Packing for Family Travel: 6 Steps for Success

Maybe it was due to the fact that I had to help pack the boys up for a trip that I wasn’t going on (more on that soon!), but I recently found myself reflecting on the way we go about stuffing our suitcases prior to an adventure.  And I realized something: We almost always go about packing in the same way.  And it works! Rarely does anything significantly important or essential get left behind.  At least not anymore.

 Now that we have a system in place, things like drivers licenses, boots for a cold weather destination, toothbrushes, and medication are all stowed safely in our luggage.  Yes, each of those items were forgotten by one of us at one point or another.  We are much more prepared these days.

Packing for Family Travel: 6 Steps for Success | Continue reading


Wild Tales of…2014 Travel and Adventure Highlights

Happy 2015! We hope your new year is off to a great start. Here in Seattle we enjoyed a quiet celebration with all four of us sleeping soundly when the clock officially struck midnight.  Not to worry though: Two of us were up soon after though as someone was in search of another meal.

With a fresh start and a brand-new addition to the family, I’ve found myself reflecting often on the past year because let’s face it: Things will never be the same! Growing from 3 family members to 4 is a big change and babies create a whole new dynamic of family life.  Routines, sleep habits, and the way we go about doing life are all shifting, so I’ve actually found it fascinating to look back at 2014’s adventures.

In order to get a complete look at our year, I decided to take it month by month.  Some months were busier than others making it hard to choose just one highlight, so here you’ll find our most memorable and significant explorations.

January-Cle Elum, Washington

In search of quick cold weather getaway, we traveled just an hour and a half or so to the small central Washington town of Cle Elum.  Instead of mounds of snow, we found sheets of ice creating difficult hiking conditions, but we enjoyed the escape and chance to unplug (no phone service or internet access!) nonetheless.

Central Washington Getaway: Cozy Cabin Retreat in Cle Elum | Continue reading

Dawn Day in the Wildlife: Sea Lion Release

  • Over 18,000 animals rescued and treated since 1975…

  • Over 30,000 adults and children educated each year…

  • Over 1,100 volunteers from Medocino County in Northern California to San Luis Obispo County on the Central Coast…

Why do the animal rescue professionals and volunteers work so hard in the research and rehabilitation of the animals that come into the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California?

For these moments of glory: The opportunity to return sea lions, seals and other marine wildlife to their natural habitats knowing that they have the strength and skills to stay alive and thrive.

Dawn Day in the Wildlife: Sea Lion Release |

Photo Courtesy of Susan Goldman

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Family Travel in Barcelona: 5 Kid Friendly Sights

Our life of travel and adventure spans back much further than the start of the “Wild Tales of…” blog.  Yes, before Bergen (3 years old) and Baby #2 came along, countless miles on the road were logged around the United States and in many international destinations.

One of the most noteworthy occurred right at the time my husband, Slaed and I met.  Slaed took a hiatus from his regular Seattle life and moved to Barcelona, Spain for 6 months.  During his time there and thanks to several trips previous, he became quite the expert on the city.  While kids of his own were barely on his radar then, two of his best friends, and a huge reason for his Spanish travels, had young families, and he often tagged along on their outings.

I thought it would be fun to pick his brain and learn about the place he called home for a short while. First, our suggestions for accommodations:

Where to Stay

  • “El Born”: This “old city” district features family friendly hotels and lodging and is close to the Parc de la Ciutadella.
  • “Barri Gotic”: The oldest area in the city and where Slaed called home for his 6-month stay, this is the central district of Barcelona and also has plenty of family friendly accommodations.

If you are ready to start researching possible lodging options, try using the hotel, B&B & apartment rental site, Venere. You’ll find it easy to search based on budget, landmark proximity and city areas, and ratings by reviewers.

Now for what to see and do! Together we came up with our top 5 (in no particular order) sights and activities for families to enjoy while visiting this unique and historic city.

Family Travel in Barcelona: 5 Kid Friendly Sights | Continue reading

Dawn Day in the Wildlife: Volunteers Make the Difference at the Marine Mammal Center

Dawn Day in the Wildlife: Volunteers Make the Difference at the Marine Mammal Center |

Photo Courtesy of Susan Goldman

I couldn’t tell my story without first being truly honest with you.  My volunteer experience at the Marine Mammal Center started off all wrong.  It began with disappointment.  Admittedly, selfish disappointment, that I now regret wasting emotional energy on.

As soon as our tour of the center (you can ready more about the facility in my 1st post) ended and we were transitioning to the volunteer-shadowing portion of our day, I was pulled aside (along with another pregnant blogger participant).  Word had spread of our situation and the center had concerns–legitimately so.

Because of the possibility of the animals (or the things they came in contact with) passing along unknown viruses to our vulnerable bodies, we were advised to stay away from the nitty-gritty, get-your-hands-dirty (or fishy) volunteer work. Continue reading

Dawn Day in the Wildlife: Reviving Environmental Stewardship

Interacting with nature. 

Experiencing the outdoors. 

Exploring our world. 

At first my perspective on these activities is nothing but positive.  You probably have a relatively favorable outlook on the natural environment too, right? Even if you don’t consider yourself an “outdoorsy” person, you appreciate the beauty of a sunset, the impressiveness of a mountain vista, or the calm and peace that comes with being on the water.

Dawn Day in the Wildlife: Reviving Environmental Stewardship |

Photo Credit: Susan Goldman

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Trying New Things: Stand-up Paddleboarding in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Watching friends and those I admire for years now try this new(ish) way of enjoying the outdoors got me super curious.  Okay.  And maybe a little jealous.

When see others gliding along the water on stand-up paddleboards, the best word that I can think of is cool.  The sport just seemed like such a neat way to explore a natural area, have downtime, and get a little exercise all at the same time.

Trying New Things: Stand-up Paddleboarding in San Juan, Puerto Rico | Continue reading