Tag Archives: travel


Happy Monday, everyone! After a lovely weekend of being away and unplugged (aka bad internet connection and no blogging) I’m back to the real world! I was glad to be back and see my kiddos, and I’m excited for a full, busy week this week. I’m linking up today with Becky at Choose Happy, and some other fabulous bloggers, to bring you this week’s edition of Currently.

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Celebrating || Hubby’s cousin Parker and her new husband, Charlie! Two of the sweetest, most genuine souls you’ll ever meet, they are dear to our hearts. Their wedding was a beautiful weekend in the mountains, with delicious food and fun family. We were able to stay in a beautiful, old hotel in Blowing Rock, NC, called the Green Park Inn on Friday night. It was charming!

Exploring || the Appalachian mountains! Hubby and I spent Saturday before the wedding driving and walking up Grandfather Mountain, driving through several small mountain towns, and seeing the gorgeous colors and lines that are made up by the Appalachians. The weather was perfect, and the setting was incredible. We couldn’t have asked for a better day! It was a perfect “mini-babymoon”, and we’ve also decided we are taking the kids back really soon to take them to Tweetsie Railroad! I’ve never been- have you?

Here are a few pictures of the afternoon. You’ll have to pardon that they’re just of me. When there’s only two of you, it is difficult to get a picture of both of you! 

It doesn’t swing much anymore, but it sure was windy up there!
I was literally on top of the world. At least for a few miles.
Couldn’t you just look at that for the rest of your life?
  Thankful for || my mom, who kept our kids Friday and Saturday while we romped in the mountains. She was totally willing to drive up from Georgia and snuggle my babies all weekend to let Hubby and I get away, guilt-free!

Craving || donuts! Friday (National Donut Day!) was a little too hectic (trying to pack, make sure the kids had what they needed for the weekend, and get out the door on time to make it to the rehearsal dinner) for us to make it to Krispy Kreme to get donuts. So now I’m craving them after seeing everyone’s pictures and posts about it! My absolute favorite is a chocolate iced donut with sprinkles, followed closely by a chocolate cake donut. What’s your favorite?

This baby is SO calling my name.
This baby is SO calling my name.
Excited about || submitting my writing to several places, and actually getting chosen to be published! The first piece to be chosen and published was my list of Life Lessons You Probably Learned in Your 20s on Scary Mommy last month, and I have another piece that’s being published on a different site in July. I am so excited, especially being fairly new to blogging and writing, that I have some good stuff in my brain that I can get out with the right words, and pass on to others.

Well, that’s what’s going on with me currently. Link up or comment, and let me know what’s going on with you!

A Mountainous Moment Away

This post also appeared on MyBigJesus.com!

A couple of weekends ago, I went to the mountains (Asheville, NC to be exact) with my college girlfriends for about 24 hours. Y’all. It’s the first baby-free 24 hours I’ve had since September. I know, I’m probably spoiled getting away twice in a matter of four months, but I digress.

We had planned to spend a day and a night together before the Christmas rush to catch up, sleep late, eat like the foodies we are, drink wine and shop. It was a great trip: beautiful weather, wonderful friends (we’ve been friends for ten years!) and just enough excitement to make me glad I wasn’t lugging two extra bodies around.

Until I’d gotten through 19 or so of the 24 hours. And then I missed those extra little bodies. No one was tugging at my shirt from around my knees, no one had needed to potty, no sippy cups misplaced, no diapers were changed, and no one had cried because their nap time was off. But then again, no one randomly wanted hugs and kisses, ate the rest of my sandwich I couldn’t finish, charmed strangers with his giggles, or gave a hilarious misnomer to an item she saw in a storefront. Hubby was sending me pictures of the three of them, having a grand time wearing superhero capes and having dance parties. I know, I shouldn’t complain. I was sitting in front of the fire at the Grove Park Inn, sipping hot chocolate. Still, I digress.

When you create two little beings, they are such a part of you that there’s no not missing them. There’s no glad you haven’t seen them in a while or relieved you aren’t changing diapers and scrambling eggs right now. I don’t think it’s a routine thing either… I don’t miss them because they’re a part of my routine and I’m a scheduled person. I miss them because they’re a part of me. They’re my favorite people. They’re opening my eyes to the world that they see and the feelings they’re discovering for the first time, not to mention milestones like learning to walk or pooping in the potty that I might be missing!

I also know that time with adults (read: people with wider vocabularies) and time to be by myself is healthy. I know that getting a full night’s sleep is a good thing, as is building and keeping up relationship with women that I love. It was a relaxing and rejuvenating time; we are an easy-going group, who all know each other well enough that we can skip pleasantries and get straight to what’s going on in our lives. And since we’re all at different points in our lives (ie: I’m the only mom) it’s fun to hear about things that we’ve passed, or things we haven’t come to yet. It’s good for me to remember that my life isn’t only inside my four walls with the three people I see most often. It stretches and encourages me that not all of us are in the same trenches.

Who says when you grow up, you don't like taking hilarious photos?
Who says when you grow up, you don’t like taking hilarious photos?

Thank you, New York!

Here’s the last bit of our Hsus Do New York experience. It’s long. Enjoy!

I had heard some great, kid-friendly things about the Battery Park area (which is funny, since it’s mostly financial district) so we headed there on Wednesday. It was actually great, because EK had been talking about getting on a boat all week, so we figured getting down there next to the water was the way to make it happen. We took the subway (most of the way down) to Battery Park,  and without really planning it, happened to be right next to the 9/11 Memorial. It is incredible to think that the event was almost 13 years ago. And it’s even crazier to think that yes, we have created a memorial for it, and survivors are all back to work and trying to go about their lives, but it’s still not all the way back to normal in that area. There were roses left on names, people gathered in corners of the park, and the new Freedom Tower isn’t even finished yet. We rose up, of course, but there is still work to be done.

Freedom Tower
Freedom Tower
Memorial Fountain
Memorial Fountain
Handsome Babywearing Hubby
Handsome Babywearing Hubby

After we left there, we walked a few blocks to the water, where the actual park is. It was full of families, runners, artists, and community groups of kids from summer camps and day cares. It was truly a gorgeous day, the park was beautiful, and seeing the sights across the water was awesome.

EK gazing out on the water
EK gazing out on the water
Chilling in the park
Chilling in the park

The pier was closed, so we walked a few more blocks to Castle Clinton, where the boats all dock to go to the Statue of Liberty and Governor’s Island. When we saw the line for the Statue of Liberty cruise, we knew our babies would never stand for it, no matter how badly EK wanted to get on a boat. So we opted for the NY Water Taxi, and we loved it! The ticket lasts the whole day (you can get on and off till they stop running), there were several stops, there was a bar/snack bar, and the tour guides were great! They don’t have a script, so they literally tell you lots of facts, but also their favorite places to eat or shop or hang out. It was an appreciated, air-conditioned, sightseeing break in the middle of our day.

J and my mom hanging out on the boat!
J and my mom hanging out on the boat!
Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge
(Obvious) Statue of Liberty!
(Obvious) Statue of Liberty!

We took the boat from Battery Park up to Times Square, rode the Ferris wheel at Toys R Us, visited the Disney Store (where there was a lack of Elsa-related merchandise that EK was asking for, but we still got her some “princess shoes” and a Buzz Lightyear for J), and let EK stare at the hundreds of screens, lights, and posters. We had a blast.

J crushing Buzz Lightyear with love.
J crushing Buzz Lightyear with love.
I just had to post this picture - I've always loved Barbie even though she's gotten some flack. This makes up for it, just a little bit.
I just had to post this picture – I’ve always loved Barbie even though she’s gotten some flack. This makes up for it, just a little bit.
So excited that she couldn't even wake up.
So excited that she couldn’t even wake up.

For our last dinner in NYC, we ate at a really expensive delicious steak house called Smith and Wollensky. It was, in a word, incredible. Our concierge told it would be fine to take the kids with us, and truly it was (EVERYONE was really great about them) but they were the only kids in there, and if I had stuck my head in the door first, I never would’ve brought them in. But they were troopers; it was late in the evening, but J took a little nap and EK played with a lot of stickers. Hubby and I drank a lot of wine, haha. It was an all-around great experience, and I wish we’d been around to eat the copious amounts of leftover steak we couldn’t manage to finish before we left.

Good-looking crew, right?
Good-looking crew, right?

Thursday morning, we had a few hours of precious time before we needed to go to the airport, so Mom and I took EK to a little tea house we had been walking by all week. I knew from experience they’re probably have great breakfast, and EK loves tea parties. We all put on cute dresses and headed two blocks down to Alice’s Tea Cup for a pot of tea and breakfast. Let me tell you – it was a total win. A whimsical interior combined with delicious food, a huge tea selection and several little cute things for EK (like sprinkling her with glitter “fairy dust” and telling her to make a wish) made for a delightful morning. The scones, in particular, were perfect – chocolate orange and white chocolate blackberry. ARE YOU SERIOUS!?

Mom (Necie, to EK) snuggling Princess EK
Mom (Necie, to EK) snuggling Princess EK

So there’s the last bit of it. Our first family trip to NYC. I hope there are many more to come, and hopefully not too long from now! It definitely boosted my confidence for what we might be able to handle in the future! What are some things we missed that my kids might enjoy next time we go?

Hsus “ZOO” Sush-York, and Eat(a lot)aly!

Forgive the cheesy title; at least it isn’t misleading! Too much? Okay, you’re right. I’ll think about it…

Last Tuesday, we headed on a long subway ride to the Bronx, because we had heard that the Bronx Zoo was way better than the Central Park one. It was indeed a long trip, but the zoo was great! J was a trooper (he didn’t care much about the animals) and EK loved it. 20140801-220814-79694223.jpgBy the way, babywearing at the zoo was the way to go. We rented a double stroller, but that thing was NOT user-friendly. EK couldn’t see from that low, and J wasn’t comfortable in there. A waste of $15 when both kids either wanted to be carried or worn, or in EK’s case, run around a bit. We just lugged it around the whole time, full of the diaper bag and our water bottles. But other than that, the zoo was great. We saw peacocks, monkeys, red pandas, camels, water birds of all sorts, and lions and tigers and bears, oh my! The kids expired rather quickly, though, so after we had seen about half the zoo, we headed back for a snack and a nap.

That evening, we met our dear friend Hope for some sushi (at Mizu, a restaurant of the same name as our favorite sushi place in Winston) and then traveled to Eataly for some gelato. Unfortunately, because it was getting late, we didn’t have much time in Eataly… that’s possibly my biggest sad note from the whole trip. That place was amazing. It took up about a city block, contained gelato, coffee, pasta, and wine (four of my greatest loves) and other wonderful and delicious Italian goodies. It should have been a whole day affair, and we crammed it into an hour or so. Ah well, there’s always next trip…

Hope snapped this one of EK enjoying her gelato.
Hope snapped this one of EK enjoying her gelato.
Hope getting some J snuggles, and Hubby photobombing like a champ. I honestly didn't notice him till after I took the picture!
Hope getting some J snuggles, and Hubby photobombing like a champ. I honestly didn’t notice him till after I took the picture!
Hubby and me, one of our only good shots from the trip!
Hubby and me, one of our only good shots from the trip!

Be on the lookout for the last installment of Hsus Do New York! I’ll really be sad to wrap this series up, but maybe that means we will have another cool trip soon!

Family and Food – Hsus Do New York

More New York City fun… Here’s what we did Sunday and Monday!

On Sunday (our second day), my mom and I woke up with the kids, packed them up, left Hubby in bed, and went to search for bagels. Thankfully, we found a DELICIOUS bagel place  less than a block away. It was inexpensive and had more than just bagels (fresh fruit, good coffee, juice, pasta salad, etc).   I think it was called “Bagel Express II” but I’m not sure. When we had eaten and collected Hubby, we visited FAO Schwartz and hung out on the east side of Central Park. It was great weather to just peruse the area, eat some street food, and think of some things to do during the week.

Enjoying some street meat - lamb gyro to be exact.
Enjoying some street meat – lamb gyro to be exact.
EK in her princess crown with her beloved cockatoo (cah-ah-too)
J deciding if he wants a new tiger.
J deciding if he wants a new tiger.

For dinner, we decided on the Italian restaurant on the corner near our hotel, Tony’s di Napoli. It was delicious, however very crowded and slow. We didn’t anticipate having a two hour dinner that began at almost 7:30. We ended up giving J a bottle to put him to sleep and sending EK back to the room with my mom for a bath while we waited for the check and boxes for our food. It was a little hectic, but their food was truly delicious.

On Monday, lots more things were open again, and we could really get in to some fun things! First, we visited the Natural History Museum with Hubby’s cousin Becca. She’s an awesome lady – a jazz singer in NYC who always makes time to hang out with our littles. (Her website, by the way, is here. Check her out because her music is ridiculously amazing.) We looked at tons of animals, and watched the show in their planetarium (totally amazing) and both the babes even loved it!

Cousin love.
Cousin love.

We followed that up with an delicious Vegan lunch at Peacefood Cafe, coffee at Irving Farm, and then Mom, the kids and I went back to the hotel for naps. (I won’t lie… an afternoon nap schedule suited me JUST FINE because I was pooped by then also.) Hubby went with Becca to a famous guitar store and played zillion-dollar guitars all afternoon (he came back a very happy camper). Miranda (another of Hubby’s cousins, who had lunch with us) came over to the hotel for dinner (take out) and brought us some teeny-tiny cupcakes, which we ate on all week!

Miranda snuggling big J, the hippie.

That night, Mom kept the kids so Hubby and I could go out on the town. We went to the East Village to a favorite spot of yet another of Hubby’s cousins (Katie – sister of Becca) who used to live in the city. Drop Off Service used to be a laundromat, and kept the name when the space converted to a bar. Small, intimate and homey, lots of good beers on draft, and in a trendy neighborhood for the piece de la resistance.

This is the pic stitch we sent to Katie to guess where we were!

We walked from Drop Off Service to a little Irish pub, O’Hanlon’s Bar, where we played some darts. I won both games, of course. It’s worth bragging about because it’s the only thing I’ve ever beaten Hubby at. Just give it to me, okay?

Stay tuned for one more NYC post in the series… I’m having a blast writing about it! Check out some of those links, and leave some comments about places we should try next time!



Hsus Do New York!

This past week, we Hsus took NYC by storm. Hubby had a college friend who got married on Saturday night, so we packed up our fam (and my super flexible mama) and flew up to make a week of it. This week will be a series of posts about the trip – traveling, things we did, places we ate, etc. for your enjoyment and future trip planning!

We arrived in NYC Saturday morning, so we had most of the day to bum around and settle in before the wedding. Our first stop was our amazing hotel, Affinia Gardens. On East 64th between 2nd and 3rd avenues, it’s situated in the upper east side (of midtown – right on the cusp), convenient to the subway and several delicious restaurants and cute shops, and filled with the nicest folks you’ll meet. Every single employee of the hotel, concierge to maid, were incredibly helpful and nice. Our suite was huge, clean, and well-kept all week. It also had a mini kitchen with some dishes, a full-size fridge, a microwave and a DISHWASHER! Crazy talk for a NYC hotel. I forgot to take a photo of the room, but check out their website here.

We spent that afternoon before naps in Chinatown for some dim sum. Hubby’s brother Hartley said the best dim sum in NYC was at Golden Unicorn. I’m convinced he was right. Dim sum is definitely an experience, and however fast-paced and crazy it may feel, it was delicious and actually not too expensive (at least at this location). Servers with carts stop by your table with the little bamboo containers full of steaming food on them, and you just say what you want or don’t want. It’s right there on the cart, so you just eat and get more and eat more. It’s the best fast food ever! Visit Golden Unicorn’s website here.

The wedding itself was incredible- at the Yale Club in Manhattan. Easily the most glamorous and delicious wedding I’ll attend… for a long time anyway. A beautiful bride and handsome groom who love each other and their friends/family very well made for a gorgeous ceremony and fun evening.

Hubby (right) and his oldest brother, Hartley, classing it up big time.
Sunset from the Yale Club’s rooftop (22 floors up) during cocktail hour.
A little hard to see us, but the only (non-wedding-photographer) picture of Hubby and me from that night.
Yes, I took a picture of the ceiling. Isn’t it gorgeous?!
Can someone tell me what this building is? Because it was gorgeous from a block away.

I wish I had some pictures of the band that played the reception. They were a party band for sure, about ten of them, amazing singers and fabulous instrumentalists. They played R&B and pop and blew it out of the water. Hubby and I danced all night. ALL NIGHT.

Whelp, that’s our first day in NYC in a nutshell. Stay tuned for the next installment of “Hsus Do New York” tomorrow!