Old Love.

We made it!  After a long journey from coast to coast, we safely arrived in Washington, DC.  We took the red-eye Friday night, and as I stood about Cullen’s crib getting ready to wake him up so we could head to the airport, I turned to Casey and said “this is our last red-eye.”  I felt so terrible waking up my peacefully sleeping baby.

He was confused when we woke him up, but once we go to the airport he was wide awake and full of smiles.  He traveled in style in his solar system jammies.

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The flights went pretty well.  It took Cullen a little while to settle back down to sleep, but at least he was quiet.  Wide awake, but quiet.  We finally got him to pass out on Casey’s chest, and he slept for he rest of our first leg to Atlanta.  When we landed, we somehow managed to transfer him (still sleeping!) to my chest, and I kept him asleep in the Ergo through our layover, and almost entirely through our next flight.  He ended up getting a pretty solid night of sleep.  I ended up getting about three hours – ouch.

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When we booked our tickets, Casey booked them so that we had a window and aisle seat – since the flight wasn’t full, we were hoping no one would take the middle seat option (if they did, we would have just switched).  It totally worked, and we had a whole row to ourselves – amazing.  So nice to have so much extra space!

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Since this was a last minute work trip, the conference hotel was already full, so we had the choice to stay wherever we wanted.  We’re spending the week in our old neighborhood – Old Town, Alexandria!  (For my new friends, we lived in Old Town for about a year before moving to Seattle!)

Driving in, it sort of felt like I never left.  Strangely familiar, and so wonderful and welcoming.  We checked into our room, freshened up, and immediately headed toward food.  We met our friends Ashley and Jorge for lunch at one of my favorite DC spots – Le Pain Quotidien. 

I got some sort of french lentil, chickpea salad that I barely remember eating because I was so tired and hungry. 

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We caught up with our friends, and then said goodbye so we could rest for a bit.  It felt so wonderful to walk through our old neighborhood – I hadn’t realized how much I miss it!  Don’t get me wrong, I love Seattle, but there is something about Old Town that has a really special place in my heart.  I hope that someday we get the chance to live here again.

I also realized afterward that we arrived back here on the same day that – two years ago – I was hit by a car while walking through Old Town!  Strange that we ended up back here the very same weekend!  Planning to have a much less eventful experience this time.  :)

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Cullen was not quite as energized by our walk.

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We all took a much needed nap, so that we’d be able to head back out for the evening.  I try to keep our vacation schedule very loose, because I never know how Cullen is going to adapt to the new time zone.  I usually just wait and see what he does, and follow his cues.  He was definitely still operating on Pacific time on Saturday, so we were table to take him out for a delicious dinner!

Ever since we booked this trip, I’ve been fantasizing about eating my favorite dish – the Zenist crepe at Fontaine Creperie.  Curried coconut milk lentils and veggies in a buckwheat crepe – I have tried to remake this at home and have done it no justice.

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I shared some of my lentils and veggies with Cullen, but I knew he needed something a bit more baby-friendly too (easier to grab).  They have a bunch of dessert crepes on the menu that include fruits, so I asked the waitress if it was possible to get a small fruit plate.  Score!

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We have traveled a lot with Cullen, and while I used to find it really stressful and I’d get all worked up about his schedule and routine, I’ve finally learned to just relax and give him a bit more credit.  He is a really happy baby – he loves seeing new places and things, and he just wants to be with us, get some good sleep, and have some good food – pretty basic needs.  He has been such a good sport this weekend – adjusting to a new time zone, eating almost all meals out a restaurants (NOT easy!), and being on the go all day.

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At dinner, he was totally happy to sit at the table with us and eat his banana and strawberries, and it allowed Casey and I to have a really nice night out at one of our favorite spots.

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Since he was still doing well in the high chair, we decided to brave another 15 minutes and order dessert.  I got this insane chocolate crepe filled with a dark chocolate mousse.  It was way too good, and I wished I hadn’t devoured it so quickly.

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We finished up dinner and then spent about an hour just strolling down King street.  We got a lot of funny looks from strangers, probably questioning why we had a baby out at 9pm on a Saturday night.  I wanted to tape a sign to his stroller that said, “We’re on Pacific time!”

We stopped at Starbucks for a late night coffee date.  It was one of the shops we used to work in all the time when we lived here – hasn’t changed a bit!

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Very tired from a long day of travel, but so worth it to be back here for a few days. 

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At the risk of this becoming the longest photo-bomb in history, I will save the rest of our DC adventures for tomorrow.  And on a totally unrelated note, I can’t help but share one more thing…

I woke up this morning totally flooded with emotion – last year, this was my due date.  I remember waking up and staring at my big belly – come out, come out (little did I know I had six more days of waiting!).  Everyone knows due dates are an approximation, but it’s a date I’d ingrained in my mind for nine long months, and it felt so significant when it finally arrived.

It’s really surreal to think about how I felt on this day last year – intense anticipation – juxtaposed to how I feel this year – complete and total overwhelming joy.

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Off to show Cullen around Old Town, and maybe walk past our old house!