Thanks to all of your votes, I am “BENADRYL® Canada’s Most Prepared Mom”, and the happy winner of a $10,000 travel voucher. In my teenager’s words, “That is totally awesome!”  Now that a bit of the excitement died down at my house, my four boys have been having fun with this title. “What?! We are out of milk? But aren’t you MOST PREPARED???”

As I type this, I am on a road trip with my family. Happily, now that the boys are ages 5 though 13, trip preparations come naturally. I do keep Benadryl on hand for my second boy (really– one mosquito bite and he swells up). On our flight to Phoenix, I had to pull out the tape to hold some headphone wires together. And yes, there are currently two balloons in my purse. Oh. Scratch that. One made its way into my 5 year old’s shorts. When traveling, we need to be ready to “not be ready”, so to speak. Yesterday, we stopped by the roadside to use the facilities, (read “pee on a tree”), when one of the boys found the “most perfect rock ever” for his collection. And the other day, we caved to the endless moans of hunger from our teenager, stopped at a restaurant when no one was even close to hungry, only to find ourselves enjoying the most delicious meal (and Margaritas) as we cheered the Canadian women’s soccer team fighting a brave Olympic battle. It was a bonding moment for us. We weren’t prepared, but it was perfect.

Annabelle-family.JPGNow we get to book a vacation with this amazing travel voucher! How will I prepare and remain worthy of this title?

First off– choose a destination, or a couple of them! Many Urbanmoms who voted for me have been asking to come along for one massive Urbanmoms girls trip away. Not a bad thought really…. However, my husband and I have always wanted to take the family to
Europe and this prize will help make it happen.

annabelle-grandparents.pngWe would love to start where my family is from, Madeira, Portugal. My children would learn about their grandparents who they barely had a chance to know.

 Preparation #1: Portuguese language skills. The boys will
need to learn some basics. With all of the relatives coming at them to pinch and kiss their cheeks, I think the first words they will need to say in Portuguese will be, “Nao mas beijos por favor– Please, no more kisses!”.

Next stop, Spain. I have always wanted to return to Spain since my solo backpacking days in my 20s. I loved the people, the food, and smells of the Mediterranean seaside markets.

Preparation 2: work my way through a Spanish cookbook. Paella, tapas and sangria. Mmmmmmuchas gracias! To better help the kids embrace the food and tastes of Spain, we will make our own Spanish kitchen at home so they will be ready to order up their virgin sangrias with a side of garlicky olives or empanadas.

Annabelle-friend.pngLast stop–Malta. I am blessed to have a friend of the soul. My high school BFF, as the kids say, moved there 8 years ago. It would be fabulous to reunite with her on the beautiful island of Gozo. We would stay at her father’s farm house with a pool, explore grottoes by the sea and catch up in a way only girlfriends can with big, hysterical belly laughs and tears.

Preparation 3: pack dancing shoes. It sounds like the perfect vacation. A little bit of family history and Portuguese loving, a taste of Spanish flavour, and a visit with a dear friend while exploring the richness of Maltese culture.

I am prepared for a whole lot of “totally awesome”.

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