Road trip: Norwalk, CT

A week and a half ago our little family traveled north to Norwalk, Connecticut. It was a dual-purpose trip serving as both an anniversary getaway to celebrate six years of marriage, and as a meetup location for my wife. She writes for a blog called Daily Mom and this gave her a chance to meet some of the other writers nearby.

The trip we routed would take about 3 1/2 hours non-stop. Anyone who has traveled with a toddler knows to plan for a longer trip than you think – potty breaks and boredom are the two main factors. So we made a few stops along the way to try and keep our daughter’s meltdowns at bay.

The first stop was spontaneous as we passed a flee market. Since it was our anniversary and this trip was in lieu of actual gifts, my wife had a great idea. We each had $5 to spend in 15 minutes to find a gift for each other. I found a cool old flexible flyer sled that I haggled my way down to the $5 price point. She found a pretty cool mug that our daughter helped pick out. It was a lot of fun and one of my favorite parts of the trip.

Our next stop was for lunch at Panera Bread, during which Cece decided to feed the birds instead of eating, and a short walk to stretch our legs, and let the little one get rid of some pent-up energy. On the road again and running out of cash thanks to not planning for toll roads. Luckily we had just enough to pay the $13 to cross the George Washington Bridge.

As navigator who chose the route, I made the mistake of not avoiding any roads within 10 miles of Manhattan. We stayed on I-95 the whole time and it was a weekend, but we still hit a ton of traffic. But once we got through that, the highways and roads in Connecticut are some of the prettiest I’ve ever driven on, especially in Autumn.

When we arrived at the hotel it was about 6 1/2 hours after we left, effectively doubling our travel time with the number of stops we made. After some time in the pool and dinner it was back to the room to start getting ready for bed. This was the first hotel room that our daughter slept on a bed instead of a pack-n-play, and she did a lot better than I expected.

The next day was fun at the Maritime Aquarium. We met up with my wife’s friends and their kids and had a blast. We got to see a lot of cool things including a shark dive and a seal show. They also had “touch tanks” where the kids could touch sharks, sting rays, and jellyfish. Celia was excited about it until we got up to it and she refused to put her hand in the water. On the other hand, I loved touching the sea creatures because it’s something you don’t get to experience a lot.

On the ride home we made the executive decision to turn on a movie so we could actually get home at a reasonable time. This time it only took us about 4 hours to drive straight home. It was a great weekend and a fun way to celebrate our marriage and little family.

Plugin released: Tweet Prompt Box

After realizing my previous plugin idea had already been taken, I decided to stay in the same vein of Twitter sharing for the next idea.

I wrote a plugin called Tweet Prompt Box that adds a small call to action box at the bottom of a reader’s browser. It appears as they scroll asking them to tweet the post if they like it. Sometimes readers need that little extra nudge to share and this removes the friction of sharing via Twitter. The call to action is customizable and you can choose between a light and dark theme.

screenshot-2

It’s not a huge undertaking by any means but I think some people would find it useful, and it was so much fun learning and experimenting. The best way to learn and hone skills is to just do it and keep practicing. I learned a lot, but I know there’s still a lot to learn, and that excites me.

The plugin is in the plugin repository and can be downloaded here if you want to give it a spin. I’m pretty excited about it being out in the world.

Already done

I worked a little bit on making my first WordPress plugin two weeks ago. As I was re-reading the developer FAQ to make sure everything was in order before mustering up the nerve to submit it, I decided to do another quick search for anything similar.

Well, it turns out there’s already a plugin out there, and it looks really good. Selection Sharer by Hans van Gent does exactly what I’m doing here, as well as adding sharing via email. So if you were looking forward to having something like this on your site, go and download his plugin.

Back to the drawing board for me.