Saturday, October 22, 2016

Camping in the Shenandoah...

One of our favorite parts of camping has been getting to spend a fall weekend apple and pumpkin picking. Sadly last year we had to skip our fall trip while Harper was in the NICU so this year we planned early so we could get a site at the Shenandoah State Park and make up for lost time. 

We hadn't been to this campground in several years and had honestly forgotten that the cell service was non-existent. It's amazing how reliant we are on our phones and connectivity - but actually, being "off the grid" turned out to be just what we needed. 

The weather was cool and a little bit rainy, but we didn't let that hold us back from our apple and pumpkin picking. We started our morning with a big breakfast at a local diner. Harper pounded scrambled eggs and a big pancake and Adam of course took care of some chocolate chip pancakes - man those boys can eat! After that it was off to the apple orchard. We picked lots of golden delicious and fuji apples until our bag was full. Even Harper got in on the action. 

Then it was on to the pumpkin patch where Adam picked out his pumpkin and also enjoyed a cup of fresh apple cider. 

We then spent the rest of the day at the campground. We went for a few hikes to see the river and while Harper napped I finally read the latest "Harry Potter" book - see, being "off the grid" has it's advantages! We played lots of football, Adam practiced his Ninja Warrior skills by climbing the walls, and Harper enjoyed playing outdoors with his toys as well. We even met another labradoodle who just happened to be Sadie's sister - she came from the same parents just one liter later. Small world! 

We cooked all of our meals over the campfire which was a new experience for us and let me tell you, it was some delicious food. Lots of time was spent chatting fireside and just like that the weekend was over but at least we were left with some great memories - and a ton of apples! 

Tai Kwon Do

A few weeks back we finally got Adam enrolled in Tai Kwon Do. He'd been asking for awhile to do it and it really is going to be a perfect activity for him. From the start I was already impressed with the instructors and how they focus so much on respect, discipline, and of course the fun of accomplishing new forms and techniques. The first belt that Adam earned was his white belt. In order to earn that he had to keep a log for a week showing that everyday he did his chores around the house, did well in school, completed homework, and best of all that he was a respectful participant in school and with the family. I love that! They presented him his belt in front of the whole class who all bowed to him and cheered for him - he was quite pleased with himself. After class that day another student came up to congratulate him on earning his belt and told him he'd be getting his official uniform soon - it was a pretty great moment. Fast forward a few weeks and Adam was in class when another boy earned his white belt - even though he doesn't even know the kid he made it a point to find him after class so that he could congratulate him and let him know that he too would be getting his uniform soon. Wow - I think we're all going to really like this new sport for Adam. 

Can't wait to watch him continue to work hard and hopefully earn his yellow belt in December! 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Family Camping at Bull Run...

We picked the perfect weekend to meet up with Andy's family for camping. Heidi and Shawn recently purchased a camper so it was fun to get to camp side by side. We also got to get a majority of the family together for a cook-out around the camp fire. 

The cousins had so much fun playing together - I don't think they ever stopped moving, except when they would take turns playing with Harper. Harps was loving being outdoors and I think he also fancied all the extra attention from cousins, aunts, uncles, and of course Ommy and Poppy. 

Dinner was great and the conversation around the camp fire was even better. Love family time - especially when combined with camping and fall weather! :) 

Work trip to Cancun...what!?

I've gotten to travel to some pretty boring places (I'm looking at you Sioux City, IA in February!) but along the way I've also had the opportunity to hit some pretty cool spots - South Africa, San Diego, Chicago, NYC, etc. This time the destination was Cancun - and that was just fine with me! 

We stayed at an all-inclusive resort right on the beach and it was the perfect spot. We worked hard (seriously we were in meetings all Friday and half of Saturday) but we were rewarded in spades with great meals, fun drinks, and a killer view. I even got in some R&R on the beach Saturday after the meetings wrapped. 

I love the guys I work with and they were all kind enough to help me cheer on the Hokies as they took on the University of Tennessee. Sadly the Hokies lost but it was still fun cheering them on from Mexico! 

Of course it's always hard to leave the family - but thankfully there is FaceTime :) 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Adam's First Day of 2nd Grade...

This year was a bit different as Adam prepared to start school again - it was the first time since Kindergarten that he had a new teacher - we lucked out with him having Ms. Jaeschke two years in a row. We learned the week before school starts that he would have Mrs. Marquetz for 2nd grade and other than her name we didn't know anything about her. This added a level of anticipation and nervousness that we hadn't experienced since he first started school. That said, we followed all our same traditions - laid his clothes out the night before, cooked a fun pancake breakfast, photos on the front step, and then off he went! 

It's always a looooong day waiting for him to return as I'm a bundle of nerves hoping he likes his teacher, has friends in his class, etc. Happily he once again came bounding off the bus, all smiles and enthusiastic for the year ahead. Phew! He also stated he has plans to be an engineer when he grows up. Well alright then - let's get after it!