquisitive and truly wonderful 18 month old – together, in a lovely townhouse, overlooking a Marina. …”GET THE BABY GATE UP!!!!! QUIIIIIICK!!!!!”

5 days of wake up, cereal everywhere, find the swim diapers, sunscreen, get the bathing suits on, find the noodles, floaties, toys, find the keys, pile in, go to pool, swim, chase, throw, catch children, pile into car, eat lunch, babies nap, we nap, everyone up, re-sunscreen, re-find everything, pile back in, go to beach, watch the undertow, watch them eat sand, stop them eating sand, pile back in car, realize someones swim diaper doesn’t smell so good, get back home, bathe, feed, play hard, to bed, parents hit the booze, eat, swear at the bug bites, appreciate how beautiful it all really is and how lucky we really are, collapse into bed and wake up and do it again.

4 hours back from our destination. There was a tanker explosion on I-75 a few days before and the traffic is fierce. It’s 99 degrees outside and my Saturn is in a full sweat keeping our A/C chugging while we crawl along. Nope, we are soooooo not there yet.

1 two year old birthday party for C. At the playground (thank God)! No games, but with a Mickey theme, another self frosted box cake, fruit, balloons, running, pushing swings, its way WAY too bloody hot, Popsicles, goopy cake, sticky kids, total baby meltdowns, and its done in less than 2 hours.

2 more birthday parties since. God help me if I have to eat another piece of frosted cake. Seriously. Birthday cake, the new white meat. It’s whats for dinner.

2 bad cases of diarrhea for both of my birthday boys. What? A diet of sand, salt water, pool water, mutual tub water, juice boxes, goldfish, and 5 lbs. of birthday cake aren’t going to keep the pipes working normally for my two boys? Soooo utterly shocking.

So yup. That’s my formula for total brain nummage. I am SHOCKED this post even got posted. I am SHOCKED I had the wits about me to move. mouse. to. box. that. says. “publish”. But I guess I did. So I must be coming around. The neurons are slowly starting to refire. I am getting feeling back in my frontal lobe. If I lay off the overscheduling-total-control-freak crack that leads to this horrid case of brain nummage, there may just be hope for me yet.

Stop laughing at me. It could happen.

8 Comments

Filed under Beach, Birthdays, Family, Florida, Parenting, Travel, Vacation

Gone to the beach.

 

That’s right. Sun, sea, sand, some tunes, some sand toys, some beachy drinks. Swimming way out so the kids can’t get me. Scanning the horizon for dolphins. Sunblock everywhere – maybe I’ll get a “harmless” tan …if there is such a thing. Watching the kids play, so proud they do so well with the water. Making sure no one throws sand. Building castles, yup, I’ll be right there to help. Stop throwing sand at your brother. Sand in my sandwich and sand in the CD player. Sand in a diaper. Sopping wet swimmie diapers. T. has to poop and where is the closest potty? Hauling stuff everywhere. Sunburns. Stop throwing sand at your brother. Sand crunching in C’s teeth. Hysterical crying fits when we leave the beach. Stop throwing flip flops at your brother. Wet everything. Sandy everything. Constantly hungry and everything costs 5 times what it should. Baths, showers, towels hung out to dry, a beer or 6, tuck kids in bed, and turn the tunes back on to watch the sun set.

And realize there is no internet access. Deep breaths. Its only 5 days!

Tell me to shut up and enjoy myself.  

2 Comments

Filed under Beach, Family, Florida, Vacation