The Titanic

A couple of months ago, the boys and I visited the Titanic Museum in Belfast, Ireland. We stood on the grounds where the grand and luxurious ship was built at Harland & Wolff’s shipyard. The Titanic Belfast is located 100 yards in front of where Titanic’s hull was launched; to its right is the drawing office where she was designed and to the left is the River Lagan where she first set sail.

On April 10,1912, passengers boarded the ship in Southampton, England and departed for it’s maiden voyage at noon. The first stop was Cherbourg, France and then the last stop was Queenstown, Ireland. April 11, 1912 at 1:30pm, the Titanic left Queenstown and headed across the Atlantic for New York. As we stood at the docks, we imagined ourselves waving goodbye to the passengers and in that moment, more than ever before, I wished I could go back in time and warn them of what was to come.

The Launchship design

The tragic story of the Titanic has always touched me deeply. I can’t tell you how many times I watched the movie just to be closer to the story and the deceased. There are certain things in my life that I have such deep connections with. I often wonder if I was somehow associated to these in past lives. The Titanic is one of those things for me.

I talked to the boys about the Titanic before we went to the museum which made them interested every step of the way. We spent a few hours there and took in everything we possibly could. They asked a hundred questions and I could feel their compassion as they imagined what really happened a hundred years ago. They couldn’t wait to watch the movie to learn more.

If you recall, the film is over 3 hours long, and my 3 and 5 year old watched the whole thing, with barely a blink. They ask to watch it often when we have a place with a dvd player. What amazes me most is not only that they are now very familiar with an important event in history but, the fact that they have such heavy hearts about the incident. I can’t believe the depth in their eyes as they imagine the lives lost and wish they could have saved them or prevented such a tragedy.

We have discussions about going back in time so we can warn them of what lies ahead. They want to instruct the captain to slow down in order to avoid the iceberg. Aston, my 3 year old says this each time we talk about it, “Mommy, if we go back in time to warn them, they may think we are crazy and the Master of Arms will lock us up in the “bad guy” chambers. We may not get off the ship in time if we do that. I really wish we could prevent the Titanic from sinking though. Somehow.” Pierce often wants to re-enact the story in order to understand it all better and tries to come up with ways we can go back and warn them as well.

The day after we visited the museum, we sailed across the Irish Sea to Scotland on a very large ferry. It was interesting to witness that fear was not present in either of them. It was just the opposite actually. They told me and continue to tell me that today things would be different. There would be enough life boats on board to save everyone and communication technology is so much better today so we would get help in time.

Titanic 2

Lastly, I want to share a very special thing that happened to me which relates to the Titanic. It was in 2007 on the evening of the Oscars when the film won more awards than any other had up to that date. I was home, sick with the flu, watching the show. I received a call from a Director friend of mine about half way through the program. He knew how much I loved the movie and the story and he told me to get dressed and to get to Beverly Hills. I jumped up, put on a black dress and pulled it together. I met him and he led me through a path covered in white tents. We entered one of them and he walked me up to a table and said, “Enjoy yourself.” I was standing in the middle of the Titanic Oscar party and I was seated at the Titanic cast table. I was astonished.

It was a wonderful and dreamy evening. I spent a lot of time talking to James Horner about his perfectly and beautifully scored music. I thought he would be tired of receiving such praise because I imagined he heard it all day long from so many. On the contrary, I realize now that a creative person must never tire of compliments when his accomplishment is driven by pure love and passion. It’s just validation to the creator when their art resonates deeply with others.

As I always say, walking through and experiencing history and this world is so fascinating and educational. We are all learning and growing so much each day. I suppose these are the lessons. I don’t shelter my boys. We have a very open, honest and straightforward way of communicating. I believe communication is the most important tool and foundation within any and every relationship. I tell them about the world and they ask a lot of questions. I feel their hearts and souls as they walk through this life each day. They are sensitive, strong and wise little men. I learn so much about life from them. I am so thankful we were given each other.

We sent a lot of love and peace down to the ocean floor while at the museum. They have an interactive space which shows all of the footage from the Titanic in it’s final and current resting place. Oh, the wonder and awe in my children’s eyes as they witnessed this and tried to make sense of it all. Here’s to the Titanic and the 1,502 souls lost.

The wreck of the Titanic remains on the seabed, split in two and gradually disintegrating at a depth of 12,415 feet

The wreck of the Titanic remains on the seabed, split in two and gradually disintegrating at a depth of 12,415 feet


Two Boys in the Kingdom of Wray Castle 1840

Wray Castle
We recently visited a very special castle in England near Beatrix Potter’s Hilltop Farm. It had the MOST wonderful activities and adventures for children. This was where we discovered the 50 Things to do Before You’re 11 3/4. Welcome to the Magical World of Wray Castle.

It all began when we pulled up and saw 3 shovels in a pile of gravel. I thought that was where the adventure began and of course nothing was stopping our boys from grabbing those shovels and digging. I didn’t think we’d even get inside the castle because this was enough fun for them! A few kind men showed up to finish their job and were grateful to find helpers. Our boys shoveled all of the gravel into a wheelbarrow with the guys. It was so sweet and special and they worked hard 🙂

Wray Castle Helper

After they finished their job, we entered the castle. The very first room was filled with huge, foam blocks. You can imagine the joy on their faces when they first entered this room and as they built huge castles and knocked them down. We just enjoyed witnessing their enthusiasm and happiness!

Our next stop was a room upstairs filled with costumes, swords and castle tents! They both dressed up as knights, grabbed their shields and swords, got on their horses and played their little hearts out! Dana and I looked at each other and had one of those moments…Our boys are dressed up like knights and playing castle games…in a CASTLE…in England. It was a special moment, indeed.


It is in these moments and so many others that we realize the magnitude of our journey and the role it is playing during these formative years for our boys. We are a family that is always together, all the time. This is what we choose and how we choose to parent. We know this way of living, with this kind of constant closeness, is not for everyone. We are always striving for balance and many times we achieve it. Many times we don’t. Even with the ups and downs we face, we wouldn’t change a thing.

Our intention for this trip was to gain perspective as individuals, a couple and a family. We wanted to share and experience the world and taste all that unfolded daily. This is exactly what we are doing every, single day. We are so thankful for this opportunity and for each other.

Ok, back to the castle. After playing knights and dragons, we moved over to the craft room. The boys cut out crowns and decorated them with glue sticks, markers and tissue paper. They were so proud to leave the crowns for the king and they hoped he would stop by for tea.

Castle Crafts

We went outside and made mud pies, swung from tires hanging in trees, hiked down to the beautiful lake and built rock forts. It was a perfect day. Yes, I’m using the word perfect.

I’ll never forget our 5 year old walking down the stairs at the end of our visit and throwing his arms up in the air.  He enthusiastically exclaimed, “Now that was a Fun Day!” What more can I ask for?

Great Day

Thank you Wray Castle for being so child-friendly and for giving our family such special memories.


50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 3/4

Thank you to the National Trust Organization of the United Kingdom for putting together such a wonderful list of adventures for children. They can earn badges and rewards along the insightful journey of discovering nature. Sign up on their website and let the fun begin!

Our visit to Wray Castle in England checked off 15 of the activities in a day! We may be completing this list shortly since our boys are such outdoorsmen! I thought of something today. I got through 5 and 1/2 years without a stroller. I wore by boys in carriers until they no longer wanted to be toted and since then, have let them run free. I’m not saying this has been an easy task. When they get tired, my husband and I carry them and always have. I’m often surprised by the strength we are given when it comes to our kids. Our fortitude and stamina far exceed what we believe we are capable of.

I see you with your headphones on and savoring a latte, while happily pushing your stroller. You seem organized, relaxed and comfortable. I will never know that comfort and I suppose I chose the hard way. Now that our boys are almost 40 pounds each, I must say, it isn’t easy when that time comes to pick them up and carry them up hill, in the rain. Yes, those are the stories our parents and grandparents told us…Uphill and in the rain. Now I know they were telling the truth 🙂 I sure do miss wearing my boys and I love seeing how active and athletic they are. They definitely take advantage of any land in front of them and seize each moment.

Enjoy exploring this world with your children and don’t be afraid to get dirty! Mud pies may not be tasty, but the joy we witness on their faces as they make them, is worth every bit of mess! Being outside, scouting and discovering nature and this planet, truly is the best education I’ve witnessed. The questions and learning that take place, during and after a day in the wild, are what education and knowledge are all about.

Our children are curious. They want to learn. They want to know Every. Single. Thing.

Rain or Shine…We’ll see you outside!

Happy Travels and Exploring!

50 Things


Raising Global Citizens



I’ve done quite a bit of traveling in my life. There was a freedom that came from traveling alone but now I have two young boys. I am a big believer in the gift of travel, and I believe even more strongly, that it is one of the most important contributions I can make in the lives of my children and to us as a family. It has enriched my life deeply and the memories I have made and will continue to make will last a lifetime.

So often, people think that life is over after having kids, or at least the spontaneity and adventure in it. They settle down and think that settling down is what you are supposed to do. I want to do this as a family one day, and one day we will. I believe stability for children comes from their parents. It is presence from their parents that allows for the security, stability and “home” that they need. This post is about; why I travel, why I want my kids to be exposed to the world and all of the amazing benefits that come with it.

Many people say that it’s a waste to travel with young children, especially before the age of 5. These same people allege that infants and toddlers won’t remember anything and it won’t be worth the money, inconveniences or aggravation. I disagree as my experiences have shown me otherwise. Please allow me to explain.

Traveling has so many benefits to a family. The parents gain new perspectives and experiences, which augment them as individuals, as a couple and as parents. This is so important in raising their children. When we are not exposed to different views and ways of seeing the world we become complacent and we begin to believe our way is the only way.

I believe travel is most important within the first seven years of life. It is within that period that the foundation is set for a person. We grow, we change, we learn, but our first years of life are the most valuable in determining who we become fundamentally in terms of values, personality, and intrinsic nature. This has been proven and is accepted by most with public health messages that continually talk to parents about the importance of the first five years of life.

The stimulation of new environments, different cultures, modes of transportation, other languages, cuisines and people, will help to influence and create the paradigm our children use to view the world. They will adapt better to change in their lives and they will also be more compassionate, respectful, aware and considerate of others. I don’t claim this to be the case simply if you travel, however, I believe that with this exposure to the world outside of our own and with Guidance, Love, Patience and Compassion, these characteristics will develop organically. I also believe that instilling gratitude and appreciation for all we have in this life is very important.

Traveling from an early age can also prevent fear; fear of people, fear of failing, fear of unfamiliar places and most importantly, fear of the unknown. Children aren’t born with fear. It is taught and it is learned. My kid’s fearlessness eases any fears I may have and their enthusiasm in all of our adventures truly inspires me.

Kids are dreamers. We need to let them dream. We need to expose them to the beautiful world we live in and show them that a world outside of our own exists. I believe in doing this at an early age. The exposure will breed curiosity, which is so important. We should always be curious! Critical thinking is also essential in this world and many people would say, “it is not taught in our school system.” It is however, learned through living, through playing, exploring, discovering, and being exposed to new and different ways of life.

I believe traveling teaches our children to become better citizens of the world we all share. They cultivate a social awareness that most of us don’t develop until much later in life, empathy for humanity, and a wondrous spirit that will inspire others as they walk through this precious gift of life.

My experience has shown me, if you have never traveled with your children, that you can’t expect perfection. It isn’t easy but anything truly beneficial and rewarding usually isn’t. Be prepared to answer a lot of questions, be patient, enjoy each little stop they want to make along the way to smell the flowers and play with rocks, and take pride in knowing you are helping to shape the way your child sees this boundless, wonderful, beautiful world we all share.

Happy Traveling. May you and your children grow stronger, wiser and more fulfilled in your lives. I truly believe we all grow exponentially while traveling and we are so much more present for each other. The bonds established, the love shared and the memories created will tell stories for our lifetimes.

World Tour 2013 departing in February.


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