Traveling with Little Ones

8 11 2015

Last week, I had a work conference that took me to The Homestead Resort for 3 days. Last time I went, I traveled with a friend, and we had a great time, so this time, I invited my family along. It was a nice escape from our daily routine, but taking the kids out of that routine throws all of us off! The Homestead is pretty spectacular:

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First off, what should have been a 90-minute drive took us 3 hours. Our little guy screamed for the entire 3 hours, so we were forced to make pit stops in a few places, including a tiny diner halfway there. The boys were all keyed up and definitely entertained the workers – luckily, we were the only ones dining in. E kept swinging his corndog around, yelling about his “horndog.”

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Luckily when we arrived, the valet handled our car and luggage, and our room was ready with a nice Pack n Play already set up. Of course, I wish I could say this was the scene, but he didn’t go to sleep for several more hours:

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Even though it was late, we decided to explore the hotel and easily walked about 7000 steps just by looking around.

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It was a late night followed by an early morning, as I went to early sessions and listened to the keynote speaker of the conference the next day. All of my sessions were SO good this year! I came away with lots of practical ideas and freebies. Meanwhile, my husband spent lots of quality time with the boys – lots of snacking, napping, and trips to the playground and the Village.

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I thought our evenings would be full of dining out, downtime to explore the hotel and the town, a swim in the heated pool or a trip to the gym, but there never ended up being time for that. The conference schedule kept me busy, with receptions lasting until 9 PM. When we did have a break, it would only be for a few minutes here and there. I don’t think we got much sleep because of the boys, and then we would start all over again the next day.

Well, we attempted to dine out twice, but Sage cried almost the whole time both nights.

The second night, we ate at the Casino, right on the property.

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On the third night, just before leaving the resort, we ate at Le Cochon d’Or (The Golden Pig) in the village of Hot Springs. I was late to our dinner reservation because my session ran over, but my family was seated right there in the window and I was able to snap a pic of this happy scene before all the meltdowns started.

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I kept it simple with a French onion soup because I knew the kids weren’t going to last long in there – YUM! So hot and cheesy!

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One of my favorite places in the hotel was the Christmas shop. I picked out this year’s ornament and took lots of pictures of E with the gorgeous tree. At the end of November, The Homestead will ceremoniously bring a real tree into the grand lobby.

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I’m so glad that I was able to show my husband The Homestead, and I’m thankful that he was able to spend real quality time with the kids, but I wouldn’t call it a “vacation” by any means! It was pretty stressful for me to find a balance between being a mommy, spending time with my husband, and still attending all my sessions.

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Getaway at The Homestead

10 11 2013

This year, our annual fall Virginia Counselors Association conference got a facelift… we met at The Homestead Resort and Spa in Hot Springs, Virginia. My friend and I split a room for just one night of the conference to save money, but we have different plans for when the conference returns to The Homestead in 2015!

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So let’s talk about our suite. And our star treatment. First off, there was free valet parking. Self-park wasn’t an option. The bell hop, Keswick, carried our luggage up to the 14th floor. What a name!

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Our first session was interesting – dealing with subpoenas – the speaker said “quash” so many times that we could have made a game of it. We then went to a session on how to use yoga techniques in the classroom – calling them “brain breaks” or breathing/stretching exercises.

Our keynote was phenomenal. He’s famous in the School Counseling world – Trevor Romain. I use many of his materials in my lessons, but I had no idea what a engaging, motivational speaker he is. He has had so many experiences, working with orphans in the Congo, loving on children with cancer, and facing his own insecurities as a child. Listening to him was a roller coaster of emotions. One second, we’d be laughing, another, we’d be wiping away heavy tears. We spent most of the conference with our “Trev-dar” on.

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We scoped out our suite ~

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This was our balcony. The fall leaves were stunning! Our suite connected a bedroom, parlor, bathroom, closet, and patio.

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Of course we had to check out the spa, like ASAP, but had no time to enjoy it – yet – before heading back out to the conference!

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At Sam Snead’s golf-themed pub, we had a sub-par (under par? not a hole-in-one? rough?) experience. The hostess was rude to me after THEY lost my reservation, and they initially refused to seat us in the then-empty restaurant. I showed them my phone record from calling them to no avail. Finally they just said, “just give them that little table behind the bar.” Still, I had a yummy, salty pot pie, Irish coffee, and a fancy brownie dessert.

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Dinner was followed by a series of progressive networking receptions, 11 in all, that took place on the top six floors of the hotel. Cue Trev-Dar.

The next morning, I was up before dawn to take advantage of the fitness facilities – running on a nice treadmill overlooking the pool, drooling over the ballet barre, and swimming laps in the indoor heated pool, where steam rose off the water. This was followed by a quick catered breakfast, more sessions, and an awards banquet luncheon. We had plenty of time for more sessions, networking, and lots of adventures on the drive home. Then it was back home to unpack and repack before heading on a race weekend trip to my hometown for the Virginia Running Festival!