OBX 2015

The first week of this month, we enjoyed a relaxing week in the Outer Banks with Grandma and Grandpa.  We managed to get the same house we had 3 years ago (even though I was convinced for some reason it had been razed by a hurricane in the interim).  The chief appeal here is the direct access to the beach, and the ability to watch the sun rise and set from the comfort of the deck.


As an avid sky-watcher, I found plenty to look at all week, though the highlight was probably the electrical storm we got to watch one night as it lit up the skies a few miles away.  Living in the tree-filled suburbs, you don’t often get a feel for the true size of a storm, or the play of lightning from cloud to cloud, but with a miles-long unobstructed view of the storm out over the coast, it’s like the world’s biggest fireworks display.  Sorry I couldn’t manage any photos for here.

The kids enjoyed the water all week, even though for the most part they couldn’t wade in too far due to treacherous rip tides.  After Labor Day, the lifeguards packed up and left for the year.


Collecting shells was a popular passtime. This week I was trying to organize the garage and found a collection of shopping bags filled with shells the kids (and I) had picked up over the course of the week.  It probably weighs about ten pounds.  I’m pretty sure we left a few on the beach, though you wouldn’t know it from that pile.


Grace was easily the biggest beach bum, angling for walks with Grandma every chance she got.  Somehow every “walk” ended up getting her wet.  Meanwhile the boys were just as content hanging out inside, playing video games and watching untold hours of “American Ninja Warrior” repeats.  But when we did get Jason out on the sand, he seemed to have a good time.



For the grown-ups, the trip was largely about food.  Laura and I made sure to get out to our favorite spot, Kill Devil Grill, as often as we could, and over the course of the week we ate way too many Duck Donuts (and yet, somehow, not enough of them).  I even broke down and tried fish tacos at one eatery, and found they’re surprisingly a lot better than they sound.

I went in with vague plans for seeing the Wright Memorial again, or climbing Jockey’s Ridge early one morning, or maybe even a horse sightseeing tour for Grace.  But by silent consensus we all seemed to agree to just relax and recharge, instead.  It helped that most kids had to return to school that week, so after the holiday Monday the crowds diminished considerably, and things were comparatively quiet. We even fit in a little birthday party for Grace, who turned 7 (gulp!) that Wednesday.


Thanks for the fun, OBX.  See you next time.




April Adventures

Weekend before last, Jason, Scott and I traveled with Troop 800 to Sherando Lake park, near Waynesboro for a weekend of camping.  Jason’s chief goal was to fulfil his requirement to complete a 5-mile hike, which he did, in spades, since it turned into a little more than 8 miles by the time it was over.  We enjoyed a nice lunch by a waterfall and a couple evenings under beautiful, clear, starry skies (even if we were on high alert for bears the whole time).


As plans were shaping up for the trip, I let Scott know he had a rare chance to come along, even though he’s still in Webelos.  When I told him it would be over two nights and parts of three days, he said, “I don’t think I want to go camping more than one night.  What are we going to do?”  We’ll be hiking.  “I don’t like to hike.”  I told him if he doesn’t like camping and doesn’t like hiking, maybe he should re-think the whole scouting thing.  As it turned out, he had a great time, including learning the art of lashing.


On Sunday, it was back to Richmond for the PBS “Explore the Outdoors” event, where we caught up with Laura and Grace, who’d spent the day before shopping and watching the new “Cinderella” movie with Granny.  Before the rain came to spoil the fun, Grace got to catch up with an old friend.


Happy 2013

Well, here we are.  Another year, another embarrassingly long lapse between posts.  Just to add insult to injury, I managed to lose a few recent posts during a change of servers, making this place look even more abandoned.  But hey, maybe this will be the year I turn it all around and keep the site humming with fascinating new posts on a regular basis.  Uh-huh.

One of the (many) other things we’ve been remiss in doing is getting professional photos taken of the kids.  I realized how bad it had gotten when I noticed the photo of Grace on my desk at work was taken around her first birthday.  She’s now 4.  Anyone who’s met our photogenic princess knows that’s a crime, but happily one of Laura’s friends was able to help us out with a fun session near her home.  I thought the images turned out phenomenally well.

Otherwise, it was a month of R&R for me, as I took just over two weeks off from work to hang out with Laura and the kids.  Not that it really felt like two weeks, mind you; what with the shopping and baking etc that goes with the holidays, and various odd jobs that needed doing around the house, the time passed in the blink of an eye.

As of this writing, the Christmas tree is still up.  I’ve long since given up trying to talk Laura into letting me take it down each year before I return to work, and now she’s produced the results of a “Today Show” poll that says a majority of folks think it should stay up until Jan. 6.  As anyone can tell you, there is no opinion that matters to me so much as that of the average Matt Lauer fan, so I guess the issue is solved once and for all, now.

Along with the tree and a small army of nutcrackers inherited from my grandmother, the house is also “decorated” with various toy and game boxes that haven’t yet found a permanent home, and probably about a million tiny Lego pieces awaiting their date with destiny (ie: the vacuum cleaner) behind, under and around the furniture in every room in the joint.

Luckily we’d gone ahead and stocked up on presents for Christmas, despite the dire predictions of the end of the world.  The kids had as much fun with that foolishness as anyone; all day long on Dec. 21, Gracie kept turning her head to say, “Ka-BOOM!” as if from off-stage, only to turn back to me and add, “Really!  It wasn’t me that time!”

The presents went about as you’d expect; multiple chess sets for Jason (one electronic, another a “four-way” version), scads of Legos for Scott, a pile of Hello Kitty and Lala Loopsy stuff for Grace and video games and books galore.  Also,  Jason was happy to get his “Risk 2210″ game, since regular Risk, which he’d only had for a couple months, is so passe.  (After all, without the 2210 upgrade you can only take over the world, and not moon bases).

On New Year’s Eve, we let the boys stay up to watch the first Harry Potter movie on DVD and Jason made it to midnight to see what a big deal the Times Square ball drop is(not).  Now we’re positioned for a new year of fun adventures, some of which might hopefully even end up chronicled here.  To any and all who still follow the goings on at this blog, Happy New Year from all of us.  We hope it’s a great one.


Photos – Easter 2011

Yes, I know it’s July…the triple-digit temps were a major clue…but I did promise earlier to post some of the photos here that I’ve failed to post in anything like a timely manner on the kids’ site.  So here’s a fond look back at April of this year, when going outside didn’t involve taking your life into your own hands, when grass was green and soft instead of brown and crunchy, and hidden here and there were colorful plastic eggs filled with goodies.





Thanks to the kids’ numerous allergies, the eggs were stuffed mainly with toys instead of edibles, but they’re cool with that.  Belated thanks to Granny and Grandaddy for hosting the hunt, as always.