Monday, May 31, 2010

National Aquarium -- Hidden Kid Treasure

Summer is kicking off with Memorial Day weekend, and for fellow-moms in need of something to do in the area, I'm going to start blogging my favorites. First stop: The National Aquarium. When the Baltimore Aquarium gets all the attention, who even knew there was a National Aquarium one block away from the Monument? Surprisingly, it has some great fish to see. They have sharks, jellyfish, sea horses, sea turtles and so much more. My favorite was the lion fish. Isn't this a stunning fish?

They've got freshwater fish, marine fish, and reptiles.
They had alligators too! Caelan's favorite was the seahorse.

Price of the Baltimore Aquarium $29.95 per adult; National Aquarium $9.00 per adult! Micah was $4 (kids ages 3-11) and Caelan was free. If you have young kids and live in Northern Virginia, you are totally getting a bang for your buck. Plus, you're in the car only 35 minutes! For parking, before 10 AM, you can drive straight up and park on Constitution (between 14 & 15th) and you will have no problems! So much better to drive direct than park, pay, and wait for the Metro, especially when you can nap the kids on the way home, if you need to.

For lunch, you can walk two blocks to Pennsylvania Ave and turn right to the food court at the Post Office Pavilion. For free (well, technically your tax dollars pay for it) you can go up to ring the clock tower and get some of the best views of the city.

I like to travel with kids high speed low drag, which means all we pack is two juice boxes, a diaper, and a change of underpants and shorts for Micah (in case we can't find the potty in time). If you have ten extra minutes, find a small cooler and pack a lunch -it'll save you $1o for the kid's lunch. It's worth it, because they offer Sushi, Indian, Greek, which was DELISH for mom and dad -- but the kids chose a hot dog from the deli, that wasn't even good.

It's cool to see the history of the buildings you sit in.
Here's what the Old Post Office used to look like.

It was a great day. You can skip lunch in the Pavilion, and just do a nice walk to the National Gallery of Art Sculpture and have lunch there. My favorite thing Micah said when I showed him some of the art pieces in the lawn, he said, "Why do they call that art?" I laughed, and told him that was a good question! So we went to see the fountains instead--much more exciting to see water being shot out from every direction!

By the way, my camera broke so for a little while, until I can get a new one...I'll have to come up with creative pictures to blog so that you're seeing what I'm seeing. Hope you decide to make this fun half-day trip. It was a lot of fun!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

From the Mouth of Babes

Caelan has changed so much in the last month. After we got back from Mexico, it was like he was suddenly older. He was more interactive, playful...and talkative!

He had talking hands since he was 6 months old...which was sooner than Micah could sign. So, we were worrisome at 17 months, Micah was firing off two-word sentences, and Caelan didn't utter a single recognizable word except for "Mama". Caelan took his time and it was clear that even though he didn't get the words out, his ability to understand what we were saying was astounding.

I would spend a lot of time asking him questions even though I never got a reply. "Caelan, do you want milk (holding up the carton) or juice (holding up the container)? He would point, and then I'd say, "Okay, let's get a sippy cup. Can you say "Sippy cup?" And on, and on our day would go teaching meanings to words, and explaining the world. Caelan loved the repetition as we're driving in the car, and I'd say, "Look at that truck. Truck. Truck." Three times over. He smiled because he would get it. He knew what a truck was. And it delighted him.

Now at 19 months, he says quite a few words and makes animal sounds, but his favorite word--hands down-- is "NO!", which is usually followed by rapid-fire gibberish emphasizing his strong dislike of whatever it is he objected to. He is extremely polite always saying "Thank you" when he's received something, without mommy prompting him, and he will continue to repeat "Thank you" until the giver has said "You're welcome". It's pretty funny, actually.

I crack up when I hear him saying "Hello?" when he pretends to pick up the phone, and when he yells "Boo!" when he comes around the corner to my office. Of course, I scream and he screams and he laughs his head off. He runs around the house making shooting noises or monster growls, both of which his brother and I have to run away scared. Again, he laughs his head off showing all his teeth and both dimples. Ahhhhh [huge exhale] this is just too much fun.

Monday, May 24, 2010

They Said I Do

It's official, they're married. The wedding turned out perfect. The bride said to me at the end of the evening that it was everything she wanted. And you know what? As a planner, that's everything I wanted.

So, praise God to a huge success. It went off without a hitch! Here are some professional pictures of the occasion. I also created a slide show of my personal pictures.

It was a large wedding.
Final count: 162 guests attending

The bride was nothing less than stunning.

Jeff totally scored with this one.

Our small group family in our usual antics. Susan is about to give birth during the last number of our broadway hit musical and Mr. & Mrs. Trexel are oblivious. Aahh...all is well in the world.

The reception site was gorgeous.
A very romantic first dance as man and wife.

A sparkling exit!

Here are some of my photos. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wedding Planner

One of my favorite chic flic romances is Jennifer Lopez's Wedding Planner. It shows the glamorous side of planning a wedding, but everyone who has ever done one knows that it's a lot of hard work. Five months in the making, we are preparing for a very fun nuptial THIS coming Saturday!

Meet Jeff and Kat, my clients.

So in love! They are both extraordinary people. He's the CEO of Infoition and David's Hope International, and she is a Veterinarian (who by the way, said that she'd be checking my email regarding the wedding after she's done with all her surgeries today.) Wow. Jeff has been in the same small group with Patrick for years, and their friendship is reaching the decade mark.

Kat will be joining our small group family, and Jeff has chosen well, because she is a perfect fit. So, I'll tease a little by giving you a tiny preview of the wedding. We chose black and white damask as our colors, with a splash of red. Here's the reception site in Frederick, Maryland:

Gorgeous place. And we chose a classic
3-tiered cake with a floral topper.

For the bridal bouquet - Roses with callalies.
Stunning and simply elegant - just like Kat.

I'm doing their rehearsal dinner slideshow. Just thought I'd show you the children who would grow up to call one another husband and wife. Such a cool thought. I need to be praying for Micah and Caelan's wife, like NOW.

That picture of Jeff is like awesome blackmail material. Hah! He's adorable. They both are. I'm looking forward to celebrating with them on this wonderful day. I just need to be calm and cool like Jennifer Lopez......Right?@!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day Madness

So, I had imagined this beautiful, serene, Mother's Day Celebration, kicking off with a baby dedication ceremony followed by a peaceful lunch with family, as a tribute to all the hard work I've put in as a mother. Three and half good years of service. Hah! Caelan cried the entire time he was up on stage....I'm not sure what we even said during the dedication.

He was fussy at lunch. He cried for the entire ride to see Auntie Heather's and Uncle Eric's new house. He napped for about an hour, and then started crying some more at dinner as we pretended to celebrate with my side of the family, honoring my mom. For which I have no pictures because well, I was too busy trying to console the inconsolable!

Well, I was humbled about my bad attitude on Mother's Day when I noticed today, during his early afternoon hysterics that his tongue had white spots and his hands and feet had little red dots. I rushed him to the doctor's office, and they immediately diagnosed him with Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease (HFMD). Sound serious, but it's rather not. It's a viral infection that works itself out in five days like a nasty cold. But it leaves in its wake a highly irritable, inconsolable child who has a fever, sore mouth and throat, and aches. He won't eat anything, and he doesn't sleep very much. He doesn't want to be held, but screams hysterically when I put him down.

Worse, it's contagious and now Micah is showing symptoms of a temperature too. Lord, heal my little guys quickly and bring them back to their happy, little double-dimpled, selves where they just want to wrestle me or shoot guns at me. I'll take that any day, over this! Sometimes, mothering can be very challenging. All I have to say is---thank God for Children's Tylenol. What in the world do mothers in 3rd world countries do without it?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Viva Meh-hee-co!

We booked my birthday trip since January to the Riviera Maya and it was wonderful. The resort exceeded everyone's expectations. Not to over-spiritualize things, but---the place was like seeing a small glimpse of heaven! I was getting ready to write a rave review, but I figured I should start with my blog....

First, and foremost, the time together with three couples was relaxing and meaningful. We had a lot of group time, and we also had individual couple time.

The girls had time to chat, and the guys bonded
some too. Hmhh...maybe a little too much?

We had pretty deep discussions. One of them was whether or not we committed gluttony on this trip. To know how much we ate at their four buffets and 4-course meals in the evening, you would have questioned us too. But look at this amazing food....who could resist?

At one of the dinners, Rob became part of the entertainment!

And most of our time was spent doing absolutely nothing. Unless you call going from the beach, back to the pool, back to the beach---something. And we did achieve some nice sunburns.

Patrick and I had some quality time together, which as you can imagine for parents of two young children--it meant everything for us to get away and focus first on each other.

It was also fun for me to get dressed up and smell like something different than diapers & spilled milk so whenever I could, I tried to get all dolled up. I did miss the kids some kind of awful. So while the low point on our trip was going home.... was soon replaced with another high point--seeing the boys again. The first thing we did when we got home was race to their bedrooms and see them crashed-out-asleep in their beds. We smelled them, and smiled. While we were gone for four days, little Caelan got two more teeth! I can't believe I missed it.

But I'm sorry to say as cute as they are, they don't deter me from going on another fabulous vacation. Thanks to my sweet, amazing husband for making it possible for us to do this. What an incredible birthday gift!