There and back (part 2)


Because one weekend away just wasn’t enough, we decided to do it two weekends in a row and met up with some of Johnny’s family for the ND-Navy game in DC.  We were both pretty excited, because DC is a favorite destination for both of us.  I’m not much of a city girl in general, but there’s something about Washington that I really like (probably the Metro system).

As we usually do, we left on Friday after work.  This time, though, we were travelling on Halloween, which meant that we didn’t encounter any traffic at all.  We had been planning to stop on the way and get a cheap hotel room, but by the time we were breezing through NYC with no traffic in sight, we decided to just go all the way in one shot.  Johnny called the hotel to extend our reservation while I made my umpteenth (or really, third) bathroom stop at a gas station in New Jersey.  I couldn’t tell whether the other patrons were dressed up creepily for Halloween or just wearing their normal attire, so we got out of there quickly.


Johnny did *all* the driving on these trips.

We got in at about 1am, and slept very soundly until he wanted to wake up for Mass in the morning.  It was All Saints Day, and there are no transferred Holy Days of Obligation in this family.  We went to Saint Mary’s for Tridentine Mass, which was exactly the way he likes it: starting on time, quick, and with a great homily.  Johnny used to go there when he interned for a summer in DC, and I had been there for Mass a couple of years ago after the March for Life (photos here).  We met a friend at Mass, and afterwards walked a couple blocks to the same pub that I had been to last time I was in the area (also mentioned here).


Googly eyes on a drone. I love the Metro.

The game wasn’t until 8:00, so we spent the afternoon walking around the city, getting lunch (oh, green chili grits, I’ve been dreaming about you since), and checking out the mini-bookstore that Notre Dame had set up in a downtown hotel’s conference room.  Unsurprisingly, the setting was right in keeping with the cost of the sweatshirts.


Nowhere else but Notre Dame (even on the road).

We decided to drive to the game rather than take the Metro, which was a great idea until we got there, and there were zero signs for parking but lots of “attendants” yelling angrily at people for being in the wrong lane.  Don’t worry, though – it wasn’t stressful at all.  By the time we made it to the stadium, it was about 35 and windy (though calmer inside the bowl).  We had dressed for 50 and rainy, which I quickly discovered is a whole different ballgame.  I was quite jealous of the people next to me, who were curled up under large blankets.

The entire student body of the Naval Academy was there, and their pre-game formation was quite the sight.




Our seats were great, even if the game itself was a little frustrating.  At one point, Johnny’s dad went out for snacks and was gone for quite a while.  When he came back, he was wearing one of the foam battleship hats that the Navy Midshipmen all had.  Apparently he found a kid who was willing to give it up for $20, so he was now equipped to cheer for whoever was ahead (and given that he did serve in the Navy, we couldn’t blame him).




I’m practically a marathoner.

By the time we got back to the hotel, it was pretty late, but I still thought I felt disproportionately tired.  Sometimes I underestimate the whole pregnancy thing.  Then I checked my pedometer and realized that no, I would have been tired and blistered no matter what.

The next morning we got an extra hour of sleep, thanks to Daylight Savings Time, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so grateful.  We went back to Saint Mary’s for 9:00 Mass, which was lovely.  Bonus: Pat Buchanan and his wife were sitting just across the aisle from us (cue fangirling from Johnny)!


This weekend was the first time I had been there during the day. The windows are really stunning.

Unfortunately, the time change meant that by the time Mass was over, it felt like 11:30, which meant that I was at least 2 meals behind for the day.  I’ve never been so grateful for post-Mass coffee and doughnuts.  The community down in that basement was great, too – this Mass had the highest number of babies per capita that I’ve seen in a while (maybe ever).  We’re happy with our parish back home, but seeing this made me really miss having a more active social life within the parish.

Lunch happened at The Italian Store, and involved sandwiches that were giant and so messy as to defy photography.  Trust me, they were good.  They stocked all sorts of authentic Italian products that were really fun to see.


Christmas is coming – so many varieties of panetonne!


Shaving cream made for Italian faces. I spy a stocking stuffer.

After lunch, it was very definitely time to hit the road, so we said our goodbyes, and set out through so very many states.  The Traffic Fairies smiled on us again, and the hardest part of the drive (for Johnny, anyway) was having to listen to the 49ers lose in heartbreaking fashion on ESPN Radio.


As always, though, the company was good.  We still haven’t run out of things to talk about, although it’s possible that we’ve just been rehashing the same subjects for seven years.  One thing was new, though: for the final push through the tri-state area, we stopped at the Vince Lombardi Rest Area and got Cinnabon.  I had never gotten further than jealously sniffing it in various airports, so this was quite a treat (and definitely not something to undertake alone).  Then it was home again, home again, to unpack and unwind.



There and back…and further and back

Whew – our October of roadtripping is done.  The one of the nice things about living on the east coast is the impressive statistics you can boast with relatively little effort.  For instance, in two weekends of travelling, we crossed state borders 22 times.  On Sunday, we drove through 8 different states in 7 hours (thanks for the freebie, Delaware).Capture


There are two different trips combined on that map above – first to Philadelphia and home, then down to Arlington and back.  Despite the Google Maps app’s insistence trying to get us lost, we only missed one turn, and now we even have a decent idea of the best way to get through NYC.  Now, a quick recap:

Our first trip was down to Philly to visit Mary Liz and her family, who were in town for a conference.  We were lucky enough to stay with the incredibly hospitable parents of a college acquaintance.  They were the kind of hosts who pulled out loooooong-unused toys for the kids and baked a cheesecake one night and cookies the next.

We started our Saturday with a trip to the Reading Terminal Market, where Johnny was in food heaven.


After that, we went to Ikea (I know, so exciting and exotic).  But hey, I had a list, an empty car, and no one else had any better ideas.  My strategy for keeping Mary Liz’s Peep entertained also turned it into an efficient trip: I told him to find one arrow on the floor, stand on it, and then go find the next one.  Armed with his sheepskin duster, he kept us moving pretty quickly, and then we got to the really fun part, where he and Johnny got to run down the very long aisles in the warehouse.  Yes, Peep, it is a great store.



It was a beautiful day outside, so after our fill of Swedish vowels and cheap ice cream, we headed over to Valley Forge.  Both of the kids fell asleep on the drive over, but Johnny and I walked around a little and enjoyed the weather and the view.



Adding this to the album of photos of Johnny locked out of historic cabins.


They don’t call it the Golden Hour for nothing.


Okay, some of it was just observed from the car. It was almost dinnertime.



Oh hey, it’s…that guy.


24 week baby

The next day included a Mass at Holy Trinity Church, which was really lovely.  A Palestrina Mass setting written for the day?  Yes please.




I have to admit, this was my least favorite part of the church. It looked unfinished to me (and maybe it is).


Mass was a little later in the day and a little longer than we were expecting, so we were all ready for lunch by the time it was over.  We headed back to the Reading Market, because Johnny still had “at least 11 or 12” things he wanted to eat there.  One cheesesteak (for him) and giant burrito (also mostly for him) later, we had to leave, so we bid farewell to our friends and hit the road.



IMG_0106 Saying goodbye is hard to do.

Google Maps decided to “save” us from the George Washington Bridge, by taking us on a very scenic tour of the Meadowlands.  I don’t recommend it as a destination.

Then we were home until our next set of adventures, which will get their own post.

7 Quick Takes: Maternity clothes and getting things done


Women of the internet: I need your opinions.  I feel like my maternity wardrobe is kind of hit-or-miss, and I have a feeling that just adding a belt is not the solution to every problem.  This description of different pregnancy body types and how to dress them is really useful – I just know it! – but I can’t figure out what my type is to begin with.  I don’t think I’ll ever qualify as “small all over,” but apparently I still look the same from behind, and high vs. low is a total unknown.  Johnny defaults to “You’ve never looked prettier,” which is nice but not always the kind of evaluation I’m looking for.  I swear I’m not fishing for compliments, so help me out – big all over, small over, carrying high, or carrying low?

IMG_0045-2 - CopyIMG_0047-2 - Copy


I would just like to take a minute and say that the title of the new Star Wars movie makes me even less excited to see it than I already was.  It just sounds…boring.  Like I’m going to have to watch aging actors yawn for two hours.


This past week, my to-do list started exceeding the brain space I have available right now.  To be fair, I can only keep track of about 1 thing at a time (as long as it involves food), but it was time to outsource.


30 items later, I’ve managed to simultaneously feel like I have a handle on things, and that I’ve got a ton to do in the next little while.  Luckily, there are little things (“put laundry in dryer”) mixed in with more daunting tasks (“finish quilt” and “assemble crib”).  And better still, I shared the list with Johnny, so that he can join me in killing every Saturday for the foreseeable future.


Having made my list, I’m enjoying the satisfaction of checking things off regularly.  I just wrapped up a very big photography project and did some minor website updates (thank you, WordPress, for being so user-friendly!).  Finally, yesterday, my computer was free to get a much-needed memory upgrade.  My various projects would’ve gone better if I had done it before or during, but I didn’t want to risk a catastrophe, so I waited.  My only memory of swapping out RAM involves my dad doing it years and years ago, and as I recall, that’s the weekend I learned lots of fun new vocabulary, and the computer came out pretty much lobotomized.  Things have come a long way since then: I didn’t even have time to take a photo for posterity.  It literally took me less than 15 minutes to accomplish, start to finish, including the time it took me to get my pregnant self on the floor to disconnect all the cables.  And now my computer is so improved that I can listen to Pandora while blogging, which is a big perk.


I can’t believe how long I put off getting an Instagram account.  It’s fast becoming one of my favorite social media outlets (out of the…two I use).  It’s just so easy to post quick things on the go.  Twitter has no appeal for me, but Instagram…Instagram I can do, and have been doing, so check it out.



My swimming lessons deserve an entire post of their own – preferably one guest-written by Johnny (despite the fact that I think he may have snuck a few photos from the bleachers).  For now, I’ll just say that I have not drowned, I’m being taught by a teenager whose great goal in life is to someday get contact lenses (those were the days), and I have learned to propel myself through the water to a small degree.  Also, I’m really enjoying it.  It’s pretty much the highlight of my Monday/Wednesdays, and I was happy to realize that there’s a pool in the gym at work.  Future children: your mother isn’t totally lame!

You may think this looks dorky, but it was taken before I figured out that a nose clip also really helps.

A final observation: the combined age of the four staff members there (2 lifeguards, 2 teachers) is almost certainly less than the age of the other woman in the class with me.


Finally, we’re at 26 weeks now, or to put it more dramatically:

These days, baby’s favorite pastime is kicking the ipad off my stomach when I’m lying down.  Meanwhile, I’ve moved into “eat all the time” mode.  This morning, I shocked Johnny by telling him that I can eat a full turkey sandwich and apple for breakfast around 9, and be hungry again by 11:30.  And I don’t want to say I’m nesting, but I did stay up until after midnight last night cleaning the kitchen and bathroom.  After I finally went to bed, Johnny was brushing his teeth, and I realized urgently that I *needed* him to change the hand towel in the bathroom before he came to bed.  Whatever this mad urge is, I’ll take it.