Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving and DC

It has been a bit of an odd Holiday season so far. We're in a new place with new people, but that hasn't kept it from being good. Granted, we missed being with our families dearly, and talking with them on the phone on Thanksgiving Day was certainly bittersweet. However, God has blessed us with wonderful friends here who are like family to us now. We were able to spend T-Day with some of those friends, Jeff and Jean. It was wonderful to be able to spend a few hours catching up with them and having time for our kids to get acquainted with one another. We ate WAY too much great food (thanks again, Jean!!), but it was a blast. As usual, I totally forgot to take the camera with us, so you'll just have to take our word for it. :o)

On Friday, we took a trip up to Washinton, DC with some of our colleagues to have some "Cultural Experiences" and practice doing things like riding the Metro (subway, underground, tubes, whatever you want to call it) and eating new foods.

I would be lying to you if I said we had been looking forward to this day. Dreading would be a more proper description of how we felt, though that may be too weak a word still. Its not that we don't like DC - we do! We love it! Seth and I had the opportunity to spend several days there in 2004 and other than it being swealtering, we had an amazing time viewing these incredible pieces of our Nation's history in person for the first time.

However, this time, the idea of figuring out how to survive all day with just a stroller for the kids was a daunting one. Much to our joy and surprise, the girls did a WONDERFUL job! They were well behaved, there were no fits, and they ate their lunch perfectly! There is one thing about our time spent in DC with preschoolers - we can tell you where many of the public restrooms are!!

So, our day started with a ride on the Metro train. The art of getting through a Metro station with a double stroller is not one easily mastered. Navigating a 20 foot chariot through throngs of people takes some skill. Thank God Seth has lots of natural skill! They DO have elevators in all of the stations, but they are "elevators" in the barest sense of the word. They are big enough to fit one person, and they could possibly be a person in a wheelchair. But they will not fit, safely anyway, the double stroller plus a parent. So, Seth had to balance the doubler stroller on very steep escalators. We were a three-ring circus, I tell you what! So, anyway...once we got down to the actual platform for the train, we were good to long as we got the stoller on the train before the doors came crashing closed, but that's a post for another day.

Waiting for their first ever Metro ride!
Hannah's eyes are squinted b/c the train is approaching and it brings with it hurricane force winds.

After we got off the Metro, we made our way down to the White House. We weren't able to get any pictures because all of the good views were blocked off by construction of massive structures - we guessed they were something to do with the inauguration or a parade of some kind. While standing there watching that was going on around us - silent demonstrations, not so silent demonstrations, laughing tourists taking silly photos with Obama cardboard cutouts - we all seemed to sense a spiritual heaviness in the air. I was overcome with how difficult a job President much be, for anybody. So, we spent a few minutes there praying silently for all that goes on in that building and city. Then we were off to find the library of a famous Socttish poet.

Consulting the map

LONG story short, we were never able to find it (NOTHING to do with Seth's map reading skills, its just a good pic! LOL), so we decided to head to our next "activity": a cultural lunch experience. We decided to go to a pub in the area called the Dubliner. Having spent 2 years in Ireland, we are pretty picky when it comes to going into a place that calls itself "Irish." We have found many that "got it right" in one or two aspects (usually the decor and names of dishes), but none that compare to this one. It was amazing! The kicker for me - they had REAL tea, real Barry's tea!! It's no Lyons tea, but hey, I'll take what I can get! The atmosphere was awesome and we had a good time resting and renergizing with some good pub grub. Seth and our friends all got fish and chips, I got traditional Irish "Fry" (a hearty breakfast), and the girls split chicken bites and chips. Hannah asked me halfway through lunch, "Mommy, is chicken Irish food??"

After lunch, we headed down to see the National Archives. We had never had a chance to see the Declaration of Independence before and really wanted to see it. Aparantly, everyone else in DC had the same idea. So, rather than wasting the rest of our time waiting in line, we headed down to see the Washington Monument and the World War II Memorial.

As we were walking in front of the IRS building, we see this man walking along, picking chrysanthimums (sp?) off the plants in front of the building. After gathering 15 or so, he turned around, seemed preturbed to see us there, and walked behind us. He then gave one flower to each of the two girls with us (who were walking behind us) and then asked for $2 or $3 for each flower. They, befuddled, said they did not have any money left (which was true) and he walked away, rather flustered. Now, before this, both our girls had been begging for flowers and we had told them that we were not allowed to pick them. So, our friends gave their flowers to the girls.

Hannah and her illegal flower

Cailyn and her contraband

Finally we arrived at the Washington Monument and attempted to get a good picture of the girls:

As we walked from the Washington Monument to the WWII Memorial, we finally got a good view of the White House, distant though it was, with the Christmas tree out front.

We finally made it to the monument and it was amazing! One side represents the Pacific, the other is the Atlantic. In the center is a huge reflecting pool with two fountains. At either end is a another fountain/waterfall. In the center of the outerpart is a huge wall of stars representing those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. While we were there, we met a Pearl Harbor survivor and it was so neat because we, and the girls, were able to tell him thank you.

The WWII Memorial with Lincoln Memorial in background

Along the sides as you walk in are these relief sculptures depicting different aspects of the war. This one is the Normandy Landing.

The right side of the Memorial, honoring the Atlantic
(the wall in the bottom of the pic is where the reliefs are)
Seth trying to take a picture just as Marine One flew by and I tried to point it out in time for a pic LOL

The wall of stars honoring those who fell in service
After this, it was time to head back to the Metro station to return home. The girls had had about enough excitement and finally fell asleep - the last 20 minutes of the day. :o)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Happy Birthday, Seth!!!

Happy Birthday, Seth! I love you and hope you have a WONDERFUL day!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Feelings....Nothing more than feelings....

Last week Hannah's class was learning about emotions. They studied a different emotion each day. And each day her teacher took each child's picture making the emotion of that day. She sent us the pictures today and I just HAD to share them. Never let it be said that Hannah is not expressive! LOL






This week is modes of transportation....should be interesting!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Yesterday we took a little family trip with some friends to see Monticello (Thomas Jefferson's house, for those who don't know hehehe). It was a really fun day! It was overcast and sort of a misty/light rainy day. It made for a nice cool atmosphere and some really GREAT pics (if I do say so myself)!

The tour was ok. Let me start over....the house was fascinating! To be able to step in and see a glimpse into the mind of a man like Jefferson was incredible. The entire tour lasted about 15 minutes and we didn't get much time to just really look at each artifact in each room - though with a 3.5 year old and a 19 month old in tow, that's probably a good thing! However, the best part of the day for me was to be outside in the coolness and watch my children and husband enjoy the day.

Fall is absolute most favorite time of the year. I love the colors, the crispness of the air, the smells of wet leaves and fireplaces, etc. And this is the first year I've ever experienced a fall like this. A light fog/mist had settled on the moutnains and hills surrounding Monticello and the fall colors seemed to pop out even more. While we were in the house the deluge came, but when we got to the outside part of the tour, it let up and we were able to spend a good hour just walking around, taking pics, enjoying time with our friends and their sweet baby girl.

Literally minutes after we got in the car to return home, the floodgates opened and it POURED almost the whole way home. I'm talking sheets of water, can't hardly see the car in front of you. So, I'm glad we went when we did! So, enjoy the pictures!

Our Family

Waiting for the shuttle to take us up to the house. Hannah was fascinated with this fountain.

Can you say, "Testing the waters?" LOL

Still waiting for the shuttle, Hannah and Daddy "hanging out"

Cailyn's turn!

Finally at the house, waiting for the tour to start.
"Are we EVER going to go in, Mommy??"

Out one side of the house

One of the views

Another view out the back

The back of the house

"Is Mommy taking ANOTHER picture?"

Struttin' her stuff!

Pretty girl!

She's obsessed with leaves and rarely has empty hands when we walk outside.

So proud!

"This one looks good!"

"What do you guys think?"