Tuesday, July 29, 2014

GSLP Friends

Jackson had two wonderful years at Good Shepherd Lutheran Playschool!  His first year there was really great, but I didn't feel like he or I connected with as many other kids/moms as I had hoped.  We did have some out of school playdates with a couple of families, but most of the parents seemed to keep to themselves at pick-up and drop-off.  This past year, we ended up part of a really fun group of kids and parents!  I don't know if part of the change was we were at school every day instead of just three non-consecutive days.  Many of us were returning for our second year, so maybe as a group we just felt more comfortable?  Whatever the reason, we both so looked forward to school each day and to the numerous playdates this summer!  One mom brought up the idea of setting a day and time each week to meet at a playground near the preschool.  We settled on Monday mornings at 10am, and this was a GREAT idea!  Whoever could come came, and the kids loved seeing each other more.  The moms (and sometimes dads and grandparents) actually got to chat while our kids were occupied running around or eating.  There was A LOT of snacking going on :)  Yesterday was the last one of the summer for us since we leave for our trip next week.  All of our big kids start Kindergarten next month, but I'm hoping we can still keep in touch as a group!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Saturday Adventures

We set off on a day-adventure to accompany Josh to find his 500th cache!!!
It was a pretty nice day, and our first stop was an area in Leesburg with quite the interesting hike.  We started down a path following the power lines, and then we reached this dam we got to climb down and over to the next wooded area for more caching.  There was even one cache called Hagrid's Hut, and that appealed to both of these grown-up Harry Potter fans!  I think it would be really fun to find a whole series of Harry Potter themed caches.
Where are the JASes?  Look hard towards the middle left of the photo.  Josh and Jackson are standing against the wall for scale.
Standing in the dam.  Is that a thing?
Hiking back over the dam.
After a quick picnic lunch, we grabbed another cache in Ida Lee Park before heading towards the library to play at the playground.
The actual 500th cache was the result of earning points over several weeks.  It is called The Resuscitation Challenge, and the idea was to find caches that hadn't been found in a long time.  The longer the time period since the last find, the more points!  Josh collected all of the points, and now he was able to go and find the final!
Playing catch!
The rest of the afternoon's plan was to go peach picking.  Don't let these pictures fool you...it was not nearly as much fun as it looks like :(  We tried a new orchard, and there were not many peaches left at all, the bugs were terrible, and we were all a bit tired.  
We got a few peaches, and I was able to make several of the yummy recipes I had picked out.
Maybe we'll stick with the Farmers' Markets from now on...
However, our last stop of the day, worked out perfectly!  We tried out the new Dickey's in Centreville, and it was the perfect ending to a (mostly) really fun day as a family :)
Ice cream at the end, of course!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Random Randomness

A fun morning at the playground!
Hiking with My Buddy Selfie :)
Local watering hole
A little after-bath, pre-dinner teeth brushing and green bean snack!
A fun Friday evening in our house!
Tiger brothers
Big Brother Tiger!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ahoy! Pirate Cruise

About a year ago I bought a Certifikid deal for Boomerang Pirate Ship, and we finally got around to using the coupons!  This was week #2 of a Just Jackson activity (last week he went to see "The Lego Movie" with Josh in the morning, and then they went to see a reptile show at the library the same night).  We left Graham at home with Alyssa and Ashley babysitting, we picked up Josh at work, and we headed to Georgetown to catch the pirate ship!
Patiently waiting
The crew was quite good for the boat, but Lovely Lindsay and Crazy Keegan were quite the entertaining duo as they led the on board activities.  The first thing they did was learn some pirate words.  
It was hilarious watching this crew of kids repeat, "Shiver me timbers!"
We did have amazing views as we sailed on the Potomac, but this was not a typical sightseeing cruise ;)
Pirate tattoos by Crazy Keegan were next!
Followed by face painting by Lovely Lindsay!
He's an authentic pirate now!  
The plot of this Treasure Hunt Cruise was Junkyard Josh stole the keys to the treasure chest!  Of course, the three of us got a huge kick out of the villain being named Josh! 
 Junkyard Josh came cruising around two times, and during those times the water cannons on the sides of the boat turned on full blast.  The kids got to man the cannons and spray Junkyard Josh in an attempt to get back the keys.
It was pretty warm, so we think Junkyard Josh had a great job ;)
Checking for Junkyard Josh--the second time he came around, the kids wore him down with the water, and we got back the keys :)
Once the keys were back on board and the treasure chest opened, each pirate got to choose two pieces of the loot!  Jackson got two "gold coins."
There was a super cute line dance, which of course, Jackson got into just as it was ending..
My fierce pirate :)
And, of course, a little limboing to end the cruise!  LOL
We had such a great afternoon!  I would highly recommend this pirate cruise as a special family outing!  There was another coupon deal run this summer, so if you keep your eyes open, I'm betting you can get a good deal.  For out-of-town guests or a super special thing, it would be worth paying full price!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Jackson and his TWO Wheeler!!!

I honestly cannot believe I'm posting this blog!  Jackson has been pretty excited about bike riding ever since we moved here, but he hasn't craved it like I thought he might.  Right when we moved in, he used to stand at the window watching Reagan and Avery ride around and around the cul-de-sac.  I had visions of him riding around and around and being content.  It never occurred to me that training wheels were not-so-conducive to fast and fun bike riding.  Jackson talked about riding a two-wheeler periodically, but he said not until he was ten.  We just let that go since there was really no hurry.  Well, a couple weekends ago, our neighbor, Sage, learned to ride pretty quickly, and I just casually told Jackson this.  He first said that was cool, but he still wanted to wait until he was ten.  A little later, however, he said he thought he might be ready to learn.  That weekend was hot and busy, so we didn't get to it.  He kept mentioning it, and finally the other night, Josh just decided to try it after we took a family walk.  The weather was gorgeous!  I went inside to put Graham to bed, and when I came out about 15 minutes later, he was pretty much all set!!!  I could NOT believe how quickly this process went!  The best part is, Jackson is super proud of himself, and we can tell he really knows how proud we are of him :)  Josh taught him in the street, but he's back on the sidewalk handling all of the curves like a pro.  He asks to go out and ride his bike ALL. THE. TIME now!!!  Graham is pretty happy to pick a riding toy out of the garage and follow along, so they are happy as clams :)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Where to Wednesday Fun!

We had our first visit of the season to Waterworks Waterpark!  We discovered this park last summer during their special 5 and under morning playtime.  For a series of Wednesday mornings, the kid area of the waterpark is open from 9-10:30 just for children 5 and under and their parents.  The rate is discounted, and parents are admitted free.  SCORE!  It is always a bit of a bummer when kid-oriented places charge full admission for parents too--that makes some outings SO expensive!  Sadly, last year, we were only able to make it to one of these special playtimes.  This year, we are hoping to make it to a few!  
We had some friends meet us, and all of the kids had such a good time playing together!  Jackson was AMAZING!  He took Graham everywhere with him and was so helpful--I was so proud of him!  His good behavior was reinforced with a milkshake later :)
I actually got to stand and talk to my mom friends since this area really is perfectly designed.  Graham can do just about everything on his own (he was wearing a Puddle Jumper the entire time), but the "big" kids are super entertained too!  We were all impressed with the number or lifeguards on duty.
This tongue slide is a huge hit! 
After we finished at the waterpark, we hit the library for our weekly summer reading program check-in and to grab some new books.
A new helper at the book return :)
And, in the afternoon, it was time for out last afternoon playdate with the Wolfe girls.  Sniff, sniff!  I will always remember the day I really met Hallie.  She was walking Izzy and Mary in the double stroller, and I stopped her to chat.  Mostly I was intrigued that there was someone who just liked to walk around the neighborhood like I did!  I'm pretty sure it was shortly after that meeting that I blurted out I was pregnant with Graham (it was right after Halloween, and I was confessing how I was mooching Jackson's candy--it was too bad he had a preggo mama at Halloween time!).  She just has that kind of personality where you feel comfortable talking.  We became fast friends, and we were outside playing in one of our yards almost every afternoon after naptime.  During our friendship we both got pregnant and added one more kiddo to our houses, and Graham and Violet have been adorable and hilarious friends ever since!  I will miss having Hallie to catch up with on a daily basis and to do Girls' Nights with.  The next adventure for the Wolfe Family begins in August in GERMANY!  Thank goodness for Facebook, Skype and e-mail--I can't wait to follow along with their adventures and hear all about life abroad!  Jackson will be stoked to get international mail--we are hoping for a little pen pal action :)
So sad to say our third goodbye to a wonderful friend, but I am so excited for this next step for them!
On a lighter note, we noticed the butterflies had realized our butterfly bush was in full bloom!  Jackson loves checking out the butterflies!  The one in the picture below was drinking nectar, and we could actually see that when we got up close!  Ah, nature at it's finest!