Saturday, April 09, 2016

Auction Item

Tonight was our school auction.  This year I offered a sleepover for one class at the school.  We opened the bidding a week ago and the class with the highest total would win the sleepover with the winner announced tonight.  A 1st grade class won it for $3,065!  The highest selling item in the auction!  Then I was asked if I would offer another one if one of the 5th grade class (2nd runner up) would match the first total.  I said yes and they said yes, so another $3,065!

Now, to pick the weekends for the sleepovers!  Toby's  class is the 5th grade class.  I had many of them as students, so it will be a great time.  The 1st grade class has 19 very active students, should be an exciting time. ;)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot

I went to see this tonight.  The first thing I took away from it was that I should go to the movies more often.  When I watch a movie at home, I never end up really watching it because I either fall asleep or end up doing other things while it is playing.  Secondly, I enjoy going to the movies alone.  I can laugh and cry whenever I want.  Third, I thought this movie was great.  I always enjoy movies with strong women.  This one had the added bonus of travel/other countries and it ended with a good message.

Next on my list: Allegiant

And what is with this storm?  We were getting up to 14 inches.  It all disappeared during the night and this morning we were getting less than an inch.  I just checked now and we're getting 4-8.  I went from thinking no school to definite school and now I'm just not sure...

Friday, March 18, 2016

Toby's Washington Pictures

Here are just a few of the many he took.

Trying out the self-timer in the airport

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Washington D.C., Day 3

I'm exhausted!  We're all feeling tired, even though we have had enough sleep.  We've been walking and walking and walking.  Today might have been our longest walks.  I have blisters and we are all sunburned, but I'm not complaining about that because it looks like we are getting a foot of snow Sunday evening.

Today was our final full day in D.C. and the weather was gorgeous, 75 degrees. With the Metro being out of service today, we walked a mile to the bus stop that would take us to the zoo.  I'm not much of a bus rider, but we managed to pull the yellow rope to announce that we wanted to stop and yes, we had to backtrack one stop but we made it to the zoo, and fairly early, which was the goal to make sure we saw the pandas moving around.

The pandas were how I convinced Amelia to want to go on this trip.  She's been following the baby panda on the webcam almost since birth.

We headed straight to the pandas and spent some time watching them pace and eat bamboo.  Then we went to the bird area.  The indoor bird house was incredible.  We were alone in it, sat on a bench, and just watched all the different birds as they went about their days.  We also enjoyed the small mammal house with its wide variety of animals.  I'm not a huge fan of zoos and this one had quite a few smallish cages and not so natural looking habitats, but the bird house was fantastic, and Amelia enjoyed the pandas.  She was the only one who didn't see them at the conservation center in Chengdu, China.  She got a BeiBei panda t-shirt so she can remember this day all summer long. :)

After the zoo, we got drinks at Starbucks (Lucy and I) and 7-11 (Toby and Amelia) and waited for the bus to take us back.  Disappointingly, the bus stopped before I had planned on it stopping, so we took our first taxi to Arlington Cemetery.  It wasn't very expensive and the cab driver enjoyed giving us some history.  I'm glad we took the cab and didn't walk there because we walked forever (or what seemed like it) at the cemetery.  We got there at 1:00 and the changing of the guard happens on the hour, so we weren't going to see it until 2:00.  We saw the eternal flame and JFK and Jackie's grave and then headed up the hill to where we thought the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was, turns out we were wrong, but we did get to go in Robert E. Lee's house and see the Civil War Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  From there we headed down the hill and back up another to the proper tomb.  We made it with 5 minutes to spare.  We watched the changing ceremony and headed back down the hill.  The children were in awe over how many gravestones there were in the cemetery, as far as the eye could see.  Amelia was in awe over the ceremony and spent the next mile or so of walking pretending to be a soldier, holding a gun, taking measured steps and 90 degree turns. I'm sure that was interesting for all who encountered her along our walk.

I decided we could walk the mile from the cemetery over the Memorial Bridge to the Lincoln Monument, which we did and then we headed to the Tidal Basin to see the monuments/memorials we didn't see the first night.  This might have been a mistake.  We did it, but it was difficult.  It was worth it though to see the impressive FDR memorial and Amelia was very excited about seeing the MLK, Jr. memorial.

Then we decided to take the first taxi we saw back to the hotel.  Unfortunately we were now at the National Mall and there aren't any vehicles, so we walked all the way back to the Washington monument and then decided we could just make it to our hotel.  The girls decided this at least, when I looked back as we were hiking across a field, Toby was quite a few yards back and crying, so we made it out to Pennsylvania Ave. and took the first taxi we could get.  This was another inexpensive one because we were less than a mile away, but definitely worth it.

We did our usual couple of hours of recuperation in the hotel and then headed out for dinner.  We ended up at H&M where we bought Amelia's Easter outfit and then we had dinner at Pi Pizza, delicious.  The girls enjoyed the rocket and goat cheese pizza, while Toby had a meatball pizza.

Now we are back at the hotel.  Amelia is in bed.  Lucy and Toby are watching the food network.  We will have breakfast here in the morning and head out to the airport around 10:00.

The only things I am disappointed that we missed are the Vietnam Memorial (I'm not sure how we missed it because we must have gone right by in on Monday night) and the Jefferson Memorial, which we saw but it was just too far to walk to, and Amelia really wanted the MLK, Jr. memorial in the opposite direction.  We also didn't make it to the Renwick Gallery where I wanted to see their new installation.

I like to check things off lists, so it is slightly nagging at me, but for traveling with three children I think we saw a lot!

The baby panda was up 60 feet in a tree but there was a viewing deck at eye level.

Naked Mole-Rats


Amelia being a soldier

Tidal Basin


MLK, Jr.

One reason we got a taxi at the end

Rocket and Goat Cheese Pizza

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Washington, D.C. - Day 2

Today we woke up an hour later than planned, but were still able to get out of the hotel at a good time. The weather was cool, and slightly damp. We headed straight to the Library of Congress, making sure to go straight to the Capitol Building for viewing.  Once in the library, we went to the Young Reader's Center where we spent an hour, pretty much alone, reading books in a quiet comfortable space.  Lucy made a list of new books she wanted to read and we ordered them from our library.  Amelia and I read many books, but one was by Herve Tullet, Help! We Need a Title  I love his books and this one was great also.

We left the library, headed past the Supreme Court building and headed down the hill to the Smithsonians.  Our first stop was the National Gallery of Art.  First we went to the Leonardo DaVinci painting (the only one in the USA) - Portrait of Ginevra Benci.  Then Lucy went to 18th-19th Century French while I took the other two to Power and Pathos, over 50 bronze sculptures.  We met back up and went to Medieval together, followed by the American Galleries.  Lucy greatly enjoyed all of it, Toby and Amelia liked the Power and Pathos quite a bit, and I, well, I really don't feel a great fondness for art, but there was a lovely portrait of the Copley family which I spent quite a bit of time studying, but that might have been because there was a couch there.

From there we went to the Air and Space Museum. The weather at this point was beautiful and I think we got slight sunburns.  Amelia was thrilled to see her hero, Amelia Earhart, and her plane.  We took multiple pictures with her standing near it and ended up with a t-shirt before we left.  We touched the moon rock (highly anti-climatic for all), went to the war plane areas, the Wright Brothers section (which I think we liked best), and some of the space things.  We also stopped and had a very late lunch there.  Trail mix and granola bars weren't cutting it anymore by 2:30.

We walked to the American History Museum next.  As we were walking we noticed there were police cars on every single street corner and a helicopter circling overhead.  We convinced Amelia it was because she had "dropped" her trail mix packet and that she was in trouble for littering, but turns out President Obama was attending an Irish Luncheon on Capitol Hill.  We didn't see him though. We got to the museum and started with the Hope Diamond, which was closed.  Then we did the Ocean Hall, the Mammals (stuffed animals), Bones (unstuffed animals), Mummies and Dinosaurs, along with the Insect exhibit.

By now it was 5:30 and the museums were closing. We were supposed to go to the Renwick Gallery but realized a couple hours before that it was going to be too much to do and a lengthy walk on top of our already lengthy walk. We walked back to our hotel, passing the IRS building, and Trump's new hotel at the Old Post Office.

We relaxed in our room for a couple of hours and headed out for dinner at the Elephant and Castle where I had a delicious Steak and Mushroom Pie and the children had the same foods that can be found on the Children's menu of every single restaurant we go to.

Now we're back in the hotel.  Amelia is asleep.  Lucy and Toby are watching Chopped which they will regret in the morning when I wake them up.  Tomorrow the Metro is closing for 24 hours which is practically unheard of and relates back to our experience on Monday. Metro Shutdown  The problem with this is that tomorrow is our Metro day, we are going to the zoo and the cemetery.  My Uncle Steve found a bus route that looks like it will work, but since there is no Metro it means there will be many, many people looking for transportation, should be fun!  The weather tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful and if we're up for it on the way home from the cemetery we will go to the tidal basin and the monuments we didn't see yet.

National Archives, just passed it on our walk

American Sweet Gum seeds - had a lively tossing fight for a few minutes

Capitol Building

Library of Congress

Supreme Court

Leonardo's painting

Amelia and Amelia's plane

Touching rock from the moon

Amelia and Amelia

Both Amelias at 6 years old

So many bones