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?




Family Getaway: Omni Amelia Island Plantation

At the beach, the air is always different and you always feel better. As a beach baby growing up in Miami some of my fondest memories are on the water and I absolutely love seeing my son enjoy a good day at the beach now. I also appreciate the ability for a quick getaway and living in North Florida, we have access to many destinations within a 4-hour driving radius.

Back in the fall I won a free 2-night stay to Omni Amelia Island Plantation as part of a social media engagement contest at work (woot woot). We decided to cash it in for a “winter” (it’s Florida after all) family weekend escape.

We had never been to Amelia Island, but had heard great things about the area and the resort. Family friendly places are huge for us since I never want to feel like we are inconveniencing other people, but I also don’t want to apologize for my toddler. OAIP Resort was perfect. There was a great mix of guests, but the majority were either older empty nesters or young families. And no surprise, Westley was a hit.


We arrived Friday evening and were welcomed by the friendly valet staff. As guests, you can choose to valet for $25 a night or you can self park at a nearby garage and can change your decision at any time – no pressure. Resort staff, taking our luggage and then meeting us in our room once we checked in, handled everything seamlessly. The resort has a beautiful lobby and smells delicious…there is juts something so welcoming and soothing about a tropical scent at resorts. For me, it sets off the stay.

The Room 

Once we made it to the 6th floor, exited the elevator area and walked outside to the room, it was time to see our “home” for the next two days. All rooms face the ocean, so that was a wonderful surprise and our suite was incredibly spacious. You walk into a little hallway and the room is split into two sides – to the left was a fabulous seating area with a full sized sectional couch, armchair, desk and flat screen. To the right was the bedroom with a king size bed, a chaise and the en suite compete with a beautiful tub. My favorite part of course was the balcony with a breathtaking view of the pools, hot tubs, fire pits, bar and the ocean. I absolutely adore ocean front properties not only for the views, but also for the sheer convenience of getting to the beach with a toddler.

Nom Nom & Sip Sip

The resort has great options food options for all tastes and budgets. We chose to keep it simple and kid friendly trying Natural Slice for pizza, the Sunrise Café for breakfast and Falcon’s Nest for dinner. The breakfast buffet at Sunrise Café “The Art of Breakfast” definitely lives up to the name. The are feel like a large chef’s kitchen in a fabulous beach house with a gorgeous wooden island housing artisanal house made breads, gourmet cheese spread, local honey, etc. The breakfast also includes almost all the items on the a la carte menu from eggs benedicts and frittatas to bacon, eggs and potatoes. The best part was that children four and under are free, so Westley enjoyed a big plate of delicious breakfast on the house J Breakfast was the priciest meal of the day per person at $23 a head, but the experience, amount of food and filling quality was a good investment overall.

My favorite spot was Falcon’s Nest where we went to dinner Saturday night. It’s in the Amelia Island Village area a short shuttle ride from the resort. Shuttles are free and allow you to navigate the expansive resort without ever having to take your car! A burger and brews restaurant with airplane décor, Falcon’s Nest, was family friendly, but definitely had an edge. The second floor has a game room complete with pool table, dartboard, virtual golf and bowling and an iconic Mr. Pacman arcade. We grabbed a couple of local IPAs, Intuition I-10, and hung out in the game room during our 20-minute wait. The burgers were delicious and creative. We ordered the Plantation Burger with pimento cheese, a fried green tomato, shaved ham and corn relish and the Seaplane Burger with Fernandina shrimp, pickled red onion and lemon mayo. Both were winners and were accompanied by fried and onion rings that came in really cute little baskets. Westley took down a kid’s cheeseburger that was served with fries, applesauce, yogurt and milk. Overall, this place gets an A+ and the bill including drinks was only $55.

Finally some details on the libations. Drinks were good with a kick and prices were not too prohibitive for a resort. We grabbed a few drinks at pool including the signature Plantation Punch and a Margarita and had Moscow Mules at the Piano Bar after dinner.

Because we had Westley, we didn’t venture into the fancier restaurants, but OAIP also boasts a few more premium dinner options including Bob’s Steak & Chop House, Verandah and Oceanside.

Resort Activities 

We lucked out and had wonderful weather with highs in the 70s, so naturally we spent the bulk of our day at the pool (which was heated) and running around on the beach. Westley was all about the water and really got into playing with the sand and shells. To clarify…”playing with the sand” was more like grabbing large clumps of sand and throwing them on us.

We also checked out the Nature Center and one of the playgrounds on property. There’s tons more to do on property including Mini Golf and of course venturing out into  Beach, St. Augustine, etc.


Of course no evening is complete without music – Westley’s favorite. After dinner we took our drinks on the shuttle (awesome perk for resort guests) and headed back to the hotel. The piano bar was the happening spot and Gary could sing and play any song requested from today’s hottest songs to classics. We ordered some Moscow Mules and sat back to enjoy the music while W put on a dancing show. He was a huge hit among the ladies and Gary even gave him a shout out. All in all it was a fabulous evening and we were all in bed by 9:30 p.m. Crazy, wild weekend indeed J

We definitely want to come back to visit Omni Amelia Island. Hopefully next time we’ll stay a little longer. If you’re looking for a great resort on a gorgeous beach, this one is a treasure.

Happy travels,


This slideshow requires JavaScript.