Summer Fun with your Pup

After I posted about skiing with your dog, I realized that I should’ve written something perhaps a bit more practical. So here’s another quick list of amusement parks, parks, malls, and other attractions in California that are pet-friendly—either they have kennel facilities or let you roam around with your dog. (I’m not much of a kennel guy myself…) This is more summer appropriate, right?

Happy Summer!


I hope you didn’t believe me…

I received a frantic call from my little sister (who reads my blog religiously) who was so confused about my last post on San Diego Zoo’s Future. So just to clear my record here, The Onion is a SATIRE WEBSITE where about half the articles are satires of current events, and half are just plain JOKES. So the San Diego Zoo is NOT merging with any prisons, not now and (probably) not ever.

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Summer Trip is announced!

Two or three times a year, my parents take me and the kids on a fantastic vacation, all expenses paid. I have a brother and sister-in-law and a niece who either get their own vacation with mom and dad or join us. This year it’ll be the whole family. Obviously we all get input into the destination, but m&d get the final say. And this year, we’ll all be going to…SAN FRANCISCO!

I am really excited. I have never been to San Fran and have always wanted to. Sometimes the trips are small, like 2-3 nights in the mountains nearby, but it seems like this is going to be a biggie. We’ll be going for 8 days and they already have quite an itinerary.

Here are the definites, and of course, if anyone has any MUST DO’S, please let me know so I can pass on the advice to my parents:

  1. Basic Brown Bear Factory – This will obviously be a winner with the kids, but I’ve always loved factory tours, so I’m looking forward to this as well. And my mother actually collects teddy bears, so that’s probably the real reason why we’re going.
  2. Wax Museum at Fisherman’s Wharf – None of us (except my sister-in-law) have ever been to a wax museum. I, of course, am most looking forward to Elvis Presley. Alexandra says she can’t wait to see Leonardo DiCaprio – how does she even know who that is?
  3. Alcatraz Island – This one is really my dad’s top choice, so he says “it ain’t gettin’ moved off any list.” So here ya go, dad.

It’s a small list so far, but they only just decided on a location this morning and we don’t leave till mid-July. So we’ve got plenty of time. I only wanted to share because I was so excited about the announcement and I have friends who keep asking where we’re going this summer!

Anyways, as always, please feel free to offer advice! Like what are the best beaches? Is it worth it to go to the zoo up there (Oakland Zoo or the San Francisco Zoological Gardens) if we have such a good zoo (Zoo Atlanta) right near our new home?

Thanks for your help!

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San Diego Zoo’s future?

The Vacationer presents : Is this the future of San Diego Zoo ?

The Onion states that due to lack of funds, the San Diego Zoo and the Ironwood Prison will be joining forces to create a single-campus that brings together local inmates and wildlife to live together under one roof. The new name? San Diego Maximum Security Zoological & Convict Reserve.

You should read the article, but just for a taste:
“This is, without a doubt, the only facility of its kind,” said warden Jeff Thurston, noting the zoo-prison’s authentic natural environments and thick bullet-proof glass. “At any given time, visitors may be able to spot as many as three parole violators and up to five adult black bears in the same holding cell. During scheduled feedings, that number may be even higher.”

The article also states that a similar merge was done with Orlando’s SeaWorld and the Ryan E. Puttnam Mental Asylum.

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Top Ten Spring Break Activities (according to my third graders)

Every year after Spring Break I have my kids write a “What I did over vacation” journal entry. Then we all share our vacation stories and then make a list of the coolest sounding places. Every year, with different kids from different families, the vacations end up being almost the same. Kids will be kids—Disney World will always be first.

  1. Disney World – Magic Kingdom – I think 5 or 6 kids went to Disney World this year.
  2. Disney’s Animal Kingdom
  3. Discovery Cove
  4. Butterfly World
  5. Sea World – the one near Disney World, of course.
  6. Dolphin Quest – Somehow this always makes it to the list.
  7. Fire Island National Seashore Beach – Not everyone gets to go to Hawaii for vacation…
  8. Los Angeles
  9. Colonial Williamsburg
  10. Six Flags Marine World

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Maybe a word about where we actually live…

…“Back to the grind” of our everyday life is not nearly as depressing as it sounds. We travel a lot, but we also happen to have a house and a hometown and a bit of stability believe it or not! We live in Bethesda, Maryland, but we used to live in Annapolis until recently when Rick’s job required him to be in the D.C. office everyday rather than once a week. I found this blog a few weeks ago and for some reason I feel the need now to share the wealth, so to speak of my knowledge of my traveled regions, near and far.

If you’ve been to Bethesda, you’ve been to Westfield Montgomery, a cozy neighborhood mall with everything we need. But when we really want to go all out for some serious shopping, I take the girls to Arundel Mills Mall in Hanover or to Potomac Mills Outlet Mall in Prince William, Virginia which is not too far a drive.

I bring the girls to Baltimore three times a week for a homeschool “team meeting” and then, either with the group, or alone, we go to the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. We’ve got a family membership, so sometimes we go in just for brief visits or to participate in whatever programs they may have going on. I don’t know if you’ve read my other posts, but my girls are a little obsessed with zoos—we’re really been to zoos all over the country and they don’t ever tire of it. The National Aquarium in Baltimore also offers great programs throughout the year and is often one of our destinations during our Baltimore trips.

Adjusting in Atlanta

We’re been in Atlanta now for a few months, and thank God, everyone is adjusting quite well. I think it’s hardest for Alexandra. Being 12 and in middle school is hard enough, but having also to make new friends and try and “fit in” just makes it harder. But she’s such a sport. I always make an effort to spend one-on-one time with each of my kids once a week. Usually when the other two are at an after school activity, the third one and I will go to Southlake Mall, go get ice cream, see a movie, or just hang out at home—I’ve become a mastermind at planning schedules so that this can work out each week.

Anyways, Alexandra and I have really been talking a lot. Sometimes I want to cry (and sometimes I do) when it hits me how mature she’s getting. The other day we were at The Mall at Stonecrest, and she asked if we could check out some makeup—she got a little sheepish about it and it was so sweet. We picked out a lipstick together (something VERY CLOSE to lip color) and then got manicures together.

I’m actually really excited about their spring break coming up. We’ll be going back to Antioch (or nearby) to visit friends and family. I’m trying hard not to say “back home” because I want the kids to accept Atlanta as our new home. But I really do feel that way, that Tennessee is home. Besides seeing their friends and grandparents (my parents!) I know all three of them will love going to Hickory Hollow Mall, The Chattanooga Zoo at Warner Park and the Tennessee Aquarium. I’m just worried about leaving…I hope it’s not too soon to go back for a visit….