Monday, April 29, 2013

Maryland Day

Saturday I woke up excited!  Our plan was to go to Maryland Day at University of Maryland (College Park), the school from which Will and I both graduated.  We figured the girls were old enough to enjoy all the activities offered (well not ALL, there are probably thousands) and last long enough to make the drive worthwhile.  I ate a tasty breakfast,

Ezekiel muffin, egg, 2 strips bacon and Cabot 75% light cheese
 then got everyone packed and ready.  The drive went well until we reached the exit for College Park.  Then the typical Rt. 1 gridlock kicked in.  We made it to campus eventually, and got a decent parking spot.

First we came across Engineering Alley at the new engineering building, and the kids painted on litmus paper and made goo with polyvinyl alcohol.

Once Charlotte had finished and we caught up with Will and Emily, she looked like this:

Apparently she had been enjoying the nifty little solar fountain a bit too enthusiastically.

A quick stroll by the Chem & Nuclear Engineering building where I took quite a few classes...

...and we got to the Chemistry building!

It was really strange.  As I approached I was excited to check it out, but I felt echoes of the tension and fear I had felt walking into this building to take exams many times (and once the TERROR when I realized I had showed up 2 hours late for my Organic Chem final).  The girls actually were interested to see a lab so they went exploring with me, and I even took them up to the 4th floor to see the lab where I worked.  No pictures of that, since I already felt conspicuous enough with a stroller and 2 shouting kids on a floor where there are never any visitors and barely any noise.

I also took Emily into the main Chemistry lecture hall so she could see where I spent much of my time in college.

She wanted to try out a chair to see how she liked it.

I can already tell she's going to be one of those students who tries to correct the professors
The girls were getting pretty anxious for the "jumpy thing" (moon bounce) we had promised would be there, so I curtailed my trip down memory lane and we headed for the major action.

I had a turkey, tomato kale and mustard sandwich on the way.

Along the way, we ran into Elmo and found balloons.

Will was already starting to give up.

I really, really love this picture.

We finally reached the mall, and Will and Emily got in the 45 minute long line for the rock wall climb while Charlotte and I got in the half-hour long line to get in the moon bounce :-(

Provisions for the line, plus an apple I didn't photograph
The saintly people in line behind me told me they'd hold my place while I took Charlotte to the potty at one point about halfway through the line.  Charlotte eventually made it in for a precious 5 minutes!

When we came out we couldn't find Will and Emily.  We eventually located them in the moon bounce line.  Emily had changed her mind AFTER Charlotte went in and wanted to do the moon bounce too.  So we waited through the line again.

After that we were all about done, so we decided to start heading out via the snack area.  Along the way we stopped to fish for mini Testutos in the fountain.  Emily fell in.

At that point we just kind of put our heads down, grabbed our kids a treat to keep them quiet and tried to leave as quickly as we could.  I did snap a couple pictures on the way though, because it's such a beautiful (and big!) campus.  Back when we went to school there I could pretty much get anywhere on campus in about 30 minutes, but I neglected to factor into my calculations the fact that back then I was young and fast and unladen, now I was stiff and sore from gardening and had some slow and whiny luggage with me :-)

Nothing like green goo to stop the whining (and then start it up again IN FORCE 20 minutes later)

Good old Comcast Center

Ellicott Hall, where I lived freshman year!  This is as close as we got to North Campus
 It would've been fun, but it was just SOOO crowded it was almost impossible to do much of anything.  For example, here was the line for ice cream:

No. Frickin'. Way.
 We might return someday, perhaps when our children are teenagers and can handle walking further than 20ft. without asking to be picked up and waiting in line for longer than 5 minutes.

We had planned to stop at Founding Farmers on the way home for a delicious early dinner, but Will flat-out said no because he didn't have it left in him to help control the girls in a restaurant.  I was sorely disappointed, but I survived.  Mainly because he made me dinner :-)

First though, after our potty break-filled drive home I had a banana with peanut butter to snack on.

After that I saw Emily's leftover peanut butter oatmeal from breakfast staring at me, so I finished that too.

Remy was hoping for some
 Then I had the delicious dinner Will made us.  Even the girls ate it, and it caused Emily to declare that Daddy is the #1 cooker.

Asparagus, grilled shrimp + cod, and quinoa with salsa and beans
Will had beer club Saturday night, so I got the girls into bed and made myself a Pisco sour (since I couldn't get Pisco at Founding Farmers and I really wanted some!)  Mmmm.  The recipe made two but it all fit in my glass so I didn't worry about it :-)

Downton Abbey occupied the rest of my night.

Sunday started with pancakes!  The girls went crazy for recipe calls for a bit of spelt flour and I REALLY like them that way.  It makes them more chewy.

We then headed to Baker Park so Will could meet with his workout group.

The girls and I accompanied him for some playground time.

Charlotte wondering why grown men were crawling across the playground
I really like this playground because #1 it's big and #2 it still has all the awesome equipment I remember playing on as a kid that most playground have eliminated because they are too dangerous.

Like the merry-go-round,

and seesaws.  

We all had a great time and great weather, then the sky started to cloud over in a very interesting and swirly way.  Luckily Will was finished working out by then so we were able to leave before the rain rolled in.

I still really wanted a meal from a restaurant, so we went to Café Rio for lunch.  I LOVE this place, but unfortunately it wasn't quite as amazing this time.  Their stevia-sweetened strawberry lemonade especially was disappointing.  They must've had the ratios of lemon and strawberry purée off.

My grilled chicken salad with a whole wheat tortilla
Sad strawberry lemonade
After lunch I sat down and forced myself to do some menu planning.  It wasn't as painful as I was thinking it would be, and I eventually got it all planned out, then headed out shopping.

First stop was Ann Taylor Loft to take advantage of their sale coupled with my $25 off coupon.  I got some shorts and pants for spring along with some shirts.

But then, on the way to My Organic Market I passed by Coldwater Creek.  I think of this store as a place that sells "Old lady clothes" for the most part, but a pretty necklace in the window caught my eye.  I always love the jewelry at Ann Taylor Loft but it's ridiculously pricey for something you can get at 1/4 the cost at Kohls or somewhere like that.  I decided to go in and check out their prices.

Everything was so sparkly and colorful.  And before I knew it, I had bought a few things.  I promise I did not get a "pant suit" or any "slacks", but I did make a purchase at the "Old Lady" store.  Let's keep this a secret, ok?  Just you and me and the rest of the internet.

Will wanted chicken thighs for dinner and he wanted to grill again but it was raining, so I reverted to our go-to sweet and sour chicken thighs recipe served with sweet potato fries and garlic sautéed spinach.  Surprisingly, the girls ate most of this.


As you can see, I fell down a bit in the whole tracking my food department because there were definitely some snacks I didn't snap pictures of, mostly in the evenings.  I seem to do pretty well during the week and then go off on the weekend evenings which is OK as long as it's not Friday AND Saturday AND Sunday every week. Next weekend will be difficult because we're having Dam Day at the farm AND Emily's birthday party which always means a frenzied baking spree for me.  If you'll recall, the slice of cake I had at Emily's birthday party last year wrecked my 4 months of healthy-living momentum and sent me into a downward spiral that I didn't pull myself out of until July.  So yeah.  Don't want to do that again.

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