A Day with the Rental Car

After DC, we didn’t have to return the car until the following evening since they were closed on Sunday. I took advantage of having the car by taking my friend to get drinks at Sonic, something I used to do all the time back in Provo. I just love Sonic Happy Hour! We then thought it would be fun to go to Trader Joe’s, which was about 15 minutes away in NJ.

We started to follow the directions and all of a sudden realized we were heading towards the Lincoln tunnel, which takes you into the city and costs a hefty toll of $13! We kept thinking, “Oh I’m sure it will have us exit before the tunnel!” But no, there were no turnoffs and no way to escape. We were going into the city and it was felt like a nightmare! No, it felt like we had just gotten on a roller coaster, were going up the hill and decided we didn’t want to go on it anymore! But there was nothing we could do. We had to finish the ride. We had to go into Manhattan.

Once we were over there, we decided to make the $13 worth it. We found a T.J.’s near by on the Upper West Side, and actually found street parking fairly easily. All in all, it was okay and I did fine driving (just don’t ask Ashley about the details of my driving). But it was a fun adventure!

Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 4.54.21 PM Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 4.54.14 PM

Sidenote: Eva did not nap AT ALL on our drive to or from DC. 6 hours there, 9 hours back. Nothing. But not even one hour in the car coming home from NYC and she felt asleep and took a long nap! I had to sit in the parking garage for a while so she could get a good snooze in!



Weekend in DC

One of T.J.’s classmates Madalyne from BYU did her Senior BFA show on Dyslexia, called The Dyslexic Advantage (click on the link to learn more about the show).  It got picked up by the Smithsonian and is on display through the end of January. We decided to go see the show with some other students, including Madalyne, and T.J.’s old professor who flew in for the event. It was fun to see everybody and really neat to see her show in the museum!

While we there, we stayed with my sister and her family. It was so fun to spend another weekend with them! I got to go to my sister’s violin studio recital and hear her play and hear my little niece Claire play! I seriously was holding back tears hearing Claire play “Go Tell Aunt Rhody.” She is getting so big and so good at violin!

The drive home was supposed to take us 4 hours, but because of the snow storm it took us about 9 hours. We only stopped once for about ten minutes just to change Eva’s diaper and grab food for the road. It was crazy! But we got back in time so T.J. wouldn’t miss any work.

Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 4.54.48 PM Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 4.54.30 PM IMG_1859 IMG_1856

B is for Boston (Part 2)

On our second day in Boston, we started the day off at the science museum but didn’t stay long because it was overrun with elementary school kids running wild. We got those tickets for free too, so we didn’t feel that bad leaving. Plus, it gave us more time to explore Harvard. We saw tons of sailors and rowers that day, which was so cool. Harvard was such a beautiful campus too, but much busier than Yale with all the Boston foot-traffic.

Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 11.33.14 AM

We ate lunch at a local burger place and it made me so sick! So, while Eva napped in the car with Ryan’s wife, I was having a rough couple of hours. But fortunately, I got over it fast and felt better by the time the boys were done touring Fenway.

Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 11.33.35 AM

We ended the night back at Quincy Market where we got some seafood. I don’t know why it took me so long to find out I love crab… but finally, I’ve come to my senses and devoured lots of crab legs that night.

Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 11.33.26 AM

We had such a great trip and so much fun visiting with our old pals! Until next time, Boston!

B is for Boston

After a great couple of days in Boston, we are back. I’m freezing in our little apartment this morning because I’m too cheap to turn on the heater. But I kind of like the cold when I wake up. It makes Fall feel more real. I’m still in disbelief that Summer is over and that the holidays are right around the corner. Where did time go?

If I wasn’t aware that it was Fall before, I sure am now after driving four hours through beautiful color-changing leaves. The drive to Boston was unbelievable. The entire time I just kept saying, “Wow… look at that tree!” TJ probably got sick of it, but it was gorgeous and I couldn’t get over it.

Anyway, enough of that. I want to tell you about our trip! TJ’s old roommate/high school bestie served his mission in Boston a while back and so he and his wife planned the trip to see the area again. Since we hadn’t seen them for a while, I had never been to Boston, and TJ and I really needed some time together (we haven’t had a real date since we moved here… five months guys!), we decided we really wanted to make a vacation out of it.

On our way up there, we stopped at Yale. We felt like fish out of water there, since we are in our mid twenties and carting our child around through the prestigious school. Can we just talk about Yale and their corridors? They have these crazy arches and doors to get into buildings, locked up with iron gates and beautiful type overhead. TJ was in architectural heaven. He couldn’t stop talking about the buildings and I couldn’t stop talking about the changing leaves. Yale was quite a site and totally worth the stop.

Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 10.33.11 AM Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 10.33.00 AM

We all stayed at this resort right on the ocean in Nantasket. It was BEAUTIFUL. To get there, you have to drive through tons of little towns filled with old homes, big trees, and windy roads. And to have the ocean right there? Amazing. I literally cried on our way home because I fell in love with the area and want to move there right now.

Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 10.34.54 AM

On Thursday, we headed into the city and just explored. We went to Quincy Market and to about half of the places on the Freedom Trail. We then met up with Ryan and KacyAnn at the aquarium. We scored free tickets since Ryan had an old library membership there, so that was awesome. Eva, as usual, just ran around yelling, “More more more!” We were disappointed there weren’t big sharks but the penguins and sea lions made up for it!

Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 11.30.47 AM


We wrapped up the night by eating dinner in Little Italy and then walking back through the city to see Boston Common, which is where a homeless man yelled at me (when he saw Eva on her leash) saying he’d put me on a leash. At first we were pretty put off, plus embarrassed since tons of people were around to hear it. But we got over it and now will remember our first time being heckled for putting Eva on a harness. You gotta do what you gotta do, am I right?

DSC01483 DSC01479 DSC01472 DSC01468 DSC01457-1 DSC01450 DSC01447 DSC01444 DSC01440 DSC01435 DSC01431 DSC01428

More to come later…




Kentucky Stills



Kentucky Recap

This post is purely for journaling purposes only… so feel free to move on.


We had such a great time in Kentucky. We had incredible weather for the majority of the trip, which really made it nice. Eva couldn’t get enough of going on walks and playing in the yard. Every day, all day, she would ask, “Walk? Walk? Walk?” And considering my Mom loves being outside, she and my Dad were in grandparent heaven.

We got in on Thursday with a direct flight from Newark to Cincinnati. I can’t get over how nice that was… I’m used to flights with layovers going to Louisville or Dayton. So, to fly right into CVG was a dream. We spent the rest of Thursday and Friday going to parks, playing games in the back yard, and enjoying our time together. Ooh, and we had Skyline… great start to the trip!

Saturday we threw a baby shower for a friend in my home ward and then took Eva to another park in Fort Thomas. Saturday night I went to a video shoot with my dad at this night club. It’s always fun to hop along on those shoots with my dad and see him at work. It was also funny to see all of these old people dancing all night long. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.

Sunday we went to church and to linger longer afterwards. Eva had a ball in nursery and I loved being able to go to Sunday School and Relief Society, since I’m usually in Primary back in Jersey City.

Let’s see… Monday my mom went back to school, but Eva still had a great time playing with all of the toys and exploring. When my mom got back, we headed up to Rookwood for some shopping, but after one store, I left Old Navy in tears because Eva was driving me nuts. We were going to get Chick Fil A for dinner, but the line was so long, I couldn’t handle Eva’s cries any longer so we just went home. It was a major fail, but actually something we all laughed about after because of how annoyed I was. Overreaction, I know. But I love going to Rookwood with my mom and I was so disappointed that it wasn’t like the old days… but new days are good too and I need to learn to like change and come what may.

Tuesday, my Dad, Eva and I went downtown (I first wrote Downton… ha!) and we walked around the square together. It was cute to see Eva with her Papa, I love those two together! We had dinner that night with Mrs. Doran, our good family friend.

Wednesday, Eva and I woke up early to have breakfast with Blair over on UC’s campus. It was fun to catch up with my old friend and to see her cute apartment. She had to go to class, so Eva, my dad, and I went to the Newport Aquarium which was great. Eva ran around so fast and kept yelling, “More! More! More!” She loved those fish and loved running through the halls even better. We finished the afternoon at Hofbrauhaus, mine and my dad’s favorite spot. Wednesday night, I went out with my friend Lelia for some shopping and dinner. Love catching up with that girl!

On Thursday, my mom was off of work so we tried our hand in shopping again, but this time at Kenwood Mall. Eva was much more cheerful and sat in her stroller for a lot longer, so we had a great time walking around together and getting Evabug some new fall clothes! We picked up some books at a book store nearby, and then met my dad for dinner at Outback. Eva was pretty funny that night at dinner and kept waving to the people sitting behind us. We were worried she would throw food into the lady’s hair.

Friday we went to the zoo and it was absolutely perfect. Beautiful day, not too busy, and great company. The Cincinnati Zoo is really incredible. The gardens are gorgeous and there are so many exhibits that you can barely see everything in one trip! But we saw tons of animals and Eva walked around like she owned the place.

Saturday was conference, but beforehand we went to my old elementary school’s Fall Hullabaloo and then to a pumpkin patch and farm. It felt like we had traveled to Central Kentucky, but it was just right off of Route 8, 15 minutes away! The farm was so gorgeous and probably one of the best times of the entire trip. After the Priesthood session of conference, my dad and I saw Gravity together and wow… I’m still recovering from that stressful movie. It was great but I don’t think I’ll see it again since the plot was actually pretty weak.

Sunday was also conference and actually quite rainy, so we were stuck inside all day. But between sessions Blair and another friend from high school stopped by for a couple hours to catch up. It was fun looking through old photo albums and yearbooks. I can’t believe how time has flown by!

Monday was our departure date… and boy, did we cry. Eva kept asking where Nana and Papa were and then started saying “Nana Papa… All gone!” When she said that, it killed me! But we had a great trip with my family and can’t wait to go back, hopefully, sooner rather than later!

Thanks to my parents for a fantastic trip!

I’m a Bluegrass Girl


This week I’m going to visit my parents in Northern Kentucky. This trip could not be coming at a better time because I’m aching to get out of the city and just ride in a car for once in my life. I’m making a list of what I want to do while I’m visiting. Here’s what I’ve come up with, other than the obvious “hanging out with fam” type of stuff:

  1. Eat at Skyline. Duh.
  2. Go to the Aquarium or the Zoo.
  3. Go apple picking.
  4. Go to a movie.
  5. Walk the People Purple Bridge.
  6. Go to my old elementary school’s fall festival, the Hullabaloo.
  7. Eat Graeter’s Ice-Cream
  8. Eat at the Hofbrauhaus
  9. Drive down Covert Run… when you don’t have a car and live in the city, driving down an old windy street in the woods sounds really great.
  10. Have a fire pit.

Here’s a different version of My Old Kentucky Home… it’s rap version.

, , , ,

Instagrams In-Between

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 2.16.08 PM

Eva and I on the way to Chincoteague!

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 2.16.17 PM

The amazing sunset that welcomed us when we arrived.

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 2.17.09 PM

Not the best BBQ we’ve ever had but pretty fun decorations.

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 2.17.24 PM

Eva would fall asleep within minutes of leaving the beach each day.Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 2.16.25 PM

Eva and Amelia eating breakfast together

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 2.16.38 PM

My Dad with ClaireScreen Shot 2013-07-10 at 2.16.44 PM

Mark, Mary Beth, and Claire enjoying the beach even with the wind.Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 2.16.50 PM

Taken after I braved the waves for the first time.

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 2.17.02 PM

A bird went to the bathroom on my dad’s head.Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 6.05.52 PM

Taken at the NASA center nearby
Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 6.06.02 PM

On the boat ride

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 6.06.07 PM

Claire at the SandbarScreen Shot 2013-07-10 at 6.06.14 PM

Shots from our walk around Chincoteague.

, , ,

Trip to Chincoteague Island (Part 2)

Thursday was the 4th of July! Surprisingly there wasn’t a parade in the town, so we made other plans. We thought about going to see the rocket launch over at the nearby NASA center, but we had been previously and it was always postponed due to weather conditions. We thought it would be postponed again but of course, the day we didn’t go-we missed the rocket blastoff. That was pretty disappointing.









So, we went to the beach again. When the Swainharts vacation at a beach, we soak it up as much as we can… plus we had to go because T.J. hadn’t been yet. We bought a boogie board that day and it made riding the waves soooo much more fun. On previous days, the waves were so intense that my top would… well… let’s just say, I hope no one was looking! With the boogie board, I was able to get on top of them and not worry about any slips.


After the beach, we got cleaned up, ate a lot of crabs for dinner, then went to the local fair in town. It was cute to look at but didn’t hold our attention for long, plus the mosquitos were biting us like crazy. We watched The Music Man as a family and then saw the fireworks from our porch. It was a low-key yet fun-filled 4th that I’ll always remember.





Friday was our last full day, so we wanted to make the best of it. We went on a boat ride to a sand bar. It was so serene and beautiful. The little kids loved splashing in the little ponds. After a while, the jelly fish that were all around started to really freak me out, and T.J.’s legs looked like a lobster, so we headed back and visited all the little stores in the town.



We finished off our vacation by having dinner at the beach and taking a walk together.






It was such a great vacation and we owe many thanks to my sister and brother-in-law, as well as to my parents. It was so nice of them to let us join them!