I just did four seven-hour drives in the past week. When did I sign up for that?! It was exhausting, but totally worth it. First, I drove solo (which is far more uncomfortable for that long now that I’m five months pregnant) to Ohio to spend a weekend with my bestie, Emily; then I jumped in the car with Andrew the day after returning home to accompany him on a business trip to Alexandria, Va!
While my trip to Emily’s had been planned for months, the trip with Andrew was a bit more spontaneous. I was tempted not to go to Virginia, but Andrew really wanted me to, and heading south is always a chance to see friends and family.
While in Dayton, Emily and I got prenatal massages (she’s due next month!) and pedicures that were worth every. single. penny. The Woodhouse Day Spa at The Greene does a great job pampering their guests!
While at Emily’s, my belly definitely popped! I felt like I arrived looking barely pregnant, and when I got home, even Andrew was surprised at the size of the bump. I’m pretty sure it had something to do with simply ’embracing’ pregnancy by finally buying some maternity clothes and splurging on some things for Baby Layer. We did ‘all things baby,’ including shopping, decorating Emily’s baby’s room, and finalizing my registries.
I returned home on a Monday evening with a VERY full car: on the way down to see Emily I had stopped in Columbus to pick up a Halo Bassinest found on Craigslist, and brought home girl clothes from Emily, all my purchases (in addition to everything I brought with me) and even a Mamaroo swing Emily nabbed for me via Craigslist in her area. The upstairs rooms in our house are quickly filling up with miscellaneous baby items while Baby Layer’s room is still under construction! (Not really ‘construction,’ but Andrew did feel it needed more lighting, and now we have four additional recessed lights in the ceiling. And a new switch. And a new thermostat. And plans for lighting in her closets. And plans for additional hall lights. And now you can see how Andrew and ‘project creep’ go hand in hand.)
The next morning, Andrew and I packed up in a whirlwind and headed to State College, where we met our friend, Adam, for lunch and a quick stop at the Creamery on campus. Every time we visit Penn State, it looks less and less like we remember as new buildings go up here and there. It’s a little sad, for sure, but still very nostalgic.
We’ve started breaking up our drives south by stopping for lunch in State College, which really does seem to help make the trip feel shorter. We stayed way longer than we anticipated, and didn’t get into Alexandria until 8:30 pm that night. Thankfully, Old Town is relatively lively even on a weeknight, and we weren’t the last ones to enter Pizzeria Paradiso after 9 p.m. for dinner.
For the next two days, I was on my own in Old Town. I got in some easy workouts, did plenty of shopping and just generally enjoyed the sun and warmer temperatures. Andrew and I ate well after his conferences, including Spanish tapas, specialty donuts with Betsy at her place via Uber Eats, smoky salsa and margaritas (not for me!) and seafood while sitting outside on King Street.
I ate lunch at South Block (Betsy’s recommendation) both days. It’s a smoothie/juice/toast kind-of place, so definitely NOT somewhere Andrew would be interested in.
On Friday morning, after a leisurely French breakfast at La Madeleine and some more shopping (plants from Helen Olivia), we packed up and drove 30 minutes west to meet my parents and grandfather for lunch. We enjoyed visiting with family before hopping back in the car. At this point, I think we were both dreading another long drive.
Thankfully, at the end of it was our new niece, Nora! We stopped in Philadelphia for the night and were able to meet Nora Peyton, who was born about two weeks ago to Andrew’s sister, Abigail, and her husband, Marvin. We always enjoy spending time with them, and very much enjoyed our low-key and quick stop to say hello, hold the baby and rest our heads. She’s still teeny tiny, but has the cutest chipmunk cheeks! We were so thankful our travel plans had us driving right by so soon after she was born.
We finished the drive Saturday afternoon and were downright exhausted upon arriving home that evening. It’s still sad to come home to a quiet house, but we did also appreciate that our travel plans could be a bit more ‘unplanned’ without the responsibility of our furry friend. We’re still getting used to Hadrian not being here. Odie, our cat who I now call ‘the lone ranger,’ however, is perhaps even more affectionate and Andrew swears he greets him at the door each time he comes home.
Sadly, all our traveling wore us out too much to host our annual St. Patrick’s Day dinner with the Nyes, but we clearly have friends who love us, as one set brought us corned beef and cabbage to enjoy later, and the Nyes invited US over for dinner that night! If I’m ambitious this week, I might just whip up a loaf of Irish soda bread anyway…