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

So much fun in Florida: Part 4

As you read in our previous blog posts, we vacationed in Florida over spring break. We spent the first few days at Disney World and had an awesome time. We also made an overnight trip to Cocoa Beach, which is an hour east of Orlando.

We arrived in Cocoa Beach around lunchtime. We checked in at our hotel and then drove down the road to the Shark Pit Grill restaurant. Noah enjoyed watching the fish and the baby sharks in the giant aquariums while we waited for our food…

After lunch we headed back to the hotel and got ready for the beach! Our hotel was just a few blocks from the shore – you can’t beat that.

Noah had a blast playing in the sand. We used our popcorn bucket from Disney World to build sand castles. It did the trick – whew! Ha.

It was a little too chilly to go swimming (at least for us!), but we had a great time running along the beach and wading in the water. Check it out!

Here is a short video of our beach fun too. (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.)

And here are a few family pictures that a fellow beachgoer took for us. Yeah, we had a wonderful afternoon!

We had a busy few days, so that night we just relaxed at the hotel. Here is a picture of Noah eating popcorn and watching “Sing” on the iPad…

The next morning we packed up for the trek home. Here are a few photos that we took from our hotel room before we checked out. Yeah, we had a great view!

We drove back to the Orlando airport and hopped on a plane back to Washington, DC. We had a wonderful spring break vacation at Disney World and Cocoa Beach! And in case you’re wondering, the one good thing about being so behind on vacation posts is that writing them is a great reminder of how much fun we had. We can’t wait to go back!

Categories: Aquariums, Beach, Florida, Ocean, Spring break, Swimming, Vacations | 2 Comments

So much fun in Florida: Part 3

As you read in our previous blog posts, we had an AWESOME time at Disney World over spring break…and there’s still a lot more to tell.

On our last full day there, we spent the morning just lounging at the pool at the Wilderness Lodge.

After we got ready and had lunch, we took the boat across Bay Lake for another day at Magic Kingdom.

As we walked in, we came across the Main Street Fire Engine and the fire chief…

We also snapped a few family photos in front of Cinderella’s Castle as walked down Main Street USA.

We spent the rest of the afternoon revisiting Noah’s favorite spots from the previous day. We started in Tomorrowland and rode the Transit Authority People Mover again.

Then we stopped by Pete’s Silly Side Show to visit Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck.

Our next stop was Frontierland where we rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad again. Check it out!

And here is a short video too. (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.)

You can definitely tell that Noah had a blast speeding through the curves and dips around the mountain’s peaks and caverns. And don’t worry, this roller coaster was fine for Noah’s age. We never went upside down, and the dips weren’t that steep – whew!

Here are a few photos of us outside of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad too…

We headed to Fantasyland next. Our first stop was the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh for a ride in the honey pots through the Hundred Acre Woods. We didn’t get any good pictures of the ride (it was too dark inside), but here’s a fun photo of Noah playing with the toy bees in the beehive while standing in line.

Then we headed to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train to ride the roller coaster again. Here are a few pictures from Disney’s cameras…

And here’s a quick video of our ride. Yep, Noah loved it!

Next we headed back to Tomorrowland to ride the race cars again at the speedway. Here are a few photos of the back of Ryan and Noah’s car. I let them win! Ha.

Whew, we had a busy afternoon! We headed back to the hotel to relax for a few hours and have supper.

Then we went back to Magic Kingdom for some nighttime fun. Here are a few photos of Main Street USA and Cinderella’s Castle at dusk.

Next we headed to Cinderella’s Castle to see the Wishes Fireworks display! This was our first time seeing the fireworks while in Magic Kingdom (we’ve only seen them from afar in the past). It was awesome!

Here’s a video too…

The nighttime fun didn’t end there! Magic Kingdom was having Extra Magic hours that day (it was open until 11:00 pm), so we squeezed in a few more rides too – score! We started with riding the People Mover again.

And here is a short video of our ride too…

Then we headed to Fantasyland and rode the oversized teacups on the Mad Tea Party ride from Alice in Wonderland. Noah loved making the teacup spin and whirl faster and faster by turning the metal wheel in the middle of the teacup – whew!

And here is a short video of our spin in the teacup too…

We were also able to fit in a relaxing boat ride in “It’s a Small World.”

Here’s a short video of our ride – and yes, you’ll recognize the jingle!

It was really cool to see Magic Kingdom at night!

The next morning we rode the boat over to the Contemporary resort for one last ride on the monorail.

We had a blast at Disney World! Noah’s favorite things were the roller coasters and the monorail. My favorite part was seeing the Wishes Fireworks display at Cinderella’s Castle. We’ve still only seen a small portion of Disney World, so we definitely want to visit again…maybe in a few years when Noah is a little taller so that we can check out some new rides.

After we packed our bags and checked out of our hotel, we rode the Disney Magical Express bus back to the Orlando airport for the next part of our Florida adventure – the beach! Stay tuned for more!

Categories: Disney World, Florida, Spring break, Swimming, Theme Parks, Vacations | 1 Comment

So much fun in Florida: Part 1

This past April, we flew to Florida for a few days to visit Disney World and Cocoa Beach. We went to Disney World two years ago for Noah’s 4th birthday. We had a great time then, so we were really excited to go back! (And yes, we’re definitely behind on a few of our vacation posts!)

Here’s Noah on our flight to Orlando…

Then we took a 45-minute bus ride on Disney’s Magical Express…

We got in really late, so we went straight to bed – whew!

Our first full day at Disney World was pretty low key. We spent the morning and early afternoon at the Disney Springs marketplace area. Here are a few photos of our bus ride there…

While at Disney Springs, we ate lunch, did some souvenir shopping, and played at the Lego store. Noah remembered this Lego store from our first trip, so we of course had to visit again! Here are pictures of Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the Seven Drawfs made out of Legos – very cool!

And here are a few pictures of Noah building too…

Midafternoon we headed back to the Wilderness Lodge to go swimming. We stayed at this hotel on our last trip too. Noah loved the pool then, so he was really excited to swim there again this trip. Check it out!

After swimming we had to quickly wash up because we had special supper plans at Chef Mickey’s! To get there, we took a short boat ride from the Wilderness Lodge across Bay Lake to the Contemporary resort. Here are a few photos from of our trip across the lake…

Another one of Noah’s favorite memories from our first trip was the monorail. Yeah, you know how much he loves trains! We had a few minutes to spare before our supper reservation, so Noah and Ryan hopped on the monorail for a quick trip around Disney World.

Here’s a short video of the monorail pulling into the Contemporary hotel. 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.

And here’s a selfie from their ride!

After the monorail ride, we headed to Chef Mickey’s for supper. Noah got to eat with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, and Donald Duck – the whole gang was there! Noah had a great time giving high fives and hugs. He got them to sign his special autograph book too. Grandma Debbie made this book for our last trip; it was fun to use it again and compare signatures.

As Mickey would say, “What a magical day!” Stay tuned to read more about our spring break trip to Disney World. The next few days were filled with rides, rides, rides!

Categories: Disney World, Florida, Legos, Spring break, Swimming, Trains, Vacations | 1 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

Another fun Labor Day along Chesapeake Bay

Over Labor Day weekend, we visited our good friends Dan and Lindsay and their son Thane at their home along the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.

The weather was gorgeous on Sunday, so we headed to the beach shortly after we arrived. Noah and Thane had fun swimming and searching for shark teeth.













And we’re not kidding about the shark teeth. Check it out! If you’re skeptical because of the color, here’s your fun fact for the day: Shark teeth eventually turn black or dark gray because of the minerals in the sediment at the bottom of the ocean. 


Noah also got to play on a pirate ship – ahoy!




We worked up quite an appetite at the beach, so we headed back to their house for supper. We had steaks and grilled veggies – yummy! After supper the adults lounged around while Thane and Noah played Legos.


We spent the following morning playing ring toss and badminton in the backyard.





We also went for a long walk along the bulkhead near their house. Yeah, it was another great day to be outside!





The month of August was unbearably hot in DC, so we were so thankful for the nice weather – finally! And we were thankful to have another fun weekend getaway with good friends. We hope you had an awesome Labor Day weekend too!


Categories: Holidays, Maryland, Summer, Swimming | Leave a comment

More weekend fun with Grandma Cindy & Grandpa Don

As you probably read in our previous blog post, Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Don drove over from Ohio earlier this month for Noah’s preschool graduation. If you missed our post about Noah’s graduation, you can read it here. It was a big occasion!

We had lots of other fun with Grandma and Grandpa that weekend too. Saturday morning we picked up donuts for breakfast (so yummy!), and then we went to Barnes & Noble so that Noah could show Grandma and Grandpa the cool train table there.

Later that afternoon we went swimming at the pool in our townhouse complex. It was hot, hot, hot that day, so the water felt great!










That night Ryan and I ran some errands while Noah stayed home and played games and Legos with Grandma and Grandpa. Thanks for the fun Finding Nemo guessing game, Grandma Cindy!



Grandpa Don had been craving a soft-shell crab sandwich all weekend, so Sunday afternoon we took him to the Del Ray Café here in Alexandria. I had a crab sandwich too (yeah, Don was quite persuasive), and Ryan and Grandma Cindy had steak. Noah had crepes and fruit with Nutella for dipping – delicious!





After lunch we went home and relaxed on the deck while Noah painted and drew pictures. Yep, he’s a lefty!









The weekend went by fast – it always does – but we had a great time. See you again soon, Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Don!



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

Family fun in South Dakota

As you know, we flew to Grandma Debbie and Grandpa Rod’s house in South Dakota for Christmas. If you missed our previous blog post about Noah’s outdoor adventures in the snow, you can read it here. There was plenty of indoor fun too – and thank goodness since it was cold!!!

We celebrated Christmas at Aunt Jenny and Uncle Sean’s house. Noah had a blast playing with his cousins Abby, Nathan, Cory, Tyler and Wyatt. The whole gang was there!











Here are a few photos of everyone wearing new SDSU gear. Don’t tell anyone that there is a Coyote hiding the mix…



And here’s a short video of Noah and Wyatt playing with their trucks. “Backing up! Beep, beep!” 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.

For the next few days, we just hung out at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. When we weren’t playing outside, Noah kept us busy racing cars and trucks, building with Legos and magnetic blocks, playing with trains, and just being silly. Thanks for all the cool new toys, Grandma and Grandpa!








Later that week we met up with the whole gang again in Sioux Falls to celebrate Grandpa Rod’s birthday. We did a little shopping in the downtown area, and then we went to Josiah’s Coffeehouse for hot chocolate, coffee and treats – yummy!




Next we drove and walked around the Falls Park area. Yes, good thing our bellies were warm with hot chocolate and coffee! Cheese!


Then we all headed to the hotel to go swimming. Noah had a great time swimming with the boys!






Guess whose feet these are?


The birthday boy! Grandpa Rod flew down that slide!


After everyone was done swimming, we had pizza and birthday cake to celebrate. Happy birthday, Grandpa Rod!


We had a great time in South Dakota. We’ll see you all again soon!


Categories: Cousins, Grandparents, Holidays, South Dakota, Swimming | Leave a comment

Kicking off the holidays with Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Don

As we mentioned in our previous blog, Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Don drove to DC from Ohio to spend Thanksgiving week with us. It’s always fun to have family here for the holidays!

Noah spent the first half of that week just hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa at the house. They played trains and buses, read books, built with Legos, and did arts and crafts.







The preparations for Thanksgiving started early in the week. Noah helped Grandma Cindy make her famous nisua (sweet bread) and nut rolls. Mmmm… He loved rolling the dough. Yeah, all of his PlayDoh skills came in handy!





Our good friends Yvonne and Adam and their kids Isabelle and Ethan joined us for the Thanksgiving feast. We had turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, nisua and nut rolls – yummy. We were stuffed but still managed to find room for cupcakes and homemade cookies for dessert!



And of course, Noah had a great time playing with Isabelle and Ethan – he always does!



The next day, Noah rode the Amtrak train to Fredericksburg, VA with Grandpa and Grandpa. If you missed our previous blog on their train ride, you can read it here.


On Saturday, Cindy and I went to Old Town Alexandria to do some Christmas shopping while the boys watched football at home.



Later that day, the boys met us in Old Town and we all went out for supper to celebrate Grandpa Don’s birthday – party time! We ate at Union Street Pub, which is one of our favorite restaurants in Old Town.

On our way home, we checked out our favorite local National Lampoon-style light display nearby in Springfield, VA. In previous years, we’ve watched this light display from our car (the music is programmed to a radio frequency), but since this was the opening night – and thus had lots of people – we stood outside and watched with the rest of the crowd.



Check out this short clip! (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.) Pretty cool, huh?

Once we got home, we continued the birthday celebration with cupcakes from Lavender Moon Cupcakery. Happy birthday Grandpa Don!



Yeah, Grandma and I had a secret agenda for going to Old Town earlier…


The week’s fun didn’t end there. Grandma and Grandpa also got to watch Noah at his swim class!



Oh, and we can’t forget that Noah got to open his Christmas presents from Grandma and Grandpa too. He got Legos, clothes, a train conductor’s hat, a remote control car and a Christmas ornament for the tree. Thanks Grandma and Grandpa!




Whew, it was a busy week – but we had a blast! See you again soon, Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Don! Thanks for helping us kick off the holiday season!


Stay tuned to read more about our holiday festivities. Hint: “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas!” Happy Holidays!

Janda holiday card 2015

Categories: Grandparents, Holidays, Our neighborhood, Swimming | 1 Comment

Goodbye for now, summer!

Wow, this summer flew by fast! So now that it’s officially fall, we figured there’s no better way to say goodbye to summer than writing about all the fun we had beating the heat. We had plenty of hot, hot, hot days this summer, but we found many fun ways to stay cool.

One of Noah’s favorite summer spots is the spray park at our local rec center. The spray park has a harbor theme in honor of the Chesapeake Bay and is full of sprinklers, bubblers and water tables – plenty of ways to get wet!

Here are a few photos of Noah playing with his friends Isabelle and Ethan. As you can see in the photos, the kids – yes, the big kids too – got soaked!











We spent a lot of time in the pool in our townhouse complex too. The pool is fairly shallow, so it’s the perfect place for Noah to splash around in.













Some of our friends joined us for a swim too. Thanks Max, Jill, Barbara, Uncle Chris, Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Don! We had fun!









We also stayed cool by enjoying the breeze on bike rides.



And of course, the yummiest way to stay cool in the summer is stopping at the local ice cream shop – score!


Yeah, we had fun beating the summer heat! Noah is starting another swimming class, so even though all of the outdoor pools are closed now, he’ll still get in plenty of splash time at our local rec center. He sure loves the water!

Categories: Fun outings, Our neighborhood, Summer, Swimming | 1 Comment

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