Friday, April 3, 2015

Traveling -- Finding Things to Do

Anytime we head to a new place I always look for the odd things to do. Yes it is always fun to go to the museums and the big tourist places but I also like to try and find the odd out of the way places. What types of things do the locals like to do as you know they aren't going to the museum everyday. So how do I find things to do?

Before kids I used to make friends with the concierge. I use to ask them what they liked to do in their city. I use to end up at some really fun places. If I took a cab to the place the concierge suggested then I'd ask the cabby for another place. I'd continue to do this every place I went and I'd end up with a really fun trip of out of the way fun places.

As we've gotten older these adventures as we like to call them haven't got old. Now we just look for things to do in a different manner. With four under five finding family friendly things can be a challenge. Before we headed to Charleston this week I contacted both the MOMS Club (R) and a few of the local MOPS groups for ideas.

MOMS stand for Mother Offering Mothers Support. They are a group of stay-at-home moms that hold a monthly meeting and usually meet throughout the month for play dates. They usually have one Moms night our a month. They also usually have a service project for the year. These clubs are in a lot of cities around the United States. Go to to find your local chapter.

MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers. They usually meet at churches all over the world. They usually meet twice a month during the school year. With MOMS Club you usually have your kids with you at activities. During MOPS your kids go to a special program called MOPPETS and you get to enjoy a morning to yourself learning about things that affect the mother of preschoolers lives. To search for a group in your area go to

Using both of these groups we came up with a list of things we wanted to do this trip. We had some big things like the Children's Museum and the History Museum. We also had some items the locals would know like Pies and Pints a local pizza shop and Ellen's Ice Cream.

One other thing we always look for is things to do outdoors. Where we are this week isn't far from New River Gorge. So if it nice on Saturday when we are preparing to drive back home we may go a little out of our way to enjoy this beautiful park. There is also a few great nature preserves right here in Charleston that we might check out today if the girls are in the mood and the weather is great (for my Erie friends it was 77 and sunny yesterday and is supposed to be 72 and sunny today).

One thing I definitely have to say that  is different between traveling just Brian and I to traveling with kids is the amount of stuff you can pack into one day. When we were just married we could go from morning to night without stopping. Now that we have kids everything gets planned around their nap time and bed time. With four under five nap time is a big priority for me. Without naps everyone gets cranky. We can push bedtime a little bit but not much. The baby is even more sensitive to difference in her bed time than her older sisters.

Also another thing with kids is that it really doesn't matter where we go just as long as we are together. They don't care if we buy them something or go some place wild and crazy. Just going to a park with them and swinging on a swing is good enough.  They just enjoy being with us. I think some of my favorite memories from this trip will be spending time together as a family in the hotel pool or sitting in our hotel room talking and coloring.
I love that our kids are easy going like us. I love that they are up for anything. I think sometimes I'm the one that holds them back as I will say "we shouldn't go there as that is too old for them." but then when we get there I see that they have a ton of fun and it actually was to their ability level.
I also love looking at things through the eyes of a child. They notice some of the most innocent things. I love how God's creation looks to them. There are things I take for granted everyday but things like them seeing tulips and daffodils growing make me really stop and wonder what else I am missing as we run through our days.
I hope everyone has a happy Friday. Today is our last full day in Charleston so we are heading out to find some more fun things to do.

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