Travel Channel Archive

Aloha All Day Every Day

Now that we’ve been back to reality for a month and the tans have worn off and the aches and pains from sitting on an airplane have been replaced by aches and pains from {insert all activity while 34 weeks pregnant here}, I figured it was time to do a little nostalgic hula down memory lane.

The flight to Kauai was just over six hours and it was rough. The crew was nasty, the plane was packed, and my body was not impressed with being confined to a seat for so long. Madelyn, on the other hand, was a total champ. She slept for two hours and managed to stay happy thanks to coloring books and 79283742 episodes of “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.” We bought her her very own set of headphones and she wore them very proudly and stayed entertained. There is no doubt that she was way better behaved on the flight than I was!

We arrived at our hotel to enjoy a great room with a pool and ocean view. Bryan and I stayed at this Marriott property on our honeymoon and it was great to be back, especially after some nice updates and renovations. We rested and cleaned up from our travel day, and then walked the short path to Duke’s for dinner, but not without Madelyn modeling for the camera first.



Madelyn couldn’t wait to go swimming in Kauai. We had told her that our hotel had a gigantic pool and she was so excited to wear her floatie and swim.

The water was cold in the pool! Bryan went in with her most of the time because I am a wimp when it comes to water temperature. But I was also her partner in vegging, and she very quickly got accustomed to resort life.




Bryan was also Madelyn’s sand castle partner. He showed her all the techniques and introduced her to proper ratios of water and sand. He taught her how to dump bucket molds properly and about accessorizing castles with sticks and seaweed. I loved watching my little architect become so passionate about sand castles. I was happy to let them have their building bonding time because I don’t like sand in my bits and sitting on the beach means getting stuck on the beach. #pregnantproblems





We also ventured away from the hotel pool and beach. The great part about visiting Kauai is that it’s small and with a car, it’s super easy to get around to see all sides of the island.

We took a drive to the very end of the road past Hanalei but made stops along the way to see waterfalls, burgers, boobies, and beach.

With two must-have burger joints on the road, we couldn’t go Sophie’s Choice on the meal and decided to have lunch twice; once at Ono Char Burger alongside the resident roosters and a few hours later at Bubba Burgers in Hanalei. Bubba is also next door to a pretty delicious shave ice place, so of course we had to enjoy our first shave ice of the trip. Madelyn had no idea what was coming. Her mind was blown.

Between our burger breaks, we visited Kilauea Lighthouse. The lighthouse itself is not that exciting, though it is a pretty structure. The real draw to this stop is the gorgeous views from the tip of the island and the sanctuary of boobies. Boobies are birds. It’s fun to talk about boobies in public and how they fly and swoop. Boobies boobies boobies.










We finally made it to the end of our drive at Ke’e Beach where the road ends and the Napali Coast takes over with its monstrous, lush jungle mountains.

Madelyn was so thrilled to be at a new beach that she tackled me with love and how could I resist? Bryan had the camera ready and I’m so glad he caught these moments of her love attack. On day three of our trip, she continued to be in the happiest of spirits, never complaining and always appreciating everything we showed her in our beloved Kauai. It was at this moment that I was reminded how lucky we are to be raising Madelyn who is so positive and delightful. She really seems to “get it” and we love that she has the travel bug, too.





Madelyn took in her new surroundings and ran around the beach before settling into the sand with Bryan for another creation.

Then, we spotted our first rainbow and Madelyn was pretty enamored with the sight. It was one of those perfect rainbows that disappeared as quickly as it came and showed vibrant colors at its pique. I was hoping we’d get to see a famous Hawaiian rainbow on our trip, and this day did not disappoint. This rainbow reappeared over and over again over the course of our hour at the Ke’e Beach.








We learned the day before at the beach at the hotel that Madelyn does not like going into the ocean. The waves scared her and the endlessness of it seemed to make her nervous. It took a little convincing, but she was finally OK with going in the water at Ke’e Beach because the water was calm and smooth like glass. I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to float in the Pacific Ocean with my best girl, so I got over my water temperature snobbiness and we bounced around together, singing and giggling.

After our fingers had turned into raisins, Madelyn relaxed on the beach while Bryan snapped a few belly shots. Apparently we wanted to remember what 28 weeks looks like the second time around. Then Madelyn wanted in so she could give kisses to her little sister. And I melted into a puddle that was bigger than the water we’d just come out of.




The next day, we spent the day at the hotel pool and beach again to take it easy after our adventure the day before. We met an older woman from Mississippi on the beach who managed to tell me her entire life story and how her granddaddy built her Baptist church and that every Sunday, she and her husband sat in the pews named after her family and she sings the loudest during the hymns. She also blessed me a million times for my pregnancy and upcoming baby. She then kneeled down to Madelyn and gushed about how she reminded her of the angels in her Sunday school class that she teaches.

She followed up her friendly and kind conversation by asking Madelyn if she likes to sing. Madelyn confidently nodded her head. So the lady asked her if she knew the song “Jesus Loves You” and Madelyn stared at her like she had 50 eyeballs on her head. When she didn’t answer, the nice lady gave us her own personal recital and giggled to us that Madelyn must be shy for not singing the lyrics with her. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that not only did Madelyn not know the words to “Jesus Loves You,” but that we were also on a family vacation during Hanukkah and that the last song she sang at preschool was about a dreidel. This experience was one of the funniest and most bizarre moments of my life, but this lady was so nice with good intentions.

After she left, we blessed the sand with our own creation: a Madelyn Mermaid. She loved being buried and giggled about her sandy fins.


That evening, we got cleaned up to go see a Hula show in the same shopping center as one of our favorite restaurants, Roy’s. However, we were in lots of traffic going into Poipu, and we missed the Hula show. I was so sad because I wasn’t sure when else we would be able to go before our trip ended, so we let Madelyn run around to get some of her wiggles out from the long car ride before dinner and her silly antics cheered me up.

We went to the beautiful nearby Hyatt resort to walk around the property and ended up watching a Hawaiian singer in the lounge where Madelyn danced to his music and put on her own little show for us. We also learned we could come back to the Hyatt a few days later to take a Hula class and see a Hula show. I was so glad to have that final option and couldn’t wait to come back!





We bought a pineapple earlier in the week at a nearby market and it was finally ready to eat, so the next morning, I called for room service to bring up a knife and I performed major surgery on that gem so we could enjoy its juicy island flavor.

Madelyn was so excited to eat real Hawaiian pineapple and she loved watching me slice it up. It was a yummy way to start the day and it sure beat room service.





With our bellies full of pineapple, we woke up our appetites to grab some delicious Mexican food from a food truck I’d read about. We drove to Koloa Town to try Chalupa’s and it did not disappoint! Our food was delicious and was the perfect lunch before making the long drive to the other end of the island to check out Hanapepe and Waimea Canyon.


Hanapepe is an old little town and we went to show Madelyn the swinging bridge. We walked across the bridge 6.5 years before when we came to Kauai for our honeymoon, but we thought Madelyn would get a kick out of crossing a river on a suspension bridge. And then walk back. It’s very anticlimactic, but it’s quirky and kitschy and something you’ve just to go do when visiting Kauai.

And it must’ve made some kind of impression on her because every bridge we saw or walked on throughout the rest of the trip, including the bridge over the pool at our resort, was called a Hanapepe Bridge.

Plus, the photo opps were fun!





After a long and windy drive up to Waimea Canyon, we woke up a sleeping Madelyn to take in the miraculous view of the Grand Canyon of Hawaii. As many times as I’ve seen Waimea Canyon, it’s still a breathtaking sight.

No photo truly does it justice. The ropey red mountains with a cavernous valley below are so powerful to take in. The waterfall gives the perfect dose of Hawaii. The breeze is the only sound over the murmur of amazed visitors who exchange buzzes of conversation for photography trades. We also partook, and thank goodness, because it’s not often we’ll have a family photo with this landscape.





Back down the windy road, we stopped for a late lunch at the Shrimp Station, which was decorated for the holidays. Madelyn loves shrimp and was totally enchanted by the shrimp on a sleigh in front. Bryan and Madelyn also managed to polish off some shrimp platters, while I cursed the windy road that left me nauseous and totally unhungry. I was sad to miss out on one of my favorite eating experiences that I was excited to return to, but I could not force any shrimp into my upset belly.

I was too much of a wimp… for shrimp. Womp womp.


We drove back to the hotel and I spent the rest of the late afternoon and evening curled up in a ball, stewing over how mad I was for feeling sick on vacation. We called it an early night and I felt so much better the next day. We relaxed at the pool again and then got dolled up in repeat outfits for our Hula night back at the Hyatt.

Dinner at Puka Dog was quick, but delicious. Kauai travelers will enjoy visiting this simple hot dog shop that’s anything but boring. The dog is wrapped in a cylinder sweet roll and there’s a variety of tropical relishes to use instead of the usuals. This is no ballpark hot dog. And as a picky hot dog eater who has the audacity to hate all condiments except for ketchup, even I like the relishes!

We arrived at the Hyatt for our Hula lesson and we learned a dance and a song. It was super fun and I appreciated learning about storytelling with my hands. Madelyn did a great job following along when she wasn’t being harassed by another little girl who had no interest in watching the teacher and only wanted to play with Madelyn. Poor Madelyn was so torn, loving the attention from a new friend, but also really wanting to Hula dance. She did the best she could and we ended up having a good time before heading down to the lounge to watch the children from a local Hula school perform for hotel guests. Madelyn ate it up. She loved watching little girls not much older than her shake their hips and use beautiful props to dance.

At the end of the night, we enjoyed a family walk and a cuddle on a hammock under the stars. It was a perfect evening and a wonderful memory.






On our second to last day, we took one more drive north to check out some other beaches with a shave ice stop on the way because shave ice. We enjoyed the beach at Princeville and then found ourselves at Lumahai Beach which is one of our favorites. It’s rarely crowded, easy to get to once you know it’s there, and the waves are fun! They are also huge and I’ve never seen anything like them. On our honeymoon, we went there and I wore a bikini (a bik-what???) and the waves at Lumahai left me without a bikini. So, there’s that. Needless to say, Madelyn took one look at those waves and ran away back toward the car. We promised her she didn’t have to go in, but Bryan enjoyed some thrashing around in the water while we watched.

There’s also a really cool river alongside the bottom of a cliff that feeds into the ocean. It’s super calm and like a wading pool. Madelyn much preferred that atmosphere. She chased floating banana leaves and splashed in the water.

We ended up eating dinner in Hanalei that was just mediocre. We didn’t feel satisfied after, so we did what any hungry people do after they’ve eaten a proper restaurant meal: we got burgers at Bubba’s. Shameless. Who says dessert has to be sweet??

At the end of the night, my depression sunk in that our trip was ending and we’d rest our heads on the pillows of our hotel only one last time. Madelyn loves hotel life. She thinks the little bottles of toiletries are a blast and being roomies with mom and dad couldn’t be cooler. We taught her about hotel etiquette and that we have to be quiet in the hallways since people might be sleeping. We told her this once. From then on, eery time we walked down the hall, she put her finger to her lips and whispered “Ssssss!” (she can’t say her “sh” blend). One morning, a horrible man was talking so loudly on his phone and we could hear him through the door. Good thing I was already awake or I would’ve ripped his ear off with the phone. Madelyn shook her head in disapproval and scolded him from inside our room. Already, such a savvy traveler.

She slept in a sofa bed for a week and did great. Better than great. In fact, every morning, she did something new that she’s never done at home. She would get out of bed when she woke up (sometimes before us), tip toe to the bathroom, pee, come back, and go back to sleep or get dressed and read her books while letting us snooze. She also woke up dry every morning even though she wears Pull-Ups to sleep and essentially nighttime potty trained herself on this trip. What?! I never imagined vacationing with a three-year-old would actually be a vacation for all of us.








The fastest week was also the best week we’ve had as a family. We had the best time showing Madelyn what we love about one of our favorite places and we loved watching her take it all in. Even a month later, back at home and back at the old routine, Madelyn consistently tells us she loves Hawaii and misses it.

But in typical Madelyn fashion, instead of harping on the vacation she had, she looks toward the future and always says, “Let’s go to Hawaii again, but with Baby Sister when she gets here.”

Sign me up, Big Sis!

Over the Moon from the Familymoon

Last December, Bryan and I went to Maui for a week sans Madelyn. It was really wonderful as any Hawaiian getaway should be. We hadn’t been back to the island since our honeymoon, and it was our first big trip being non-parents since we became parents. We felt young(ish) and it was liberating and, in all honesty, we went thinking we’d end up with a newborn 40 weeks later. The baby make-cation ended up being unsuccessful, yet here we are, almost exactly a year later, leaving the state of Hawaii again, this time, 7 months pregnant.

Obviously, we didn’t need Hawaii to get our pregnancy (as it happened six months later on the mainland), and in hindsight, I’m so glad it didn’t happen when we planned for it to happen. That was our big mistake: planning!

To think that THIS December, right now, we would have had a three-month-old if our Maui antics had worked makes me sigh in relief. This past week in Kauai with Madelyn, who’s three years old and four months, was the most magical and perfect week. Having an infant in our lives would have made this trip nearly impossible, and if we’d taken this “familymoon” before Maui Baby was born, Madelyn would have been just over two-and-a-half, and, well, not nearly as fun.


Timing and circumstances have a funny way of working out. This is hard for someone like me to understand if I wasn’t living it first-hand. As a planner and self-labeled control freak, the concept drives me bonkers. Strangely, though, motherhood has taught me to relax a little, and while that stick is still firmly planted up the rear end, being a parent has enabled me the power and advantage of ignoring it on occasion. Stick, be damned! So what that I didn’t get my way when I wanted it… or for five more months after that. So what that we didn’t end up with an autumnal baby, who would have been a blob to carry around for Halloween. So what that we can’t make bad wink-wink jokes with finger quotes about Bryan’s “COCONUTS” or that we did the (more finger quotes) “HULA DANCE” for the baby to start out life in Maui. The timing was not right. The circumstances were not right.

I’m not one to think about higher powers having any influence about how things have happened. I choose to believe that chemistry and biology were not BFF during our week in Maui last December or the months that followed. Then, boom, science yada yada. Also, maybe wine. But still, science.

And here we are, a whole year later and a whole lot of me knocked up. I am so thoroughly glad to have had this extra time with Madelyn. So fortunate that those months of frustration over not getting pregnant happened. So high off of our wonderful week away with our greatest treasure (so far) (Unborn Daughter: when you read this when you’re older, please understand we had a treasure before you, but then you get to show up 3+ years later and make the bounty grow, OK? Apparently, this is how it works with siblings. This is not second-child complex-worthy and I refuse to pay for therapy due to this blog post).


The opportunity of no-such-luck Maui Baby made it possible for us to have the most aloha-tastic time with our first daughter. Silver linings. It was hard to see them all those months ago, but now I am pinching myself with glee and gratitude.

I am also extremely thankful for my hard-working husband who made it possible for us to have this vacation of our dreams, our last one as a family of three (Princeton makes us, technically and currently, a family of four, but he’s not allowed in Hawaii, so for purposes of this vacation, we were a family of three) (Also, I shouldn’t have to defend this because my dog, while brilliant, cannot read and thus, will not incur therapy side-by-side with his youngest human sister).


I will write more about our week’s adventures, but for now, I savor these memories, our last collection of such before a whole new adventure await which will surely entail a little less R & R but a lot more sweetness and love. For all this, I say mahalo.



One of my best friends from college is getting married in October and before Harmony sets off to marry her loverboy, our girls are getting together where it all began for us — the dusty streets of Tucson — to send her off with a bachelorette weekend! We’re all so excited to head back to our roots (a drive-by of AEPhi, I’m sure), eat at all of our favorite places (Beyond Bread 82374987134 times), enjoy the good life that we didn’t live when we were in college (staying at one of the resorts in the hills!), and be the cougars we never thought we’d be at our favorite dive bar (DIRTBAGS! A part of growing up. We grew up. Oy.). It’s all really exciting — mostly because Harmony’s getting marrrrrried — but I always have the best time with my Phis and we’ve been squealing about this weekend for months.

Harmony and me before an AEPhi date dash my junior/her senior year.

Our 2nd Beyond Bread trip during our Tucson weekend in 2010

Fun night out at Dirtbags in 2010. We felt old THEN…

Wine tasting weekend in Santa Ynez Valley with all six of us together only a couple months pre-pregnancy.

Together for Madelyn’s baby naming earlier this year!

And while I’m with all my favorite girls, I will be away from my best good girl back home; my Madelyn.

This weekend will be the first time I’ve ever been away from Madelyn for a night. And it’ll be two nights. Sure, I’ve had my necessary “days off,” to get a mani/pedi or meet up with business clients (want to advertise on a Jewish weddings blog?), but I’ve never gone to sleep and woken up without her a few handfuls of feet away.

Bryan is going to enjoy a daddy/daughter weekend, which I know he’s looking forward to. During the week, he only gets to spend an hour or two at night with her before she goes to sleep, so they’re going to have some pretty concentrated bonding time. I’m glad for them because I think it’s special, but I’m also going to feel left out. I wish I could clone myself and be in two places at once. What if she starts walking hard-core? What if she starts putting together real words? What if she performs a soprano aria to a sold out crowd at Carnegie Hall? These are the things I’d be sad to miss.

Daddy and Daddy’s Girl

I know he’ll take good care of her. He is, after all, the one who kept the two of us alive those first three weeks at home when I was battling my infection. He totally had the household under control, and he’s always my rock when I need him to be. But part of me can’t help but feel the mom guilt that I should be at home with my family and maintain a sense of normalcy. I’m not at all concerned that Bryan isn’t up for the job, and as much as we are very connected, we are also still individuals who parent in slightly different ways. Things that may not happen on my watch with my rules during the day may pass with flying colors when Daddy’s in charge … not because he’s intentionally defying the mother hen, but because it’s not something that particularly bothers him when he rules the roost. Then again, I remember the rules were slightly different (read: bent) when my dad was the boss when my mom was away on business trips, and it was freakin’ awesome. M&Ms for snack time and pizza delivery for dinner, all while watching TV in the living room? Score! It was fun, I survived, and I even turned out pretty well.

Madelyn will probably not even have a clue that I’m gone. That’s a good thing. I’m sure when I’m galavanting through The Toos with the girls, all I’ll need is a photo text or two to make me feel like I’m part of life at home. When the weekend of celebrating Harmony is over and I come back from my two days away, nothing will cheer me up about leaving my favorite girls than a hug from my best good girl.

With my little nugget.

  1. KZ
    8/6/2012 7:17 PM

    Funny, I’m leaving for the first time this weekend also! I’ll commiserate with you from a far.

  2. Leslee
    8/3/2012 11:30 AM

    Have a blast… need to get them in before you have 2!

  3. Cyndi
    8/3/2012 6:45 AM

    Have a great time! A happy mommy =a happy house!

Mama’s No Spring Chicken

If you don’t blog about your birthday, then you don’t age, right? Right? No? Crap.

Well, I aged. Over a month ago. Oops. I guess I’m getting so old and decrepit that I forgot to blog about my 29th that was in June, which is so uncharacteristic of me because as a young thing, I was a girl who enjoyed birthdays! It’s not that I dreaded my birthday this year, but I really actually forgot about it! It was my first birthday as a mom, and June 7th was no different: my day was all about Madelyn, just as it is every other day of the year. I like it like that. But sweet Bryan swooped me up and surprised me for a great birthday getaway to Catalina! Apparently, going to Catalina on your birthday gets you a free boat ride and lots of birthday greetings from everyone you meet if you wear a snazzy birthday pin. It’s like Disneyland at the beach.

We meant to enjoy Madelyn’s first boat ride but we were all uncharacteristically sea sick. No tangible evidence of that — thank goodness! — but we were pretty green as we chopped out to the island from San Pedro. And there was no A/C. And Madelyn’s very dirty poopy diaper was wafting in our space as she sat on our laps. Happy birthday, Alison. Here’s some hot shit for you.


We finally arrived and it was so nice to be on land. Not just because of the rough waters, but because it was absolutely gorgeous! The sky was a clearn, clear blue, the air was warm and breezy, and the water sparkled like a glass case at Tiffany & Co. I love the postcard scene everywhere you look in Avalon. The houses on the hills and the beachy vendors on the waterfront. Everything is just pretty.

Our hotel room was beautiful! We didn’t know what to expect since there’s no Marriott on the island, so Bryan booked a really nice boutique hotel that was excellent! We freshened up in the room after our boat ride and walked around the beachfront. We made friends with lots of birds and a deer that was just chillin’ on a hill a few feet away from the street. Meanwhile, we scouted places to eat and finally settled on a yummy steakhouse with great views of the water.

Our food was good and Madelyn was a champ at the table. I love going to nice restaurans and walking to our table while receiving the hairy eyeball from strangers who look us up and down and roll their eyes about their assumed now-ruined dinner. And then those very same people end up making friends with Madelyn who entertains them with general cuteness. Mm hmm. That’s right, biatches.

It was still pretty early and it WAS my birthday so we decided to extend our evening with a walk around the “downtown” streets when we stumbled along the world’s smallest bowling alley. Madelyn had fallen asleep in her stroller and we were watching the two lanes of bowlers enjoying little balls the size of cantaloupes and pins the size of shampoo bottles. One lane had two sets of older couples enjoying some good clean fun. The other lane comprised of a young husband and wife about our age who were all tatted up and the sole reason the adjoining bar was in business. They were absolutely plastered and when they saw us watching the games, we were their new sober victims.

Victims of what? Drunk, sweaty hugs and high fives (I was dying), over sharing about their sex life, and a dozen slideshows on their iPhones of their two daughters at home and inevitable parenting advice. They insisted we bowl with them and it was actually really entertaining and bizarre at the same time, especially because we knew we’d never see them again. But after we’d heard them repeat the same stories at least four times, each time more difficult to understand the syllables, we decided we were done when the game was over. But then the husband heard it was my birthday and bought us all a round of Coors Light. This would have been a sweet deal if I was a college fraternity brother. But I am an old lady who doesn’t do beer. Our new BFFs shoved bottles in our faces, shouted “happy birthday” at extremely loud decibels, and Bryan and I telepathically communicated that we needed an out. At that moment, not only did Madelyn wake up crying in her stroller, but the bowling game broke and the manager said the game would have to be restarted. There was our cue! And no one can argue about a crying baby needing to go to sleep! We thanked our new friends, snuck out with our bottles, and trashed them in a sidewalk garbage can, laughing all the way back to the hotel.

The next morning, we woke up and had to take the first boat back for scheduling purposes. We took a bunch of pictures of the scenery from the docks as we waited for our boat. Thankfully, the way back was smooth and comfortable. It was a quick trip but just what we needed to celebrate my first birthday as a family of three.

Later that weekend, we enjoyed grown up time with our friends at Malibu Wines. We brought a picnic and enjoyed a day in the Santa Monica mountains with the sun shining over us and great conversation filling the day.

My birthday ended up being a special one with all of our fun events and the people we shared them with. Next year is the big 3-0 and I’ll have an almost 2-year-old to chase around to keep me young.

Baby On The Go!

Madelyn gets around. We have always been the type of parents to say that a newborn baby won’t keep us jailed in at home, and we’ve definitely stood by that mantra. Restaurants, friends’ houses, the mall: we have been brave enough to bring a baby out in the great, big world beyond our cozy little condo and so far, so good!

So we decided to really test the waters last month and brought Madelyn along for her first road trip to Las Vegas. Before you gawk at me for allowing Madelyn to vacation in Sin City, you should know she never danced in a club or gambled at the tables.

During daylight hours.

No no, I kid. We didn’t even make it to The Strip! We visited with friends, my best friends/sorority sisters from college and their men, in the suburbs of Vegas to attend Harmony’s surprise 30th birthday party! The drive to Vegas was uneventful. Madelyn slept the whole time and didn’t even have to endure the “beauty” that is a gas station in Baker. We had a sweet suite at the JW Marriott in Summerlin and set up shop with her tropical playmat and the Pack N Play. Best. Inventions. Ever.

We had lunch with friends at a new shopping center on Saturday and Madelyn was happily passed around among the girls. We walked around and spent some time at the hotel before getting ready for Harmony’s big bash that her fiance, Conor, had planned for her. She had zero idea that any of us were in town.

We gathered at Harmony’s favorite restaurant and when we yelled “Surprise!” when she walked in, she was definitely shocked to see all of us. I was so glad that we had decided to come. Her face was worth the drive and short trip!

The party was a lot of fun! Conor did a great job organizing the event. And because Harmony is a style inspiration, her cake was a Chanel bag, courtesy of her equally stylish mom (Hi, Marla!). Amazing. Madelyn hung in there and was a social butterfly for a good chunk of the party, but got sleepy halfway through, so we put her down to sleep in her stroller and she passed out like a champ. As much as I love holding my little mini, it was nice to be able to put her down so I could drink my wine socialize and eat.

In the morning, we all met for brunch at the JW and rehashed the night. The trip was too short, but oh so special! And when we said our (Jewish) goodbyes, we knew we’d be seeing each other in a few weeks for Nicole’s 30th birthday in Lake Tahoe!

Yes, we went to Tahoe this past weekend. I’d never been and obviously Madelyn was a Tahoe rookie as well. But Nicole and Michael are Tahoe lovers and have a family friend who owns a glorious cabin-mansion in Truckee that we all thoroughly enjoyed. We joked that we felt like we were on The Real World, exploring the house and shrieking “OHMYGOSH” as we got acquainted with all of its splendor.

The drive to Tahoe really wasn’t that bad because we broke it up. We stayed in Monterey on Thursday night and woke up on Friday to drive to Sacramento where we met the rest of the party who’d flown in from L.A. and Vegas. After a quick lunch, we caravanned up the mountain to Truckee.

We ran through the grocery store to collect nosh for the weekend and then spent some time in the great living room of the house to relax before going to Nicole’s favorite restaurant, Cottonwood, for dinner. We had a yummy meal — who knew a simple hamburger could be so heavenly? — and spent the rest of the night at home with some great wine, laughter, and conversation.

Saturday morning was yummy as we all made breakfast in the big kitchen. Michael is the master of eggs and Jordan makes a mean bacon — extra crispy! Some of the gang went skiing at Northstar while the rest of us took our time to get ready before heading to the village to walk around. We also took the big gondola up the mountain and enjoyed a fabulous lunch at the Ritz Carlton where we met Top Chef Masters contestant, Traci De Jardins who is a consulting executive chef there and happens to visit once a month! Good timing gang! She was so nice! All of us foodies were impressed.

Harmony, Nicole, and I went to the candle shop toward the end of the day to make our own candles. It was a relaxing craft with good conversation and pretty results. Madelyn slept through the whole thing, but I think in the future, she’ll enjoy arts and crafts, too!

The sun went down, we all reunited in the village, and took some photos before heading back to the cabin-mansion for a team-cooked meal. Lots of specialties graced the table like Nicole’s eggplant parm, Harmony’s baked tomato and feta asparagus, my spring-even-though-it’s-winter-salad, Bryan’s vegetables and pasta, and Madelyn’s formula. Oh wait, she didn’t share that with the group. We were okay with that. Lots of champagne toasts and great conversation made the dinner one of the most memorable meals we’ve ever enjoyed together. So fun!

After dinner, we played a white elephant gift exchange and then showered Nicole with some presents. We played some fun board games and got silly while Baby Madelyn slept for the night. It was like our late nights in the sorority house… except with boys in our group and a baby upstairs. And Albert didn’t make our food and Kristy didn’t shake the trees. But still! It was a Phi-tastic night!

Sunday morning was our dreaded wake-up where we had to clean up and anticipate saying our goodbyes. Once the cabin-mansion was in order, we drove to the lake to have brunch and then exchanged hugs before going our separate ways. It’s always sad when we leave each other. Madelyn loved being with all her Auntie AEPhis; Love you, Auntie Nicole, Auntie Harmony, Auntie Alison, and Auntie Lindsey (and we missed you Auntie Erin!).

Before heading to Paso Robles for the night to sleep, Bryan and I decided to swing by San Francisco for a couple hours to see his friends from college, Brian and Anna and their two adorable ones. Their daughter, Adie, is two weeks older than Madelyn and it was so fun to see them together and analyze their similarities and differences. What cuties!

Our big road trip ended in San Luis Obispo with a quick trip to eat at Bryan’s favorite college grubber, Firestone Bar & Grill. We enjoyed yummy pork and tri tip sandwiches before heading back home.

I think that’s it for our big road trips for a while. We definitely put the miles on the Jetta before turning in the lease, and it was fun to spend so much time as a family with some of Madelyn’s biggest fans!

Where should our next road trip be?

  1. mystery hawaiian hotel god
    12/16/2011 8:38 AM

    When would you want that to be? The sooner the better.

  2. Bryan
    12/16/2011 8:19 AM

    Our next road trip should be to Hawaii. We can drive there, right?