Saturday, January 30, 2010

One Year

1-1.jpg picture by debi90

I was at the park with my own little ones when I got the call from her mother. She told me there was nothing more anyone could do and they were going home to say goodbye to their precious Tuesday. It all gets fuzzy from there. I remember heaving sobs, trying to get out words of comfort, and just only being able to say “I’m sorry” over and over. The fight was over. A few short days later, Tuesday would go home to God. That next week I was a robot. Making phone calls and arranging travel plans with women who all had babies the same age as Tuesday. I was going to say goodbye to one of my best friend's babies. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t right.

Tuesday changed my life. She helped me truly see God in a way I never knew possible. She helped me grow closer to friends who are now like my sisters. She helped me love my own children more than I ever knew I could. She helped me realize I need to help raise awareness for all the little babies who die of this horrible disease.

Lately, I have been paralyzed. I know of another child who just went home to God after fighting this disease. Her story was so similar to Tuesday. It was too close to home. I have tried to hide from all of this but God keeps shoving it in my face. Now I pray for strength to do something more. Strength to attack this monster head on and make a difference. 

I am still mourning sweet Tuesday. I suppose I am in denial. Denial that this could really happen. Denial that it happens every day. I want to get out of denial but damnit it’s so much easier to stay here. So now I turn to God and ask him for strength to move forward.

My mourning is nothing compared to what her family must feel. I won’t even try to imagine what it must be like. I think of them daily, constantly, every time I glance down at that yellow bracelet on my wrist. They are doing an amazing job at moving on but I know every day must be a struggle of epic proportions.

Please remember Tuesday. Remember her light. Her courage. Her strength. Her gift. She was an angel on earth and now she is an angel at home in heaven. I know we will see her again. I know her family will once again be whole. But until then, I mourn.

I love you Tuesday.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Papago Park

Whenever I am in a big city I look for an oasis of nature. A park that gives urban dwellers an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and allows families to spend some quality time together outdoors. In Phoenix, their perfect oasis is Papago Park.

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In addition to being the home of the Phoenix Zoo and the Desert Botanical Gardens, Papago Park is also home to fishing lagoons, an archery course, and hiking opportunities. One of the most popular hikes is the short jaunt up to Hole-In-The-Rock. The appropriately named rock dominates the scenery and just calls out to be climbed.


Its a simple climb up to where the hole is located, aided with steps carved into the rock. Once you reach the top, climb through the hole and take in the views of Papago Park, Tempe, and the greater Phoenix Area.




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If you would like more information on Papago Park, click here.

If you would like to see more fantastic travel photos check out Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


One of the must do activities on Oahu is visiting the resting spot of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor. Standing above the sunken grave of American soldiers who gave their lives on December 7, 1941 is a moment I certainly will never forget. If you are interested in history and paying your respect to our troops, I would also encourage you to visit Punchbowl, the National Cemetery of the Pacific. Over 13,000 soldiers who died during World War II call Punchbowl their final resting place. It is a beautiful cemetery filled with incredible history.

Punchbowl holds an important place in my heart because it is where my grandfather is buried. He was a career Marine and served in three wars.

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Even if you don’t really have alot of interest in military history, I think you will be amazed by the scenery. Punchbowl offers incredible views of Waikiki and surrounding areas.



If you would like more information on Punchbowl click here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Spring Break Ideas


Recently I helped contribute to an article for Trekaroo that was published on Ciao Bambino. We offered some suggestions on where to go this Spring Break with kids. I hope you will check out the article and get some inspiration for your own Spring Break or maybe even your summer vacations. Its a wonderful article and you can read it here. Thank you to all my readers for your support. It means so much to me!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Aquarium of the Pacific

It has been raining in Southern California. No, I take that back. Its has been POURING in Southern California. The kind of weather you expect to see in Texas or Florida but not here. We are not equipped for the rain. Our schools are outdoors, our play areas are outside, and sometimes finding something to do that is inside can be a challenge. Luckily, there is the Aquarium of the Pacific. Its not completely insidoors but you can still see most exhibits without so much as getting a drop of rain on your head.

We headed to the Aquarium of the Pacific during our last big patch of rain. Mari had won a free ticket  at a beach clean up and Ben had been talking about sharks non-stop. As soon as we walked through the entrance we were taken aback by an enormous whale hanging from the ceiling. Immediately my kids started squealing with excitement. We continued on over to a huge tank filled with fish. The kids pressed their noses up to the glass and got up close and personal with some of the animals that reside in the Pacific.


I glanced out a window and noticed that there was a break in the rain so we hurried to check out the outdoor activities. Ben was immediately drawn to the play area where he could pretend he was a pirate on the ship and climb on some sharks. We were able to coax him away once he realized there were real sharks and rays in the big tank and he could touch them!





Our reprieve from the rain was short lived so we headed back inside. Luckily the seals and sea lions were ready and willing to put on a show for us. The kids were absolutely thrilled to be so close to those adorable pinnipeds.  If you choose to visit the aquarium on a sunny day, you can also view the seals and sea lions from outside (though I happen to prefer the underwater view).


We went from tank to tank, learning about the wonders of the Pacific from jellyfish to otters to sea dragons to puffins.  We visited the freezing cold waters of the Pacific Northwest and then oggled the brightly colored sea life of the tropical Pacific. 2009-12-148


In addition to the sea life exhibits there is also a really cool 3D movie that you can watch at the aquarium. We passed on it during our most recent visit because Mari gets a little freaked out by 3D but I have seen it in the past and its well worth your time. If you would like more information on the Aquarium of the Pacific click here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Roadtripping With Toddlers

Today my article on road trips with toddlers went live on Ciao Bambino, a wonderful travel website for families. If you are thinking of taking a road trip with your little ones or just want to send me some love, check out my article here. I really appreciate all the support my readers give me and the invitation from Ciao Bambino to be featured. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Road Trip Day 22- Bryce Canyon NP Rainbow Point

Rainbow Point is where the road ends in Bryce Canyon. The journey to roads end is filled with amazing viewpoints (13 to be exact), rich colors, and sculptures that only wind can carve. Our journey included an actual rainbow which I found to be quite apropos. 



At 9115 feet, Rainbow Point offers incredible views of the surrounding landscape. We arrived just before sunset and our plan was to hang out on the viewing platform for a few minutes before we got back in the car and headed down the 18 mile road back to the park’s entrance.  Then I saw the sign for the Bristlecone Loop.

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It had been a long day and we had already hiked portions of the Rim Trail and the Navajo Trail but the I just had to do the Bristlecone Loop. I had read about the bristlecone pines many times before and always marveled at these “oldest living things” but I had never actually seen one for myself. The loop is only a mile long and after some coaxing I convinced my husband to help me hurry our kids down the path so we could see one of these amazing trees for ourselves. Bristlecones live where most trees wouldn’t stand a chance at survival. They prefer exposed dry rocky slopes and grow at incredibly slow rates. The oldest, somewhere in the White Mountains of California, is thought to be 4,765 years old. These trees have lived through so much history. One can only wonder what those gnarled pines have seen as they stood out on cliff’s edge.

That evening we saw the Bristlecone Pines. I stood in silence as I gazed out at these unassuming trees.  I watched my children, so young, run and play around something so very old. It was a small moment in the lives of those trees but large moment in mine.

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If you would like to see more amazing travel photos, check out Delicious Baby's Photo Friday here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010



Tucked back on a quiet street in California’s oldest continually occupied neighborhood (there is an adobe in the neighborhood that was built in 1794. That’s OLD for the west coast) is a little place filled with birds, bunnies, guinea pigs, goats, chickens, ducks, pigs, horses, and even an emu! Its Zoomars, a wonderful petting zoo in the heart of San Juan Capistrano’s historic Los Rios district. 

What makes Zoomars different from the average petting zoo? For me, its the bunnies. There is a large pen filled with bunnies and guinea pigs who are soft, cuddly, and looking for a snack. For a small fee kids can buy a container of veggies to feed the animals. I think Mari and I could have spent hours in that pen if we had the time.



Besides the bunny/guinea pig pen, there is the classic goat and sheep pen. The goats seemed especially friendly and happy to have us around.


Mari took a pony ride around the property while I got to know some of the horses, pigs, cows, and sheep a little better. Then we headed over for a visit with the emu and the llamas followed by some quality time on the playground.



Another great thing about Zoomars is that they host birthday parties. They have a wonderful area filled with picnic tables  that are reservable for parties. Between the pony rides, swing set, train ride, and petting zoo, I think this place could be a huge birthday party hit. Right now Zoomars is at the top of our list for the twin’s 4th birthday party.


If you would like more info on Zoomars click here

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

And the winner of the $25 gift card to Ecostore USA is…… Lora at Tripping With Kids! I used  (it picked number 17) to pick the winner and mixed up all your entries on a spreadsheet so you didn’t get all your entries clumped together and so the people who were first and last didn’t get the shaft. Do you ever notice the first and last entries never seem to win? Well they didn’t win this time either but at least they had a fighting chance.

Thank you so much to Ecostore USA for providing me with the opportunity to give something fun to one of my readers and for making such great products. I just purchased a bunch more for an upcoming baby shower. You have me hooked!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Disney on Ice- Tips and a Review

Do you remember being a little kid and getting so excited about something that  you worried  those butterflies in your belly were fluttering fast enough to actually break free? Do you remember trying your best to fall asleep at night only to toss and turn with anticipation? I do. And I know if I was a 5 year old going to Disney on Ice I would have spent one of the butterfly filled late nights in my bed, dreaming of princesses, Mickey Mouse, and Tinkerbell.

We recently took Mari and Ben to Disney on Ice for the first time. I spared them the tortured late night by waiting until we got to the venue to tell them about their special day. The excitement on their faces when we walked towards the arena was priceless. They squealed with delight when Cinderella waved to them during the pre-show princess meet and great. In their world, Jennifer Aniston had just acknowledged their presence. They giggled and bounced in their seats when the announcer reminded the crowd it was only 5 minutes until show time. Their eyes grew wide as the lights lowered and the show began. Mickey and Minnie came out and the crowd erupted with excitement. Huge smiles appeared on their faces and I held back tears. They were having one of those moments. A moment of sheer childhood bliss.

January 2010

Disney on Ice was fantastic. The two hour show slipped by much quicker than I would have ever imagined and I think everyone in the crowd, young and old, was thoroughly entertained. Ben kept asking me for more in between acts and Mari ran as fast as she could during a sudden urge to go to the potty. For a child who notoriously takes her time, I think we may have set a new world record. When it all ended, Ben cried. He wanted more. Mari quickly found a reason to fall apart as well. They never wanted it to end.


The show we went to consisted of skits from Mickey and friends, Cars, Little Mermaid, Lion King, and Tinkerbell. They were beautifully costumed, amazingly skated, and filled with the songs we all know and love. It lived up to every expectation that I have of Disney. Along with the beauty and spectacle of Disney, came the prices. Want a snowcone? Well that will be $12. See that light up Tinkerbell toy your daughter has been eyeing? Yep. $20. Here are my tips to have a great (and economical time) at Disney on Ice.

1. Look for discounted tickets online. We got our tickets half price through a discount featured on Travel Zoo. We only paid $12 per person and our seats were awesome!

2. Dress warm. This is an ice oriented performance so they have to keep the arena fairly cool. We wore sweaters and brought jackets (though we never felt a need to wear the jackets)

3. Bring snacks. I brought granola bars for my kids in case they got hungry during the show and made sure to bring them each a special new candy (push pops baby!)so they didn’t feel slighted when Mommy refused to shell out over $10 for some cotton candy.


4. Go to the dollar store before the show and find some Disney themed item to give to your kids after the show to avoid the inevitable breakdown that will occur when you try to explain to them that you will not be spending $20 on an item that they will play for two hours and never look at again. I wish I would have thought of that one before we went. My kids normally know better than to even ask for something from a gift shop but I guess they saw one too many kids with something that they did not have.

5. Enjoy the moment with your kids and cherish the fact that you got to share in their joy. I know the memory of their happiness and excitement will stay with me forever.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Road Trip Day 22- Bryce Canyon NP Navajo Loop Trail

Its the stuff Wiley E. Coyote and Roadrunner cartoons are made of. Rocky spires, dramatic cliffs, and towering canyons all painted with dramatic shades of red. Even the road to the park has a dramatic flair to it with drive through arches and brightly colored boulders.

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An 18 mile scenic drive takes you along the length of Bryce’s many amphitheaters and scenic viewpoints. Our first stop was Sunset Point. Sunset Point is a viewing area along the Rim Trail and its magical. You walk out towards what appears to be the end of the earth on to discover a vast amphitheater filled with hoodoos. “Wow”. That’s all I could say when I first saw it all. Wow.




I immediately wanted to climb down to the bottom and stand amongst those hoodoos. The Navajo Loop Trail was the path to the bottom and the bottom was 500 feet below us. As we started the downhill portion we were immediately told that we were crazy for bringing a couple of two year olds on the hike. Naysayers warned us that the climb up was much too hard for toddlers. I smiled politely and told them our kids were pros. They shook their heads and mumbled under their breath. Yes, the trail down is steep and there are lots of edges but if you keep your kids on the inside of the trail and hold their hands, they CAN do it. We went from one switch back to the next until we were suddenly surrounded by steep narrow canyons carved by eons of wind.


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Trees sprouted up in the narrow canyons, reserving their needles for their tops  where the light was plentiful. We walked from one slot canyon to the next, amazed at just how high those canyon walls were. the view from the bottom was just as incredible as the top. I remember hearing somewhere that an early settler once said “its a hell of a place to lose a cow”. I can’t even imagine. Without the trail, I never would have found my way out.

Eventually, we had to begin our climb back to the top. At first we jogged but as things got steeper, the only one who still had a skip in their step was Mari.


Towards the end, Paul picked the kids up and ran a couple switchbacks just to speed things along. Ben was much more interested in throwing rocks off the switchbacks than walking up them. 1.3 miles later, we had completed our loop and conquered another hike.

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We gazed out into the Bryce Amphitheater once more before getting back in the car and heading further into the park. I pondered what it must have been like to be the first settlers to stumble upon this place. We knew what was coming but they had no idea…


For more fabulous travel photos check out Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday here.

Do you Trekaroo?

Last month I came across a new website that I absolutely love called Trekaroo. Its a website where you can get honest reviews from parents and activities and hotels from a family friendly perspective. Kind of like Trip Advisor but for families. I LOVE IT!!!! Why? Because they have this little feature where you can set up your own passport and keep track of all the things you have done with your family. I became a tad obsessed and spent hours checking off places we have been and writing reviews for said places. It is so much fun!

Now I am creating lists of places I want to go based on other people’s reviews.  You can add new places to the list if they aren’t on there and you think they should be. Some states are more complete than others so if your state is lacking in activities, go on and start adding places. You might become a Superoo in 2011.

I am proud to be one of 2010’s Superoos.
Yes, thats right, I have spent so much time on that website in the past month reviewing and   commenting that I have been chosen to become on of the elite Superoos! Why is being a Superoo so great?Well one reason is Superoos  have exclusive access to complimentary or heavily discounted hotel stays, attractions, and travel products that businesses want Superoos to review. 

I highly encourage you all to start making your own passports (mine is here) and to start turning to Trekaroo when you are planning an outing. It is truly one of my new favorite websites.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Shark’s Cove


Most tourists who snorkel on Oahu, snorkel at Hanauma Bay. Yes, its beautiful and yes, it is close to Waikiki, but its also incredibly crowded and seems to take on more of a theme park atmosphere than a tranquil fish observing adventure. If you are looking for a better place to snorkel, check out Shark’s Cove.

Shark’s Cove is located on the North Shore near Waimea Bay. It is part of Pupukea Beach Park. Because of its North Shore location, the waves can get very large in the winter and it is not recommended that you snorkel here from October to March. In the summer, however, the surf is usually flat as a pancake and Shark’s Cove is the place to be if you want to swim with the fishies.

We saw a wide variety of fish during our visit and I have read that sea turtles frequent the area as well. The entrance to the cove is rocky so if you have water shoes, wear them. If not. plop your flip flops down as close to the water as you can (be aware of the tide), get your fins on and waddle your way in. There is a very shallow tide pool area that would be great for kids to snorkel (supervised of course) through. The further out you go, the deep the water gets and the stronger the current becomes.


I saw locals jumping off the rocks and into the ocean just outside the cove. It looked like alot of fun but you really need to know how to read the water if you are going to attempt it.

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We were at Shark’s Cove on a weekend in August so we were definitely not alone but once I got in the water and started exploring the cove, I might as well had been.  There was plenty of room for everyone. If you would like more information on Shark’s Cove click here.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Ecostore USA Giveaway!

We are a family who likes to get outside as much as possible and as we all know, getting outside means getting dirty. Usually, getting clean means putting a bunch of nasty chemicals on ourselves, our clothes, and our household surfaces. I am not a fan of  nasty chemicals. I try to avoid them as much as possible, especially when it involves my children. This is why I love Ecostore USA.

Ecostore USA is the American branch of a New Zealand based company that has developed a great line of products without petrochemicals, enzymes, optical whiteners, synthetic perfumes and dyes, SLS, phosphates, chlorine, and ammonia. In other words, they care about your health and the health of the environment so they make products that reflect those values.

Ecostore USA sent me two products of my choice to sample. I chose the baby shampoo and the dog wash. Mari has had horrible cradle cap since she was born. She is three years old and nothing seemed to get rid of it. After baby shampoo a few days of using the shampoo I noticed her hair started looking different. I went to go scrub her head and saw a reduction in cradle cap! I certainly wasn’t expecting that. After over a month of using the shampoo, the cradle cap is almost gone. I can’t believe it. I have also noticed that both of my kids have shinier hair than they  have ever had.

The first time I used the shampoo I made the mistake of using a normal amount of shampoo in their hair. Whoa- can we say suds city? I hardly have to use more than a dime sized amount in their hair and it will suds right up and do a great job cleaning their hair. Using less means the product will last longer which in turn will cost you less. I can’t speak highly enough about this shampoo. Right now, Ecostore USA has its baby care items 50% off through the end of the month.  Plus you  always get free shipping when you spend $25 or more at Ecostore USA. You better believe I stocked up!

The other product I picked was the dog wash because I have a dog who is constantly shampoo In the past couple months Raley has had to have two ear surgeries because she scratches them until blood vessels pop and turn her ears into whoopie cushions. Its so sad (and really expensive!). I thought I would give the dog wash a try and honestly I wasn’t holding my breath when I went to wash her. Amazingly, for the first time ever my dog was not an itchy mess after a bath!  I will never go back to regular dog shampoo.

Because I love Ecostore USA so much (I am pretty picky about what products I will review), I am thrilled to be announcing this giveaway for a $25 gift card to Ecostore USA for one of my readers! Wanna win? Okay- here are the details on how to enter:

#1 Go to Ecostore USA here and leave a comment telling me which products you would buy if you win. (If you are a subscriber to my blog let me know and I will give you two entries)

#2 Sign up for the No Nasty Chemical Newsletter  here and then let me know you did in the comments section.

#3 Follow Ecostore USA on twitter (@ecostoreusa ) and then send me (@doubleadventure) a tweet letting me know you started following them.

#4 Tweet about this giveaway and let me know you did (I will give you an entry once per day you tweet about the giveaway).

#5 Follow Ecostore USA on Facebook here and then leave a message in the comments section of this post letting me know you did. (While you are at it you can also become a fan of Double the Adventure’s new Facebook fan page here. Wink. Wink.)

Okay- on your marks, get set, win!!!!

Contest entry deadline is Monday, January 11th at 5PM PST.