Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Phabilous Weekend

Finally, our friends Phil and Abi (hitherto referred to as the collective "Phabi") made a much anticipated, oft-rescheduled visit over the holiday weekend.  Phil and Jon are life-long friends.  The three of us grew up in the same church, although (sorry Phil) I'd place him in the same boys-that-didn't-talk-to-church-girls category as Jon back then.  Phil ended up joining the Air Force, marrying his high school sweetie and setting off for exotic locations like New Jersey and Japan.  Meanwhile Jon and I were forging new territory in our own relationship.  To make a long story short, our families are intertwined in so many ways it was impossible for Abi and I to not strike up a friendship.  It doesn't hurt that she's also the sister of our beloved "Miss Kylie."  We've been planning this visit for some time, but our plans were continually getting foiled.  So we were quite giddy to see them actually end up on our doorstep Friday night. 

Oh yeah, Phabi has an offspring of the most delicious variety.  You may remember her from our beach vacation, a cutey blonde my boys referred to as "The Little Guy."  Well they've since discovered a slightly more appropriate nickname for Raegan and referred to her, for the entire weekend, as "Little Rae."  It's darling I tell ya.

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I'd like to tell you the kiddos hit it off but poor Rae is an only child (at least for the next 3 weeks or so) and quite a doll.  I'm not sure she knew how to handle my boistorous, yelling, non-sharing, shoving brood.  And while she was quite a sweetie to my baby girl, even Julia turned against her one evening when they were both trying to watch a movie on the laptop - a tiny slapping, pushing fest ensued entirely on the side of my child.  Which has made it clear to me that I must be raising a pack of bullies.  Anyway, dear Raegan, I'm so sorry for my children's appalling behavior, I'm sure your new little brother will be nothing like that.

Anyway, I was completely off my game this week and used my camera all of 3 seconds.  I'm now kicking myself for not being more diligent in my memory-making records.  But between all the eating, child-minding, fun-having and weird stomach bug thing I have had going on now for ohhh 5 days??? ... I just plain forgot to bring my camera most places.  I'll have to appease you with some Instagram shots.

After a late night of catching up, we were off the next morning for the National Aquarium in Baltimore.  This is our third trip there since July.  Since we knew we had several guests coming in that wanted to visit, we decided to go ahead and get a yearly membership this summer.  For our family, a membership actually costs slightly less than two visits so we've more than made up for it.  And we still have lots of opportunities for more trips. 

We really enjoy the National Aquarium.  They're currently under construction and we miss the sting rays, but all the other exhibits never disappoint.  Jon's favorite is the dolphin "show."  Although it's not considered a show anymore.  Instead, the exhibit is always open and all throughout the day they'll do "presentations."  But hey, if a dolphin is turning 360s several feet out of the water, or splashing the audience with his tail, then I'd say it's a show.

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This was the first time Julia was actually into the fish, as in pounding on the glass, squealing with happiness everytime one swam by.
My favorite stop is the jellyfish room.  It's dark, peaceful, majestic, and I always lose my kids.  Okay, so the final reason isn't a good reason to like it.  But other than that it's a favorite.  Plus I find they're the easiest creatures to capture on camera.

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We thoroughly exhausted the kiddos, who promptly fell asleep on the drive home.  Three snoozing in the backseat is a very rare occurence, so naturally I captured it for all eternity.

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The highlight of our weekend was our Double Date Night.  Uncle Jared and Miss Kylie graciously offered to babysit all four kids so we parents could hit the town.  We decided on dinner and a movie.  This was our first visit to The Chop House at Town Center, Annapolis and it was well worth the wait.  We opted for the Happy Hour menu and were so glad we did.  I'll take sharing several plates, tapas style, with good friends over one lonesome meal any day! My favorite, by far, was the the Bacon Wrapped Chorizo Stuffed Dates (my mouth waters just thinking about them), Abi loved the Tempura Asparagus with Lemon Garlic Aoili, and our men had the highest compliments for the
Smoked Samon and Tuna Tartare. 

We ate at the very parental hour of 5 o'clock.  While there were only a few people there when we arrived, the place was quickly filling up by the end of our meal.  And since we stuck to Happy Hour specials, we walked out of their with full bellies AND still full wallets.  Not a bad deal and one I'd certainly do again.

One of the reasons we dined early was to make it to the movie theater in time.  We had purchased tickets to see Skyfall at IMAX the night before, to ensure we would have seats during opening weekend.  We even got there about 20 minutes early.  You can tell we don't do movies very much because that was just not early enough.  The only seats available were in the first three rows.  IMAX, third row ... let's just say, after a 2 hour and 40 minute movie, my neck was a bit sore by the time we walked out of there.  Another reason we wanted to choose our seats was to avoid sitting next to an extremely young crowd.  Ironically, I think we were some of the youngest folks there for that showing.  And no obnoxious teenager could compete with the lady seated behind our right shoulders that would cackle at the oddest moments throughout the movie.  I digress.

We arrived home to a clean house, four kids fast asleep, and reports from our sitters that they were all well-behaved and excellent eaters.  And although Julia did put up a bit of a fight for Uncle Jared at bedtime, I would call the evening an overall success!

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Sunday was Annapolis.  The weather was gorgeous this weekend and Sunday was perfect walk-around-town day.  We visited the Famer's Market, looked at sailboats, petted dogs, did a little Christmas shopping and grabbed some lunch.

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The boys got toy rescue helicopters ... they lasted all of 2 hours.
We're in the final weeks of crab season here in Maryland so we stopped and picked up 3 dozen on our way home to steam for dinner. 

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Ooooo dinner.  London Broil, steamed crabs, salad, and a delicious squash and apple bake by Abi.  All followed by homemade ice cream for dessert.  I do so love crab.  I do not love how much work it is to eat one. Nor do I enjoy dismantling my dinner.  Or seeing it alive too soon before it makes it to my plate.  Or hearing it meet it's death as it cooks.  *shudder*  But I rallied enough to give Julia her first Maryland Blue Crab experience.  She was really only interested in banging the mallet on the table anyway...

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Phil and Kylee had to leave that evening to be back at work on Monday.  Abi and Rae stayed for one more night so Abi and I could could get some thrifting done the next morning.  We parted ways outside of Goodwill with promises to see each other again soon.  Because the nice thing about being a part of intertwined families is the guarantee of a future meeting.  Holidays are just around the weekend.  And Rae's baby brother will soon be needing a proper introduction!!

2 comments:

Jennifer said...

Stomach bug? Hmm, I wonder.

In all seriousness, I hope you're feeling better.

J9 said...

Pff you and my mom... "Stomach bug" is putting it kindly. This ain't preggo nausea we're dealing with here! :)

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