Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Travel Tuesday-Chicago Navy Pier

We traveled to Chicago to go see my son graduate but he ended up leaving us there.  So what do we do?  I decided to take the family back to another Chicago landmark, Navy Pier.  

My daughter was wishing to see snow.  When we left our hotel in Great Lakes, it was snowing.  She was so upset because we did not let her play in the snow.  I told her there would be snow in Chicago too.  It was in the forecast.  He headed towards the Willis Tower but due to the clouds, there was no visibility.  So we headed to Navy Pier earlier than scheduled.  The windy city sure did test us.  Luckily for us, Navy Pier has an indoor area that has food, shopping, and entertainment.

Here were some of our favorite indoor attractions:

Amazing Chicago - funhouse maze with tunnels, mirrors, and glow in the dark fun.

Crystal Gardens - botanical garden with cool, shooting water fountains.

Chicago Children's Museum - three-floors of fun that we just had to check out.  Do you know the story of the great Chicago fire?

We could not visit the pier without actually seeing the pier.  It was a cold 32 degrees outside.  

And my daughter actually got her wish to see it snow...  

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

#DEADPOOL2 Sip and Paint Workshop

Were you the kid in the corner with a comic book or several just minded your own?  I never really liked reading until I was introduced to comic books.  Something about those characters and story lines caught my interest.  When you become a fan, you kinda become a fan for life.  The kid can grow up, but there is always that inner child.

This post is in collaboration with my brand Partnership with Allied Integrated Marketing.  All opinions stated are my own based on my personal experience.

I, along with several local influencers, were invited to The Rustic Brush-West U.  If you have never been, it is a social crafting experience.  A DIYers hangout spot, lol.  You pick your project and then you get hands on.  For this project, we use the Deadpool 2 movie that is coming out on May 18th as inspiration.  We have two different templates to choose from:

Well got started creating our art work.  Building our canvas.  Then we get to paint and we can use what ever colors we want to.  Each person had a really cool vision of what they each wanted to do.  That is what is so much fun from creating this type of art with your own hands.  I actually used the above flash dance pose as my inspiration to my piece.  

Check out the pieces everyone created:

Don't forget to check out Deadpool 2, it comes out on May 18.  Watch the trailer below:

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Travel Tuesday-Exploring Past Chicago Millennium Park

I have been to Chicago before.  My first time in this beautiful city, I looked up at all the skyscrapers and wished my family could one day see all of this.  Little did I know that one day, I would revisit with them. 

Of course, our first stop had to be to Millennium Park to check out the Cloud Gate sculpture.  But when you are traveling with a six year old, sculptures are not on their things to do.  This great idea soon turned into a bad idea.  Until we decided to explore Millennium Park a little.  There are many visitors mostly tourist in this park.  It can be overwhelming.  If you walk east towards the Grant Park lawn, over the BP pedestrian bridge, you will find the Maggie Daley Park.

We went to visit the bean and ended up finding the most whimsical park ever with slides, rock climbing, towers, and so much more.  I have learned that sometimes you just got to go with it.  This trip was not about sightseeing in Chicago but I am glad that we were able to actually venture out a little and discover this gem in downtown Chicago.  One pit stop turned into a day of fun. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Navy Mom Diary-Boot Camp Graduation

Back in February I posted Confessions from Independentmami-Then and Now telling you about my son's decision to join the Navy. 
The goodbye was hard but the waiting was even harder.  The time did not fly by.  I had a routine for sending my son letters.  I only heard from him a whole three times;

-when he arrived for a short few seconds
-halfway point...The best call a mother can receive.  I got to hear my baby's voice again and that he was alright.
-when he passed battle stations...I actually missed this call while I was at a training for work.  I almost died when my husband informed me later.  I was so devastated that I did not get to congratulate him, hear his voice, and tell him - I love you!

Graduation could not come soon enough for me.  His graduation date was our countdown.   Family adventure we soon won't forget.  The emotions going through me while waiting to get to him and having him in my arms again.  And finally, the day was here....

No longer a seaman recruit but a U S Navy Sailor.

Of course you know you are a mom, when you notice how skinny he is, that he has no color, and how hoarse his voice is.  But you also notice his new posture, a different kinda confidence about him, and the beautiful ear to ear smile that I missed so much. 

Reality sets in when out of my son's mouth came out that he had received his orders and was leaving the next morning.  My heart sank again.  Another goodbye, sooner than I had wanted.  We made the best of it and the next day hung out with the boys at the airport.  It was a wonderful experience of how the USO receives the sailors.  Military music played as they entered the airport.  We stayed with our son until he had go through security to board his flight.  I enjoyed the precious moments I had with him.  I will take a few hours after missing him so much the past few months.

See soon my love.  Until next time.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Up Up and Away-Kid Travel Tips

Our first family trip this year happened to be my daughter's first flight ever.  What can I say, we are a family that enjoys road trips.  This time would be a different experience for our family.  Planning a trip with a small child is hard.  When you go on road trips, you can over pack as much as you want.  Not when you are flying.  This trip took a little planning ahead.  
But no matter how much planning, don't you always manage to leave something behind.  My daughter left her coat on the couch.  I wanted to have it out so that when we landed, it was ready to be put on.  That did not happen.

Here are some things that I did plan right for traveling with children:

1)  Tablet-We fully charged my daughter's table and did not forget her charger.
2)  Phone-We have an extra phone for my daughter to be able to use apps, watch video, etc while her tablet is charging as back up.
3)  Chargers/Power banks-We had enough power banks and chargers just in case.  Our plane actually had power outlets.
4)  Snacks-Not only because I know food is an arm and a leg a the airport but also because kids.  Moms know that snacks a must.  At the airport, we did have to pull food items out at the security check.  Once these went through, we place them back in my daughter's bag.
5)  Gum-You know you hate when your ears pop.
6)  Pillow/blanket-Airplanes can be very uncomfortable.  Familiars things can help your kids with comfort in an uncomfortable, tight situation.

7)  Head phones-Do not forget the head phones. Our plane had a free movies playing but none of us could hear the movie, except my daughter who enjoyed watching one of her favorites, Coco. 
8)  Coloring Book/colors-The dollar store has small activity books.  And for the crayons, I actually had gotten an extra box at a restaurant that I packed in her bag. 

Now, packing her luggage was even harder.  My daughter is always hot and remember the whole thing about her forgetting her coat.  Luckily this mami planned ahead, here is how:

1)  Undershirts-Since our trip was to Chicago, long sleeve was our choice.  I even brought some turtlenecks.
2)  Leggings/jogging pants-Jeans can be restricting, thick, and sometimes hot.  Elastic bands or non-restricting waist can be more comfortable.

It is always good to wear your most comfortable pair of shoes.  So remember that when you pack your kids luggage too.  This may not be the best time to break in new shoes.

All in all we had a great experience.  My daughter was like a seasoned pro.  She had many questions a long the way and I was happy to answer all of them.  I was an adult when I took my first flight anywhere.  I am glad that my kids get to travel from a small age.  My daughter is already asking when are we going back to Chicago.  And Paris is on her wish list, too.