More Ecclectic Momma Musings: The Learning Curve of Vacationing as a Family

familySo…. we are definitely learning how to vacation as a family and the curve is HUGE! I am an early get up and go person. My spouse is a sleep in, fiddle around, get out late-afternoon person. Our son is a get up early, dance around, get out and stay out and moving person. So we have that challenge to overcome along with the fact that neither adult grew up in New England so we’re still trying to figure out which place works best for all of us and our varying desires and needs. AND I didn’t grow up “vacationing.” In southern Cali you just drove to the beach whenever, sometimes you stayed a weekend at Big Bear or Lake Arrowhead, but if you vacationed you got on a plane and went somewhere. I’m not accustomed to packing a car with all the necessities and driving two hours for a 10 day stay.

So far we have agreed that a cottage very close to the beach with a pool and a playground if possible will be best. How much are we gonna pay for that?! This is so that the boy and I can get up early and hit the beach without driving or feeling guilty we left daddy behind and so that daddy can sleep in and wander to the beach if and when he feels like it. We’re also struggling to balance the child (4.5 y.o.) activities with adult activities. Art museums and nice dinners out and park concerts vs. pirate ships, bouncy houses, and face-painting.Beach House

When I was single and when we were without child our stays were always in NICE hotels, all meals were had out, and we always got up late and stayed out LATE! NICE hotels are just not practical for us or our budget (the nicest we do is a place with a kitchenette like Fairfield Inn or Spring Hill Suites)! Waking up early is the only option as the boy child is an early bird and staying out late is out of the question…without a nap our son is good until 8 p.m. at best, with a nap, 10 p.m. might be pushing it.

We didn’t plan well this year because we had TONS of family obligations right up until the night we left, so we just packed and drove to the Cape! But here’s what I’m thinking and I’m hoping other vacation-savvy families will share their stories:

car travel

  1. Plan ahead with a map and those touristy books full of things to do, etc.
  2. If possible only travel in good weather, except the Cape places book up fast and it’s New England…how do we know it’s not gonna rain 6 months in advance???
  3. Decide what type of vacationing fits you: We like the beach (vs. a lake vacation) but also need the convenience of a pool for rainy days or days that are too hot
  4. Decide what accommodations fit your family: We should be in a cottage or condo vs. hotels because then we can save money by cooking and pack less with a washing machine in the house
  5. Pack wisely: We know we should pack less stuff (Elspeth if you’re reading this don’t laugh!)
  6. Schedule appropriately: We think we should do kid stuff early in the day, take a nap and then accommodate daddy (LOL), maybe daddy should travel with a late-nigh hang-out buddy!
  7. Find travel buddies: We think we should invite another family with same-age child (anyone else have experience with this?)
  8. Shop around: We feel like we should also check out another vacation spot in case we like somewhere else better….like Ogunquit, ME (anyone vacation in more than 1 spot?)
  9. Count your blessings: We know we should be blessed that we can all go on vacation together and get some R & R. We’ll enjoy wherever we go!

I’ve reviewed almost all of our adventures on Trip Advisor, so check out my thoughts on the Cape! More to come.


Food and Pre-Schoolers: Parenting Woes

IMG_20150705_141618I think I have posted about our son and his food choices before. When we’re up against a wall and think he’s food deprived (is that really possible) we let him eat Wendy’s kid’s meal because he’s usually always eat chicken nuggets. But we know that is NOT a good choice every day or for the long-term pre-school/kindergarten years.  This, at left is his typical meal. Not too bad really…

Fruit and processed turkey! It’s either this, rice with mixed veggies but only Uncle Ben’s NOT usually West African jolof rice, or pasta with butter sauce. He’s entering pre-K in the fall and I want him to start eating breakfast in the mornings at home because his new school will not serve breakfast, he’ll need to eat at home. So I’m contemplating cereal (which is usually eats just fine) and oatmeal (which he has yet to try).  My real wish is that he eat the food we eat so that I cook one meal (like normal families right? LOL). I’ve read LOTS of blogs and consulted with all my friends on the eating issue.  I understand it is a phase and that eventually (I have teenage nephews as proof) he will eat and eat a lot!

I think we should have started earlier introducing some of our ethnic foods to him , but we are without parents and our in-laws helped as they could but no one thoughtfully guided us in feeding him and introducing foods. I have realized that it takes a village and lots of time and patience and we got on that boat late (we do other things quite well for advanced-age parents)! Specifically, we’d like to introduce more green things such as okra and spinach which we and our friends and family cook and eat often….I’m not going to push the meat and chicken, but would like an alternative such as beans.

Aside from my concern for his nutrition intake, I’d like to make sure he embraces his cultures through food – an important form of socialization right?

Any other parent out there have tips on introducing new foods? I’m interested in all suggestions but am particularly interested in parents: (a) who have recently introduced green veggies and (b) with specific ethnic traditions and foods and how you introduced those foods?



Honoring my momma: Day 7 of 75


I have lost track of what day I’m on and I’ll get back on track this week! I’m leading a team on Sunday which I spontaneously called “Sunflowers for Rae.” My mom loved flowers and bright colors so the name seemed appropriate. I raised $400 which I think is awesome considering I am NOT  a fundraiser type of person. I’ll soon be partnering with the NH/MA offices to do outreach and education to communities of color on Alzheimer’s.


Honoring my mom: Day 5 of 75

I started to blog about my Sunday sermon (stay tuned…) and then I heard this story on NPR this morning:

My mom never uttered the words “only white people do that” nor “black folks don’t do that.” That is not the type of house in which we grew up. Those who have known me since elementary school will tell you our house was the household version of the United Nations.

We participated in any activity we wanted to – ice skating, Girl Scouts, swim, hiking, camping, tennis, gymnastics, whatever. My sister…well, her participation was half-hearted because she just didn’t really like most of those activities when we were younger (lol) it had nothing to do with her being Latina! No one in our home ever said we couldn’t do something because of our racial background. And if someone outside our home dared to say something of that manner, mommy set them straight immediately!

Encourage your children AND yourself to try anything that seems interesting to them and to you. Don’t get stuck by who you see or think you don’t see participating. You’ll miss out on a lot of fun.


Honoring My Mom: Day 2 of 75

Like me my mom, I chose to be a social worker and then a social work educator. She wanted me to be a lawyer or get an MBA!

Here I am in her favorite color, wearing her pearls on the first day of my 10th year of teaching. Here’s to 10 more years of being an awesome facilitator of learning, like my momma!

First day of 10th teaching year


Taking a Short Break

Thanks for reading, commenting, following, & supporting.

I am taking a short break to tend to family….and self.

Be well. I’ll be back soon!


Updating My Summer List of Fun

Inspired by a blogger who just started following me (always nice), I thought I’d post an update on my Taking Time off List:

  1. I have had the opportunity to sleep in only once. In fact, the toddler has had insomnia most of the summer and wakes up frequently during the night AND then has the audacity to wake up on time in the morning! Oh well…
  2. We have been eating lots of ice cream and Popsicles and taking walks by the Merrimack River AND playing in the park and at the playground often!
  3. We have not yet made it to the farms, but I’m hoping we’ll go later this month OR that while we’re in Atlanta we’ll get to the aquarium.
  4. No public spray parks, but plenty of time in the kiddie pool with friends!
  5. LOTS of mommy-time with friends and then plenty of mommy and kids time with friends also.
  6. Train ride on hold until October…
  7. WGBH Fun Fest and Lowell Folk Fest were a HUGE hit with the toddler. Now he thinks every weekend is a festival!
  8. Have yet to go see the ducks in Boston…
  9. Read a couple of new books with the toddler (no new books for mom or dad) and have piles of stuff to make our summer book…just piles right now…
  10. Sister will not be able to visit cuz like me, she’s sandwiched and taking care of grandma…but she is going to send me some tamales, which is a good 2nd place replacement.
  11. Unplanned:  Heading to Atlanta to check in on ailing mom, which is an adventure for the toddler to be on the plane and an opportunity for us to share that experience with him and for him to see grandpa whom he LOVES and granny who he thinks is his peer!
  12. Not necessarily fun but necessary: Potty-training…anyone have good tips?