Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Spring Break

My school is on a year-round schedule - which would be awesome if everyone else was too (we're currently the only school in the district on this schedule), but that's another story - so we got three weeks off for spring break instead of the typical week. Instead of going on one big vacation, we chopped the time up into several adventures. Here's a recap:
 We first headed north to Vermont to visit family. We did an egg hunt in my grandparents giant backyard, we had lunch at the famous Moose Deli, we went to a parade with my cousin, challenged my Aunt Kathy to a game of Qwirkle, and played hours of wiffle ball in the yard. Gates and I love how Vermont is a giant playground.

 Next we adventured at home. We went to the Reston Zoo, hunted eggs at several egg hunts, played mini golf, bowled, visited an arcade, and spent a day at Bunnyland where we road tractor peddle bikes and raced ducks with hand water pumps. We spent a day swimming at the local indoor pool - which got all of us excited for our summer pool to open. Easter came and we celebrated and scored lots of fun treats. We even got a visit from the Halsteads from New York - they were literally racing through town for the Cherry Blossom 10k.

Then we went to the National Zoo, drank more than a dozen Slurpees, played at endless parks, and my dad took us to Jumpin' Joeys bounce house. Gates and I were having a ball jumping nonstop. Gates came out of one of the bounce houses and proceeded to drink a ton of water and then sit facing my dad on his lap. As they were chatting, all of the bouncing and large quantity of water caught of with him and Gates threw up directly in my dad's face... yuck. This was a launcher. My dad was covered from his hair to his waist. Needless to say, we were Jumpin Joey's least popular customers that day and we had to head home. When we got home, my mom opened the door. I'm sure she felt some sympathy for my dad, but it was hard to tell by the volume and length of her laughter. My dad just headed to the shower as Gates walked into our house in a pair of shoes and a diaper. We were definitely a sight to behold.
My dad was guest lecturing at a school in Pennsylvania so we decided to head north with him for a day and tour the Turkey Hill Ice Cream Factory. From the minute you arrive it's all the free ice cream you can eat. Which sounds awesome until about the second dish...and then you could care less and just enjoy the activities. We made our own ice cream commercial, concocted our own ice cream flavor, jumped in a ball pit, road in an ice cream truck, milked a pretend cow, played in a freezer - really, if it had to do with ice cream, we got to do it.
We capped the evening off with a visit to a local diner. This diner was frozen in the 1930's. Everything, including the people, looked like they were from the 1930's. It was one of the coolest places we've ever seen. We chatted with one of the local guys who was probably 186 years old (I'm just guessing). He was so kind and bought me and my brother each a fire truck from the pharmacy store attached to the diner. It was a perfect way to end our day. We'd highly recommend the whole experience.
Finally my grandparents visited from Utah. We did daily egg hunts to find prizes - the BEST kind of egg hunts, flew kites, went on a bike ride, went to the trampoline park where my grandpa played crack the egg with me - check out how high he bounced me! Then we all dove in the foam pit - getting in is much easier than getting out. We even got to go to a National's game and sit about 20 rows back on the third base line! Though cracking peanuts was definitely the most exciting part for me and my brother.
From beginning to end, spring break was full of  fun people and fun activities. Now back to school where I'll dream about the pool and summer break!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Too Much Snow? Snow way!

We got some impressive "dumpage" (that's what my dad calls snow) in DC this winter. Well, not really impressive in inches, but enough at one time so that school got cancelled for a whole week. And THAT, my friends, IS impressive.

We had a blast building forts, sledding, creating snow creatures, making sledding tracks, and jumping off the roof. Yes, I said roof. For the record, the roof jumping was 100% my dad's idea. He'd borrowed the neighbor's 15 foot ladder to shovel 5' snow drifts off of our car port's flat roof. There was quite a bit of snow so by the time he'd shoveled it off, the snow mound below was enormous.

My dad and I'd done it several times when I hollered to my mom to come see what we were doing. She thought we were going to show her a giant snowman. She was a bit surprised to find me on the roof, running at full speed, jumping off, and squealing with glee. "Um, who's dump idea was this?" I believe was her exact comment. "Isn't it awesome mom? You've GOT to try it." She declined several times, but then peer pressure got the best of her. After she landed she said the same thing, "That was REALLY stupid." My dad proudly told her that he hadn't allowed my two year old brother jump off the roof. She was clearly unimpressed with his parental restraint. Either way, it was a blast. I highly recommend it. We also hosted a neighborhood snowball fight - check out the crowd that showed up (such a fun neighborhood!)

From our snow we headed west to some real serious dumpage in Utah. We spent ten days skiing, playing with family and friends, and enjoying tons of snow adventures. We went out to the lake house for a few days - the lake house in the winter? you ask - yes, the lake house.
The lake freezes so we can ice skate and it's an endless playground; check out my cousin Mallory and me being pulled on sleds behind the Rhino (safety first! not really, but always fun!). Gates and my grandpa were a bit smarter and just watched as we whizzed by.

This year was Gates' first year snow skiing. He's a stud and figured it out right away. His commitment to the sport overtook his brain a few times and twice - TWICE - he fell asleep on the slopes. Once my mom was alone with him and he just slumped over in the snow - face first and never woke up. So she had to pick him up in her arms with his skis attached to his feet, and ski to the bottom of the hill to get him off the mountain. Lucky for her there was a kind stranger who helped detach HER skis when she got to the lodge with her arms full of Gates.

One thing is for sure, our family loves snow.

Friday, March 25, 2016


(Spring may be here, but there are a few winter highlights we need to share before we can officially change seasons on our blog. So hang tight as we wrap up winter in the next few posts.)

Bodie and I were playing at our next door neighbors house one afternoon when my mom's phone rang. "Bodie got hurt. My husband is walking him home now. I'm really sorry." My mom walked outside to see us walking across the street and asked Bodie if he was okay. "Yeah, I'm fine," he said, and walked inside. My mom hung out to chat with the neighbor.

He explained that we were playing outside in the snow and that his three year old daughter picked up a metal shovel and raised it into the air, but it was too heavy so she dropped it and the shovel's blade hit Bodie in the eye...specifically the shovel hit his eyeball. A direct hit to his eyeball. Not a single mark to his face or eyelid, just the eyeball. Seriously, what are the chances of this?!?!?!

My mom went inside to check on Bodie. He was low-key, as usual, and said he was fine. It was almost 5pm and he seemed good, so we had dinner and then headed to bed. Before you decide my parents are WAY too hands off, let me just say that my mom and dad did discuss the injury, but based on Bodie's calm behavior and that he was sleeping well, their level of concern diminished.

Bodie woke up the next morning, walked out of his room, and asked for all of the lights to be turned off. THIS was all my mom needed. She had him get dressed and they headed straight to the ophthalmologist - no appointment and no plan to leave until Bodie was seen by a doctor.

It was a Friday and there were no pediatric ophthalmologists in the office. "No problem," my mom said, "Any eyeball doctor would be great, we'll wait." Even though they thought she was crazy, they agreed to look at Bodie's eye.

The first doctor began to examine his eye and said, "Are you sure you're okay?" Bodie calmly replied yes. The doctor looked again. "Are you SURE?" She then looked at my mom, "His cornea has a large cut to the center of his eye. Grown men come in with this injury and are screaming in pain. Is he really okay? I want to get another doctor to look at this. I'll be right back." And she left the room.

The second doctor came in and looked at his eye through the machines,  scooted back, and looked with concern at Bodie, "How do you feel? Are you okay?" Bodie shrugged and said, "Fine. The light just bugs my eye." Then the doctor looked at my mom and said, "In 20 years I've never seen someone with this injury so calm. It is excruciating. Our focus is always on managing the pain with this injury. Based on his demeanor, I'm not exactly sure what to do next."

So they gave him antibiotics that he had to put in his eye every hour for several days, booked five follow-up eye appointments over the next six weeks, and sent him on his way. And that was it. His eye healed perfectly and he even wro
te a short story about it at school...

Sunday, January 24, 2016


 Dave got his first birthday card in the mail a few weeks ago...from AARP! Yes, this year he turned the big 5-0.

Clearly AARP hasn't met Dave. Aside from a number, (and the fact that he'd support almost any cause to be nice), can you think of one thing that would align him with the mission of the Association for the Advancement of Retired People? Me either. And what AARP member has a two year old son!

That said, fifty was definitely a reason to celebrate, and that's exactly what we did.

He started the day with breakfast in bed. His two little buddies smelled food AND the chance to eat in bed, an opportunity not to be missed, so they joined in the fun. Then he took a relaxing bike ride and capped the evening off with 40+ good friends at a local restaurant for a big dinner party.

We ate from Dave's Menu that was Aged to Perfection, and enjoyed favor bags from the Candy Bar because "50 is Hot" and he can "Kiss his 40's Goodbye." The evening was exactly what he wanted - great friends, great food, and great memories. Festive faceware - glasses and photo props - were donned by nearly everyone...
 It was a perfect evening to celebrate a fantastic guy - Happy Birthday Dave!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Prince George & Rascal Gates

The Prince of England and Gates were born on the same day, July 22nd. And as luck would have it, both Prince George and Rascal Gates (I thought Gates should get a title too) started preschool on the very same day. Don't you find this a bit coincidental? I'm not saying they are the same person, but think about it - have you ever seen the two of them in the same room!?!??

Gates is doing PeeWees, just like I did a few years ago. Here's an old post that explains the general gist of how it works. It was hosted at our house the past two weeks and Gates LOVED it. The first week they did the book Little Blue Truck and the second week they did the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. It's him and three of his buddies - Simon, Charlie, and Holden. The next six weeks will be hosted at the other kids' houses. Welcome to the PeeWee club little brother.