Thursday, January 11, 2018

A Day at The Smithsonian

This year, we did something new & spent the second half of our Christmas Break in Virginia with my parents! They live outside of Washington D.C., so we had the opportunity to do some exploring around the city & I thought I'd share our adventures with you all today! 

In front of one of the many gorgeous trees inside The Smithsonian Museum of American History

Thursday morning we woke up & decided to go into Washington for the day. It was very cold, but since we planned to spend our time at the Smithsonian, we figured as long as we all bundled up, we'd be fine! And honestly, we were. Eric likes to act like we were in Antarctica, but I was fine with all my layers on and the kids didn't complain once. #stopactinglikeasoutherner

We started at The Smithsonian Museum of American History & it was fantastic! Whenever you ask Ella what her favorite part of our trip was - this museum is her answer! 

The ground floor has a Wegmans Wonderlab that is filled with interactive toys for kids to explore. It reminded me of a very small version of The Strong National Museum of Play here in Rochester (Rochester is also the home of Wegmans, so I'm pretty sure that was the inspiration). My girls liked the blocks & kitchen best. 

Once we played a bit, we explored some inventions. Ella thought it was so funny to look at the old computers, washing machines & telephones! Livy thought this model of a unicycle was pretty cool too :) 

Next, we headed upstairs to find The First Ladies Exhibit! Ella loved looking at all of the gowns on display & acutally asked some really good questions. The lady behind us in the line was really impressed with her :) 

While we were upstairs, we also went to The American President exhibit. I really wish I could have spent more time here myself, but it wasn't as flashy as the First Ladies exhibit & Livy was starting to get hungry, so we headed downstairs to eat at the Stars & Stripes Cafe. 

Now... do I recommend eating overpriced cafeteria food? Nope. We actually wanted to go to a restaurant about half a mile away. But... we weren't finished at the museum & the feels like temperature was 12. So, we sucked it up & ate overpriced chicken fingers for lunch. 

After lunch, we went back up to the main floor & Livy ran into some she knew!

She was so excited to see Oscar the Grouch! This was just a random exhibit in the hallway & she absolutely loved it. They had Mickey Mouse memorabilia too that she was very into. 

Next, we headed to the History of Transportation exhibit & I actually have to say, I thought that was the best part of the day. There are full size trains everywhere, full size cars, street trolleys, and carriages. A little bit of everything from our past & it was extremely interactive. The kids loved it & we spent over an hour of our day here. I didn't take any pictures because I was chasing Olivia at this point, but it was excellent! 

Once we finished up in the transportation exhibit, we bundled back up & headed next door to The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Now, I'm going to be honest. I didn't love this museum. I thought that Ella would love the butterfly exhibit, but you have to pay $8 per person to go through a very small butterfly habitat. We have a much larger version of this in Rochester for only $3 per person, so we skipped that & I promised to take Ella another time instead. I also thought there were dinosaur fossils here (like Papa Pope style) but I was mistaken. There were lots of skeletons of animals to look at, but Ella just found it creepy. 

Ella & Gigi exploring the Mammals Exhibit together
Livy on the other hand LOVED the mammals exhibit here! She was pointing at all the different animals & having quite an animated conversation with my dad about them! 

After we finished the mammals exhibit, we took a stroll to see the National Christmas tree & took a quick picture in front of the National Monument.

Their expressions in this picture crack me up. Livy was passed out from no nap all day & Ella was not impressed by the National Christmas tree. So... it was back to our van & back to Culpepper! Such a fun & educational day! 
Monday, January 8, 2018

Weekend Recap - Bitter Cold Edition

Happy Monday Friends! I'm back at school after an unexpected long weekend, and I have to say, I'm kind of happy about it. Not that I don't love my kids & husband, but we've spent 13 of the past 16 days together between snow days & Christmas Break and we are simply not used to that! 

I took zero pictures over the weekend, and let me explain why in two simple words - stomach bug. Yep, we have a nasty bug going around here & despite dealing with the flu over break, the bug didn't leave us alone. It hit Ella Thursday night, then hit me on Saturday evening. Thankfully, I was feeling better by Sunday morning, but let's just say it wasn't pleasant. 

After that ordeal, I decided that we all needed some fresh air, so I piled the kids in the van & we headed off to run some errands. I had to make a return to Kohl's & ended up finding new curtains for our master bedroom. Then we headed next door to Home Goods, where I bought myself a new bedspread too! I am actually toying with the idea of painting our bedroom over February break to complete the makeover, but I have to get Eric on board with that first. #wishmeluck

And since we were out & Ella had $3.21 left on her Target gift card, we had to go to Target. Did she actually spend $3.21? Nope. But, she'd been really amazing all weekend long, so I pitched in the rest for her new collection of Disney Princess chapsticks :) I also picked up a new door mat, some vitamins (since we clearly need some immunity support), and Livy got a new Elmo shirt. Not the most exciting trip, but at least we got out of the house for a bit! 

The rest of our weekend was spent watching the Buffalo Bills play in the playoffs for the first time in 17 years! They lost, but they fought hard & we can finally say the drought is over! #allthepraisehands 

Hopefully, I'll be back tomorrow with something more exciting to report! That is, unless Olivia catches our bug, in which case, I'll be wiping my entire house down with Lysol & Clorox again. #fluseasonistheworst 
Friday, January 5, 2018

Friday Favorites - 5 Favorite Gifts Edition

It's the first Friday of 2018 & I'm home from school because it the feels like temperature outside is -28. Can you say Brrr? I have big plans to stay inside with my girls, watch movies & make some homemade chicken noodle soup! In the meantime, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite gifts from this Christmas!

I got these eBags Packing Cubes from my mother-in-law, Mary, and had the opportunity to test them out while traveling to Hornell & Virginia over break. I had heard about them on Cassie Sugarplum's Instagram & was totally impressed by how organized they made her packing. Since I always need more space when packing, I decided that I wanted a set to try myself too. And the verdict - they work amazingly! I used my largest cube to pack my sweaters, then the medium sized one to pack my pants/leggings, the long skinny one held my socks/undies/bras, and the small square held my long sleeved tees & tanks. I am definitely ordering a set for each of the girls, because this was exactly the packing solution I was looking for! (Here is Cassie's video on how she uses eBags!)

Next up is my new Hydroflask. My brother in law got this for me & I wasn't sure how I felt about it inititally. I have a cute Yeti cup with a straw that I use at school & then I just generally have my tea cups from DD at home. But this is actually PERFECT in that I can toss it in my bag, pack it for practice, and have cold tea waiting for me at the end of the day! I have used it every day since I got it - especially on our trip to Virginia - & am so glad I didn't return it!

Image result for lululemon define jacket

Moving onto less practical items, I got a new Lululemon Define Jacket from Eric for Christmas. It's luxuriously soft & I love the way it is fitted! Lulu is always an investment & one that I rarely make for myself, so I am so happy that my hubby thought of this gift for me!

product photo

Now if you've been reading here for awhile, you know that I love Athleta. Just like Lululemon, I think their products are fantastic, even if they're a bit of an investment. This year, my mom got me these Modblock Tights & I love them! They're so soft & she got them in petite so they're the perfect length for me.

Tall Leggings in Heathered Seamed Ponte

And my last favorite is my new Ponte pants from Loft. I tend to live in Ponte pants at work - so comfy & easily paired with just about anything. My mom got me this pair & they're very thick and warm. Since we're currently experiencing one of the biggest cold snaps in years here, that's exactly what I need!

Runner Up - Another great gift I got from Mary was this roll up dish drying rack! I know it's totally random, but it's so handy! It goes right over our sink, so it saves a ton of space, and has come in handy so many times already!
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