Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun: Part 2

As promised, there is a part two of our girls weekend adventure. Saturday was very tiring. Mostly because I am not used to staying up until midnight and my body automatically woke me up at 6:30 AM and I could not fall back to sleep. It was also tiring because we hit two museums and I sadly realize that my 40+ hours a week of sitting on my ass while doing my job in no way prepared me for trekking through massive buildings.

We hit a crepe place just across the street from the hotel. The crepes were great and it was probably our cheapest meal of the trip. Mommy, Esq. was impressed with the "European" feel of the restaurant but Natalie wasn't feeling much of anything but hung over.
Not happy with her decision to have a shot of tequila.
On A.'s suggestion we walked to the Metro in DuPont circle to get to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. It took us about 40 minutes in very crowded trains to get to our stop. It definitely reminded me why I prefer cabs.

DH told me that this is like the third longest escalator in the US. Can anyone confirm that?
The museum was really interesting and was completely new to me given the changes in exhibits since I was there more than a decade ago. Helen was our tour guide being a professional teacher and all. She was better than purchasing the audio tour and if you are lucky, she'll let you rent her out for your visit to DC.

Helen shows us that size is all relative.
We grabbed some ridiculously over-priced food at the museum's cafeteria and then headed towards Mommy, Esq.'s choice of enrichment activity: the Hirshhorn Museum. In general I like art. I even like some modern art, particularly paintings or sculptures. What I don't like (because I don't understand it) are installations. There was one room that had three different displays of an elephant playing dead and then standing up. Or the condensation cube. Just odd. Fortunately for me, Natalie was equally un-impressed and we were able to sooth our aching feet on the numerous couches scattered around the floors while simultaneously making fun of the things we had seen.
We were pretty beat at that point so it was back to the hotel for a nice long nap before our fancy dinner. I napped for 90 whole minutes. It was freaking amazing and makes me realize how little I appreciated napping before I had a child.
We got ourselves dolled up and arrived promptly for our amazing dinner at the Darlington House. The food was sooooooooo good that I ended up with a food baby. Since I lost so much weight I haven't really tested the limits of my stomach size. I can no longer say that! I ate so much that I was kind of in pain but the food was so good it in no way diminished the memory of the dinner.

The matching outfits was not planned but very cute.
Helen, A. and I walked to our next destination (mostly so I could walk off the pain of my food baby) which was this cool little speak easy type bar called the Gibson. It was kind of cool because there was no sign and you had to basically knock on the door and give a password (in this case a reservation) to get in. They were a little pretentious by requiring you to order of their limited drink menu (no regular vodka martini was an option) but we settled in to enjoy several drinks. At this point I was ready to head home, mostly because of my overly full belly. But Helen came up with an interesting game that kept me in my seat. My lips are sealed (and fingers tied) about the game but it kept me through two more drinks.

Drinking through the pain of a too full stomach.

We gamely tried a bar next door but the loud music, non-existent lights and crowds resulted in an immediate exit and return to the hotel bar.
Our final eating stop of the weekend was an early brunch at The Hook in Georgetown followed by some window shopping. Then it was a sad good-bye to A. and off to the airport to kill a few hours before taking off.

As I said in my first blog post about our ladies only weekend it was a lot of food, a lot of booze and a lot of laughs. We're already planning our trip for next year!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

This past weekend was the first of what will hopefully be a annual occurence: a girls only weekend. Not only is it girls only, it's child free!!

5 of us met up in the nation's capital to reconnect, eat lots of food, explore some museums, shop, drink and relax. And we did all of those things and more. Joining me on my trip are fellow bloggers (albeit some who have fallen off the map) who are also sisters and friends. The trip was actually proposed by Mommy, Esq. We settled on Washington, D.C. because it had been years since most of us had been there (except for Helen) It was also a central location for me to fly from Charlotte and Mommy, Esq., Helen and Natalie to fly from Boston. A. lives in the area so she had to easiest journey.

We scheduled our flights to arrive around 11 AM on Friday and met up in the airport. Even before we got in the taxi we were already laughing and chatting like it had just been last week since we saw each other. To put it in perspective we have been friends since we met in first grade. Despite the vagaries of life, different job and geographies, we have been able to maintain a deep friendship that I value greatly.

So much went on during girls weekend that I will dedicate at least 2 blog posts to the events surrounding our trip. And lot of pictures, of course!

We stayed at the Hotel Palomar in Dupont Circle. Close to Metro access and restaurants it was also dog friendly (based on the number we ran into) and had a hopping lat night bar scene. It also boasted a wedding and a fraternity reunion. Good thing I brought those ear plugs. The hotel was very nice and had a pool. I highly recommend it if you are planning a trip to DC. We got two rooms and the sisters (me, A. and Mommy, Esq.) shared one room with Helen and Natalie taking the other.

The hotel had a very modern yet funky feel to it. They had these super heavy animal print bathrobes just perfect for pictures!

After we lounged by the pool for a few hours, devoured some gossip magazines and split a bucket of beer we dolled ourselves up to head out to Lauriol Plaza Restaurant to enjoy some Mexican food. Ironically we were meeting up with some of Mommy, Esq.'s friends and she ended up having to take a conference call and met us there later. I made sure to note to her friends (who I've met before) that I was Stacey, not my sister. Let's just say that given our similarity in looks there have been some mix ups in the past.

Helen and Natalie were adventurous enough to do a tequila shot. I have sworn off hard alcohol from too many bad experiences and stuck to white wine and sangria. Plus lots of water which enabled me to avoid the hangover situation. Good call on my part!

My sisters and me.

Notice the similarities?
After leaving the restaurant we hit an Irish bar for a few more drinks and then it was back to the hotel. The rest of the group indulged in a bottle of champagne. Personally I hate the taste of champagne so I stuck with my usual wine.
A wonderful Friday in Washington, DC! Coming soon will be part two as I walk you through our equally fun, tiring, food and booze infested Saturday.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cute things Cameron has said lately

There has been a definite language explosion for Cameron over the past few weeks. She is basically speaking in complete sentences and can comprehend almost anything we say (I think). This has the added benefit of cutting down on the temper tantrums. However, Cameron has continued to pick up some not so great habits from daycare. We have managed to mostly wean her off of "Ye-ah" although for some reason she's transferred that Southern accent to the word "there." Another habit? Adding "ie" to the end of words which confuses us. Cameron has this habit of repeating what she says until we say it back to her. This is good because it gives us a chance to correct her pronunciation but bad because if we can't say it back to her because we don't understand her then Cameron gets mad. She was saying "dolly" this morning and I couldn't tell if she meant doggie, Charlie or daddy. I had to run through that entire list before I figured it out. In addition to dolly she is also saying birdie and doggie and a host of other words.

Here are a few cute things Cameron has said over the past week.

  • "School! Almost there! I love school!" (as we pull into the parking lot of the daycare)

  • "I love you, Charlie!" (an unprompted declaration of love)

  • "We go to McDonald's and I get french fries!" (a special treat with DH out of town. Cameron basically just eats the fries.)

  • "Bedtime soon." (we "prepare" Cameron for bedtime by counting down from 5 minutes. It has worked well and reduced temper tantrums. Plus she is definitely at the 7:30 bedtime now. I miss that 1/2 hour!)

  • "I watch Oso!" (Cameron's new favorite show is Special Agent Oso)

  • "Not hot now." (Sometimes her dinner is a little too hot so Cameron will blow on it and keep touching it until it is the right temperature for consumption.)

  • "No, other baby" (Cameron has 2 real baby dolls and named them baby and other baby. We've tried to name them with real names but I suck at being inventive and never remember what we settled on. So baby and new baby they will continue to be.)

  • "Do it again!" (A favorite refrain)

  • "Yes, not ye-ah" (Cameron tells this to Jeremy when he accidentally said it. So funny!"

  • "I baby." (when asked if she was a big girl or baby. Looks like we can't leverage the whole "a big girl does XYZ")

  • "Off mommy's plate."

The last bullet point refers to an attempt (an inconsistent one) for family dinners. I cooked up some pasta and sauce for us last night and we sat at the kitchen table. I have learned that Cameron must have her plate look exactly like mine in order to eat her food. Otherwise she just wants mine. So I made sure that our plates looked the same and even cut up my pasta so I could cut hers (Giada would be appalled). She did pretty good for a while eating off her own plate but then it started. Cameron wanted to eat off of my plate. She still likes for us to feed her occasionally although she has mastered the eating with utensils (kind of).

We've limited "family" dinners to stuff I know she will eat. Anything pasta related, basically. I know I need to expand her palate but she is so damn picky! And she gets that from me. I'm better now (mostly) but I'm a big texture eater and I think that's what is holding Cameron back.

On a some what related note, we purchased a new booster seat. Our existing one was a travel one and folded up but accumulated crumbs like crazy. I love the one we picked up at Buy Buy Baby. There aren't straps but she is old enough now that we don't need them. It is a very simple design and can be easily cleaned. I highly recommend it and you can find it here.

I love the fact that I can interact with Cameron on a much higher level. We talk about our days (me asking her questions, her answering sometimes accurately, sometimes not) and she can clearly articulate what she wants. We are making a point of explaining things to her and validating her feelings which is what is ultimately driving this good behavior period. I'm sure it won't last long!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

We have joined the dark side

That's right, this weekend we invested in a personal DVD player. I am flying solo with Cameron up to Massachusetts in a few weeks and now that she finally likes TV we can use it on the plane flight. Plus we have a 4 hour drive up to Maine after we spend a few days with my in-laws so it will come in handy in the car too.

Cameron already loves it! She requested to watch TV on it today but I don't want to encourage that. We picked up Toy Story, a Backyardigans and a Thomas video. Target was having a great sale and we even got the unit for less than seen in this link. It's so intuitive to use that Cameron has already figured out how to pause it and then resume the video.

We also picked her up some ear phones but I have a feeling she will be a lot more resistant to those. I'm already a happy parent with this DVD player and a bonus will be if it lets me read a few pages on my Kindle while we are on the plane.

For parents that have had the portable DVD players is there anything I should be concerned about? Aside from spilling drinks on the unit, of course! At what age were your kids OK with using headphones?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Last day of Little Gym

This Saturday was our last Little Gym class. Starting next week Cameron and her BFF Holden will be taking swimming lessons together. I'm toying with the idea of bringing Cameron back to the Little Gym in the fall but it's pricey - about $20 a class. The MBA in me is impressed with the business model for that place. In comparison, it will cost me a total of $30 (including registration fee) for 8 weeks of swim lessons at the YMCA.

I really enjoyed our time at the Little Gym and was impressed with the equipment. Cameron loved all aspects of it and she definitely showed off for her daddy when he came to the last class with us. The Little Gym does a "graduation" at the end of each semester where families can come and see the progress the kids made. It gave me an opportunity to take some videos...something I haven't been doing a lot of. So enjoy!

Here Cameron shows off her skills at the balance beam.

She did great with a routine on the uneven parallel bars.

To cap it all off, they had a little medal ceremony. Cameron is napping with was a hit!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday Hodgepodge

Summer has really sprung in Charlotte. We have already been battling 90+ degree weather, lots of humidity and little rain. But, in good news, we have our first official tomato from our tomato plant. I was warned that squirrels stealing tomatoes is a real issue. But a colleague recommended soaking a rag in amonia and putting it in a plastic bag with holes. Tie it to the tomato cage and it will keep the squirrels away. I haven't tried it yet but plan on executing this weekend.

Cameron has been loving the pool and splash park at the JCC. We've been 3 times in the past two weeks and it's a great time suck on the weekend. A plus is that I am developing a nice little tan (with sunscreen - stay safe!) in preparation for our big upcoming vacation to Maine. The downside is that Cameron is not a fan of sharing her toys. We usually bring a few buckets and shovels and she will use them with the water sprays at the splash park. It is physically impossible for her to play with all 3 buckets but she won't let anyone else play with them too. DH and I are being diligent but it appears as though sharing is a concept that will take some time for her to understand and do.

Speaking of toys...we have hit the stage where Cameron isn't playing with any of her million toys. I'm not sure if it is because she prefers to be outside or helping us in the kitchen or watch TV but she has only really been playing with her arts and crafts. Play-Doh is still a big hit.

Cameron is now displaying a tendency to slip into a Southern accent. Gah! I managed to avoid the Boston accent growing up and I insist that Cameron be accent neutral or at least not sound very Southern. DH is on board too but we are finding it difficult given her exposure at daycare. I only have approximately 48 hours to undue the 45 hours of daycare influence each week. Lately Cameron has started saying, "Yeah" with a very Southern accent. Somehow the one syllable word has turned into 3: "Yeh-yaaaaah". Every.single.time she says it like that DH or I correct her. "Cameron, we say 'yes' not 'yeh-yaaaah.'" It's gotten to the point that when we start to correct her she repeats that sentence along with us. I know that I have a few readers who are transplants to the South. How are you handling the accent?

Lastly, I have been playing Words with Friends for a few weeks. DH convinced me to hop on the bandwagon. Is it wrong that I find it to be stressful? I am a competitive person (I'll pause there while you gasp in shock) and I lose at this stupid game 90% of the time! I kind of dread when a game is over and I'm asked for a rematch. What is the etiquette here? Should I just disappear and delete the app off my phone? Is it possible to get a big point word when 6/7 letters are vowels and 4 of those are Es? How can I lose a game when I get a 102 point word? This is the stuff that keeps me up at night.