The Petersens: Our Tales & Travels


merry christmas from the petersens! (2015)

it's the most magical time of the year! yes, yes, i know it's not quite thanksgiving, but the christmas candle is already burning and "rockin' holiday" has been playing on my iTunes radio for weeks. i do really like thanksgiving, but if anything the joy of christmas gets me more in the spirit of gratitude- i say nothing is lost. thanksgiving is just extra magical when the excitement of christmas starts a bit early;) we brought zero decorations with us when we moved, so we're getting creative this year, and it's making me extra excited to keep the focus on the joy of the season. 

i've had my mind scrambling about christmas cards for a month now, and i knew i wanted to get them out early since we apparently moved to mars (it takes a solid week for mail to cross the country). i had my eyes searching for the perfect cards, and thanks to tiny prints, all my dreams came true! i usually make our cards, but i just didn't have the time or energy this year. also, since we have no official family pictures (you know, no perfect "front of the card" photo), just a few thousand images from our adventures thus-far in 2015, i also knew i wanted to do a collection of images to show what we've been up to in 2015. there is one thing everyone who knows me knows: there is never a shortage of pictures. ever. 
jude went down for his nap last saturday, and my little partner in crime and i pow-wowed with our music, spreadsheet, cards, envelopes, liners, address stamp, custom postage stamps (!!!), and nimble fingers... and went to work! she's the best assistant. 
elle is the master stuffer extraordinaire. she lined every envelope, stuffed every card, and even threw in a few drawings for her little friends. it was so much fun!

i am super impressed with the quality of the cards, and the ability to customize (aka: add more pictures of ourselves than anyone really wants to see) not only the cards themselves, but the envelopes and more (stamps!!! have i said stamps!?!). christmas cards are so much more fun with photos, don't you think? i think. i was like a flipping kid in a candy store. i had to restrain myself. i could have easily gone wild(
and now, we have officially kicked off our holiday season right!!

merry christmas from the petersens!!


st. michaels, maryland...

 darn the blasted fall season and its bouts of sickness! i know, i was just saying how much i love fall. i still do, but after 3 straight weeks of sickness, i'm over the sickness that is fall. i will say it could be way worse, but a few days ago elle had drainage coming out her eyes and nose that had my stomach turning. and i'm not one who becomes faint easily. unless faced with vomit. or drainage coming from places it shouldn't from a 6-year-old, particularly in those colors. AAAAANYWAY, by saturday we were ready for fresh air. so we took our roll of toilet paper (we're too cheap for kleenex), and headed past annapolis, over the bridge we eyed from "our" beach, along the chesapeake, down to st. michaels... 
st. michaels! i imagine it is packed in the summertime, but this saturday it was peaceful and lovely. there was free parking, and to boot, the main street was so charming. like.... SO charming. a mix between annapolis and that town from "what lies beneath" (you know, the one where the necklace is from!? man, i love that movie...); st. michaels it's incredibly quaint and new-england-ish. the median age was about 65. jude had to go to the bathroom so we popped into this little grocery store and a very kind man literally ran us to the bathroom in the back. the people were so nice. we notice nice people. there aren't quite as many of them in our neck of the woods- which is super weird and sad- but oddly true. so this was a great little escape;)
hold the phone. i feel like i will have a yellow home someday. i love yellow houses more and more with each one i see. (i know, this is a shop. but still.)
we walked by the maritime museum, 
then jude gave us directions: "jude's home! dat way!! RIGHT DERE!"
mini shops! they're so cute and small! the ratio of christmas shops to normal shops was 1:1, so basically, perfect in my book. we went in a bunch and broke nothing, so, yes, GO US!

oh wait. mike did knock down and entire shelf of toys though. right as i said, "jude! don't touch! you'll break something..." CRASH. totally mike.
we walked out of this toy store with a collapsable sword (what is the deal with boys and weapons? i hate weapons. jude is attracted to them like me to chocolate. it's in his blood.); elle ended up with a coloring book because anything art-related is sooooo her jam.

and then we walked by this stoop and i caught the instant when jude was SURE these were real cats. cutest moment ever. no, really. it was epic:)
mike and i discovered something that makes these historic homes just so perfectly perfect: the shutters are FUNCTIONAL!    heart.eyes.
it looks like we bought this house or something. we're super good at standing right in front of what we're wanting to take a picture of- in this case, blocking a sweet house behind us, and instead showing off a for sale sign;)

we walked up and down some crooked, brick-lined streets and rustled our feet through the remaining dry leaves. mike looked for crabs and fish at the waterfront (which we had to ourselves), then we headed home. stopping at cracker barrel, because my kids spot them a mile away (there aren't many near us)- they think it's disneyland or something. they screeeeeeam!!! and cheer! and beg! so we shared some pancakes and biscuits and drove home in the dark, calling this saturday a total success. snot and all.


exploring great falls...

great falls was a massive cha-ching off the bucket list. mostly because we have literally attempted to go here half-a-dozen times in the past 6 months, and they were either closed due to crowds, the weather turned, the traffic time tripled so we turned around, and so forth (i just realized i like saying "and so forth"). i was sure we'd never make it. saturday morning i was rising from the ashes of the cold that nearly killed me- a rare breed that actually caused me to work from home 3 days in a row (side note: i have never in my life taken a sick day); i was kicked out daily by fearful coworkers who yelled at me from outside my office to go home along with my contagion. let's be honest though- i would have rather been at work because as we all know, being home sick when you're a mom is, like, the pitts. elle was home sick, too, and jude was recovered mostly, but also mostly turd-like and two, so he was a handful, too. mike somehow came out unscathed, but rather tired of us sicklies, so clearly by saturday morning we all needed a break. at 8am it hit me that we could maybe go before the visitors center opened and, by george, we made it! and it was free! $10 saved. bam! 

ok, it was really windy and cold, but that's ok. 
speaking of cold- there were kayakers... that's just crazy! kayakers!?
we drove to the virginia side and meandered our way through mclean. mike googled all the people who lived in mclean (i knew it was stupidly expensive, but the houses we passed were outrageously huge- WOW!!!). very interesting. you know- senators, politicians, chocolate company execs.

i imagined more of a hike to get to the actual falls, but no! there it was! right next to the parking lot! there were 3 overlooks, and we just kept saying, "how are we this close to home?" the fact that we were miles from dc makes me shake my head. crazy. and it looked just like the pictures! i love when that happens. 
we kind of regretted not making it there 2 weeks ago- i can only imagine what the leaves would have been like! but now it's almost thanksgiving (!!!!)... meaning it's almost christmas... meaning it's almost january... so i'll take whatever pretty fall foliage i can still cling to. 

great falls: two thumbs up.
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