Our neighborhood

Fun outings over winter break

As you probably read in our previous blog post, we had a wonderful Christmas (in our pajamas!) – and the rest of Noah’s winter break was just as fun too.

One afternoon we drove to Baltimore to visit the National Aquarium. We had been to the aquarium a few times before, and Noah loved it – and so he was really excited to visit again.

Our first stop at the aquarium was the Dolphin Discovery exhibit. We got to see a colony of seven Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. The exhibit staff (all marine mammal experts) talked about how the dolphins learn, play, and interact with each other, and they also discussed how they care for and teach the dolphins.

This was Noah’s first time seeing the dolphin show – it was really cool! The female dolphins are named Jade, Spirit, Maya, Bayley, and Chesapeake. The male dolphins are named Beau and Foster. Check it out!

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

Then we walked through the maze of massive aquariums in the “Atlantic Coral Reef” and “Shark Alley” exhibits. As always, the sharks were Noah’s favorite part!

We also spent a lot of time at the underwater viewing area of the “Blacktip Reef” exhibit. We got a great view of Calypso (the giant green sea turtle) and the blacktip reef sharks.

Yep, Noah had a great time at the aquarium – he always does! And the fun didn’t end there…

On New Year’s Eve day, we went to a women’s basketball game at George Mason University in nearby Fairfax, VA. The Patriots were playing the Davidson Wildcats from North Carolina. Here are a few photos from the game.

And of course, no sports event is complete without a giant tub of popcorn…

The Patriots won 74 to 61. The basketball game was a fun way to spend the afternoon.

That night we headed to Old Town Alexandria. Our church participated in First Night Alexandria, which is the city’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration featuring music performances and kid-friendly activities. We decorated sugar cookies with frosting and sprinkles…made noisemakers with paper plates, dry noodles, and string…and posed for a few pictures in the photo booth. “Cheers!”

Yeah, we had a lot of fun during Noah’s winter break. January was full of fun outings too (some of Noah’s favorites!), so stay tuned to read more.

Categories: Aquariums, Fun outings, Holidays, Maryland, Our neighborhood, Sports | 1 Comment

A very merry Christmas in pajamas!

We did a lot of traveling in 2017 (and November and December were busy!), so we stayed home for Christmas and kept the festivities fairly low key – but we had lots of fun.

We spent Christmas Eve day with our good friends and neighbors Catalina, Craig, and their son. We had brunch at a restaurant in our neighborhood, and then we visited at their house awhile. The day was definitely bittersweet since they were moving the next day. We miss you all!

That night we went to the Christmas Eve service at our church in Old Town Alexandria. It was fun to hear Noah sing along to some of the Christmas songs. (And don’t worry, no one was harmed with the candles! Ha.)

After church we had supper at our favorite Mexican restaurant in Alexandria. Yep, Feliz Navidad!

Noah was so excited for Santa to visit, so he went to bed fairly early. Here’s a picture of Noah in front of his Christmas countdown stocking…

On Christmas morning Noah opened his stocking from Santa, and then we opened presents from each other and our families. Here’s a picture of Noah in front of the Christmas tree before the wrapping paper starting flying.

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know that Noah loves trains. He had been asking for an electric metro train set, and Ryan found this cool Lionel Metro-North train. (Metro-North is the commuter railway that runs services between New York City and suburbs in New York and Connecticut.) Noah loved it! Check it out…

Noah got lots of other fun stuff too, including a Hess truck and camper, a telescope, a globe, books, and games.

Oh, and don’t worry, the big kids got some cool stuff too! Ha.

After we opened presents, Ryan made French toast for a late breakfast (so good!), and then we started preparing the main Christmas feast. We made ham, homemade mac-n-cheese, and French onion potatoes. We were stuffed!

That night we spent a few hours playing Noah’s new games. Here are a few pictures of us playing Bananagrams (like Scrabble) and Yahtzee. The competition was fierce! Ha.

And as you probably noticed, we stayed in our pajamas all day. It was great!

We had a wonderful Christmas, and we hope you did too! Stay tuned to read more about Noah’s winter break – there’s more to share!

Categories: Holidays, Our neighborhood, Trains | Leave a comment

Two very fun father and son days!

Noah had a very fun holiday break. (He was out of school for about two weeks!) He spent the first two days of break hanging out with Ryan while I finished up the workweek.

That Thursday they hopped on the bus to our metro station, and then they rode the metro to DC.

The main reason for their trip to DC was to check out some of the holiday model train displays. Their first stop was Union Station. They saw this cool Norwegian-themed display – check it out!

And here’s the Christmas tree decorated with Norwegian flags…

Ryan took a few pictures as they left Union Station too.

Next they walked across the National Mall to the U.S. Botanic Garden. Along the way they stopped by the Capitol to check out the National Christmas Tree. Yeah, it was definitely a nice afternoon to be outside!

At the U.S. Botanic Garden, they saw the annual garden railway. This year’s train display was themed Roadside Attractions and featured national landmarks constructed from plant materials. They saw the Corn Palace and Mount Rushmore from South Dakota, Longaberger Baskets from Ohio, Niagara Falls and the Coney Island Hot Dog Stand in New York, the Capitol building in DC, Santa Monica Pier in California, the Leaning Tower of Niles in Illinois, and much more. Pretty cool!

And here’s a short video too. Just 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 an awesome first day of winter break, and Friday was just as much fun too! They started the day by having breakfast at Nectar Bistro here in Alexandria. Noah loved the waffles!

Ryan left the rest of the day up to Noah. Can you guess what they did? They rode buses! Ha. They hopped on a Fairfax Connector bus and rode to the Franconia-Springfield metro station.

From there they hopped on the local Springfield bus that goes to the shopping mall.

Noah was able to sneak in a few rides while they were at the mall…

Then they jumped on the bus heading back to the Franconia-Springfield station, and they rode the metro home from there.

Whew, they covered many modes of transportation that day! Noah was one happy kid. And the winter break fun didn’t end there because Christmas was just a few days later. Stay tuned to read more. (Yeah, we’re slowly catching up!)

Categories: Buses, DC, Fun outings, Holidays, Our neighborhood, Trains | Leave a comment

So much holiday fun!

December was busy with holiday festivities. Earlier this month we went to the annual Scottish Christmas parade in Old Town Alexandria. Check it out!

Here are three short videos of the bagpipes too. The first video is of the Alexandria Pipes & Drums, and the second video is of the Kiltie Band of York, Pennsylvania. And you’ll definitely recognize the song in the last video!

Just 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 videos. 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.

That weekend Noah also helped decorate Christmas stockings at church. He had so much fun!

Last weekend we went to the National Capital Trolley Museum in nearby Colesville, MD. If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know this is one of Noah’s favorite places to visit, because it has an awesome collection of streetcars.

This visit to the trolley museum was extra special for two reasons. First, our good friends Adam and Yvonne and their kids were with us. And second, we got to ride the streetcars with Santa!

In case you’re curious, we rode two streetcars with Santa. One was from the Netherlands and the other was from Toronto.

The kids had fun inside the museum too. They enjoyed “steering” the model streetcar along the tracks and turning on the signal lights.

That night we continued the holiday festivities by baking gingerbread cookies. Noah had fun rolling the dough and using the cookie cutters. As you can tell from Noah’s shirt, we got flour everywhere! Ha.

Noah helped decorate the cookies too. Aunt Edna would be so proud. And yes, we saved a few for Santa!

We hope you’re having the happiest of holidays! Merry Christmas!!!

Categories: Fun outings, Holidays, Maryland, Our neighborhood, Trolleys | 1 Comment

A Fun Thanksgiving Staycation

This year we stayed local for Thanksgiving weekend. We started the festivities with some arts and crafts.

Here’s a picture of Noah and his turkey.

We spent Thanksgiving with our good friends Matt and Carolyn and their family. Our contribution to the feast was homemade macaroni and cheese. Noah had fun helping with the noodles…

We had an amazing feast: smoked turkey, Brussels sprouts, macaroni and cheese, salad, homemade bread, pumpkin pie, and more. It was so good!

Noah got in some good playing time with his buddy too. TRAINS! Yep, it was a great Thanksgiving all around!

The next day we continued our “staycation” at a hotel in Old Town Alexandria. We had a lot of fun lounging around and swimming in the hotel pool. Check it out!

That night we had supper at Sweet Donna’s BBQ, one of our new favorite local restaurants. Ryan and I had a sample platter of ribs, brisket, and pulled pork, and Noah had macaroni and cheese and cornbread. So yummy!

Saturday morning we did some holiday shopping in Old Town Alexandria for Small Business Saturday. And to continue the theme of shopping local, we stopped by Popped Republic on the way home to get some gourmet popcorn.

That evening we put up our Christmas tree. Noah couldn’t wait any longer! And just like the past few years, quite a few of the ornaments ended up being clustered at the bottom in the front – yep, thanks to the shortest decorator! Ha.

That night Noah also wrote a letter to Santa to share his holiday wish list. Hopefully Santa thinks Noah has been a good boy. We’ll find out soon! Ha.

We had a very fun Thanksgiving weekend. Stay tuned to read more about Noah’s holiday festivities – there’s much more to share. We hope you’re enjoying the holiday season!

Categories: Fun outings, Holidays, Our neighborhood, Swimming | Leave a comment

Another Fun Halloween!

October was full of Halloween festivities. Check it out!

Picking pumpkins – We started the Halloween season by visiting the annual pumpkin patch at Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill here in Alexandria. Noah picked out some AWESOME pumpkins.


Yeah, Noah always loves pulling the wagon through the pumpkin maze, but that means the big kids didn’t have to carry them. Ha. Picking pumpkins was a great way to get in the Halloween spirit.

Carving pumpkin – We also carved a big jack-o’-lantern to help decorate our house. Noah helped Ryan hollow out the pumpkin (so much pumpkin goo!), and then he watched Ryan carve the funny face.

We even roasted the pumpkin seeds…

Trick-or-treating – Noah dressed up as a shark this year. On Halloween night we went trick-or-treating at a nearby townhouse community…the same area we’ve gone to the last few years. There are a lot of houses to visit without having to do much walking, so it’s perfect for trick-or-treating. Many of the homeowners there go all out with their spooky decorations and costumes too.

We came across a few of Noah’s friends too. Here’s a pic of Noah and his good buddy from preschool.

Noah had a great time, and his pumpkin was FULL of candy by the end of the night!

Just for fun, here’s a flashback at Noah’s previous Halloween costumes. He’s been a dragon (twice!), monkey, tiger, dinosaur, and firefighter.

We had very a fun Halloween season, and we hope you did too!

Categories: Fun outings, Halloween, Our neighborhood | Leave a comment

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

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

Snow day!

Last Monday Noah’s kindergarten teacher told the class that you need to follow these steps to guarantee a snow day: 1) flush three ice cubes down the toilet, 2) put a spoon under your pillow, and 3) wear your pajamas inside out. (She was having fun since the snow was inevitable.) Anyway, Noah followed all three steps and it worked! We didn’t get a lot of snow – just around two inches – but it was enough for a snow day on Tuesday. This was his first snow day this winter – he was so excited!

We started our snow day with French toast. Mmmmm……

Then the boys headed outside. After the shoveling was done, they had fun making snowballs.

And then they made an AWESOME snowman! They used a carrot for the nose and poker chips for the eyes.

They worked up quite an appetite from playing outside. Fortunately, we had a big pot of homemade beef stew ready for lunch – the perfect meal for a snow day!

Tuesday was probably (hopefully!) our only snow day this winter, so we made sure that it was fun. And yes, the snowman is still standing strong!

Categories: Our neighborhood, Snow | Leave a comment

Rock climbing!

This past weekend we took Noah indoor rock climbing at the nearby SportRock Climbing Center in Alexandria. This was his first time at SportRock, and he did great!

Noah went on four climbing courses (blue, green, and twice on red). Look at him go! We forgot to ask the instructor the exact height of the wall, but Ryan guessed it was around 30 feet.

Here are two short videos of Noah rock climbing – pretty cool!

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 videos. 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.

Oddly enough, going up was easier for Noah than coming back down. He had a tougher time getting the hang of rappelling and “walking” down the rock wall. He took the easy way down and “rode” the rope. Ha. We’ll go back and practice – he’ll get it!

Ryan has gone rock climbing before, and he plans to climb with Noah next time. I’ll stay happy on the ground taking pictures. Ha. Stay tuned for more!

Categories: Fun outings, Our neighborhood, Sports | Leave a comment

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