Attention parents: remove yourself from your child for one night to celebrate your anniversary. You won’t regret it.

Our best-laid plans got the best of us thanks to some lovely traffic on Friday night. Though we were nearly an hour late for our scheduled arrival/dinner with my parents, we were just happy to have made it there. Soaking wet “I drank my entire sippy cup 5 miles in” toddler and all. I think I agree with Steve, that pizza may have been the best pizza ever and not just because we were so desperate to get there, it really was the best pizza ever!

After enjoying a lovely pancake breakfast on Saturday, Steve and I readied ourselves for what we hoped would be a painless goodbye with Caroline. She was onto us before we even picked her up asking, “I come?” I was assured that the tears were short-lived. With the promise of ride down a slide outside she was brushing them away before we even closed the front door. From what we heard she had a really enjoyable day with my parents and brother; playing in the backyard, visiting a local zoo, and lots of laughter. She is STILL talking about that zoo, specifically the bird who ate corn with his claws (complete with hand claw reenactment) the alligator “who scary me,” and the deer who was hungry “so I feed him.” Every once in awhile she talks about the snake, but she didn’t like him very much at all – that’s my girl! My end of the evening quick phone check in revealed an easy bedtime. She did them the favor of sleeping until 7:30 on Sunday, so that was pretty nice of her.

While my family was out exploring and enjoying our little girl, Steve and I set off to enjoy our anniversary. Providence was a remarkably easy ride from Western MA and we got to leaf peep all the way down. We arrived at the hotel in time to check in and make it down to McCormick and Schmick’s for the BC/VT kick off. In retrospect it would have been okay to miss that humiliating part of the afternoon. The lunch was amazing; we opted for a shared rhode island style calamari, then before halftime ordered clam chowder and when things started to look really bleak we put in our lunch order of fish and chips for him, lobster roll for me. My lobster roll had 4 complete claws, 2 lobster tails that had been simply cut in half the long way and I enjoyed each and every bite. I think the lunch made up for BC’s lackluster performance.

Post lunch we set out to explore the area a bit. Steve hates not knowing where he is, so we needed to get our bearings a bit – which way to dinner, how to walk back, etc. Not far from the hotel a man smoking in a doorway remarked, “nice camera.” That was all the reminding we needed that though the city appeared beautiful; beware! On our walk we hunted for a wine opener since just like every other trip, we completely forgot to grab one of the approximately 150 cheap openers that we have been forced to purchase on various adventures. We had no luck, none at all, until we came upon a little gourmet café and I just knew they would have one. My hand clapping celebration led to disconcerted stares from clientele and cashier alike. I think he put a curse on that opener before forking it over because not only did the riveted end that you spin into the cork bend, but it completely broke off. Steve tried to use the arms to pry the cork out, but those bent too. We even tried to MacGyver it open with my tweezers. Eventually the wine was open and poured and Natalie, it was delicious. We savored our quiet afternoon, opened gifts of wood, and got ourselves ready for another meal.

Our short walk to Federal Hill was just what we needed to walk off lunch completely because dinner was just as delicious and I was happy to have had room in my belly for the Italian feast. I ordered my standby gnocchi and it was divine. Steve ohh’d and ahh’d over his veal scallopine with lobster and sherry cream sauce.

We headed back towards the heart of the city and I think we could smell the fires before we saw them. Hokie would have loved it. Fires all along the river as far as you could see. A crowd of revelers on one side, a more subdued group of onlookers on the other. We made our way through both sides, took lots of photos, breathed in that fire smell. We remarked over and over what a wonderful day it had been.

The best part though, the very best part? That would be waking up in the morning and going back to sleep, reading the paper, turning on mindless television, eating bagel sandwiches in our pjs and relaxing in the quiet for just a bit more.

Five years, one & one half children. It was so wonderful to get away just us. I think sometimes you forget how to have that alone time, that space with your partner. You get so used to cramming all you have to say into the seven minutes of peace at dinner, or the 30 seconds before you roll over and fall instantly asleep. We talked about so many things, in such great detail, and we narrowed Baby Mac’s name down to just three perfect standouts.


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