Saturday, July 16, 2016

Beach/Family Day :D

After a wonderfully peaceful and restful night, hubby and I were up early and we had planned on going to the beach for a little while.  We had a very busy week ahead with no privacy and no alone time, so we were going to take a couple hours this morning just for us!

We headed to Miami Beach at 7AM

We got a good parking spot and headed into the was such a beautiful day.

The water was clear, clean and perfect temperature!

I loved seeing these people with their dogs on the beach.  I could totally live here!

After a little swimming, we put everything away and stopped for some pictures.

 Hubby getting the camera ready for our pic, while I keep taking pics with my iphone, LOL

We went back home, ate and then packed up to head to my dad's house.
Got some pics in, and loved seeing how big my kids are.  Seeing them next to my grandparents really made me see how much my kids have grown.

he looks like a giant!

Finally got to my dad's and the kids wasted no time in jumping in the trampoline.

This evening was very low key.  We had dinner and just stayed in.  We had a really early morning the next morning so staying in was great!

This trip report is going to be in several posts, so here you will find links to everything:

  • Why Are we Driving??
  • Beach/Family Day
  • Disney...Here We Come!
  • ODS Girls Day ~Parade Day
  • Family & ODS Showcase
  • Pool Day
  • Another Pool Day
  • 3 Parks~1 Day

Friday, July 15, 2016

Why Are we Driving??

Well, the day we've been planning for and been so excited for is finally here and I'm freaking out.  I was not ready and was so scared that I'd leave something behind.  See, this wasn't just any, no, no.  This trip was planned because my daughter's dance school was invited to participate in Dance the World at Walt Disney World.  This is an organization that brings together dance schools from all over the U.S., Canada and Mexico and they dance in a parade at Magic Kingdom or Epcot, and the show their talent on stage at a showcase.  My concern was leaving something important behind, like earrings, or a piece to the costumes...anything.  I doubled and triple checked my bags and my checklist and then I did it again until the night before.

I also ended packing a bit more than needed and this happened because we were driving!  I wasn't too careful, my mentality was, "I might need it"  so I packed.  Needless to say, hubby was a bit annoyed! 

So here is my bed while packing!  What a mess.......

I also remembered, Thank God, to pack our ponchos.  We didn't use all 4, but did use 2!

My ears ofcourse.....LOL

and an extra bag for the beach/pool or souveniors!

We finally left around 10PM, and I was exhausted so I slept and when I finally woke up, we were in Virginia!

I drove for a little bit to give hubby a break, but lasted for about 2 hours.  I can't drive at night, seeing just darkness all around makes me soooooo sleepy!  So we switched again, and he drove while I went to sleep again.

Then, we were in South Carolina by morning.

I was exhausted...

Palm Trees!!! I get so happy when I see them, I know we are close.

Ofcourse, I did a lot of this, but never actually rested.  These road trips are tough, why would we drive to Florida again?  Oh, that's right, flights were way too much!  By the way, not good falling asleep while hubby has a camera :/

We arrived at my grandparents' home in Hialeah around 2-3pm and she had lunch/dinner ready for us!


I've missed her home cooking so much!!  Dinner was great, then we just showered and hung out with them for the rest of the night.  It was great catching up with them.  

This trip report is going to be in several posts, so here you will find links to everything:

  • Why Are we Driving??
  • Beach/Family Day
  • Disney...Here We Come!
  • ODS Girls Day ~Parade Day
  • Family & ODS Showcase
  • Pool Day
  • Another Pool Day
  • 3 Parks~1 Day

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Vacation Packing & Prep

It's almost that time again.....we will be back on the road and this time it is for a much needed vacation.  Even though we may need a vacation from this vacation, I am really looking forward to it!!  So, we are headed to Walt Disney World - again!  I will never get enough of Disney, plus there are new attractions/shows that have recently opened up and I'm so excited to see them.

This trip actually came about because my daughter's dance school was invited to be part of Dance The World in Disney!  This news was very exciting and after talking about it for a year, the days are quickly approaching.  So for this trip, I also have to remember to pack her dance costumes, accessories and make up!  Here is my list:

So as of today, I have almost everything packed except for toiletries, cameras, electronics, food and my planner.  These are usually packed the day before since most of these things I use on a daily basis.  I will be making 1 last stop at Target to buy snacks, and I believe that is all that is left to purchase for this trip.

Since we are driving I don't have to worry about what I pack, I just need to make sure I don't forget anything!  We will be leaving Friday night, hopefully arriving at my grandparents' home Saturday afternoon where we will stay until Monday morning!  Then its Disney for the rest of the week!

I have planned dining and fast passes around my daughter's dance/performance schedule and we should have plenty of time to enjoy the parks.  Let's just hope it doesn't raing!  I'll have more on my trip plans in the next post - hope you come back for that!

I don't think I've left anything out, but please let me know if you have any suggestions for anything I may have missed.  My kids are older so as long as they have their iphones/ipads, they will be fine, so no need for road trip games!  What are your road trip essentials?

Friday, May 27, 2016

Official College Visit ~ Finlandia University

We've seen our suitcases so much this year that I don't know whether to be happy about it or not.  Travel can be exhausting and we still have more to go.

Back in April we set up a college visit for our son, who is graduating this year.  He was accepted to this school, so even though it was far, we knew this was a trip we couldn't postpone.  The baseball coach was very interested in him, so it was even more important to take this trip.

Finlandia University is located in Hancock, MI.  I had to look it up on a map because I've never traveled to Michigan and had no idea where this place was located.

I was in shock when I saw where it was!  All the way up there?  How do they play baseball, I'm sure it snows 95% of the year!!  So many thoughts ran through my head, but still, we had to give it a chance.  Besides, as of that moment, this was the only school that had accepted him and was interested in him pitching for the D3 team.  So the planning began.

I quickly realized that there wasn't an airport nearby that we could fly into at an affordable price.  A flight into Hancock, MI was $800 per person!!  There was no way I was paying that much!  So I kept researching, and looking for any airport within driving distance.

Chicago turned out to be the best option.  I got us flights for $150 round trip, you can't pass that up so I booked hubby, my son & me.  Baby girl would have to stay home with her aunt for this trip.  There was no point in bringing her along.  The drive to Hancock from Chicago would be 7 hours!  That was going to be terrible, but it had to be done.

Since our flight was late afternoon, I thought it best to stay at a hotel close to the airport and then head out early the next morning - like 4AM early!  We are all booked - now to wait on our travel day.

April 18th rolls around and after a few hours of work, we were at the airport ready for our flight!  The terminal was small and wasn't full at all.  Our flight was delayed, but they made an announcement about jumping on the next flight and to go see the attendant at that gate, so I jumped up and walked there as fast as I could.  I was not in the mood to sit around waiting for our flight - We were all tired and wanted to be on that plane already.  An hour later we were on board!

Our seats were all the way in the back and we couldn't recline them but I didn't care.  We were ready to take off!

We arrived and went straight to the hotel.  A friend of ours, who lives in Chicago, met us at the hotel.  He took us around Chicago to check out some sights.  We couldn't do too much since it was so late, but it was a nice ride around the city.

This ride just convinced us that we needed to plan a trip back to Chicago to spend time with friends and visit all these places.  Maybe watch a baseball game, or go see hubby's fave basketball team, The Bulls, play.  This is now on my list of places to visit.

Now on to our real reason for this trip-Finlandia University.
We were up at 3AM, got dressed and out the door.  This drive was torture...LOL!
Trees, mountains, lakes and more trees!!!

Don't get me wrong, it was beautiful, and I really appreciated seeing new parts of my country, but OMG, this was the never ending drive!

It looked and felt even colder by Lake Superior!  I could never, ever, ever live here.

I would visit - but never live here!

So finally we arrived in the city of Hancock!  The university was not difficult to find at all.

We had a nice tour of the entire campus, which was small.  The dorms and classrooms were nice and the teachers we met were very nice and full of information.  Sadly, the baseball team had a game in WI that day so we didn't get to see them play or meet the baseball coach.
Once we were done, I advised my son that he should go back home to think about it and wait to hear from other schools.  I had my doubts.  The school looked good, but it was a very small town.  I wasn't convinced that he would be happy here and I didn't want him to make his decision based on desperation because he hadn't heard from anyone else.

So, we got back in the car and headed back to our hotel in Chicago!

We had dinner and went back to our room to sleep.  Aaaahhhh sleep - it was wonderful!!  The next morning we were able to sleep in a bit.  We got up, I finished packing and we went downstairs for breakfast, then back to the airport.

This morning I had a headache and couldn't wait to get back home!

We arrived in NYC and now needed a ride home so we grabbed a cab.  This was terrible and I will never do this again!  Next time I need to plan a car service.
We squeezed in the back and it was sooooo hot!!
I tried to make the best of it by messing around and taking some surprise pics....

We finally got home and the credit card machine was not working, the fare was almost $200 and after several tries with the machine we decided to just pay cash!  Like I said before...Never Again!

Anyway, we are back home and I was so happy to see baby girl.  She had been texting us the whole time we were in the cab wanting to know when we were getting home.  She was waiting outside for us!

All in all it was a good trip.  We got to see a different part of the U.S. which is extremely different from what we are used to, and I was able to add 2 more mugs to my Starbucks You Are Here Collection!

Here is the one I got in Kentucky during our trip with the high school baseball team, and my two new additions.

Well, this is our last trip for now.  The next planned trip is Disney at the end of June.  I'll have more on that soon....I'm so excited, can't wait to share!!!