Tag Archives: travel

New England Trip: Boston

Over the last few months it feels like I’ve gone from over-documenting to not documenting anything at all. Since I’ve totally failed on the paper documentation, I am going to try to be better at posting our adventures on the blog.

Last week we went to New England and enjoyed time with friends and family. We started Wednesday morning with a long flight to Boston. It ended up being SUPER easy. We had a full row to ourselves and Paige was so good.
IMG_2036Hanging out with dad in the Boardroom.
IMG_2039Sitting in her own seat on the plane.

We landed in Boston around 5pm and took an Uber to our hotel. We went looking for a dinner spot, but there was a Boston Bruins game right across the street from our hotel later that night and a 45 minute wait everywhere. We decided to be like our old, spontaneous kid-less selves and jumped on the T. 
IMG_2043Dads who baby wear are sexy. 

IMG_2044We’re downtown! With a baby! After dark! 

IMG_2045We found a Legal Seafood and P had her first bites of broccoli. She loved it and it kept her entertained while we ate our dinner, not at warp speed for once. Love that she is old enough now for us to order her something off the menu that keeps her entertained for a bit.

IMG_2046Thursday morning started with Paige giving herself a pep talk in the mirror. Dad went to work in the Boston office and we were off to spend the day with our good friends, Amanda and Ruby. We took the T (I didn’t realize how much I miss living in middle of a city until we had all these public transit options available to us) and met them near their apartment.

IMG_2112First stop, the park. The girls got a kick out of swinging together. (PC: Amanda)

IMG_2055While Ruby took her nap, I walked around the South End with P and managed to get her to sleep.IMG_2065

IMG_2061Loved checking out all the old homes and streets.

Aftern nap time, we went and visited the dads at work. The office happens to be right near the Boston Public Library main branch. The children’s area nearly the size of a grocery store!

IMG_2070Once the girls were tired of the library we went walking. Amanda took Ruby to another little park and I walked Paige around the Boston Public Garden (I think) to try and get another nap in.


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We finished the day with dinner with Jon and Amanda then took the T back to our hotel. While waiting for the train I noticed I had walked 29,000 steps that day. New record!

Friday morning we headed over to Cambridge to walk around Harvard.

IMG_2084Paige is embarrassed to be seen with us in family selfies already.
IMG_2085The campus and Cambridge are both beautiful. If Paige doesn’t get into UCLA we’ll consider Harvard as a back up.
IMG_2088Greg introduced me to Shake Shack. Totally worth it. After lunch we were off on the second part of our trip – a wedding in Rhode Island.

paige’s first trip

We took Paige on her first trip last weekend when we visited my family in Denver. She did awesome on the plane both ways. We’re so happy we have a happy traveler. She didn’t sleep great while we were there, but otherwise the trip went really well. We hung out with the family and did a lot of relaxing. The guys golfed, the ladies hosted a little baby shower for my sister, and we celebrated Greg’s birthday with homemade vanilla ice cream.

The schedules worked out kind of funny this month and we’ll be back again in a few weeks. Next trip my brother’s family will be there as well and we’ll have the following in one house: eight adults, a six year old, a four year old, a three year old, a two year old, a one year old, a three month old, a one month old, and a 15 week old puppy. Complete chaos and awesomeness.


my baby shower

My mom threw me a baby shower in Los Angeles last weekend for family, with the help of my sister and my best friend. It was at the Alcove restaurant in Los Feliz, my favorite little area of LA and where I would want to live if we ever moved back to southern California. We had a private back house to ourselves which was the perfect set up. I took no pictures, but my sister and mom took a few and I’m stealing them for this post.

IMG_1325_edited-1Almost all of my local aunts and cousins were able to make it. Nice to see everyone, since I have no idea when we’ll manage to get back down to the area. The food was really good. I had french toast, after my mom pointed out making sure that she had several paleo options on the menu for me. Thanks mom, but my own baby shower is a once in a lifetime event and I went with dessert for brunch. (And to be honest, then regretted it because the Cobb salad looked amazing.)

IMG_1344_edited-1We played two games and had some great conversations. It’s always fun to hear about my aunts’ experiences and how things have changed over the years. Everyone very generously showered the baby with gifts, including this little toddler USMNT uniform. He or she will be styling for many of the 2018 World Cup qualifying games.

IMG_1350_edited-1Somehow my mom found a place that would host a strawberry shortcake bar for dessert (my absolute favorite, followed closely by carrot cake). Even though I felt a little weird and shaky after my french toast (I do not do well with sugar), I took down a delicious piece of strawberry shortcake. A big thank you to my mom for making it a fun and special morning for me and the martian. Untitled-2

For one of the games, in which everyone wrote down advice, my mom had my sister take a picture of me with each guest. Here are just a few (SIL, sister, mom, aunt, aunt, bestie). I am cracking up because when I looked through all 20 or so of them, the only one in which I have “sorority arm” is with Lauren. It must just be engrained in me that when I pose with her I need to pop the elbow. I’d also like to thank everyone for coordinating well with my outfit. IMG_8754_edited-1

My sister and I shared a hotel room on Saturday night and I got to spend the afternoon and evening with this little guy. Is he not adorable? He is talking like crazy (even says “Aunt Beth”!) and is obsessed with trucks and cars. We took him for frozen yogurt for dinner (because when your nutritionist aunt comes to town, what else would you eat for dinner?) then hung out in our hotel. He made a game of surprising us from the closet while I failed miserably at teaching my sister how to knit. Apparently right handed knitting does not translate easily to left handed, or I’m a terrible instructor. Or both.

IMG_8756_edited-1We turned the light out at 9 to get Maks to bed, thinking we’d turn on the TV once he was out. Next thing I knew it was 6:30am. Two preggos and a toddler really know how to party. Though Maks did ask for a beer at one point after my sister said no to milk. One of us was trying for some fun.

sabbatical days, part 5

I’m finishing up documenting my sabbatical with our trip to my brother and Brittany’s destination wedding.

IMG_5778_edited-1Despite how we look here (at 7am in the Atlanta airport after a redeye) we were very excited to be half way to our final destination, Beaches Ochos Rios in Jamaica.

IMG_5783_edited-1We spent the first few days relaxing at the beach and pool. The resort had a water park with some of the only poolside shade to be found. We camped out here for most of the day and then tried the different resort restaurants each night. IMG_5796_edited-1 IMG_5787_edited-1IMG_5890_edited-1 IMG_5815_edited-1

I’m so happy we were able to be a part of the wedding. There were about 25 people that made it to Jamaica to celebrate with Joey and Britt on Friday night. Maks easily won the award for best dressed.
IMG_5824_edited-1 IMG_5832_edited-1 IMG_5833_edited-1 IMG_5839_edited-1 Love, love, love that my brother had custom Vans made for his wedding. I don’t think I’ve seen him wear shoes other than Vans since he was about five, so it was completely fitting that he wear a pair on this big day. Love that Brittany let his style shine through as well. IMG_5842_edited-1 IMG_5849_edited-1

Daddy and the flower girl walking down the aisle. And below, the basket Avery promptly threw overboard when she finished tossing the petals.

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I’m pretty sure all four of them shed tears during the ceremony. Joey and Britt shared sweet vows that they wrote to each other. Here they are, the official Collins family of four.
IMG_5867_edited-1 IMG_5863_edited-1 IMG_5870_edited-1IMG_5874_edited-1I’ll end my sabbatical memories on this adorable note: cousins kicking off the dancing.


sabbatical days, part 4

The next week of my sabbatical was spent visiting family. From San Francisco I flew to Denver to spend a few days with my family. I spent a lot of time hanging out with this guy and his two aunts (of whom I did not get a single picture).




On Tuesday, we went for a hike just twenty minutes from my parents’ house. To say Colorado is beautiful is simply an understatement. IMG_5730_edited-1 IMG_5733_edited-1 IMG_5735_edited-1That night we had dinner with my dad then headed out for a girls night of wine + painting. IMG_5741_edited-1

It was really fun and much easier than I thought it would be. Here’s proof that I actually painted something (that promptly was left at my parents’  for goodwill).

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We spent the second half of the class giggling like preteen boys. I happened to turn around and see something interesting on the lady’s painting behind me. I was able to grab a quick photo when she went to refill her wine. I’ll let you interpret for yourself (top left of the painting).


I flew home late Wednesday night and Friday we loaded up for Eastern WA. We like to spend 4th of July with my in-laws but we had a last minute change of plans this year to attend my Grandma’s funeral in Los Angeles. Luckily we were able to fit in a trip before we headed to Jamaica.

Alfred is in dog-heaven on the orchard. He played with that sprinkle for hours. Greg got A to follow him on the four-wheeler (pretty sure that is the first time ever this city girl has typed “four-wheeler”), but of course when I went to try and get some video of it he wouldn’t do it again. IMG_5768_edited-1 IMG_5776_edited-1 IMG_5762_edited-1

On Tuesday we headed out to Redmond to drop off the doodle for a vacation at Club Grandma while we head to Beaches Ochos Rios in Jamaica. It’s a rare week we make the rounds through ALL sets of parents!


sabbatical days, part 2

Processed with VSCOcam with x1 presetMy second week of sabbatical started the real vacation now that my midterm and class session were behind me. First up for vacation was a tri-city tour starting in Los Angeles for a few days with the Smithskis. Greg and I weren’t able to make Sloane’s first birthday party because I was in class and I wanted to make sure I got a trip in to see her before she’s practically a teenager.

We had no real plans and just hung out and played with Sloane. On Wednesday afternoon Lauren and I took her to a local park. The crappy thing about not living near most of the babies in our life is how much they grow between visits. Sloane was running all over the park, it was crazy. She also did her fair share of playing in the dirt. IMG_5662_edited-1 IMG_5663_edited-1It was unbelievably hot on Thursday (and it takes a lot for me to say that). We tried to do some exploring outside but it was just miserable so we took Sloane home and played in the air conditioning instead.

Who doesn’t love a little book nerd? IMG_5674_edited-1

Lauren and I went out to dinner Thursday night to a fantastic Peruvian restaurant near their house. I can’t remember the last time just the two of us hung out. Typically we’ve got husbands, babies, or other girlfriends. All of which are great, but it was nice to chat and catch up. We’re planning Meet in the Middle: Portland for the Fall. Back in 2009 we met up for a weekend in Paso Robles… clearly we need to work on not waiting five years between girls’ weekends!

sabbatical days, part 1

My job is pretty great for many reasons, one of them being the four-week sabbatical that we earn every three years. I actually became eligible to take mine in the fall of 2012 but waited until this summer. The timing seemed perfect when I realized there were four weeks between my big school weekend/midterm and my brother’s wedding in Jamaica. I could easily fill the two weeks between events and I was definitely ready to step away from the laptop for a bit.

IMG_5613_edited-1Before I jumped into school mode for the first week, we celebrated Soccer Sunday. Our friends, the Kays, hosted a World Cup final party complete with a German brats bar and dolce de leche for dessert. I was rooting for Argentina, but well done Germany. I’m ready for 2018 already. We went home to take care of the dog and then it was time for our second match of the day: Sounders vs. Timbers on Sunday evening. I love a city where 65,000 fans come out to cheer and sunset isn’t until 9pm.

IMG_5624_edited-1My first week was a little more work than fun, but I’m really thankful I had three full days to study for my midterm before class started Thursday. In fact, it worked out so well I’m a little nervous about not having time off before the final in October. I spent my days getting very familiar with 103 color-coded index cards and a few coffee shops around our neighborhood.

IMG_5633_edited-1Class started on Thursday (my studying paid off, the written and practical midterms went very well!) and went through Sunday. My boys were good sports while I left every morning at 8 and returned home around 6:30, most nights too tired to even have a conversation. Who am I kidding, they do just fine without me. As far as Alfred’s concerned I’m a third wheel to his time with Dad.

IMG_5645_edited-1Luckily I gave myself a few down days post-school. I had plans to get a lot done around the house on Monday and Tuesday, but in reality I just recovered from the intense learning. I somehow managed to get myself packed and ready bright and early Wednesday for my next sabbatical adventure, a tri-city tour to visit all my “homes away from home”.

Next up: Three uber-relaxing day in LA with the Smithskis!


{72 hours} waikiki

Two weekends ago we had the opportunity to spend a few days on Oahu. Greg was there for work during the week and we found a good deal with miles for me to fly out Thursday night. Greg had some work to do Friday morning so I enjoyed my coffee and the view from our room. hotelviewsOnce Greg finished work around 8am (gotta love working west coast hours while in Hawaii – can’t believe it’s been five years since I did that full time), we were off to climb Diamond Head. While waiting for the bus we saw our first rainbow and I started my palm tree photography obsession. prettyday

A quick bus ride and we were at Diamond Head.
IMG_5334_edited-1The entire hike is not more than two miles, but it’s pretty much straight uphill.


The views from the top are well worth the short hike.
view from top

Obligatory selfie followed by obligatory trade with another couple. usattop

Per the sign, it should take 60 – 90 minutes to complete the walk. We kicked ass and did it in 50. IMG_5347_edited-1It was nice to start the weekend with a little active adventure before we spent a pretty lazy day relaxing at the pool and napping. We happened to pick a restaurant for dinner that was right next to the condos Greg used to stay in as a kid.


We had plans to take a surfing lesson on Saturday morning. Greg had rented us a cabana for the day and as we settled in we decided surfing lessons could wait until our next trip. The Honolulu Pride parade went right past our cabana and Greg managed to get the Sounders game on his laptop. There really was no reason to leave our shady paradise the entire day. cabanaI was feeling a little guilty running off to Hawaii with how much schoolwork had piled up. I ended up coming home with so much work complete. Four and a half hours each way with no wifi does wonders for studying. I am actually feeling better with where I am now than I was before I went. I also got some studying in over the weekend. Studying in paradise is not too shabby.


Saturday night we tried an outdoor restaurant with Greg’s boss and his family. They have an adorable two year old, Maya, and it was fun to get to know Ian and Amanda more. Sunday morning we woke up and enjoyed breakfast at Hula Grill and one last gaze at palm trees. I heart palm trees.

IMG_5409_edited-1 I also heart TimerCam to get pictures of me and this guy. Great weekend and a great break from reality for a few days.IMG_5417_edited-1



winter getaway

phoenix photoboothWe headed out for the second annual Phoenix winter getaway in this weekend. On Friday the weather was great and we sat at the pool and relaxed all day. We stayed at The Clarendon, which I loved and Greg was mostly happy about. I loved the color and playful feel of it all.

hotel clarendon

The sky in Phoenix is just amazing, it seems to go on forever. phoenixsky

And the plants! I love desert plants.

phoenix plantsOn Saturday Phoenix got a very rare does of rain that lasted pretty much all day. We made the best of it by trying restaurants, seeing the LEGO movie, and wandering around various parts of town. I think it’s fair to say Phoenix is not the most interesting city ever. I did learn that Whole Foods (or at least the one we were in) makes coconut milk lattes!

outinphoenixIt wouldn’t be a trip without some TimerCam fun. We found a cute pub in the historic area of Phoenix (approximately 6 buildings) and enjoyed a beer/cider while we looked at dinner options. I love TimerCam and my always willing to get a fun photo husband.

timercamphoenixThe jury’s still out on whether or not there will be a third annual Phoenix trip in 2015, but we are home, relaxed, and enjoyed a little getaway together.

the best weekend

I’m not the type to have a lot of acquaintances; I much prefer to have a handful of very close friends that I really invest in. I feel lucky that I survived college, the sorority, and the drama of one’s early and mid-twenties and came out with a group of girls that mean the world to me. By far the hardest part of moving to Seattle was leaving the ones in SF behind.

There’s something about doing everyday life with people that is very intimate. I have a wonderful sister and best friend in Southern California, but it’s been ten years since we did everyday life together. More like 14 with my sister, and she was 11 the last time we lived close to each other. My relationships with Lauren and Becky have evolved through the long distance, with text messages and IMs and weekend visits. We’ve had a decade to figure out how to stay close.

But with my SF girls, it still feels like I should be there, like everything needs to happen in person because that’s all we know. We have shared so many dinners after work and brunches on the weekend, and put I don’t even know how many miles on our running shoes. Somehow a text message doesn’t feel like enough when all you want is to meet someone on the corner of Chestnut and Scott and go for a long walk to work out everything that’s going on in your head.

Being in San Francisco this weekend was so good. I think I smiled the entire 30 hours I was there. The invite for Alyssa’s baby shower came at a particularly low point in December, and at first I dismissed it. I wasn’t upset at the nature of the shower per se, I just wanted to wallow in my own grief and not think about anything fun. Maybe a week later I realized – wait, there is party being thrown at which all or most of the girls would be, it will not cost me much to attend, and I can get there in two hours? Sign me up. I immediately RSVP’d and booked a flight, then looked forward to it for five weeks.

It did not disappoint. To anyone else, this was probably a relatively boring weekend. Baby Barringer was showered for a few hours and the rest of the weekend was just normal. We were in bed by ten on Saturday night and I didn’t even get dressed on Sunday in normal clothes. But we talked and we walked. (So much. I hit 17,000 steps on my FitBit.) We ate. We laughed. We didn’t cry, but that would have been fine if it had happened. It was such a great weekend.

Now I have a new resolve to be thankful for and take advantage of modern technology while I’m in Seattle and to look forward to weekends I get to spend with them in person. Untitled-1