It's been a great weekend for my husband to finally have a weekend off. As I type this - he is bringing the kids to Sunday School for the first time since sometime in December.
Yesterday was a full day.
Soccer in the morning for Mark. Home for a quick lunch. Karate belt test in the afternoon for both Brian and Mark. (Brian is now a purple belt and Mark a yellow) Home again. Greg ran to check out a lead he had on a deceased man's carving equipment. He came home happy and with a new scroll saw, some clamps and a huge pile of books. It was good he brought the van. Any thoughts of us ever parking in the garage again are completely laughable.
And in the evening, Wendy and I (on the right) ran our first 5K of the year. (The second one is already scheduled for May)
Our friends both got first place in their age groups. Wendy and I both beat our last 5K's time (Melonfest, last August) by a couple minutes.
Still a couple minutes shy of my best time, but not my worst. Bonus - I won the bib draw grab bag prize - a goodie bag filled with a shirt, hat, coffee, granola bars, gum, notebooks, pen, flower and vegetable seeds, ear buds and more. Fun!!
As for today -
I agreed (a rare occurrence) to do a photo shoot this afternoon, and I have hopes of getting to the gym sometime today.
Greg is back to out of town again (Chicago) next weekend. We're enjoying living in the moment.
It's been awhile since I put out a day in the life post, so I figured I'd give it a shot today. It was such a beautiful day, and the daffodils are blooming.
The lilacs, still my favorite, are budding. I'm up to five lilac trees now with the three shoots I planted having really taken off. One of them is taller than me already. Fingers crossed that they bloom well this season.
I'm a little slow this year - but finally got my first loads of the season on the line. Three in all. I did another three with the dryer. Hard to keep up.
Mark - still the first one up each day. He wakes up, gets dressed, eats - and then clonks around sighing heavily - hoping to wake someone else up because he's bored.
At 9:45am I finally pushed Brian out of bed so he would have time to eat and get ready for soccer. He crammed the last of his bagel into his mouth a split second before this photo.
Before we headed out to soccer, I woke up the girls and gave them very stern behave instructions. They still managed to break the garage light and let the dog run away while I was gone - so it's a good thing I was stern.
I had gone to the depths of the dungeon last night and dug out the soccer bucket. They both found something that worked for the day. Brian is going to look again before next time. He's a little trickier given his orthotics.
I was so tickled to see the new walking path around the fields. I'll bring my Garmin next time - but I did figure out that one lap was 727 steps. I did five laps. It sure took the edge of sitting through three hours of soccer.
We all packed snacks and lunches to nibble on. The half hour between their practices worked well. Mark's practice complete - he decided rolling his socks down would be a good.
A Mark gem from the day:
Mark: I drank some of my Gatorade so I'd get my stalactites. Me: Electrolytes. Mark: Oh. Well I was close. They both end in ites.
His Saturday night tub required more scrubbing than usual.
We stopped at Meijer on the way home and picked up the things I forgot yesterday.
Did I mention it was beautiful out? We were outdoors all.day.long.
Brian and I both have sunburns. What we don't have is a completed science fair project.
Rocket. He looks better now that his hair is growing back a little bit.
I took an exhausted fiver between switching loads of laundry. Wendy paid of the rest of her spring break debt and massaged my aching feet.
When I woke up, Wendy was reading stories story hour style. I rubbed my eyes and looked again. Yep.
The Fed Ex guy stopped by. Wendy and I are SO ready for next week's Glow Run 5K. I might have to hire a babysitter for the boys - but we're ready.
Outside. All day. Next week is supposed to be miserable. We absorbed.
Rocket got into a discussion with the dog next door. They're not friends.
Greg is out of town again (Chicago). I dinner cheated. Thanks Schwan's.
The ball went over the neighbor's fence.
The neighbor girl went home to see if she could find it. Brian was trying to help her spot it.
I'm crossing my fingers for rhubarb this year. I'm going to have to get a fence up soon.
The first bonfire of the year. If Greg starts a fire - he uses boy scout juice. I use the slower sticks and newspaper way. It satisfies me.
Roasted marshmallows aren't something I crave, but I enjoy the challenge of roasting one to the perfect brown. We used the branches that I had just trimmed from the lilac tree.
Man, it was a gorgeous day.
Showered - it was finally time to crack the whip on the science fair project. Tomorrow he'll assemble his poster board. Tomorrow is supposed to be cold and rainy.
I often status a list of ten things on facebook, but being as how I got my blog-groove back on this past week, I thought I'd bring that here today.
I love Mondays. Even after spring break. I woke up early this morning and made my lists. When my job shift was done (I was Mrs. C today, rather than myself) I immediately came home and began knocking things off.
Our next few weeks are appointment-full.
Ears and dentists. But don't worry - I didn't schedule any for during M-Step testing. (Michigan assessments - the replacement of MEAPS)
37 days left of school. There were a lot of teachers who knew the exact count when they came in this morning.
I was a little bit apprehensive about how Rocket was going to be last night. He's used to sleeping in his kennel at home, but he whined for the dog-sitter and got a ticket to her bed.
He knew better than to whine at home. Or perhaps he craved the crate after being attacked with our wild lot again.
Random: I counted every single calorie on vacation. I was hoping I'd lose at least four pounds for my efforts, but I did lose 1.5.
Wendy and I are headed to the gym after dinner. Greg starts traveling again - so we're going when we can.
I'm waiting for Greg to get home for dinner so I can hear how the van rental return went.
Meatballs and potatoes for dinner - the house is sniffin' good.
I had already been tossing and turning when the phone rang at 7:30am to schedule our horse rides. Time of ride? 10am, but be there at 9:30.
Perfect. We woke up to the most beautiful final day of vacation.
Greg got Buddy, I got Rosy, Wendy got Kate, Mark got Apache and I forgot the name of Brian's horse.
Wendy was a little surprised when we got started. "Wait - you mean they don't lead us with the rope?"
I had Brian in front of me and Mark behind me.
I was thinking I would have preferred to have Mark in front of me, but I imagine he was more comfortable being able to see me. He did well, but was glad when we made it back to the stables.
I tried a few times to take a blind photo of Mark behind me. I was pleased with this one. Wendy is behind Mark, and Greg is in the red shirt in the back.
I thought about straightening it out for the blog post but then thought - nah.
Two of Mark's teachers had asked him to share pictures of his vacation when he got back. It's worked out as an ideal way to get him to cooperate for photos. I'm going to plan it to happen again in the future.
We were so warm after our horse ride that the kids were hoping for Slurpees. They were SO disappointed. They kept being told that it should be ready in a half an hour. They checked back about four times during the day.
Clothes changed, Wendy and I hit the tennis court.
Wendy and I stink at tennis.
We gave it an honest effort for awhile and then turned in our tennis rackets for putt-putt clubs.
The boys were a hole ahead of us when we started.
We went back and forth the whole game, but Wendy won in the end.
Mark dropped his money egg. Again.
Dad cooked up some hotdogs on the grill for lunch, and then we headed out again with the thought of using the paddle boats, but our numbers didn't equate to a good match for paddle boating. They didn't have any four person boats, you had to be 18 to go alone, and nobody wanted to be left out except me.
We decided on a pontoon boat ride instead. It was very relaxing.
Then Greg and Brian went out on the paddle boat while I walked with Wendy and Mark to check if the Slurpee machine was ready YET. It was not. We got ice cream instead.
And then we hit the game room for a few matches of air hockey and ping pong.
And the inevitable lost token in the non-labeled broken machine.
And, finally, the slurpee machine was working.
We cleaned out the remains of our fridge for supper, balancing it out with some smoked pork from the restaurant directly across from our yurt. It was delicious.
I capped my evening with one more walk to the horses.
Total steps for the day? 22,998 as of this posting. I'm showered and ready for bed. We've got our alarms set for 5am and an early start for home. The DC traffic should be a little better than it was on Monday.
The daylight woke us up early in the yurt. Brian still manages to sleep the latest no matter that it was light or that he was sleeping in the bustling living area - so Greg and I used up some time by getting in a nice 5000 step power walk up and down the hills. It was misty, but not entirely rainy
Everyone up - we made our way over to the Luray Caverns. It was much busier today than it was in November of 2005. The line moved quickly though.
The tour takes just over an hour, and the entire thing is bricked or paved - which is amazing to me. What a lot of work that must have been at the time.
Look closely at the above photo. It's a lake, so a reflection.
This was our group. It seems like a lot of people, but it was still easy to hear the presentation.
After our tour, we headed to KFC for lunch. The majority ruled.
We then headed up to the Skyline Drive, where Greg heard a lot of me saying - slow down, they give tickets up here too....you know, and I bet they are more expensive, and keep the kids from falling over the edge...I can't look.
We traveled 50 miles in the park before heading back down to the main roads.
Back at our place, I had Greg drop me off at the corner so I could go take pictures of the horses. I had some of my favorite pictures at the same time of day ten years ago, so was anxious to give it another go.
It was apparent, when I walked up, that something out of the norm was going on. Upon further inspection and some inquiry, I learned that the horses had busted the fence and were on the other field. The boss wanted them back in their own field. The concern was that the newborns wouldn't survive the night in the other field.
If you look closely, you can see the Kubota trying to round the horses up in the above photo. The problem was that she had no help and the field was huge. They'd cooperate for a moment and then make a dash for it. An impossible task for just one person. I felt for her - she was not enjoying the moment.
After giving it a valid attempt for over an hour, only to get a horse or two to the other side and only to have them escape again - she ended up overheating the Kubota and had to come up with a better plan.
The boss was on the phone telling her to lead all the horses back one by one, but they knew freedom when they had it, and bolted whenever she got close.
Eventually the head manager showed up and drove her own personal van out onto the field - and with the help a just a few more people to keep the horses from fanning back out - they eventually got them where they belong.
I think this place needs a good border collie.
Back on their own side of the fence, they were staging a revolt. I was waiting to see if they'd break through again, but they didn't on my watch.
I made my way back to our yurt, stopping to catch my people playing chess on the way.
Mark loves chess.
Back at the yurt, I opened the shades and got dinner started.
Five minutes later the sky opened up. I mean REALLY opened up - thunder, lightening and everything. I had to scramble back outside and put the plastic layer over the windows to keep the rain from coming in the screen. I then began texting Greg that I would pick them up if dinner was ready before the rain stopped - but before I could send the text, they came soaking wet into the door. I forgot to take a photo I'm slippin'
Today we had to be out of our Williamsburg digs by 11am, but couldn't check into our Gordonsville digs until 4pm.
It's an hour and a half drive from one to the other, and we were packed up by 10am, so we had time to kill. We had originally thought that we'd walk around Jamestown today, but the rainy cold weather had us changing our minds. We headed back to Newport News instead and visited the Mariners' Museum. This is the museum that Greg had intended on visiting yesterday but forgot the brochure for - so his guessing brought us to a different museum in Portsmouth. That one took ten minutes to go through. This one took over three hours. It was amazing.
We started with a 3D movie on a big screen. We thought it was going to be on mysteries of sea life because we read too quickly and that's what the poster gave us the impression of, but it was actually a movie about the mysteries of the unseen world. Like super close up 3D photos of all the bacteria that live on and around your body.
I think I actually laughed loudly at one point just at the hilarity of Wendy having to sit through this. But most of the time I was squirming, trying to keep my own trypophobia in check. We also found out on this trip that Brian has inherited my rare quirk.
Basically - the movie wasn't a good fit for our family and we couldn't get out of there fast enough.
As for the museum itself - very neat. We had no idea how big it was, and were there for hours. We rushed through the last parts because we were all starving, and starving Tormanens can be dangerous. Especially five of them at once.
We ended up at iHop for lunch. We inhaled our meals. so hungry we were. We ordered the boy's meals off the adult menu as we knew the kid's meals wouldn't be enough for them. We were right.
Fat, full and happy - we began our journey to Gordonsville.
It's a downsize from our previous place. One bathroom instead of four. Two televisions instead of seven. It's a hardship. We've heard about these yurts for awhile, and were excited to have the chance to try one out. I'd describe it as glamping. The walls and roof are a heavy canvas. I can hear the rain, similar to a tent. It's fully furnished and very warm.
When I made our reservation, I had read that the pools were heated and open.
Now the website says they are closed for routine maintenance and will be open again soon. Darnit. The weather is still crummy, but our kids will swim in anything.
We stayed at this resort previously, in November of 2005. At that time they offered one free horseback ride for guests. This resort has expanded in size since we were here last, and they don't offer the free ride anymore, but we're hoping to ride on Saturday when the weather is nicer. Tomorrow is looking crummy also, so we'll head to the Luray Caverns.
Wendy and I found the fitness center tonight so I could work off my high calorie iHop lunch.
I got antsy and started pushing kids out of their beds at about 10am.
Finally all up and dressed - we headed to Virginia Beach. It was frigid and foggy. About two minutes after this photo - the kid in the photo nearly fell completely in. He saved himself, but drowned his sneakers. The only shoes he has on this trip. We hit the stores soon after and found him a pair of $5 water shoes. Live and learn. The wave that hit him gave him quite a spook.
While on our walking tour, I happened to glance down and saw a pile of money on the ground. I beckoned the boys over while announcing, "Scramble!!" (Anyone else have flashbacks to the fourth of July money scrambles from the firetrucks at the VFW hall on First Street?)
They pounced. There was almost $5 in change. Mark's plastic egg is nearly overflowing now.
After finding Mark's new shoes - we piled back in our new van (now up to 154 miles) and headed to Portsmouth.
Greg had seen a brochure with a museum he wanted to check out, but had left it back at our condo so was going from memory. This wasn't it.
That adventure complete - we piled in the van again and made it through the tunnel before the four o' clock rush and to the Living Museum in Newport News.
It was a good day.
Back at our place - we made tacos for supper, and then Wendy and I took a drive to the sister resort where the gym is - five miles away.
Tomorrow morning we'll pack up and take in Jamestown for a few hours before heading over to our next three nights in Shenandoah Valley.
This morning started early. Our choice. Being timeshare owners, our vacations often include an update meeting that we purposely schedule first thing in the morning so as to get back to the kids just as they are stumbling out of bed.
Our meeting ran a little longer than expected - so Greg took a time-out to go and exchange our van at the pre-scheduled time. But guess what? This is working towards being the rental vehicle that is going to be shared during all bad rental conversations. With grimaces.
Greg showed up at the Enterprise Rent-A-Car location only to be told that they didn't have a van for us as we were told. They went on to tell us that they were told to bring our tire to Discount Tire to be fixed, and to teach us how to use our heating/cooling controls in the van. We'd been patted on the head and coddled by our home town representative.
Have you ever seen smoke come out of my husband's ears?
Greg told them he entire story, that we needed a replacement because the heating is broken - and they came out to check it out. They agreed. Yep - totally broken, with an added "that must have been awful." But that didn't magically make a van appear. They were never told to get one for us.
We ended up having to go to a third place, who turns out were also called by our at home gal yesterday and told that we might be getting a visit from a couple who doesn't know how to work their van's heat controls. Seriously.
We walked out of that place with a brand-new van with only 6.6 miles on it.
And I won't be returning the van on Monday when we get home - Greg will.
Bye-bye bad van. You're a winter only rental - when the heat blowing doesn't matter.
New van picked up, we headed back to base for lunch and then out to Williamsburg. The rain was holding off a bit - although still threatening - so we decided to do our outdoor stuff today and indoor stuff tomorrow when there is more threats of rain.
Okay. Funny story of the day. Wendy had spotted an art museum with the banner sharing blooms, bugs and birds. I think. We walked over, only to find that we would have to pay $12.99 each for that experience. The lady pointed to her right and said, 'but you can see our insane asylum museum for free"
You have to know Wendy's aversions to really REALLY find the humor in this. Boy, did we roar. And we visited the insane asylum museum. For free.
Oh, Mark. Mark had found a clever new way to carry around his money. In a plastic Easter egg.
He dropped it and scattered his money at least three times by my count. He started with $1.57. I'm not sure how much he has now.
I wish a could remember what was funny this time.
Greg was walking by this church yard and remarked - huh, that's interesting that they have some of the graves above the ground.
The boys: We can't see!!
And proof that I'm getting my relax on. All bifocally with the new Kindle, trying to load a bedtime story I chose a book with good reviews - The Secret Zoo by Bryan Chick. They just started reading it now. Sticking to the routines.....
As for tomorrow - a few options.
We may drive to Virginia Beach. We may check out the Living Museum in Newport News. We may head over to Jamestown. and we may go to Ripley's.
We left home this morning at 6:20 am - twenty minutes behind our goal. We're slippin'.
About an hour into the trip we realized the reason we were all so hot was that our rental van wouldn't stop blowing hot air. This is the same van that had me wanting to go back to the rental place on Friday and complain about the low air tire. This was the same van that almost had me pulling over on Friday night on my way home from church because the windows had been washed with a greasy rag and were nearly impossible to see out of when night driving.
And now constant heat???
We're just thankful that it wasn't raining. We rode windows down the whole way and still had back sweat. We're getting a replacement van in the morning.
After battling DC traffic for what felt like hours, and making it to our condo thirteen hours after leaving home - we had a couple of cranky kids. Oddly enough, Mark was the cheery one.
Our unit is the one on the far right. It was the only place available when I made reservations.
It sleeps ten. So far we've found seven tv's, three full baths and one half bath.
This is Wendy's room.
This is the room that caused us two cranky kids.
Brian felt he deserved this room because he called the balcony room before we even left home. Wendy felt she deserved this room because she made it out of the van and into the room first, claiming it by throwing all of her luggage on it. Dad through down the law and said it's our room, because that's the way it should be.
The boy's room. Complete with Brian spunking under the blanket on the window seat.
Two of the showers are like this. A rain shower and another sprayer that sprays straight. It was delicious.
After settling in and cleaning out our van in preparation for tomorrow's early morning trade, we headed to the grocery store and had some frozen pizza for a late dinner.
Well - they did. I went for a walk and got the remainder of my 10,000 steps in.
We're not sure yet what we'll do tomorrow. There is rain in the forecast for the next two days. This is our wing-it as we go getaway.