I know that Baby C is still a bit too young to understand the whole ‘experience as a gift’ thing but we really like that philosophy here in this house. While he might not remember exactly, we wanted to get that started early! We booked tickets for a ride on Thomas the Train (our little dude is quite the ‘choo choo’ lover) when he was visiting the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. We drove up on Saturday morning, had a blast riding Thomas, seeing all the other train related activities.
We were meeting friends from lunch and had an hour to kill so we popped literally around the corner to the Cuyahoga National Park Visitors Center and took a look around, saw the river (C had a really hard time not jumping into the Cuyahoga) and picked up our traditional National Park coffee cup. We had a lovely BBQ lunch and then headed back south. Our overtired dude did not nap well in the car and since he is up we stopped at the new outlet mall on our way home. I forgot it was Memorial Day weekend and it was so busy so we didn’t stay too long.
Sunday we kept it low key and cooked out at home. Monday was a pool day and cook out at my parents house. C loves the water so much and it’s so much fun to see him get more and more confident in the pool.
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: 41 books, 13,143 pages
Best Nonfiction Book of 2016: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Best Fiction Book(s) of 2016: The Alchemist of Souls by Anne Lyle; Dawn by Octavia Bulter; Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Favorite trip of 2016: easily our trip to Great Smokey Mountains National Park in May. This year also saw lots of trips to Chicago, hosting great company and one awesome trip up to Minnesota
Our fifth wedding anniversary!
Movies Watched: pathetically few. Something had to give this year and being up on good movies was it. I’m not sure I’ll track movies watched next year but will still continue to listen to my film podcasts 😉
Best Movies of 2016: Rogue One was my favorite new movie this year by far.
Favorite Podcasts of 2016: History of English; Witch, Please
My One Little Word for 2016 was JOY and I felt like I was able to really embody that for myself and for my little family this year. We welcomed a joyful little dude, that is for sure.
Check out 2014 and 2015.
Thursday morning, I flew out to DC and worked from my friend’s apartment. When she got home, we cooked Hungarian chicken in and then headed to a local brewery, Denizen’s for a flight.
I worked a half day on Friday and then headed down to the Folger Shakespeare Library. While I would have loved to see the reading room, I had such a good time in the one exhibit. For everyone who attended my high school and had to practice our recitations from dogeared paperback Folger’s, it is a truly a sacred space. I then walked over to the National Museum of the American Indian. I really enjoyed it and thought it was incredibly well done. I did a little shopping in the gift shop as well. I then walked to down to the mall to meet C. We took in a free Turkish film at Freer Gallery and afterwards we headed over to Blue Jacket and got flights of their fruit beers with our dinner (salad + mac and cheese).
Saturday, we took the bus down to Rock Creek National Park and hiked about two miles. We then hiked about two miles back to the bus stop before cleaning up and heading over to one of her friends’ apartment for a cook out. It was a great afternoon and a much quieter than running around trying to squeeze in all the sights! Of course we needed dinner so we got sushi on the way home.
Sunday we took it pretty easy and then I headed down to Dupont Circle to have lunch with my mom’s cousins (in all honestly, they are much more like my aunt and uncle). It was so much catching up one on one after a much shorter conversatin at the family reunion. For dinner, we met a longtime Friend from the Internet, S, and her friends for dinner at Right Proper Brewing. The food was super yummy, even if their beer menu was a little hop dominant.
Monday 9/14 – burgers with grilled asparagus
Tuesday 9/15 – dutch baby with peaches
Wednesday 9/16 – fish with grilled vegetables
Thursday 9/17 – DC
Friday 9/18 – DC
Saturday 9/19 – DC
Sunday 9/20 – DC
After a week of hard work and some pretty tasty eating exploits, I was invited out by a coworker for Peking duck. We met up with her boyfriend, brother and several of their friends (including a couple from Madrid who studied at the same faculty as I did at the Compultense – small world!). We had a lovely dinner at a great local place and then we walked to a hidden whiskey bar. It looked like you were walking into someone’s garden but no! It’s a bar! They had the family scotch but I stuck to a local wine. And then the group dwindled and we headed to Mai Bar, a super hipster cocktail place where I had a lychee old fashioned. It was a lovely cocktail and a great evening full of conversation.
Saturday morning, I put myself on the subway and went to Tianamen Square. It was pretty locked down in anticipation of the upcoming military parade. I was pretty bummed – it would be have been cool to see such an important public space. I did get an idea of it’s vastness as I walked around it to Zhongshan Park and hung out.
After returning to the hotel, I walked over to the Hutong for a dumpling making class. It was just me and another couple and our instructor. We learned how to make the dough and a meat and vegetarian filling. We then filled a batch and then pan fried half and boiled the other half. The ayi made the most delicious smashed cucumber salad. I purchased a Chinese rolling pin and we were given the recipes. I can’t wait to try these at home!
I left on a Thursday and arrived late Friday night in BEIJING. I was up bright and early on Saturday and headed out to the National Museum of Art. When I arrived, the two main floors were closed for construction but there was a whole exhibit on Polish folk art, especially dance and dress. It was interesting, if not exactly what I expected my first taste of China to be.
I then caught a cab to the Forbidden City…just a few blocks away. Oops! I ran into a couple, from Chicago, and we chatted while getting our tickets. They had a tight schedule so we separated when we got inside as I was in no rush. I rented an audio headset and walked around and took in most of the buildings.
The crowds were unreal. Technically called the Palace Museum, the Forbidden City is the best preserved example of Chinese palatial architecture and some of the oldest wooden buildings in the world. Each palace had a special ceremonial use – the closer to the center, the more important. Tucked on each side of the main courtyard were sets of six smaller palaces, for the wives and concubines.
The details were incredible. Every surface was decorated or painted. It was a huge complex and had to be costly to build! Originally, gardens used to stretch all the way out current second ring road..