If you follow our Facebook page, you know that this is a big week for us at Out and About Mom. It’s our FIFTH blogging anniversary!
Yes, five years ago–with a rambunctious 1-year-old and a couple of 7-month-old cuties–we set off on our first set of weekly outings. Our mission: to provide parents with the nitty-gritty details they needed to know when visiting someplace new and unfamiliar with their little ones, so they could worry less about logistics (where do I park? can I use my stroller? will there be somewhere to change a diaper?) and focus 100% on the fun.
Now, five years, two additional kiddos and hundreds of outings later, Out and About Mom has become the go-to resource we dreamed it could be.
We reach thousands of CT parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and caregivers every month. And in addition to maintaining our huge archive of posts that has become a go-to reference, we still try to bring you a new outing idea or destination each week. Yup, five years later and some things have not changed much at all.
And then again, some things have changed a lot.
In late 2015 we faced our biggest change yet when it became evident that Mandy and her family would need to relocate to Orlando, FL for her husband’s job.
It was a confusing few months as we tried to figure out what this move meant for the little blog project that had somehow become such a big part of our lives. But almost a year later, Out and About Mom is still going strong. And Mandy is still a big part of it. You may not see her post weekly outings, but she’s right there behind the scenes–keeping our old posts updated, making our site look pretty, managing much of our social media, and untangling the technology-related messes I seem to get myself into at an alarmingly high rate 🙂
That’s not to say that Mandy and her family haven’t settled into their new hometown.
They’re totally embracing the Florida lifestyle.
And she’s still finding plenty of ways to get “out and about.”
- Still enjoying PYO outings at this blueberry picking destination
- Hanging out in their new “back yard” (a.k.a Magic Kingdom)
- Mandy and husband Greg having a date day at Magic Kingdom
- Yes, they do visit other theme parks. This is Sea World.
- But of course they spend a lot of time at Disney 🙂
- Contrary to popular belief, they do have to pull out their winter clothes from time to time (though the kids’ definition of “cold” has drastically changed since their move).
- Greg’s new “office” at the Wide World of Sports (the reason for the move).
- Making new friends at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom.
Another big change for us over the past year was welcoming a new Out and About Mom, Ally Noel, to our team (and she’s sticking with us even after we asked her to spend the night in a tipi back in July!).
A resident of Norwalk, Ally’s insight into the Fairfield County scene and her posts about local activities have been invaluable to us. She’s been able to expand our blogging radius into a region that we always had trouble covering from our Hartford-area homes. And in addition to being a fantastic writer and a fearless adventurer she’s also one of our biggest supporters. We’re so blessed to have her (and her daughter Miss C!) as part of the OAAM family.
It sure has been a year of change for us, but one thing will never change: our gratitude to all of our wonderful readers. We could not have made Out and About Mom what it is today without each of you. You read about our adventures. You follow us on social media. You sign up for our emails. You share our site and our blog posts with your friends and family. You give us amazing recommendations for new places to visit and write about. You help us answer questions for other readers. You support us. You inspire us. And you make Out and About Mom the amazing community resource it has become today. So keep up the good work, ok? Because we’re looking forward to celebrating our 10th anniversary 🙂
We also need to thank our amazing sponsors. We’re talking about all the businesses, organizations and individuals who have supported us financially over these past five years. Sponsors like these:
As much as we wish it were so, this blog cannot run on love alone. Just like any other business, we have bills to pay, personal expenses to reimburse and every once in awhile we try to compensate ourselves for the enormous amount of time and effort we put into this blog (trust me, we’re making well below minimum wage!). The income we receive from our advertising program makes it possible for us to move forward and to keep up with the tremendous growth we’ve seen over the last couple years. It makes it possible for us to keep this blog 100% FREE to use for our readers. And it helps us support our families in many different ways.
So if you or someone you know has a business that you think could benefit from exposure to our thousands of readers, please consider supporting our site or passing along our advertising information.
In past years, Mandy and I have marked our anniversaries by each selecting our top 5 outings from the past year. But of course, with Mandy in Florida now that didn’t make much sense this year. Plus, I’m pretty sure Mandy’s top outings would have read something like this:
- Magic Kingdom
- Magic Kingdom
- Magic Kingdom
- Sea World
- Magic Kingdom.
I thought about trying to have each of us pick our top outing of all time. But when you’ve been on 400+ adventures, each of them unique and special in their own way, it’s really an impossible task to narrow it down to the one you loved best.
So instead, I thought we’d just take a scroll down memory lane with our top outings from previous years.
I love looking back–at all the places we’ve been to, at our adventures (and misadventures) at those places, at the pictures of our kiddos when they were itty bitty (honestly, this blog is the closest thing I’ve got to a baby book!), at the wonder in their expressions as we introduced them to one new experience after another.
I love getting all the sweet emails and comments from readers who have been inspired by our posts. It makes us feel as though we are really making a difference in your lives.
And I feel grateful, as I know Mandy is too, that we have been lucky enough to go on this journey. That I can sit here and write that we are celebrating our fifth anniversary of blogging about things to do with kids in (and around) Connecticut.
Because who would have thought these two crazy moms would have brought this little blog project so far and touched so many?
You did. That’s who. And we love you for it 🙂
Thank you for making these past five years so amazing. We’re looking forward to continuing the journey with you.
Shawna & Mandy
The Out and About Moms
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