being rylie, being sarah, being the shaver crew - short films, pregnancy, travel

my DC + Ocean City trip

About a year ago, my mom told me that in Fall of 2016, she and my grandma (her mom) would be going to the East Coast on a trip for grandma’s high school class reunion. Grandma had offered to pay for my plane ticket + hotel room in order to join them for the trip. I said yes, knowing I could figure out logistics later – how many days I’d be gone, time off work, etc.

Then, I found out I was pregnant, and I felt awful (yay for the 1st trimester!). Still not knowing the exact dates but knowing the baby was due in Fall 2016, I told them I wouldn’t be able to go on the trip.

I honestly had completely forgotten about it until a month ago when my mom called me and brought it up again, but this time, with dates. She told me that now that I knew the dates of the trip and was feeling better then I was in the 1st trimester, the offer still stood that Grandma would pay for my portion of the trip and would be delighted to have me along. After a few days of thinking it over and talking with Aaron, I said I could come for 5 of the 11 days. My mom and Grandma were excited that it worked out, and I was too.

So the date finally arrived and I headed off to meet my mom and grandma in Washington DC. Flying wasn’t too uncomfortable even though it was my 3rd trimester, but I’ve definitely had better. {I wrote a blog post about flying in the 3rd trimester – check it out!}


I landed in DC and my mom picked me up from the airport. We headed to the hotel (after making a few wrong turns… it’s not easy driving in a busy place like DC for the first time in the dark) and got settled. The 3 of us sat around the table and made a list of things we wanted to be sure to see before we left the city, and my mom and I figured out a plan to get that list accomplished within the 2 days we were there.


After we were done planning, we “went to bed” (well, I’m pretty sure Grandma fell asleep right away, but my mom and I stayed up past 2am talking 😛 ).


{Funny Story} ~ my mom had read my 30 week bump update where I had said one thing I had craved was Costco’s Coffee Cake, so she bought some for us to eat. 😀 I cracked up when she showed it to me but I was so thankful and every bite tasted amazing! ❤



Day 1 – THURSDAY (9.15.16)

We specifically only planned to see a couple things on this day because we wanted to make sure we navigated the subway and streets well and we assumed that would take time (which it did. It took us 2 hours to get from the hotel to the first monument…). After a good continental breakfast, we headed out the door to tackle the subway.

The subway, in and of itself, was not difficult – the challenge came when we involved grandma’s wheelchair. We had to specifically seek out handicap accessibly entrances and mom had to figure out how to get the wheelchair onto the subway without dumping grandma out of it AND before the doors closed. Thankfully, we quickly became pros (and had a few good laughs about it all 😛 ).



Once we got onto the main street, we took a detour (not on purpose) and ended up walking past some homes and going through a park. Even though it added some extra walking (and pushing grandma’s wheelchair), I enjoyed the scenery before we saw the national monuments.




The first place we got to see was the Capital. It was a beautiful building and the story behind it was enjoyable.



“Visiting DC with my mom for a few days. Day 1 included navigating the subway, seeing a couple monuments, 8hours of walking & roughly 9,000steps. Needless to say I’m sitting on the couch with my feet up right now 👌🏻” – @sarahmshaver


{Funny Story} ~ to get into the Capital, you obviously have to go through security. There were multiple police officers who stood outside the building making sure that people didn’t have things like knives, guns, and food + drinks in their bags. They said all this out-loud to us and said we could not bring food and water in UNLESS we had a medical condition. Everyone was silent for a second, then I leaned over with my hand slightly raised and said, “I’m pregnant. Does that count?” the police officer looked at me and said, “Yes! You can bring in food and water if you need it.” My eyes lit up! I smiled and said “thank you” as I walked past them to get into the building. Even though we still had to go through the scanners / bag checkers, I was ecstatic that my pregnancy had allowed me to “bend the rules” a little bit. 😀 haha.


After touring the gift shop and resting our feet, we took a brief tour which proved to be very interesting and allowed us to see parts of the building we wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.




By mid-afternoon, we were tired and decided to make our way back. We stopped in front of a few more places to take pictures, but we never ventured inside.





We ended the evening with dinner in our hotel and a good nights sleep.


Day 2 – FRIDAY (9.16.16)

Since we had had our “practice run” the day before, mom and I were confident that we could navigate the subway + sightseeing much more efficiently then we had the day before. So after another yummy continental breakfast, we got ourselves together and headed out the door. Sure enough, our interaction with the subway was MUCH smoother and we got into town an hour later.


Today’s goal was to tackle the Smithsonian(s). Let me start by clarifying – there is more then one! That was new information. So we looked at the map in the gorgeous building that turned out to be the gift shop & food center.



Once we decided which museums were going to be the most interesting to us, we made our way to them. On our way to The Air and Space Museum, we found this awesome water fountain and mom and I did a little photo shoot with it because we found it so magnificent (well, I did anyway 😛 ).



We only went to a couple exhibits in the museum (mainly space ones) and then we decided to stop and get some ice cream in-between museums.


We stopped in “The National Mall” where you had a great view of the Capital building – where we had just been the day before.



After a couple more stops (including seeing some of our nations most important documents – like the Declaration of Independence), we made one last stop to enjoy a butterfly exhibit. This was the highlight of Grandma’s day.


{Funny Story} ~ we had to wait a few minutes before we could go into the Butterfly Exhibit, and my feet were getting tired. So I got down on the floor and leaned my back against the wall. An employee came up to me shortly after and said I could sit in the chair that was behind the rope (and behind a desk). That’s why I put my thumbs up in the picture above – just another abnormal thing I got away with because I was pregnant! 😉







On the way to the subway, we stopped and took a couple photos with the Washington Monument.





“this hotel castle looks amazing 👑 I wonder what it’d be like to live there…” – @sarahmshaver

When we got back to the hotel, we were all hungry for dinner – so Grandma had some leftovers she had been saving and Mom and I headed out and found a great Pho place just around the corner. It was really yummy!


I did have to send it back at first though because the meat wasn’t cooked all the way and I had to explain to them that I couldn’t eat it because of the baby (I pointed to my belly). Thankfully, the waiter took it back and had them cook the meat more. When I got it back the second time, it was perfect. I usually am not that picky with my food, but I will do what it takes to make sure baby girl stays healthy!


“Day 2 of DC involved another 8hours of walking & 11,000steps 😳 but we did the last of our DC adventures.” – @sarahmshaver


Day 3 – SATURDAY (9.17.16)

Our time in Washington DC had come to an end and it was time for us to pack our bags and head off to the next checkpoint – Ocean City, New Jersey. We did make a point to stop at a couple places along the way, starting with the Arlington National Cemetery.



Second stop was the National Cathedral. It was a magnificent building filled with amazing architecture and windows.









“Another picture of the bump traveling. Today we got to experience the intricate design and beauty of the National Cathedral.” – @sarahmshaver

3 1/2 hours of driving later, we arrived at our hotel in Ocean City, New Jersey. We met up with Grandma’s cousin, Rich, for a couple hours and then headed to bed with plans to meet him in the late morning.


Day 4 – SUNDAY (9.18.16)

My alarm went off at the top of the hour so that I could get some electronic device set up to watch Church of the Highlands online. All 3 of us enjoyed service while eating our (lame) continental breakfast (all they had available were little muffins and danishes…).


After service was over, we packed up and loaded the car (since we were only staying in that hotel for one night because the one we would be moving to was not available on that Saturday night.). Mom treated me to a manicure AND pedicure at a nearby salon. It felt amazing and was so incredibly sweet of her! ❤





Once our “girly moment” was over, we met up with Rich and headed to the beach.







Doing homework on the beach 😛

Once we had enjoyed the view for a couple hours, Mom, Grandma and I headed to the new hotel to check in, get settled and freshen-up before dinner.



We went to dinner at a small cafe right off the boardwalk with a beautiful view of the ocean.




Dinner was delicious, and we were so thankful to Rich for treating us there.

When our stomachs were full, we headed for a stroll on the boardwalk to do a little window shopping and see the sights.





After we went into the Shrivers (a taffy and fudge store) and Grandma got her collection of sweets, the 3 of us said goodnight to Rich and headed back to the hotel.


{Funny Story} ~ just between Wednesday when I flew in and Sunday, even my mom could tell that my belly had grown. That being said, I had packed some maternity shirts that had fit me a week ago, but now (since baby girl had done some growing while I was walking around DC) they either were very snug or didn’t fit at all. So when we got back to the hotel, I told my mom I was feeling “pregnancy claustrophobia” (basically my clothes were too tight around my belly) so I took off my hoodie and maternity tank top until I was down to just a cami, and even that I lifted off of my belly so that it could breathe. 😛 haha


Every evening, Aaron and I would talk on the phone for a little bit to catch up on each other’s day. My mom took the picture below to send to him so that he could see what I looked like while chatting with him. He saw it and cracked up laughing 😀



Day 5 – MONDAY (9.19.16)

After I woke up from a terrible night’s sleep ( 😦 ), I got ready for the day and packed my bags since I was flying back home to Alabama that afternoon.

We met Rich for a quick hour at Starbucks before Mom and I headed out to Philadelphia to catch my flight.


When we decided we had better get going, we had him take a picture of Grandma, Mom & I (+ baby Rylie) so we’d have a Four Generations picture.



I said “goodbye” to Rich and thanked him for his hospitality and showing us around his town.

At the hotel, we loaded up my stuff (a suitcase and a backpack) into the car and I thanked Grandma for paying for my plane ticket and letting me come along on the trip. She waived the air and said, “oh of course!” and I gave her a hug. Mom grabbed a quick picture of us together too.


Mom and I took the hour and half drive to Pennsylvania and drove around town a little + grabbed some lunch to kill time before my flight.



Of course, we had to take a picture of the bump in one more state. 🙂


We got to the airport and hugged while we said our “see your later”ers.



In the airport, I checked in, got through security, and made it to my gate about 40minutes early. Unfortunately, my flight was delayed an hour… but my philosophy is I’d rather my flight be delayed and I’m a little inconvenienced then something go wrong in the air. Just saying…


Anyway, by 7:20pm (EST) we were in the air and headed to good ol’ Birmingham, Alabama.

Once I landed, Aaron picked me up and we headed home. I shared a couple stories of the trip in the car but the second my stuff hit our living room floor, I walked right into the bedroom, said “goodnight,” and passed out!




Overall, it was a very full, exhausting, but fun trip! I am so thankful for my mom and grandma for covering the majority of the costs and for working around my schedule so that I could share in these experiences for a few days.

To wrap this post up (I know it’s been a long one…), here is a vlog I made of the trip. It’s choppy and doesn’t have everything we did in it, but I’m still glad I got to capture some of it.

Enjoy! 🙂


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