Archive | June, 2014

Vacation Time: Visiting Maryland, West Virginia, Delaware and More

26 Jun

So, speaking of West Virginia (see my last post), I need to tell you about all the awesome things we explored on our first family vacation. As I mentioned, I had never seen PoppaNut’s hometown, a place where he perfected his soccer skills, a small town where he could walk to school, a destination where the hottest bar in town is the Elks Lodge. I’d seen his childhood home in New York, but I guess when you start creating a family, you start to think more about your roots. And I couldn’t wait to see all of it for myself! Here’s a few of my favorite places!

Veramar Vineyard, Berryville, VA: Ok, I have a mild wine addiction, and that’s putting it nicely. Luckily, my mother-in-law shares the same addiction! So, when she mentioned this quaint, lovely winery, we were all game to explore. After one sip of the signature Pink Chicken wine — a light rose with flavors of sweet grapefruit and strawberries, we were signing up for the membership club. Now, we get to enjoy Veramar wine in our Florida home monthly!

Veramar Vineyard

Elks Lodge, Clear Spring, MD: I’m listing this place, because PoppaNut and I had one of the most fun times here! PoppaNut invited some of his old friends out, and we enjoyed a few rounds of cocktails for about $20. Super fun and super cheap ranks high in my book!

Elks Lodge

Seacrets, Ocean City, MD: This place was right on the water, with live music, 18 bars and in-the-water tables! Plus, the outdoor tables are situated right in the trees, a place that makes you feel like you’re on vacation the second you walk through the doors. Word of caution: Look out for the typical Spring Breakers who think twerking and make-out sessions go nicely with appetizers.

Seacrets

The Frog Bar, Ocean City, MD: Overlooking the inlet and Assateague Island on the board walk, The Frog Bar is a laidback hangout with the ultimate bar food and out-of-the-box refreshments. Take this blue/green concoction: DELISH! Reece seemed to love it, too!

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Dumser’s Ice Cream and Thrasher’s Fries, Ocean City, MD: When we posted our location while traveling, several Facebook friends mentioned the amazing milkshakes from Dumser’s and the crisp vinegar French fries from Thrasher’s … and of course, in the interest of research, I had to try both! And I was NOT disappointed. I’m still dreaming about that delicious combo.

Dumser's

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Guidos Burritos, Ocean City, MD: We stopped in here for GIANT margaritas, known simply as Monsteritas” to the locals. This 60-ounce bowl of goodness is the entire reason people check this place out. Just be careful of the mega brain freeze that can accompany this treat.

Guidos Burritos

Rehoboth Beach, DE: This is the place to be at sunset! The soft light makes everything just glow, and it was the perfect place to dip Reece’s little toes into the sand for the first time. He wasn’t thrilled with the cold water, but he does like his toes in the sand just like Daddy!

Rehoboth Beach

High Rock, Highfield-Cascade, MD: Holy, view! Located just off the Appalachian Trail in Northern Maryland, this is a popular destination for hang-gliding. From the top of the rocks, which have been decorated with graffiti-style love notes, you can see the surrounding mountains and valleys. Just breathtaking!

High Rock

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Pen Mar County Park, Cascade, MD: After recovering from that crazy view, we picked up some home-style lunch from Hartle’s Subs and headed to this relaxing park for a romantic picnic (Reece was with Nana). We laid out a blanket, listened to the train go by and just let life stop for a few moments.

Pen Mar

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St. Paul’s Church, Clear Spring, MD: PoppaNut and I were driving around, looking at local places in Clear Spring that he had visited while growing up there. He pulled into St. Paul;’s, and told me about the day his mom married his stepdad, right there in that church. It was so beautiful to be a part of that moment that we captured it, this time with us standing at the doorway.

St. Paul's

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PoppaNut’s Childhood Home, Clear Spring, MD: Funny how things work out. PoppaNut took me by his old home, and it happened to be for sale. So, we parked that car and marched up to the front, peering in each window while PoppaNut told me his memories from room to room. I loved the vintage design, wood floors and wraparound porch!

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Dam No. 5, Clear Spring, MD: Known as “Honeywood Dam,” Dam No. 5 is on the Potomac River, originally built for the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, this place was rich in history and beauty.

The DAM

There are SO many more places I’d love to list, but these were certainly my favorites. I hope if you ever make it out that way, you visit at least one! And that’s life in a nutshell.

 

MommaNut

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Holy Luggage: Traveling With Baby

25 Jun

Back in December, PoppaNut and I decided to book a spring trip to West Virginia — I’ve never seen PoppaNut’s hometown, a place where he perfected his soccer skills, a small town where he could walk to school, a destination where the hottest bar in town is the Elks Lodge. I’d seen his childhood home in New York, but I guess when you start creating a family, you start to think more about your roots. And I couldn’t wait to see it all … every school, every neighbor’s home, every mountaintop!

And we couldn’t wait to take Reece there, too! It would be his first official family vacation. So, we booked those tickets and started counting down to departure day!

Now, this was our first time traveling with a baby. Needless to say, the planning started weeks in advance with tons of research, calls with friends who had traveled with a baby before and several text messages to my mother-in-law to make sure we had all the gear we needed — because God forbid Reece doesn’t have his jumper, bouncer, swing and more.

I spent days thinking of all the things Reece might need, researching the weather forecast, scouring our itinerary and finally developing the perfect packing list for him. And once we arrived, SURPRISE, Reece’s bag was the only one that didn’t make it. So, I put together a few no-fail mommy travel tips for your amusement pleasure!

Break Your Formula into Different Suitcases: Reece has a prescription-based formula, and I luckily packed half of his formula in his suitcase and the other half in PoppaNut’s bag. That bought us some time to locate the bag before completely freaking out!

Yes, this is how much luggage it takes to leave home with baby.

Yes, this is how much luggage it takes to leave home with baby.

Over-Pack Your Diaper Bag: Most airlines let you take on a diaper bag for your baby. I swapped out my regular diaper bag and purse for one of PoppaNut’s Quicksilver oversize backpack and loaded that thing up with everything I could find: Toys, extra clothes, an extra shirt for me in case of any puke issues, bottles, pacifiers, diapers, wipes, a changing pad, our tickets, my wallet. With this setup, I also didn’t have to keep track of my purse, since it was all combined!

Keep Your Baby Hungry and Tired: So, a good friend told me this little tip. If your little one is supposed to eat at 11 a.m. and take his second nap at 1 p.m. and your flight is at noon, push his bottle back and try to eliminate his first nap. He might be cranky but he will take his bottle as soon as he gets on the plane (helping his ears pop) and then he’ll conk out! It worked like a charm for us.

Out like a light, thanks to his bottle during takeoff!

Out like a light, thanks to his bottle during takeoff!

Bring the Carrier: I loved the carrier because Reece gets bored hanging out in his car seat. He likes to move his legs around more, and the carrier allows him to kick while still being secure. We used the carrier quite a bit, especially once we made it through airport security.

My two boys are seriously the cutest!

My two boys are seriously the cutest!

Think Outside the Box: So, PoppaNut is AWESOME at this! I’m a very much “the book says” kind of person. But Mr. I’ll Change a Diaper Anywhere (and he literally has, including on a government vehicle) is always coming up with new ways to entertain baby. So, while waiting for our flight to board, PoppaNut spread out a spare blanket in a vacant row and let Reece roll and play with his toys. PoppaNut got right down there on the floor to play, not really giving a hoot what anyone thought of it!

Playtime can happen anywhere, thanks to PoppaNut!

Playtime can happen anywhere, thanks to PoppaNut!

Brush Off the Complainers: Look, babies are going to cry. And of course, you’re going to try to calm them down but there might be a few hairy moments. And just then, some mother will tell you how you could be doing it better, like you’re a complete idiot. You’ll want to physically rip off her face … but don’t. I hear airport jails are horrible.

The unexpected is going to happen. It certainly happened to us with a misplaced bag. But I wouldn’t trade visiting there for anything in the world. I got to spend some of the most amazing days with my husband, reliving parts of his childhood that make him the man he is. And in the end, it’s not the travel stress or the misplaced bag I remember the most … it’s the moments with my family that I’ll never forget. And that’s life in a nutshell.

MommaNut

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