Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Break-Away

Since Will had the special treat of going to Minnesota over Easter break, we thought the rest of us should have a special treat as well.  So, John, the four remaining kids, and I drove down to D.C. for a couple of days. 

We went on Friday, got to our hotel in Alexandria, then drove around a little bit to see the sights in D.C..  A couple of us didn't have warm enough clothes for after-dark, so we didn't get out and walk, just watched from the warmth of the van.

On Saturday, we took the Metro downtown.

We had a gorgeous day to be on the Mall.

(Sam was a little confused by a mall with no stores.)

First we went to the National Gallery.  I could have spent the whole day in there, but the kids were somewhat less keen, although they were pretty well engaged for a while.  

Johanna recently read the book Chasing Vermeer so we made a special point of seeing the Vermeer exhibit.

And when Micah made the outrageous claim that the art was boring I had the chance to inform him otherwise and explain how cool art is, providing, as it does, a window into history, insight into the human condition, beauty to rest the soul.  

I dare say he was inspired with a new love of art, but was too awe-stricken at the moment to say so.

We took a few moments to rest on the mall, along with about 483 million other tourists, then went on across the way to the Air and Space Museum. 

Here, they were designing their own jets.

We spent the most time in the section dedicated to Wilbur and Orville Wright and their flying machine.

Any guesses as to what held John there? 

Of course, we had to remind the kids that North Carolina may have provided the wind for the first flight, but Ohio provided the brains.

When we were tuckered out, we headed back to the Metro for the trip back to the hotel.

We were all tired.

We went back to the hotel to nap or read or whatever, then went for supper (John and I got food from this great little Mediterranean bakery/cafe), then drove back into D.C. to see the Lincoln, Korean, and WWII Memorials by moonlight.

John and I had never been to the beautiful WWII Memorial so that was something new for us.  We went around and posed for pictures in front of different state pillars: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Minnesota, and then Evie and me in front of Kansas.

Sunday morning we visited the OPC in Vienna, VA, then were invited to lunch at the Van Dixhoorns' lovely home.  

Before heading north again, we made one more stop.  This time at Roosevelt Island.

That's Sam marching straight up to Teddy.  I think Teddy would approve.

Teddy waved goodbye to us as we left D.C. and headed home amid a huge crowd of other folks going home after a long Easter weekend.

We missed having Will along, but enjoyed our time away very much.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sam's Birthday

Now that the sun has returned (mostly), the days are slipping by at an alarming rate, and here it is already a couple of weeks since my last post!  

There's not much of excitement to report - lots of busy-ness, but not excitement - except for Sam's birthday.  
Sam turned eight on Monday.  Eight!

I always think of eight as a real turning point.  During this year, kids seem to grow up even faster than they have in previous years.  They really establish their own personality, more and more independently from mom and dad.

All this is right and good, of course.  But also a little sad for the mom who is watching her beloved baby take a giant leap toward manhood.

Well, maybe not such a giant leap.

Saturday, Sam got to celebrate his birthday with some friends at Chuck E. Cheese's.  We don't usually do parties like that (because I'm lazy) but Sam's friend has a birthday the day before Sam's, so his mom invited me to do a joint party.  Half the work and twice the fun...okay!

Monday, we just partied at home.

This tee shirt from my parents was one of Sam's favorite gifts.  It is a "doctor's note" which prescribes eating pizza, eating bacon, and playing video games every day: pretty much Sam's perfect day.

He even liked the new jeans.  Look at that smile.  

The "winning" present this year was this Lego set from us.  At least he's not yet too grown up to get excited about Legos!

You like the candle in the middle?  I discovered that I only had seven birthday candles and that would never do, so I improvised.

This was eight years ago.  *sniff*

Happy birthday, Sam!  You are loved more than you'll ever know!