Tag Archives: family vacation

School vs life experiences

Mark Twain once said “Don’t let schooling get in the way of your education.” I think he might have been on to something here. Now I’m not saying that school isn’t important because it is. Reading, writing, math, and history are all important. To a degree we need them all to live an independent successful adult life. School is typically the first place we learn to socialize and make friends which is another pretty important life skill but school isn’t everything, it doesn’t give you real world life experiences like traveling does.

So far this school year we have taken one vacation however, there will be at least one more before it’s over. Our oldest is the only one currently in school and for him I think these experiences are extra important. If you’ve read previous post then you may already know he is on the spectrum. School is a huge stressor for him. It radiates from him, we all feel it and it’s hard. He tries his hardest but there are still struggles. Five days a week of attending 7 different classes, listening to 7 different teachers talk while trying to understand the work he is given on top of all of the noise and kids, it’s enough to stress anyone out but him even more so. When we take our trips he’s almost like a different kid. His first trip to Disneyland was last summer, change and people are a huge thing for him but he handled it well. He pushed his limits by talking to cast members, something he wouldn’t have done anywhere else. His first experience was with Ariel, one I’ll never forget. She told him she knows how confusing the human world can be and he related to that more than she will ever know. He’s learning how to deal with crowds and noise with just enough fun to make him want to push through. Our now five year old is learning to do things even if they’re kind of scary. They’re learning about flying and what it’s like to be somewhere new. They are making memories that they will carry with long after we are gone.

A few years ago, we pulled Dominic out of school to drive out to Montana. He got to visit many states along the way. He experienced the beauty of the mountains and learned what real snow is. Our boys have already been more places than I have when I was their age. Now a fire inside them has been lit, they want to visit Paris, Japan, even Egypt. They want to learn about Pharaohs and pyramids and see the Eiffel Tower. There’s so much they want to see and learn and experience and we will. Sure they can sit in a classroom and read about these places but given the chance wouldn’t you rather see them for yourself? Now that my kids are starting to understand how big the world really is, now that they’ve flown on planes and realize how far they can take you they have an interest in seeing it all. I’m a strong believer in experiencing life and culture outside of the little corner of the earth we call home. I think it forces us to open our eyes and be accepting of differences among us. It teaches us appreciation and drives us to be better.

There’s no denying that school is an important part of our children’s lives, our teachers work tirelessly for our kids. I could never do what they do but there is so much more to education than just school. I strongly believe that life experiences are really important, I also believe in making memories as much as possible. If you don’t agree leave me a comment and let me know why? If you do tell me one of you favorite memories you have from traveling.


19 Resolutions for 2019

  • Here we are 2019 can you believe it? I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. It’s crazy how when thinking in the present, time seems to drag but when you take a step back the years really seem to blur together because they just flew by. I decided to start off the New Year I’d do a resolutions blog post. I tried to go more toward meaningful than cheesy or easily failed so in no particular order here are 19 resolutions for 2019.
    1. Get out and do more. When you have anxiety and three kids it’s pretty easy to find excuses to stay home. This year I want to step out of my comfort zone and try and get out of the house more. Whether it’s a walk, trip to the park, or a museum of some kind I really want to try and do more things this year.
      Make more ears. Since our last trip I have been lacking in the motivation department. I really I need to get my butt back in gear and start making Minnie ears again. It’s something I’m really enjoy doing and I need to do more things I really enjoy.
      Get rid of stuff. I’m sure a lot of people can relate to this one. I have too much stuff, seriously it’s crazy how much unnecessary things you can accumulate over the years. I’ve read that the more stuff you have the more stress you have and I believe it.
      Focus. This one kind of ties into number 3. I need to be better at focusing on one thing at a time. Multitasking can be great but it can also make you feel like you haven’t gotten anywhere. My closet, the garage, my kids rooms, the laundry, pick just about any of those and you’ll see me trying to do at least three of them at once. In the end the small dents I make in all of them feels and sometimes look like nothing. Time is better spent focusing on one thing until it’s done and then moving to the next.
      Read more. I’ve always loved reading. Getting a library card was the best thing ever when I was kid. All through high school and even after I used to spend hours upon hours reading. The last few years I’ve bought books but haven’t made time to read. Finding a good book is like making a new friend. Like Walt Disney once said “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.”
      More trips to Disneyland. I mean does this one really need explaining? It’s the happiest place on earth and the feeling you get while you there is a feeling I’d like to feel as much as possible this year.
      Meal prep. One goal I have this year is to eat healthier and meal prepping will not only help with that but it will also save tons of money. Too often do I put off going to the store or making food ahead of time for work the next day so of course I end up buying fast food. This is like the trifecta of bad, it’s expensive, it’s generally unhealthy, and it usually doesn’t end up tasting as good as I’d hoped.
      Drink more water. I do really well at this for a while and then I’m back to going all day without a glass of water and then wonder why I feel so awful. I really need to get better about drinking a healthy amount everyday.
      Be more active. Whether it’s a walk around the block or I get around to putting the treadmill together I need to make an effort to get off my butt more this year.
      Cut back on energy drinks. I basically run on caffeine and sarcasm so this will be a hard one. I have been drinking energy drinks for MANY years. I have vowed to stop many times and failed miserably. The only time I didn’t drink them is when I was pregnant. Funny how it’s easier to quit unhealthy habits when someone else’s life is in your hands. On top of being terrible for you the amount of money I spend on them every month is embarrassing!
      Go to bed earlier. Another hard one. Some nights it’s the insomnia keeping me up but there are a lot of nights I, like I’m sure many of you, get caught up in tv shows or mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook feed. If I can go to bed at a decent time even like twice a week I will call that a win.
      Spend less money. I think too often we all spend money on things we don’t really need. Whether it’s fast food or buying something on impulse, we could all probably try a little harder to ask ourselves “do I really need this?”
      Take vitamins. Not much to say about this one. They’re good for you and if you’re like me sometimes you forget to eat or maybe just forget to eat healthy. Taking a daily vitamin definitely can’t hurt.
      Go camping! This one I’m excited for, I really love camping. Being disconnected from the rest of the world for a couple of days is a fantastic feeling. Everyone needs a reset every now and then.
      Learn how to cope better. Stress and anxiety can be all consuming at times. Finding healthy ways to cope with it all is a must this year.
      Tame the temper. I’ll be the first to admit I can go from 0 to 60 some days when the right thing sets me off. I’d really like to get better with that.
      Start a book. Maybe? I’m not sure on this one yet. My mom seems to think my life has been interesting enough that people may want to read it about it. What do you think?
      Focus more on the good. It’s really easy to focus on the struggles and stress that we are dealing with. I want to try harder to focus on the good things I have in my life.
      Be happier. I think if we all made it a habit to just be happy it would be easier to really be happy. I also think happiness is contagious so on the days it’s harder to smile I want to remind myself who else I may be helping.
  • Phew! That was a long list, hopefully you stuck with me. I know a lot of these kind of tie into each other but I think it’s easier to break your goals down and accomplish them bit by bit. The broader they are the easier it is to make excuses and the easier it is to fail. What are your goals for this year? Leave them in the comment section below. We can totally do this!
  • We’re back!

    After an almost week long vacation we’re home. There’s definitely some mixed feelings that come along with being back. On one hand it’s nice to sleep in my own bed and to have an in person conversation with my mom again but on the other hand I couldn’t help thinking to myself as I was grocery shopping today that I’d rather be weaving through the crowd at Disneyland instead of Winco.

    Overall the vacation went pretty well, we made it to the airport on time and Alice barely fussed on the flight. We didn’t pay for three Lyfts before we got one big enough this time. In case you were wondering you have about two minutes to cancel before you have to pay a fee, we learned that the hard way last time.

    Day 1

    Our first day at Disneyland turned out to be a short one. We new rain was in the forecast but being from the Pacific Northwest we’re used to the rain so didn’t think much of it. We headed straight for the Haunted Mansion as soon as we got there. It’s currently Nightmare before Christmas themed and it was pretty amazing.

    From there we headed for the Matterhorn, we didn’t get to do either of these rides over the summer because they were closed so we were crazy excited to do them this time around. After about any hour of being there the light rain turned into a torrential downpour. Like flash flood warning type of rain. So we ran over to Earl of Sandwich and then headed for the bus stop. We waiting a good half hour for the bus and by the time we got back to our room we all looked like we’d taken a dip in the pool fully clothed.

    Day 2

    For our second day we did California Adventure open to close. I learned a few things that day, I think the Grizzly River Run may be my favorite ride, the Incredicoaster was a one time thing for me (yes my 11 year old is so much braver than I am) the Ferris Wheel, while having a beautiful view, is a terrible mistake when you have a major fear of heights, and consistency can sometimes be a problem. Ukiah was allowed to ride the Grizzly River Run about five times that day, his last time he rode with me and then went right back to ride with my husband (water rides have like no lines if it’s less than 70 degrees I swear) and this time right before he got on a cast member pulled out a measuring stick and he turned out to be like half an inch too short. He was heartbroken.

    Thankfully we were able to cheer him up and we still had a lot of fun that night.

    Day 3

    This was a break day. We hung out a bit at Downtown Disney and then went back to the hotel for movies and video games. I absolutely recommend a break day if you are going for more than two days.

    Days 4 & 5

    Both of these days were spent at Disneyland and kind of blur together. We did lunch at Cafe Orleans which had some pretty great food. Just be prepared to spend a good amount of money. We did Fantasmic which was amazing, make sure you get tickets for the reserved seating if you plan to do this. By the end of the fifth day we were all pretty sore and exhausted.

    I didn’t get to do all of the rides I wanted to do but we still had an amazing time and we hope to go back in May so those will be the first one on my to do list. If you’re planning a trip here’s a few tips:

    Fast Pass. Absolutely take the time to get fast passes. Wait times for some rides like Radiator Springs can get up to 2 hours and I am not exaggerating. You can only have one at time though so choose wisely and don’t get one in the morning that you can’t use until the evening unless you don’t plan to get any others.

    Child Swap. If you have children that are too small to go on a ride definitely do child swap. The way child sway works is one parent and whoever else that is going to be going on the ride first gets a fast pass. You let the cast meme we at that ride know you’re going to be doing child swap and they will scan the other parents ticket essentially giving them a fast pass as well. As soon as the first parent gets off the ride they take the child who’s too little and the second parent gets in the fast pass line.

    Bring snacks and water. There are a lot of places to eat while you’re there but it adds up quickly. You can expect to pay $40 for lunch for you’re family of 5 easily.

    Despite the crowds and prices of things, Disneyland is truly a magically place. If done right, you can pretty much do it all in a few days or less depending on if you have kids and the stamina to spend an entire day there. I’m definitely happy to be in the comfort of my own home but I also cannot wait to go back!