Fun outings

Summer vacation in South Dakota: Part 3

As you probably read in our previous posts, Noah and I recently visited Grandma Debbie and Grandpa Rod in South Dakota. We still have a few more stories to share…because we of course couldn’t visit South Dakota in the summer without taking full advantage of the great outdoors!

One of the things Noah was really looking forward to this trip was canoeing with Grandpa Rod. Noah went on his first canoe ride earlier this summer on the Potomac River in DC. He loved it, and so he was so excited to go canoeing again when we were in South Dakota.

Noah had fun helping Grandpa get the canoe all cleaned up and ready to go.

There are a lot of great canoeing and kayaking spots by Grandma and Grandpa’s house; we chose Oakwood Lakes State Park near Brookings. And we actually went canoeing twice! Here are a few photos from our first canoeing and kayaking trip…

Here’s a short video of Noah and Grandpa canoeing too. Yeah, Noah had a blast! (As a quick reminder: If you’re reading this post in an email, you may need to open the blog webpage in order to view the video. To do so, just click on the title of the post (the link in blue) at the top of the email to open the blog in your web browser.)

We snuck in some beach time that day too…

And Noah had just as much fun on his second canoe trip. Check it out!

Another thing that Noah was really looking forward to was riding his bike. Since Grandma and Grandpa live in the country, their roads are quiet and long. Their roads are really flat and straight too – the perfect combo! (Our bike trails in Virginia are really curvy and hilly, and congested with people too…so not quite as smooth sailing.)

Here’s a quick video of Noah on his bike too. Yeah, as you can see, Noah had a nice open space to ride!

We went for evening walks on the country roads too…

We spent a lot of time just playing inside too, especially since it was really hot some days and storming some days too. Noah, Grandma, and Grandpa played trains and cars, watched movies, played games on the iPad, and put Legos together.

Oh, and Noah wanted to make sure we mentioned the yummy donuts from Grandpa’s donut store (the Ward’s Store)! Mmmmm…

Our trip to South Dakota went by fast, but we had an AWESOME time! We’ll see you again soon, Grandma Debbie and Grandpa Rod!

Categories: Bike riding, Fun outings, Grandparents, Nature, South Dakota, Summer, Vacations | 1 Comment

Summer vacation in South Dakota: Part 2

As I mentioned in our previous post, we recently spent a week with family in South Dakota. If you missed our post about visiting the Watertown zoo and camping at Lake Poinsett, you can read it here.

We also spent a day in Brookings. Noah was so excited to visit the Children’s Museum of South Dakota. We’ve been to this play museum on previous trips, and Noah loved it. It’s one of his favorite places!

Noah had a blast playing with Grandma Debbie and Grandpa Rod. They fixed the blue car (it always needs repairs!), went grocery shopping, helped build the frame of a house, used the conveyor belt to move foam blocks, learned about the movement of air and water in the “Splash” room, and made designs on the giant Light Bright. Whew! Check it out!

One of the new exhibits since our last visit was the “Airway Adventure.” Noah and Grandpa created different airflow paths in this giant structure by rearranging the tubes and adjusting the connection points. They tested their paths by watching colorful handkerchiefs blow through the tubes. Very cool!

And of course, we couldn’t go to the Children’s Museum without visiting the dinosaurs!

Grandpa and Noah worked their way through the Tangle Town maze (another new exhibit for us). Six tons of willow saplings were woven together to create this prairie maze. Awesome!

Noah found his way through an underground tunnel system too…

Yeah, Noah had another great visit to the Children’s Museum with Grandma and Grandpa!

We worked up quite an appetite, so we headed to Cubby’s for lunch. Noah and Grandpa played tic-tac-toe while we waited for our food.

After lunch we hung out at a nearby playground for a while before hopping back in the car to head home. It was a nice afternoon to be outside!

Stay tuned for another post on Noah’s recent adventures with Grandma Debbie and Grandpa Rod. Yep, there’s more!

Categories: Fun outings, Grandparents, South Dakota, Summer, Vacations | 1 Comment

Summer vacation in South Dakota: Part 1

A few weekends ago, Noah and I flew to South Dakota to hang out with Grandma Debbie and Grandpa Rod for the week. Here are a few fun photos from our flights there.

Our first full day there, we met Aunt Jenny and Cory and Wyatt (Noah’s cousins) at Bramble Park Zoo in Watertown. We saw camels, monkeys, jaguars, lemurs, snakes, bears, and more. Check it out!

We visited the barn too and saw llama, goats, horses, and pigs.

Noah, Wyatt, and Grandma Debbie even fed some of them!

The boys also had fun running up and down the sand pile in the playground area.

They panned for gold too but didn’t have any luck. Bummer, right?!?!

After we finished at the zoo, we headed to the state park at Lake Poinsett to camp for the night. Here are a few pics of Noah hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa at the cabin.

Noah had a great time playing with his cousins at the beach.

Noah and his cousins also played soccer, raced cars, and tossed bean bags.

We went for a quick walk by the beach at sunset too. Yeah, what a nice view!

And of course, you can’t go camping without making s’mores! Messy but yummy…

The next morning, Noah and his cousins played at the beach one last time before we packed up and headed back to Grandma Debbie and Grandpa Rod’s house. We were in South Dakota for a week, and the weather was the nicest on the days we were at the lake. Yeah, we really lucked out!

Stay tuned to read more about Noah’s recent adventures in South Dakota. There’s a lot more to share!

Categories: Animals, Cousins, Fun outings, Grandparents, Nature, South Dakota, Summer, Vacations | 2 Comments

A fun weekend with Uncle Chris!

This past weekend, Uncle Chris flew from Ohio to DC to hang out with us for a few days.

Noah was so excited to show Chris his bike riding skills…

It was hot that weekend, so we spent a lot of time swimming at the pool in our complex too.

We hung out at the house a lot as well. Noah and Chris played with Legos, trains, and airplanes – surprising, I know!

We had some fun outings though too. Saturday morning, we hopped in the car and had breakfast at one of our favorite local spots – Sugar Shack Donuts. We all had different flavors: Noah had sprinkles, Chris had s’mores, Ryan had bacon maple, and I had sea salt caramel. Yummy!

We also went kayaking and canoeing on the Potomac River. Our good friend Lauren joined us too! We started at the boathouse under the Key Bridge in Georgetown. We paddled by Roosevelt Island and the Kennedy Center, and we turned around at the George Washington Bridge. We were on the water for about two hours. Check it out!

This was Noah’s first canoe ride. He had a blast and did great!

Whew, we packed in a lot of activities those few days! We definitely all slept well that weekend. Ha.

Uncle Chris flew home Sunday evening. We had a very fun weekend, and we’re looking forward to his next visit. We always love having visitors – hint, hint, hint!

Categories: Bike riding, DC, Fun outings, Nature, Our neighborhood, Summer, Swimming | 1 Comment

Innovations in Flight Family Day

Two weekends ago, Ryan and Noah went to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. They really lucked out too, as they just happened to be there on the same day as the annual Innovations in Flight Family Day – score!

The Center has two massive hangars full of military, recreation, and commercial aircraft – but Noah and Ryan spent most of their time looking over the special outside display featured at the Innovations in Flight event.

They got to see Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner up close…

They saw quite a few planes from the Air Force too, including an F-16 Fighting Falcon, a C-17 Globemaster, and an A-10 Thunderbolt, which is also known as the Warthog.

They also saw an Osprey from the Marine Corps.

They saw a B-2 Bomber fly overhead as part of the display too…

An added bonus: Noah got to “drive” an ARFF (Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting) truck – very fun!

And of course, no trip to the Udvar-Hazy Center would be complete without seeing the Space Shuttle Discovery. It is enormous!

They checked out some of the military aircraft in the hangars too, including this Sikorsky helicopter.

Yep, Ryan and Noah had a very fun afternoon at the Innovations in Flight event. The Udvar-Hazy Center is definitely one of their favorite places to visit, so we’ll be back again soon!

Categories: Airplanes, Fun outings, Trucks | 1 Comment

A fun field trip to the zoo!

A few weeks ago, the kindergarten classes went on a field trip to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. I tagged along too as a chaperone.

Noah was so excited to ride the school bus with his buddies!

As always, Noah’s favorite animals at the zoo were the giant pandas. We saw two of them. And yep, it was lunchtime at the Giant Panda House!

Noah also really liked the gorilla in the Great Ape House. The gorilla was huge!

The kids saw lots of other animals too, including bison, elephants, flamingos, an ostrich, and a tiger. Check it out!

Did you spot the tiger? He’s in the lower left-hand corner of the picture above. He was taking a nap…

Tracking down all those animals was tiring! Here’s a photo of Noah and his friend taking a quick break and having a snack.

Yep, Noah and his classmates definitely had a great time at the National Zoo. This was Noah’s fourth trip to the zoo. We still haven’t seen all the animals yet, so we’ll have to go back again soon!

Categories: Animals, DC, Fun outings, Kindergarten | Leave a comment

A fun trip to the National Aquarium

Two weekends ago, we drove to Baltimore to take Noah and his friend to the National Aquarium. We visited this aquarium over Thanksgiving and Noah loved it…and so he wanted to visit again as part of his birthday fun.

Our first stop at the aquarium was the “Blacktip Reef” exhibit. We saw blacktip reef sharks, whiptail rays, angelfish, puffer fish and more.

We learned about shark teeth and what sharks eat too…

But our favorite part of this exhibit was the giant green sea turtle named Calypso. In 2000 this sea turtle was rescued when she was stranded in Long Island Sound. She weighed six pounds at the time and had a bad infection in one of her front flippers. They had to amputate her flipper because of the infection. She could not be returned to the wild, and so she was donated to the National Aquarium. It’s estimated that Calypso is about 20 years old and weighs 500 pounds. Yeah, that’s a big turtle!

We didn’t see Calypso on our last trip to the aquarium, so she must not have been out and about – she’d be hard to miss! Ha.

Next we headed to the “Living Seashore” hands-on exhibit. The boys got to see clearnose skates up close – so cool!

They learned about beaches through this fun interactive digital touch table…

And they got to see moon jellies up close too!

Then we walked through the maze of massive aquariums. We saw anemones, cardinalfish, clownfish (Nemo!), tangs (Dory!), sea stars, eels, sea cucumbers, groupers, creole fish, cowfish, seahorses, and porcupine fish, just to name a few. Whew, so many fish!

In the “Amazon River Forest” exhibit, we saw yellow dart frogs. Can you spot them? Yeah, ewwwww…

One of the coolest things we saw was scuba divers feeding some of the bigger fish in the “Atlantic Coral Reef” exhibit. Check it out!

But as cool as that was, their favorite exhibit was definitely still “Shark Alley.” Of course!

As we walked out, we passed through the underwater viewing area of the “Blacktip Reef” exhibit, and we got an even better view of Calypso and the blacktip reef sharks…

Here is a photo of the boys posing outside of the aquarium…

And here is a photo of them on the car ride home. Yep, they were tuckered out. It was a busy afternoon!

Noah had a great time at the aquarium – we all did! Stay tuned to read more about Noah’s birthday fun!

Categories: Animals, Aquariums, Birthdays, Fun outings, Maryland | Leave a comment

Trucks, Buses, a Helicopter & More!

Last Saturday we went to a Truck Touch event in Burke, VA. If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know that Noah LOVES these events! This Truck Touch is an annual fundraiser for the Spring-Mar Cooperative Preschool. We went last year too, so we knew it would be AWESOME!

There was a wide variety of vehicles (primarily BIG trucks) for kids to sit in, steer, honk the horn, and flash the lights – pretty cool!

Emergency vehicles from Burke and Fairfax County included fire trucks, an ambulance, a police car, a police van, and an animal control truck.

The Fairfax County Police Department seized this BMW from some really bad dudes, and they painted it to match their other vehicles just for fun for community events like this.

Noah also explored a garbage truck, box trucks, utility trucks, contractor vans, shuttle buses, and a cement mixer. Check it out!

And of course, no Truck Touch would be complete without a school bus!

Noah hopped in a small race car too…

But the coolest thing there was definitely the police helicopter from Fairfax County. We got to watch the helicopter land – so cool!

Here is a short video of the helicopter landing. Yeah, we were so close! As a quick reminder: If you’re reading this post in an email, you may need to open the blog webpage in order to view the video. To do so, just click on the title of the post (the link in blue) at the top of the email to open the blog in your web browser.

Yep, Noah had a great time at the Spring-Mar Truck Touch…and the big kids did too!


Categories: Fun outings, Trucks | Leave a comment

A fun spring break week with Grandma and Grandpa

As you probably read in our previous blog post, Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Don drove to DC from Ohio to spend Easter with us. If you missed our post about our Easter festivities, you can read it here.

They also hung out with Noah while his school was out for spring break. Noah always loves having Grandma and Grandpa to himself while Ryan and I are working!

The weather was really nice that week, so they spent a lot of time outside. One afternoon they went to the park at Noah’s school. Here are some photos that Grandma Cindy snapped…

They also spent a few afternoons at the cul-de-sac by our house so that Noah could show Grandma and Grandpa his bike riding skills.

Noah loves collecting and painting rocks, so they created a rock garden in the backyard. Pretty cool! (And yes, a rock garden is our kind of garden – no work required! Ha.)

They lounged on the deck too…

They also spent a lot of time just hanging out inside. They played Legos – lots and lots of Legos – read books, played games (the dice game was Noah’s favorite!), worked on activity books, and did some arts and crafts. They painted these really cool ceramic cars – check it out!

They also played with this super awesome DC Metro bus that Grandma and Grandpa brought for Noah – thank you!

Yeah, they had lots of fun that week. But don’t worry, Ryan and I got in on the fun too. One evening after work, we all went over to the bike trail by Noah’s school. Noah wanted to show Grandma and Grandpa the big trails!

We made sure to find time to go out for supper at the Del Ray Café too. This is one of Grandma and Grandpa’s favorite restaurants in Alexandria – it has an awesome selection of seafood dishes. Noah of course said “No way!” to seafood and opted for crepes with Nutella – yummy.

Noah had a very fun Easter and spring break week with Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Don. Thanks for visiting! We’ll see you again soon!

Categories: Arts & Crafts, Bike riding, Fun outings, Grandparents, Holidays, Our neighborhood, Spring break | 1 Comment

Another Eggcellent Easter

Noah had another fun Easter season! The weekend before Easter, we visited our good friends Bekka and Joe for an Easter egg hunt with their family and friends. They organized the egg hunt along the walking trail near their house.


Yeah, the kids hit the Easter jackpot – their buckets were full! Their loot included candy (of course!), stickers, Play-Doh, whistles, bouncy balls, stampers, spinning tops and more – score!

This Easter was extra special because Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Don came to visit! They drove to DC from Ohio to hang out with Noah the week before Easter while his school was out for spring break.

One afternoon they made colorful Easter sugar cookies. Grandma let Noah pick out the cookie cutters, so there were Easter ice cream cones, gingerbread men, stars, hearts, trains, cars, airplanes, flowers, feet, crowns, etc. Ha! So many cookies!

Another afternoon we dyed Easter eggs. We used two methods: rubbing some eggs with crystal dyes and dunking some in dyed solution. Noah had a lot of fun!

Look at this colorful Easter basket!

On Easter Sunday, our good friends Yvonne and Adam and their kids and our good friend Barbara came over for dinner. The kids had fun playing while we finished cooking and got the table together.

We had an Easter feast: ham, homemade mac & cheese, mashed potatoes, French onion potatoes, veggies and nut roll. And for dessert, we had cupcakes, cookies and jellybeans. Mmmm…. We were stuffed!

Yeah, this photo pretty much sums up the post-lunch activities. Ha!

The Easter fun didn’t end there. Earlier that day, the Easter Bunny brought Noah a Lego airplane and a few Hot Wheels cars. So after all of our guests went home, Grandpa, Ryan and Noah put the airplane together – Noah couldn’t wait!

Yep, we had a very fun Easter! Stay tuned to read more about Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Don’s visit – there’s much more to share!

Categories: Fun outings, Grandparents, Holidays, Legos | 1 Comment

Blog at