NYC in a Nutshell

skyline

Our quick trip to the Big Apple was so full of plans and adventures that we are still recovering a week later. (Quite literally, thanks to catching some nasty colds.) As you know, we attended Comic Con, but before, after and in between the convention we hung out with friends, visited Zoey, ate some NY staples and showed Luna around our former stomping grounds.

The first night was a late one for us, and after flying and a full day of Comic Con-ing, we ordered in from our favorite Indian restaurant. Holy crap, how I miss that place and REALLY miss having dinner delivered! I forgot how easy and wonderful it is to have meals delivered and no dishes to wash.

The next day I had a bit more free time and got to join some of my best friends and their baby for a long walk though Central Park and a shopping trip through FAO Schwartz. We just had to spoil our babies with something from the iconic toy store. We didn’t stop walking there either… We finished up at Time Square and perhaps bought another special gift at the Disney store.

We saw not one, but SEVEN raccoons playing together at Central Park.
We saw not one, but SEVEN raccoons playing together at Central Park.

time square

Saturday, we took the babies to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and let them okay and explore for a couple of hours. They loved the hands-on exhibits and play areas, but the daddy’s had the most fun.

museum

Sunday, we spent all day in Brooklyn with Aunt Zoey!!! Zoey allowed us to relax in her new fancy pants apartment and bask on the even fancier rooftop. She showed us around her favorite Brooklyn hotspots (which consisted of the waterfront, ice cream and Artists and Fleas). And, we even made an appearance at the wrap party for the latest show she wardrobed (A Crime to Remember).

kittens barry park zoey's roof

Our last day in the city was the slowest and most nostalgic. After coffee with my former coworkers, whom I miss all the time,  Husband, Luna and myself spent the day doing our favorite things: shopping down 5th and Madison, eating chocolate at Vosges, drinking Starbucks, getting sandwiches at Lenny’s, window shopping in Bergdorfs and soaking up everything NY has to offer before hopping on a plane back to Nashville.

bergdorf

It was a really great trip. Luna was an awesome little trooper. Her favorite part of the city was how it lulled her to sleep all day…

sleeper

I may just have to invest in a “noises of the city” CD to play her at night. Time to start planning our next adventure.

Cheers!

A Basic Girl’s Guide to Comic Con

I like to think I’m a one-of-a-kind girl in this world, and I suppose I am, but on many levels I’m just you’re average girl next door. Can I still say that? Maybe I’m too old to call myself a “girl”? I don’t know… in any case, I drink Starbucks, shop at Sephora, eat lots of chocolate and peanut butter, know all the words to Taylor Swift songs, wear printed leggings, watch reality TV, read young adult trilogies, stalk people on Facebook, love yoga, babies, tacos, zulily and Justin Timberlake and I’m certain all of those things make me an average girl. I’m also certain that the average girl might need a survival guide when attending Comic Con.

guide

I love Disney, Harry Potter, Hunger Games and few superhero movies. I also love dressing up, people watching, excitement and traveling. All of these are found at Comic Con, but there’s a hell of a lot more stuff that doesn’t exactly scream “Hilarie”. My first Comic Con experience taught me how to navigate the crowds, find the good stuff, stay fueled, avoid the crazies and all with a baby no less. If you’re planning on attending Comic Con (or any large convention/festival/exp/black Friday) you may want to read on and then save this survival list for future references.

Hunger Games tank from Lexi's Loft on Etsy!
Hunger Games tank from Lexi’s Loft on Etsy!

1. Dress the part. I LOVE looking at everyone in their cosplay outfits at Comic Con. From the incredible super-expensive realistic costumes to the train wreck obviously-made-the-night-before outfits, it is FANTASTIC. I may be impressed or disgusted, either way I am entertained and I love love LOVE people watching and trying to find costumes that I actually recognize. I am not quite brave or fanatical enough to don a full-on costume, but I had fun wearing some themed accessories and shirts. I had Mary Poppins, Harry Potter and Hunger Games themed days. (All of which will have reviews and giveaways soon!)

Aren't these incredible?! From Hogwarts Unlimited on Etsy.
Aren’t these incredible?! From Hogwarts Unlimited on Etsy.

2. Pack healthy snacks and water. Comic Con sells mostly junk, mostly disgusting junk. I waited in line for about 7 years to get chinese vegetables with tofu and rice that was definitely the most disgusting chinese food I have ever had. There were a couple of smoothie stands that were decent, but also wildly overpriced. I highly recommend packing granola, nuts, fruit and lots of water!

I think this picture is perfect. It says so much about my Comic Con experience.
I think this picture is perfect. It says so much about my Comic Con experience.

3. Learn the layout. There are not maps given out a Comic Con and the map on the app is useless and impossible to read. The best thing to do is to get there early, walk around, learn the layout and don’t be afraid to ask the employees for directions. Locate the bathrooms in the furthest locations (those will be the cleanest and least crowded), find the rooms for the panels you plan to attend, locate the Starbucks inside and outside (it is probably faster to leave and walk to the nearest Starbucks than it is to wait in the mile-long line inside) and take advantage of the press room if you’re lucky enough to score a press pass.

comic con

4. Don’t be shy. People at Comic Con will run you over and never look back if you let them. Speak up, say excuse me, make your way through the crowd, ask directions, talk to people who have similar interests, take peoples’ photos, share tips, move fast and don’t worry…everyone looks crazy.

action comics

5. Arrive early. On opening day the line to get in is insane. We were fortunate enough to have a press pass and able to use a separate entrance. Otherwise, we never would have made it to the Disney panel in time. At the Disney panel we won tickets to see an early viewing of Big Hero 6, but missed it because they ran out of seats and we didn’t get their early enough to get any. When The Walking Dead had a panel we tried to line up over an hour before it started and were still too late. If there is something you REALLY want to see, arrive EARLY.

game of thrones

6. Make a plan. Comic Con has an app that enables you to view and select any panels, autograph signings and events you like. The ones you select are saved in your profile and sends it reminders to your phone all day so that you don’t miss anything. It’s pretty handy. There is so so much to see and do that it’s beyond necessary to plan in advance. Even with planning, I still missed out on a few things I would have like to seen.

OMG, these little things were so cool!
OMG, these little Dodo cases were so cool!

7. Bring chargers. Between snapping photos, updating your status, tweeting the latest news and using Google maps your phone is going to die fast. Bring your charger and even something to power your charger if you can.

Luna Lovegood! Definitely one of my favorite costumes!
Luna Lovegood! Definitely one of my favorite costumes!

8. Expect assholes. They’re everywhere, unfortunately. Do your best to ignore them. When that fails, drink more coffee. Or, maybe be extra nice to other people…which brings me to my next and final tip.

Wreck-It-Ralph!
Wreck-It-Ralph!

9. Don’t be an asshole. It will be very attempting to join them. You will want to run over everyone’s toes with your stroller, throw some elbows and shout “are you kidding me!?!?”Don’t give into temptation. Do the opposite to counteract their behavior. Let someone get in front of you. Help someone up, pick up the pamphlet that person dropped, show patience, kindness and compassion. I promise it feels better than joining the other team.

Harry Potter baby
Harry Potter baby

That’s it. Now you just gotta find some nerdy convention to sing up for, or maybe a local festival to attend! Either way, you should probably start planning your outfit.

Cheers!

Baby vs. The City

pros and cons

We have traveled a lot with Luna, but this was by far the most difficult trip. Difficult because we flew and we were not staying with family. I had to pack carefully, plan ahead, do some research and prepare for any and everything. The trip was awesome. We had a few bumps in the road, sure, but bumps are expected anytime we travel. Luna was a trooper and I learned a bit about life in the city with a baby. Which, in case you’re wondering, is much different then life in the city without a baby. Much different.

stroller vs. baby wearing: I am most often a stroller Mom. Luna isn’t a huge fan of being worn, but we pull it off occasionally. I decided to bring both to NYC. The stroller was used the most. In case, you haven’t noticed, Luna is a not a tiny baby. In fact, she’s a little chunk. We walked and walked all day everyday and I am so glad I had the stroller. I held her a lot, but it was a relief to be able to put her in the stroller. She slept in it, enjoyed the rides and we were able to store all of our crap in it. We used the ergo carrier too, but she never lasted long. You should know though, NY is NOT stroller friendly. Many subway stations have only stairs (no elevators or escalators) the sidewalks are treacherous, no one looks where they’re walking and the stores and restaurants are uber crowded. Be prepared to fold it up and carry it at a a moments notice. Also, be prepared for complete strangers to be awesome and heroic. I had several people help me carry the stroller with Luna in it up and down the stairs. They were my saviors!

stroller

Enjoying the lights in Time Square while riding in the Ergo Carrier.
Enjoying the lights in Time Square while riding in the Ergo Carrier.

disposable vs. cloth: I cloth diaper Luna at home, but not, absolutely not, on vacation. Why? Because toting around heavy dirty diapers all day and washing them at night is not a vacation at all. I have to admit, it was super nice to use disposables for a while. Actually, I’m still using them because we had quite a few left over. Yay for extended vacation!

train vs. taxi: My little city baby had her first ride in a taxi and on the subway. I promised myself we would only take a taxi to and from the airport since we wouldn’t have a carseat. I wanted to be as safe as possible, but when you are running late and have been carrying a baby, a stroller and a diaper bag ALL DAY LONG, a taxi ride home is very appealing and all of a sudden seems like much safer option. The trains are awesome because they’re fast and they rock Luna to sleep, but holy hell, it is awful to get on an off the train with a baby and a stroller.

Baby's first taxi ride.
Baby’s first taxi ride.
Baby's first train ride.
Baby’s first train ride.

homemade vs. store bought: I make virtually all of Luna’s food, but like with the cloth diapers, I figure I could use a little vacation from this too. Besides, lots of healthy and organic baby food is available these days. She’s also at the age where I can mash up some of my own food and share with her. It was nice to not have to worry about preparing her food ahead of time, but I am glad she eats so fresh and healthy at home.

inside vs. outside: There is so much super cool stuff for babies and kids to do in the city, inside and outside. I’ll have to write a post about our favorites. We had a mixture of weather during our long weekend, so we got to take advantage of the parks and the museums. We went to Central Park, hungout on a rooftop, shopped at Bergdorf’s, played in the Children’s Museum and at FAO Schwarz. Fall is such a great time to enjoy the city. I think we got the best of both worlds during our trip.

Central Park
Central Park
Playing at the Children's Museum of Manhattan.
Playing at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.

-cat ears vs. cat hat: Seriously? It’s impossible to choose. I just have way too much fun dressing this cutie up!

cat ears cat hat

Cheers!

 

Disney at Comic Con: The Panel Where I Belong

Have you ever got the feeling that you don’t belong? Felt like you stuck out like a sore thumb? Had that moment of being lost in a crowd? Wondered “where do I fit in?” Yeah…that was me at Comic Con this past weekend.

Because I am a lucky little duck, I scored press tickets to NYC’s Comic Con. But, let’s be real…Husband is the lucky one. Husband loves video games, the newest computers, all things techy and lots of other “nerdy” things. When I got the press tickets for this event, I was excited about ONE very important thing. One BIG thing. One thing that qualifies me for the “nerd” category. (Hate that word BTW).

That one thing? The Disney panel.

Okay, well actually, I was pretty damn excited to dress up, and by “dress-up”, I mean buy new things. I didn’t wear full on costumes, but I did have a nice theme everyday (Luna too!) Day 1’s theme? Mary Poppins!

Snagged this when I saw Mary Poppins on Broadway.
Snagged this when I saw Mary Poppins on Broadway.
These were a gift from one of my BFF's.
These were a gift from one of my BFF’s.
Luna's shirt said "practically perfect".
Luna’s shirt said “practically perfect”.
Review on the shoes AND a giveaway coming soon!!!
Review on the shoes AND a giveaway coming soon!!!
Review on the bag coming soon!!!!
Review on the bag coming soon!!!!

Disney’s panel was on Thursday, just a few hours after we landed. We ran off the plan, hopped into a cab, sped to the apartment, unloaded, changed a baby diaper and hopped into another cab. “Javits Center and step on it!” We bypassed the very long line (thanks press pass) and zig-zagged through the ridiculous crowd until we found our way to the large press room. The seats were lined with Big Hero 6 posters and swag bags. The room was packed with Disney fanatics, journalists, photographers, bloggers and fans of all ages. I was stoked.

bighero6

The panel began with Big Hero 6. I knew little about this movie, so I was happy to learn more and really happy when I did. The movie is collaboration of Marvel and Disney, inspired by the Marvel Comics of the same name. It takes place in San Fransokyo and is about a young robotics genius, a super cute/sweet/funny/smart robot, named Baymax, and a team of underdog-type heroes who band together to solve crime. Seeing the stars and hearing the interviews was cool and interesting, but the best part, by far, was seeing the many “seen-for-the-first-time” clips!

baymax

We got to see the introduction scenes of all the robotics team, the introduction of Baymax, a hilarious scene where Baymax needs to be recharged and is basically drunk, Baymax learning to fight and a pretty crazy car-chasing scene. Every exclusive trailer made me fall more in love. I CANNOT wait to see the movie! I love that Disney is able to take the most un-cuddly looking characters and make them super lovable. Speaking of “seeing the movie”, Disney actually gave out passes to see an exclusive viewing of the movie that night to random people in the audience, one of which was me! Luckily, you are allowed to bring someone with you. Unluckily, after waiting in a very long line that night, they ran out of seats! Boo! Guess I’ll have to wait until November 7th. (We went out and bought Luna a plush Baymax anyways. I’m pretty sure we’re going to love the movie!)

Then, just when I thought it couldn’t get any better…in fact, I was so satisfied I forgot there was more, Disney began discussing Tomrrowland, the movie. The tagline for this heavily anticipated movie is “Imagine a place where nothing is impossible.” I love this because when I hear that quote I think of Disney, where Tomorrowland is of course located. The movie is a science fiction mystery adventure film, and we got to see the exclusive world premiere trailer! It was about a 30 second clip that let us know basically nothing, yet left us wanting more. The gist? There’s a troubled girl and a pin. When she touches the pin she is immediately transported to another land…Tomorrowland perhaps?

Immediately after, a few stars were brought out to discuss the moving, including Hugh Laurie. The cast members were charming and constantly joking about how they could tell us virtually nothing about the movie. After each question was asked, they looked to the director nervously and told us they were scared to give away too much. Hugh Laurie, began talking about what it was like to work with George Clooney on set. He joked about the drinking, the bad behavior etc when who else, but George himself appears on stage!

It was difficult to snap a good photo with the security constantly telling us to stop taking photos...
It was difficult to snap a good photo with the security constantly telling us to stop taking photos…

Mr. Clooney was as cool as you’d imagined. He wooed us all with his wit and good looks. He commanded the room and insisted we see more of his movie, so we were then shown an entire 5 minutes of the movie! Yup, more never before seen footage. AMAZING. The scene took place in Frank’s (George Clooney) house. The main girl in the movie sneaks in and insist on getting his help. He is obviously  some sort of genius inventor, but doesn’t want to get involved with the girl and the pin. The house is soon after bombarded by what I can only describe as human-like robots. A wild fight scene ensues and it all ends with the two main characters blasting out of the house in a bathtub/rocket-ship!?

The panel ended right after the final clip. The crowd went wild and social media began blowing up. I loved the whole experience. And that was my first 2 hours at Comic Con… much more to come!

Cheers!

Finding Out I Was Expecting

Before having kids, or deciding to have kids, I often thought about what the whole experience would be like and how I would share the news with my Husband. I’d seen lots of cute and cheesy ideas on Pinterest (a photo, a painted nursery wall, a onesie, etc), and heard all my friend’s stories of how they broke the big news to their guys. So, when we decided to start trying for our own family, I quickly began brainstorming on how to announce the pregnancy to not only Husband, but everyone.

I found out I was expecting in NYC, 2 days before I left to move to Tennessee. Husband was already in Tennessee. I took a pregnancy test in the morning and got a very faint positive, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up so I tried to put it out of my mind and just get ready for work…yeah right. During my first break at work, I confided in a really good friend and told her I just couldn’t wait of  know for sure. The two of us walked across the street to Walgreens to buy a fancy-pants digital test. I said, I’d wait until I got home that evening to try it, and then we walked to Starbucks to spend the rest of our break sipping coffee in the sunshine. (Oh, how I miss that everything is in walking distance in NYC!)

Well, I am very impatient so before the barista even finished making my soy latte, I was already in the bathroom trying out the digital test. SO, over lattes on the sidewalk, during a work break, I found out what is possibly the biggest news of my life. Then, I swore I wouldn’t tell anyone else. Husband should know first, er… second.

By lunch, I’d already spilled the beans to my boss and another friend/co-worker. I couldn’t help myself! I like these people and I decided that I’d rather tell them in person anyways. Plus, I suck at keeping secrets.

That night, I saw Annie on Broadway with Zoey (the sister-in-law)… and handed her the pregnancy test the second we found our seats. (I suck, I suck, I know!) BUT, that was it. No one else would know until Husband, and I was not going to tell him until I got to Nashville and could tell him in person.

The next night was my last night in New York, and we had a little going away party at a local bar, which happened to be owned by one of our student’s fathers. Since, it was my last night everyone wanted to buy me a drink, even the bartender/owner was handing out free shots. Weellllllll guess who couldn’t drink? After turning down enough drinks, people began to question why I wouldn’t have even one drink during my own going away party… It took one person looking at me and saying “Wait a second, are you…?” I can’t hide my emotions for the life of me, so within minutes the entire bar and bar staff knew I was pregnant. Woops.

The next day I FINALLY flew “home” to Husband and could not wait to get this secret out! I was about to explode with nerves and excitement in the airport when they announced that my flight was delayed, not once, but twice. When I finally boarded, I called Husband and he informed me that he would be picking me up with a couple of our friends in tow… Okay, I wasn’t thrilled about the unexpected company, but assumed we would go home and be alone.

I shared this photo on Facebook on the way to the airport to show my mixed emotions about leaving New York and moving to Nashville, but what no one knew is I was always feeling excited/scared/nervous about being pregnant and telling Husband!
I shared this photo on Facebook on the way to the airport to show my mixed emotions about leaving New York and moving to Nashville, but what no one knew is I was also feeling excited/scared/nervous about being pregnant and telling Husband!

Wrong. On the way home from the airport I found out that we were not going home, we were going straight to dinner with more family and friends. Awesome. During dinner two people actually asked me when we were planning on having kids. I could hardly contain myself.

After dinner, we were then whisked to my in-laws, but by this point it was clear to Husband that I wanted nothing but to go home. So, we had a quick visit and finally went home. Now, you have to remember that I had only seen our new house once ever, 3 months prior to this moment. So, while I wanted to sit down and talk to Husband about the fact that we were going to be parents, he was stoked to show me everything he’d been working on in the house.

At about 11pm we walked into the room that was most likely going to become an office, until the day we needed it to become a nursery. This room has  a loft, and the two of us climbed the ladder and sat in the loft together to take in our new home. This was it, this was the moment. I looked at Husband and simply asked, “So, do you think you and your Dad could transform this room into a nursery, by say….February?”

And, that was it, that was our moment, and it was just right. Husband was really excited, obviously, and he wasn’t even mad that I’d told like a 100 people before him. Luckily, he finds it endearing that I can’t keep secrets.

Do any of you have cute or funny announcement stories?

Cheers!

Fall Break in NYC

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*Written Saturday, October 12th…obviously I’m a little behind on my postings….LOTS of catching up to do!

We are officially halfway through our “babymoon” vacation. We just left the big apple (in-flight now), are headed to Nashville for some haunted housing and a very big ceremony. Then it’s off to Florida! New York was great, and I think it will end up being the most relaxing part of this two-week vacation.

Love walking along 5th and Central Park
Love walking along 5th and Central Park

For the first time ever I went on a vacation with zero plans. I had our flight in and our flight out written in my calendar, and nothing in between. After living there for two years it seemed a bit ridiculous to make plans. So, we played everything by ear and ended up relaxing a lot (for us, anyways).

I've been trying some new hairstyles everyday...I'm a bit sick of my hair at the moment.
I’ve been trying some new hairstyles everyday…I’m a bit sick of my hair at the moment.

We hit our favorite spots…Central Park, the MET, the giant public library on 5th, Chelsea Market, etc. Strolling around the park and relaxing is possibly what I miss most about New York. We spent a lot of time just people watching, and laughing at the people in the boat pond who had no clue how to row a boat.

Husband and Zoey having a leaf fight in the park (and yes, he is wonderful and carrying all of my crap)
Husband and Zoey having a leaf fight in the park (and yes, he is wonderful and carrying all of my crap)

The MET had a few new exhibits, as they always do, and we happened to go on the most beautiful day of the week. The rooftop was open, the sky was sunny and the views were spectacular. The exhibit on the roof right now is called “Zombie Garden”. You see why, right?

Zombie Zoey
Zombie Zoey
Rooftop of the MET
Rooftop of the MET

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The library had a new exhibit up that focused on the history and importance of children’s books, which is right up my alley. Plus, there was an entire Mary Poppins section!

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Mary Poppins umbrella is on display!

We shopped on 5th Avenue, Madison and through Chinatown. We snacked at a Chinese bakery on pineapple bread and mango and basil seed juice. I haven’t been to a Chinese bakery since we were in China 5 years ago, so it brought back lots of great memories. At Bloomingdales, I bought my first ever pair of shoes for the sole reason of being comfortable. I LOVE shoes, but in a fashionable artistic way. I could care less if my shoes are comfortable, until now. Being pregnant has made my feet total weenies. I was barely making it around Manhattan and began to worry about all the walking we will be doing around Disney. So, I did what a sensible person might do and bought a comfortable pair of non-slippery shoes with lots of support. They aren’t so bad. I’ve got to say, my feet feel aaammmmazzzzinnggg!

Shopping down Madison Ave.
Shopping down Madison Ave.
Mmmm pineapple bread and some weird delicious iced tea
Mmmm pineapple bread and some weird delicious iced tea
oh yeah...comfy shoes
oh yeah…comfy shoes

We ate bagels at H&H, breakfast at lots of little diners, tacos at Tacombi and pizza of course. Sorry, but I am definitely one of “those people” who swears New York has the best pizza! (They do, they really do!) We even ate at the Stardust Diner for the first time ever. The Stardust is in Time Square and is famous for it’s staff, which is ALL professional singers, actors and dancers who are trying to make it on Broadway. (Rachel and Santana work there now, for all you Glee fans.) We decided we might as well try it since we are acting as tourist all week. The waiters were surprising talented and entertaining, the food was nothing to brag about and overpriced.

bagels at H&H
bagels at H&H
tacombi!!!
tacombi!!!

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We also so Pippin on Broadway, because no trip to New York is complete with a trip to Broadway. Pippin is an old musical that’s been revived and features some crazy cirque du soleil type acts, erotic dancing, some intense singing and a storyline that leaves you thinking “WTF”? We liked it, but I am also biased due to the fact that Gilmore Girls referenced the heck out of Pippin in one episode.

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Box seats for the first time!
Box seats for the first time!

Of course, the best part of our trip was catching up with friends. We had dinner out with different friends almost every night and really enjoyed catching up and getting to spend time with people we love so much. We love traveling and moving around, but it always sucks to make and leave friends so often. It’s also a good reason to go back and visit though.

Maybe, I’ll keep up with writing better over the next week, maybe not.

Exploring the archives of the MET
Exploring the archives of the MET

Have a great week!

Cheers!

Let the Babymoon Begin!

*Written at 8am yesterday.

Today is the first day of our last big hurrah before Baby Z’s arrival. Our original plan was to travel internationally…(we take at least one international trip every year), but things did not line up accordingly so this year we are being less adventurous than normal, but still excited to visit two of our most favorite places: NYC and Disneyworld.

I am sitting on a plane headed for New York as I type. We will spend 5 glorious days soaking up one of our favorite home away from homes. Then, we are flying back to Nashville for a very special ceremony for out Aunt. The very next day we are driving to Orlando for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, EPCOT’s Food and Wine festival and Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights! And maybe, just maybe, we’ll stop by a nice warm beach for a minute or so. Woohoo!

View of the Upper East Side from Roosevelt Island.
View of the Upper East Side from Roosevelt Island.
Food and Wine Festival 2012
Food and Wine Festival 2012

We love traveling more than pretty much anything else…hope this baby is okay with going overseas for her first birthday. I don’t know if we will be able to wait much longer before another big trip. Once we got the itch to travel the world, it just hasn’t gone away.

I’ll do my best to keep you posted on our babymoon adventures over the next two weeks, but no promises!

I hope each of you are getting some sort of fall break. Don’t we all deserve a little getaway?

Cheers!