Sunday, October 20, 2013

Maryland Renaissance fair

Something about hearing about renaissance fairs always makes me think of the movie "role models."  But even with that thought in my mind, I have heard nothing but great things about them.  How they are so much fun, and a unique experience you should try to do if there is ever one near you.

When my sister in law told me about one coming up about an hour north of us, I knew we had to go.  If nothing else, it would be great to see some family.

We headed up to Maryland saturday to our friend's house.  They are about 10 minutes from the fair, so we decided to stay overnight with them.  They also have a daughter that is close in age to the boys.  Which means toys.  And they have a yellow lab.  A friend for N Step.

We attempted to go on saturday, but the traffic getting there was insane.  After a call to the front desk, we realized we weren't going to get in.  We decided to instead make a trip to downtown Annapolis, and head to the fair first thing in the morning with pre purchased tickets.  This worked out so much better.

We got there early enough to enjoy an opening ceremony.  Today was the last day of the fair, so you could tell the energy was high.  The volunteers were fantastic, and very in tune with their characters.  It was a great show, that really gave us a feel of what was to come.

There were truly some amazing things to see at the fair.  Not only were volunteers dressed up, but guests were too.  Some were dressed in Renn themed costumes.  Others in costumes that had nothing to do with the Renaissance era.

This was one of the classier costumes.  

They even had weddings

The fair was fun to walk around and sight see in.  We made a "dibs" game, which I think our friend Kevin won.  We each got to pick the funniest man and woman.  There were so many to choose from!
This one pretty much won.  Yes, that's a man.  

I got this one.  Not quite sure what's going on with that top there.  And the belt?
The food was something else.  It was fantastic.  They had turkey legs (of course we had to get one!) and so much more.  No forks were allowed, which is fine in our book as we tend to eat like cave men most of the time anyway.  Daddy Step had a couple beers, and I was temped with the mead.  I was amazed at just how much Americans eat.  It seemed everyone was walking around with something to eat.  We gave in to the temptation of cheesecake on a stick.  No judgement.  
Of course the main goal with this renn fair is to get your money.  They succeeded with many of those I saw there.  There were games, shops, and food galore.  We even had to pay a dollar for Z Step to get to go down a slide.  He loved it of course, but Mommy's heart nearly stopped watching him go alone.  He nearly fell off.  My brother in law got to throw some axes, and there was a "drench a wench" game.  

Renaissance fairs are a unique experience to say the least.  It was fun, and something I would tell anyone to check out at least once.  I think the people watching was my favorite part.  The Renn fair gets a big "HUZZAH!" in my book!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hundred degree pumpkin picking

When we first moved to Virginia, I was looking forward to the things that the cooler weather brings.  Crisp fall days, warm apple cider, the falling leaves, and so much more.  I was very excited to bring my kids pumpkin picking, since there was no such thing in Okinawa.  This time of the year in Oki, the weather is just starting to cool a bit.  Not comparable to the east coast, but better it's cooler then the 110 degree days most of the summer gives.  I couldn't wait to pick a pumpkin in the cool weather.  

Guess I should've just stayed in Oki.  The weather heated up to a shocking 100 degrees.  I looked at Oki's weather forecast and it was only 82 degrees there!  What is going on mother nature?  

In any case, we had a great time.  It was sunny and bright, and I was shocked at how much I loved this farm.  I had very high hopes after visiting Jones tree farm in Connecticut.  I will not hesitate to say that this place far surpassed them.  They had rides, animals, food, entertainment (we missed the pig race), play areas for the kids. They had a pumpkin launcher that you could fling a pumpkin across a lake with.    Who wouldn't want to fling a pumpkin across a lake?  They truly had something for everyone.

The boys had a blast.  Eli stayed in his baby carrier backpack, while Z Step got to do all the toddler friendly activities they had.  We started out with the big "pillow."  This was basically a huge trampoline.  They allowed a few kids on at once, and luckily on Z's turn it was only him and another little girl.  He had a blast, as you can see in the photos.  The staff stopped in their tracks to laugh.  We were told that he made their day.  
Next was a barrel train.  I think this was tied with the pillow for his favorite part.  He was so excited.  He got to sit in it all by himself and ride around.  He was so proud.  Z Step kept turning around and waving to us and saying, "I'm going this way now.  Bye!"  
We next walked around a bit.  We watched the bumper cars, watched the rope swings, and saw the animals.  We even got to go through the corn maze.  We were dumb enough to let the 2 year old direct us.  Luckily, he got us through it.  It was the easy level one!
Last was of course the main event: the hayride to get our pumpkin.  Z Step is currently obsessed with big green tractors, so being pulled by one was a big deal for him.  We then got to the field and got to pick out the perfect pumpkins.  We picked a tall thin one, and a short fat one.  Can't wait to decorate them soon!  

Sunday, September 22, 2013

To do this fall y'all!

Good Morning! Happy first day of fall!  If you have been reading my blog awhile, you have known that one of the things I missed over the past 4 years in Okinawa was the fall.  As much as I hate the cold weather, I love the changing season leading up to it.  The crisp air, cozy sweaters, changing leaves pumpkins, and of course cheap apples.  

When moving back to the east coast, I was very excited to once again see the beauty the changing seasons has to offer.  Last year I tried to make a fall to do list, but found that there was very little I could do on a tropical island.  Pumpkins were often almost sold out by mid october, and we spent our fall usually planning for christmas because of how fast things would sell out.  The air was never quite fall-like, and we had palm trees in our front yard, not a colorful oak or maple like I was used to.  

Virginia, like Connecticut gets some beautiful weather this time of year.  The feel of fall is almost identical, though nothing will beat Jones pumpkin patch, and apple picking up the road.  All the same, I've created a list of things to do this fall! I hope you all join me in doing some of these things.  Have a great fall!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

American History Museum

After the excitement of the color run, our visitors had to part with us.  They were all headed up to the NY/CT area, so we decided to make a trip up to DC with them for a few hours.  We stopped at the American History Museum, my favorite museum on the National Mall.  

We only saw a short portion of the museum, as there is so much to see in it.  We spent about 2 hours walking around before having lunch and saying sayonara to my D Step's brother and his wife.  
Yep, that's Kermit.  and Dorothy's ruby slippers.  And a tax collector.  

They had a whole exhibit for the Little Golden Books.  And I loved this vintage mason jar.  It was next to an exhibit all about old fashioned homes.  

My Minions

Z Step being cheesy 
We then walked all over the Mall, looking at a few monuments and the Lincoln Memorial.  We then walked back to our car and parted ways with the other Steps.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Color Run

 Ever since themed races have gotten big, we have been wanting to do one.  I have seen many of my friends post about their zombie run or mudder and lots of other fun kinds of races.  Unfortunately, not many made their way to Japan.  Luckily, "Virginia is for Runners."  There are tons of races in our area and all over the state.  So when we saw that a color run was coming to Richmond, we knew we had to do it.  It's kid friendly (it's just corn starch) and just a blast of a time!  We were even more excited when D Step's family wanted to join us.  We knew that the run would live up to it's name, "The happiest race on the planet!"

We learned that it was cheaper to register as a group, so we registered with the name "EZ Steps" and made our motto, "Steppin on Color!"  I had everyone buy white shirts that I was able to iron our names and team name onto.  I am very happy with how they turned out.  

I don't think a bunch of text is going to do this race justice, so I will let these photos speak for themselves.  


At the Starting line!

The first color to be thrown on us was blue.  We all really wanted a lot of blue on us! 

Next was green, another that we wanted a lot of!

Next was orange.  Though I love orange, I tried to avoid this one because I noticed that it made the colors look really muddy together.  Unfortunately I still got pelted with quite a bit of it!

Yellow.  There was a really fun guy at this one screaming about how much he loved yellow!
The boys were both cranky during the race, but stayed content in the stroller.  They got a little color on their feet, but not too bad, as the sun shade was up the whole time. (It was SUNNY!)
After the race was over the after party began.  It basically consisted of a stage, free shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, glasses, and more powder.  Every 15 minutes there was a huge color throw, where everyone threw their colored powder in the air.  It was so cool to see the colors all at once.  This was my favorite part. E Step and I stood to the side of the stage for one throw and his bald little head got covered in orange and purple.  The purple ended up being our favorite color.  It was so vibrant and fun!  I literally was rolling in it at the end to get my shirt more saturated.  
Those shorts belonged to the "Runicorn" the mascot of the race.  I tried to get a photo with Z Step, but he was more interested in a bubble gun.  
The boys playing with the color.  Love E Step's head!  And Z Step was laughing while rolling around in it.  
Lots of fun during!

Our afters.  
My family and I stepped on some color alright!  

He had so much fun rolling in it!
Overall, this was a great run.  It was so much fun, and without a doubt was the happiest race on the planet.  The atmosphere of everyone was so fun and happy.  I cannot wait to do this again!  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Elijah 365- The final post!

At last, we have made it to the final week of E Step's year long journey in life.  I cannot believe that one year ago today, I was lying in an operating room waiting to see my baby for the first time.  
We have had a wonderful week, full of visitors and even crossing a new milestone.  This week, E Step took his very first wobbly steps.  He's not fully walking yet, but he has put one foot in front of the other for about two steps a handful of times.  He also got to have his first cupcake for his birthday, and got to go on his first geocache adventure. 

Day 358- Sept 2 Happy boy on a walk/hike with Oba
Day 359- Loving the tupperware
Day 360- At the park!
Day 361- loving from Oba before bed!
Day 362- Had our birthday cake early!  Can you tell he loved it?
day 363- Went Geocaching with the family!
Day 364- Ready for bed.  Z Step used to love these pj's!
Day 365- Playing in our new tunnel from Uncle Wicky!

What a year we have had.  E Step is a wonderful boy, who is developing quite the personality.  It has been a very difficult year for me in many ways, but I am so glad to have had the privilege to stay at home and raise these boys.  Having two under two is not an easy task, but I am so happy this is the way we did it.  E Step and Z Step are growing to really like each other, and even play side by side now.  E Step has given me quite the year between feedings and changing diapers we have had a lot of fun.  I look forward to the rest of the adventures we will surely have with these boys.  I love these boys more then I think they will ever know.  
And to all of you who have continued to read this silly blog of mine, thanks!  It's been with your motivation and my own that I have made this photo journey!  

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Post- Baby Half Marathon

You may remember awhile ago I made a list of goals for the new year.  One of my goals that I had set out to achieve was to run a half marathon by the end of the year.  After E Step was born, I hopped right back into fitness, just as before.  I love fitness.  It's become something that I truly enjoy doing now.  Those six weeks after E Step's C-Section were hard for me because I couldn't workout!  You may remember my 8 month pregnant bottom running in the 110 degree weather (don't worry, it was the last run before I switched to indoor workouts). I suffered a running injury for about 6 months after E Step was born and I strongly think it was from nursing (my ligaments never went back to normal!).  

About 2 months ago, I laced up my shoes again and finally got back out on the streets.  Ever since, I have been running 3-4 times a week, slowly increasing my mileage.  I started out more concerned with going the distance required for that day, but eventually I noticed my time getting better.  I started out at a 10-11 minute pace (pushing the HEAVY double stroller) and am now at an 8:42 minute mile (without the kids).  I am confident I can shave some time off that pace with more training.  

With E Step's first birthday just two days away, I set out for a morning run this Sunday morning.  I figured I could run a mile for each month of his life, plus an extra for luck.  My schedule was all set for me to run a half marathon at this point in my training, however I was not registered for any races.  I decided to do it on my own instead.  I am still looking to register for a half soon!  It looks like most are in the spring time though!  

The run was hot.  Very hot.  And on the entire course, I did not once hit any shade.  I brought water with me, and packed some gels and chews for every 45 minutes.  I ran my normal 4 mile loop twice, and then ran to the hiking trail we normally go to and ran around 3 times before running home.  
My favorite part of this run was at the end, when two women who were walking outside on my street spotted me.  They looked like runners themselves, and noticed I looked like I was on a serious run.  They began cheering me on and clapping for me.  I told them that I was literally at my last .1 mile of my half marathon and they cheered louder.  I ended right in front of my house and they told me to go inside and take an ice bath (which I had planned).  

Overall the run was ok.  I did not fuel up nearly as well as I normally do for a longer run.  I didn't drink nearly enough water the days leading up to the race, and my carb intake was much lower then I should have.  I am quickly learning from my mistakes, and am just glad to have finished.  I did stop to walk a few times, which surely added to my time.  Normally I run straight through.  In any case, I will get there in the coming months.  It is still one of my dreams to run the disney princess!  

And so, I can cross another of my goals off my list!  Thanks for the support!

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Well, after over a year we have finally done it!  We have finally found a geocache!  
For those who don't know, geocaching is a worldwide treasure hunt.  There are little containers hidden all over the world, and as a geocacher, you go to find them.  They are usually well hidden containers with a log book and little trinkets inside.  You would be surprised just how many there are in the world!  Some may be just outside your house!  
This weekend, we hit up a hiking trail near our house to find one.  We had searched and searched for one in Japan but never ended up finding it, so this time our fingers were crossed.  And luckily, with a little searching, we found it.  It was well hidden inside a tree stump, but it was overall a very easy find.  Z Step really enjoyed the hunt!  
Since finding this one, we have signed up for the 3 month membership to find more.  As a free user you only have access to a few, but as a paid user you have access to all geocaches worldwide.  We have already found yet another outside our house (literally just a short walk up the road).  We have found the search to be somewhat addicting, and are in the works of coming up with a number to find by the end of the year!  I think this will be a family hobby of ours.  It's a great way to get out of the house and explore an area you may already live in!  I will post some tips and tricks somewhere along the road, but for now we are simply enjoying our new addiction!  
Ready to search!

Littles Geocacher!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Elijah 365 part 50

Poor E Step has been sick for most of the week, so we have stayed home almost all week.  Luckily, by the end of the week he started getting better just in time for another visit from Oba.  E Step is also getting even closer to walking.  He keeps standing even longer and is seriously thinking about walking. It's hard to believe an entire year has almost passed.  So much can happen in one year!

Day 353- Aug 26.  My poor sick boy
Day 354- Aug 27.  Still sick watching me put the humidifier on 
Day 355- Aug 28.  Still sick having a snack
Day 356- Aug 29.  Feeling a little better at the park.  This was seconds before shoving a handful of wood chips in his mouth.  
Day 357- Aug 30.  Getting ready for bed.  
Day 358- Aug 31.  Oba came to visit!

Day 359- Sept 1.  The boys in front of their new home at the Battle of Fredericksburg.