Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Feels Like Home

This past week has had a California feel to it, since Scott and I went to a Dodgers game at Nationals Park (and they won!), thanks to a great birthday present from my Dad. We had great seats and while the Dodger blue was outnumbered, there was still a really great showing of fans representing LA.
This week we also took a mini getaway to visit to the Atlantic Ocean in Bethany Beach, Delaware, about a 2.5 hour trip. As every drive out here has turned out to be, it was beautiful. The drive through Maryland and across the Bay Bridge into Delaware was full of agricultural fields and the cutest produce stands selling pumpkins, melons, and mums.

I was rather excited to finally see the Atlantic-it's been high on my bucket list and the anticipation was worth it. I was pleasantly surprised with the beauty and contrast to the Pacific-sandy shores with wild grasses, warm waters, and a picturesque boardwalk.

While spending time along the shore, we made sure to enjoy crab cakes, oysters, ciopinno, and swordfish.  And chocolate ice cream, of course.
Henry was stoked to have some sand time and Josephine was all about playing in the water. We had a trail across the street from our AirBNB, where we were able to watch nesting osprey, spot a few cardinals, and even a rabbit to Henry's delight.
This trip has afforded us many adventures, and weather wise, we came a little too close to a hurricane. Thankfully, the warnings were lifted from our area as it veered another direction, and we were able to watch the limited effects it had on the beach with chopping waves, whipping winds, and rain. However, silver lining--we visited just as the area turned to the off season, so that combined with Hurricane Jose meant free beach parking and the coast to ourselves!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

September Days

This week started out on a somber note with the 16th anniversary of 9/11. I really wanted to pay my respects and see the Pentagon Memorial, and opted to wait until Tuesday, so as not to have any unruly children interfere with families observing the day with their loved ones.

The Pentagon Memorial offers visitors the ability to dial into a recording while walking through, describing the memorial and events of the day. I had never really considered the thought and ideas that go into designing something so emotionally charged. The details were beautiful and thoughtful. Each person who died, whether on the flight or in the Pentagon, has a bench with fountain underneath. The benches face different ways (looking at the sky, or looking at the building) depending on where the victim was. They are ordered by birth year too, so some rows have significantly more memorial benches than others, including one for the youngest victim, a three-year-old girl who was on board the flight with her family. I'm really glad that I was able to go and walk among a beautifully designed space, truly honoring those lives lost tragically too soon.
On a happier note, we drove about 40 minutes into Wheaton, Maryland, to Brookside Gardens, to enjoy their Wings of Fancy butterfly and caterpillar exhibit which is coming to a close next week. The exhibit allowed us to see hundreds of caterpillars and butterflies at various stages of development, fluttering around a greenhouse.  And, I learned the difference between a cocoon and a chrysalis (which I had been using interchangeably)-moths make cocoons (spin silk around themselves and then leaves fold around them) and butterflies make chrysalises. You can thank me next time you win the insect round on Jeopardy ;)

The gardens themselves were breathtaking. I haven't had the best luck with flowers or planting much of anything, but I can really appreciate the varieties of flowers and plants when they are thoughtfully arranged at a place like this. It was like a spread in "Sunset" come to life. We ate lunch in the garden and spotted chipmunks, honey bees, and more butterflies doing their thing.
The gardens also have a really great Nature Center where Henry was able to see the cross section of a bee hive, find a wolf spider, and see other reptilian creatures. On our walk there, we also spotted three more chipmunks. They always seem like elusive critters to me, so to see so many was surprising. It's also a reminder of how while we are in the city, we are so close to the woods and being able to experience that is something I won't forget.
This week we also had a storytime playdate at our favorite book shop, and visited a park we hadn't been too since last winter. I still can't believe we're coming up on a year here and that Henry will be four next week. I know everyone says it but man, life goes quickly and I feel so fortunate to live the one I do.

Monday, September 11, 2017

September so far

This time last year, Scott and I made a whirlwind trip out here to scope out DC and Baltimore neighborhoods, finding a place to live. It was 99 degrees and disgustingly humid. Well one year later on those same dates, it was BEAUTIFUL. Like a true "back to school" feeling of warm days dancing around 75 degrees and cool breezes in the morning and afternoon. (If you haven't picked up on my weather craziness yet by reading this, I basically am happiest at around 72 degrees with a light breeze. I think these are those days!)

The weather greatly affects my mood, and as such, September has been great so far. Henry and I had a date going painting at a Color-Me-Mine type of pottery place, and Josephine is getting much better at standing and cruising around the living room. She's also a speedy crawler and I scratch my head at how they can be SO LOUD and also velociraptor stealth at the same time and end up at the other end of the house almost silently.

Over Labor Day weekend, we took Scott back to the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens so he could experience the beauty we had previously. While the peak water lily bloom was definitely behind us, there were some stalks that lingered so he was able to see how amazing they were.

These beautiful days have also allowed us lots of park play time, bike riding, picnics, and baseball playing.

This past weekend we went apple picking in Bluemont, Virginia, at Great Country Farms and had a really wonderful time. They had an amazing THREE acres of just playgrounds with a ninja obstacle course, old tractors and farming equipment, rope swings, giant slides, bouncing pads, climbing structures and more (not including apple orchards) so Henry was in heaven. Also, I can't believe how old Josephine looks below here. She's really creeping close to one year old!

We enjoyed the apple picking, cider donuts, and spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. Fall is definitely in the air!