March

So I guess I am falling into a once-a-month routine with writing here. I think I’ll just embrace it. 🙂  So here are the updates for March!

Earlier this month, we got back from a week-long trip down to Florida (my first time visiting that particular state)!  Trevor’s parents were renting a house down there for the month, and invited us to come stay for a bit. It was a nice trip.

Wesley is not nearly as easy to manage on a plane as he was the last time we flew.  He was only 4 months old then, and he was awesome, mostly slept.  He did okay, but now he’s a big strong writhing ball of kiddo, and it’s harder to keep him happy in our laps for any length of time.  Next time we fly, even if he’s not 2 yet, we’re getting him his own seat for sure.

Southwest Florida is nice, but if the weather isn’t super hot (it was warm, but not beach-going-hot most of the time we were there) there’s not a lot to do. We did some shopping and did visit the beach, but mostly we stayed at the house. This was actually a good thing, though, because it was nice to be able to just sit and read as much as we did.  Going outside without coats on was a huge plus as well (and spring would do well to arrive here anytime now!)

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Work has gotten nice and busy the past few weeks!  Lots of exciting projects on the go.   That, combined with singing holy week services for choir means I’m looking at a pretty busy upcoming week, but it should be good.  I’m looking forward to the long weekend from work though. Also in the work category, a presentation that a co-worker and I proposed for a conference got accepted, so we’ll be doing a presentation in May! Should be good.

I got in touch with Family and Children’s Services about volunteering, and went for an interview there recently.  It’s a really amazing organization, and I’m kind of fascinated with their programs. I have to do some paperwork and training before I can be a proper volunteer, but I’m pretty excited.  I also got to see a presentation about another awesome local organization called Strong Start, and I’m really blown away by their programs as well, and hopefully will be able to help them out in some way. So many cool things happening here, if only I had unlimited time to volunteer!

Speaking of volunteering, I’ve been asked to be the costumer for a show that’s going up next year, so I’m pretty stoked about that. Hooray for costuming, my biggest theatre love! I might have to get a tuneup on my sewing machine- it’s been running pretty clunkily for a bit. It’s a really sweet workhorse of a machine- one of the older Singer school machines that have decent speed and are more heavy duty than what is produced now.

TedX is next week as well (falling during my busy week of busyness)! I’m really stoked about going, especially since I went last year and I know a little better what to expect. I hope that the talks are super inspiring!

Trip to Texas!

About a month ago, Trevor and Wesley and I took our first plane trip together as a family, to Texas to visit my parents and brother and sister-in-law.

Flying

The flights were pretty awesome! It was Wesley’s first time on a plane, and we did some planning ahead and things worked out incredibly well. We flew mostly on MD88s, which are a middle-sized plane, two seats on one side and three on the other. We were on the three seat side a few times, and that worked out surprisingly okay!

Can I just say, pre-boarding for families with kids under 2? Awesome. Gave me enough time to get situated without having to trip over a bunch of people and bags, and without worrying about people bashing my kid with their bags. That was sweet.

We bought enough ready-made formula for the flights down and back (as Wesley is formula fed at this point) and brought our bottles. The timing worked out such that it was time to feed Wesley at each takeoff (we had 2 flights down and 2 flights back) and that kept him calm during the initial parts of the flight and probably helped keep his ear pressure normalized. Because we were next to a third person on a few of the flights, I was a bit apprehansive, but each time they complemented us on how calm the baby was, which was nice. After takeoff, he’d be pretty much done eating, hang out for a bit, then have a nap on our lap/shoulders/whatever. It worked out well.

In praise of the family restroom


On the way down, during our layover, we both needed to hit up the restroom and Wesley needed a diaper change. Enter the family restroom! If you’ve not seen these, it’s basically a big, accessible restroom with a change table. We got everything taken care of way faster than if we’d gone to the separate restrooms. Super awesome.

In Texas

While we were down there, we stayed in a hotel near my parents’ house, so that we’d have our own space and also because I kind of love hotels and this one had a whirlpool, so yay. We bought the baby supplies we’d need while we were down there. Diapers (we used disposable diapers, though we use a cloth diaper service at home), some wipes, swim diapers (so Wesley could try out the pool!), formula and water, and a couple other things. My mom got Wesley some clothes as a nice gift, and we also got some clothes from Kimberly and Tony (my brother and sister-in-law) which was nice.

We mostly hung out at my parents’ house and my brother’s place, which was good and relaxing. I was worried that with an infant it wouldn’t feel like we were on vacation, but the hotel stay helped with that (I love having other people make my bed! Also, whirlpool). We watched TV and played with the baby and had a good time. We watched crazy stuff too, Superman II! And Hazel. Random, but entertaining!

Speaking of the whirlpool, we made use of it a few times! It was nice. We also took Wesley in the indoor pool they had. It was a little chilly for him, but he had fun!

To give my mom some babysitting/grandma time, Trevor and I went with Tony and Kimberly to see The Avengers. We saw it at the Movie Theatre Tavern, which is a fantastic thing they have in Texas (and some other locations in the US) where you basically have your movie and food and beer all at once. It is particularly fantastic for comic book movies, I think.

They also have a system there which I think pretty much all diners/casual dining restaurants need- you push a button, it lights up, and then a server comes. Seriously, awesome. It’s rude to call a server over (especially from across the room), but sometimes they don’t catch the pointed glances when I want a refill or a dessert menu or the check. All in all, it was a nice baby-free outing, and my parents had fun babysitting. Here’s my dad and Wesley!

Back home

The flights back were also pretty good, Wesley had a tiny bit more fussyness but was overall pretty calm. He got a little bit upset on the car ride back home from Buffalo, but we made it home late in the evening and Trevor and I both had the following day off from our various obligations so we were able to get back into our regular home routine. Overall, I definitely recommend traveling with infants, especially when they’re still not mobile on their own (as Wesley was at the time, he’s rolling all over the place now).

Trip to Philadelphia and DC

So we took a bit of an interesting vacation this time, in terms of days off and placement. We took off days from a Wednesday to a Wednesday, which made for a slightly shorter vacation as we didn’t have two weekends on each end, but having two short work weeks was in a lot of ways so much nicer! So I highly recommend if you don’t absolutely have to take your time all in one calendar week, do try it.

Anyway, we drove down to Philadelphia- it being one of the few decently-sized cities on this side of the continent that we hadn’t visted yet. We decided to drive, since with me being 20 weeks pregnant I didn’t really want to deal with flying and airplane lavatories and such, and the car is much more comfortable than a seat in coach. The drive down took us about 9.5 hours or so- the weather was sunny, so it was a really nice drive overall.
Aloft hotel
We got to our hotel, which was in a New Jersey suburb of Philly. It is one of the newer Starwood offshoots, called Aloft.

The hotel was pretty nice, overall. It definitely had a bit more of a “trendy” air to it, seemingly trying to target a young professional type demographic. When we arrived and checked in, we discovered it was karaoke night, haha. The lounge was right behind the lobby and front desk, and it was a lot more of a party air than I expected, but still pretty cool. We did not participate in karaoke, haha. We did go out and get ourselves some Mexican food, because we love it and Mexican restaurants are sadly lacking in my town.

On Thursday, we did a bunch of shopping. I had held off on buying much in the way of maternity clothes because I was determined not to spend a ton more than I would on regular clothes, just for something to get me through the next few months. However, there are a lot more reasonably-priced options in the US (Target and Macy’s being the main places we hit) so I was able to get some things that I hadn’t found in the thrift stores up here yet.

On Friday, we drove a couple of hours down to DC for the day, to do some wandering around. We can hardly resist that town. Trevor lived there for a while, and we’ve been there together 5 times now. This time, I wanted to go on the Capitol tour, something I hadn’t gotten to do yet. We had a fast lunch with a friend of ours who lives there, and then quickly walked over to the Capitol Visitor Center to get ready for our tour.

Me and Ronald Reagan
The tour was pretty good! First, they usher you all in to watch a short film, which is pretty much one of those patriotic-spirit-rousing quick tours of US history engineered to make pregnant women all weepy. The score was really good too. I wish I could find a clip of it somewhere on the internet, but I suppose it’s not out there anywhere.

The walking part of the tour was fast, though. We had a good tourguide, who was enormously tall. We went down into the crypt (not that anyone is buried there, but) and saw the rotunda, and the old Supreme Court hall, and the old House of Representatives hall, and lots of statues. We went to the Senate hall as well. I got my picture taken with a statue of Ronald Reagan on the tour (it was near where we were walking, and RR has a special place in my heart because he’s the only President I’ve ever seen in person).

Trevor in front of the Supreme Court
After the Capitol, we went over to the Library of Congress and saw some of the cool exhibits there (we hadn’t been there before despite 5 visits). My feet were starting to hurt from some new shoes, so then we went outside and walked past the Supreme Court building, and started to head back to the car.

Me and the Philly Phanatic
On Saturday, we headed into downtown Philly to do some of the historic/touristy stuff there. We went to the visitor center to get our bearings (and I got my picture taken with the Philly Phanatic statue there). We went to the Constitution Center after that, and saw a sort of mixed film/theatre presentation called Freedom Rising- similar to the Capitol film, but a bit more variety in that there was a live narrator and it was done in the round with projections on surrounding screens and a 5 sided screen that flew in in the center. It was pretty cool.

Me and the Liberty Bell
After that we wandered around a bit more. We saw the Betsy Ross house, and the Liberty Bell, and I found out how to get a National Park Passport (which is a really cool thing by the way). We missed out on getting tickets for Independence Hall, but we went back another day.

Hippo at the zoo
On Sunday, we hit up Independence Hall and the zoo. The Independence Hall tour was pretty good, and it’s definitely a cool building. The zoo was not a huge zoo (though nothing seems big after San Diego), but still quite decent. We took advantage of the Big Bus Tours ride that came with our CityPass to get out there (that was actually far more useful than initially expected). It was busy at the zoo, since it was a weekend day with fair weather, but we still got to see a lot of things.

Preggonaut conquers the Rocky Steps
After the zoo, we stopped at the Museum of Art and I finally got my photo at the top of the Rocky Steps. I did not run up them.

Philly from the river
On Monday, we went to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden. It was a pretty good aquarium (though I would say that the aquarium at the Henry Doorly Zoo, though smaller, is definitely up there). It was also busy, that day being a holiday, but overall, it was really nice. We wound up having lunch there because of how timing worked out. After that, we took the ferry across the river into Philadelphia, and did a bit more walking around. We went to see Ben Franklin’s grave, mostly. By this time we were getting maybe a little sick of walking.

Tuesday was super rainy (leftovers from a tropical depression) and it was pretty depressing. However, we spent Tuesday at the Franklin Institute, which is probably the best science museum I’ve ever been to. We don’t have any photos from it, because we were having so much fun playing with all the exhibits. We walked through the giant heart, I learned when to use a defibrillator, we played at wheelchair racing, all kinds of things. It was awesome, and probably the best thing on the CityPass. After that we were intending to go to Penn and Princeton (I have a hoodie I bought at Harvard, and I wanted to improve my Ivy League collection) but it was so rainy we gave up.

On Wednesday, we drove home, mostly through the aforementioned tropical depression. Tons of rain, flood warnings, all that. It took us a few extra hours to get home, but we made it alright!

If you want, you can look at more photos from the trip.

Travel

Philadelphia
So Trevor and I booked some time off, and had been trying to figure out where to go for a vacation that wouldn’t be too difficult to get to or get back from (so driveable or within a short flight distance) and that we wanted to go to. Turns out we’ve been to a lot of the areas that meet those qualifications. We were thinking about heading back to NYC or Montreal (which we’ve been to before, but are big enough to have plenty of things left we haven’t done). We were just on the brink of deciding on NYC, when we started looking at Philadelphia (which we’ve been through, but never properly visited). So we’re going to Philadelphia!

There’s lots of neat things there, like a big aquarium, and if we do decide we want to take a day trip to NYC or DC, either one is just a train ride away. We’re staying in a suburban hotel that’s not too far from a subway station, and we’re staying there the whole trip, which is unusual for us- we usually spend 3 or 4 days in a city and then go somewhere else, when we’re on a vacation.

So watch out, Preggonaut is attacking Philadelphia at the end of the month. 🙂