Monday, June 30, 2014

Meet Sarah

I'm thrilled to introduce you guys to my 'blogging friend turned into real life friend' Sarah. Sarah and her sweet family just moved away from Denver (sob!) to New York City so make sure you check our her blog and all of her adventures!

Travel has always been this outrageous component of my life. There have been times when the stars aligned and it felt like I had time and the means to be flitting all over the world, from place to place, seeing it all, taking it in. There have been times when circumstances have kept me home, almost buried underground I felt so rooted; but in those moments my heart longs to get back out. 

My greatest transformations, my little life epiphanies, and my deepest self-understanding have always come to me when Im in a place totally out of the ordinary. Something about taking my well-known soul out of a well-known place makes all of itthe place and the personcompletely fresh and new again. I love the clash of history and awe and fun and discovery that comes with traveling. These are the things that struck me when I was young and set out into the world on my own.

When my husband and I first got married, in those first months when we were excited and in love and poor, we would spend almost every evening in a coffee shop, planning a backpacking trip while sipping cups of coffee. The trip was nearly a year away, and we booked it in small chunks so that we could pay for things as we went. All we cared about was that, for three weeks, Europe would be ours. And I learned that, having a hand to hold when youre exploring only intensifies those feelings of history and awe and fun and discovery. 

I used to think that when I had children, Id keep the big trips for when they were old enough to make the most of it. Theres probably some wisdom in that. But still, as Ive learned what traveling can do to a person and as Ive felt opened up to the world just by seeing it, Ive decided that I want that for my girls. I want them to see all parts of the world at all parts of life, as much as I possibly can. It would be wonderful to bring them up knowing the world; but more than that, I think it will bring them up to know themselves. 

As much as a grown-up heart can be struck with wonder at the sight of something new, I get chills thinking about how it all must seem to those big eyes on their little bodies. What do they think and feel as they explore the earth with their pure hearts and innocent, imaginative minds. I think thats what drives us to travelthe lust for something new, yes; but also for something awe-inspiring, something that strikes a chord in our hearts. 

Sweden is definitely that place for Darlene. I think its incredible how she gets around with both her kids; and I think its incredible that theyre across the ocean right now. Its special for them to see it; and its special for Darlene to share a place so dear to her heart with her little ones. Its a part of her and now shes giving it to them. Its like a legacy. 

Weve just moved from Denver to New York City, and though Ive spent so much time here, a move is completely different. There have been days Im fumbling through it, just willing us to feel settled already. On these days, to shift my thinking, I pretend Im on vacation. Theres much to see, much to do, much to learn! I want this to be the transition and experience for my kids. Theres no reason this cant be a perfect example of what travel can mean to them. 

I expect there will be times coming up where we feel free to travel much. And there will probably be even more times that life will tie us down or restrict us momentarily. So travel,the way I feel when I do it, is a feeling and a mentality that I try to bottle up in my heart. How can I be awe-inspired today, even if all I have to do is laundry? And better yet, how can I make that a legacy that I give to my girls today?

Have a wonderful trip, Darlene! I know your kids wont forget or take for granted this wonderful opportunity that youve made for them!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Meet Erica

Hi everyone! My name is Erica and I blog at To the Sea. While Darlene is off in Sweeden she asked me to do a guest post on one of my own favorite places to travel. Since we're both mama bloggers, I figured I'd write about my favorite kid-friendly trip (because we all know it's kind of hard to compare travels before and after, hahaha). 

While my baby girl travelled to countries on four different continents before reaching the age of two, her favorite so far has been one just a few hours from our home. When we were living in Tanzania, we were down the road from Mikumi National Park, an amazing place where lions, elephants, giraffes, and other native animals roam free. A trip to such a places is known as a "safari," which in Swahili means "journey."
...and a journey it was. Well, were. We actually took the trip twice while we were there. We woke up before dawn, hopped in our truck, and watched the landscape change from city to jungle to savannah. One of the first things we saw as we got near the park was a family of elephants crossing the road. It was amazing.
And we hadn't even entered the park at that point!

On our first trip there, we hired a guide. It cost $145USD for six hours. Here's a little of what we saw:
We seriously felt like we were in The Lion King! The second time we went we decided to explore the park on our own. It was just as fabulous...
A safari is a trip I highly recommend for kids of all ages. It's an amazing adventure and learning experience. If you're interested in going on one but are on a budget, stay away from the "big name" safaris (like the Serenghetti, which can end up costing thousands) and look for the smaller parks like Mikumi. There is still plenty to see, and we ended up only paying that $145 for the guide and $70/night for our hotel room. Totally worth it!

Feel free to stop by my blog, where I write more about life in Tanzania and other adventures, and let me know if you have any questions! 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Meet Maria

Hi 'Young Mamma Tales' readers! Today is my turn to tell you a little about myself and about one of my favorite vacations, while Darlene and her family are enjoying theirs in Sweden.
Hope you're having a blast over there Darlene!

My name is Maria and I blog over at 'Micha and ME'. 
I live in a small-ish city in Holland, but I was born in Australia and spent a chunk of my childhood in Canada.
I've been happily married to my high school sweet heart, B. for almost eight (!!) years now. 
We have the cutest little boy, Micha, who's turning two this summer and another little boy on the way, due the end of June, I'm about to pop! 
I blog mostly about motherhood and our life here in Holland, but I also throw some recipes and fashion into the mix once in a while.

This April we made a big trip to Canada to visit my sister and her family, who live there, and also my best friend and her family. We survived two intercontinental flights with a toddler, you can read more about that here or here

Even though we loved our Canada trip, it's not the vacation I'm going to share with you today.
No, today I'm going to tell you about our last vacation as a childless couple. 

A little background story: My husband and I struggled with infertility and went though fertility treatments for a few years before we got pregnant with Micha. It was a hard and disappointing time and we were at a point that we felt like giving up fertility treatments to pursue other possibilities of becoming parents.

It was then that we decided to go on a fun vacation, just the two of us, to forget our struggles and to think things over. We usually vacationed with family or friends, but this time it would just be me and him.

We packed our tiny car to the brim with camping gear and set off towards French Bretange ( Brittany). 
We drove for almost ten hours until we reached the very tip of Brittany and found a campsite overlooking the ocean. We bought a Lonely Planet guide for the area and used that to explore beautiful Brittany, every recommendation and tip from that little book was a success.

We ate 'Moules Frites' (mussels and fries) on the boardwalk, 
visited pastry shops in every town to see which had the best 'Kouign Amman' (a buttery, caramely, croissant-like pastry) 
and crashed a 'Fez Noz', a traditional barn party, we were the only tourists, and yes it was a little awkward, but also a lot awesome. Especially after a few glasses of cider. 

I was a little nervous how things would go with just the two of us, would we get bored? 
But we loved every minute of our time together.

The 'Brittany' vacation made me realize that all I really needed to be happy was my husband, 
a baby added to the mix would be so welcome and such a blessing, 
but we were also so great with just the two of us. 
It made me so grateful to be married to my best friend. 
It was a summer to remember. And a vacation that was so much more than just a trip.

A few months later the fertility treatments finally paid off and I became pregnant with Micha, who was born the next summer. Another summer to never forget.
And now, I don't understand why we're so lucky, this summer will be unforgettable as well with the birth of our second miracle baby.

B. and I can't wait to bring our boys to Brittany some day, to the same campsite, and to the same beach. We'll dress them in little french striped shirts and treat them to crepes with caramel sauce, with big, crazy, lucky smiles on our faces.

Love, Maria

Friday, June 20, 2014

Life Lately

Currently sitting (most likely) in a hot springs in the Blue Lagoon of Iceland. That is if we survived the plane ride with two kids, one who hates being restrained. Okay make that two but at least the 6 year old can at least be reasoned with. Most of the time. 

^Exhausted after spending two days with a 3 month old and two just turned 2 year olds..^

^Hanging lights in our tree. Cozy, cozy summer nights are here!^
^Current favorite game in our house. The baby pushes the big boy on the car^
^Everyone doing Saturday morning chores. One of them is cleaning off the high chairs^
^Helping papa with the car^

^Elementary school dance. Cutest thing ever. Also, I had the best looking date there. Obviously^
^Farmers market bike rides and breakfast. Every Saturday^

^Swedish school graduation^

^Love them^
^We like coffee, okay? Don't worry it was empty^

^Life changing Bike. I'll blog more about that later^
^Saying goodbye to Kym. I still haven't forgiven her for leaving^
^Saying goodbye to Sarah, why do all my bloggy buddies leave??^

^Zoo trips. We have been twice since then^
^Pinata time at a friends birthday^

^Family visits are the best!^
^He gave her a horse for her birthday so she gave him a kiss.naturally^
^Library play^
^Bathroom potty breaks in the back of the portapotty suburban^

^She's so sassy^
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