Thursday, June 29, 2017

Day at the Beach/Bay

Touching the Atlantic has been on my East Coast bucket list since this was still just an idea we were floating in our Fullerton living room. Turns out, the Atlantic Ocean proper, is about a three hour drive out of D.C., so a little more planning and a Dad is required for such a trip. I get a lot of my activity ideas from the website KidFriendlyDC and the blog listed Flag Ponds Nature Park in southern Maryland as a great "beach" destination (the water is part of the Chesapeake Bay) at a reasonable distance from the city, at just over an hour's drive-and like most drives out here-picturesque.

I wasn't sure what to expect when it came to comparing this to SoCal beaches and there were some pretty obvious differences:

  • The beach is accessible through a tree-lined trail. The drive down was rural and hilly and very green with farm houses dotting the highway. Parking was in a lot that was followed by a 10 minute walk on a path through a canopy of bird-filled trees and raspberry bushes which opened up to the sand dunes and beach. It was really something special. However, Henry was not a fan of the walk. He much prefers the "drive down beach in California" (Corona del Mar).
  • There were no birds. I'm very accustomed to seagulls attempting to invade our space and I saw nary a bird once we were on the sand. 
  • The sand is FILLED with shells. Many people were looking for shark teeth fossils there as well.
  • The scenic landscape is very flat. Much like I had seen from pictures, it's pretty-tall grasses, sand dunes, and water are pretty to see, but the beach atmosphere is missing. There are no waves being a bay, and no boats were on the water. It was quite peaceful and certainly not crowded, but had I been solo and there to read a book, it wouldn't have provided the waves-crashing soundtrack that is so often associated with a beach. (But again, I realize it's a bay, so I still need to get myself to the actual Atlantic to do this compare/contrast exercise again.)
I'm really glad we made the trip. It was a challenge going solo with Josephine wanting to eat/crawl in the sand plus hauling all of the crap that is required for beach visits with kids (and I am a minimalist-one bucket! one shovel! no chairs but I do require an umbrella for baby + me shade!) The wind was gusty and blew my poor umbrella over several times, the final which led me to handing Josephine off to a stranger so I could go fish it out of the water before it was really pulled into the Atlantic. Henry had a ball though, especially after previous summers of weekly beach days, he loved digging in the sand, the copious amounts of shells, and wading in the waveless water. I definitely want to return as a family so we can all enjoy and Scott can experience as well.

Henry in that Adirondack chair has me picturing him enjoying the Hamptons one day. Hopefully I get an invite.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Summer Days

This past weekend was a pretty great one-we saw new sights, had a visit from California friends (yay!), and met more neighbors at a community bbq. Then, we joined some friends for blackberry and blueberry picking in the countryside of Maryland, on one of the most gorgeous summer days (i.e. a rare day without humidity!) and ate our weight in fruit.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Chatting with Henry

As the saying goes, kids say the darndest things!

  1.  "I love chocolate so much, hearts are coming out of my head!"
  2. "Someone in our family isn't here and I miss him so much...(long silence) It's Dad."
  3. While being very mad at me over something: "Go wrap yourself in a mummy!" (We had just been through the mummy exhibit at the Museum of Natural History.)
  4. While I was deep in thought/staring into space: Henry-"What are you looking at, Mom?" Me-"Oh I was just thinking about how I miss working sometimes." Henry-"Oh, I was thinking about how I miss Patty's Cakes." 
  5. Trader Joes Worker-"Maybe you could work here someday!" Henry-"No. Mom, I never want to leave you."
  6. "I love Dad because he cooks good. He makes good scrambled eggs."
  7. Describing some imaginary creatures: "They are very tiny, like little baby lions wearing red sweaters. And they like to fight. They come in through small cracks in the door because they are too little to open the door. They are called Sams."
  8. While determined to learn to whistle (after trying for about 2 minutes): "Mom, can you just put some whistles inside my mouth?!?"
That's our boy!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Summer has arrived

Spring left like a lamb and summer has rolled (roared?) in like a lion. There is most definitely a distinct difference in summer air between So Cal and DC and it is the moisture in the air. The good news is, there is no drought here so I do not feel guilty for taking two showers in one day.

Since the weather is hot and humid, we've been trying to get out in the morning while it's still a reasonable (80 degrees, with 70% humidity-practically the tropics!) temperature, and have made repeat visits to the Botanical Gardens, which Henry loves. He's a big fan of outdoor chores and here in their newly-opened Children's Garden, they offer sweeping, planting, digging, watering--all the gardening jobs that kids love.
We also recently ventured to the National Geographic Museum which currently has a shark exhibit where I learned tiger sharks carry up to 40 pups while pregnant. Had I been on Jeopardy and that the final round, I would have definitely guessed only one or two.

We've visited Henry's preschool friend from Fullerton who moved out to Virginia about a year before we did and enjoyed Star Wars playing (and watching, of course) pool dates and park dates and quite a lot of bike riding around the neighborhood.

My bucket list still includes a trip to the beach, a Nationals Game, and a few other adventure stops in the area when Scott is able to join us!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Grandparents Have Landed!

June is off to a fantastic start, thanks to a visit from some grandparents!

My amazing in-laws arrived the day before Scott's birthday so they were able to celebrate with us and win the award for longest-traveling babysitters so we could have a birthday date night.

I kept Scott in the dark for his birthday plans, as I'd learned of a really cool speakeasy right in Capitol Hill to take him to and it did not disappoint. He questioned my every move as I lead him through a peculiar door, down hallways, and flights of stairs to a large barn door and knocked. It was great to have some kid-free time together and enjoy some excellent libations and dinner!

We struck a pretty good balance of sight seeing and hanging out time, venturing to the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, and Botanical Gardens on their second day.

While Scott and his dad enjoyed a gentleman's evening of cigars one night, Grandma, the kids, and I went to one of Henry's favorite haunts-Yards Park, where he loves to play in the fountains and wading pool.
We also took them to the Natural History Museum to experience some of our favorite exhibits-the butterfly garden and tarantula feeding in the insect zoo, Mount Vernon, and Congressional Cemetery. It was cool to visit Mount Vernon in a different season than our because the gardens were spectacular. They were just beginning to bloom in February and now everything is bursting with color.

We are so fortunate to have parents willing to make the trip to see us and I'm very much looking forward to my own family's visit next month :)