Monday, September 29, 2014

Sibling weekend!

Through random occurrence, three of Chris' four siblings decided to come down to visit this last weekend. It was wonderful. I love spending time with family, I love visitors, and I love Eleanor's aunties. We took a sibling picture the first night everyone was here...of course, we missed Robert:

We had a great weekend just catching up and spending time together. We were all able to go to church together on Sunday morning, including Eleanor in her Sunday best.

We also decided to go pumpkin picking in Surry on Sunday before Ashleigh, Jessie, and Ben had to head back to JMU. We took the ferry across the river and headed to College Run Farms (the same place we went picking last year). It was very different than last year because now Eleanor can walk through the patch and touch things. Last year she was only about 6 weeks old and only came out of the Moby wrap for pictures.

She seemed to enjoy pumpkin picking, but it was still a little hot and I put pants on her because I didn't want her legs to get torn up in all the prickly stuff.

Overall though, the pumpkin patch was a great decision:

Eleanor was particularly a fan of the end, though, when Auntie Erika shared her pumpkin ice cream with her. Best part of her day.

Erika also brought her bike down so we were able to ride around the area a little bit with Eleanor while she was here. The weekend ended up being very relaxing and fun, and I know Eleanor particularly enjoyed having the extra people around to entertain her and make her laugh :) Thanks for visiting Erika, Ashleigh, Jessie, and Ben!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pittsburgh

As of this past weekend, it's officially fall, and this past weekend also marked our last big trip of the summer. From the first weekend in July through now, we had plans (or work) almost every weekend. It was a busy summer but we are so grateful for all the help we received, and for all the opportunities we had to visit family (including some extended family on both sides) and friends.

Last weekend we went to Pittsburgh - a place I have never had on my "to visit" list, but as one of Chris' teammates was getting married there, we headed north. We stayed downtown in a nice apartment with a rooftop deck, so we were able to walk basically everywhere we wanted to go. On Friday we walked to a Pirates game at PNC park where we met up with a bunch of teammates and their wives. I'm not a huge fan of baseball but the company was amazing.

Saturday, we spent the day exploring the city. We walked up and down the hills of Pittsburgh, over bridges and through tunnels, and essentially got ourselves very hungry for lunch. Then we went to Primanti Brothers and got the most amazing sandwiches.

The wedding was Saturday evening, and of course, it was wonderful. I always love opportunities to get together with the (old) team and the ladies who were just as dedicated in college going to all their games. It is so nice to spend time with the wives of some of these women who remember what it was like driving to games in Richmond, northern Virginia, and down the peninsula, coming back early over Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks for games, as well as spending long weekends every year at the CAA tournament while in school.

I know it's not a very glamorous place, but this was actually our first weekend alone, away from Eleanor since she joined our family last summer. We dropped her off with grandparents on our way up to Pennsylvania and she had a great weekend without us. Her grandparents took her to a petting zoo, offered her new and interesting toys to play with, and just spent a lot of quality time with our girl. She was very happy to see us when we got back, which was absolutely adorable, but I could tell she had a fantastic time! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Gmom and Papa Laser!!

Truly, it was a great summer where both our time and our hearts were full, and now we are looking forward to the respite of fall (I hope!).

Monday, September 22, 2014

Eastern Shore

Two weeks ago, Chris and I headed to the Eastern Shore for another of his high school friend's weddings. She got married at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club in Maryland, which was absolutely gorgeous. They ceremony was around sunset, so the views were incredible! The food was also amazing, particularly for Chris, who loves seafood. Since it was only two weeks after another good friend from high school's wedding, we didn't have to play catch up with everyone and were able to just hang out and have a good time. Chris' parents were also at the wedding as they were close with the bride's parents while the group was in high school, so it was a family affair, as well. We had a great time enjoying an awesome evening in a beautiful setting :)

It was a quick trip up north and back, but memorable, for sure :) And a big thanks to Uncle Rob and Auntie Joanna for watching Eleanor while we were at the wedding!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A new set of wheels!

No, we aren't getting a new car (despite the fact that Chris' car is already 17 years old and costs more to fix than it's worth!), but I did want to share about Eleanor and my new hobby, biking! Our birthdays are less than two weeks apart and I thought I would really like a bike for my birthday this year. My neighbor was given one awhile back and I thought it would be really fun to have one, too, so we could eventually do some group rides. Anyway, I kept my ear to the ground and an inexpensive, used bike popped up the week before my birthday so Chris and I went to pick it up after we got back from California. In the meantime I was also looking for a seat or trailer for Eleanor since I'm not really ever able to ride without her. The bike sat unused for those two weeks until my mom brought down a trailer she found on Craig's List up in northern Virginia for Eleanor's birthday! It was perfect! We didn't want to get anything expensive or new since we didn't know how much we would use it, but the timing for both items worked out wonderfully.

Since we got the bike trailer, Eleanor and I have ridden at least once a day on the days I'm off work. I love it! Eleanor seems to like it, but we got her a helmet this past weekend and now she is less than thrilled. We are going to have to ease her into the helmet slowly I think. We went to the expert on biking, Uncle Robert, to get her sized up and while we were there he also fixed up my bike a bit.

There are bike/run/walk trails behind our neighborhood that Eleanor and I have explored a few times walking but now that we are on a bike we can see much more. I am loving it through and through and I can't wait for the 100 degree weather to pass so we don't get so hot when we go. Today we saw two deer, a raccoon, and some squirrels on our ride, so there is never a shortage of things for her to look at. Some of our views:

While we were up at my parents' house for a wedding over Labor Day (more on this soon, too), my mom and I took a couple bike rides on the W&OD trail. Though this trail is less than half a mile from my house and I passed it every day walking to my high school, I had never been this far on it. It was so fun to explore!

I think I am loving it more than Eleanor at the moment, but I think she will love it more and more as she gets older. In the meantime, we are going to keep riding as long as the weather lets us!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Labor Day

One of Chris' best friends from high school was getting married Labor Day weekend up in northern Virginia, so Chris and I headed up to my parents' house to visit and attend. My parents and sister volunteered to watch Eleanor while we went to the wedding so they had a fun little evening together and got Eleanor ready and into bed. From what I understand, Eleanor guided them through her bedtime process by pulling out her pajamas and trying to put them on when she started getting tired, to pushing her books away when she was ready to be done reading and lay down.

We had a really fun time at the wedding. The wedding was at Smokey Glen Farm in Maryland and involved delicious barbecue. It did rain that evening, but it's been so hot that it actually made the evening better. It was a Jewish ceremony complete with the things you would expect, like a chuppah and yarmulkes, to the things you wouldn't, like llamas named Alien, minigolf, and tether ball. We had a great time, as anyone would with the above combination of things. 

The rest of the time at my parents' house, we spent taking bike rides and playing. My parents had collected some "toys" for Eleanor including an old egg carton filled with a few plastic Easter eggs and some old coffee tins that they let Eleanor drum on using wooden spoons. She loved it all. She also had to take a few sink cool-offs after coming in from outside because she would get so overheated in the ridiculously hot weather.

Monday of Labor Day weekend was Auntie Erika's birthday, so we had birthday lunch with Chris' family to celebrate! Since Eleanor had a birthday last month and knows what cake looks like, she can't stand to be around it without eating it. So singing to Auntie Erika and waiting for a piece of her birthday cake was torture for her. Uncle Jonathan took pictures of her across the table, and they were hilarious :)

And of course, Eleanor with her birthday Auntie.

It was a very busy family and friend filled weekend. We had a great time seeing everyone!