Family Travel to Sayulita, Mexico: A Pueblo Magico for Families!?!?

img_4021We wanted to get out of town – last minute! There was no snow in the mountains and my kids were about to be out of school for 2 1/2 weeks. What to do? Where to go? I started researching about three weeks out. I was sure it was possible to get away with our family of four using miles for travel and points for staying in an Airbnb, but not simple. I did a lot of research and finally landed on flying into Puerto Vallarta [PVR]. My whole family had spent time in Sayulita, Mexico over the years and it seemed like an easy trip that ticked off a lot of the most important travel points for my family:

  1. Travel mainly on miles/points
  2. Surf/beach/warm
  3. Easy non-stop travel

img_3948Having spent a lot of time in Mexico and Central America we knew we could make a quick trip to Sayulita and all get our needs met. Not a tough decision for my family!

Getting There

We flew to Puerto Vallarta on United for 17.5k points and back on Southwest for 9k points [per person]. We got cash in the airport [don’t forget to let your bank know you are traveling] from our ATM card [I recommend using your ATM as they give the best exchange rates]. We actually forgot to tell our bank and we ended up having to call our bank from the airport to get our account unfrozen – just plan ahead and it’s not a problem! We got the kids some snacks and drinks in the airport since we were about to take a cab for at least 45 minutes. We then easily caught a cab right outside the airport for $50 to Sayulita. Super easy! Most hosts can arrange a pick up at the PVR airport – but it will cost a little more.

Sayulita, Mexico

This amazing town has been designated as a Pueblo Magico by the Mexican Government.  It is an easy, non-stop flight from the USA and only 45 minutes from Puerto Vallarta. It is also a laid back, sweet spot, that offers lots of real Mexico with a lot of the comforts and ease you might expect from a tourist spot.

img_4039The town in small enough that you can stay almost anywhere and be in easy walking distance to the beach. Be aware that there are a lot of places to stay up steep hills just outside of town – okay for adults and teens, but tough on little ones. This time my family really enjoyed staying a little out of town – we stayed on the north end of town, right on the beach, and loved the peace and quiet. It was a flat 5 minute walk into town along the beach or roads just behind our Airbnb. Certainly there was still more than enough going on to keep us entertained – beach, pool, ceviche on the beach, great food, massages, surfing, etc… I did notice that a lot of Gringos rented golf carts – but I like to get my family walking.

img_3965Food: Sayulita has great food options! Check out garlic shrimp on the beach at any of the restaurants, fresh fish at Don Pedros [we indulged and eat at the fanciest Sayulita dining establishment and it was still under $20 for each of us including a delicious swordfish meal, drinks, etc…], and delicious food at almost any turn. Try Choco-Banana for yummy breakfast and deserts. Eat street tacos at Ivan’s in the evening. Tacos at Naty’s during the day is always a great, very inexpensive, meal. Indulge in churros on the street in the evening. The food scene is a feast for your bellies and eyes – kids love it! 

Photo courtesy of Mariah Tauger Photography www.mariahtauger.com

Photo courtesy of Mariah Tauger Photography http://www.mariahtauger.com

Surf: You can rent surf boards of all varieties right on the beach. Look up and down the beach for the best options – prices and quality varied. You can also arrange lessons at many surf shops along the streets right off the beach or at the tents on the beach. One surf school option is Lunazul. The surf was very calm in December, but it can get big!

img_3943Beach: The beach runs along the crescent shaped bay that is Sayulita. It is beautiful, but the sand is a bit rough. In places the beach drops off steeply into the ocean. It’s okay for adults, but overhead for many kids and even teens. You will see people swimming, surfing and paddle boarding all day and into the evening. There is also a riptide that my own child has been saved from by a life guard on this very beach, so be aware. They do have life guards – a lot of beaches don’t! 

Housing: I love using Airbnb for housing – especially in small towns where I cannot use points or when I want a more local experience. Our options were limited because we were booking over the Christmas Break and we booked so last minute. But there were plenty of options on Airbnb. Also try VRBO and SayulitaLife for booking housing and all things Sayulita. With kids I always look for a pool in addition to the ocean since the surf can be exhausting to kids and sometimes it’s nice to get a break. It’s also nice to have air-conditioning in the bedrooms [even in December, but during warmer weather I think it’s essential!]. We booked with Airbnb for under $190/night, last minute, in high season and this included a pool and was steps from the beach. It wasn’t fancy by any means, but it had everything we needed! 

img_4018There are a few different options for housing in Sayulita:

  • In-town – convenient, but noisy and often cramped
  • North of town – quieter, 5+ minute walk to town [can easily rent a golf cart for young kids or grandparents]
  • Gringo Hill [or neighborhoods off the river] – these can be beautiful views, but a long walk, and very steep [double check this option for kids and grandparents]
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The Ally Cat

Explore: 

  • Take a quick trip to Punta Mita which offers beginner surf breaks that are long, long, long.
  • Sail to the Marietta Islands with the Ally Cat Sailing Adventures. This was a super fun, all day excursion that included lots of sailing, food, drinks, whale watching, snorkeling, paddle boarding, jumping from the ship into the ocean below.
  • Take a hike to Playa de Los Muertos – this is a hidden beach within walking distance to Sayulita even with kids. Walk out of town along the road that parallels the beach past Villa Amor. Head up over the hill past the cemetery on your left and down to a secluded beach – sometimes it doesn’t feel so secluded, but it’s certainly more private than the Sayulita beach.

The Good

  • Easy, direct flights to PVR and simple to transfer to Sayulita
  • Good food and easy to find
  • Reasonably priced – the flights, housing, and especially food!
  • The North side of Sayulita – we loved it! Good food, quiet beaches, peaceful evenings, etc…
  • It’s easy to get around without a lot of Spanish language skills. I also see this as a negative for those of us who want to practice our Spanish.

The Bad

  • It was packed! So many, many tourists. I would say you can expect an equal number gringos and Mexican tourists in December. The summers are relatively empty there, but humid.
  • The beach is okay, but it is so crowded that there are literally umbrellas touching one another for 100s of yards, and stacked 6 deep, in the main part of town
  • You have to say, “No, gracias” so many times when you are near the beach because so many people are walking around selling their wares.
  • Too easy to speak English in this town that is used to tourists.

 

I have a sweet spot in my heart for Sayulita, Mexico. I do agree that it is a Pueblo Magico!

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Free [or practically free] Skiing/Snowboarding in Colorado for ALL 5th and 6th Graders

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Skiing/Snowboarding Is Free [or almost free] in Colorado! Calling all 5th and 6th graders – you can ski 60+ days this winter for free [or close to free] at 20 Colorado resorts! If you are thinking of skiing/snowboarding in Colorado AND you have a 5th or 6th grader, you are in luck!

The Colorado Passport program is for you – even if you don’t live in Colorado. Live in Massachusetts and want to ski/board in Colorado – your 5th grader skis free. Live in California and you want to ski/board in Colorado – your 6th grader skis almost free. As long as you can prove your child is a 5th or 6th grader they qualify for the 5th & 6th Grade Passport Program! 

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Here is how the 5th & 6th Grade Colorado Passport Program works:

5th GRADE PASSPORT

  1. Register your 5th grader at Colorado Passport for their pass. You need a photo and proof of grade that you can upload. They will mail you the pass once approved. You DON’T need to be a Colorado resident.
  2. Ski up to 60 days. That’s right your 5th grader can ski 3 times at all of 20 resorts including: Winter Park, Copper Mountain, A Basin, Aspen, Eldora, Crested Butte, Loveland, Snowmass, and more [see below for full list]!

6th GRADE PASSPORT

  1. Register your 6th grader at Colorado Passport for their pass. You need a photo and proof of grade that you can upload. They will mail you the pass once approved. You DON’T need to be a Colorado resident.
  2. Register by November 30, 2016 and pay $105 to ski 80 days. That’s right, your 6th grader can ski 4 times at all of the 20 resorts including: Winter ParkCopper Mountain, A Basin, Aspen, Eldora, Crested Butte, Loveland, Snowmass, and more [see below for full list]! You can still register through January 31, 2017, but the cost goes up to $125. This is still a screaming deal if your child qualifies!

PARENTS/ADULTS/KIDS [Not 5th & 6th graders]

The best way to get a deal on skiing in Colorado [if you aren’t a 5th or 6th grader] is to purchase a pass at any of the mountains at which you plan to ski. People in Colorado know, it makes sense to get a pass. The walk up prices at some of our amazing mountains can easily be over $150/day. I am not kidding! Here are some ideas of passes that might work in conjunction with the Colorado Passport:

Aspen/Snowmass/Buttermilk: Get a Classic Pass which give you 4-7 days at a serious discount with no blackouts from $199+

Winterpark: Get a Season Pass ahead of time for $429/adults and $249/kids. This also gives you 10 family/friend passes at $69 – $89/day, so maybe you just buy one pass and use the benefits to purchase cheap tickets for other adults skiing with you.

Copper Mountain: Try a Copper 4 Pack for $169/kids & adults. It’s a deal!

PASSPORT PROGRAM MOUNTAINS

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-10-40-38-amNeed more ideas for how to get your family skiing in Colorado for cheap? Give me a shout – I’m happy to help! -Amanda

Colorado Elementary School Kids: Get 16 free days of skiing at Vail Mountains with their Epic School Kids program

#Skiing #Free #Kids #Families #Colorado #Winter #Snowboarding

Why I Am Getting My Kids Outdoors This Summer!

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Boulder County is a mecca of outdoor activities. Why is it that we parents find ourselves begging our kids to get off technology on a regular basis? At least I do. I love getting my kids out the door and into the backyard, on a hike, on their mountain bikes, or anywhere other than indoors as often as possible!

The summer is a great time to get the kids outside and engaged in authentic learning opportunities – the kind that present themselves all the time in the outdoors. I get the brochures for STEM and engineering focused camps and these all look amazing, but I say summer is a time to get outside, leave the traditional classroom behind, and explore a more authentic and engaging “classroom” in the outdoors. This summer I’m getting my kids out the door and learning more about themselves through outdoor experiences! It is time to get our kids out the door and into the outdoors this summer!

Authentic outdoor education programs offer our kids incredible opportunities to push themselves and develop the whole person by allowing them to:

  • Be without technology and fully engage!
  • Build confidence and grit doing things things that are fun but tough!
  • Be bold and try new things! 
  • Engage in healthy risk taking – the activities have high perceived risk, but low real danger!

The outdoors is a seriously powerful tool for personal growth and empowerment for our kids! I want my kids to face challenges and learn that they can push through them. I want my kids to have to engage fully by leaving all the distractions of technology behind. I also know with two boys they need outlets for taking risks in a healthy environment. I believe these are all best accomplished through purposeful engagement in outdoor adventures. This is why I’m turning to some engaging outdoor opportunities for my kids this summer. Let the outdoors be their teacher!

There are so many ways to get our kids going – even at really young ages! Think of the options: Rock Climbing, Kayaking, Biking, Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Hiking, Mountaineering, and many many more! Get the kids out there however you do it – on your own or with a camp program this summer. Of course it depends on how old your kids are and their innate interests, but you can find so many opportunities for authentic learning in the outdoors around Boulder County!

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Photo Credit to Avid4 Adventure

I did some research and I found Avid4 Adventure. I knew they were around but I had not really looked at outdoor camps until now. This summer my 12 year old will be rock climbing with Avid 4 – scaling walls and meeting new friends. He will be scaling walls and pushing himself beyond the limits he currently perceives. He will be getting out of his comfort zone. He will be getting scraped up. He will be exhausted when he gets home after long hikes to climbing spots. I believe he will come back each day with his cup full of life and ready for more adventures. Here’s to summer outdoor adventures! 

More details about Avid4 Adventure in case you think your kids are ready for an outdoor challenge this summer. They offer really professional programs and believe in authentic education through outdoor adventures. Avid4 offers day and overnight programs for all outdoor enthusiast kids and those who just want to dip their toes in the water so to speak. I love Avid4’s philosophy and professionalism! Check out their great general [kids try a little of everything] and sport specific outdoor programs for kids pre-K through 11th grade at their two Boulder County bases of operation:

Avid4 Adventure offers camps out of two local locations that may be interesting for Boulder Families – Boulder Camps and Lafayette Camps @ Avid4 Adventure

Are your kids going to camp this summer? Any great outdoor learning experiences to share with the rest of us?

#Kids #SummerCamp #Summer #Boulder #GetOutdoors

2016-17 Ski Passes: Family Deals Are Happening Right Now!

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What are the best ski deals for families right now? There are some good ones that are time limited, so it may be time to get your passes soon. Don’t delay, the best deals are in the Spring when these areas are trying to entice you to purchase for the 2016-17 ski season.

Rocky Mountain Super Pass+*

Included: Copper Mountain, Winter Park and Eldora, and days at Steamboat, Crested Butte and some others

Cost: $499/adult, $409/teen, $299/child [The price of these passes are only guaranteed through April 5, 2016.]

KIDS SKI FREE! One free child pass [12 & under] with the purchase of an adult RMSP and RMSP+ until June 1, 2016. 

*You can purchase the regular Rocky Mountain Super Pass, but it’s the same price as the RMSP+, so I think it’s a clear decision. 

 

Mountain Collective

This is a new one to me, but might be attractive to some adventurous, traveling families. The Mountain Collective gives you 2 free passes to 12 areas in the United States so 24 days of skiing if you can make it to all locations. Think Alta, Whistler/Blackcomb, Taos, and many more! The only local areas are those in Aspen. But if you are ready to go to the snow, this pass may be a fun one to add to your list.

Cost:$379/adult, $1/child

KIDS SKI FREE! Their child pass is $1 when you purchase an adult pass [limited time]. 

 

Vail Resorts/Epic School Kids

The Epic Pass products are on sale. Again this year they will be offering their Epic School Kids program which offers children through 5th grade a pass that allowed them to ski free for 4 days at Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge. Not too bad! Time to get on this one as this is a limited time offer and there were lots of families sad about not jumping on this one earlier!

The other thing to consider is adults need to get passes that align with these free kids’ passes, so you want to look at the whole package.

KIDS SKI FREE! 4 free days at Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge

What passes will your family get?

 

Boulder Family Deals: Fun [and inexpensive] activities for families!

Hey Boulder Families, there are a few great local deals floating around right now that I think you might enjoy.

1.Ice Skating with Boulder Creek Events [29th Street Mall & Louisville]: Admission and skates for 4

2. Fiske Planetarium [on Campus]: Admission for 2 [$10] or 4 [$20]

3. Colorado Railroad Museum [in Golden]: Admission for 2 adults and up to 5 kids [$10, M-F; $15,S]

4. Learn to Skate with Boulder Valley Ice [in Superior]: 6 week class for $32

If you know of other great deals for families in the Boulder area please pass them along!

All the best, Amanda

Boulder Family Events: December 27, 2013 to January 2, 2014

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Family-Friendly Boulder area events for the next week are right here! It’s a quiet week here in Boulder. Enjoy some sweet down time!

Friday, December 27

Saturday, December 28

Sunday, December 29

  •  Check the lights on the Boulder Courthouse on the Pearl Street Mall.

Monday, December 30

  • Winter Skate in Louisville. Enjoy the old fashion fun of skating. Now through February 2014.
  • FREE Horse Drawn Carriage Rides in Downtown Louisville. Starting at the Ice Rink. Noon to 3pm.
  • Kids Eat FREE: Larkburger & Cafe Mexicali 

Tuesday, December 31

Wednesday, January 1

Happy New Year!

Thursday, January 2

  • Toddler Time at the Main Boulder Library. Children 18 to 36 months are welcome to enjoy a fun story time. 10:15am. 

#getoutside #free #parenting #boulder #colorado #thanksgiving

Boulder Family Events: December 20 to December 26, 2013

Sweet Little Library outside at BCSIS/High Peaks Elementary Schools

Sweet Little Library outside at BCSIS/High Peaks Elementary Schools

Family-Friendly Boulder area events for the next week are right here!

Friday, December 20

Saturday, December 21

Happy Winter Solstice!

  • Bilingual Spanish/English Storytime at the Main Boulder Library. Storytime in both English & Spanish. 10:15am at the Main Boulder Library.
  • ATOMS and Lego Holiday City Building Workshop. To celebrate the holiday season and share the joy of playing with ATOMS, we are turning our headquarters into a themed, open workshop space for anyone to come and build! They provide a free opportunity for anyone to come into our Boulder, CO office and build holiday creations with ATOMS. Our combined efforts will create an entire North Pole Village that moves, lights up, shakes, and pops! December 21 [10am to 4pm] & December 23 & 24 [4pm to 7pm].
  • FREE Day at BMoCA. Join them all day to delight in their exhibits or stop by during the Farmer’s Market for a fun kids craft.
  • Last Day for St. Nick on the Bricks. Head to the Pearl Street Mall if your kids would like to visit with Santa. Fridays and Saturdays from today through December 21. 11am to 2pm

Sunday, December 22

  • Celebrate the Winter Solstice at The Starhouse up Sunshine Canyon has a family-friendly celebration planned and all families are invited! They will have crafts, snacks and stories to welcome the longest day of the year. Cost is $30/family or less for individual tickets. Click link for more details.
  • ATOMS and Lego Holiday City Building Workshop. To celebrate the holiday season and share the joy of playing with ATOMS, we are turning our headquarters into a themed, open workshop space for anyone to come and build! They provide a free opportunity for anyone to come into our Boulder, CO office and build holiday creations with ATOMS. Our combined efforts will create an entire North Pole Village that moves, lights up, shakes, and pops! December 23 & 24 [4pm to 7pm]

Monday, December 23

  • ATOMS and Lego Holiday City Building Workshop. To celebrate the holiday season and share the joy of playing with ATOMS, we are turning our headquarters into a themed, open workshop space for anyone to come and build! They provide a free opportunity for anyone to come into our Boulder, CO office and build holiday creations with ATOMS. Our combined efforts will create an entire North Pole Village that moves, lights up, shakes, and pops! Today [4pm to 7pm]
  • Winter Skate in Louisville. Enjoy the old fashion fun of skating. Now through February 2014.
  • FREE Horse Drawn Carriage Rides in Downtown Louisville. Starting at the Ice Rink. Noon to 3pm.
  • Kids Eat FREE: Larkburger & Cafe Mexicali 

Tuesday, December 24

  • Lap Babies at the Main Boulder Library. Babies birth to 12 months can enjoy storytime!10:15am

Wednesday, December 25

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 26

  • Toddler Time at the Main Boulder Library. Children 18 to 36 months are welcome to enjoy a fun story time. 10:15am. 
  • Storytime at the George Reynolds Branch Library. Come one, come all to South Boulder’s branch library for a storytime. 2pm.

#getoutside #free #parenting #boulder #colorado #thanksgiving

Boulder Family Events: December 13 to December 19, 2013

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Family-Friendly Boulder area events for the next week are right here!

Friday, December 13

Saturday, December 14

Sunday, December 15

  • Nature for Kids & Parents: Oh Deer!  Hike into the forest with Debora Martin, Early Childhood Educator/Volunteer Naturalist and imagine we are a herd of deer.  Play a game, sing a song, learn a magical story, then continue to prance, stroll, and play like deer while exploring their habitat. Make an antler headband to take home! Meet at the Lehigh Street entrance to Shanahan Ridge (map search 1903 Lehigh, where Lehigh and Lafayette Streets intersect) for an easy hike.  Ages 5 and up.
  • Timberline Handbell Ensemble Holiday Concert at the Main Boulder Library. Back by popular demand! This family friendly special event that celebrates the season and ring in the new year. Timberline Handbell Ensemble strives to broaden the appreciation of the art of handbell ringing in the Denver Metro area by providing excellent concerts and education for diverse audiences. 3pm.

Monday, December 16

Tuesday, December 17

Wednesday, December 18

Thursday, December 19

#getoutside #free #parenting #boulder #colorado #thanksgiving

Do You Instagram? This Social Media Tool Is Not Just For The Kids!

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Instagram is a really cool social media tool that allows you to take photos, use great filters to make them look amazing, and then share them on a photo stream with your friends. You choose who shares your photo stream so you can keep your circle as small an you want. Instagram quickly becomes a photo journal of your life.

I love Instagram for families! Let me tell you why…

  1. Take Fun Photos! You can take really fun photos and easily manipulate them with filters. It can be addictive!
  2. Share Your Photos: You can share photos with select friends/family/others–you choose!
  3. Photos Are Available Immediately: The photos you share show up on your photo stream immediately so people can share your experiences and see what you are up to. Even grandparents can keep up to date on what’s happening in your family’s life via your photo journalism.
  4. Photos Are Archived: you can always look back for photos you took.
  5. Print Your Instagram Photos: You can now create great photo prints with your Instagram images.
  6. Keep Tabs On Your Kids: You can follow your kids and even their friends–essential for the teen crowd! If you have a teen you know what I mean.
  7. Share Via Email or Other Social Media Sites: After you snap an Instagram photo you can share those photos via email or many other social media sites. It makes it easy to integrate these images into your life.
  8. And Now Video: Instagram just added up to 15 second video capability with some of the same great filters to make your videos look great!

Instagram Example 1: This weekend we went camping with some friends. The kids and I snapped Instagram photos and uploaded them immediately. It was fun to share the journey with our friends and family! I use the photos to document our adventures.

Instagram Example 2: My husband travels a lot for work. I snap Instagram photos and he can follow what we are up to in almost real time. He can “like” or “comment” on all the photos so he can interact with me and they kids too.

Instagram Example 3: The other day I set my mom up with an Instagram account [took under 5 minutes]. She can now follow her grandkids and our whole family. She does this on her iPhone, but she could do it on another mobile device [iPad, iPad Mini, etc…]. She loves it!

Want to get started on Instagram? Here is how.

The Intersection of Yoga and Parenting

DownwardDog-300I love yoga. I don’t do it enough, but I still love it! Yesterday I was at a delicious yoga class at The Little Yoga Studio deeply immersed in sweat and downward dogs, when my mind started to wander. I cherish the time when I give myself the space for my mind to wander -it doesn’t happen a lot these days. All at once the words that yoga instructors have said over the years started to accumulate in my head. They came flooding in. It started with the yoga instructor telling us about her decision to bring Joy back into her life. Joy. Joy? Joy’s honorable. We all want to feel joy, right?

I was joyful, in between praying with all my being that this was not a class that was over 1 hour and wondering how I was going to ask my friend Wendy this question since she seemed to in the moment and engaged any time I glanced over to see if there was an iota of an opening to ask my very important question. It was hot in there, I was seriously sweating, I hadn’t been to yoga in a few weeks, and I know my body sort of turns off after an hour of yoga. I guess I was panicking a bit. I forgot at first how much more than exercise I get every time I am on my mat. But here were all these thoughts about ways of being that were floating around my head.

Back to the intersection of yoga and parenting. The words of past yoga teachers flooded in and it occurred to me how yoga informs parenting. And vice versa. But at this point with a pre-teen boy and a pre-pre-teen boy in my house I was really appreciating how yoga could support me.  I need some support. Some of the words of wisdom that were ringing though my head about how the essence of yoga cold support parenting include:

  • Be kind to yourself. If you need to take a break just take child’s pose or let your family know you need a break [even for a moment just go outside] and accept that it is okay to not be perfect.
  • If you wobble, it’s okay. Think tree pose and life. We will all wobble. It’s okay. Be accepting.
  • Look for joy. We are given many opportunities to find joy in our lives we just need to let them in. Don’t take life too seriously. 
  • Find ease [smile] even when it is tough. It’s not where we stand in times of comfort and convenience, but rather in times of difficulty and hardship that matter! [paraphrase of the MLK quote] Think of how this could transform the act of getting out the door in the morning.
  • Be thankful. Appreciate that you are here on your yoga mat. It’s okay to do something good for yourself. 

There are so many more wise words I have heard and wish to live by, but these are a few of the ways that yoga and parenting intersect.

Add to the conversation. What are the ways you see yoga and parenting intersecting and informing each other? I would love to hear from this amazing, yoga loving community!