Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mount Vernon in February - BRRRR!!

We visited George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate for Tate's birthday.
It just so happened to be President's Day and they were celebrating George Washington's birthday.
What a great time - despite the chilly temperatures and the rain ...
The boys were very impressed with the soldiers.
The marching band wit drums, trumpets and piccolos.
They marched so neat and orderly.
Their pants stayed white!
I'm sure their mothers were proud.

I love the drums, but I know I don't have the patience for any of my children to learn.
My nerves would be on edge constantly!
Here is Washington himself watching his birthday celebration.
A view of the mansion house, which was really very neat to see.
Each room inside still has the original paint and the Washington's were NOT afraid to use color!
Each room is painted with bright and crazy colors.
Aqua, bright grass green, yellows, blues.
Quite fun to see.
They have also left everything that they possibly can the way it was when General Washington himself lived there.
The "necessary" (outhouse to us) was even a cute little building built to match the mansion.
All the outbuildings are orderly and situated in a manner that makes everything pristine and well planned out.
I can tell the General was a man of principles and very organized.
I really like that! This is the view from Washington's back porch overlooking the Potomac River.
This man had vision.
Whatever he did, he did well.
One person I can't wait to meet in heaven. This is a MUST see for anyone coming to visit so put this on your to do list!
We will definitely be retuning and buying annual passes to this one!

Tate's Birthday

Tate requested the "infamous" rainbow layer cake this year.
We lit it with 7 candles. He missed all 7!
Then missed 5!
Then finally had them all out!
Phew, the more the candles, the more difficult the task!

He asked for coins to start a coin collection.
And a flute from Mt. Vernon gift store - THANK YOU James'! We had a great day at Mount Vernon - despite the rain/sleet.
Lunch at 5 Guys Burgers & Fries!
Nachos, cake and ice cream at home with the James', Greg and Mitch.
What a great day.
Thank you everyone!

Tate is SEVEN!

We love this boy named Tate!
He was so excited to spend his birthday here in the DC area.
He chose to go see George Washington's estate Mount Vernon on his birthday - which just so happened to be President's Day here in the U.S. (more on that later).
Tate is our "quiet" boy - at least around other people.
Tate is our competitive boy - around everyone!
You give him a challenge and he will take you up on it - from sports to academics he is a competitor and we take advantage of that when we can.
Tate is a kind hearted boy who is the first to help someone in need.
Tate is brave - on the second day in his new school he was determined to find his classroom himself. He didn't want me to help him out, just drop him off. When his older brother begged me to take them him Tate told him in exasperation - "Connor! Geesh! I will take you to your class first and then go to my own!"
And he did.
He is fiercely independent.
He dreams big.
This past week when he learned that he could not be President of the United States because he was born in Canada he was crushed. But not for long - he soon realized that he could still be a Senator or Governor ...
He is resilient.
He is smart and up for any challenge.
He has never been a snuggler - maybe on special occasions - but very rarely.
He can be silly and goofy - but he is usually quite serious and reflective.
We love this boy Tate.
We are so grateful to be his parents.

DC Monuments with the KIDS!

We spent a beautiful - but VERY WINDY - day in DC touring the monuments.
The kids had a blast, and we have been very surprised that they are still asking to go to museums, monuments and the like, I thought they'd get tired of them - but not yet!
This right where we parked - right along the Potomac River and it is gorgeous and HUGE!
Another month and we should be seeing leaves and blossoms on those trees and maybe some boats on the water - can't wait!Washington Monument through the trees.
I was wondering the other day if we will ever get to the point where we are not impressed and in awe with that landmark?
I hope not.

Just starting off the day. I was getting ready to take a few pictures when the wind really came up and blew the stroller, with McCall in it, past me and then tipped over.
It wouldn't be our last encounter with the wind!

Jefferson Memorial in the background - under construction so this one will have to wait. FDR Memorial.
This one was quite impressive and takes up a lot of real estate.
We hadn't been there more than a minute when Connor realized we were at FDR's Memorial and quite loudly exclaimed,
"Dad, isn't this the one who you think was the WORST U.S. President ever?"

The ever impressive Lincoln Memorial - still my favorite.
The boys were so excited to see this one, they love Lincoln and they love Night at the Museum. So it couldn't get any better than this.
They were impressed with the sheer size of the Memorial.
We don't personally know anyone who lost their life in the Vietnam War.
But we have family who served there - thank you!
We did find a Kennington - my Mom's family - and the kids were so excited to find a name that had a commonality with.
Quite an impressive Memorial.
This time there were Vietnam Veterans there to help give directions to names and answer questions. I liked that part.
WWII Memorial - another very humbling Memorial.
This war is only 2nd to the Civil War for loss of American lives.
There truly is a "Price of Freedom".
And it is expensive.
After this we headed over to the Washington Monument - but the strong winds kept me from taking any pictures.
I was holding onto children so they wouldn't fly away.
The wind died down for a few minutes so the boys went to play in it and see how strong the wind was.
Another big wind came up and literally picked Gage up, carried him a few feet.
Set him back down on his bottom and continued pushing him along on his bottom.
It was the highlight of his day - the most scary part of mine.
We are loving this "new to us" city.
Our doors are open, guest room is ready - may we suggest a visit?

Battle of Manassas/Bull Run

Just ten minutes from our house, out in the middle of the country lies a field. It's beautiful.
And it so happens to be a very historic location.
At this site 150 years ago was the first battle of the civil war.
Battle of Manassas - if you were from the North.
Battle of Bull Run - if you hailed from the South.
Women and children watched from afar with their picnic baskets, dressed in their Sunday best. Expecting a great show, a one time battle between the Washington's Union soldiers and the Confederates from the South.
It wasn't what anyone expected.
There was much bloodshed and both sides lost incredible amounts of good men.
It was just the beginning of a long four year war that helped to build and shape our nation.
Over 600,000 lives were lost along the way.
I'm very grateful for their sacrifices.
What a great place to live. General "Stone Wall" Jackson earned his nickname in this battle.
The day was so very windy so we will be returning very soon to do some more exploring and adventuring. Civil War reenactments will be happening over the summer to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.
Feel free to come and visit!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

DC Coral Reef

This fabulous coral reef is located in the Natural History Museum.
Pretty neat eh?
Well, if you look closely enough you can see that it is all made of yarn.
There are a LOT of happy knitters here in the DC area!
And this was only ONE side of ONE display, they filled an entire room!
I'm pretty sure that one Relief Society Enrichment group now has hand cramps and beefy crochet muscles!

Air and Space Museum

We went to the Air and Space Museum out at Dulles and it was amazing. This one is actually about 10 minutes from our house and we plan on going often.
The boys loved it.
So many cool things to see.
All sorts of planes and space craft.
They got to go into two different flight simulators.
Try on costumes.
Look at fighter guns and bombs - what boy doesn't love that?
But the highlight?
Seeing how the astronauts went to the bathroom.
Not very exotic - just a depends diaper really, with a tube on the end ... hmmm ... incentive not to be a rocket scientist.
You'd think that because they put a man on the moon they could figure out how to put one on the moon without a diaper.
Maybe next go round?
** I apologize for the pictures - most were taken on my iPhone. But I was thinking of putting a bunch from my camera into black and whites, framing them and putting them in the boys rooms. What do you think? Pictures from all the museums we go to, all in black and white?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Gage's Birthday Party

This is MY boy Gage.
I hope he will always be MY boy.
Right now he fights to the death with anyone who tries to accuse him of loving someone else as much as me.
I wonder how long I can keep that up for? Gage had a few requests for his birthday.
1. Rainbow cupcakes
2. Jam sandwich for lunch
3. Raisin Bran Crunch for breakfast
4. A trip to the Museum of Natural History in DC
5. A visit from Senator Mike Lee at his party
He got 4 of his 5 wishes! I neglected to talk to Senator Lee's scheduler in time!
Maybe next year.

The whole gang at the museum.
Gage loved being the center of attention.

Everyone loved the creepy crawlies in the live insect exhibit.
Everyone that is except Gage.
He hid under the table while the other kids were doing this!
He also missed the last part of the live tarantula feeding - the feeding part.
Apparently a trip to the bathroom became an emergency!
All in all a great day.
His first birthday spent in DC.
We love this boy.
We love his sense of humor and quick wit.
We love his quirky attributes that make him Gage.
We love that he expresses his love and gratitude constantly.
We love his hugs, kisses, snuggles.
We really love his wild immagination.
My favorite thing to do is sit quietly by him and listen to him play and talk out loud to himself.
Yesterday I heard him congratulating himself on his "brilliant idea".
We love you Gage.