Saturday, July 5, 2014

Our Fourth of July

   Our family loves the Fourth of July. It is Oly's favorite holiday, so we always try to make it a fun day. We planned to first go to our church's breakfast party, then mount vernon and finally downtown DC to watch the fireworks. We managed to fit everything in, and it was a great day.
    Our church breakfast was at 8am, which I thought sounded a little too early. I suggested sleeping in and then going to Ihop, but Oly wanted to try and make it. We went, watch the kids sing a couple of cute songs, ate casserole and made small talk.
   After breakfast we drove over to Mount Vernon. We all really loved walking around the estate. The weather was great, everything was amazingly well preserved and we learned a lot about George Washington and his life.



We toured George Washington's mansion. 

Here is one of his carriages he traveled in. We also saw Mr and Mrs Washington's tomb.

   In the evening, we drove downtown and tried to find parking. We ended up parking at the Pentagon. We brought our bikes with us, and figured we could ride wherever we wanted from there. We also bought a couple of little fireworks to light. Oly had the kids light some sparklers, before we were stopped by the pentagon police. (I had a feeling it was a stupid idea to light fireworks in the parking lot,) They told Oly they technically could arrest him... Yikes. The people parked next to us thought it was all pretty entertaining.




We biked about a mile to the Potomac river and found a great spot to watch the fireworks. There were not too many people, and the kids were able to run around and have fun before the show. 

Sophia caught a firefly. I love watching them light up.


Monday, June 30, 2014

Biking the C & O towpath

My mom and I had such a great time biking the towpath last year, and we decided wanted to do it again. This time we invited my dad, sister and brother in-law to come along. It was a great time, but a totally different experience doing it in a larger group. 
My parents flew in Monday morning. We spent the whole day looking for bikes for everyone. We found out too lat that rentals from the base were sold out, and everywhere else in town charged about 45.00/day to rent a bike. Everyone decided that it would be smarter to just buy bikes, and try to resale them after the trip on craigslist. After searching through many stores, they all bought bikes. We thought that my dad and Kody's bikes were the nicer of the four, but our trip would show us otherwise.
We spent the next day packing and driving to Cumberland, MD. My parents, myself and my kids took the metro and train to Cumberland. We didn't realize when we started exactly what we were getting ourselves into. It was pretty expensive to get there and the kids were not fun to take on the train for four hours. It would have been much smarter to just rent a one-way car rental. While we were battling the train, Oly, Kody and Chelsea drove up in our element with all of the bikes. We met up late Tuesday night, ate dinner and a little restaurant along the towpath and planned to get up early to start the next day.
We woke up at 6:30 the next morning, and met at the beginning of the path. Here we are ready to start our 184.5 journey.  Oly rode with us for about 10 miles pulling the kids in the bike trailer. 

At mile post 166, we stopped at the Old Town school cafe. This is the same place my mom and I stayed last year. It was so fun to see the school house again and laugh at our old memories. 

This is pretty much what all of the towpath looks like. It is a shady dirt path, sometimes muddy, covered in trees. 

We stopped at mile post 140, Little Orleans MD. Everyone was REALLY tired after the first day. My dad had the sorest butt, and was really complaining about his pain. We were looking forward to staying at our bed and breakfast. Oly met up with us at the end of the trail, and was considering staying at the bed and breakfast. After talking to the owner, he changed his mind. They are not a fan of having kids stay. Despite being annoyed about this, I loved this bed and breakfast. It was so cute and quaint and the breakfast the next morning was out of this world. I am going to call and order their cookbook!

This was our view looking out from the bed and breakfast.

The next day, we started late. We had to wait for a shuttle to the towpath, and didn't start riding until 9am.

At mile post 124 we arrived at Hancock, MD for lunch. We ate at this diner last year, and had to revisit it because of its awesome name and delicious bakery. 

Here is one the locks along the trail. There are about 80...

This is the beginning of the bike problems. Well.. not the beginning. Kody had been riding with limited brakes the whole time, but it had not stopped up. My dad's bike petal kept falling off and we didn't have the right tool to fix it. My mom, Chelsea and I had to ride to the next town, ask door to door for help and ride with the tools back to fix it. 

Finally, we got the petal on and continued on our way towards Williamsport. (My dad butt is really killing him in this pic)

Williamsport, MD is at Mile post 99. We arrived once again tired and hungry. We stayed at the same bed and breakfast we stayed at last year, the Candlelight Inn. (Which I also really like.)  In this picture we are eating pizza at the restaurant across the street.

We woke up at 6:30 the next morning, planning on getting a lot of miles in before lunch at Harper's Ferry.

We didn't get more than three miles, when my dad's bike petal broke again. Luckily, this time we were right next to some people's homes and one man was nice enough to drive my dad and Kody to Harper's Ferry to try and get it fixed. My mom, Chelsea and I biked 40 miles and met up with them for lunch. We were very hungry and tired, once again. While we were there, we realized that my dad's bike wasn't fixable and Oly drove up to meet us. We stayed the night in Harper's Ferry, and the next morning everyone expect for Kody and Oly woke up early to ride the rest of the trail.

Oly and Kody met up with us on mile post 35 with lunch. My dad decided to go back to DC with them, and try to return his bike. So, once again, it was only us girls. We finished the last 35 miles, without any stops. 

My mom did get a flat tire along the way. Chelsea, knew how to fix it, and we had a nice couple stop to help also.

Along the path, there are water pumps. The water is treated with iodine, and kind of tastes like you are drinking pennies. I was so thirsty most of the time, I didn't care.

We were pretty proud of ourselves when we finally made it to mile 0. 


Chelsea and Kody came to visit

My sister Chelsea and Kody came to see us and explore Washington DC. They rented some bikes, and we rode around to see the sights together. It was nice to have family stay with us.
I think this is one of the only pictures I have with all of us together.

We really wanted to tour the Washington monument,but every time we checked the tickets were sold out.

My kids like to photo bomb all of my sisters pics.




Jonny lost his first tooth

Last weekend, Jonny lost his first tooth. We are not sure exactly when it fell out, Jonny just all of a sudden realized it was missing! He could very well have eaten it for lunch. He was very concerned that the tooth fairy was not going to visit him, because he had nothing to put under his pillow. We reassured him that she would still know it fell out, and with the help of tooth fairy Chelsea (who just happened to be visiting) his dream came true. He work up the next morning, and for some reason thought that his two dollars would be under my pillow. I woke up with him searching under my pillow. I told him the tooth fairy probably put something under his pillow. He discovered a note from the tooth fairy under his pillow, and instructions to look at his lego table. The tooth fairy had build a new lego structure, with his money hidden inside. He was pretty excited. He somehow talked uncle Kody into buying him a much more expensive t-rex dinosaur, and helped contribute towards the cost with his money. I guess being the only two grandkids on my side has its advantages. 


Friday, June 20, 2014

Maui

In March, we adopted a dog who we decided to name Maui. We thought she looked like a scruffy, surfer dog, and thought the name fit well. Oly and I had not really ever taken care of a dog before, and soon after I got her, I felt overwhelmed. Dogs were not like cats... they needed more attention, walks and didn't like doing their own thing. Many times, I was on the verge of returning her to the rescue organization we got her from. I was torn, because the kids adored her and she is such a sweet dog. 
We have had her now for about four months, and things slowly gotten easier for all of us. She is amazing with Jonny and Sophia, and they smother her (literally) with love. She is also a very faithful, obedient dog. The other day, we went on a bike ride next to a creek in our neighborhood. It was an early, weekday and we were the only ones on the trail. I let Maui off of her leash to follow us and chase the occasional squirrel that crossed the path. (Which the kids think is the funniest thing in the world.) Anyways, next to the path, there was a little hill that had a sheer rock face, with about a 30 foot drop, next to our the gravel bike path. Maui ran up the side of the hill, chasing a squirrel and I continued riding on the trail. (She always finds her way back to us.) Anyways, this time it had been a minute and she hadn't returned. I called for her to come, and out of nowhere she jumps off the face of the little cliff and landed face down on the gravel. It was an awful thing to see. After landing, she jumped back up, with blood dripping off her face and ran to us. I was freaking out a little bit, but it turned out she was lucky and just scraped her chin. I thought for sure, she would have retraced her steps, or ran down the other side of the hill. I guess she thinks she is some kind of super dog.

Here are some pictures of her with Jonny and Sophia.


Sophia likes to spend her free time relaxing in the dog crate.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My 32nd birthday

Monday was my birthday. While I cannot believe how old I am getting, I still managed to have a great day, spent with my favorite people. During the day, I took the kids to see How To Train Your Dragon 2.  We loved the first movie, and the second was just as great. I always worry about how Jonny will react to movies, because he is really sensitive to shows. His emotions were all over during the movie from laughing hysterically to crying, but I think overall he really enjoyed it. Sophia doesn't get as into movies, and likes to wander up and down the aisles. When Oly got home from work, we went to Old Town Alexandria and walked around. We ended up getting pizza for dinner at one of the little diners. I didn't want a big birthday cake, and told Oly I just wanted the chocolate molten cake from Chili's. So we stopped by chili's on the way home and inhaled/ate the cake. 



Exploring the forests around DC

We spend a lot of our free time, exploring the gorgeous parks around the DC area. We like to ride our bikes around the park, and tow our kids behind in a bike trailer. We usually also attach Maui's leash to the back of the trailer, and become quite the circus. Just about everyone we ride past laughs at us. This last weekend, we explored Prince William Park. It was such a pretty park, full of a lot of hiking and biking trails. I love that it is only about 20 minutes from our townhouse!