Positively Panicked

In my life, anxiety and adventure go hand in hand.

What time is it? Summer time!

summer time summaryWhat time is it? Summer time! It’s our vacation!

Do you ever make grand plans and then fail miserably at following through with said plans? That’s kind of how my blog has gone as of late. Whoopsy! Its been like dieting…Monday is a new week! Starting Monday, I’ll blog every day! Okay, I missed one day, but tomorrow Ill wake up at 5am and get it done. Well, I accidentally stayed up until 2am, but tomorrow I will for sure get everything done! And so on and so on… But, guess what?! We are officially on vacation this week, which means I have another chance to start fresh! In case you didn’t know, going on a vacation is just like pressing a “reset” button. Your healthy lifestyle, organizing, work habits and sleep routines all get a fresh start when vacation ends.

However, while I’m on vacation I actually have quite a bit of free time (AKA everyone else wants to play with Luna). So, let’s get a quick summary of our summer adventures thus far (which has been mostly captured on Instagram  @positivelypanicked and Snapchat – positivepanic).

We have been super busy traveling and going all over town, keeping ourselves wildly entertained, because that’s what we like best. In fact, the day Luna finished school we packed up the car and drove to Pittsburgh to visit family.

A week or so later, we packed up the car again for an even longer road trip to Texas. In the Lone Star state we saw our family, celebrated Memorial Day, had a crawfish boil and even went to a water park.

Last week, we took a road trip to Santa Claus, Indiana for our annual trip to Holiday World and Splashin’ Sarfar (the strangest amusement park you ever did see). Luna was finally able to enjoy some of the rides this time around.

holiday world

Holiday World!

This week, marks our fourth road trip of the season. We just drove to Hilton Head Island for our annual family beach vacation (AKA the happiest week of the year).

Between all the road trippin’ were a few zoo trips, both for kids and adults

trying to steal a sip

“Please! Just one little sip!”

We’ve been strawberry, blueberry and blackberry picking at our favorite farm, Wagner Berry Farm.

We’ve attended and hosted some phenomenal playdates and parties. Seriously, how did I find such fun Mom friends??

We’ve canoed, attended the gay pride parade, went to a Sound’s baseball game, shopped the farmer’s markets, saw Seth MacFarlane at the Symphony, ran a 5k and even tried a few new restaurants.

Not a bad summer so far, not at all. The best part is, we are only halfway through the summer!

The one thing I hope you take away from our busy summer, is that adventure is EVERYWHERE. Take a road trip, visit your local festivals, hike your parks, sign up for local events, use Groupon, find a group that gets you and make the most of your summers! Adventure is what life is all about, and summer is most adventurous season of them all!

Cheers!

When are you having another child?

the inevitable question

Before having Luna, I knew I wanted to have kids, as in more than one. In fact, I am one of those people that has always wanted children and lots of them. From a very young age I said I wanted kids…some of my own and some adopted. This want/need became even stronger through college and through my professional life, all spent working with and studying children. In fact, as soon as I knew Peter and I were getting serious, I informed him of my future plans. Over time, I considered that having two or three children might be more realistic considering money and travel, but never once did I consider only having one.

One child was never my plan.

While pregnant with Luna, I was so happy and felt so great that I already couldn’t wait to be pregnant again. I was certain I would be one of those Moms who has children all a year a part. I would knock them out fast and easy. I was the kind of pregnant that most other pregnant Moms hate. It suited me well and even when I was huge and uncomfortable at the end, I knew I’d miss my pregnant belly and the life I felt growing inside. It was magical.

Then, Luna was born. It was not at all magical. In fact, it was the most traumatic experience of my life. This may seem dramatic to some, but you can read my story and history with anxiety and hospitals here to get an idea of where I’m coming from, mentally. I struggled with day to day life for a very long time. I had intense depression, horrible anxiety, and frequent panic attacks. One of the biggest anxiety-inducing thoughts that ran through my brain was, I can never go through this again. I can’t do it. I cannot have more children.

Of course, being riddled with anxiety and hormones, my thoughts took off like a runaway train, destined to crash and burn. I would cry myself to sleep over the kids I could never have. I would wake up feeling ungrateful and embarrassed. There are so many women who cannot have any children, how can I be so ungrateful? I have a healthy, happy, beautiful baby, isn’t she enough? Haven’t I always wanted to adopt? Maybe this is just sign that I need to go ahead and adopt. Lots of other women have difficult births and have no problem going through with it again. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I handle this?

Over the last two and a half years, I have dreaded the inevitable question from friends, family and even strangers? When are you having another? I am not offended by the question. I know that most people are asking because they care and are often just curious, but it’s still a bit painful. Of course, there are hurtful remarks some people make during this discussion. For future reference, might I suggest not reminding a woman that she isn’t getting any younger, or that no child wants to be an only child or the cons of having your children with a large age gap. I promise we are all dwelling over these thoughts constantly.

how many kids you should have

It has taken me two and a half years to finally consider getting pregnant again. In fact, I have recently started going to therapy. I know I’ve needed to go  to therapy for my anxiety and panic attacks for a while, but the fact that I am considering having another child (even if through adoption) has convinced me to get this under control once and for all. It took a lot of courage and self-talk to make that first appointment, and show-up for that first appointment, but I am beyond happy I did it. In fact, I’ve also been to my two main doctors (OBGYN and hypertension specialist) to discuss a possible birth plan. This is progress my friends. Real progress.

I don’t want to make any promises here, or get anyone’s hopes up about baby #2 (I’m looking at you Grandparents), but it’s a possibility. It’s also the best answer I have for now.

More importantly, over the last two and half years I have learned and been constantly reminded that life is often not at all how you plan it to go. I think life just likes to throw us lots of curve balls in order to teach us what really matters. We must learn to adapt to the twists and turns. We have to leave one road and start to pave a new one. Our rocky roads should be reminders that EVERYONE else will or has been on their own rocky road as well. If you are paying attention and letting life’s curve-balls teach you, then you will remember to be gentle with others, to appreciate all that is beautiful in your life and to use the tools life gives you to survive the brutal moments.

Whatever battle you may be facing, just keep moving forward. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Utilize your tools, whether it’s a doctor, a therapist, a long chat with a friend, medication, praying, a long run, a hot cup of coffee or all of the above. Do what you need to heal. Celebrate the small victories. Accept the mistakes. Surround yourself with positive people who love you, and live your life.

whatever battle you are facing

Cheers!

*I want to add that no matter what your choice…no kids, 1 kids, multiple kids, adoption, fostering, IVF, whatever…it is just that, your choice. Do not let anyone make you feel bad about the family you and your partner chose (or didn’t choose).

Adventures in Pittsburgh (and why road trips are worth it)

adventures in pittsburgh

We travel as a family  A LOT and I am often being asked why and how we do it. Traveling with kids can be a challenge and is certainly more daunting than traveling alone or with another adult, but it is not only doable, it’s worth it. I’m not just talking international or big cross-country trips either. Taking an 8-hour road trip to visit some relatives you don’t get to see often enough will ALWAYS be worth the trip. We have family all over of the place, and while we’ve always missed seeing them during special occasions, that feeling is exacerbated now that we have Luna. I want Luna to know her family, and even more, I want them to know her. Sometimes, the only way to make this possible is to travel and travel often.

carnegie art museum

Exploring the Carnegie Art Museum, hand in hand.

One of our recent road trips was to Pittsburgh to see Luna’s Great Grandparents and some more extended family that we love dearly.  Did we enjoy traveling with a toddler for 9+ hours both ways? No. Did we love sharing a room with our two-year old that goes to bed at 7pm? No way. Was it fun to pack, unpack, clean and re-organize all of the family’s luggage? Nope. Truth is, there are a lot of crappy things about long trips with family, but the crap is far out weighed by the memories you’ll make. Promise.

great Grandpa

Luna and her Tut Tut posing in front of her GG’s painting

The weekend we traveled to Pittsburgh was the weekend that one of Luna’s Great Grandma’s paintings was put on display at the Carnegie Museum of Art. It was a lot of fun to be there for opening night, but a certain toddler was trying her best to make the show all about her.

Luna and her Great Grandma's painting

Luna and her Great Grandma’s painting

Besides rolling around on the floor, dancing and running through the crowd, Luna also had fun playing Peek-a-boo under the table while the awards were being given out.

playing peekaboo

Beyond the art museum, we didn’t do a lot of sight seeing this time around. We spent a most of our time with family. We cooked and ate and played the majority of our trip. It filled my heart for Luna to spend so much time with her family, who loves her so much.

great grandparents house

Can anyone spot Husband??

Luna had art lessons from Great Grandma, convinced her 86 year old Great Grandpa to go down a very old rickety slide so she could “catch him” and had a lovely nap in a room filled with art and sunbeams.

painting with great grandma tuttut on a slide napping at great grandparents

You just can’t make these kind of memories by staying home. I need this reminder myself…we have another long road trip to Hilton Head coming up in a couple of weeks.

Do any of you travel to visit family? Where do you go? Do you drive or fly? Tell me all about you trips in the comments!

The Taste of Summer

the taste of summer

So, in case I hadn’t mentioned it before, I quit my job a few weeks ago. No big deal. It was a part-time gig and I only worked when Luna was in school. However, with summer coming up I didn’t want to have to find a sitter three times a week. I want to soak up these short summer months with Luna, and most likely start looking to get back into the education field once fall rolls around…or maybe focus more on writing? The point is, I am so very thankful to have the option to be a full-time stay at home Mom. My goal for the summer is to make everyday (or part of the day) an adventure. Some days that means theme parks, some days it means a trip to the art museum and other days it means turning Luna’s bedroom into a hospital for baby dolls. (We’ve been quarantined to the house for a few days with nasty colds. Get me out of here!!!) Recently, our adventures took us to Wagner Berry Farms.

strawberry popsicle

Our first trip to Wagner Berry Farm was last year, and I fell in love with the place. It’s about 45 minutes from our house, but SO worth the trip!  I knew it would be a place to visit every year. This year we went with some family and we all picked and picked and picked until not one more berry could fit in our baskets.

picking strawberries

Well, we didn’t just pick…we also taste tested. The owners of Wagner Berry Farm are the friendliest people and they encourage everyone to taste the berries and see if there’s a type you like best. Luna equally liked all the berries.

strawberry snacking

I picked a strawberries and raspberries, and came home with about 10 pounds of fresh berries. There is just nothing better than eating a ripe warm berry from the garden. It tastes like summer. I meant to save some strawberries for jam or baking, but we somehow managed to them in a couple of days. Woops.

fresh strawberry

Last year Luna just ate both red and green berries while I picked, but this year she was able to actually help me pick them and fill the basket. I’m hoping this will be a annual tradition for us.

running through strawberry fields

We also bought homemade strawberry popsicles, loved on the farm dogs and chased a few chickens. It was afternoon full of sweet sweet memories.

basket of berries

Very soon blueberries and blackberries will be ready to pick! Maybe this time I’ll save few berries for muffins, pancakes, popsicles or something. Or, maybe not.

If you live near a berry picking farm, I highly recommend taking advantage of it! What are some of your summer traditions?

Cheers!

Adventures at Home

*I wrote this post a couple of months ago, just as spring was arriving, and just never got around to sharing it. I guess the beginning of summer is just as good a time to talk about the start of spring! Enjoy!

adventures at home

Husband and I strive to make our lives full of adventure. Whether it’s traveling abroad, riding roller coasters or exploring a Tennessee cave, we are ready and willing to do just about anything.  Having Luna has made our adventures (especially spontaneous ones) a little more challenging, but it’s also opened our world to little adventures we never even considered. Luna has been fortunate enough to travel and explore with us, but who knew she’d be taking us on adventures too? Sometimes a simple trip to a local park becomes a hunt for leaves, a trip through tunnels and slides and a game of picking and smelling the most flowers. As I typed that last sentence, I realized how lame I sound (especially if you don’t have kids, but bear with me.) This weekend we had a messy and wild adventure with Luna in our own front yard.

little cowgirl

Lately, leaves are returning to our trees, flowers are blooming, pollen is spreading and the rain has started….Hello spring! Last week, we had some AMAZINGLY warm and sunny weather, after a few days of rain storms. On Sunday afternoon, the stream in  our front yard was flowing and Luna was itching to get as muddy as possible.

playing in the creek toddler playing in the creek

It all began as I was working in our flower beds. Luna wanted to “help” by stomping in every puddle she could find and Husband wanted to help by walking her down to the stream that runs through our front yard.

playing in the creek with daddy

creek playing

It very quickly turned into an afternoon of naked toddler fun. The three of us spent the afternoon splashing through puddles, wading in the stream and crossing over fallen trees. It wasn’t exactly a wild adventure, but it’s an adventure we never would have had, if not for Luna. Sure, she makes traveling (and life in general) a bit more challenging, but she also makes every day a new adventure. Adventure is everywhere, it’s just up to us to find it.

adventure is out there

Cheers.

If/Then – The Musical That You Likely Know Nothing About

Once again, I have had the pleasure of seeing yet another Broadway performance at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center.  I’ve seen so many Broadway shows in the last 5 years, yet it is never enough. They just keep popping up with more fabulous musicals (and plays) that I MUST see. If/Then is a musical that, to be honest, I knew nothing about, but was dying to see for the sole purpose that Idina Menzel was playing the lead. Of course, by the time If/Then made it’s stop in Nashville, Idina was no longer in the show, but I was intrigued nonetheless… if she chose to do the show in the first place it can’t be bad! So, this week, I got a sitter, drove to TPAC, met up with one of my favorite Aunts, parused the playbill and prepared myself for a show I knew very VERY little about.

If/Then the musical

Let me give you a quick synopsis, and I’ll try not to give any spoilers. It is about a 38-year-old divorcee, Elizabeth, who moves to New York to start fresh, possibly a new career or even a new flame. The show begins with Elizabeth saying something along the lines of…”What if I never met you. What if I hadn’t gone to the park that day? What If it was a day later, an hour later? What If I hadn’t stopped to listen to that man playing the guitar? etc etc”. We are then taken back to that time, the time where she is in the park, Madison Square Park, to be exact. She is meeting up with two different friends and has the option to go with one or the other. The show then takes us down both roads. One that ends up being more career oriented and one more relationship oriented, but both intertwined. (Think Sliding Doors). The show is constantly switching between her parallel lives… which ends up with all of us learning exactly what “what if” would look like, had she taken one path or the other.

if/then set

A very simple interpretation of a park in NYC

I loved it. I am that person that is always questioning every move I make or have made and while I am very happy and fulfilled in my life, I still stop and wonder “what if”? Twenty minutes into the show, I found myself very invested in Elizabeth’s life and dying to know where each path would lead. Is there a right or wrong path? Will the paths intertwine? And more importantly, will they end at the same destination? It makes you think twice about your own choices and how your choices effect the paths of everyone else.

Highlights? Well, FIRST OF ALL, Idina’s replacement, Jackie Burns is phenomenal…she looks, sounds and sings exactly like Idina! I was thoroughly impressed and pleased! In fact, the whole cast was incredible. The supporting female role was played by LaChanze who won a Tony for the lead role in The Color Purple.  The show had several “LOL” moments… just imagine Idina Menzel (well, her identical twin) singing “what the fuck?” I really enjoyed the many NYC references too.  I think you’d have to be pretty familiar with the city to catch them all, and even get a few of the jokes, so I felt a little like an insider when a reference popped up. The plot itself is a highlight. I’m still thinking about it days later, which is always a good sign in my book.

Idina Menzel and Jackie Burns

Did I mention that Jackie also played Elphaba on Broadway?! She is clearly VERY talented. (Also, I totally saw her in Wicked a few years back!)

Lowlights? It is sometimes hard to keep up with the two different stories. They do a good job of giving you signs when the story-line has switched paths, but they can be easy to miss. There is no stand-out song. Don’t get me wrong, the singing and instrumentals are great, but the songs fall short when it comes to catchy belt-out-loud in your car hits that all the great musicals have. Also, there are some sad scenes. This isn’t necessarily a lowlight, but I want you to be prepared to cry. Although, there’s a good chance you aren’t quite as sensitive as I am. I cry A LOT.

If If/Then is coming to your town, see it (tour schedule here). If you are on the fence about going to see it, see it. If you have to choose between If/Then or Wicked…no question, Wicked.

As always, HUGE thank you to TPAC for having me and always hosting so many fabulous Broadway shows!

Cheers!

 

How to Have a Sucky Time at Brew at the Zoo (and my attempt at stealing beer)

Nashville Brew at the Zoo

You all must know by now, that I love the Nashville Zoo. We are there ALL the time and go to just about every event… partly because I usually get press passes, but mostly because we genuinely love our zoo and utilizing our membership. You may remember when I attended, reviewed and raved about their food and wine fest, The Sunset Safari. We LOVED it, even in the pouring rain, so obviously, we wanted to try the Brew at the Zoo too. I was a little disappointed when I learned that my Brew at the Zoo press passes were ‘designated driver’ passes, but not discouraged enough to keep from going. Who needs alcohol to have a good time? Not me!

brew at the zoo rules

I was so hoping to catch someone breaking rule #2.

Last night, as the storm clouds rolled in, yet again, I arrived the the zoo solo. (Husband was meeting me from work and running late.) I began walking around and immediately felt a little sad and awkward because every single person appeared to be either on a date or with a group of friends. I shuffled through the crowds and made my way to the first beer table thinking how nice it would be to have a drink, relax and maybe even feel a little less alone/awkward. Of course, I quickly remembered that I was not allowed to have a drink, and the giant red X’s the woman at the gate drew on my hands would certainly keep me from fooling anyone into sneaking me one. Which, BTW I was literally the only “designated driver” that had X’s drawn on her hands with a permanent marker, WTF? It’s like they knew I might plan to get a little sneaky. How rude.

looking sad at the zoo

Me…alone…sad…in the rain….and sober

What seemed like hours later, Husband arrived, and we decided to make the best of a “meh” situation.

Husband- Want to get food from one of the food trucks?

Me- Nah, standing and eating in the rain would be more tolerable with a buzz.

Husband- Ride the Soaring Eagle zipline?

Me- Okay!

Zipline- Closed due to rain. 

soaring eagle closed at the zoo

….sigh….

What’s the next best activity? The carousel! I have the “unlimited ride pass” with my membership, which means we can ride at no charge. Of course, I have to actually have my membership card with me to utilize the pass, which I did not.

can't ride carousel

Maybe next time

There were special tables set up around the zoo to hold the commemorative tasting glasses anytime you needed to set yours down. I may not have had a tasting glass, but I did have my bottle of water and I also needed to set it down from time to time. It didn’t quite fit in with the others though….like water bottle like water bottle holder, I guess.

water bottle doesn't quite fit

Can you find which object doesn’t belong?

The zoo had also set up cute little photo ops around the trails for you and your friends to take selfies and use hashtags like #MLBREWZOO and #NashvilleBrewAtTheZoo. So between two groups of tipsy twenty-something girls, I jumped in to get my own party pic.  Here’s one of my super fun photos. #sober #squadless

photo opp brew at the zoo

woohoo party

No big deal. We weren’t giving up on our brew-less brew at the zoo just yet. We decided to enjoy the animals! We got to see some flamingos, monkeys, birds and goats, but I was most excited to go visit the giraffes. The map had beer tastings and a live band listed next to the giraffe exhibit, which lead me to believe the giraffes would be there too.

They were not.

no giraffes at zoo

“Giraffes, are you there? It’s me, Hilarie.”

At this point, I decided to try a new tactic. Everyone was pretty intoxicated at this point. I assumed no one would notice if I just took a little sip of their beer, right? I mean, I’d basically be doing them a favor. They’ve had enough to drink!

Wrong. He definitely noticed and cared. Whatever happened to “sharing is caring”?

trying to steal a sip

“Please! Just one little sip!”

I was just about to give up when I came across the Alcohol Breath Testing tent. For $2 you can take a breathalyzer test AND if you guess your blood alcohol level exactly right, you win a free shirt! That’s when I knew I could turn the night around. I could DEFINITELY guess this right, and I love winning new shirts to sleep in! So, I took out my two bucks and proudly said, “I guess .000!”

Breathalyzer lady – No. You aren’t allowed to guess that.

Fail.

alcohol breath test

I really thought I could win this one.

At this point, we’d seen every booth, live music group and animal, and decided it was time to go and get dinner inside a dry restaurant with seats. BUT, before we leave, might as well grab a quick drink to-go! My plan was to grab and run, fast. I just wan’t quite fast enough.

Well, it was worth a try….

one more attempt at sneaking a beer

Oh, come on!

At the end of the night, I did get to get a drink at one table.

Water. I got water.

mad about it

Do I look like I want my photo taken?

Moral of the story? If you plan to attend Brew at the Zoo, do NOT volunteer to be the DD. Unless you are pregnant, or sober, or don’t like beer, or have a real adoration of food trucks or you’re just a REALLY good friend. I would however, recommend an Uber, some cash and an umbrella because it is most definitely going to rain!

Cheers!

My Ultimate Guide to Boston with Toddlers

boston guide with toddler

After our three-day trip to NYC we hopped in a rental car with friends and took a quick-ish road trip to Boston. Husband and his best friend had tickets to PAX East  (the Penny Arcade Expo), so  the wives and Luna planned to have a girls’ weekend exploring Boston. While, I was a little sad that Husband missed out on our Boston adventures (he was NOT even the slightest bit sad), we still managed to have a blast! I’ve never been to Boston, so I was thrilled to explore any and everywhere, but I did want to make sure it was somewhat child-centered. Every trip with a toddler is fun IF said toddler is happy. Lucky for us, Luna is a great traveler and is happy in most new places.

We started off by walking a little of the Freedom Trail, starting at the train station and heading to Faneuil Hall Marketplace for some breakfast and shopping. After stuffing our faces, we followed the little brick path (the Freedom Trail, so easy to follow!) to the Old State House and site of the infamous Boston Massacre. Now, some of you will probably roll your eyes and think I’m an inconsiderate ass (and maybe I am), but for whatever reason, we thought it would be HYSTERICAL to have Luna lie down on the site of the massacre  and take a photo.

“Luna, go lie down and pretend to go night night!”

“okay, Mama!”

It was just too easy! We got a lot of laughs and a few weird looks from passerby, totally worth it.

boston massacre

After reenacting the massacre (which is kind of educational, right?), we were on the hunt for Mother Goose’s burial site. First stop was King’s Chapel Burying Ground. It’s Boston’s first proper cemetery, but no Mother Goose. Next was Granary Burying Ground   Here we found Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, John Hancock AND Mary Goose (AKA Mother Goose), who is likely NOT the Mother Goose, but there’s a little chance so we’ll just go with it.  After the cemeteries, we headed to the beautiful parks…the Boston Common and the Boston Public Garden. These parks were in full bloom and gorgeous. Luna played on one of the playgrounds, we all had some frozen treats and took a relaxing and inexpensive ride on the swan boats.

public garden swan boats

Day 2 was Harvard Day!!!! My only goal this day was to walk around campus and pretend to be the Gilmore Girls. I did google a few “must-do’s” to check off our list…

#1 Walk through the Harvard gates. Namely, the one that says, “Enter to grow in wisdom” at the top as you enter, and “Depart To Serve better Thy Country and Mankind” as you exit.

Harvard gates

#2 Rub John Harvard’s left shoe. There is a mistaken belief  that Harvard students do this as tradition, but it’s really just tourists. John Harvard is just one of the founders of Harvard University and this statue isn’t even a replica of him because no one knows what he actually looked like!

john harvard's toe

#3 Visit the Coop, Harvard’s largest campus store. We just happened to get there right as children’s hour was starting. It was Passover weekend, so they read a couple of books about Passover and did an arts and crafts project. They even provided snacks and drinks! It was perfect for all of us. We bought books, perused the merchandise section and even had some coffee.

the coop harvard

#4 Check out the world’s only Curious George store! Luna’s latest obsession is Curious George, so how perfect is it that the only store IN THE WORLD is located right across the street from the Coop??? It was adorable and I clearly had to get Luna plush George, which she immediately used to jump in a muddy puddle and then lost the next day… And, because I’m a sucker, I ordered a new one immediately from Amazon Prime. #worthit

curious george

We had lunch together at Pinocchio’s Pizza and Subs because we heard it was old and famous. It was fine, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to experience it.

Pinocchio's pizza boston

We left Cambridge with enough time to get to and tour the Isabella Steward Gardener Museum back in Boston. This museum is somewhat toddler friendly. You can roam around and touch many things. It’s beautiful, interesting and has a really nice garden, but there’s also several things you are not allowed to touch. If you have a toddler, then you know they do not exactly understand “you can touch this, but NOT that”. Overall, it was still worth it to take Luna.

"Excuse me mam, but she is not actually allowed to climb on that."

“Excuse me mam, but she is not actually allowed to climb on that.”

That evening, after a long walk through the city, we found ourselves at the New England Aquarium. It was closing time, and we had no intention of going in, so we just visited the seals outside for FREE. They swam and flipped all of their tank for us and seemed especially attracted to Luna, but who isn’t?

boston aquarium seals

The final day, well half-day, was split between the Boston Children’s Museum and shopping (yay nap time!) The Children’s Museum is phenomenal! Luna loved the music show, the interactive exhibits, the bazillion objects to play with all over the museum, the indoor splash pad and best of all…the bubble room. They had an entire room dedicated to making bubbles. you could make bubbles of all shapes and sizes, which is basically heaven for toddlers. At least it is until they splash it all in their eyes and it turns out not to be “tear-free” soap. Yeah…guess who ended up having to shove their two-year old’s head under a faucet and force her to run water into her open eyes? Talk about making memories.

In all seriousness, we really did love the museum. I’d go back in a hear-beat…and skip the bubble room.

Boston

Boston turned out to be a fantastic getaway for me and Luna and our friend. Have you visited Boston with your kids? I’d love to hear what I’m missing from my list!

Cheers!

My Adventures with Zelda

Legends of Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses came to Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center last night.  A group of us went to celebrate a friend’s birthday.

I know what you are all thinking… OF COURSE, Hilarie, of all people, went to see Legends of Zelda at they symphony! Duh! Well, if you are thinking that you clearly do not read my blog. I have zero interest in video games. Unless it involves something cool, like learning to use the Wii, or virtual reality games, or shopping for my Husband’s birthday gifts. Even then, it only holds my interest for a max of 7 minutes. However, when I am invited to a birthday event, I attend. Likewise, when I am invited to the Symphony, I show up. Even more so, when I am invited to an event that calls for a themed outfit, I deliver.

Zelda Nashville Symphony

Before last night’s symphony, my friend, Bella, and I googled “Zelda” and saw this image…

Zelda Link

Easy enough. We put together green dresses, brown boots, brown belts and voila!

Zelda at Symphony

Sorry, best pic I got!

I met up with Husband before the show and this conversation happened…

Husband: Aww, you look cute!

Me: Thanks, I’m afraid my look came out more “Nashville tourist” than “Zelda”.

Husband: No, you look like Zelda! I mean, you look like Link, but you know what I mean.

Me: Who’s Link?

Husband: …the character you are dressed as…?

Me: No. I’m dressed like Zelda. I googled it.

Husband: No. The little green elf is Link, the main character.

Me: The main character isn’t Zelda?!

Husband: No, Zelda is the princess.

Me: There’s a princess and I dressed like an elf?!

Husband: You’re going to get us  kicked out.

legends of zelda at the symphony

For the record, we didn’t get kicked out.  Even more surprisingly, I LOVED the show. The fact that we had box seats definitely made the experience more exciting and glamorous, but the show itself was great! They played video game clips on a huge screen while the orchestra and chorus played and sang the music from one of the world’s most famous video games. I may have not known the songs, but I did enjoy them.

box seats at the symphony

Three drinks didn’t hurt either.

Cheers!

 

A New York Memory

nyc memories

You KNOW I couldn’t have just one New York post, right? After four days in the city, we made too many memories to not share a few.

swings in Central Park

Luna managed to spot every playground within a 50 foot radius of her, which meant we spent about 85% of our trip pushing her on swings.  At one point, I had to answer a phone call, but when I hung up, I just sat and watched Husband and Luna play for a while. While living in New York, we would talk about how fun it would be to raise a kid in the city, take them to Central Park and and grow up as a city kid. We ended up choosing the country life, but for a brief moment, I was able to imagine what life may have been like, had we made a different choice.

macaroons from Laduree

We walked between 10 and 15 miles everyday we were in NYC, and we made up for all that exercise by stopping and treating ourselves every chance we got. One of the best spots for dessert is Laduree. Nothing like a little Parisian snack break…especially while Luna was napping.

toddler subway ride

Luna was OBSESSED with every form of public transportation, especially the trains. On one train, she decided to make friends with a woman who was on her way home from work as a pediatric nurse. Luna climbed out of her stroller and set next to the complete stranger and talked to her like they were old friends. In fact, Luna made a new friend every time we got on the train.

victory garden ice cream

The morning of our last day, I climbed in bed with Luna and asked her what she wanted to do for her last day in New York. She looked right at me and said, “Ummm, I want eggs and ice cream!” Easy enough. We had eggs for breakfast and as promised, we stopped for ice cream that afternoon. Unfortunately, she was sleeping when we got to Victory Garden. A friend of mine had recently told me about the all-goat’s-milk soft serve ice cream parlor and I just had to try it. (No lactose and it was REALLY REALLY delicious BTW!)

toddler ice cream

Of course, by the time Luna woke up, the ice cream was gone and I felt a little guilty. I decided to get her an ice cream cone at the closest ice cream truck and asked for small cone… this is what I got. Luna was beyond thrilled. Husband was not.

toddler at the MET

At the MET, Luna insisted on walking as opposed to riding in her stroller. It’s slightly nerve racking to walk around one of the world’s most famous museums with your toddler. The phrase “that’s not for touching, only looking!” was used about 587 times. The best part was when we entered the section of European Statues and Luna pointed to every giant naked man statue and said, “That’s Uncy Dick!”. We made sure to send a video to our friend Derek, AKA “Uncy Dick”.

double fisting toddler

We took Luna to Alice’s Tea Cup for brunch one day, which is adorable, but Luna was too young to appreciate it. However, she did enjoy her pb&j with her milk AND water, which she decided to drink at the same time. It looked disgusting, but we let her because what was it hurting? That is until, we saw that the milk was going in her mouth through one straw and out her mouth through the other straw, mixing the water and milk together. It was repulsive. So, like any other good parent, we immortalized it with a photo. Cheese!

NYC, you never disappoint! Can’t wait until the next visit!

Cheers

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