right now

right now

Jun 2, 2012

Friday Fun with just a little soapbox...

I was a bad mom yesterday, depending on who you ask.  I decided perfect attendance in school for the year simply wouldn't live up to our high adventure standards and took the kids out of school early!  I think it's utterly ridiculous that the kids here attend school until almost the end of June and made a command decision.  Loch was a bit skeptical of my plan but I assured him he would indeed grow up to be a decent member of society if he missed a day of school in the 3rd grade.  

After picking each of them up from their schools yesterday morning, we went to one of the Naval Bases down the street for hubby's squadron's picnic.  While hubby & I did the requisite mingling and endured the ridiculous Top Gun soundtrack being played on a loop (in jest!), the kids had fun dunking each other in the dunk tank.

After a couple of hours of listening to Kenny Loggins wail about the Danger Zone (bahahahaha), we walked across the street on base to the beach and took in about an hour of that.

While there I got a Facebook alert that we were under a tornado watch... really?  Looked pretty peaceful to me, although the Blue Angels were roaring overhead and there were 25 kt winds and blowing sand, there didn't appear to be any menacing clouds at the time.

After that we went home and packed a picnic dinner and decided to go hiking at a local state park.  We figured we would be less obtrusive hiking in the dense woods instead of being lightning rods on our bicycles or out on the water.

All this beauty is only about 7 miles from our house.

Note I don't name the state park?  LOL, if you are unfamiliar with the Tidewater area and are ever visiting the area and want to know anything about the places we go, email me and I'll tell you all about it - until then I like to keep it a secret to the "outsiders" :), you know - the people that might be tempted to come here and their idea of fun is to throw their trash all over.  I say this because even in this beautiful park hubby returned loaded down with trash he picked up along the trail.  What I found interesting was lots of bags of dog-do... so people were responsible enough to pick up the dog poop, but left the bags lying there?  It was better left unbagged if that's the case...

Here are some shock and awe photos of the madness I'm talking about, and this is all the tourists usually see or even want to see:

 If you can believe it, this is our oceanfront "strip", there is no sign of the maritime forests that used to stand, and this is only 3 miles from my house, and only about 2 miles from the beauty of the park I posted above and below.  There are times when I am hiking on those trails that I just want to cry thinking about the garishness of what has replaced so much beauty.  Money, money, money.  I will say however, that the city does a fantastic job of cleaning up the sea of red Solo cups, cans and other trash at the end of every day.

Back to the finer things...

Can you believe this is the way Coastal Virginia seashores should look?  Luckily a few areas have been protected from the Miami Beach - like look of the "Hotel Strip" on the Oceanfront now.  The white open areas beyond the trees and Spanish Moss is actually open water.

Although we did see this while hiking in the salt marsh... yes, that's a helicopter landing dock!  Looks like someone has some cash burning a hole in their crab nets.

What I find interesting is that parts of our salt marshes remind me of the swamps in Minnesota!  Different vegetation and animals and brackish or saltwater instead of fresh - but the "look" is very similar.  No moose heads peeking up here though - you are looking for osprey, herons, crabs and water moccasins :)

Trail leading to one of many "Secret Spots" at the shoreline.

Hiking in the maritime forest is also good for blocking out whatever might be happening out in the rest of the world... like only about 20 miles across the water?

Indeed, NOAA wasn't lying about the tornado warnings!

We had several of these water spouts pop up all over the Chesapeake Bay after dinnertime, and were inundated with severe storms during the night.  This morning however, the temps are down to a really nice mid-70's and the humidity is down a bit.  Not sure what's in store for today yet, but it will not involve the garden until Monday at least - we have had several inches of rain in the past few days and it is gross and wet out there.  Until it dries and we can go mow the grass and dump the standing water from things I want no part of that jungle!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

May 29, 2012

Sand in my teeth...

The weekend was a blur!  We stayed busy every day, but it was all fun!

Friday night we had our Cub Scout den over with their families for dinner (cooked by the scouts) and a marshmallow roast.

They grilled the hot dogs :)

After dinner they practiced erecting a tent and some fun with slingshots

Saturday morning we drove up to our capitol city of Richmond, about 2 hours away to bid farewell to a friend who is "stationed" there as a Mormon missionary (can you tell I'm a military wife?)  Two years on his own dime and only 4 phone calls home, that takes a lot of dedication for someone his age.

We loaded up at Whole Foods (we don't have that either down here!) and had a picnic lunch at a park overlooking the city, what a great view!  The next day he would be off on a flight back home to Washington state to get back to family, friends, college, dirt bikes and whatever fun the summer will bring.  I wonder if he will miss the past 2 years of Virginia heat and humidity?  Yeah, probably not :)

Of course we had to make a pit stop at "Disneyland"...er, R.E.I.!

The closest R.E.I. is this one at 2 hours away, but we were a little disappointed, it was more like the "convenience store" of REI's... next time we will just wait to go to the bigger one back home in Minnesota near my parents' house.  

We were home in time that evening for hubby to get out on the water for a few minutes and then tacos at a local taco shop on the beach.

We dropped off Loch at a friend's house for a sleepover and then it was just Finn with us for the night.  Here's Finn learning the in's and out's of rooftop paddle board hauling-

and enjoying a root beer and taco night with us, dinner out was cheaper minus Loch that night :)

Fish tacos

yummy Carne Asada tacos

Next day was more beach (the Chesapeake Bay) and paddle boarding...

Loch is growing up so fast...

Monday was yet more beach, the ocean this time...

Finn's wipeout:

He was doing pretty well for awhile but the surf was getting really strong with the tropical storm moving up the coast, I pulled him out right after this.  He's a decent swimmer after all these years of lessons, but rip tides don't discriminate.

We ended the weekend with a cookout at a friend's house, a car that looked like a sand dune, showers at home that looked like those at a campground and two really tired little boys!

Finn's tip for the next big weekend:

"Remember, SAFETY FIRST"!

Did I mention it was 90ยบ and 82% humidity all weekend?  Yuck.  Now it just started pouring a few minutes ago and we are supposed to start seeing the rain bands of Tropical Storm Beryl start arriving tonight, we are expected to get from 6-8 inches of rain over the next 2 days.  I can't believe how early this hurricane season started.  The official start date is June but we never really see storms until August, this is going to be a wild year.

I have a feeling that we will be doing more fun things this summer and possibly leaving the garden to look a bit more unruly than usual summers.  It looks like hubby will be deploying to the Middle East again in February, so instead of fighting the insects and weather of 2012, we may just try to enjoy family & friends as much as we can this summer.