Sunday, July 31, 2016

Fun on Base, Short Pump and Nauticus

On Monday night the bowling alley on base has free bowling. We've been wanting to go, but it just hadn't worked out until this last Monday. We scarfed down our dinner and then drove over to the bowling alley to play together. 
It was thoroughly entertaining. Tanner's main tactic was ricocheting the ball off the bumpers to hit as many pins as possible. It wasn't the most affect strategy but it was fun to watch. He refused to use the little ramp that helps guide the ball, so he had one of the lower scores. He couldn't understand why Tucker was beating him. 
Bailey didn't care if she won as long as she got to use a pink ball while she bowled. 
Tucker was obsessed with the ball return vent, it was blowing cool air and Tucker was fascinated. 
We also indulged in some yummy fries. The kids loved this. They would take their turn bowling and then run back to the table and gorge on french fries. 

Tucker loved carrying his ball to the ramp and then pushing it down. It was pretty cute to watch. Then he would stand there watching his ball roll down the lane until it hit the pins. 
We sure love spending time with this guy. 
On Thursday a miracle happened. We got the call that we were getting a suite. We packed up and moved down the hall. We are still on the first floor, which is great and we are right next to the cafeteria now, so our walk to breakfast is really short each morning. Our new room isn't huge, but it's bigger than our old one.  We now have a full size fridge, more cupboard space and a bedroom that is separated by a door. So now Tanner and Bailey sleep on a fold out couch and they love it. Tucker is still in his roll-away crib and Chris and I have our own room. AMAZING. 
We are very happy to be in a suite! It's going to make life so much better!
I have to admit, as frustrating as bedtime is sometimes, I kinda love listening to their little conversations and their giggling. It's pretty cute.

On Friday we drove over to "Short Pump" in Richmond area. It has a really nice outdoor mall. We took the kids to "build-a-bear" for the first time and they loved it so much!
It was so cute to watch them as they built their bears. First they picked out the bear they wanted and watched as the lady stuffed it. 

The kids got to step on the foot pump to help stuff the bears. Tucker took this job very seriously. 
She asked the kids to hug their bears to make sure they were stuffed just right. 

Then each kid picked out a heart to put inside. Before placing the heart inside, she had the kids give the hearts a squeeze to get them pumping, then she had them rub the hearts on their heads to make them smart, on their hearts so they know they are loved, on their knees so they can run and play. There were a few other things they did but you get the idea. It was pretty adorable. 
Then it was over to the washing and brushing table. The kids got the bears all cleaned up and then we picked out clothes. 

Tanner didn't want any clothes since his Darth Vader bear was already in character. He loves this bear!!
Bailey took her time picking out the perfect outfit for her bear. It was so funny to watch. She finally settled on a pink cardigan, pink panties and a pink tutu skirt. She was very excited about her final selection.
We bought Tucker a pirate outfit for his bear. 
Then it was over to the computers to register the bears. The kids each picked out names for their bears and then we got birth certificates for them. 
This stop was a huge hit with our kids. Chris couldn't believe how much this place cost, but they did offer a military discount so that help soften the blow. I would say, by the look on their faces it was worth every penny. 

Then we walked over to the mall train station and hopped on their mini train for a ride around the mall. Tucker loved carrying his bear around in it's box. 
This train ride was basically a dream come true for Tucker. But Tanner and Bailey also enjoyed it. 

Isn't this train adorable? The kids loved it. 
After our ride was over, the conductor let the kids explore the engine car. This was so cute. She explained the different buttons and knobs. They were very interested. 

After our train ride, we left the mall and drove over to Cafe Rio for dinner.
Bailey happily carried her bear on her shoulders to the car.

Can I just say how exciting it is to have a "Cafe Rio" so close to us? Cafe Rio is typically a treat I get only when we go to Utah, so this is amazing. We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner, then Chris took the kids back to the car so I could run into Carters and grab a few things. 
It was a great Friday night and the kids happily went to bed with their bears tucked in safely next to them. 
Saturday we drove over to Norfolk, VA and explored "Nauticus". 
Nauticus is an interactive science and technology center that explores the naval, economic and nautical power of the sea. It's a really cool museum that we thoroughly enjoyed. 
The first exhibit featured the maritime commerce in the seaport. We learned why this seaport was critical during the civil war. Whichever side controlled the seaport, basically had access to ships, railroads and supplies. 

The second exhibit featured the anatomy of a battleship. We got to explore some original hardware from Battle Wisconsin. It also featured a 2400 lb analog computer, 12 foot long optical range finder, WWII bunks, galley equipment, shell sleds for moving ammunition and tons of other cool stuff. 

Next it was onto the Jamestown Exploration exhibit.
This was a cool bit of history because the kids had recently watched "Pocahontas" and even though the storyline is historically inaccurate, they were familiar with the characters.
This exhibit also feature the launch of the 1907 steel navy. This is a ship head of one of the original steel ships. Pretty cool right?

In the middle of the museum was a cute little play area. It was the perfect time for a break for us. The kids played and played. 
Here they are fishing off the deck

Next we explored the Battleship aviation exhibit. 
Here is Bailey climbing out of the barrel of a 15 inch battleship gun. Isn't that thing massive? It's called a 15-inch gun because the shells used were 15 inches wide. Crazy!

Communication was in good hands with these kids. 
Then we learned about tides and channels and got to do some hands on exploration. By moving around channel blocks we directed the current and sent out boats down different channels. The kids loved this and were soaking wet afterwards. 

After this we moved on to the "Secrets of the Deep" exhibit. This was one of Tanner's favorite parts.  He got to operate "The Clelia", a submersible that simulates the real life experience of a submersible. You take on the role of pilot and get to control the 9 food long arm. You can collect samples from the seabed and operate the camera. It was pretty cool. 

Then we watched an imax movie about aircraft carriers. Chris and Tanner both really enjoyed this. 

After the movie we went to explore "Horseshoe Crab Cove". This was a cool hands on exhibit that let you touch the shells of the crabs. The exhibit itself was a simulated tide pool and the kids loved it.

Then we walked through the Sea life in the bay exhibit on the way out. Tucker loves these huge fish tanks. 

We had a great time exploring this awesome museum. We stayed for about 4 hours. Then we went to get lunch. We ate lunch at "A.W. Shucks". It was a delicious lunch. But then as we left the restaurant it started storming like crazy.
We decided to hold off on our Battleship Wisconsin exploration and headed home.
It was a great day and we learned lots. The kids loved the museum and I love that we are getting to enjoy so much of the history of the area.