From Baltimore with Love!

For the past three years we have made the trek down to Baltimore for Baltimore Comic Con. This started when Lex was 9 months and nothing has stopped us, not even taking both kid. Its something we look forward to each year and I think in some way we think about it as our one true vacation.

To not put miles on our cars (more than we already do), we rent a car from Enterprise and drive down. It’s only a 6 1/2 hour drive, but with the kids and stops it’s more like 8. This year we got a white Kia Rondo, it was cute and the trunk space was a blessing, since we had to take: a double stroller, pack-n-play, a cooler, books for signing, 2 suitcases and case of bottled water. We also packed our trusty DVD player, which poor Loki couldn’t watch since she is still facing backwards, but Lex loved. After picking up the car and packing it we started on our way. I am very proud to say that we did manage to leave before 9AM, without a trip to the T-Mobile store like we has last year. We picked up some Dunkin Donuts, making everyone happy and hit the road.

The drive wasn’t that bad and I did all of it, though Mad Dog asked a thousand times if I wanted him to take over. I like driving, plus I can’t keep doing the turn around thing with the kids, because I get carsick, so to drive is the lesser of two evils for me. Loki slept much to the trip and Lex slept NONE of the trip going down.  We try to set little goals for ourselves, we’ll drive this far and stop, etc. We find that we usually stop in the same exact places each year. We made our first stop in New Jersey on the NJ Turnpike as usual, to eat a bit of lunch, change diapers and let them out of the car for a bit. The NJ Turnpike rest stops are crazy, and I always forget how much I hate their food courts until were in them. Mad Dog and I had slices of pizza, and Lex had Burger King, which he actually ate most of. Diaper changes were a hand off process. Mad Dog taking them, while I watched the other. Then we were back on the road.

The rest of the drive was easy enough with only a little traffic as we left NJ and entered Baltimore. When we arrived at the Hotel (Days Inn), I checked in and took Loki up the the room. Lex “helped” Mad Dog bring the stuff in on the luggage cart. This trip to Baltimore is always planned as a cheap trip. We stay outside Baltimore and we try to rent as cheap a car as possible. Also, this year we brought some food, since we were dieting and plus it can get expensive eating out all the time. Now anyone who selects a hotel online, doesn’t know where it is and the area it is placed in. It was recently pointed out to us, by a new friend from the area that where we are staying isn’t the best area. It’s something we might take into consideration next year, if the trip takes place or it’s something we might just leave alone. After getting settled, we ordered some Chinese food from a local place and ate. Lex and Loki explored the room, played and watched TV before bedtime. Lex slept with me in a double and Loki was going to sleep in her pack-n-play, however for the first time ever we had trouble with her to the point where Mad Dog took her for a drive to put her to sleep.

The next morning we were up bright and early, which worked out since the city of Baltimore were nice enough to schedule their Running Festival the same day as Baltimore Comic Con, which meant streets would be closing around 8AM. We drove into the city and managed to find a parking garage right before the streets started to shut down. Walking to the Convention Center we watched the runners and all the craziness of set-up. We detoured ourselves down to Camden Yard where we believe the runners were checking in or they had some kids stuff going on. Once we got to the Convention Center Lex, Loki and I got in line with the true die-hards and Mad Dog went to wait for tickets. Lex mad friends with everyone around us, managing to get the nice gentlemen next to us to play him Batman Theme on his phone, and even asked him if we could take his picture. When the line started to move at 10AM, Alanna (Mike’s Assistant Manager) and her boyfriend Jeff joined us in line.

Our game plan was to hit the big names first. This year that was George Perez (see photo), to start with. We tag team lines and the kids, moving from table to table getting books signed. We mainly bring graphic novels with us now, leaving the single issue comics at home, with one real exception. We Lex and Loki were born Mad Dog went out an bought the comics that came out the week they were born. When we can, we get their “Birthday Comics” signed, asking the artist or writer to sign them “Happy Birthday” When the kids are older we plan on giving them this very special gift. The Birthday Comic Idea always gets a comment from the signer. Along withe the Birthday Comics and Graphic Novels we bring around The Artist Within by George Preston. The book always brings a story from the artist about the photo, or experience.

Along with getting books sign we check out the Artists Alley, where we have purchased art in the past for the kids, or as gifts. This year we played it low-key. The only purchase we made this year was for Loki. We purchased her very own piece of art from Franco, of Raven. He also did her a quick sketch of Kid Devil. we managed to get more everything we had signed, with a few exception. The highlight for me was J. Scott Campbell. It was my longest wait of the Con, and completely worth it. He wasn’t doing sketches, but when I presented him with our Artist Within book, he did a sketch of Abbey Chase from Danger Girl, making very Fan Boy in line completely jealous! Mr. J. Scott Campbell was our last stop before leaving the Con at about 2ish. We were done. The kids were done and it was time to have some quiet time.

Hotel time as free time for the kids. Running/crawling all over the room for a few hours before got dressed again and went to visit a fellow Lego Manger friend of Mad Dog’s Tony and his family. They were kind enough to invite us over for a little adult chat and play time with their kids, Noah and Cloe (who is 2 like Lex). The kids had fun and some cake before we headed back to the hotel for bedtime, which came very easy for everyone tonight. The next morning we were up and on the road early after Mad Dog organized everything for our field trip up to PA to the Crayola Factory. Lex of course had to help with packing and play on the cart, which might have been the highlight of his trip.

The Crayola Factory was nice. Nice if you lived within an hour of it, it would make a great CHEAP, activity with the kids. Having said that it was not worth the 2 hour detour we took to go, also I think Lex is still a little young though he did enjoy painting and cutting with their supplies. From their we got lost making our way home with the help of my two brothers directions. We ended up in Manhattan for 2 hours, and finally worked our way home to New England. We got home just about 7 PM. Everyone in the house and in bed not long after. It was nice to be home and in our own beds.


~ by Cute Fan Girl on October 12, 2009.

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