Sunday, February 28, 2016

Prince William National Park, VA

While the winter in Virginia has been long, it's actually not been as bad as I had anticipated, maybe that's just because I really prepped myself for a dark and miserable 4 months. For a February day, we couldn't have asked for better weather, so ventured out once again for a new place to roam.
Chris is familiar with several wilderness areas, due to work excursions. He perused around on a map today and pointed us toward Prince William National Park south of Manassas. It was fun to just take a little minivan road trip, stopping at a gas station for a (horribly unhealthy) snack break and taking our time to drive out to a new place.

Prince William National Park runs beside areas of Quantico Marine Corps Reservation, near Triangle, VA. We know we'll be frequenting many parks in the area through the year, so stopped in the ranger office to buy a yearly National Park pass.
While there are always nail biting parental (mama) moments, it's fun to let the girls run wild and gain outdoor confidence while balancing along downed trees, jumping from rock to rock in the creek or barreling down a wooded hill. They don't fall far from the tree, loving outdoor time and learning more about nature and their surroundings each trip.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


We enjoyed a full day at the botanical garden, a spot never to be missed on home leave. Many moons ago, we were garden members, and I was in the HSCCS (Henry Shaw Cactus and Succulent Society). From strolls through the gardens on my lunch hour to showing plants next to many lovely people (most older than our grandparents), the Garden has remained an oasis of pleasure and solitude.
As the girls get older, I enjoy how they embrace the gardens here and at home. I LOVE that they LOVE plants and insects and all the animals drawn into the gardens. Now they make the experience so interactive and fun. Whether playing in the childrens' garden, soaking eyes closed in the sunshine, straightening the "market" or milking the sheep... milking the sheep?!... yes, they love it all! And I love that ;)
We placed memorial bricks for my mom, dad and sister in the garden after they passed away, and it is nice to see the girls help to search for their location each trip... even I forget which section of blocks.

The Climatron is my favorite, warm, humid and full of bromeliads and tropicals. There are always at least a few orchids in bloom and citrus scenting up the house. Ceiba's namesake trees continue to reach higher to the ceiling each year. The sound of water is ever soothing.
In the Mediterranean house, succulents abound. We recognize so many plants from our recent home in our beloved Malta.
We journey through the Japanese garden and tea house on our way to see the koi each visit. It's always fun to run along the piers over the lake and have room to play.
The Linneaus House tells us we reached the end of the day's explorations. Camillias, succulents and old brick walls invite us down the pathways. Some of the old C3 cactus greenhouse have moved to this new home.
And even better, they have so much fun that they don't even realize how much they are learning and the neat little gardeners they've become.