Wednesday, June 20, 2012

busy monday afternoon

there was a monday afternoon a few weeks ago where davis's regular sitter had an appointment and i picked him up early. since he would already have had his nap and i wasn't getting him for a doctor's appointment (the usual reason i pick him up early) i decided we should have some fun. our first stop was at my friend robin's house, who also watches davis a couple times a month. she used to cut hair (and cut mine for a while a couple of years ago) and she had offered to trim up davis's hair for us. he was needing it, especially as it got warmer during the summer months and his longer hair would get hot and sweaty under his hats. here's a before picture...
and about 10 minutes later, with a cookie and an episode of the wonder pets on my's the after!
the back was the most dramatic difference.  as much as i loved seeing the ends of his hair flip out and curl, it was cleaned up and he had an actual hairline in the back :)
we saved a few of the longer locks in an envelope and got him to take a picture with robin. of course, he thought at this point that i was leaving and got upset--no fear, buddy! we had big plans for the rest of the afternoon.
i had read about and seen friends pictures of a splash pad in the nearby town of kinston, about 30 minutes away from us. since this was before school got out and davis was already rested, i thought it would be fun to check it out. the sky was overcast and was threatening showers when we got there, but they held off. however, it meant that it wasn't as warm with the sun hidden behind the clouds, so he got a little chilly once he got wet!

there were only a couple of other kids there, which was nice because i didn't have to worry about him getting in the way. but they were also older than him so he didn't really have anyone to play with. i ended up playing with him and showing him how to play with the different water features so he was entertained.
we stayed for about an hour before he got too cold and needed to dry off. we got home just in time for some backyard play with justin :) here's one more picture i snapped that evening with his new haircut and super cool sunglasses! how grown does he look? 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

a wild west adventure

 a couple of weeks ago, i was texting my friend lynn and said, "we should hang out this weekend with our boys." and she agreed and we ended up planning a little trip on a saturday afternoon to deadwood, a mini-theme park about 45 minutes away. it has minature golf, a train ride, a huge playground and other smaller rides in a western theme. it also has one of the best restaurants in the area, so we decided to go late afternoon to play and eat dinner.

we packed up the lynn and david's car, that has 3rd row seating. however...when you put two car seats in there, it makes the 3rd row seating almost impossible to get to. our husbands threatened to record us trying to climb in and out of that back seat, but thankfully they did not. needless to say, it was not graceful, but it was fun :)
once we got there, we had fun exploring the park and checking everything out. it was my family's first trip to deadwood, but lynn, davis and josh are regulars :) lynn even worked there for a little while when they were living in williamston.

we went on the train ride right away, and i was excited to see davis's expression! he is all about trains right now and he was thrilled to get to ride one :)
his little eyes taking it all in...
the train driving away...
and a few minute later, pulling back in 
he was a happy boy!

next, we fed the fish in a ridiculously blue-tinted pond. no water is that color, but surprisingly, the fish seem to be fine in there...
and then we got the boys ready to ride the carousel...which is pretty small and a good way to introduce davis to rides, i guess.
josh had a blast! 
davis was a little more uncertain. we think he was slipping a little bit, and i ended up jumping on and holding him on the horse so he didn't slide. 
the rest of the time was spent playing on the awesome playground they have there. it was a big hit with all of the kids.
even some of the "adult-sized" kids :)
after working up an appetite...
and trying to make a run for it
we went on in to the restaurant, which was very busy. it has a kind-of hunting lodge feel to it, and they specialize in steaks and "smoke house" food. it was delicious!
can't wait to go back again--we had a great time and loved spending time with our friends!

Monday, June 18, 2012

sun gear

i'm getting caught up this week on some adventures we've taken over the past few weekends. but before i get into all that, i wanted to do a quick review about a couple of items we ordered recently and have enjoyed. 

if you know me, you know i don't take sun burn or skin care lightly. every summer, particularly at the beach, it's an issue of "me against the sun." i try to keep hats on, high sunscreen, and in the last few years, swim shirts from the local surf stores or lands end. it makes it so much easier to get ready to go on the beach, because i don't have to worry about getting sunscreen on my shoulders, back or chest. 

this year, i checked out the company that patrice had linked to, uv skinz, just to see what they offered. i liked the different styles for the swim shirts, where over at lands end, they have very basic designs. not that there's anything wrong with that! i love my lands end swim shirt--but i really was digging the look of this wrap shirt.

AND it was on sale! so it came last week and i got to try it out this past sunday when we went to the beach.
 the fabric is light and the wrap design is flattering but not skin tight, which is really nice. i do like that i can show a little bit of my swim suit, and it's really easy to get on and off, even wet. i'm also a pretty modest person, so i like that it has nice coverage and camouflages the post-baby belly. it will be great for the rest of this summer! my hat is from target--really liked this one compared to some of the other straw hats i've gotten from there. it stays on my head even in strong winds and is comfortable (and packs easily--no worries scrunching it up.) it is very floppy though and with the wind blowing, would sometimes get in my eyes. oh well!

i was looking for davis, too, and found these wide brimmed hats that had a lot more coverage than the bucket hats i was finding at other stores. the plus on this one, too--it has a drawstring, which means we can adjust it to fit his head. (most toddler hat straps don't fit his big head, so he can easily pull it off.)

we tested it out on sunday, too, and i thought it worked so well! (and was super cute on my beach baby!)
sun exposure and skin cancer is no joke, so please make sure you cover up this summer :)

(uv skins didn't send these to me and doesn't know who i am--just providing a helpful review for a good product)

Friday, June 15, 2012

wrapping things up

it's our last west virginia trip post, and this one is all about the day i dreaded...the full attempt at a drive home. on a good day with me and justin, this drive could take about 9 or so hours. on bad days (and we've had some very bad days with traffic, weather, etc.) it's taken anywhere from 12 to 14 hours. we've never attempted it all day with a toddler, and we've never asked davis to do more than 4-5 hours in a car per day. it was a big test for all of us...and surprisingly (thankfully) it ended up being okay.

the night before, we did everything we could to get packed up and the car loaded so we would have little to do in the morning. davis got one last bedtime routine with his "pappy and grammy" before he headed to sleep.
justin's dad would be leaving for work early the next day, so we said our goodbyes that night and rested up for the long drive. we got on the road just around 9 or so (that way davis had some time to play in the morning) and we got him all set up in his car seat. thank goodness for the iPad! we had loaded it up with several shows and games to keep him occupied, and towards the end of the drive, i'm not sure we could've done it without it. 
i had mapped out a couple of possible places to stop along our route, taking into account that davis would nap at some point, so we might not stop if he was sleeping. before he took his nap, we stopped at this gorgeous view at one of the rest stops about an hour or two into our trip. 
he slept through the first possible stop at berkeley springs (we figured if it worked so well the first time, it would work this time) so the next option was a community park in winchester, va. we hit it just at lunch time, so we picked up some lunch and took it to the park, where they had a great shelter with picnic tables right by the park. davis was able to eat and then burn off some energy on the playground...
and i explored a little bit, finding this creek across the parking lot and a family of ducks taking a nap in the grass. (they're brown ducks, just by the brush at that point of dirt on the ground.)
you can see them a little bit better here...

i took over driving at this point (we were safely out of the serious mountains--justin's our mountain driver and i do the highways) and we kept davis entertained with books, stickers, snacks and the iPad. our next option for a stop was just outside of richmond. i had read online that short pump shopping center was great for kids, and that they even had a train you could ride during certain hours. i was so hopeful that davis would get to ride it, but alas--it wasn't running that day. luckily he didn't know what he was missing and instead loved running around the little depot area they have for the kids, complete with general store and train station.
he was completely happy with all the miniature store props :)
and thought it was pretty funny that i insisted on taking photos through the window.
oh lovely, child. please smear your nose on the glass and join who knows how many other germs from other children who did the same...
the train station was cute, too, and we actually had a couple of other children join davis to play while their families stopped in.
we grabbed dinner here, picking up tacos from the chipotle that was nearby. SO GOOD. we've only had chipotle a couple of times, so this was a treat. then we started our way back through richmond traffic at rush hour, and i was never so glad to get back on i 95 and continue on home. 

we knew we were getting closer to having a davis melt-down, so i called the last few hours of our trip "just keep davis happy." he got his pacifier, he got iPad, he got snacks, he got whatever it took to keep him content. we made one more stop to get some gas at--ironically--the "davis" travel stop close to the nc/va border!
from there we had about 2 1/2 hours more to get home, and we really didn't want to stop anymore. however, we had run out of milk and as we got close to bedtime hour, davis began requesting milk. then he would get distracted with something and seem okay, so we'd keep going. then he'd demand milk...but then get okay. so we were about 30 minutes from our house when the demands became pretty urgent. he needed milk and he had no clue why we weren't supplying him with it. there weren't any great stops that wouldn't require going a couple of miles off the we kept going and just dealt with it. we finally pulled into the driveway at 8:30 pm, let him see pepper and get super excited about being reunited with her, then change him into his pj's and (finally) supply him with some milk. and then he was out.


all things considered, he did so well. i am so glad we knew places to stop and highly recommend that for anyone traveling long distances with a toddler. a regular gas station/rest stop just wouldn't cut it for him, and having safe play equipment and spaces specifically designed for his interests was so important. it broke the trip up for us really well so that it didn't feel quite so overwhelming. is it something i'd like to do regularly? no--but i can do it once or twice a year, which is all we're really asking him to do. i am glad we broke the drive up into two days so that it wasn't two full day drives. i have a feeling that might have really pushed him to the limit....but he's a resilient kid. who knows.

and next time, we'll have plenty of milk.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

family visits

on our last couple of days in west virginia, we made our way around to visit various family members. justin's grandmother has been in a nursing home for a couple of years now with advanced alzheimer's disease. we took davis to see her, hoping that seeing a little toddler could wake her up a bit. 
it was lunchtime, and eating did seem to help her stay awake more and bring back some of her energy. her sister also stopped by and was helping us give her lunch. 
we were working against davis's schedule, though, as it was naptime and he was interested in eating, too. he did incredibly well and i think the other nurses and some of the other residents were happy to see him.
and we got a picture of four generations of family together. in the end, i think that was the most important thing.
we also stopped by his uncle steven's house and visited for a bit. davis LOVED the "tractors" and getting to sit up in the seats.
every little boy's dream!
we drove out to see the cabin, which is a work in progress. davis enjoyed the long grasses and climbing up and down the porch stairs.
the west virginia fields agreed with him!
he was pretty content in the grass--we were just warned to check him for ticks later that night (no worries, he was tick-free)
here's justin, davis, his cousin scott and his uncle steven--so great to spend time with them!
you could tell it was getting late...we just had one more stop to make.
the cabin sits back on a hill with a gorgeous view and a great breeze that comes across the valley.
they plan on using the cabin for hunting trips and family gatherings--such a beautiful area.
at the bottom of the hill is a new family graveyard, with justin's grandfather buried there. they had just put out flags for memorial day. (justin's grandfather was in the army in WWII.)
the stone they used for the grave marker was one of the foundation stones used in the family farmhouse built many years ago. it was a wonderful way to incorporate the history of the land and the family together. (i loved this photo and sent justin's dad a copy.)
finally, we got to have a cook out on memorial day with justin's stepsister, her son and boyfriend. this was when some of the water sliding took place :) davis also got his first taste of a popsicle!
it was really funny as he tried to figure out how to eat it. he was taking these small little licks and making the funniest sounds!
we're so thankful we got to see all of the extended family during our trip!