NYC Part 1 – Friday, April 3, 2015

 

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This spoke volumes to me about this trip.  I have never traveled by myself before so this was all new to me.  I had been through New York but had never spent time there.  Everything was unknown and exciting!

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Rylan taking Mama to the airport.  He’s so cute it hurts!

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My first flight wasn’t crowded at all so I had three seats to myself!  It was great!

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This was probably the smoothest flight I’ve ever had.  We didn’t have any turbulence at all.  The sky was gorgeous!

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Hello Atlanta!  I’ve never gotten a good picture of the Atlanta skyline from a plane before.  I’ve always either had someone in the way or it has been bad weather/foggy.

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Lunch time!  I don’t eat a lot during travel.  It seems to just weigh me down if I do and I get really groggy.

I wish I had been able to get pictures coming into Newark airport or when I was driving into the city but it was dark and foggy in spots.

I had a car waiting for me at the airport to take me to my hotel.  I used Dial 7 car service and I highly recommend them!

I stayed at the New York Marriott Downtown.  It was only a couple minutes walk from the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and the room was wonderful!  The staff was extremely friendly and helpful as well.

20150403_225620Walking into my room.

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20150403_225647The bed was so comfy!

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Quick Update and Photo Dump

Okay, I had a few minutes to do a quick update and put some pictures on here.

I’m still going to the Y and taking Zumba twice a week.  I’m still loving it!  I am losing weight and toning up but most importantly I’m feeling great!

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Me and Anna Ruth.  I look weird but whatever…we’re having fun!

I leave tomorrow for NYC and I’m so excited!  I think I have everything ready.  I’ll do one last quick check but I should be good to go.  I think I will do a packing video as well as try to do some vlogging while I’m there.  I don’t know though, I’ll just have to see when I get there.

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The skeptical shopper.

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Ava Braun Crowder giving Grumpy Cat a run for her money!

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My baby in a rare cuddle mood.

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Hanging with Dad

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Sneaky….

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In Richmond for the weekend and Rylan decided that the ice bucket was a great toy and hat.

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He loved the Krispy Kreme hat!

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Climbing all over his Uncle Jerry.  This reminds me of my childhood because I would do the same thing!

20150311_152644Falling asleep on his Sis….so sweet!

I wish I had gotten a few pictures of Momaw with him.  I was able to get video but forgot pictures….smh.  Oh well…next time!

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Playing with part of his Easter Basket from Momaw.  He has a whole collection now of handmade wooden trucks and heavy equipment thanks to our buddy Jimmy.

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He loved to hug the soft rabbit.  He’d say “Awwww…..” and hug it so tight!

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Running around the yard like a wild man!

So far it has been a great start to spring!  When I get back from my trip I plan on starting on my gardening and I’m sure I’ll have plenty of posts on it.

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NYC for My Birthday Weekend!

The Husband got me the best gift ever this year: a solo trip to New York City!  This has been one of the best gifts he’s ever given me and it was a total surprise.  I have wanted to go to NYC for a long time now and now I’m going! I am so excited!  This will be my first big trip by myself as well as my first trip to NYC and I’m so looking forward to it!

the big apple

I have to take a minute to brag on my Hubby…he really is great!   He’s so good to me and I could say it a million times a day and it wouldn’t be enough.  The best husband and father ever!  The Lord has really blessed me with him.

I have the plane tickets, the hotel and my museum tickets ready.  Everything is packed with the exception of my clothes (still gotta check the weather closer to the departure date).  I can’t wait!

Now, I also want to say I’m a bit anxious about this trip.  I have never traveled this distance or flown by myself.  It is a little intimidating because of the unknown but I’m up for the challenge.  My motto right now is “Let your faith be bigger than your fear.”  I think it is always important to keep stretching yourself and always be ready for a new challenge.  It is good to get out of your comfort zone when you can because this is when you really grow.

I’m up for doing a trip that is just all about what I want to do.  That sounds so selfish as I read it back…I don’t mean it that way, I really don’t.  The Husband is really a good travel buddy and we always have a great time together.  It will just be nice to not have to take anyone else’s feelings, tastes, wake up times, etc. into consideration.  In some ways I’m not sure how I will do.  I’m so used to asking everyone else what they want and need that it will be weird to rely solely on what I want.  I had never really thought about it before.

I’m really going to miss the Husband and my Little Man.  As much as I am looking forward to going and enjoying myself I’m looking forward to getting back to them more.

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Eastern Kentucky Road Trip

We had never been to Harlan, Hazard or Whitesburg.  We’ve heard people talk about these places all of our life so we decided to do a little road trip and drive through these places.  It was pretty chilly so we didn’t walk through the towns or anything but we did see some beautiful scenery.

Our route:  Bristol, VA 421 North.  We went through Gate City, VA, Duffield, VA, Pennington Gap, VA into Harlan, KY.  From Harlan we took 119 and it had some breathtaking views!  We took 15 up to Hazard then backtracked on 15 then North on 119 to US23.  We then followed 23 into Wise, VA and made our way back home.

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Coal is rolling in Letcher County, KY!

 

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It was a nice road trip.  We didn’t really “do anything” other than drive and look around.  It was great to spend time with my family though and always nice to go places I’ve never been.  Maybe in the summer we can ride back over and get to walk around in the towns.

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Christmas 2014

For Christmas this year we decided to pack everything up go to Wilderness At The Smokies in Sevierville, TN and stay for a few days.  We checked in December 23rd and didn’t check out until December 26th.  It was a nice little getaway and perfect for Christmas!  The service in the resort was really nice, the rooms were very clean and the water park area was a lot of fun!

Wilderness at the Smokies

We will definitely be going away for next Christmas as well.

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Last year he loved Santa…this year, not so much.  We ended up making it a family portrait which I love!

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In the Wild Canyon Cafe having lunch.

The restaurants were pretty good.  Wild Canyon Cafe (Buffet, about $20/person) and Klondike Pizza Kitchen.  The Klondike Pizza Kitchen had decent pizza but the staff was a little on the rude side.  The Wild Canyon Cafe was where we ate the majority of our meals.  They had a large buffet.  As far as taste and food types, I guess I would have to liken it to Golden Corral.  I also had their Chicken Pasta Primavera too and it was really good!  Next time I will order more things off of the menu to try instead of always going for the buffet.

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Ready for the water park in his Mickey Mouse swim trunks and rash guard.

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This resort features an indoor water park that is so nice!  It has a large wave pool, an area for kids and another area for kids that are 0-4years.  It was perfect!  Rylan was a little skeptical at first but he quickly warmed up to it.  He loved going down the slide by himself!

20141224_170427He loved these!

20141224_170514 Look at that smile!

20141224_082734He was so tired after playing all day….

20141224_082729 Off to sleep!

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I love the way he curls into a little ball to sleep!

20141223_191020Look at that sneaking grin!  Be still my heart!

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He played so hard that he passed out early Christmas Eve.

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I didn’t think to bring a small tree (note to self for next year) so we jus put everything on the table.

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The look on his face when he saw his bicycle was priceless!  As soon as he woke up Christmas morning and looked over toward the table he saw it, jumped off the bed rubbing his eyes, giggling the whole time!

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20141225_192900Figuring it out.

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20141225_103545He loves tools and fixing things.

20141225_105722He watched me type….

20141225_105712And then began working on his!

20141225_102443Mama and Little Man Christmas selfie!

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Unfortunately Santa forgot to leave Daddy some tools to put the Cozy Coup together.

20141225_192536Little Man played with it anyway!

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The Husband did an excellent job this year picking out my gifts!  He spoils me!

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He loves his recliner!

I do wish I would have taken more pictures of the resort but I was enjoying family time so much and they are certainly the priority.  Maybe next time I’ll have more pictures of the lobby, decorations, etc.

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12th Anniversary – AMA Races, Cedar Point, Kings Island & Cincinnati, OH

The Husband and I have been married for 12 years!  We’ve built a wonderful marriage, life and family together and I couldn’t imagine one second without him!

Mid-Ohio Buckeye Superbike Weekend

This was my first motorcycle race and I loved it!  We sat in a really good turn to watch because it was tricky.  We did see some wrecks (thankfully no one was badly injured) and we also had pit passes so we were able to get up close to the bikes and riders.  I hope we get to go again next year!

Kings Island

The Husband had been here before when he was still in school but I hadn’t until now.  I really enjoyed it!  It was a nice park, very clean and had some really nice roller coasters.

Favorite Coasters

Banshee – This was a great coaster but pulls serious G’s!  I was a little dizzy when it was finished!
The Beast – The BEST wooden coaster I have ever ridden!  Smooth, fun, fast!
Diamondback – Smooth, fast and tall!
The Racer – Great nostalgic wooden coaster!

Least Favorite

Vortex – This ride was old and frankly painful!  I had a terrible headache afterward.  I kept praying for it to be over.  Every loop, every hill, every turn hurt.
Flight of Fear – They were trying to compete with Disney’s Aerosmith’s Rock ‘n Roller Coaster but it just wasn’t up to par.  At least it was indoor and air conditioned so that was a plus considering how hot we were.

Food

LaRossa’s Pizza – The food was okay at best.  Cheap on quality and high on price.  I was not a fan at all of their staff.  They were ridiculously slow and rude.

Cedar Point

I hadn’t been here since I was a senior in high school (May 2000).  I loved the rides but once again the lines were terrible.  The first time I rode Millennium Force it had just opened and I stood in line for four and a half hours.  This time I stood in line for three and a half.  That’s not a lot of difference and they’ve had time to figure out a solution.  It has been 14 years!  I didn’t feel the staff was able to control the crowd very well.  There were so many times that the roller coasters were really backed up but they weren’t running all cars and would send some cars without riders.  It was odd.  The Fast Pass Line is a joke too.  You have to pay extra ($30+) and the lines on it are still long.  Disney has perfected the Fast Pass thing.  Take lessons!

Favorite Coasters

Millennium Force
The Gatekeeper – Such an unbelievably smooth coaster!
Top Thrill Dragster – So fast I had trouble opening my eyes!

Least Favorite

Maverick – I didn’t like the restraint system.  When we would go into corkscrew turns my head would bang on the sides.
Magnum XL-200 – This ride felt very rickety.  The car we rode in (front as always) felt like it wasn’t attached well to the wheels.  Our whole car complained to the staff.

Favorite Food

Panda Express – We were pretty much starving to death waiting in line for Millennium Force and the smells of Panda Express were wafting our way since it is located just across the fence from where we were.  The service was good and the food was great!

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Dewey’s Pizza – Caesar Salad & Spinach,  Sun Dried Tomatoes & Goat Cheese Pizza

Pizza

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This was such a great pizza place!  The service was wonderful and so was the food!  We loved the topping selections for their pizza.  The actual restaurant was really nice too, just a really nice looking place.

Kenwood Theatre – This was a great theater!  We ended up watching a double: The Purge: Anarchy and Sex Tape.

Kenwood Mall – General shopping but some high end stores (at least compared to my local malls)

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Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

 

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Roger Hayden

 

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Pits

 

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Roger Hayden & Cameron Beaubier

 

This was such a great trip!  I still have so much fun with the Husband.  It really is no different now than it was when we were 18 and had just met.  We can make anything fun and truly do enjoy spending time together.

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10 Tips for Taking a 7 Month Old on a Cruise

We wondered about cruising with our Little Man…but we waited to worry about it after we booked our cruise!  If I over think something I will end up not doing it so we just went for it.

I’m very glad we took him though.  It turned out to be a great vacation for all of us!  He was a great little traveler.  He’s a very laid back baby anyway so I’m sure that helps.  We have always taken him wherever we go so he is used to being out and about.

The staff on the Carnival Ecstasy attended to our specific needs very well!  I can’t say enough good things!

Tips to have a great cruise with your baby!

1.  Adjust your expectations of “vacation”.  By this I mean, if you’re used to getting into port and doing 3 adventure excursions you may want to rethink that.  We knew with Rylan we wouldn’t be doing in major hiking, no scooters, no scuba/snorkel or anything like that.  We looked ahead at our ports and decided on what as a family we could do there.  We had been to both ports on previous cruises  and chose this particular ship because of that.  Our thinking was that since we had been to both we knew what to expect from the locals, how to get around and things we might want to do again.

2.  Don’t over pack.  I know babies need a lot but you will probably not need everything you pack.  I put everything I thought we needed on the nursery floor then worked on whittling it down to a manageable mess.

3. Bring a compact, light weight stroller. Babies that don’t walk get very heavy after a while. Also, a stroller helps tote other essentials.  We have two strollers, both by Baby Trend.  I love them both!  Our Baby Trend Euroride was perfect for the cruise though!  It folds up very small (and easily!), has a decent but not huge cargo area, is very light and very maneuverable (one hand driving if need be!).

Rylan in his stroller

He loved his stroller :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.  Get an ocean view or better room if you can. You may be spending a little more time in the room than normal because of naps &/or feeding not to mention your baby will probably love looking out at the ocean!

5.   Bring easy to clean bottles.  I took 4 Playtex nursers.  I use Dr. Brown’s and absolutely love them but for travel and ease of cleaning the nursers were the best bet.  I packed liners in a zip loc bag and I brought 2 extra nipples.  It made things a lot easier on me.

6.  Pack formula and cereals in a zip loc bag.  It’s much more secure than the containers and will take up less space in your luggage.  Don’t forget the measuring spoon!

7.  Bring infant pain reliever/fever reducer and any other OTC or prescription medications you may need.  I didn’t look to see if the shops on board had infant medications but I wouldn’t take the chance that they didn’t since they usually don’t carry a huge selection.

8.  If you really want to pack light you can always use the laundry facilities on board.  I don’t always but just in case I need something I’m prepared to use them.  Before Rylan came along the type of detergent we used didn’t matter in a pinch.  With a baby though, generally speaking you want to use detergent that is free of dyes and fragrance and that may not be available on board.  My solution was to pack some All Free and Clear “pods” in a snack size zip loc.  They aren’t heavy, don’t take up much space but are worth having to keep my baby from having an allergic reaction to some detergent.

9.  Request a crib when booking.  The crib they provide will be a portable crib that’s about the size of a Play Yard.  It was so nice to have!

Crib provided by Carnival Ecstasy

Our Little Man enjoying his crib provided by Carnival Ecstasy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10.  Bring a Baby Carrier for the life boat drill.  If you are like us and you get to your muster station a smidge later than everyone you may have to stand for the ridiculously long safety briefing that you have to listen to twice (once in English & once in Spanish).  You will then march up some steps to the side of the ship that your lifeboats are on where you will once again have to stand for a ridiculous amount of time.  Anyway, a squirming 7 month old in your arms will wear you out, however, a squirming 7 month old with be but a mild annoyance if glued to you in baby carrier.  :)

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How I Packed to Take Our 7 Month Old on a Cruise

When we started thinking about taking Rylan with us on a cruise I started looking online to see if there were any tips from people that had taken an infant.  I wanted to see what they found useful, how they did it, etc.  I really only found one or two helpful things so I thought I could help someone out by writing about our experience.  I am going to structure this as a little series and I figured the best way to start would be with packing.

The Husband and I love to travel.  We take a few vacations a year and we have gotten to where we can travel very light (we can be gone for 2 weeks using a carry on and a backpack each).  Adding a baby to the mix really killed the idea of “travelling light”!  haha  Anyway, I’m sure as he gets older we’ll have no problem pairing him down to the necessities but as an infant they just require a lot.

So here we go!

Packing List

Gear

 

Diapering

  • Desitin
  • Wipes (2 packs + partial pack in Diaper Changer)
  • Diaper Changer
  • Arm & Hammer Dirty Diaper Bags
  • 52 Diapers + 5 Diaper in Diaper Changer

 

Feeding

  • 4 Playtex Nursers
  • Drop In Liners (75 ish, more than I need but better safe than sorry)
  • Extra Nipples (2)
  • Gerber Baby Food (10 servings)
  • 2 Cans of formula in a zip loc bag
  • 1 container of oatmeal cereal in a zip loc bag
  • 4 spoons ( in individual zip loc baggies)
  • Bibs (seriously about 20…he’s teething)

 

Bath & Toiletries

  • Baby Wash (Travel Size)
  • Lotion (Travel Size)
  • Baby Powder (Travel Size)
  • Hooded Towel
  • Wash Cloth (2)
  • Wet Ones Antibacterial Wipes (Travel Size)

 

Sleep

  • 5 Sleepers
  • 2 Receiving Blankets
  • 1 Larger Blanket

 

Clothes

  • 8 Different Outfits
  • Light Jacket
  • Going Home Outfit
  • New Balance Shoes
  • Sandals

 

Swim

  • Trunks
  • Rash Guard
  • SPF
  • Sun Hat
  • Sun Glasses
  • Swim Diapers (I only took 4 because I knew we wouldn’t be in the water much)

 

Toys

  •  Several small toys


How I Packed Everything

Fever Reducer, Desitin, Vaseline, Thermometer, Nasal Saline, Gripe Water, Bulb Syringe, QTips, Nail Clipper, Wet Ones Antibacterial Wipes and 2 Pacifiers (He doesn't use a Paci but better safe than sorry!)

Fever Reducer, Desitin, Vaseline, Thermometer, Nasal Saline, Gripe Water, Bulb Syringe, QTips, Nail Clipper, Wet Ones Antibacterial Wipes and 2 Pacifiers (He doesn’t use a Paci but better safe than sorry!)

 

 

 

 

Baby food, Playtex Liners, Playtex Nurser Bottles (I brought 2 more), Formula, Spoons, Teething Rings, Oatmeal Cereal

Baby food, Playtex Liners, Playtex Nurser Bottles (I brought 2 more), Formula, Spoons, Teething Rings, Oatmeal Cereal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diaper Changer/Pad that holds wipes and diapers with an Arm & Hammer Dirty Diaper Bag Dispenser

Diaper Changer/Pad that holds wipes and diapers with an Arm & Hammer Dirty Diaper Bag Dispenser

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diaper Changer/Pad Open

Diaper Changer/Pad Open – This has been one of the handiest purchases I’ve made.  Many times if I’m running a quick errand this is all I take.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bathing Supplies: Travel sized toiletries, hooded towel, washcloths & extra Arm & Hammer Dirty Diaper Bags

Bathing Supplies: Travel sized toiletries, hooded towel, washcloths & extra Arm & Hammer Dirty Diaper Bags

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 Bibs

20 Bibs – He’s teething and drooling massive amounts because of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toys

Toys (Packed in the Stroller Organizer)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

52 Diapers (Packed in Checked Luggage)

52 Diapers (Packed in Checked Luggage)

Evenflo Baby Carrier and Baby Bag I will be using.  I chose this one to take instead of my usual diaper bag because it isn't structured and I can pack it if I need to.

Evenflo Baby Carrier (Packed in the Checked Luggage) and Baby Bag I will be using. I chose this one to take instead of my usual diaper bag because it isn’t structured and I can pack it if I need to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Large Blanket, 2 Receiving Blankets & Laundry Detergent "Pods" (All Free and Clear)

Large Blanket, 2 Receiving Blankets & Laundry Detergent “Pods” (All Free and Clear)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swim stuff: Sun Hat, 4 Swim Diapers, SPF, Rash Guard & Trunks (*Not pictured: sunglasses)

Swim stuff: Sun Hat, 4 Swim Diapers, SPF, Rash Guard & Trunks (*Not pictured: sunglasses)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clothes, shoes and light jacket

Clothes, shoes and light jacket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sleepers, Going Home Outfit & Socks

Sleepers, Going Home Outfit & Socks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I started packing with the food: baby food, formula & oatmeal cereal.

I started packing with the food: baby food, formula & oatmeal cereal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I added the bottle liners

Then I added the bottle liners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next came the sleepers

Next came the sleepers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clothes

Clothes

 

More clothes

More clothes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medicines & SPF bag

Medicines/SPF Bag & Towel/Washcloth Bag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toiletries, spoons, extra nipples & teething rings

Toiletries, spoons, extra nipples & teething rings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Large blanket on top with straps to secure.  Top mesh panel has all swim stuff.

Large blanket on top with straps to secure. Top mesh panel has all swim stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibs went in the large front pocket

Bibs went in the large front pocket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The small front pocket was reserved for quick access things: pain/fever reducer, pacifiers & wet ones.

The small front pocket was reserved for quick access things: pain/fever reducer, pacifiers & wet ones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the bag after it was packed.  It wasn't overly stuffed or bulging.

This is the bag after it was packed. It wasn’t overly stuffed or bulging

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the baby bag I put the Diaper Changer/Pad, Receiving Blankets & Desitin

In the baby bag I put the Diaper Changer/Pad, Receiving Blankets & Desitin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Packed and ready to go!

Packed and ready to go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dollywood Christmas Lights

We decided to do a quick trip to Knoxville & Pigeon Forge this weekend.  We only did an overnight (Friday) but it was fun.  We were joined by our friends (who are more like family), Betsy & Larry.  It was a short stay but we still had fun.  We rode down Friday morning to pick up some solar panels that we ordered (I plan on doing some posts about that project shortly), went to West Town Mall, ate at The Cheesecake Factory (one of my ALL time faves!) and then went to Dollywood to see the lights.  Saturday we stopped by Bass Pro and made our way back home.

All snuggled up ready for his blanket on top of that!

All snuggled up ready for his blanket on top of that!

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My Sweet Boy is being shy...there's a first time for everything I suppose!

My Sweet Boy is being shy…there’s a first time for everything I suppose!

Bets & Larry

Bets & Larry

He watched the whole light show & he loved the ducks in the pond.

He watched the whole light show & he loved the ducks in the pond.

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I love how they did every branch with lights.

I love how they did every branch with lights.

The train even had lights

The train even had lights

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Beautiful Carousel

Beautiful Carousel

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He's out...

He’s out…

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