#tripnorth2015: The Un-Vacation

Hubs and I just got back from another #tripnorth. It was supposed to be a vacation with beach time and no obligations, but as I’ve come to learn, a vacation does not include a few things that are kind of non-negotiables when it comes to our trips: 1. family obligations and 2. a toddler.

The toddler is here to stay (lucky for him! Not so lucky for my “vacation” prospects in the near future.) and family obligations usually come with the #tripnorth territory. So we’ve gotta find a happy medium here.

But regardless of those vacation “non-negotiables” for this year it wasn’t entirely family or #babyschmidt’s fault our vacation was…what I hearby deem an “un-vacation.” My new job came with a few upsides (bigger salary!) and a few  downsides … largely the lack of vacation time in the first year. Not to mention, hubs had some work obligations that also cut “vacation” short on the front end.

Over the past few months, our vacation went from: a few days on the Cape, to a Yankees game, to U2 at MSG to celebrating my father in law’s birthday to… no Cape Cod. Reselling our Baltimore/Yankees tickets. We did get to U2 (which was AMAZING – no way we were sacrificing those!) and we were a part of an amazing surprise birthday party for my Father-in-law’s 65th birthday (which so awesome to be a part of!) but there wasn’t really any beach-ing…or a lot of quiet relaxing – again…toddler. So clearly I need to modify my vacation expectations. At least until retirement when Hubs and I can vacation any damn time we want.

So here are my lessons on managing vacation expectations with a toddler.

unvacation

1. Always have a back up plan (especially in regards to food) 

CT Lobster rolls

Thursday night before the u2 show, we kicked around Eataly – grabbing a drink up on the rooftop beer garden, getting oysters on the half shell at the fish bar, and then a cheese plate – but we had planned on grabbing a pizza or some pasta at the pasta place except by the time we got around to them…there was an hour plus long wait. WHOOPS. Needless to say, we trekked up towards Madison Square Garden and found a place after a few horrible suggestions on hubs’ behalf. The place we ended up at was good, but it was expensive for what it was. And in turn, we were a little late for the show.

Subsequently, a similar mistake was made on Sunday on our mission to find Lobster Rolls – the place we had found turned out being a food truck on the side of Bridgeport Avenue – and while I’m sure it was delicious, it wasn’t exactly a toddler appropriate atmosphere…being on the side of a busy road and all…with no fences. So we ended up finding another place that was delightful.

2. Research, research, research! 

Friday night, we went to Quassy – a tiny, independent amusement park next to Hubs’s hometown in Connecticut. Kudos to hubs for finding 50 cent ticket night (and  hot dogs! Which were…just okay.) but less kudos that they had a splash park that little man would have loved. Even less kudos for buying $20 of tickets (so 40 tickets total mind you) only for E to burst into tears as soon as the first ride he went on (a little boat ride. That i almost sunk because I didn’t know it was kiddos only. No ‘rents allowed). Total parental fail. He also had a meltdown on the train ride…and the carousel.

3. Don’t over plan but don’t not plan at all either

I had some general ideas what I wanted to do on our “vacation” – go for a nice hike… go to a beach… but I’m not from Connecticut. I had no idea what the best places were to do any of these things. Hubs wasn’t super helpful in planning or researching. We went on a little hike around a pond in his hometown – which wasn’t quite as challenging as I might have liked (which, if we had brought Little Man…probably couldn’t have been super challenging anyhow). And we ended up at a beach in Milford on Sunday afternoon – it was okay. Fun to wade in since it was low tide and there were tons of tide pools with little Hermit Crabs.

4. Be active

It’s vacation! Get outdoors – find new and interesting playgrounds. Explore the beach. Go for a hike where you’ve never been before. There is nothing more refreshing and relaxing than being active on vacation. If you’re training for a race, have a plan to continue your workouts. I stuck with the sleep plan over the workout consistent plan but I did do research on spin classes…I just didn’t actually make it to any of them. Instead however, we went berry picking at a farm up in Litchfield County and that in itself was a pretty hearty workout.

5. Make the most of it

Our “vacation” certainly wasn’t perfect but it did contain a lot of something we don’t get a lot of during our usual weekly hustle: quality family time. Despite the fact that I committed to doing some work to ease the PTO I had to take. And the fact that our vacation went from nine days to five days – two of which we already had predetermined plans. We spent a lot of time together and made a lot of great memories.

Make a list – hubs and I didn’t really communicate our expectations until I had a mini-breakdown and expressed my sadness that I didn’t really feel like it was much of a vacation. Thus came our definition of vacation as time off with no predetermined obligations. Beach or not – because every vacation can’t have a beach. This also likely means that race-cations aren’t really vacations, not that I’ve ever taken one of those. Yet.

So, now it’s back to the real world. Back to triathlon training. Back to work. Back to summer here – we’re going to hopefully round off our summer bucket list and I’m going to knock out the rest of my triathlon season before diving into my race season this fall since I have a couple of fun races planned. As I don’t have much more time off between now and June 1 of next year, we’re going to take advantage of the holidays, and try to make some fun day trips and fun weekend plans over the next few months to really make the most of our time together as a family.

Have you taken an “un-vacation?” How did you make the most of it? 

 

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The Good, The Bad, And the Ugly

I made a slightly impromptu trip up north to visit family this week – my nana has recently been diagnosed with cancer and my family decided because of her late stage Alzheimers, we won’t be treating it (quality of life issues you know – since Chemo wreaks havoc as it is). It wasn’t a good-bye visit by any means, but it definitely could have been better and happier.

The Good

Seeing my Nana and Papa. Hands down, best part of the visit. Having some quality sister time Saturday afternoon after I arrived didn’t hurt either.

chicken fried rice

Nor did FINALLY getting to try my best friend’s Chicken Fried Rice (he’s half Taiwanese so this has always been a BFD) – he’s been raving about this to me for years so the fact that I finally got to try it is a pretty big deal. We’ve been friends since 9th grade – one of my oldest pals for sure, so in addition to trying his home cooking, seeing him and his fiance Michelle was a pretty impromptu bonus.

Also a good? Purchasing a winter coat. I haven’t bought one in a few years, so this was much needed. And it was sales tax free so WIN!

The Bad

Forgetting to call my brother. Not really having time to have all of the delicious Vermont food and beverages. Realizing my grandfather is becoming a little senile – hell, realizing my beloved grandparents have aged about twenty years in the past six years since I saw them dancing together and Hubs and I’s wedding – has been nothing short of heart wrenching.

Skinny Pancake BTV

Also, a 2+ hour flight delay – who knows why – weather? maybe? Either way, so many ughs. At the very least, it wasn’t ugly because the Burlington airport has one of my favorite Burlington eateries in the terminal – the Skinny Pancake. If you’re ever in Burlington, I highly recommend.

The Ugly

Seeing my Nana not remember me. She’s happy when she sees me, but she doesn’t call me by name. She doesn’t really remember me, I’m certain, but she pretends really well. I know the next visit (likely sometime in April) will be worse. I know she doesn’t have much longer because the cancer is in her liver and I can’t fathom life without her. I know I don’t have many visits left before she’ll be overcome with pain and her memory will be completely gone and the ugliest part is my lack of emotional preparedness for all of this.

In all, despite the bad and the ugly, it was a great trip north.  Too short – as they always are – but filled with so much happiness. Seeing my grandfather genuinely happy to see me, as if he was clinging on to something, some sort of normalcy, just warmed my heart and saddened it at the same time. Aging is tough yo. Aging is even tougher when your partner of over 50 years (57 to be exact) is dying.

All in all? A good trip north. Not super sad, unless I really really stop to think about life without my beloved nana, which i try not to do because it’ll break me in ways I never thought I could be. I remember when my grandfather had a stroke a few years ago – it was 2007 and I got a call from my dad and then my step mom and I just broke down. My grandparents have always been a rock for me, so thinking of them getting older, and the whole mortality thing? Yeah, that doesn’t jive well with me.

Till the next trip Vermont, until the next trip.

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Weekly Workouts & Another #tripnorth

Another weekend, another #tripnorth.

This trip was planned, not spontaneous like last weekend when I popped up to see my Papa before his triple bypass surgery.

Hubs had drill this weekend and was originally supposed to be in Florida for four days, but instead had a three day drill based at home. So, I made plans to go up to CT for a baptism, but we also celebrated my brother-in-law’s birthday in Stamford and had a nice visit with my sister in law who came out from LA.

cask republic stamford

Saturday we went to Stamford and had lunch at Cask Republic which was AMAZING. The menu constantly changes but I highly recommend the mussles, the pesto mac & cheese, the meatballs and the fries. I enjoyed an Allagash White and a Clown Shoes Clementine Witbier which was as amazing as it sounds.

Sunday was the baptism at St. Patricks in Manhattan which was beautiful. We then had a Chinese luncheon at Joes Shanghai on 56th between 5th and 6th – highly recommend! Ethan loved everything and was a super trooper – both days the events happened during his afternoon nap so

It was quite fun, excepting the ear infection Ethan caught that landed us in Urgent Care on Saturday AM after a very sleepless night on Friday night. We’re better now, but I’m dealing with a cold/allergies that’s on the brink of a sinus infection. Color me miserable.

So last weeks workouts ended up okay. I packed my running clothes in hopes of getting a run in on the treadmill but that didn’t happen this weekend given our packed schedule and my feeling like ick half the weekend.

I did fit in a walk Tuesday morning for 5.5 miles and Thursday I fit in a 4.25 mile walk and a Pure Barre class. Slackerville, I know, but it was a rough week for the most part.

This week…

Tuesday – walk
Wednesday – spinning or Pure Barre
Thursday – walk or run
Friday – Pure Barre
Saturday
– Run 4 miles
Sunday – Pure Barre

Goal mileage: 15 miles

Stay tuned for my Cherry Blossom Ten Miler training plan later this week!

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25 Days of Christmas: Christmas Tree Lighting

We knocked off a few things of my 25 things of Christmas over the past week.

One of my favorite things during the holidays when I was growing up was going to see the lights on Church Street in Burlington – I was so excited to take Adam and Ethan this past Friday when they lit the Christmas tree and all 200,000 lights adorning the trees on Church Street.

To top off the specialness of the night – it was also snowing!

Ethan was all bundled up and was super cozy in the 20 degree weather we had. I had ordered a Bundle Me by JJ Cole for our stroller per the suggestion of  a few friends of mine. I didn’t see a snow suit as a particular necessity given our infrequent visits to the great white north, so the JJ Cole fits our needs perfectly! Also the toddler size (shown) is great to get use for a couple years (or however long he hangs out in the stroller).

Thankfully we got there right before it started and left right after it was done plus we popped into many stores just to stay warm (and obviously to do some Christmas shopping…duh.) It was still so fun though – to count down and see all the lights turn on – Church Street is a beautiful, twinkling wonderland all through December and I’m so glad I got to share the experience with hubs – and baby, even though baby doesn’t appreciate it this year.

I don’t care what anyone says – Christmas tree lightings aren’t the same if it’s not 20 degrees and snowing. Just sayin’.

Do you go to your town’s Christmas tree lighting? What are some of your favorite events in your town around the holidays?

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#TripNorth awesomeness part 2: Burlington Farmers Market

{See Part 1: Long Trail Brewery}

Since we had just about two full days in Vermont, we spent Saturday with my mom’s side and Sunday with my grandparents and cousin. Saturday morning though, we took Ethan into Burlington which, has gotten a million times more awesome than it was when I lived there as a teenager.

Awesome Part #1: Skinny Pancake.

We met up with my friend Tyrel, his girlfriend and his brother for breakfast on Saturday. He suggested the Skinny Pancake which was perfect since I always love hitting up downtown B-town. I had heard of Skinny Pancake – well, seen it. It’s right next to Waterfront Park which is where the VT City Marathon ends.

skinny pancake burlington vt

Quite simply, it was amazing. Skinny Pancake is an awesome concept – they prove that you can eat good, local and healthy foods. A majority of their menu is from Vermont meats, cheeses and veggies. They buy up local veggies and fruits in the summer to sustain them through the winter – a concept I love!

skinny pancake burlington

I had the Crepe Monsieur which is VT Cheddar cheese and maple cured ham with a side of Vermont Maple Syrup. It was delicious. Adam and I also split a side of hash browns that were delightful albeit slightly overcooked.

After our delicious breakfast, we headed up to Church Street to meet up with my brother. There weren’t really any plans so we wandered around Church Street and made our way over to the Burlington Farmers Market which is MASSIVE!!! It puts every farmers market here in Annapolis to shame.

Awesome Part #2: The Farmers Market

There were so many vendors. So much awesomeness – so many veggies. I didn’t buy any – they wouldn’t have lasted the trip. Womp womp.

And wine. This is from Snow Farm Winery in South Hero, Vermont. We ended up buying a bottle of their Rose Red which was delicious. I’d love to go check out the winery on a future trip – South Hero isn’t too far from my mom’s house and is about an hour from my sisters.

I’m not usually into the whole super organic, grass-fed stuff, but really? Let’s be honest. It really is better.  I don’t need to read dozens of healthy living blogs to know that. I tried everything I could try and the all natural stuff? Really just tastes better. It’s such a better quality of food. We ended up grabbing lunch at the market, I had a falafel wrap that was delightfully satisfying, and we split a couple of dumplings that were perfectly doughy and flavorful.

Church Street, was as usual pretty incredible. We grabbed some Lake Champlain Chocolates, a cute body suit for Ethan (that was way expensive for a body suit but the girl who was working the cart designed it herself! And it was printed down the road! And it had all the different spellings for Cree-mee’s on it! If you haven’t had a New England Cree-mee then you are missing. Out. 

Then we had family time. My sister and I went for a walk in Vergennes. We drank the wine we bought. It was all good.

Stay tuned for part 3 and 4  coming up next week!

What’s your favorite farmers market find?

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#TripNorth Awesomeness: Long Trail Brewery

It’s no secret that we headed up north to my mother land of Vermont this past weekend. Hubs and I left wicked late on Thursday night after he got out of class and arrived in CT as the sun was beginning to peak out. Well, would have been if it hadn’t been overcast.

After a couple hiccups in the late morning/early afternoon, we made it up to my sister’s place in Vergennes around 8pmish and promptly after some fun hellos, put baby to bed. He travels well considering but I still try to keep him on schedule and by 8pm he was spent.

However, being it vacation for us, we didn’t want to go from point A to point B without anything fun along the way. So we had a planned pit stop at the Long Trail Brewery in Bridgewater Corners, VT.

First of all, we drove through Woodstock, and I’m pretty sure I want to live there. Open a yoga studio (after I get the certification I’ve been talking about getting for years), write, and sell baked goods at the local farmers market. Or a yoga studio/bakery combo.

We didn’t do the tour due to time constraints, but from what I’ve heard it’s a bit lackluster. It’s free though, so you can check it out or skip it. I’m of the mindset that if you’ve been on one brewery tour, you’ve seen them all. I, on the other hand, was more concerned with getting the tasting in.

I offered to drive the last 1.5 hour – 2 hour stretch after Long Trail so I only took a few sips from each of the beers on the tasting tray we got.

Long Trail tasting tray Vermont

Long Trail sampled a great variety of their seasonal beers (Harvest Ale & Pumpkin Ale), their Long Trail Ale, blackberry wheat, their IPA and the Double Bag. Adam was a big fan of their Harvest Ale – but I tend to be more of a lighter beer gal, so the blackberry wheat and the ale were my two favorites.

I loved the presentation – a muffin tray! Convenient, practical and original. I love little kitschy touches like that.

We grabbed a snack while we tasted – we knew my sister had dinner waiting but we were starving so we grabbed some nachos. I can’t really say much about their food – the nachos were delicious and hit the spot, had we had more time I probably would have gone for something else but it seemed to be mostly pub type food so really you never know what you’re going to get.

long trail brewery

I did love the patio and lawn that Long Trail had with the picnic tables and Adirondack Chairs. The lawn was right next to the Ottauqueechee River – giving a beautiful outdoorsy atmosphere to spend an afternoon with good beer and good company. The brewery itself is located just past Woodstock on Route 4 between I-89/91 and Rutland (heading West you’ll drive past Killington and Pico – loved that drive over the mountains!).

Long Trail

Ethan loved the stop, he loves the outdoors. He’s not a beer fan so he laid off the sauce – ‘natch. Adam how ever did enjoy a Vermont Mug of Harvest Ale while I sipped some H2O before getting back on the road. Naturally we left with a mixed sixer of the Belgian White and Harvest Ale. Which we then proceeded to leave at my sisters on Sunday when we left. $#!*$@!!!!

All in all, well worth the trip! If you’re in Vermont and looking for a fun stop on some back roads? I highly recommend Long Trail Brewery.

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#tripnorthing (part 1)

As I mentioned, or you may have seen over on my instagram, Ethan got baptized this weekend. We spent the fourth with Adam’s family which was absolutely lovely and relaxing. It was awesome having help with Ethan. I didn’t have to worry about putting him down really which was kind of nice because family was happy to take him if I needed a break. It was so awesome to spend time with everyone, to see friends that we haven’t seen in a long time, and to celebrate.

Here’s how our Independence Day looked…

homemade sangriaThere was Sangria. Mmmmm. So much fruitiness.

grillingAnd grilling. Lots of grilling. My in-laws just got a beautiful new patio, the only thing it was missing was chairs to actually sit out there on (they were still hibernating from winter). Next time.

fourth of july foodAnd some good food. Lots of good food. Cheeseburgers, snappers, pasta salad with tons of veggies and broccoli slaw. Noms!

old friends and babiesOld friends…and new. Hubs with one of his best pals growing up who had his first baby about three weeks after Ethan was born.

family

And Ethan got so much attention and love from his aunts and uncle in CT.

cree-mee soft serveAnd soft-serve. Lots of soft serve. Technically…in New England referred to as Cree-mee’s. Half and half with rainbow sprinkles. Deeeeeelicious.

All in all, a very successful holiday with great food, and even better company. I’ll recap Ethan’s baptism later! For now, I’ve got a walk to go on! Happy Tuesday pals!

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Happy Fourth!

We’re in Connecticut today celebrating with family before hosting Ethan’s Baptism on Saturday. Posting’ll be light around these parts til Monday but for now, enjoy a few fabulous posts around the interwebs on how to celebrate the fourth with style while staying healthy.

Happy Independence Day!

annapolis independence day

Creative Ways to Add Health to Summer: The Perfect Summer Workout {via Healthy Living Blogs}

10 Healthy fourth of July Recipes {via Greatist}

Fourth of July Favorite Stuffed Burgers {via SparkPeople}

Summer Sun Protection & the Safest Sunscreens for Kids {via HelloBee}

9 Unconventional Summer Recipes {via SkinnyMom}

99 Ways to Make This Your Best Fourth of July Ever {via Lil Sugar}

Fireworks, Anchors & Fourth of July – Oh My! {Little Baby Garvin}

And I know there’s been a lot of chat about Google Reader dying (RIP) but feel free to follow my blog on Feedly or follow my blog with Bloglovin! I’m a big fan of Feedly personally – the iPhone app keeps me entertained during many a late night feeding, but either way! Make sure you’re following on your favorite reader!

 

 

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Traveling while pregnant

Before traveling over the holidays, i had asked my doctor if it was okay to fly. I was going to be about 26-27 weeks and while everything I had read said it *should* be fine I wanted to ask. She said it would be fine, but to listen to my body above anything else.  And of course to stay hydrated. Which is par for everything pregnancy related.

Traveling by air while pregnant 

I don’t have experience with long flights – I mean, I’ve flown on a 17 hour non-stop flight from Singapore to Newark, but that was back in 2005 and I definitely was not pregnant back then. Anywhere we’d be flying to is less than a 2 hour flight away – be it Albany/Burlington, Hartford, NYC or Charleston. We flew from BWI to Hartford for the holidays since Southwest is amazing and we paid about $120 for 2 round trip tickets (Adam’s tickets we used miles).
The flight itself wasn’t bad, towards the end I definitely started to get uncomfortable. Had it been a longer flight, I probably would have gotten up to walk around or use the restroom, but the total air time was about 45 minutes. I did however – and would recommend to any flying pregnant lady the following
  • Sit in an aisle seat. I’m usually all window, all the time, but I saw the benefit of the aisle. Definitely helped when it came to stretching my legs out and made it easy to get up, walk around, and go pee if needed (I didn’t – it was a 45 minute flight).
  • Drink water – it helped with the bloating and with general staying hydrated-ness.

Traveling by car

We’re masters at long car rides – we kind of have to be when our family lives any where from a 5-10 hour drive away. This past weekend we chose to drive up to my baby shower in Connecticut which wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been.  Fun fact: we learned about baby Schmidt’s pending arrival during a car trip back from Vermont. At a Friendly’s off of I-87…that’s a story for a different blog post though.  Car trip masters right here – there’s never a dull moment on a Schmidt family road trip.
My tips…
  • Stop frequently. We stopped twice on each round of the trip which worked out – one meal and one stop to pee each time. Which really wasn’t that bad. We’ve been known to stop like…four times in one trip which never helps our ETA.
  • Bring snacks and beverages. On the way home, we were loaded up with fruit, cake, water bottles and then some to take home on our journey south.
  • Bring a pillow. My biggest complaint was by the last hour of our trip north, my back got really  uncomfortable and had I had an ice pack or a pillow to stick behind my low back, I likely would have been a lot more comfortable – reclining your seat helps but I always feel bad reclining when we have back seat passengers but also a pillow would have helped with the neck cramps I got when I eventually fell asleep.
  • Dress comfortably. This goes for both air and car travel. You don’t want to be too warm or too cold. I usually wear leggings, boots, tank and a long cardigan with a scarf. It’s comfy, I never get too warm, boots are easy to take off at security if flying, and I’m comfortable above anything else.

Most of the time I offer to help with the driving but hubs took this trip like a champ since I’m not so fond of the SUV driving-ness (we rented a larger car to go up there – which is a good thing since we barely fit everything in as it was).  But now that we’re at 31 weeks (update later!), I’ve decided that I’m done traveling. I don’t travel for work, and family can come visit us instead of vice versa but quite frankly with ~9 weekends between now and baby and at least two of those hubs will be gone for, we’re pretty much set on weekends between now and March…

Do you have any tips to traveling while with child??

Related reading

Travel during Pregnancy {via BabyCenter}
Travelling while pregnant {via Parents.com}
Traveling with kiddos (many posts!) {posts via Hellobee.com}

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Holidays

Are filled with…

family.

image via Denise Muncie Photography

love.

…and good food and sweets.

This has been one of our last #tripnorth’s before Baby Schmidt arrives on the scene in roughly 13 weeks and it has been absolutely perfect. From the drive to Vermont, stopping at the Yankee Candle Factory on Thursday heading up to Vermont, to dinner with friends downtown on Thursday night, visiting family and spending a lovely day with my mom around Burlington on Friday, seeing my grandparents and cousin on Saturday and driving home through snow on Saturday evening. Sunday was spent in Manhattan with Adam’s family at the Nutcracker followed by lots of laughter and amazing food – a generally joy filled day Yesterday was spent with more friends, a lovely mass, and baking up a storm.

All in all, the past few days have resulted in the most perfect holiday. I am however, looking forward to getting home as the to do list in regards to preparing for baby’s arrival is growing longer and longer each day, and we’ll be back north in a few weeks.

Hope your holiday has been filled with love, joy and laughter!!

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