I could probably write 7 different posts about my parents' visit over Easter/Mom's birthday. We kept ourselves busy and did a bunch of fun trips and activities. Since I'm behind on the ol' blog, though, I'll just leave you with one massive post.
Friday, April 22nd
Mom, Dad, and Harmony arrived much earlier than I had anticipated, so I was surprised and not prepared. The kitchen was still a mess from breakfast, and I had hoped to clean the bathroom before they got here. Oh well. Harmony burst into the house yelling, "SIERRA!! WHERE ARE YOU?!" which, of course, woke up the sleeping baby. Sigh. We headed to Culpeper where we went out for pizza and then went to my friend Emily's house for an egg hunt in her back yard. It was a little bit rainy, but the kids still had a good time.
And clearly exhausting.
Saturday, April 23rd
The girls and I had so much fun with Megan and Margaret, that we decided to repeat the excursion with our family. This time, we went to the tulip farm first and then stopped at Yoder's on the way back. The tulip farm had a wine (and jam) tasting that day, and the flowers looked really pretty with little jewels of rain still clinging to the petals.
Sierra, as fearful of the goats as she was when she was younger, now can't wait to feed them.
The big girls really got excited about watching Grandpa make them some peanut butter.
Uncle Zach came over so we had quite the houseful that evening with 5 adults, 3 children, 2 dogs, and 3 cats staying under our one little roof (well, actually, a couple the cats were probably out all night. I can't remember) That evening, we busted out the egg dye and colored up some eggs for ol' E.B. to hide while they slept.
Sunday, April 24th
Easter Sunday. Sierra had been saying, "The rabbits are gonna come and bring chocolate eggs." Well, "the rabbits" delivered. Harmony and Sierra were excited to wake up and find baskets full of way more candy than they should eat. They had fun searching for the hidden eggs, which we then made in to my family's Easter tradition breakfast: goldenrod eggs. It's essentially egg gravy on toast topped with a sprinkle of the egg yolk. The more religious of the group headed off to church, and when everyone had returned, we enjoyed Woodberry's Easter brunch, which is always a treat. There was smoked salmon and bagels, hand carved meat, shrimp cocktail, and an abundance of other tasty things to eat. I attempted to take some photos of my girls and all the cousins in their co-ordinating Easter outfits (courtesy Grandma Ginger) and had marginal success. I'll take what I can get with 2-3 wiggly small people.
There was, of course, a chocolate bunny or two to enjoy.
(Oh, how I love Kaia's expression in that photo!)
We had a low-key afternoon and Jason smoked a ham for dinner, which turned out absolutely delicious. Zach stayed and hung out with us all day and then headed home in the evening.
Monday, April 25th
My mom's birthday. Happy 39th, Mom!! Jason was back to work and the rest of us went to Shenandoah. We planned on hiking Limberlost trail, which is a 1.3 mile circuit on a hard pack greenstone surface. Unfortunately, when we got there, we found that part of the trail had been washed out by the storms the week before and is closed until it can be repaired. Instead, we hiked to where the closure began and then took a spur that lead up to Cresent Rock Overlook.
We hiked together for awhile, and then Mom (whose bum knee was starting to feel wonky) took the two bigger girls (who were getting tired) back down the trail to the car. Dad and I continued with Kaia up to the overlook and then walked down the road until we met up with the others. We found a nice place for a picnic off the Hawksbill Mountain overlook where we could see the mountain while we ate our lunch and soaked up the sun.
We had hoped to hike one more short trail before leaving, but by the time we got close, Sierra had fallen asleep, so we decided to save that one for another day.
We were back in time for me to coach BASS, and it was nice to have my parents around so Jason and I didn't have to juggle child care with BASS practice and his commitments at Woodberry's seated meal.
Tuesday, April 26th
I had a track meet to get ready for that afternoon, and my parents wanted to visit Montpelier, so I offered to watch Harmony while they took a morning and lunch to themselves. Harmony helped entertaining Sierra while I set up for the meet and then I took her to the dining hall for lunch. Not so much a treat for us, but it is when you don't go everyday. Just as we were heading to lunch, I got a text from Jason that a snapping turtle was resting in our yard, but by the time we got home, he had moved on.
Wednesday, April 26th
The Virginia State Park nearest us is Lake Anna State Park. I had been wanting to visit for some time, and my parents, who are avid state park users, also were interested in checking it out. We packed a picnic and then headed along the winding back roads to the park. What a little gem this park is! While we weren't camping this day, we did take a little spin around the campground, which is lovely. The sites are nice and large, each with space for both a trailer and a tent. Many are shaded as well. We drove down to the beach and visitor center area (not open yet) where we found plenty of places to picnic, and a nice large playground. We picnicked right on the lake, and it was really windy, but we had fun and Harmony was super excited to find all kinds of little shells on the lake shore. Sierra, of course, had to help her big cousin.
After lunch, we took a short hike (well, if you can call a paved trail through the woods hiking") around the fishing pond. Sierra wanted to be in the lead and kept insisting, "I'M the leeeeader!"
We drove to another part of the park to do another trail that we saw on the map, but it turns out we missed the trailhead. It ended up alright, though, we just hiked along the water on what appeared to be an access trail for fishing.
There was a playground there, and the girls wanted to play a little bit before we headed home. It was hot, and I felt like I had to keep an eye on Sierra because she just goes so hard. She was all red in the face, but she just kept running.
Thursday, April 27th
With a rainy day in the forecast, we decided to take a field trip to Richmond. First on the list: REI. I love this place. I could wander around in there for hours. We didn't stay for hours, but I did find myself a triathlon top, a raincoat and totally fitting shirt for Sierra that says "Social Butterfly." Next up was Whole Foods, where we wandered around, ground some almond butter, and ate lunch. I discovered Sprout baby foods, and I'm really excited about them. They are all organic, so there's no "weird" stuff in them. Since I make all of our baby food, I want to be sure that there are no "extras" in what I'm feeding the baby. Also, the packaging is a little zip top pouch, so they will be perfect for throwing in my diaper bag or in the lunch bag we take to the dining hall when I don't want to prepare and transport my own baby food.
After lunch, we went to the Children's Museum of Richmond, which was a huge hit with Sierra, Harmony, and even Kaia, who crawled around in the baby area for a little bit.
Sierra loved the fish tank right when we walked in.
Behind that, there was a water table to play in and rocking whales to ride.
There was a castle and a pirate ship. Behind the pirate ship was a huge "sand" box, but it was sand, it was those little rubber bits that track surfaces are made from. Buried in the "sand" were shells and treasures that the kids could dig up.
There was a Jack In the Beanstalk playground in the back and an art room off to the side. The art room was set up with examples of a variety of different projects the kids could complete and all the supplies they needed.
In the middle of the main room was a jungle train that the kids could ride every hour. Sierra loved it and jumped back on for the second go around the track.
It was a little spendy for a frequent outing because adults as well as children have to pay admission, but for a sometimes treat, we really had a good time.
We were back in time to pick up Jason and head up to Culpeper for Mom's birthday dinner. We suggested Thai Culpeper because Jason and I really like the food, and I don't know if my mom had eaten Thai food before then, but she's always up to try something new.
Friday, April 28th
The family heads home. See you in July!
And, I'm once again wishing we didn't live quite so far away. I would love for my children to see their grandparents more than 3 times a year. Perhaps some day our lives will lead us west again.