San Francisco – February 2015


Brian had been in San Francisco all week, and was going to be there the following one as well. So the kids and I were coming for a long weekend visit! It worked out well as they already had Friday off from school anyway.

Unfortunately, a snow storm was moving in, and I got nervous about our ability to make it to Denver, so I checked the kids out of school a little early on Thursday to give us some extra time for the drive, and hopefully be able to beat the worst of the storm.

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Disney World & Florida – December 2014

Pre-trip details and Introductions:

(You probably know all of us by now, but some updates anyway!)


Me (Jaime) – former middle school teacher, currently stay-at-home-mom. It’s no secret that I’m a little Disney-obsessed! For a long time, I tried to be okay with the one-big-tripevery-few-years routine, but finally lost patience and decided to start making use of the fact that my whole family lives in Florida (and we fly down there at least twice/year to visit) So I declared that we would begin adding short Disney trips to our family visits! I have come to really love these “mini-trips”, and enjoy always having some sort of trip in the works.

Brian (DH) – software engineer at Adobe. It has actually been a tough year for him. He got a nasty case of pneumonia last spring, and is still not fully recovered. It doesn’t affect him too much now for normal daily activities, but he is very into active things like mountaineering, snow climbing, skiing, etc. And it has been a constant source of frustration and stress for him that he can’t do those things at the level he was a year ago. But he does seem to be making progress at least. He “likes” Disney, but doesn’t love it the way I do. And actually complains now that we “go too often”, though without fail, once we are there he is always loving it, and never wants to leave.

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Disney World & Florida – October 2014

Chapter 0. Pre-trip Tediousness

Just in case I get carried away and don’t explain well as I’m going…

The Cast: 

Me (Jaime) – stay-at-home mom and master Disney planner 🙂
Brian (DH) – didn’t come on this trip, but I think I mention him a time or two
Lily (DD, 11 yo) – recently started middle school, and deep in the throws of adolescence. Enough said, lol!
Owen (DS, 4yo) – impatient, active, often an emotional basket-case, and generally scared of everything

My Mom
My Dad

Cassie & Cam – usually refer to them as “the cousins” collectively, (my brothers kids, 14 and 12 years old), they live in Naples with the rest of my family and came to Orlando with my parents

The idea: 

We needed to get away somewhere for a long weekend while Brian was off canyoneering in Utah, (because it didn’t seem fair for us to stay home, ha!) and visiting my family in FL made the most sense. After all, I had a brand new niece to meet! And what good is a trip to FL if we can’t sneak in a little Disney first??

Our dates collided perfectly with MNSSHP, so that seemed like a good excuse to get in some park time. Usually in these mini-trips with my parents, we stick to DTD and the resorts, so I was a little nervous about how this would go.

They really wanted to bring the cousins along, and talked their parents into letting them miss a couple days of school for it. (Lily was missing 3, oops!) I figured she would enjoy having some buddies her own age along, especially since they were old enough to go park-storming on their own.

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New York, Washington DC, and Williamsburg – July 2014

Full Photo Album – Facebook

Full Photo Album – Smugmug

Day 1. 

The adventure started at the airport. Where Owen asked if “where we are going is on a different planet?” LOL! A guy sitting next to us couldn’t help but laugh. Although, Owen may have been on to something, Laguardia airport DID feel like another planet in many ways.

We were trying to be economical and take the city bus. But it took us a rather long time, with 6 suitcases in tow, to find it. And then the bus driver apparently decided that his shift was over when we were still over a mile from our hotel, and kicked everyone off! So we gave off and hailed a cab to get us the rest of the way.

We got check in at the Exclesior Hotel, and made it to our dinner reservation just in time. I had picked it because it was supposed to be kid friendly, and sure enough, Cars was playing in the booth.

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Spring Break 2014

Day 1. Friday, March 21, 2014

Chapter1. Falling in Love with AKL, and the First of Many Meltdowns

Most of our traveling was uneventful, so just a quick recap. We got up, only a little earlier than normal (around 5am) and drove to Denver. We had to make one unplanned stop when we were only about 20 minutes away because Owen had to go potty and didn’t think he could wait. While we were stopped, I picked up some children’s Tylenol because I realized while packing that we were out, and I don’t like to travel without it, just in case.

We always park at an offsite lot a couple of miles from the airport. It’s cheaper and actually more convenient since they pick you up right your car, and drop you off right in front of the doors to the airport. Owen was being especially chatty on the shuttle bus ride, and in a cute 3-year old way. Telling everyone that “Mommy doesn’t let us go to Disney World every day”, and worrying that the bus was going to get in trouble for going too fast. I think he was quite the entertainment for the other passengers on board!

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Camping @ Rocky Mountain National Park – June 2013

Full Photo Album

We had reserved a walk-site at RMNP many months ago, to make sure we had the best spot. And it did not disappoint! It was beautiful, right next to a creek, and very isolated from other campers, even though it was still just a short walk to the bathroom.

Brian took off on a long solo hike, and Lily was doing her own guided hike with a ranger, so Owen and I went to the visitor center and watched a puppet show. It was about the trouble they were having in the park with the Elk eating the Aspen trees.

We also did a family hike in Wild Basin to a waterfall, and drove along Trail Ridge road. It was cold and windy though! And we went to an evening ranger program at our campsite, the first time we’ve made it one of those.

Lily really enjoyed a stop at “Lily Lake”, and thought it was cool that it was named after her.

All through the trip Owen loved bouldering on the big rocks, and Lily really had fun taking lots of pictures with her camera.

We ended the trip by stopping at Grand Lake, the farthest west we’ve ever gone into the park. We played on the beach for a little while before a storm chased us out.


Albuquerque Swim Meet – June 2013

We made a quick weekend trip to Albuquerque for Lily’s swim meet.

We had a bit of drama when we first arrived as the hotel had seemingly lost our reservation, but we were able to find something else nearby. The only free time we had was Saturday afternoon, and we chose to spend it at the science museum. They also had a traveling Titanic exhibit that Lily really enjoyed.

Florida – Mothers Day 2013

Florida – Mother’s Day 2013

We made a quick trip down to Naples to see Jaime’s family for Mother’s Day. We had only been back from Disney World for a few weeks, but we hadn’t had time on that trip to visit, so here we were.

Nothing too exciting, just handing out with Grandma and Grandpa and a short trip to the beach, where we saw a very unusual sand formation, and the kids got to watch Dolphins jumping in the waves.


Funny FB post on the way home:
Left the airport for a little while since we have a very long layover, coming back through security Owen got stubborn and refused to stay with me. I had to drag him forcibly up to the counter, causing some concern for the security agent. Further suspicious was that he then refused to tell her his name or age. So she tried to talk to Lily instead, who suddenly had one of her “timid attacks”, and wouldn’t answer anything without nervously looking at me first. (Hard questions like, What’s your name, and where are you going?) She finally let us go, but I’m pretty sure she thought I was kidnapping both of them.