We Have to Go Back!

Now how often do you feel like this?

Travel is a funny thing for me. I ache to do it, and when I do it, I ache to come back. As both a young child, and as a semi-comfortable adult, I got to experience the wonders of being exactly where you should be. I have a song for that, of course.

Between that isn’t necessarily travel I didn’t want to do, but it was weird head and heart spaces. Like being disoriented. A little like time travel. It’s like going away for two weeks and it feeling like two months. Maybe it’s being with the wrong person at the wrong time at the wrong place, or they’re all wrong, or maybe all right. But just alright. Not like.. fantastic. Sometimes it’s going somewhere that once knocked you off your feet, only to find it feels all different. Wrongish. You’re pretty much going through the motions but you don’t feel the same. You need something different. And hey, that’s ok too.

As long as another place, another time, another person, another experience – knocks you off your feet.

Here are a ton of photos and little stories from our family vacation to St. Augustine and to Orlando Florida. We loved Magic Kingdom and Universal Orlando - especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

There was a time in my life in which every travel experience was riveting, and returning was more bittersweet than just sweet. Sometimes just bitter. It’s probably because I had money and could go to the places I really wanted to go, which you can’t when you’re the middle child of five. Who can afford seven plane tickets? I certainly can’t. Four is my speed right now. Also when I had that early 20’s money and could go where I wanted, I was also spending it with the right person/people.

In my current phase, I’m somewhere in the middle, and somewhere in new territory. These ARE the places I want to go, even when that middle child syndrome creeps up and I complain that it’s never about me. It’s that strange middle of life/generations thing. We work hard to make our parents and our children happy. We work hard to travel and work and progress and connect and keep our balls in the air, and sometimes if you drop one, it’s like you drop them all. We don’t rest very well. I should say that it’s me. I don’t rest very well. I love to travel but I work so hard, that I have to do triple duty to clear things out of the way for my trip. Then I work a bit during the trip, and like a dog after the trip. Still totally worth it.

Here are a ton of photos and little stories from our family vacation to St. Augustine and to Orlando Florida. We loved Magic Kingdom and Universal Orlando - especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

So here’s the 25 cent, highlights and lowlights, cellphone only photos, version of our trip to St. Augustine and Orlando. Was it overall positive and amazing? Of course! Very little negative, if at all. I did feel sick one night, but whatever. This trip had such imagery and such stories. When I go on a trip, and know that I take 7,000 years to edit the camera photos, it’s nice to do a 25 cent version here. Maybe more like 50 cents. I’ll post more photos with more in-depth thoughts, but ultimately?

Let’s let the phone pictures tell the stories for now, shall we?

We had to get up at 5:00am for the flight. I always say I’ll only get up at 5:00am for something grand.

family vacation

family vacation

The flight was smooth. I had the middle seat between both kids because I’m a Mama now and even though the window seat is my favorite thing on earth and the only one I choose.. well.. I’m a Mama. Des entertained us with his barf bag puppet:

Oh, and I watched a whole movie on an flight! Never had. It starred Reese Witherspoon.

When we landed, it was 75 degrees! We got into a bit of trouble at Orlando International:

And then Scarlet instantly found her people:

Then we drove/dozed to St. Augustine where we all found our people:

family vacation

family vacation

family vacation

We went to the beach twice on that first day. Just to feel the sun and see the sights!

There was a tree in the water on the first day, and by the second day, it had washed onto the shore. I took a lot of “real” photos of it to share “soon.” (had to air-quote that one) I wonder this tree’s story! And how long it was in transit:

We had four nights there in my in-laws’ newly purchased beach house. There was a TON of relaxation. I loved to sneak up to the kids’ room, overlooking the palm trees, and take book naps. The food, company, beach, napping time had a great flow. We played mini golf and went downtown a few times. Cassidy and I had a hot date – clearly the only northerners there because we chose to eat dinner outside! There was chocolate, there was ice cream, and I finished a book during the trip.

That’s all part of the magic.

family vacation

family vacation

Lattes in St. Augustine!

family vacation

And gourmet ice pops.

family vacation

On Monday, we met my aunt at Disney Springs. We go every year and marvel at its growth. It’s definitely a good half day, and this is us knowing exactly what we want to do, see, eat, drink, etc. Like I like to go into Ghirardelli to get chocolate samples and a latte. And then go back in for more samples. Plus pin trading, the LEGO store, chocolate BB-8 from Star Wars, and the MARVEL store. Des loves the hot air balloons. Cassidy loves getting in trouble there, like he does everywhere.

My aunt gave me the BEST Rocky Horror Rubber Ducky EVER.

We were in Magic Town at this point. Also, Santa gave Scarlet’s best friend’s family a hotel room in the same resort we were staying at, as well as TWO whole theme park days with best friends. I mean, really. Isn’t that the stuff of dreams?

We loved being warm!

Des had the best window view as he drifted off to sleep for the two nights we stayed at Art of Animation Resort, in a Cars Suite. I mean, imagine being five. I’m an adult and this looks right out of the Cars movies to me. It blows the mind!

We got up early on Tuesday to get breakfast and then head to Magic Kingdom. What else can I say about it? I did two roller coasters again. This time I didn’t hate The Barnstormer. I went on it twice! And Mine Train is SO GOOD. We went on Magic Carpets of Aladdin which was new to me! I went to the Hall of Presidents.. That was a new one. We saw the parade and the fireworks and the princesses and the shows and it was all so good! I still have yet to have a Dole Whip. Maybe one day?

Here are a ton of photos and little stories from our family vacation to St. Augustine and to Orlando Florida. We loved Magic Kingdom and Universal Orlando - especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

First time meeting Tiana!

Here are a ton of photos and little stories from our family vacation to St. Augustine and to Orlando Florida. We loved Magic Kingdom and Universal Orlando - especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Here are a ton of photos and little stories from our family vacation to St. Augustine and to Orlando Florida. We loved Magic Kingdom and Universal Orlando - especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Here are a ton of photos and little stories from our family vacation to St. Augustine and to Orlando Florida. We loved Magic Kingdom and Universal Orlando - especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Here are a ton of photos and little stories from our family vacation to St. Augustine and to Orlando Florida. We loved Magic Kingdom and Universal Orlando - especially the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

No, really. Can we go back yet?

The next day was Universal Studios. This was more of a half day for us, as we were headed straight to the airport after the theme park. Not only did I face a lot of things that used to be fears – crowds, airports, muggles, etc. – I went on two new roller coasters! That’s four for me now. I went on Ride of the Hippogriff and the Woody Woodpecker one that’s really ok for three-year-olds, but my roller coaster phobia deems me as good as three. E.T. is still my favorite ride of all time! Magic!

Getting into trouble magic too.

What part of this trip looks most fun to you?

5 Ways to Beat The Chill This Winter

With predicted record-breaking lows this week and next in New England, and no end in sight, we're focusing more than ever on how to beat the chill this winter! Get prepared to get snuggly and get into your #ClimateRight with our 5 tips! #ad

As I write this post, it’s 1 degree outside. 1. The loneliest number!

We’re going to Florida in two weeks, but before that, we seem to have predicted record-breaking lows, with no chance of a reprieve in the next ten days or so. It’s white and icy outside – with no signs of thaw or slush. We’re all bundled inside with our house guests and the only reason they aren’t shocked by our New England freeze is because they live in Chicago and they’re used to this kind of weather! In fact, they were the ones to teach me about ClimateRight by Cuddl Duds at Walmart when we went to Walmart to get boots and supplies for our New Year’s Eve weekend. I picked up some base layers!

With predicted record-breaking lows this week and next in New England, and no end in sight, we're focusing more than ever on how to beat the chill this winter! Get prepared to get snuggly and get into your #ClimateRight with our 5 tips! #ad

And here are our 5 ways to beat the chill this winter!

1 – Prep your home. Close curtains, shades or blinds at night to keep cold out. During the day, let the warming sunlight in! And keep any unused rooms closed to prevent cold air from circulating through the house. Keep garage doors closed.

2 – Increase your core temperature by staying active. Put on music and get moving! Make sure you check up on your loved ones and any neighbors who might be extra vulnerable in cold weather. Bring pets inside! Our chickens stay in their coop.

3 – This is the time to make good use of your heaters and fireplaces. You’ve hopefully been saving for this! Keep safe by keeping anything flammable away from the heat sources. And don’t forget the power of extra blankets and good snuggles!

Also.. flannel sheets!

4 – Find unique ways to keep warm. Maybe you don’t have a bathtub? Head to a sauna or hot tub place. Join a Hot Yoga or Bikram class. Remember to think warm, or even hot. It’s good for your soul, and good for your body too to feel that heat.

5 – Discover the wonders of ClimateRight at Walmart. Not only will you look spectacular, but you’ll be both comfortable and confident all winter long. Personally I use them for daily use and winter activities. They’re quite versatile.

With predicted record-breaking lows this week and next in New England, and no end in sight, we're focusing more than ever on how to beat the chill this winter! Get prepared to get snuggly and get into your #ClimateRight with our 5 tips! #ad

ClimateRight at Walmart rocks! I’m so glad our friends pointed them out to me. They offer the perfect layering and sleepwear separates for warmth and comfort, and an affordable price. They’re fabricated with the latest performance innovations while being and staying super-soft and cozy. Beat that chill at a great deal because they’re exclusively available at Walmart. I chose both a shirt and leggings. I LOVE how they feel. And I found them near the Intimates section at Walmart.

With predicted record-breaking lows this week and next in New England, and no end in sight, we're focusing more than ever on how to beat the chill this winter! Get prepared to get snuggly and get into your #ClimateRight with our 5 tips! #ad

My warm baselayer collection is perfect for layering or wearing as long underwear. The stretch fleece provides the ultimate in warmth and comfort so I make sure to buy a long sleeve top and leggings. The sporty design and moisture-wicking fabric combine to keep me warm, dry, and comfortable. They have a close-to-the-body fit and there’s comfort in movement. I love that it retains shape through multiple laundry sessions. There are so many ways to love your ClimateRight at Walmart.

With predicted record-breaking lows this week and next in New England, and no end in sight, we're focusing more than ever on how to beat the chill this winter! Get prepared to get snuggly and get into your #ClimateRight with our 5 tips! #ad

I love them as a base layer for my photo shoots during the day, or for walking Athena outside. I wear them to play in the snow or even ice skate. And they’re great for all of the festive outdoor activities we have all winter long.

Shop the full assortment of ClimateRight at Walmart of layering pieces and sleepwear now on Walmart.com where you can enjoy free in-store pickup or 2-day free shipping with a qualifying $35 purchase. There’s so much to love here.

What do you do to beat the chill in winter?