Those of you who have been on Facebook, you’ve seen some of our pictures from the Baltimore trip. I will post a few here as well.
Sunday started EARLY. She woke up at 1:30 (AM!) and Roger got up with her. We tried to get it in gear for the Baltimore trip and I think we did ok considering our tired-ness. We made it to the Aquarium by 11 or so. It was amazing! There were so many different kinds of animals and lots of creatures to see. We also had lunch with a great view of the Harbor. I really enjoyed the jellyfish exhibit.
I need to detour on this post for a moment and just give a shout-out to the family who made this whole weekend possible. When I was growing up, we were close friends with the Hansen family. They owned a little mom n’ pop motel (The Copacabana) on Daytona Beach and our families carpooled and did many activities together. I have fond memories of swimming at their hotel pool and playing with the girls (Summer and April). They were one of the stabilizing forces in my life after my dad passed away and we have always been grateful for their kindness.
Anyway, after high school graduation, I kind of lost touch with the girls but my mom has remained in contact with their mom (BJ). The motel has since been sold and the entire family is scattered far and wide across the country but we reconnected on Facebook right before Charlotte’s diagnosis. Throughout this process, they have been one of the many “forces of good” helping us out. From across the miles, they have sent gift cards, meals, notes of encouragement, and (last but not least) set up this Baltimore adventure for us. Thanks to their connections, our tickets to the football game, hotel, and passes to the aquarium and other local attractions were all provided to us free of charge! It was amazing.
So back to the story…after the Aquarium, we headed over to the hotel. It was the Waterfront Marriott…right on the Harbor. We had a Hospitality Suite with full living room and kitchen on the 10th floor overlooking the Harbor. We also had a room with a King bed for us and another room with two beds for Devon and Patrick Mattys (our football guests!). I was only sad that we were able to enjoy the room for only a night.
We weren’t there long when we met up with Devon and Patrick. Roger and Patrick headed off to the tailgating area and us “girls” followed along shortly.
After being up since 1:30 AM with only a light nap in the car, Charlotte finally petered out at about 5 PM…just in time for us to get to the stadium. That was ok because she slept until right before kickoff (almost 8:30). We all had a great time at the game. It was a PACKED stadium with crazy fans and lots of fun. Charlotte made it through the 3rd quarter and then we headed back to the hotel. Actually caught the last part of the game in our hotel room. When we got back to the room, we found a plate of cookies, milk, and a cute bear for CJ with a lovely note from the Marriott staff wishing us well. Very sweet!
Charlotte then stayed awake until 5 AM (!) with Roger and I taking turns with CJ duty. This morning we reversed the process and headed back to Richmond. We made it in 2.5 hours (not bad with just some traffic in N. VA and we stopped at Indulgence Salon in Ashland where Miss Heather and the rest of the staff spoiled us. First, they gave us a catered lunch along with some books and presents for the girl. There was a HUGE Frosty sign made by the kids at the Ashland Community Preschool with pink and purple handprints on it. Then, Charlotte got her nails and face painted while Roger and I got thirty minute massages and I got my hair washed and styled. It was a lovely day and the staff there were so generous and accomodating.
1. The website is MOVING right along. It is going to be so great when it is done and I think it will be ready to launch before we get back from Florida. It will include a way to schedule our reading vigil for CJ so look for more info on that soon.