Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Great Baltimore Adventure

When talk began about what Henry wanted to do for his 12th birthday, Henry surprised us all by announcing that he wanted to forgo the usual sporting-event party and instead take a trip - with me - to Baltimore.  I couldn't have been more thrilled.  I love spending one-on-one time with Henry and I love a good weekend trip.  A weekend trip alone with Henry?  Sounds great to me!

We arrived in Baltimore on Saturday morning and dropped our bags off at the hotel.  I had purchased a guide book a few weeks before our trip, and we had an idea of the places we wanted to see.  Henry made the decision to spend the most time at the National Aquarium, so we scheduled that portion of the trip for day two.

On day one, we went to the top of the Baltimore World Trade Center and got a fantastic view of the entire city:

and then I convinced Henry to walk to this park where I had read they had a really neat, Victorian pagoda that you could climb.  What we didn't know at the start of the journey, was that I was interpreting the city blocks on the Baltimore map to be equal to streets in Manhattan.... and this was not the case.  The short walk to the park ended up being a long, extremely hot, humid death march about three miles away.

I even stopped to take a photo of the sweat dripping down Henry's check.  

Baltimore is a gorgeous, fun, vibrant city.... and it is also the hottest place EVER.

And isn't this the most beautiful pagoda you have ever seen?  Gorgeous right?  Worth the three mile journey in scorching heat?

We thought so too, until we got to the door and read the "Closed for Renovations" sign!  Whoops!

Henry was a good sport about it!  We took a taxi back to the waterfront and had a terrific lunch near our hotel.  As it was his birthday party, I allowed Henry to get as much food and drink as he wanted:

He was very pleased with the calamari!

Next, we went on the Science Museum

and around to the opposite side of the harbor to get a different view of our hotel and our surroundings:

Henry bought himself a pair of plaid sunglasses:

and he rode a sculpture:

We also took a harbor cruise:

We were exhausted after the cruise ended, so we went back to our hotel:

This was the view from our window.  You can see the dragon boats and the roof of the mall which housed Henry's favorite Baltimore store, It's Sugar.  And it WAS sugar, let me tell you.

That night, Henry and I went out to dinner to an Italian restaurant that was completely empty for the first 30 minutes we were there.  It was Memorial Day weekend, and most of Baltimore had left and gone to the shore.  The restaurant was AMAZING.  My dinner was delicious and my cocktail was perfection.  That's one great thing about travelling with a child-foodie... you don't have to stick to chain restaurants!  

Want to know what else we did while in Baltimore?  Check back tomorrow!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Reconnecting With Old Friends

We got invited to spend the day with our friends Chuck & Talia and their three children at Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.  Gordy went to college with Chuck and Talia, and we used to see each other quite regularly on the wedding circuit.  But that all changed once everyone got married off, children were born and traveling got just a little more complicated.

It was so fun to re-connect with old friends and watch our children - who are all exactly the same age - enjoy hanging out together.

It was also an added treat to spend a beautiful day at a beautiful lake.

The Elliot children tried ALL the available toys!

Georgia tried the paddle board.

And Henry and Josie both kayaked.

but the highlight of the day was when we went on the motor boat and our children got to try tubing for the first time.

Cast of Characters:

(Henry, age 12)

(Georgia age 9 1/2)

(Kylie, age 9 1/2)

(Josie, age 7)

(Jake, almost 13)

(Macy, age 7)

Georgia got the first try:

Talia gave her a quick tutorial about how to use hand signals to communicate with the boat, how to hang on to the tube and what to do when you fall off.

Needless to say, my little daredevil insisted on going pretty fast:

Next it was Kylie's turn and she showed us what a tubing pro looks like:

Henry followed Kylie and was the first one to fall off:

He said that hitting the water, felt like hitting a rock wall but he was smiling from ear to ear when he said it, so I'm pretty sure he was fine.

Next up was Josie's turn.  She looks apprehensive in this photo, but she wasn't.

She loved going fast and bouncing over the waves.

Macy followed Josie and she looked like an old pro, too.

And Jake?  Did he ride the tube?  Yes, but sadly, none of my photos of Jake turned out.  Sorry, Jake.  But look, here you are with Kylie and Henry on the float:

I'd hate for you to think I left you off the blog on purpose!

We had a wonderful visit and a wonderful day.  

Gordy and I had to drag our children out of the water when it was time to leave.

Hopefully our two families will get together again soon.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

July: The Previously Unseen Portions

It's been such a wonderful summer so far.  The other day, we did the math and realized that there are exactly eight weeks left of school vacation - which is the exact same amount of total vacation days we got last summer!  In other words, it's July and we still have an entire vacation left.  No one is more happy than I am, as I love summer and I love being busy without being Busy.  If you catch my drift.  Since July is coming to a close, I have decided to fill you in on the little parts of summer that didn't make full blog posts.  Like the above photo, of Georgia on her way to Pirate Day at sailing lessons.  Arg!  Shiver me timbers!

And have I told you that we are now officially farmers?  The girls planted marigold seeds in our front yard and they are actually growing:

See?  I don't have the family green thumb, so this tiny bit of agriculture impresses me!

We also went to a fun dinner party at our friends' house:

Three families, nine kids and six adults:

in other words:  chaos and mayhem.

I probably don't need to tell you that the party was amazing fun and yet, the two oldest Elliot children left in tears.

It was a question of who was cheating and who was playing fair in a game of cops and robbers.  Fairness is a huge topic of discussion between Henry and Georgia - especially when it's late at night and they are tired.  


We have also done more than our fair share of pogo-sticking:

and ice cream eating:

Gordy and Henry went fishing the other day with Gordy's dad, brother-in-law and cousin.  Henry caught the following 40 incher:

Good job, Henry!  

And we are all waiting, on baited breath, for the imminent arrival of this little guy:

Hurry up, baby!  We are so excited to meet you!  

Hope your July has been great, too!

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