Brandcation #SeasTheDay: Cruisin’ with Royal Caribbean

Boy, oh boy, do I have some crazy fun news to share with all of you! Do you remember last year when I won that awesome contest to join 40 other bloggers on a Brandcation trip to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee? I had such an amazing time. We got to do some incredibly fun stuff and I met dozens of great people. Well, the wonderful women of Brandfluential and MomDot are at it again and for this 6th Brandcation event, we are being hosted by Royal Carribean.

SeasTheDayPromo1 That’s right folks, I’m about to join the wide world of cruising, destination: Cozumel. I have never been on a full-size cruise ship before. Crazy, right? My parents, on the other hand, swear by cruising. It’s actually their preferred method of travel and vacation. The closest thing that I’ve experienced was a small ship that took us between the Greek Isles during my honeymoon. I have a feeling that this ship is going to blow that experience out of the water!

In the month (36 days to be exact) leading up to the cruise, I’m going to share with you my tips on packing light (I’m a pro at this) and some awesome gear and equipment for making the best of your vacation. As you all know, I am on a mission to go, to see, to experience as much of the world as I can. Armed with a camera and some killer wifi, I’m exciting about sharing all of those experiences with you as well. Next stop – Mexico!


Here Comes the Sun

My absolute favorite thing about living in western North Carolina is that right when you think that you can’t possibly deal with one more day of the current season….it changes. Sure, we’ll still have a couple of icy days over the next month, but winter is officially on it’s way out the door.

Honestly though, I can’t complain. It’s been a pretty good winter (although my gas bill would disagree). We had a couple of good snows and we had plenty of lovely, sunny days too. The only part about it that stinks is that my kids missed playing outside without 5 layers of clothes on. Thankfully, we’ve been gifted with a beautiful week!

We have a relatively flat driveway, so the kids can ride their scooters on it (which is a huge improvement over our last house).



Lexi is still in the “take my picture” phase, so I get a lot of good ones of my little peanut.


Parker, on the other hand, goes too dang fast on his scooter to get a good shot, so here’s one of him taking a break. I’m trying to make a conscious effort to include him in more pictures so that he doesn’t feel like the spotlight is always on Lexi. He probably doesn’t feel that way–and I’m probably just doing one of those parenting-overcompensation things–but here’s my sweet boy anyways.


Speaking of, guess who lost their 3rd tooth! I’m proud of him, too, because he’s not dramatic about it. When it’s super wiggly, he just yanks it out of there. That’s my boy.

Here’s a funny for you – when I’m doing test shots to get the lighting right on my camera (I’m shooting in full manual now, so it takes a bit of time to get everything right), I’ll have the kids make funny faces for me so that I don’t just have a shot of a wall. Yesterday, I told them to make a “mean” face. Here’s Parkers:


Fierce. So then I asked Lexi to do the same thing. She thought about it….


and thought about it….


and THIS is what she came up with.


Parker and I laughed so hard and we made her do that for the rest of the night. “Lexi, look mean!”  Who needs TV when you have this kind of entertainment.

While the kids continue to scoot their way around the driveway, I walked around looking for signs of spring. I found these three-leaf clovers growing in the driveway…


And whatever this is growing on the curb.


I also found new shoots sprouting from the bushes. Such a lovely color.

sun16And after about an hour of zooming around and looking for bugs (the surest of all signs of spring), the Irishman got home, so I headed inside to make dinner.

sun17I’m hoping for many more evenings like this in the coming months.

A REAL Snow Day

So, I realize that my last post was a snow day post, but frankly, that was a sprinkling compared to the snow event we had over the last couple of days! We got between 8-10 inches of snow and the kids have been out of school for the entire week. It’s been a bit nuts, to be sure.

I have so many things to share with you – recipes, my review of my Wonderbag, pictures from my week long trip to Hawaii….but for now, I’ll share our fun snow day since it’s the easiest one to put to paper. I’m a slacker, I know, but I promise that I’ll catch up.

There’s something so magical about waking up to a blanket of snow on the ground. As I walked outside with my fleece robe and camera, it was eerily quiet and there wasn’t a soul to be found. Our house looked like it was out of the pages of an mid-1900s newspaper entitled, “Craftsman in the country.”


The valley below our house shared the same “back in time” feeling. The snow lent an ethereal quality to everything and it almost looked like all of the houses were nestled in the clouds.


The only thing that gave away modern times were all of the snow-covered cars. Here, my Acura was doing its best impression of camouflaging with the landscape.


Once the kids woke up, there was no more time for peaceful contemplation. They wanted to get out and play! For the first time this year, the kids (with the help of their Nana) had enough snow to build a proper snowman.


Lexi immediately declared that he was ‘her friend’ and gave him a good squeeze.


Speaking of Lexi, this child spends the vast majority of her outdoor time eating snow. And with a drippy nose, naturally.


The kids had so much fun playing with their Nana outside. She grew up in Pittsburgh, so this white stuff was nothing new for her.


Back to the snowman – Parker took it upon himself to build the first tier of the snowman. There was a lot of snow to work with.

Notice how the entire sheet of snow was lifting up as one piece!


There was also enough snow for some sledding through the side yard. Parker was heavy enough to get the sled going…


But Miss Lexi needed some help.


After an hour or so of play, everyone wanted to come inside for some lunch and hot chocolate. While a part of me (the part that has a full time job) is annoyed that they’ve been out of school all blessed week, I do love the memories that they’re creating. I try to hide my stress of not getting anything done for another day so that I don’t tarnish the shininess that comes with getting to have a snow day.There’s also a certain novelty in it for me, too, because I only have a single memory of playing in the snow as a kid. Even so, that one memory is magical. I hope they feel the same way when they reflect on these early years.