Disneyland and the Special Needs Family – Part Two

disney2We recently took our family to Disneyland, which was quite a unique experience, since we were traveling with our adult disabled son, Kyle, who has Down syndrome and is mostly confined to a wheelchair. He lives at home with us, and Disney was a wonderful experience for him. It was for us, too…but it was exhausting!

Going to Disneyland is never without its need for planning, but if you’re traveling with someone who has special needs, it’s even more crucial to plan ahead. In addition to talking to customer support at Disney several times prior to arriving, we also mapped out how to approach our visit.

Unless you can afford to stay on Disney property at a Disney hotel (we could not), you should plan to arrive when or before the park opens. Because Kyle is wheelchair bound, we have a disabled parking tag. This was very useful at Disneyland, where you can spend a good hour just getting from the parking lot to the park. For the disabled, there is priority parking and special shuttle vans that allow the person in the wheelchair to remain safely in the chair while being delivered to the park.

Once you arrive at the park, your first stop should be Guest Relations to discuss your specific needs with the staff.  While Disney no longer allows special needs guests to skip lines because of the abuse of that service by able guests (who either bring someone in a wheelchair who doesn’t need it or otherwise falsely represent their need), they do offer, for most rides, something similar to a FastPass for special needs guests so that they do not have to wait in the line as well as alternate lines for wheelchair guests where needed to make it easier to load them onto the ride or transfer them from the chair to the ride.

The Disability Access Pass (DAS) is useful not only for mobility-based needs but for other special needs as well. Our other son has Asperger’s, and the DAS pass allowed us to forgo the long waits in crowds that might otherwise have triggered his overwhelm. We would simply obtain a DAS, go find something else to do, and come back at our appointed time for the ride.

Be sure you know what the ride will allow and whether or not your special needs person can do what is required. For us, mobility was the primary issue, so this guide was very useful:

disney mobility

Disneyland does everything they can to make the experience positive for every guest, and we were thrilled with what we were able to do for our kids. It’s worth planning ahead and being flexible about what you will be able to accomplish while there.

Have you taken special needs family members to Disneyland? What was your experience like?

Disneyland and the Special Needs Family – Part One

DisneyLast month, we took our family to Disneyland for Spring break. We had two-day passes to Disney. While it was not our first trip to the amusement part, it was the first trip we had ever taken there since Kyle has been mostly wheelchair-bound.

The last time we went to Disneyland, Anika was four and I spent nearly three hours standing in line with her so that she could meet Ariel, the princess du jour. The last time we went to Disneyland, Kyle’s spine compression had not yet been discovered, he had not yet had surgery to fuse C1-C3 and install a metal plate at the base of his brain, and he had not yet experienced the debilitation of the result of that compression. (For those of you who don’t know, Kyle is our now-24 year old son with Down syndrome).

We had a phenomenal experience, but we took many steps ahead of time to make sure we would. If you’re traveling with a special needs child or adult to Disneyland, start with these tips:

  • Call the park and talk to their customer service people about your specific needs. Because there has been so much abuse of their special needs policies, they no longer offer line skipping. Be sure you know what to expect and decide whether or not your family member can handle the experience.
  • Learn about the rides before you go. We thought Kyle would love Autopia – and he did – but he could not get out of the ride and we could not get him out without (literally) serious personal injury.
  • Buy a multi-day pass so that when your child (or you) wear out, you can leave, head back to the hotel, and not worry that you might have missed something.
  • Obtain (if you are eligible) a handicapped parking pass from your local DMV before you go. It is the only way to get priority parking and shuttle service.

Have you taken special needs kids or adults to Disneyland? What advice would you add?

Why Choose a Family RV Vacation over Traditional Travel

Our family has recently moved back to the West half of the U.S. and are eager to take a road trip and explore this side of the country with our kids. We asked Joe from El Monte RV to share his insights with our readers about the benefits of an RV trip through California. Thanks, Joe!

MomsGetReal Guest Contributor Joe Laing

elmontervPerhaps you want to take the kids on a memorable vacation but don’t want to go into debt to do so. You may wish to see various sights but traveling from place to place by car means you will have to eat out three meals a day as well as find affordable motels or hotels. The best idea for a completely enlivening vacation is to take an RV motorhome, camping in lovely RV parks and eating most meals in your “own” kitchen. If you have ever wondered if it is worth it to rent an RV and take off for parts unknown, we are here to tell you it is.

Save on Food and Hotel Costs

Iit doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it is cheaper to eat at home than it is to eat out. Whether there are two people or six on this vacation, fixing meals in your RV kitchen is going to cost a lot less than ordering food in a restaurant. Hotel or motel costs add up on a traditional vacation. The rental rate per day for an RV and RV park rates are quite a bit less expensive than a nice motel room, even when packing the whole family into one room. To compare actual prices, you would need to check with the company you rent from, as prices will vary according to location and the size motorhome you rent.

Even with gas prices, you should still save in so many ways that you will typically find the cost of an RV vacation comes out less than many other modes of travel. But the main benefit is that it puts you in control of your vacation more than any other. Stop to see sights along the way, change direction and go on a side-trip that particularly intrigues you. It is all up to you!

Ideas for a Memorable RV Trip – Reno and Northern California

Now here are some ideas for some memorable trips with the kids, and especially attractive for RV adventurers. Head for the desert and Reno and enjoy all the attractions along the way. Stop in Sacramento and visit the State Capital. You need to take the kids to the Sacramento Zoo so they can experience the wide variety of animals and birds and the slinky reptiles. This is a nice break before heading into the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

In the foothills you and the children will love getting a feel of the Gold Rush days in Auburn, California. You can camp at Auburn Gold Country RV Park while enjoying the fresh air and taking time to see one of the tallest bridges in California, the Foresthill Bridge. When ready to continue, drive on Interstate 80, going higher into the mountains and let the views enthrall you. When you reach Reno, there is something for everyone, with entertainment, festivals throughout the year and plenty of sights to see.

Ideas for a Memorable RV Trip – Southern California

Another trip that is wonderful for kids is traveling down from San Francisco to San Diego for a week or longer. The drive down is filled with gorgeous scenery when taking the coast highway. Then in San Diego you can visit the most famous sights such as Balboa Park and San Diego Zoo. Of course, the weather will cooperate with you in San Diego. It always does. You won’t want to miss Sea World. The kids could ride the rides all day. But you will have to eventually settle in for the night. The Santa Fe Park RV Resort is a good choice for RV camping. Then expose the little ones to some culture by taking them to the New Children’s Museum.

Ideas for a Memorable RV Trip – Oregon Coast

Perhaps you would like to set your sights on heading north to the Oregon Coast. Nothing can quite compare to the beautiful ocean views and adventures along the shores of the Pacific. You can stand on a high Pacific cliff and walk through a botanical garden in Coos Bay or get out for some sport fishing in beautiful Charleston. Everyone wants to get in some hiking and the perfect place for this is Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. There is a long list of things to do as you drive the coast, from crabbing in Waldport to beachcombing in Pacific City, Oregon.

No matter the destination you choose, and there are a lot more places of interest in the Western U.S. than what is outlined here, you will find traveling in an RV makes it a particularly special vacation for all concerned, and especially affordable. Time spent with the family is wonderful, and you will have an adventure that you all will be talking about for a long time to come.

 

Joe Laing is the Marketing Director for El Monte RV, your nationwide source for RV rentals. El Monte RV also sells used motorhomes through eight different locations across the United States. For more information on purchasing a used motorhome see http://www.elmontervsales.com/home/.

On the Road Again: Surviving the Family Vacation

MomsGetReal Guest Contributor Amy Thomson

Forget bonding; family road trips are about surviving. Unless you live in the Brady Bunch, you cannot reasonably expect your road trip to go off without a hitch. In fact, you may be planning a road trip, not to spend extra time with your family, but to save money on getting yourself to and from your destination. If you are planning to spend hours or days in a car with your family, arm yourself with these essential survival tips:

Keep the Kids Up Late and Leave Early

Road TripDo you really want to leave for your cross-country trip at three in the morning? Probably not. But, if you think about it, it makes sense. The earlier you leave, the more tired the kids are going to be. The more tired the kids are, the more likely they are to sleep in the backseat. Keep your kids up late the night before you leave, and leave in the wee hours of the morning. Throw pillows and blankets in the back of the car, and let the kids sleep as long as they like. You can easily knock four or five hours out of your trip before they wake up.

For most parents, keeping the kids up late means keeping yourself up late. It’s not safe to drive on a few hours sleep, so do this: Take shifts driving. Whoever is going to drive first goes to bed early. Whoever is going to be behind the wheel for the second shift gets to stay up late with the kids.

Charge Up the Devices

It’s nice to think that the family is going to play games and sing songs in the car. The reality is not as lovely. Your family is going to bicker, argue and grow tired of each other. Before you slide into the car, make sure that your family’s electronic devices are charged. A fully-charged iPad can keep your kids entertained for hours. While you’re at it, make sure you pack the car charger and a set of earbuds for each device. There are mobile charges that you can buy that will keep your devices running on full power for your entire trip. You may think that you don’t want your kids with their faces stuck to a digital screen, but you’ll be happy when you realize how much more smoothly your trip goes.

Bribe The Kids

Teachers know the power of bribery. It’s time to steal a tip from your kids’ teachers and use a system of rewards. Buy a pack of colored clothespins. At the beginning of your trip, assign each child a color, and clip clothespins to the sun visor or to your shirt. If your child misbehaves, the clip in his color is taken off. If he is well-behaved, his clip stays firmly attached. Remove and attach the clips as needed. Whoever has a clip remaining at the next rest stop gets a treat.

Keep in mind that this system of bribery works best on small children. You’ll have to get more creative with your older kids. Then again, your older kids are more likely to behave.

Road Trip

Stop Often

Speaking of rest stops, plan these into your itinerary. Do not wait until you and the kids are tired and cranky before you pull over. Plan on stopping at least every two hours of drive time. Stretch your legs for at least 15 minutes before you get back into the car. Stop for 30 to 45 minutes for meal times.

When you plan stops along your route, you are less likely to feel as though you need to hurry to get back into the car. Depending on the age of your kids, you may need to stop more frequently than every two hours. Likewise, if you or your spouse has joint problems, back issues or eye strain, you will want to stop every 60 minutes or so.

Get the Car In Order

Don’t pull out of your driveway until your car is in order. What does this mean? It means that it is tuned-up, fully gassed, and that you have the right insurance. You never want to break down during a road trip, you will never live it down if you run out of gas, and you certainly don’t want to be involved in an accident without the right insurance. One mishap with your vehicle will ruin your entire trip.

A family road trip doesn’t have to be something that you dread. While nothing will make your road trip akin to heaven on earth, there are simple things that you can do to make sure that it isn’t the worst idea you’ve ever had. When done correctly, you’ll find that a family road trip is at least marginally enjoyable.

 

Author Amy Thomson blogs for Monkey.co.uk car insurance. Going on a road trip with the family soon? Check out her other articles at Twitter @VroomVroomAmy.

Best Apps To Explore Hawaii

When you ask someone about their dream vacation spots, Hawaii is inevitably going to be on that list. Gorgeous, warm, exotic and with something for everyone, it remains the most popular luxury tourist attraction in the United States. It is just a place that could be described as paradise, and that everyone would like to go at some point in their lives.

If you want to explore the legendary islands of Hawaii, you can do so with these five apps.

1. Maui GPS Tour Guide

You don’t need a local guide to take you around the Maui anymore. You can have one in your own pocket with this helpful Maui GPS Tour Guide for the iPhone. Get detailed and interactive directions on every road, choose from five different tours, find the best local beaches for activities like sun bathing and snorkeling, and learn about the history of the land and everything on it.

2. Hawaii Travel Guide

Want maps and local business reviews for all of Hawaii? Want them to be accessible no matter what happens to your internet connection? Don’t worry about your reception while on the island, just use this travel guide. It has all information coded into the map itself, so you don’t have to connect to a signal in order to use it. Plus, it is from TripAdvisor…need I say more? It’s perfect for offline reading: There is no need for the Internet connection while using this application, as all the data (including maps and photos) is stored on your phone, after an initial update is done.

3. HTA

Learn all about Hawaiian culture, history, geography and more with this app released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. It gives you access to downloads with a ton of information, including about the modern island and the people that have existed on it long before it was a US state. Very educational and fascinating.

4. HawaiiTraveler

Immerse yourself in the lifestyle of the locals with this interesting app. It works as a live feed with a great deal of information that is updated constantly. Notifications of events, access to Hawaiian travel magazines, local reviews, city guides (including Oahu tourist attractions, Molokai attractions, etc) and more are accessed through this free app. The app is packed with beautify photos that will impress and inspire (how possibly can Hawai NOT inspire?) You can download each issue and then access all of them from the road: No Internet connection needed!

5. Festivals of Hawaii

Hawaii is a place of celebration, and there are events on each of the islands pretty much every week. Sometimes there are even events every day. You can use this app to track them, get notifications and plan out your trip. It is very useful for getting a look at what is going on each day, with a full breakdown of what the festival is for, what is done there, and when and where it is being held.

Do you know of any good apps for Hawaiian travelers, or just to explore the islands? Let us know in the comments!

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned
  •  License: Image author owned
  •  License: Image author owned
  •  License: Image author owned
  •  License: Image author owned

Annie is the travel writer who manages to always work from the road. She tries to enjoy your life while working on her way to re-discover the world!

Top 3 Tablets for Your Summer Travel

In celebration of our big move & love of travel, we asked our friends at BuyVia to make some tablet recommendations for our readers. They are also offering a special deal:

20% Off Refurbished Canon PowerShot Digital Cameras until June 22

Don’t forget to enter the MomsGetReal Cross Country Move Giveaway!

Enter Here

Summer is the most popular time for travel between family gatherings, business travel, graduations, and holiday vacations, and the growing market of electronic devices has made it easier for travelers to stay connected to work, family, and friends. Tablets have quickly risen to the top of everyone’s wish lists as they possess WiFi and Cellular connectivity, expansive app availability, and a smaller, more travel-friendly size compared to a laptop. But with all of the different tablets currently available on the market, each offering unique capabilities – which tablet is right for you?

Because tablets are not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ item we put together the top three tablets for your summer travel based on your personal needs and preferences.

Business Travel

If you will be travelling for work this summer, we recommend the iPad 4th Generation with LTE wireless. This tablet is the most popular in the market, featuring a large and beautiful screen, retina display, thousands of Apps, and connectivity at the fastest speeds. You will have access to all of your work documents as well as high-quality, fast performance so you can stay connected to the office at the airport, in the air, at the hotel, or during meetings.

ipad 4g

Family Travel

For the families embarking on a summer vacation, we recommend either an iPad Mini or a Nexus 7 tablet, depending on your current Smartphone operating system—if you have an iPhone, the iPad Mini will be intuitive, easy to navigate, and will use the same apps as your iPhone (including ones you may have already paid for). If you have an Android Smartphone, the same reasons favor the Nexus 7.  We feel these smaller 7 inch Tablets are perfect for travel due to their lighter weight, long battery life, and the full functions of a larger tablet. Mom or Dad can check on things at home with WiFi, lookup maps and travel guides, and use email functionality, or the kids can stay occupied while watching a movie or playing a game.

ipad mini and nexus

Leisure Travel

If the sole purpose of your summer travel is to relax, then the Kindle Fire HD is the perfect tablet. At a low cost ($199) Amazon’s tablet features HD display, WiFi capabilities, and access to Amazon’s extensive online commerce system. There are tons of e-books, videos, and e-magazines available as well as all the mainstream Apps to download. Whether you’re lounging poolside or visiting family, the Kindle Fire HD will be a great addition to your suitcase.

kindle hd

 

Are you shopping for a tablet this summer? Which one are you planning on buying and why? Let us know in the comments section!

 

Contributed by Norman Fong. Based in San Mateo, California, BuyVia is the only online and mobile smart shopping service that combines intelligent shopping capabilities including a set your price feature, UPC/QR scanning, geo-local deals and wish lists. BuyVia is a combination of hand-curated expertise combined with a custom architecture and uses this technology to uncover reputable products at the best price available. Products and deals will be available through charter partners Amazon.com, HP, NewEgg, PriceGrabber, Dell, Milo, TigerDirect, Sony etc., but because of BuyVia’s unbiased approach, any product and deal available anywhere on the Internet will be delivered to shopping app/website users. For more information follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Traveling with Kids Made Easy

Getting Real With +Shadra Bruce, Owner of +MomsGetReal

Whether you’re singing “Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go,” or screaming “Stop it right now or I’ll pull this car over!” traveling with kids is a challenge.

I should know – in addition to three cross-country moves, last summer we took a 35-day road trip with three of our five kids in tow.

If you want to survive traveling with kids, you need to ditch the car bingo and roadway i-Spy and get serious about entertaining the kids in the car.

It’s a vacation, so loosen up on video game and movie watching restrictions

I’d love to be able to say I’m one of those moms with pre-planned educational activities ready for the kids for each mile of the trip. While I do like Rand McNally Are We There Yet? (Backseat Books) the older your kid is, the faster he’ll lose interest. Worse yet, you might have a kid who gets car sick when reading. And traveling with puking kids is way less fun than traveling with whining, fighting kids.

The best solution for happy travelers is to provide them with electronic stimulation.

  • Portable dvd players allow your kids to watch movies to while away the hours. It makes it easy to answer the “are we there yets” with a “just finish watching ‘Madagascar 3’ and we’ll be close!”
  • Laptops, while slightly more risky depending on your vehicle set up, offer an even wider variety of options, from games to movie watching to surfing the net, provided you have a mobile hotspot (and if you’re traveling long distance, it is so worth turning on the mobile hotspot)
  • iPods are perfect for the music lover, but be sure to invest in some sound canceling headphones so that he can hear his music over yours without going deaf

The mess will vacuum up, so relax

When we departed in our brand new van last summer, I started the trip thinking that with a little care and planning, we could avoid messes, spills, and perhaps even eating in the car. And then the kids got hungry when we still had miles to go. It’s better to plan healthy snacks that won’t wind the kids up.

  • Kind bars are a great healthy choice for eating on the road. They can be a little sticky, though, so be sure you bring along baby wipes (another must-have when traveling)
  • String cheese is a quick and easy protein that will keep your kids satisfied between stops.
  • Water is a necessity, and a much better choice than turning the kids loose with soda or juice. Just watch how much you let them have, or you’ll be stopping far more often than you planned.
  • PBJs – or anything else you can pack from home – are a much better choice than fast food.

Stop and stretch

Unless your trip is short and sweet, somewhere along the way you should plan to stop, stretch, and let the kids go potty. Yes, it will add to the trip time, and yes, it can be a pain to haul everyone out, but it is the perfect refresher for everyone and can mend frayed nerves. It also helps the driver stay focused so you get there safely.

How do you survive traveling with kids?

Comment below with your suggestions, or tweet your ideas to @MomsGetReal!

Northwest Getaway Destination: Boise, Idaho

Getting Real With +Shadra Bruce, Owner of +MomsGetReal

I’ve traveled through much of the U.S. and some of Europe (the list of places yet to see is twice as long) and each place I go offers something to visitors that makes it worth the trip. I’ve only lived in five cities, however, and more than half of my life was spent in Boise, Idaho. Known across the country now thanks to a much more famous football team (Go Broncos!) when I first moved there in 1980 it was still a sleepy little small-town community.

While it’s grown considerably, almost tripling in size since I moved there as a child, the city has tried to maintain a small-town feel. Unless you’re stuck in traffic, you might think they succeeded. It’s an inviting place to visit.

Like a major artery that provides ongoing sustenance and life, the Boise River cuts through the city of Boise at its very center. Coursing through downtown Boise, the river is the heart of much that happens in Boise. Although the Boise River Festival – held for ten years from 1996 to 2006 – no longer occurs, the spirit of the Boise River remains constantly a vital part of the community.

The Boise State University campus is bordered on one side by the river, and a small walk-across the bridge takes visitors to the campus into Julia Davis Park, where the river invites exploration by paddle boat or canoe. Once the winter runoff has subsided each year, the river is full of people floating the river on rafts and tubes.

Across from Julia Davis Park and accessible through a simple walk or bike ride along the Boise Greenbelt – the miles of paved pathways that run alongside the Boise River – Ann Morrison park offers children a magical playground experience along the banks of the river.  Many community events, including Art in the Park and the annual Greek Festival, are held at these two parks that straddle the river.

Several parks line the river.  At Julia Davis Park, you can rent paddle boats or canoes or wander through the Boise Zoo.During the summer, the Idaho Shakespeare Festival is held in a venue with views of the Boise River; the amphitheater is nestled in a habitat preserve where the audience is able to enjoy wildlife as well as distinguished performances.

Boise was a relatively small town 32 years ago when a small group of acting students from Boise State University decided to bring a bit of culture to the town by putting on a play on the lawn of the Main Street Bistro in 1977.  The group – Michael Hoffman, Bill Copsey, Dan Peterson, and Stitch Marker – met while doing a stage presentation of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at BSU, and history was made the night they opened their first public show and charged $3.50 a seat to put on a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

At the time, one could conceivably understand that Boise was starving for culture.  For a capital city, it was not difficult to drive a few blocks and run into a working farm or a herd of cattle.  The magic, however, was in the people who made it happen – all of whom are now long-term veterans of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival and responsible for its growth from a 300-person, one-night event to a venue with a $6 million dollar budget and plans to operate year-round once the indoor theatre on the river is completed.

In addition to their award-winning performances, the Idaho Shakespeare Festival is actively involved in outreach and provides opportunities for students in Idaho, Oregon, and around the country to be introduced to theater through the Idaho Theater for Youth program and were chosen by the National Endowment of the Arts as one of 35 theatre groups to provide education through the Shakespearience! program as part of the NEA’s new Shakespeare For a New Generation program.

There’s just something about the place: long, warm summers; crisp, cold winters; clean air, tall mountains, gorgeous views; springs that smell like an air freshener commercial; autumns cool enough to make the trees turn colors but warm enough to go trick-or-treat without a winter coat.

Living in Boise, Idaho was the last thing on my 9-year old mind when my dad came home from work and announced that he’d been transferred. Arriving in the middle of one of the worst winters on record didn’t help much, either. It wasn’t until spring that I even knew there were mountains, but growing up in Boise was fabulous.

My dad took us fishing along the Boise River, where we caught trout and had virtual feasts for dinner. We bought a boat and spent weekends at Lucky Peak, finding our own secluded camp spot up the reservoir.

For being a big city, Boise always had a small-town feel. People were still neighbors, often coming together to celebrate holidays, gather in front yards and talk, and watch each other’s kids. The biggest trouble we ever got into was staying out too late playing hide and seek or cops and robbers. It was idyllic.

I know Boise has grown. There are traffic problems and complaints about the infrastructure and everyone worries about droughts and the summer fire season. From the perspective of a kid, though, Boise was a pretty great place to grow up. Boise offers many things to visitors, and even more to residents: a small-community feel with the large city opportunity, a low cost of living and crime rate, a unique personality. Boise is a great place to visit or to live.

 

Road Trip 2012 Reflections

Getting Real With +Shadra Bruce, Owner of +MomsGetReal

We’ve been home for 10 days now from our amazing road trip and starting to settle back into the routine of things. We’ve been dealing with doctor appointments and refilling prescriptions and grocery shopping and getting back into the swing of things with work…and thinking about all the people and places we got to see. We’ve already decided that at least once more while the kids are home we will do another major road trip. We’ve contemplated selling everything and going on the road full time; we’ve thought about moving West again to be closer to family. Most of all, though, we’ve just enjoyed reliving the memories of the experience.

We want to make sure the kids remember the trip, so we talk to them about different moments. We took hundreds of pictures and we loaded many of them onto a digital frame so that there is a slideshow of the month-long trip replaying for the kids. We chat about favorite moments each night when we tuck the kids into bed.

What has really made me happy, though, is the connection the kids have made with their cousins. They are emailing back and forth to each other, connecting on Facebook with each other, and remaining a part of each others’ lives. I know when school starts everyone will get back to their own lives, but I hope I will be able to continue encouraging the connection and the thought that family matters.


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Home from Our Travels, but Life Went On Without Us

Getting Real With +Shadra Bruce, Owner of +MomsGetReal

While we were gone for 35 days, life went on without us. The Mourning Dove that nests above our back door hatched another set of baby birds that have already left the nest.

Our guppies had not one but two sets of babies (I’m wondering at what point the tank will be too small to support them all!)

The flowers grew and bloomed (and so did the weeds).

Now that we’re home, we’re having a bit of trouble adjusting to life as normal, but we have been enjoying watching the fish and birds, having delicious home-cooked meals, and not being stuck in the car for hours on end. It’s as important to help kids transition back to normal after travel as it is to prep them for a long trip.

School doesn’t begin here until after Labor Day, so they still have a month off. While we will go see their sister at the end of the month when she returns to college, the rest of our summer will likely be quiet compared to what they’ve been used to on the road for a month.Our kids felt a letdown at being home and we’d planned ahead to anticipate that, taking them to a movie Friday and for a short outing Saturday to ease them back into typical summer boredom. The downtime is nice, but a little part of us dreams of selling everything, buying a big bus-like RV, homeschooling the kids, and staying on the road.

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