July 31, 2011

Virginia Beach Trip

Wow... life just sort of happened these past few weeks and I haven't had anytime to finish my posts on our summer vacation to Virginia. We've had a lot of family in town and celebrated Rylan and Addilyn's birthdays... I'll post about those later... Although it's more for me, I'd like to finish a few posts about our beach vacation this past summer. We got home 4 weeks ago today so it seems a little outdated, but the memories are all still there. It was so much fun!

For the last few days of our Virginia trip we headed down to Virginia Beach, Virginia. We stayed in a hotel right on the boardwalk which meant that our hotel overlooked the beach. It was absolutely beautiful and tons of fun to be so close!

The view from our balcony...

This is Rylan pushing Addilyn in the stroller as we waited for the very slow elevator to arrive. Addilyn was laughing as Rylan ran into the walls and played peak a boo from behind. We were on our way to the beach for the very first time for these two little ones.

Rylan loved it!!

Addilyn... didn't want anything to do with it!

Eventually, she got used to just sitting in the sand.. she explored it for a little bit. Poking at it and digging her finger into it...

She was so cute as she'd pinch some of the sand and bring it closer to her face to get a closer look. Can you see that look of disgust on her face in the picture below? Lol... She's thinking... "What is this stuff?"

She started laughing and clapping her hands (her signal for fun)!

So I figured she was comfortable enough and thought I'd try sitting closer to the water. Surprisingly, she crawled to me...

Life was good until water from a wave had reached us....

Then we had to start all over again... but by the second day at the beach I'm proud to say that she enjoyed splashing around in the water and playing in the sand!

Rylan didn't have any problem with the water or sand. His favorite thing to do was to run through the shallow water that went over the shoreline after the waves had crashed. He'd run into the water then turn around and run up to beach and then run back into the water over and over again. He was in heaven!

Rylan playing with his dump truck...perfect toy for the beach for this little guy who is obsessed with his cars.

He had no problem playing in the sand. He'd fill his bucket and then dump it over and over. He did enjoy throwing the sand though... frustrating to get him to understand why it was a bad thing... he sure didn't mind getting the sand all over him though :)

We took a walk down to the pier. Rylan of course loved running around the poles. I love how he looks so content in every one of these pictures.

Look at this stylish Mother of mine down at the beach! I'm so grateful we were able to spend that time with her! She was such a huge help with the kids too!! I couldn't have done it without her. Thanks Mom!!

Rylan, early morning, walking on the boardwalk!

Although we spent a lot of time down at the beach.... we did do a few other things while we were down there. That will be in the next post though... so yes.. more to come of our Virginia vacation :)

Eating Crabs, Bike Riding, & More Play

We only stayed at the beach for about two in a half days. This was towards the end of our trip out to Virginia and we were short on time. So we crammed a lot of fun into each day! The following post is all in one day!

In the morning we drove towards Norfolk, Virginia which wasn't too far from the beach. My Mom grew up there and they had a large family get together for lunch. They decided to have crabs, very appropriate with being down at the beach :)

This is what I saw when we walked through the door. They cooked the crabs to perfection and then threw them in the middle of the table. A free for all basically. It was a funny sight to me because I had never seen anything like it before. This is my Grandpa in the corner working to get some lunch.

My Mom grew up crabbing (the kind where you'd throw a chicken attached to a weight and a rope over the boat, let it sit for a little bit, slowly pull it up and swoop a net underneath to catch the crab that was nibbling on the chicken bait.) Luckily enough, when my grandparents were still living in their home in Norfolk, my Mom was able to take us out a few times to experience "Crabbing." I have lots of fun memories of it, but it had been many many years since I had tried crab.

Check this guy out!! Yikes!!

We had to get our meat out of this freshly cooked crab. For some reason this was a different experience then I had remembered it being. Not sure if its the fact that I'm older now and have more of an idea for what I'm actually doing in cracking it's back open and snapping it's little legs off (basically ripping that sad little crab to pieces). I guess to sum it up, it's a lot of work to get that crab meat out! But some who love the taste say its completely worth it :) I still haven't decided myself yet, but it really was a fun experience!

Addilyn's first meeting with a crab...

Rylan ironically didn't want to touch it!

After lunch and visiting we stopped at Mount Trashmore. Mount Trashmore is exactly what it sounds like. They covered up what used to be mounds of trash with lots and lots of dirt, grew some grass, and made a fun recreational park out of it with a trail around a man made lake and all. My family lived in Virginia Beach from when I was in 5th grade through 9th grade (I can't do the math in my head right now of how many years that actually was). They had a large wooden park that we used to play hide and seek at for hours with cousins and friends. I was sad to discover that they knocked that awesome park down and built it with a more updated park. It was still fun for the kids though. They didn't know what they were missing out on. It was still a cool park, but not like the classic wooden park with its awesomeness that once stood there.

This slide was meant for little ones. It had little bucket seats you'd slide into on your way down the slide. Addilyn's facial reactions tells me she thought it was a silly idea. :)

Rylan sliding down a big slide. He had no fear!

This is a picture of the kids running up Mount Trashmore... Can you find little Rylan in the middle of them?

Once at the top, they decided to roll down the other side. This was something that Rylan had never done before so Grammy took him for a ride...

Not sure if you can tell in the picture, but he was laughing and having the best time.

Grammy actually gave him a piggy back ride back up to the top. I have no idea where this woman gets all of her energy. I sure look up to her... she's such an awesome Grammy!

Addilyn got to enjoy the view at the top with Mommy... I love her face in this picture, it's as if her thoughts are "I don't get these people? Rolling down hills?"

Later that evening after dinner we went back down to the boardwalk. They had parks that were on the actual beach to play at. This is Rylan surfing...

We rented a bike with my Aunt Jenn and her kids. We rode it down the boardwalk. Rylan and Addilyn were the lucky ones to get front row seats and be able to just sit there and enjoy the ride while everyone else peddled.

It didn't take Rylan very long to fall asleep though...

He was out and eventually his head slid into Addilyns lap. She thought this was so funny. She was laughing and smacking his head. Ironically, this did not wake him.

After a cool treat, returning the bike and walking back down the boardwalk to our hotel... Rylan was exhausted. He slept real good that night!

We had so much fun down at the beach! It was the perfect way to end our Virginia vacation!

July 27, 2011

Visiting with Family

I hadn't been back to Virginia since before Rylan was born so this was the first time that my Dad and sister Melinda were able to meet my children. We met my Dad at a duck pond. Rylan had never fed ducks before and I was so excited to see his reaction as the ducks gathered around while we tossed them little pieces of bread. However, these ducks were definitely spoiled and must be fed a lot. It took a while to convince them to come over and still, then they only took a couple of pieces of bread. So Rylan's first duck feeding didn't go over so well but it was still fun to be able to have them meet their Grandpa. They both warmed up to him very well.

Grandpa and Rylan sneaking up on the ducks...

I gave Addilyn a piece of bread to "drop" by the ducks, but she felt the need to taste it out herself. At least someone there was eating the bread!

We were able to meet up with my sister Melinda later that week at a local park. It was so hot, but the kids couldn't tell a difference. They were full of giggles and loving it!

Who knew swinging could be so much fun!

Sweet Rylan has become quite a little shadow to Addilyn. He'll get down and crawl right beside her and follow her to wherever she's headed. He'll even come and kneel (while she's standing) beside her at a table or the couch and just look at her and laugh. This is a picture of him following her (crawling like she does) around the gazebo.

Rylan and Addilyn coming to say hello to Aunt Melinda!

My Dad and Denise were able to stop by the park as well and we were able to visit with them again! Addilyn was super excited about something- pointing and babbling away. I thought this was a cute picture because she definitely got both of their attentions. :)

Mommy & Addilyn chilling out in the shade.

Family shot with Grandpa (my Dad)!

It was so fun to be able to see my Dad, Melinda, and Denise. It had been way too long since we had seen them last. I can't wait to be able to spend more time with them... hopefully sooner then later. :)

Virginia Safari Park

Next up from our trip to Virginia is the Safari Park. My family had been a number of times before when we lived in Virginia, but somehow I had missed every trip? I had never been to any kind of Safari Park and had heard stories about the huge animals in your face, the smell, the drool, the mess... but it didn't mean anything to me until I experienced it for myself. :) It was amazing and disgusting all at the same time. I'm not the biggest animal lover and if you know me at all and my perfectionism then you know why. It was really cool to be able to see and sort of interact with these animals up close though!

I was amazed that we were able to drive right up next to them, and that's with the window rolled up...


White-bearded Wildebeest

Rylan had a few moments of laughter while we were passing all of the animals (safely outside of the car).

...But the fact that we were also able to roll our windows down...

... and feed them was insane to me!!

And this is where Rylan became very mellow... he stayed put in the middle of the car and anytime I'd ask him a question, he'd just point to the animals with a solid face- no reaction.

We drove along the path and had made it through feeding a couple of different animals. I soon discovered though that when you pull up next to them with the window down and you don't have any food... that's when the real craziness begins. They'd stick there heads into the vehicle, some as far as their necks would allow them in search of food...

Okay a cow...not too bad, very slobbery though.

Then my mom decided to feed these psycho ostriches that would not go away. They have super long necks as I'm sure you already know and when she took away the bucket of food, they ducked their heads even further into the car looking for more. She didn't know what to do but to roll the window up and then she ended up rolling it too high so that when they finally pulled their neck back out, it's head was stuck in the car! Later we read in the guidebook they gave us that we were not to roll windows up while an animal was feeding, instead to slowly drive away and then they'd move out. It was the freakiest yet funniest experience. It was amazing to see them so close!

I didn't notice until looking at the pictures afterward that this little guy was trying to get a little taste of Addilyn. Check out that tongue! I'm sure her hand was resting there on the window sill to hold herself up. Addilyn wasn't spooked at all by the way. Every now and then she'd push away from the window, but for the most part she was fascinated by these creatures and wanted the window spot. She'd stare and scream with excitement like she does to everything!

It was a long ride and Rylan eventually fell asleep.

Just in time for us to drive by a Bison (Buffalo) who wanted to say hello. Poor kid woke up at the perfect time! I've never see Rylan move so fast!

He too was looking for something more... His head was bigger then our window, what a sight to see in real life!

I love this expression on Rylan's face... perfect to explain the entire experience.

After the drive, they had a Safari Village that we walked through. Rylan did a lot better here with all of the animals safely behind wired fences. He even fed some of the goats all by himself!

Addilyn- So happy!!

She was pointing away at all the different animals throughout the entire walk! I love how excited and vocal she gets about things that she sees now.

Rylan and Sevvy (Sevvy is one of my cousins- he came along on the adventure with us.)

Zebra Addilyn

Camel Rylan

Super cool experience! Well worth it!! :)