Monthly Archives: June 2012

When you and your spouse both travel

You become a very good juggler. For example, my husband is leaving for a work trip to Ireland today, right after my son’s baseball game. My mom is coming to the game, spending the night and picking me up at the airport tomorrow once I arrive home from the Type A Conference in Charlotte.

It’s not ideal but sometimes you have to lean on friends and family to make it work. So how do we do it?

  • A master calendar is mandatory. If it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t exist. Similarly, in my mind, you are not allowed to write “maybe” events on the calendar. Unless you know it’s happening for sure, don’t put it on my calendar. Use a sticky note or make a note in your own calendar (*sneaks stare at the husband*) but don’t make me get the white out ready once it doesn’t happen.

 

  • Know when to give and when to push. There will be times when you both are scheduled to be out of town at the same time. Will it work? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on the number of days, day of the week and what’s going on with the kids’ activities and their calendar. It is possible for grandma to come down for the weekend, or is there a big game or scouts outing that requires a lot of coordination?

 

  • Having help also helps. We quickly realized that we’re both working, and that cleaning the house was taking away precious time with our kids. My dad needed something extra, so now he comes over every other week to clean the house (and we pay him), plus he usually gets to see the kids at one of their games.

And we’re just talking about kids. But our fur kids, the two puppies, also need walks, potty breaks and lots of attention.

Travel, especially business travel, is not glamorous. It only looks that way because you only share the fun things – a good dinner, a minute in the pool, a welcoming hotel room – on your social networks. What you don’t see are the flight delays, cab rides and time spent in windowless conference rooms.

But with constant communication and a good network, we make it work. How do you make it work?

 

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Connect, Learn and Laugh at Type A Parent Conference

Has it really been more than a year since the last Type A Conference? Because it seems like just yesterday that I was meeting and talking to these wonderful bloggers.

This year, I had no kids or husband in tow so I was able to spend more time getting to know people. It really was a different experience and I’m glad I had the opportunity to have both perspectives.

Disney party at Type A ConferenceThe venue changed this year – from the Asheville, N.C. to the Hilton City Center in Charlotte, so the vibe of the conference was a bit different, as well. There were no cool little stores to explore during down time, and we had the “Heroes Convention” next door instead of finding a drum circle.

Yet, no matter where you put these ladies – and a few men – we connect, we laugh, we learn and we grow. We attend sessions and hands-on workshops, sneak off to our hotel room to write, update code or make fixes based on other tips and tricks learned throughout the day.

At the end of the day, we relax and unwind with a good meal, maybe a walk and definitely a party where we can socialize and of course connect again.

I come home with a bag full of business cards, a lot of new Twitter connections and a little schwag. Just the right balance to make the Type A Conference another happy memory.

And in no particular order:

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Learning lessons from kids’ sports and activities

End of the year Girl Scouts party – check.

End of the year Boy Scouts party – check.

Last soccer game – check.

Dance recital – check.

Gymnastics expo – almost.

Last baseball game – this month.

Dance recitalCheck by check, I see my time coming back to me as the kids’ activities start to wind down now that the school year has ended. For just about a month, we’ll have no obligations and activities. I can’t believe football practice starts at the end of July, but there it is. In the meantime, we’re ready for a few summer camps, a trip to see grandpa in Washington state and maybe a family vacation to New York/New Jersey area.

In the next couple of weeks, we have some big decisions to make. If my daughter stays in soccer, she moves up to the age bracket that travels. This means we won’t have time to also do dance, gymnastics and maybe not even Girl Scouts. I don’t think she really likes playing the game per se, but I do know she loves the group of girls that she’s been playing with for years.

My son took a year off of football and is going back this year, and that will be a big change, too. Practice is several days during the week plus a game on the weekend. So while our calendar is clearing, it’s the calm before the fall storm. Little League baseball

I don’t try to push them into anything and the hardest thing is to limit their activities and say no, you can’t try softball right now because you already have x, y and z you’ve committed to. How do you know when you have the right balance for each child? When they can get their homework done every night?

Don’t get me wrong – I love going to see my kids performing and doing what they love. It may be a juggling act at times but we’re all happy, healthy and learning valuable skills for the future.

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Camels, tigers and carnivals, only at the Belleville Strawberry Festival

Give a camel a lemon … and you’re at the Strawberry Festival. Makes perfect sense, right?

Belleville Strawberry FestivalEvery year, the kids look forward to Father’s Day. Well, not really Father’s Day per se, but because the annual Strawberry Festival in Belleville is on Father’s Day weekend every June.

This year, my daughter’s dance rehearsal was Friday and the recital fell on the Saturday evening, so our days were booked. However, we still had Sunday afternoon, so we walked into town and found this:

Camels! Sure, we’ve been on pony rides but this was the first year I’ve seen camel rides here. What a strange thing to think that you can walk less than a mile from your house in the suburbs and see a camel! The festival also had some visiting white tigers, although we didn’t go into the tent to see them.

Instead, we were busy feeding the Belleville Strawberry Festival camelcamels. When life hands you lemons, feed a camel!

Sadly, the afternoon rain showers chased us back home, but not before we had our fill of elephant ears, a pizza pretzel and butterfly chips. After all, the carnival food is what I look forward to every year!

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How Many Type A’s Does it Take to Prepare for the Type A Conference?

Answer: All of them. Since when does a Type A sit back and let someone else do all of the research and planning?

My favorite blog conference of the year is rapidly approaching: Type A Parent, this year in Charlotte, N.C. Some conferences are larger, some are smaller but with the right combination of people, location and content, Type A speaks to me every year.

type-a parent conferenceThis year, my third as an attendee and second as a speaker, will be different in a few ways. My first outside of a PR agency and just as a blogger. The first time the conference is in Charlotte (although I love Asheville, I’m also excited to explore a new city. The first where I can focus more on me without focusing on clients and my job.

This year, I’ll fly down on my own dime for the first time, share a room with an awesome blogger, all star videographer and softball coach extraordinaire, and I plan to deepen friendships, meet new people and learn from some of the smartest women (and men) on the planet.

I’ve started several blogs over the years, but my career as a social media specialist in public relations generally left little room for my own writing. After writing on behalf of others all day, the last thing I wanted to do was open the computer screen again once I had the kids in bed.

Now, I’ve decided and am keeping it going for the longest stretch, to write, to blog for me. Not for any perks, not for anyone saying “you have to have a blog” and not on behalf of any executive or company. Just me, and I’m beginning to create that journey.

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My New Dolphin Friends in San Jose Cabo

They say that Dolphins are some of the smartest inhabitants on the planet. And when you have the opportunity to spend some time with the majestic creatures, you realize that they are not only smart, but powerful, playful and full of personality.

Dolphins in San Jose Cabo Part of our trip to Cabo San Lucas included an excursion from Terramar to Dolpin Discovery on the newer marina in San Jose Cabo. We were fitted with life jackets, given instruction on how to signal the dolphins for each activity and then led into the water in the marina. Our first new friend, Apollo, was a young male dolphin who was eager to please and loved the attention we showered on him. We had a kiss, handshake and were able to “hold” him briefly underwater.Dolphin Kayak in San Jose Cabo

Next, we moved to another area and entered the water in kayaks. Holding out the paddle, the two dolphins, Titan and Shelly, leaped over in a breathtaking display. Our group then playfully raced across the marina area to see who would be first for the next dolphin encounter. In this area, we were able to do a dorsal tow, where the two dolphins pull you through the water as you gently hold on to their dorsal fins.

Then, for the grand finale, we did the foot push, where you lock your knees and each dolphin puts its nose to the bottom of your feet, pushing you into an upright position as you glide across the water. It’s an exhilarating feeling and one I’ll never forget.

Dolphin jump in San Jose Cabo

Being able to come close to such large and powerful creatures is an amazing experience and gives me renewed respect for the ocean and all it holds.

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Another School Year Flies Past

It seems that our school district gets out fairly early compared to others in the state and across the country, but I can’t believe that today marks the end of 4th and 2nd grade for my kids. The years are starting to fly by and with each milestone, mom becomes a little more sentimental.

We have very few open dates on the busy summer calendar, and soon they’ll be off to summer camps, a visit to grandpa in Washington state and a trip or two with mom and dad. As I watch them grow, I’m proud of who they are becoming and can see the light shining from within.

Next year will bring significant changes to our family – my son enters a fifth and sixth grade middle school while my daughter stays in the elementary. If we stay in this same district, my kids won’t be in the same school building again for seven more years – when they are in 9th and 11th grade. So far, my son has been the “responsible” one – taking care of his sister’s lunch money and making sure she’s where she is supposed to be every day.

Next year will be a new adventure, and I can’t help but be sad when I think of them separated, although I know it’s just the next step in this thing we call life.

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Land, Sea and Happiness at Westin Los Cabos

It’s not every day that you see a hotel built partially into the side of a mountain. For that matter, I’d say that it’s also the first time I saw a restaurant built around a mountain, as well. But at the Westin Resort and Spa in Cabo San Lucas, the hotel is where land meets the sea and is juxtaposed in perfect harmony with the elements.

Westin Los CabosFor my trip to Cabo (on a fam trip with my husband, who is a golf writer), we spent two nights at the Sheraton Los Cabos and two at the Westin Los Cabos. The Westin is breathtaking on arrival – it almost looks like a scene out of Star Wars on the sand planet. And how can you not have a smile on your face when you walk up and a drink is prepared for you – on the house.

The hotel, we were told, was designed to work with the earth and with Mexican heritage. The arch in the hotel is to reflect the famous arch of Cabo San Lucas. The colors are all traditional and the landscaping is full of sand, cactus and palm trees, just like Cabo.

Although we didn’t have a chance to play it, the 9-hole putt-putt course next to the ocean beach looks like an ideal setting for families. I know my son would have played more than once had he been there. The pools were gorgeous, with one strategically placWestin Los Cabos Arched in the shadow of the hotel arch for shade during the scorching summer months.

Westin Los Cabos Golf

The rooms are gorgeous, with a glass-sided shower, and every single room is ocean view. We saw a variety of occupants with families dining at the more casual restaurants and couples taking in the scenic views and out-of-this-world meal choices. There’s even a tequila bar, La Cantina, for those who want a little nightlife without heading into the town.

Westin Los Cabos RestaurantsWhile we were there, a wedding party and guests were preparing for the big ceremony, and we saw happiness as they gathered for the life-changing night. The spirit in the air matched the smiles on everyone’s faces, because it’s simply difficult to find a reason to frown in Cabo.

 

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Sheraton Hacienda in Los Cabos is muy bueno

It only rains two to five times per year in the Los Cabos area. They tell me it’s a major news event and people panic when rain is in the forecast, even though they usually end up getting only a few drops. So when you look at the forecast, every day is a bright orange sun with temperatures varying from high 80s to low 90s. Which makes vacation planning oh-so-easy.

The Sheraton Hacienda is a gorgeous resort with more swimming pools than I can count, villa style rooms and a never-ending view of the Sea of Cortez. The complex has two five-diamond restaurants within walking distance of each other. We dined at both: De Cortez and Pitahayas. Pitahayas has a wine cellar with several rooms of any wine you can imagine. The rooms are comfortable, and pools are the perfect temperature and we saw many families enjoying the beach and kids pool.

Sheraton Hacienda Los Cabos infinity poolDinner at De Cortez at Sheraton Hacienda Los Cabos

The breakfast buffet at Tomatoes Restaurant is a wonderful array of America and Mexican dishes to satisfy any hunger. And every restaurant has an open air section – perfect for climates with only sun in the forecast. I didn’t try the spa or the golf course here but heard from others that both are excellent.

We also had a kayaking and snorkeling adventure with Terramar Destinations to see the famous arch and close to shore snorkeling. Our guides were outstanding and the although we were all adults on the trip, I think it would have been perfect for older kids who like adventure. We saw sea lions, black crabs and many types of fish. We stopped at Lovers Beach on the Sea of Cortez side and were warned that the waters were treacherous across the sand at Divorce Beach, which faces the ocean. Some in my party also did cliff diving off of Pelican Rock, but I was happy to stay partially submerged and take photos.

The Arch at Baja Peninsula, Cabo San LucasSea Lions by The Los Cabos Arch

The Sheraton Hacienda has something for everyone, and with the newly expanded children’s club and area, it would be a perfect place for a return visit with our children. But for now, I’m enjoying the crashing waves and letting the kids have a great time at home with grandma. But I think the Sea of Cortez will call me back some day.

Snorkeling with Terramar Destinations in Cabo San Lucas

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