The Adventure Starts Here: April 2015

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Weekend in Baltimore - Day 3


Our third and final day in Baltimore.  On Saturday night, we had decided to forfeit our Aquarium tickets and head home first thing in the morning because of the riots.  But when we woke up in the morning, we read a bunch of articles and twitter feeds and learned that the cops had the Inner Harbor under control by 11 pm and had arrested dozens of rioters.  We also spoke to a few people and felt that it would probably be safe to go to the Aquarium on a Sunday morning (riots don't usually happen at that time, right?).  We were really excited to go to the Aquarium and it was on top of most of the "Things to do in Baltimore" lists I found :)

We arrived at 9:30 and I was glad to see that while it wasn't overly crowded, that there were plenty of people there.  I would have felt silly (and a little reckless) if we were one of the only ones who decided to venture out the morning after the riots.  As soon as we entered, we checked our stroller and walked to the large tank where there are some mini sharks.  We just so happened to get there as they were feeding the sharks!  We also saw a really large turtle (or maybe it was a tortoise) and three sting rays.  


We spent the next hour and a half just looking at all the different species of fish.  I remember seeing "Nemo", a seahorse, and some beautiful brightly colored fish, but I couldn't tell you their names to save my life!


We then headed up a tall escalator to the "Rain Forest".  As soon as you walked in you could feel the temperature and humidity change and there was a mist.  They had pictures of animals that live in the rain forest, but I just remember seeing a few birds.  But the environment was pretty spectacular.  



Before leaving, we went to see the dolphins.  We thought were were gonna see a Sea World type show, but really it was just a feeding time where they showed us some of the "tricks" they teach them.  We did get to see some jumps, but definitely nothing crazy.  At first, Noah could care less and was more interested in sticking bottle caps into the cracks of the bleachers.  But by the end, he was oohing and ahhing at the jumps :)



Originally, we thought it would be safest to just eat at the Aquarium (less walking around outside), but there was limited selection there and we were getting the vibe that things were okay out there.  We walked a few minutes to Bryan Voltaggio's Family Meal.  If you are a Top Chef fan, you probably recognize his name.  The restaurant just recently opened, and while we had to wait maybe 20 minutes for a table, the food was delicious!  From there, we went back to the hotel, got the car, and headed home!  


Whenever we go on vacation, we love to get Noah a few souvenirs.  We collect golf balls for Noah, and thankfully we were able to find one at the very end!  While I waited with Noah for our table to be ready, Chris ran down to the a store and picked one up.  Noah also picked out a zebra stuffed animal at the zoo, 2 new Thomas trains at the Train Exhibit, and a penguin stuffed animal at the aquarium... all really great choices in my opinion :)  It's so cute to see how much Noah loves stuffed animals now.  Just a year ago he couldn't care less, but now he likes to give them hugs and everything.  He even carried the zebra around with him in his stroller and showed him the fish at the aquarium!


I wish I could say the ride home was just as great as the ride there, but it wasn't!  Since it was a little after 1 when we left, we were expecting Noah to sleep a couple of hours.  While he did fall asleep pretty quickly, the horrendous stop and go traffic we hit as soon as we got on 95 woke him up about 30 minutes later!  Not only was the traffic bad, but we now had an unhappy kid who wanted out of his seat!  We did eventually stop for gas and an ice cream treat and calmed him down before continuing on with our drive.  Traffic finally got a little better, but it took us way longer than it should have to get home.  


If you want to catch up on the rest of our trip, here's Day 1 and Day 2 in Baltimore!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Weekend in Baltimore - Day 2 | It's The Little Things


Saturday was the only full day we had in Baltimore.  We decided not to set an alarm and to let Noah decide when we'd wake up, since we knew he rarely sleeps past 7:30.  Even though our hotel had a breakfast included, we wanted to try Miss Shirley's, per a friend's recommendation.  Breakfast was delicious and did not disappoint!  

^^^ Noah was hiding every time Chris tried to take a picture of us together


We then went back to our hotel to get our car so we could go to the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore!  It was kind of cloudy and chilly so I dressed Noah in 2 coats!  We were just glad it wasn't windy like our first day!  When we told Noah we were going to the zoo, he immediately said "choo choo" since our zoo at home has a train.  We found out this zoo also had a train, but were disappointed when we found out it was closed for repairs :(  The zoo has a weird layout where you have to take a tram (glorified golf cart) from the entrance over to where most of the animals are.  Thank goodness for that though, because Noah called that a train and it made him happy :)



Other than the train, Noah wanted to see lions, elephants, and giraffes.  We got to see all of those and more!  I really liked this zoo.  It wasn't too crowded and there were workers all over the place telling us fun facts about the animals.  




Noah even got to feed the male giraffe, Cesar!  He did it with Chris first, where he actually held the leaf, but when he did it with me, he wanted me to do the actual feeding.  I didn't realize how long their tongues were!



Unfortunately, we weren't able to leave the zoo unscathed!  While running on some older boardwalk-like flooring, Noah tripped and fell.  He fell to his knees and then fell over onto his head and immediately started crying!  He got a huge bump on his head and a few scratches from the wood.  The crazy thing is I got it all on "video" as I was recording him on my phone when he tripped!  


We also had to stop and ride the carousel a few times.  Recently, Noah has preferred to sit on the benches versus the animals that go up and down.  When he'd ride on the animals, it was always unpredictable whether he'd like it or be scared.  Now that he sits on the bench, he always loves it!


It sounds silly, but since we don't have any Chick-fil-A's near our house, we were excited to see so many in Maryland!  We decided to skip lunch at the zoo and go to a Chick-fil-A on the way back to the hotel instead.  Noah fell asleep 5 minutes into the drive, so we decided to get drive-thru instead and just eat in the car while he slept... still just as yummy!  


Since we wouldn't be heading back to the hotel for his nap, we decided we should find something to do that afternoon when he woke up.  Chris had heard that there was a Thomas the Train Exhibit in Baltimore that weekend, so we headed over there.  We waited for Noah to wake up and then went inside.  While the actual train rides were sold out, they still had lots of activities to entertain us.  


We got to see Thomas and Sir Toppham Hat!  They had Thomas Power Wheels to ride on as well as a train themed carousel.  Noah got some Thomas tattoos, went in a bounce house, toddler size hay maze, and saw some bunnies at a petting zoo.  We also let Noah pick out 2 new wooden trains at their gift shop (which was pretty amazing!).  




At this point, we were all exhausted!  We went back to the hotel to relax for a little before heading to dinner.  I'm so glad I brought one of the boxes of puzzles to do in the hotel.  It was a huge hit and I liked that it was a quiet activity!


We walked just about half a mile back to the Inner Harbor to have dinner at PF Changs.  Again, we don't have many near us, so it's always a treat to go there.  And Noah loves Chicken Fried Rice, so it's always nice to go somewhere where I know he will actually eat!


After dinner, we went looking for a Baltimore golf ball to add to Noah's collection.  We walked a few blocks down to the "Gallery" but the doors to the "mall" were locked.  We were really confused.  We knew there were some Freddie Gray protests happening around the city and had seen 3 police helicopters throughout the day, but so far they had been located away from the touristy Inner Harbor.  I told Chris to look online to see if something had happened for the "mall" to shut down.  He immediately saw these two photos trending on Twitter and told me we needed to rush home.  Thankfully, we got back to the hotel without a problem, but it was scary knowing we were so close by to everything that had happened that night!  We figured we were safer in our hotel (on the 8th floor) than going out to get in our car and drive through the city in the dark.  As of Saturday night, we figured we'd leave first thing in the morning and forget about the tickets we had to the Aquarium.  


Come back tomorrow to see what we ended up doing on Day 3!

Make sure to stop by Jess' blog for the link up!  

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Weekend in Baltimore - Day 1


This past weekend, we spent three days in Baltimore.  Chris took off work on Friday, and we drove 3 1/2 hours down to Baltimore.  In order to maximize our time down there, we left at 9 am.  While usually I prefer to drive during Noah's nap time, it actually worked out really well.  Even though Noah was awake for the whole drive, he did really well.  He watched some shows and played some games on his iPad, ate some snacks, and we stopped for lunch.  I was hoping that Noah would sleep the last hour of the drive, but since he didn't, I'm just glad he was happy!


We arrived in Baltimore around 1 pm but check in wasn't until 3.  Originally we had planned to just walk around the Inner Harbor, but it was pretty windy.  Instead, we decided to hope for the best, considering no nap, and head to Port Discovery (a Children's Museum).  We had heard great things about it and had it on our list of things to do if the weather wasn't ideal.  


We parked our car at the garage near our hotel and walked about half a mile to Port Discovery.  We had read that it's way less crowded if you go after 2 pm, but even at 1:30, it was pretty empty.  It's 3 floors of "exhibits" for kids to explore.  We knew Noah's favorite area would probably be the "Diner" and we were right!  He would have played in there all afternoon if we let him.  It was so cute seeing him navigate the kitchen with the other older kids.  I'm not used to him being the shortest kid ;)




There was also a huge jungle gym that went from the first floor all the way up to the third floor!  He was way braver than I expected him to be and had so much fun going in it with Chris.  


They had a water section too.  Chris was super excited for the Water Chimes and was super bummed when we found out it was closed because it had been leaking to the floor below and was closed until the problem was resolved.  Noah was happy enough cleaning the windows with a squeegee :)



We spent the rest of the afternoon in the little kids' room playing in sand, playing in the gas station and mini mart, and dong some arts and crafts.  





It was a really great way to spend the afternoon.  But even better than that, we were amazed at how well Noah did with out a nap!  Part of me was worried though that this was a sign that Noah would be getting rid of his nap soon.  Thankfully, that was not the case.  As soon as we started walking around afterwards, Noah fell asleep in his stroller.  We took this opportunity to go grab some dinner and eat in peace.  Even though it was a little windy, we decided to eat outside at Phillip's Crab Deck.  Unfortunately, Noah woke up maybe 5 minutes after our food came and he wasn't happy.  I think the combination of a short stroller nap and the wind made the situation less than ideal.  I had to eat the rest of my dinner with Noah sitting on my lap until he calmed down.   



After dinner, we headed over to the hotel and checked in.  The first room we were given was super hot.  We found out that the air conditioning/fan was broken and we had to switch rooms... at least it was just next door so it was a simple move!  In the meantime, Chris picked us up some Chipwiches for dessert... yummy! 


Since Noah napped late, we knew he wouldn't be interested in going to bed anytime soon.  So we decided to go down to the smallest hotel pool I've ever seen!  While I remembered to bring Noah's swim suit, I forgot to bring his swim diapers.  I thought he could go without a diaper, but Chris thought he should wear a regular diaper.  Boy was that diaper FULL when he got out of the water!  


I was a little nervous about Noah going to bed in the hotel.  At home, I rock Noah to bed, and the last time we stayed in a hotel, Noah was drinking a bottle of milk to fall asleep.  After laying with him for a while with no success, I decided to try something new.  I heard that my SIL got her boys to sleep by themselves by letting them watch their iPads until they fell asleep.  I put on a Mickey Mouse episode and before it was over, he was passed out with the iPad resting on his face... SUCCESS!?!  

I'll be recapping the rest of our trip tomorrow and Thursday :)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Mother's Day Gift Guide

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Mother's Day will be here before we know it!  When it comes to buying gifts for the mother in your life (whether your own or your child's mom) I think there are a few categories that will always go over well.

Being sentimental is always a good option.  I love Willow Tree figurines.  You can get one of a pregnant woman, holding a baby, holding a child, or even a grandmother holding a baby.  In my opinion you really can't go wrong with one of these!

Jewelry... women always love jewelry.  And a birthstone ring would be sentimental too!  I love the idea of stacking these dainty rings and representing the birthstones of each of your children.   When looking up the November birthstone, I found some conflicting information.  Technically Topaz is the birthstone for November.  While most people think of the yellow topaz, some say that it's open to just topaz in general.  Since I wear more blues and greens and Noah is a boy, I would choose the Blue Topaz.

Something to make us feel pretty.  Whether that's a simple lip gloss or a nice perfume, the options are endless.  And if you are nervous about getting the right color or scent, how about a gift card to Sephora.

I think all moms need some humor in their life, especially ones with young kids.  I've heard great things about this book and I definitely want to get it in the kindle edition soon.

Flowers... Instead of just getting a bouquet of flowers for mom, how about buying a pretty vase to put them in as well.  I love how this vase is large on the bottom but has a thin top so that you don't have to put a crazy amount of flowers in it.  I've recently been really into tulips and they look fantastic in the picture!

Finally, women in general like clothes.  If you know their size, these pants would be a great gift.  They are comfortable but better than just wearing yoga pants all the time (which I'm guilty of often).  If you are hesitant to get something sized, how about a pretty scarf... I also LOVE this scarf!

What are your plans for Mother's Day?  Do you still get gifts for your moms now that you are grown up?  And if you are a mom, what would you love to get from your kids?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Five on Friday

Happy Friday!  I'm gonna keep it short and get straight to my usual Friday Five!  Have a great weekend!

ONE

We had our first lunch outside this week!  It was a spur of the moment thing.  We were coming home from Gymboree and the weather was so beautiful.  When we got home, I asked Noah if I wanted to eat outside and he was excited and surprised at the same time.  It's been a long time since we've been able to enjoy our deck!  It got me excited for summer!


TWO

This week Noah and I started going to the Thursday swim class.  It's definitely different going just the two of us.  Not only am I missing the extra set of hands before and after class, but it's even harder doing it when I'm wet and need to get changed too.


THREE

My mom recently got these shoes, and I knew I wanted a pair too!  They are super comfy and I really like the idea of slip on sneakers.  I think I could even wear these with skirts and dresses!


FOUR

Speaking of dresses... isn't this one super cute?  I'm liking the midi length!

dress

FIVE


When did scrunchies come back into style???  I saw these while perusing the Loft website and was shocked!  Is this a legit thing?


I'm linking up with The Farmer's Wife and September Farm for "Oh Hey Friday"!




I'm also linking up with DarciAprilChristina and Natasha's blogs for their Five on Friday!


 
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