A very fun father and son day!

A few weeks ago, Ryan took a day off from work to have a special “Daddy-Noah Day” before school started. Noah got to choose what to do – he was so excited!

They took the bus to our metro station and then rode the metro to DC to visit the National Air & Space Museum. They saw lots of planes and NASA equipment. Noah got to “fly” this Cessna 150 too – very cool!

After they finished at the museum, they hopped on the metro again and met me for lunch at a restaurant near my office. So yeah, I got in on the fun too!

After lunch Ryan and Noah headed to Old Town Alexandria. They took the metro to the King Street station and then rode the trolley to the waterfront area. Then they took the water taxi across the Potomac River to National Harbor, MD.

They passed sailboats along the way and saw planes flying overhead too. And of course, Noah always loves going under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

As you can tell, it was a nice day for a boat ride! Here’s a selfie photo of the happy duo on the boat…

When they got off the water taxi, they headed straight to the Capital Wheel.

The top of the wheel is 185 feet high, so they had a great view of the buildings and boats below and the Wilson Bridge in the distance. Yeah, they had a bird’s-eye view of their water taxi too. Ha.

Next they visited the Awakening, which is a giant cast-aluminum sculpture of a man buried in the sand. Check it out!

Then they boarded the water taxi again to return to Alexandria…

Ryan joked that it would have taken him 15 minutes to drive home from National Harbor. But instead, they took the water taxi to the King Street Trolley…rode the trolley to the metro…rode the metro to our station…and then took the bus home. For a boy that loves all things transportation, it was a perfect day!

Categories: Airplanes, Capital Wheel, DC, Fun outings, Maryland, Summer | 1 Comment

Celebrating Ryan’s birthday at National Harbor

A few weekends ago, we spent the night in nearby National Harbor, MD to celebrate Ryan’s 40th birthday – yep, a big day! National Harbor is right across the Potomac River from Alexandria…just a short drive over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

We started the weekend fun with swimming at the hotel pool. Here are a few photos that Ryan snapped…

We worked up quite an appetite, so after we cleaned up, we headed to the waterfront area for supper. We had pizza at Fiorella’s Italian Kitchen – and yep, with chocolate milk for the little kid and wine for the big kids!

After supper we did a quick stroll through the harbor area. We didn’t stay too long because a storm was rolling in. Here are a few photos we took as we were dashing back to the hotel. Yeah, we had a great view of the Capital Wheel and the Wilson Bridge against the dark sky.

After the weather cleared up, we headed back to the harbor area for a ride on the Capital Wheel. We’ve been on the wheel quite a few times over the past few years (we often take visitors there), but this was our first ride at night.

The nighttime view from the top was AWESOME! Our pictures didn’t turn out too well since the gondola windows were wet with raindrops, but you can still make out the buildings and boats below. Check it out!

The next morning after we checked out of the hotel, we walked around the harbor area again…because we of course had to visit the Awakening sculpture and the Peeps car too!

Then we met up with our good friends Dan, Lindsay, and their son for lunch at Brother Jimmy’s BBQ – messy but sooooo yummy!

Oh, and we can’t forget about Ryan’s birthday present. Noah picked out a Lego set of a Coast Guard airplane – who would have guessed, right?!?!

Thanks, Ryan, for giving us a fun reason for a weekend getaway!

Categories: Birthdays, Capital Wheel, Fun outings, Maryland | 1 Comment

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 | 2 Comments

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

Family fun in New York City: Part 2

As you probably read in our previous blog post, we recently made a quick weekend trip to New York City to visit Aunt Jenny, Uncle Sean, and Abby, Nathan, and Cory (Noah’s cousins) while they were there on vacation. If you missed our post about going to the top of the Empire State Building, you can read it here. We saw some amazing views!

After we finished at the Empire State Building, we hopped on the subway with Cory, Abby, and Aunt Jenny and headed to Coney Island in Brooklyn. The ride took about an hour.

Once we got there, we headed straight to the amusement park for rides, rides, rides. Our first ride was the giant Ferris wheel. Going on this ride first was a good way to scope out the amusement park, boardwalk, and beach. Yeah, we had some great views from the top!

Noah and Cory went on a few other rides together too. Noah especially enjoyed the Wild River log ride since it was hot, hot, hot that day!

Noah also went on the Trapeze swings with Abby.

Ryan got in on the fun too. He went on the Cyclone roller coaster and Air Race with Cory.

Noah had fun watching Cory on the Electro Spin too.

Here’s a fun video of our crew on the rides. 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.

After we were finished with the rides, we headed to the boardwalk and beach. Noah loved wading in the water and playing in the sand.

Yeah, we had a great time at Coney Island!

When we got back to Manhattan later that evening, Noah and Ryan went straight to the hotel to play buses for a while, and then Noah zonked out early – he had a busy day! The rest of us went back to the Empire State Building, since it was just a short walk from our hotel. Here’s a photo from the street…

And here are a few photos of the nighttime views from the top – very cool!

The next morning, we visited One World Trade Center.

We got a special tour from one of Ryan’s colleagues that works there. While we didn’t go all the way to the top (there are 104 floors), we did visit the staff lounge and coffee shop on the 60th floor. We saw some amazing views of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Hudson River, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and lots and lots of skyscrapers.

We also visited the FEMA offices and saw some of Ryan’s New York City colleagues.

We briefly visited the 9/11 Memorial as well.

Then we headed to Penn Station to catch our train back home. We rode the train all the way to Alexandria (its final destination was Richmond). We of course still stopped at Union Station in Washington, DC on the way through. The coolest thing about our stop at Union Station was watching our train switch from an electric locomotive to a diesel locomotive, since electric locomotives can’t run on the tracks south of DC. It was fun to watch!

And here is photo of Noah and Ryan at our Amtrak station in Alexandria.

This was Noah’s second trip to New York City. He’s already excited to go back again. Yep, we had an AWESOME weekend with Aunt Jenny, Uncle Sean, and Abby, Nathan, and Cory. We’ll see you all again soon!

Categories: Cousins, New York, Summer, Trains, Vacations | 1 Comment

Family fun in New York City: Part 1

Two weeks ago, Aunt Jenny, Uncle Sean, and Abby, Nathan, and Cory (Noah’s cousins) were vacationing in New York City. Since they were so close, we made a quick weekend trip to NYC to visit and see the sights with them.

That Saturday afternoon, we boarded the Amtrak train at Union Station in Washington, DC. If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know that Noah loves trains – he was so excited!

It took about 3 ½ hours to get to Penn Station in Manhattan. Noah enjoyed watching the speedometer on Ryan’s phone along the way. The train was going 65 miles per hour when I snapped the photo below, but we got up to 125 miles per hour at one point – yeah, really fast!

We didn’t get to New York City until suppertime, so we headed straight to the hotel to relax and hang out for the night.

Noah really wanted to ride the subway (who wouldn’t at age six?), so that was the first thing we did the next morning.

After our subway ride, we hopped in a taxi to meet the rest of our group. Taxicab selfie!

We met up at the Empire State Building. Here is the view from the street.

And here is a pic of Noah and his cousins in the lobby.

We rode the high-speed elevator to the 80th floor and got a sneak peek of the great views…

And then we took a short elevator ride to the 86th floor Observatory, which is the highest open-air observation deck in New York City. We saw some incredible panoramic views of Manhattan, the Hudson River, the Brooklyn Bridge, and beyond. Check it out!

This was Noah’s second time going to the top of the Empire State Building. His first visit was last year with Cory, Aunt Jenny, Grandma Debbie, and Grandpa Rod. Pretty cool!

Stay tuned to read more about our weekend trip to New York City. We have a lot more to share!


Categories: Cousins, New York, Summer, Trains, Vacations | Leave a 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

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