Memorial Day

DJ and I both had to work today, so we celebrated Memorial Day yesterday with food, fireworks, and friends.

After the late night Friday early morning Saturday, we did a whole lot of, well, nothing on Saturday. We were going to make pork bbq (one of our yummy favorites), but our lazing around got in the way of that. So we got up early yesterday morning instead and smoked that meat for seven deliciously-smelling, neighbor-envying hours. The smell of charcoal is summer for me. I also made my mom’s much sought-after baked beans and brownies to finish the menu off.

Best. Smell. Ever.

Best. Smell. Ever.

We packed up our cooler and chairs and headed down to the river. The music was great, the weather was perfect, and the food was superb. We went with some new friends and the company was exactly what we needed this weekend.

After I told him to smile about three times.

After I told him to smile about three times.

Finally.

Finally.

I’m a sucker for a good fireworks show and last night surely didn’t disappoint. The fireworks were set off just as the sun was setting, making the landscape a photographer’s dream. I love this city and the skyline served as a perfect backdrop.

I love fireworks and RVA.

I love fireworks and RVA.

These are traditions and memories that I can’t wait to share with our kids. Some of my best memories from growing up are at fireworks shows with friends and family. They’re moments that are irreplaceable and I cherish them forever. My heart is so ready to share these experiences with my family and hope that our children will love these traditions as much as I do.

Memorial Day is about more than fireworks and food, though. DJ’s paternal grandfather and my maternal grandfather both served in the military. My paternal grandfather was a conscientious objector during WWII. My paternal grandfather was raised German Baptist, an old-order religion similar to Mennonite, which believes in non-violence. Instead of going to battle, he stayed stateside and performed other necessary work.

My dad served in the army after high school as well. Their sacrifices, and the sacrifices of countless others, allow us to live in a country where we are free to make our own decisions, speak our own minds, and live our lives constantly striving for the better, so we never squander what others have given us the opportunity to have. Thank you!

My dad in the army.

My dad in the army.

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The Meteor Shower That Wasn’t

Julie and I are both pretty exhausted today.  Yesterday, we were both caught up in the hype that was supposed to be a great meteor shower.  We were told that it was to peak from 2-4am and that it had the potential to have hundreds of shooting stars per hour.  Julie was excited about shooting them with her camera and I was excited to geek out about space.  I have never grown out of the childish wonder that is outer space.  It was a tough week for us and we were both looking forward to ending it with something special and fun.

We drove out of town to get away from any light pollution.  We navigated pitch black dirt roads but finally ended up at a clearing and meeting up with Julie’s photography group at around 11:30.  The sky was perfectly clear and we could not have asked for a better night.  We stayed out for over an hour and saw a couple meteors.  We wanted to stay up for the peak of the shower, which was supposed to be between 2 and 4 am, WAAAYYY past our bedtime. We soon realized that, even with our after work naps, we were way too tired.  Our solution was a one two hour nap in the car.  We awoke ready to be awed.  Instead, we saw nothing.  Zilch.  Nada.  There were no meteors; it was a bust.  We were a little disappointed, but had no regrets.  The sky was still beautiful, and we had a great view of the Milky Way.  Julie even got some shots.

Julie's shot of the Milky Way

Julie’s shot of the Milky Way

We stayed about another hour and then headed home.  We got in after 4am, completely exhausted, but still happy we went.

 

Riverrock Day 2

Day 2 of Riverrock and DJ’s big race. We went down this morning after breakfast and the farmer’s market with DJ’s parents. We paddleboarded, slacklined, and got wet watching the air dogs. We came home for a little while because DJ’s race wasn’t until six, then I kept shooting while DJ was kicking ass on the trails. We were loving the break from the hot weather, making it gorgeous to be out. I hope you’re enjoying it.  All day, I watched the parents with their babes and I can’t wait to bring our kids to things like this. I so hope they’ll love the outdoors and this city as much as we do.

DJ slacklining

DJ slacklining

My turn slack lining with DJ behind the camera

My turn slack lining with DJ behind the camera

He bailed

He bailed

DJ's dad getting in on the slacklining

DJ’s dad getting in on the slacklining

Can you spot DJ mugging? Look at those guns.

Can you spot DJ mugging? Look at those guns. Nothing screams manly like a pink t-shirt from your high school physics club.

Big finisher.

Big finisher.

Filthy 5k

Tonight was night one of Riverrock – two inches of rain in the past 24 hours really made it a mud run. My knee was really hurting during this race, so I didn’t push it too hard, but when I got passed by a chihuahua (honestly), I picked up the pace a little. DJ’s parents are here visiting and it was great having them at the race as well. Tomorrow is DJ’s 10K!

DJ and his parents

DJ and his parents

Pre-race selfie

Pre-race selfie

This photo courtesy of my super-talented friend, Dave Parrish.

Down and dirty

Down and dirty

The damage after the mud pit.

The damage after the mud pit.

Riverrock Time

This upcoming weekend is one of Richmond’s greatest annual festivals, Riverrock.  It is a celebration of all Richmond has to offer, and it is all centered around the James River.  There is trail running, mountain biking, kayaking, and more unusual things like dog jump competitions and slacklining (a combination of tight rope walking and acrobatics).

Julie and I always mark this date down early on the calendar.  This year, Julie will be doing a trail run that ends with her crossing the finish line on her hands and knees through a mud pit.  I’ll be doing  a longer trail run (no mud for me this year) and we’ll both be enjoying everything else the festival has to offer.  Here’s a picture of us from a previous year.

Post mud run with our friend Michelle

Post mud run with our friend Michelle

I’m quite excited because this year, I get to share this experience with my parents, who are in town for a few days.  Riverrock is a celebration of what makes Richmond great, and I’m glad I’ll get to show my folks something truly special to Richmond.