Baby, You Were Born to Run

Enter the Radisson RED #BAXTERTRAVELS #CONTEST for a chance to win one of 2 red nylon Fatboy beds! Radisson RED's pet-friendly policy https://ooh.li/00a944a

When Cassidy and I had been married a few months and had made the decision to move back east to be closer to our families, we plotted out a 2.5 week, spiraling road trip across the United States to eventually wind up in western Massachusetts.

We factored in our dog’s comfort and safety for every minute of that trip.

When Cassidy and I were celebrating our sixth wedding anniversary, we went away for the first time sans kids – leaving them with my mom in our house, but taking our dog with us for fun and moose-filled adventures in the rainy woods of Vermont.

Enter the Radisson RED #BAXTERTRAVELS #CONTEST for a chance to win one of 2 red nylon Fatboy beds! Radisson RED's pet-friendly policy https://ooh.li/00a944a

We have always been dog people, and we always will be, and I can’t imagine not raising my kids right alongside our dog and our cat. And who knows? Maybe there will be another puppy or dog in our future. Furry friends are part of our family. I was happy to learn recently that at Radisson RED, furry friends are part of the family too! With their pet-friendly policy, you don’t ever have to sacrifice style and comfort in order to have your dog go on your hotel adventures right with you.

Enter the Radisson RED #BAXTERTRAVELS #CONTEST for a chance to win one of 2 red nylon Fatboy beds! Radisson RED's pet-friendly policy https://ooh.li/00a944a

When I was a kid, we would go to Myrtle Beach, SC or Ocean City, MD for two weeks at a time every July! Oh, how I missed my dog, Chelsea during our trips. As an adult, we have our dog, Athena, stay with Cassidy’s parents when we’re flying anywhere. When it’s a road trip? Our girl comes with us! From NJ to NYC, to Boston and Cape Cod, to the cold and moose-filled woods of Vermont, I love looking behind the passenger seat and seeing two cute kids and a cute pup looking back at me.

Enter the Radisson RED #BAXTERTRAVELS #CONTEST for a chance to win one of 2 red nylon Fatboy beds! Radisson RED's pet-friendly policy https://ooh.li/00a944a

For most dogs, like Athena and our old husky – Stormy – there’s nothing like the feel of the wind and the open road.

Enter the Radisson RED #BAXTERTRAVELS #CONTEST for a chance to win one of 2 red nylon Fatboy beds! Radisson RED's pet-friendly policy https://ooh.li/00a944a

I know that feeling well, and I LOVE Radisson RED’s pet policy. Not only that, they’re having a contest right now and all it takes is posting a dog travel photo on Instagram, using the hashtags #BAXTERTRAVELS and #CONTEST. I took a look at some of the submissions here and I was in awe of the cuteness and splendor. This contest will run from February 10th to February 24th, so enter while you can! You can win one of two red, nylon Fatboy dog beds! Who doesn’t need a good dog bed?

Enter the Radisson RED #BAXTERTRAVELS #CONTEST for a chance to win one of 2 red nylon Fatboy beds! Radisson RED's pet-friendly policy https://ooh.li/00a944a

Here are five awesome tips for traveling to hotels with pets:

Enter the Radisson RED #BAXTERTRAVELS #CONTEST for a chance to win one of 2 red nylon Fatboy beds! Radisson RED's pet-friendly policy https://ooh.li/00a944a

1 – Preemptive research is key. That’s why I research hotel pet policies, and look into parks, hikes, and other dog-friendly activities near the hotel. Talk to the staff and get a better feel of just how welcome they make dogs feel.

2 – Go for a long walk once you reach your destination. A well-exercised dog is a happier dog, and it gives the dog (and you) the chance to get a real feel for the hotel and/or town, city, state, etc.

3 – Enter the hotel room first, and have your dog do a sit stay. Don’t give your dog control of the new situation. Unpack a bit, go to the bathroom, look around, and leave your scent in the room. When you are ready, have your dog settle in.

4 – Explore! Be extra vigilant with what’s around, especially concerning items your dog could ingest. While your home is probably dog-proof for your particular dog(s), it may not be that way in even the most pet-friendly of places!

5 – Choose the right room, and make a comfortable space for your dog. Generally, I request a room on the ground floor – in terms of carrying extra luggage for my dog, and avoiding stairs. It’s also convenient to take the dog out. In addition, Elevators can cause stress. Request a room with a fridge, especially if you use fresh food for your dog. Consider crating your dog for when you leave her behind in the room. Dogs generally feel comfortable and LESS stressed in their crates. If you don’t normally use one, maybe do some practice runs before your stay!

Read more about Radisson RED’s pet policy, and enter the contest HERE.

I’m Going To Disney World, Part 3

This whole post is about dreams. Des dreaming his dreams, and me dreaming my dreams of Des dreaming his dreams.

You may say I’m a dreamer.. but I’m not the only one. I’m all sorts of weird things. Some people say I’m a realist, and some say I’m an idealist. Some say I’m an introvert, and some say I’m an extrovert. I think you know by now that I’m somewhere in the middle of all of that. I get jaded and withdrawn, sure, sometimes at the same time and sometimes at different times. I can ask what the point of anything is, when really I already KNOW things as facts. Magical things. Magical facts? Magical realism. I don’t even know what that means, but just go with me here. I believe in all sorts of dreamy and magical things..

..but I believe we’re responsible for most of it. That’s right. US!

Like my grandparents, who lived to 100, and fulfilled all sorts of dreams. They raised a family, they traveled the world, they created art, traditions and legacies, and they had lasting love. That’s all REAL to me. Science and love and something else.

We all have our own version of that “something else.” And that’s ok. You can believe in any number of things.

And while it took me 24 years to fulfill my dream of seeing a moose, and 36 years to fulfill my dream of Alaska, there were all sorts of age-appropriate (and not) dreams along the way. I like to remember them. I like that many were fulfilled. I like to watch my kids’ dreams unfold, and then refold, and then unfold, and then come alive in all sorts of glory and grandeur.

And popcorn. And piano keys. And colors. And rainbows. And drawing. And.. and.. so much!

(The photo says it all. He can’t take his eyes off of the Car.)

Where we left off, in part 2, we had spent two days having fun in the sun and at Disney Springs outside of Disney World. I left off with a photo taken only seconds before we got into our rental car, to drive into the Walt Disney World Resort – to first head to our hotel, and then to head to Hollywood Studios. And if you came here looking for pictures of Kylo Ren, Stormtroopers, and Sofia the First, I promise it’s all coming. First, let me indulge you and myself with photos of Des fulfilling his dream to stay at The Lightning McQueen Hotel! Known to us adults as a Cars Suite at the Art of Animation Resort.

Tomato. To-mah-to. Let’s not call the whole thing off!

OH YEAH!

I get tingles when I think about it! The morning sun was rising over the Orlando area as we drove to Art of Animation Resort. I don’t know if it had really sunk in for Des that we were going to the Lightning McQueen Hotel! He was still half asleep.

When we parked, Cassidy went in to get the bands, and I could already see the giant Radiator Springs sign. That was it. I could not resist! I said, “We have to go there now! Now!” So off we ran, me trailing after the kids and trying to capture it all.

There was a lot of squealing.

I hadn’t expected Scarlet to get as excited as she did, but she has watched the movies 20 times too.

I know we all look like SUCH tourists.

And I totally love that.

Next up – Hollywood Studios, of course! Sassing Stormtroopers, watching Star Wars fireworks, finally getting into our room to see what delights await us. It’s all SO GOOD! Wait until you hear about the FROZEN Sing-a-long too…MEMORABLE.