Up Close and Personal at Lazy 5 Ranch

The Lazy 5 Ranch, just north of Charlotte, North Carolina, offers a unique 3.5 mile tour of Lazy 5 Ranchover 750 animals from all over the world. We explored the ranch on a horse-drawn, open-air wagon and went eyeball to eyeball with a Texas Longhorn cow as well as dozens of other animals. Lazy 5 Ranch was the most unique animal ranch that I’ve ever experienced. Have a look at a few of my up-close encounters below. Continue reading

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Discover Childlike Wonder

Discovery Place, CharlotteStepping into a world where science is brought to life through interactive exhibits and explosive experiments sounds like a fun day for me. I love science and exploring how things work, but making that exciting for a 1.5 year old is difficult. The Discovery Place in Charlotte, however, manages to do just that. Yesterday, we spent the day immersed in a world of wonder where there was something for everyone… even Athena.  Continue reading

Can Carowinds Amusement Park Be for Parents?

As parents of a toddler, at least I think our 14 month old is considered a toddler, we still Carowinds Amusement Parkwant to experience life to the fullest without being restricted to kiddie rides, swing sets, and play-dates. Not that I mind hanging out with my daughter and taking her to explore new places and things, but we do enjoy adult experiences as well. I spend the better part of my day listening to Toddler Radio on Pandora, teaching Athena the new word of the day, today was “blue”, strolling through the neighborhood, and watching Athena attempt new feats like climbing on the Joovy trike and standing on the seat (I kid you not; that was the challenge of the day). So when an opportunity arises to have an adult day, we take it. Although amusement parks might not be considered “adult”, we couldn’t think of a better way to spend Father’s Day. Darren and I love the rides more than most teens and the whole park is one big adventurous playground with 13 coasters, Drop Tower, and Xtreme Skyflyer. Is it possible, though, to visit an amusement park with a toddler and still have fun? At Carowinds, heck yeah! They have programs in place to make the entire experience more enjoyable. With a Parent Swap Program, a Baby Care Center, plenty of shaded areas, and tons of dining choices, we stayed from open to close and everyone had an enjoyable day. Continue reading

Escape from the Stress of Moving

Holes in the wall, lifting heavy boxes, scratches on the floor, packing, unpacking, North Carolina Dance Theatermisplacing screws… moving is stressful. My new house is absolutely beautiful and during the evening when I can look up at the stars from my bedroom window, it’s all worth the hassle but I needed a break. There’s no better place to get away from it all than Neverland. Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux’s gravity-defying Peter Pan tells the story of the mischievous boy who never wants to grow up, his spunky sidekick Tinker Bell, and the frightful Captain Hook. Last night, I escaped to Neverland with this whimsical ballet and my imagination took flight. Continue reading

The Life of Our Home

We wanted to build our first home as a family in Charlotte, North Carolina; why try to fit intoNew House, Charlotte, North Carolina someone else’s mold? We made a list of “must-haves” and wants and began our search. With tons of new houses and builders in the area, we had lots of options. A loft, 4+ bedrooms, a 3 car garage, 2.5+ bathrooms, walk-in closets, a fireplace, granite counter tops, lots of windows, high ceilings, hardwood floors, a community pool, walking trails, sidewalks, trees, a short driving distance from work, groceries, shopping, and food… the must-have list was hefty. Was it unrealistic? Of course. But a bucket list life comes with big dreams. And we’d left a life on the beach in California for a family environment and a roomy home for Athena. After searching north, south, east, and west over and over again, we found a builder. Ryan Homes offered a house in a community that had every detail we had listed on both the “must-have” and the “want” list and the life of our home began. Continue reading

Timeless Escape: Grove Park Inn, Asheville

When I added Grove Park Inn to my 2013 bucket list, I had no idea the extent of relaxation Grove Park Innand resort luxury I was going to experience or how much I truly needed it. Just a two hour drive from our home in Charlotte brought us to another world; a world filled with spacious accommodations, superb dining, unbelievable views, and endless amenities.  We marveled at the spectacular view during our breakfast experience, escaped to a world-class spa, and stepped into a world of glamour inspired by the great American author F. Scott Fitzgerald in The Gatsby theme room. Grove Park Inn was the relaxing weekend away from it all that we desperately needed. Rather than posting, texting, Tweeting, and sharing on Facebook, I turned off my phone, put away the computer, and forgot the camera… most of the time. It was a weekend for us as a family – the perfect relaxing, mountain getaway. Sometimes even extreme adventure seekers need a rest. Continue reading

What Makes a Bucket List Day?

A bucket list day doesn’t need to be an extreme adventure or traveling around the world.Freedom Park, Charlotte No… we had a bucket list day today. I spent the day with my family at Freedom Park in Charlotte, NC. We strolled along the pond and played with Athena on the swings. Athena is 10 months old so I obviously feel like a mother every day, but some days I realize that I am the world to someone. I am the most amazing, spectacular, beautiful, and caring person to another tiny human being. Athena loves me completely, without restriction or reservation. I am a mother, making every day a bucket list day. Continue reading