November 29, 2015

Babymoon in Cincinnati

When we got married, we started a tradition to explore a new US city every year.
We have gone to Chicago, St. Louis, and Asheville, and this year we decided to try Cincinnati. We've kept them all to cities that are drive-able, especially since we were leaving Genevieve back at home. 

The Food:
We made no agenda for non-culinary activities, but we did lots of research on food and made reservations for just about every meal we had in the three days there. Some dining experiences were incredible, some were just okay. It was surprising to learn that while every restaurant we visited was well reviewed, some were complex and exquisite (almost over the top) and others were blase and ordinary--nothing special. Perhaps that's just a testament to how unique and thriving Nashville's food culture is becoming. But either way, it was wonderfully refreshing to sit down at a restaurant and have adult conversations and enjoy a meal without a toddler's constant need for attention. Going out to eat is our favorite activity to do together and this trip hit the spot!

Our Airbnb:
As Airbnb hosts ourselves, we knew we had to give it a try as travelers. We were so pleased. We stayed in an old apartment building, over 100 years old, on the top floor in an adorable two-story loft. Were it not for having (almost) two kids, permanent loft living would suit us well. We were right in the heart of the Over-the-Rhine district, (a sort of East Nashville equivalent) a block from Vine Street where there is so much going on. And it was cozy being in a home vs. a hotel. 

The City:
We knew nothing of Cincinnati before reading its Wikipedia article once we'd already arrived. One thing that surprised us was the amount of hills. It was a gorgeous city because of the surrounding bluffs and beautiful views. I would also dub the city "the land of murals"! Around every corner you would find a mural, nearly every block. I loved it! One more peculiarity was that Cincinnati is in Ohio and typically perceived as a Midwestern town, which seems foreign to us, but just across the river is Kentucky, a neighboring state we know well. We identified a schizophrenic identity as a major city bridging two cultures, pulling from the South its whiskey, for example, and from the north its German, sausage-loving food culture. 

We drove the city to explore all the different neighborhoods and walked the entire downtown/OTR area. We found free art museums, farmers markets, parks, river-fronts, monasteries, and overlooks. Of course, we made a quick drive north to Ikea to get some last-minute items to prepare the house for Adelaide, baby #2!

It was so incredible to get away for a few days. 
I've been working an insane amount of hours and I needed time to decompress. Michael and I sometimes feel like we are just handing off Genevieve duties while we run to our next appointment or meeting so it was nice for the two of us to reconnect in what feels like a long time. We also spent so much of the trip talking about Adelaide. I often forget that she is even coming so it was really great to spend time thinking about her.

In 2016 we will be heading to Charlottesville, Virginia, with our family of 4 to see one of my best friends, explore the city, and go camping! I love our little adventures.

November 11, 2015

A 2 year old party of animals

Genevieve turned 2!
I have a little girl who is growing to be so independent and her own person.
We celebrated this year with her 3 "best friends." She is truly obsessed with Daniel Tiger on PBS so we decided to do an animal theme party - dress up and all. I had high hopes for face paint but she wouldn't sit for it, so we had about 30 seconds to transform her into a tiger. But she loved the balloons and bubbles. Michael and I were a zebra and elephant and we also had a cat, lion, koala, and bunny. 
When she woke up on her birthday, she walked out into the dining room and was in awe of the decorations. The look on her face was magical. I spent the night before icing her cake and getting everything ready and I wanted to pinch myself. I always dreamed of my children's birthdays and here I was. And we had to top off her birthday with a walk in the park with her red birthday balloon tradition. 
My Sweet Genevieve,
We made it 2 years! This last year you learned how to walk and talk. What huge milestones! 
At 2 you weigh - 25lbs 12oz and you're right about 3 feet tall.

-You absolutely love climbing slides and ladders (and all furniture in the house)
-Wrestling with Dada
-Eating yogurt
-Painting and coloring 
-Any activity that has to do with putting little pieces of anything from one bowl to another
-Splashing in water and playing with soap
-Dancing to Tay Tay (Taylor Swift)
-Going on walks in the park
-Playing with your friends - Nora, Harper, and Edmond
-Watching "Tigey" (Daniel Tiger)
-Cuddling your baby doll
-Kissing mama's baby (my pregnant belly)
-Reciting our poem together every night (Wherever you are my love will find you)

This last year has been full of giggles and tantrums and kisses and fussiness. Some days you refuse to eat and sleep and others you are smiles all day as you explore the world around you. We are already turning a corner as you are learning to communicate so much more. In two months you will be a big sister and I know you will age in a blink of an eye. 

Our world has forever changed because you are in it. Thank you for being my daughter, who is uniquely you. I love you, Genevieve Lark!

Love, Mama