Some old and some new: a visit to Richmond

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The Roo finished school in the middle of June (sniff, sniff) and then we left the following morning for Richmond. It will be so weird not to visit PIC every week, answering the question of the day, signing in, seeing all the familiar faces. Remy has loved her time there, but many of her close buds are leaving PIC as well, mostly for kindergarten, and she seems to be totally fine with this transition time (fingers crossed that she maintains that attitude come September).

Since we visit Richmond about four times a year, we tend to go to our “greatest hits” spots for playing, eating, etc. There’s nothing wrong with that, but for my sanity and and the spirit of exploration, we decided to try some new places as well. DSC_0322

However, it would be unthinkable to monkey with the Ukrop’s birthday cake tradition. Those frosting roses have enthralled generations of frosting lovers. As someone who doesn’t eat much processed sugar, I feel like when I take a lick of that frosting, I feel like someone has given me a shot of pure adrenaline into my veins: it’s intense.DSC_0330

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That’s my girl.DSC_0343

We went to Tarrant’s West for Father’s Day brunch. Despite a long wait for our food (the place was totally packed, and they brought a second little tray of sweet rolls to pacify us in the meantime), we kept ourselves busy playing ISpy and reading. Always reading.DSC_0352We hadn’t done paint your own pottery in a while, so next we went to Color Me Mine. Remy made a rainbow dog, and Elijah chose a shark bank. He must have been feeling the vibes from all the ravenous shark brothers down in North Carolina.
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Of course, we couldn’t miss a trip to the children’s museum. They had to visit their favorite apple tree. Seriously, they both have loved this section for so long. I think they actually have a Pavlovian response when they see it-they just keep picking up the balls, dumping them, repeat. It’s odd and amusing.
DSC_0363DSC_0364Their water play area is just the thing for Remy (and it was sooo hot most of the days were were there). How was she not born under a water sign? She’s a Libra, which is also pretty fitting.DSC_0379Sass. There’s always so much sass.DSC_0389We’re together! It’s like seeing that Snipe from the movie Up!DSC_0398Don’t worry. She got him back (see below)DSC_0401We tried a new-to-us place for lunch, Zoe’s Kitchen. Really yummy, fresh, Greek-inspired salads and sandwiches. Definitely will be a repeat place to dine.DSC_0412DSC_0410

See what I mean about the sass? Remy saw this picture and said, “Do you see my eyes? My eyes look crazy, Mommy.”

We had to twist their arms for hours, but Remy and Elijah finally agreed to go to Duck Donuts, where you can choose your donut’s topping.DSC_0416Want to keep your kids mesmerized? Let them watch fresh donuts coming out of the hopper. Donut hypnotism, the newest trend-you heard it here first.DSC_0419DSC_0426They do look quite pretty, don’t they?DSC_0425

Just for research purposes, we also tried Country Style Donuts another day. Elijah got maple topped.DSC_0467I don’t remember what Joe got (I think it was something cream-filled), but by the time I took the cover off my camera and took a picture of Elijah and Remy, this was all that was left of Joe’s donut. Inhaled!DSC_0465He put a hurting on this ice cream at another old favorite, Ray’s, as well. Sweet tooth!DSC_0458As always, everyone loved having so much Daddy Time. Remy really loves being at home and often needs extra cuddles when we are away from Pine Street for more than a few days. Of course, we’re all more than happy to comply!DSC_0438DSC_0430

Remy and Joe and both cashed out post-donuts. Somehow, Elijah managed to avoid the sugar crash.
DSC_0432One thing you can say about Joe: he goes all in when he’s playing pretend. This particular game, which took place over the course of days, involved Joe trying to steal the crown jewels, which were buried. (Side note: if you were to look at the recent google searches on my computer, they would include “crown jewels”, “how to steal crown jewels” and “most terrifying jails in the world”. If you want to freak your kids out, google the last one; there’s some crazy prisons around the world.)DSC_0436We also took our annual mini-golf outing in preparations for the numerous games we will play while on Cape Cod.DSC_0440DSC_0445

And, of course, we always have to visit Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.DSC_0474We’ve been there a bunch before, but this time they handed us the KidQuest brochure, which gives the kids various things around the grounds to look for and was a fun incentive to explore. It started raining pretty hard while we were there, but they continued playing happily in the sand area.DSC_0478DSC_0489DSC_0492DSC_0501

On one of our last mornings, we went to the South of the James Farmer’s markets. I am obsessed with farmer’s markets (a throwback to my years in NYC and the amazing Greenmarkets there), and I was pretty impressed with this one. There were pastries, kombucha, natural body products, honey, and all sorts of other goodies (even jewelry-Elijah got a rose quarts necklace to give him “special, rare” powers.)DSC_0519DSC_0524And popsicles! The perfect snack on a hot day.DSC_0526The kids loved this knit bombed post at a nearby park.

Joe and I went out to dinner at Postbellum with some friends. So good. Not exactly light, but super delicious Southern-with-a-flair food. If you live in Richmond or nearby, please go there-their vegan and gluten-free menu is awesome! Vegan poutine! Smoked mushrooms over polenta! A pickle plate! Sorry for the iPhone pic.

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I couldn’t figure out what the light peach, pinky portion of the pickle plate was-it looked like cantaloupe and was softer than typical daikon pickles (my favorite kind). We asked the server, who told us it was daikon pickled in… wait for it… kool-aid! Oh and the salad with brussel sprouts and nuts-order that too!

We had a wonderful week in Richmond, and we’re coming back for more in August.

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