Sunday, January 26, 2014

Camping Fun and PQ 15-21

Yes, it's January now that I'm posting. I started this post a long time ago but never finished it. Now I want to get it posted before we go on our next big adventure!

We have a goal of camping once a month but with James away almost the whole summer that's pretty tough. I will take the kids by myself lots of places- museums, hiking, driving half way across the country, ... but not quite ready for camping without James. so we were very excited that James could meet us on his way home from Kentucky this summer and we could fit in another camping trip this summer.

The kids and I left early Sunday morning. Thankfully we decided to do Woodmont Park Quest (15) first even though it's a little farther west than Fort Frederick because it was a 4 mile hike. Not mountainous or super hot like some of the the hikes but still 4 miles is a good little hike. Especially if you're 4 or if you are carrying a baby on your back! But it was so nice! Beautiful, nice out- no waterfalls or mountain views just pretty woods. Loved it! Then like most park quest days, we had lunch in the car on the way to the next park quest. Fort Frederick (16). This turned out to be one of the kids' favorite Park Quests.  History + outdoors is definitely a win in our book!

Super reenactors
Beautiful day

And uniforms to try on

And you have 

super happy


And after finishing our park quest, we hit the beach! We love the beach!
Even baby C played in the sand!
And then it got even better. Daddy got there! He met us there on his way home from Kentucky- first time we'd seen him since 4th of July in Texas. We did a first for us- cabin camping. Don't envision any elaborate cabin- this was very basic- one night we had a a cabin with a futon in one room, and bunk beds and double bed in the other. The second night a double bed in one room and 2 sets of bunk beds in the other. There was room for C to sleep on the floor too! We had a great trip. We roasted hotdogs, made s'mores, ate by the fire, without having to set up or break down a tent. (or have a tent breakdown on us in the crazy storm.) The first night we camped at Rocky Gap- beautiful park. Another bonus of the cabin was it didn't take long to pack up Monday morning.   We did Park Quest #17 before leaving Rocky Gap. The Park Quest was really neat. We pretended we were an African American family enslaved in the 1830s in Maryland. We learned about the Underground Railroad as we traveled on the trail to freedom. Lots of the clues along the way were camouflaged so well they were really hard to find but we made it and then headed west to our next quest.

We did do a little fishing but they weren't biting. I think the people fishing before us fed them all.

We headed west and stopped at New Germany State Park (18) where the 2 big boys and I completed "Raiders of the Lost Park" Park Quest. We learned about invasive plants and animals while we hiked around the park. The boys really enjoyed the nature center and the 3 smaller kids enjoyed a nap!
From there we headed to Casselmann River Bridge(19). When the bridge was built in 1813, it was the longest single span stone arch bridge in America. It proved important to our country over the years. And next to the bridge was a cute artisan village where we watched artists performing their crafts- drawing, weaving, carving, ... One of the many things we've loved about Park Quest is the places we've seen that we probably wouldn't have gone to- this village was one of those.

T in the one room schoolhouse in the artisan village
From there we continued to Deep Creek Lake- the very western edge of Maryland. We quickly set up our cabin and had walking tacos and s'mores.

We were so glad we were in a cabin because the storm that night was terrible. The next morning we saw several families' tents had been knocked over. All the fun of camping without getting as wet. We did change our breakfast plans and ate in an unnamed restaurant instead of cooking and eating in the rain. But the rain didn't stop our fun! We learned about the history of firefighting in the Maryland Park Service and
we even got practice putting out fires for Park Quest 20.
We loved Deep Creek Lake. The Discovery Center was wonderful. Terrific displays of animals. Lots of hands on activities. Definitely the largest nature center of the MD state parks. But the highlight of the park quest for the kids was skipping rocks with Daddy on the lake.
From there we went to our last Park Quest out west #21. Talk about saving the best views for last. Beautiful, amazing, wow!

The kids loved the rocks overhead dripping down- like an outdoor shower!
A nice man took a picture of all of us. He also pointed to the raging waterfall and told us that last year the water was so calm his son had gone swimming right there. Amazing what a change the weather makes. And what a display of God's power- in the water falls, the beauty!

We had a super trip! Lots of wonderful memories. The kids and baby were all real troopers on the drives and hikes. We had a wonderful trip. Park Quest is one of the things we'll miss most about Maryland when we move.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Time is literally flying by. K always laugh when I say it seems like he was born yesterday. but that saying about the days are long but the years are short is so true. It really does seem like yesterday that baby C was born. Now she's doing so many fun things. She walks all over the place. We went to the park last week and she didn't want to swing or see saw because she was so happy that she could walk everywhere. On the way to the park, she noticed her shadow and was so excited. It took us a long time to get there because she kept playing with her shadow. So fun! She's saying more words now. She signs please when she wants to :)  She knows "sit bottom" and does it really well when there's food involved. She is a super eater  (loves liver, brussel sprouts, carrots, peas, plain pumpkin...)  but when she's not very hungry she knows what she likes and lets you know. She's learned to shake her head no and nod yes and she can almost nod without moving her whole body. She loves the kids and they're crazy about her even if she's sure she should be able to have everything she wants- working on that :)

well as I write this, I see that although time is flying by, I am able to appreciate some of these small steps. Soon we'll be flying in more ways. Flying as in all the things we need to do before moving this summer and flying to our new destination! Only K and C have ever flown and they weren't old enough to remember. The last time we flew was for my 10 year reunion so K had just turned two. This time they'll remember. Getting ready to move is a different experience this time too. The kids understand a lot more now so we've been talking about the good and not so good things about moving. They're a little nervous but we're so thankful to know people who've lived where we're going. I told the kids they could send questions to our friends' kids who lived there.

We are taking time to enjoy here too. We enjoyed having James home with us an extra couple days this week thanks to snow. The kids got to go sledding three days this week. Good times! Scones, gingerbread tea, and poems one day. Super beef stew tonight. We're enjoying read about Marco Polo, Michaelangelo, the Little Princess, good times!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Happy Birthday C!

I can't believe it's been 8 years since C's arrival. He arrived with a bang and hasn't stopped!  I am so thankful for our little fighter. And so thankful to God for our  miracle!  I do think it's fitting that he was born in winter because I don't think he has a lukewarm bone in his body.
Sharing the batter with baby sister- our first ones definitely weren't licking beaters at one!
C had so much fun playing tennis at Williamsburg that he wanted a tennis birthday. I wasn't sure how that would work in January but we went with it. The morning of his birthday it poured raining so we couldn't go play tennis but we played wii tennis, went to Pizza Hut for Book it lunch, and then the lego store. So a good day! Plus these fun traditions.

C was also sure what he wanted his cake to look like and I think he and James did a great job!

Playing the lego game from Nana and Papa was lots of fun!

Daddy made pancakes!

Baby C's first day playing at the park
 We went down to Grandma's house the Friday after C's birthday and had a super weekend. C got a gun for his birthday and was so excited to shoot in Grandma's backyard.

Baby C and Uncle B napping! 
 I didn't recognize Brian when he got home from work Friday since he's lost so much weight- over 70 pounds!
James and I fired the shotgun- my first time firing in a long time!

We took a trip to the park for a hike and family game of tag.  Either the kids are getting fast or I'm getting slow!

Baby C enjoyed cuddling time with Grandma while the rest of the LewCrew played tag.
I didn't get pics with Pops Leon but the kids all enjoyed visiting and special presents- carvings and jewelry. and K is especially excited about his wood carving kit. 
We had a super visit! It was really nice to see everyone and spend a weekend of no cooking, cleaning, .. nothing off the to do list except plan for our big move!

New Years

Happy New Year! I can't believe another year has passed. The quote about the years being short is so true. I'm always telling K how it seems like he was just born yesterday! (Even if some of the days are long!) So we didn't take pictures New Years Eve but we did have a nice day. It was really nice to just be home especially after a super trip. Two years ago we started an appetizer tradition for New Years and we continued this year. I wasn't sure how it would work out with C's dairy allergy but it turned out great. We went to BJs on the 30th for our last BJs shopping trip and to pick out appetizers. I was prepared for a few tears as I had to tell the kids "no- that has dairy." But there were many non-dairy options and the kids were very understanding about picking those. 

Our picks 
Kg bacon scallops
T chicken skewers
C empanadas
K homemade BBQ chicken
J bacon tenderloin
K potstickers
Everyone really enjoyed our day. Each person selected, prepared, and served their appetizer and told each family member something they love about that person. A nice day! We also took turns popping a balloon to find out that hour's activity. Lots of games, home videos, ... Next year I'm going to pick times for each activity. Fun times!

K with the ornament he picked. Another tradition: each year after Christmas we've gone shopping so each child can pick an ornament to keep. Their trees won't be empty when they leave home! 

K was amazed that Baby C is already cleaning walls and sweeping. gotta start early!

The kids (and adults) were so happy to have a couple sledding days. Everyone had a blast. 

Baby  C liked being pulled around in the sled. She just didn't like when we let go!

We are sure going to miss Sherwood Gardens!

Merry Christmas!

We had such a super Christmas this year. The boys really enjoyed their Out of the Box Christmas with KWAM kids' choir. They were the 3 wisemen AKA 3 cowboys. We almost didn't do the muscial because it turned out the play was the day after we were going to Williamsburg. but I'm so glad we decided to let them be in the play. 
And glad that my parents and Steven and Dena came up for the play. We all liked the play a lot.  Since we were staying for the play, the boys were also in the Splendor of Christmas. I went my my parents, KG, Steven, and Dena. It was really good. 
Steven even won a Harry and David gift tower.
Baby C enjoyed cuddling Papa at church Sunday morning.
KG enjoyed meeting Frosty at the mall when the choir sang. So nice to hear beautiful Christmas music in the middle of the busy mall.

We did lots of our own singing from Thanksgiving all through 12th day of Christmas! We all loved the Christmas carol game we learned at the church luncheon. Each team writes down as many Christmas carols as they can. Then teams take turns singing the first line of each song. You can't sing the same song twice. It was a lot of fun. Although the kids' favorite Christmas carols changed from Away in a Manger, Silent Night, ... to "I'm getting Nothing for Christmas." we played several times.
Baby C got lots of giggling and cuddling time. We were very happy for Aunt Glenda to be with us for Christmas.
We did some sight-seeing- Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown. This picture was outside Jamestown- love all the hands on learning, the movies, the programs, ...
The kids loved trying on the armor at Jamestown- it doesn't look quite as big on them as when we went to Williamsburg Nov 2010- right before moving to Baltimore.
We went to the Williamsburg Lodge to see the ice carving and gingerbread building demonstrations.
Baby C in her new Christmas PJs.
The kids are all easy to find now thanks to Uncle Steven and Aunt's Dena's bright colored jackets!
Thursday we went to Colonial Williamsburg. It was fun to walk around and see the Christmas decorations of the time period, the horse and buggies. The kids played a new game with the reenactors. You stomp on a board which makes a puck go in the air and then try to hit the puck. Pretty fun! Then we had a delicious lunch at one of the taverns. We had a musician sing and teach about the time period- and a bonus lesson on the difference between plaids and tartans.
Can you tell baby C likes laps? The condo was very nice. We stayed in a 2 BR upstairs and Nana, Papa, Aunt Glenda, Uncle Steven and Aunt Dena in a 3 BR downstairs. The 3BR had two living rooms which was nice too- one for visiting and eating up front and game playing/ movie watching in the back.
This is the doctor's tent at Yorktown- we learned lots about colonial medicine there. The reenactor was a medical student and super teacher. The musket and cannon firing demo was also good. The kids made candles and we all enjoyed seeing the farm area.
We had a super week in Williamsburg. Lots of super food, wonderful presents,  fun games, and great company!