Visit Maine: Family Vacation Itinerary

I’ll preface this by saying outside of a lot of research on the destination and a few must dos (aka Lobstering), we did not set out on this vacation with a full on itinerary. However, our week long journey ended up being pretty awesome and epic, so I figured for those of you wondering about Maine, an itinerary post could be helpful.

A lot of people have asked why Maine? First off, it’s absolutely gorgeous in the summer time and very different from our Florida surroundings. As I travel a good bit for work, when it comes to family travel, we always try to find destinations that are new to all of us. Another factor that played a role is our little wild man. As our first big family vacation, we wanted to stay domestic and East Coast (given this was W’s first flight). And finally, I have to say, domestic travel is severely underrated IMO. Granted globetrotting is awesome and I’ve been to Europe, South America, Canada, Mexico and all over the Caribbean, BUT our own country is absolutely GORGEOUS and so incredibly diverse. So as a family with a young child, our plan is to explore and enjoy the good ole US of A and leave the international travel for when W is older and better able to handle and appreciate it.

We traveled with our 2 and a half-year-old, so everything we did was family friendly and especially toddler friendly 🙂 Here is a breakdown of our aMAINEzing vacation.

Accommodations

I can’t say enough about Capt. Phil and Tina’s getaway. This has been by far my greatest find EVER on AirBnB. I stumbled upon this gem by doing tons of research on apartments and homes available in Southern Maine. Once we landed on visiting Southern Maine, I began my deep dive into the area and even ordered the Visit Maine CVB magazine (old school, I know). Then we narrowed our search to a cute little town called Ogunquit and began looking for places to stay. We definitely did not want to stay in a hotel for 8 nights, so I went straight to AirBnB and started searching for apartments and homes.

After exploring a few likely candidates, Capt. Phil and Tina’s getaway quickly rose to the top. They had 20+ reviews and every single one was five stars. And honestly after staying in their beautiful guesthouse, I would give them 10 stars, if that was possible. Their place is technically in Wells, which is a town right next to Ogunquit and by that I mean, it’s literally on the same main road – practically one in the same.

The two-bedroom, one bath cottage was absolutely perfect and impeccably decorated. You could say Tina is the Joanna Gaines of Southern Maine. No detail was overlooked and everything we could have needed or wanted was provided. Capt. Phil and Tina were born to be hosts and embody hospitality.

When we arrived at our little slice of Maine heaven, we were pleasantly surprised to see the set up. Tina had baked us a fresh fig pie (made from her tree), Westley’s room was a toddler paradise complete with bed rails, giant stuffed Dori and Nemo fish, books and a basket full of toys. There was a beach cart with chairs, an umbrella, towels, sunscreen and a red wagon for W. The house was stocked with toiletries, hair tools (did not need to bring my flat iron and curling iron as Tina provided them), a high chair, beach bags, books, magazines and everything you could need for a successful week long stay. Tina is so fabulous that she even bought us a stroller for Westley as we had forgotten to bring ours. Seriously, they went above and beyond.

And then of course the highlight of our trip was the incredible “Sea to Table” experience – Lobstering with Capt. Phil in the morning and then a four-course meal prepared by Tina at home. More on that below!

Fabulous Food

This is one of my passions, so needless to say, I had quite the laundry list of food stops researched and saved on my Yelp collection for Maine. I spent a lot of time reading reviews, looking at food pics (#foodporn) and curating a list of food stops that would be fulfilling!

Clearly, lobster was one of our Maine objectives, but we also wanted to try a variety of other food, so we ate everything from tacos to Indian and it was all delicious. Food in Southern Maine is part of the attraction. Here’s a taste of our foodie adventures:

  • All the LOBSTA
    • We ate lobster every day…sometimes twice a day and it never got old. I mean, Maine lobster is EVERYTHING and it’s prepared in so many ways, and did not disappoint. The Maine Lobster Rolls are as good as everyone says and we tried all kinds of interpretations from hot with drawn butter to cold with light mayo and scallions. And while we did not try this, even McDonald’s had a Lobster Roll offering. LOL.
  • Sea to Table with Capt. Phil and Tina
    • This was an unforgettable experience all around. Our hosts Capt. Phil and Tina offer a special excursion to guests of Lobstering and a homemade meal with your live catch. This was hands down my favorite part of our vacation.
    • We woke up early on Monday and drove to the Wells Marina, boarding Capt. Phil’s boat. It was a beautiful, cool morning – the air was crisp and the water was ice cold. We embarked on our lobstering adventure by going to five different traps and taking home five lobsters including a big mama (that I would end up eating that night). As part of the excursion, we learned all about the lobster industry and the crustacean — from how to identify whether it’s a male or female to a lefty or righty. We also saw porpoises and did some fishing. Overall it was a magical Maine morning.
    • We wrapped the adventure with an incredible poolside four-course meal that evening starting with a caprese salad, followed by homemade lobster bisque (Westley loved it), steamed, fresh caught (by us) Maine lobster with drawn butter paired with corn-on-the-cob and new potatoes and a raspberry vanilla cake. And of course, crisp and delicious white wine.
  • BeachFire Grill
    • This was our first dinner stop in Maine on Sunday night. It’s right on Main Street in Ogunquit and was a tasty kick off to our trip. We shared the signature nachos with buffalo chicken, a lobster roll (our first! in Maine) and Fish n Chips with local Haddock, malt vinegar and tartar sauce.
  • Tulsi North
    • Our 6-year wedding anniversary fell during our vacation, so we celebrated with our favorite food, Indian. I was not expecting such a gem in Maine, but this spot was legit and one of the best Indian meals we’ve ever had. We ordered chicken tikki masala, palak paneer and lamb korma. The flavors and sauces were next level and the lamb was the most tender we’ve ever tasted. Finished the meal off with Indian beer. Cheers to six years 🙂
  • Jake’s
    • This was home to our favorite Lobster Roll and you order and pick up from a window. We tried both versions hot with drawn butter (our fave) and traditional, cold with light mayo and spices (only time we say yes to mayo) served with hand cut fries and fresh battered onion rings. YES!
  • The Maine Diner
    • As avid watchers of Guy Fieri’s Triple D, the Maine Diner was a must visit. It is a traditional diner with incredibly creative food. We tried all of Guy’s favorites including the famous Lobster Pie, seafood chowder (best chowder we had) and a lobster club. Topped off the meal with a homemade chocolate cream pie. A winning combo.
  • Feile Irish Pub
    • A local treasure, this real deal Irish Pub is located in a historic old structure that housed the Lindsey Tavern from 1799 until the mid-twentieth century. Owned by an Irish couple from Limerick, the Pub had great food and great beer all with live Irish music as the backdrop. Westley of course LOVED the live music. Food wise, we shared the Nachos O’Houlihan (house cut potato crisps with bacon, cheese, and rosemary beef gravy) Bangers n Mash and a Reuben. Nom nom.
  • Jameson Tavern in Freeport
    • We stumbled upon this historic eatery while spending the day in Freeport. We had some local brews and the lunch special which included a Maine Lobster Roll paired with Clam Chowder.
  • Cobblestone Grill in Old Orchard Beach
    • Before we hit the arcade and carnival rides, we fueled up at this Italian Café. Great service, atmosphere and food. We noshed on a lobster quesadilla (it was amazing) and chicken parm sub.
  • Pizza Napoli
    • This was the perfect lunch post walking the Marginal Way. Simple, but tasty we ordered a large specialty pizza (Italian style) and Coca Cola classic.
  • Las Olas Taqueria
    • If you know me, you know I LOVE Mexican. This local, QSR spot had fresh tacos, burritos and quesadillas and a caliente salsa bar. Perfect lunch spot.
  • Scoop Deck
    • We all scream for ice cream! This place was sweet on all fronts from the décor to the 70+ flavors. We each ordered a cup of homemade ice cream and topped off the outing with a photo shoot (Instagrammabale moment anyone?) in front of the “Life is Sweet” mural.

Things to Do

A sample of our family fun and Maine adventures!

  • Ogunquit Playhouse
    • This 85-year-old theater is such a treasure. During the summer they put on spectacular children’s shows with the Junior Players and these kids are truly talented. We were lucky enough to catch a matinee of Lion King, Jr. Westley loved the musical and it was a perfect start to our Sunday.
  • Portland Head Light
    • A quick hour drive to Portland made for an awesome day trip. We spent part of the day at one of Maine’s iconic lighthouses in Cape Elizabeth. The setting was absolutely magical, hiking down to the rocks and water and took it all in.
  • Portland Science Center Real Pirates Exhibit
    • We saw this advertised on a bus at the Head Light and decided on a whim to visit the National Geographic exhibit. This was a very rich exhibit with lots of artifacts, authentic pirate treasure and history on one of the most famous pirates and his sunken ship, discovered off the coast of Maine.
  • Marginal Way
    • This mile-ling scenic walkway ends in Perkins Cove and borders the beautiful cliffs and water. We brought the stroller and took in the beautiful scenery, making stops along the way to sit on the many benches that overlook the water. Not to be missed!
  • Ogunquit Beach
    • Being a Florida girl, I wasn’t sure if Maine’s beaches would be up to par. Happy to report, while the water was COLD, the beaches were beautiful. Ogunquit Beach was unique because on one side you have a bay and then the beach on the other side. There is a current that takes you from the bay side to the beach and many people brought floats, making it a lazy river type ride. The other part we loved about the beach was how far back the water was set during low tide – probably a half mile. There were tons of small pools, sand bars and waves. Perfect beach for a toddler. Next time, we’ll bring a wetsuit though 🙂 
  • The Ogunquit Trolley
    • While this isn’t necessarily an attraction, the Trolley was a great way to get around town and something W thoroughly enjoyed. It’s a great way to see Ogunquit and enjoy the summer breeze.
  • Playland at Old Orchard Beach
    • This classic boardwalk amusement park was tons of fun from the giant indoor/outdoor arcade to the rides. There are tons of kid friendly rides and the operators are teens rather than carnies J
  • L. Bean HQ + Village in Freeport
    • This little port town is a shopper’s paradise. We visited the enormous L.L. Bean headquarters, which is more like its own little city with multiple buildings, an amphitheater and even a children’s village. We then grabbed lunch (lobster roll and chowder of course) at one of Maine’s oldest Taverns.
  • Boston Duck Tours
    • To maximize our last day, which also included travel back home, we left Maine early and did a 9am Duck Tour in Boston. This was a fun and fast way to see the city by land and water.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

Advertisements

Toddler Travel Tips: Brace Yourself + Have A Drink

Optimistically or naively, we decided to take our first official family vacation (or trip as some of my wiser mama friends have told me – vacation is just the two of you) to Maine. This meant a two flight journey there and back (four flights total) with our strong-willed two and a half year old toddler. I know, I know, you probably think we’re crazy…jury’s still out. The trip was a roller coaster in the sky with ups and downs, but certainly a trip we will never forget. 😆 After flying with our sweet and spicy W (tantrums on the floor and all 😱😱😱), here are my tips for traveling with a toddler (tyrant):

Invest in Delta Comfort (or 1st Class)

  • Feel free to apply this to whatever airline you choose — just choose one that offers some kind of upgrade 😃 First things first, there are drinks for mommy and daddy. 🙌🏼 Second, it’s closer to the front and you have more leg room (especially nice for the tall hubby). We chose aisle 10, which is the first seat behind first class, to ensure even more leg room and the closest seat possible to the front.
  • While the ticket may be a bit pricier (not wildly different from coach), is there really a dollar figure to keep you sane? Exactly. 😜

Buy a Jetkids

  • This little invention is definitely worth the investment. It’s a BOGO — a riding suitcase + airplane bed. Need I say more! W was definitely the talk of ATL – everyone from flight attendants to travelers asked about this amazing contraption. It kept him busy and entertained, provided a fun ride, storage for toys and books and a bed on the plane. Now, if they only made these for adults 👌🏼

Sky Club It

  • If you have a long layover (we had a 2+ hour layover), do yourself a favor and go straight to the Sky Club (or airline equivalent). It is much more safe and intimate than the gate and provides a welcome change for parents and toddler.
  • Outside of the food options, coffee, juice and water, there are complimentary adult drinks to help you deal with toddler travel. I enjoyed some white wine, while the hubby partook in Bloody Mary’s. Another win, the private bathrooms with a nice changing table and plenty of space for toddler play time. W enjoyed his time in the Sky Club and it paid off majorly, when he fell asleep on the flight. With a Delta Platinum Amex, it’s $29 per person. Best $60 I’ve EVER spent.

Tire Them Out

  • First, make peace with the fact that you will have two kinds of people to deal with: the sympathizers (those who have been in your shoes and totally understand) and the judgers (those who have selective memory or have never been in your shoes). Once you have come to terms with that, focus on your give zero f$&@s attitude and let your kid run wild in the airport, sky lounge or wherever. Trust me, this paid pay off BIG when he immediately passed out upon boarding the plane, sleeping for 2 hours. 👌🏼🙌🏼🙏🏼

Board LAST

  • When I travel for business I’m happy to board early with Gold Medallion. As a traveling mom, zone FAMILY (aka last to board) is a blessing in disguise. Our strong willed toddler is equally awesome as he is restless. We learned during our first flight that early boarding was not a good thing. He wanted freedom and was not interested in his seatbelt. Our second flight, we waited until last call, making the wait one before take off minimal. You live, you learn.

Gummy Bears FTW

  • This was a Pro Tip from my work wife BFF, KA who suggested gummy bears during taxi, take off and landing. As most kids don’t know how to pop their ears and can’t chew gum that young, gummy bears are a welcome treat that will keep your child occupied and chewing during critical flight times. Since W doesn’t often get to enjoy candy, this was a highlight for him and avoided any ear issues. Win, win.

Overall, travel days were better than anticipated. I set expectations low to then be pleasantly surprised. W is not scared of flying, which is awesome and between our four flights, the first was the toughest, but after that it was smooth-ish flying.

XO,

Ivette

Motivation MOMday: Kimberly Hand

Motivation MOMday is back with one of my favorite mamas who is also an old friend. While we’ve traded clubbing for playgrounds, this Southern doll always keeps it real. Enjoy my dear friend Kimberly Hand’s profile and the sweet pic of her family. Hilton is a total ham 🙂

  1. Mom 411 – a little about you and your family: My husband and I met when I was 14 years old! We were high school sweethearts and of course soul mates! Jason joined the Navy in 2000 and we were married in July of 2002. Right after we got married we moved to Washington State and then to California where he finished his Navy career in 2006. We knew we wanted to move back to the South, so we packed up and found ourselves back in the best town, our hometown of Thomasville! We were blessed to find jobs pretty quickly and started spreading our roots back down South. In July of 2015 we were blessed in finding out that we were having a baby. On March 28, 2016 we welcomed a happy and healthy baby boy into our lives! Boy….we had no idea how amazing and full our hearts would become.
  2. Mommy Mantra – Words you live by: I saw a saying once that I love…. Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own. To teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is… and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.
  3. Me Time – Favorite escape, activity: Love to escape for a girls day with my beautiful mom and go shopping.
  4. Mom Peeve – Biggest pet peeve as a mom: Judgy moms….we are all trying to be the best mom we can be, we may all have different opinions on things, but in the end aren’t we all in this together?
  5. Mom Hack – Necessity is the mother of invention: Love any kind of good app, or anything to help keep organized.
  6. Mom-preneur – Work, work from home, work it out, advice on work life balance: I work in the fast paced environment of advertising, however, it’s so important to have a good work/life balance. You have to set time for yourself and your family! It’s hard at times…but you learn how to adjust.
  7. Mom Squad – Who do you look up to, who’s in your tribe, thoughts on mommy hood and friendships: I’m blessed with some pretty bad-to-the-bone friends…I definitely have an awesome tribe of mom friends, as well as single friends! They all help get me through this fun thing called life.
  8. Mom Goals – Aspirational, inspirational: I think my main mom goal is to continue to be there for my family! It’s hard at times when you are a working mom to balance work, family and friends. However, at the end of the day when I look at my life, I want my son to continue to see me as a strong woman and know that I gave him my all!
  9. Mom-cation – Dream vacation: Would love a mini escape to somewhere tropical…but who wouldn’t want that?!
  10. My Children’s Take – Ask your child or children how they would describe you, their favorite thing about you: Hilton isn’t old enough to ask him how he feels about me yet. If I had to guess I would say he thinks I’m silly and make him laugh a lot! He would probably also say that I give really good hugs…but I kiss him on the face a lot and squeeze him which embarrasses himJ

This is 34

It’s hard to believe I turned 34 today. It certainly doesn’t feel like I’ve been around for three decades and some change. My Aba is definitely right that the older you get the faster the years go by.

With a new year ahead, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the last decade and how much has changed. At 24, I had just started my PR career after deciding to leave TV reporting. I had no idea what I was getting into with public relations or how far it would take. At the time the PR folks were the nicely dressed, friendly people at news conferences who handed me press kits and business cards and weren’t carrying 50 pounds of equipment including a camera, tripod and bag with batteries, tapes and microphones and trying not to sweat, while looking “camera ready.” I remember thinking on a number of occasions, I’m not sure what else these PR people do, but I want to be one of them someday 😉

At 24, I was still looking for love, dating guys I’m glad ended up being exes and enjoying being a 20-something spending Saturdays getting dressed up, dancing way too late (or early into the next morning) and singing along to every song in the club like NO ONE was listening. I’m so grateful for the years of growth and different relationships that taught me what I wanted and did not want and what kind of partner would be a true partner when it came to “forever.” At the time I only knew Sam as a friend of a friend who came out with us sometimes, joined a birthday dinner or weekend get together ever so often. I had no idea we would be married one day and what an awesome adventure awaited. Glad I was patient.

At 24 I was probably still a little too concerned about what others thought of me. Were they judging how I looked, what I said, etc. I was still getting comfortable being an unapologetic version of me.

Ten years may seem like a long time, but for me it’s flown by. I’ve had a few different jobs (all within PR and all at agencies), but each career move has taught me an incredible amount and with each year in my industry I feel more and more confident in the professional I’ve become. I love doing what I do and I think I’m pretty damn good at it. I also enjoy the challenges, learning and growing that each year brings. I hope to never stop seeking that — no matter how old I get. I truly feel there is always room for learning and improvement.

In the last decade I’ve gotten married (to that friend of a friend) and found a life partner who truly makes me a better person. We make each other better. We challenge each other, have great conversations and cheer each other on. We’ve moved three times including a stint in South Florida, while he pursued his Radiation Therapy specialty, had a baby (read all about that in previous posts), built a house and a life.

I can honestly say that my 30s have been the best decade yet and there are still a lot of years left of it. I feel like I’ve come into my own from my personal and professional relationships to the people I choose to surround myself with to taking care of my mind and body.

Motherhood has by far taught me the most about unconditional love, patience and the incredible role we play in shaping a little person’s life. Now, I have also learned that you can only influence and teach so much. My son definitely has his own personality and it differs from mine and my husband’s.

I’m not so much worried these days about what people think. I know in my heart who I am and I live that truth everyday. It’s refreshing. I intend to live each day to the fullest, savor each moment and look forward to who I will become in the years to come. Being a wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend and colleague is rewarding. They say with each passing decade you say what you want, do what you want and live how you want. Watch out world…don’t know what I’ll be saying at forty. HA.

XO,

Ivette

 

Having It All OR All In Your Head

Bottom line…you can have it all, but not at the same time. Working mom means you’re always working and you’re always a mom, but how you manage the madness and prioritize is how you achieve having it all.

You can’t give 100 percent and slice and dice it a million ways. Instead you look at your (virtual) pie and make room for the things that fit, the things that matter and the givens.

There are 168 hours in a week. If you work, then a minimum of 40 hours is spent at work (not counting random late night emails, travel, client crisis, special projects, etc.) What you do with the remaining 128 hours is up to you.

There are always things that will suffer or take a back seat from dishes and friendships to social events and sleep. There is only so much room for it all…having it all also means having less of it all.

One thing is certain, parenting is never ending (hardest but most rewarding work you’ll ever do IMO), but the daily “hard time” commitment is getting kids ready in the morning, daycare drop off, pick up, bath time, dinner, play/fun time and bed time. It’s never enough time during the week, so for me weekends are mostly dedicated to my family. I always have room and time to spend with my hubby and son. Never gets old or boring 🙂

Working out keeps me sane, but fitting it in always looks like a jig saw puzzle. I literally squeeze it in when I can. Luckily I have an awesome partner who trades daycare pick up, bathing and dinner duties with me so I can get my sweat on. I return the favor a couple of times a week.

But in order to work on my fitness, I work it in at all times. Monday and Wednesday circuit training immediately after work, Tuesday PT during lunch with one of my fave girlfriends, Saturday morning Body Sculpt at 8:30am, randomly in my garage or even doing squats and planks while catching up on TV😂😂

To “have it all” means to integrate it all, make the puzzle pieces work and embrace the madness.

In my world it translates to maximizing lunch hour by getting a manicure or catching up with girlfriends (HH post work is hard to fit in…something’s gotta give.)

It’s working faster and smarter and moving the To Do list to tomorrow when the day is done.

It’s folding clothes and doing laundry, while watching my new obsession A Handmaid’s Tale on HULU or redefining date night with a yummy meal and glass of wine with the hubby once the rug rat is asleep.

It’s being much more of a scheduler in the love department than a free agent.

It means sometimes reading or writing in bed (current situation), while the rest of the house sleeps or getting up early to get stuff done around the house before the day really starts.

It’s choosing the 6am flight and 3:30am wake up call to spend one less night away from home during a work trip.

It’s less sleep and more love. Less complete control and more letting go.

It’s less about perfect and more about embracing the real and living in the moment.

One day we’ll have a teenager and then a college kid and then a full
fledged adult (scary writing that) and we will be empty nesters with all the time in the world.

But for now I want to cherish every crazy moment from work deadlines to toddler tantrums and embrace life for what it is — chaotic and beautiful all at once.

As everyone will remind you (ad nauseam) when you’re a parent of a young child…it all goes by way too fast.

The days are long, but the years are short. So I’m determined to savor every moment and have it all.

XO,

Ivette

Two Timing

While we’re not quite ready to be parents of two yet, we got a taste of what it would be like last week when we had a co-worker’s son stay over since she had an early morning meeting out of town. Of course, dealing with a two year old and a six year old is way different than an infant and a toddler, but it was refreshing to see what the future could look like.

The biggest difference of course is seeing Westley act like so much more of a big boy since there was an older child in the house and another boy. He immediately brought out his dinosaur toy and sat down on the sofa with his tablet quietly playing next to his older friend. It was so cute.

Then there was the little bit of showing off and extra clinginess for fear he would be replaced…a taste of what adding another sibling to the mix may bring out in him. For the most part, W was sweet and well behaved and it gives me hope that one day he may be a wonderful older brother. He shared and played and it was so fun to watch.

We usually have had younger kids hang out with us including our God Daughter, so it was interesting to witness how incredibly independent a 6 year old can be. From brushing his teeth to going to bed with no fuss and dressing himself, it’s wild how things change in just a few short years. Of course, I know when we get to that point, I will equally love the independence, but also miss having a sweet little toddler who craves snuggle time with mama.

Finally, got a taste of what’s to come in Elementary School including the craziness that is the drop off line. Cars upon cars, safety patrols and parents honking oh my…it’s a wild ride.

This test in “two timing” was fun, but I definitely know I need at least another year, a potty trained and more independent 3-year old and a lot more working out before I embark another baby adventure 😉

Until then, I’m enjoying every crazy moment, laugh, cry, tantrum and adventure with our little family.

XO,

Ivette

 

 

 

Parenthood Hacks: Playing Hooky

There are vacation days, personal days, mental health days and now as a parent, I revel in parenthood play days. This is all part of keeping us sane, happy and connected as adults and as a couple.

Because Westley is still in daycare, I am able to drop him off and have an entire day to get things done – some fun, some just plain chores. Either way, these “play days” give me an opportunity to get some “me time” and decompress.

Two Friday ago was one of those days. We were off from work, so I took advantage of the day to get things done. Dropped off W at daycare and kicked off the day with an 8:30 a.m. Body Sculpt class. After an hour of getting my butt kicked, I headed to Chick-fil-A for an egg white grill and an iced coffee (I work out to EAT). Then it was over to Market District to pick up a giveaway prize (y’all Instagram contests really work…I won an awesome prize pack!) and some shopping at two favorite boutiques – Elle Market and Harper Hill Kids. By 10:30 a.m. I was at my hairdressers’ ready to get my summer hair on – a little bayalage to give my hair some new life. In my post hair happiness, I headed to Old Navy to get the little guy a picture day outfit and then by 1:30 p.m. I was lying in a spa room ready for my first Fire & Ice facial at Axios Salt Spa. That was quite the treat and included a peel as well as a delicious organic smoothie when my facial was complete. All of this was accomplished before 3 p.m., which gave me time to get home, do some laundry, put away clean clothes and shower before the hubby and toddler got home. All in all, it’s what I call a perfect day.

Similarly, as a couple, we sometimes take a day off to enjoy each other’s company. We’re headed to a music festival in Jacksonville this weekend and the Monday following the festival will be a travel day back and a chance to play parenthood hooky. Planning to try a new taqueria in town and maybe catch a move before we pick W up from school. Having three days to ourselves will be glorious, but I’m sure by Monday afternoon, we’ll be ready to hug and hang out with our little guy. He’s our favorite person and topic of conversation J

For me, it’s all about balance. While 85 percent (or more) of our activities and time is spent as a family, we do try and squeeze in some alone time – whether it’s taking a whole day off and hanging in town, or taking a few hours to have a nice adult meal. Making our marriage and relationship a priority makes us better parents because we are happy and healthy. One of our goals is to ensure Westley grows up knowing how much his parents love and respect each other and values that.

As with everything, once you’re a parent your strategy changes – even for vacations. We definitely use vacation days for real vacations, like our upcoming summer family trip to Maine, but I always reserve a chunk of my PTO for parenthood play days because these days there is no better vacation than a day that’s all about me or all about us J

How do y’all spend your vacation time? Have you ever played parenthood hooky?

XO,

Ivette