A Weekend With Family in NY

This past weekend I got to travel – by myself – to New York! My brother was in town from Berlin and somewhat last minute I decided to get on a plane to see him and my parents.

It was such a good decision – I hadn’t been home since Christmas and it was great to see my family and also get in some quality time.

The weekend started with a quick stop in the City to see  Jane. We were able to grab a quick lunch and catch up before I caught the train up to Albany with my brother.

Friday started off with a run around my old neighborhood. I saw cows and even caught my brother who was out for a bike ride!

That afternoon, we went to the Hyde, a nearby museum and old house. It was a GORGEOUS fall day in the area, but chilly.

And the museum was really cool – they had a Picasso exhibit going on, but you also get to see the interior of the house, which is preserved since the family lived there in the early 1900s.

Friday night, we went out to dinner in Saratoga Springs. I had an AMAZING grilled octopus dish.

Saturday, we decided to escape town and go for a hike in the Catskills. My brother, mom and I got in the car and after a kinda long car ride, got to the bottom of the trail at the mountain. After hiking up, we saw some amazing views.

The trees were all yellow and orange.

Then, we climbed up even further — you can see the house down below right where I took the picture above.

That night, we had tickets to the Albany Symphony Orchestra! It was a great performance at the beautiful Palace Theater downtown.

Unfortunately, that was the end of an amazing weekend. I hadn’t spent time with just my parents and brother in several (8? 10?) years, and it was just what I needed.

Questions for you:

  • When was the last time you traveled by plane?
  • Do you live near your parents? Siblings?

A Weekend Away With Friends: Hocking Hills

B and I just got back from a weekend away with the kids. It was our first trip since our summer getaway to Toronto and Ithaca, and it was our first trip ever with some other couples with kids. And it was a success! We all got (some) sleep, had good food and had fun on some hiking trails. We spent the weekend away in Hocking Hills, about a 3 1/2 hour drive from our house (longer if you’re traveling with 2 kids and one gets carsick about halfway through …).We got into town around 8 ish or so on Friday night. We had dinner with the kids and just hung out for a while talking after the kids went to bed late. We were beat – the car ride down had not been easy. LM cried for a good portion of the trip, FW needed to get out to go to the bathroom when we were in the middle of nowhere, and then LM got carsick twice. But we did have this pie waiting for us when we got there (made by my friend Anson).Saturday, we started off with breakfast. I had made a French toast casserole that we just had to heat up before the day began. Our activities began with a drive to Ash Cave and a hike to the cave. We hiked the Gorge and Rim Trail. Those trails were only about 1/2 mile or so, so we ended up walking a bit on the Grandma Gatewood Trail before turning around and making it back to our car for a picnic lunch.After lunch, we opted for another trail – this time to Old Man’s Cave! We hiked the lower falls and Gorge Trail, both of which were fun and not too hard to do with the kids – we had the little ones in backpacks and preschoolers with us at all times (basically FW was holding my hand as we walked up the tons and tons of stairs and anytime we were along the cliffs).Then, back to the cabin for nap time. We finished the afternoon with a cookout, complete with s’mores and the s’mores cookie bars I had brought.

These were pretty good 🙂

Sunday morning we had to pack it up and leave. But not before one last hike! This time we walked a little around the property. It was 80s and the kids were getting tired so it wasn’t too long of a walk – just enough to get out some energy before the car ride home.

All in all, it was a great weekend. Being around 5 children at a time could be a little overwhelming, but I would definitely do it again!

Questions for you:

  • Have you been to Hocking Hills?
  • Have you done a trip with other couples and their families?

A Weekend In Chicago with the Girls

I’m just getting back from a girls weekend. I was able to spend several days with some of my best friends. We have been friends for 20+ years and we try to go on trips together about once every year or other year. This year, we planned a trip to Chicago – just us. No kids, husbands, pets, etc.

What does a girls weekend entail when you’re 30-something and have 2 kids? Well, it was pretty perfect. It included:

Some drinks.

Some delicious dining. Including deep dish pizza (of course!), breakfast sandwiches, homemade bagels and lox and birthday treats.

Some relaxing by the hotel rooftop pool.

Some exercise. We did one run along the lake, and one gym day with circuit training. We also took a rainy walk along the 606.

Some site seeing.

I even was able to sneak in a short visit with my friend Cuoghi who moved from CLE to Chicago last year. I was so happy to get in a quick visit with her! We enjoyed some cupcakes in the park.

I’m feeling so lucky and grateful to have such amazing friends. Despite many miles keeping us apart and many life changes over the past 20+ years of our friendship, we are still able to pick up right where we left off every time.

Some questions for you:

  • Do you have friends that you’ve kept in touch with for many years?
  • Where should we go on our next trip?

A Few Days in Ithaca

And just like that, the vacation that I have been looking forward to for several months is over. Earlier in the year, we had planned a short getaway with my parents and brother. We had decided to check out the Finger Lakes, finding an AirBNB in Ithaca that would host us for the few days. My brother flew in from Berlin, my parents drove in from Albany and we all stayed together.


The trip was great. It was so wonderful to be able to spend time with my family, and LM and FW loved all the “Nonna, Grandpa, Sweetie and Uncle Greg” time. We also had a good time checking out the city and some nearby sites. Some of the highlights included:

Grabbing dinner and ice cream around Ithaca Commons.

Hiking to and splashing around Taughannock Falls.

Lunching and wine tasting at Thirsty Owl Winery.

Exploring the area – I went running along their waterfront path one day and my family and I took walks as well.

It’s always hard to finish vacation, but this one is especially hard because of the great family time we had.  I don’t know when my parents, brother and I will be all together again!

Some questions for you:

  • Have you been to Ithaca?
  • Do you vacation with your family?

Weekly Running Recap: Vacation With a Side of Running

I’m not a good vacation runner. That’s right, my runs tend to be little to none when I’m out of town with the family.

Why? To be honest, I feel guilty. I Theknow I shouldn’t, but I feel bad if I am gone from my family due to a run. I have serious FOMO as well and even if it’s just 30 minutes, I feel like I’m missing out on quality family time. I’m getting better about just going and running (because it’s what I like to do), but for the most part, I don’t run as much on vacation.

And last week was one of those weeks. My running mileage ended up around 11 miles total for the week, with runs on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. Here’s a look at what the days entailed:

The first day was just a long walk (5+ miles) throughout Toronto. We ended up covering several miles by foot (I made my step goal of 11,000+ steps), but it was all walking. And posing for photos like these 🙂

The last day in Toronto, I did get in a 3.5ish m run before our long car trip to NY. I even got a running pic with the CN Tower in the background!

In Ithaca, I went for a 3ish m run along the water one morning. It was peaceful, but it took me almost a mile to get to the waterfront trail.

Another day in Ithaca, we took a 2 mile hike to some waterfalls. It was 90 degrees and HOT but worth it – we took the easy trail (especially since B was carrying not one but two kids) to these gorgeous falls.

And then, one last run for the week – 4 miles in nearly 90% humidity. Too hot for me! (And look who stole my water bottle)

Some questions for you:

  • Do you run while traveling on vacation?
  • Did you travel for the Fourth of July week?

I’m linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Run Down.

A Few Days in Toronto (With Kids)

Happy Canada Day (a day late)! B, FW, LM and I are spending the week off on a vacation and starting the week off with the four of us in Toronto. Shortly after LM was born, we got the kids passports, but haven’t used them. So, we decided to take a drive across the border and spend a few days in Canada.

If you’re planning a trip to Toronto anytime soon and have kids, here are a few things you may be interested in doing. Even if you don’t have kids, these are some fun things to do.

First (not in Toronto), spend some time in Niagara Falls

On our way up north, we stopped in Niagara Falls for lunch and a boat ride to see the Falls. We met up with some friends who live in Canada and joined them on the Hornblower.


I really enjoyed the boat ride! It was so amazing to see the falls up close and it was the perfect length of a ride for kids (20 minutes or so). Pro tip: Buy your tickets in advance online, and then you won’t have to wait in a long line to purchase tickets. We only had a 10 minute wait or so to take the funicula (which was also fun) down to the boat to the falls. And we definitely got wet!

See a Blue Jays Game

The Blue Jays were in town when we were and we were able to catch a game on Canada Day. This meant there was some pre-game entertainment (including a giant Canadian flag being unrolled onto the field, as well as some people rapelling a flag onto the field) and a great giveaway (a “relaxed denim Maple Leaf hat”). We got to the game early to catch all of these and stayed for all 9 innings to catch a win. Bonus – they also have poutine at the concession stands!

Toronto Blue Jays game Canada Day flag

Toronto Blue Jays game Canada Day flag

See that guy on the roof? He is about to rappel down

Grab gelato and sit by the waterfront

We were lucky enough to have some gorgeous weather the whole time we were there — sunny, upper 70s — and on two evenings we decided to get gelato and walk along the water. One night there was even a live band playing so we got in some music (and FW got some dancing).

Go for a run or walk along the water

You know me – I need to get in at least one run on vacation. So one morning while B was giving LM and FW a bath (super dad!), I got in a run by the water. The Martin Goodman Trail is a long bike path and running path near the water that runs for many miles, which was perfect for me to enjoy a run by myself. It would’ve been great for a stroller run as well. It was perfect weather during the run and made for the perfect way to start my day.

Go to Chinatown (and eat copious amounts of dumplings)

One day we walked from our AirBNB in the financial district to Chinatown and grabbed lunch. We went to the Dumpling House and ordered steamed dumplings, pan-fried dumplings and a green onion pancake. LM enjoyed all of it – and even FW ate a few of the dumplings (minus the filling #pickyeater). The waitstaff also loves kids – they kept carrying LM around the restaurant while we ate and playing with FW.

Dumplings at The Dumpling House in Toronto

These were our pan-fried dumplings

Waitstaff carrying LM

Some of the other kid-friendly restaurants we visited included Cafe Landwer (their kids’ breakfast had amazing toast toppings!), Pie Bar (their kids dinners come with gelato for dessert) and Jack Astors (their kids menu has steak, build your own tacos and more!).

Find a playground

Because you’re with kids, you may as well find a playground for them to run around/swing around/play around on. On our walk one morning we found a small playground with some swings, slides and a seesaw, which made both our kids happy campers.

Relax with drinks (after the kids are asleep)

Our AirBNB had a balcony with an amazing view of the city. There was a lot going on downtown and the humming/buzzing of the cars moving all night was relaxing (for me). One night after the kids were in bed, we just sat outside on the patio and enjoyed the night. It was the perfect end to a long day of vacation! (Vacation with kids = tiring)

View from our rooftop patio

We only had a few days, but I’d definitely go back. The last time B and I were there was before kids, several years ago and the middle of winter, so much has changed. The next time we go, we’d probably do a few more kid-friendly activities, like visit their zoo, see the aquarium, or go to the train museum (which was right across the street from where we were staying). We just didn’t have enough time to do it all!

Some questions for you:

  • Have you ever been to Toronto?
  • Are there some standard things you try to do when vacationing with kids (e.g., find a playground, etc)?

24 Hours In Detroit

Well, that weekend went way too fast. Know why? We were hardly in Cleveland at all – we spent 22 hours in Detroit!

What does one do with 2 kids when they’re in Detroit for a day? Well, we spent most of the time with family. B’s brother lives downtown and his other brothers and dad were in own visiting, so we met up with them and hung out.

We did walk to the Eastern Market, which was a cool outdoor/indoor market with lots of different food vendors.

FW even got a free apple from one of the vendors!

After walking around the market, we ordered pizza and got some beers at Eastern Market Brewing I really liked their Session IPA and FW loved the pizza from Supino. He had 2 slices!

We saw some cool artwork. there are beautiful murals all over the city, and I really liked these two – the Welcome  to Detroit right under Stevie Wonder. 

Then, while the boys went to the Tigers vs. Indians game (Indians won!), LM and I walked around a little and got dinner. She loved the veggie sandwich from Avalon. Brownie not pictured.

Sunday morning we woke up to rain. And not a “hey it’s just drizzling, we’ll put on our raincoats and be fine” kind of rain – but the kind that had us bundling in our raincoats and as we walked outside we were immediately soaked. Even as we left the hotel, some guy commented, “You’re going outside? You’re gonna get wet.”

We walked a little around before hopping into Avalon (yes, again – but B and FW hadn’t been there) for breakfast. If I lived here, I could see myself going there a lot.

We had plans to walk around the city some more and check out the River Walk before our hotel checkout time, but even when we left the restaurant, it was still a complete downpour. So we went back to the hotel and before we knew it it was time to check out.

We will definitely have to go back to Detroit again soon – hopefully next time the weather will hold out and we’ll get to do some more stuff.

Questions for you:

  • Have you ever been to Detroit?
  • White pizza or saucy pizza?