Happy Earth Day friends! After more than 20 years of trial and error and tons of personal research…I’ve listed my Top 7 non-toxic cleaning products I swear by and I’m sure you will fall in love with them too! Have questions? Just ask! Simply use the links to shop now and celebrate Earth Day with me! xo -Briana D.
- Get to do what you’re passionate about. Life’s too short to do spend your precious time doing things you don’t enjoy. Find something that fuels your passion and do it!
- Create your own hours. Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. However, it does provide you some great flexibility. You can work around your children, spouse or partner’s schedules, work from your pajamas and best of all you don’t have to put in time to take off work. However, you do have to show up every. single. day.
- Endless tax benefits. Gas? Write off. New Computer? Write off. Owning a business, you do have to make some initial investments, but the best part is that you can write most of them off! Talk to your CPA for more information.
- Present for your family and the things you love most. Nothing gives me greater pleasure, than being able to take my daughter to swim and gymnastics and my son to t-ball and help him with his homework. When you go into business for yourself, you can pick up and put down the business whenever you want. It’s important to stay present in these moments. Something I’m definitely working on all the time.
- Make as little or as much $$ as you want.
- No one says you have to work yourself to the bone to achieve massive success. However, it’s important to know your worth and reach for the stars. You can’t equate the amount of “hours” you put in on the daily. You just have to have a vision and goal and seek out to make it happen!
Top 5 reasons to join Beautycounter:
- Build a business with meaning. At Beautycounter our mission is to get safer products into the hands of everyone. It’s not often you get to work for a company, where you can make a significant social impact and money at the same time. Our products are also highly luxurious.
- Advocate for change. Meet with members of Congress to help enforce the Personal Care Product Safety Act. As it stands the U.S. only bans 30 ingredients in personal care products. At Beautycounter, we ban 1,500. Every formula goes through a rigorous test and is screened for safety. The work our army of advocates do is incredibly important, because it affects everyone. Everyone means everyone. Fast Company recognized Beautycounter as one of the top 50 innovative companies in the U.S. and number ONE in the beauty category. Google also recognized us as the #1 trending brand of 2018! There’s no better time to jump on this fast moving train then now!!
- Change lives. One of our pillars is to educate people on the topic of safety. You can change someone’s life by arming them with information to make better and more informed decisions. People work out, eat healthy foods and then unknowingly douse themselves in products that contain harmful ingredients. It’s our job to help the one we love, make the switch to safer, Beautycounter or otherwise. Educating people with regards to changing their products from one’s that contains harmful and unnecessary ingredients like Parabens, phlatates and formaldehyde most commonly used in beauty products that is now a $60B industry!
- Community. Our incredible advocates or consultants are amazing. The network of women I’ve met along the way are not only inspiring, but are here to help. Whether you want to work the business part-time, full-time, you need ideas or just someone to vent to. I’ve made lifelong friends through this company and for that it’s been worth it!
- The amazing icing on top! As a consultant you receive 25% off everything you buy and are eligible to make up to 35% commissions on everything you sell. You’re eligible for bonuses, incentive trips, free products. Each kit comes with everything you need to get started, our hero overnight resurfacing peel, a long wear color intense lipstick and your back office training through Counter University. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Some ways I’ve been able to incorporate the business into my day to day…
- I do product drop offs to and from events and schools drop offs and pick-ups.
- I usually workout and schedule my work time after that until I have to pick up my children from school. I then pick the business back up during quiet time and occasionally at night once they fall asleep.
- I don’t have an immense social media following, but I use what I’ve got to create a small community of people that are interested in what I have to put out. Everyone out there has something they want to share with the world and equally there’s someone out there that wants to hear it. If you’re a graphic designer, a teacher or a finance person you can absolutely incorporate that into Beautycounter’s mission.
- I pick it up when I want and set it down when I want.
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- Countercontrol Pore Cleanser
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Ok. I have a confession. The last time my husband and I were out camping together was 14 years ago! We did an 8-mile canoe stretch up and down The Peace River (actually he was the one canoeing and I was taking pictures…ha!) We set up camp and passed out for 14 hours!! I kid you not. Therefore, we never got the full camping experience. It’s definitely been on our radar for some time now. With two kids ages six and three, it seemed like glamping would be the perfect fit! We’ve passed the Westgate River Ranch and Rodeo dozens of times when traveling out to the west coast of Florida and even drove through on our way back from our favorite place…Disney, way back when. We knew that one day, we would come back and man are we glad we did!
The property is set on 7,000 acres of beautiful Florida land, first acquired back in 1982. We were amazed at the fact that it was within driving distance of where we live! When you drive through the real life dude ranch, you’re transported back to a much simpler time. When cell phones and internet didn’t exist. A time when you could just enjoy each other’s company, without daily distractions.
There are several places you can “camp out” while visiting Westgate River Ranch…from rail car cabins, a motel like cabin or you can set up a tent or an RV, if you so desire. Then there are the teepees, which come with all of the comforts of your home including a full-size bathroom inside. We opted for the “glamp” tents. The perfect mix of camping and comfort. There are only about 15 or so, each boasting a comfy king size bed, two twin beds, a refrigerator, microwave and even air conditioning and lights. Each glamping tent comes with your own picnic table, a propane grill and front porch to enjoy your coffee, pastries and fruit delivered each morning! I’m sure you’re asking yourself…ok, but what about the bathrooms? Well, there’s an outhouse (which we were lucky to be the closest to), that comes with your own bathroom and key. I was pleasantly surprised by the bathroom, because I think they were recently updated. I was expecting a woodsy, bug infested place to hurry up and get cleaned off. Instead it was actually more of a respite! You entered the air-conditioned rooms with a card key and they came with an endless supply of towels, not to mention they were very clean, which to us, was the most important part. Our glamp site was situated right in front of a private airport, where we were able to catch a glimpse of some prop planes taking off! The kids went wild!
I would highly recommend renting a golf cart to get around the property as there’s a bunch to see and do. Having the freedom to whiz around, made the experience that much sweeter! We came on a Saturday so that we could specifically enjoy a hayride dinner and see the Rodeo! An old-fashioned tractor-pulled hayride took us through the back of the property and lush landscape, while a man sang classic country songs on his guitar. Breathtaking views of the wilderness spanned as far as the eye could see, where we encountered grazing bulls and cows and several birds. The ride was followed by a traditional cookout dinner, that was just what the doctor ordered. BBQ chicken and ribs, hot dogs, coleslaw, baked beans and mac n’ cheese, followed by some good ole fashioned peach cobbler. It was the perfect dining experience to welcome us to the ranch. After a quick break, we got ready to watch the rodeo and man was it a sight to see! The kids loved seeing the bull riding competition and there were some pretty awesome horse stunts…the energy was palpable! Following the show, everyone made their way outside for a street party! The music blared, while we danced! People were sitting by the fire enjoying their beverage of choice, some decided to make their way into the saloon, while the kids could play a variety of activities. From mechanical bull riding, to bounce houses, bungee jumping, zip lining, rock climbing and mini golf. We made our way back to the campsites where we enjoyed s’mores by the fire. Did I mention each group gets their very own s’mores kit? I must say we had quite the incredible first day!
The next day was Sunday and we just hung out and made our own breakfast, lunch and dinner (of course followed by s’mores)! We ventured out to explore the resort that takes you back to the good old days. There was a little “town,” with a general store, a gym, a post office and a kid’s area. You could venture out to trap and skeet shoot, test your skills with bow and arrow shooting or visit the full-service marina and restaurant, where you can book an airboat ride or pontoon boat. We decided to make our way over to the little farm on property. The kids loved riding the ponies (especially our 3-year-old daughter) and petting all of the baby goats, that were simply walking by. I was absolutely fascinated by the peacocks who were showing off their feathers and we all loved seeing the sheep and pot bellied pigs that were quite vocal!
There are some wild horses and bulls they keep on property as well, which are a sight to see! We went over and were able to pet and feed the horses some apples…such an out of body experience for all of us. As for the bulls, you may want to steer clear of those, one of them got a little upset that we were even watching them and charged after us! Luckily, there was a fence to keep them away, but not going to lie, we were all a little shook! Now we just laugh and joke about that one time we got charged by a bull!
Monday morning we got up and made our way over to the marina for a “swamp buggy tour.” Our guide “Moby” took us through the swamps and marsh, where we spotted an alligator, making the trip worth it, especially for our 6-year-old son! The ride was bumpy and muddy and it gave us the opportunity to ride through the rugged wooded trail and head out into the wilderness with nothing visible for miles. It was quite the beautiful ride and well worth it!
That night, we ventured out to the restaurant called “The Smokehouse Grill,” located at the marina. There you can find a number of traditional dishes served in mini skillets, if you’re not in the mood to cook. Although a nice respite, in all honesty some of the best meals we had were simply sitting outside of our tent as a family enjoying some of our own home cooking, because after all that’s part of the experience, am I right?
All in all, I would highly recommend a trip to Westgate River Ranch and Rodeo, especially in the glamping tents! I loved being able to spend some quality time without distractions with my family. One lesson I learned from the trip is “It can wait..” Literally anything you have going on. It’s a perfect chance to shut down any anxiety or stress you have, because there’s nothing like being one with nature with the ones you love most.
Purchase my cheat sheet list of things to bring on your next glamping or camping trip!
Glamping Cheat Sheet
Purchase my cheat sheet list of things to bring on your next glamping or camping trip!
There’s even a recipe for an easy one skillet meal!
Ahh the new year! A fresh start! A clean slate! Sometimes the sheer thought could be a tad overwhelming. Every year that clock strikes midnight, it’s almost as if we’re expected to know exactly what we want to accomplish for the year, how to get there and what our “resolutions” are. I know it’s just a word, but resolution almost intimidates me. One thing I am NOT is a quitter, so if I “resolve” to do something for the next 365 days, I almost immediately don’t want to start. It sounds like a chore or something I will carry anxiety over, if I don’t deliver.
Parents today are held to such a higher standard. Whether you’re a parent who works, a stay at home or a work from home, the expectations from a social aspect are immense. What extracurriculars are you signing your child up for? What workout class are you fitting in? Meal prep. Eating organic. Gluten-free. Non-GMO. Ugh, I have a headache. Better not take a Tylenol! Lol
All I’m saying is the New Year is definitely a fresh start for a better YOU, but don’t let it replace who you really and truly are at your core. Now I’m not saying don’t set goals or have dreams, because without those, life wouldn’t really be worth living now would it? I just think it’s crucial to set realistic expectations in areas of your life you want to see improve. Even if it means drinking several more ounces of water in a day or adding in a bike ride around your neighborhood for that extra boost of cardio.
I sat down on December 30th, that time between Christmas and Hanukkah and New Years Eve, when you haven’t any idea what day of the week or if it’s time for lunch or dinner and I “resolved” to write down some areas in my life I felt needed improvement.
Below is a brief list (didn’t want to get too personal in a simple blog post), that I hope inspires you to sit down and do the same.
I used a Lilly Pulitzer planner, because there’s something about the vibrant colors and the stickers that come inside of it that gets me super excited and my creative juice flowing!
- Family: Practice patience. Goodbye to mom guilt. Try one new thing a month. Continue to strive to be present. Plan vacations ahead of time.
- Relationship: Weekly date night (eating dinner alone, a movie at home, doesn’t have to be fancy!) Plan an annual getaway just the two of us.
- Home: Continue to chip away at house projects. Purge a bag of donations/trash a month.
- Finances: Do a no spend week. Check finances daily. Save!
- Wellness: Work out 3 times a week. Meal prep. Sign up for a Disney run (I put it out there in the universe! Ah!)
- Work: Grow my team of entrepreneurs every month, to continue to serve others and give back! Write 4 blog posts a month. Plan ahead. Continue to increase sales. (I had my BEST month in November!)
- Personal Growth: Learn to say no more. Take an hour everyday just for me. Only surround myself with positivity. Be intentional. Spend less time browsing the internet. (Can’t we all? lol)
- Fun: Visit the beach more often. More girls nights. See a concert at least once this year!
I would love to hear yours! Contact me anytime!
Featured in January Issue of “Mommy Moments” in AroundWellington.com
Photo Cred: Dani Napert Photography
What used to be a complete eye sore in the far end of the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium is now a completely renovated children’s paradise! Florida Power and Light donated $100,000 to the $1.2 million project, designed entirely revamp the 5-acre space, with all of the little people in mind. My 2-year-old daughter and I had the distinct pleasure of being one of the first to experience this outdoor oasis thanks to Aroundwellington.com, alongside a number of other VIPs and students from the Benjamin School at the ribbon cutting and let me tell you she napped like a champ that day!
The property now boasts an 18-hole miniature golf area, voted one of the top in the country by The Travel Channel…a spot I cannot wait to bring my 6-year-old son and husband to experience. As you make your way around the solar powered trees, the area has 15 interactive exhibits to choose from! You can pan for gems and fossils at the “Gem Panning Station” or dig for shark teeth in the “Shark Tooth Excavation Pit.” Then make your way around to learn about how to tell time as a human dial or experience the laws of motion, at the “Bottle Rocket Launch Pad.” Don’t forget to visit the far end of the trail and say hello to the long-necked Brachiousarus in the “Physics Forest.”
“Our new backyard installation is a place where fun and learning are inseparable and where the natural landscape invites curious minds to explore this area full of hills to roll down and water to splash in,” said Kate Arrizza CEO of the Science Center.
I would have to say my daughter and I had the best time at the state of the art splash pad! We’ve frequented many a splash pad in Palm Beach County and this one takes the cake! With a number of sprinkling flowers, leaves and even an octopus, plus a bucket that fills up and dumps out (the perfect respite to cool off on a hot Florida day), I couldn’t get her to pack up and leave, once it was time to go! Another favorite was the “Bubbleology” area, because let’s face it…who doesn’t love bubbles?! I may or may not have had more fun than my little one making giant-sized bubbles!
The outdoor oasis located just east of I-95 and Southern Boulevard, is one just one of the many projects on the docket as part of a $45-million dollar expansion. Next up? A $600,000 Cox Amphitheater, set to break ground in early 2019 and should take about 6 months to complete. The area is just what South Florida was missing, a perfect landscape to explore and relax with the entire family! We can’t wait to come back!
Ok, so I feel like there are a tonnn of things doctors should tell you before you have children, but I wont go there this round. We all know parenting is one of the toughest jobs out there. It doesn’t come with a manual, (although we sometimes wish it did). There are so many unanswered questions and then just when we think we’ve got it all figured out, we get smacked in the face with another awesome adventure (I’m being PC here). Let’s talk back to school on Palm Beach Moms Blog.
I don’t know about you, but for me potty training is probably one of the worst parts when it comes to the parenting process. Now don’t get me wrong, I realize there are a slew of other first world problems many a parents face! However, I’m just keepin’ it real. The sheer idea of cleaning up feces and urine off of my living room floor, car seat, sheets…you name it, simply grosses me out. I realize that it’s my child who is making said bowels, but for whatever reason ripping off the band-aid and jumping on the potty train has me anxiety ridden. Don’t even get me started on the public restroom saga. Blech!
I feel like with my son (and perhaps it’s because he’s a bit more of a timid one), it wasn’t SO bad. We used to stand up on public toilets (he simply couldn’t reach & your welcome for the tip ;), so that he could go. He had this sort of this understanding that if he went in the potty he would get a sticker each day and then a prize at the end of the whole gig.
However, with our little lady…tooooottallyyy different story. I’m not sure if it’s a control thing, because with her that seems to be the case, with every. single. thing. Or perhaps it’s just the fact of the matter, that she’ll be ready on her own time. When our little man was 2 years old, just before bath time, I would set up the potty. Time and time again nothing would come of it and then one day boom!
I’ve tried the same tactic with little miss to no avail. She has no desire to pee in the “Elmo” potty and took it upon herself (while we were on vacation in the Keys might I add), she must’ve been feeling fancy, to go. Just. Like. That. We gave her a treat, made a big deal and as I presumed didn’t do it again. Experts say that regression is totally normal. Sleep regression. Eat regression. We get it. What do the docs say about stress regression…nothing? Cool.
Fast-forward a couple of days and this lady decides to go for a number TWO on the big girl potty, completely unprovoked. Totally mind blown, I call my husband out of breath, freaking out about what to give her! Um the world, DUH! Long story short I have been saving these little Disney princess dolls for said occasion. She was totally stoked and chose Belle. After naptime, she decided Belle wasn’t going to cut it and wanted Snow White instead. Obvi, I didn’t budge and said if she goes potty not only will she continue to get each and every doll in the set, but a surprise at the end. Her response is I’ve already gone in the potty, mom! Number one and number two…done!
I guess my point in telling you this whole story is, I’ve since backed off to see how this strong willed 2 year old bite sized teenager is going to wean herself off of her diapers. I’m certain that one day she will have an epiphany and decide that she wants big girl panties and diapers are a thing of her past. Perhaps, I’m not pushing the envelope too hard, because these will be the last diapers I change for a while. Ouch. That hurt. However, I know in my heart of hearts that little miss V won’t be walking down the aisle in a poopy dipe. So why rush my kid into yet another phase of life, when I should just appreciate her independence and who she is right now. Side note: Right after writing this piece, she totally went in the potty again. Wish me luck! As with everything, I know this is just a phase and will someday be a blip on the radar. Just breathe.
You’ve heard this before while on an airplane. In the event of an emergency, place your oxygen masks on first and then your child’s…but have you really ever put those words into perspective before? Someone once mentioned that old adage to me before and that lesson really stuck with me. If I’m not right, then how can my children be? As parents it is within our natural instincts and DNA to take care of literally everyone else in our household (including our pets), before even worrying about ourselves. Making sure that all are fed, changed and happy, before taking a bite to eat, much less a shower. I’m here to tell you that it’s ok to do YOU. Have you ever heard the expression “Happy wife, happy life?” Well the same goes for happy moms and dads! If you are in this mindset that you must take care of every little thing your toddler or even spouse asks of you, without taking care of your basic necessities, then you WILL crash and burn.
I remember it all too well. I had my first born baby boy a little over 5 years ago. My world came to a screeching halt! I know I can say the same for my husband. We didn’t care about the things that made us, “us.” Was the baby sleeping? Was he breathing? Was he pooping? Well, what time did he poop? We were literally documenting when he ate, slept and passed a bowel on timers on our iPhones! All the while, a little piece of us were fading away. Now, I’m not saying it’s not important to put some things on the back burner to take care of this little human who needs you literally to sustain LIFE, but I think it was a breaking point for the both of us, when we started to lose sight of the last time WE ate or took 5. I don’t mean 5 minutes together (although that’s crucial), but completely alone! I remember my husband calling out to me saying, “Hey Bri? When was the last time you ate?” I honestly couldn’t remember? I was too sleep deprived, too obsessed with this new normal, that it didn’t really occur to me that if I wasn’t taking care of ME, how on earth would that baby be able to sustain without ME? Once I realized that…yes things started to shift, but still ‘til this day I need to constantly remind myself that it isn’t selfish to take 20 minutes to write, because that’s my passion and what makes me, ME. That if going for a bike ride makes me feel better than by golly, I had better start pedaling!
Even while I write this article, my five-year-old has interrupted me to ask me what’s for dessert, because he finished his soup! He can wait two more minutes for that cookie. He’ll live.
Again, while I reminisce of the craziest yet exciting time in our lives, it had been days, maybe even weeks since my husband and I had even noticed one another, because we were so focused on baby! I remember us both putting him down after a screaming, crying fit, 3 calls to the nurse asking why our baby was crying…only to get the response, “Well ma’am, all babies cry.” LOL She was right. We turned to one another and hugged. It was the first time since I didn’t have a big bump separating us and in that moment, I was instantly transported to that bright sunny day on 10.10.10 overlooking the ocean, when we said our “I Do’s”. It was in that moment, that I knew everything was going to be alright.
Ultimately, my children, husband and even my dog will always be first, but I’ve finally started to get back to being me. Even if that means having to schedule in a date night in advance (something to look forward to), starting my own blog (heck yes! One of the best decisions to take that leap!), starting my own business (Yes, it’s been quite the busy year and I’ve got enough bosses under one roof!), taking the time to give myself a little makeover and maybe someday writing that book I’ve always wanted to write. I’m slowly getting back to being me and I can’t encourage you enough to do the same…or at least try to, because there’s only one YOU in the world and you’ve got an army of people who depend on that!
We all either dread it or dream of it. A Disney vacation with your family! Without a doubt, my family and I are HUGE Disney fans and I’m here to tell you how to rid of your Disney anxiety and just enjoy it, because Disney doesn’t have to suck.
1. First things first, you have to just swallow the fact that you will NOT get everything done in one day and not even one vacation. My family and I have been to the parks more than two dozen times and there are a bunch of things we haven’t touched the surface of yet. Not to mention, Disney is always ten steps ahead of us, evolving, innovating, ever-changing, brainstorming…New ideas, new rides, new restaurants, new experiences and that’s what makes Disney SO awesome! If you accept that you will only experience what you can, then you will in fact enjoy every glittering moment and you’ll have the best time ever, doing it! If you’re torn on what to do, start with the classics and work your way out.
2. That brings us to reservations and fast passes. So, I sort of have a love, hate relationship with this concept, because I can totally empathize with a go with the flow attitude, but sometimes in Disney we don’t have that choice. For peace of mind, I would say it doesn’t hurt to have the fast passes in line to reserve the attractions you want to do and if you make it, you make it. Don’t forget to get the MyDisneyExperience App. Fast passes can be made up to 30 days prior to your arrival. 60, if you’re staying on property, (makes it a benefit to do so). You get 3 fast passes per park per day, once you complete those, you can add additional ones, one at a time. Also, when it comes to the restaurant reservations, they’re usually pretty easygoing if you need to cancel. Although there is a 24-hour cancellation policy, most times you can call or show up and say it just can’t happen today, because my kids are a mess. They’ll let it slide, because…Hey! It’s Disney!
3. Try to avoid public transportation at all costs! Not only does the complimentary bus add more time to your travel to and from the park, but when you’re strapped with kids, strollers diaper bags and snacks things can get really tricky, not to mention cumbersome. “The Magical Express,” isn’t so magical when you’ve got a couple screaming, hungry kids at the end of day and no place to sit, not to mention being stuck in a hot box with everyone and their germs. If you can avoid buses and the tram (if you can splurge an extra $10- $15 to park at the entrance of the park, then by all means do it!)
4. It’s ok to splurge! You’re on vacation! Think about how much lifting, walking, rushing, running you are doing all day. You have to realize that Disney is all about the experience and not so much about the food, (unless you head over to Epcot or get the opportunity to enjoy the Food & Wine Festival). So you “foodies,” may have to have a pizza and some chicken fingers and that’s OK! My favorite splurge is in Adventureland, just outside of the Swiss Family tree house, it’s called “The Sunshine Tree Terrace,” and they serve up the perfect swirl of vanilla ice cream and an orange ice…the perfect Florida treat!
5. Try to have FUN, because that’s what Disney is all about! Walt Disney himself never got the chance to see the grand opening of Walt Disney World, Orlando. So, consider yourself lucky to be able to do so. Additionally, there are tons of people who only dream of getting to experience the happiest place on earth and are never afforded the chance. So go on…bask in the glory of letting go of your worries and letting your imagination soar. Hakuna Matata!
The sheer idea makes me completely anxiety ridden. From the laundry to the packing, to making sure my kids don’t get sick before we leave. Food shopping…who food shops before they go on vacation, right? It’s supposed to be a vacation! Well all you mommas know that if you don’t have a copious amount of snacks, activities and possible bribe toys, you may as well just stay at home, because traveling with two kids is NO JOKE. I pray for those who have more than two!
As much as I don’t want to do this, I have to rewind to the beginning of September, I know all of my Florida people will understand…IRMA. She totally killed my vibe and everyone else I was in contact with. Whether it was to get prepared, to stay or to go, or receiving message after message from your distant aunt urging you to flee the state, the stress level was sky high! So my husband and I made the call. We were going to take our 4-year-old and 1-year-old (on her first flight) to New York City, to get out of dodge, 2 days shy of what was said to be the storm of century. A catastrophic category-5 hurricane, coming right for us! After spending several hours not getting kicked out of travel sites and tons of prayers, I managed to get a flight out of Orlando (that’s about a 2 and a half hour drive from us). Enter “Mama Prep Mode.”
Laundry, laundry, laundry, who knew the next time we would be back, (although we had a flight out five days later…that never happened! Ha!), running to the store to stock up on food for travel and upon arrival, packing up clothes and toys, getting the dog to our moms (because they stayed put and did us an enormous solid). Oh and heaven forbid, I forget our babies that we sleep with at night! (Enter rolling eye emoji here).
Ok, we were all packed up and ready to rock. After not sleeping for 2 straight nights, eating half of the snacks we were supposed to take with us and being stood up by our shutter guy (Honey, you’re super cute on a ladder trying to put up a shutter with one hand. LOL). We were off! What was supposed to be 2 and a half hour drive turned into 4 (from what I hear we got lucky), we spent the night at our best bachelor friend’s house…Love you Uncle Tom! We happened to get the last bit of gas from a random gas station and parked illegally at the airport, because at that point who cared, the apocalypse was coming and we would be darned if we were going to miss that flight! Right?
Phew! We were on the plane! Of course the four of us had to split up. Baby with me, big boy with dad. As the boys had their feet up, headphones on and snacks in hand, the girls walked up to a 97-year-old lady with a breathing mask and a freaking cat underneath her seat, who made it very apparent she really shouldn’t be sitting next to any babies, because she was very old and had an oxygen mask. (NOT MAKING THIS UP!) After a two hour delay, thanks to thunderstorm and rain, tons of awkward complaints from the crazy cat lady (who thank goodness had enough oxygen in her tank and was assured several times we were on a full flight) and a baby who was most definitely a rock star for the most part, but had a few major meltdowns (thanks for the free cookies steward lady), we finally made it to the Big Apple. We had a welcome committee (thanks cousin Stevie) and an incredible family who took us into their home and did everything in their power to make us feel comfortable. To whom we owe an enormous debt and an incredible Florida family vacation to.
Although we forfeited our 7-year anniversary trip to Cali, it ended up being the best “mistake vacation” we ever had. It was a chance to see old friends and family, bring our kids to the very place we were engaged at, on my birthday 8-years ago, make some incredible memories and come back with one heck of a story to tell. Yes, flights were delayed and we ended up overstaying our welcome an extra two nights. We had a downed fence and a broken roof upon return, (flight was way better on the way back), but deep down we were saying our prayers about how very lucky we made out.
So, at the end of the day, I know it takes what seems like moving mountains to make those vacations that seem so daunting happen, but the moral of the story is to put your big girl panties on, put things into perspective and consider yourself lucky you have the option to do so!