Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What's up Wednesday

I'm going here for breakfast-

And I'm going to see my friend Stacy and her baby Kaylee.  I'll be doing this-

Then I'm taking my dad to the airport {turn about is fair play, he picked me up last week}

After that I might take a nap!  What are you doing today?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Blog swap

I participated in my first blog swap and it was really fun!  You get paired with another blogger, find out fun stuff about her, and then send her a gift- and she does the same for you!  Well my blogger partner is amazingly enough from the east coast where we just spent an amazing nine days.  And wouldn't you know it she went to school in Maine, which is my most favorite place ever.  What a small world... and perfect pairing! 

And here's my goodies, with the exception of a bag of Cadbury eggs that were eaten as soon as I got them *blush*

Adorable magnets, post its, nail file, smokey eye beauty book {I'm super excited about this}, white chocolate, magazines, dessert.... I was in heaven.  Thanks girl!! 

The aftermath

Here's what you get after being gone for nine days-

Plus one broken necklace, two broken suitcases {the zipper on one and as you can see on the far right one it came apart from the handle. It was free I'm not too worried}, a broken pair of Skechers boots, 500+ pictures to print, and lots of memories!

One last thing.. we started the trip with a van with two whole miles on it.  That's right- two!  This is what we ended up with-

Glad it wasn't mine! :)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Epic East Coast Adventure Spring Break 2011 {day nine}

Today we're coming home!  We were definitely ready!

We got up at 5 because we had plenty to do before we got to the airport.  Loaded the suitcases up in the rental car {trying to enjoy every last second in that puppy!} and got all the milk loaded in the cooler ready to ship.  We made a pit stop at 7-11 to get some ice to put in the cooler.  Next stop Fedex.  Normally my dad goes with me because he gets a discount there.  However since he wasn't going to be with me this time I knew it was going to be full price.  Amazingly J1 mentioned something to the lady about this and somehow she looked up something and applied the discount to our order WOOT WOOT!

Next we were off to the airport but not before one last stop on the NJ turnpike-

I knew we needed to have time to drop off the car, get through security, and make it to our gate so I alloted a LOT of time.  I also figured we'd be in traffic too.  We made amazingly good time in RUSH HOUR no less and found a gas station to fill up the tank.  We dropped the car off and headed to the airport via the airtrain.

Now everyone who asked what airport we flew into made a face when I said Newark.  I mean I get that it's not the *most* desireable but it sure was the cheapest and it was just as close as PHL.  I had no complaints about the airport from when we arrived {in fact, kudos to them for the employees aplenty roaming around asking if we needed help}.  However, on the way back an employee stopped us before we got to the go through security and said we had to check one of our bags because the wheels extended too far out.  SAY WHA?!  I figured I'd show them who's who so we just went down to the next terminal.  Where we proceeded to wait in line until I realized that Newark is not like DFW and each terminal is self standing. Meaning we had to leave the line we were in and go back to the line for American.  And of course the same lady was there so we headed back to check the one piece of luggage that has never given me a problem before.  RUDE.

We checked our bag and headed back to security. We get to the head of the line, take out our bags of liquids, take off our shoes and jackets, place the laptop in a separate bin and proceed through.  And wouldn't you know it the guy tells me my necklace needs to come off.  It's a huge chunky necklace that is super fun but I figure since it's not metal or anything it's safe.  No go.  I place it in the bin and by this time they've scanned our bags and are asking who belongs to the orange backpack.  Um, that's me.  So she takes it aside and starts going through it.  Meanwhile I grab my necklace and the thing comes apart somehow and beads go all over the floor!  It was a cheap-ish necklace but still it was one of my favorites and I always get a lot of compliments on it.  I'm so annoyed by now I just shove what I can in my laptop bag.  The lady has pulled everything out of my bag and starts lecturing me about how I was supposed to take all big electronics out of my bag.  Um I don't consider the pump, gps, or power converter large so that's why I didn't.  Whatever!  She runs them back through the machine and gives them back to me to put back in the bag.  All this is of course while trying to stay out of everyone else's way. OH and did I forget to mention that while all this was happening J2 couldn't zip her boot over her jeans and asked for help.  Me being distracted and annoyed I told her I couldn't help her and that she needed to just wear her jeans over her pants.  What happens next? Of course the zipper breaks!  I guess that's what I deserve for not helping her :(
Thankfully because of my thinking ahead none of this has put us behind.  Actually, we end up with almost 3 hours to spare at the gate.  No problem for us we find an outlet that's kind of out of the way {so I can pump} and we camp out there.  I let the kids play around and act goofy so as to get some of their energy out and before we know it we're boarding the plane headed for home.

I have to say this was an amazing trip.  We covered all of New England, say friends in 5 states, and got to spend some time with my grandma {the whole actual purpose of the trip!}  I would love love love to do it again one day.  I am thankful for such amazing friends and family for letting us stay with them and making our trip one of the best ever.  We are so lucky!!

Epic East Coast Adventure Spring Break 2011 {day eight}

Today is our last full day of vacation and I think it was the first day we were really ready to be done.  Thankfully everyone has gotten along well the whole time and we were all pretty happy.  :)  You can see in the pics below-

When we got up we needed to take my grandma to a doctor appointment.  Afterwards we took her home and went to get lunch.  We spent a few hours with her chatting and such and then headed back to my uncle's house.  We started packing up our things and I got two things ready to be mailed.  I figured that I would mail a box home instead of paying $25 to check it.  We almost missed the post office because it closed at 4:30 {ours closes at 6, what the heck is going on in NJ?} but thankfully we found one a few miles away that didn't close until 5.  Once we all got home we had dinner and made sure we had everything we needed packed and ready to go.  We ventured back over to my grandma's for another hour or so because we didn't take any pics before now.  I knew I had to get some pictures!

Once we got back home we visited for a bit and then went to bed.  We had to be up early the next morning so we needed all the beauty sleep we could get!

Epic East Coast Adventure Spring Break 2011 {day seven}

We sort of slept in and had a leisurely morning.  Once both kiddos were up we headed to Cracker Barrel {I love that place so much}.  On the ride home J2 mentioned she really wanted to go to an aquarium and wouldn't you know it my aunt said she's been dying to go to the one near them... so off we went!

If you've been to one aquarium I think you've been to them all but it was something fun for everyone to do and there are always some pretty neat things to do.  Like touch sharks-

And stingrays-

We were going to go to this really cool restaurant based on a Canadian Lodge but when we got there it was closed! :( Darn economy.  We headed instead to Red Robin.  I mean really who doesn't like burgers?

On the way home we went by the cemetary where some of my dad's family is buried.  It was nice to see where they are and it seems like you always learn something you never paid attention to before.  We also had to make a trip to Halo Farm.  It's a cute shop in NJ and they sell pantry type items and really good juice and milk.  I went in looking for TastyKakes but I forget they don't have the lemon pies that my dad and I like so much.  I had to settle for these babies-

Once we got home it was time for another game of Life and then bed.  We're some tired folks!

Epic East Coast Adventure Spring Break 2011 {day six}

We all were ready to sleep in today but sadly there are those of us who have to get up to pump and those who get up so early everyday that their bodies won't let them sleep in that just wasn't the plan! Today was John's bday so we had a very special Irish breakfast {which is essentially like 10 different kinds of meat- and I was assured they were all pig but I'm still questioning that} and beans on toast.  What a great start to the day. 
We left and headed to find a post office.  I needed to mail postcards and the box for my blog swap partner- which didn't get mailed because I misplaced her address!  We finally got on the road about 1 I'd say and wouldn't you know it we were making good time but the GPS took us through the city which means we were stuck in Saturday traffic. 
Once we got through that we were almost to Carlo's Bakery!  You could seriously tell we were all super excited.  We parked a few blocks away and could see the canopy as we got closer.  But as we got closer we saw the line too.  Once we got to the door we could fully see the line and it was down the street and across the street.  They have an employee stationed outside making sure no one "cuts" where the line has to break.  We talked to a few people in the back part of the line and were told the minimum wait was 3 hours.  I think I mentioned before I hate lines?  Yeah, nothing has changed.  If it was an hour I might have said ok but 3?  No way.  So we decided to head back to the car.  On the way back we passed a Ben and Jerry's store so we popped in there to partake of their goodness.  And goodness it was!  I had the Coconut 7 layer bar ice cream which was delicious to the next level.  And wouldn't you know it, they only offer it in the stores :(
We got back to the car and headed to my grandma's house.  We were staying with my uncle and aunt and they were going out for the evening so we stopped by there first and got a key from them.  Then we headed over to my grandma's.  I love her so much!  We have a special bond because we share a birthday.  It's been a few years since the kids have seen her and they were all happy to see one another.  I had been to see her in October with my mom.  We had a nice chat for a bit and ate some dinner with her before we headed back to my uncle's house.  We played one game of Life (which we totally played wrong but it's been years since I played it!) and then crashed.

I'm not even sure what time my uncle and aunt got home but we didn't hear a thing because we were so tired!  No set plans for tomorrow!

Epic East Coast Adventure Spring Break 2011 {day five}

Today we were headed to the Statue of Liberty so we decided to get a jump on traffic into the city and leave early.  I mean early.  People in this house were getting ready at 4:30!  I should say adults because the kids were lounging around until after 5 ;)  We left the house, grabbed a bite to eat at a cute deli {wondering why we don't have anything like this in Texas?}, and headed into NYC.  We made super good time getting in {which is relative because it still takes what seems like forever to get there} and thought we were so smart for getting there so early.  The statue doesn't open until 9:30 and we were early!  But as we head down to the line we catch a glimpse of the massive line that has already formed and I get a sinking feeling in my stomach {and actually had it just been the kids and I, I might have said lets do something else.  I loathe lines almost more than anything else and this one was a doozy!}
We settle in to our place in line and almost two hours later we get to the first security screening.  Similar to airport screening- jackets, watches, cell phones, bags, etc must be screened and you must walk through the metal detector.  The detector in the line we were in was kind enough to go off for every one of us but J1.  They even made Kat's husband take off his shoes and took both girls aside for special screening!
Once we got through all of that we waited in yet another line {and I use the term "line" loosely as it's just a massive crowd of people under a tent} to board the ship.  As we board we head to the open deck and watch as we head towards Lady Liberty.  I must say I feel like there are not a lot of things that excite me but my heart started racing when we got closer to her.  She's a beauty!  The boat ride was very quick then we disembarked to the island.
Walking around the island was pretty cool but we didn't spend too much time doing it.  At this point we've been awake and going for 7 hours and while no one is complaining no one is bounding with energy either. We had access to the pedestal which required us to put all our backpacks in a locker and head up many many many stairs. *Sidenote- A few weeks before we left I looked up the statue info online and found out you could go in her crown but unfortunately the tickets for that are sold out through May. The upside of that is that we would have had to have climbed over 300 something steps to get up there and I'm not sure how we would have done.* We took the elevator for some of it and were able to get a short history lesson about the statue and the restoration that was done in 86. Then we headed outside and what a magnificent view you have from up there!

We head down and stop by the museum. I think on a day when I wasn't so tired and had I been alone I may have spent a lot of time in there soaking up every detail. It was really interesting and packed with tidbits but also fun things like a full scale replica of her face and foot!

We went back down to the ground, gathered our things, and had lunch at the cafeteria and the food was surprising very good. Afterwards we hit the gift shop {oh man, how I wish I owned a gift shop! I'm sure those people make a KILLING!} and left to go wait in line again to board the ship. The boat stops next at Ellis Island but at this point there's NO WAY we would have been able to do that so we just stayed on and got off at the end. {I was also about to pop because I was not able to pump this whole time so we really did need to go to the car!} On our way out of the city we drove by the USS Intrepid and Times Square. We also hit up an Irish supermarket that was totally cool!

By the time we got home it was after 6 and we were all exhausted. Kat's mom offered to take us to California Pizza Kitchen and I don't think there was a lot of arm twisting involved ;) It was a 45 minute wait when we got there so we walked around the mall for a bit {and it seems malls are the same everywhere}. Once we ate I think it revived us all a little enough to get through dessert. I got the apple crisp and it was delish.

We headed back home and chatted for a few minutes while the kids got ready for bed and then it was lights out for everybody. All in all it was a terrific day and one I hope my kiddos will never forget!
Next stop... CAKE BOSS and my grandma!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Epic East Coast Adventure Spring Break 2011 {day four}

We had a pretty substantial drive ahead of us so Thursday we got up early to get on the road- but not before we got some homemade Linda frosting!  This is the best homemade frosting ever!  When Linda came to Texas we even forced her to make some :)

~On the way out of Linda's driveway there may have been an incident involving a snow bank and me trying to use the car's backup cam but I digress...~

We stop by Dunkin Donuts on our way to Connecticut because their advertising has woked and my son wants to try the "All new Big 'N Toasty" and seeing as we don't have any near us its a novelty. 
Once we get going we make great time or so I think!  My GPS was on 'time remaining' and I didn't know there was any other option.  At some point while I was programming it I dropped it and when I picked it up I changed it to 'time of arrival' which I liked even better because as you drove along it was nice to see if the time changed based on how fast {or slow} you were going.  I was so excited because it told me we were like 10 minutes away but at this point we turned onto another road and it told me I would be going another 47 miles on that road! What?  I finally realized that the GPS was still on Texas time and we were still an hour away!  Try getting your kids to swallow that after they've been in the car for 3 hours already and you've told them you're 10 minutes away... thankfully they were ok with it!

Once we got to our friend Julie's house in CT, we went for a quick bite {at Applebee's!!  I haven't had "my salad" in weeks it seems} then on to the Nautilus Museum.  This place is totally free and was dead.  Plus there were men in uniform but again I digress... We did a quick tour of the museum itself and then headed out to the submarine.  That was sooo awesome!
 I really thought I was going to be claustrophobic but it was not as bad as I expected.  The kids really enjoyed getting to see everything you could on the sub, you just can't imagine what it's really like until you are there.  When we were almost done an announcement was made that a submarine was going by so we ran up to the top so we could see it- and that was pretty darn cool too!

Once we left we said goodbye to Julie and headed to New York!  This was one of the legs I was concerned about as I was concerned about traffic, crazy drivers, and getting lost {yes, I have a GPS and yes, you can still get lost with one!}  Thankfully we actually made really good time getting to Long Island and the kids and I weren't too terribly cranky after spending umpteen hours in the car.  We had a great time catching up with Kat and her family and went to bed WAY too late.  But the time just flies when you're with great friends.

Oh and because today was St Patty's day we had Julie make us up some themed cake pops.  They were so stinkin' adorable!

Big day tomorrow...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Epic East Coast Adventure Spring Break 2011 {day three}

My favorite place is the great state of Maine.  Love it!  If I could move here I would have done so several years ago and still in the back of my mind I'm waiting until I can!  So when the kids both said they really wanted to come up here I told them we would make it work.

Maine is just so gorgeous- even in the winter.  The drive up is amazing, insanely tall trees line both sides of the highway and you almost forget all about the gagillion dollars in tolls.  The roads are nice especially compared to the crazy Texas roads filled with potholes and drives full of rage.  But I'm not a fan of the areas where the speed limit is 55.

We slept in {it is vacation after all!} and enjoyed a very late breakfast of some very delicious breakfast pizza.  BOTH of my kids liked it as did I and that is no small feat!  Afterwards we all piled in the car and headed to the beach.  I would like to thank Maine for snowing for us but would like to tell it how much I did not appreciate the fact that it warmed up so it turned to rain. Because of said rain we weren't able to enjoy the beach {ok well we wouldn't have been able to enjoy the beach much anyway because it is only 40 out but still...} but I got some good pics and was happy. 
We took the scenic route through Saco and stopped in to a cute place called Buck Nuts where we enjoyed some ice cream and I picked up a bag of these babies:

When we got back to the house there was a special delivery waiting for the kiddos!

My parents had sent them each a journal and some pens to record their musings on the trip.  It is not only a great idea but the kids really were surprised and excited!  Who gets a package on vacation?  And so I knew they were thinking about me I got this:

We hung out the rest of the day and just enjoyed ourselves.  I also feasted on this baby:

An Amatos Italian sub.  Freakin' yum- that's all.

I was also happy to receive these pictures from my parents who are making sure our kitties are safe at home:
Alyssa so happy to have company!
Sassy and Alyssa

Still having a blast and this morning we are off to Connecticut and then down to NY!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Epic East Coast Adventure Spring Break 2011 {day two}

Yesterday {Tuesday} was a good easy day!

We slept in for starters.  Well the kids slept in and I laid around and watched TV.  Free breakfast was only until 9:30 so you better believe I got the kids up in time to eat!  J1 thought he was too tired to eat but he had a pretzel roll w/sausage, egg, and cheese, cereal, toast, and OJ.  The egg white, asparagus, and cheese tortillas were pretty dang good I thought.

We took our time getting ready and headed out about 11.  We went back to visit Mr T and to pick up the box and cooler for me to reload with milk while I'm here and to give him this cute bib I bought {apparently I was too excited to see him on Monday and completely forgot and seeing as how it says "My First St Patricks Day" he needed it before Thursday *lol*}. 
So what if he was asleep and we had to wake him up?  The kids also got to feed him, which they loved.  His grandma stuffed us with more food before we left again to head to this place...

Oh yes, even on vacation we have to hit up the local Target!  In actuality since we're doing so much driving I really wanted to get some snacks and drinks so we weren't stopping all the time.  I also needed to get a birthday present for a special girl we will be seeing this weekend as well as some gifts for a spring swap I'm participating in- it's my first one and I'm really excited!  Plus my "swapee" is right here on the east coast and even went to school in Maine.  Hello, I already love her!

Spring Has Sprung Blog Swap

After we left Target we rushed to Worcester because I haven't seen Miss Wendy in a year!  We hung out with them for a while and the kiddos played then I got to meet her prince charming... and a charmer he is! 
I'm so happy for her that she is so happy, she most definitely deserves it!  We hung out a little after dinner before we left for...

The great state of Maine!  It was dark when we got here but I could still see how beautiful it was.  It's been almost 3 years since I've been here- and that's way too long!  Today I think our plans include seeing this:

and going to eat here:

I had a sandwich from here the last time we were here and it was divine.  I've been dying to get my hands on one ever since!  I hope it's as good as I remember :)

Tomorrow we'll be headed to Connecticut then to NY.  Here's to more adventures!