Category: blog from the road

a very special person on her birthday

I know I don’t normally post on Saturdays. And if you saw yesterday’s post you know I’m out of town, actually currently enjoying breakfast in bed I’m sure! But I scheduled this post earlier because today is a very special day. Today is an very important shall remain unnamed birthday for my mama.

englexas lifestyle blog

My mum is a very special lady and it’s really hard living thousands of miles away from her and not seeing her all the time. And even though this is the 9th of her birthdays that I have spent away, it doesn’t get any easier…although it’s made a little easier by Skype ;)

My mum is literally the most selfless person I know. I didn’t realize exactly how selfless until I had my own kids! When I was 17 years old I told her I wanted to go to school in Rockford, Illinois. Literally leaving all that I had ever known to go live in a country thousands of miles away. And you know what? She didn’t cry, she didn’t beg me to stay, she didn’t ever make it about her – she supported me 100%. Being the selfish teenager that I was at the time, I was consumed by everything that this new chapter of my life would hold and didn’t really think about how it affected my family at that time, more specifically her, who was separating from my dad at that time. The whole time that I was preparing to leave the only emotion I felt from her was excitement for me, of course she let me know that she would miss me and I knew that but it wasn’t until my first call to her once I was all settled in that I realized what she had been going through. During that call I could tell she was upset and when I asked her what was wrong she told me she missed me so bad she had spent 3 days in my bedroom crying :( I just remember being totally shocked at the time. I had no idea that she was so upset over me leaving and when I asked her why she didn’t tell me before I left she said that she didn’t want me to doubt my decision or worry about her, she wanted me to know that I had her full support and she thought that if I’d known how sad she really was, I wouldn’t have followed my dream.

Then when I actually had my own children and thought about the possibility of allowing them to move so far away from me at such a young age it really shed light on how selfless my mum’s 100% full blown support and encouragement was at that time. Sometimes I still can’t believe that she actually let me go! And then when I told her I was staying, and then again when we were getting married, and getting pregnant with her grandchildren! Every new stage that I enter into is exciting in itself, but there’s always that little twinge of sadness for not being close to my family and them not being close to me. But through it all my mum has only ever shown joy and happiness for me and the life that I am living. She is an absolute gem in this world and for this, and many many other reasons, I love her so much.

So mum…it’s hard not being with you for another birthday, I hope that it is a wonderful day and that you feel joy and happiness knowing that we love you SO MUCH, and miss you even more :)

blog from the road : hotel living

We’ve done a bunch of traveling and staying in hotels over the last few months so I thought that today I would blog about traveling with young kids.


In some ways I really enjoy traveling and staying in hotels with the kids. There’s something actually relaxing about getting to a hotel and letting my kids roam free in the room while I have nothing to do. No laundry, no cooking, no errands to run (and currently no laptop to get work done on – this post is brought to you by my iPhone). It kinda forces me to just chill and forget about everything else that can’t get done right now. But I will tell you that 3 days is usually the max that I (or the kids) can handle without having other outside activities to do. And then of course there are other challenges! I’m sure every family will have their different set of challenges staying in a hotel depending on your kids ages but I’ll go through some of ours and how we combat them.

Our major issue right now (and for the last year really) is Darby’s sleep. We have found that Darby is an extremely light sleeper which presents us with lots of hotel sleeping difficulty. We always bring a pack and play and box fan with us and try to set her up in a corner of the room then we rig a little ‘curtain’ around her pack and play so she doesn’t see us. Usually we set the ironing board up with blankets on it to ‘hide’ her. Normally I have her just take one nap a day when we are in hotels because two is nearly impossible. And at night time I usually have Gabriel run an errand with Gracen so they can be out of the room while I’m putting her down. This is when a hotel with an indoor pool comes in really handy – while I’m putting Darby down Gracen gets to go swimming with daddy. It’s something special that Gracen really enjoys about hotel living – and a good chance for one-on-one dad time.

When we are packing to go anywhere we always have Gracen (our 4 year old) pack a little backpack with toys he wants to bring, and throw a few in for Darby too. The kids also each have their ‘blankie’ that they sleep with every night so they can feel a little more at home.


We try to always choose a hotel that has breakfast included, it is just so much easier to walk down to the lobby with the kids and eat rather than getting everyone ready to go out – even if we are sacrificing on quality!

Always ask for late check out – this is a major factor for me. The trips we take are for Gabriel’s business so we are usually leaving town in the late afternoon. If we had to check out at 9am every time it would be super difficult with the kids. Usually late check out is at 1pm so then I can take my time packing up and go get lunch with the kids before we meet daddy to leave town.

I have found that the best place for lunch is anywhere with a play place. Chick fil A is my number one choice (I find them to be much cleaner overall). But if it comes down to it, anywhere with a play place is better than without. Having them be able to get their energy out and play is so good for all of us! And usually it also eats up a couple hours of our day too!


I’m kind of picky about what my kids drink so I found that to be another challenge of hotel living. I always pack a little cooler with some ice packs for this reason. It holds a half gallon of organic milk and juice, also some healthy snacks that are easy to travel with. I usually fill some baggies up with ice to keep it cool if our room doesn’t have a fridge.

Even though there are a lot of changes when you are staying in a hotel it’s important for your kids that you continue as much as you can with their normal routine. Bath times, play times, learning time – all the things you would normally do can still be accomplished in a hotel. It’s tempting since there is a tv right there in the room to let your kids just sit and watch it but when we are in a hotel the rule of watching two shows a day still applies. I have found that if I let my little ones sit and watch tv for any longer than that it dramatically affects their attitude. And a cranky kid with a bad attitude is so much harder to deal with in a small hotel room!

If you have any more questions about hotel living feel free to ask in the comments section.