Little Free Library


The other night, while walking around Riverview on the way to dinner, Anouk and I made sure to check in with one of our favorite spots in the neighborhood -- a spot others might miss -- a little wooden box decorated with fishing floats right outside The Village Mermaid, with a sign that reads: Little Free Library.  Just a teeny tiny lending library on the side of Granby Street, blink and you'll miss it, and we're so glad we didn't.

The Little Free Library always features at least a dozen or so interesting-looking titles (for grownups and kids) and Anouk can spend some time deliberating on which one she wants to bring home. They are all up for grabs to anybody who passes by and are (mostly) in good condition, though occasionally you meet with a book that has unfortunately met with a rainstorm. Take the books home, read them, bring them back next time you pass by -- you can even drop off new titles from time to time (we do when the box isn't too full).

Little Free Libraries have started popping up all over the #HRVA area in the last year or so (there are over 30,000 in the US and in 70 countries worldwide). Virginia Beach has half a dozen, in some of the prettiest spots. We'd like to see more in our area -- I've been toying with the idea of starting a little library but I think it might have to wait until after this baby pops.

For help locating little free libraries in your area, visit this map. And if you've visited one, share about it in the comments!

PS: The Little Free Library at Bluebird Gap Farm is a great place to look for gardening resources. And Anouk and her friend T. scored awesome copies of books from Suzanne Tate's nature series there!

Windsor Castle Park (Smithfield, VA)


We found ourselves in Smithfield over the weekend, and after lunch (at Wharf Hill Brewery) and some window shopping (on adorable Main Street), we went for a walk in Windsor Castle Park. Right smack dab in the middle of the historic district, it seemed like all the paths we encountered led to the park. So of course we had to explore. 

The park is a fairly new endeavor for Smithfield, with walking and biking trails, a dog run, boardwalks spanning the marshland and a playground in the works. Travel a little further down the road and you'll get to the boat launch on the banks of the Pagan River, with kayaks and paddle boards available to rent for hourly rates.

The castle of the park's name is an historic house dating from the late 1700s with a vineyard of a more recent date taking root out front. Anne had a great time running around on the grass in front of the manor and James had an equally stellar time chasing her (while I watched from a safe, stationary distance. Too hot!)

We didn't get to explore quite as much as we would have liked but we can't wait to go back in the fall and spring and see what's new at Windsor Castle. For those of you who don't feel like waiting that long, the Bacon, Bourbon, and Beach Music Fest is coming up at the park in early October!

It really cannot be overstated how truly adorable the town of Smithfield is. What's your favorite place to check out there? I know we'll be wanting to go back.

July Grateful List


We've been taking it slow in July. There's been lots of breaking the sprinkler out and playing in the yard. It's amazing how long a plastic pool and a handful of toys can keep kids occupied. Library afternoons (ahhh air conditioning). Beach evenings (no air conditioning but pretty enough so that it doesn't matter). I'm trying hard to bring back nap time but Anouk is resisting. She'll regret that one day, all these missed naps.

In July I found out that I had gestational diabetes which really highlighted to me how much of our lives center around food. Brunch with friends, spontaneous ice cream runs, cooking dinner with A. and trying out new recipes and restaurants... adjusting to a strictly controlled diet has been a challenge to say the least. Since this is a grateful post and not a bitterly complaining post, I'll just say that I am GRATEFUL it will most likely go away when Baby 2 is born and leave it at that.

  • Above the Fold exhibit at the Chrysler
  • Listening to lots of Jenny Lewis
  • Blogging day with M. (blogging is an art, right?) 

  • Rediscovering my love for tea (since my regular lattes and fraps aren't on the GD diet). So far I'm loving this a lot. (Can anybody recommend others?)
  • Fresh croaker courtesy of fisherman James 
  • Sushi at Hokkaido (this was pre-diabetes, those were the days) 


  • Tons of awesome baby hand-me-downs from Molly (we're not going to have to buy clothes for #2 until age 4 or so)
  • Much-needed additions to our cloth diaper stash (excited to try these
  • Anouk rocking her second session of swim lessons and moving up into the Eel group
  • Anouk starting camp three days a week (thank GOODNESS) 
  • 4th of July pool party and visiting with out of town family 
  • Chalking the walk out in front of our house 
  • Petting zoo at M. and C.'s birthday party
  • Evening walks around the neighborhood and visiting with neighbors
  • Anouk helping J. paint the walls of her room 
  • Meeting beautiful Baby Imogen (our baby's future BFF) 

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