Sunday, August 15, 2010

Operation: Explore Maryland

This was our first weekend home in Maryland, by ourselves, with nothing planned.  I figured we would just use it to catch up on laundry, housecleaning, yard work, etc.  But Jon had other plans.  We awoke on Saturday morning and he announced we were going to have a "Family Fun Day."  The phrase stuck. We used it all day long.  When Jack was yelling and running around the house and refused to get his shoes, "Hey, it's Family Fun Day, now sit down so we can get in the car!"  When Jude was crying and then spit-up all over his nice clean clothes, "Oh well, it's Family Fun Day!"  When Jon didn't want me to give Jack a sip of my mocha coolatta with insane amounts of sugar, "Why not?  It's Family Fun Day!" and so on.  We didn't have a plan, according to Jon we were going to pull this off the way my parents typically do - spontaneously.  I also reminded Jon that my parents don't have two kids under two either.

But somehow it worked and ended up being fun.  We needed a day with just our little foursome, we needed to try something new, and we definitely needed to explore our new home.  So we pulled out a list of State Parks, circled a few that looked interesting and took off down the road. 

If there's one thing I'm learning as a moves-around-a-lot military spouse, it's that you can always find something to love about your location, sometimes you just have to look for it.  We love our house, and our quiet, cozy neighborhood.  But I'm having a hard time loving our city.  In my opinion, it's crowded, too new and lacking charm.  But I'm slowly learning that the best secrets are usually just outside the city.  And the best way to find them is to just get lost, but bring a map along just in case.  We weren't far outside the hustle and bustle before we were cruising by rolling green fields, beautiful farms, a half dozen fresh produce stands, a huge Amish farmer's market with lots of "Yook, horseys!" and two kids consignment stores.  Of course, Jon refused to stop.  But I've got the place marked and I'm ready to attack this coming week.  I realized, after seeing Jack cry and pull on his waist everytime I button his size 2T shorts, that he may be ready for the next size up.  I've just been waiting to come across some good consignment stores and here they are!

After over an hour of driving through the country we reached the very end of Maryland, a State Park surrounded by water.  Because we didn't have a plan, we ended up buying lunch stuff from the campground store and then enjoyed a not-so-healthy picnic by the bay. 

It was a gorgeous day, both boys were in great moods (or should I say all 3 boys?), and I was loving the change of scenery.  Jon and Jack went exploring while I fed Jude in the shade under a tree.  And by exploring, I mean Jack picks up every rock, leaf, acorn, etc. he sees, and then usually throws it.  As the day wore on the objects got bigger and bigger...

We checked out a little more of the park, got some ideas for the future and then left with a tourist map and a new destination.  It was naptime so we took another slow drive through several quaint little towns and glanced over some hiking/biking trails at a nearby lake to let the boys sleep.  Jack woke up just in time to see the "booooats" as we passed through an adorable little island village, where we brainstormed names for the sail boat we'd love to get someday.  A little bit later we ended up stopping at another park, known for its fossil beaches and sandy cliffs.  It was a 2 mile hike from the parking lot to the beach. 

Since we didn't know what they day held when we left the house in the morning, we only had an umbrella stroller and our jogging stroller in the back.  The park ranger said the trail was "stroller friendly" ... I think the park ranger didn't have any kids ... or at least didn't have a stroller.  So Jude had a bumpy ride in the jogger and Jon took Jack "off roading" in the other stroller.  The boys made it in one piece and maybe just a little rattled.

It was nice to dip our toes in the bay after a hot hike through the woods.  It was more like a Barbie-sized beach compared to what we've been visting this year, but the cliffs were gorgeous and the people around us were digging up fossils left and right.  Of course, Jack immediately started picking up rocks and throwing them.  Such a boy.  In fact, I caught my husband doing the same thing earlier that day. 

Can I just say that, as a girl, I don't think I've ever had the desire to pick up a rock and throw it?  But I decided to try it out, just to amuse Jack.  I didn't get anything out of it personally, I think I'll just stick to picking flowers.

And that was our day!  Well, most of it.  To sum up the rest we hiked back to the car as quickly as we could with two strollers.  Met a couple with two Weimaraners that convinced us, yet again, we need to get some (we keep changing out mind!), ate some amazing surf and turf at a restaurant we'd never heard of, discovered a former railroad bed that is now a bike trail only a few minutes from our house!, put two very tired boys to bed as soon as we got home, and then watched a movie that ended up keeping me awake half the night. 

So yes, we had a full, exciting day exploring Maryland, found new reasons to love our new (albeit temporary) home and came back with a whole list of things to do and places to see over the coming weeks.  And maybe I'll even get a few more blog post ideas from our adventures!


Sally said...

I've driven through MD and I think it's just beautiful! Happy for you :)

J9 said...

Thanks Sally, it's starting to grow on me! :)

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