Thursday, October 26, 2017

Great Falls--Maryland

Thanks to the room darkening curtains in the hotel room, everyone slept in really late. I almost had to wake up Isaiah so that we could make it down to breakfast before it closed. At breakfast, I had the big idea to go to the Maryland side of Great Falls before we went into DC to the National Arboretum. Everyone was up for that and I'm so glad we went. We had the best time there. I packed lunches for Saturday and Sunday so we ate our lunch on the grass beside the C & O Canal. Josiah was super jealous of all the people bike riding. One day we need to go back and ride the towpath on bike. Our lunch view was very idyllic.
After lunch we walked to the falls overlook. The views from the trail were as amazing as the Potomac River itself. The trail was completely boardwalk with concrete bridges. Josiah and Anna were quite fearful of the bridges, but they conquered them with our hands and/or arms.
The hills, the coloring leaves, the water, the warm fall air and blue sky, it was just beautiful!

And then we got to the outlook of the falls--where we didn't take many pictures! Actually I hardly remember even looking which is quite sad. Another reason we will have to go back, I guess! There were a lot of people and the overlook wasn't as large as the ones on the Virginia side.
There were also these rock structures that I had a 3 year old climbing on which led to a lot more child watching than water fall watching!
When little legs got tired, Daddy carried Isaiah on his shoulders.
The unexpected part of the day was that the timing worked out that we could tour the C & O Canal on a mule pulled boat. It was an hour long tour. The boatmen were dressed in period clothing and a woman also dressed in period clothing talked the whole time about the canal and history of the time period. I am a lot more knowledgeable about the canal now than I was before!

Side story: I told (my) Grandad about this boat ride and he told me about how when he was a boy (younger than 8 or 9, I believe) his family lived beside a canal and boats pulled my mule came through on the canal transporting coal.

Coal was also the main thing that was transported on the C & O Canal. So here was are on the boat!
The most interesting part of the tour was going through an original lock. The only way that I can really explain a lock, despite the tour guide giving us a demonstration and experiencing it, is that a lock is a boat elevator. I was surprised at how narrow the lock was. There was 3 inches of clearance on each side of the boat.

The white building (in the next picture) was an original stop on the canal. It's called The Tavern House, I believe. The tour guide told us all about it. lol. Anna learned that it takes a horse and a donkey to make a mule from the tour guide.
I wanted to find the letterbox while we were there. This is me sitting on the wrong rock while the rest of the crew found the right one! I never fail to make Jeremy sigh and shake his head at my lack of skill in following letterbox clues.
They found it though and I was excited because letterboxes just make me excited.
It was a cool view from the letterbox. That's the boat we were on in the canal. Behind the boat you can see a path and then some more water. The far water is the Potomac River. I thought it was really interesting how close the canal followed the river.
The original agenda for Sunday was to go to the National Arboretum. I didn't think we would spend *that* much time at the arboretum which is why I suggested going back to the falls. I almost thought everyone would just want to go home and skip the arboretum, but that was not the case. It was 22 miles and 45 minutes from the falls to the arboretum--just the right distance for Isaiah (and Anna) to catch a nap. Aliza and Josiah were pretty excited to see the Washington Monument as we drove. Isaiah and Anna were sleeping when we arrived so I decided that we should drive around the park and see the different collections. At this point we weren't up for any long walks although Josiah saw a lot of trails that he wanted to walk. We were at the arboretum for a single exhibit.

A few months ago we read The Peace Tree from Hiroshima for our Family Dinner Book Club. At the end of the book we learned that the bonsai tree that Japan gave the United States after WWII is housed at the National Arboretum and since then it has been on my list of places to visit.

We arrived at the Visitor's Center at 4:20 only to find out that the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum closed at 4:00. It was a disappointing end to the day!
We walked around a little bit, but really didn't have any energy left to do any exploring.
That's Aliza's finger touching the butterfly's wings.
Panera for supper on the way home helped rejuvenate everyone's moods.

The good memories outweigh any bickering, complaining or other annoying kid and family stuff that might have occurred. lol. I'll be dreaming up our next adventure soon!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Great Falls--Virginia

 I tried not to get my hopes up too high that this weekend adventure would actually happen, but the weather was perfect and the plan fell, very neatly, into place. Saturday morning to packed up for one night and headed to Great Falls, VA. The children had never seen a waterfall and were really excited to have family time. I had sortof forgotten, but quickly remembered, that tourist sites in big cities attract a lot of people!

There were 3 overlooks that we walked to. Super easy walks that were just right for that day.
 There were several kayaks that captured Isaiah's interest.
 Josiah was really glad to have his binoculars with him.

 There were a lot of rocks to climb on and get different views.

 Don't worry! I didn't just forget pictures of Anna. She isn't very fond of posed pictures these days.
 Aliza was absolutely in awe of creation and the Creator. She found a quiet spot to do an Instagram story.
 At the third overlook Jeremy had the big idea to take pictures through the binoculars--and it worked!

This was a super introduction for family adventuring for us. Getting to the hotel was high on the kids' agenda so we didn't stay too long. There is nothing more exciting than a family slumber party in a hotel! ha! My mom taught me well how to camp. ;) Just as exciting as the hotel was getting to eat supper at Bob Evans (kids choice) because you can get an ice cream sundae for dessert for $1.29! Despite everyone being tired they all handled the really long wait for our food well. Then it was a night time swim in the ice cold pool before bed. 

To be continued...

Friday, October 20, 2017

Parks and Trails

I've found that a doctor appointment throws off the whole day, so after Isaiah's 3 year old well check yesterday we met my mom, picked up some lunch from Chick Fil A and headed to a Trap Pond--a park I've been wanting to check out for a while. It was a beautiful day--warm in the sun and cool in the shade. The playground called the kids names before they could finish eating!
 Josiah was our fearless tour guide. He took his job very seriously!

 I didn't expect Anna to be scared to walk across a bridge, but holding Grandma's hand made it possible!
 Isaiah didn't miss out on anything!
 Aliza enjoyed some solitude. She really appreciated the beauty and marveled at God's creation.

 The Nature Center was really neat. All of the children engaged in the exhibits. Isaiah especially enjoyed the aquarium and being nose to nose with the fish.
 The girls enjoyed dressing up in park ranger garb from the 1930s.

 When a friend invited us to meet them at Pemberton Park for a walk this afternoon, I knew it was a little crazy, but I wanted to see them and the weather was still perfect and so we went. The children weren't quite as happy today! Aliza found a kindness rock though, which was new for her and made her happy.
 Before we even started on the trail, Isaiah found his way into marsh mud and fell. His boots, pants and arms were pretty well covered in mud and he was upset. We made our way back to the car for paper towels and then we started again. Today's walk was in prime napping hours, but Isaiah was just a trooper. He hung in there the whole time with me carrying him only a couple times.
Josiah found a good tree to explore. It's no wonder Isaiah was off the path...

Yesterday was just about a picture perfect afternoon. Today--not so much--but despite the bickering, complaining and whining I got to talk to my friend for a bit. And we finished school this evening.