Wisdom From Others – Listen to Your Mom Gut

Yesterday I caught up with a friend of mine from a previous position. We both work for a large company and about 4 years ago our paths found us in the same department. We both left at the same time for different positions around the same time and had not made time to catch up, until yesterday. After the normal catch up about jobs, I asked her how her son was doing. She shared some details with me about her son’s difficulty in school the previous year. Then she said, “always listen to your mom gut.”

Always listen to your mom gut.

She told me that during this tough time last year, several people told her that what her son was going through was “normal” stuff and that she didn’t need to be concerned. But she knew different and didn’t listen to her gut. She was lamenting that she did not act quick enough and follow her own intuition. Often we don’t regret things we do, but things we don’t do.

Always listen to your mom gut.

An Epic Road Trip – Niagara Falls

We took an epic road trip.  We drove to Niagara Falls, from Tennesse. With a 6 and a 9-year-old!



1800 (well, actually 1795) miles. 4 people in a car for more than 24 hours.

7 nights on the road.
1800 miles.
5 states.
1 national park, well national forest.
2 state parks.
1 amusement park.
1 different country (Canada).
Lots of laughs.

Thankful for the opportunity to see the Amazing Niagara Falls on both the US side and Canada side.
Thankful for plenty of side detours that gave the road a personality all of its own.
Thankful for the family time.
Thankful for the time on the road.
Thankful for the safety.
Thankful for the week.

Where we stayed:

Embassy Suites Niagara Falls

Splurge of our trip. And totally worth it. We had a room on the 41st floor of the 42 story hotel.
Pros – Location and view. The location was fantastic. Walking distance to the Canadian side of the falls. The view was even better than the site – it is the best view there. The view from the hotel I could have watched for days, it was mesmerizing. Honestly, the view was out of this world.
Cons – The wait for the elevators were crazy. There were way too few for the hotel of this size. Parking was $46/night, ouch! Breakfast was just ok, not great and crazy long lines after 9:00 am.

Best Western PLUS Toronto North York

We booked this one because it seemed like the best option with tickets to Canada’s Wonderland. What happened when we got there was something very different. Found out that we did not get tickets to Canada’s Wonderland and we would not have stayed, except every other hotel in the area was sold out.
Pros – eh, not sure there was one. It was clean – ish. Had a pool, but the hot tub was not working. The actual pool was warmer than the hot tub.
Cons – Terrible customer service. The location was just ok, 10 minutes from Canada’s Wonderland, but there were hotels closer that we realized after booking this one. But it served the purpose. Breakfast took forever; however, the food was good once we got it.

Best Western PLUS Waterfront in Windsor

This has the BEST breakfast of any place we stayed. And was an unexpected gem of the trip.
Pros – room had an unexpected great view of the water front. We booked it on Priceline. The location was in perfect proximity to downtown Windsor.
Cons – had to pay for parking that we did not know about and weren’t told upon check out.



What we did:

Alleghany National Forest – Kinzue State Park Bridge

Traveling from Tennessee, we found this gem, and it was only about 90 minutes out of the way. It was quite the find. There was an old train bridge that fell due to a tornado, and the State Park is set around the remains. The bridge was eerily beautiful. I wish we had longer to explore here. We had a picnic and explored a bit. Great place to stretch our legs and get off the interstate for a while.

US Side of Niagara Falls

This was our first view of the falls and it was breathtaking. Difficult to put into words just how beautiful the falls are.

Maid of the Mist – US Side of the Falls

Oh, the joy of the falls. The Maid of the Mist is a boat ride that had run since 1885 carrying passengers, before that, it was not a passenger’s vessel but used for commercial purposes. The ride takes you as close to horseshoe falls as you can get. As a souvenir, you get postcards when you pay for your trip (a mere $18.65/adult and $10.65 for children) and a blue poncho to wear over your clothes. You can not make reservations, and we went on a hectic day, but the operation runs very efficiently, and our wait was minimal, yet we did not feel rushed. This is a must do at the falls.


CA Side of the Falls

You will hear people say that the Canadian side is better.  I’m not sure how you can compare them, they are both beautiful!

Journey Behind the Falls – CA side of the Falls

This was a last minute add for our family, and it was such an unexpected treat. You literally go behind the falls and experience the falls from two different tunnels. It’s a neat experience. It’s $16.75/adults and $10.75/kids, we purchased our tickets and had a bit of a wait for this, which was worth it. It runs from 9:00am to 11:00pm. Seeing the falls from behind the water is an experience you can’t get any other way!

Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology – Hamilton County, Ontario, CA

We saw this from the road and needed a stop and a place to have a picnic. This place was perfect for both accounts. The tour, which runs Tuesday through Sunday, 12 pm -4 pm. Admission is $7/adults, and $5/kids is about an hour and covers the history of the steam engine, which could be boring, but our tour guide was phenomenal and made this part of science/history come alive!

CN Tower – Toronto, Ontario, CA

This was the one thing we had planned to do but decided against it once we got there. We did not anticipate the large crowds and the lines.

Canada’s Wonderland – Ontario, CA

Amusement Park close to Toronto and it was just an excellent time. We got there shortly after it opened around 10:00 am and stayed until it closed. We enjoyed the amusement park and the water park. One find was the all you can eat buffet there, which we had for dinner and with out very different eating styles, our family enjoyed this very much.

Tour of the Detroit Tigers Stadium

$5 game day tour, quite a steal for 90 minutes behind the scenes walk about.


Mom can we pray

Bug: Mom I don’t like the thunder and the rain I wish it would never rain.

Me: But Bug you have to have the rain if you like the sun got to experience what you don’t like to make which do you like, better.

Bug: But mom the storms make me scared can you help me and pray for me today that I won’t be scared during the storms

Me: Yes of course I will

The heart of children teach us so much.

Day Out – Errands & The Park

IMAG0783I’ve decided we don’t play enough at my house. Monday the “school” that’s code for “daycare” was closed for teacher in-service.  There were 10,000,000 errands that needed to be ran, people that needed to be visited, laundry that needed to be folded – much was left undone.

Instead, we went to the park and ate popcorn at Target.  We giggled a lot and hugged a lot.


Lesson Learned:  It’s more important to spend time together, than to get stuff done.  Stuff will always be there, my girls won’t always be this age.

Why Are We Here?

You might wonder why we are spending the last two weeks of my maternity leave in Detroit. Well, the answer is easy, because we can! Super is here for a while working and we had the opportunity to come and visit for two weeks, so we decided to come.  When I traveled a lot, back before kids, Super would come with me on trips and we’d explore the cities I was in; we’ve always wanted to do this with the girls and this was our chance!

Getting here was the challenging part of planning the trip – how do you travel 650 miles with two under 3 by yourself and all the stuff for two small children? The answer is, you don’t.

By the way, that sweet face is looking up to her Daddy….how could you not make the trip up and miss seeing that face?


I had originally planned on driving up to Detroit with the girls by myself, until my sweet Dad talked some sense into me and I realized, even as adventurous as I am, that is a really stupid idea! So my mother in law offered to ride with us to Detroit and fly back the next day. This worked out well and I can’t imagine, in retrospect, traveling for 13 hours in the car with the girls by myself. It took both of us to get here, one to drive and one to entertain the girls!

One of the funniest parts of the trip was looking back to see Bug going crazy with stickers, she had them all over her and all over Miss R!


Today Has Been Epic…

Today has been pretty darn epic. Epic in a good way and in a not so good way, but mostly good.

As a working Mom I don’t get to spend multiple “all” days with my girls, even on maternity leave Bug went to preschool most days, to stay in her routine.  So this trip to Michigan has been a little exciting for several reasons, 1) I’ll be with Bug & Miss R non-stop until we come home with no plans & 2) We’ll be someplace we’ve never been and get to explore for 2 weeks and 3) I’ve always wanted to take the girls hiking in places far away from home.

Today is our first full day here with Super at “work” at his temporary work home for a while.  We decided to check out the local library and see when story time was and what activities for pre-schoolers they had.  The goal was to get Bug involved in some type of activity where she could interact with other pre-schoolers her age, because this little social girl will need the interaction!

We found the library and it is the nicest, coolest library I’ve ever seen!  Sorry the pictures are blurry, but trying to keep up with this 2-year-old with an infant is not for the faint of heart!





The not so great part was the EPIC fit that Bug threw when we had to leave the library which resulted in tears for all and a very sore shoulder for me, due to carrying Miss R in my baby sling and carrying Bug at an odd angle kicking and screaming to the car.  I’m sure for the onlookers someone must have thought I was a horrible Mom.

Oh, and yes, that is my child wearing a puppy dog backpack and it is the kind that has a leash attached….we are in a strange town and I do have a very active toddler.  Before I had kids I judged harshly those parents who put their children on leashes, now I understand it.  I think I was a better parent before I actually had children!