Phase 2: Hagerstown

Question:  what do you do if you’re in a car with three hungry babies (who take their bottles warm) when…

A) The bottle warmer requires more power than the car outlet can provide, and

B)  You can’t pull over to warm them because Aunt Shannon has a plane to catch?


Use the windshield defroster on high…of course (Missy’s idea, natch)!  Ghetto?  Maybe.  Effective?  Yes.  In fact…it almost worked too well.  So what if made the car so hot that we had to roll some windows down while doing 70 on the freeway?  Happy babies make for a happy driver.  And a happy Mama.  And Aunt…and Grandma.

You know what they say…necessity is the mother of all invention.  Believe it or not, we actually used this little trick on more than one occasion during the second phase of our journey, as we were seemingly on the go from the time we reached Hagerstown on Sunday until the time we left on Friday.  Each night we were off to someplace new, and each day visitors were stopping in to introduce themselves to the babies.  I’m sure you’re not interested in all the minute details, so less talk and more pictures will be the M.O. from here on out.

My grandfather (Gagie), who after visiting Iowa in September was thrilled to learn about our trip, was one of the first people to visit.  He also offered to take Missy and I out to dinner on Monday night, which (after checking to make sure we had help with the girls) we graciously accepted.  The destination was Hagerstown’s finest restaurant: Nick’s Airport Inn, and while it gave my grandfather a chance to catch up on all the latest, it gave us a few well-deserved baby-free hours to dress up and enjoy the company, conversation, and delicious meal; indeed a rarity.

Unfortunately, we didn’t take any pictures Monday night, but here is my grandfather with the girls:

Gagie and the Girls

On Tuesday night, the rest family all gathered at my Dad’s house for supper.  This was the first time most of them (aunts, uncles, cousins) had a chance to meet the girls, having not been able to make it out to Iowa over the summer.

Not sure who is entertaining who here!

Family Dinner

My sister Hannah had us over to her new place in Frederick (30-minute trip…nbd) on Wednesday night for crabs and beers.  I was skeptical for two reasons:  one, having never been to Fredrick proper, my opinion of it was just a “smaller, less cool version of Hagerstown” and two, crabs in October probably aren’t that great.  Well, it turns out that I was wrong on both accounts.  Hannah’s place is amazing; just blocks away from the revitalized Market Street district (trendy downtown with packed with brewery’s, restaurants, clubs, and oh yeah…people), and late-season October crabs are some of the tastiest and meatiest there are.  We had a blast and vowed to spend more time there on our next trip.

Crabs and's a Maryland thing.

Missy digging in to some delicious claw meat.

On Thursday, the girls finally got to spend some time with my Grandmother (Mingy), who immediately fell in love with them.  We had another family dinner (at her place this time), and while we made a good attempt at trying to take some family portraits, we ended up waiting too long before sitting down to snap the pics and the girls were in full-fledged meltdown mode five minutes in.  I don’t blame them…it was a long week.

Jovie and Mingy

Mom and Mingy

Missy entertaining

Tummy time!

And the meltdown begins...the girls were tired from a long week.

After feeding the girls and putting them to bed back at Dad’s, we packed our gear and loaded up the Suburban; our time in Hagerstown had come to a close.  Although you’d be hard-pressed to try and cram any more action into our stay, we were still sad to be leaving so soon.  Yet Friday morning came early, and by 7:30 we were rolling out of the driveway, waving goodbye, and hitting the road; it was now Durham or bust for the Hardinge Five.

Pictures by Missy & Hannah

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About Tom Hardinge

Loving husband to my wife Missy, loving father to my four daughters Sienna, Rowan, Jovie, and Lola. I'm a chronic over-packer who loves good coffee, good music, running, waffle tee's, fleece pants, and Jesus Christ!

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