Mommy Time: Historic Blenheim in the City of Fairfax

With a Starbucks in hand, I took a rare opportunity to visit Historic Blenheim in Fairfax without children or my husband. The peace was glorious! I enjoyed walking the secluded path behind the Civil War Interpretive Center to “Grandma’s Cottage”, a relocated family home of the original owners of Blenheim. 

The Civil War Interpretive Center is a visitors center on site as well as a fabulous event venue for weddings or other special occasions! 


Grandma’s Cottage, a charming 19th Century home.


View from the back of the cottage, you can see the Interpretive Center through the trees. Up the hill to the left is the original c.1859 farmhouse.  


Happy to see that this site is on the National Register of Historic Places! The City of Fairfax has a goal of $400,000 to preserve the home for generations. 

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Annual Meeting for Prince William Historic Preservation Foundation 

This past Saturday, I joined the Annual Meeting of PWHPF, the nonprofit board for Prince William County’s Historic Preservation Division, at the Brenstville historic site. Seven of us enjoyed lunch in the early 20th Century school house which over looks the remaining original homes of this once centralized PWC location.

  
The courthouse, c 1825

After lunch we discussed how the county’s many sites were holding up. Two new libraries opened up in the past month (Gainesville & Haymarket), each with an accompanying historic home. Their renovations are ongoing. We discussed the plans for the Brentsville jail- a project years in the making- which will finally be open to the public next spring. We as a group were able to tour the 1830s courthouse and jail after our meeting. 

When the jail opens, we hope it will become an important tourist and educational destination. The jail will have a variety of interpretive tools including kiosks and period rooms. I enjoyed the “hard hat” tour- as I love seeing the bones of a structure. The ghost stories are fun too! 

http://www.pwcgov.org/government/dept/publicworks/hp/Pages/Brentsville-Courthouse-Historic-Centre.aspx

Heritage Farm Museum & Claude Moore Farm Visit

I took the boys to Loudoun County’s  Heritage Farm Museum,  a fantastic interactive and child friendly museum located on the property of Claude Moore Park. Before visiting the museum, we took a walk behind it to check out the Revolutionary War campsite which was being interpreted for the day. Historic preservation students from the Loudoun NOVA campus were on site with archeological finds from the prehistoric period onwards. Interpreters were inside the farm house spinning wool, instructing visitors on eighteenth century cooking techniques and costume. Outside on the campfire, a savory pumpkin stew was boiling. A gentleman instructed my four year old son and my 16m old son  

 on furniture making, assisting him in shaving a table leg with real wood carving tools. 

The wind was picking up, as it was a chilly day- so we headed indoors to the nearby Heritage Farm Museum. It was our second visit, so I knew we could count on space to run around and a fun, interactive experience for my children. I enjoy this museum because I can also absorb information without the stress of managing my children. Rideable mini tractors, a “cow” for milking, and a general store for “shopping” are a few of the exhibits geared toward childhood play. 

  
The Waxpool General Store

  Inside the Waxpool General Store, where children can shop, mail letters, or keep shop in the early 20th Century. The store was originally located in Ashburn, where it was demolished and then reassembled inside the museum!   
  Riding tractors together.

  
    
    
  Riding racehorses at the Workhorse exhibit.  
This last image is from inside “Grandma’s Kitchen”, an interactive exhibit on American kitchens a decade before WW2. Pump water, check out the wood stove, and other authentic kitchen equipment. 

This museum is one of my top picks of the area for moms and kids. Parents can enjoy learning about the history of Loudoun County’s agriculture and social history while their kids can be free to experience farming and live without technology in a warm, safe environment. To add,  there are snacks available for purchase and a fantastic gift shop as well. 

To learn more about the museum and the accompanying historic site: 

http://www.heritagefarmmuseum.org

http://www.loudoun.gov/index.aspx?NID=1294
 

Finding Alone Time at Any Hour

This is a mother’s dream: my husband and two boys are sleeping. Even the dog is sleeping.

Winter is coming, its dark at 7PM…  thus, bedtime comes earlier than usual. Since I’m up at all hours of the night, breastfeeding my toddler (wahh! Why won’t he quit??! Why won’t he sleep?!) the silence is so appreciated. This is the time to relish alone time… and find a glass of wine. Ok, a bottle.

Since this is my first blog post, I’ll beat around the bush and press a topic so dear to my heart: Finding time for YOURSELF. YOU. MOM. That Woman YOU Are. Remember her?

Well for a lot of us, we aren’t sure who “she” is anymore. Once we give birth, our female brains rewire which explains so much about why I personally feel like the Me of the past is dead and gone- POOF. Leave her alone, look to the future. Sometimes this means drinking wine and looking at Pinterest…or reading that book we never pick up..or going out with our friends..or hitting up that new museum exhibit, or taking a walk by ourselves, or taking a yoga class- whatever it is, if you find joy in it, please find the time to do it.

Easier said than done! I know. I have a husband. Bless his heart- he loves me, but sometimes he will not accept my requests to get the heck out of dodge and let me BE. I used to be nice about it- I used to accept these refusals. I mean…HE went to work all week. HE DESERVES A BREAK.

Then I really started taking the words of Mama Gena to heart: Stop being the Good Girl. If you haven’t heard of Mama Gena, drop everything and read Mama Gena NOW. Mama encourages women to act on our desires and our pleasure. There is only good that can come of this- mostly, a really happy mama who spreads her love and joy because she feels adored, rejuvenated, and sexy. Because having fun is sexy. And staying up late to do whatever I want (aka drink wine and look at Pinterest) is sexy. I will be happier tomorrow, because I spent some time with myself.

However, I must add that I am participating in the InTouch Ministries 90 Days of Giving Thanks Journal. ITS FREE. Completely FREE Journal. I’m only on day one and feel so much better about my life. I will disclose that I do not consider myself religious, but I am entirely spiritual and believe that God aka The Universe, is here for us if we follow our hearts and live with intention.

SOOOOO. Give thanks in all things: the children are asleep. The wine is cold. I cried all over my husband about my student loans and he just held me close and loved me. My dad came over unexpectedly and I got to take a bath without any interruptions. I didn’t have to make dinner. This is an ordinary day that I could find lovely moments in and now I’m writing my first blog post, rambling on- because isn’t that what blogs are for? This is my bloody blog and I’ll write what I want to.

Cheers- more on art next time!