We’re Back!

We’re back from our trip, and a wonderful trip it was!  We left Saturday morning around 9 AM and drove drove drove… unfortunately, Northern Virginia is notorious for having HORRIBLE traffic and we definitely experienced that.  We got as far as Richmond before we were all ready to get out of the car to eat lunch and stretch our legs.  Julia did surprisingly well and my plan was to let her run around to burn off some energy.  After lunch we got back in the car and drove until Julia just couldn’t take it anymore, at which point we stopped for dinner in South Carolina.  Our initial thought was that we should find a fairly quick and easy place like Olive Garden, so we found one close to the highway and went in… only to find out that the wait was going to be between 2 and 2-and-a-half hours!  A quick Google search pointed us in the direction of a local brewpub so we went there instead and had a lovely meal.  The wait-staff was very friendly and the other diners were all very happy to have a baby running around saying “hi” to everyone she saw.

After dinner our plan was to keep driving until neither of us felt safe driving any further so I drove as far as Savannah and then Ken took over and got us to Jacksonville, FL, at which point we were both exhausted so we found a hotel off the highway and spent the night there.

That first night was a little rough… Julia thought it was time to play once we got into the hotel so she did NOT want to go to sleep.  I basically just nursed nursed nursed until she finally caved in and fell asleep in bed with us.  We woke up around 6 AM, had a quick breakfast at the hotel and then got back in the car to drive from Jacksonville to Delray Beach, FL, where Ken’s parents have a house.  We got there right around lunch time and were able to just relax and enjoy the afternoon with Ken’s parents.  Florida16

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Monday we enjoyed some time at the pool and then in the evening, some of my inlaws’ cousins came over to meet Julia and to have a little family evening.  They were all very interesting and had some funny stories to tell.  We had a great time getting to know everyone.   Florida15

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Tuesday was New Years’ Eve… during the day, Julia went with Ken & her Zaydie to a nature preserve to walk around and see some animals (they saw an alligator and lots of birds!) while Mona & I went shopping.  In the evening, we all went to a delicious Kosher Chinese Restaurant for dinner and then after I put Julia to sleep, Ken and I went out for a New Years’ Eve Date night!  We went to see Anchorman 2 at the movie theater and then came home to watch the Ball drop and go to sleep (after all, our human alarm clock still wakes up between 5:30 and 7 whether we stayed out late or not!)  Florida12

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New Years Day was when everyone was leaving and since Mona, Robert & Ken had a lot of cleaning to do to prepare the house for our departure, my job was to keep Julia occupied.  I arranged to meet one of the Pumpkin Patch Mamas with her two little girls at a local playground for the morning–it was so much fun to meet her and her little girls.  Her older daughter is 3 and her younger one was born in October, just like Julia!  We had a great time and now that we’ve had one play date together, we will likely get together again the next time we come down to Florida!  That’s one thing I love about the Pumpkin Patch–it means we have friends with babies all over the country!  Florida17

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After our play date and cleaning the house was all done, we all went to brunch at the home of some family friends.  Their son and daughter-in-law have a 1-month old baby boy named Mason so we were all looking forward to meeting him.  Brunch was quite tasty and then when we were all done eating, I had a chance to hold Mason!  Julia was NOT happy about me holding another baby.  It didn’t help that she was already getting very tired and fussy but she was not a fan of this other tiny human taking any of my attention away from her.  After I handed off the baby, I nursed Julia and she fell asleep in my arms.  She stayed asleep getting back in the car and slept much of the way to Orlando.

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We stayed Wednesday night and Thursday night in Orlando with my cousins, Morgan & Mendy and their kids Alivia & Sam.  This was their first time meeting Julia and they seemed to have a lot of fun with her.  One thing that was really nice about this visit with them was that, unlike other times we’ve visited them, we didn’t have anything else in mind that we wanted to do in Florida.  We weren’t there to see baseball games or to go to Disney… we were just there to see them.  We spent Thursday at their house just hanging out and playing!  We also took the kids on a walk to a lake where we fed the ducks and played on the swings for a little while!  Florida10

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Mendy also happens to be a professional photographer so we did a little photo shoot with her in the afternoon.  I can’t wait to see how some of the pictures turned out!

Friday morning we got up and had breakfast (delicious homemade waffles, thanks to my cousin, Morgan!) and then we got back in the car to drive up to Savannah.  Neither of us had ever been there before but we had both heard wonderful things about the city from our parents.  We checked into our hotel and then walked to a restaurant, Vic’s on the River, for lunch.  They had a traditional southern menu which included fried green tomatoes, grits, po boys and other delicious items.

After lunch, we went to visit an old Synagogue in town… it’s the oldest Congregation in the US outside of New York.  They had a lovely museum with great historical information and artifacts.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to fully appreciate the displays since I was busy keeping Julia out of trouble but I still got a taste of the place.

After the Synagogue we tried unsuccessfully to get Julia to take a nap, and then we found a great place called the Crystal Beer Parlor for dinner.  They were very baby friendly and the food and beer were great!  After dinner we went back to the hotel to sleep!  Our very short visit to Savannah definitely gave us a little taste of the city and made us both eager to plan a trip back at some point in the future.  It’s a beautiful city and there is clearly a lot to do so we would definitely like to go back at some point.

Saturday morning after waking up and packing our suitcases, we got in the car and headed to a local breakfast place called Henry’s.  After breakfast it was back in the car for the long drive to Richmond.  We also stopped for breakfast in North Carolina, where we met up with another Pumpkin Patch Mama and her baby boy!  I’m telling you… we literally have friends all over the country we could visit, thanks to the Pumpkin Patch!Florida6

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I have some cousins just outside of Richmond so we went to their house and had a very nice time chatting with them.  We had dinner there and then made the decision that rather than spending the night there and continuing the drive on Sunday, it would be best to just get home.  We got home around 11:30 PM, at which time I put Julia in her crib and we unpacked the car. Florida7

Sometimes the best part of a trip is coming home… and Sunday morning it was definitely  nice to wake up in our own bed.  I was able to get some meal-planning and grocery shopping done on Sunday while Ken got some studying done and we are now settling back into our routine.

I’ve decided that after all the junk from the holidays, I am taking on a Whole30 Challenge for the next 30 days.  I started with dinner last night, and made two new recipes.  I’m hoping to learn some new recipes and new ways of eating “clean,” and I’m also hoping the Challenge will help curb some of my 3 PM sugar cravings that I inevitably get most afternoons when I’m at work.

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