Wednesday, April 30, 2014

More on the Camper

Let's talk more about the camper Chuck and I think we would like to own. Why do we even want one? Am I turning soft? What has happened to me?! To be honest, I'm not 100% sure what the appeal is. I think mostly it's a desire to get out of the yucky elements. Humidity here is a killer. Don't believe me? Come visit us in July; you'll see. And this humidity means our summer nights only drop to temperatures in the 80s, with high humidity. This is not ideal for camping...or anything. So in my head, I feel like a camper would help with this (many have air conditioning!). Also, it rains a lot here. Rain, whether at home or camping, stresses me out. But if we had a trailer, I wouldn't be so worried. We could hang out in there and play Scrabble at the table without worrying about when we'd start to get Lake Tent. And I would be lying if I didn't admit that they are just cool, right?!

We went to Frederick to look at two types: the tear-drop trailer and the pop-up. Turns out the tear drop trailer is way too small for our family. They are super cute, however. See here if you don't believe me. Besides being way too small, they weigh too much. Our car can pull 1,500 pounds, and no way are we upgrading to something bigger. Even if we went with one of the smallest models, the boys would be tenting it outside, while we fetal-positioned-it inside. Not optimal.

Enter the pop-ups. My family had one growing up. (I'm pretty sure my Mom is going to love that I'm posting this picture.) We pulled this bad boy all over. My parents still speak fondly of their pop-up days. I speak fondly of my brothers' socks. You can't even make jokes about how cute my sister and I were.

But again, these things are just too heavy. Those that they're making these days have so many things (toilet, A/C, foot shower) that they weigh a minimum of 1,500 pounds. So, uh no. Plus, I have to admit, these still feel like tents to me. With the soft walls, I feel like I'm in my tent. And why would I pay thousands of dollars to go from a tent to...a tent? I don't think I will.

So then we started searching for lightweight camper trailers. What did we find? THESE. (See inside pics here.) We love them. They are lighter. They are solid. They fit all four of us inside. They are cute. Can you just imagine the sweet curtains I would make for inside? I can. Of course they're crazy expensive and we're not even hundred-thousand-aires (not that they cost that much). So we'll probably remain tent people until we're really old and become motel people. Then again, you never know what will show up on Craigslist.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Frederick, Take 3

We've been wanting to make a day trip out of Frederick for months. Saturday it was finally meant to be. The weather was perfect. The stores were open. And the games were on.

Chuck and I have been thinking about a pop-up camper or tear-drop trailer for some time. Funny thing is, we haven't been in one since we were little. So we headed north to take a look. This is the kind of shopping our kids can enjoy. They ran in and out of each one happily. They explored each camper/trailer/RV and imagined we lived there. Sadly, Chuck and I learned that these may not be in our future. The new ones all weigh too much, and unless we can find an old one in good shape, well, tent campers we remain. I like decisions made for me.

After this we headed to town to get some lunch and play at a playground. (An aside: Someday my life will not be centered around playgrounds. I am excited for that day.) Then we went to my old boss's college softball game. They were trounced, but we had a good time watching the game. Plus, it was free, so I can get behind that.

Next up was the boys' cousin's birthday party. However, we had some time to kill before it started and chose to kill it at this famous ice cream place, Jimmie Cone. I'm not sure what the hype is. I mean, it was okay, but not special. Sorry, Jimmie Cone. But the boys sure love them some sprinkles.

This face. I can't get enough of this face. Until I actually do get enough, and then I'm completely done with this face and I want it in bed.

Lastly was the birthday party. Good times were had by all. Then a much-too-late bedtime and a much-too-early morning. The end.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Easter Sunday

Some day these boys will look at the camera and smile. At the same time. With real smiles.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Spring Break: The Lemonade

So what did we do once we decided to leave Assateague? I argued that because we had already packed for a three-day camping trip and we had already driven three hours, we couldn't just give up and go home. Instead, I checked the map and saw that there was another state park just about 30 minutes southwest of where we were. We called them and rejoiced to find out that they had spots for Friday night! Sweet! We happily drove there, picked out a campsite, and set up camp. This park (Pokomoke River) was inland, so it didn't have nearly the amount of wind, and it was about ten degrees warmer! It was perfect.

Because we left Assateague so quickly, we had nearly the entire day to explore the park. There was a lovely river full of fisherpeople, a playground, a sand volleyball court (which substituted for the beach), a couple of hikes, and a little camp store that sold ice cream and soda. It was perfect. We couldn't have lucked out any better.

Making sand creatures on the volleyball court.

This hike was the highlight of the trip for the adults. It went through these crazy trees (which I'm kicking myself for not getting any shots of them) and then this marshland. Super cool. And super short which means my children didn't whine the entire time, just a lot of it.

Poor Ollie struggled to fall asleep. We put him and Rhett in the tent and sat quietly by the fire while we listened to them. Ollie kept sticking his little hand out of the tent and it was the funniest (saddest?) thing to see. When he finally fell asleep, we were surprised to find him in this position: hands covering eyes, face down in the pillow. Ha.

In the morning I set out Easter eggs all over the campsite. The eggs (more correct: the treats inside the eggs) sustained the boys (more correct: all of us) on the three-hour drive home.

As bummed as we were about not having a good experience at Assateague, it really ended up to be a great trip. And now we got to check off a park that we wouldn't have been so excited to visit (standard forest fare + three-hour drive? No thanks!) and we will definitely return to Assategue. As promised, lemonade!

P.S. Just in case you needed more proof on the conditions at Assateague, I give you this:

P.P.S. Just in case you needed to see how much better it was at Pokomoke River, I give you this:

Monday, April 21, 2014

Spring Break: The Lemons

Last Thursday, we headed out for our seventh state park, Assateague. It's on Maryland's eastern shore, (right on the Atlantic!), south of Ocean City. It's famous for beautiful beaches and wild ponies.

Because I'm a planner, our reservations were made weeks, if not months, ago. This is good because the campground was completely booked. This is bad because we never know what the weather was going to be. Sure, I looked at averages. I figured we wouldn't be getting in the water, but knew my boys would love playing in the sand all day. I knew Chuck and I would love sitting on the beach watching them play in the sand. And I knew that by going in the spring we'd avoid the mosquitoes, of which there are TONS during the summer.

What we didn't bargain for, however, was wind. And lots of it. And cold wind. And parents who forgot to pack jackets. Let's see how it all turns out, shall we?

The park didn't disappoint in the wild horses. They were just walking around and eating grass, a lot like Yellowstone's buffalo.

We got to our site and set up camp. Just over that dune was the ocean. Cool, right? But notice the tent. It's completely bowing in the wind. Eek.

Because of the wind, I had to make our sandwiches in the car. This was not ideal. I was so afraid that I'd drop a big blob of jelly on the seats. Didn't. Phew.

Since we didn't feel like hanging out in our campsite, we headed to the park's visitors' center. We walked across the bridge and used the telescopes to look at more horses.

Once back at our campsite, poor Ollie (whose hat and gloves were left at home) was freezing and stayed in the car. So Rhett and I walked on the beach. It was gorgeous. Because it's so relatively early in the season, there were tons of shells all over. Also, it was empty. Also, the wind made for some super awesome waves. It really was incredible.

But really, what could we do? We couldn't make a fire to stay warm or to cook, because the wind would put a stop to that. So we left again, this time headed to Ocean City. We walked around and got dinner. After dinner, we went back and went to sleep. I'm pretty sure Chuck and I were asleep before the boys.

In the morning, Chuck and I made the tough decision to pack it in. I mean, what could we do? We had hoped the wind would calm down by morning, but nope. Still strong (20-25 miles an hour). We were all still cold, even though Rhett ignored it. Rhett threw a tantrum because, well, he didn't want to go. It was hard. But it was the right decision. Sadly.

Wednesday: Lemons into lemonade!

P.S. I should have known it wasn't meant to be when we weren't actually at the state park. We were at the national park. We'll definitely go back to this one again, but the state park. I'm sure it will be perfect. Because, you know, I can totally predict these things.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Spring Break: Day 3

Monday morning I took the boys to the Natural History Museum. As expected, it was crowded. As not expected, it was really crowded. So we were there about an hour and a half before I could take it no longer. And really, for little boys who just like to look at things rather than do a lot of reading, 90 minutes is ample. I'm glad we went because the dinosaurs are going away for five years (!), but next time, we won't go during spring break.

Picnic lunch on the mall. I loved when the wind kicked up and the stroller went off like a sail boat. Sometimes (ahem, most of the time) I forget how lucky I am to live here. Remind me of this when the humidity returns.

P.S. If you read this on Friday, we're camping on the beach!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring Break: Day 2

We thought we were soooo smart, Chuck and I. No one will get up as early as we do, we thought. No one will go downtown to see the blossoms before 7 a.m. No one will be parked there before we arrive. No one will be walking around the Tidal Basin. The place will be empty! We will have it all to ourselves! We are AWESOME!

I'm pretty sure you can guess that not only was it not empty, but it felt as if the entire D.C.-area population was there by 7 a.m., if not earlier. But after walking 23 minutes from our parking space to the blossoms, we were committed. And really, it was a gorgeous Sunday morning. I brought fruit and donut kabobs to eat. The boys were excited by the surprise trip. Everything was okay in the end.

Rhett was ready to eat the second we were on the tidal basin. Ollie only wanted to eat the donut holes.

A rare shot with no other people in the picture! A cherry blossoms miracle!

The view from the Jefferson Memorial. What is up with Rhett's pose?!

Oh Ollie. When will you learn to look at the camera?

P.S. A friend of mine went that evening at around 6 and apparently it was empty. Next year.

Monday, April 14, 2014

I'm Tired Already

And I really don't mean that in a humble-brag sort of way. Promise. I know we're too busy this Spring Break week but it's all stuff I want to do. Except for Monday morning's plans. I really don't want to do that. But let me start at the beginning. I'll save Sunday's outing for Wednesday, and then Monday's trip for Friday. I got to space these things out so I don't run out of content!

Saturday morning we headed out to the annual gas and steam engine show. It was a pretty warm day for April, so it was nice to be outside. The boys played with ride-on tractors and wheel barrows...

...enjoyed throwing and jumping into hay...

(notice the pile about to land on Rhett's head)

...took a hay ride...

...waited for a barrel ride...

...took a barrel ride...

And then we came home, napped/grocery shopped, and then bought and planted some bushes for the desperately-plain front dirt. Then we went on a date. End of Spring Break Day 1.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ah, the Joys of Other Peoples' Kids

Gotta love sending your kids to school (or anywhere, for that matter, where other kids exist) so they can learn new "things." Apparently the other kids were teaching my son a bad word.

Rhett: Mom, what does "seckiladi" mean?
Me: Seckiladi? Seckiliadi? [Wracking my brain...] Seckiladi? Oooh, do you mean, "Sexy Lady?"
Rhett: Yes!

I did finally come up with something, delivered in a hopefully-non-teasing, educational manner. It still makes me laugh.

P.S. Sorry to those of who have already heard this story. I didn't make time for new material.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Sometimes you just want to read your book. Sometimes your kids just want to throw rocks (or sticks, or trash) into the creek. Sometimes you get to do both.

P.S. Sometimes you just have to buy Robin Eggs and teach your children the joys that are Robin Eggs as lipstick.

P.P.S. And sometimes you forget that you already had something for Monday so you post twice. Does that mean I don't have to post something on Wednesday?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Friday, April 4, 2014

Random Thoughts

Do you put things on hold at your library? I do. And I hate when two come at once, because then I have only three weeks to read two books. That's asking a lot for me.

Do any of you watch "The Walking Dead?" We do. I found this season so much better than last.

Do you know that I eat my kids' large-sized crumbs? Do you do it too? The other day I picked up a crumb that I thought was banana bread, but once it was in my mouth I became pretty sure it was a dog treat. Do you think I'll do that again? (Probably.)

It's official: I am totally gullible.

Are you the type of person that if given a work desk, you'd put a bowl of candy on it? I am definitely not, for obvious reasons. But I love you if you are. I especially love you if you work in my office and you do this.

This would have been a pretty good Facebook status update for me for April Fools Day: "Just finishing ironing my sheets. Off to warm the plates in the oven for dinner!" (Note: I ignored the apostrophe in "Fools" because I just don't know where it's supposed to go. Fool's? Fools'? Pretty sure it's not Fo'ols, even though that would be pretty cool.)

Do you know that the Postal Museum is surprisingly cool?! Surprise, right? And did you know that my office and the Postal Museum share a building? AND did you know, that until last Saturday, I'd never been to the museum? After more than nine years of working where I work, not once had I stepped in there. Pathetic. But I admit: it probably won't happen again soon. I like reading the paper at lunch and, well, during the rest of the day I'm actually working. And at the end of the day, I just want to go home. Until I get home, and then I want to run away screaming.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wedding Quilt

It may sound weird, but most of the time when I am making stuff, it's because I was inspired. Not in the church-y way, but rather, I see something that speaks to me in some way. Maybe it tells me something about to whom it should be gifted, or for what purpose, or maybe I just think it's adorable and I must have it.

So when I'm searching for specific gifts, it's often hard. The timing has to be just right. As you may recall, my brother was married this past September. Sadly, I was not inspired as to their gift until recently when I saw this pattern for sale. It immediately spoke to me as something I could make for Derek and Renee. Ever the spendthrift as well as DIY-er, I thought I'd save the six bucks (six dollars? seriously, self?) and come up with the pattern on my own (cough, cough, with Chuck's help). Which I/we did. I picked the colors to speak to the trees and snow that are their environment. I guess I should have added some grey in there for the mountains, but I didn't. It's small, less than four square feet, so it won't take up too much space, and I even added a sleeve so they can hang it, should they desire.

And for a bit of personalization, I appliqued an Alaska, heart near where they live, and date. And yes, of course all mistakes were intentional. Ha.