Saturday, November 29, 2008


One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is the leftovers for lunch the rest of the weekend. Besides the sweet potato casserole, another one of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes is my wife's cranberry sauce. Today for lunch, I had a turkey sandwich with chipotle jack cheese and some cranberry sauce. Man, talk about FUSION!

Flashback: We used to always give our Chop (Chop = Navy slang for Supply Officer) flak for doing things like serving chocolate ice cream with apple pie. He tried to proclaim it as "fusion."

Anyway, back to the present, this wasn't the Chop's kind of fusion (no offense Chop :-) ). No, this was really and truly culinary fusion. The sweetness of the cranberry sauce with the spice of the chipotle jack cheese was just AWESOME!!!

Moving on...

I really wanted to get out of the house at least ONCE this weekend to do something fun with the boys. As I watch them grow older, I fear they will lose interest in me. Indeed, I was trying to convince the boys to go on an afternoon geocaching hike with me when the phone rang. It was a friend from ES's second grade class who lives not far away, and he invited ES to come over and play. ES opted to play with his friend instead of go hiking with me, and that kind of made me sad.

My 4 year old took pity on me and obliged me. We dropped ES off at his friend's house to play, then YB and I headed over to the Beaver Creek Reservoir.

YB all suited up for the hike.

This is the first time I've been hiking out there since we moved back to Ashburn. During our previous tour here, we always saw some form of wildlife during our hikes around the reservoir - a fox, a beaver, box turtles, deer, geese, ducks. Today we didn't see any wildlife except for some distant ducks on the reservoir, but we saw lots of evidence of wildlife all around us.

Evidence of Beaver

Evidence of Deer

LOTS more Evidence of Deer

As much as I would have preferred for ES to have come with us on the hike, this was a great opportunity for me to have some one-on-one time with YB and talk about these things that tell us the wildlife live here. This is stuff that ES knows and remembers from our hikes here before, but YB was too young then to understand or remember it. I think it was a pretty good educational walk for YB today.

Panorama shot looking east to the reservoir.

I love these cedar forests in Virginia.

I thought these were pretty. I don't know what they are, but I know at least one of you who will tell me what it is.

Going for the geocache, I tried to take us on a direct approach. That didn't work out so well. We encountered a couple of obstacles along the way - in the form of small streams flowing into the reservoir. They were iced over, and YB got a kick out of tapping on the ice with our hiking sticks. That made the hike in a bit longer than anticipated because I had to hike upstream aways until it got narrow enough to step over.


Even so, we really enjoyed the walk together. There was a period of time where we were trudging through some wet marshy grass, so I picked YB up and put him on my shoulders for a bit.

Self-Portrait with the Reservoir in the Background

At one point, YB declared, "Daddy, soon I will be big and you won't have to carry me on your shoulders anymore." He said it in a very cheerful tone of voice, and his implied meaning was he was excited that he wouldn't be a burden and could do it himself. At the same time, my heart kinda sank. I already felt sad that his older brother would rather go to a friend's house than come with us, and now here was my youngest son proclaiming he wasn't going to need me anymore either. :-(

YB with the Geocache
(and the little plastic dinosaur he took from it)

When I told my wife about this conversation, she asked, "So do you want another one?" No, no, I'm not saying that. Our two boys are a handful as it is. I just wish the two that we have weren't growing up so quickly.

How the heck did he get to be so tall???

On a positive note, after we found the geocache, it was a pretty quick walk out, bypassing all the obstacles we went around on our way in. YB was very impressed by how quickly I got us back to the car after it took us so long hiking in. He declared, "Daddy, you're AMAZING!"

That was a good ego boost and a good way to end the hike. Plus, our hike received YB's "favorite part of the day" proclamation just before we said his bedtime prayers.


Hilary said...

Sounds and looks like you had a wonderful day with your son. The one-to-one time is vital. Accept your older boy's decision to spend the day with a friend as a gift to his Dad and brother. I totally get the sadness in seeing them grow away from you so quickly (have a sympathetic listen to the song My Boy by Neil Young) but their signs of independence are truly an indication that you are doing well by them. It's our job as parents to raise them to feel secure and able to move out of our range. You already know that, of course but the reminder might help a tad.

tonka_boy said...

I caught your post from a Google search of geocaching. And it was a great post. I have three grown sons, and they all grew up before anyone heard of geocaching. But it's a great way to spend time with the kids. Two of my boys now take their kids on caching adventures.

We have created a new tradition on the holidays - geocaching. Great family fun.

We have a blog dedicated to just geocaching. Stop by and say hello. We have a log that you can sign - just like a real geocache.

The Northwoods Geocats

JoLee said...

I think that would be a VA Blue Thistle.

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

Hmmm...sure you don't want another one? :) (LW is going to kill me now, isn't she?)