A Letter Before Your 4th Birthday

Another birthday is coming, and this year has been particularly insane. Between becoming a big brother to sheltering in place at home, this year has been one that we will remember! This year we dug for dinosaurs, found new splash pads, went to Howl-o-scream, and Christmastown for the first time, ran around like crazy, and took another road trip to Pittsburgh where we saw Thomas Town, but also discovered that you get car sick. You called throwing up in the car 12 times a "big spit".
Watching you grow into a kid who celebrates his brother's victories has been the highlight of my year. You're attentive, loving, and responsive to your brother. Last school year you were quiet, shy, and reserved, but this year you've found your voice and really grown into your own person. You still are obsessed with trains and all things Thomas, but you also really like Mickey Mouse, Ninja Turtles, and most recently Chico Bon-Bon. 
We spend our mornings working on your online schooling and the afternoons running through sprinklers, working in the garden, doing arts and crafts, riding bikes, building with legos or on the train table. You love the beach, fireworks, the jump park, playgrounds, and ice skating. You don't love taking your afternoon rest and all of a sudden you don't like grilled cheese. You're an expert at the claw machine and love getting little prizes which you almost always give your brother. 
Since this birthday will be a little different, we are camping in the back yard for your first ever sleepover with your two best friends. Being four means that next year you'll need a real backpack, to go into real preschool. It might seem like such a small thing, a new backpack, but in a way it shows the transition into the new changes to come. Happiest of birthday wishes to my first born, my number one, and my favorite dance partner. Here's to another year of laughs, snuggles, and all the joy in the world. 

Brock Center

We are so lucky in our area to have so many pockets of escapes into nature. The Brock Center, built by the Chesapeake bay Foundation is one of them. The center is located at Pleasure House Point in Virginia beach and is as amazing on the inside as the view is on the outside. The building produces 83% more energy than it uses and is the first building in the Untied States to capture and turn rainwater into drinking water. It has solar panels, wind turbines, wells, rain cisterns, waterless toilets, and natural landscaping.

Outside, the land is an underdeveloped waterfront home to beach, marsh, and maritime forest overlooking the Lynnhaven River. There are walking trails which go across shallow waters to allow anyone to splash in and lots of little critters to see. We saw baby turtles, snails, and some small fish. Maybe it was the weather, the fact that we have been stuck inside, or that no one had a tantrum, but we had an absolute perfect afternoon here!

4th Birthday List

1  2  3  4  5
My little man is really growing into a full blown kid and it's hard to believe. The umbrella and kite were specific requests from him. The boots are because he practically lived in his old pair and wore them out- literally. The backpack is because his little toddler one is getting to small to fit everything he needs, so I guess we are moving up to a full big kid backpack- I'm not ready! As always our favorite birthday gifts are passes and experiences! Check out our favorites around Hampton Roads.  

Elizabeth River Ferry

During social distancing, we continue to look for ways to find adventures while staying away from people. This week we took a ride on the Elizabeth River Ferry with our closed loop family!
Over the past year there has been lots of work on the Elizabeth River ferry docks to rebuild them and they look great! The governing board of Hampton Roads Transit agreed to stop collecting fares until June 10th in order to limit the amount of contact by customers.
The ferry ride takes about 30 minutes. It leaves from three different places, High Street and North Landing in Portsmouth, and Waterside in Norfolk. (In normal times it runs to Harbor Park on game nights also.) The ferry begins running at 5:30 am and runs until 9:00 pm currently. Check the schedule here.
Some of y'all might be freaking out that we are not taking social distancing seriously. Our closed loop means that everyone in the loop is taking responsibility and distancing themselves. It also requires a lot of trust in one another. Also, we went during the day to avoid people going to/from work. On the way to Portsmouth we were joined by only one person who sat below while we sat up top. He got off in Portsmouth and two other people got on, but they also stayed below. So... we were basically alone for the whole trip.

6 Reasons We Love Bluebird Gap Farm

We LOVE Bluebird Gap Farm in Hampton for so many reasons, but here are our top six!
01. The animals! Beyond the typical farm animals, Bluebird Gap Farm has peacocks, a turkey, and deer. We love getting up close and personal with the animals. During normal, non social distancing times, you can even buy feed for them.
02. Plenty of places to sit! Besides the picnic tables and benches there are gazebos and a pergola. I love bringing a picnic lunch and finding a spot to enjoy it.
03. The gardens! The master gardeners have built beautiful gardens to walk through. There are edible gardens, a forest floor display, and lots of flowers and paths to walk.We sat in a garden in the back for 30 minutes and had a totally uninterrupted snack.

04. The playground! Closed right now for social distancing, Bluebird Gap Farm has a wonderful playground. There is a toddler one as well as a big one plus swings.

05. The photo ops! Located all around the farm are tons of places to take photos.
06. It's free!! Maybe the best part, but we love that this park is free and open to the public!
**Right now all of their indoor exhibits are closed.

Every Hour

A picture every hour of our day last week. Yes, that is a turkey that landed at our house. A wild turkey! These are real life pictures, so, here it goes!

Prost Mijos: Jon Snodgrass

You may not know the name Jon Snodgrass, but you should. The musician has worked with the Descendents, Frank Tunner, Chuck Ragan, Mike Herrera and so many more people. Like many musicians stuck at home right now, Jon has recorded some new music, and this time it's written for kids. When Jon's friend Casey suggested a kid's record to lift everyone's spirits, Jon learned that it would lift his too. He already had a ton of ideas for kids' songs, including titles like "Failure to Lunch", "Jumpy, Jumpy Whee & Woo" (which despite what came to my mind immediately isn't about the pelvic floor problems that mamas have after pregnancy), and "Mama Tired". These songs were inspired by a hate of all foods that are green and only saying things that are "true, of use, and kind." Appropriate for Covid are "Clean Hands & Feet Too" and "Mama Tired." Let me tell you, during this shut down, this mama is both tired... and tired of the hundreds of "Mama Tired" tank tops from fake stores are popping up on my Facebook.
The record streams free everywhere, and can be downloaded here. Check the songs out. Pop them on when you're driving around and get a break from baby shark! Check out the album below. Thanks for talking to us Jon!!

Quarantine Mother's Day

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 

This Mother's Day is a bit weird. No going out to brunch, no lunches at the in-law's house, no spa days or anything of the sort. So, this year we are bringing Mother's Day home. With a mix of whimsical and practical, these items will help mamas stay relaxed and happy while juggling the kids at home.

1- I loveeeee this Hamsa hand jewelry holder for next to the bed. I have a necklace passed down from my great-grandma that I can see resting in this holder..
2- When looking up the jewelry holders, I wasn't able to pick just one. I love how simple and cute this one is too.
3- Help fight wrinkles, dark spots, and sun damage with this vitamin C serum
4- A mama bear sticker for your car or computer with a little extra pop of red.
5- These are magnetic wraps for your mailbox. They come in a ton of styles, but I think it's such a cute way to add some pizzaz.
6- My mom has a hummingbird feeder like this and we love watching them come and snack. It's so easy to refill too. Just mix 1 cup of sugar to 4 cups of water and boil for 3 minutes. Easy!
7- If we can't go to a spa, bring the spa home with this foot treatment.
8- I love this hat. I was gifted one a while back and I wear it all the time.