A couple of weeks ago, we made our first family overnight trip to Massachusetts. We had a couple of goals while there: visiting some friends, specifically for a baby shower/house warming party (and being so lucky that those friends let us stay over with them! With a one-year-old in tow, nonetheless!! That’s what I call lifelong friends, folks), hitting up the Eric Carle Museum and outlets in Lee on the way home.

My main priority was how the baby would do. Would we be pushing his limits by expecting him to ride three hours? Stroll through a museum? Nap in a strange place (it did take him awhile to settle down in his pack ‘n play setup)? Get down and dirty in *gasp* the grass to socialize with strangers at a BBQ? Spend almost an entire day at an outside outlet mall? Then take a last-minute ride to Utica to celebrate a family birthday?

Whew. I’m exhausted just thinking of it. But, honestly, he was a freakin’ trooper! He’s at the age where he gets squirmy (he’d much rather be getting into everything) so there were moments, but all of our goals (and then some) got checked off the list and he remained a happy little guy.

So, here’s a rundown. We left EARLY Saturday morning to stop as needed (and we did) and in hopes of getting to the museum before heading to the barbecue. Done and done! While we didn’t dillydally at the Carle (Dave would’ve, I’m sure; I had to drag him from the first exhibit (the Eric Carle one) to keep the momentum going; they had an awesome scavenger hunt that had him quite occupied), we got to experience it fully. It’s one of those places where you could spend an hour (a rushed hour, but an hour nonetheless) or an entire day, easily.

The best part for us is pretty much a given: the Mo Willems exhibit. *squeals like a Beatles fan…’cuz I am one* Hadley waved at EVERY character he saw. Pigeon, bam. Piggie, bam. Naked mole rat, bam. It was like seeing old friends…in the rough…before they had a final snaz-up for publication. Just incredible! And fun. And funny. All the things that Mo is and does. (Side note: No pictures in the exhibits. We’re rule-followers. Most of the time.)

Next best part? The library. You’d think that, as a librarian, that would be my favorite part, but I’m weird (I’m a museum NERD). I was, however, wicked impressed that the whole place was organized by illustrator (vs. author) and the importance they put on the Caldecott Award. There were also play areas and comfy colorful seats where you could read to your little ones…which I did, until his attention was diverted to the Legos. I tell ya, he does the same thing at Barnes and Noble. He had a blast, even when an older kid (ANTHONY!) stole his toys. (And since I’ll never see Anthony or his cohorts again, here they be…)

Kids in old man hats? Priceless. I think Hadley wanted to go live with them.
(I actually think Anthony is MIA from this picture. Whew.)Β 

The NEXT best part? The tiles in the bathroom!!! So damn cool. Eric Carle artwork as accent tiles throughout the bathroom. That, and the awesome stuff in the jam-packed gift shop. We grabbed at least one book and an “H” painted in Carle-style and a couple of postcards to use for art later on.

I’m pretty darn sure Dave was secretly wishing I’d come up with an idea for the bolts of Pigeon cloth they had. He had scoped it out online before going and sent me the link. Mhmm. I didn’t get any. πŸ˜›

Oh, and I’m sure we’ll be visiting when Hadley gets bigger. When we do, we’ll a) spend more time (and maybe meet up with the little boy on his way!), b) bring a picnic (they have a cafe area to eat but just organic snacky-type stuff, no real service) and c) take part in the arts and crafts option, which is free with admission. Just sayin’.

We were just in time for the BBQ, which was a nice casual take on a shower; not dressy, not fussy, go-with-the-flow. The baby napped inside in his pack ‘n play for awhile, and when he came out and finally warmed up, he played A LOT with one little girl in particular. Um, yeah, they “kissed.” Adorable…and terrifying. One of the best memories was when that little girl took a break for it into the neighbor’s yard (these yards are awesomely-sized!) and, of all the adults, Dave was the one who chased her down. Classic moment.

We got out of the way to run a few errands (baby painkiller much? Teething sucks) and stopped by the cafe where Dave used to work to say a quick ‘hi’ and catch up with more friends, who had Hadley S-M-I-T-T-E-N. What can I say? He loves the ladies. πŸ˜‰ It was great to see them and meet some new friends, if only briefly.

Then, inside the cafe there was a great open mic happening, so while Dave got his plain coffee and I my smoothie, we listened to the live music. Hadley was hooked, big-time. We knew he loved music, but he was enamored — rocking out (with his whole-body swaying and his arms up, very serious) and clapping when the song was over, then waiting patiently for the next song. We didn’t stay long, but the audience was taking notice. For once it wasn’t because he was crying or otherwise distracting negatively! πŸ™‚

When we returned to the house, we gave Hadley his first EVER bath tub bath, which he really seemed to have fun with. He didn’t know what to do with all the extra space around him! Then, we read to him and got him settled down for his bedtime. I hopped in the shower, then we got some awesome alone time with our friends. It felt so nice to chat and catch up, especially with all the good news swirling around our heads.

The next morning, the baby awoke QUITE early and we didn’t want to wake anyone up (we weren’t the only ones sleeping over) so we read more in bed until I finally brought the munchkin downstairs to eat his breakfast. We stayed a little while longer and chatted (and saw a horribly hysterical “adult” version of the Count from Sesame Street…I’m still disturbed and laughing heartily) before getting some gas and heading to Lee.

Between needing some new sizes for the Hadman and shoes for Dave, grabbing a thing or two for our niece, and hoping to find stuff for myself before returning to school, I’d call it a success. We even had wraps from a local franchise, “That’s a Wrap!” (which is better than the other stuff they had in their food court), which had some delicious options. Nom nom.

After a stop or two on the way home (what, it was hot? We needed ice cream), we headed home to do a quick dump-and-run before hopping back in the car to head to Utica. While we were absolutely exhausted, we were happy to be able to visit with Dave’s dad and family for a little while and to wish him a happy, happy birthday.

So, I’d say we fit A LOT into that weekend. And that’s two or three more items crossed off my summer to-do list! When I wrote the list, I was hoping that we could hit up Concord and maybe Lexington (if not Boston) sometime this summer, but we had some shifting happen and it just wasn’t plausible this year. But, that’s okay! We had a blast and learned that we CAN travel with a baby! We’re already excited to test it out this autumn… Stay tuned!

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