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One of the things about being married to a soldier is that inadvertently you’ll get orders and move. I like moving, although saying goodbye to new friends can be hard. But if one keeps in mind that many of your friends will move before you do the moving gets easier to accept because it’s just part of the process. You’ll move somewhere new, meet some amazing people you wouldn’t otherwise, they’ll move or you’ll move, and later on down the road you just might be lucky enough to cross paths again.

The thing about our experience is that deployments had defined us before moving to Fort Lee. And there’s something amazing about friendships born out of an experience like that. Some of the women I cherish most deeply are those who helped me through some of the toughest days of a deployment, and vice versa. Some friends feel like family, and so saying hello again after a long separation feels as if one had never left. Perhaps that’s simplifying it but I think you get the gist.

So we were ubber excited to drive up to Richmond to meet up with some friends we had met, and cherished, while at Fort Hood. Keeping in touch has been easy via Facebook but nothing beats laughing, reminiscing, and just being face to face. Over lunch we were able to do just that, and then some.

As an interesting side note, we met this wonderful family when I signed B up for kickball when he was an itty bitty thing (just three years old). It was incredibly fun to watch these kiddos being coached by my friend, who just happened to homeschool as well. Looking at these kids, together, six years later, is amazing to say the least.

So after an incredible lunch with friends The Boys and I decided to check out a new spot in Richmond. We had yet visiting the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (can you believe it?!) and so it was a natural choice for a quick visit.

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Here is the link for those interested: http://www.vmfa.state.va.us

The three of us enjoy art museums tremendously, but we each have our own unique tastes and preferences. So now that Little B is older it’s become common for the three of us to enter an exhibit hall and disperse, returning to show one another a favorite piece, or an interesting fact about an artist, or some new thing learned about a process or movement or whatever it may be.

This art museum is amazing, quite honestly. I was excited to see a few pieces by a few of my favorite artists. Finding a piece by a beloved artist always sets my heart pounding, and I can’t help squealing (not very refined, I know, and I do try to keep my excitement as quiet as possible). Too many times B and I will stare mesmerized at a piece and say, “We can do that at home, can’t we?” as we try to figure out the ins and outs of the process used to create such a beautiful, awe inspiring or thought provoking piece. We relish in finding new artists, researching them later to see what other pieces they may have created that we aren’t privy to and which might delight us even more.

So the art museum was fantastic. The best part, all the exhibit halls (minus any special ones that are there temporarily – like Chihuly’s a few days ago) are free! Parking is 5 bucks in the garage (but at least parking isn’t an issue). There are a few eating options within the museum as well. And what I’m keeping in mind for a later date is that the Virginia Historical Society is next door as well and I hear, from a fellow homeschooler, that it’s free as well.

Although we missed Chihuly we were able to admire this piece:

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After we left the museum the boys were hungry. I have to say one of my favorite things about Big Brooks is how spontaneous he is. A simple outing turns into an event with this guy, but you never know what’s coming because he’s so out-of-the-blue. He’s also big on trying new eateries and does not normally eat at chain restaurants or fast food joints. And quite honestly lately they seem comparable in price anyway. Brooks found us a small Thai restaurant near the museum (Thai Dinner Too) on Cary street which is apparently something of a Thing in Richmond.

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Parking is a pain but once you find a spot in Carytown (which is what I’m assuming the locals call it since it was written in several places) you might as well stay for a few hours. The food was decent, though I’ll admit I’ve had better Thai, but it was good. The atmosphere was great and the service was better. And afterwards Brooks treated us to ice cream a block down that he found using Yelp.

That’s how we found Bev’s ice cream (2911 W Cary St  Richmond, VA 23221, for those interested). Which was incredibly good and made me miss that sweet spot that my friend Tane introduced us to in Austin. Which sitting by the window enjoying our sweet treats we spied a theater across the street (as well as too many neat shops to explore later with more time left in our day – a record store, several vintage shops, a furniture consignment shop, a quirky toy store, and lots of great options for food).

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The theater proudly proclaimed it’s name in the old fashioned sign above the entrance: Byrd Theater (http://byrdtheatre.com/). What drew our attention even further was the streaming masses of people exciting the building. They just kept coming and coming and coming. How big was this place? we wondered. And the architecture on the outside made us lament that places just aren’t designed the way they used to – what a shame!

The marquee had two simple things on them, as if they were enough to draw the throngs of people now milling outside the theater, a new line forming as if promptness was important: Wreck it Ralph and Argo. That’s it.

Now, My Boys had seen Wreck it Ralph (I stayed home to complete homework). But there stood a new place to explore, and so pretty at that. We quickly googled (instead of just walking across the street – we were still enjoying Bev’s delicious ice cream) info on the theater and found out two things: one, there was another showing in 45 minutes and two, it was only 2 bucks to get in.

So naturally we went and secured a spot not too far from the front.

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See the little sign above the theater entrance? That had me curious. Check out the website for the theater to learn some neat stuff about this historic landmark and theater. We were lucky enough to be treated to a show of the “Mighty Wurlitzer” and since we arrived so early we sat in the first row and saw this performance up close and personal. Very cool!

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A few things about this theater: They only accept cash (but they do have an ATM machine directly inside). They also have concessions, which are cheaply priced (3 bucks for popcorn, 3 bucks for a soda). But the best thing, other than the organ performance of course, is the BEAUTY of this place. I couldn’t stop staring at all the beautiful details and features. It made me remember so distinctly my first ever play (in Puerto Rico, of Annie). I was hooked on theater then and this place looked like a a place the theater should be enjoyed. The seats were old fashioned, and worn, but it was hard to notice that in the middle of the greatness of this theater. And it filled up. It’s reputation and cheap prices, no doubt, precede it.

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This thing pops out of the orchestra pit in front of the stage. This guy’s performance was incredible!

What a great night out! The movie was great, the company even better.

The only mar on such a great night? Big Brooks left the lights on the car and we returned to a dead battery (thankfully we have road side assistance) and were eventually – 45 minutes later- recharged and on our way.

I’m pretty sure next time the three of us will triple check the lights! All’s well that ends well!

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