Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Burnside Farms: Update

Since their prices, location, and dates changed this year, I decided I would do an update post on our favorite you-pick flower place, Burnside Farms.  They are currently in peak bloom for a few more days, and it's supposed to be a beautiful week to enjoy them.

Where:  2617 Logmill Rd, Haymarket, VA 20169  (just a bit further than last year)

Cost: $4 for single entrance, $7 for an unlimited pass, under a year free.  Daffodils $0.50, Dutch Iris $0.75, Tulips $1.00 a stem.  They do accept credit cards (in the middle of a field, isn't technology great).

Daffodils are all yellow, and are cut with scissors.

Tulips come in a variety of colors and are pulled up (sometimes with the bulb).

Extras:  Though not as many as their old location, there are still a couple animals brought in to be seen, a not-so-happy turkey and some goats that will teach your children how babies are made.  They also had brought in a BBQ stand, and face painting the day we were there.

There are some chairs in the field, and they still have the big shoes (boats) to play/pose in.

And they have bunches of wooden shoes to try on.  The boys did this for a long time.

But even with all the changes, it's still a beautiful place to flower gaze (or insect hunt) and of course a great place for photo opportunities (if your children cooperate for that kind of thing).  We were probably there on their busiest day, and were able to have a sweet picnic and have a good time despite the crowds.  Even though it had rained the days before our visit, the fields and parking lot were perfectly dry.  And they do have port-a-potties on sight, always important to know when you're headed out with the pre-school crowd.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Cherry Blossom 5k: 21 Weeks Pregnant

When I registered for the lottery required to enter the Cherry Blossom 5k at the beginning of December, I knew I could be pregnant because we had just started trying, but I really doubted I would be over 20 week along when the race came along.  Things happened so much more quickly this time.  And though I ran throughout my first trimester, I started majorly slowing down in the second as the pressure during running was getting uncomfortable.  So I was sad to know I wouldn't be completely running this race, but I wasn't going to withdrawal since I have always loved the D.C. cherry blossoms and this could be our last year in the area (Brian's contract is up next March, who know's where we'll be after that).

I ended up being surprised at just how much I did run, and enjoyed the course starting near the Washington Monument, across the Arlington Memorial Bridge (near the Arlington Cemetery entrance) and back.  I psyched myself up to run back across the bridge without any walking, and then noticed the course was sloping down on the return making for an easier second half of the race.  I surprisingly was only about 8 minutes less than my normal time, even with walking quite a bit.  And having a 21 week old side kick running with me.  This was baby's second 5k race (see post on first one here).

My official time was 43:12.  And here are the fun little maps that go along with it.  My mileage here claimed 3.4, which wouldn't surprise me with all the swerving I ended up doing.  I started myself too far back in the coral and had to run around a lot of walkers.

 The boys all came with me, loving the train ride into the city, but ending up exhausted due to such an early start to the day.  We picnicked for lunch, thankfully as most of the food truck lines were endless.  Eli slept through almost all our hike around the tidal basin, but I managed to get a few pictures with him.  And the blossoms of course.

 We always stop by The Tulip Library.  Elijah loved them.

 So excited waiting for the train.

And then we stopped by our favorite pie shop in Occoquan on the way home, since my motivation and reward for finishing this 5k was a slice of cherry pie.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Frying Pan Farm Park, Finally

Since it's cold and rainy-ish here this weekend, we're delaying our trip to the flower fields we grew to love last year (see link) and reflecting on some much nicer days we've had this Spring.

One such beautiful day was a recent trip to Frying Pan Farm Park.  This park has been on my radar for quite a while now, as it is always a frequent recommendation by moms in the area.  Like so many of our outings, it is a great agri-tourist activity for when you're trapped in the suburbs like us.  Supposedly, the only working farm left in Fairfax County, Frying Pan Farm Park draws its inspiration from the 1920s-1950s era.  We very much enjoyed visiting the farm, including:

The Tractor Patch:  There were four, kid-sized, kid-safe tractors to climb all over.  Of course Theo had to try out all four.  They would play here for an hour if there weren't other kids waiting for a turn.
Wagon ride ($3 a person, buy tickets in the country store):  This ride circled the farm, with the tour guide making stops to talk about different aspects of the farm.  Theo's hand immediately shot up whenever she asked for questions, and he would think of one (asking about the horse shows, the bull's lack of horns...).  It ran almost half an hour.  Probably shorter if you have less extroverted/curious kids on the ride.

Kidwell Farm:  Where all the animals are, including all the new spring babies.  They've got large pastures so you've got plenty of room to walk.  We didn't have one, but I'd guess the paths were stroller friendly (there are several bathrooms on the property too).

Carousel and playground:  After the drive to get there, the playground let the kids run off some energy right away before hitting up the more educational and interesting aspects of the farm. 

And we didn't even get down to the Visitor Center, so I can't comment on that.  But, we'll probably be back, maybe even for a class as they offer various classes, camps, and other events.

Other Nearby Attractions:  Dulles Airport (perhaps a great last stop before a long flight with kids?) and the Udvar-Hazy National Air and Space Museum (explore indoors a bit and then pair that with the farm outing perhaps) is only 3 miles away.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Nesting: List of Bare Minimums to Stock Up On

So, I'm behind on blogging.  We weren't doing much at the beginning of the year, but we've had some adventures lately I want to post about.  But, I can't stop nesting to write and edit photos!  I don't really remember ever feeling these compulsions with the last two, but all I want to do lately is to buy everything we might need until a good month after the baby comes, and find places to store it all.  I'm finally feeling the baby quickening, and I think that has something to do with getting started with preparations.

Now, I'm normally not one to buy in bulk.  I just feel like our house doesn't have much storage space, so I never buy more than we need.  That all changed last week.  I basically spent a day price shopping between Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon, soap.com, and our local grocery store.  I was pleasantly surprised that Target actually gave me the best prices for lots of things, especially when I factored in my 5% red card savings, shopkick points, and Cartwheel deals.  As well as a few coupons I happened to have on hand.  The next day I headed out and bought up lots of things, including:

Bathroom:  Toilet Paper, Shampoo, Conditioner, Shampoo + Conditioner (for days when you don't have time for both), Deodorant, Contact Solution, Toothpaste (3 types, adult, kids, training), Make-up Wipes, Kleenex, Body Soap, 1 extra baby soap (in case Eli dumps it out again)

Kitchen:  Dishwasher Tabs, Trash Bags, Water filters, Wax Paper, Aluminum Foil, Zip-lock Bags, Plastic Wrap, Paper Towels

Laundry:  Softener Sheets, Detergent, Bleach, and Oxy-clean

Pets:  Dog Food, Cat Food, Cat Litter

Other:  Batteries, Vitamins, Newborn/Size 1 diapers, printer ink

I then re-organized the bathroom closet, hallway "baby" closet, and boys' room closet to find places for everything (and to put away size 2 & 5 clothes-  Theo is definitely a size 7, and Eli is starting to fit into size 3).  Another couple trips to Target for plastic totes later, I was in love with all my newly organized spaces.  I basically just keep going in and opening the doors and staring.
Tall Closet in Bathroom, (more supplies are under the sink)
Boys' closet all ready (box on bottom is the remainder of 
the baby boy clothes, in case we need to grab it in a hurry).

I should have took before-and-after shots for all of them, but this closet was definitely the biggest change.  This hallway closet, though a blessing to have, has always been a nightmare for me.  I use it to store holiday decor (except Christmas), overflow kitchen/table decorations, candles, frames, swimwear, and my maternity clothes (or currently, non-maternity).  The wreaths are always all over the place, and I feel like I have to go through the whole closet every time seasons change to make sure I get everything.  I have thought about getting totes to organize it better before, but could never find good sizes to fit on the shelves.  It finally hit me that I could get some large totes and use the top shelf to store all my Easter, Thanksgiving/Halloween/Fall, and minor holiday decor.  And put the wreaths on top!  It worked perfectly, and I even had room left to store my clothes in totes and hang all of the baby stuff in here as well.  This baby, like Eli, won't be getting a room for the first 6+ months of it's life, but will basically be in ours.  So finding so much room in this closet it great for us.

I also got out most of the baby supplies and made room in the bathroom wardrobe and boys' wardrobe for some of it's things.  I pulled out everything that could possibly be described as neutral, and this baby already has a nice little wardrobe full of yellow ducks and monkeys.  I love seeing these tiny things hanging in the closet.

Finally, with my nesting energy, I even drug out everything from our downstairs storage (Christmas, baby, and mostly-school related) and downsized a few boxes of files/books/school supplies (though I still have many-many more).  Through this I was also able to put together several more busy bags and activities for the boys and got out some math manipulatives they are ready to play with now (tracing paper, base ten blocks, geoboard for Eli, pattern blocks, etc) as well as some beginner chapter books to start reading with Theodore.

And I'm done now.  At least for a while, I'm going to force myself to take a break.  I'm waiting to do some freezer meals closer to d-day (4 months away!) but I am half tempted to right now.   And Brian's lucky that we don't necessarily plan to be in this particular town house for too much longer or I would probably want to paint everything...  I still just might.  We'll see what other nesting compulsions crop up.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Third Time Around: First Half of Pregnancy Update

I'm half way there!!  I keep pushing back updating on this pregnancy.  Other than my monthly doctors appointments, I can almost forget I'm pregnant most days once I'm dressed (my jeans stopped fitting at 9 weeks, definitely maternity clothes for me already).  But until I really start feeling the baby and seeing the 20 week ultrasound it's hard to believe I'm really pregnant again.

1st Trimester Symptoms:  Dreams, Hunger, Weight Gain  While in media the biggest sign of pregnancy is always shown through women rushing to the toilet with morning sickness, my main first symptom has always been crazy dreams.  When I woke up from a dinosaur dream at the end of November, I heavily suspected we had a little one on the way, and I was right.  I made it through the whole first trimester with very little in the way of symptoms (don't be jealous though, I've got weeks of recovering from a c-section to look forward to).  Like my first pregnancy, when I had most of my first trimester off work (summer break), I spent a lot of time napping as exhaustion was my main symptom.  And we learned Eli actually will nap if you take one with him.  And, if hunger can be considered a symptom, I definitely had that.  I was a little picky about food for a while, and lost my appetite for a bit, but after that passed I just got hungry.  For carbs.  It seems every meal I plan revolves around or includes potatoes.  It's been very hard going from a diet where I was still cutting calories to lose weight, to adding calories to start gaining weight.  I was having a lot of times where when I stood up the blood would rush to my head and my vision would go black for a few seconds if I hadn't eaten recently.  I pretty much want to eat everything in sight most days but then would regret that because my stomach doesn't really have that much room.  According to my records, I've gained more so far this pregnancy than the other two, but I also started out a lot less so we'll see how it goes.

Exercise:  Despite being especially tired, I actually continuing to workout through my first trimester (something I've never done in other pregnancies).  I ran a rainy 5k race at 3 weeks, and was typically taking step/pump class on Monday, a circuit training class Thursday, and another step/pump class on Friday (assuming I could get a spot in the nursery for Eli during these morning classes).  I also threw in some zumba classes and continued some short runs in my first trimester, but all the snow/cold cancellations and delays for school meant the gym nursery closed, which slowed me down quite a bit on this.

Going into the second trimester I slowed down even more.  Running on the treadmill was starting to put a lot of pressure on my pelvis, and I had to slow down from about a slow 10 min pace to no more than 12 min/mile.  And I started doing a lot more intervals of walking and running.  At this point I'm down to mainly just walking outside when the weather is nice.  I took my last zumba class at 16 weeks and my abs were super sore afterwards, so I decided to give that up as well.  Depending on the instructor, it can just be too much jumping for me at this point.  I still have no trouble with weights, so I strive to keep adding some weight circuits to my home workout routine as well as continuing to walk.  Before being pregnant I signed up for the Cherry Blossom 5k (there's a lottery to get in, spots are limited) and it looks like I'll be a walker for it.  I'm kind of bummed about that but I don't see myself running much at 21 weeks.

Beginning of 2nd Trimester Symptoms:  Shrinking Air Capacity, Round Ligament Pain
Despite the fact that I was still able to run a 5k at the end of my first trimester, I can now barely get from the basement to the top floor of the house without losing my breath.  And carrying a sleeping 2 year old from the car to his bed is a complete workout for me.  Pushing the stroller to and from the rec center for swim lessons is also a big strain on me since a large hill is involved.  It's tough to feel this way after spending the last six months trying to get in the best shape I could for this pregnancy.  I also had to look up why I was experiencing so much more pain this pregnancy than I remember with the first two.  For some reason (age, maybe? or due to exercising?) I'm having a lot more pain in my stomach and pelvic area, that I think can be described as round ligament pain.  Some days it is pretty bad, while other I don't notice it at all. 

Appointments:  At our first appointment they did a quick ultrasound and the baby waved at the boys.  Theo was so excited to see the baby, since we hadn't told him for sure that we were pregnant.  We told him we had to wait and check with the doctor.  This gave him only a couple weeks he had to keep the secret, though he told all his class the next day.  My second appointment consisted of the dreaded blood draw, which really wasn't that bad at all.  And my third was a basic check-up with everything looking good.  We're not in a hurry for the ultrasound since we are NOT finding out what we're having this time.  Basically, though I would prefer one sex over the other, I know that once the baby actually comes I won't care either way, so I'd just rather wait to find out then so I will be totally happy when I find out.  And I assume it'll be a boy.  By waiting we can avoid buying lots of cute things if it is a girl.  I read this article the other day and it really reflected my feelings that I think I'd have if I found out now.  And I'm not ready to mourn the idea of a little girl yet, though I highly doubt I'll have one.

Sibling Love:  The boys are so excited about the baby.  They tell it good morning, and cuddle my belly at night.  They both tell the baby that they love him/her already.  They have it all planned out so Eli will move into Theo's bed with him, and the baby can have Eli's bed (it turns into a crib).  We keep telling them we have another bed identical to Theo's in the attic, but they just think they'll sleep together.  Eli seems to have no problem with the baby taking his bed.  His diapers might be another matter though.  I finally figured out how to adjust them to the smaller newborn size.  Eli didn't start using them until almost a year, so having a newbie in cloth will be new for us.

Photos:  I'm trying to get a quick weekly shot of just me, and then one each month with the boys.

Anticipating:  Being to the stage where everyone can tell I'm pregnant, and not just chubby.  I've felt a few little flutter kicks, but I can't wait to be able to feel lots of movement to confirm baby is doing well.  The ultrasound next week to make sure everything is going well.  And for his brothers to get to feel the kicks.

Throwback Easter

Wanting to reuse some hats this year (since they are super hard to find for the boys), I skipped coordinating or matching outfits this Easter (this year-don't worry they'll be back).  

Despite the fact that Theo was just over 25 months and Eli is closer to 31 months in the photo above, Theodore definitely filled out this shirt and hat combo a little better.  This is why I always call Eli tiny.

I love Easter photos of brothers: