this be back country

Because of the whole pool issue we hadn't planned on doing Luray Caverns as early as we did and so we had some found time. We decided to try driving through the George Washington National Forest. That’s like deep woods back country there. The kind where roads are closed during the winter and you just imagine all work and no play making Jack a dull boy. There was only so many ways out of it (like, two) and I led Matt on quite the excursion to do so but. We survived. One lane gravel roads and steep cliffs and switchback turns not withstanding. 

luray caverns

Sunday morning after my run and our breakfast we went south once more this time to Luray Caverns in Luray (where else?) Virginia, which was part of our plan when we first decided to hit up the Shenandoah Valley. Matt had been once as a kid and thought I'd really like it. You know, the little girl who used to collect gem stones with her allowance money? That girl. Do you know how many tables I had to clean up after dinner in order to buy one teeny tiny piece of turquoise? Lots. I digress.

skyline drive

Saturday morning was a bright, clear and sunny day. Perfect for what we had planned: Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. I ran as soon as the kids got up and then we hit up the continental breakfast down in the lobby. Matt only made about sixty-five trips to the buffet so we figure we got more than our money’s worth there. We decided to drive south on the highway and then travel north through the entire park, so we had a bit of a drive first thing. As luck would have it it was National Park Day or some such thing so our entry was free! Oh the fortuitousness! We had packed lunches from home and were prepared to spend the great majority of the sunlight hours driving. And of course stopping at every single overlook. I am only slightly exaggerating. 

oh give me views!

I said to Matt a few weeks ago, I want to see vistas! I want mountain views! But I also clarified that I didn’t want to drive too far because this idea of mine had to work for a regular old weekend. You go away once with just your family of five and suddenly you just feel like you can conquer the world!

Matt’s immediate response to me was: Shenandoah. Like he had just been waiting for me all along to suggest another getaway. 

a field trip to hershey gardens

I had the very recent pleasure of accompanying David and his class on their field trip. I guess kindergartners go to Hershey Gardens, it’s just what they do. I was in charge of three little boys all by my onesie. I hadn’t expected to be yelling at my own child as much as I had to but, man. That kid does not stay with a group!! Story of our lives though. One just thinks that its during the school day so normal school behavior applies? Not the case for David.... No, not ever.

yet another deck update!

Once again, I wish that I could share these images with sunshine and flowers but alas, still not in the cards for us. We got a tease last weekend, to be sure, but that was short lived. We had taken down the sun sail (you can see what that looks like here) during a particularly windy night and well, no sense in putting it back up until the sun decides to return right?

But in the meantime our chairs have arrived and the table has been moved out to the back thanks to the helpful biceps of my brother-in-law. Matt made the table as I may have mentioned before... There are two "compartments" if you will where the table top can be removed (you can sort of see the cut out for fingers to lift it out) and buckets are below that one can fill with ice for all of your assorted summer beverage needs. The chairs can be found on Amazon here. I wanted ten chairs but when it came time to order it the way it all worked out it made more sense to just get another set of four rather than the set of two. Details. So we have twelve chairs which we will use and it's all good. They are stackable so come winter time storing them will be a breeze. I obviously went with the grey here because I just wasn't sure if the aqua would be something I would love year to year. And yes, spray painting would be an option but twelve chairs is a lot to paint. 

inner harbor

Our final day with Kerri was so cold and windy and dreary and rainy. Which just about stunk in every way imaginable. That didn't stop us from continuing on with our plans to head down to Inner Harbor on our way to drop her off at the airport though. It worked for us last year and I was a big fan of not having to drive solo on the way home...

We parked the van and then headed off to Westminster Hall where Edgar Allen Poe was laid to rest. Him and a whole bunch of other important Revolutionary individuals of note for various deeds. I know it's morbid and definitely a bit weird for me to say, but old cemeteries are pretty interesting to me. This obviously wasn't the first time I've hit up an old cemetery before...

playing tourist at troegs

Sometimes I have to stop and ask myself why I've never been to this place before? Because when you finally go somewhere and it's just awesome well then you feel a bit silly that you've never enjoyed it before. This was one of those times. Trรถeg's Independent Brewing is right down the road from Hersheypark and was our stop for a later lunch after leaving the crowds. There is a tasting room, a snack bar menu, a self-guided tour and a guided one, crayons and coloring pages for the kids, and lots of good beer too! This place is right up my alley! Family friendly and drinks!

first hersheypark visit of the year!

Between illness and weather we just haven't gotten ourselves up to Hersheypark yet this spring and that really stinks, you know? We like to get our money's worth! Thankfully a friend of my sister's had a free ticket that would go unused and she was kind enough to give it up for Kerri! So Hersheypark it is! When we got there the line was just bananas so we thought we would go on Chocolate World first, as it's been years since Kerri last was there. 

a taste of summer

Continuing on from yesterday's activities with Kerri.... The big kids got off the bus and instantly put on shorts and ran out back. We all just parked ourselves out there... some of us in the sun, soaking it all up while we could. Needing it. Wanting it. Taking it. After a few we packed up to head to a quick hike to an overlook. Matt's favorite! One overlook required no hiking and the other well... Just a bit. Nothing too crazy. And not to sound like a broken record here but, sun! We were actually hot! I wore shorts! This is so momentous! It requires more exclamation points!

my floridian friend brought the sun!

And I'm back. Late, but back. I don't believe I have ever taken that long of a break from this space in the five years (!) that I've had this blog! Which also whoops, bad blog mom that I am, I forgot andiamo's birthday! Schade. Five years! Wow!

Okay so this past weekend Kerri, my best friend from college, came up from Florida to visit me and mine. As she tends to do once a year. We also came to the realization this weekend past that we have been friends for half of our lives. That's a pretty long time if I do say so myself. As per the usual when my Floridian Friend comes up here I really try to plan the entire time chock full of activities. Gotta show her a good time, you know? To compensate for the lack of palm trees? Just me?

We had gorgeous weather for two out of the three days she was here so it worked out almost perfectly! She brought the sun! Thank you Kerri! Friday we wandered around Lititz, letting Dom play a bit on the swings, getting a quick cup of coffee, basically just enjoying the fact that we didn't need to wear coats and the sun was out! We ended up having lunch at Slate Cafe which I've been dying to try since I first saw their Instagram feed. The food was delicious and I love how bright it is in there! Gotta go back for breakfast. Fact. Also let's just acknowledge every photo from the weekend is Kerri's because her phone is amazing.

disney on ice! princesses!

Disney on Ice! This is always such a great event! The music and the dancing and the costumes! This year my parents got all the ladies in the family (Ashley tagged out and sent Rob due to a certain nursing-only type newborn situation) tickets to see this year's show.... Right on the ice. Close enough that you could smell the sweat! If you can name that movie we could be friends.

Anyways. 

Right on the ice! Watching all our favorite princesses dance and sing! My sister and I pondering the workout regime of the female skaters... Lena and Letty and Mikayla all dressed up in their princess best! Wands in hand! We had a little snafu before the show started with Letty surprisingly losing a tooth into a fruit snack... But we rallied and moved on past embarrassment (her's) and had just the best time. This was the first year where I think Letty  might have actually appreciated the stunts because she kept wowing every time one of them was up in the air... She has been ice skating. She knows it ain't easy. The athletic prowess needed!

let's see who won the great deck sail debate!

I had a poll a few weeks back about what color sail we should go with on our deck and while there were a few blue people out there the majority leaned towards beige. Against Matt's wishes of course... He was anti-beige. But he is a good husband and so he agreed to give it a whirl and well, thank goodness because the wife knows best yes?

I would have liked to have shown these images with the pool open and flowers planted but I mean this weather we have been having lately has just been horrific! Cold and rainy and gray and did I mention cold? Soon to change around these parts I hear! Yay!

david's class spring party

Last Friday was a doozy. I went in to David's classroom for Kid Writing... then I ran home for lunch before turning around to help with these fundraiser mailers for Letty's classroom... and then after that I went back to David's classroom for his spring party. I love going in to the classroom! For any reason sure, but especially for parties. Just so much fun for all! Games and crafts and snacks! The kids have the best time and I mean really, they are so easy to please it really could be any sort of game and they would be loving life! 

I get about a hundred hugs and he tells me that I'm just the very best mom and I mean hey, what a boost to the mom-confidence! Which is probably why I'm in there as often as I am... 

our weekend!

It's another Monday all! We are here! We had ourselves an unusually busy weekend and I don't hate it! But I'm a big fan of all these activities you know?

We had some change of plans last minute Friday night and my parents decided to bring my kids McDonald's and Matt whipped up some Chinese and well there was cider and we deemed it good!

so what's new with you?

Well we are all well and good health-wise once more and a thank goodness for that! I am not one to be house bound. I am made to roam! And it's just in time because this week is all chock-a-lock full of activities. Mainly school related. Tomorrow I have to run into the kid's classrooms three separate times.... I wouldn't miss this sort of stuff for the world though!
I am happy to report that Letty loves her reading tutor! She comes over twice a week and Letty is always so sad to see her go. We couldn't be happier. We are also taking some steps with her school  to get her the help she needs there and we feel really good about it! We will get there! She will get there!

I have heard from multiple sources that I need to a) watch Wonder and 2) read the book first. As luck would have it our local library actually had it in stock so I grabbed that on up and so far I love it. Kindness people. Kindness! I think I may actually purchase a copy so we can read it together with the kids. I think it would take us literally forever in library years....

David's parent-teacher conference went just as expected. He's gotten a bit "comfortable" in the classroom and seems to be letting his more boisterous side come out here and there... I suppose that is better than being anxious with the unknown? At least he calms down when reminded. Are anyone else's children like, super loud? I feel like mine must have a hearing problem because they could be sitting right next to each other and they are screaming at each other! Drives us crazy.

I feel like the last person on the plant to see The Greatest Showman but then again I feel like I have watched it so often and listened to the soundtrack so often that basically, I'm the biggest fan. I even made a few post-Easter chalkboards with some quotes from the movie. It's a family favorite to be sure.

Dom somehow found himself on that YouTube channel of that kid Ryan and his family when they go to the Great Wolf Lodge? How that family came up with the idea for their channel is beyond me but they know what they are doing. Dom is obsessed. So I figured he might as well watch our family videos from our time at the Great Wolf Lodge instead. He's sort of okay with it but prefers Ryan. Sigh. You win some you lose some.

Upon recommendations from Kerri and the rest of the world we have started watching Queer Eye on Netflix. It is just such a feel good show and I love it. Jonathan is just so over the top he cracks me up but I think my favorite is Tan! His hair! His accent!They know how to pull on heart strings. Those guys. And speaking of my Floridian Friend she arrives a week from today and yay! Time to start planning all the things! Can't just sit around when she comes to town, oh no!

New Instagram accounts as always, Hannah's yoga moves are bananas and I just can't look away... Among the Wild, Meagan, here locally in Lititz is Slate Cafe and they are killing it with their feed and Edith of course...

So, what is new with all of you?

Linking up with Kristen and Gretchen today! Thanks ladies for hosting!

What's New With You




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an egg hunt and the rest of our day.

After the fun of the morning Matt took the kids up to our room while I went around hiding all the various eggs for the kids. Mind you, it was my children who wanted to get in their "Easter best" and not I, so I sort of toned down the boys a bit... who needs to wear Oxford's when one is having a sick day? Anyways so David requested the top floor, Letty the main floor, and poor baby of the family got the basement. I hid. They found. Then they hid them again for me in the basement while Matt napped. Hide. Find. Repeat. I just about lost it and decided to find an Easter movie or something to watch and best I could find was Rise of the Guardians. Hey the Easter Bunny is in it! And he's Australian! After only so much time in the dark basement I snapped a bit and poured myself a drink and started removing all signs of Easter from my decor because I had had it. Matt joined the land of the living and we decided that since we had no food for dinner and a Red Baron sounded really depressing and it was Easter after all that we should all go out to dinner. Everyone felt fine and dandy and it was just silliness to eat frozen food. So we headed to J.B. Dawson's as our little family of five to wrap up the day...

easter morn

I'm finally ready to discuss our weekend. But I'm still sore about it. No mistaking that fact.

It started with me Friday night... what I thought was maybe a severe reaction to gluten that turned into something far more than that... I woke up Saturday tired and weak but feeling better and went about my day, deciding to just stay home and rest so I'd be good for Easter Sunday. But then come Saturday night Matt started in with the very same fast-moving bug and shortly after David went to bed he joined the ranks as well... That's one of my least favorite parts of parenting. Hearing the throw up coming and running to the rescue but you know you never make it in time and the mess! At least I was able to save the pile of stuffed animals and books David insists upon sleeping with. Come Sunday morning everyone seemed to be on the mend but alas.... contagious? Probably. And would Dom and Letty be next? So to be safe and not expose little kids and babies and the like we were quarantined. To my utter dismay. But I tried to make it a better day for them, even if they were so disappointed. Starting with Easter Baskets!

a visit with the easter bunny himself

I'm not at all ready to talk about what went down over our weekend so I'll just pretend like it's last Thursday and we were all in blissful unawareness of what was to come... how's that for dramatic? But I just don't care I'm going to stomp my feet about the whole thing. Just... later. 

Anyways. The kids were off of school and so the whole lot of us headed up to Hershey's Chocolate World for our annual let's see who can cry when we visit the Easter Bunny trip! Except this time, no tears! Even the babies could have cared less about the whole situation... A big giant chocolate bunny holding you? Sounds great! We even got all seven cousins to sit happily and then each individual family which is actually a really big deal. Thanks to Nonna for purchasing the photo for us!