Friday, May 27, 2016

Meanwhile, Today...

We spent a few days this week running away from normal life and heading south to visit a dear, dear friend and explore a new-to-us part of God's creation.  More about all of that later!

Meanwhile, today...

Grandma Fisher fed sweet potatoes to Benjamin for his supper...

 ...and we had an unexpected visitor in the garden!!!!!


Looks like it may be time to run away again!!  ;-)

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Time to Go {Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum}

For quite a long time after Benjamin was born, we were in a season of STAY.  The inevitable adjustment after adding a new member to the family meant that outings were, for me, more about necessity and less about relaxation.  When we could be at home, life was easier.  :)

And then in late January, our puppies were born, and once again it was more convenient to be at home, able to help with them in whatever way was needed.  Late winter and early spring brought plenty of visitors to us--some of whom departed with puppies in hand--but we still weren't venturing too far from home unless necessary.  Of course, we did our regular routine of extracurricular activities, but the idea of additional field trips or just-for-fun expeditions seemed stressful.  So I didn't do them.  :)

That has changed.  

During April we began to shift from the phase of A Time to Stay to a new season of A Time to Go.  Some of those adventures have already been recorded on the blog: a trip across the mountain to an indoor trampoline park, a much shorter trip to visit my mom in the nursing home, a pre-Mother's Day evening at a park, etc.  

One event that has not been blogged about (yet!) was a trip to Roanoke to a science museum there; and while we were there, Jeff got an annual pass for the family that includes admission to many science and children's museums all across the country.  Having such a pass is motivating because it encourages us to find other museums that we can visit while this membership is still good; and so because of that, the kids and I and Grandma Fisher found ourselves meandering up interstate 81 last week to visit the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum in Winchester.

None of us had ever been there before; in fact, despite being born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley and now having lived here again for the past 10 and a half years, I haven't spent much time at all in Winchester.  Oh, I had gone to the mall there a handful of times in my childhood and youth; and I've eaten at the Olive Garden there since Harrisonburg doesn't have one (one is coming though, that's the news we hear!).  :)  But I have never driven much in Winchester or explored the town at all.

The Discovery Museum is located in a section of town that makes me want very much to go back and explore!  I loved the old buildings, and there is a pedestrian mall area nearby that looked enticing.  But on this trip, our objective was the museum; and our time was delightfully spent there.  :)

I took many pictures (anyone surprised by that?) ;-) and will mostly let them speak for themselves.  :)







Silly fun with a goofy mirror.  :)





That object Josiah is looking at with such interest?  It's a snake.  Those who know me well will not be surprised to know that I didn't get any close-up photos of that!  ;-)



Jeff's mom very patiently watched as the kids flitted from here to there, trying out all sorts of activities.  It was nice that the museum had seats scattered around conveniently.

Shav really enjoyed and spent a lot of time in this apple orchard area.
The museum has three floors as well as a roof that can be played on.  This is a view of the second floor (which is where we spent most of our time and where I took most of my pictures).
Most of the activities were for younger children than Josiah (and David, too, a little bit).  But Josiah found this table and got to work building a house--a process that I came back around to watch periodically and take pictures of.  It took a lot of patience and perseverance for him--not to mention, steady hands!--and probably consumed a couple of hours.  He was having a great time while the others were off exploring in different areas.









Eventually we left Josiah and Grandma Fisher on the second floor while we went up to the third floor.







Tobin REALLY enjoyed weaving.
The day was a little cool and overcast, but we still spent a little time on the roof.






I thought these bubble buckets attached to the fence were a great idea.
Most of the time I had Benjamin in the Snugli and he was mostly content there, but I had him out for a little while, and he found this wooden-bead-on-tracks activity quite exciting.  I loved the reflections.  :)
Of course Moriah wanted to show her baby brother how to do it.  :)







Josiah had made quite a bit of progress on the house he was constructing.
Another great activity for Benjamin was this abacus.




I love my children's hands.  :)


More progress!  By this time, Josiah was decidedly nervous when people walked by because it shook the table a little, and he was wondering if his house would collapse before he got to finish it!

Most of us went back down to the first floor for a little while, and Moriah wanted to excavate.  She's taking after her daddy.  :)

Seeing Shav pretend to be injured in the back of this ambulance made me so grateful that none of my children has ever needed to be transported in the back of an ambulance for real.  I don't want to take good health for granted.
I really liked this activity: if you placed both palms on the flat surface where the handprints are, the machine would detect your heartbeat and would then play the drum in time with your heart.

While Josiah was putting the finishing touches on his masterpiece, Moriah decided to try to build something.  It's not very easy with these blocks!


The completion of the project!  :)

There were a number of other fun things there that we enjoyed but I didn't take pictures of.  I thought the museum was great: very attractively laid-out with numerous stations for various activities.  We spent three hours there and could have spent longer, but our parking meter was about to run out!  ;-)  It was definitely a winner in our A Time to Go phase of life here in the spring of 2016!  :)

After that, we went to the Olive Garden restaurant that was not far away and enjoyed a scrumptious feast for a late lunch/early dinner; and then we hit the road for home, stopping to see two of the puppies on the way.  We arrived home tired but happy, ready for some time at home to recharge, but already thinking ahead to the next time we head out on another expedition.  :)