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Nashville With Kids

I have been to Nashville three times – once in high school to look at Vanderbilt, once with my good friends for a girls weekend, and this past weekend with my family for a quick getaway from our hometown, which was frozen into a standstill for several days prior.

When people think of Nashville they think of the things that may not make Nashville the most family friendly location – bars, music, beer, did I mention bars? But the truth is, like any city we have been to (even Las Vegas!) there are things for families that make this a weekend destination worth considering.

While we normally tend to go for the vrbo type properties on the last two trips we have taken we have decided to stay in a hotel, given the short timeframe of our visits. Our go to hotel is always Embassy Suites, for several reasons but the main one being that you can separate the bedroom from the sitting room, and we don’t have to go to bed as soon as the sun sets! Breakfast is included, and drinks and snacks are provided in the lobby for a few hours at night (don’t go if you are a good beer fan, but hey after a day with kids a free drink is a free drink!).

The Embassy Suites in Nashville is located right next to Vanderbilt’s campus, which gives the area a breath of youth, albeit older than our kids. The area is definitely hopping and being in an area where you can walk is great to help get the energy out of two young ones who were cooped up in the car on the drive down.

So what is there to do with kids in Nashville? Well, lots! They have the usual family fare – the Nashville Zoo, Adventure Science Center, Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, but there are also some distinctly Nashville-esque things that are fun for kids of all ages, including the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Musical Petting Zoo and The Grand Ole Opry.

After a drive that took 3 hours more than it should have we were ready to run, and being close to dinnertime we headed to Centennial Park, home of the Parthenon, and across the street from where we stayed. Yep, a Parthenon. It is also Nashville’s art museum, but we didn’t get to go in and visit while we were there. It does however provide an awesome backdrop for photos and great space for little legs to run off their pent up energy! Nearby are ponds with ducks, so bring some bread to feed them as well.

Heading to the Nashville Parthenon

Heading to the Nashville ParthenonPerfect spot for photo ops!Perfect spot for photo ops!Playing in Centennial ParkPlaying in Centennial Park

The area around Vanderbilt is full of restaurants that seem welcoming to families, from nicer choices to quick stops. We checked out the Mexican food at San Antonio Taco Company, which is an order at the counter and get served quickly type of place, perfect for us after a long day. With plenty of high chairs and kid friendly choices this is a place we would recommend – plus it is next to Ben and Jerry’s, which made the end of the meal more pleasant for both F and L!

The next morning we headed down Broadway to see what we could visit, and I imagine the way we saw it was drastically different than how it was several hours earlier! Finn checked out the back of some bars and declared the alley to be smelly, and we concurred.

Standing outside the back entrance to the famous Tootsie's bar on Broadway.

Standing outside the back entrance to the famous Tootsie’s bar on Broadway.

Our next stop was the Ryman Auditorium, the original home to the Grand Ole Opry. You can do a self guided tour, a backstage tour (you need to book in advance) and you can even record your own song in this famous music hall. We briefly contemplated letting Finn record one of his “originals”, but didn’t think the $30 was worth the price of a recording about poop and lady butts. He is so 5.

Entrance fees: kids under 3 are free, 4-11 are $15 and adults $20.

Meeting Minnie Pearl, armed with their own cameras for picture taking.

Meeting Minnie Pearl, armed with their own cameras for picture taking.

We watched a brief video, and had a photo opp on the famous stage, and wandered around the rest of the theater, reading some of the history and taking it all in. We are not country music fans but there is something to be said to be in a place that has hosted so many of musics very best over the years.

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Heading on down Broadway you have all your senses opened to just how musical and how country this city truly is. There are venues all around you with live music (some which welcome kids), boot stores, bbq places and more.

Look at this big cowboy boot!

Look at this big cowboy boot!

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At the end of Broadway is the Cumberland river, and the Nashville riverfront, which is host to many events throughout the year. It is also home to Fort Nashborough, which was closed for renovations but is a reconstructed fort that kids can wander around and explore. You can also walk across the Shelby Street Bridge, one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world.

Shelby Street Bridge in the background

Shelby Street Bridge in the background

We really wanted to eat at Puckett’s Grocery, a Nashville institution that is great for families, but the wait was too long for my hungry kids. Back by our hotel we walked to Noshville, a NY style deli that is also popular for families and can have a long wait as well, but well worth the wait. Their kids menu is expansive, and they were ready with crayons for our ready to go crazy children.

We debated what to do the rest of the day but with awesome weather and a long nap from L we decided to skip the science museum and do what we alway love to do when we travel – find a local playground. We ended up at Fannie Mae Dees park, or the dragon park, near Vanderbilt in Hillsboro/West End. A playground for the hipsters of this city and their children it did not disappoint, with huge climbing structures, slides and swings. F & L were in heaven!

Riding the dragon at the Dragon Park

Riding the dragon at the Dragon Park

 

Swinging at the Dragon Park

Swinging at the Dragon Park

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At the request of F we sought out a pizza place and found Bella Napoli, a hidden gem in Edgehill Village. It filled our tummies and, as our son declared, had the ‘best cheese on pizza he had ever tasted’. Whatever it was it hit the spot and was a great place to end our evening.

We left early the next morning to head home, but left without visiting a few areas that we would like to return to see – Downtown Franklin for sure, and some other outlying areas.

Have you been to Nashville? What would you recommend?

Finally, when in the Music City, well, act like it!

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For more family friendly info on Nashville check out this list on Visit Music City!

Passport Applications – The Basics For Kids

While we are busy firming up our travel plans for 2014 (Nashville, San Diego, Ireland, UK, Jackson Hole, we are coming for you!) I have heard from many of my friends who are also firming up theirs, including some international travel for the first time, which means needing to apply for passports for the kids in the family. And that, to most people, seems daunting, because it is definitely not quite as easy as a passport application for an adult.

But, it is totally doable! And we are going to break it down to take the confusion out of the whole process – please note this is for the passport book only. If you are interested in the passport card click here.

The first step is printing all the appropriate forms needed for the application. Visit this site to either print out the forms to fill out by hand or fill out electronically and print. The form is the DS-11, and can be found here.

Both parents must be present at the passport appointment (which can be done at passport agency or authorized passport application acceptance facility), as well as the applicant. If one parent can not be there, then the DS-3053 must also be turned in. This is a notarized form from the parent who can not attend. It can be found here, and must be presented with the DS-11.

If you can not obtain the written consent of the non-applying parent then you must complete item 4a-5 on the form DS-5525, which can be found here. It also must be presented with the DS-11.

Now, you have these forms, and you have to gather up additional info. You will need:

- Evidence of US citizenship (birth certificate, or if your child was born abroad you will need their Consular Notification Of Birth Abroad; their certificate of naturalization; certificate of citizenship; previous US passport)

- Photo identification; make a photo copy of both sides of both parents photo identifications (ie drivers license, and you will need a second id if the license is from a different state than the one you are applying in); or current US passport

- Parental consent (this is the DS-3053 or DS-5525 if both parents are not present, or see here if the applicant has only one parent/guardian)

- Passport photo, must be in color, 2″ x 2″, only one

- DS-11 form

- Passport Fees; The current fee for just the passport book is $105. If you want the passport card and book (the card can not be used for travel by air, and only for entering the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry) it is $120. To expedite the passport it is an additional $60. Bring cash or money order, they will not accept credit cards.

Right now current regular processing times are 4-6 weeks, and expedited 2-3 weeks. Click here to see updated processing times.

Now, here is where people get tripped up. You must apply in person, even for a minor applicant’s passport renewal (until the age of 16). US passport agencies generally only allow for applicants who are traveling in the next two weeks, and have proof of travel – these are only the agencies listed here. Where we live you can apply through a post office, or through your county court. You have to have an appointment for the post office, and they are not easy to get. You do not need one for the court. This varies by city, county and state, so click HERE to find the closest facility to you. Note that getting an appointment may take a few weeks, so plan for that in terms of the time allowed for the whole process.

As I mentioned above when you renew your child’s passport, which is done every 5 years as opposed to 10 for adults, it must be done in person, and you must have all the same documentation, including a birth certificate, even if you have their prior US passport. This was a bone of contention with us when we renewed our son’s passport because, well, it is illogical. But then again that is really not a surprise :) And really it is worth clicking on that link because our renewal story is amusing, even to us.

So, get those applications going. And get traveling! It is so worth it! And who doesn’t love these baby passports?

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NYC Holiday Magic For The Whole Family

Months ago, back in the Spring, we decided to spend a weekend in NYC in December, to immerse ourselves in the holiday magic the city provides. It was also to be the first time my husband and both my kids had ever been, and since it is a city I have been to many times I was more than excited to show them.

As the date got closer I was nervous about all the walking that F, at 5.5, would have to do, since he is a Southern boy at heart who lives in a city where walking to get from point A to point B just doesn’t really happen. We did bring our umbrella stroller for L, 2.5, so I knew if we needed to we could carry her and push him.

While many cities are magical during the holidays there just seems to be something special about New York. And there is so much to do with families that this really is the perfect city for a weekend break to get your family in the Christmas (or whatever holiday you may celebrate) mood.

With 2.5 days we had to plan our time appropriately, and with rainy weather when we landed late Friday afternoon we knew we just had to get out and go. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt by Grand Central Station, which is not only a great location but family friendly as well. We headed out on a short walk to Bryant Park, which has not only ice skating and a beautiful Christmas tree but also European style Christmas market stalls.

Bryant Park Christmas Tree

Bryant Park Christmas Tree

We headed further on to Times Square, where the kids immediately zoned in on Toys R Us, while we took in the lights and chaos that surrounded us. Everywhere you looked there were people dressed in costumes, posing for pictures, but be prepared that they want a tip if you take one. And they aren’t shy, they came up to F and stood there by him until we took a picture, at which point we handed him $1 and went on our way.

Elmo and F in Times Square

Elmo and F in Times Square

Throughout the city there are spectacular holiday displays, lights and music and display windows, something on every block for kids of all ages to be wowed by. We simply wandered, and observed, and took it all in, without spending a penny (minus the $1 for Elmo. I am still bitter about that!)

6558ac5a5eca11e3aedb125d9a40ea40_6One thing I am so grateful we brought was the plastic cover for our stroller. Not only did it keep out the rain on Friday it helped keep out the wind and cold the rest of the weekend, but more importantly on streets that were so full of hustle and bustle with little regard to a stroller it kept L from getting hit in the face with bags as we pushed through crowds.

Saturday morning we woke to clear skies and walked 20 or so blocks to Central Park. Both our kids were mesmerized by the pretzel stands on every corner, and we finally acquiesced and bought one for them to eat on the walk. F declared it the best part of the trip!

Pretzel Time!

Pretzel Time!

We passed more decorated store windows, and headed into the amazing vast space in the middle of this city. While the carousel was inexplicably closed we had ice skaters to watch and, more importantly, rocks to climb.

6dbaf852620911e39cee0e4cc6fd04b8_6 537da3a4620911e3adf212add793e3ba_6We met friends for lunch at the famed 2nd Ave Deli, and then headed to Radio City Music Hall for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes. We weren’t quite sure what to expect out of the kids but they loved it and it really is the perfect show for families. It is only about 90 minutes long, but they keep kids engaged with not only the Rockettes but with Santa, a new 3-d feature, fake snow and a live nativity scene. The tickets are not cheap, but well worth it to add to your NYC holiday adventure. The area around the show, right at the Rockefeller Christmas tree, had some of the worst crowds I had ever seen, but that is par for the course this time of year.

While we didn’t desire to wait in the lines at FAO Schwarz I know it is a great place to visit, and I have heard (although I don’t know personally) that if you book an appointment with a personal shopper, which is free, you can skip the lines.

Walking back to the Hyatt we headed down 2nd, away from the crowds, and had a huge choice of restaurants. We really had no problems finding places to eat with our kids, although having our stroller folded when we entered was definitely helpful.

We decided on Sunday morning to venture to Top Of The Rock, to see the views from the top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, and did not buy tickets in advance. You can book them online on the hour, or you can go and buy them in person, where they are sold in 20 minute increments. You can stay as long as you want once you get to the top, but you must enter in that time frame. Kids 5 and under are free.

The views were fabulous, and we could see all over Manhattan, and more. It is well blocked so I wasn’t nervous about our kids, and we all thought this was one of the highlights of the weekend.

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Next stop, Battery Park, where we braved the Subway (every station we went to had elevators but I don’t think they all do. We also had to ask for assistance to go through a special door since the stroller couldn’t go through the turnstile, but F thought it was awesome that he got to crawl underneath the turnstile since he was free), and braved the cold. We didn’t go out to the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island, but we saw them from faaaar away, and saw the new One World Trade Center building, an amazing monument to 9/11.

Teeny, tiny Statue of Liberty way in the background!

Teeny, tiny Statue of Liberty way in the background!

We walked. And walked. And walked some more. We saw Christmas trees and decorations and lights and heard Christmas music and saw Christmas markets and braved holiday crowds and enjoyed the flurries and remarked, more than once, how lucky we were to be able to bring our kids to such an amazing city at such a magical time.

 

 

 

 

 

Ireland Through Instagram

I recently returned from a trip to a fantastic travel blogging conference in Dublin. Ireland that is, not Georgia, although I am sure Dublin, Georgia is full of fun stuff to see and do as well , like their annual St. Patricks Day Festival (of course!). The conference was full of both informative sessions, which have really made me think about the future of this blog, both content and style wise, as well as some pretty incredibly social events. And while this is high on my list of places to bring our kids someday – I mean it is only a hop, skip and jump away – it was certainly an enjoyable way to spend 5 kid-free days. And did I mention beautiful? Oh so beautiful. Even with it being my 4th time to this lovely Island I never fail to marvel at the natural beauty this country possesses.

So, for Instagram Thursday, I am simply linking up some of my favorite photos from my trip, full of true Irish charm and very few, if any, filters. It is just that kind of place.

Sun on the Irish Sea

Sun on the Irish Sea

 

Even the creeks flow Guinness

Even the creeks flow Guinness

Malahide Castle

Malahide Castle

Trinity College

Trinity College

Glendalough Monastery

Glendalough Monastery

Glendalough Monastery

Glendalough Monastery

Glendalough Monastery

Glendalough Monastery

Glendalough Monastery

Glendalough Monastery

Howth Harbor

Howth Harbor

Have you been somewhere where the natural beauty is so intense that you find it is almost impossible to take a bad picture?

This post is part of the Instagram Travel Thursday linky hosted by Skimbaco LifestyleDestination UnknownChild ModeHines Sight BlogLive.Do.Grow.House of AnaïsLuxury Travel Mom

Flying While Pregnant, Mythbuster Style

When I found out I was pregnant with F, now 5, I wondered how much our traveling would change due to my pregnancy. I had always heard rumors about not being allowed to fly after a certain point in pregnancy, and with several trips planned I didn’t know what would happen.

Luckily for me our trips went off as planned, with visits to Spain, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Italy, Iceland, the US, and several places throughout the UK. I joke that F already had more stamps in his imaginary passport than many people do as adults.

I learned a few things on these trips, and while no one should make decisions on traveling without consulting their doctor/ob/midwife first, traveling for two shouldn’t put a damper on any trips you have planned during those 9 months of pregnancy.

Let’s tackle some of the myths that I hear people say about traveling while pregnant. The biggest one is that you aren’t allowed to fly after a certain time in pregnancy by rule of the airline. Here is a list of major domestic American airlines and their rules (current as of today)

Alaska Airlines – No restrictions for either domestic or international travel, but advised to consult a doctor.

American – For domestic travel no flying allowed 7 days before/after your delivery date. I am not sure how they calculate your delivery date, so I assume it is your due date. For international travel or any flights over the water, travel is not advised within 30 days of the due date, unless you are examined by an obstetrician within 48 hours of outbound departure and certified in writing as medically stable for flight. Travel within 10 days of the due date for International travel must have clearance from their Special Assistance Coordinators. Travel within 7 days after delivery requires clearance as well.

Delta – No restrictions for travel, and a medical certificate is not needed.

Frontier – No restrictions, consult your doctor

JetBlue - Pregnant Passengers expecting to deliver within seven days are prohibited from travel, unless such Passenger provides a doctor’s certificate dated no more than seventy-two (72) hours prior to departure stating that the Doctor has examined and found the Passenger to be physically fit for air travel to and from the destinations requested on the date of the flight and that the estimated date of delivery is after the date of the last flight.

Southwest – They recommend against travel starting at the beginning of your 38th week.

SunCountry - Travel within 7 days of due date requires a Doctor’s certification obtained within 72 hours of flight.

United Airlines - Passengers traveling in their ninth month of pregnancy must have an obstetrician’s certificate dated within 24 to 72 hours prior to their flight departure.

USAir - If your due date is within 7 days of your flight, you must provide a doctor’s certificate, dated within 72 hours of departure, stating that he or she has examined you and determined that you are fit to fly.

VirginAmerica - They seem to have the most complicated rules. With no issues you can fly up until 28 weeks with no notification to the airline. After 28 weeks and with a single pregnancy you can travel between 28-36 weeks with a doctors note. After 36 weeks they don’t allow flying without it being a special circumstance. For a multiple pregnancy you can fly between 28-32 weeks with a doctors note, beyond that no travel.

Here are some major international carriers (please note these are just a sample and don’t include all carriers)

British Airways - For uncomplicated single pregnancies, they restrict travel beyond the end of the 36th week, and for twins, triplets etc., beyond the end of the 32nd week. After your pregnancy has entered its 28th week, they ask that you carry with you a letter from your doctor or midwife, stating the pregnancy is uncomplicated and confirming the expected date of delivery.

KLM –  No flying after 36 weeks

Lufthansa - Expectant mothers with complication-free pregnancies can fly with Lufthansa until the end of the 36th week of pregnancy or up to four weeks before their expected due date without a medical certificate from their provider. However, they recommend that expectant mothers beyond the 28th week of their pregnancies carry a current letter from a physician.

Singapore Airlines – Single pregnancies may travel through 36 weeks, multiple pregnancies may travel through 32 weeks. Between 29 and 36 weeks expectant mothers must travel with a doctors letter.

Emirates - Traveling beyond your 29th week requires a medical form; with a single pregnancy you may travel through 36 weeks, with multiples through 32 weeks.

Qantas - For travel after the first 28 weeks of your pregnancy: you need to carry a certificate or letter from a registered medical practitioner or registered midwife; for flights 4 hours or more you may fly through 36 weeks with single pregnancy and 32 weeks with multiples; with flights less than four hours you may fly up to 40 weeks with single pregnancy and 36 weeks with multiples.

While this information could change at any time it is a pretty good representation that the rules vary greatly between domestic American airlines and international carriers, but traveling is still possible (and fun!).

Always check with your doctor prior to travel, drink copious amounts of water on the plane, walk as much as possible, and compression socks are your friend!

This is part of Travel Tips Tuesday at Suitcases and Sippycups and Walking On Travels. Check it out!

 

 

 

 

DragonCon 2013: Visiting With Kids

After a Summer filled with travel we have had a pretty low key few weeks – at least as low key as you can get with school starting again! So with Labor Day approaching we debated hopping in the car and heading out of town, but decided to stick around and explore some of the best of what Atlanta has to offer.

And that, my friends, was DragonCon 2013. The largest multi-media, popular culture convention has long been on my radar, not because I know much of what happens there but because everyone has told us how fun the parade is. In years past we have either not been in town or our kids have been too young, but this year we headed out early and claimed our space on the curb and had front row seats to this amazingly entertaining event.

Some tips: The parade started at 10, and we got there at 8:15. By 9 the crowds behind us were 4 people deep. If you want a seat (either on the curb itself or you can bring a chair) the earlier you can get there the better. Bring snacks, and something to keep your kids entertained, because the wait seemed to drag on forever, although people watching is at a premium at this event! Bathrooms, and parking, are hard to find, so prepare for both, we took MARTA down and this was definitely the easiest option. We also found a hotel that let us use their bathroom, which was great with a young desperate child in tow!

Waiting for the parade to start

Waiting for the parade to start

 

Waiting for the parade to start, ipads in hand

Waiting for the parade to start, ipads in hand

 

Waiting for the parade to start

Waiting for the parade to start

My kids are 5 and 2, and I was a little nervous that the event may be too scary for them at times, but they both handled it really well. L, 2, spent most of the time staring at the participants in a mixture of shock and awe, waving the entire time.

Waving in confusion

Waving in confusion

F, 5, spent most of the time in search of characters he knew, of which there were a few, but neither of them really got scared at any point. If your kids get scared easily, or the thought of zombies or skeletons or people draped in fake blood would be scary for them, then this parade probably isn’t your thing.

I will be honest, I was pretty clueless as to who most of these people were supposed to be. My husband did a good job of filling me in, but I don’t think you need to know. I definitely appreciated the thought and work that went into many of these costumes, and we know we will return next year (with chairs!) to watch it all over again!

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This is part of Travel Tips Tuesday at Suitcases and Sippycups and Walking On Travels. Check it out!

Bosnia With Kids

We are wrapping up our posts on our dear friends trip to Croatia with a day trip they took to Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina. A huge thank you to them for sharing their experiences and their photos of such an amazing adventure!

Day Trip from Dubrovnik: Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina

While Croatia is amazing, the weather during our trip was unseasonably rainy. We planned a sailing trip one day in Dubrovnik but had to cancel due to the weather. So my husband and I decided to head out of town for the day and visit the country of Bosnia-Herzegovina, kids in tow of course!

We picked Mostar because it was relatively close and home to a medieval old town and beautiful Stari Most (a.k.a. old bridge) that was originally built in 1566. Unfortunately, the bridge was badly damaged during the war but has been rebuilt and still captures the essence of this medieval old town.

View from the Stari Most, or Old Bridge

View from the Stari Most, or Old Bridge

The bridge spans the beautiful green-blue waters of the Neretva River. There are many cafes and restaurants overlooking the water and nestled into the trees along the shoreline. There is also a mosque on the Neretva with stunning views of the bridge and the city. You can climb the minaret for an aerial view unless the mosque is being used for prayer. The Mosque, called Koskin-Mehmed Pasha’s Mosque, also suffered damage in the war but has been rebuilt. The minaret is not an easy thing to do with children in tow and it was closed when we visited.  So take that into consideration when stopping by.

View of the Neretva River at Koskin-Mehmed Pasha's Mosque

View of the Neretva River at Koskin-Mehmed
Pasha’s Mosque

View up the river

View up the river

View of the Stari Most

 

 

R in the old town of Mostar

R in the old town of MostarR, W, and D with the bridge in the backgroundR, W, and D with the bridge in the backgroundOld Town MostarOld Town Mostar

We wanted to sit along the river for lunch but were hard pressed to find a safe seat for our 18 month old so we settled on a ‘restoran’ off the main thoroughfare called Restoran Sadrvan where they dressed in traditional Bosnian garb and served giant platters of grilled meats and sausages. The staff was very friendly and accommodating and they had a baby seat! Score! The Convertible Mark is the currency of Bosnia-Herzegovina but they will take Euros and the Croatian Kuna. But check before you go, Croatia was slated to join the EU July 2013 so they should be on the Euro soon enough.

Bosnia-Herzegovina is still a great value since they have yet to join the EU. Most hotels and restaurants are moderately priced and the people are eager for the tourists to come. Unfortunately, the country still suffers from the effects of the Bosnian War. They haven’t rebuilt completely, there are still some buildings that bear the wounds of war and I felt a sadness in some of the Bosnians we met. But they are resilient. And they are excited for people to see their country and to show them the beautiful mosques, mountains and waterfalls.

On our day trip we only visited the town of Mostar. The rain followed us up the coast and the two-lane highway was slow at times. We also had a couple of border patrol check-ins that helped to slow us down. But, there are a couple of other places in Bosnia-Herzegovina to visit that are close by and could even be accomplished in one day.

Not far from Mostar (approximately 25 km.) is a Catholic pilgrimage in the town of Medjugorje. It is believed the Virgin Mary appeared and spoke to some teenagers in the village in 1981. For one of the children, now a grown adult, he claims he is still visited each day by the Virgin Mary. Medjugorje is not officially sanctioned by the Catholic Church as a miracle or a pilgrimage site, but that doesn’t stop people from making their way to the town for their own spiritual journey.

In the Herzegovina region are the Kravica Waterfalls fed by the Trebizat River. They are crystal clear and beautiful and a very well known swimming spot. You can grab a bite at the outdoor café or bring a picnic. If you want to make more than a day trip out of it there is a place to camp nearby. And in the town of Ljubuski you’ll find culture, museums, a monastery and a winery. Certainly enough to fill your agenda for a day trip! For more tourist attractions in Bosnia-Herzegovina visit the national website.

Once again, we only wished we had more time to explore. The beauty of travel, especially with your children, is inviting them to experience these beautiful places with you and seeing the world through their eyes. Our trip to Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina certainly met and exceeded our expectations. Our 5 year old is still talking about it and has decided he would like to see Japan next. It really has widened his world-view. I can’t say enough about all the kind people we met along the way and the azure blue waters still appear in my dreams! If you are thinking of taking your family to experience these countries for yourself, I say go. I don’t see how you could be disappointed.

 

Photography: Going Old School

We are nearing the end of a two week beach trip, made possible by my parents who own a house at the beach, and it is amazing to see the transformation of my 5 year old, F, in the water over the last 11 days. He has gone from swimming pretty well to swimming really well, from not being able to go to the bottom to pick stuff up to being able to go all the way to the bottom of the deep end, from wanting to hold our hands when he jumps in to, well, this amazing cannonballing, belly flopping, jumping boy. It be stills my swimming heart.

So, in wanting to capture as much as I can for his dad to see (traveling without my husband for almost two weeks is a post on its own…I’m tired!) I have tried various ways to best capture this emerging fish of mine.

The DSLR of mine was never a choice. Too big, too clunky, too very easily dropped in the water and ruined forever. My iphone was a pretty good substitute – while the pictures aren’t as good the phone is protected from water splashes by my ever-so-big-but-I-love-it-anyways otter box – and I did manage to get what quickly became a series of photos for my instagram page of him jumping in the pool over and over.

Belly Flop!

Belly Flop!

But when I was watching him under water, and seeing his smile, and how happy he was, I really wanted to capture that. I went to the store and looked at all my options for underwater cameras, generally ranging from $99 to $400, and was tempted to go for a lower price model when I decided I would go retro instead and bought, wait for it, a disposable underwater camera. Yes, they still make them. I did have to double check that I could actually get film developed somewhere in town, but for $13 I couldn’t beat the price, even if it was more work than a fancy little camera.

We jumped in the pool while my 2 year old was napping, and we snapped away. He posed, he danced, he jumped, he asked if he could see the pictures and if I could delete some and had a very hard time understanding that this wasn’t a digital camera so no, he couldn’t see them and no, we couldn’t delete them, but in the end we took 27 pictures in about 6.5 minutes.

After dropping them off for 1 hour developing (yes, it still exists!) and returning to pick them up I was pleasantly surprised. They were better than I thought they would be, but not quite as good as I had hoped they would be. But, at the end of the day, F got to see what he looked like under water and I have some photos to take back of our amazing adventures at the beach. I have learned that sometimes thinking out of the box, or perhaps in the past, is a good way to create memories of traveling.

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This post is part of Travel Tips Tuesday at Suitcases and Sippycups and Walking On Travels

 

Instagram Thursday: Unfiltering The Cannonball

While we are beaching it up in Florida we are in the unique position to spend a lot of time in the pool. And a lot of time in the pool with three boys who love to swim and jump and splash means a lot of opportunity to get some pretty amazing pictures.

Unfortunately, along with the splashing comes water, and water isn’t very good for my ‘nice’ camera. So what can I do to take pictures that capture the essence of what this trip is all about (which has turned out to be swimming, swimming, jumping and more swimming)? Bring out my iphone, relatively safe in its clunky otterbox and snap away, post to instagram.

In other words? Unfiltered pictures of the cannonball. They may not be the highest quality, and I didn’t make them look pretty, but I did capture the joy, the fun, the memories, exactly as they were.

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This post is part of the new Instagram Travel Thursday linky, hosted by Skimbaco LifestyleDestination UnknownChild ModeHines Sight BlogLive.Do.Grow.House of AnaïsLuxury Travel Mom. Click on any of the above links to check them all out!

 

Scenes From A Beach

It’s photo Friday time, and in honor of leaving on our 2 week beach excursion to Destin to celebrate the end of Summer I found pictures from our beach trips from years past. We go several times a year, always to Destin, and always to Whitley Bay, in the UK, and we have added in some other places along the way. Warm, cold, we don’t mind!

Deception Pass State Park

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What is your favorite place to go to the beach?

This is part of Photo Friday at Delicious Baby. Check it out!