Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Night Stroll

We ended our Saturday evening with a stroll on the National Mall.

Enjoy the photos!

Air and Space Museum II

Since our amazing summer in DC is quickly coming to an end - we decided to have a jam packed Saturday.
We started our morning at the base exchange with Spencer getting a proper haircut. Gemma wanted one too, but we told her she'd probably end up looking like a Marine - so she changed her mind!

We then stopped for lunch at Popeye's - Spencer's new favorite place for chicken nuggets.
Now - our main plan for the day was the Steven H. Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum.
Here are the children doing silly poses. I've finally learned that it's easier to have them do a silly pose and look at the camera than try to have them take a "nice" picture!
The museum is by Dulles Airport in a huge airplane hanger. The first thing the kids were able to do was sit in an actual plane and pretend to fly it. Gianna didn't last long because she wasn't being exactly gentle with the plane.

Here are David and the kids in front of the SR-71 Blackbird. This was a cold-war era spy plane. It flew from LA to Washington DC in 1hour 28 minutes 9 seconds.

This is the shuttle "Enterprise". It was the original test shuttle but never launched into space. It was HUGE.
Here is a little perspective - David and the kids with the shuttle.
The Air France plane is also known as The Concorde.
This is the Enola Gay - this is the plane that dropped the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima.

It was a great opportunity for the kids (and us) to see air crafts that have played a significant role in history. They even had a piece of the World Trade Center and The Pentagon on display - talk about a teaching moment.

This time here in DC has gone quickly - I just hope as the weeks and months go by, the kids look back on this time fondly!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Honor Flights

Today the kids and I went to Regan National Airport with David to welcome an Honor Flight flying in from Wisconsin. David started doing this in February and has greeted at least 15 flights.

David was especially excited to have the kids participate. They are young and don't understand what these men and women went through, but hopefully as years go by, they can flash back to this moment and make a connection.
The gate was decorated with red, white and blue streamers and employees from American Airlines were passing out flags and noise makers for when the Veterans made their grand entrance. There was patriotic music being played and everyone was ready!

Party people in the house!
When the plane was pulling into the gate it was welcomed by the fire department. David said they usually have 2 fire trucks to make an arch - but it looked like the other one was detained. At this point David, along with many other men and women uniform went on the jet-way to ensure the Veteran's were welcomed properly - by clapping, cheering and whistling. Hands were shook and hugs were given.
The kids and I waved our flags and clapped. I took a few pictures, but I decided to spend more time in the moment and thanking these men myself. A few commented on how cute the kids were (duh!) but I kept reminding the kids we were in the room with heroes.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

National Cathedral

The other night David took us for a drive up Embassy Row and then to see the National Cathedral. We found out it was open until 8pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays - so we decided to come back then. The cathedral isn't really accessible by the Metro and I try to keep my driving to a minimum here - it is much too stressful.
I knew the kids wouldn't be too interested in returning, but I found a couple of facts that would be make them begging to return!!!
Fun fact #1 - This stain class window contains a piece of moon-rock from the Apollo XI mission. It's in the middle of the red circle toward the top of the window.
Fun fact #2 - There is a Darth Vadar gargoyle on the cathedral! There was a competition in the 1980's and Darth Vadar won 3rd place! Who knew?
Our friend John tagged along on our tour.

Now, for those keeping track, Gianna tends to "do her business" when we are at major landmarks. I've changed her on a bench outside of The White House, The Ellipse (across from The White House), the lawn of the Smithsonian and The Washington Monument.

And last night, I had the opportunity to change her outside of the cathedral. You have to admit, she picks pretty locations! : ) (John is just trying to keep the toxic fumes from harming her!)
After taking care of Gianna, we walked over to the garden of the cathedral. It was beautiful. But the kids had shown us they were done with the touristy thing. David suggested dessert and we all said YES!!!!

We walked past Ford's Theatre to stop and get our treat.
Finally, our destination - Frozen Yo! It's a self service frozen yogurt place. You get a cup and have a choice of at least 12 flavors and then a bunch of toppings. You simply pay by weight.

After our fun evening, we were home and had the kids in bed by 10pm!

New York, New York

I'm finally updating the blog - my apologies to my mom and sisters who have been annoyed with the lack of updates....

So, last Thursday, we loaded up the van and headed north to New York. I must say; a 6 1/2 hour drive was so easy compared to last months 2 day drive! The kids were great and the weather was perfect. We hit traffic leaving DC and again just before getting to New York - exactly what we expected.

Once we arrived we were greeted by tons of family. Gemma was in her glory with all of the cousins! Spencer was pretty excited too, since his cousin Thomas is only one year younger than he is. Gianna was spoiled rotten with all the attention, since she is the baby by 5 years.
Carolyn, Helen, me and Joanne.
On Saturday we went to the beach. Gemma and Spencer tried boogie-boarding for the first time and did really well. We arrived around 12:00 and the kids stayed in the water until 5pm. (I did get them out long enough to reapply sunscreen - but that was it!)
Gemma playing in the sand waiting for the sunscreen to dry!
This was Gianna after 2 minutes in the van. She was a little nervous of the water, but she quickly got over her fear and spent the majority of the time in the waves. We arrived home and quickly showered and changed to go to Raymond's house for dinner - where the kids did more.....swimming!
The great thing about having a large family is always having babysitters!

On Sunday we packed up and headed to Brooklyn to meet with an old family friend (who I forgot to take a picture with!)
Gemma in front of the old apartment mom, dad and the girls lived. I didn't really how fuzzy the photo was until I uploaded to the computer - oops!
The school my dad and sisters attended.

After we had a mini-tour of the "old neighborhood", we grabbed lunch, said good-bye to our friend and were back on the road. Since we didn't know the next time we'd be in New York, we decided to take advantage and drove through the city to Battery Park so the kids could see the Statue of Liberty.

It started to rain - I was so bummed! This was the best I could do with the Brooklyn Bridge!
After an hour of driving, we made it to Battery Park and actually found a street spot! It was still raining, so we did the best we could. I would love to go back and take the ferry around it, but if not, at least the kids can say they've seen the Statue of Liberty!