The Noble Trip To York

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While planning our trip to the United Kingdom I knew I wanted to start in London and end in Edinburgh, but I was not sure where we would stop in between. In fact, I basically looked at the map and thought, York looks about halfway…okay, done. My handy dandy  Fodor’s travel book, as well at the Internet, helped me outline an itinerary for York while staying in London. I knew NOTHING about York prior to our trip, so I needed all the help I could get, especially since I was the designated tour guide.

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Our first stop was Grey’s Court, which is a magical country cottage hidden between the Minster and the city walls. It’s a home that is over 900 years old and is now a restaurant/hotel. We had lunch and coffee and it was oh.my.gosh. amazing. Great food. Great service. Great ambiance. And, a great view. Everything we ordered was delicious and when we finished our waiter offered to give us a tour of the rooms and the property. Let me just say this; if you ever find yourself in York, book a room at Grey’s Court.

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No high chairs, but Luna enjoyed eating on the comfy couch
No high chairs, but Luna enjoyed eating on the comfy couch

Next stop was the York Minster and I swear to you this was the most interesting church I have ever visited. St. Peter’s Basilica is unbelievable, but there was something so captivating about the Minster. Maybe it was the lack of tourist, the stain glass exhibit or the underground rooms… whatever it was, it kept us there for hours. The boys got to climb the spiral staircases to the top in capture some amazing views, but it was “too dangerous for children” so Luna and I stayed down below.

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There was on room with dozens of these heads, each one different and so detailed.
There was on room with dozens of these heads, each one different and so detailed.

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poor baby was terrified to walk on the glass floor!
poor baby was terrified to walk on the glass floor!

We spent the rest of the day walking and touring. We went through the Shambles (old narrow street that was once all butchers and now touristy unique shops). We naively hiked to the top of Clifford’s Hill, only to learn that the tower was closed. We drank beer and cider at the Trembling House of Madness, a cozy pub adorned with dozens of stuffed animal heads and is apparently haunted, and did some shopping, of course.

The Shambles
The Shambles

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Day 2 we did some extreme walking. As soon as the sun was up we walked through the Museum Gardens before having breakfast in the gardens. After our huge meal, we spent a couple of hours walking the full loop of city walls. After that long walk (with a stroller) we earned a coffee break at the Perky Peacock, which is inside an older bridge tower. Then, off to the National Railway Museum! (Somewhere in here we went to the Yorkshire Museum..it lead much to be desired.)

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I am not typically interested in trains, but these trains were so very cool! We saw royal trains with complete designer bedrooms, living rooms, offices, kitchens, dining rooms and bathrooms. Fancy overnight trains for very wealthy people. (Why can’t we all travel by train these days?), bullet trains, very old mail trains, enormous engines and so much more. Every single person told us that the museum was “must-do” in York, and I now agree.

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Our last night in York was topped off with one of their famous ghost tours. Yes, York is apparently the most haunted city in Europe. The tour was cheesier than I had hoped, and we froze our butts off, but whatevs, we did it. Next stop, Edinburgh!

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Cheers!

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A Quick Getaway

I’ve been a stay-at-home Mom for almost 7 months now, and I’ve got to say, it rocks! I absolutely love being able to do everything everyday with Luna. I do miss some aspects of having a paying job, and still think about going back to the classroom, but right now I love being busy raising, feeding, changing, playing with, bathing, teaching, reading to, cooking for, cleaning up after, singing to, dancing with, rocking, nursing, snuggling and entertaining my baby girl. I’ve told everyone for months, that I know it’s a perfect job for me because it doesn’t feel like a job at all. I look forward to my days and do not mind getting paid in kisses one bit. Having said all that, I’ve got to say, that sometimes I need a break. 

I truly love being with my child. We rarely, and I mean rarely, get a sitter. Even at home, Husband is always offering to do whatever he can for Luna, but I do most everything because I really want to, even when he does take her I just sit next to the two of them and watch. Honestly, it wasn’t until recently that I realized I needed some time to myself. Luna has had a virus and been running a fever for the last few days. She is needy, grumpy, sleepy and not her happy-go-lucky-self. I have spent hours upon hours nursing, rocking, tickling and caring for her. At night, she only sleeps if I’m holding her, so I have had virtually no sleep. While, I do enjoy our time together in the wee hours of the morning, it is all taking a toll on me. 

Yesterday morning I had to go pick up a prescription. Normally, I would pack up Luna and head out to run a couple of errands together, but I decided at the last minute to let Husband watch her. After all, I was only running to Walgreens. After my very quiet 15 minute car ride to Walgreens I decided I might as well stop at the local coffee shop for an iced latte…it’s only 5 minutes out of the way. The coffee shop, The Good Cup, is so cozy with big comfy armchairs and local art hanging on the walls. The big oversized chair by the window was begging me, begging me, to occupy it. I may have taken a little 5 minute rest. 

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The Good Cup happens to be in a small shopping strip with some local boutiques. Can’t hurt to window shop a little, right? Then, my Mom called so I figured I may as well continue to roam around while talking to her. After all, it’s safer than driving home. Afterwards, I did finally go home. Luna was sleeping next to Husband when I arrived and all in the house was well without me.

I was only gone about an hour, but what a glorious hour it was. I didn’t realize how much I needed a little break until I took one. I forgot how nice it is to be alone, think and just enjoy my coffee. I guess I’ll have to let Husband watch her more often. I could get used to a Saturday morning to myself every once in a while.

Cheers!

 

10 Rules for Having a Lazy Day

I’m no doctor, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that it is a fact that a lazy pajama day every once in a while is very important for your physical and mental health.

This past week was the busiest week I’ve had since Luna was born. The two of us ran the roads together all day everyday… we had appointments, errands, shopping, dinners, a school play and even a Russian New Year’s party. I love being busy, and made sure to keep extremely busy before I was a Mom. However, everything is more exhausting when it includes toting along a newborn.

Here we are at my former place of employment watching Peter Pan.
Here we are at my former place of employment watching Peter Pan.

Luna was so exhausted last night that she slept for 7 straight hours! I, on the other hand did not sleep at all. Totally not fair. I also learned that if you go seven hours without nursing it turns into a painful mess. I don’t recommend it. So, today I refuse to get dressed, cook or leave the house. Today is a lazy pajama day, and it requires strict rules.

One tired baby
One tired baby

Here are my 10 Rules for Having a Lazy Day

1. Do not get dressed. Wear your pj’s all day. If someone spits up or pees on you then change into other pj’s or yoga pants. Don’t even think about putting on a bra or shoes. Don’t dress your kids either. Luna has only worn diapers today.

2. Do not leave the house. Going outside and enjoying the sunshine (Hello! It’s sunny today!) is acceptable, but avoid all neighbors.

3. Do not cook, or use dishes for that matter. Let’s face it, if you are like me this might be the first day you have time to clean in weeks and you don’t want to add anymore work. Eat on paper plates, paper towels or just right out of the carton. Eat frozen foods, fresh fruit, raw veggies or snacks…no pots or pans are allowed.

So exhausted after running errands all day
So exhausted after running errands all day

4. Wear your dirty hair on top of your head and do not wear any makeup.

5. Watch lots of TV. Catch up on everything on Netflix, Hulu and HBO Go. Nothing that requires too much thinking though…only mindless television, like the Kardashians and re-runs of Saved by the Bell. And, then wonder how you never noticed that Tori Spelling is in random episodes of Saved by the Bell.

6. Drink coffee and tea. Savor it.

7. Snuggle on the couch with the whole family, pets included.

I wish I slept so easily
I wish I slept so easily

8. Then, get away from everyone for some alone time. Read a book in bed, take a long hot bath or whatever you  can do by yourself.

9. Sleep late, take a nap, go to bed early and catch up on all that sleep you’ve been missing.

10. Do NOT feel guilty. I repeat, do NOT, under any circumstance feel guilty. We all deserve/need a lazy PJ day every once in a while. It’s healthy.

*I just remembered one more very important rule… We’ll call it 10.5: Leave your phone in another room for at least half the day. You do not need to be available 24/7.

What do you like to do on your lazy days?

Cheers!

Little Holiday Snippets

Christmas may be over, technically, but I have too many cute photos and stories to not share them. Our Texas vacation is coming to an end soon, but it has been so nice to have over a week of non-rushed holiday family and friend time. It is so rare that we come to visit and aren’t running from activity to activity and then hopping on a plane back home. For once, we got to do simple stuff together and just enjoy everyone’s company.

We took my nephew  to the mall with all of us and watched him take his first photo with Santa. OMG, watching kids take Santa photos is HILARIOUS. The kids who cry and are terrified of Santa make the best photos.

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What a lil' trooper
What a lil’ trooper

Of course, Micah was then forced to accompany us to Starbucks and Target for some last minute gift getting…gotta teach em’ when they’re young!

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Sorry, I tend to go a little overboard when taking photos of Micah…

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All tuckered out after a long morning of Santa, Starbucks and shopping. Maybe I should have shared some of my latte.
All tuckered out after a long morning of Santa, Starbucks and shopping. Maybe I should have shared some of my latte.

At my parent’s house we even decorated sugar cookies together… I’m pretty sure this is the first time we have done since I was in Elementary school. If you read my post about our “cookie decorating party”, than you know my skills are extremely limited. And, now you can learn that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Husband and my Dad have better decorating skills then us girls do.

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Micah even had his first taste of icing!

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Can’t wait to share our photo’s from Shangri La, family/friend picture day and my baby shower (which is tomorrow)! There’s just too much to look forward to this week!

Cheers!

Birthday Eve

I have had such a busy and fun last couple of days that I have fallen waayyyy behind on my posts, so I’ll just back track a bit…back to my Birthday Eve, November 21st…

Today was the beginning of Birthday Weekend. It all began with a long doctor appointment that involved a disgusting sugar drink to test for gestational diabetes (fun!), but it was all up hill after that. I told Husband I wanted a “Hilarie Day of Fun” which means, shopping, Starbucks and cheap food, and so that’s exactly what we did.

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We hit up my favorite places; Sephora, Starbucks, Anthropologie, TJMaxx, Target and a few other places. We didn’t buy too much, but I just love shopping, especially this time of year. Every store is playing Christmas music, the decorations are all up, Sephora is stocked with gifts sets and Starbucks is brewing my favorite, the peppermint mocha.

New favorite gloss by Stila from Sephora
New favorite gloss by Stila from Sephora

Our night ended at Babies R Us because I decided to sign up for one of their free Baby Basics class. I don’t know if every Babies R Us offers free classes, but the one in Nashville has Baby Basics, Baby CPR, Breast Feeding, and Daddy Bootcamp for free every month. Neither one of us (especially Husband) were looking forward to attending, but I thought it’s free, we are new at this after all and might as well give it a shot.

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The class was held in the back of the store where the rocking chairs and gliders are on display. I wanted to sit in the back row of comfy chairs, but NO ONE was  anywhere near the back so I sat in the back-est of the people there, which ended up being the dead center…not my cup of tea. However, when we set down we were immediately given free gifts. Our swag included a bib, baby wipes, $5 off coupons, photo frames for the fridge, snacks, water bottles and other little presents…not bad.

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I thought we were going to get scolded for taking selfies during the beginning of class
I thought we were going to get scolded for taking selfies during the beginning of class

The teacher was a nurse from a local pediatrician’s office, and she was very nice and informative. She wanted us to ask lots of questions, Husband and I never asked one, but it was nice to hear other people’s questions. Some were really interesting and things I never knew or thought about; others were just ridiculous. One poor Daddy asked about “this new vaccine that causes autism”…poor guy, he’s about ten years late on this topic.

The class was much better than anticipated so I think we’ll try another in a couple of weeks. Birthday weekend has started off great… can’t wait till’ the big day!

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Cheers!

24 Weeks!

24 weeks

Woah…this pregnancy is flying by! Today, I am 24 weeks (or 6 months) and I feel awesome. My only complaint is the fact that I am carrying her so high that I feel like all of my organs are under my ribs and I get lots of heart burn. I don’t  care though, because she is growing and moving so much and it’s freakin’ amazing!  She is so active, I think we may be in trouble when she finally arrives. Here are the most recent stats….

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How far along? 24 weeks

Total weight gain? 7 pounds (I never weigh myself, but I just went to the doctor yesterday)

Sleep? O.M.G. I invested in a pregnancy pillow called a “snoogle” and I think it is the best purchase I have EVER made…like ever. The only problem is I have to fight Belle for it every night. She loves to snuggle my snoogle.

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Best moment this month? Husband was able to feel her move for the first time last week. It’s not nearly as exciting for him as it is for me, but still pretty wild.

What I miss the most? this changes daily…sometimes it’s a second cup of coffee, or a glass of wine, or my skinny jeans, but this past week I missed being able to ride all the big rides at Disney and Universal.

Emotions? I feel level-headed lately. My emotional roller coaster has stopped for now and I just feel calm and happy most of the time. I didn’t think I had much pregnancy brain, but I did give a sales clerk my wrong phone number twice yesterday, and threw away my paycheck.

Playing fetch with Belle
Playing fetch with Belle

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Cravings: I’m just hungry most of the time. I get full really fast since everything is so high, but then I’m starving again 20 minutes later.

Belly Button? It’s halfway out and totally weird.

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Wedding rings? Still on. I have not been swollen at all…yet.

Looking forward to? Choosing her name and announcing it to everyone!

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Only 16 weeks to go!

Cheers!

Car Enthusiast? Me!?

Over the weekend Husband and I decided to get a little artsy, or at least feel a little artsy. It’s only been a few weeks, but we’re already missing the MET, MOMA and the Guggenheim. We repainted some furniture, but that turned out to be not very creative work. After we finished our “artwork” we headed to Nashville’s Frist Center to enjoy some actual artwork.

The Frist Center is in downtown Nashville in what used to be Nashville’s very first post office. We used to visit fairly often when we first lived in Tennessee. I even took my classes there on field trips, but it’s been at least four years since my last trip. This weekend was an especially good weekend to visit because the new Art Deco Automobile exhibit just opened. Now, I know what you’re thinking…Hilarie? Cars? What an obvious combination!

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No. I’ve never mentioned any sort of car, because I don’t give a rat’s tushy about cars, however; these cars aren’t just cars. They’re art.

To be honest, when I got the opportunity to checkout and review these cars I was not enthused. I got myself pumped up by dressing up, wearing an art deco style necklace and with coffee, of course. When I arrived, I was greeted by a very friendly woman named Ellen who is the Frist’s director of communications. She was warm, informative and just thrilled to tell us all about the new exhibit, Sensuous Steel: Art Deco Automobiles.

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The cars (and motorcycles) in this exhibit are all from the 30’s and 40’s, influenced by the art deco styles and soooo pretty.

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They may not be very economical and certainly not gas efficient, but who cares!? Can’t you just imagine Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart being chauffeured around town in one of these?

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If you are like me, and not easily impressed by cars, let me tell you a few secrets (facts I did not know) I learned while touring this exhibit.

-Many of these cars were created in Paris. Now, imagine sitting at a little sidewalk cafe, sipping espresso, smoking a cigarette and watching these cars drive by…nice, right?

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-Some of them had sunroofs! Like this 1936 Delahaye 135m Figoni and Falaschi, for example. Impessed? Who new sunroofs existed that long ago??

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-Frank Lloyd Wright owned this orange 1929 Cord L-29.

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-These futuristic motorcycle looks like a superhero should be drifing it, but it’s actually too heavy, impractical and hard to ride. Nice to look at though…

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-The “Xenia” was named after the designer’s ex-wife, after he already re-married. Hmmm wonder how his new wife felt about this? I  liked that this car looks like a rocket ship in the back. Also, there is custom-made luggage that comes with the car! So, you know your suitcases will fit perfectly in the trunk. Genius!

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-Some cars have a speedometer in the backseat so the people being toted around can very easily annoy the driver and tell him he’s going too fast, or too slow. I wonder if this is when the phrase “backseat driver” was coined?

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-Many of the cars were inspired by aviation. This van, which looks it has a cat face, has mobile seats and a card table. It’s meant to feel like a flight, but actually looks much roomier. It was also designed to look like a scarab. Several cars had some Egyptian influence.

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Husband’s favorite car is the 1914 Chrysler  “Thunderbolt”. Only five of these cars were made, and only 4 of those have survived. It’s very rare. It has a fender that goes around the entire car and looks like it belongs in a drive-thru.

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We had a lot of fun looking at these cars and reading and hearing about their past. If you are interested in seeing this new exhibit then click here for visiting info. The Automobile exhibit closes on September 15th, but the Frist is always offering new exhibits, and activities for the whole family. *BUT, try your best to see the cars Monday-Friday. It gets very crowded on the weekends.

AND: If you check out Sensuous Steel, then you will get a discount at Nashville’s Lane Motor Museum. Just bring your ticket stub!

Cheers!