Boston 2016, Day One

Okay, technically Day Two as we got in super late on the first day, but we’ll call it Day One as it was our first full day in Beantown.

April 14th, we woke up at our Holiday Inn Express down by TD Banknorth Garden, ate pancakes from the awesome pancake machine, grabbed coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts, ensured we had a late checkout, and headed over to the Museum of Science. Not your typical tourist destination, I get it, but it was FREE with our DMNS membership. We’ve talked about this reciprocity. It’s awesome.

Outside was our first taste of the Marathon, and a dinosaur.
 photo 4-14mos_zps6ynvq9fi.jpg

 photo 4-14mos4_zpsxpoggmm1.jpg
The evolution on how people have thought T-Rexes to have stood/walked.

 photo 4-14mos6_zpsdrjvadfl.jpg
We built our own fish.

 photo 4-14mos8_zpsqmcrzive.jpg
Because who doesn’t remember/like playing with these?

 photo 4-14mos10_zps5cbhfrzc.jpg
In a space capsule!

 photo 4-14mos14_zpssrdjexgo.jpg
Second T-Rex with a bib.

 photo 4-14mos15_zpszfeodasl.jpg
Our own baby T-Rexes in a T-Rex footprint.

 photo 4-14city_zpsecwuvgjg.jpg
Street art just outside the MoS.

After the Museum, we headed off to our actual hotel, the Holiday Inn Brookline, to check in. We dumped our stuff and headed back downtown to meet our friend Lindsey for lunch. Lindsey works for adidas and was in town to work the Marathon expo. Lunch, as you might remember from my food series, was at Union Oyster House.

 photo 4-14union2_zpspicywftw.jpg
Brandon trying oysters.

 photo 4-14union3_zpsejmjd5fa.jpg
Hey, trick lobster! It can hold stuff!

 photo 4-14union4_zpso4xsfl9w.jpg
Me: Presenting, lobster.
Lobster: Presenting, human.
(The guys were very impressed with how much the lobster liked me. I am the lobster whisperer. It’s a thing.)

 photo 4-14union6_zpsqsajc8j7.jpg
Trying oysters.

 photo 4-14union7_zpsmugwfnvl.jpg
Lindsey getting on the oyster bandwagon.

After lunch, we dropped Lindsey back off at her hotel in Copley, randomly ran into our friend Nic (who, to be more accurate, literally almost ran into us; she also works for adidas), and checked out the Boston Public Library.

 photo 4-14bpl2_zpsoq8ou2pn.jpg
The lights outside the BPL are the best.

 photo 4-14bpl3_zpsdoym8uda.jpg
I am a sucker for spiral staircases.

 photo 4-14bpl4_zpsw1oflufh.jpg
The main hall.

After the library, we headed back toward Brookline and Boston University (campus! home!) for our hotel and dinner.

 photo 4-14city3_zpsgkj3abgv.jpg
Oh Brown Sugar Cafe, I miss you.

 photo 4-14city6_zpsihke7t3o.jpg
Ivan with the Oreo Angora and Gustave with the coffee Angora.

Day one, in the books …

Creativity Corner: Dino Pillow

A good friend of mine had a baby back in December and I had wanted to give her something dinosaur-related for the kid, since that’s what we do. I was out of the typical dino stuffed animals we keep on hand and I didn’t have time to try and make one (she had to move back to Canada), so I made a cute applique dinosaur pillow.

I would have done a T-Rex, but they’re not so easy to do in silhouette. Dinosaur outline found online and hand-sketched on to fabric; cut out and sewn on before making pillow. All hand-sewn.

 photo jenna_dino_pillow_zpsl5tgsxp9.jpg

I forgot how quick and easy it is to make pillows … and how much I enjoy doing it.

November Vegas Trip: Part Two

Friday morning dawned and we were ready for another day of adventures – most of which I’ll put here, except for the Neon Museum, which deserves its own post.

The day, in photos.

 photo friday_zps1795768d.jpg
Blueberry Hill, a local diner chain we hit up for breakfast. Very good.

 photo friday3_zps0b406b29.jpg
Brandon looking down at his breakfast. You get a sense of the decor here, too.

 photo friday4_zpse0cc57dc.jpg
Nelson hates “Pawn Stars,” and therefore is cranky we’re driving past the pawn shop.

 photo lvnhm_zps47acb245.jpg
Dinosaurs in a dinosaur footprint outside the Las Vegas Natural History Museum.

 photo lvnhm2_zpsb2d71f4c.jpg
Dinosaur sculpture.

 photo lvnhm3_zps669fe770.jpg
Buffalo. Pretty sure all the animals in this museum were real and taxidermied …

 photo lvnhm5_zpscfed5b0a.jpg
Sting ray. We are the ray whisperers, it’s kind of awesome.

 photo lvnhm9_zps035469b4.jpg
“Carrying” “water” like an Egyptian. It’s heavy.

 photo lvnhm12_zps3b4b5bca.jpg
Brandon made a design. He’s proud.

 photo lvnhm13_zpscab11422.jpg
Tribal hut.

 photo lvnhm15_zps53d7f9bd.jpg
Picture taken for the Englestad name (also associated with Fighting Sioux hockey).

 photo lvnhm16_zps8cedeacb.jpg
T-Rexes and a sign about themselves.

 photo lvnhm17_zpsffea2887.jpg
Nelson and the T-Rex.

 photo lvnhm18_zps46ac2de3.jpg
On a shell seat, in a submarine.

 photo lvnhm19_zps0cc8e821.jpg
Brandon in the sub.

From the LVNHM, we checked in to the Bellagio where we’d be staying most of our visit.

 photo friday14_zpse772e015.jpg
Room at the Bellagio.

 photo friday15_zps65e1999e.jpg
View.

 photo friday17_zps68461f87.jpg
Oh yeah, race expo.

After the expo, we took our realtor and local TV/radio personality Susie Wargin around to grab a bite and then help her get to a studio so she could do her radio show from Vegas (she was out running the full marathon). From there, it was off to the Neon Museum (next blog!) and after that, dinner at the Peppermill.

 photo friday20_zps498e984a.jpg
Just like I remembered …

 photo friday21_zps4bc287bf.jpg
Me at the Peppermill.

 photo friday23_zps77ad8036.jpg
Fountain view with the fountains going.

 photo friday25_zps0c8813d9.jpg
Ceiling between Bally’s and Paris. Never knew this was there …

 photo friday26_zps6925548c.jpg
Hey thanks, Planet Hollywood/Miracle Mile Shops!

 photo friday27_zps245378c6.jpg
Bellagio conservatory.

We also went to Tao Nightclub that night, but no pictures. Honestly, it was kind of a disappointing experience …

Morrison Natural History Museum

On one of our mutual off days in June, we went hiking in the morning and then, since we were in the area, decided to do a nerdy dinosaur day at the Morrison Natural History Museum. We had heard about it, but had never gone, so we decided “screw it,” and went.

 photo mdm2_zps7af8a773.jpg

It’s certainly small, but explores paleontology in the region – Dinosaur Ridge is essentially a stone’s throw away, after all. They also have an active paleontology lab on the top floor to work on specimens. Below is a smattering of the stuff we found the coolest there.

 photo mdm5_zpsc5094c63.jpg

Cast of a T-Rex head that was found in Golden, Colo.

 photo mdm10_zps9811fe4c.jpg

Our own baby dinosaur, Gustave, next to a life-size replica of a Stegosaurus hatchling.

 photo mdm12_zps4906b3e5.jpg

Herkimer, a monitor lizard who lives upstairs. They also have a few live snakes.

 photo mdm13_zpsc9c4583b.jpg

Baby T-Rexes in the back of a Triceratops skull.

If you (or your kids, if you have them) like dinosaurs, I would recommend this place for sure. Small, quick and easy to do – especially if small attention spans are involved. You could easily make a day out of it by seeing Red Rocks and the aforementioned Dinosaur Ridge as well.

Utah and Dinosaur National Monument

Earlier this month, we drove to Utah to race a half-marathon (which, if you want to read about, you can do so here).

The drive to Vernal, Utah, took us through parts of Colorado that I’d never seen before, which was exciting.

 photo 5-1drive_zps3782462b.jpg
Meeker, Colo.

We passed by a lot of livestock – we estimate we saw close to 10,000 head of cattle over the weekend – and got paused on some county road due to a sheep drive.

 photo 5-1drive2_zps589759a6.jpg

Right before the border, we hit the best town ever for Team Baby Dinosaur:
 photo 5-1drive5_zpsec73dced.jpg
Dinosaur, Colo.!

About 20 miles after that was Utah.

 photo 5-1drive7_zps4ff6697b.jpg

The next day, we took a quick trip into Dinosaur National Monument – Utah side. We definitely plan on going back and camping – the area is huge and definitely deserves way more than the few hours we gave it – but we didn’t want to walk around a whole lot due to our race the next day and we didn’t have all that much time.

We ended up taking a short hike and seeing the Fossil Bone Quarry, which was one of the coolest things ever and TOTALLY worth it.

 photo dnm2_zpsb3333139.jpg
Entrance.

 photo dnm4_zps4b9f4026.jpg
Stegosaurus.

 photo dnm7_zps005e3dcc.jpg
Brandon and petroglyphs.

 photo dnm10_zps1f63bb16.jpg
In front of some cool rocks.

 photo dnm12_zps000427fa.jpg
Kidlets on the path.

 photo dnm22_zps72d72b08.jpg
Sign in the bone quarry.

 photo dnm23_zpsbcebe99b.jpg
Brandon and Nelson next to a thigh bone.

 photo dnm26_zpsb41705de.jpg
Dinosaurs and dinosaurs. So the quarry wall was left behind because paleontologists had gotten enough bones out of the site (well, of the dinosaurs that were found there) so they decided to leave the site and all the bones.

 photo dnm27_zpsf8de98cc.jpg
Brandon looking out at the vast.

Afterward, we went to the Utah Field House museum (more dinosaurs!) and packet pick-up.

Saturday, we raced and then left town.

 photo 5-3drive3_zps2ac689d4.jpg
Dinosaur in Vernal they dress up for the holidays.

We went a slightly different way back home – through Craig, Hayden, Steamboat Springs. We stopped in Kremmling for a bite and so Brandon could catch the Kentucky Derby. Then continuing on US-40 to I-70 and back home.

 photo 5-3drive5_zps8f7e307b.jpg
US-40 sometime before Craig.

On the DMNS Mythbusters Exhibit

Probably should have done this one before the holidays post, but I forgot when we actually did this until I looked at the dates of the photos. Oops.

In any case, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science held a Mythbusters exhibit this fall/winter (it ended in early January). Both Brandon and I used to be huge fans of the show so when we saw all the billboards around town advertising the exhibit, we decided to go. With Ironman, it kept getting put off … until right before Christmas when on the 23rd, we said “Screw it,” and went.

 photo myth_zpsb0d04c04.jpg
Sign.

 photo myth2_zps49f927dd.jpg
Brandon … and I forget which myth this was a part of.

 photo myth3_zps07feff98.jpg
Buster! Buster the crash-test dummy is probably my favorite character from the show. They abuse him so much …

 photo myth4_zps4638eaca.jpg
Outfits worn by the show’s cast.

The first part of the exhibit was mainly comprised of items from the show and tidbits about the myths they were a part of. Even though neither of us have watched the show in a few years, we remembered quite a few of the myths involved.

The second part was more interactive – you got to be a part of myths yourself. Some of the myths included building a brick house and seeing if it could withstand high winds (we both pretty much failed), throwing playing cards at a dart board and seeing if toast really always lands butter side down. A few of the others are below.

 photo myth5_zpsfa58bcc9.jpg
Post the run/walk myth. Do you get wetter running through the rain or walking? I ran, Brandon walked. What do you think? Creepy glowing spots are due to the “raindrops.”

 photo myth6_zpsc1ed4c25.jpg

 photo myth7_zps573e2f79.jpg
Both of us on a swing suspended by phone books – you can see that better in the picture of me. Basically, are phone books strong enough to do this?

 photo myth8_zps175d9b4e.jpg
Brandon trying (and pretty much succeeding) at ripping a tablecloth off a table and keeping the dishes on the table.

 photo myth10_zps2932303c.jpg
Hanging off the side of a building. I’d die quickly.

The exhibit was fun, but we had trouble deciding if it was ultimately worth the price of admission (doubled the price of museum admission). Maybe if we had kids …?

After, since we had paid for museum admission, we wandered around a bit. Brandon found a triceratops puppet after the dinosaur exhibit, and well, had to play a bit.

 photo dmns4_zpsc775af3f.jpg
Team Baby Dinosaur, forever and always.

If this exhibit comes to a museum near you, I’d say it’s probably worth going to if:
– you were a HUGE fan of the show and wanted to experiment with some myth busting of your own
– you have kids who are interested in this type of stuff
– you need an excuse to go on a fun date (pretty much us)

Images of Boston: 2013 Edition

After Ironman, we went to Boston for a few days. Brandon’s team, the University of North Dakota was playing mine, Boston University, in hockey. Since we couldn’t go to Grand Forks last year when BU played up there, we decided to take a few extra days after Arizona and head to Boston.

It was a simple trip – not too much touristy stuff – we mainly walked around a bit on a clam chowder tour of the city – four cups of chowder in two days. But it’s Boston, and we both love the city, so it was worth it.

 photo boston_zpse1286c1a.jpg
Thai fried rice at Brown Sugar Café.

 photo boston2_zps6b812e63.jpg
All my time in Boston and I somehow never noticed this in Copley Square. All the names of the marathon winners (male and female, able-bodied and wheelchair) are engraved around it.

 photo boston4_zps201721a7.jpg
Brandon in the Public Gardens.

 photo boston5_zpsdf056713.jpg
Awesome knotted tree.

 photo boston6_zpsf409d31c.jpg
Bobby Orr “Goal” sculpture outside of the new Garden.

 photo boston9_zpsf1249717.jpg
Chowder stop number one: Warren Tavern, in Charlestown.

 photo boston11_zps923d2d31.jpg
Hey look, Paul Revere!

 photo boston12_zpsc756a8ef.jpg
North End. Right before pastries at Modern.

 photo boston13_zps91b65deb.jpg
Chowder stop number two: Union Oyster House. Cornbread was fantastic alongside it. This was probably ultimately our favorite of the four.

 photo boston14_zps4d68f66b.jpg
Outside Union Oyster House.

 photo boston17_zps9a153dbf.jpg
BU dino Gustave at Agganis Arena for the first time (for a hockey game).

 photo boston20_zps2a9dc9d6.jpg
Hockey people will know why this scoreboard is a fail.

 photo boston21_zpsa4f87091.jpg
Marsh Plaza.

 photo boston23_zpsdb74427b.jpg
Gustave in a BU cycling jersey.

 photo boston24_zps747f59bf.jpg
Dinosaur story time.

 photo boston28_zpse474f748.jpg
Chowder stop number four: Boston Chowda Co. Not pictured: Legal Sea Foods.

Order of preference?
1. Union Oyster House
2. Legal Sea Foods
3. Warren Tavern
4. Boston Chowda Co.

 photo boston29_zps18c21089.jpg
Lone remaining Boston Marathon bombing memorial in Copley Square.