Things to Do - Project 52, Weeks 35 & 36

I'm still loving this collection of our random everyday.

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WEEK 35 - Our first week back from vacation (also the last week before school starts)

(1) Our end of summer trip to the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring. The girls went off on their own, but T and I had a fabulous time (and he seems to be conquering his fear of heights).
(2) Reunited best friends (one month is a long time to be on vacation).
(3) Hiking at Potomac Overlook Park, the water levels were disturbing low.
(4) Finding big sticks at Potomac Overlook Park.
(5) The trampoline at a neighbor's happy hour.
(6) One more shot of Sandy Spring.
(7) P at Texas Jacks looking like she's sick of spending time with us (in her defense, we were all pretty sick of each other after over 4 weeks together).

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WEEK 36 - The first week of school.

(1) Our neighbors' Labor Day bbq.
(2) The first day of 6th grade (middle school!).
(3) The first day of 3rd grade.
(4) The back to school picnic.
(5) Now that this awesome kid started kindergarten I don't see her as often, but she still draws me flowers!
(6) Walking home from school (T only "let" me walk home with him the first week, after that all three kids started coming home on their own).
(7) The first day of 5th grade.
(8) Rainy afternoon.
(9) Picking T up from school.
(10) Walking home from our neighbors' bbq.


Things to Do - Random Links & 5 Hours 'Til Bedtime

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Happy Friday everyone! T's pretty excited for Halloween this year!

If you have a chance, check out our awesome new post on 5 Hours 'Til Bedtime!


* I'm totally smitten with this playlist.

* 16 films to watch this fall.

* A photo series on the wolf children, who fled the woods in the final months of WWII in order to escape death and exile, as the Red Army swept across eastern Germany.

* I can't stop listening to this song. Over and over.

* I just watched this movie and now I can't stop dreaming about Pantelleria. I must go!! I must go!!

* My friend shot an engagement session at the county fair and the photos are phenomenal. If anyone in the DC area is interested in a fair family session - keep me in mind!!!

* A new family photo shoot is up on my professional blog. We had so much fun!

* The new lego house looks AMAZING.

* Slant rhymes. I'm somewhat obsessed with these photos.


Places to Go (Vacation) - Europe 2017 - Part VIII - Vienna, Austria

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I can't believe it is October and I'm still blogging vacation photos. I have THOUSANDS of photos from September I haven't even looked at yet. Between work and kids' sports I can never get over how crazy autumn becomes. On the upside, I'm not sure how I got so lucky, but I've photographed the most amazing couples and families this fall - so I'm feeling incredibly blessed.

Sorry, I digress, back to our last week of vacation . . .

By the time we reached Vienna, our last of 10 cities, everyone was pretty over vacation. And, in retrospect, a month of traveling was probably too much. The kids are already begging me to tone it down next year ("two weeks, mom, please! like other families. just two weeks."). But I love a road trip and once I start planning I have a hard time saying "enough".

Okay, so enough whining. On the upside, I'm a huge Vienna fan. I visited fifteen years ago and have always wanted to return. I remembered the art exhibits being some of the best I've ever seen (they still were!)

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Upon arrival in Vienna, after chilling at our airbnb for awhile, we hopped on the u-bahn and headed to Prater Amusement Park. A truly interesting/quirky place. Sort of like Disney meets the county fair. Some of the rides were scary/awesome (Jurassic Park kept us all frightened for weeks!) and some are so rickety you're scared to ride. This is all from my point of view, my kids thought they were in heaven (hence we kept going back every night).

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For our first full day in Vienna, we walked to the KunstHausWien art museum, where they had a phenomenal exhibit of Edward Burtynsky's water photographs (check out his website here).

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After KunstHausWien, we headed over to the Schönbrunn Palace, where the kids had a blast in the labyrinth and playground (and it was nice to spend an afternoon just hanging out and watching them play for awhile).

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Me and mini-me.

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The flying bird was a hit.

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Another night at the Prater amusement park.

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On our second day in Vienna, Dan had to fly home early for a wedding. So I dragged the kids to Vienna's museum quarter for a day of art. I can't say the kids were thrilled, but they rallied. The art was awesome and I was so so happy.

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Wolfgang Tillman's anti-Brexit posters were part of the "How to Live Together" exhibit. Aren't they beautiful? And heartbreaking?

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By art museum #3 the kids were starting to break down.

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But then they rallied.

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Art museums all day = ice cream sundaes at night.

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For our final day in Europe, I tried to make things "extra fun" by taking the kids to the incredibly cheesy Timetravel Vienna. I thought it would be Disney-esque, but instead it was just silly. Oh well. We then visited the Haus der Musik, one of the coolest/most interactive museums ever. And finished our day at Vienna's Romermuseum, where we saw the city's Roman ruins. Pretty cool.

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Finally, on Sunday, we flew back to the US (direct this time). The blurry photo above is our last photo from Europe (in front of our apartment's big door) and even though we were all exhausted - the smiles on my kids make me remember that all in all we had an absolute blast.


Things to Do - Grateful List (July/September 2017)

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Now that it's almost October I'm finally posting first day of school photos. 6th grade, 5th grade, and 3rd grade - and the years keep flying by.


* Watching the Founder
* Watching Meat Eater with Dan (and falling in love with Barb)
* Watching Spiderman Homecoming with the kids
* Watching Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead with the kids
* Watching National Lampoons Vacation (the 2015 version) on the plane - I know the reviews said it was terrible, but I couldn't stop laughing
* Watching the Incredible Jessica Jones on Netflix
* Watching Wind River
* Watching a Bigger Splash
* Watching PBS's Vietnam documentary series
* Binge-watching Insecure (my new favorite show!!)
* Reading May We Be Forgiven (A.M. Homes)
* Reading Exit West
* Listening to Mogul, the podcast
* I still can't stop singing Body Like a Backroad (it's been on repeat for a couple of months now).
* Listening to this playlist (esp. that new St. Vincent song)
* Listening to the War on Drug's new album


* Universoul Circus at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival
* The National Geographic Museum's Explorers Exhibit
* Claude Moore Colonial Farm's summer market fair on a not-very-hot afternoon
* Predator for family movie night on Columbia Pike
* Peak bloom at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
* Afternoons at the apartment pool
* Taking the kids to see the King and I at the Kennedy Center
* Two weeks of Apple Camp
* Reston Watermine's lazy river on a hot July day
* A great day with friends at DC's off-the-beaten path museums - The Mansion on O Street & The American Indian Museum
* A lovely morning at the Adventure Park in Sandy Spring the week before school started (and T saying, "I'm having so much fun, I don't even miss my friends." Fun with me! Fun with me!)
* A great hike in Potomac Overlook Park the week before school started
* Walking the Tidal Basin with P and Laney on a beautiful Sunday
* Attending Aasif Mandvi's stand-up show at the Cinema Drafthouse
* Depeche Mode with Colleen at the Verizon Center (and closing out Fidos)


* Tomatoes from Dan's garden
* F making Dan two incredible birthday cakes
* Subscribing to Plated - now F makes dinner two nights a week!
* Tortas Y Tacos on Columbia Pike (such good food!)
* Subscribing to Shaker and Spoon's cocktail club


* F loving her first overnight summer camp (at UVA) - 10 days!
* The neighbors' 4th of July BBQ cookout and watching the fireworks from Columbia Pike
* A super close family game of Settlers of Catan (sometimes this game can linger forever, but this time we all were within winning distance of each other)
* A week without kids (their grandparents took them to Smith Mountain Lake)
* Dinner out with Kim, who was in town from Saudi Arabia (so many fascinating stories)
* Dan to the kids at bedtime, "Of course I love you, but right now I just need you to go away."
* School starting and having the house to myself all day! (plus returning to morning dog walks and Orange Theory)
* F making it to the third round of soccer try-outs (and then realizing she didn't want to play)
* Dan killing his first deer of the season (and making amazing venison dinners).
* Partying until 4:30 am on Columbia Pike with friends (including Don't Stop Believing karaoke at LA Bar and Grill)
* Two great back to school/Labor Day parties
* Friday margaritas at Jenny's house
* After a 90 degree beginning of fall - finally cooler temps at the very end of September


* Our first family overnight backpacking trip (Shenandoah National Park - Big Run Loop and Big Run Portal)


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