Today I drove down to the reservoir, which they drained for renovations.  Matt came with me because even though the reservoir is beautiful , there is a bit of walking to do from where we park and I needed to go deep into the woods to get out to where the water used to be.  I took photos of the frozen ground and debris.  It makes me sad to see the beer cans, bottles and fishing line.  That said, I am glad that so many people are appreciating this local natural resource; I just hope that we can all learn to take good care of it.    I can’t wait to see the final outcome in 2019 when Loudoun Water opens up the reservoir to the public again.  In the meantime, the trails are open.  We’re hoping to get back out there this April for another big clean up with the community.  I miss my lake that I grew up on and in some ways, the reservoir is a little reminder of home . . . it’s a beautiful space right in our backyard.  I couldn’t be more grateful to have discovered this place.


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Winter Museum Trip

by Jessica on January 8, 2017

in Annabelle,Levi



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Congratulations to Levi and his hockey team the Yellow Jackets for getting to play at the Verizon Center after the first period of the Washington Capitals vs. the Jets game yesterday.  What an awesome game and awesome experience for our kids!  So proud of our kids and how well they did!


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Last night we went to the Caps versus the Jets game at the Verizon Center. Levi’s hockey team, the Yellow Jackets, were selected to participate in the Mites on Ice.  Before the game, we headed down to the ice and watched the players pre-gam practice.  It was AWESOME!!!!!!

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We stayed at a great little hotel in Rome that was in walking distance of everything.  Most mornings we would get dressed, walk downstairs and grab a quick bite to go and then start walking. One of my favorite walks was to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican because it was a shaded pathway in the 90 degree weather.








Along the way we saw some fun street artists . . .



And the kids convinced us to buy them some sunglasses.



And then we got in a line and made our way inside the Sistine Chapel.






Some of the museums did not have air conditioning throughout, so when we found a spot with good air-conditioning, we’d take a little break and relish in the cool air.  That’s what Levi is doing below.


As you might imagine, the paintings and sculptures were everywhere and even though I couldn’t tell you which Pope acquired which piece of art, I photographed those pieces that I thought were pretty cool.












We did get to see Michelangelo’s ceiling in the Sistine Chapel.  But of course, no photos allowed.

Then we got lunch.








After lunch we got in another line to go up to the Dome at San Pietro Basilica.

















And we saw the Swiss Guards.









At the top of the dome, Annabelle and I were both feeling a little hesitant about looking down.  Did I mention it is the tallest dome in the world?


Those little ants at the bottom are people.










Then we headed down to the plaza where there are beautiful fountains.








We headed back to our hotel for a little nap before we’d go out on another adventure that evening.  Cool motorcycles and vespas were on every corner . . . as was gelato and cafes.  



We all miss Italy a lot.  It was a great time to spend together as a family.  With limited access to our smart phones and other devices, we spent our time talking, laughing, and even joyfully grumbling with each other over the long lines and overwhelming heat inside the city.  At home, we are back to our busy days packed with school, work, hockey, skating, and all the various committees I sign myself up to volunteer on.

I’m already sketching out our next family vacation.  These two are growing up so fast and I feel like it is on vacation that I really get to see them, hang out and get to know them again  (during the year, they’re off and doing what healthy kids are supposed to do which is wanting to spend their free time with their friends, going to school and playing sports . . . it just leaves us parents missing them).   So now the question is . . . where to next?



Cinque Terre

by Jessica 27 October 2016 Family


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Pumpkin Season

by Jessica 22 October 2016 General

We’re carving pumpkins today . . . 

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by Jessica 14 October 2016 Annabelle

Everyone was all smiles by the time we reached Florence.  We dropped off Money Penny at a garage and then taxied over to our apartment.  It was dreamy.  I mean, as a mom, I will say that this apartment was dreamy.  It included a washer and dryer, a kitchen (not that I wanted to cook […]

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Mastering Manual

by Jessica 13 October 2016 Community

As part of my efforts to share my love for photography with others, I am now offering photography workshops as well as an online forum for new photographers to visit and learn. My photography program is called Mastering Manual and the educational website is available at   Please let me know if you have […]

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Rome and Tuscany

by Jessica 11 October 2016 Annabelle

It was an amazing trip.  And I took so many photos I needed to put some distance between the images and myself to try and narrow it down.  And still . . . so many photos.  I feel biased to the photos because I’m too sentimental about them.  I can’t be objective to say whether […]

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