Claytor Lake

My mind has a very distinct memory that surfaces when I think of camping. I don’t remember where we lived, maybe Texas? But maybe not, there were a lot of trees, but I was definitely in elementary school and it was before we moved to England.

Exact location isn’t important. I remember the camping though. The giant two room tent with wide, hallow aluminum poles that had to be fitted together just right to hold the tent up. I was certain that tent would last forever, my guess is we lost a pole. I remember that burning feeling in my nose from breathing fresh air all night, the hazy sun light dripping through the tree canopy.

That’s all I remember though. Setting up the tent, I know we went a few times, and with friends. But the tree canopy and fresh air – that’s what stuck.

Brandan and I have been camping for as long as we’ve been together. We started going to Claytor Lake state park near VT, and what’s not to love? Of course, our most recent visit was a little rough in the beginning. We arrived fairly late in the evening – after the Virginia Tech football game – and of course it was raining! You don’t know “fun!” until you set up a tent in the rain! Thankfully I’ve set up our REI Kindgom 6 many times, and so it took Brandan and I just a few minutes to get the tent up while the girls slept in the car. A few more minutes for the air mattresses, and we were set!
The next morning I woke up with a peace that only waking up with the birds can bring. I set-up our borrowed pop-up canopy so that we’d have a dry place to eat, and then set to cooking bacon and pancakes from breakfast. Yum!

Normally I’d be jealous of our neighbors – hammock camping feels so live-and-let-live, but to be honest… I wouldn’t want to be doing *that* set up in the rain!

While the girls ate breakfast Brandan and I re-arranged and tightened the tent a bit so that it was more water-tight. We knew this day would be rainy, so we’d brought some coloring books, cards, and other little games to play while we hung out.

One of my favorite things about camping is actually the preparations that go in to the trip. Planning the menu, packing the bags, fitting it all in our Prius. It’s like a game of tetris, and I’m pretty good at it. This time I tried out a new system, I liked the premise but will need to rework it a bit. We usually all pack in one bag, but this time we took three smaller backpacks.

It made packing easy, but then I forgot to bring something to keep the dirty clothes organized. That’s easily fixed though.

Another new thing for this trip was the sleeping bag I purchased for Ginny. Several months early I’d purchased sleeping bags for Brandan and I. I chose the Marmot Trestle 30 series (womens/mens) and purchased the men’s and women’s version for Brandan and I. They’re really nice, a pretty green color, but very functional. They zip together very nicely, and are roomy enough to not feel like you’re suffocating. There is a full zipper on one side an easement zipper on the other side, as well as a small pocket inside the bag for storing personal items – like a phone or wallet. Since I was so happy with my bag I purchased the child’s version for Ginny. It’s a little big, but I stuffed the end of the bag into the storage bag and tightened it so that it was the right length for her. Unfortunately she was still a little too cold for comfort, and ended up in our joined bags. No biggie – still plenty of room!

Just as we were starting to feel a little stir-crazy from spending all day in the tent the skies cleared and we decided to go for a walk. We explored the camp groups a bit, then hit Poplar Leaf Trail. It was short, easy, and paved – so not muddy!

To escape the rain we visited a nearby restaurant. It was small and family owned – just outside the park – and the food was good! The entire place was mismatched dining room tables and and random chairs ranging from wooden chair with floral patterns to fabric covered high backs. Eclectic, and kind of cute.

The next day made us glad we’d come all that way! A good night sleep, sun in the sky, and most of the park to ourselves!!! We headed down to the lake and rented two kayaks. It started out with Ginny and B-man in one, then I paddled with our exchange student. It ended up with a girls’ kayak and a boy… kayak.

We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather. Low wind speed, 60’s and still plenty of leaves on the trees!

Brandan took himself on a private tour of the edges, while the girls and I stayed toward the center. We were out for about an hour, plenty of lovely autumn sun!

SUN! Just looking at these pictures is making me miss it!

And finally, one of my favorite pictures from the whole trip:

I love that I get to share these adventures with my little one. She enjoys camping, and has gotten better at it with every trip. I hope she grows up with fond memories of getting out and just enjoying each other and the beauty of nature. Seriously, there’s nothing more beautiful than dappled sunlight dripping through the autumn leaves.

We spent our last evening just relaxing at the campsite and enjoying each other’s¬†company. I set up the hammock, but was quickly over run by the wee-nut and her pseudo-sister. The two laughed and giggled as Ginny crawled all over. And seriously – it’s not comfortable to have those little knees and elbows poking into you!

______

Thankfully our trip home was a lot faster than our trip down – though we still faced a little traffic as we got closer to NoVa. I snapped this picture at one of our rest stops. She makes my heart so happy.

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Football

My favorite part of fall is the smell of the leaves decomposing on the ground. It’s like the whiff of a strong drink, invigorating and promising. When I was in college fall meant breaking out the socks (because I much prefer sandals!), and football on Saturday. Now that I’m a grown up it means breaking out the rain boots and football whenever my husband can find it on the TV. While I will always feel that special connection between a girl and the football team she grew up with, I have moved on from the desire to actually follow the sport.

Of course, if there is anything as American as apple pie… that thing would have to be football. I’ll take the apple pie any day, but it didn’t seem fair to deny our exchange student the experience.

Her first football experience would come when my sister – a cheerleader at a high school in a neighboring county – was cheering at a game near our home.

Friday Night Lights

We hit a Checkers for dinner then headed to the game. I don’t recall who won, but the cheerleaders were great… naturally!

Ginny, my sister, and our exchange student.

I honestly don’t remember who won, but it’s always fun to see family and get a night out of the house!

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At the beginning of October we took advantage of a long weekend to get out of town and go to a game at Brandan’s Alma Mater, Virginia Tech. The four hour drive took us nearly twice as long thanks to traffic. We had planned to arrive several hours before the game but, unfortunately, we barely made it in for kick-off!

Traffic and a storm.

Thankfully the storm finished up as we arrived and we were able to attend the game in relative dryness! I had snagged some decent tickets online a few weeks before. There’s something very fun about a football game. Noisy, but focused. Loud, but exciting.

Lane Stadium

After a long day of work, school, and packing for our trip, these two were definitely Troopers! We watched the whole game, then it was time to get in the car and drive further south to our campsite at Claytor Lake State Park for the rest of the weekend!

Ginny and P

Do you follow any sports teams? Always have, always will? It’s definitely fun in the moment, so I appreciate the draw to attend the games – but fall is my favorite time of year to get out and about! I’d much rather be out hiking than watching a football game on TV!

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Blacksburg

I didn’t go to Virginia Tech but I do love going there. B-man and I started dating the summer before his senior year at Tech and I spent that year driving through the mountains to visit him every chance I got. Of course those drives were half Tennessee, half Virginia, the drive through the Shenandoah Valley is just as beautiful (from northern Virginia to south western Virginia).

For B-man’s birthday I picked up a pair of tickets for the VT v. Duke football game. He is really into football, and I find it kind of unique. Though he loves his own team in particular he really is a fan of the sport – watching how the conferences function and even cross-conference interactions. I don’t have the mental capacity to care that much about something so abstract and removed… but I spend every Tuesday knitting – that’s to say, we each do what we like.

 

Any who – football tickets. It seemed like a grand plan to me. Surprised him with football tickets, leave Ginny with her Aunt & Uncle, then drive to Blacksburg for a day of fun. We left Friday after B-man was done with work, and drove the 15 minutes to his brother’s house. They are so good with Ginny. This was the third time we’ve left her over night with them, but the first time we’ve gone out of town (we usually just go back home and sleep for 24 hours!). The game was scheduled for noon on Saturday, and we intended on driving home after the game.

On our way down I got an e-mail saying the game time had been moved from noon to 3:30. It didn’t seem like a big deal but ended up being a bane.

As much as I love fall, and would’ve loved to make this trip during the day, it was dark by the time we got into the mountains. This means I have no gorgeous pictures of fall colored mountains. None the less, it was a nice drive. There is something reminiscent about making that drive with just my hubby. We got to the hotel around 11 pm, and checked in. I hadn’t realized how small the room would be, but for the two of us it was perfect (would’ve been a little torturous with Ginny though).

 

 

The picture makes it took bigger than it was. Side note: we took one bag, that was barely full. So proud of our light packing skills, but after the fact I’d wished I’d remembered to grab a hair brush and a real bra instead of the sports bra I’d worn for the car ride. lol

So at 8 am, with just under 8 hours of sleep, we packed up our one bag, and drove to campus. We knew that if we got there early enough we could park at the LDS church building on campus for free. So… we got to campus at 9 am and had six hours to kill.

wamp wamp. It was also really cold, and since it hasn’t gotten that cold where we live I conveniently forgot that Virginia Tech is in the mountains and neither of us was really dressed appropriately for this trip. This picture below is us at the war memorial above the drill field – which is the center of campus really. To the right of the field are most of the classroom buildings. In this picture the tree above B-man’s head is where the memorial to the shooting victims is. The building is just out side of the picture. To the left is where most of the on-campus housing is.

If I had realized that we could’ve waited to park until 2 something (when there were still empty spots in the lot) we would’ve gone to breakfast, maybe hit up a store in Christiansburg for some toddler VT gear… but as it stood we didn’t know that was an option. So we parked, walked around, then realized no place was open for breakfast. We went to the on campus book store and picked up a few t-shirts and a hat for B-man (most of his old ones are faded now any way), and then at 11 we finally got to eat!

B-man requested that we eat at Mike’s. It’s a pizza and burger joint right off of campus – but B says the best thing there are the calzones.

 

After calzones (I had pepperoni and Italian sausage in mine!) we headed off for a walk on campus. As we were walking down we saw the Highty-Tighties lining up to march, so we followed them around campus for a bit.

 

After a while they headed off towards the stadium, but we still have 3 hours before the game started. We headed back towards the car, but not before stopping by B-man’s last dorm.

About five years ago he and I took this picture outside of his dorm room…

Then we found ourselves walking along the same path, and we paused to take an updated version. ūüôā

 

Some friend and family on facebook said they weren’t sure which was the old version and which was the newer one! lol. I can definitely see the difference, especially in B-man.

 

Once we got back to the car we did a walk around the parking lots to see all the tailgaters. We were invited to join a rowdy group of students but it made me feel incredibly old so we didn’t stop. Once we’d worn out our feet we still had two more hours to wait. Since we hadn’t intended on being on the road so late we headed back to the car where I took a power nap while B-man played on his 3DS. Yes… we’re a little boring.

Once game time was a little closer we headed to the stadium. I enjoy going to live sporting events. It’s very different from watching them on TV, and it’s especially fun if you let yourself get into it and do some of the silly things the fans do. We had pretty good seats. Near the 50 yard line and far up enough to see the whole field and the jumbo-tron.

Even though the Hokies lost, we still had a pretty good time. It was nice to go back and visit, beautiful scenery, and I know B-man enjoys going back… even if it makes us feel old and his team loses.

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Tennessee

We’ve been planning this trip for months. Ever since my friend told me she was getting married.

As we left Northern Virginia we drove out some beautiful back roads through farm country. It breaks my heart to see so many empty homes. It’s one thing when it is the empty houses I drive by every day, but when you drive between pastures and farms and you see the family signs that are starting to fall into disarray from lack of maintenance. Part of the struggle I am having in¬†committing¬†to buy a house is that it breaks my heart a little knowing that people are having to sell their homes, and not because they want to. Sure, we are going to get a great deal, but at what cost?

So…. I had a depressing start. lol.

Ok, so the trip from our house to Knoxville is 7.5 hours long. From Knoxville to Nashville is 3 hours. That’s about 11 hours when you make the trip as an adult.

Hahahaha….

With Ginny is was a little bit more complicated. Everything with a baby is a learning experience, and we learned a lot on the trip down that made the trip back home a lot easier. We made it to Knoxville just fine. Ginny did a lot of sleeping. B-man and I did a lot of singing of “The Wheels on the Bus” and fishing for binkies. In the past when we’ve¬†traveled¬†I drove and B-man would ride in the front. This was our biggest mistake. After about 8 hours in the car Ginny started freaking out. Hind sight tells me she was just lonely and probably sick of sitting on her behind.

It only took us about 2 extra hours, but I was determined to not  stress about time. Starting out I said we were going to stop every two hours, unless Ginny was sleeping at the two hour mark, at which point we would stop when she woke up and started fussing. As soon as we would stop B-man would potty her, while I ran into the gas station to use the potty myself. Then I would feed Ginny while B-man went in. We got a system down.

Once I banished B-man to the back seat, at Knoxville, things were a lot quieter. Ginny just wanted some one to look at I guess.

We spent Monday and Tuesday in Nashville visiting my Dad’s sister and her family. I did a bit of shopping, and got an incredible deal on baby t-shirts. Win!

I also ate at Krystals…. in fact… it was the same Krystals that I ate my first Krystal at. lol.

Tuesday night we went out to Murfreesboro and visited my other Aunt and Uncle.

Wednesday we got up and drove back to Knoxville, checked into our hotel, and then headed out for dinner. We had a long list of restaurants that we wanted to hit up. We only got to three of them. My favorite Thai restaurant had closed. Boo. We also went to McKay’s to grow Ginny’s book collected. McKay’s is an AWESOME used book store. Lol. Vacation… book stores… those go together… right?

On Thursday we went out to lunch with my cousin, then I took Ginny around campus to visit some of my previous teachers and mentors.

Friday I did a bit of shopping, B-man and I drove past our old house, which now has several broken windows and looks kind of sad. Then we hit up our favorite Mexican place, then I bought a dozen cupcakes from my favorites cupcake place. hmmmm yumm. I gave some of them to my Sister-in-law who was dog-sitting for me. The rest of them went home with me.

Friday evening we went to my friend’s wedding. Afterwards we went back to the hotel and Ginny got to go swimming in the pool. I have a water baby!!! She is so cute she kicks and “hoos” a ton!

Then the week was over and we were driving back to Virginia the next morning. B-man sat in the back with Ginny the entire time, and there was very little crying. It was kind of lonely for me because B-man had his laptop out and was working… but I just listened to the Christmas music on the radio and¬†practiced¬†signing the music.

 

This post is kind of scatter brained. I have a mountain of laundry and a ton of un-packing and cleaning to do. But I’m home and alive and well.

 

Also… Ginny rolls. Every which way. She has started sleeping on her tummy, and she spends the majority of her time on her tummy now. Every thing from diaper changes to bathing her has just become immensly more complicated, and she is quite the wiggle worm. She also does a kind of army man crawl where she pulls herself across the floor.

And she found her thumb last week too.

She’s had a big week!

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remember when…

So a few weeks back my husband went to San Diego for work.

Lame.

But he’s back now and all is forgiven.

Mostly.

While he was there he got something for me, and something for “us”.

For me he picked up a mug:

It’s not for “us” before B-man doesn’t drink anything hot. Except maybe hot cocoa. Once a year. Maybe.

Then for us he picked up  magnet to add to our collection:

No… my magnets are not usually so orderly. I just wanted to get them all in one picture. When we go somewhere, a magnet is our¬†souvenir¬†of choice. It’s a little bitter sweet, since I haven’t been to San Diego – but we’ll fix that one day. From the top left we have the Coke museum in Atlanta GA, the Marine museum in Triangle VA, the magnet from San Diego, Yorktown VA, the Terra Cotta Warrior exhibit that we saw in Washington DC (this was our first magnet), and one from the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge TN!

 

Nothing shiny, but very thoughtful.

 

Do you collect souvenirs?

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the siege of yorktown

I was gone all weekend. B-man and I left the house on Saturday, took the dogs to my Mama’s house, and then drove down the Williamsburg. The location actually falls into the “day-trip” realm in my mind, but B-man’s Mom got a sweet deal on a time-share (like $50 a night!) so we went down for the weekend.

The drive was only about 2 hours long. We stopped for lunch along the way, and then got to the condo and hung out with B-man’s brother, his brother’s wife, and B-man’s parents. It’s kind of funny that we were hanging out down there… since we all live really close to each other.

For dinner we went to the Aberdeen Barn. It was¬†recommended¬†when MIL checked in, and apparently is well known for having awesome steaks. While I profess to be a carnivore, I prefer my meat in the form of hamburgers, hotdogs, and lunch meats… and bacon. I had the New York Sirloin Strip Steak. I didn’t think it was any better than any other steak I have ever had. It was also kind of expensive for B-man and I. We generally try to stay under $30 (total) when we go out to eat. With a coupon we ended up paying about $50 for the both of us. It included salad, the main meal, and dessert though. I guess I’m just not a fancy eater.

I love travelling, BUT I think this was the last trip I am going to take until the baby is born. Sleeping is difficult in my own bed, and about a million times harder in new places. While my husband was snoring about 30 seconds after his head hit the pillow, I was awake for several hours after laying down. We spent the night at my in-laws a few weeks ago, which was almost¬†unbearable… so I thought if I brought all of my normal pillows that this trip would be better. So I toted my 5 pillows down there… and saw little improvement. I will not be leaving my bed again.

Sunday we all had a slow start to the morning. Some time before noon B-man, his brother, and I packed up into our Jeep and headed to Yorktown. Every one else went shopping. On the way to Yorktown you drive down a beautiful scenic road along the York river, owned by the National Park Services, and there are little pull-offs with signs explaining significant events that took place there.

J+B in front of the York River

 

We drove to the Yorktown battlefield, only to realize that the next tour wasn’t for another two hours. We bought our tickets and headed out to do some geocaching (wikipedia explanation). You can’t put geocaches in National Parks. All of the ones that used to be there have been removed, and the only ones that remain are “virtual” caches. This means that instead of looking for a physical thing, you are looking for the answer to a question. On the website some one will post a question, and the coordinates for the answer. There are four of these virtual caches in Yorktown, and we found three of them!

One our walking we saw a couple of cool things:

The Yorktown Victory Monument

 

This monument was commissioned shortly after the victory by the American and French alliance over the British forces that had been holding Yorktown in 1781. Oddly enough it wasn’t built until about 100 years later! In 1879 work on the statue finally began. In 1942 the statue at the top was struck by lightening and decapitated, and several years later was replaced with a new head, and a lightening rod at the top. lol.

We walked down a little road toward the beach. The weather was nice, but I was wearing tennis shoes, and feeling rather tired. I did not touch the sand.

The beach of the York river.

In search of a geocache answer we found this little gave in the side of the banks.

Cornwallis' cave

 

Apparently Cornwallis, the leader of the British forces, hid out in this cave during the Alliance’s siege on Yorktown. You can’t go inside it now, there is a gate covering the entrance, but it was pretty neat.

After finding the cave we headed back towards the battlefield. It was less than half a mile, but there was a long hill. Hills are hard on my hips. They were hard on my hips before I was pregnant, but now they are even harder. My sweet husband took my purse (how does that thing get so heavy?!) and I slowly marched on up the hill. Then I sat down and refused to move for a little while. We did make it back to the museum/battlefield with plenty of time. We had a snack, then checked out the museum inside the NPS building.

Our tour guide, Bobby!

 

The tour was well worth the wait. Though… next time I am taking a camping chair, as it was a lot of standing, and not a lot of walking. The tour focused on the tactical side of the battle. The first stop focused on while Cornwallis choose¬†Yorktown¬†and that area to hold.

The second stop (which included benches and made my preggo feet very happy!) discussed the weaponry used. The British had more people, and more guns, but the American/French Allies won… why do you think that is?

siege canon

While the men I was with came up with plausible but slightly complex answers, I blurted out “Bigger guns!”. I mean… we were looking at a bunch of canons for heaven’s sake.

I was right. And the tour guide said she’s always happy when some one answers that question correctly. Apparently it’s a tricky one. I thought it was rather obvious!

The third portion of the tour was kind of a play-by-play of the seige that took place.

Franco-American trenches

The British had dug two lines of defense, but upon the arrival of the Allies, they pulled back and used only the inner trenches. Per “typical siege warfare”, a successful¬†siege¬†has only three lines, meaning that by the time they dig their third trench they should be in a position to win. I laugh… it sounded so scientific and official when the tour guide explained this… but really… why three? lol.

This siege is often referred to as the last major battle in the American Revolution. It was not the last battle, there would be a few more further north, but taking Yorktown back from the British was significant for many reasons. Despite having smaller numbers, and not being as “professional” as the British Army, the Franco-American troops won out because of their planning, and cleverness. Win!

The NPS fee was $10 (that includes the movie at the visitor’s center, the museum, and the tour) and it was well worth it.

We also drove around a saw the Yorktown National Cemetery.

Cemetery gate

 

This battlefield played a huge role in the American revolution, but it was also a big part of the Civil War, later on. I believe that the majority, if not all, of the graves in this cemetery are from the Civil War.

Yorktown Cemetery

 

From the road this place looks like a house, with a large fenced in yard, but when you get closer you can see the grave markers. Many bodies were moved here from other cemeteries after the war, as people were often buried where they died during the war with little ceremony or pomp because of the¬†necessary¬†to keep moving. This left many unmarked graves, resulting in about half of this graveyard’s headstones saying “Unkown Soldier” some even have two, three and even four unknown soldiers buried in them.

Surprisingly, the majority of the young men buried in this¬†cemetery¬†were Union soldiers. I guess I find this surprising because it is in Virginia. Maybe that isn’t so special, but I thought it was interesting.

If you have a chance to go to Yorktown, I highly recommend it. The drive from Williamsburg was only about 15 miles, and the history was so interesting. I feel like it made up for my really poor understanding of US History in about 2 hours! lol.

For lunch we hit up Red Hot & Blue. It was delicious. Well… the pulled pork was. I wouldn’t¬†recommend¬†the brisket. For dinner our group met up with B-man’s younger brother and said brother’s girl friend for a delicious Italian dinner at¬†Sal’s by Victor. I had Four Cheese Tortelinni in a creamy sauce. Umm… I like cheese. The service was good, the food was good, and the prices were much more¬†affordable¬†than the previous night’s dinner (about $15/plate).

Considerably stuffed we headed back to the condo. B-man and I didn’t stay up much longer, and headed to bed. The next morning we were rushed out of the condo because no one had realized we needed to be out by 10 (I was told this at 9:55. No shower for me!).

We did some shopping at the Premium outlets (where I bought some maternity clothes at Motherhood which I will be sharing about later) and then we went to Pierce’s for lunch. This place also came highly¬†recommended, but I was less than impressed. My pulled pork¬†sandwich¬†was good (not the best… but I love pulled pork so much I served it at my wedding… so maybe I’m picky). My macaroni and cheese was dismal, but the onion rings were good. Prices were in in the $7 – $15 range.

*

So that was my weekend. What did you do? Have you been to Yorktown? Can you recommend any of your favorite historical places?

PS: When I got home after a weekend of no internet I have about 150 unread blogs. I’m still working on reading them!

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When did this happen?

I know my posts recently have been short and some have even been cryptic. I am sorry. I have something that I have been blogging about privately, and I will be sharing all of that soon enough – but right now I can only go day by day.

Tomorrow I am being initiated in to Omicron Delta Kappa. It’s a National Leadership Honor Society. That should be exciting. I will (hopefully) get to wear the stole and cords at graduation! I know it seems silly, but that was something I didn’t get to do in high school. But I have worked my butt of the last few years, and my grades have been excellent!

B-man and I went home for Thanksgiving. We got to spend some nice time with ¬†my family for Thanksgiving. On Friday we went apartment hunting and I think we found a place. It is pretty nice, new, has a 24-hour fitness center, and we can afford the 2 bdrm w/ den – so practically 3 bedrooms. The rooms are small, but that’s apartment living for you. It also comes with washer/dryer in unit, and a dishwasher. If we don’t find any place better than this we will probably go for it.

On Saturday we went up to celebrate B-man’s brother’s birthday. He turned 40 and the party was a hoot! We made him an “old man kit” with prunes, a cane, and Worther’s original hard candies. The box it all came in was the real present – as we figured he could use it for geo-caching.

Sunday I went to church with my family and met up with a potential employer. We chatted for a little while, and it looks like I have a job all lined up for after we’ve moved! I’m half nervous, and half excited about it. I know the company does a lot of college classes and k-12 classes too, both of which I feel relatively comfortable interpreting. I’ll keep everyone posted!

After church we drove back to Tennessee. I drove for about 2 hours, but I was so tired, so B-man took over the driving. The normal 7.5 hour drive ended up being a little over 10 hours – and he did most of it. I am so thankful, because it gave me a chance to relax, and to sleep.

So I need every one’s help: ¬†how should I decorate my cap for graduation? Please, leave me a comment with suggestions!

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It’s almost 2 am.

We just got back from a wonderful Thanksgiving trip to Virginia. Our house is cold, but not as cold as outside. It’s below freezing out there!

I am so happy that I got to see both my family, and B-man’s family, as well as celebrate a birthday while we were up there! It will be so nice to be up there and close to family soon enough!

The graduation countdown 14 days.

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Lists

Places I have traveled:

  1. Germany
  2. England
  3. France
  4. Switzerland
  5. Netherlands
  6. Austria
  7. Italy
  8. Wales
  9. Scotland
  10. Virginia
  11. Washington D.C.
  12. Massachusetts
  13. New Jersey
  14. New York
  15. South Carolina
  16. North Carolina
  17. Georgia
  18. Florida
  19. Tennessee
  20. Alabama
  21. Mississippi
  22. Tennessee
  23. West Virginia
  24. Kentucky
  25. Illinois
  26. Missouri
  27. Kansas
  28. Oklahoma
  29. Texas
  30. New Mexico
  31. Arizona
  32. Utah
  33. Colorado
  34. California
  35. Oregon
  36. Washington
  37. Delaware
  38. Connecticut
  39. Pennsylvania

And that is the end of my really long list.

How many of these places have you been too? Is your list longer or shorter than mine?

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A Two Week Summary.

I’ve been absent… a lot. lol. But I can explain. B-man and I went up to Virginia to house sit. I recently read this article about people who mention their travel plans online, and then some one breaks into their house while they’re gone. So I didn’t want to be like “HEY! My house is sitting empty for two weeks so bring your truck over and steal everything!” But then I didn’t have anything to blog about because everything we were doing was Virginia related. Trust me, it was rough. But, I have some pictures to share.

Brandan’s brother and his wife have four cats, and a dog. Then we took our two dogs up there. Needless to say it was something of a mad house. I’ll start with my bad pictures, and then the good ones will look really good.

This is Odin… he didn’t want to sit still for a picture. Every time he sat down I would back up to take a picture, and he would get up and walk towards me… he wanted some petting… he is a very demanding cat. He’s also a rather large cat, as¬†demonstrated¬†by… Zuko… next to him.

Next there is Loki. He’s very soft, but he’s also very vocal.

Towards the end of our visit, Loki and Zuko were starting to… be friends? lol. I don’t know if I would go that far, but Loki wasn’t hiding any more. Once I was sitting with Zuko on my lap, and Loki jumped up on the chair with my and the dog.

Next is Scooter. He didn’t start coming out until the last two days before their parents got back.

And then Scooter’s sister Cricket. She spent a good part of the time hiding under the litter box. Then one night, she decided she wanted to come hang out. She’s super soft too!

And then of course there was Gizmo, Zuko, and Gretel. I didn’t take pictures of them, because they didn’t want to pose for me. So there you have it! I’ve been hanging out with the cats and dogs – but I am back now! I also have some exciting news – so hold onto your horses!

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Oh… shiny!

It’s been a long two weeks. B-man left me to go house sit for his brother, and I stayed home to finish my classes. Then I drove up to VA as well to chill out, and also house sit…? lol. Yeah, both of us didn’t need to be up there, but that’s okay. It was fun to play house….well… really it was just fun to sleep.

B-man and I also bought a car up in VA, and I will be blogging about that… tomorrow. Once I have pictures.

I have to apologize though, because honestly… I haven’t been reading blogs. ALL WEEK! I didn’t think it was possible, but this definitely means I’m not addicted. But tomorrow I will also sit down and read the past week’s worth of blogs. I promise. You’ll probably get random comments on a post from a week ago! lol.

I am exhausted. Vacation is never what it should be. Has any one been on a true vacation? Not just going out of town, or staying in a hotel, but actually getting some quality R&R?

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Buh bye…

Brandan is on a plane right now. Probably still sitting on the tarmac.

I cried. A lot. I’m kind of a woose like that. Flying makes me nervous.

I promise a real blog post by this weekend. I am just so stressed right now.

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Good ideas…

I did take a nap. It was perhaps the best nap ever. Not because it was good quality sleep… but because I fell asleep SO fast. For some one who can lay in bed for hours with out falling sleep, it is a miracle that i can take a nap. It was probably a good thing too. B-man and I did go see the new Twilight movie this evening. I wouldn’t have gone, except that I had friends to go with. I’m not going to talk about it. I don’t think the poor writing deserves any more of my analysis, but that it was an entertaining movie. Don’t hate.

Big news. Literally. We harvested something from our garden today. After investing over $100, and plenty of time and water… well, we have one squash. It is a biggin though! About a foot long and definitly a couple inches wide. Much bigger than anything you would find in the stores right now. But it was just the one. I tried to pull up a potato… well, actually, I did pull up a¬†potato, but it was not nearly as done as I was hoping for. I’m guessing my beats are done, and some of my carrots may be nice, and maybe like… two onions. Brandan set up the auto-water for me today though. Not because I am lazy, but because I don’t know how to set it up, and he’s leaving tomorrow.

We agreed to house sit for his sister in law. Which is all fine and dandy, but well… we haven’t spent one day apart since the night before we got married. Yeah… like almost a year ago. I think I’m in a good place, and I will be busy enough with school and finishing up my classes that I shouldn’t have TOO much down time, but ya know… it’s going to be annoying. I’ll have to wash my own dishes, and clean… and get my own drinks and popsicles. I am kind of lazy, but I hurt my back two weeks ago, and it really is a huge pain, physically, to stand up AND sit down. Thankfully my husband is the most kind and patient man in the world. I’ve been told that will change, but I’m praying it doesn’t. Any way, he is flying (gah! What? why did I agree to this? People die on planes!?) to Washington DC (what? people die there too! this is crazy talk!?!?!) and then he’ll be riding with my SIL down to their house. I on the other hand will be finishing up the last page of my paper, then going to classes. Yippee!!! Not.

I should go to sleep. But first:

I want to apologize for being a zombie. I haven’t been posting pictures, or writing coherent posts. Classes have me stressed out. Brandan leaving has me stressed out. Lack of sleep has me stressed out. So. Tonight I am going to go and snuggle my husband and hope for dreams that don’t involve vampires, or plane accidents, or… anything. Scratch that. I don’t want dreams.

just sleep.

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My Semi-Vacation.

Last summer I attended two weddings…

The first being a friend’s, the second being:

MINE! And actually… I think I went to one more, but I don’t have photographic evidence, so maybe I’m making that up. Who knows!

I also attended two graduations. My little sister Becca graduated from HS last summer

And B-man graduated from Virginia Tech!

It was such a beautiful day!

After his graduation my husband and I traveled to Florida for a week of celebration. We stayed in a hotel room with my Dad (umm… we weren’t hitched yet), and we bought 5-day passes to Disney World.

Despite the rain…

We tried to have…

But really, you can only take so much rain.

We decided not to use the last day on our 5-day ticket because well… it was raining.

I would also like to point out that, in every picture of my husband wearing a rain poncho, he has managed to rip it. Except the first picture – because we had just bought him a new one… for the third time.

Any way, I tell you all of this to compare my entire summer of last year, to the last week of my life (the first week of this summer).

We’ve been to one wedding:

With plans to attend another wedding in July.

We also went on another rain-filled vacation. There are no pictures of this because I was kind of upset about it… so I just slept a lot. Sorry. But here’s a picture to¬†represent¬†all of the sleep I did!

Then we went to my best friend’s graduation from the University of Virginia!

I did a lot more, and intend on being a bit more specific about these events, but I was just surprised at how we managed to cram an entire summer’s worth of events into one week! Ah!

Between May 14th and May 24th I drove 1,954 miles. Yeah… that’s just a rough estimate made by using¬†Google¬†maps and inputting every leg of our trip. Maybe I need to get my oil changed. lol.

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