Healthy Holiday Travel

This week marks the official beginning to traveling the week of Christmas. While most of us have already been traveling for the holidays with
Thanksgiving under our belts, literally and physically, we sometimes are not alone in our jaunts to visit family. Fall and Winter mark when reduced temperature and the gathering of people, and of course the conception of the cold and flu season with all the germs cohabitating such a rich environment. So what can we do to ward off, prevent, or even be proactive in the holiday travel season to reduce the spread of germs that cause the cold and flu?
My helpful hints when traveling in confined spaces for hours at a
time and to help prevent the spread of germs that cause the cold and flu viruses:

  1. Wash, wash, wash. Washing
    your hands is the single most important thing to do no matter what.
    Including after restroom use, after a sneeze, after anyone else
    sneezes or coughs. The saying, cleanliness is next to godliness is
    no joke when warding off or preventing the cold or flu.
  2. Carry tissue. Tissue can catch a sneeze, boogars for the
    kids, and this tool is such a simple item. Not to mention if you
    are stuck on a plane or train for your holiday travels, offer up
    one to your neighbor who might already be fighting a cold, cough,
    or the flu. Carry a box in your car, you never know when the kids
    may need a quick tissue.
  3. Carry disinfecting
    gel. Travel and pocket size are great for purses and on the go for
    busy moms, dads, and anyone else. Especially if you are again in a
    plane, train, or automobile for your holiday travels and are unable
    to get to the nearest restroom to wash your hands. Hand sanitizer
    is a great tool when used properly.
  4. Disinfecting wipes. I love disinfecting wipes. I have
    them strategically placed all over my house and a travel size in my
    purse for those not so clean moments, especially while traveling.
    Who knows when the last time that seat or upright tray was cleaned,
    so why not give it a good wipe down. Clorox
    offers some great products for disinfecting wipes to store around
    the house and even on the go.

Don’t forget that Clorox offers a great hard surface spray as well for cleaning those stingy
items that harbor germs and bacteria long after the holiday cheer. For a full list of helpful household hints to keep your family healthy through the holidays and while traveling this holiday season, visit the Clorox site for more details. Happy Holidays!

Legoland Adventure

Spring break starts for so many families right about this time of year. Our family wanted and needed to take a vacation. BADLY! We wanted to go somewhere within driving distance, preferably near the ocean, and definitely not any place cold. Clearly the only choice is and was sunny Southern California. The next option was what theme park or entertainment would we arrange for the kids so they could lose their silly minds? We thought about the “traditional” theme park and were dissatisfied with the fact that the entire family would not be able to enjoy the fun.

Until I researched Legoland. Can I tell you that Legoland is THE best choice for kids ages two(2) to oh let’s say probably 13. I scouted the park out virtually through their interactive website and saw all the activities directed specifically for kids. Shows, rides, characters to take photos, play areas with splash pads (water play), playground areas for tots, and let us not forget the almighty roller coaster!

I think that was the best part of the park for myself, The Chad, and Grant was that we could all ride the coasters. He was tall enough to ride by himself and even if he wasn’t, as long as he had a friend or adult tall enough to ride they could go together allowing him to enjoy all the fun. How super cool is that idea? The twins were much the same as well for the rides. Because they are 36 inches tall they could ride a good majority of the rides, but some, and definitely not the coasters, they could ride with The Chad or myself. The first traditional fun ride that Grant went on with The Chad was Aqua Zone and it is THE very first ride you see when you head into Imagination Zone from the entrance.

I personally LOVED this ride because of the spectator involvement. On the platform that overlooks the ride you see six colorful posts with buttons. Little did I know those buttons control air cannons that spout off water in a high powered blast to the wave riders of Aqua Zone. So another mother and I were watching our boys and we decided to gang up on them and fire off as many cannons as fast as we could and as fast as they would recharge. Needless to say we soaked our families and a few others and I was laughing so hard my ribs hurt.

What we really enjoyed about the rides and the entire park is that Legoland reminded us of the biggest carnival that merged with a super cool theme park, minus all the ugly creepy carnies seen at a carnival.

Also do not think that Legoland is just for “boys” because this theme park is a hidden treasure for girls. After taking Grant on his very first roller coaster which was the Lego Technic, which was awesome as he cried in fear and The Chad had to calm him. AWESOME! We headed up the hill from The Imagination Zone into Castle Hill and I started to lose my mind with Sara as we saw princess dresses and face painting. Now this is NOT your typical face painting, imagine your entire face as a canvas of beautiful, girly, glittery color.

More coasters awaited as Grant and The Chad went on The Dragon coaster and I took the twins over to Explore Village and Playtown as they were getting fairly antsy to play themselves. We went on the Legoland Express…SEVERAL times, raced down the slides, played with the Duplo blocks and raced down the slides again. The two of them were having such a ball that I did not think that taking them on any more rides would top the fun they were having at Playtown. I could not stop snapping pictures of them playing with all the fun they were having. Because really this trip and the park is made for kids the same age as my kids. The age where everything is new and full of imagination. After about the 100th time on the Legoland Express and I noticed that the sky began to grow a bit darker we moseyed our way back to the entrance of the park where we enjoyed some quiet fun and relaxation.

Legoland has the Sea Life Aquarium attached to the park and can I tell you…AWESOME! The perfect way to end an exciting fun filled day of rides and running around is by walking through the dimly lit aquatic paths where you feel like you are actually swimming with the fish.

The aquarium is all indoor and truly amazing. The sea life is plentiful and many of the exhibits are right out of the California landscape and they are replicated in a way to mimic the movement of the tides and water at the shore and sea level. Truly fascinating. We wound our way around to a room where we were completely surrounded by fish! The kids were in awe. We were in awe. Again the experience was breathtaking and relaxing. We walked some more where we came upon an area that resembled what would look like an above ground tide pool and a wonderful gentleman who urged us to touch and play with the sea life. Well I could not resist the temptation and began my sea exploration of touching starfish, sea stars, sea cucumbers, which are the COOLEST to touch based on how they look. Grant, the chicken that he is, we coaxed (forced his hand really) into the water to touch and feel as well. Just a really neat experience and very educational.

Legoland in our “fishy” opinion is GRADE A the best for kids. The park is eco-friendly (lots of recycling), far from crowded, has a really great atmosphere, no waiting in lines, the staff is exceptionally easy breezy. Considering that our kids almost got us removed from the park. Just look at them…failing to follow the rules:

Yes all three of the kids…going head first down the slides. In fact Grant was chased by the staff for failing to sit on his behind while going on the Dune Raiders slide.

Way to go guys!

Needless to say if we lived in California we would definitely invest in the yearly membership for our kids to visit Legoland as often as possible. Now that we also know how much fun they had we will be sure to plan more trips and include Legoland in our fun. Thank you so much to the staff of Legoland for a wonderful experience.

*The Five Fish received complimentary media passes to Legoland which were a one day park hopper that included admission for four to Legoland and the Sea Life Aquarium.

Twin Family Vacation

Twins and Mama on Beach

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Your life changes when you have kids?”  Well DUH Sherlock! Have you ever heard the phrase, “You must (or sure do) have your hands full?” Yes, like all the time from people about my life as a mother of twins. I knew I had my hands full when I had Grant, they just happened to be able to hold two more when I had the twins.

Peace at the beachOur life changed drastically with the twins and that included family vacations of any sort. When we had Grant and Grant alone, trucking around a single child in the airport is a breeze compared to a child and two toddlers. Not to mention any public place or venue that I take all three kids. Needless to say I understand why people, or parents with multiples do not venture into public very often, because the outing is an ordeal.

But The Chad and I were presented with a unique situation where he would be on business in San Diego for half the week. With San Diego being only a six hour drive from home, we thought, let’s make this a family vacation. The kids can see the beach, we can catch up with family, what is stopping us?

Not much stopped us and can I tell you that the worst part of the vacation was the packing, unpacking, and maybe not having enough for the kids to do while in the car? Otherwise, venturing into a “vacation” with twin toddlers and a six year old was totally doable.

I will say that having enough for the twins to do and having another adult to help is a MUST! I was thankful that The Chad was able to help with the twins because they were like Thing 1 and Thing 2 at some moments where each was going in his and her own direction and I did not have enough hands. I will also say that I braved the beach with all three and I am EVER so glad I did as I set them free. Each did his or her own thing and were completely content.

But as with all good things, they must come to an end, however, we are ever so glad they didTwins and Mama on Beach come to an end. We could not be happier that we are home. In our beds, our house, our comforts of home. Now if we could just move home to San Diego we are set. No but really, we are thankful to be home and we cannot wait to share about all the fun we had! Honestly, I thought I was going to die on this trip. I prepared for the worst and at the end of the day, I got the absolute best because I was relaxed and I didn’t stress with my kids. I guided them from harm and let them just enjoy their time and their experience and we all healed our souls with this trip. Now, I must do some healing for my eyes as I get some much needed sleep to tell you all about our trip.

Palm Pre Mobile HotSpot

Palm Pre

Palm Pre

Upon receiving the Verizon Wireless Palm Pre Plus I knew the phone had lots of features. No let me restate that, LOTS of features, seemingly unlimited capabilities in a phone. I knew of the online web surfing option, a Facebook app, and other data features I had seen with my Blackberry Curve. However, one feature that I was told about by the Verizon staff was that the Palm Pre Plus has a feature called the Mobile Hotspot. Okay, do tell, as I am not as tech savvy as my husband, I need a bit more explaining. Basically the phone turns into a wireless hub, port, connection, a wifi hotspot for up to five users or computers. You can also make this a secure or open connection just as you would with a wireless connection in your home.

Or so I thought.
Our trip to San Diego was a perfect opportunity to test out the Palm Pre Plus Mobile Hotspot. After we got out of town and the kids were entertained or fast asleep I decided to pull out my laptop to get some blog posts done. I grabbed my Palm Pre Plus and began to look through my navigation menu. The only option available was a Wifi icon. This was not the mobile hotspot option. So I began to Google on the phone to find the name of the app. Only after spending roughly two hours and nearly draining my battery I found a decent article that stated how the mobile hotspot works on the Palm Pre Plus. Here is what Verizon DID NOT tell me:
  1. You must pay a $35 activation fee for the 3G (or is it now 4G?) service capability to make the phone a mobile hotspot for the Wifi capability. This fee then notifies your account of the available hotspot app. However this option is FREE only with the Palm Pre phone, the activation fee applies to all other phones.
  2. You must then search through the THOUSANDS of apps in the app catalog for the Palm Mobile Hotpost specific app. Or as I did….update your operating system….AFTER you spent countless wasted hours searching needlessly.
  3. Only after paying the activation fee, searching endlessly for the app, you must yet again pay another fee. Yes, I did say you have to pay another fee, another $40 per month for what Verizon calls the Mifi. (Minus the former Mifi card that came with the service since your phone is now the air card per se.) However, again, what Verizon does not disclose is that this fee is waived for all Palm Pre Plus owners since this is a feature ONLY to this phone.
I was HIGHLY annoyed and frustrated at the lack of communication in part from Verizon regarding the Palm Pre mobile hotspot capability. Fantastic my phone can dial space but if I don’t pay the tolls and fees to talk to aliens then the option is fairly moot correct? More or less my annoyance was due to the fact that I was TOLD that I already had the mobile hotspot on my phone which meant I “assumed” I could use my phone for Wifi on the road and I could
post wonderful blog fodder.
All in all I am extremely happy with the phone, however, I am a bit disappointed that the Verizon Wireless staff failed to mention the fine print of fees and activation IN ORDER to make the phone a mobile hotspot at the time that I had activated the phone. Plus the mobile hotspot does have a data limit of 5MB for your usage, unless you have the unlimited data plan, so be sure to check with your provider to see what your data limit may be. In the event you are looking to game or do anything other than maybe check your email you will more than likely go OVER your data usage thus resulting in additional fees and charges and waiting until your next billing cycle to renew your data limit. But again, totally happy and satisfied with Verizon Wireless and the Palm Pre Plus, just disappointed with the communication at the store level.