Monday, November 29, 2010

New England Trip - Day Nine

28 degrees. That should have warned us off, but I always get a little zealous about getting exercise before we start our day. We bundled up and strapped Jack in the Ergo. We then walked along the Cliff Walk near our hotel. This is, as you would expect, a walk along a cliff. On one side is the ocean and on the other side are beautiful homes overlooking the water. We enjoyed this part of the walk, even Jack who worked on his new word "dog" every time one would pass.

We went a little too far and ended up with a LONG, COLD walk back. We ended up walking at least 5 miles. Happily we found a bakery along the way and loaded up with morning sweets for us - bagel for Jack. That bagel worked magic throughout the day.

After 45 minutes to settle down, Jack napped and Jake read and I checked my work email (for the first time on the trip) and did some catching up. We then headed out to the Newport Mansions. Apparently, Newport was the summer resort town for the wealthiest Americans back in the late 1800's, early 1900's. We hadn't bought tickets for anything our whole trip, so we decided to splurge and got passes to tour 3 of the mansions. We weren't thinking that each house had a complimentary audio guide, fun for us, but how would Jack handle it?

With Jack on Jake's back, we went in the first mansion, the Breakers - a Vanderbilt home much like the Biltmore.

I had the last of Jack's bagel in my pocket and kept sneaking him bites to keep him entertained. He liked looking around and was great for the first 45 minutes, but then he demanded out (in rooms that echo). I ended up carrying him the last 15 and wrestling him for the audio guide which looked too much like a phone. (He's not the lightest of babies)

We then went to the second mansion (the Elms)

and this time I wore Jack on my front. He liked this better and continued to snack on his bagel.

Toward the end, he was getting tired and kept pulling the audio guide away and changing the track, so I'd be listening to the bathroom overview in the kitchen, etc.

For the last house, Jake wore him on his front and he was sweet, occasionally resting his head on Jake's chest. We were quite proud of our cultured baby who made it through all 3 mansions (3 hours) with no crying. I think if he'd had his own audio guide, he would have been perfect!

Naptime again. Then dinner on the town where Jack enjoyed some pita bread and hummus. We ended the day playing on the floor with Jack's new toys. We are working hard to teach him "horse" (he is borrowing a horse toy we bought for cousin Wyatt). We say "huh-huh-huh-horse" and Jack laughs "ha-ha" back :)

I'm going to miss all these fun moments that have come from having no agenda and lots of time!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

New England Trip - Days Seven & Eight

Our Hotel in Martha's Vineyard

Our luck did turn around. We made it through the night using borrowed diapers and even ran into the cab driver, picking up new passengers, and were able to retrieve Jack's second shoe.

Friday was spent on Martha's Vineyard, amidst breathtaking views.

It was rainy and cold and difficult to get around by bus with Jack + paraphernalia, but we still had a nice day. We accomplished the following: misty morning walk to find diapers, yummy bagel breakfast at one of the few cafes open in the off-season, a Jack nap, a Courtney nap, a hotel bed picnic lunch,

shopping in Edgartown (where Mom and Jack rode on a big wooden horse

and Dad fully broke the no-toy rule buying a cute mamma duck/baby duck wooden puzzle),

a walk around Oak Bluffs and the picturesque gingerbread houses (although we aren't sure we "get" them),

and a dinner at a pub where Jack slowly started to disintegrate. Did I mention a very brief afternoon nap?

Saturday was an absolutely beautiful day. Jake and I both were a little disappointed to be leaving Martha's Vineyard.

We would have liked to explore it more, but without a car and with Jack and bad weather, we'll just have to try again another trip. We were up, showered, packed, and found a nice breakfast and were on the boat at 9:45 am! Back on the mainland, we happened upon an awesome park where Jack had lots of fun sliding with Mom and Dad, swinging, and crawling around.

We arrived in our final destination, Newport, RI early afternoon. We froze our butts off walking around downtown.

We then had a relaxing afternoon at the hotel. Jake watched the LSU-Arkansas game (sad face), I washed clothes and read my book on the exercise bike (ah, quiet) and Jack took a 2 hour nap (yeah!). We ended the day with dinner out.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

New England Trip - Day Six

Wow - we seem to be having lots of bad luck in the last 24 hours! Here is a recap:

-10:45 pm - Jack wakes up burning up. We knew his lingering cold might lead to another ear infection so his pediatrician prescribed him an antibiotic to help ward it off. He's been on it the whole trip, but apparently it didn't do the job! Jack was inconsolable so his wonderful dad went out into the COLD streets of Boston to find an all-night drug store. He came back with Tylenol and a thermometer. 103.8 temp. The poor baby could not get comfortable and pretty much cried straight through until 2am when he finally fell asleep. Mind you we were in a HOTEL room - makes you appreciate being at home when your baby is sick. We changed his diaper, stripped him, redressed him, gave him a bath, rocked him sitting, rocked him standing, put him in his crib, put him in our bed, etc. I kept having the urge to call someone for help (Mom) but then I remembered that I'm the mom and that the buck stopped with me (and Jake).

Luckily, Jack woke up feeling much better (if a little tousled). His doctor called in a new prescription and we're giving that a try tonight.

We left Boston and set off for Woods Hole where we would catch a ferry to Martha's Vineyard. On the way, we made a quick stop in Plymouth, MA.

We saw the "Mayflower II", a replica of the original Mayflower.

We also saw "Plymouth Rock" which may be more mythological than historical, but still, it was neat to see the general area where the Pilgrims landed almost 400 years ago.

So on to more bad luck....

- We arrive at the Martha's Vineyard ferry dock 5 minutes after the 3:45 ferry leaves. Alas, we will take the 5:00 ferry.
- We arrive on Martha's Vineyard on foot ready to take the bus to our hotel only to find that the buses don't run on Thanksgiving. We call a cab.
- Jake and I both agree that there will be no tip for this cabbie. He overcharges and answered his cell phone several times on the ride, swerving out of the lane as he does so. Not the best way to get a tip from a budget conscious dad and a protective mama bear. Unfortunately, he counts his money as we give it to him and walks off grumbling "I guess they don't tip down in New Orleans."
- Our hotel is beautiful! Unfortunately, our room is on the 3rd floor of a building without an elevator. Not ideal with several bags, a large stroller, and a 25-lb baby who never went down for his afternoon nap.
- Uh-oh. That 25 lb grumpy baby is only wearing one shoe. That means the other shoe is in the car of the grumbling cabbie. We'll tackle that one tomorrow.
- Double uh-oh. That 25 lb grumpy one-shoed baby has parents who left the pack of diapers in the car back on the mainland. Are there any in the diaper bag? One. ONE diaper. And it's Thanksgiving night on a dark island and we're staying in a small inn.

Did I mention that baby's new medicine has the side effect of an upset stomach? Wish us luck!!

There is no question we have tons to be thankful for - maybe all these mishaps are intended to remind us that it doesn't really matter if things don't always go your way as long as what is most important remains intact.

Update: Our luck turns. We bathe Jack and put him in the stroller. Within 5 minutes he's asleep. We take the stroller (covered with a blanket) into the hotel restaurant where he snoozes and we enjoy our Thanksgiving dinner. On the way back to the room, a young family overhears our diaper plight and offers to share. We are thankful!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New England Trip - Days Four & Five

Having lots of fun in the cool (make that cold) city of Boston!

We've been covering lots of ground - Mom and Dad on foot, me being strolled/carried around like the little sultan that I am :)

Yesterday, we walked the entire Freedom Trail. The highlight for Mom was seeing The Old North Church of Longfellow's The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere that Grandma Kenney taught Mom when she was little. I'm learning poetry early:

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,

The highlight for me was seeing the ships at the Boston Navy Yard (and the playground there that I got to swing in.)

I also enjoyed the ferry boat back across the Charles River.

I've been doing a good job taking my morning naps in the stroller (we all love the BOB, thanks Meemaw!). I've been doing not so well taking my afternoon naps back at the hotel. (not so well = 30 minutes to settle down on day 1 and never falling asleep even after 1 hour on day 2). Can you blame me though? The Hyatt gave me a very asylum-esque white metal crib.

Last night was fun for all of us. We walked through Boston Common (after running through it in the morning) and then down Commonwealth Avenue Mall through the cozy and upscale Back Bay neighborhood. We found a cute little pizza place and were able to eat outside thanks to upper 50's temps and heat lamps. I flirted with passers-by and this cute 2 year old girl.

Today the temperature dropped and the wind was whipping! I felt like we walked ALL over Boston before Mom and Dad could find a suitable breakfast spot (food snobs). We ended up at a bookstore cafe and I had some of dad's omelet. We read some books and then went back out in the cold, walking over a bridge to Cambridge. We did a quick tour of Harvard and then ate lunch with one of Dad's friends from high school (and fellow TFA alum), Chris Kaleel. I had a banana and some guacamole, which was actually quite good!

Then it was time for me to fight my nap, after which we braved the cold once more to get dinner and refill on snacks at Whole Foods. To get there we summited Beacon Hill - another quaint area. Then we went swimming (which made me deliriously happy) and now I'm in bed and Mom and Dad are working on their second books.

Even though we are having lots of fun, I heard them say something today about no more traveling north during the winter.

Monday, November 22, 2010

New England Trip - Day Three

4:00 - I'm awake and want to eat (yes, I still have that habit)

6:00 - I'm awake and want to snuggle (Daddy puts me in the big bed)

7:00 - I'm awake for good

8:15 - It's oatmeal and bananas for breakfast again

9:00 - I've put in my request for a morning nap

9:45 - I had second thoughts and didn't actually go to sleep until now

11:00 - We finally leave the hotel for the first time - all our stuff comes with us as we prepare to drive south

11:10 - The car turns back toward Portland - mom and dad left my ear medicine at the hotel.

12:30 - We stop in Kennebunk, ME. I get to ride on daddy's back. We get some lunch (me: leftover risotto, applesauce, and daddy's pickle) and stop by a toy store. Dad makes a half-exception to his no toys rule and buys me a new book.

2:15 - I read my new book all the way to New Hampshire.

3:00 - We stop in Portsmouth, NH. Daddy bundles me up in the stroller and I quickly fall asleep. I wake up to find myself in a coffee shop. This is no ordinary coffee shop as there is a play area, so Mom and I go play while Daddy reads.

5:00 - We are back on the road. I have a new habit of pitching a fit whenever I'm put in my car seat or stroller. I'm always fine once I'm in, so Mom and Dad are pretty confused (and sometimes embarrassed) by this new habit.

6:00 - Mom and Dad miss the exit for our hotel but luckily there is a "U-Turn to Boston" sign that lets us try again.

6:30 - Check in at the Hyatt. Pros to this new home: 16th story view, a toilet paper roll I can reach, a rolling footstool. Cons: MUCH smaller than our last digs, not as many drawers to play with

7:15 - Dinner with Amy and Tim, Mom's friends from Hawaii. I gnaw down three rolls, eat some gnocchi and a whole banana. I rip up Tim's placemat and give Amy some high fives. By the end of the meal, I'm on the floor pushing my high chair around.

9:15 Back at the hotel - bath time!

9:30 Read my new book with Mommy - she's trying to teach me to say 'bird'

9:32 It takes Daddy less than a minute to get me down.

Long, full day!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

New England Trip - Day Two

I was up and ready to play at 6:30 this morning. Mom says that this is her vacation too, so Dad watched me while she went to the gym. I had my usual oatmeal for breakfast and then just as we were all about ready to leave, I decided that I needed to take an early nap. So Mom and Dad shut the curtains and I napped (sort of) for an hour to rev up for my day out in Portland.

At 10, we finally made it outside. I was bundled up well for the 30 degree temperatures.

We walked around town and along the water.

Then my dad took us to tour the Shipyard Brewery. I tried to pay attention to the 20 minute video, but I was bored. My mom brought this really cool light-up fish that my doctor gave me last week, so I had fun with that instead.

For lunch, I tried some new things: clam chowder and lobster! Combine that with some bread and applesauce and I was a happy guy! My mom let dad pick the lunch spot, so she got to pick out dessert. She got some gingerbread (which she didn't share) but I did get a sample of a pumpkin scone.

My dad then took us to tour a mead maker. Mead is wine made from honey. (You see my dad is a brewer and finds all of this very interesting.) You might think I didn't learn much as I was talking and drooling up a storm while dad was getting the spiel, but I actually was listening and learned that the brewing process used there was cutting edge and could revolutionize the craft beer industry in the next decade, so there.

I then fell asleep in my stroller for a nice 2 hour nap. My parents were cold so they wheeled me back to the hotel and read during my nap. They are both almost done with their first books. We then went to T.J.Maxx, Dad's favorite store and I watched them try on winter hats for 20 minutes. (I don't know why I didn't get to try on hats - I would have looked way cuter than them.)

For dinner, we went to Local 188, a spot my friend Chaya recommended. I made best friends with the waitress, who kept bringing me the ends of baguettes to chew on. I also talked with several other tables - I hit it off best with single women, grandmas and moms. I tried gnocchi, risotto, mussels, and starfish, all of which I liked.

Another great day on vacation!! (Oh, and did I mention that I LOVE this hotel?!)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hotel in Portland

Checking out my new surroundings

New England Trip - Day One

I woke up at 5:55 this morning, but in a good mood, because I could sense my mom and dad were planning an adventure. It was off to the airport, but I wasn't scared. My mom and dad brought ALL my favorite things - my stroller, my car seat, even my blue bear and my duck. No longer are they the light travelers of their TFA recruiting days.

I had a great time on the first flight. I played with my duck and practiced saying my 3 words: mama, dada, and duck. I had breakfast and got my diaper changed in the airplane bathroom - twice! Climbing on mom and dad was more fun than the idea of napping, so I stayed awake the whole flight.

Our next flight was shorter and I got my own seat. While my mom was nursing me, we found out that the disposable diapers we're using on this trip aren't as trusty as my cloth ones. I accidentally peed all over me and her during this flight - oops. But I did get a nap.

We arrived in Portland and it's a good bit colder than back at home. Even so, on the car ride to the hotel I pulled off my socks and unsnapped my outfit, just because I can.

The coolest part about Portland so far is our hotel! It's a new Residence Inn and I LOVE it! There are lots of drawers to open and nobody tries to stop me! I think my mom and dad wanted me to take a nap, but I was too excited, so I just laid in my new bed and talked to my bear for a while.

We went out in the cold to get some dinner. The restaurant was called Duck Fat. I think mom and dad liked it, but I only thought it was so-so. The tables were tall but the high chairs were normal size, so I didn't have a great view. Dad had a duck confit sandwich, Mom left with a chocolate gelatto milkshake, and I ate the last of the steel cut oats and grapes that Mom packed for me.

After we watched LSU win their big game, we went to the hotel pool. Did I mention I love my hotel? Now I'm finally going to sleep, but have big plans for tomorrow!