Summer Adventures | Personal

Since we’ve been married, Steven and I take a trip every year to celebrate our wedding anniversary. It is a great tradition that we have started, and I am so pumped for all the places we will continue to see together! We celebrated our anniversary by going on vacation a month early this year. We spent ten days traveling to Maryland, DC, Rhode Island, and New Jersey to see friends, family, and spend time together exploring new places!

Our first stop was Maryland, where we stayed with an aunt and uncle so that we could attend the family reunion on my mom’s side. It has been several years since I’ve been to one, so it was really fun for me to attend again this year and be able to introduce people to my husband! I also got to talk photography with my Uncle Danny and that was really neat 🙂 While we were in Maryland, we went mini-golfing with my family, saw the Baltimore Zoo and the Baltimore Aquarium! Steven and I decided that we would buy magnets as souvenirs for this trip, and now our fridge is covered with awesome reminders of our vacation! I think that is a new tradition that we will also keep up.



So cool to be able to see not one, but two rhinos!!2014-08-06_00032014-08-06_0004

There were barn swallows up in the rafters. They were so adorable, I wanted to take them home!! 2014-08-06_0005

Steven and I both like to read all of the signs, so it takes us a while to get through places like this. We love to learn new things! 2014-08-06_0006

Krystle fed a giraffe! So cool 🙂 Their tongues are so weird – they remind me of eels!2014-08-06_0007

I had never seen a giraffe actually bend down to eat before. I thought it was so cool how they have to do it. I learned from the Natural History Museum that giraffes have valves in their necks that close when they lean down to eat. This prevents blood rushing to their head and passing out! It is so interesting how different animals have different adaptations so that they can survive. 2014-08-06_0008


Krystle also rode a camel 🙂2014-08-06_0011

We loved these doors leading into the Chimpanzee Forest. SO reflective. 2014-08-06_0012

The Baltimore Aquarium was next!! I haven’t been to this aquarium since I was 9 or 10 years old. A LOT has changed! Especially the addition of the Australian Exhibit!


This is where I actually started to understand what it means to be a bottom feeder, and how the shapes of the fishes’ mouths determine where and how they feed! We got to see a volunteer feeding some fish little crickets. The fish would actually spit water up into the air to knock the cricket off the stick so that they could eat it!!2014-08-06_00162014-08-06_0017

Calpyso! She only has three legs. We learned a lot about the species in this tank during a talk a volunteer was giving. But, I sort of forgot a lot of it. It was really neat to see an animal come up out of the coral when the scuba diver was feeding it. I would never have known it was there!2014-08-06_00182014-08-06_0019


After we were done at the aquarium, we went to The Cheesecake Factory on the Inner Harbor for dinner. It was Steven’s first time eating there! Then it was on to the DC area to visit Kirsti and do some sight-seeing for three days!


We went to two museums each on the first and second days in DC. SO much to take in, and SO much walking! We loved every second of it. I think my favorite museum was the American History Museum. Of the four museums we visited, we spent 3-4 hours in each museum and still did NOT get to see everything! We’ve decided that we are going to go back to DC for our fifth anniversary and spend much more time there 🙂


I LOVED the transportation exhibit. I am convinced that I was born in the wrong era. 2014-08-06_0025

I knew that women who lived in China often had their feet bound. But I had NO idea how small their feet would actually be. This shoe was like a baby’s shoe, but for an adult. 2014-08-06_0026

My favorite exhibit 🙂 Several first ladies donated their inaugural ball dresses to the museum. Gah! So pretty!2014-08-06_00272014-08-06_00282014-08-06_0029

This diadem in the Natural History Museum made me think of Harry Potter. 2014-08-06_00302014-08-06_00312014-08-06_00322014-08-06_00332014-08-06_00342014-08-06_0035

My husband is so talented 🙂 We only visited three memorials before going to eat at Ben’s Chili Bowl and calling it a night. We were so tired!! 2014-08-06_00362014-08-06_00372014-08-06_0038

Gosh I love this man. I am so proud to be his wife. I’m also proud of us for getting some photos of the two of us together while on vacation. We hardly do that! 2014-08-06_00392014-08-06_00402014-08-06_00412014-08-06_0042

I LOVE this photo that Steven took looking out at the Washington Monument! 2014-08-06_00432014-08-06_0044

The American Indian Museum was so cool! I never realized that there were so many different beliefs and religions within the American Indian Tribes. Each of the exhibits had SO much information about everything you could imagine! 2014-08-06_0045

The Air and Space Museum was Steven’s favorite museum. We both really liked the Wrights Brother exhibit.

The National Zoo!! Crazy to believe that all of these places we visited were free! 2014-08-06_00482014-08-06_0049

I wish I knew why flamingos stand on one leg while they’re sleeping. 2014-08-06_00502014-08-06_0051

Everyone, this is a sand cat. I WANT ONE. THEY ARE SO CUTE!!! And I don’t even really care for cats.

We were blown away by how smelly gorillas actually can be.

The orangutans can actually leave their exhibit and travel to another on the “o-line.” I wish we had been there earlier in the day to see it get used!! 2014-08-06_0054

I heard a lion roar for the first time ever. So cool! So not how it is in the movies, haha. This guy was not happy about something!

Steven’s first visit to Washington, D.C. was definitely a success! We had so much fun at the museums and already have a list of things we need to see for next time! This was also Steven’s first time using a metro, and he really liked that experience, which made me very happy!! Taking the metro is such a fun experience!

We spent two days relaxing in New Jersey with Miss. Amy doing some shopping, playing card games, visiting a new rock gym, and just relaxing together.  It was a nice break from all of the walking and traveling we’d been doing!

Our last stop was to see Nick and Stewie in Rhode Island. We went and toured two of the Newport Mansions together – The Breakers and the Marble House. They were STUNNING. Unfortunately we couldn’t take photos of the inside. At the same time, I’m okay with that because then I truly had the chance to appreciate what I was looking at. It is so crazy to see how much money they put into these houses, just to show their status as wealthy people. I really loved hearing about the role of women at that time, and how the Marble House was used by Alma as a “home base” for women’s suffrage. Whenever I see places like this, I often wonder what it would have been like to be alive during that time period, and what my life would have been like then. I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like to live in houses as magnificent as these! It really made me think a lot about my own life and my own expectations.

These two houses were built by the Vanderbilt family, which at the time was the richest family in the country. The insides of these homes were beautiful. There was an audio tour that you listened to that took you through each room of the house, and it was so awesome!! I HIGHLY recommend these to anyone who is in Newport! You will not regret it!  If I remember correctly, The Breakers is 138,000 square feet and has the coolest dining room I’ve ever seen.


The Marble House was their summer cottage. Craziness! It was also built before The Breakers. The Marble House, as you can imagine, is mostly made of marble on the inside. The front doors each weighed 1.5 tons!  It was cool to hear about the story of building this house. They had a wall around the place when they were building it to keep it a secret, and they searched anyone who left the house to make sure they didn’t have any evidence of the progress of the house. Eventually it was leaked by a reporter disguised as an electrician. One of the rooms is made entirely of marble, and then coated in a thin layer of gold. I just can’t. Haha.


As we headed home, we talked about the fun that we had, and enjoyed an awesome storm!! Lots of lightning and a double rainbow!! This anniversary trip was definitely a success, and so memorable. I cannot wait for my prints to come in so I can put everything in my scrapbook for 2014! I feel so blessed to spend time like this with my husband. We are also very grateful that we were able to stay with friends and family over the course of these ten days. It gave us time to catch up on life, and save a lot of money on lodging!! SO excited for our fifth anniversary trip!2014-08-06_0062

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You can usually find me adding books to my never-ending “to read” list; challenging myself to do things like not shop for a year; sneaking crispy m+ms from my secret hiding spot so I don’t have to share them with my daughter; and melting over seeing my children smiling at each other.

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