Sunday, December 10, 2017

November

Sorry for the late post! December has already started off with a bang and I haven't found the time to update the blog!

We started November off with a visit to the zoo:


And we have had fun playing with all of the new babies around us! James even told me he really likes baby Isla and that she is his favorite baby Isla. He asked if we could get one like her to bring home! haha. Charlotte has also loved the babies and is quick to say "shh!" or grab a binky for them.
The best part is we get to give them back at the end of the day and then sleep through the night!





We also got a special visit from Auntie Ruthie, which is also a huge highlight for all of us. I may or may not have cried the whole way home from dropping her off at airport.



With Ruth we enjoyed lots of Starbucks drinks (thanks to their buy one get one happy hour that week), and we got to go see the tree lighting at National Harbor. It took us an hour and a half to get there instead of the normal 15 minutes, but we had a lot of fun.




We also went to the US Botanical gardens. It was nice and warm in there and the kids loved looking at all of the different plants and trees.




After Ruth left we went to Six Flags for Holiday in the Park. The kids loved riding the rides and the weather even cooperated! It wasn't too cold and we had such a fun night!





Charlotte has also developed a new love for snapchat filters. She laughs so hard every time, so it has become one of our favorite activities. Here are a few of them:


For Thanksgiving this year we decided we weren't going to cook. It always seems like a big production when you don't have family around and so we spent the morning watching the parade and eating snacks with friends and then had dinner at Founding Farmers. It was so delicious and I'm still wondering how I can get my hands on more of that chocolate cream pie.




We visited the Udvar-Hazy Space center. It's always a good way for the kids to burn off some energy and be inside on a cold day!



We also had lots of random moments. Charlotte loves snuggling in our bed in the morning and watching a show while I put my makeup on. Or snuggling with big brother!


She's also developing her own sense of style...


And now has long enough hair to braid!


After Thanksgiving we went and picked out a tree at a tree lot just around the corner. James took this job very seriously and helped to pick the final one. We love our little tree! We drove it home on the top of our car and when we passed the missionaries they told us we looked like we were on the movie Christmas Vacation. I'm not entirely sure that was a compliment but it gave us a good laugh!







Each year the kids get a new ornament that represents something big that happened that year. This year they both got Disney ornaments in memory of our first trip to Disney World. Charlotte loved hers and kept saying "mouse" because it is shaped like a Mickey Mouse head. James opened his and said "I don't even know what it is...." even though it was a Winnie the Pooh and Piglet. hahaha. Oh toddlers.


We visited a fun new indoor play place near our house and I think we are all obsessed. It is seriously so amazing! The kids ran around exploring it for almost 3 hours. So if you are in the area you definitely need to check out Scramble!




James was really sad when we put our tree up that we didn't have a star on the top of it. He was certain we were missing a crucial part of our Christmas decorations so we went to Target and let him pick one out. He picked a snowflake that projects snowflakes on the ceiling so it will always feel like its snowing inside. He's the cutest and I love his choice!


November has been so fun and we are so excited to be entering the holiday season! We hope that all of our friends and family have a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year!



Sunday, November 5, 2017

Holiday Happenings in Northern Virginia!

Christmas is one of the best times of the year!
There are SO many things going on and I love to try and do different things with the kids each year. As I was making my list of events for the Holiday season, I thought I may as well share it with all of you!


There are far more events than the ones listed (like plays, musicals, ballets, etc) but my list this year is focusing more on kid-friendly attractions. I have also listed A TON of events. I don’t plan on doing all of these, we usually just pick a few so we don’t totally overwhelm ourselves during the holidays. I'll update the list as I discover more events, so keep checking back!


*More information about each event can be found by clicking on the event name link*


(FREE) | November 12, 2-8 pm
Various activities and crafts throughout the day followed by the tree lighting and fireworks show.

($5) | November 18, 11-4 pm
(3-Adult) Enjoy a ride on Engine #62 of the Resources Railroad at Lake Fairfax Park. See how Eastern Woodland Indians hunted and how their tools were made. Create your own Thanksgiving-themed craft to take home. The Fairfax County Park Authority will be collecting non-perishable food to be donated to a local food bank. For more information, call 703-471-5414.

($24.99+) | November 18- January 1
This exhibit has over 2 million pounds of carved and colored ice sculptures. There are even fun ice slides for the kids! Ticket includes the use of a parka because it's freezing in there!
We have done this twice before and really enjoyed it.

($11.99 all ages) | December 18- December 31
Join the Gaylord National Singers as our atrium transforms into a starlit immersed musical experience.The rich harmonies of classic and modern songs create a musical tapestry that celebrates the JOY of this incredible time of year. Special seating is available for purchased ticket holders only.

(Free entrance to the village- Activities require paid tickets) | November 18-January 1
Step inside our enchanting Christmas Village and discover a winter wonderland filled with magical Christmas fun for the whole family. New this year, experience our Glacier Glide Ice Skating, stroll through our Christmas Shoppe, take a turn on our Carousel and Miniature Train rides, create a yummy masterpiece at the Gingerbread Decorating Corner or create a new friend at our Build-A-Bear Workshop®. Get your parka and enter our world-famous ICE!® attraction featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and then warm up with some yummy hot chocolate.
Entrance to The Christmas Village is free with ticketed events and attractions inside.

(FREE) | November 23- January 1
This year, take a trip across America as our annual holiday show Season's Greenings showcases Roadside Attractions! In our model train show, trains will chug around, below, through, and above plant-based recreations of iconic sights from across the United States. Explore classic attractions like Texas' Cadillac Ranch, Colorado's hot-dog-shaped Coney Island Hot Dog Stand, South Dakota's Corn Palace, New Jersey's Lucy the Elephant, and many more. View thousands of blooms throughout the Conservatory, including a showcase of heirloom and newly developed poinsettia varieties. Our collection of D.C. landmarks made from plant materials will return to fill the Garden Court, this year including a new addition--an inspired botanical version of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Join us as we celebrate the holidays and America's natural and cultural treasures.

(FREE) | November 30
Unfortunately the lottery for these tickets has already closed. You can view the tree lighting on the Hallmark Channel on December 4.

(FREE) | December 2, 11 am, rain or shine
Parade Route: Beginning at the intersection of Wilkes Street and South St. Asaph Street, the parade will head north on South St. Asaph Street to Queen Street, turn right on Queen Street to North Fairfax Street, then turn right and head south on North Fairfax Street. The parade will then turn right on King Street, and pass the reviewing stand at King and Royal Streets (Market Square) to the ending point at the intersection of King and Pitt Streets.

(FREE) | December 2 at 5:30 pm, Alexandria Marina
2 to 6 p.m.       Torpedo Factory Art Center Holiday Festival
3 p.m.             Santa arrives by fireboat and walks in to the Torpedo Factory
5 to 7 p.m.       Fresh FM Street Team presents music, games and prizes on the dock
5:30 p.m.         Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights
6 to 9 p.m.          Torpedo Factory Art Center open late

($15.00) | December 3, 10 am
(2-Adult) All aboard for a train ride on the Holiday Express, take a spin on the Carolers Carousel, experience the Snowman's Wagon Ride, play Gingerbread Man Golf or warm yourself by the fire and cook s'mores as you usher in your holidays. Visit with Santa, enjoy hot chocolate and candy canes. $15 pass on sale through the day before the event, $20 if purchased day of event. Pick up passes at ice cream parlor day of the event. No refunds, unless event is cancelled. Children age 10 and younger must be accompanied by an adult registered for the same ride package. Children younger than 2 ride free but must pay for other activities. Register online, limited activity tickets available day of event at the park.

(FREE) | December 8-January 2, 5-10 pm nightly
Georgetown GLOW is a Light Art Exhibition in Georgetown. Free and open to the public.

(FREE) | November 24- January 1, 5-9 pm nightly
Join the thousands of visitors who make ZooLights a part of their annual holiday tradition. A free event, ZooLights includes live music performances, tasty winter treats and plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping. More than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland complete with a dazzling light show set to music!

(FREE) | November 30-December 31, dusk until 10 pm nightly
Enjoy walking around the temple and viewing the lights, or attend one of the nightly performances in the visitor’s center. All performances are free, and a list of them can be found by clicking on the link.

Ice Skating:
There are a lot of places to go ice skating! A few of them are Pentagon Row, Tyson’s Corner, and National Harbor.

Pictures with Santa:

Santa can be found at Springfield Mall, the Gaylord at National Harbor, Pentagon City Mall, Tysons Corner Mall

What are some of your favorite holiday events in the area? Leave a comment and I'll add it to the list to share with others!







Saturday, November 4, 2017

October

October is by far one of my favorite months of the year. I'm not one for heat, so I love when the air starts to get cool and crisp. October is always SUPER busy around our house (more so than normal!). We have two birthdays to celebrate, we usually get to have a visit from my parents (hooray!), and then we love to celebrate Halloween and all of the fun fall festivals.

Each weekend was packed to the brim, but we loved it.
Here are our adventures from the past month:

Our home teacher brought by some freshly picked apples and so we decided to make some apple pie with our two little helpers. They are master chefs because that was one delicious pie!


We enjoyed a few more zoo days. The zoo is perfect this time of year because it is still warm but most of the kids have gone back to school so sometimes we have it all to ourselves!




For Rob's birthday I surprised him with a weekend away! I kidnapped him from work on Friday and then we went to dinner and spent the night at the Gaylord Hotel in National Harbor.

When we got to the hotel Rob told the lady who was checking us in that it was his birthday so they gave us a free room upgrade and $40 to spend on food!

This was the view from our room- we were on the 17th floor and our balcony looked out over the little village in the atrium. It was so cool to see the sunset over the Potomac river right as we got there.





We also took a ride on the Capital Wheel.
The views of DC and Alexandria were beautiful at night!






This is a view of the Gaylord from the water front:


The next morning we used our dining credit to get some breakfast room service. We ate it out on the balcony with the prettiest view!


We spent Saturday at Six Flags riding alllll of the roller coasters we could find. I surprised Rob by getting season passes for us for the next year. It was so nice to be able to ride roller coasters WITH someone and not having to switch off watching the kids.


We owe a HUGE thank you to our friend, Sarah, who stayed at our house and watched our kiddos for us so that we could have this wonderful time away! Thanks Sarah!

Charlotte has recently decided she hates all things nursery. Which means I spend Sundays walking around the church halls and wanting to pull my hair out! All the while she acts cute when people walk by and everyone tells me how adorable she is. 


We celebrated Rob's birthday with friends at our house.
His mom also surprised all of us when she flew into town a few days before his birthday and spent 5 days with us! It was so fun to have her visit!


We celebrated her arrival by getting an American Breakfast:


We visited Nall's Produce in Springfield with Nana. It was so adorable there!
I have never seen so many different pumpkins in all my life.






Ignore my awkward hair in this picture- Its finally starting to grow back in from the great Crohn's episode of 2016. Its horribly awkward!



We found out about a month ago that Rob passed the Bar! WAHOO! So this month he was sworn in (to the Utah bar) and paid in to the D.C. Bar. We are so excited he is officially an attorney!
He was sworn in by Judge Griffeth in D.C. with a backdrop of the U.S Capitol building through the window.






Afterward we celebrated his birthday and swearing in by going to the Cheesecake Factory:


One afternoon the kids and I walked around Huntley Meadows park. It was absolutely beautiful there! I am obsessed with these big Virginia trees and couldn't get enough of it!



We also got a visit from my Mom for James' birthday! My Dad had to stay in Utah and worked, but we missed him! We got to do lots of fun things with Grandma. We took a drive on Skyline drive to do a little bit of leaf peeping. It was a little early but the leaves and scenery were still beautiful!


We also discovered the most amazing ice cream place that has dole whips!


Our first night with Grandma, James picked Johnny Rockets for his birthday dinner. He was so excited to get his milkshake!


James has been begging me for the last 3 months to have a Spiderman birthday party. He came up with the whole party on his own. He wanted to go to the "trampoline place" with his best friend, Cohen and then invite his other friends over for pizza and Spiderman cake. He had so much fun and told grandma "I am having the best birthday ever!" It was so cute to see him get so excited about celebrating his birthday. 
At 4 years old he loves to sing, play, jump, tease, and build. He is excellent at directions and recognizing places. He is learning his letters and the sounds they make, and recognizing his numbers and counting. He watches closely over his little sister and is always making sure she is safe.










Since we celebrated a week early while my mom was here, on his actual birthday we had a pancake breakfast, opened presents, and then spent some time at six flags.
We sure do love our Jamesy boy!

 

Grandma spoiled us and took us to "The Glow" which is a pumpkin festival here in Virginia. They had over 5,000 carved and lit jack-o-lanterns to walk through. It was so fun and the kids loved spotting the different characters!





We also visited Cox Farms with Grandma. I swear that place has grown so much since last year. I planned to spend just a few hours but we ended up spending most of the day there. James loved doing all of the different slides, Charlotte loved seeing the animals, and I was all about those pumpkin spice donuts!









James also earned some Sweet Frog's for staying in his bed at night, so of course we had to celebrate!


Grandma and James (or should I say Spiderman) made the most delicious caramel apples!



We went to Old Town and fed the ducks. It is so beautiful down there! 




While we were there we stopped in Starbucks to get some fox cookies and caramel apple spice cider. It can officially be fall now!



James has continued doing gymnastics class once a week. He is mastering the bars and learning how to do cartwheels!


He graduated swim class this month and is now ready for the next class!
(I'm not sure I am ready for the next class though. We had tantrums about getting into the pool 3/6 of the classes. Which makes NO sense because this kid loves swimming!)


On James Birthday we went to Six Flags. The kids loved going on the rides and in true Charlotte fashion she begged to go on the biggest roller coaster she was allowed.
We are in serious trouble with this little lady!






On Halloween we went Trick Or Treating in Old Town Alexandria. It has been a tradition for us since we moved here and we loved being able to do it with friends this year!

Happy Halloween from Belle, the Beast, Lumiere and Babette!



Phew! I think that is a wrap for October!


What we are looking forward to:
-A much calmer November!
-A visit from Auntie Ruth
-Delicious Thanksgiving dinner!