|Rose loves the pool|
The girls both managed to sleep fairly well despite all of us being in the same room (including Darwin). I never sleep very well in a hotel...I really dislike the recycled air. And both girls did make some noises throughout the night. I kept checking on Rose, who slept on the pull out couch with pillows all around her, to make sure she wasn't going to fall out of the bed. The girl moves around like crazy throughout the course of the night, so it made me nervous.
On our first full day in Boone, we took our time getting up and dressed for the day. The hotel had breakfast available, but I'll admit the selections were pretty awful. The biscuits were not fresh tasting, the sausage, bacon, and eggs were fairly rubbery. Thankfully, they did have plain oatmeal and we could add the raisins we had on hand from traveling the day before. We let Rose indulge in whatever she wanted. She ate some of the oatmeal and a few bites of muffins, waffles, and yogurt.
After breakfast, we spent some time at the pool, allowing both girls to have some play time before getting lunch and driving to the mountains. Once everyone dried off and dressed, and we were packed for the day, we set off to grab lunch at Black Cat Burrito. I'm glad we got there a little on the early side because it filled up fairly quickly. The highlight of our lunch was not the food, but rather Zoe having a poop explosion that required a massive clean up in the back of the car (no changing table in the bathroom at Black Cat), and getting ourselves cleaned off.
With bellies full, we assumed the girls would nap on our drive into the mountains. Zoe can't stay awake when we get in the car, so she was out fairly quickly, but Rose stayed awake during the 45 minute drive to Grandfather Mountain. Both Colin and I had been there before, and we knew it was a good place to go with the girls on a cold day. You can drive up the mountain, there is a general store at the top, and a "zoo"/museum about halfway up. By the time we got up the mountain is was late afternoon and still fairly cold. The sun was out, but it didn't provide enough heat to warm us up, so we make a quick trek across the mile high swinging bridge. Surprisingly, Rose had no problems crossing it, and maneuvering the rocks on the other side. The view was nice, but not so nice that we wanted to freeze our butts off admiring it. Zoe was awake for most of our adventures at Grandfather Mountain, but I doubt she saw much because she was so bundled up.
|Walking across the Mile High Bridge at Grandfather Mountain|
On the way back down the mountain, we stopped at the zoo and the museum. Colin and Rose got to spend time exploring the wildlife while I fed Zoe. Once we joined them, they showed us the highlights. We missed the cougars, but got to experience the bears up close. There were also deer and otters. The museum closed at 5pm, not giving us much time to explore the indoor exhibits. Staff were practically kicking us out as we got everyone changed in the bathrooms before we left.
|The Miller clan at Grandfather Mountain's wildlife exhibit on a cold April day|
On the topic of bathrooms, the trip to Boone was the turning point in potty-training Rose. Up until then, she had been wearing underwear, but having accidents regularly. We'd have to remind her to go all the time and practically force her to try to go before leaving the house. In Boone, she continued wearing underwear and we just brought lots of changes of clothes. Rose did not have a single accident during the two days, and asked to go to the bathroom each time she felt the need. While most kids have problems pooping on toilets that are not in their house, she had no problem doing that one our trip. The potty training was another reason why Grandfather Mountain was a nice place to go for the afternoon.
From Grandfather Mountain, we headed back to Boone. This time, both girls fell asleep so we decided to pick up some burgers at Come Back Shack, which came highly reviewed on Yelp, and eat them back at the hotel. Colin is always looking for burger joints comparable to his favorite Shake Shack in NYC (which as a side note seems to have gone down hill since we left the city). To me, most of these places are similar. I wasn't overly impressed with Come Back Shack, but we did enjoy our meals.
Rose managed to get in the pool one last time before bed. Over the course of the two days she became a fairly confident swimmer with her flotation device. She's now ready for the neighborhood pool this summer! Thankfully, we got the girls to bed much early the second night and they both slept well once again.
Though I had to work the second morning, we were still able to have a fairly leisure time at wake up and breakfast. While I complain about the food, it was nice to have breakfast available in the hotel so we didn't have to pack up a diaper bag and other things to get in the car to drive somewhere. Unfortunately, I had to stay at a hotel that accepts the state rate, and the one we found was not withing walking distance to many restaurants or things to do.
Colin, the girls, and Darwin all dropped me off at work and went to story time at the library in Boone. Thankfully, my colleagues were well organized and had sent me lots of materials to prepare for my visit, which allowed me to take an hour for lunch to eat, pack the car, and check out of the hotel. Colin picked up Melanie's Food Fantasy, which came highly reviewed on Yelp and through the locals. We had wanted to eat there instead of Black Cat Burrito, but the line was way too long the day before. Melanie's was my absolute favorite food of the trip. They were just sandwiches, but they were very meaty and flavorful.
After lunch, I had a few hours of work to complete, so Colin took a recommendation from my colleague to check out a nice park/playground in the area. The weather finally felt like spring again, so Colin, the girls, and Darwin were able to enjoy a nice afternoon (along with short naps in the car). Late afternoon, they picked me up, and after feeding Zoe we were back on the road heading home.
Overall, the trip went much better than I had anticipated. I was nervous about how Colin would be able to handle both girls plus Darwin while I worked, but they seemed to be just fine. I was grateful they could come with me and I didn't have to deal with pumping while away, and storing/transporting milk. Traveling away from a baby the first year when you breastfeed is really hard. Maybe others are not like me, but in my experience with both girls, I have not been able to cover what they drink by pumping when going back to work. With Zoe, I pumped as much as I could months 2-4, but I still might run out before her first birthday. Avoiding formula and providing breastmilk exclusively is important to me. I certainly will not deny my daughter milk if I run out, but I will do whatever I can to give her my milk for her first year.
Stay tuned for more updates on our spring adventures!