Weekend Getaway to Houston, Texas

Labor Day Weekend... was quite frankly, a celebration of our parenting labor. With the first week of school out of the way, workers at our house daily, and our day jobs, it just seemed only natural to "get away."

By Thurs. we switched from "camping to somewhere in Texas" to visiting the Space Center in Houston. And we were all thankful for that - because it was another hot weekend! By Friday, Aaron and I booked our hotel and purchased our City Passes - which allowed us to see/do so much more. We would highly recommend going this route if Houston is ever on your list of places to visit.

It includes 5 attractions - so we picked the Space Center, three museums and the aquarium. Arriving early allowed us to squeeze multiple museums before dinner. By checking hours and miles, we coordinated seeing what we wanted - all into 3 days. And as if that wasn't enough, we threw in swimming at the pool, bowling, glow-golf, and the Kemah boardwalk. Sure we felt like collapsing by the end of each day - but that's what hotel beds are for.

Day 1: The Health Museum. As it's name suggests, here is where for a few hours, kids can really get a close-up on about everything and anything cool and "gross" about our bodies. Our journey began at the mouth, where we entered this exhibit full of interactive lessons. Where are our voice boxes? How loud can you scream? What does our brain control? How are our bones connected? Where is my small intestine? How are babies born? (that was an interesting conversation...) Why do some people wear glasses? What is DNA? and so on...

making summer memorable - alys beach 2011

Our 4th annual family beach vacation was a memorable one. As I shot these photos, I couldn't help but remember the years traveled - and looking through my lens - how different, how grown up... the kids are now. My sister and her family planned a trip out west, and although we were tempted to tag along, Ava grounded me to our summer tradition and the promise to return to the "beach" since she was 2 years old. This year was no different - she wanted to be at the beach - for 7 full days. I tempted her with Disneyland... but she refrained, and said she's outgrown the "princess stuff" {that's actually very good news!} 

So we left at 3am on Saturday and headed east - to Alys beach - the furthest beach we've stayed at along Florida's Gulf Coast. We arrived by 6pm, changed, and raced to feel the tip of the ocean...

Alys Beach Vacation - Summer 2011

Fall Foliage in New York, Vermont

Seven years ago, Aaron and I packed up and drove straight to Canada and the eastern states - a 7,000 mile pilgrimage just to catch a glimpse of mother nature in her finest hours. It has since then become my favorite time of year. A few weeks ago, we were blessed to have that feeling overcome us again, and pack up and head north to embrace our beloved season of fall.... but this time, we were accompanied by new travelers, and the adventure was even more off the beaten path by traveling with two curious little ones. We spared them the long drive, and flew into Buffalo, NY. After picking up our rental car, we headed straight towards our first destination stop - Niagara Falls...

Fall Foliage Trip 2010

making memories with sand in my toes

Sometimes you just have to go for it. Abandon the fear, anxiety and "what if" scenarios that spiral into the abyss of our minds. As adults, our thoughts are capsuled by these very things - especially as parents. Worrying about anything and everything. But if we simply watch - our children are the very ones that teach us how to be fully free and present among ourselves...

Feeling Free


The annual family beach vacation we started last year, faced many obstacles this year. Aaron and I deliberated back and forth whether or not this was something we should forego and pick back up when the kids are older. My parents and sister were traveling out of the country, work was piling up, and the need to save now - more than ever - were all working against the dream. 

The recent adventure to PV would have sufficed our need to bury 40 toes in the sand - except our family is really a bigger one - and extends into my own. There is something very nostalgic about family traditions. When I was young, we'd spend almost every weekend with our cousins - I can still smell Coney Island - hear the chatter of aunts and uncles coming in and out of Bebe's kitchen - and see my Bobo jan, over a century old, sitting in the backyard and watching all the grand [and great-grand] kids play baseball with tennis rackets. Many of my fond memories of childhood reside in those years - where weekend reunions with extended family were as common as the regular work week.

On shoestring budgets - each family came together to raise their kids as they were raised by generations before them. By the age of 10, all of that stopped, and my parents' obligation to save prevailed over childhood memories ever since.

Before using a lesson my Mom instilled - which was to refrain from making promises or plans - because "you never know what's going to happen tomorrow," I promised Ava we'd all go to the beach. No one forshadowed the recession. Aaron losing his job... or Dad's extended stay in Kabul. But I made the risky promise anyway - not accepting - how fast next summer would really come...

So when my bid for a new project was accepted, and the thought of saving it felt right and responsible, I decided that saving my promise to Ava - was even moreso.

we're going to the beach

Bienvenidos Summer!

Once the flu bug left us, we naturally caught the next best thing - the vacation bug. And when a "last-minute" deal popped up in my email on Tuesday, we were packed and ready to go by Friday to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for the weekend. Yes. All 4 of us!


playing at the edge of the earth

After a 12 hour road trip with two sleepy children that were coming in and out of consciousness, we arrived underneath our beach house rental in Santa Rosa Beach, Fl. We parked the car, threw open the doors, unbuckled the kids and ran straight towards the sand. As if we were kids again, we all shouted, jumped up and down, and got ourselves wet with goosebumps as the strong winds from the Gulf welcomed us. In the middle of unpacking, I found Mom and Ava by the shore for a personal greeting and was absolutely speechless with the view. I felt as though I was at the edge of the earth. I was humbled. I was scared. I felt so alive to be in the presence of God's wonders. The ocean. My mother. My daughter.

It's a big world out there