Roadtrips

In Vegas, we selfie

So as you know, we just got back from 3 fabulous days in Las Vegas. This trip has been booked for months and I’ve been plotting & planning our agenda for just about as long. Most importantly, what we would eat. And then, what we would do. Ziplining down Fremont Street, tour of Hoover Dam, take in a show, hit da Club

Yeah, we did none of that.

We did lots of walking & exploring (avg 22k steps a day!), lounged by the pool, ate really good food and went to bed by 9:30. Wild ones, I’ll tell ya.

Oh, and we selfied. We/I took so many selfies. But we didn’t feel weird about it at all. It’s all people do in Vegas.

The selfies started on the plane. The guy next to me fell asleep…I’ve blurred his face to protect his identity.

And then I snapped this awesome one in bathroom of our hotel.  It’s a keeper.  Isn’t my jacket super cute?

But I didn’t really feel like handing my phone over to strangers to snap pics of us. And I’m getting pretty good at the art of Selfie-ing. So I just went with it.

Here are some of my favorites. We used the selfie STICK for this one.

Me in front of a fountain.

We snapped a couple pics in front of this fountain, but I don’t know where it was.

I actually don’t know where we were in most of the pics I took. I’m guessing we’re on one of the pedestrian walk ways here.

I was at Starbucks in this one! Thank you Instagram stories.  A very artsy shot, no?

Me at the Luxor! I don’t think I even played this slot machine.

Lounging by the pool

And having breakfast at Toms Urban.

It was only 59 degrees apparently.

I made Jerry pose for this one. He’s a good sport.

This is probably my favorite one. We’re so cute.

And that about wraps up my photos from our trip!! It was really good to get away for a few days. The Beans were in good hands with my Dad & Anna and Jarrad’s parents. We missed them terribly but got some much needed rest. Thank you Las Vegas! And thank you Grandparents.

 

Roadtrips

We ate our way through Las Vegas

And it was damn good!

So a little backstory on this trip. We bought plane tickets on Southwest to visit Jarrad’s parents in Florida. Two days after purchase, they sold their house and started preparing to move back to Pittsburgh. So we had these ticket to use on a fun little getaway. I wanted a destination with a direct flight and a mix of relaxing & sightseeing. Jerry suggested Las Vegas and was a bit skeptical…I’m not really a gambler and my partying days are way behind me. But I’ve talked to enough people to know that blackjack and nightclubs are just a small part of the Vegas experience. So i said “Let’s do it!

It’s no secret that Jerry and I love food. I don’t consider us “foodies” by any means…we are definitely not adventurous eaters. We love seafood and most vegetables. But we like typical cuts of typical proteins prepared in typical ways. Give me a gorgeous filet but hold the bone marrow. I’ll pass on the duck breast but devour your perfectly prepared chicken breast. We prefer sushi rolls over sashimi (hold the eel) and draw the line at anything tongue, cheek or brain.

I immediately started seeking out the best restaurants. Not too fancy, not too pricey and not too far from our hotel. They weren’t hard to find. Here’s where we went:

First stop…Mesa Grill. I love me some Bobby Flay and I love me some burgers.

Jerry got the Mesa burger and I got the Green Chile burger.  All I can say is WOW! It was one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. Perfectly prepared with a creamy queso and roasted chiles. The bun was so fresh and light and the pickled onions had such great flavor. So good!

There was a spice on the fries that I didn’t love. But I ate them anyway.

For dinner, we went to Jose Andres’ restaurant, China Poblano where I failed to take any pictures (rookie mistake). But we loved everything we had.

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Queso Fundido to start (give me all the CHEESE). Jerry and I each had a taco…pork for him, shrimp for me. And at the waiters recommendation, the XO Rice Noodle (A traditional Chinese comfort dish, rolls of rice noodle are tossed with house-made XO sauce, sautéed shrimp & egg). These noodles were unlike anything I’d ever eaten. They were more like gnocchi than noodly but the flavor. Oh my. It was out of this world.

We had breakfast the next morning at Tom’s Urban Legend at New York, New York. It had outside seating that was awesome for people watching. And the breakfasts were so good, we ate there the next day too!

Day one eats: The Beach Bum omelet (lots of veggies & cheese) with the most amazing hash browns

Day two: Huevos Benedicto (a ridiculously good Benedict of carnitas, peppers, cheese and roasted chile hollandaise sauce) and cheddar polenta grits)

We originally had dinner reservations at Tao for Monday night but our spot-on waiter at China Poblano recommended Sushi Samba at the Venetian. I wish I could go back and give him a big ole kiss because it will go down as one of the best meals I’ve ever had.

When we arrived, our waiter told us about the Chef’s tasting menu. You give him a price point, tell him your likes/dislikes/allergies/aversions and the chef prepares several courses based on your preferences. As we weren’t going to any shows or big excursions, Jerry and I decided to blow our budget on this meal and told the waiter to Bring. It. On.

Did he ever…

ROCK SHRIMP TEMPURA to start. (golden pea shoot, snap pea julienne, 18 spicy mayonnaise, green peas, black truffle dressing)

CRISPY TAQUITOS with Yellowtail served with spicy aji panca sauce, fresh lime, yuzu aji

Roasted Sea Bass

Filet Mignon

Sushi Rolls: LIMA shrimp tempura, spicy king crab, avocado & NEO TOKYO* bigeye tuna, tempura flake, aji panca

And the highlight of the entire meal…the Japanese Wagyu. The stone is heated to 700 degrees and you sear the thin slices of beef for 4-5 seconds per side.  Served with several dipping sauces and salts. The beef literally melted in your mouth. The flavor was so tremendous.

We are ruined for all other beef forever.

Our final meal was at Scott Conant’s D.O.C.G Enoteca. We shared a sausage and pepper pizza

and spaghetti & meatballs. I knew the pasta would be amazing because…Scott Conant. It didn’t disappoint.

Insanely good.

Our final meal was at the Le Cafe in our hotel (we stayed at Paris). I had the ham & cheese croissant sandwich with roasted fingerlings. Can’t you just taste the butter? So much butter…

And that’s not a bad thing.

Roadtrips, Weekend

Girls trip to Hershey 2017

3 years ago, Amy & I started a little tradition that I’m so happy we’ve continued. Girls weekend in Hershey!

I left at noon on Friday and made it to the Chocolate Capital of the World by 4. The trip is 3.5 hours but ya know…pee breaks.

We met up at the hotel (the very posh Super 8), talked non stop for 2 hours and then left for dinner at Harvest in the Hotel Hershey.

I fell in love with their burger all over again.

We went back to the room and were asleep by 9:00. Two party animals, I tell ya! I slept until 7:00 and it was heaven.

Saturday morning was spa day! Our appointments weren’t until 3:30 so we had a light breakfast and then hit the Tanger Outlets for some retail therapy. After
a yummy Buffalo Chicken Salad at houlihan’s (which I just read it the 3rd unhealthiest salad at any restaurant chain…ooops) we checked in to the Spa.

They give you these super comfy robes and lead you on a quick tour before directing you to one of their waiting rooms.

Bahahahahaaaaa! As if…

I am not a fan of being quiet.

I seriously had the best pedicure of my life.  It was the “Cuban” and you get a mojito sugar scrub and lime moisture cream plus a stellar foot and leg massage. Amy made fun of my color choice as I’m exceptionally predictable. What can I say…I like classic.

We took hot showers and lounged around for a while before deciding to veg out with a pizza and TV back in the room. We housed this entire thing…in our defense, it was only a 6 cut. And covered in veggies so it was basically a salad.

We watched How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days before falling into a deep sleep.

Amy and I have been friends for almost THIRTY YEARS! I can’t wait to see her again when she visits Pittsburgh in July. xoxo love you AT.

Roadtrips, Weekend

Going back to college

A couple of months ago, my dear friend Amy sent a Facebook message to our little group of college friends saying “Hey everybody! Wanna meet up at Homecoming this year LOL?”. I don’t believe she was 100% serious but the OMGhellyeah!s starting pour in. Within a day or two we had commitments from 10+ girls saying they would love to get together. My friend Jen G/B checked hotel availability and whatdoyaknow…we found one with a bunch of rooms!

It was kind of effortless how this thing all came together. And amazing. I hadn’t seen a lot of these ladies since my wedding. And some I hadn’t seen for much longer. Of course, a few dropped out last minute and a few couldn’t make it. But overall, the turnout was fabulous!

For those of you new to the party, I went to Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). Which, in the late 80s, was voted the #1 party school in the country by Playboy. Side note: Jerry also went to IUP but he was a couple of years younger than me. We had a lot of the same friends but never really met each other.

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And here are the OGs. Left to right…me, Lynn, Janine, Amy & Jenny

Amy and I met at the beach when we were 15. We were old school pen pals all through high school and decided to go to the same college…and be roomate. Janine and I went to high school together. We were friendly but not close. We really connected the first day at college when we were placed in the same dorm. Lynn was her roomate freshman year. Jenny and I met at orientation. We hit it off immediately and joked about how awful we scored in our math placement exams. We ended up in the same remedial math class our first day of freshman year and the rest is history.

The 5 of us lived together for all 4 years of college. I love these ladies more than pizza.

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And the rest of the crew…left to right. Jen D (flew in from California!), Chris (Pgh), me, Amy (Philly), Jenny (Pgh), Kristen (PA), Lynn (Philly), Dana (Ohio), front…Jen G (Philly) and Janine (Pgh).

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Years go by when we don’t see each other…but when we get together again, it’s like we’ve never been apart.

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These are my people.

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The festivities started out at the hotel when this guy brought Lynn her beer.  He’s been with us for 25 years. He just keeps getting passed from roomate to roomate. He’s our mascot.

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The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. The sun didn’t stop shining for 3 days.

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We spent a good part of our day walking around campus. It’s been almost 15 years and so much has changed!

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We stopped by one of our old off-campus houses and the current tenants invited us right in! They guys announced us as “The Moms are here!” and one of them mentioned that his Dad graduated from IUP in 1998. Which is 3 years after me.

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We stopped at our first off campus house…Lazor Brothers #7. To quote SATC “A lot of sh*t when down in this apartment. Attention must be paid…”. So many memories!

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BFFs forever…all because we suck at Math.

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And of course we had to recreate this gem from our sorority days. You should have seen us trying to get up from these steps. It was ugly. #old lady problems.

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We’re already planning our next reunion. Love you Crazy Girls to pieces! You complete me.

Fynnlee, Greyson, Roadtrips

Florida – Summer 2016

We’re back! And we need a vacation from our vacation. We packed a lot of fun into our 5 days in Florida. Wanna hear all about it? I thought you might…

So let’s talk about flying with toddlers. Hoo boy…much different than flying with babies. This was the Bean’s 5th flight, which is about 5 more than most people have by the time they are 14 years, let alone 14 months. You’d think they’d have the hang of it by now!

We exclusively fly Southwest if we can (free bags for the win!) and if the flight isn’t full, we can take our car seats on board and keep the kids strapped in. And that’s just what we did for the first leg of the trip. Greyson was my travel companion and he was pretty well behaved. I took him out of the seat for about an hour and we read books and played with stickers.

The second after we touched down in Atlanta, he fell asleep.

Jerry’s baby slept for the entire flight, of course. (Awesome earphones found on Amazon)

We let them run around a bit before we boarded the plane for Atlanta. Fynnlee tried to make friends with everyone at our gate.

It was a full flight so the kids were lap passengers. Jerry and Greyson watched Mickey Mouse for most of the flight to Ft. Myers.

And Fynnlee and I ate snacks, read books, watched some Mickey and played with toys.

Then with about 20 minutes left in our flight, things went horribly wrong. My first problem was picking a window seat. What was I thinking???? The poor guy in the middle seat was about 6’5″ and we had no room. But he was so nice…putting up with Fynnlee touching him with sticky fingers and hitting him with her book. As we started our descent, the cabin pressure dropped and I’m guessing Fynnlee’s ears started hurting. Because she screamed. Non-stop. For 20 minutes. SCREAMED! She wouldn’t eat, she wouldn’t drink, she wouldn’t take her pacifier. She wouldn’t do anything but scream and thrash around. Besides her ears, it was really hot…we were cramped…and she was basically just over it. I felt so bad for her because I know how bad airplane ears hurt.

Lots of dirty looks as we got off the plane (which…who cares. I’ll never see those people again).

Grandma picked us up from the airport and we went straight to the pool! Which, conveniently, is at their house.

These kids are fearless around water. The concept of falling in the pool is lost on both of them so we had to watch them like hawks. Oh and Greyson is full on walking now. He decided Florida would be a great place to start being super mobile.

Fynnlee loved this little bucket.

It’s like a mini bathtub.

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We spent a couple of days at the community pool. They have an awesome kid area with water at a max 1.5-2 feet.

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Grandma is pretty brilliant to bring bath toys along.

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Captain Adorable.

This one is very busy.

And Greyson is already picking up chicks.

We spent a day 1/2 hour at the beach.

She spent the majority of time on this towel playing with seashells.

And he slept.

We tried to get a family picture but as you can see, they/Fynnlee…not a huge fan of the beach (yet). She screams. He snacks.

There was a lot of snacking on this trip. They love to pull out fistfulls of Cheerios and shove 1/2 of them in their mouth. The other half are on the floor.

Grandma & Papa will be finding Cheerios for months.

We had lunch al fresco

And feasted on Grandmas famous meatballs.

Double bibs required for red sauce.

We took a fun trip to the Outlet mall, where there was more snacking inside this fun “stroller”.

The mall has a playland for kids under 3 and the Beans had a blast!

I’m on a boat!

I’m on a crocodile. 

Jerry, Aunt Stephanie & I snuck out one night for dinner on the water. We left the kids in Papa’s capable hands (Daniel Tiger & Grandma supervised)

We had a fabulous dinner and caught an amazing Florida sunset.  Awesome selfie, eh?

It was a glorious 5 days and we miss the Sunshine State and our family already.

Back to life. Back to reality.

Roadtrips

Traveling with Twins

When the Beans were 2 months old, we flew to Florida to visit Grandma and Poppa. We had a direct flight, albeit a 3+ hour one and were able to keep the babies in their car seats for the entire flight on the way down. At that age, they already slept a lot and it was really a piece of cake. I didn’t really take many notes as it all was pretty uneventful.

But this trip was a bit more complex so I wanted to document it for my brain. And for anyone else attempting to fly with 8 month old twins!

Our Travel scenario: 12/22 Pittsburgh to Providence. Southwest Airlines. Depart 6:00p land BWI @ 7:15p (1.5 hour layover) Depart 8:45p land Providence 10p.

We got to the airport at 3:30p. Jerry and I would rather be way early than run to the gate and being that it was holiday travel time, who knows what the airport might be like. Jerry dropped me off at the ticket counter with the luggage while he took the Beans to park.

Southwest lets you check two items for free and we took full advantage. Jerry & I had one suitcase and the Beans had one. You can check your stroller and car seats at the gate and we each carried on a diaper bag plus one larger carryon for presents and a tote bag for extra baby stuff should our luggage get lost.

Southwest is really fabulous to deal with. They let me check our luggage without Jerry being present. And as I had both birth certificates, they let me check both kids in as lap passengers. By the time Jerry arrived at the terminal, I had everything ready to go.

But first…coffee. Always.

Let’s do this!

The line for TSA screening was really long. But Pittsburgh is super awesome and the TSA agents must have been in the holiday spirit because they directed our caravan to the Preferred/First Class passenger line. Which had like, 3 people in it. We breezed right through, only stopping to answer a few questions (Yes, they’re twins. No, they’re not identical. Yep, a boy and a girl. You’re right, we sure did plan that well…). Between the baby stuff and our billion bags of junk, we basically took up the entire screening counter. The security check is a pain but we got there early and the babes were in good moods so it was really no big deal.

When we got to our gate, we found out the first leg wasn’t full so we could bring the car seats on the plane. Awesome. Then it was helmets off and time to eat.  Pouches are so nice for travel and I brought spoons, bibs and bowls with me. Cuz I’m a crazy person. But it worked out great.

The kids played a bit and then it was time to board. Southwest lets families board between the A & B groups so even though we were checked in as B16 & 17, we got to board pretty early.

I ended up with an entire row for Greyson and I and Jerry & Fynn had their own row as well. Two babies cannot be in the same section of seats due to the limited oxygen masks but we sat across from each other.

Greyson slept the entire flight.

So did Fynnlee. And she continued to sleep through the layover. Once we arrived at BWI, we fed Greyson his bottle and just let her crash until it was time to board. This flight was full so we had to take them out of the car seats and hold them in our laps. Fortunately we met up with Aunt Stephanie so Fynnlee got to sprawl out for most of the flight.

She woke mid flight and we fed her a bottle. She was a little fussy until we landed but it wasn’t omgscreamingbaby fussy so it was ok.

Oh, and here’s some more pictures of them in the airport because they’re super cute.

We asked for cribs in our hotel rooms and they provided pack n plays. Which would be fine except my kids have never slept in a pack n play before. And, that 1/2 inch of foam that masquerades as a “mattress” in those things is horrible. So I requested 2 blankets to make it a little more cushy. I was pretty shocked that they slept just fine in them for the duration of the trip. As long as we had our magic white noise going, all was good in our world.

They also napped in them when we were at Jerry’s Grandma’s house (we were able to borrow 2 extra from a family friend but they are portable and we could have schlepped them back and forth if we had to). Again, white noise is essential.

Our hotel room was pretty cramped. But we made it work. Thankfully we’re weren’t in it much.

We put a blanket on the floor and made a baby playground for them when we were in the room, getting ready for the day.

We brought several of their favorite toys from home. I also bought two new toys for the plane ride just in case we needed some distractions. They like things that light up and sing loudly so the other passengers on the plane loved us. Hey, it’s better than omgscreamingbaby!

The flights home weren’t much different. Except our flight out was 7:00 am. And Providence isn’t as awesome as Pittsburgh and we had to wait for about 20 minutes to get through security. But we made it just fine. Jerry had Fynnlee (who slept) for the first leg and I had Greyson (who didn’t sleep). And Jerry had Greyson (who slept) for the second leg and I had Fynnlee (who didn’t sleep). Naturally.

Fynnlee, Greyson, Roadtrips

Christmas in Rhode Island 2015

Our first Christmas with these beautiful, amazing babes. Wow…it was a good one!

Most of Jerry’s family lives in Rhode Island and those who don’t, traveled to the Ocean State this year for the Holidays. We all congregated at GG’s house for 3 days filled with family fun!

Greyson was so happy to see his Poppa again!

Grandma and Fynnlee had some deep conversations about jingle bells. They are so much fun!!!

There was extra lovin from Aunt Steph

And new cousins to meet. Fynnlee turned on the charm for L.J.

And got fashion tips from the always stylish Carmela

Meanwhile, Greyson had a heart to heart with Kaitlin about why boy babies are so cool. She’s due with her first son in May!!

We made a special trip to see Aunt Bette (who is also Jerry’s godmother) and look what Santa brought to her house!

Indian Headdress, tom-tom drums and a (rubber) hatchet!  Gah! The cutest little Indian Chiefs that ever existed.

We were able to get some loaner high chairs from Rhode Island friends and they were so helpful to keep the babies corralled. And made feeding time easy.

Jingle Jingle Jingle…

Carmela lent us this little activity jumper…and it was a huge hit.

Oh don’t mind my giant babies standing up, playing with all the fun stuff. Stop. Growing.

My Beans were such rockstars the whole trip. I am so proud of this handsome little guy.

And this little sweet pea.

They took meeting all the new people in stride. We passed them around from relative to new relative and they just went with it. They get their “go with the flow” attitude from their Father.

Oh my goodness…they got so many presents! Books and toys and clothes and blocks and tissue paper…

And the aforementioned jingle bells. So much jingling on this trip.

And Babyators! Coolest kids ever.

And the greatest gift of all? The Beans had a sleepover at GG’s house and Jerry and I slept for 11 hours straight!

We sure know how to party.

Merry Christmas to all…and to all a good night(‘s sleep!)