Thursday, June 26, 2014

Stafford County 350th Birthday- Family Festival

This year is our county's 350th birthday, and Stafford County has lots of wonderful events planned.  We're known to be a bedroom community for DC commuters, but we really do have a lot of great things right here in the Fredericksburg/Stafford area.  
Yesterday, the county dedicated the new outdoor amphitheater at one of our favorite parks, Pratt Park. They had all sorts of games, vendors, and events.
Tour our local parks here
Tug of War
One of the awesome things was the Stafford Parks & Rec staff was involved.  They had lots of great games for the kids to participate in. 

Parachute games 

Golf-zilla

You had to try to get it in golf-zilla's mouth or hands.  Lots of clubs and organizations were represented.  Michael now has a long list of things he wants to participate in- golf, lacrosse, soccer, disc golf... the list is long.  

Alpacas from Maranatha Alpaca Farm 

3 George Washingtons at the Library table 

The new Celebration Stage with hillside seating.  Lots of people in attendance, but still a ton of room to run and roll down hills.  This is the front section of the park. The playground, fields, basketball court, and open areas are on the other side.  We love Pratt Park, and now it's even better!  The only thing that would make this park better would be a splash park for the kids to cool off in the summer.   

 Lots of places to run free

Someone brought a rocket launcher- it was loads of fun! 


Kate visited the DARE booth, and met the DARE officer for their elementary school. Of course, her favorite part was the crafts and coloring books that they gave her.   

The Celebration Stage with a variety of performers.  We were able to enjoy almost all the performers before the thunderstorm rolled in and they sent everyone home.  
We're thankful for our great community!
We can't wait to do the Stafford Trailblazers activity next, then our 4th of July festivities here and here!  Let me know if you want to join us!!




Summer Time

The kids have been having a great summer so far.  
I'm always looking out for fun freebies, and they were having a summer promo event with our local newspaper, The Free Lance-Star.  We all spun the wheel, and Kate won Alan Jackson tickets.  We're not that in to country music, but it was fun anyways, and we might get a few bucks for them to spend on something we will enjoy.   

Chalk and bike riding and sprinkler and trampoline 

David is a little leery of our makeshift water slide made from sprinkler and regular slide.  He enjoys being on solid ground a little more.  

Ready for some sprinkler fun

 Kate was much more adventurous than normal.  She had lots of fun on our water slide.

We had lunch last Sunday with Aunt Elizabeth and Uncle David, who we just adore.  We ate at a restaurant called FoodE in downtown Fredericksburg.  The food was delicious, and the company was better.

 The kids were stalking some bunnies before church on Sunday.  These were either deaf bunnies or un-skittish bunnies, as they let the kids get pretty close.  

We've enjoyed a lot of Lego fun this summer.  Creations abound.   

It was really hard not to go dumpster-diving for books at the library (which we frequent).  If it weren't for time constraints, we might have... 

I've decided that the TV will be off for the summer, with the exception of an occasional movie.  It has been good for the kids' creativity and activity.  The know not to say the word "bored," or they will be scrubbing the potty.  

CRRL Summer Reading Program Magic Show


We are full-swing into our wonderful library's summer reading program.  The kids enjoyed the latest event this week- Joe Romano's Fizz, Boom, Read Magic Show.  
We all really enjoyed the show.  

 Michael was one of the willing volunteers to help with one of the tricks.  
The kids suckered me into buying one of his magic trick books.  

 Here is Michael's part in the show.  

Garden First Fruits

These are the first-fruits of our garden. 
David had a few cherry tomatoes that were almost ready. but some wretched animal ate them before they were ready to pick.  The kids have really enjoyed our gardening adventures this year. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Kate's First Lost Tooth

Kate lost her first tooth day.  This has been a much-anticipated day for her, and she is on cloud 9.  Michael was kind enough to give it the final yank for her, and now it is softly nestled under her pillow for the tooth fairy!
Congratulations, sweet girl!  You're growing up so fast!!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

NYC Street Dancing

On our way back from the WTC Memorial, we were entertained by some guys doing some street moves.  We were impressed with their agility. Michael was jealous of their abs.  

David is working on his own version of the show:


New York City- Day 4 (Wedesday)

On Wednesday, we slept in a bit, then we checked out of our hotel on our last day in NYC. 
 Then we had an early lunch at Shake Shack in the Theater District right near our hotel.  

Kate wore a french braid for the occasion, thanks to Aunt Deb. 

The kids got souvenirs- Kate got a NYC snow globe, David got a NYC taxi, and Michael got a tour bus that looked just like the double-decker bus that we enjoyed.   

Shake Shack was a delicious burger!   The hype is legit.

After a way-too-heavy early lunch, we walked what seemed like forever (or it could have just been the burgers...) to the docks.  Our boat tour left from Pier 78,

 and we were so excited for it!  It was included in our tour bus package, and it was really worth it!


The Freedom Tower 

Blakemores and Shultzes at the helm 

Financial District 

I want to buy this.   

Hello, Lady Liberty! 

Us with Ms Liberty 

The Shultzes 

The Blakemores 

Since the walk back to get our vehicles was a good ways off, Jon and Kevin took the shuttle back and came to pick us up.  We had ice cream with an unamused NYPD officer while we waited.

Michael took a lick of David's Spiderman cone, and he kept a little extra on his face for the road.  

David shows his pouty face when the heat melted spiderman.

Kate enjoyed her Strawberry Good Humor bar. 

Aircraft carrier

We parted ways in the afternoon, and headed our separate ways.  We had such a wonderful time, and we're so glad we got to do NYC with the Shultzes.  


New York City- Day 3 (Tuesday)

Since we did the Uptown tour on Monday, we went with the Downtown tour on Tuesday
Times Square near Broadway 

All the pretty lights 

Penn station 

US Post Office 

Flat Iron building 

 Lots of high buildings

Downtown 

Napping boy with Cousin Lauren, who David adores (and so do we!) 

 NYU

For lunch, we got off in China Town,

and we walked to Little Italy.  We ate at Grotta Azzurra Ristorante- delicious!

 Lunch in Little Italy

We walked through China Town and Little Italy, then back on the bus to tour the Financial District. 

Michael walked through the city with a football in hand.  

St Paul's Chapel 

The Freedom Tower, which was so tall  I couldn't get the tip in the picture.  This is called One World Trade Center, and it's at the site of where the twin towers stood.

This is the memorial where one of the twin towers stood.  The WTC site now has fountains at the foundation of both buildings, and the names of those who were killed in the 9/11 attacks.  Sobering.

WTC memorials 


This is the Survival Tree, which was the only thing that survived at Ground Zero.   

Wall Street in the Financial District 

Wall Street and Broadway 

The Bull on Wall Street 

 Tenement housing (ie, The Projects)
We were really hoping to go to The Tenement Museum, but time did not allow.

The Brooklyn Bridge 

Look really closely, and you'll see a single-family house on top of that building. 

East Village 


This is where I want to live.   


Staten Island 

The Waldorf Astoria 

We were going to try for the Shake Shack for dinner, but the line was nuts!  Times Square had a crazy amount of traffic, and our tour bus driver said that we had to get off the bus at an alternate site, since whole blocks were barricaded off since the President was in town.  He was staying at the hotel about 1/4 block from where I took this picture. 
For dinner, we opted to get some New York-style pizza and eat it in our adjoining rooms.  We stayed up much too late and played Rook (of which Kevin and I were the winners!)