Thursday, August 19, 2010

Traveling Jen, A pictorial - Or, A Harried Mom's trip to NY and FL

Hi! I'm back :) I think. I'm having a hard time stepping back into reality, seeing as how I left on August 5th for Blogher and returned home on August 15th from Florida. I actually COOKED dinner tonight, if you can believe it! I also went to buy school supplies & didn't realize I'd left my wallet at home until everything was on the belt and rung up, but hey - what do you expect from a Harried Mom?

Anywho! I spent the last 45 minutes uploading pictures from my travels, because I feel really really bad that the 76 people who check in here daily haven't had anything new to read in over a week - so go fill up your coffee mug/wine glass/flask/what have you while the pictures load, and then sit down while I tell you my tale...

BlogHer 2010, August 5-8th, NYC

BlogHer was interesting. I won't say too terribly much about it, because Laura has already said pretty much all of it here. Really? I went up to meet Laura and get away from my family for a weekend. We spent 2 days taking lots of pictures of ourselves, eating (well - I ate, anyway) and walking around the city. Can I just say - I love New York? I was really freaking out about driving myself into DC to get the train - alone! - and then getting a cab to the hotel - but I managed to do it all, and I had a fabulous time. Seems like a lifetime ago already! Here's just a few pictures, and some commentary. I've discovered I take really lousy pictures with my little camera, and really need to drag the big one around. Next time!

Laura and myself at the Newbie (Nudie?) Breakfast
Tropicana sponsored breakfast, and brought Bruce Jenner! No Kardashians in sight.
The Keynotes were good, conference sessions were a yawn for a little fish like me.
Laura made a friend in Vincent the Bartender - I think he's sweet on her!
I stopped by the Harley store and grabbed a T for Matt...
We scored some swag from the BlogHer sponsors (OMG there was so much FOOD there!)

We drank some wine...this is probably the best photo I took
Laura and Sarah took me to SoHo for dinner!
and I drooled over all these desserts.

New York was a whirlwind last minute trip and I'm SO glad I went! Thank you Matt for always pushing me outside my comfort zone :) I learned that you really can find people that you connect with in BlogLand, who could possibly be lifelong friends; I also learned that there are a lot of interesting people out there with all kinds of different blogs, and more than a few moms willing to spend 2 days in a hotel at conferences with babies under 6 months of age. More power to them, I couldn't do it!

I didn't seem to manage to get to sleep before 1am while in the city, so Sunday the 8th was a long one for me - I caught the 8am train back to DC & was home by 1:30pm, just in time to do laundry and PACK for our trip to Florida! Wheeeee!

Orlando, FL August 9th-15th

We managed to get out the door by 9:20 on Monday; the plan was to stop in Savannah overnight, so the drive was pretty manageable, split over two days as it was. For anyone who hasn't done a long road trip with small kids, it is NOT as bad as you think it is. The potential is definitely there for some horror, but we've always found the kids to be pretty pleasant. Sarah did ask a million times when we were going to be there, but over all it wasn't bad. Except for the thousand potty stops.
Evie and William had a DVD player to share
Jason getting ready for a nap
My traveling buddies :)

Somewhere in South Carolina near the Georgia border we decided to stop for dinner. Looking at the nearby restaurants in the GPS, we thought Longhorn sounded like a great option! Note to anyone traveling this way, do not confuse THIS:
with THIS:
They are two COMPLETELY DIFFERENT restaurants. One has a scary salad bar, the other doesn't! One has lots of dust and dead spiders, the other doesn't! (I could go on and on...) I blame the 15 hours of sleep I'd had in the past 4 days for the fact that I actually allowed my family to eat there. Matt chalks it up to part of the traveling 'experience'. Thankfully no one got sick :)

We escaped the Long Horn from Deliverance and headed to our hotel outside of Savannah for the night, where my children attempted to lope around and jump on beds. I'd planned a tiny bit ahead and gave the girls glitter toes to keep them calm while Matt dealt with the boys. The following morning, we headed into Savannah in search of breakfast and The Bird Girl!Borrowed picture from here Check out the link for the history of the statue.

We arrived downtown and I was just enthralled with all the Spanish moss dripping from the trees, and it was a perfect, humid Southern summer morning.

While we were there I dragged Matt and the kids to two different cemeteries before realizing that the Bird girl had been donated to a museum years ago. Oh well :) At least breakfast was worth it!
William and his stack of sugar packets and jelly

The iPhone, being considerably more helpful than the front desk clerk at the hotel, led us to B. Matthews for breakfast, a highly rated eatery! The kids noshed on banana bread french toast while Matt had shrimp and grits and I had Mamey's Omelet - YUM. I will be headed back to Savannah in the future, to explore the squares and eateries sans kids - someday :)

Back on the road, I amused myself with the camera and internet while Matt drove.

We arrived at our rental house Tuesday afternoon and settled in before our trip Wednesday morning to see the Mouse. Can I just say that when we were approaching this...
I got all teary-eyed and choked up? Which is odd, because I don't perceive myself as being sentimental. But there you have it. Maybe I was crying because in the back of my mind I knew we would soon be waiting in this big crowd to get the monorail into the park:

It took us an hour to get from the parking lot to the ticket windows, onto the monorail and into Main Street. The kids didn't seem to mind though :)

And we're here!

I wish you could have heard Sarah's gasps of delight at all the sights she was seeing - that alone made the trip all worth it :) Jason was SO excited when he saw Goofy posing for pictures outside Pirates of the Caribbean!

That said - Disney with a not-quite 3 and 4 year old involves spending a lot of time snacking, using the potty, and purchasing drinks and snacks that the 3 yo won't eat, which was frustrating. Splitting up for some of the rides was also a bit of a hassle, but the Magic Kingdom is an easy place for families with young kids to be while waiting for older kids to ride a few of the more exciting rides.

So we arrived at the park at 9:08am, and we were on our way back to the van at 10:30pm. I think it's safe to say a good time was had by all! Evie and William weren't so keen on Disney before we arrived, but by the time we left they were loving on Mickey Mouse :)

Thursday we spent the day in the pool at the house, and I think we wore William out:
We had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe in downtown Disney & I think I consumed an entire week's worth of food in one sitting - loved the nachos!

This is William's angry face :)

Friday we went to Universal's Islands of Adventure and my camera battery died after taking 5 pictures - I swear I'd checked it the night before and it was fine, but I guess that's a lesson learned. I'll say this - Universal did an AMAZING job recreating the world of Harry Potter - just amazing. Unfortunately, everybody and their brother was there to see it with us. It was very crowded and difficult to maneuver around that section of the park with strollers. The shops were almost unshoppable because of all the people. I'd like to go back in 5 years and see it all again, once the novelty has worn off. The rest of the park? It's not Disney. You can smoke and drink beer, and they are not as meticulous about picking up the bits of trash on the ground and the Dr. Suess section looked like it could use a coat of fresh paint. The Magic Kingdom, in comparison, was SPOTLESS.

Saturday we spent the day at the house relaxing and enjoying our last day. My best friend from college came over to visit and we sat around the pool playing. Sarah is still asking when we'll see Miss Michelle again :)

William, emptying the pool using a noodle on the outflow jet
The big 3 playing ring around the rosy

And in the blink of an eye, it was time to come home! We drove through some pretty heavy rain Sunday afternoon, but I did spy this interesting sight:
Looks like my kind of place!

...and I spent most of the 3 hours that I drove struggling through this:
Amazingly enough, Matt and I traded out driving around 5 pm and lo and behold, the sun came out again. Figures :) That's ok though, he got to drive through rural Virginia on twisty roads at 10:30 at night when all I wanted to do was jump out of the van and run away screaming - I think 12 hours is about my max on any given day. We managed to drive straight through and sleep in our own beds that night, and Monday morning when I woke up and didn't have to get in the van to drive 5 more hours, I was very grateful - we survived!


  1. How about we meet in Savannah, or Charleston for a non-BlogHer girl trip event???? :)
    Too funny about how it rained when it was your turn to drive. When it's my turn the quiet sleeping kids always change and get rowdy and then I threaten that we are going to end up in a ditch.
    That photo of you and Laura is so fabulous!
    Glad everyone enjoyed Orlando.

  2. I'm up for a trip to Savannah! I'm up for a trip anywhere really...

    SO many thoughts here...

    1. Your pictures are GREAT...and not because I am in some of them...or because I showed you how to take them...your little camera did a great job! and yes, the wine shot is a great one. Good job.

    2. I wish I wasn't so shy around VIncent...I need to work on coming out of my shell...

    3. love the car shots of your road trip..the little bits of your life...your kids are cute, and your husband is hot...

    4. Evie is a super star...beautiful child...super pretty

    5. Universal is a pit. Agreed.

    6. Next time the Lockes do Disney you MUST take the Phelps..seriously...not even joking....

    7. You color coordinate your children's clothes, don't you???

    8. I have your hair spray

    9. I miss you

    10. no margarita shots?????

  3. I love how you dressed them all in red, I will take that into consideration when we go to busy places.

    We are planning on driving down to DW in February, but for us it's about 22 hours of driving. So we will be doing it in 2 days each way. I hope the kids are good, your post gives me hope!!

  4. It's taken me 45 minutes to read this post because I had to stop and check out Savannah and how much it would cost me to fly there and meet you for a Non BlogHer type meet up.

    I want to go there!!!!

    Love your pictures and the one of William trying to pull the sword out!

    Let's plan a trip to Savannah. I'm not even kidding...let's do it. But can we go in the fall? Is it cooler in the fall?

  5. But not THIS fall because I have to save my money.

  6. Savannah is one of my places I really want to visit. I love historical building and places. I've heard it's beautiful there year-round! The Magical Kingdom sounds...well, magical! I love the pics of all the kiddos!! I want to go to Disney in the next year or so. I've thought a Disney cruise would be fun too. I'm glad you guys had a great trip!

    Hope you've had a good week♥

  7. First, let me just say that you're lucky that Mr. Jenner was by himself. I live near L.A. and you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a Kardashian.

    Second, I love, love love the pic of Wm trying to pull the sword out of the stone!

    It looks like you had two great but very different trips! Welcome home.

  8. Looks like fun was had by all!! I certainly enjoyed following all the fun you were having on FB!!!

    I CAN'T believe you waited an HOUR to get inside the MK!!!! WOW!!


  9. I honestly don't know what I'm more jealous about. The blogher swag...the Savannah visit, or Disney.
    Okay, right now?? I really, really wanna go to Savannah. That looks gorgeous! How 'bout this? Me and you go sans kids and have fun!!! :)

  10. What great trips you had! All that swag looked so fun! Savannah looks beautiful, I would LOVE to go there one day. I visited The Mouse for the first time 5 years ago, I totally got choked up when I saw the sign & I gasped when I saw the inside & especially the castle. I have since been again & I was all sentimental again. I am such a baby! Your kids are adorable. Complete mini-me's of you & the hubs.

  11. I was wondering how Blogher was... I wanted to go, but never made it! It looks like your FL trip was FANTASTIC! The pictures were great! Welcome home!!!

  12. hmmm... just read the post about Blogher from Laura... MAybe I don't want to go?!?!

  13. Glad you had a great time!! I would love to go to a BlogHer event, when is the next one? Take care.

  14. What fun! The trip to BlogHer with Laura looked especially awesome. And Bruce Jenner up close in person.... does he look as plastic-y as he does on tv? ;)


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