Christmas

Sally Brown was a bit of a mischief maker last night, so we’re cleaning up Christmas early in perhaps our fastest transition from holiday to not holiday. But while the tree and the train and many of the decorations are already gone, we’re definitely still filled to the brim with holiday excitement around here.

We had a magical holiday that started with Christmas Eve at Mom and Dad’s house, where the kids pulled out new bikes that they enjoyed for hours before dinner.

2016-12-25-2 2016-12-25-12016-12-25-3

After putting out ten pounds of reindeer food in the form of glitter and carrots, we finally got the kids settled down for bed so Santa could come. Nell would not even let me read on Christmas Eve — “Mo-om, Santa won’t come if you’re awake.”  Right, of course.

But everyone finally fell asleep, and Santa paid us a visit.

img_83842016-12-25-42016-12-25-5

Santa brought wonderful things for everyone including clothes, toys, dolls, and trains for the kids; a new soundbar for G; SUP stuff, jewelry, and a new GoPro 5 for me; earrings galore for K; yoga and fishing items for Mom and Dad; clothes for Great Grandma Nelll; and special bones for the puppies.  Nell’s only disappointment was that Santa didn’t bring snow, so we did have to explain that Christmas =/= snow, despite what all of her favorite shows might have her believe.

img_8438 img_8435 img_8434 img_8432 img_8430 img_8428 img_8426 img_8424 img_8418 img_8416 img_8413 img_8409 img_8408 img_8405 img_8393 img_8388

A few pictures from my Christmas SUP outing yesterday with new boots, gloves, and wetsox. Ahh, warm toes and fingers!

sup-12-25-b2 sup-12-25-d2 sup-12-25-e2

Of course, we’ve got another special day today — it’s G’s birthday. Plus we’ve got a few more holiday tricks up our sleeves that we’ll be rolling out later this week.  Let the celebrating continue!!

It’s Beach Party Time!

Today we celebrated Nell’s 5th birthday at her annual party on the beach. This year’s theme was a luau, which the kids celebrated with grass skirts, leis, coconut cups, and all the usual beach party toys we provide each year — buckets, shovels, nets, bubbles, beach balls, etc.  Nell also wanted to bring her paddleboard so she could show her friends how she can paddle and let them try.  The kids were thrilled to try her board, and Nell was proud to show them how she could stand up and paddle.

It was a long day at the beach — Nell was there from about 8am-3pm, though Guy took KK home much earlier for his nap and some snuggles. But we lucked out with beautiful weather — probably the hottest, least windy birthday party she has had since we moved to the beach — and she declared the day a success.

Gorgeous morning on the beach as we were setting up

20160731_070801

Luau ready!20160731_084458 20160731_084530 20160731_084600 Nell wanted coconut cups and grass skirts. Check and check.20160731_092523 IMG_8067 (Large) IMG_8068 (Large) IMG_8075 (Large) IMG_8082 (Large) IMG_8085 (Large) IMG_8088 (Large) IMG_8090 (Large) IMG_8096 (Large) IMG_8099 (Large) IMG_8101 (Large) IMG_8102 (Large) IMG_8111 (Large) IMG_8112 (Large) IMG_8114 (Large)

Nell wanted to show all of her friends who she could stand up and paddle. I was not allowed to touch her board!IMG_8124 (Large) IMG_8125 (Large) IMG_8134 (Large) IMG_8143 (Large)

Hula girl cake and presents!IMG_8148 (Large) IMG_8153 (Large) IMG_8162 (Large) IMG_8173 (Large)

And just in case you still don’t quite feel like you were there:

Father’s Day Weekend

It’s been a pretty incredible weekend, and the sun hasn’t even gone down on Sunday yet (though I think it’s fair to say we’re pretty tired, and ready to stay in for the night).

We’ve had good food, spent time with good friends, and had an awful lot of good times on the water this weekend. Here are just a few pics from the weekend.

Sunrise SUP on Saturday

20160618_080445~2 20160618_074901~2 20160618_074741~2

Beach day on Saturday with friends — a crowded day at the beach! Guy got a haircut immediately after this. No, really. 

20160618_140052

Sunrise SUP session on Sunday. Managed to get in and out before the kids woke up! Glassy water today aside from some large rollers that came in from a passing barge ship.

20160619_065653~2 20160619_065643~2 20160619_065614~2

Today, of course, we celebrated Father’s Day. We got G a giant fish balloon (Guy destroyed it less than an hour later playing chase around the house with Nell), a cake, a sweet (if I do say so myself) dock bar shirt, and a beautiful day on the water. Mom and Dad very, very nicely offered to watch the kids for the day so G and I could head out on the boat, so I dropped them off, got G Starbucks, and off we went.

Taylor Island

20160619_112941~2 20160619_112936~2 20160619_110820~2 20160619_105724~2 20160619_105629~2

Our goal was a restaurant on Slaughter Creek off Taylor Island, but the tide was lower than low today, and we decided it was too shallow to head into the creek, so we turned north and headed to Tilghman Island, which turned out to be an excellent choice.  We boated over to Knapps Narrows, which was packed with boat traffic going back and forth under the drawbridge, and found a great restaurant right on the Bay side of the bridge that happened to have a boat parking space right out in front.

20160619_131510 20160619_125725 20160619_124419 20160619_124410~2

(This weekend is subtitled “Happy Father’s Day, let’s see how much shrimp we can eat in one weekend.”)

Our funny little route today took us by all sorts of great scenery from Taylors Island to tiny James Island and Crab Cove to the Sharps Island Lighthouse.

20160619_121028~2

The Sharps Island Light is actually the third lighthouse to sit in that spot. It was constructed in 1882 and was only deactivated in 2010. It has been leaning since 1977 when it was damaged by ice (though, the structure before this light was actually forced off its foundation by an ice floe and floated five miles down the Chesapeake–with its keepers still inside–so, really, the lean isn’t that bad).

The Sharps Island Light is on the National Register of Historic Places and also one of the features along Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.  I had been hoping to do a mini lighthouse tour this summer, so I guess we’re starting with this one!

As for the kids, they had a fab day fishing and playing in the water at Mom and Dad’s. Nell has officially caught way more fish than I have this season. Or ever.

IMG_0836 IMG_1434

Festive Festivities

Our weekend started on Friday this week, with a day off to celebrate Nell’s graduation from preschool.  She and 35 of her classmates received their preschool diplomas and shared songs with parents and grandparents to show us everything they have learned. Nell is most certainly ready to head to kindergarten, and we are very excited that she recently got permission to transfer to the elementary school near her daycare.  Here are a few pictures from the ceremony on Friday morning.

(Shout-out to K who bought Nell the beautiful graduation dress.  Accessorizing for the big day was all Nell, though.)20160610_101142(0) 20160610_101142 20160610_103434 20160610_103437 20160610_104216 20160610_104413 20160610_104513 20160610_104556 After graduation, we changed out of our fancy clothes and into our curly W clothes to head to Washington DC for my company’s annual picnic at Nats Stadium, where the Nats were taking on the Phillies.  Our family was one of the lottery winners who got to go onto the field for batting practice before the game, and one of the players even gave Guy a baseball!

20160610_163812 20160610_165037 20160610_165042

Saturday morning, we just happened to be about 10 minutes away from my parents when they texted to let us know they were headed to the southern Maryland crab festival. Who doesn’t want to go to a crab festival?  Obviously, we went.  It was awesome (or, as Mom put it, “very Maryland”).  You know, crabs, beer, crab cakes, country music, classic cars, kettle corn, snow cones.

20160611_121243 20160611_121253 20160611_121307 20160611_124621

And now it’s Sunday. We went out to breakfast, got our grocery shopping done, and went to the beach before these crazy 25 mph winds whipped up around us. It’s been a beautiful weekend, but this wind!

20160612_121751 20160612_121850 (1) 20160612_122524~2

I got in a couple great SUP sessions this weekend, too.  I went out around 545 am on Friday morning to get on the water before Nell’s graduation and was surprised to find pretty rough surf.  Luckily I enjoy riding the bumps almost as much I enjoy cranking out the miles!  Yesterday I paddled after the crab festival, but had a brutal fight with the wind, and spent the last three miles clawing my way home.  With the wind even fiercer today, I am taking it off!  Here are a few shots from my sessions the last couple of days — the first from yesterday’s wind paddle, and the next three from Friday’s seriously choppy session!

20160611_153019 20160610_065600 20160610_065032 20160610_065029

And that’s what we’re up to!  (This weekend anyway.)

Mother’s Day

It’s raining again. It has been raining for about two weeks.  A couple days (and I mean two, max) had some sunshine, but they also had rain.  It’s been a very rough start to May when all you want is an early summer — you know, sunshine and warm temperatures before the humidity begins to creep in.  I can’t remember the last time we had such a prolonged period of rain, and I have to say — it’s tough.  Everyone is feeling fatigued from the weather.

But we are doing our best to work around the rain and enjoy the spring we’ve been given.  I had an absolutely wonderful Mother’s Day weekend filled with time outdoors, time with family, and time for me.  On Saturday, we drove up to the farm where we met K, Mom and Dad, the uncles, and Great Grandma Nell.  We enjoyed smoked salmon, deviled eggs, crab dip, and tiramisu; walks through the gardens (Nell refers to the main garden as “the maze”) and the fields; feeding the horses; and, at least for two of us, a significant amount of time spent jumping in (and falling in) a large mud puddle in the field.

mothers day

On Sunday, I got on the water at sunrise, came back in to Starbucks delivery from K, enjoyed time with the kiddos at the park, lunched on the water at Stoneys in Broomes, and got to have dinner at Mom and Dad’s.  I also got Ravens gear and roses, so it was basically a perfect day.

20160508_191506 download_20160508_125157 - Copy download_20160508_125212 - Copy

In the midst of everything else we had going on, my weekend was filled with paddle boarding. I paddled more than 11 miles over the course of the weekend.  I paddled in the rain on Friday night, I paddled with an instructor for technique training and race practice on Saturday morning, and I paddled with a friend who got up before dawn on Sunday to join me for a very early Mother’s Day paddle before wind and rain took over for the day.

imagejpeg_0(7)(1)~2 - Copy imagejpeg_0(8)~2 - Copy

FB_IMG_1462720622662 - Copy

Even despite the dreary weather we’ve had recently, we’ve had beautiful moments peek through as well.  I got to see both the sunrise and the sunset from the beach on Mother’s Day, and I am pretty certain there is no better way to bookend any day.

20160508_071238~2sunset050816 - Copy