Last week, we took a long weekend trip up to Pennsylvania Dutch country primarily to visit Dutch Wonderland, a family/kids amusement park located just outside of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Although the excitement caused a few issues with Lily’s sleep schedule, we all had a really great time! I’ve updated Lily’s 2012 album with some photos from the trip.
And the end of August means back to school for Stephanie (again working half-time for the county), and the start of preschool for Lily!
Beach cutie! (July)
As in past years, we have just returned from a great week in Corolla, North Carolina for family beach week. It’s always nice to get away for a bit, and with each year Lily has more and more fun running around in the sand and surf. I’ve added a slew of beach photos to Lily’s latest album, which also includes other summer fun we’ve had so far: soccer camp at the South Run Rec Center, visiting Grandma and Opa in Richmond, and a very hot afternoon at the City of Fairfax 4th of July Parade.
Barring any more unexpected derechos, we should be able to pack in a lot more craziness before September!
Stephanie has had her last day of school, so that’s enough to call it the official start of summer. With that, Lily said a final goodbye to her friends at daycare; it was really just another day for her, but Steph and I couldn’t help but feel bittersweet about it. She’s had two incredible years there, and it truly helped shape her little personality in wonderful ways. But it also means our baby is growing up! Everyone is eager and excited to see what adventures await in preschool in the Fall.
We’ve been having some fun now that the weather is warm and daylight hours push right into bedtime. As seen in recent photos, Lily has been spending a ton of time at Hidden Pond Nature Center, a little park just down the street. In addition to the usual pond/woods/mosquito fun, the Nature Center has exhibits and educational programs that Lily has really taken to. It’s a tiny little place, but it seems like there’s always something new to do.
Last weekend, we went to the annual Celebrate Fairfax festival – a huge community fair that we had been hearing good things about. It was a blast, and Lily had a great time playing games, eating junk food, and screaming with glee on some of her first carnival rides. From a mommy/daddy perspective, it was a success – decent price on tickets, very kid-friendly atmosphere, and good entertainment even for the 3-year-olds.
Finally, as seen in the thumbnail above, my eagerly-awaited inaugural homebrew recently emerged from the basement, and I’m happy to report that it was actually drinkable! The one gallon batch yielded about six and a half 16-ounce bottles, each of which were consumed selectively over the course of the past two or three weeks. Hopefully this is a casual hobby that I can continue – despite the effort, it was fun and rewarding. Also, it appears that Whole Foods sells various grain packs, so another batch is right around the corner.
Challenging everything we knew about good nutrition, Lily started Easter 2012 like every good 3-year-old should: with chocolate for breakfast. It certainly isn’t every day we break out the wet wipes at 7am for that kind of cleanup. She held herself together, though, for a fun day of celebration with family. Then, through some cruel twist of irony, Lily went for her first trip to the dentist the very next day. She did a great job, and came back with enthusiasm for brushing and a whole new set of stories to tell.
Later in the month, we checked out the Spring-Mar Touch-A-Truck event, which gives kids a chance to climb around real fire trucks, garbage trucks, and other big equipment. We arrived a bit late, but still had a fun time. And Lily was playing shy, so only “looked” while Steph and I climbed around and honked horns.
April also marked Lily’s first trip to the circus! We all had a really great time; definitely worth the price of admission (despite the Groupon). The show (at the George Mason Patriot Center) was packed with people and excitement and though she had some ants-in-the-pants towards the middle, a box of popcorn, roaring tigers, and parading elephants held Lily’s attention. It’s almost a month later now and she still talks about it!
I’ve started Lily’s 2012 photo album – keep track of that, because I update it more frequently than the actual blog.
Grown-up activities last month included a terrific concert with Colin Hay (former front man of Men At Work) at the Birchmere - thanks to Becca for the tickets! I also finally broke open a Christmas present and am trying my hand at home brewing. The 1 gallon kits are pretty neat – self-contained, with everything you need to brew up a batch of tasty goodness. I bottle next week, then wait another two weeks until it’s completely ready. Fingers crossed that it turns out!
Another year, another February filled with all kinds of birthdays – mine, Lily’s, Becca’s, Aaron’s, and what seemed like a score of others among friends and family. Lily managed two separate parties herself. First there was the “kids” party, which was a Blue’s Clues themed extravaganza featuring all kinds of sugar, screaming, and stickers. It was the best kind of chaos. The second party was a bit more calm (despite the crazy cousins), but a great time among immediate family. The winning gifts included a Magna Doodle, marble run, create-your-own bead jewelry, and -holy cow- a Ford Mustang Power Wheels. Thanks, Uncle Drew! Lily will see you in 13 years.
We were also happy to hear recently that Lily will be enrolled in the First Baptist Christian Day School starting in the Fall. It will be sad to leave her current daycare provider, who has been a wonderful part of Lily’s life for almost two years. But it’s time for our big girl to move on up!
Following up from our last post, our refinance process did finally go through, and Steph and I spent a romantic Valentine’s Day afternoon together signing papers in a generic Title company conference room. Well worth it, though.
I have a load of photos to get through from the past month, but expect those to be posted soon. Yikes – I’ll need to start a 2012 album now. And it’s already March. Tick tock, tick tock.
We spent the morning today touring two local preschool programs for Lily, with the intent to start her in the Fall. It was the first time I had come along – Stephanie and Lily had already visited three other places in recent weeks. Stephanie is thoroughly familiar with these kinds of settings; for me, there was a lot to take in. In one respect, I suppose that’s good – it’s nice to see programs that are established, structured, and reputable. But hey, she’s only three. (Which I know is no excuse! How else will she EVER get into Harvard?!) We’ll find a good balance, and make a decision soon – registration deadlines for most of the schools is around the first week of February.
In other family news, we’re in the middle of refinancing our mortgage. Rates were too low to pass up, and though we’ve only been in our current place for a year and a half, the potential monthly savings will be significant. And surprisingly, the stack of paperwork is only a fraction of the loads we’ve seen in the past. Rate’s been locked in, and the appraisal was done this week – so now we wait.