Our Quest for 50 States

Saint Augustine {Augustine of Hippo} is famously credited with the well-known travel quote “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”  Despite the large number of eye-roll inducing ‘art’ with this quote on Pinterest, the message is one that we embody and work to pass along to our children. While our plan is to send them off to college with a fully stamped passport, we also aim to have them enter adulthood having visited as many states as possible. Roughly only 14% of the population has visited all 50 states – Clay and I hope to become members of this exclusive club in the next few years with our children not too far behind in their quest.

STATES

Travel within the United States is sometimes overlooked for more ‘worldly’ adventures. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely have dreams of visiting every continent and exploring a variety of foreign cultures, traditions, and monuments. The pages of my passport are begging for more stamps. But I have also learned so much just traveling within our country – there is a reason why it’s called the great melting pot. Not only does each region have a distinct flavor and attitude that deserves attention, but each state has their own rich history with hard-fought traditions and pride. Furthermore, there are some absolutely gorgeous sights in our country that will remind you how life is nothing short of amazing (check out CNN’s 50 States, 50 Spots: Natural Wonders).

Desktop209

A sampling of our adventures – from Alaska to Maine – and places in between.

Travel is a luxury that demands money, time, and energy – resources that aren’t always the most abundant. While there are ways to travel that are less expensive (e.g. we drive more places than we fly), there are still sacrifices we make for the freedom of travel. We make a conscious effort to funnel our resources toward experiences rather than things and try to take advantage of every opportunity that comes our way.

IMG_5976

Over the years, I’ve learned that I am happiest when I am exploring new places with people I love. Thankfully I am married to someone who feels the same way. And our children are exhibiting the same easygoing attitude that makes traveling a lot more fun (much to our relief). So here’s to visiting all 50 states – the purple mountain majesties, the amber waves of grain, and the fruited plain in-between the shining seas.

Sunday at the Ballpark

My sister and her family (including 5-week-old McKayla) were here for a long weekend visit. I managed to only take pictures of our jaunt to Dogfish Head Alehouse so I’ll spare you pictures of flights and giant pretzels (but you can see them on instagram if you’re so inclined). After our visitors left on Sunday morning, Clay and I decided that it was a perfect day for baseball (overcast and 79 degrees), so we purchased the cheapest Nationals tickets online and hopped on the metro. IMG_6820 We took Weston to his first Major League Baseball game last year when Violet was a stowaway. This may be our last full summer in the Washington DC area, so it was important to us for Violet to experience her first game before we left. And because this past weekend was our only free one before playoffs, it made sense to bite the bullet and put on our best only Nats gear.

So those cheap tickets I bought online?

Let’s just say that there was a reason they were {relatively} cheap.

IMG_6835

Our seats were smack dab in the middle of the very top row of the upper deck of National Park.

IMG_6828

Our seats did allow us to see the Capitol Building in the distance.

IMG_6825

And we backed up against this fence, offering a view of the lovely Anacostia River.

IMG_6841

We stayed in this seats for about 30 minutes – just enough time to finish our beer and hear the stadium boo Ryan Braun (the Nationals were playing the Milwaukee Brewers). Thankfully the kids weren’t bothered by the height but the location wasn’t exactly the most convenient. Once little guy informed us of his need to use the facilities, we left for greener pastures. I walked around with Violet in the Ergo until she fell asleep and then we sat at a picnic table enjoying fries and cotton candy. We ended up finding a somewhat empty area on the far third base side of the upper deck, so we sat there for the remainder of the game.

IMG_6856

Much better.

IMG_6867

I hope our children end up loving baseball as much as we do. In fact, we’d love to do a ballpark tour for a summer vacation when they’re older and of course attend as many games as possible throughout their childhood.  Let’s cross our fingers there is a team close by wherever the Army sends us next.

One.

This baby girl turned one yesterday.

DSC_0091

Simply put, our first year with Violet was nothing short of amazing.

DSC_0096 One is so small but yet so big wrapped in the most adorable packaging. Violet is mischievous, bright, and an explorer.  She is filled with snuggles and never hesitates to share her smile with the world. DSC_0095

Her determination will take her far.

If I’d have to choose just one phrase that embodies Violet, it would be “and so she did.

DSC_0093

Happy birthday to our little Violet. We love you to pieces.