Top 30 Things I Love About Him

Happy 30th Birthday to my husband and hero.  Four years ago, no one could have told us this is where we would be, but it has been a beautiful struggle to get here.  We have accomplished so much and taken many steps toward our dreams! Today is your birthday but this year will be about making every moment count and memories that will last a life time.  Here is my ode to you.


I love him because:

  1. He is always honest.
  2. He reminds me to fulfill my promises.
  3. He always says I love you.
  4. He sends me sweet text through the day to remind me he is thinking of me.
  5. He works hard for our family.
  6. He seizes opportunities to advance his career.
  7. He never forgets a holiday or important moment. (I do…often. Too often.)
  8. He lets me put my cold feet on him.
  9. He eats all of my cooking, even when it’s not that great.
  10. He brings home my favorite things to surprise me. (Currently Talenti ice cream).
  11. He has taken my suggestions on improving his style and made it his own.
  12. He encourages me to fulfill my dreams.
  13. He never backs down when he thinks he is right.
  14. He will eventually admit to me that I was right.
  15. He defers to me on many issues that I feel passionately about.
  16. He is adventurous.
  17. He loves great food and explores many different cultural experiences.
  18. He loves his family.
  19. He has an amazing set of friends who have welcomed me with open arms and hearts.
  20. He will stay up late to put the clothes in the dryer.
  21. He makes me laugh, smile and cry tears of joy.
  22. He is passionate about his craft and does it well.
  23. He has given me the world.
  24. Simple things make him happy.
  25. He loves his namesake.
  26. He supports all of my crazy ideas.
  27. He prays with me and for me.
  28. We laugh at many of the same things…inside jokes for days.
  29. He tells me I am beautiful often.
  30. He chose me to be his life partner.

HAPPY 30th Birthday! This list could go on for days because you are all of this and much more.

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To Do List: For Parents Looking for Things to Do with Children Under 2 (DMV Edition)

In a few days I will transition into being a full-time stay at home mom while I continue my search for a job.  Despite this being one of my biggest fears and something I did not expect, I am welcoming this opportunity with open arms! I will finally be able to spend guilt free moments with my son, without work, school or any other major responsibility looming over my head.  Although I hope this is only temporary, I want to make sure I make the most of this hopefully rare moment in our lives!

I started to get excited and started looking for things to do with my soon to be two-year old.  I began at the local recreation center, but they did not have anything for his age group.  I know of a few other child friendly places, but they were pretty expensive, and we are trying to have the most fun, using the least amount of money possible.  So, I did a little research and found plenty of inexpensive things to do in the DMV area with children 2 or around that age.

1. Your Local Library

Many of us remember going to the library as a kid, but as we grew up and the information age expanded to in home computers, iPads and endless cable channels, we forgot about this FREE gem that is the center of many communities.  Check your local library for age appropriate weekly events for your child and some may have special events that make spending time at the library even more fun.

We will be attending Toddler Story Time and a special event with a magic show and balloonery coming up in early August!

2. The National Children’s Museum at the National Harbor

The National Harbor is a work in progress, but one thing that they already have that is perfect for young children is the National Children’s Museum.  This museum focuses on engaging and educating children 8 and under through activities and programs that spark the imagination.  Although it is not free, it is moderately inexpensive with $10.00 tickets per child and adult.  For those who are local and may find themselves there a few times a year, a yearly membership for one adult and one child is $75 and $155 for a family of 6.

Thinking of investing in a yearly membership to get the most out of all the events that they have to offer.

Link: http://www.ccm.org

3. The Carousel and Playground at the National Harbor

There is more fun to be had at the Carousel and Playground at the National Harbor.  This activity is only $5 for your child and free for the accompanying adult.  Your child can enjoy unlimited time on the carousel and even more fun at the newly built playground that is bound to wear them out.  This site also has a nice set of picnic tables, if you want to pack a lunch and make it a full day at the Harbor.

This is high on the list of things to do when I need him to take a good nap for the day, so that I can get a few things done around the house!

Link: http://nationalharbor.com/things-to-do-in-dc/carousel/

4. To Be With Me Playseum

This amazing and interactive place was created by a mom who could not find places to go with her young children where she could stay and be involved.  Out of her void came a unique place where children can create, play or read and parents can connect or read books while their children are nearby.  General admission is only $7 per person, but they have a daily happy hour full of deals that fall within everyone’s budget! There are two locations, one in Barracks Row and another in Bethesda.

We will be frequenting this place with our DC friends and saving money by using a Happy Hour special!

Link: http://www.playseum.com/calendar.html

5. Great Waves at Cameron Run Regional Park

Who knew that there was a water park in the metro area?! I have never heard of this place, but I am super excited to get in at least one day at a fun water park with the kid! Especially since I heard he was uncomfortable this summer when our family took him to one down south.  Well, here is my chance to introduce him to the fun in the sun and water at Cameron Run! They have an age appropriate Kid Zone and the prices are not out of this world, $11.50-$15 for weekday or weekend passes.

We have to get one day in here just to say we went!

Link: http://www.greatwaveswaterpark.com/features-attractions/the-lagoon/

6. Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake

Annapolis is a unchartered territory for many of us DMV transplants.  Even with a car, we can’t seem to find a reason to go “all the way” to Annapolis for anything.  But from what I hear, the food is amazing, the views are priceless and they even have fun things for the kiddies.  Jake and the Neverland Pirates is one of my son’s favorite shows and this would be an awesome adventure for him to experience.  Although I would love to say I went to Annapolis this summer with him, I think I am going to save this experience for his 3rd birthday party! Great location,  decorations provided, perfect theme and a moment he will hopefully cherish through memories or pictures.  (I will take it either way!)  This activity is a little more on the pricey side, but not completely out of reach.  General admission is $20 and $12 for children under 3.

Link: http://www.chesapeakepirates.com/party-room-update/

7. The Smithsonian’s National Zoo

The Zoo is an interesting place, but I am not sure how well a 2 or 3-year-old will do in such large crowds, mostly outside and around animals they may have not been introduced to yet.  Some parents may think this is a great idea, but I am going to lean towards waiting a little while longer before we experience the Zoo.  The admission into the Zoo is FREE but the parking costs $22.  There are two metro locations that are within a 1/2 mile but taking the metro with a child in a stroller is an adventure.  An adventure worth taking is up to you to decide.

Jogged Memories

Going through old pictures always brings back some of the fondest memories.  Going through some of my old journals always brings back the memories of some of the more difficult parts of my life.  This simple realization helped me realize how I shy away from the camera in tough moments and turn into myself.  I avoid the crowd and seek the strength needed to survive.  I take a step back and find my inner voice and wait to hear from On High because either the path is already tough or I see the struggle ahead.

The ease of having all of your pictures on your phone, tablet or computer causes us to miss out on the tangible feel of going through memories.  Of opening up photo albums and telling the good stories and maybe some of the bad.  After last nights rendezvous with a box of old pictures, I have decided to make an effort to print more pictures, place the ones I have in albums and pull them out when my friends come by.

Sometimes I lament in the pain because within those moments there are so many teachable points but there are just as many teachable moments in the joy of life.  Some of my fondest memories growing up, were on 89 Collins St.  My grandparents took pride in their 3 little granddaughters.  They loved and cared for us as they had done for their own children and other people’s children for many years before.  They gave me the foundation I needed to get through those moments when I would be going through life alone.  I was my grandmother’s mini-me, her pride and joy (I’m sure my cousins will disagree).   I left to live with my father but I always missed being with my grandparents.

When I look back and find the few pictures that I have of her, I know Irma would be so proud of me.  She was an educator and taught with such joy.  She was so sweet and funny and the reason I love candy so much.  I carry her with me in my name and in my heart.  And only the pictures I found jogged these memories.  I can write about it but seeing her smile makes me feel a sense of comfort that words cannot describe.

My grandparents taught me that love was not a romantic novel but the quiet moments together enjoying the evening news, making your side of the bed when you got up in the morning, but most importantly, holding your spouse’s hand through those tough times.  They taught me the meaning of sincerity, through sickness and in health, til death do us part.  Those words are a vow, but also a charge to remain invested in your marriage.

I put their picture on our dresser as a reminder that we are in this for life.  To help jog my memory when times are tough and I need to smile.  Next time you and your friends or family get together, pull out the albums, the pictures, and tell some of those great stories that come to mind when you see a certain image.  Share the memories and take note of happiness within those moments.  That is what we live for.  We learn in pain but we live for joy.  Be you.  Do you. Tell your story.  On your own terms.