Since this week's video is actually from Thursday, we'll go ahead and start with that so as to somewhat maintain continuity. (Pardon the low quality; upon initial rendering, the file size was 100MB, but then I guess I overcorrected when I tried to reduce the size.)
Friday morning, Tom & Soren went to Soren's rec center class, while Eleri & I got laundry and packing done in advance of our trip. (More accurately, I got laundry and packing done while Eleri alternately napped and provided commentary.) The guys brought home lunch, so we ate and then hit the road.
It's about 180 miles to Chincoteague from here, but there was a fair bit of construction-related traffic just outside DC, plus the inevitable necessary delays with two wee ones, so it took us about 4.5 hours to get there. Not too bad, on balance. Some observations from the drive:
- We passed a lot of roads called [some word] Neck Road. Cox Neck, Beaver Neck, Peggy Neck, Landings Neck, Sportsman Neck. I'm not sure if this is some kind of waterway reference (we were near creeks or rivers in many cases) or what.
- At one point along the highway, we saw signs for Tips Lane in one direction and Fortune Lane in the other. We found it amusing.
- The Chesapeake Bay Bridge is nothing to sneeze at. It is very tall and 4.3 miles long. I would not want to cross it on a windy day.
- There is a NASA facility just across the way from Chincoteague. They do rocket launches from there and everything.
We eventually got to our hotel, got settled, and then walked to the little restaurant next door for dinner. Being in a seaside town, we felt obliged to sample some locally appropriate fare and split a crab cake sandwich and an order of seafood alfredo, the latter of which was extremely rich and probably allowed us to meet our butter consumption quotas for the next few months. Tasty though! After dinner we walked across the street where there were some real live Chincoteague ponies in a corral (two mares with babies). Soren was more impressed with the passing bicycles, but he did get a kick out of the foals laying down to rest ("Ponies sleeping!").
And with that, we retired to our room to get some rest in preparation for our Assateague day on Saturday.
I kind of can't believe we never managed to take Soren to the beach while we lived in California. I mean, he was born in the midst of Tom's big final push to graduate, so it's not as though we had a bunch of free time. But still, it's a little surprising we didn't get out to the coast at all. Anyway. This small fact allowed Soren and Eleri to get their first beach experiences at the same time. Go figure.
I am, of course, getting ahead of myself. We got up Saturday morning and went downstairs to get some breakfast, worth mentioning because I don't think I've ever seen such an extensive complimentary breakfast at a Best Western-caliber hotel. There was the usual assortment of bagels and danishes and fruit and juices, plus cereal and yogurt and bacon and eggs and two waffle irons (possibly three waffle irons). It was a little surprising, to me anyway.
Bellies full, we piled in the car to drive over to Assateague. We parked near one of the Visitors' Centers and then went on a nice little (4ish mile long) walk. We went part of the way around the Wildlife Loop, then out to the beach, where Soren gleefully threw sand and shells and rocks into the ocean. (Side note: I don't think I've ever seen so many shells on a beach in my life. It was absolutely covered with them.) Poor Eleri was a little overtired and was having trouble falling asleep in the pouch, so she was not a happy camper for a little while, there. And we were besieged by mosquitoes nearly the whole time we were out. Normally I'm a veritable mosquito magnet, but for whatever reason they seemed to be more interested in Tom this time. It was kind of handy to have my own personal "skeet sink," if you will. ;) Nevertheless, I was still assaulted plenty. Note to self: bug spray, next time!
True to its name, the Wildlife Loop provided many opportunities for viewing various wild critters (mostly of the feathered variety). We saw a bunch of snow geese, egrets, sandpipers, red wing blackbirds, and even a couple of bald eagles. There was also lots and lots of pony poop. They must come around at night though, because we only caught a few glimpses of wild ponies near the end of our walk, as they grazed far away behind a fence. Ah well.
We drove back over to Chincoteague for lunch, where I took this hilarious video...
...which I would totally show you if I hadn't just completely screwed up my video editing program by installing a software "upgrade." Grr.
The video involves Soren and a lemon. I promise I'll try to get this software issue resolved as soon as possible.
Back to Assateague after lunch, where we intended to check out the light house, only to discover that we'd missed the closing time by 15 minutes. (Why they close the thing down at 2:30pm is beyond me, but what could we do?) It probably worked out for the best though, since both kids were getting sleepy by that point and ended up zonking out for naps within ten or so minutes of each other. Which meant that the first hour and change of our drive home was blissfully silent! ;) All things considered, though, Soren and Eleri were both pretty good in the car both ways. Eleri had some (rather vocal) objections to her confinement, in addition to legitimate food- and diaper-related complaints, but she also spent a good part of the drive sleeping or giggling at Soren or kicking at Soren's little soccer ball.
All in all, a very fine trip! I'm really glad we went.
Sunday we mostly recuperated and got prepped for the start of another week. Eleri has, in the past few days, fully sorted out how to grab and chew on her feet, so this has become her new favorite pastime. Tom made tasty pizzas for dinner, before which I enjoyed an hour of escape to go grocery shopping all by myself. A winning end to a winning weekend!