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Friday, June 29, 2012

Prince William National Forest

The woods behind our house are part of Prince William Forest.  We cannot, however, leave our back door and wander right on to the trails like at the townhouse.  Josh has done a ton of bushwhack hiking this way since we moved in, but that's not exactly family friendly.  We decided to buy a year's pass to the forest so we could have access to the real trails any time :)  These pictures are form our first family hike as "members" of the forest!
Pretty scenery :)
None of the hikes I've been on so far are very long since they are Jackson friendly (2 miles is about his limit), but that works well for Graham and me too!  LOL  
Josh is loving wearing the Ergo carrier when we hike!  I have used that one too, and really like it (I'm excited about how long it will last us), but I've been loving the Moby Wrap for our outings most recently.  It's wraps Graham so snug to my chest and it's just like me holding him all snuggled up, but my hands stay free :)
We briefly saw this playground as we left on our hike, but it wasn't until we were all finished that we saw how COOL it was!  This is at Pine Grove Picnic Area, and Jackson LOVED it :)  We will refer to it as the bear playground :)
Stepping stumps
The lantern sconces on the outside of this slide are super cute!
The huge bear actually houses this neat climbing wall
A log to climb up
Happy camper :)
Ladybug car
Jackson loves anywhere there is something to balance/walk across!

We plan to get a lot of use out of our pass to the forest!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Super Duper Awesome Summer Day!

We actually discovered Locust Shade Park on Monday.  We went to try out one of their playgrounds and took a picnic.  It was a perfect morning outing!  Josh took Jackson back on Tuesday morning (while I took Graham for a weight check at the pediatrician) to play putt putt!  Apparently Tuesdays are Buy One Get One Free--SCORE!
They had an awesome time!
Jackson keeps talking about "playing putting with the colored balls."
We are definitely planning to take advantage of this wonderful spot more this summer :)
Another attempt at a picture of all three of us!
Josh had a super surprise for Jackson: camping in the backyard!!!
Jackson was really excited to help Daddy set up the tent outside.
Putting the poles together.
Getting ready to raise the tent.
Almost up...
Jackson even had his own tools to help!
Hammering in the stakes.
Dragging over the sleeping bags.
Checking out the tent.
All set for sleeping!
The boys and the tent :)
Nothing says camping like a little pre-bedtime fire!
Someone is excited for smores...
Graham's first fire!!!
Helping add kindling to the fire.
Roasting a marshmallow.
Two of these boys will be sleeping in the tent.  One will not ;)

Side note: Graham's weight check went well!  He has gained some more weight.  The nurse practicioner we saw was wonderful!!!  She said he looks great aside from the slow weight gain.  She isn't really worried, but did want us to come back in five days, so we have another appointment for Monday.  She also encouraged me to wake him after three hours to eat if he hasn't gotten up on his own.  We'll see what we can do!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Play Ball and Eighth Wedding Anniversary :)

June 25th was Josh's and my EIGHTH wedding anniversary!!!  We cannot believe how amazing our life is and all that has happened on this journey together: three houses, a dog, six job changes, and two kids later...

We thought it would be fun to take advantage of $1 nights with the Potomac Nationals--$1 tickets AND $1 hotdogs!!!
Jackson spinning the wheel for a prize before we entered the stadium.
A blow-up white bat was his prize!
Being cool in Daddy's shades :)
Graham was a happy camper in the Ergo, and Jackson had a great time checking everything out!
Daddy and Jackson
This Cookie Monster was the highlight of the evening for Jackson!  Mind you he wanted NOTHING to do with going to see him up close...
Love these three :)
Trying to get a cute picture of the three of us--Scrunch Monkey doesn't make that easy!

We had a blast at the game--we will definitely be back!  You can't beat the price, and the stadium is not a far drive at all.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Three Months Off = ROAD TRIP!

This lovely paper chain is Jackson's count down to when we leave Dumfries for our month-long summer road trip!!!  He is super excited because it means going to Mimi and Bampa's house and being the ring bearer in Uncle Larry and Aunt Michelle's wedding!!!  Starting out with 27 days...

We had planned all along to make our summer trip to Chicago connect with Larry's wedding in Minneapolis at the beginning of August.  We were thinking we would be gone for about two weeks total.  Well, Josh was working hard for a whole day while my mom was here, and I was not allowed near the computer.  I figured he was cooking up a surprise, and he sure was: we are extending our trip so that we can "swing" by Meridian, MS and Johnson City, TN to visit with the Buerstattes and the Langstaffs!!!  Here is our itinerary:

Dawn Saturday, July 21st: Depart Dumfries, VA for Avon, IN.  Stay the night with the Conners!
Sunday PM, July 22nd: Depart Avon, IN for Evanston, IL.
Monday, July 23rd-Thursday, August 2nd: Enjoy time with family and friends in and around Evanston :)
Friday AM, August 3rd: Depart Evanston, IL for Minneapolis, MN.
Friday, August 3rd-Sunday, August 5th: Wedding festivities in Minneapolis!!!
Monday AM, August 6th: Depart Minneapolis, MN for Omaha, NE by way of Sioux Falls, SD (this will be Josh's 49th state!!!).  Attend an Omaha Storm Chaser baseball game and stay the night in Omaha.
Tuesday, August 7th: Depart Omaha, NE for St. Louis, MO.  Stay the night in St. Louis.
Wednesday, August 8th: Visit the St. Louis Zoo!  Depart St. Louis, MO for Memphis, TN!  See the Peabody Ducks, among other things, and eat yummy BBQ!  Stay the night in Memphis.
Thursday, August 9th: Spend one more day in Memphis.
Friday, August 10th: Depart Memphis, TN for Meridian, MS!!!
Saturday, August 11th-Monday, August 13th: Stay in Meridian with the Buerstattes!!!
Tuesday, August 14th: Depart Meridian, MS for Johnson City, TN!  Stay the night in Johnson City with the Langstaffs!
Wednesday, August 15th: Spend more time hanging out with the Langstaffs!
Thursday, August 16th: Depart Johnson City, TN for Staunton, VA.  Stay the night in Staunton?
Friday, August 17th: Tentative arrival back to Dumfries :)

Oh, yes, we are attempting this with an infant, a 3-year old and a dog all in the PRIUS!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012


We are SOOO in love with this Monkey Moo, Scrunch Monkey, Buddy Bear, Grahamy, Graham Bear!

I know how fast the time goes, so I am desperately trying to soak up every minute of Graham!  So far, he has a very laid back attitude (like his daddy) and fits in just perfectly around here :)  He really only gets upset if he is hungry, needs some snuggling, or has some tummy issues.  We are getting more and more stretches of awake time from him each day!  I love that!  It is very clear that he and Jackson are brothers, and the baby pictures of them sleeping will indeed be very hard to tell apart, but once Graham opens his little eyes, you can see his own little self!  

Sleeping is going very well.  His favorite place to nap (when not in our arms) is backwards on the recliner!  We know we don't have too long where that will work, but for now it keeps him snug and happy, so we'll go with that.  At night he pretty much sleeps exclusively in the Pack-n-Play next to our bed.  He enjoys his swing MUCH more than Jackson ever did--woo hoo!

Graham is eating like a champ!  Well, in terms of the mechanics of nursing...  It is all clicking a bit better than with Jackson...  I am crossing my fingers extra hard that this keeps up because I LOVE getting to nurse my little guy!  The doctors, however, are a little concerned with Graham's weight gain.  He lost almost a pound in the hospital, and still hasn't reached his birth weight again.  At his two week check-up on June 19th, he weighed 8lbs 8ozs (45th %).  They want us to come back in one week to have his weight checked again.  Josh and I aren't terribly worried since Graham seems content after each feeding and sleeps for long stretches between them.  But, we'll keep an eye on it...

Graham loves to be swaddled (maybe not quite as much as his big brother did), and it continues to amaze us how magical swaddling can be for a sad baby!  He sleeps swaddled at night and usually takes one of his naps in the swaddle during the day.  He enjoys rides in the car, but I feel like he doesn't sleep as soundly in his carseat and stroller as Jackson did.  When we are out and about he is more likely to get fussy or want to be held.  Maybe as he gets a little bigger he'll zonk out more deeply???  I've noticed when he is really fussy and not taking the paci, if I hold my palm to his cheek this helps him calm down and catch his breath so he can latch onto the paci.  Yes, he does like his paci!  Again, I'm not quite sure if he will be as attached to it as Jackson was, but there is a love already :)

Overall, we are doing really well!  I am trying hard to make sure I give Jackson enough attention during the day as well as not expect too much from him.  He IS the big brother, but he also is only 3 1/2.  I can't expect him to help me as much as Josh does or to be on perfect behavior all the time...  Josh has THE BEST job (and boss) and is not going back to work until Labor Day!!!  I originally was worried about how having him home so long would affect my routine I know and love, but a couple weeks in, I have NO idea what my days would look like without him!!!  It is summer, we have no need for a strict routine, and we are just soaking up all of this family time :)
This big brother thinks Graham is pretty awesome too :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hanging Around the House for Week 3

Never get tired of this sweet face!  We started Graham's third week off by going for his hearing screening!  Thankfully, he passed right away!  YAY!  On Tuesday, we took him to the pediatrician for his two-week check-up.  He weighed 8lbs 8ozs (45th %), and while the doctor said he looked great, she was a little worried about how far he still was from reaching his birth weight.  She asked us to make an appointment for next week to check Graham's weight.  We did the same thing with Jackson because he didn't get back up to his birth weight as quickly as they would have liked.  Josh is really not worried since Graham is eating so well, but since I'm the one providing the food, I'm a little more worried.  I can't help but take it a little persoanlly!
This picture cracks me up!
It got pretty hot, so we broke out the pool!  Jackson loved helping to use the hose to fill it up :)
Such sweet little fingers!
This really doesn't do Graham's true personality justice, but it's one of the few, better pictures we have of his eyes open!
Our silly Big Brother!  He got these cool sunglasses as a Big Brother gift--they go with special Transformers bubbles and are supposed to make the bubbles look 3-D.  They don't fit Josh or me, so we aren't sure what the bubbles actually look like, but Jackson thinks they are AWESOME!  That's what counts!
Graham LOVES napping like this: backwards on the recliner, propped up on the Boppy, and snuggled with a blanket!