This is what 4 members of a family of 5 look like at 6:23 a.m. in New York’s JFK airport awaiting a 7:10 a.m. flight to Florida having been awake since 4:21 a.m….
This is what 4 members of a family of 5 look like at 6:23 a.m. in New York’s JFK airport awaiting a 7:10 a.m. flight to Florida having been awake since 4:21 a.m….
First you all know I am such a warm weather loving person and that the beach IS my place of utter peace and harmony. This is our one yearly getaway so we really all look forward to it and hate when it flies by all too quickly. And really what was once a really tough travel trip has turned out to be doable now that I have two 7-year-old and one 5 year old…a big difference from two 3 year olds and one 2-year-old!!!
So obviously we spent tons and tons of time at the beach in Boca. We pretty much had one all to ourselves…
The next best thing to the beach is the pool!
As much as the kids love the beach and the pool, (and literally had to be dragged in by their fair-haired ears each day) they all insist that we visit some of their favorite spots while we are in Boca.
The first one is Gumbo Limbo Nature Center which is right down the road from us. Kids learn about endangered plants and animals and get to see turtles and other sea creatures. It is a huge property where we hike around and they love to climb to the top of a structure each year where we try to spot their grandparents home.
I love it because we can still be outside while visiting Gumbo Limbo and you know I don’t want to step one foot out of that gorgeous Florida sunshine. Similarly, we can be outside while visiting another spot, Sugar Sand Park. This is a vast park with many amenities. We explore only a few, like the carousel…
They all meet the height restrictions this year which means they can go on adult free…happy news for someone like me who tends to get dizzy while standing still!
There is also a fabulous playground with structures the kids can climb through and areas where they can get can wet. They love the playground and talk about it throughout the year.
As if all that isn’t enough, just a few steps away and we enter a FABULOUS children’s museum that’s as great as any we’ve been to…there are two large fully interactive rooms that the kids could literally be entertained in all day long.
Because this museum satiates our museum needs we’ve never visited but I’ve heard there’s the Boca Raton Children’s Museum as well.
As for eating, oh man, I ate way too much and went way too long without kick boxing! A few of our favorites include Pizza Time. You know as New Yorker’s we are very snobby about our pizza, but our visiting Boca tradition is to stop at Pizza Time right after we arrive because the pizza is that good. There is something about the sauce and the thin crust that has us all loving it (and believe me we are all pizzaed out after eating it two weeks straight during Hurricane Sandy so that’s saying a lot!)
We tried Matteo’s for the first time which was a bit fancy for the kids but they did great. And, my son has realized his newfound love for fried calamari which he has asked me to pack it for his lunch tomorrow (“Squidward tastes good mom!”)
We always go to Duffy’s because it’s very kid friendly and on Wednesdays kids eat free and they have a balloon guy roaming around.
My husband salivates all year for the place we go to the day after we arrive for lunch which is Baja Cafe. It is the best Mexican food we eat anywhere and we wish we could find a place like this in NY. Seriously I drool as I type!!!
On our last night my in-laws sent me and the hubs to dinner without kids to New York Prime. I’m not a steak eater but my husband enjoyed his and my salmon was great….place was very expensive though…we would have been just as happy going out in flip-flops to Baja Cafe again .
Have you ever been to Boca Raton, Florida? What have I left out?
Oh I can’t stop thinking about the Winvian Resort and Spa that I spent 2 glorious days at with my brilliant blogging buddy Vera. I was so excited when Vera invited me to come along as her guest and of course I jumped at the chance!
Have I mentioned that in the past 7 years or so since I became a mother, I have had only 4 NIGHTS away from home!?
One night 2 years ago my sister graciously slept in my home and cared for the monkeys. She is STILL recovering. One night we paid a sitter to stay so we could go out east to a bed and breakfast for our anniversary. That weekend cost us about $800 all said and done. The two other nights I left my husband with the kids and attended out-of-state family affairs alone.
Can you see why this fabulous invite was so enticing?!
Chevy provided us with a spanking new, red, shiny 2013 Malibu to drive in as a way to learn about it and travel to hear the Chevy Malibu Moms talk about their integral roles in the car production. Vera picked me up bright and early. We wanted to take a quick photo of the two of us with the car and hit the road.
That little monkey knew I was getting ready to leave. She would not get out of the picture, would not smile, and was hanging onto my leg for life! Once my husband untangled her, Vera and I got going and talked and laughed nonstop for the next 2 hours.
Do you ever realize, moms, how it is almost impossible to complete a thought or have a conversation with the constant interruptions, whining, fighting, mishaps and interjections from the kids? Between Vera and me it’s x5 children and 2 husbands that all get in the way!
So needless to say, this was precious!
Come to think of it, I chatted non stop for the next 48 hours because I met the nicest and most interesting people once we arrived at our destination…women who are writers of blogs and also big publications. And, I got to meet the 5 “Malibu Moms” — the brilliant engineers, designer and manager who work for Chevrolet and helped create the Malibu.
Vera also gifted me HER SPA TREATMENT (she told me it was not up for debate…greatest friend ever!!!) so I got massaged for 60 glorious minutes at the serene spa at Winvian.
Two days of great wheels, food, people and a massage…it was awesome!
I keep thinking about Vera sighing and saying over and over in our extraordinary cottage at Winvian…”I’m so happy!” Me too buddy!
I tagged along on a blogging road trip to Connecticut yesterday to learn about the new 2013 Chevy Malibu. We knew were staying at a spa resort place but had no idea what was in store for us at Winvian. More to come on the car, the events and my time away from the kids, but right now I am still reeling from the amazing accommodations!
This ultra-posh, 113-acre hideaway consists of 18 imaginatively themed and luxuriously outfitted cottages you could ever imagine. Each of the huge one-bedroom cottages has a unique theme like the Helicopter Cottage which contains a genuine 17,000-pound U.S. Coast Guard helicopter (the fuselage has been refitted with a wet bar). Unreal!
We stayed at the Charter Oak cottage which has inside it a giant oak tree reminiscent of the tree that hid Connecticut’s charter during the Revolutionary Period.
The bathroom has heated floors, steam, a beautiful tub and rainfall shower…bliss!
Too bad my peace was eroded by the laundry, dishes and bickering children that greeted me back home.
We travelled to Great Wolf Lodge last week for the second time. Last year we went right after Hurricane Irene (we had to delay the trip) and the kids have literally not. stopped. talking. about this place for the past year.
It’s an indoor water park. You stay over and the purchase of a room entitles you to admission to the water park. For someone like me with OCD, it’s really a challenge to let go and let loose at Great
Germ Wolf Lodge as we wander around in our bathing suits jammed pack with others, indoor, in a large humid room filled with water and rides and tattoos…lots of tattoos.
But the kids really have a blast.
The drive is only about 2 hours for us with a stop for lunch. And this stop is the highlight for my husband who always plans for us to dine at Cracker Barrel.
The way I see it, it is a way for us to fortify ourselves with a big meal to prepare for the physical exertion involved with dragging 3 small children up 20 flights of stairs to the tops of many water rides, many times over!!
I am ever so grateful that there is a Starbucks in the lobby at the Lodge. I literally become elated when I purchase my chai tea latte, after a night in one room the three bickering monkeys.
Great Wolf has several locations around the U.S. Have you ever been?
My sister-in-law called earlier this week and asked if we wanted to use her Montauk dwelling for the weekend. It’s about a 2 hour drive from us and her place has a pool and a playground in addition to being right on the beach. We jumped on this great offer.
The twins told their teachers they were going “out east” and the teachers encouraged them to have fun and to climb the Montauk lighthouse.
After the little one’s graduation we set out. The twins missed school but would have been out anyway because my son had strep and my daughter had been up the night before with stomach pain. I was running on no sleep.
We drove straight through and the kids were troopers. But we were starving! So we stopped at a place called Cyril’s Fish House for a late lunch. We chose it based solely off the fact that it had a kid’s menu but the place ended up being a treat for me. I got fried clams which I haven’t had in maybe over 20 years. They were so fresh and delicious. The drink menu looked great but it wasn’t the right time to indulge unfortunately!
Our residence was a minute away but we decided instead to go straight to the Montauk Lighthouse as it was a little too chilly to go swimming. We arrived about 15 minutes or so later and the skies got bright and blue and sunny which made the scenery all the more amazing.
We climbed all the way up and the views were amazing. There’s only a tiny gated spot you can stand out on and it was quite a thrill for us all.
We spent some time in the little museum at the base of the lighthouse and then enjoyed the views of the area and just soaked up beauty.
We went to the playground across the way and planned out the rest of the evening. Go to our place. Get situated and hit the pool!
We made some frozen pizzas for dinners and decided to wrap up the good long day. The kids were all sleeping in one room so it was kind of disastrous getting them all to sleep. Once again I pondered, how do people travel with kids!?
Since the kids awoke at 5:30 (yes 5:30 a.m.!!!) we decided to head out for some sustenance. We went to Anthony’s Pancake House and loaded up. I’m not a big breakfast person but I had an omelet and pancakes and it was all really good.
We headed back and set out for the beach. When we arrived there were men who carried chairs, umbrellas and towels out to a spot and got us all situated. What a treat when you have three kids in tow and too much stuff already to carry.
That night we went to The Lobster Roll which had a great kids menu and awesome food. The hubs and I were wowed by the lobster rolls and I had a very strong and so needed margarita which I am salivating for as I write about it!!!!
The next day we took off to go home. Montauk is such a beautiful spot. It was a great time but the kids were totally annoying, not sleeping, and my son now had the stomach thing and we felt done. The traffic is also really a drag. We don’t know how people deal with it!
Have you ever been to Montauk?
We just got back from our annual trip to Florida…no not Disney but good old Boca Raton.
The kids were great on the plane, what a difference from past years. They were so excited to arrive and indulged me by posing in this little set up in the airport while their dad was stuck grabbing our fifty bags.
My in-laws have an amazing, spacious ocean front condo that they reside in for half the year. The view is so amazing that you don’t even need to leave the apartment to have your breath taken away.
The kids loved spending Easter in sunny Florida. There were lots of other children visiting and one of our local friends (down in Florida at the same time) came out to see us one day too!
Is it even necessary for me to express how depressed I am being back home!!?
And, I haven’t kick-boxed in 2 weeks…I know I am going to be ravaged with pain when I get back to it this weekend!
Since I am geographically challenged I don’t know if 30 is actually the number of miles I travel. However, I live on Long Island and I do go to NYC to get my haircut two or three times a year. My friends think I am insane. They don’t get that I have a checkered hair history.
So here’s the deal. I have long thick, (pre Keratin…) curly hair. Actually it was curly until about 5 and then it straightened out and then it got curly again when I hit puberty.
I swear I remember standing in line in kindergarten to get my school photo. You know how there’s always someone there straightening the kids clothes and smoothing down stray hairs? I kid you not I remember that person looking at my hair and sort of sighing as she took one of those black plastic combs and proceeded to part the fluffy mess to one side.
To say I hated my hair was understatement. Mop head, poodle…those were just a few the names thrown my way. (And the glasses and braces didn’t help the overall look.)
Growing up with thick sometimes curly hair and a mother who did not know how to manage it left me with some bad, bad hair days. And every time she took my moppy head for a cut it was disastrous. The cutter would stare at my head like on my kindergarten school photo day with a confused, frightened look….no clue how to wrangle it all in….which would sometimes result in thinning, as in my hair. The absolute worst technique on my unruly hair.
But it’s a fact that curly thick hair is not easy to cut. So once I find someone who can do it well, I hang around. This explains why I’ve only had 2 hair stylists since 1993.
In September of 2001 I booked an appointment with a new guy, John for a Sat morning appointment. I had a wedding to go to that evening and hoped I would have a fab cut and a blowout. Turns out this was the Sat right after September 11th, so I vividly remember everything about that appointment.
10 years later, John and I are still together . And even better, I’ve been getting Keratin for the past couple of years so I no longer have to wrangle curls. (Well, not entirely true. I no longer have to wrangle MY curls. I do however have 3 curly heads who are damn blessed to have a mother who knows a thing or two about curls.)
I got 5 inches cut off last Sat and then had a hair debut night out!
Boy that was exhausting!
What about you…who else has a harrowing hair history?!
I have been away from my kids only 2 times since they were born which means I have only slept in twice in almost six years! I know that sounds weird but we really don’t have a lot of childcare options.
Meanwhile, every summer we travel with the kids up to the Boston area to visit my parents. (During the rest of the year they visit us monthly.) I’ve been feeling rather burnt out these past several months so I asked my parents if, during this visit, my husband and I could leave the kids with them and travel into Boston for the evening. My parents, god bless them, not only agreed, but were excited to have solo time with the kids.
The first fun part of the trip always involves a stop at Cracker Barrel Restaurant. We do not have any near us so it’s a definite stop for my husband to get his biscuits and gravy.
After we ate, it was pure genius of me to get the kids to run through the store filled with candy that they didn’t even see as they raced to the rocking chairs. And in the meantime my husband could not leave without getting his beloved candy buttons.
So a few hours after we arrived in Massachusetts, my parents dropped my husband and me off at the subway to head into our mini vacation. The kids were only too happy for us to get out of the car as they were headed to Toys R Us with their grandparents.
Forty minutes later my husband and I arrived at the Millenium Bostonian Hotel. It is located right across the street from Fanueil Hall/Quincy Market which is a very cool location.
We walked around the area which is a great, interesting part of Boston and then had a delicious meal, followed by a luxurious stay in a hotel. It was so awesome!
The next morning my parents picked us up with the kids and we headed out for our Boston Duck Tour. ( Last year we did the Swan Boats.)
I just loooove this picture! Duck tour was really cool and fun to do if you are ever in Boston.
When we got back to my parents, they took the kids swimming and gave us another break! It may not seem like a lot, but it’s all me all the time with the kids so an afternoon with them in someone elses loving hands is such a relaxing treat!
And even the car rides weren’t that bad…though the kids did. not. sleep. at. all. That’s right. Eight hours round trip and not a second of sleep was had!
It was a nice couple of days. Though it might seem like the night away was my favorite part, truly it was really the comfort level I observed every moment there between my parents and my kids.
We drove out to our friends’ house in East Hampton yesterday on a whim. It’s a bit of a drive, and we had to be back in the evening, but the plan was to spend the day and enjoy our friends.
When we arrived the kids ran in, embraced everyone, and went to town like it was their house.
The grown ups sat outside on the patio. It was sooo lovely! I don’t quite understand why I felt so relaxed. The kids were still tattling on each other, tearing up the house and asking for more snacks every 3 seconds.
Maybe it was the air, the company,
the wine, and just being in the moment in a peaceful place away from home. It got even better when the sun came out blazing and we were finally able to head to the beach.
But before we could, the little one had a clothing mishap. Though I brought half the house with us on our day trip, I neglected to bring spare panties.
It’s a good thing, however, that we convinced her to don the only extra available underpants we could find, as it wasn’t long before she was running along the beach, dress less…
I didn’t look at my Blackberry all day. When I did, it was past 6, no rapture, no doomsday, it appeared.
Just a few worn out monkeys