If you haven't already noticed, I am like a paparazzi circling around my poor toddler. When we do something that's actually a great picture opportunity, like a vacation, I am seriously out of control. She has actually started rolling her eyes and grunting when she sees the back side of my phone pointed at her. I just can't help myself.
So consider this post like the present day equivalent of me sitting you in my living room and aiming the slide projector at a blank wall. Get comfortable, grab the guacamole. This might take awhile. :)

For Valentine's Day this year, my parents gave us a overnight trip to Cincinnati. We were so excited and planned a million things to pack into our little getaway. 

Even Kinley was excited! She loves adventures and she really loves getting to eat mini blueberry muffins in the car. She's such a good girl on long rides and almost always sleeps the whole way...we are lucky ducks.

Our first stop in Cincinnati was my favorite store in the world, IKEA!! It was the first time I've been there that it wasn't a crazy busy madhouse and it was so nice to be able to look at everything and let Kinley run around and try things out. 

We ate lunch at their restaurant and it was so yummy, nobody cared that Kin flung her strawberry yogurt everywhere, and bonus, every Monday at Ikea is FREE DESSERT MONDAY! 

Next we headed to the Gap Clearance Center. This place is totally hit or miss. They sell all of Gap, Piperlime, Old Navy, and Banana Republic's leftovers. I spent around $100 last time I was there and got Kinley about 15 tees and tanks, 2 or 3 pairs of capris and shorts, a pair of flats, and a few sundresses. Awesome! This time was not nearly as cool. We got her a few tshirts for spring and a new winter hat for next year for $.50. It's totally worth running in there if you're in the area though, especially if you're preggo. I got two pairs of Gap maternity jeans for $9 a piece when I was pregnant.
Moving on, hotel check-in! Kinley's favorite part of the whole trip was the built in Kleenex box in the hotel bathroom--she was literally shrieking with glee as she ripped every last tissue out of the box and put them straight in the trash. Being one must be so fun!

We went to dinner at Uno which was mediocre, then came back to the hotel to take our little seahorse swimming! 

She was in HEAVEN!! Not only could she splash to her heart's content, she figured out pretty quickly that being inside of a hotel pool room is like being inside of a giant microphone and microphones just happen to be one of her favorite things in the whole world. She kicked and screamed (in a good way) for 45 minutes and it's safe to say that the pool was second on her highlight list.
Now, to my favorite part of the trip, Newport Aquarium

This place is seriously AWESOME! They have everything--penguins (which, if you pay $25 extra, you can PET!!,) jellies, sharks, sea turtles, crocs and gators, seahorses, octopi, you name it! We were all amazed--so many tanks, so much to see. We went on a Tuesday and the crowd was just the right size, but I bet it would be hard to see and enjoy everything on a weekend when it's really crowded. Here's a tip: buy your tickets at any Kroger in the Cincinnati instead of at the aquarium--they are $10 cheaper. 

We stopped in the gift shop on the way out and got matching purple mother/daughter aquarium tshirts and decided to try out a restaurant right outside the aquarium that caught our eye on the way in. 

It's called Tom+Chee. No, it's not Korean BBQ, it's actually short for tomato soup and grilled cheese.

They have about a million grilled cheese options listed on a chalkboard wall, 3 kinds of tomato soup (chunky, creamy, and smooth,)  and even dessert grilled cheese (the bread is a doughnut!) I had a classic grilled cheese (American cheese on white) with kettle cooked potato chips inside and a dip size cup of creamy tomato soup and it was soooo delish!! 

Dave had a ham and cheese with Swiss on rye, and also allowed me to take a lame picture of him:

Kinley got a kid's meal--half a grilled cheese with a super fresh strawberry banana fruit cup and her very first juice box...she was thrilled.

It was totally laid back and kid friendly and we loved it and all three of us ate for less than $20! Good news Columbus friends, they are building one in Hilliard and one in Pickerington right now! Wahoo! I googled the restaurant chain on the car ride home and apparently they got their start on that show Shark Tank. Cool, huh?

Well, that wrapped up our trip. Who knew you could have so much fun in 24 hours in Cincinatti, Ohio? If you live around here or ever pass through, hopefully you will have time to check out some of the fun places we tried. 

Thanks for sticking with me through that super long slide show. Hang on, let me go refill the guac and reload the projector with the slides of me doing trip laundry and washing out sippy cups! Oh, you've gotta get going? Shoot. Well, next time?


  1. What fun! I want to go to Cincinnati too! I want to go to Ikea, eat grilled cheese and watch Kinley pull out all of the kleenex from the bathroom!! Thanks for taking me along was almost as fun as being there.

  2. Tristan would love that grilled cheese restaurant!
    And I need to find an aquarium! The only one I know of is in Chicago, and that's a pain to get to.