Where’s Dr. Jen? (Part 1)

Hi, everybody!  My family and I are on the road for Christmas and I wanted to check in to give you a peek at where we’ve been!

Last Saturday we left Cleveland and started a 2-day trek to parts south.  My sister and her family live in Charleston, South Carolina and my parents live in Georgia.  The plan was to meet in Charleston and spend Christmas together.  It’s been 5 years since we were all together for Christmas and we couldn’t wait!

We moseyed our way south, taking our time and dividing up our trip into bite-sized chunks.  Saturday night we stopped in Charleston, West Virginia (which is a very pretty little city in the Appalachians, on the banks of the Kanawha River).  Jack, our Elf on the Shelf, popped up in our hotel room and had the boys very excited.  Having him watching helped them behave, I’m sure!

Sunday night we stayed in Charlotte, North Carolina at a Doubletree next to a big mall.  After dinner we had a turn through the mall to finish our LAST last-minute Christmas shopping.  Jack again turned up and kept an eye on things.

Monday we rolled in to Charleston and were greeted by six excited people (and two excited dogs).  My nieces Maggie and Anna were happy to see their cousins.  They haven’t been together since summer 2013.  Anna (who is 5) referred to Chris and Nick as (respectively) the “big one” and the “little one,” to everyone’s amusement.

Jack got to meet Maggie and Anna’s Elf, Weezie, and the two of them kept the littles guessing.  One night they cozied up together inside a glass vase with ginger-spice cookies.  On Christmas Eve morning the kids found them tucked up in the Christmas tree.  And of course when Christmas morning came the Elves had gone back to the North Pole with Santa.  They’ll be back next Thanksgiving time!

Santa (and Santa’s helpers) did their work well, and everyone was happy with their gifts.  Christmas morning saw the typical colossal mess and just a little of the typical sibling squabbles.

We did the usual family stuff, fun and food and mess and time-outs.  Here are a few of my favorites!


There were a few new restaurants and a few old ones that have become favorites.

Pies & Pints – A great beer-and-pizza place.  They have gluten-free pizza crust and a wonderful veggie sandwich that I love.  Just hold the cheese, thanks!  We went to the one in Charleston, West Virginia, this time, but there is a location in Worthington, Ohio, outside Columbus too.

Mellow Mushroom – I am always happy when we find a Mellow Mushroom.  We first found them in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and there’s also one in Gatlinburg.  There are two locations in Columbus and now there’s one in Rocky River!  Food Babe is lobbying them to release their ingredient list and I hope that when they do release it I’m still able to eat there!

Cowfish – We found this restaurant in Charlotte when we were there in 2013.  One word – AWESOME!  If you’re in Charlotte you MUST go there!  Omnivores and herbivores alike agree the food is amazing.

Joey Bag a Donuts – I know, I know.  Not healthy.  But deeeee-licious!  And there’s only one, so unless someone opens a franchise in Cleveland I’m safe!


SkyZone – This is a GREAT place to wear out your kids.  They also have SkyRobics, although I didn’t get a chance to go.

Wild Blue Ropes – Also a great way to wear out grownups and kids alike.  Ropes courses are SO much fun!  There was a girls’ volleyball team there doing a teambuilding exercise while we were on the course.  We were having a great time, but doing the course blindfolded while a teammate talked you through it?  No thanks!

We left my sister’s house today and I am now sitting in the living room of my rental unit, with the balcony door open and the soothing, rhythmic sound of surf filling the room (along with the click of computer keys, ha).  Where’s Dr. Jen?  Check in next week and I’ll tell you!  Merry Christmas everyone, and be safe!  I’ll be back in the office Friday.

QUESTION:  How was your Christmas holiday?  Did you travel?