Thursday, May 28, 2015

Viva! Vienna! Festival

We are leaving for Hawaii in two days! There is still so much packing left to do and I am not even talking about my own luggage. Since the kids are staying with my parents, I am basically packing the whole house with worst case scenario in mind. On top of that, I got hit with some kind of stomach bug…so all the packing I wanted to do went out the window as I have been crawling to bed at 7pm the past few nights. I think I am finally getting my strength back though…and I hope I will be fully recovered by Saturday. Can you imagine being sick on a 10-hour flight? How about eating just banana and bread for the entire vacation?

Anyway! Besides going into DC for a day over the Memorial Day weekend, we also went to an annual local festival – Viva! Vienna!. Just like any other festivals, this one had amusement rides, vendor booths, entertainment, and food. We parked at the Vienna Community Center and walked the W&OD trail to the festival. The kids were most interested in the rides so we spent $20 for 24 tickets, which basically meant they could go on 4 rides each. The most fun one was the Dragon Wagon roller coaster. Kids had a blast on that! We also visited the vendors and the kids got some goodies – tattoo, pig key chains, a paper fan, pencil, necklaces, etc. Essentially all junk, but they were delighted with them all.

On with the pictures!

As I said, they had lots of fun on the roller coaster.
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I cropped the picture above to get a closer look at their faces :)
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It was a hot day. The kids got free ice pops from a vendor and it really helped them to keep walking in the heat. Luke and I shared a meat and vegetable pie from Pure Pasty, a local place here that we had wanted to try for the longest time. For $8, it was just okay. I really liked the flaky crust though.
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The festival was held at the heart of Town of Vienna and all the historical sites were open for visitors. Here we were at the Little Library (one room) and we also went to the Freeman Store and Museum. Both places have odd operating hours so I was glad to visit both in one fell swoop. 
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Just before we left, the kids each got a lollipop from a game of ring toss.
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But then hubs accidentally bumped into Anna, which caused her to drop her lollipop, and of course, crying followed. Other than that one tiny incident, it was a good morning :) The best part was that after we decided to go home, we were there in 5 minutes. Love staying local!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

DC DAY: Tidal Basin Paddle Boat

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We ended our walk around the Tidal Basin with a spin on the paddle boat! I think paddle boating is a super fun family-friendly activity. The only downside for our family is that the kids are too small to help with the paddling and, because one adult has to sit in the back to balance the boat out, Luke does all the hard work. Luckily, he is a good sport about it and this activity was actually HIS idea :) Or maybe he just casually mentioned it and I just ran with it....?

During peak cherry blossoms, it is recommended that you make reservations online, but on this any other Saturday, we walked right in and didn't wait at all. It was $24 for 4 people for an hour.
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Anyway, here are some pictures of us on the paddle boat!
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On the way back, we were against the water current and Luke was getting tired...
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while this was me in the back :)
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Finally we were back to the dock!
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The entire experience was fun, but I doubt we will be paddle boating again until the kids are old enough to help. The novelty of it wore off fast -- I think an hour is too long. The 30-minute dragon paddle boat in Baltimore is much better, IMO.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

DC DAY

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Have you taken your kids to Tidal Basin before? We did for the first time this past Saturday. At first I was worried that they would complain about walking the entire loop, but they surprised me with their good spirits. I think what made it easier was the mild weather and things we saw along the way. We parked at the parking lot right by the paddle boats and headed in the direction of the MLK Memorial.
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I just love our selfie stick :)
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At the FDR Memorial, we all took a potty break and posed for more pictures. I was trying to get them to look in the same direction as the statues, but they wouldn't have it.  
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Luke and his mini-me Yes, the purposely matched.
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Then we reached the Jefferson Memorial.
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We packed some sandwiches (jelly for kids, pbj for grown-ups) and ate them at the bottom of the Jefferson Memorial. Will probably fed half of his sandwich to the ducks. It was a lot of fun. Next time, we will have to bring more bread to share.
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Just as we got up to leave, Will said, "After the snacks, I have my energy again!" So we continued the rest of the way back to where we started -- the paddle boats. And off we went on a scenic boat ride...while Luke did all the grunt work. Hehe :)

To be continued....

(It took us about an hour and 20 minutes to walk the loop, with stops along the way.)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Friday, May 22, 2015

She never stopped smiling

tumbling
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Up next Tuesday is ballet!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, May 18, 2015

May Day 2015: Here Comes a Bear

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We attended our 3rd May Day this past Saturday. As always, it was held outdoors, at the school playground (look at those tall trees!). Weather-wise, it turned out to be one of the hottest days we have had so far this spring, and just around showtime, all signs pointed to an impending late-afternoon storm. FORTUNATELY, the rain held off until the last performance was done. We finished in the nick of time!

Will's class performed to Here Comes a Bear. From the look on his face, I know he loved every minute of it and had so much fun pretending to be different animals. He even requested to wear his bear shirt the very next day, which we told him was in the hamper. But I have a feeling that we are going to be seeing that shirt a lot :)

Overall, it was a successful May Day!

Our time with this school is coming to an end in 4 short weeks... It makes me sad that we will no longer have a connection to this wonderful place. Sure, the classrooms are a bit rundown and smelly, but the teachers are phenomenal. Sigh, why do kids have to grow up and move on?

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mama's Day 2015

Did you all have a good Mother's Day Weekend? Here is a recap of mine....
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Luke's side of the family planned a potluck dinner starting at 5pm on Saturday night, so I knew I had to get the kids tired enough for a long nap in preparation for a late night. We debated about going to the Theodore Roosevelt Island in DC for one hot second, but settled for Meadowlark Gardens instead. We got there right when it opened, and literally shared the entire place with one other family. The garden was so serene and calm and peaceful, nothing like the crowd we experienced when the cherry blossoms were in bloom. The kids had lots of fun running around, including wearing these grass (bamboo) belts, haha: 
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"We are going to work!"

So, the first picture of the post was actually a selfie. We took a bunch of them with my new selfie stick. Luke bought it weeks ago, but it took a while for us to figure out the camera setting. It's very cool, all we have to do is point the camera at us and it takes the picture automatically. No remote required! All I wanted for Mother's Day was a nice picture of the family and I got it.

After Meadowlark Gardens, we went out for hand-pulled noodle soup and then home for nap. The kids napped for more than 2 hours so mission accomplished.

At Grandma's house, the kids played with their cousins in the backyard.
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Hmm...the potluck dinner turned out to be so-so, but these flaky taro pastries Luke's sister bought from NYC Chinatown were so good. They were the food highlight of the weekend for sure :)
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Sunday morning I woke up to "Happy Mother's Day!" from the kids. We had a normal day at home, which meant that the kids fought a ton and Luke had to order them outside so I could have some quiet. I folded laundry, organized kids' closet, prepped for lunch. Then my parents came over for a simple lunch at home -- the spread included sticky rice, noodles, ribs, and veggies.

The rest of the day involved a nap, water table,
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and this funny video that I am watching over and over. Oh Will...;)

Lastly, Mother's Day gifts from the kids! I got Will's sometime earlier last week. Anna brought hers home on Friday afternoon and SHE COULDN'T WAIT for me to get home to open it. I loved everything!
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Overall, I had a very nice relaxing weekend with the family, which is all I would ever want for Mother's Day.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

thursday morning catch ups.

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/1/ Last weekend we went on a little food tour in Rockville MD. I had read all the glowing reviews on the fresh made-to-order dumplings at China Bistro and wanted to try them out for myself. We got 3 orders of dumplings (Mama’s Special Dumpling, Chive Shrimp Dumpling, and Fish Meat Dumpling), Spicy and Tasty Tofu, a stir fry noodle dish, and wonton soup. It turned out that the dumplings were just fine, but what I really loved was the tofu dish. Yum! The skin was light and crispy, and along with the flavor of cilantro and crunchy peanuts, it was perfection! As for the dumplings, again, they were tasty enough, but expensive. Each order was $10 for 12 dumplings, and $1 extra to get them pan-fried. We got an order pan-friend, mostly for the kids. We will likely visit again? Just definitely not for the dumplings.

After lunch, we walked a few doors down to Asian Bakery Cafe. The kids each got to pick a slice of cake (Hello Kitty for Anna, coffee for Will) and I got an egg tart. Also, bubble tea. I don’t know about the cakes, but I loved my egg tart and bubble tea. It hit the spot.

/2/ I usually don’t think about the annual B&N Summer Reading Program until June, but Anna reminded me the other night when she, while holding her Snuggle Buddies book, said: “Remember I got this last year at the bookstore?” So the next day I looked it up, and guess what, the 2015 Reading Journal is already available. We read books all the time so we will probably have this done before Memorial Day. Just thought I would share in case any of you are interested! We love the program.

/3/ It's Teacher's Appreciation Week...are you recognizing any teachers? Um, I am not...because I always give end-of-school-year presents anyway. But! I did get the kids to make cards for their teachers. I am really very grateful for their awesome teachers. Both kids adore going to school. When Anna wakes up in the morning, she says wistfully, "I wish I was at school already." SAY WHAT? How the times have changed!

/4/ Speaking of school, this is Will's last month at his in-home daycare. In mid-June, he starts full-day summer camp at Anna's current school. So who's going to take care of him after his morning preschool for the first two weeks of June? Well, for the first week, it will be my dad because Luke and I are off...

....

to

...

Hawaii! The kids are staying with my parents over at their house while we are gone. Instead of driving Will from school to daycare and then picking him up in the afternoon, my dad will just bring Will straight home with him after school. It will be more convenient, not to mention money saved. As for the second week of June, we will figure something out.

/5/ So...HAWAII! We are going to the Big Island to be exact. Similar to last year's Aruba trip, this one is on the company. Except that we are extending the trip for a few days so we do need to pay our own way on those days. Of course, that's no big deal considering how much of this vacation is already F-R-E-E. Hubs and I agreed that we are going to take it slow, see what we can and not rush it. Do the stuff that we wouldn't be able to do otherwise with the kids...like eat slowly. I am excited, but I will worry and miss the kids so much (waaaaa!!).

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Spring Family Hike at Riverbend Park

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This weekend I (along with my parents) took the kids for a hike at Riverbend Park. There were many trails to choose from at this county park, and we picked the one that followed along the Potomac River -- Potomac Heritage Trail. It was a beautiful time to be there, and not just because of the sunshine and mild temps, but big clusters of Virginia bluebells were in bloom alongside of the path. We saw several butterflies and other critters, and of course, the view of the river was pretty too.

The kids did great on the hike, which really was more of a walk since the trail stayed flat. But either way, we made the walk from the visitor center to the scenic overlook (Witch Hazel Bluff) and back – total distance of a mile – and they didn't complain one bit. It helped that we took lots of break in between and once we got to the scenic overlook, we rested a while for snack. The scenic overlook, by the way, was not much scenic. I think in the early spring/late winter when the trees are bare, it offers a great vantage point to the river, but all we saw was this:
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So anyway, more about our hike if you are interested in doing the same. From the visitor center, we hiked up north on the Potomac Heritage Trail. Next time though, I think we will take the path south (start near the parking lot, I believe) and hike into Great Falls Park (free admission this way!).

I really didn’t expect the kids to enjoy much of it (they much rather be at the playground), but they both said, “This is a fun park!” I think they liked climbing up to the scenic overlook, crossing a bridge or two, and getting their hands wet at a little stream. We walked for just about an hour. After getting back to the visitor center (which has live animal displays, natural and cultural exhibits), we got ice cream for the kids and they were as happy as clams.

Oh, lastly, there is a pond right outside of the visitor center full of tadpoles that's worth checking out!
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Riverbend Park offers group programs, such as wagon rides and nature tours. Anna and I went on a wagon ride to Poohsticks Bridge about two years ago (oh toddler Anna...).

[+/-] Extra Sugar!