While the boys watched soccer in our room, Kiki and I watched the finale of Sex Education (highly recommend, but not with kids around) in her room on an iPad while drinking wine out of plastic cups. Cheers!
(We are traveling for an archery tournament for Linus. More on that coming up!)
I already blogged our road-trip-within-a-road-trip, and now it’s time to post about the rest of it. I’d better start with Part 1: Getting to Virginia.
Kristina flew down Sunday night, and we spent Monday getting ready for the trip. Packing, laundry, making sure we had a plan for our roadside attractions. Oh, and eating delicious meals at Picnic Provisions & Whiskey and Molly’s Rise and Shine. Highly recommend both. Also visiting Terry and taking the boys to Dollar Tree to pick out road trip snacks (I gave them each a $5 budget.)
Monday morning, we hit the road with my new cargo bag on the roof. First stop, the giant catfish in Slidell! (Huge thanks to the website Roadside America for all of our stop ideas.)
A couple saw us pulling off to take a picture with the fish, and thought it was hilarious, so pulled over as well and offered to take a picture for us. Thanks anonymous Slidell couple!
I’m blogging this from the back seat of Kiki and Mike’s car as we head back to Virginia. We left New York City a couple of hours ago, and while I’ve been terrible about blogging our trip so far (I mean the one to Virginia) at least I can get this one down now, while it’s still fresh.
We arrived yesterday (Sunday) a bit after noon (it’s about 4 hours from their house and we left bright and early.) Got the car parked and dropped our bags off at the hotel (a Courtyard by Marriott that we got for an absolute steal) and headed out to explore.
We decided to walk to Rockefeller Center since it wasn’t too far away, and one of our ideas was to go to the top.
The east coast was going through a nightmarish heat wave this weekend, so we didn’t want to do anything that involved being outside much. But when you are in a city where you walk everywhere, it’s an impossible goal. But at least we could duck into air conditioning as often as possible.
After we baked on top of a skyscraper, we headed to the Nintendo store.
Oh and we ate pizza before going up, and the boys were not happy that it was square instead of traditional NY pizza. It was delicious though. 🤷🏻♀️
Afterwards, we walked around Rockefeller Center a bunch because there was ice cream and air conditioning. And then went back to the hotel so we could check in. We rested for a while in our rooms, then headed back out for “real” pizza and to see Times Square.
Went to John’s Pizza for dinner. Was delicious but hot. Like, my shirt was soaked with sweat. 🔥 But the pizza was fantastic. The boys were thrilled to have “foldable” pizza.
It was getting dark by the time we left, so it was time to see the lights of Times Square in all of their glory. The boys loved it.
My favorite part was the group of Sri Lankan men who asked me to take their photo. And then wanted everyone in the picture. 😀 They were adorable and pointed out a few times that they were politicians back home. I had to get a picture with my phone as well, of course.
Next, we went back to Rockefeller Center to make use of its facilities and got some dessert for the boys. We were all exhausted by the time we got back to the hotel and I slept like a rock. (I have said “rock” a lot in this post.)
This morning, we woke up and went to stand in line for bagels at Ess-a-Bagel, which was handily right by our hotel. I was nervous about ordering, but I did okay and didn’t get yelled at. The boys loved the bagels (they got butter, I got lox spread.) They were totally worth the wait.
After eating, we walked up to Central Park and we all climbed on rocks. The temperature was much lower today, thank goodness.
Our next stop was a cookie dough shop that Oliver had been dying to go to ever since we decided to make this trip. We took the subway down to Chelsea, and when we got there, it was closed! 🤬 Poor kid was heartbroken. There was another cookie dough shop around the corner, but it took a while for him to recover. (As an aside, as fond as I am of sampling cookie dough when I make it, these places where they scoop it out to eat raw – it’s egg-free so safe – make me want to retch and I honestly couldn’t even look at it. But I’m weird.)
The next stop was the one I was most excited about….MOOD!!!!!! You know, the fabric store from Project Runway?
No one else was excited, though. 😆 So I very thoughtfully made my choices as quickly as I could. But I mean there are 3 stories of fabric! I had a list of patterns I want to make dresses with and the amount of fabric I needed, and tried to decide fast. It was actually good for me because otherwise that place would have sent me into a tailspin of indecision. I ended up getting a few yards of cotton voile (a light woven cotton) for a dress:
And then went to search for swim fabrics, because I wasn’t thrilled with what I’d bought at Joann’s. And I hit the jackpot! I found these (the blue is for contrast):
And I love it, but after it was cut out, I saw this, and was all 😍😍😍 so got some of it as well.
Dreamy, right? And the blue will work with it as well.
The people at Mood were so nice, but sadly we did not see Swatch the dog. 😢
This was happy Pam:
It was time to head back to get the car and go back to Virginia to beat a bad storm that was coming. But first, more pizza! The boys wanted to try 99 cent slices, and the cheapskate in me was happy to oblige! They said they liked it best of all. Of course.
We made it back to the car just before the sky opened up, and that is the end of our New York adventure! I’m happy that writing this post has taken up a good part of the journey back to Kiki’s. Woo hoo!
Last week (on Wednesday), I turned 44 and it was a great birthday week. I’ll try not to make this too wordy, but I mean, a lot of fun stuff happened, so I may fail.
We have to start on Tuesday when the washing machine broke. I know, this birthday week isn’t starting out too promisingly, is it? Particularly since it was the day the boys went back to school, and I had literally been counting down the minutes until I had some peace and quiet and solitude in the house. Instead, I had our friend Chris come over to try to fix the washer (he determined it wasn’t easily fixable, and we’d already fixed this thing a zillion times) so happy early birthday to me, I went to Home Depot and picked out a new washing machine.
I mean, exciting, except for the part where you have to pay for a new washing machine. (It wasn’t delivered until Saturday, but I’ll skip ahead and show you a picture of this beautiful giant that can wash enormous loads of laundry.)
Aw, our poor lil’ dryer is dwarfed by it.
Okay, so Tuesday night is when the excitement really started. Kiki flew in! I picked her up and we went to Mopho for dinner and had pho and these really delicious chicken wings.
And then Wednesday, it was my birthday! Yay!
I woke up bright ‘n’ early with the boys and got them off to the bus stop, and then Kristina and I went to Orangetheory, where, duh, we wore shirts that I made (kind of like the ones I made for our trip to Harry Potter World.)
I got so many birthday wishes! This was a great idea she had. Definitely do this on your birthday.
Next, we went home to shower, then hopped on the ferry (it was a gorgeous day) with mimosas and met Teresa for lunch at French Toast. (I’m friends with the owners, and I had been wanting to check it out since it’s pretty new.)
Next, we went in search of a king cake since I knew that it would make the boys happy, and it could also stand in for my birthday cake. After we found it, we got an Uber back to the house so we could meet the boys at the bus stop.
We hit up Ann Frances’s birthday party for a while and took our usual birthday pic together. ❤
We rested for a little while and then we went and had pizza for dinner at Tavolino, a restaurant in the neighborhood.
And after dinner, the boys gave me cards (Linus didn’t want me to share his, but here are the ones I got from Oliver and Miles, and of course I cried a bit.)
And then we had king cake!
And then Kiki and I went to have a nightcap at the pub. But we didn’t last too long, we were exhausted.
Thursday, Kristina spent the morning cleaning the crap out of my kitchen, which is basically her favorite thing to do. Meanwhile, I got a much-needed haircut.
Later, we went to a fabric store that I love so Kristina could pick out fabric for the skirt I was going to make her. Then we went to get 80 minute massages at a spa. Oh man, that was heavenly! That night, we made a pot of Italian sausage and kale and tortellini soup for the grown ups and sushi rolls for the kids. I also made a cucumber salad for the boys AND THEY ATE IT AND LIKED IT. So obviously the apocalypse is upon us.
Friday morning, we went back to Orangetheory, and then had a late lunch at Turkey and the Wolf. We split a bologna sandwich and a collard green melt. It was good, for sure, but we were both scratching our head a bit at how a hipster sandwich place got named “Best New Restaurant in America.” (The collard green melt was too spicy for me, sad sad sad.)
Kristina spent every spare moment organizing my pantry and the rest of the kitchen, and it’s pretty amazing right now. She loves to do that stuff. And then she was supposed to leave Saturday evening, but there was snow forecast where she lives for Saturday night, so she changed her flight to Saturday morning. SAD PAM.
I brought her to the airport while the new washer was being delivered, and then spent the rest of the day resting and getting ready for the CAMAN Ball that I was attending that night with friends. It was a speakeasy theme, and it was a lot of fun getting all glammed up. Jen was my date.
Oh wait, so now I have to tell you about the presents I got because it’s kind of funny how excited I am about them. Well, funny if you don’t sew. But George got me a cordless iron! And my mom got me nice scissors (now I really do feel bad for sneaking her nice scissors for cutting paper when I was little) and a new ironing board! I mean, not just ANY ironing board. This thing is TALL and WIDE and NOT WOBBLY and the base for my new iron sits on a holder on the end and it doesn’t squeak and it’s all very very exciting. If you sew, anyway. Also my lovely friends got me Joann gift cards and THE FUN NEVER STOPS.
If only I’d remembered to write this post yesterday…
Anyway, just wanted to share my memories of the day Princess Diana died. Not because we were close friends or anything, but because I (along with Kristina and Anne) was literally in the middle of it.
In May 1997, we moved to London with student work visas, which allowed us to work in Britain for six months. Our initial plan was to stay in London a few months, make some money, then spend some time backpacking around Europe. Well, after being in London for a few weeks, we decided to forgo the backpacking bit and just stay in London as long as humanly possible.
It was idyllic (I mean, with twenty years of rose-tinted hindsight.) We found a tiny flat in South Kensington, just off Gloucester Road, and a short walk to Kensington High Street, Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, and all that fun stuff. We found temp jobs (for a company called Office Angels, which is just…does it even still exist? Yes it does. (Maybe I’m being sexist by thinking it’s sexist. Who said men can’t be angels?)
Anyway, Kristina and I worked in offices around the West End, and Anne worked in a pub. We made friends. We spent our money on beer and rent. It was a glorious summer. Britpop (my favorite music, I was obsessed) was in full swing, the weather was gorgeous, we were young! We had no responsibilities!
One night, we got a phone call in the middle of the night. Or maybe early the next morning (look, it was 20 years ago, okay?) from one of Kristina’s friends, asking if we’d heard the news. We hadn’t, because Diana was killed in the middle of the night for us. We woke up to the news of her death.
It was sad, of course. But what was nuts was how close we were to everything. The tube station we took to work was the Gloucester Road station. If you left the station and walked down Gloucester Road, you’d eventually come to the front door of Kensington Palace. And that’s what everyone (or so it seemed) in the United Kingdom was doing. Walking from the station to the palace, with flowers.
It was nearly impossible to cross the street to get to the pub. Or to walk against the tides of people to get to the station. It was crazy. The front of the palace was a tide of bouquets. Flowers, notes, stuffed animals, everything.
A few days later, Kristina and Anne took a long-planned trip to Amsterdam (where they had originally met.) I was too broke, so I stayed behind. I remember thawing our tiny freezer with a hair dryer, and then leaving the flat to go watch the funeral procession down Kensington High Street.
Seeing the flowers with “Mummy” on top of the casket was the saddest thing in the world.
That’s about it. After it passed, I went back to the flat and probably watched it on TV. I don’t know. And that’s pretty much the whole story. Not exciting, but it’s kind of…interesting to have been so close to it.
The primary reason we planned this trip to Virginia was Kristina and Mike’s 10th anniversary back in March. Mike texted me to ask if I’d go to the Coldplay concert with Kiki if he bought the tickets. So at first I thought I’d take a weekend trip by myself. But then airfare was super cheap and the boys love to see their cousins, so I made it a long trip to take up time until school starts.
Anyway, so while the boys stayed with Aunt Jenny and Uncle Rob, Kristina and I made the drive to the stadium in Maryland where the concert was being held. She goes there often for Redskins games, so she got us all set up to tailgate before the show in the parking lot, just like they do before games.
So fun! We went to Wegman’s the day before and stocked up on so many yummy snacks.
Yes, even a little wooden table because we are fancy. We also made a jar of margaritas and brought some hard seltzer. Delish!
After we snacked and people watched, we headed into the stadium where we had amazing seats on the ground. We were only about 10 seats from the part of the stage that extended way into the crowd.
We heard lots of great songs and some new ones that I didn’t know (should have prepared better.) The show was really colorful and fun with light up wristbands and fireworks and lasers and SO MUCH CONFETTI. EEEEEEE so awesome!
Check out this slow-mo video I took during one confetti storm:
The boys and I are visiting Kristina and Mike, and I was reminiscing about the first time we all visited when I realized it was six years ago tonight that Mike made the boys giggle like crazy by laying on the floor in the kitchen, pretending to be hurt.
Because we’re all six years older, I didn’t make Mike recreate one of those pics, but instead one where everyone is standing up.
(Note: I started this post several weeks ago. Better late than never, right?)
Last week, after I worked at BlogHer ’17 in Orlando, Kiki and I went to a couple of theme parks. First, Universal and the next day, Epcot. Why Epcot instead of Magic Kingdom? Because you can drink around the world at Epcot!
(Also it was a good call because Kiki got severely nauseated on the rides at Universal, so a day of rides at Disney would have been terrible.)
We did a little research ahead of time, and most people suggested you start at Mexico and end in Canada. But as much as I love margaritas, I didn’t relish the idea of one first thing in the morning. Well, okay, technically it was almost noon, but still.
So we took a right at the lagoon, and started in the friendly country to our north, Canada!
Well, first we hit the gift shop where we bought a passport (meant for kids) to get stamped in each country. We also decided that we needed to get culture in each country. Some kind of culture.
We each had a Labatt’s Blue, in honor of the cheap beer we drank when we lived in London. For culture, we watched a movie about Canada narrated by Martin Short, at this circular theater. Fortunately, it didn’t make Kiki nauseated.
It was in Canada that we learned that we’d have to find the kid’s activity table in each country to get our “passport” stamped. Since we also wrote in our passport what we drank in each country, it wasn’t long before this felt fairly inappropriate. But whatever. The cast members sitting at the tables didn’t seem to mind.
Canada is pretty!
Next, we hit up Jolly Olde Englande. It was very quaint. So clean! Here we shared a cup of Mangers Pear Cider (yum!) and a little bag of housemade leek and cheddar crisps.
For culture, we made our way through a hedge maze. Since it was waist-high, it wasn’t too difficult.
Next was France! I’ve never been to France, so I was pretty excited, as you might imagine. To drink, I had the extremely French “orange slush.” I mean, it was made with Grand Marnier and other delicious things, but you’d think they’d give it a more French name. Anyhoo. Kiki had some rose wine.
For culture, we watched some “street performers.” They were v entertaining.
France was pretty.
Another country I’ve never been to! We split a Moroccan beer (Casa) here, along with a yummy Lamb Shawarma platter.
After Morocco, we found ourselves in…
It started raining when we got to Japan, so we went into this big department store, where I bought the boys fun chopsticks, and at the back, had sake and plum wine. Yum!
I was pretty disappointed that the department store only sold Nintendo merchandise in adult sizes. I really wanted to get Linus something there. Oh well.
After we shopped, we got a blood orange sake slushie and took it to our next country to drink…
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
When we got to the USA, we still had our Japanese slushie so we sat in this amphitheater and watched this…interesting acapella performance. So American!
Of course, we still had to get an American beverage, so we split a beer and a pretzel shaped like (of course) Mickey’s head. And cheese sauce. God bless America.
Next up, ITALY!
We were in the middle of taking a selfie in “Venice” when a couple offered to take our picture in exchange for a pic of them. So our only non-selfie pic…
When I took the guy’s phone to take pics of him and his girlfriend, I of course took a bunch of goofie selfies of myself as well. I’m SO FUNNY.
In Italy, Kiki had a red sparkling wine and I had a bellini. Mmmm.
Next up was the country of Kiki’s ancestors, GERMANY!
We had a disappointing bratwurst sandwich but yummy beer with a very long name. (Grapefruit hefeweizen was only part of it.)
Germany was very pretty and had an adorable model train set.
We shared a Canta-loopy, which is (you’re never going to believe this) a cantaloupe beverage. We also snacked on egg rolls and chicken curry pockets sitting on a bench while some acrobats performed nearby. We counted that as our culture for China. (It’s possible our enthusiasm for culture was waning.)
Next up, MEXICO!
Now I was ready for that margarita! We decided to take the boat ride inside the pyramid, which was relaxing and very reminiscent of It’s a Small World.
We waited in line for our passport stamps but some snotty teenagers cut in front of us, so I gave evil eyes to this kid’s back the entire time. Real mature.
After our margaritas (strawberry for me and…uh oh, we didn’t write it all down…but something else I think for Kiki?) we headed to…
NORWAY! (Yes, we went slightly out of order at the end, and for some reason we decided to go to Mexico before Norway. Probably because of margaritas.)
Well, you know, probably a long time ago, Norway was the most neglected of the countries. But now, it’s the home of ANNA! and ELSA! and everything else FROZEN! At one point, the line to see Anna and Elsa was only 5 minutes long and I was sorely tempted to go get a picture with them, if only to, you know, taunt all of the little girls I know, but I decided that’s mean and then the line suddenly was half an hour long and FORGET THAT. But we had a refreshing beer while we fought the crowds of tiny girls.
And that was it! We made it through all 11 countries! And we were fairly sober. We were obviously TOO responsible. It was past 7 by this point and the fireworks were at 9, so we thought we’d wander back to some of the countries and, you know, revisit our favorite beverages. So I got another orange slush from France and Kiki got champagne (I think…it’s been a month now and I can’t exactly remember.)
But then we decided, let’s try to ride Soarin’ instead so we headed back towards the entrance but then they closed it so we missed so we just headed back towards the hotel and went and ate at Ruby Tuesdays (gotta love Orlando) by our hotel for the second night in a row.
Okay, I’m going to try to keep this short, at least the words part.
We leave NOLA. Flight is fine. Miles is restless, but we have an empty seat next to mine, so he is manageable. I brought an iPod with YGG on it, v helpful. We arrive in DC, Kristina picks us up. We go to heaven, aka Trader Joes. I buy a few things. We stop by a frozen yogurt place and Miles and I share a cup. He does not like coconut, I learn.
That evening, we relax and have burgers for dinner. Yum. Miles sleeps well.
Kristina and I accomplish Goal #1 of the trip, to win Super Mario Galaxy. We are awesome. We started playing in April, the last time she came to visit us. (Miles is napping at the time.) Then we go eat pizza and shop. I get lots of great deals at Kohl’s.
Miles finds the one thing in the store that he must have that is going to be fodder for embarrassing stories when he’s older. Hey, don’t look at me. He was the one who insisted on getting the Yo Gabba Gabba girl’s undies.
After shopping, we go to Kristina’s husband Mike’s pawn shop. It is really awesome to have a BFF whose husband owns a pawn shop. I bought some gold earrings, Miles stared in awe at the TVs (and said “Gabba Gabba Gabba Gabba” to them.)
Then we went to Heaven, part 2, also known as IKEA. Miles wanted to live there. I don’t blame him.
That evening, we go and meet my sister and her family for dinner. Burgers again. Yum. Miles stays over with Aunt Jenny for a slumber party with his cousin Emily. I gave Jenny her birthday present, a leopard-print Snuggie.
We slept in, and went and got pedicures. I am v fancy. Then we went to get Miles and brought him to our friend Anne’s house, so he could play with her son Whitman, and the mamas could all go play that night. Whitman’s dad and Kristina’s husband (they’re brothers) babysat.
We were v fancy that night, eating at a nice restaurant, drinking fancy adult beverages. We met up with some other fancy friends there too.
After a fitful night’s sleep (we stayed at Anne’s that night, and I forgot my Breathe-Right nose strip! This is v bad for me.) we woke up and made our way to a brunch place to eat. Miles liked the Froot Loops a lot.
That afternoon, I met up with some friends who live in the area for a playdate, and after that, we hung out with our friend Kettie, who happened to be in town for the weekend. (She lives in Dallas.) Her son, Henry, is 13 months old, and would make a great triplet. He didn’t take crap from anyone. Heh.
Here he is, eyeing Miles’s cup of Apple Jacks. And then going in for the kill.
Ha ha! That was fun.
That night, Mike grilled steaks and some scallops. Holy yum.
Went to Jenny’s for a Labor Day BBQ. The kids all had fun playing in the beer.
Then my camera died. Dang.
Monday night was really fun times. I forgot to mention how Miles fell into a chair earlier that day, and caused a minor nosebleed. It really wasn’t that big of a deal, it stopped within seconds, but it was the first time I’d seen that much blood coming out of my kid, so I was kinda freaked out. And then later, after he ate approximately thirteen oatmeal craisin cookies, he barfed all over me. That was good times too. I guess it’s just as well my camera battery was dead at that point.
So that’s about it. We came home yesterday on another decent flight. There was a bit more whining, but it was fine. Whew.