Monday, July 27, 2015

A Geocaching Camping Weekend!

We were VERY ambitious this weekend!  Josh spotted a night caching event that he wanted to attend, and it was piggybacking on the summer picnic hosted by NoVAGO (Northern Virginia Geocaching Organization).  The picnic and night caching were to take place in a picnic area at Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship, so there was also the option to stay and camp in the field adjacent to the picnic area.  We decided to do it all including a Cache In Trash Out (CITO) the morning after camping!
We left our house armed with camping gear, a picnic lunch (which was redundant due to the NoVAGO picnic, but we had mis-read the hours), snacks, and energy to do a serious amount of hiking and caching before the picnic!
Snack break!
We ran into some fellow cachers towards the end of our morning plan, so that was fun to search for the last couple with extra pairs of eyes.  We also got to have a family photo taken as we walked across the huge fallen tree!

The picnic was really fun, and we met some really nice people!  There weren't many other kids, but Jackson was a rockstar, and he actually took over our ice breaker activity and went up to other people to get the answers!  The boys were very good and of course, made friends!  After the picnic, Daddy took off for some more caching while I took the boys to seek some relief in the air conditioned car on the drive to Walmart!  We LOVE our Prius, but sometimes our space is so limited, and we have to go shopping for food after unloading some other things... ;)  We procured the necessary items for dinner, breakfast and some snacking.  We drove back to camp and I proceeded to set up our tent ALL BY MYSELF!  Josh gave me the choice to do whatever I would rather do, and after a morning caching and Walmart with both of them, I was happy to set up the tent by myself while he supervised the boys running off energy!  We enjoyed some dinner and then I worked on putting Graham to bed.  
You can sort of see the outline of our tent in the sunset...
Happy with this perch while Graham snoozed and Josh and Jackson went off in search of some night caches!  What they found sounded really neat, but I was happy for some time with my book in the beautiful night!

Everyone did pretty well in the tent.  We were up early, of course, and got all packed up before it was time for the CITO.  It was another hot day, and we were all a little extra tired, so we wore down quicker than usual during the CITO.  It also wasn't the typical one we have attended.  Jackson LOVES going to these particular events with Josh, because sometimes there are the fancy trash picker-upper-pokers...  So, yes, we are used to clearing areas of trash.  This particular mission was more about trail maintenance, so Josh was in charge of the hedge clippers to trim anything that might hit someone on the trail whether they were walking or riding a horse (these trails were used a lot for horseback riding).  Jackson was pretty helpful with clearing the brush that Josh cut down, but Graham was pretty much over the whole thing before we even started, AND he wanted to be carried!  We pushed through, and all four of us were never happier to get in the car in search of lunch!  Everyone got recharged enough with McDonalds that our moods improved, and then the boys and I snoozed while Daddy drove us home :)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Summer Fun

During most of the summer, I am hard core and wake up before sunrise to get in a run before Josh leaves for work/the boys wake up.  As much of a struggle as it is to get out of bed, I always enjoy being out early and accomplishing one thing first thing in the morning!  But, I tried out something new, and it was a hit!  Jackson rode his bike while I ran pushing Graham in the stroller.  
Jackson LOVED being my work-out buddy, and it certainly was a great distraction for me!
My goal was to do something special with Jackson every week during the summer, but we were busy doing other fun things, so that didn't quite work out...  But, we did manage to sneak out and see "Inside Out" in the movie theater :)  
Kids music time at Stonebridge with friends!!!  We met Lucy and Alex to listen to some music and eat some snacks :)
The boys LOVE the horse statues outside of P.F. Chang's!
Love a deal at Sweet Frog: all you can fill in a cup for $3!  This may or may not have been ice cream for dinner... ;)

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Weekend in Staunton

A cool painting on the wall outside of the restaurant where we met for dinner!
We headed to Staunton for the weekend!  Our visit started off with dinner with Aunt Murph and Uncle Larry at an awesome restaurant that included a grassy outdoor eating area with picnic tables.  It was perfect for these two monkey who had been in the car for a while!  And, Aunt Murph brought some presents to help with the entertainment :)
Ice cream at The Split Banana to continue the fun!
Aunt Murph and Uncle Larry were good sports, and we all enjoyed a walk around downtown Staunton (and some extra nooks and crannies) to find several geocaches.  It was a really nice night!
With Uncle Larry
Our little family :)
Family photo by a train car we encountered while caching
Way up high over Staunton!
These boys kept up on our adventure!  They had already had a long day, it was past bedtime, and it was hot.  But, it was such a fun way to wander around town!

I feel like I'm missing some of my pictures, because Saturday is not documented at all!  We spent the morning at Gramma J's before going back to the Smurphs for a delicious dinner to celebrate Aunt Jeannie's birthday!  As always, the food was yummy, and it was so nice to spend time together!
These two LOVE Yoki!  
Uncle Larry and Daddy took off for golfing, so Aunt Murph and I took the boys to Gypsy Hill Park to feed the ducks and play at the playground.
Graham loved watching the ducks follow the food!
I'm glad he's not actually this tall...yet!!!
I just love this boy!
Aunt Murph playing on the equipment with Jackson
This seriously is the most amazing park!  There is also a really NICE exercise area with functioning equipment!
The boys had to try it all out
While Grahammers napped off the morning, Jackson got to play one of Yoki's favorite games and turn on the hose!

After Daddy returned home and Graham was up from his nap, we packed up for out last stop: Charlottesville!!!  We met some good friends there, Andy and Charron, and we wandered around grounds finding some caches.  Andy even found his first one ever!

This was a back

Our beautiful Rotunda under construction!

Listening to the recording at Edgar Allen Poe's room 

Our adventurers...!

We spied this backyard while we wandering around hunting for geocaches--so welcoming and peaceful!

Just hanging around Grounds... ;)
Josh showed the boys one of the classrooms!  This is where his astronomy class met his fourth year.  We always have such a good time when we go back to visit Charlottesville :)  We made our way over to The Corner for a little shopping at Mincers (Graham needed an upgraded t-shirt and Josh wanted a shirt celebrating the baseball teams amazing season) and dinner at Mellow Mushroom--so yummy!  

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Jackson Goes Fishing!

Jackson has been asking to go fishing for a while, and the day finally came!!!
He had the best time!  I think he could have stood on the pier and casted and casted all day...
Graham got a turn, but then he and I went to the playground, because I was a little too nervous about him just walking over the edge into the water... ;)
We moved to the other side of the lake...
...which meant there was plenty of space for rock throwing!
We weren't catching anything anyways, so Graham wasn't really in danger of scaring away the fish.
A boy, his TMNT fishing pole and the lake :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Pentagon Tour and Dress Like a Cow

We were invited by our neighbor in the Air Force to join her and her family on a tour of the Pentagon!
Friends from the neighborhood
This was such a fun opportunity!  We walked all through the Pentagon, and we got to see and hear about all branches of the armed forces.  Our tour guides were great and shared such interesting facts about the Pentagon, what goes on inside of it, and how 9/11 changed it.  Jackson really seemed to enjoy the tour, and Graham hung in there.  

Jackson noticed that the tour guides wore white gloves, and he found his Spiderman gloves in the dress-up area and proceeded to wear them for several days!
Today was also Dress Like a Cow Day at Chick-fil-a!  I couldn't have asked for a better decorating partner for our costumes than Jackson :)
The little cows!
Super cows!
Mommy and Daddy Super Cows!  We got lots of compliments on our costumes, and I am so glad I thought of a way to make our cow costumes just a bit unique!  It was really fun to see how other people made their costumes, and to watch the boys turn back into little boys as one spot at a time was found in various areas of the car and house...