We had a three day weekend, which worked out just perfect for little miss birthday girl who celebrated eight years of life. She got to party like a mini-rock star at a spa with a few good friends and then jet set off to Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
The "party like a rock star" part was really just grabbing some donuts at the Amish Market in the morning and then meeting 4 of her good friends for pizza. Then, they all walked right next door for manis and pedis at a new, posh little nail salon. I pre-scheduled those appointments a few weeks ago. We topped it off with ice cream cones at Carvel, only a 30-second drive down the street.
With four girls, I've planned ALL types of parties, at home and out. I'll tell you, this was the easiest, most calm birthday party I've ever done. I'm totally down with this.
Most importantly, so was the B-day girl.
I had made other random plans with the girls for their three-day weekend, but when Dr. Fabulous said Saturday night "What about we go to Baltimore for the rest of the weekend?" I was all like... "Um, Okay."
It's weird because I would not call my husband spontaneous... not in the least. Of course, neither am I. But sometimes, he'll get on one of these "let's get outta dodge" whims.
So, he researched the hotels, found his deals, and made a plan while I packed the bags. In less than a two hour drive, there we were. Total change of scenery.
The staff at the Marriott on the Inner Harbor was so nice, especially when they found out we had a lil' birthday girl. They upgraded us to one of the tippy top floors with a harbor-view room along with access to the concierge lounge and free breakfast.
The view was seriously to die for. I've had some nice views, but this one was probably one of the nicest I've ever had in a hotel. Thirty-first floor. The girls were totally enthralled, and picked the bed right by the window so they could fall asleep to the city lights.
The indoor pool (major selling point) was worth its weight in gold. You could bring your kids to a hotel 5 minutes down the road and if it had an indoor pool? You're set.
Clearly, I wasn't getting in. That was "Daddy's job."
Night swim, early morning swim. Perfect.
When in Maryland, do as the Marylanders and eat youz a crab cake sandwich.
And don't listen to your non-seafood loving husband who balks at its $22.00 price tag.
Baltimore has a lot of personal meaning to us. It's where we first met, actually... about 17 years ago (Good freakin' LORD). I had gone to college in a small, hick town and after graduation moved into the city with friends and met CB's dad. I spent basically my entire 20s in Maryland. I had a lot of fun as a young, single girl partying every weekend then transitioned into a mom and wife (in that order). By the time I met Dr. Fabulous, I had been in my 5-year doctoral program for one year already. I had a two year old daughter with a seizure disorder who was just getting ready to be diagnosed with Autism and Cognitive Impairments. Oh, and a husband too. Just sayin'.
Dr. Fabulous and I attended grad school together over the next three years and through full-time classes and internships got to know each other as very good friends. He actually became one of my best friends.
Fortunately, he still is.
And, through a series of crazy life events, I ended up getting to marry him too. We always wanted to take the girls back to the place where "it all started." Though we haven't lived there for years, it is part of our history. It's part of our journey home.
So, that photo of us in front of that giant crab is from another 'no kids, romantic' Baltimore trip at the end of last summer. That was a trip I never blogged about, where we stayed in Fells Point and took a dinner tour on a yacht and went out for morning runs, and ate our faces off and drank good wine, and visited our old "stomping grounds" on Loyola College's campus. Such fun. And way, way warmer.
But, as great as that trip was, we loved being in Baltimore with the girls. If you had asked me all those years ago if I ever thought I'd be walking the Inner Harbor with Dr. Fabulous hand in hand with our three little girls squealing behind us... I'd have laughed my ass off. There was no possible way. I was living a totally different life.
The girls are at such great ages. I mean, there is the big science center and an aquarium downtown, but we didn't do any of that. We walked around, hung at the hotel, took them on a boring tour of all the places Mom and Dad went and where we (unbeknownst even to us) fell in love.
Here's how we really know that they are at great ages. We took them to the Walters Art Museum and they were totally interested and excited and didn't whine ONCE the entire time - without BRIBERY. Even 6- year old Rella who is a big ole complainer!
That's gold, right there.
So, a little change of scenery and a little pampering in a hotel did everyone a little good.
And tuckered them all out.
Happy Birthday to my baby girl Tink. Stop growing up so fast, please.