VACATIONING WITH THE KIDDOS IN PORTUGAL PT.2

In part 2 of my journey with the family I’ll be telling you about my favorite little city in Portugal, Aveiro. This little city is also known as the little Venice of Portugal and is known for it canals and it’s Art Nouveau monuments and buildings.  After we stopped in Aveiro, we took a much needed adult break in the Douro Valley. A place where pictures do not do it justice and the wine is just so fine. Finally I can’t wait to share my experience in the Algarve with you. If you are looking for some of the most beautiful beaches and a simple place to relax, this is it.

Aveiro “Little Venice”

Aveiro is not only one of my favorite cities, it’s the city that encompasses the towns that my both my parents grew up in. One parent growing up in a small farming town just outside the city and the other a ferry ride away in a small fishing village which has now become a popular tourist destination.  So you might say I’m a little biased but I would argue that anyone with a love for European culture could only fall in love with this little city.

So let’s begin, Aveiro is located about 50mins south of Porto or about 72.5km south. It is not only a beautiful city full of small alley ways and canals, it’s also surrounded by some of the most amazing beaches on the European Atlantic Coast.

When traveling with families to Aveiro here are come fun things to do for mom and dad as well as the kids. First and for most a tour on a Barrco Moliceiro will give you a quick history lesson on the city and you can get a feel of what area of the city you’d like to explore most. Kids love it and so do the adults. Be sure to bring a hat and sunglasses, on sunny days. After your ride, I’d suggest just exploring the city by foot. Every little turn down an alley you will find little hidden treasures. Either a cute little cafe or restaurants serving delicious appetizers and wine. One of my favorite little treasures is the Art Nova Museum which hold a little cafe at the bottom called Casa de Cha. Here is there site: http://www.casadechaartenova.com/default.htm

This little cafe is so yummy and has fun beanbag chairs to lounge around when sitting outside. It’s shaded so you can enjoy it even on a hot day. And then if you’re into art an history you can take a quick tour of the museum.

Once you ventured there you might want to grab a bite to eat. I can’t say I have a favorite place, but I can almost guarantee that any little restaurant you go into you’ll find some amazing food. Items to look for that I love are pica pau, which is a pork appetizer dish usually accompanied by bread for dipping or Moelas (aka chicken gizzards). These are really tasty don’t let the gizzard part prevent you from trying them. Meals that I like to get are usually anything with bacalhau (cod fish) or sardines. If you’re going to eat sardines, this is the general area to get them. After lunch you might want to stop any get some dessert. The kids will of course love any selection of Ola ice-cream but for the adults, I’d suggest ovos moles. Aveiro is the only place in the world you can find real authentic ovos moles. These little treats are an egg cream usually inside a wafer shell. But it you really love them you can buy the cream inside of mini barrels to enjoy by itself or however you choose. Aveiro is known for is sweet delicacies, now matter what dessert or pastry you try, you’re guaranteed to fall in love.

After all this the kids may start to get antsy for something to do. You’re in luck, right in the center of town near Aveiro’s mall (called the Forum) is an amazing Pirate Ship shaped playscape. It’s completely enclosed so you can let the kids go and sit by on a near bench and watch them.

After about a day or two when you’ve seen it all you can make your way to the beach. Probably Aveiro’s most famous beach is Costa Nova.  I personally have not spent much time there but it is beautiful and I know there are lost of fun things to do like paddle boarding and jet skiing. However if you are looking for something really low key take a ferry ride over to a little town called Sao Jacinto. If you haven’t driven on the ferry, you can pick up a jeep tour that will take you down to the main beach where you’ll find endless miles of sand and ocean. Try and call head, especially if it’s off summer peak season. This beach is not as heavily populated as other and there aren’t as man activities other than enjoying the sun. They do have a public restroom and a cafe near by so just bring your towels and beach chairs and enjoy a quiet afternoon. If you’re not much into sitting around and enjoying the sun, Sao Jacinto also has a large nature reserve where you can go bird watching or just enjoy the natural surroundings. Or you can check out the local pool and hang out with the kids all day. You will need a swim cap but they also sell them there. The rates are very affordable and it’s a nice day spent. For those will toddlers, the do have two little kiddy pools that are perfect for little ones. At the end of the day I suggest you try out some amazing seafood at A Peixaria, but get there early if you can because the lines go out the door.

If you’re looking for something a little more dynamic  you might also want to try Torrerira. While it’s technically not part of Aveiro, it’s still a great little beach town with lots to do, but it’s definitely more touristy.

Here we are on a tour through the canals of Aveiro.

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The Ferry Ride to S. JacintoIMG_5094.JPG

Morning coffee and sweet croissant at the local bakery.

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Taking a much needed adult break, we got a sitter (aka my mom) and took a trip down the Douro Valley. The only work that comes to mind when I think of Dour is “Breathtaking.” I highly recommend that if you can find a sitter or have someone along to help with the kids that you take a break and go check out Douro Valley. I also strongly encourage you do it with a tour guide because it can get overwhelming to decide where to go and it’s a bit scary to drive around. We used a company called Viator who hooked us up with an amazing local tour guide. We had the most astonishing time and we got to experience smaller family owned wineries instead of the usual big names. The experience felt personal and unique. It gets very hot in Douro wear so lots of sunscreen. I also recommend take the 20 min tour boat tour in addition any of the tour options. We picked up our tour from Porto which was about  2 hr drive so keep that in mind should you be coming from the Porto area. On our way back we stopped Villa Nova de Gaia and had dinner at the restaurant inside Graham’s Winery – Vinum. A must to order here is the prosciutto on their starters menu. It’s the best I’ve ever had. It’s so delicate that it melts in your mouth. If you have a chance or time to do a tasting, I suggest the vintage tasting. We didn’t get to do it this time around but we did a few years ago and it was so nice. This part of our trip was literally a whole day we left our apartment in S. Jacinto at 7am and did not return until 11pm so prepare yourselves for a full day’s adventure. So worth it if you ask me.

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It was so awesome to drink directly from the barrel. Something I’ve never done before. IMG_5013.JPG

Having a blast with our tour guide here. IMG_5019.JPG

A night time view of Porto from Graham’s in Villa Nova de Guia. IMG_5027.JPG

Moving down the coast our next major stop will be the Algarve, specifically Lagos.  But before we get there I wanted to include one more destination that I have not mentioned before. If you’re into history or medieval times, you’ll want to stop in Obidos and check out their medieval fair. It’s really fun for you and the kids. You can also eat there so forget the local restaurants surround the castle. They aren’t very good and extremely overpriced. If you are going to get the experience, you may as well get the whole experience. Also a quick tip, I do NOT recommend touring the very top of the castle along the wall. It’s usually open to the public but people have fatally fallen there and therefore I do not recommend it. IMG_5140.JPGIMG_5151.JPGIMG_5168.JPGIMG_5177.JPGIMG_5210.JPG

Now finally we have reached our final destination, the Algarve.

Our family got together with 4 other families who we love and decided to make this a trip of a life time. We rented a house through Airbnb and had the most fabulous time. First off let me just say that with large groups anything can happen so plan a little and be a lot open minded. In Lagos the city we stayed in we found that many restaurants were very small so if you plan on going with with group or a have a larger party with you I’d say to plan ahead and plan out your dinners out. If your up to staying home, there are several supermarkets in town including an Aldi. Most of the food is reasonably priced although I found the Algarve prices to be a bit more pricey then many other parts of the country. This is no surprise since the Algarve is such a tourist area.

Now if you’re looking to splurge a little and would love a unique experience I suggest hiring personal chef. Yes, a personal chef! It was the best thing we did for almost the same we’d cost of a restaurant, our only regret was not hiring them for multiple days. When I did my research there were lots of personal chef options, however not many actual cook traditional Portuguese food (ironic isn’t it.) But I did find one gentleman and his wife who do an amazing job. If you’re looking for traditional Portuguese cuisine contact the The Chef Affairs. Roberto and his wife are just spectacular and the food is like a delightful party in your mouth.  We did the BBQ option and his chicken was juicy and delicious and the sardines were cooked to perfection – probably the best I’ve ever had. And the best parts that they clean up after you. Score!!!

While I love talking food, I must move onto the local beaches. First off, it gets really hot in the sun so plan to bring an umbrella or pay for a lounge chair. All the beaches in Lagos have options to rent a chair for the day but if you don’t want to spend the money, make sure to bring your own and pay attention at the beach. Most beaches are divided so you’ll have to pay attention as to wear to put your umbrella. I also found that most beaches had a cafe with food and bathrooms, which was really nice especially with kids. We explored different beaches but our favorite was just down the road from where we stayed, Praia Porto De Mos. It’s a small beach but it was near by and it was beautiful. On the calm days, the water was like a lagoon and we could go out ver far however there were days with rougher waters and the waves did scare me but that was on any beach. Just be careful the undergoes are dangerous. But when the water is calm, you can rent a waterslide and life jackets and bring them out to the water. It looked like fun and I’d recommend for an older crowd probably not for little kids. But we did have boogie boards which the kids loved.

Two other beaches that were really nice was Meia Praia and Praia Dona Ana. Media Praia is smaller but has amazing photo opportunities. The waves can get a little rocky so take caution as always.

Praia Dona Ana, is very large and you can rent a cabana bed and some bean bags for about 20 euros. It’s a pretty beach but felt like something you could experience in the USA.

I’m not sure you can go wrong with any of the beaches in the Algarve but these were the ones we explored.

Lagos also has a cute little downtown area. There are lots of cafe’s and shops if you’re looking for something to do after hours. I even noticed that some restaurants had jumpy house to keep the kids occupied. Unfortunately we noticed those at the end of our trip. In the middle of the downtown square is a carousel which all the kids really loved as well. I just find Portugal in general to be so family friendly but I’d say Lagos was especially.

If you’re going a while and don’t thing the beaches will be enough for you, about 30 mins east you will find several water parks. We tried out ZooMarine.  To me, it was just ok. It’s not super big but for kids it does the trick. They have a sea lion show and you can swim with the dolphins. We thought swimming with the dolphins was a bit pricey because the kids couldn’t go alone with an instructor, an adult had to accompany them so we opted for the next best thing, petting the dolphins. LOL!  The kids were so excited to touch a dolphin and get their pictures taken. They said the dolphins feel rubbery (so cute.) All in all I wouldn’t go there again but it was good for the kids after a long week at the beaches.

In terms of the night life, sadly I don’t know what it’s like. Our house was so amazing that we stayed home most nights. We did go out to dinner a few times and that usually completed our night. One quick note, dinners in Portugal start later than we are used to in the USA. Don’t expect many places to be open for dinner before 7pm. With that said, going to dinner was often like a night out. By the time we were done it was usually pretty late, especially with the large group we had. Sadly I’m having some trouble remember the places we ate at. But we used trip advisor for recommendations and in some cases we just stopped in where we saw they could accommodate our group. We had good experiences everywhere we went so I’m sure you’ll be able to find some amazing spots to eat.

Portugal is amazing little country with so much to see and do. My blog doesn’t even begin to touch on the vast options of things to do and cities to see. Perhaps another time I can tell you how amazing Lisbon is and the beauty of Viana do Castello.  But for now I leave you with my 2016 Portugal experiences and encourage you to visit this beautiful little country.

If you found this helpful please let me know. Or if you have any other questions relating to Portugal, I will do my best to answer them based on my personal experiences.

 

 

 

Vacationing with the kiddos in Portugal pt.1

This past summer we decided to take a BIG trip to Portugal. An amazing little country with so much to do and see. Planning this trip took a bit of time but was well worth it.

Planning starting about 11 months prior. This was a trip we planned with friends and family. The goal was to sight see, visit family and have a good time and that is exactly what we did. Lucky for us our kids were a little older (5 & 7) and it made somethings a little easier. While the kids didn’t value a lot the history yet they loved seeing their grandparents and having friends along to share in the fun. We were able to do everything from playing on playscape on the beach to participating in a Medieval festival on the grounds of a real castle. And for us adults, we were able to do fun things like wine taste and watch the kids play while we sipped cocktails and beer on the beach. There were moments of relaxation and moments of complete meltdowns but it was all worth it. And the memories we all took will last us a life time.

Let me get started on how we went about our trip and provide some tips and tricks along the way.

As I mentioned earlier I started planning this about 11 months prior. A simple image from my sister-in-law on Facebook of the beautiful beaches of Nazaré Portugal turn into we should take a trip. Soon other friends of our showed interest and before we knew it we were searching for locations and houses to rent for a group of about 20. The excitement was through the roof as some of us live 3000 miles away from each other and we hadn’t all been reunited in a couple of years.

When beginning our research we started with beaches that we had heard of and thought would be a great destination. We ultimately decided to make our destination the Algarve. Primarily because it’s a very big European tourist destination and we could find large housing a little easier. Plus they had lots to do outside of the beach should we feel like we needed more. To find our house rental we searched sites such as Airbnb and Homeaway. What I found was that Homeaway had a lot more options but they appeared to be agencies. Since I’m a bit of a sceptic I didn’t like the idea of working through an agency. Plus I found that the homes that were advertised as amiable suddenly weren’t when I’d make a request. After a few tries I started feeling like agencies where advertising homes the get people to contact them and then offering something else. I don’t like that and it sent big red flags to me. So for those reasons and some others I personally preferred to go direct through the owner. For this reason we ended up booking a home through Airbnb. We ended up with a home in Lagos, Portugal called “Casa de mos.” It was the perfect place for 5 families and all our kids. The house came equipped with everything we needed (well it could have used a few extra towels and maybe some dish soap,) it had a bbq and a pool. The Pool was shallow so for those of us with older kids, we could feel at east. And the yard was amazing to play on. Oh and lets not forget the incredible play room with a foosball table and a pool table. The older boys (aka “the husbands”) spent many nights enjoying this room. The location was was very close to several good beaches, grocery stores and restaurants. Everything you could need on a trip with kids.

Once the house was booked we then independently started looking for flights. Now we live about 5,500+ miles or 9,000 km from Portugal so our international flights were expected to be a bit expensive. With some research and some team effort from the group we ended up with amazing tickets and we flew business class. Yes ladies and gents you read correctly “business class.” I have never flown business nor do we have that kind of money but when you look hard enough and try some different things you too can pull this off. By following “The Points Guys“on Facebook we learned about an amazing deal through AARP. You only needed to sign up on a particular dat and the offer would apply. The offer was for anyone despite age. He also provided amazing information regarding which credit card to use while traveling. We were able to earn 50,000 points and earn enough throughout the year and on our trip to get another free trip. It was amazing.

Ok ok, now onto the fun stuff. Prior to this trip it was important that I did a little bit of work and planning ahead of time even though I’d been to the country so any times. It seems that when I don’t preplan trying to figure things out while on vacation just becomes way too stressful. Especially if you have limited access to wifi, which we did for 7 days of our trip.  I planned days with activities and some days without to give us some freedom. But in addition I brought extra possible options just in case.

We started out visiting family in a little town just outside of Batalha Monastery. So we always stop and spend some time to visit the monastery grounds. The plaza out side has delicious cafes and restaurants. You can enjoy your coffee and the kids can have a great time running around or trying to catch Pokémon. Yes it was a Pokémon stop.  If you think your kids will tolerate a tour, I’d recommend it. My kids are way to active and would never last so I didn’t bother with it this time around. However if we ever go again with they are a little older, we will for sure do the tour. The architecture and details are just incredible. If you pop into the chapel area which is free you can get a little taste for it. Aside from he monastery the best part about this area/town is that there is an amazing park Jardim Dos InfantesBatalha  just a few blocks behind the monastery. Its a great place for the kids to play on jungle gyms and mini golf. It’s always quiet and removed from too many tourists so it’s perfect. There are lots of places to stay in Batalha. While we didn’t actually stay in a hotel my parents did and they really loved Hotel Mestre Afonso Domingues. It’s in the same plaza as the monastery so you can walk to everything and the prices were really affordable even at the last minute.

fullsizerenderBatalha Monastery

img_4812Jardim Dos Infantes – Batalha

While spending time in this part of Portugal we made a quick stope to Nazaré. This is one of the biggest tourist stops in Portugal and globally one of the best surf destinations. It’s a great place to grab a freshly squeezed lemonade or orange juice and a “bola de berlim” (essentially a donut with delicious cream filling) that walk the beach and site see. You can take a tram to the top of the cliff sides for some amazing views or walk the side walk and enjoy some people watching. In the summer there are sometimes concerts on the beach and jumpy houses to entertain the kids. A really amazing place to stop and enjoy vacation.

Nazaré Portugal

After spending some time in the Central Coast area of Portugal we made our way up North to a little city known as the little Venice of Portugal aka Aveiro.

The next part of our journey I will talk about the beautiful beaches and city of Aveiro, the breath taking Douro Valley and our journey back South to visiting castles and the most southern region of Portugal, the Algarve. Follow me for my next post & part 2.

To be continued…

 

 

 

“Working 9 to 5…”

Love that movie. Dolly Parton is a force to be reckoned with.

Well a time has come where working as a part time photographer and being at home is just too chaotic and inconstant.  It appears a new opportunity is knocking at my door and life is giving me a chance to get back on the horse of corporate america. But what is a girl to do after 2 years of following her dream as a mom and a creative.

I will say this being at home with my kids has not been a fun ride in the park. It’s been emotionally, physically and mentally exhausting to say the least. There is no reward and the guilt thermometer reads 212 degrees fahrenheit. (That’s boiling if you’re wondering.) However, the love me and run to me at every turn and that is so worth it.

Being at home for this Silicon Valley Mom means this….

Its waking up every day having no idea what the day will bring. It’s playing good cop and bad cop with your kids because when you’re a silicon valley wife/mom you have to do it all. When your partner works all day and all night it’s hard for him/her to come home and have to parent and manage the home. Heck you’re lucky if they are home in time to say good night to the kids. It’s a reality that we live and it’s unspoken. We live in the bubble of opportunity where people work hard to have their luxuries. With that said, ever day you have no one to rely on but your self when you’re a stay a home in this valley. You must wake up, feed the kids, get them dressed and off to school. That lasts long enough for you to perhaps get through an appointment, attend a school meeting, run to the grocery store and catch up on some email or bills. Then you’re back to pick up the kiddos who want nothing to do with the good ol’ outdoors. Once their home they are like little screen and technology vampires who will demand all your energy should you fight them on the evil “screens.” Yes this is the era of technology. At this point you energy is dwindling and you have to make a very calculated decision of how to approach this situation. But let’s face it, you so desperately want to give in and I admit I do more often then I care to admit. Once you’ve gotten through the screen dilemma you are now forced to remind your children of the importance of reading and homework. And so then the fits and complaints begin. More energy is drained. Once the kids are finally doing the tasks that are required by their educational institution you’re quickly reminded of that lovely bottle of wine or cider in the fridge. Ah yes sanity is in site. The heavens are about to open in the a fruity and delicious blend of peace and serenity. Ah yes, those precious 5 mins of peace are within an arms reach. Thank you Lord!

Once that time has come and gone you’re ready for the mundane routine of dinner and bath time. Which let me remind you is yet another time of complaints and whining. Finally its bed time and you’re so ever grateful to finally find your perfect angels asleep and your personal time in full affect. Oh but wait a second, I have PTA or Home and School Club duties to now follow up on. Dang it! Um you know I really mean “What the F…!”

When all that is done you’ve realize that you feel unaccomplished you’re exhausted and you’re not really sure what you’ve done that day. The dishes are still in the sink (Sh!t) and the laundry has yet to be done (double duty Sh..!) So how is one so tired.

Everyday is like this with some variations so the idea of going back to work seems pretty amazing. The goal would be to work in order to have the resources to maybe hire a cleaning services bi-weekly and even someone to do your laundry (I HATE laundry). It’s with the intent to have more family weekend get a ways with out stress of finances and to offer my kids after school care that would be more exciting and invigorating then coming and fighting with mom about the TV and iPads. And maybe it’s about feeling what to me is normal.

With all this said, it’s sad because it will mean my kids aren’t around me as much. It will mean my parent involvement in school will dwindle and it means me going into a what looks like a scary jungle of the work force. I’m weighing out the pros and cons but I’d love to hear what other moms who’ve been home and have had to go back to the work force. Please share the best and the worst.

PS>  love my kids to the ends of the earth and more but mommy hood just ain’t easy.IMG_0817

The ugly thing no one tells you about…

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Why is it that while I love being a mom I feel like I’m constantly losing the battle of balancing life and being a “good” mom? Oh yeah, thats right…this is that thing they never tell you about in the baby books—mother’s guilt.  WTFarfanooger! Am I allowed to say that? Geez! I constantly feel like I’m losing in the game of motherhood. When I worked full time I pretty much got to the point of a nervous breakdown because I was spending all my time working. It got to the point where (and this is no exaggeration), if I got to see my kids for 1 hour a day that was a lot. Most nights I was lucky if I got home in time to give them a bath and put them to bed. So I switched jobs thinking I could balance it better and to my disappointment I was in a worse off position. That’s when it got really ugly and anxiety decided to break me down. So then I decided to make a career change to do something I was still wildly passionate about but would allow me more flexibility in my schedule so I could be with my kids.

Well now that I have all this time with them I still feel like a crappy mom. Why, you ask? For one, being a stay-at-home mom can be very isolating, especially for an extrovert like me. So if you’re like me, you get involved in school to be more involved in your kid’s life and to just get out of the house, but that quickly starts to take more time than imagined. I thought I was finally doing what I thought a mom is suppose to do. And then another wrench gets thrown my way and a big decision needs to be made—what do you do with your kid from 2pm until 4:30pm when you have to drive 20-40mins across town to pick up your other kid? My first thoughts were: sports or an after school program. But that costs money and takes even more time. And as it turns out, my kid hates it. So then I go looking for other options because I know if I just bring him home I’ll be fighting with the TV and the willpower not to cave into the evils of screen time just so I can get a little work done even if it’s domestic work. Because you know everyone out there says screen time is super bad so you don’t want to be “that” parent. Well guess what people? Sometimes I just am “that” parent…so you can take that! Ha! The truth is I’m not perfect and I know I’ll never be. Grrr…”But you need to be, you need to be.” says that annoying little voice inside my head. Soon I’m realizing that if I don’t just stop and breathe, I’ll never get that special time with my kids. Then I really start to feel bad because I’m starting to play the balancing act again. So when in the world am I suppose to be that perfect mom with the perfectly clean house and dinner on the table everyday be 6pm? Tell me please, pretty please can anyone tell me? Right now I barely have time to help with homework and ordering in or reheating a meal. So, as you could imagine, mother’s guilt starts to really set in and mommy starts to get moody and emotional. Booooo…

As if that wasn’t enough, it gets more complicated. Being the primary parent I have to give my kids all the love I can, but sadly I have to be the big disciplinarian in our home since daddy now has to suffer the crazy work schedule. I often hear “I love you mommy”  or “you’re the best mommy ever,” which absolutely melts my heart and makes it all worth it.  But more than that I hear “I don’t like you, you are the worst mommy ever.” Ugh, really, kids? Just because you didn’t get your way or perhaps you lost a privilege because you didn’t do your homework or you decided to punch your brother after I asked you ever so kindly and firmly to talk to each other and not hurt each other. Man, oh man, here comes “mother’s guilt” in to make me start questioning myself.  “Are you really a terrible mom?” “Maybe google can help me?” I ask. Oh, here we go, this sounds great Positive Discipline. “Oh this sounds really good, perhaps now I can get the parent of the year award” I think to myself. After classes and reading (ok, skimming) the books, it still doesn’t seem to work in every scenario for me and my kids.  Here we go again, my stomach hurts and my brain begins again, “something must be wrong with you woman, this is POSITIVE discipline. This is supposed to be the answer to everything.” Again I doubt myself, back to the internet I go searching and searching for all the right answers.

Then I finally realize that for the rest of my life I will be questioning everything I say and do as a parent. I will vow to say “never again” and find myself repeating mistakes. I know I will always have someone on the sidelines ready to tell me how wrong I’m doing it but hopefully (and I pray) I might also have someone applauding me. One can dream.  I guess it’s all perspective and I think that as long as I know that then maybe it’ll all be ok. Honestly the biggest lessons I’m learning are not in books but in the realization of who I am and what I want to mean to my kids. I love them with every fiber of my being and only want the best in the world for them as any other parent would.

While I know this blog post seems somewhat negative, blah, perhaps someone out there will see that the cliche “the grass in not always greener” really applies here and as a parent in general it’s just not easy, no matter how you do it. However, I will say that the reward—while sometimes isn’t as evident as others—is watching your kids grow and being present throughout their lives in one way or another. I will admit that it used to really hurt me when the kids got hurt and they’d go running to daddy. Why wouldn’t they?…he was the parent who was primarily present. They don’t do that anymore. I may complain about it at times but it gives me great joy when they come running to me with their problems, needs or just for some cuddling. They don’t run to anyone else, just to me. They will more easily do things for me than anyone else and they still say I love you to the moon and back on the regular. So even when days are crappy I have great satisfaction in knowing this. Now, I just simply need to remind myself of those facts on the hard days because my kids really are worth it and honestly just like all the older generations have already told you: time does fly by.

To all my working mommas and stay at home mommas (or daddas), you’re doing great. You are doing the best you can do for your kids and that is all that one could ask for. Hang in there on your hard days and refer back to be to know  you are not a lone. You are beautiful and wonderful and you have little eyes that will always look up to you and little arms that will always want to hug you simply because you are theirs.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this entry perhaps with a glass of wine. Maybe you related or maybe not. Either way I hope in some ways you were entertained and got a good laugh a my crazy neurotic self.

What, there’s a Measles outbreak in California?

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate has been a hot topic for some time and like many mommies and daddies out there I struggled with the decision to vaccinate or not to and I still struggle to medicate when the kids are sick. Where I live it’s not uncommon to not vaccinate your child. Many of my friends have actually opted out. I must say when I first became a mom I struggled so much with this. Of course I went online and researched everything I could and talked to as many mommy friends or preggy mommy friends as I had (which were not many at that time). I finally found an amazing book called, drum roll please, “The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child” by Dr. Robert W. Sears. This book at the time I had my kids was everything I needed to help me make a decision. It was not in favor of one side more than the other, it just stated the facts. And with the facts I will say I was profoundly disgusted at the way we make vaccines and could not bare the idea of injecting it into my child’s body.  However after much thought and sleepless nights, I ultimately decided that vaccinating was the right thing to do for my kids. Why you ask, well it’s simple because if I don’t vaccinate and my neighbor doesn’t vaccinate and his neighbor doesn’t vaccinate then soon we have these epidemics again (something I learned from the book as well). How soon you may wonder, how about today, right now January of 2015 in the USA we have a Measles outbreak.

For the very first time in 6 years I have never been so glad to have my children vaccinated.  This week we all happened to get very sick with what we now think is the flu. It started with my youngest son who out of the blue had a 102.7 fever but no other symptoms. His doctor just told us to keep a look out incase this turned into the flu but otherwise he just needed to go home, rest and drink lots of fluids. Ok fair enough. The next day it was me, I started my day fine by the end something major was up, enough so that I had to cancel attending my morning meeting and make sure my husband could pick up the kids. The day just got progressively worse and you know moms can not afford a sick day. I went to the walk in clinic and to my surprise the first question they asked, “Have you been vaccinated for the measles?” I think so, is that something they did in the ’80s? Then I said “Why?” to which the nurse responded “There has been a Measles outbreak in the area and the symptoms are very much like the flu. It’s hard to differentiate them sometimes and the skin markings don’t come until 10-14 days sometimes after the measles is already in your system.” WHAT?! Are you kidding me? Oh yes that was the moment of relief knowing that my kids were vaccinated. Since I’m the biggest worry wort there is, I can at least sleep a tiny bit more comfortably knowing that my kids are in low risk category. However it still freaks me out just a little. According to my local news 59 people have been affected in California, 7 from my county. I know the numbers seem low but believe me when it’s in your backyard it seems a lot worse and especially when you are me.

Ok so I can’t end it there. It’s important that I say, this post is my personal experience and one that I’m compelled to write about mainly because it’s happening right now and it’s all I hear about on the news. But I do firmly believe that each family should have the right to choose what is wholeheartedly in the best interest of their own children when it comes to vaccines and without judgement. Our family decided to vaccinate on an alternate schedule and we were fortunate enough to have a wonderful provider who had that option for us. Some of my beloved friends opted out, which I respect because I know they battled with the same concerns I did and ultimately made a decision that they found to be the best for their family. I always like try to see the other side because there is always more then one.