I had the opportunity to visit April in Maryland. Nate is stationed there for a year and I hadn't seen April in a long time, so thought it would be a great way to both see some sights and see my friend and her family! The trip was a little difficult in that April had to get a cortisone shot in her leg the day after I got there. She has been experiencing some pain for quite some time, and they wanted to try that as a potential solution. It made it difficult for April to move too much, so we tried to take it easy. Luckily, Linda, her mother in law, was there to help her with the boys, and let us get away for a few little trips while I was there!
The first trip we took off on was to Point Lookout State Park in Scotland MD. It was a lovely drive along the water where we stopped and played with our cameras a lot!
At the end of the point was an old lighthouse and the drive back we stopped at the fishing pier.
In between this and other things we got to watch Pitch Perfect and drank a lot of vodka rootbeers :) I also played with the boys at the park and had fun cooking and baking! Was fun catching up with my buddy and get to see what her daily life entails!
On a very rainy day we hit DC where I got to see Union Station, Jefferson and Lincoln memorials and just play tourist. I also had the best burger I've ever eaten in Union Station....YUM!
We took Kanon to Soloman's Island Boardwalk where we looked at some cool local shops, and April found a local artist she really liked! We had ice cream and let Kanon run around and play on the toys. Really beautiful views!
At one point I almost felt like I was cheating on Josh because we went to the super nice XD theater to see Avengers. This place had fully functional leather recliners in an XD movie, and it was Avengers! Like 3 of his favorite things! We went with Nate, which was nice as he seriously works 14 hour days like everyday! We also got pedicures, and hit a few cute farmers markets. I loved the artisan feel of this area! People where very into their wares. The candle makers, or bread makers, or honey farmers, or Amish tradesman, whoever it was we spoke to were so passionate about their products. It was refreshing to be in that environment!
After April was feeling a little ambitious we headed to Calvert Cliffs State Park. It is a series of hiking trails, most of which lead to Calvert Cliffs. It is infamous for having an abundance of ancient shark teeth - so we saw lots of people there with strainers and sifters trying to find some treasures! We came up empty, but the walk was lovely!
My most favorite part was touring Mount Vernon. We learned all about Washington and his humble nature. We went on the tour of the basement of his estate, called the National Treasure Tour. We also got to take a boat ride across the Platomic River. I was most impressed in learning of Washington's passion for organization and his intense focus on education and decision making. Many times he was very particular on things like clothing and placesettings, because he realized he was setting the precedent for all future presidents. He wanted things he selected to be humble, yet well made.
He was also passionate about record keeping. He had a full time scribe that lived on his estate. They logged everything from business transactions to what they ate to keeping detailed records of all the buildings. His family was quite wealthy, and when he inherited the estate he found new ways to profit from the land. The most impressive was his use of the 16 sided barn. Washington invented it as a means to harvest grain. Until this barn people would cut the wheat and beat it on the ground to harvest it. Washington designed the barn to be almost circular. It had a hollow bottom, almost like a basement, and they would lay the wheat on top, then have horses run on top of it. The grain would fall through the cracks in the floor...pretty ingenious! And because of his record keeping abilities, when the estate wanted to rebuild the broken barn it was easy because the detailed plans were on record! So most of what we saw was nearly exactly as it was during Washington's time.
Martha loved gardening and the expanse of gardens were just beautiful. I especially loved the pink flowers that attracted bees and butterflies.
The kitchen facilities were pretty cool. This was the cellar near the kitchen. Martha was known to have a ham a day. They would never turn away guests that wanted to stay, and the kitchen was located outside of the house to protect against fires.
Another luxury that Washington was known for was ice. This is an ice house that sits on top of a high cliff. Every winter ice would be harvested from the river and placed in this ice house which went way underground. There is another door at the bottom from which they could get the ice all year. The tour guide said the longest the ice lasted was into August, pretty impressive!
This is a 300 year old tree!
The walkway leading down to the water.
Prior to our Mount Vernon visit we had the most amazing authentic Mexican lunch...had to snap a quick picture :)
Rather than try and drive me to the airport and race back to get Kanon to school, we elected to drive to Alexandria and stay at the Hilton there. We ate one of the best meals I ever had, and probably one of the top 5 desserts I've ever had - pistachio creme brulee....holy cow was it to die for!
That night in the hotel I don't think either of us knew what to do with ourselves without kids! I had a wonderful time, and it truly made me appreciate my kidlets cause I missed them so much! Kenna cried quite often while I was gone missing me - which is so very sweet. So lucky to visit my bestie!
A little late but happy 4th birthday Mr. Grayson! I missed Facebook Holiday "best friends day" too... and this little guy probably qualifies! We spend every day together, and I am so grateful! This last year getting to experience each moment with you, watching you learn and grow has been absolutely priceless! Happy birthday my little shadow and best mommy's helper ever! ! Love you so much! How are you 4?
He was so excited to get his pokemon box. The other kids got to spend their money on pokemon cards for their birthdays and he was feeling really left out! Luckily auntie april sent him a gift card and he got his own box. Gramma rue also got him some and Kenna made him his own pokemon binder so he can now hang with the big kids!
I made these betamax orangecicle cupcakes...the marshmallows were a little much, but they were sure cute!!