Friday, December 26, 2014

Year in Review - 2014 - Travel

For the next week while we celebrate the holidays with family and friends, I'll be recapping our favorite adventures from 2014.  

First up...

We managed to squeeze in lots of travel, both with Georgia and by ourselves over the past year.

Our big family trip this year was to Disney World.  Lots of people warned me about going to see Mickey with a 2 year-old, but we had a blast.  It was my favorite trip of the year.  Was it tiring?  Absolutely.  Was it non-stop go-go-go?  Absolutely.  Was naptime an issue daily?  Yup.  But, in the end, we loved taking her there before her 3rd birthday!  She was in awe of everything, including the characters, the rides, the sights, etc.  Well worth every minute of planning, worry, food prep, etc.  Going with 3 adults was also key to keeping our sanity so that we could ALL enjoy the trip.  I firmly believe in a 3:1 adult-to-child ratio on any vacation!!

I think I devoted most of April/May to recapping our Florida trip:

My favorite picture from the trip (more because I NEVER expected her to actually wear this purple princess dress and she ended up wearing it ALL NIGHT on two different occasions that week!)...

Princess G

Nick and I managed to sneak away (aka - plan it the week before) for a long weekend in the Bahamas for our 5th anniversary at the end of June.  Thank goodness Mimi is a good sport when I call her and say things like, "Hey, you know how you are coming to visit next weekend?  Great - do you mind if we aren't here when you come visit????"  She always says yes, which grants us the opportunity to do these things...

Approximately 4 minutes into vacation and I'm already sun-burned.  Classic!

We even managed to squeeze in some scuba diving, which we hadn't done since before I was pregnant with Georgia!

Bahamas - Diving with sharks (my fave!)

In July, Georgia and I zoomed up to Massachusetts for a week of fun with family, friends, and 4th of July fun!  Meanwhile, Nick stayed behind in Maryland to make sure our AC started working in the house again before flying up to join us...

In the beginning of August, Nick and I jetted out to San Francisco for his cousin's wedding on the California coast.  We were barely on the west coast for 48 hours, but we managed to squeeze in a trip to see the giant redwoods, a winery, and attend a wedding!  We then zipped back to the east coast in style on a private plane (aka - spoiled for life!)...

We were barely back on the east coast for a month before Nick and I boarded another cross country flight.  This time, we headed to Seattle for one of my best friend's wedding.  Wild and crazy ensued while I reunited with a bunch of my high school friends as we explored beautiful Seattle (my streak of sunny days in Seattle continues!)...

AND... this is when you realize you wore the same dress to back-to-back weddings!

17 years since we graduated high school and it didn't feel like we skipped a day, except I forgot HOW MUCH I miss these people!!

CRAZY!!  In 6 months, we managed to squeeze in trips to Florida, the Bahamas, Massachusetts, California and Seattle!

Since Georgia only came on 2/5 of those trips, we owe a huge thank you to our trusted babysitter.  The only reason I sleep well on those trips is knowing that G is safe, well-fed, happy, and excited to be spending the weekend with her beloved Mimi.  I get texts non-stop and picture messages of all the fun things they are doing, which lets me enjoy wherever in the world Nick and I happen to be.  Without her, our travel wouldn't be possible..

Thanks, Mimi!!

Next up... all the "firsts" of the year!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Birthday with a Side of ICE!

After already being quite busy with various holiday celebrations on Friday and Saturday evenings, we were off exploring yet again on Sunday to celebrate my turning the big 3-5!  Eeeek.... definitely not getting any younger around here!

After opening some presents in the morning and relaxing for a bit in the afternoon, we decided to head to National Harbor and check out this year's ICE! display.  In our Pre-Georgia days, Nick and I loved to go every year and check out the show...

2009 - A few months after we got married

Last year, we brought Georgia and she HATED it!  She wanted out of the big blue puffy coat and complained the entire time.  She wasn't even entertained by the ice slides and this kid typically loves playgrounds.  I think we were in and out of the show within 5 minutes.  

So, once again, we decided to just wing in and see what happened!  Perhaps she'd feel differently about the show this year OR she'd be a lunatic again.

Arriving at National Harbor as the sun set over the Potomac

We decided not to even attempt the big blue puffy jacket this year that they loan you to go into the display.  Instead, we brought ski pants and a jacket for Georgia, along with her gloves and a hat.
**Sidebar shout-out to my amazing co-worker who always gives me her daughter's hand-me-downs.  We're lucky to get a random snow day or two here in suburban DC, so it's hard to spend a ton of money on snow boots, ski jacket, etc. every year when you might get a few days wear out of them before kids outgrow them.**

Heading into the ICE! tent with a gorgeous sunset over the Potomac.  Note that Georgia HAD to bring her new BFF, "Everest" (aka - the build-a-bear dog that she got at the ACAS party the evening before).  She might believe that the dog is from her beloved "Paw Patrol" and we may not have corrected her!  Another tip from Good Parenting 101!

This year's theme for ICE! was "Frosty the Snowman" and it didn't disappoint.  The colors were absolutely amazing!  It's hard to remember that this is actually carved ice when you are in there walking around.

Our timing could not have been better early on a Sunday evening because the place was fairly empty.  The best part - Georgia liked it this year, which meant I actually got to see and enjoy it this year vs last year when I grabbed her and hauled her out of there in under 3 minutes!  Happy birthday to me???

Checking everything out

We quickly arrived to my most favorite part of the ICE! experience... the ice slides!  Last year, Georgia went down one time and was totally done.  This year, we stayed on the ice slides until our butts were frozen... literally!  SHE LOVED IT and went down again and again and again with Nick and I switching off to go with her.

Heading down all by herself since she was tall enough this year!

She even loved coming down the slide backwards!

We were fairly frozen by the time we finished with the slides, so we walked fairly quickly through the remaining rooms and skipped over the ice carving demonstrations.  It was amazing when you emerged back into the DC air - it felt like the Bahamas outside!  

G and her beloved pup on the North Pole Express train

Some highlights from ICE! 2014

Literally, a picture of my child waving to me to hurry up...

We thawed out on our way to dinner and enjoyed a nice meal with a surprise treat for me at the end...

Our night wasn't quite over yet.  During our last visit to National Harbor in the fall, Georgia was mesmerized by the new giant National Wheel.  She begged to go on it, but we just didn't have time on that trip.  But, we had time this weekend!  

Ready for our ride!

Soooo.. the Capital Wheel is big.  Like really big.  I don't mind heights, but this was BIG!  Holy moly.  It's nice that each gondola is enclosed and heated.  Did I mention it was big???  Georgia loved every second.  I may have threatened Nick's life every time he moved and made the gondola swing.  It wasn't a short ride either - you definitely get a decent ride.  180 feet is pretty tall.  It may have been my first and only ride on the giant wheel!

Once we were back on stable ground, we headed back towards the Gaylord Resort to retrieve the car.  But, our timing was spot on.  As we walked back into the resort, their nightly fountain show and "tree lighting" was starting.  Again, usually we are among the masses on the weekend watching the show, but the Sunday night show was empty.  It even "snows" inside!

Mesmerized by the fountain

And with that, we wrapped up a CRAZY busy weekend!  But, we all had fun.  We got to spend a ton of time as a family, celebrate the holidays, and my birthday.  

Only one more weekend until Christmas!