Have Kid, Have Bag, Will Travel

Life As Mom Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Last week, The Youngster and I made a quick trip to Toronto. It was a press junket for Amazon Studios’ new live-action kids’ series, Annedroids, and I was invited to cover it for Cool Mom Tech. (I’ve shared the news on MMM’s FB page that I’ve officially joined the Cool Mom Picks gang.)

The show itself is pretty great. Read my review here.

The adventure of flying to Toronto for an overnight, and my son’s first-ever press trip with his working mama was fantastic.

Wonder | Ms. Mary Mack

It’s been about two, three years since The Youngster has been on a plane. The anticipation-build on that part alone was sweet to watch. He would ask me questions about planes and airports and pilots and clouds and altitude (yes.). And seeing him giddy with every step — from boarding to taxi ride to hotel check-in — warmed me top to toe. Just grinning me and giggly him, what a pair.

Boarding | Ms. Mary Mack

Now, on the topic of ritzy hotels and little kids … uh, yeah. They don’t usually blend well. I mean, kids like ritzy hotels. They like basically any ho-tel, mo-tel, Holiday Inn (say whaaaat?). That was the biggest thrill of traveling with my family when I was young.

No, it’s on the hotel’s side that the awkwardness can arise. Kids run around in the halls, they talk  loud everywhere, they spill stuff, they cry, and they take four bites of the $26 chicken fingers. Plus, we won’t even get into the diapers in the garbage bin situation.

But this time around, at the Four Seasons Toronto, it was glorious. So much so, the kid didn’t want to leave the room to go to our event. Let’s be clear: no one is paying me to say this about this hotel chain. It’s just good ol’ honest props.

King service | Ms. Mary Mack

Brekkie | Ms. Mary Mack

The Four Seasons T.O. made sure my son felt welcome at every turn. When we got to the room, there was a child-sized plush bathrobe folded on the bed with a stuffed toy beaver sitting on top of it and some his-size slippers as well. Then later that evening, they sent up gummy bears and chocolate chip cookies set out on a special, small tray just for him.

He really wanted breakfast in the room. Done. It’s a special trip, let’s have special treats.

There was a separate kids menu that made sense (not overly pricey or ridiculous) and the order arrived in 30 minutes. When he saw the table being wheeled in, complete with little succulent plant as decoration, the kid was totally wowed. “That was so nice of her,” he said, as the server left.

So Terry | Ms. Mary Mack

It really was nice, of everyone: the server, the hotel staff and the Four Seasons in general. Kid-friendly efforts in the service industry — and this means going beyond having mac & cheese on the menu — really count for a lot with parents. We are grateful for it. And more important, our kids never forget it.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Life As Mom, MMM Showcase Friday, July 25, 2014

Every morning it’s the same thing: Should I stay or should I go? This debate is about my running, but it’s not a question of do or don’t. I’ve been a dedicated runner for many years now, so there’s no wrangle around that. Come rain, shine or wretched wind chill, I will be hitting the open road and putting in my mile time. The choice factor has to do with another title I hold around here: mother.

Jump Shot | Ms. Mary Mack

Me, after hitting the golden-mile mark on my birthday.

My son is 5, and he’s grown up seeing his mama put on her tights (and hat and gloves and neck gaiter and breathable layers — listen, this is New England) and going for a run. And I like that. I like that he sees his mom being active and agile, committed to things outside of being his mother. The “issue” arrises when he wakes up in the morning and I’m not there. He does not like that, and he’s not shy about voicing his displeasure. “You’re not supposed to be wearing those run clothes, mom! You’re supposed to be still in pajamas!”How dare I make such bold moves?

Read the full essay on Mom.me.

In Search of Fresh Adventure, Finding It on a Simple Walk Near Home

Life As Mom Monday, July 21, 2014

With my husband away on a trip, it’s been high-impact hanging with The Youngster. He wasn’t feeling the best last week, so we’ve been spending A. LOT. of time together. And by together, I mean litchrally. The poor guy’s been draped on my arm, my side, my hip, just wanting to be close to Mama.

He woke up Saturday feeling much better, and I was grateful for it. Cabin fever is real, yo.

UConn Diary Farms | Ms. Mary Mack

We hit the road in search of fresh adventure, and found with ease. But I think the best thing we did this weekend was go on a walk to the local Dunkin Donuts for a Peace-Out-Viral-Vagueness Treat.

I haven’t been able to go running these last two days because of solo parenting styles, so I floated the idea of walking to the DD by The Youngster. He was down for it, excited at the prospect, and even tossed this tidbit my way: “We should walk or take a bike because cars are not good for the environment.” Well, all right, sir.

Balancing Act | Ms. Mary Mack

So wet set out for our summer stroll rocking our straw fedoras. He stopped for old leaves and fallen baby acorns. He wondered aloud about certain cars and manhole covers and cracks in the street. He also did that balancing on the edge of the sidewalk thing kids like to do, and I all but melted. Watching him, walking and talking with him, it was all sweetness.

We made it to the cool, empty donut spot and chatted some more about beach balls and coffee and trees. Then we started back on our walk home.  The rest of the afternoon leaned on lazy, and I have to say it was pretty perfect.

He also asked me to make him s’mores using some inventive ingredients. It worked — in his opinion. That’s what counts, yes?

Trying It | Ms. Mary Mack

Hope you had lovely weekend, too, and here’s to starting the week off on the right foot. Maybe even finding time to balance effortless on the slim beam of a sidewalk.

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All photos above were shot by me using Samsung NX30 and NXMini cameras. Disclosure: I am a Samsung USA #Imagelogger, which means I’m an unpaid spokesperson and Samsung gave me the cameras to participate in the program. 

{sponsored} Our ‘Reading Under the Stars’ Party Was a Success!

Parental Intel Thursday, July 17, 2014

Remember last month when I wrote about Ms. Mary Mack being a proud member of The Scholastic Circle, and how happy we were to join Scholastic’s 8th annual Summer Reading Challenge?

Summer Reading Challenge Logo | Ms. Mary Mack

The Youngster had been counting down the days until our little gathering last week. Talk about excitement. Well, I’m pleased to report that the night, sponsored by Scholastic and powered by EVEREADY®, was a shining hit with kiddie-winks and parents alike.

I made star-shaped snack and treats and set up the backyard with chairs and blankets and books. My son also helped me lay out the nifty flashlights in a bag along with our special glow-in-the-dark bookmarks and The Magic School Bus activity posters. Big thanks to EVEREADY® for providing the blue and red flashlights and to Scholastic for the fun “Reading Under the Stars” kit!

Reading Under the Stars | Ms. Mary Mack

Reading Under the Stars books | Ms. Mary Mack

The kids, ranging in age from 3 to 7, had a blast. It was good to see them so ready to read and listen as stories were read to them.  A Pet for Fly Guy was a clear favorite, especially with our sweet, little buddy Maddie, who asked me to read it a few times back-to-back.

Actually, I got so swept up in reading to the kids that I didn’t snap any pictures of us. I could have used the photo break after I was handed a neighbor’s book blindly and asked to read it. Uh … it was Hansel and Gretel by the Brothers Grimm. There were a few horrified, tiny faces as that tale unfolded. Yeah, not the best choice there. We cleansed our palates with some Curious George, and we were as right as rain all over again.

Reading Under the Stars treats | Ms. Mary Mack

Reading Under the Stars flashlights | Ms. Mary Mack

Each child left with books and posters and flashlights and good time had. The parents happily took home Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge pledges, books lists and log sheets. And we all felt pretty ready to stop the summer slide in its tracks.

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Thanks again to Scholastic for sponsoring this fun summer event.
You can still join the challenge. Just register your kids here and start reading! 

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