Adventures, Beaches

Spring Break:Cocoa Beach

One week prior to the start of our vacation my husband says to me:

“There is supposed to be a cold front while we are at the beach, can we cancel it? It’s going to be freezing!”

Me: “Nope. Bring a jacket!”

After a year of canceling long weekends and vacations I didn’t care if it was going to be snowing on the beach, I wasn’t canceling again. We needed to get away from the house!

I made reservations at South Beach Inn on Cocoa Beach, we had stayed there once before and really liked it. It’s an older hotel and needs some TLC on the outside, but it’s small and away from the hustle and bustle around the pier down the road. All the rooms are very nice and clean, they have a kitchen, they allow pets, it has beach access and it’s affordable; it checks off all our boxes.

The evening before it was time to leave I started the process of packing and trying to anticipate everything. I went grocery shopping so we didn’t have to worry about it once we got there, packed up our kitchen, our bathroom, kid’s closets, beach gear, dog stuff, and I almost forgot my own bag. The morning of, my husband had scheduled to have our roof and patio pressure washed, so I finished packing the cooler, cleaning up the house, and trying to make sure I didn’t forget anything (which I did anyway). Finally around 1:00 we started our 2.5 hour drive and officially began our 5 day vacation at Cocoabeach.

When we got there the very nice man checking us in informed me that we would not have direct beach access because they just started pumping sand onto the beach so there was a lot of construction equipment. BUT, we could walk just a minute down the sidewalk and there was an access point there. This was annoying. But ok, What can I do, besides a little walking never hurt anyone. So we moved in changed and headed to the beach, well, me the kids and our puppy headed there. By this time we could already feel the cold air coming in, it was super windy and my husband just wasn’t feeling it.

The boys didn’t care, they hit the waves and Chase (our pup) loved digging and rolling in the sand. It was just us crazy’s on the beach. It was cold. It was really cold. For a moment I almost admitted my husband was right.

We were there long enough for the boys to get their fix and Chase to get used to ocean water and drink too much of it. Then we headed back, popped open a bottle of wine and some juice boxes, enjoyed the fab dinner my husband made, and got our relax on.

Saturday evening through Monday it was way to cold for me to get in the water, but I made sand castles and watched my little ones boogie board and get beat up by the waves. Monday we ventured to The Enchanted Forest Sanctuary and walked a few of their nature trails. We were hoping we would be able to grill, but it’s picnic baskets only. The trails were nice though. It’s hard for me to get excited about Florida nature trails because they all are very similar. But it was easy for the kids to do and very well signed so you can’t get lost. The trails are well kept and the length of the trails is perfect for young kids. We spent a couple morning hours there then headed back to the beach after lunch.

Tuesday the sun and the warmth started coming back but I wanted to do something different, we tried the Brevard Zoo. I love zoos, always have. This one is small, but it’s very well laid out and had animal exhibits that I haven’t seen before. It wasn’t crowded and all of us really enjoyed it! Great day out and recommended!

They had a small pool for smaller kids, a petting zoo, bird and giraffe feedings, kayak rentals, zip lines, and a train that went around a section of the zoo. Plenty of stuff to spend a full day out and at reasonable price for a family.

Wednesday was a perfect day for the beach. At this point however we had to walk about 5 minutes to get to the beach in a different direction because they had closed several beach access points and there was trucks driving back and forth every 5 minutes on the beach. There was also constant beeping and banging from the construction trucks and vehicles all night long. This was very disappointing.

We found a good spot with no beach traffic and even though the water was cold, I was able to handle it and play in the waves with the boys. We spent almost 8 hours on the beach and it was great! I will warn though, the waves are ROUGH! This is a place surfers like to go, so I had to take them just past the “crash” zone and before the drop off where the current really sucks you in and we were able to jump and bob in the waves.

Thursday we headed back home. Overall it was a really great trip and much needed time away. The beach construction was very annoying and disappointing but we made the best of it anyway. The important thing is we all had fun and time together.

Adventures, Just Outside, Lessons As We Grow

Good Morning Backyard!

“Can we go camping? Please Mommy!” “We haven’t been on any big adventures in a long time!”

“I wish my love, but it’s really hard to travel and finding good camping spots here is really really hard because of alligators and horrendous amount of mosquitoes. “

“ well. Can we camp out in the yard mommy?!”

It’s about 10:00 pm on a Saturday night when we are having this conversation. I will admit, I’ve had several glasses of wine at this point and even though I’ve pitched and broken down tents hundreds of times, at this particular moment it felt like something that might wake all the neighbors. I sit there deciding what my answer will be as I play the scene in my mind.

Seeing my hesitation and basically reading my mind, my sweet big hearted manipulative boy continues his pitch.

“We don’t need tents Mommy, we can just get our sleeping bags and sleep on the patio. We have a privacy fence now. It’s something different mommy. Its a different kind of adventure. come on Mommy, let’s do something different” cue the big bright smile and sparkling blue eyes.

“You’re right, why not. Let’s do it!”

We went and got our sleeping bags, asked my other kiddo if he wants to join us. Of course he did. The boys, myself, and our dog all got “comfortable” on the hard concrete patio under the blooming mango tree.

We talked for a little while, I told them stories of my hiking days in Georgia and the time I went backpacking on the Appalachian trail for a few days. They talked about Minecraft and all of the details of it. They tell great stories to fall asleep to.

Being asleep didn’t last long for me. The different sounds in the neighbors yards and the temperature chasing to “it might rain” woke me up. I dozed thru the night, but mostly just took in the moment. I stared at my kids hoping this was one of the memories they hang on to. I watched them with bewilderment as they slept so peaceful on the ground. Mostly I just soaked in the love and happiness of being “us”.

As the sun started coming up I realized I have never bothered to be outside at this time, I am always to busy getting the boys up and ready for school or sleeping on the weekends.

Except when our neighbors had a rooster. The stupid bird from hell woke me up every single Saturday and Sunday at 5:00am. I live in South Florida. We have small yards and close neighbors. I consider it very disrespectful to have a flipping rooster cock-a-doodle-doing on the weekend next to my window. Literally because it somehow kept finding its way into our yard. I never allowed this evil bird to get me out of bed, unless Chase heard it and started whining to go out. In those moments, I couldn’t tell you if the sun was rising or not, all I knew was “cock-a-doodle-fuck-a-doo, hurry up Chase and go poo!” Then buried myself back under the blankets for a few hours.

My boy had a good idea as this was a nice change in routine and I got to see how our back yard wakes up on my terms and not some annoying farm animals.

Thankfully by this night the Rooster was gone. I don’t know what happened to it, but I am glad that something did.

I laid there, my spine in some pain and sending tingling sensations to my fingers. Our sleeping bags covered in leaves and flowers that fallen from the mango tree. I watched as the yard came alive.

Woodpeckers started knocking on the electrical pole, mocking birds singing, green parrots flying by on their way to find breakfast, blue Jays chasing away the singing mockingbirds, various insects emerging, silk worms glistening in the morning rays of light, lizards coming out to warm in the sunlight; yes it was a nice change in pace.

I gained some new perspective and reinforced my appreciation for the small things in life (as well as my bed).

About 7:00, I peeled myself off the ground and cleaned up my blanket. Stretched and popped and took a deep breath of morning air. Then I made myself some coffee and decided to open a book I haven’t read since I was a teenager, “Chicken Soup for the Soul” while the boys continued sleeping on the hard ground.

Wishing y’all a very Happy, Healthy, Smart, Strong, & Successful Day!

Lessons As We Grow, Running

Getting My Kids to Exercise

Like the rest of y’all, our house is trying to get along and make the best of the over abundance of family time we have had the last few months. In between the murder hornets, COVID-19, hurricanes, riots, and every else that happens, we get out to nature or a park to get some vitamin D via sunshine. But we are in the house a lot. My kitchen table is my office and my kids school desk, I set up my mobile gym right next to me so I can stop and exercise for a few minutes or do some stretches. My gym is a jump rope, (2) 10lb weights, exercise ball, and a yoga mat. After i serve dinner I run on my treadmill, which has been one of my best purchases ever!!!

The problem is my kids are getting lazy. Well, lazy until I make them stop watching Netflix or Minecraft videos. Then all of the pent up energy comes out and usually turns into them trying to kill each other, then my blood pressure goes up and de-escalating becomes tricky at this point. I know I should not have been letting them watch so much, but I still have to work and if they aren’t watching something they are very literally making me crazy because being Mom and outstanding employee takes 2 different mind sets and skill sets. Trying to do both simultaneously for 8-10 hours a day has been a headache to say the very least.

So as a solution I tried having them do exercise videos on YouTube, which they enjoy and there is a lot of cool videos for kid work outs. But after a few weeks they started getting tired with it. So I tried to get them to do at least a mile on the treadmill, and that was a battle because they got bored after a quarter mile and start wining. Then I came up with, “so you want to watch Minecraft videos, ok. But you are going to watch it while walking on the treadmill.”

It has been a beautiful compromise. They walk 1.5-2 miles before they realize how far they went. No more fighting to get them to move and they go to sleep easier too. It has been a WIN WIN. Now they ask me if they can walk /run on the treadmill during the week because that’s the only way they get YouTube time now.

I noticed their moods have improved since we started this compromise also. 🥳

Lessons As We Grow

I Think I Need to Teach Quiet Time

When is the last time your kid had to just sit still without a phone, tablet, t.v, or an adult engaging him or her?

I took them to one of the city parks near me on Saturday to get some fresh air and do some jogging. I’m trying to run outside more often rather than on the treadmill, I think it’s a much better workout. They have electric scooters they like to ride, but I also want them to exercise so I intentionally didn’t charge them before hand, I figured I could do about 1-2 miles by myself while they rode around before the scooters died, then they could jog/walk with me the last couple of miles.

Right on time, the scooters gave out. They did about a quarter of a mile before the crying and whining began, I wasn’t going to let them ruin my work out yet again, so I sat them in the middle of the park (the paved path around it is just a little bigger than a football field and goes in a circle) under some nice shady pine trees, gave them the water and told them not to move from this spot. To just sit and relax since they were so tired and they better not move because someone might run away with them. Basically scaring the crap out of them not to move. I could see them at all times where they sat and there was only 1 other family there, the park I might add is away from the road mostly hidden by trees, so I wasn’t to worried about it. I just wanted them to sit still and stop whining so I could get the last of my jogging in.

As I ran my laps, I watched them and realized that I can’t remember the last time they just sat without something keeping their mind going. In fact, besides bedtime, they have NEVER just sat and talked to each other or be alone with themselves and they are nearly 8 years old. This was a mind blowing realization because it was a normal thing for us to do when we were kids. Sit under a shady tree and talk or play; lay in the grass and look up at the clouds and ponder life. They are not learning how to be comfortable with themselves, with their minds. This wasn’t something that ever had to be a lesson for kids, it was something we did because there was nothing else to do.

As I finished up, they joined me for my last lap and they started asking me questions about the world and talking about more relevant things instead of going on and on and on about Minecraft and YouTube characters. It was wonderful seeing them express interest in the real world.

Going forward, looks like we need to add yoga and meditation to the list of things to do. I wish I had listened to the recommendations do keep electronics away from kids for as long as possible. I am going to start having quiet time with them twice a week to begin, I think it’s important they become comfortable with their own minds and silence. I will need to start with short periods and work my way to 30 minutes, they are not going to like it at first. Their brains are over stimulated and with hyperactivity a factor, it’s going to be a challenge.

Challenge accepted!

Let’s see where this goes, I will keep you posted.

Salute!

Lessons As We Grow

White Board Assignments-Writing lessons

I have noticed that writing is my kids weakest area, so while distance learning we started a journal where they copy what I have on the white board. The questions I ask and have them answer vary, because part of this is to get them talking about feelings and thoughts, but they always include a tongue twister because it’s fun and helps with pronunciation. Copying this stuff may seem simple. But it is an excruciating emotional hour long challenging my love & patience. That is how much Robo D hates it. I have found this is his biggest trigger for meltdowns. Copying ANYTHING from a white board. The next would be talking about emotions and his own thoughts. When I combine all of those things, it takes at least 2 hours to get through a journal entry. Then after, I tell him how great a job he did for finishing and that he is getting better or his hand writing is getting better. Something positive in hopes that the next time WILL be better.

Ninja D doesn’t mind but he speeds thru and makes mistakes a lot. But he loves talking about everything, sometimes it takes him a while to get his thoughts out properly, but it doesn’t bother him unless you cut him off or try to speak for him.

This is part of my journey in trying to help my kids handle their super powers better. #reading #learning #writing