On the road again: Part 1

This summer, due to all sorts of graduations and other activities that were planned for us, we didn’t get to go on our usual trip until the beginning of August.  Now let me just say that when you live in Western PA you forget just how HOT other parts of PA and below get.  And since we were planning on stopping by some other friends’ places and are back on the Candida diet (which by the way is making a huge difference in all of us–not a single RA flare-up for me this whole trip despite the temps and humidity and no one got sick!  YAH us!) we brought our own food.  Note to self: Make sure you keep lots of ice in that thing– 70-80 degrees temps is very different from 90-100.  And since the one friend, whom we often visit, is very near multiple Whole Foods and Trader Joes we stocked up as well–so most of our money spent was on FOOD.

Some highlights of our trip, educational and otherwise:

This time we decided to convince my poor, fearful for our safety because were “in the city” husband that Alexandria is awesome and nothing like Pittsburgh with its crazy scary  tight streets and no trees so we took lots and lots of photos, many of which are just us on the road.

Alexandria, VA trip
(This meant the kids got to use my old camera a LOT–which means there are a lot of photos of me making faces or concentrating on driving while trying to understand what the crazy GPS was telling me. “Turn right, stay in left lane, stay right.” Crazy stuff. Rach desperately wished for a video cam through some of it because it was rather hilarious–especially on the way through DC from Alexandria to Baltimore.)
The reason there are tons of  road pictures is that he is used to PA cities with their crazy traffic, in and out, upside down, make no sense roads that even the GPS can’t figure out, with only two lanes and no where to pull off.  Alexandria isn’t like that (nor for that matter, are DC bypasses or Baltimore) so we took lots of photos so he could see what it was really like and stop worrying about us. 🙂 There are also TONS of trees (which I love but am frustrated about because it is a result of very silly legislation instead of the obvious trees=shade in a very hot place and help clean the air–duh.)
Alexandria, VA trip
We also took plenty of shots of our favorite local hang outs (mostly our friend’s work, Whole Foods, Old Town Alexandria, and our friend’s apt) so he could see where we go and what we are doing (and understand when we say, “Wow, her apt is REALLY high up and has no elevator.)
Alexandria, VA
Both girls volunteered to help with the VBS going on at our friend’s work so they considered it a mini mission trip (my in-laws’ church is tiny and has mission groups come in from other churches to help run their VBS.)
Alexandria, VA
Alexandria, VA
Issac also helped out but more behind the scenes–folding cards, running errands, and stuffing envelopes and spent the rest of the time playing Garden Scapes and Starcraft.
Alexandria, VA
We also spent a lot of time hanging with Kayla and her mom,
Bird kids in nest
Going to Whole Foods (which, in Old Town has this awesome crazy under the store parking):
where Esther found all sorts of interesting eggs and took photos of them:
Taking long walks at the park and going swimming on VERY hot days:
Hike at park
Playing in the sand (which meant that twice Issac got sand in his eye, the first time scratching it rather nicely–he still has a bit of a red spot but it is healing quickly. Lesson learned–where goggles when playing in fine sand.:))
The sand box tunnel
Rachel practiced staying with her brother while Essie and I went to Whole Foods. This proved rather traumatic as a HUGE storm hit just as we were leaving the Whole Foods parking garage. Nothing like being the mama driving in the beginning of rush hour, trying to drive with most of the street lights out, trees and branches falling down, with a terrified 10 year old (the rain was blowing SIDEWAYS and the wind was shoving our minivan) while a terrified 12 and 8 year old keep calling because the younger is scared to death of storms and the older has trouble with flickering lights while the lights went off and on and is trying to figure out how on earth to calm down her panicked baby brother. She handled it well (got out the huge stash of glow sticks I had and let her brother open them all and put them around the house while they both turned off all lights and unplugged everything and called her dad so he could talk to her and calm her brother– am very proud of her.) She also decided that she would rather not be left alone at home just yet and that she needs to get more numbers in her cell phone. We didn’t get photos that day–too traumatic to be taking photos but we did get photos of some of the downed trees where Alexandria was hit the hardest.
Old Town Alexandria
And of course we HAD to go to The Torpedo Factory. If you are ever in Alexandria, Virginia I heartily recommend that you stop in The Torpedo Factory. It’s an old torpedo factory turned into mini art studios where artists work and sell their items plus at the very top is a mini museum of local archeology (which is NOT open on Monday’s much to my children’s disappointment), we have gone before and they have lots of hands on for the kids. Most of the artists are great and will talk to the kids about their style of art and what they do though we found it is better to go during the school year because many artists aren’t there in the summer. And yes there are still a few old torpedoes there that the kids can touch.
Torpedo Factory
To be continued because this post is already WAY too long.