Friday, 8 January 2010

Sightseeing in Hampton Roads

After living here for two years way back when, it's nice to visit places that are familiar and sentimental, and also to discover new haunts. For the last few days, we've been doing just that:

College of William and Mary, in Williamsburg - where Ryan got his Masters in Education.

Colonial Williamsburg

and today we spent the day in Norfolk, which is a nearby city, reminiscing at Waterside about the club there where we spent many a youthful night... It was my first visit to Norfolk in daylight that didn't involve the mall there. Very exciting and quite enlightening - who knew it was quite this pretty!
We also went to a very cool museum called "Nauticus" which is a combination of Naval History, shipping history and aquarium. Being near freezing out and in the beginning of school term, the museum was absolutely empty so we just let Cassie run wild and she had a blast. She especially loved the touch tanks - see left, patting a Horseshoe Crab with Aunt Robin. This did lead to an interesting moment at the baby sharks tank where she almost launched herself in! No patting baby sharks, Cassie!! A very fun day in all, and of course, Ryan was very happy to be able to play all the flight simulators that the Navy use. Tomorrow is Friday again, and we are planning a "quiet" day - running some errands, eating Mexican food for lunch, perhaps visiting the Indian Reservations nearby and then dinner with relatives to celebrate the birthday of one of the young cousins. This weekend, we're heading up to Washington D.C. too. We're going to visit and stay with a friend who taught at Denbigh High with us, and meet her 18 month old son, Jamie. Lots of sweet photos to follow, I'm sure! Ryan also is keen to visit the National Archives and the Smithsonian which should be awesome. We're just hoping that the snow holds off so we don't free to pieces on the Washington Mall!! Can't wait though - should be a good few days.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

...and a happy New Year!

Another busy few days with lots of family time to enjoy. We spent Boxing Day (the day after Christmas for all those non-Aussies) exploring the Christmas Town event at Busch Gardens, an amusement park near Williamsburg. They apparently had 1 million lights up - it was all very very pretty. Very very cold too but worth it! I was very sad that, being pregnant, I wasn't able to do any of the big rollercoasters :( but Cassie had a turn on her first amusement park ride - and loved it. She was a bit hesitant at first but as soon as it started, she was giggling and waving like a girl twice her age! There was no line so she had a second turn and chucked a HUGE tantrum while waiting for the ride to start again :) She also continued this when her second ride was over - despite her hands being almost frozen, I had to pry both of them off the handles and drag her off! Ah, my little thrill seeker. She also got to meet Elmo and gave him a huge kiss, going all the way into his throat like a little lion tamer! I think the actor inside may have been a little surprise. We ended the night by dragging all of Cassie's older cousins into the Sesame St Christmas show but it was all worth it as Cassie was SO excited to see all of her faves live on stage.

The other big excitement this week was celebrating the beginning of the "tens" decade - happy 2010! Robin had organised a beach cottage for us all to celebrate together, in Nag's Head, North Carolina, which is about a 3 hour drive from where we are staying. It was a lovely place and Cassie treated us very well, not falling down any of the three staircases and sleeping like an angel in a portacot in yet another strange environment. It was really really cold down there but we had a great time anyhow. We took the kids down to the beach on New Years Day - Cassie and I lasted about 10 minutes - to search for sea glass. It was really pretty down there, despite it being a bit grey out. See below for a couple of pics that Robin took - (funnily enough, Ryan looked at me like I was crazy to go wandering down to the beach on an almost freezing day, just to take pictures, and hence, went out to lunch with Jack instead....)

We're "home" again now in West Point, and hoping to see more of Ryan's dad this week as he's had a really nasty flu over the holidays. I've also got plans to do a LITTLE more shopping - for one thing, I have to buy another suitcase to take all this stuff home....