Monday, July 27, 2015

Family Vacation 2015 - DC Day 3

 Rationally, as an experienced DC area resident I knew the National Mall would be insane the week of the 4th and hot.  Also, seeing one of the space shuttles up close was a definite personal life goal.  So, we began day 3 (aka museum day) at the Smithsonian's Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center out in Virginia instead.  It is a cousin to the Aerospace Museum in DC, but enormous and with a space shuttle!  It was as awesome as I'd dreamed.
 This is our crew in front of the shuttle - Brent and our three kids and Heather and her daughters (who had visited previously)
 Look how up close you get? The tiles are individually numbered and the whole experience of discussing the space shuttle and thinking about its life journey was amazing.
 Lion & E were in to the astronauts, but really, really wanted us to get back to the airplanes... and we did...
 But not until we saw the shuttle from every angle.
 Around the space shuttle were several other space type vehicles of various eras as well as the rockets that proceeded them.  (And my daughter with a penguin stuffie).
 B ended up being very interested in the rockets and missiles.   This section led to discussions about why they were developed and why most were never used, the cost, the cold war, etc... B read all the signs in this area and figured out which could go furthest, had the most strength, etc...
 We did make it out to see the planes to E's delight.
This is a mock up of an early wright brother's plane.

The planes are just in layers upon layers all through the hanger. It is phenomenal and a little overwhelming.  There are famous ones like the Enola Gay (another complicated conversation) and the Concord as well as trick planes from shows, military planes, hot air balloon baskets, fed ex planes, etc... To the right here is one of the simulators that Brent and the big kids rode in.  About this time people were tired and ready for naps.  We headed back to DC and E napped in the car.


 Brent really wanted to take the kids to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and we did.  Getting there involved a lot of driving around the mall area looking for parking and taking in the sights.  Then, there was a bit of a forced march across the National Mall, accompanied with a surprisingly small number of complaints.  We made it! And took the requisite picture with the elephant inside.
 We took a peek at the Hope Diamond and then meandered our way through the minerals and gems exhibit. It is a great place with lots of hands on and shiny things.


 I've been here dozens of times, but experiencing it with them was totally new and awesome. I wish we had had more time and that there were several thousand less people enjoying it with us.

 We also visited the ocean area, the small dino section (larger section is under construction), and a bug zoo portion.

And more of this guy.  The building itself is just gorgeous.  SO glad we made the rushed trip to see it and that our kids held up for the whirlwind adventure.

One reason we were rushing was that Heather and Evan were graciously hosting a BBQ for us back at their place for my Law School and Masters Program friends and their families.  It was a lovely chance to catch up, watch our kids play, and hear how everyone is doing.  Thanks so much to everyone who came and to Heather and Evan for being amazing hosts this day and throughout our stay!


Family notes/Favorites for Day 3

Day 3:

E- elephant, panda, lion, frogs, turtles, lot of airplanes

B- lots of pretty shiny expensive things, lots of airplanes and missiles, middle that went 700 mph, second highest 620 mph

M- making crowns, playing in a tree club

Abbey- minerals and Quartz and space shuttle, old friends

Brent - so many airplanes

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Scrappy Sunday

Hi, so it has been such a long time since there was a "Scrappy Sunday" post, I suspect some of you don't recall that there ever was such a thing.

In short, scrapbooking is a kind of therapy for me.  It also allows me to tell our story and preserve memories in more creative ways than the hard drive of our computers.  This spring, it felt like my scrapbooking was shifting. I cancelled my long-time Studio Calico subscription and stopped buying any supplies other than the Ali Edwards Story Kit.  Then, we randomly decided to sell our house and move.  I packed up probably 10 boxes of scrapbooks and supplies and haven't reoppend them.  This is partially as their storage area isn't made yet and partially because I haven't really felt like scrapbooking for awhile.  That was weird and a little scary.  Brent has been very encouraging of late to try and get me to do it again. I think he knows I need the mental outlet and am happier when telling our stories in creative, crafty ways is part of my life.

Last night, I hit yet another stress, overhelmed, its all too much wall.  Why doesn't really matter, but I decided that today I had to resume scrapbooking or running or preferably both.  E's "may" not be healthy enough for the gym today so shortly after breakfast I broke out the small stash I'd set aside for during the move.  It includes 2 kinds of adhesive, maybe 6 months of story kids, 4 pieces of Bazzil Basics white paper in orange peel texture, scissors, 2 pieces of Amy Tan pattern paper, 1 package of gold letter phrases by Amy Tan, and a small mini album.  That is it other than office supplies around the house. Compared to the six boxes of supplies outside a small trove.

When restarting, it is best to keep it simple. Rather than try to take the deep mental dive into finding stories that fit with the Story Kit theme prompts and write something new, I borrowed stories from my blog and printed them out along with photos from our spring photo shoot with Heather Warren.  I used what I have and repeated the page design x 2 pages for 2 boys.  I have zero problem reusing designs and while these are technically the same layout, they are different enough to feel unique and will be in different albums so only you will know.


For today, I have two new pages of our stories.  Two mor


Friday, July 24, 2015

Family Vacation 2015 - DC Day 2

When we last left our adventures, we had moved out to stay in the suburbs with our friends and were happily hanging out together before the start of a busy day 2.

 One of the only things we made plans to see in advance was the Washington Monument. I got tickets way back in the winter (unlike the Capitol tour tickets I requested only one day in advance).  Brent had never been up in the monument even after 8 years living in DC due to ongoing construction and the last time I went inside was in high school. Also, B had been reading a series of books in which the Washington Monument plays a key role so we were keen to go ---- and almost missed our tour.  We got a slow start in the morning and then had to walk, take the subway, take a shuttle bus, and walk some more to pick up our rental car.  With one person that might not take long, but with five, a stroller, and car seats it took quite awhile.  We did find an amazing parking space nearby, but were about 15 minutes late to arrive and I'd given up hope.  Luckily, Brent was much more persistent and just kept asking around until he discovered that they would gladly honor our tickets.  Hooray!
 The great thing about the ticket system (other than the flexibility) is that the lines are short and everything is well-managed so no long lines for small people to endure. Interesting quotes, like the above, and short movies also punctuate the small waiting area.
 Up top - great views of DC from all directions. It was a bit cloudy and drizzly, but still a great view of the White House from this window.   Those of you who have spent time on the national mall in the summer can appreciate how lovely a cool rainy day was for this type of visiting.
 In vacation photos, particularly of places I've been before, the people are what matters and I love this photo of our crew.
 After the views above, we took a stair case down one level to a small museum area with fun facts about the monument including these lightning rods.  The trip down was particularly awesome.  Periodically the glass on the sides of the elevator would suddenly become clear (rather than opaque).  Through the glass, we could see the interior or the monument.  It features stones from each state and many other organizations, countries, etc... The very first stone we say--- Oklahoma!!  The stones were beautiful, varied, and oh so interesting.  Three times on the way down the elevator slows and the glass clears, it is awesome.
 Then we headed back outside for the short walk to the WWII memorial and the mandatory search for the Oklahoma pillar.  Everyone immediately takes photos at their state's pillar.  We spent some time talking about their Great-Grandfathers who served in WWII, the two different fronts of the war, etc... B is old enough to be interested and absorb this, which lead to a lot of interesting discussions as we toured on this trip. (Note the penguin touring with us as well).

 The view back towards the Washington monument.
 Each star on this wall represents about 100 lives lost during WWII (over 406k total). It is breathtaking in that moment of realization.

 Strike a pose!  We didn't make the long walk to the Lincoln/Vietnam/Korea War monuments this time.  We saw them a bit from a distance and driving by, but decided to conserve our travelers a bit as that walk is farther than it seems. (Yes, we've been fooled by it before and while they are amazing and important this won't be their only opportunity to visit DC)
Next up, a quick walk past the White House before heading to GW for lunch and an ice cream social with my colleagues. 
A lot of my work family was on vacation, but we had a great time chatting with those that were available and the kids tremendously enjoyed the ice cream sundaes.  Everyone was very sweet and I'm so glad we got to do it.  Afterwards, in a tradition my Dad would approve of, we wandered around campus telling stories, finding my graduation brick in the quad, etc...  We happened upon the new GW Textile Museum and everyone really wanted to go.  I had never been, but have wanted to so we gave it a shot!
 

We did just one floor of the museum and it isn't tremendously kid friendly, but it is beautiful and high tech.  I really enjoyed the concepts behind the exhibit and kind of want my house to look like the insides (color scheme etc) of this museum.  I was impressed and very much enjoyed it.  The kids left asking if we could go to more museums... ummm,yes, this is the place for that. (Although further museum visits had to wait until Friday).

We visited George in Kogan Plaza, played a bit, and rested before heading off to Georgetown. 

I loved driving through Georgetown.  It remains as cute and charming as ever.  Our first stop on campus was Brent's old lab, which was oddly exactly the same.  We did run in to Dr. Kromer and discovered that the lab will move in just a few weeks so we caught it in its last moments there. I love this blurry photo of the kids in the hall in the lab building where Brent (and I) spend a lot of time well before they were born. I also love that E fell asleep while Dr. Kromer talked (he is not the first one to do so.)
We made it to Healy Hall via a very circuitous route as Georgetown University has built a lot of things since we were last there and several areas remain under construction.  The kids dubbed it a castle and I have to agree.  M also spotted the "Grandfather Tree" (Not pictured) that my dad used to love and that she immediately loved and found fascinating and sure to be a fairy hotel.  It was very sweet. 

 We also visited Dahlgren Chapel, where Brent and I went to church during most of our time there.
 Healy Hall is beautiful inside and out and the cannons are great fun.
It was then time to head back to Virginia.  Throughout our Georgetown adventures M found moss everywhere, which she says mean faeries live there.  She touched every mossy tree on the way back to the car and had a delightful time on this enchanted campus. 

 We joined our friends for a dinner picnic in the park (the same park where B used to play as a toddler). It was, of course, followed by frozen custard, sorbet, or Popsicle at the Dairy Godmother, which is every bit as delicious as we remember. (As an aside, this week B asked me where the closest Dairy Godmother location is and I had to inform him that this was the only one... clearly he is a fan).
 We took our treats outside and enjoyed the music and fun of Del Ray's 1st Thursday festival.
Some kind woman invited B to participate in the cake walk (Cleo, the daughter of our friends, is in the yellow dress and helped him out).  To his great excitement he was one of the (many) winners and selected some blue cupcakes to be enjoyed the next day.
At this point we were all pretty exhausted and headed back the Heather's house to try to get our crew to sleep.  It was a lovely day filled with friends and favorite places. 

Everyone's favorites from Day 2 were:

M- Washington monument & going to get ice cream

B - WWII memorial and talking w/ OGC friends at lunch

E- pants and clothes, (He might have been exhausted when polled or maybe is talking about the costumes at the textile museum)

Brent - Catching up with Dr Kromer in the lab, Visiting the Georgetown campus

Abbey- inside stones of Washington monument; Lunch with OGC,  and visiting the textile museum

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