Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Da Beach!

We had a great time in Baltimore! We did most everything on our to-do list, including the National Aquarium, Fells Point, Inner Harbor, Little Italy, the Zoo (where admission was greatly reduced and many things were free today because most of it was still without power today!), and the Children's Museum. We weren't able to visit the Museum of Art which was pretty disappointing, due to closings with the hurricane. This evening we made it to our beach resort where we'll be the next few days. We got here late in the afternoon so we didn't put on swimsuits but Lilli was about to bust to hit the beach so she (finally!!!) got to wear her new princess swimsuit and play in the sand and surf. She's going to have so much fun playing on the beach the next few days, and she's now officially crossed everything off her to do list for vacation. AND, we passed through Delaware on our way over to the beach so she has now seen 11 states! Woo hoo!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricanes and Nemo

We've had a great day in Baltimore!

The hurricane was pretty uneventful for it. It slowed down so much over land that the heavy rain didn't really start until around 8 pm, and the main part came through around 1-3 am. I woke up around 1 with the wind and rain pounding against our window and looked out. After that I never woke up again but Brent woke up several times when the power was going on and off. He didn't even take any pictured or video!! Crazy! The wind/rain were so strong that even though we were on the third floor of the hotel with interior corridors, a large area around our window and through part of our room was soaking wet. Our Hotel also had some leaks and no hot water this morning. That didn't make for a great hair washing scenario for me. The McDs by our hotel could only take cash, and a TON of traffic lights were out. Actually most of them were out, and we saw several trees down and lots of foliage in the roads.

A lot of attractions had closed in advance for today, so we had to rearrange our schedule and go to the National Aquarium today. We had a blast! It wasn't crowded at all, and Lilli got to cross a ton of things off her to-do list - we saw the dolphin show, sharks, a Dora and Diego 4-D show, and tons of fish. The highlight for her was finding Nemo and Dory (from Finding Nemo) in a fish tank. You can't even imagine the excitement. And in the jellyfish area she reenacted a scene from Nemo, and when we walked through the shark exhibit she found "Bruce", the shark from Nemo. Nemo has been on loop in the car for a while now, and I guess I completely didn't realize how into it she is!

Tonight we walked around Fells Point and are now staying downtown on the Harbor tonight and tomorrow before heading to the BEACH!

So now Lilli can add seeing Maryland and surviving a Hurricane to the list of things she's done!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

We Made It!!

What a morning of travel!!

Our plane was supposed to leave at 8, and everything at first was going like clockwork. We were pottied and ready to board, Lil was in a great mood, and our plane was really not full at all. So then we just sat.....

Finally the captain came on and said something wasn't working with one of the side window wipers/defrosters. Normally not a big deal, but flying into a Hurricane made it a priority. So then we see the baggage guys driving back over and unloading all the luggage about thirty minutes after we were supposed to have already left. We ended up having to deplane and head all the way back to the far end of the terminal, wait 20 more minutes down there and then get back on a new plane. Lilli was great 99% of the time. She's an experienced traveler (which is why we breeze through the expert traveler lines and avoid the awful family lines) and we know how to work it with snacks, surprise toys, etc. By the end of the second wait for a new airplane she was getting restless and I was grouchy so there was a small scene with her throwing shoes for about a minute. Otherwise she got tons of laughs, looks and compliments as she pulled her suitcase through both airports today and squealed in delight for the planes and as we were taking off. She did keep screaming (happily) WE'RE GOING DOWN! as we landed in Baltimore which is probably not the best thing to say in a Hurricane.

Actually the flight was not bad. We ended up leaving one hour late which added a lot of stress to people as BWI was shutting down at noon and a lot of people on our flight had connectors. The couple behind us had to get to Boston for a cruise. Their cruise line refused to refund their money unless they proved they had attempted to get there. But, they were holding planes for these people so that was nice.

Lilli had a blast on the flight and absolutely marveled at everything which was so fun to see. This is the first time it's really clicked in for her (this was her 7th flight). It really wasn't bumpy at all, Brent and I have been on FAR worse flights. We landed in some light rain, and it's been lightly raining ever since we got here. There weren't many people on the interstate on the drive up to our north-side Hilton.

The hotel is awesome, they've got all kinds of contingency plans in place so we are well taken care of! Since we're on the leading edge of the storm we're just going to crash in the hotel tonight and will probably just have to eliminate a couple of things from our plans. Right now Lil and I are watching cartoons and we've sent Brent out to get us some food!

Vacation ON!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ready to Go-Go!

We're all packed and ready to fly out in the wee hours of tomorrow for Baltimore! As of right now, they've canceled all afternoon and evening flights into BWI so ours is still good to go, but I am betting it will be FULL. We've already got our boarding passes printed so we have seats reserved, but I do prefer an unfull flight to the usual completely booked out Southwest flight. And I called our hotel for tomorrow night (a Hilton on the North side of town) and it's business as usual. They are not overbooked and have actually seen a good bit of cancels. They've got back-up generators to power the hallways and room in-service is prepared to be cooking as long as they've got power, and will then swap to non-warm foods. I love me some room service, so those are the questions I always ask. The front desk lady said they're expecting the rains to start around 3-5 pm, and in their area they don't feel they're at any flood risk, they're mainly just expecting the high winds (70 mph), lots of strong rain and most likely power outages. So, for the first time ever we've got several flashlights, rain boots and rain coats packed in our suitcases. And a Dora umbrella.

A certain little girl (who gets to pick what goes in her airplane backpack), packed her two toy airplanes, her air traffic controller, a dolphin, fish, garbage truck and Prince Charming for the plane ride. Quite the combo. She is SO excited about tomorrow. She's told her teachers all week she's riding the airplane to the beach to see the sharks, dolphins, and sea shells.

Considering we've been in Vegas the first time they had snow in 10 years, visited Boston less than a week after 9-11 and were denied many major tourist attractions due to the national threat, have seen wildfires out West, and have had entire trips canceled due to freak March snowstorms in Texas this little bit of excitement is just par for the course. Even our honeymoon flight was delayed several hours for snow and ice. Kind of makes you want to travel somewhere with us, huh?

Next post.....from flashlight in Maryland - not a new state for us but it will be state #10 for Lilli since she was born! (Tn, Va, W Va, KY, KS, IL, TX, LA, OK). (I don't count the ones I was pregnant with her in, but if I did that would take her up to 15!) Not too shabby for a 2 year old at all!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rock Me Like a Hurricane!

Someone is getting excited about vacation!Actually everyone in this house is!

Of course Hurricane Irene is making it a little interesting. The beach community we're spending the second half of the week at is being evacuated this weekend, but it looks like (at least now) the worst of the storm will be in the Carolinas and we'll probably just have 70 mph winds and lots of rain Sat night/Sun morning. As long as the Harbor doesn't flood we'll be fine the first part of the week and are just planning to rearrange the sightseeing we had planned. Sunday isn't sounding like a hot day for the zoo! The weather after the hurricane looks great, so as long as our resort is still there it should be a fun trip! And at the worst we won't have to get up for work and can just relax in our hotel room and watch movies and order room service. And it should make for some great pics.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Dirty Job

Lots of love for Pippin....Most every day when we walk in the back door she goes running in yelling "Pippin, I'm BACK! Love you Pippin!". I'm sure he's just been waiting all day for her to come home! Ha! Actually, I think he may. The last two nights I've been woken up by the sound of Pippin asleep in her room, snoring over the baby monitor.The highlight of the weekend was most definitely not Brent knocking a hole in the sewer pipe with the shovel. He's digging out/working on putting down the walk beside the garage in the small area that leads to the alley behind the house. Nothing is done to codes in this old house, so the clay sewer pipe was only buried three inches. We called Metro and FIVE hours later they sent out a crew that told us it was our responsibility to fix, which we already knew. A total waste of our time. (Seriously - clay pipes?? Who would've ever thought that was a good idea???)
Naturally these old clay pipes don't have anything available at Home Depot/Lowes that are the same specs as what is put into modern homes, so Brent was able to "patch" it instead of removing a segment of the pipe and putting in new pipe. So the pooper-pipe is all fixed back up now.

Much time is spent picking the petals off all the flowers in my garden.

On Sunday, the teachers in charge of Children's Church told Brent that Lilli has been cracking them up with her prayer requests. Apparently, part of their program (during the sermon of worship) allows the kids (age 2-4th grade) to share any prayer requests they may have. I'm sure the older kids share concerns about grandparents and other valid things going on in their lives. What they shared with us is that each week Lilli raises her hand and asks for prayers for her boo-boos. You know, these invisible ones that she is constantly requiring Band-Aids for. The same ones that don't actually even exist.
She is such a mess.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Nashville Dragon Boat Races

Saturday morning we headed down to the Nashville Dragon Boat Races/Festival on the river. I wouldn't call it a **huge** festival, and definitely disagree with the DJ who kept calling it "Nashville's biggest block party of the summer" (hello....4th of July on the river...). But, it's free and close to home and we needed something for Lil to do to get her mind of the fact that this wasn't the particular Saturday we would get to fly on an airplane. (After the first boat race we watched she did say, "ok, go fly on airplane now." It was a bit underwhelming.)
We don't get anywhere early on Saturday mornings, we slept in until 8 and then piddled around with breakfast so it was a bit after 10 when we got down there. We ran into one of Brent's photog friends and they both snapped a few of her looking through the pedestrian bridge onto the boats below. She did specifically want to wear her shark sandals because she was excited about seeing fish and sharks in the river (oops). At one point a foot was dangling over the river and I had to remind her what a tragedy it would be if she lost one of her favorite shoes (when a slightly older boy heard me say that I saw him look down at her feet with a look like those are special shoes???) Yes, $4 Target shark sandals are quite special to her.
It was HOT. And if we had looked at the schedule before we went we would have noticed we were arriving right at the mid-day break between heats. No matter, we walked around and looked at the booths, kid zone, visited the port-o-pots, and ate a snow cone from our fave downtown snow cone vendor. By then the next round was getting started.
Four teams went at a time, some more festive (like the chicken man) than others. Lots of corporate teams (including where Brent works) as well as local outdoor groups and rowing clubs.
The race was pretty short, but they kept the teams lining up fairly quickly.
We watched a few races and poor Lilli kept getting sunscreen in her eyes and we were all boiling hot so we walked back over the bridge towards our car and watched a few more from up above on the pedestrian bridge.
We paused a little bit for a photo opp in the shade in-between races.
There was one group where a boat of rowers was so awful they crashed into the boat that was in the lead. Obviously these teams really aren't practiced in rowing!
Neat view from above as they lined up below us in the holding area:
We were there maybe 3 hours and our total expense was just $5 for a snowcone, so it was definitely worth that. Not a huge destination outing, but we had fun and Lilli really enjoyed watching the boats (although there was disappointment in a lack of sharks and also in getting to ride a boat, but the snowcone helped). And she took a good afternoon nap, and that is priceless!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Here & There

Remember when Lilli accidentally spilled a bunch of flower seeds in my garden? Well, this is what it looks like now - A giant cluster of cosmos and 10-foot sunflowers right in the middle of my peppers and herbs. It's a little much for my taste, but they are nice for cut flowers. I planted flowers in the far end of my garden, but they haven't done as well as these so I haven't pulled them out (and have lost a few smaller herbs as a result).
I'd say it's been a boring week, but only boring in pictures. After nearly 5 years in the Retail Merchandising division of the company I work for, I started a new job earlier this week in the Publishing division. It's nice to work for a large company and have opportunities within it for growth and change, without losing all your perks and benefits and starting all over. I have a swanky new office with!! TWO !! windows on the 8th floor of one of the buildings. And I have my own thermostat for it, which is practically just as exciting. So far so good, it really combines a lot of what I've done in the past within the same company as well as the previous things I've done at my prior employer in the book industry. It's pretty full circle in a lot of ways.
Little Miss has had a good week and from the sound of it has been telling her teachers she's going to be riding an airplane soon. I think this year's vacation is going to be huge for her, this kid just loves airplanes. Last year she always loved being at the airport, but I don't think it ever settled in when we were on the planes and up in the air that we were actually in one. This year I think she will really get it. With this being her fourth flight vacation (she's flown to Kansas City, Chicago and Houston) she is really earning her wings.
I never have to ask on Thursdays if they had water play or not - the perfect ringlets tell the story. On Thursdays they put on their swimmies and splash around in wading pools and sprinklers and have a big time. Fridays is their Music n Motion class, and she always comes home singing lots of songs!

Happy Friday!

Monday, August 15, 2011

East Nashville Tomato Festival 2011

This past Saturday was the annual East Nashville Tomato Festival. It's definitely the biggest thing that happens in our neighborhood each year and always something to look forward to. Lilli's first tomato festival was a pretty big bust - she and I were supposed to run the race together (and even had a sponsor for it), but we ended up with what was seriously the absolute worst stomach virus this household has ever seen. Last year was MUCH better and we all got to enjoy the festival, but it was absolutely wicked hot.

This year I totally forgot to get her a tomato outfit, but everything else worked out great. We walked down about 10 am as everything was really kicking off, and made it just in time for the doggie fashion show. This was our favorite - tiny dogs in little outfits are just hilarious.There was also a Boston Terrier in a tomato outfit - Pippin is SO lucky!
Then we just walked and walked around for a long time. We ran into SO many of Lilli's little friends from daycares past and present. Since so many of us work and live downtown, most of her classmates have also been neighbors which means we run into them out and about all the time (and have chatted with so many of them who walk past our house since we live in such a popular street!) Brent oh-so-wonderfully captured my "shocked" face when Belinda was telling me the little boy in red was Alex, an old classmate of Lilli's from her first daycare. All in all, we ran into 3 of her classmates from her first daycare, and 3 classmates from her current daycare, as well as other neighborhood friends of hers. She's a popular kiddo. (And we ran into several of our neighborhood, work, and art circle friends, too.)
We've learned (the hard way) that the local popsicle we LOVE must be bought early! By noon they were completely sold out! I had a choc chip and Lilli had strawberry.
And then she had two and I had none....
You might have to click on this one, but there was a Boston Terrier stretched out in the doggie drinking pool just having a soak. Totally reminded me of Spike growing up, but this is something Pippin would NEVER do.
This booth was for a new dog boarding/spa/daycare opening in our neighborhood we are super excited about. It's just a few blocks from our house and will be SO convenient for Pippin. Lil loved their mascot.

Crowds and crowds of people! All in all we were there about 5 hours, by the time we did all the booths and the Kids Festival area. Lilli ran into her BFF Katherine there - the two of them are hilarious and they both squealed when they saw each other. They're absolutely inseparable and are always together each afternoon when I pick her up. Before we walked back we got some Izzie's Ice for the hot walk home.
It was 3:30 when we got back, and Lilli was so tired. I gave her some milk and she absolutely passed out - but as soon as I laid her down in her bed the milk, Izzie's Ice, lunch and popsicle all came back up. Too.much.sugar. From there she was fine, but wasn't going back to sleep so we hit the pool to cool down.
It was nice and not too crowded, and a nice way to end our Tomato Saturday!

Friday, August 12, 2011

End of the week Randoms

Kind of a boring week around here, just the usual work and school and playing in between.

Brent's office had the boy and father who wrote Heaven is For Real in for a speaking engagement and book signing. And, the company I work for had them in one of our local retail stores signing books as well the day before. Obviously these guys have been huge money makers for both of us! I read the book a couple of months ago and it was really, really good - a very fast read. The evenings this week have had lots of porch swinging, playground visits and walks around the block now that it's at least a little bit cooler.
Brent brought us home some leftover cake from an office celebration. The plate was LICKED clean.

This weekend is the annual Tomato Festival! Brent doesn't have any artwork in it (the return on investment on tomato art is not large at all) but we do plan to go to the festival provided tomorrow isn't a total rain-out. Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Happy 8th Birthday Pippin!

Yesterday was Pippin's 8th birthday! We were all especially glad to be celebrating his birthday this year, after the rough time he had several months ago with stomach cancer.

Monday night Lilli helped me bake him his annual birthday cake. We follow this recipe for the peanut butter cake I found online several years. Very simple to follow and nutritious for our little friend.
It's only got a few basic ingredients - peanut butter, flour, honey, vanilla, egg and baking soda.

It doesn't look appetizing at all, but he loves it!

So Tuesday night after dinner we lit his cake up with eight candles (as counted out by Lilli) and celebrated with him. I just ice it with straight peanut butter and a few pieces of dog kibble for decor.
Little Miss was all about blowing out the candles. Anytime I bring home cupcakes from work she asks us to have a candle in it so we can sing. When I picked her up I explained to her teachers that it was her big bro's birthday and that's why she was wearing one of her special Pippin shirts. They did say during snack time she was saying it was "Pippa's" birthday - they thought she was talking about a little girl in the toddler class, so when I told them they finally understood what she had been trying to tell them all day.
I know this is his "get this kid out of my cake" face.

She wanted to do all the cake cutting for him, and then all of a sudden she started licking the knife herself.
And then thought she's be cute and lay down on the floor and eat it like a dog, too.
We didn't stop her. Considering it's all healthy ingredients that was the best dose of vegetables she had eaten all day. Table manners and rules go out the window on birthdays.

Best buds!
We also gave him some new treats and Lilli picked out a new toy for him. I don't think he realizes it is for him since she is playing with it so much (a little squeaker toy) and since he's never chewed on any of her toys he hasn't actually played with it.

Happy Birthday Pippin!! We can't wait to celebrate #9 with you next year!