We met my in laws at Shawnee State Park for the Easter holiday and we went to see the John Rankin House. The view looking over the Ohio River was breathtaking but we didn’t stay too long as it was raining. We also saw the John P. Parker house while there. We drove up to Serpent Mound and had a picnic lunch while there on another day. And then, we spent a day in Portsmouth walking around, checking out the Spartans Stadium, the murals on the flood wall and we had a drink at Portsmouth Brewing Company.
We rented a cabin at the Shawnee State Park resort and it was a very nice place to stay. They say it is a full stocked kitchen but I would recommend bringing knives if you are a serious cook. We cooked in for most meals but we did eat at the lodge one night and it was very good. I’d highly recommend it if you’re staying at the park. We did a little hiking around the park and I have to say, I think it would much prettier in the spring.
A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough for the stars to align for me to take a quick weekend trip to DC to see my best friend who I last saw in Detroit. I hate that we now live so far away but luckily, Southwest runs great deals between here and Reagan. Here’s a few snaps from the weekend!
I made C go for a run with me 🙂 We did 4.5 around her neighborhood and got to see Lincoln’s Cottage, St. John Paul II National Shrine and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. We then hit up brunch with her friends (apparently brunch is A Thing in DC). We spent the afternoon wandering the National Portrait Gallery and the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum. It was so cool to see Barack and Michelle Obama’s portraits and I *adore* that the line to see Michelle’s was twice as long as Barack’s 🙂
We went for a chicken dinner and then, walked thru the freezer door to a hidden whiskey bar. The boulevardiers were SO GREAT and the atmosphere was great (not too crowded) for a Saturday night.
Sunday morning brought a good old dinner breakfast before a flight home to my dudes. Such a good weekend!
Books Read: 50 books, for a total of 14,448 pages
Best in Fiction: Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Best in Non-Fiction: The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker
Best Movie: LOL What’s a movie?! We did see Star Wars: A New Hope with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra playing the sound track and that was amazing.
Best In Show: Not only did I improve on my third place showing in 2015 with a second place last year; I got that coveted blue ribbon this year. Even better – my entry was Best in Show for the whole cookie class!
Favorite Podcast: History of English, One Bad Mother
Number of Flights: 16 (for just me!)
Favorite Trip: Our family vacation to Chikaming Township and Lake Michigan. It was just so easy since we had no expectations and stayed in a house (hotels are awful with a toddler!).
This year has been a constant dumpster fire of bad news and it feels impossible to put together a cheery “look how great 2017 was!” post because the macro has been the opposite of great. I’ve started volunteering more and that feels good. Our micro is so, so good and I’m incredibly grateful for our first year in our house, for that perfect lovebug who came to live with us.
old New Hollands: 4
new New Hollands: 3
runs scored by the Minnesota Twins: 7
runs scored by the Detroit Tigers: 3
miles Driven: hundreds
acres of Ohio corn: thousands
epic road trips: 1
I went to Detroit to visit a friend for my first night away from Baby C. Being a good Midwestern girl, there are few things I love as much as gassing up my car (even if I was driving my first non-Chevy) and heading out on a ribbon of highway, buffeted on both sides by tall walls of Ohio corn. Detroit is only 3 and half hours away from where we live now in Central Ohio and it was an easy trip to do alone.
Since my friend was still working when I got into the city, I headed straight to Motor City Brewing Works for a drink and to read alone at the bar. Everything I tasted was really great – I would absolutely recommend it if you’re in the area (but, if you live in Detroit, you know what an icon Motor City is!). After meeting up with C, we went to Grand Trunk Club for supper and stopped at the Detroit Water Ice Factory on our walk up to Comerica Park to see the Detroit Tigers play the Minnesota Twins. I was beyond impressed with this ball park – it is huge, clean and well designed. Really puts Wrigley to shame, if I do say so. We walked back to the waterfront to stay in our hotel and passed through the Oktoberfest celebrations happening on Woodward Ave.
The next morning we stopped the Roasting Plant for coffee and I got my cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee and it. was. delicious. Clocking in at 72USD a pound, it is something I’ll only enjoy by the cup. We went to Dime Store for brunch and it was an amazing meal. I cannot recommend this place enough. On our way out of town, we went to the Detroit Institute of Art and saw about half the collection, namely the Rivera Courtyard. We also walked around Midtown for a bit and even stopped in the Shinola store (it is the Apple Store of watches).
Confession time: I hate the term adventuring. Just, ugh, that’s a noun – not a verb! It is only ever used to imply that time outside that is grand, unique and big is only time that counts. And frankly, that’s a heaping load.
I hiked quite a bit during our Great Smoky Mountains trip and I loved (almost) every minute of it. We didn’t summit Chimmey Tops but hiked most of the way, as well as Clingman’s Dome to Mt. Bucky, most of Cade’s Cove and several quiet walkways. While the quiet walkways are not well signed (unlike everything else in the park!), they might have been one of my favorite parts of our hiking. They are not as well used or well maintained but they are really quiet and peaceful. If you go – check out one or two!
On another note, I do have some thoughts about serious day hiking while pregnant. M did carry the bigger bag with our camera, the big backpacking first aid kit, trail lunch stuff and snacks as well as the majority of our water. But good practices mean that you never go out without some gear for yourself, so I carried my Flash 18 with a liter of water, raincoat, hat and a smaller first aid kit. Do not fasten the waist belt but don’t go out without water. Pack in your TP and pack it out (don’t be those people…pack it out!) Be OK with taking it slower than you normally do – especially at altitude.
I walk outside, on a greenway path, for just 30 minutes a day – nearly every day. I’ve watched the trees change from vibrant jewel tones, to bare and 15 shades of brown and gray and then spring back to life. I’ve heard the bird song change, quiet and swell again as the season change. I’ve even gotten better at identifying some birds – including a blue heron and hairy woodpecker, just steps from home. No, it isn’t climbing mountains but there is more to enjoying (and protecting) our nature world that bagging peaks.
One of my good girlfriends says that one of the secrets of parenthood is ‘when everything is awful, go outside’. And I suspect she’s right there. But I think it might be one the keys of personhood too – when everything is awful, GO OUTSIDE. When you’re mindlessly scrolling thru Facebook or Instagram, GO OUTSIDE. Maybe even leave your camera phone at home (I do this on my walks and it drives M bananas) – no one needs to see pictures of the birds you’ve spotted or sights you’ve seen for that time to be a balm for the soul.