Roadtrippin’: Smithsonian.

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The last road trip adventure we had was a visit to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

We walked over from the Washington Monument and walked right up.  And the kids were super thrilled because AIR CONDITIONING.

And it was amazing as soon as we walked in.

We focused on the massive dinosaur exhibits and they were truly amazing.  So many different skeletons of all kinds of animals really had the kids’ attention.

We also got to peek on some paleontologists actually working on newly discovered dinosaur bones, which was really awesome for Tom.

And Alice and I got a really good look at the Hope Diamond.  Neat!

I think I was most amazed at how beautiful and unique this place was, and I know I should’ve probably already known this, but I didn’t know it was free until I looked it up the day before.  Really?!  It was awesome.

We had a great time exploring everything, and it was a great way to end our short Washington, DC visit!

The next morning we drove  to Charlotte, then the following day we were back in Atlanta!  It was a wonderfully, memorable trip that we hope to do again someday.

The kids both really loved the whole idea of going on a road trip, and they still talk about it pretty often. I love it, because it opens up a whole world of exploring possibilities for us!  I can’t wait to plan another road trip with them.

We absolutely loved all of our adventures, and we loved, LOVED seeing all of our family along the way.  It was truly amazing.

LOVE.

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We walked through the heart of the Federal Government district on the way back.

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Roadtrippin’: Washington, DC Memorials.

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The last stop on our road trip was very last minute and I think that’s what actually made it so insanely fun.

We had absolutely no expectations, and no real plan.

So it worked out perfectly!

Kevin got us a hotel that was so close to the action, my phone thought I was actually in The White House.

We got to our hotel that morning, and immediately headed out to explore.  Like…walking down the street, oh hey, there’s The White House!  Hi!

I had never been to DC, so this was all new for me, and I just thought it was insanely cool to see all these things I’d being seeing pictures of my whole life.

We grabbed hot dogs from a food truck and ate them on a sidewalk before continuing on to the Washington Monument. (Neat!)

I remember pointing up to it to show the kids how tall it was, and they were both looking at a baby sock that was stuck in a mud puddle.  So…you know. Maybe didn’t make the biggest impression on them this time.😉

We walked over to the World War II Memorial, and took a break so the kids could guzzle their drinks, because y’all?  It was hot.  We are used to heat of course, but we don’t usually walk miles in it.  Ha! So. Hot.

We walked from that memorial over to the Lincoln Memorial (which I was the most excited to see).  Oh, I’m a huge Abe fan.  It was awesome to see the memorial, it was incredible to think about the “I Have A Dream” speech taking place there.  It was amazing, and the kids were impressed too.  We spent a bit of time there before heading out to relax in front of it, while the kids chased ducks.

Now later, a couple weeks after we returned home, I asked Tom what his favorite part of our DC trip was and he said, “I loved chasing the ducks.”

So there you have it!  When you take my 6-year-old to DC, he lovingly remembers chasing ducks into the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. (He said he just really wanted to touch one. Ha!)

After chasing ducks in front of Abe, we headed back toward the Washington Monument (sneaking a quick peek at the Jefferson Memorial) and got us some nice, cool popsicles.  We ate them under a tree, in front of the Washington Monument, and it wasn’t until we were getting up to leave that I realized we were facing The White House that entire time. Ha! I was so focused on eating my popsicle before it melted, I guess I didn’t even look up!

After that, we headed to the Smithsonian, which I will write about next!

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Posted in Baby Girl, Family, Kevin, Motherhood, Road Trip, Tom, Travel | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Roadtrippin’: Traveling.

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I’ve mentioned before how the kids were pretty much the most perfect travelers, but I feel like I must mention it again.  They were excellent.  Unbelievable really.

They truly loved every single thing we did. They were go-with-the-flow and only asked if we “were there yet” on the two days that we drove the most. (Those days being the drive from Indiana to Pennsylvania, and from DC to Charlotte, NC.)  And even then, they only asked in the last hour of travel on those days, and I agreed with them!

I also wanted to mention that Kevin drove the whole time.  The. Whole. Time.  The only time I drove at all was when he went to his meeting in Baltimore, and then it was just me and the kids for the day.  But other than that, he was a superstar. I’m so thankful!  I love driving, but driving in some of the conditions he drove through (pouring rain, miles and miles of corn, DC traffic) are not anything I want to do.  I’d like to just sit happily snapping pics!  Yay for the best husband!

Okay, so I’m doing this entry here because this is where I took pics of us just…driving.  These were taken on the trip from Grammy’s in Indiana, to a town in Pennsylvania called Donegal, where we stopped for the night before heading to Baltimore the next morning.  In Donegal, we stayed at the only hotel on the exit, and it was a Holiday Inn with a “hunting lodge” theme. Ha!  There were lots of “stuffed” animals everywhere, which the kids thought were super cool.  And the pool at this hotel was a complete hit.  Also, we ate dinner from the vending machines, so obviously we were just being complete irresponsible so it was awesome.  Popcorn for supper!

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Alice took this one. And 217 more just like it.

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She took this one, too.

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Making themselves at home in PA.

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Animals!

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Our Baltimore day was very much a normal day for us.  While Kevin was at work, I took the kids to Chick-fil-A to play for a couple hours, we swam in our hotel pool, then we went out for supper and met Daddy back at the hotel.  I took no pictures of us!  The next morning, we headed to our DC hotel…

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And those are really the only traveling/hotel pics I took!  These kids loved making every hotel their home for the day. They brought their toys up, set them up however they wanted, watched cable TV, ate snacks, and basically jumped around like maniacs.  It was the best of times, I must say.

DC sightseeing next!

Posted in Baby Girl, Family, Kevin, Motherhood, Road Trip, Tom, Travel | Tagged | 3 Comments

Roadtrippin’: Columbia City, IN

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After our afternoon in Chicago, we headed on to visit Grammy in Columbia City, Indiana!

We got to Indiana around 5:30, stopped at Taco Bell for supper, and headed over to Grammy’s apartment (where Mimi and Pops were waiting), and the kids immediately made themselves at home!

Grammy had a bag of little toys at her place, and the kids made quick work of it. Tom was scooting cars under her fridge, Alice was hiding toys from Pops, and I was trying to beat some type of quiz game.  Basically, we had a blast!

The kids loved Grammy and had the best time.  We left her place and went to our hotel so the kids could swim (in a pool that Kevin said was the “coldest pool in history”) before bed, and we headed back over to her place the next morning first thing.

We had a pizza lunch with Grammy that afternoon, where Alice wanted to serve the drinks, and make Grammy and Mimi do some posed photos. Ha!  She was so funny!  She just wanted to take pictures and be the perfect hostess.  It was kind of adorable.

We had the best visit with Grammy, and we were so happy to spend this time with her.  It was really great to see the kids with their great-grandmother, and I’m so glad we did this trip!

After lunch, we had to get back on the road…because Kevin needed to be in Baltimore the next day for a meeting!  We went over our options, and decided that us tagging along was the best option — so that’s what we did!

The road trippin’ continues…

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Playing games with Pops!

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Alice took this!

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And this was one of her “posed” shots! Mimi was a good sport!

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Roadtrippin’: Chicago

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We woke up early on Sunday morning in Bloomington, and immediately hit the road to Chicago.

We were only going to spend a few hours in the city before heading on to Grammy’s house in Indiana, but we thought we could fit in a short visit and see a couple things.

And it was amazing!

Even though we live in a big city, seeing an even bigger city was awesome and the parts we saw were gorgeous.

Sunday morning, we hit the road early, got some drive-thru breakfast, and were on our way.  And we drove through some crazy looking weather.  I was sure this Chicago trip would end up with us soaked, because we drove through quite a bit of rain.  But once we arrived — nothing!  It was just cloudy, but it never even sprinkled.

We did a quick stop to see The Bean (Cloud Gate) — because I kind of thought it was the most “Chicago-ish” thing to do. Ha!  And it was great.  The kids thought it was really cool, although I think they were perplexed as to why I wanted to do this. #crazymom

I came up with the “visit Chicago” plan for the sole purpose of visiting the Field Museum, because it happens to have the most complete T-Rex skeleton ever discovered — and I knew Tom would love that. (He did.)

The Field Museum is HUGE, and we only saw the dinosaur exhibits — which was massive — and Egyptian exhibit, which was truly awesome.  Our kids were too tired to do more than that!  You could spend days in this museum.  It was just gigantic, and such a beautiful building!  We were blown away.

We spent a total of 4 hours in Chicago that Sunday before heading on to Indiana, but we had the absolute best time.  The kids were really impressed with all we saw, and it was a great way to spend the day.  We’d love to go back and explore more someday.

Hi, Chicago! Bye, Chicago!

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Roadtrippin’: Bloomington, Illinois

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After Kentucky, we headed on to Bloomington, Illinois — which is where Kevin’s grandma (Gigi) lives.

We got there around dinnertime, and the kids had so. much. fun at this particular hotel.  It was pretty much a business suite, so the kids made themselves right at home — playing hide-and-go-seek, watching Ghostbusters on TV, eating popcorn, they just thought this place was the absolute best.

Kevin’s parents were in town too, so they and Gigi stopped by to see us that first night, and then we headed over to Gigi’s house the next morning.

The kids loved Gigi.  So. much!!  She had cars for Tom to play with, so we raced them in the driveway, and she had tons of jewelry to show and share with Alice, so both kids were just thrilled.

The reason we chose this particular weekend to visit was because Kevin’s family was having a reunion.  So at lunch, we headed over to the relative’s house who was hosting it.

And it was awesome!  We got to see Kevin’s aunt and uncle, Janet and Randy, and his cousin, Stacey, and her kids, and Alice immediately started playing with Kenley and Maddux.

And then Tom made friends with little Garrett, and they spend the entire time playing Legos, cars, and dinosaurs.  He even ate lunch with Garrett’s family, so Tom was all about meeting new relatives! (I actually don’t know how Garrett is related to us, but he is and he was the cutest!)

We had a really wonderful time.  Alice kept hoping it was time to cut the cake, and once they did and she got her piece, she was so excited!  And then she promptly scraped all the icing off, ate the icing, then gave me her naked cake piece and asked for another. #icingaddict

The reunion was really wonderfully planned. So many people, outside games, a live band, and the house backed up onto a cornfield, which was instant entertainment for the littles.  Alice and Kenley spent a ton of time “chasing bunnies” in the cornfield and looking for more.  (And they claimed they saw many, and touched three. Ha!)

After the reunion, we headed back to the hotel for about an hour (the kids fell asleep immediately in the car!), before heading over to Randy and Janet’s house for pizza and playing.  And it was a blast!  I just adore Randy and Janet and Stacey — so it was awesome to catch up!  The kids played with Kenley and Maddux and their neighbor friends for hours!  Driving cars, jumping on the trampoline, dressing up, catching fireflies — it was a great evening.

This was another of those days that we just didn’t want to end.  When it was time to go, Alice hugged Stacey, and then wouldn’t let go.  She just held on tight, and gave the longest hug ever. #love

Tom told me later, “I can see why they live here.  This is a really fun and beautiful place with lots of farms to play in!”

I completely agree.

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Roadtrippin’: Owensboro, Kentucky

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My aunt and uncle, cousins, and their families live in Owensboro, KY — and I had never been there.

I’d never been to Kentucky at all actually, so when I realized that Owensboro was about halfway between Atlanta and Gigi’s house in Illinois, I asked my family if they could meet up with us.

And they welcomed us with open arms and it was the most fun — I’m so happy we were able to do this!

I hadn’t seen my cousins in a couple years, so it was wonderful to see them, catch up with them, and watch our kids play together!  It was so, so great.  I honestly thought it would be fun, but it was pretty much one of those perfect nights that just exceeds every expectation.

We met up with them at an awesome pizza place downtown that was right next to the most amazing park I’ve ever seen.  My cousin, Laura, had told me that this park was like…one of the top 10 parks in the country, and I believe it.  It was beautiful!

This park is along the Ohio River, has the most massive playground that connects to everything, has all of these cool creatures to climb and play on, has a splash area, lots of seating and swings, and music piped in.  Amazing!

Seeing my cousins and their kids was so fun.  Our kids’ are all pretty close in age, and they all played like they’d known each other forever!

Tom loved being chased by my cousin’s husband, Josh.  And the next morning Tom asked if Josh could come over and play with him before we left. Ha!

My cousin Lisa had a new baby girl who we got to meet, and Tom and Alice both took turns LOVING on her!  Poor girl couldn’t get a break!  But she was the most adorable little thing.

I loved catching up with my aunt and uncle, too!  It was really just the most amazing night.

The kids played on the playground until it was pretty much totally dark, and we had to make our way through the tons of kids/teens who were playing Pokemon Go everywhere!  I had never seen so many people playing that game in one place!  (Tom plays too, but we’re not serious about it and really have no idea what we’re doing. Ha!)

Watching Alice play with Gabriella and Lily, watching Tom playing with Jonah, catching up with my cousins and aunt and uncle — it was just the best.

It was just a magical night. We still talk about how much fun it was.

I’m thrilled we were able to see them, and I hope this becomes a tradition when we make our way north again.

Thank you for having us, Kentucky!  We LOVE you!

(For some reason, I have no pictures of me with my Aunt Cheryl!  Or Josh!  They were there, promise!)

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Oh, and we stopped back by the park quickly before we hit the road the next morning!  Tom really wanted to try out the splash pad before we left. He just couldn’t get enough.  Tom would like to live in Owensboro.🙂

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LOVE!

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