Sunday, October 31, 2010

Washington, D.C.

Last weekend Sydney and Jaxon stayed with my parents, and Donnie and I took a little trip to D.C. It was kind of a last minute trip, and it was short (we took the first flight up on Saturday morning and the last flight home on Sunday night), but it was so much fun!

It had been a while since Donnie and I did anything without the kids (we have never left them overnight since Jaxy was born over 2 years ago), so we wanted to do something special. We had such a great time, and the weather was perfect.

On Saturday we started at the Spy Museum. We did an interactive spy mission at the museum, and then we did "Spy in the City." Spy in the city is a GPS-guided 1.5 mile tour. Each person gets a little device to help you as you travel the city trying to solve a case. Each case is based on a real CIA file, so it was kind of cool to work on a "real" spy case.

For us, there was a NASA employee trying to sell government secrets to Russia. We were to find out who the employee is and then intercept the delivery of materials. We were sent a picture, and we had to find out which street corner it was shot from, and then we had to go there. We then were sent around to various places (Department of Justice Building, Navy Memorial, FDR Memorial, the Old Post Office, Benjamin Franklin statue, a cathedral, and old bank building...and a few others I can't recall right now).

At each place we were either given a clue by "finding a fingerprint" with our special scanner, intercepting audio transmissions, or cracking codes from parts of different monuments. In the end we found the girl, took the package, and she was "apprehended by federal agents." We watched that last part on our little video screen :-) It was fun, but I don't think we'll do that part again.

We walked through the National Mall, and Donnie took A LOT of photos, as we checked out the sights. We headed over to the Holocaust museum next. We spent a little over two hours there. It was a very sombering experience. It's just sad that so many people can be convinced to support such evil. It was pretty neat to see toward the end of the exhibit a giant wall with names of people, listed by country, who actively worked to help Jewish people during Hitler's crazy campaign. There were so many people who saw a wrong and stood up for the right. Unfortunately, so many people still had to suffer, and even lose their lives.

We left the Holocaust museum when it closed, and headed to Chinatown. We walked all around, checking everything out, before we decided on a Texas BBQ place for dinner. Donnie is still baffled how I managed to drag him to a BBQ place in Chinatown...

We walked down to a frozen yogurt place back by the spy museum for a treat after dinner. There was a hockey game in town, so it was pretty crazy around Chinatown. And BTW, that was seriously the best fro yo I have ever had. We hopped on the Metro and headed back to the hotel after that. It was only 8p.m., but we walked all day, so we were pretty tired.

Sunday we ate breakfast at the hotel restaurant, and then caught a shuttle to the Metro. We took the Metro to the Archives station, and then we walked to the capitol building. It was actually quite a walk, but Donnie wanted to take pictures, so we pretty much took the long way a lot :-).

We decided to walk from there through the National Mall to the Museum of Natural History. That weekend there was a national science and engineering festival on the mall, so we checked out a few of the tents, and took a pic with two of the stars of NCIS:Los Angeles.

We spent a few hours at the Natural History museum, and then walked down to the White House. It was crazy how crowded the sidewalk outside the front gate was! We hit a food truck for a quick snack, and walked over to the Washington monument and then the Lincoln Memorial. We checked out the Wolrd Ward II Memorial. It was quite impressive. Donnie took pictures of the Georgia post, and the Idaho post :-).

We walked beside the reflection pool on our way to the Lincoln Memorial. The water was pretty was not such a good reflector. We climbed the stairs to the top and took photos from inside and outside the monument.

We then walked out to the Arlington National Cemetery. Although we were walking pros by this point, we took a guided tour around the cemetery. It was neat to learn the backstory of the cemetery, and to have someone point out the more famous of the graves, and also the different areas. We stopped at JFK's gravesite, watched the changing of the guard ceremony, stopped at the original house, and then back at the gift shop/visitor's center. It was such a good tour.

We then headed to the Metro, and on to the airport. It was pretty late when we returned to my parents' house, but Sydney wast still awake. She needed to let me know that she was just going to stay with Grandma and Granddaddy. Apparently we were not the only ones who had a fun weekend...

More Halloween fun

Obviously, I am a little behind in my posting :-).

So the week after we put together the pumpkins, we made Halloween puppets for FHE. Once again, we let the kids choose. Jaxon chose the evil scientist, but Sydney chose Frankenstein - I thought she would go for the witch, but she wanted the crazy monster. Then again, Slasher the Komodo Dragon is her favorite zoo friend (closely followed by the dead zebra).

Anyway, here are their creations.

Mr. Potato Head Pumpkins

This year we decided against carving pumpkins (disaster from 2 years ago), and letting the kids paint pumpkins/cover pumpkins with stickers (last year's craziness), and opted for Mr. Potato Head pumpkin kits.

The genius who came up with this idea is so my new best friend. Seriously, call me and we will go to lunch. Anyway, there are quite a few different kits to choose from, so we let each kid pick one. Jaxon choose a "monster" kit (it really is more like Frankenstein), and Sydney choose a princess one (imagine that :))
We bought each child a pumpkin, opened their kit, and turned them loose. Donnie helped Jaxon, but it wasn't because he needed help, Donnie really had fun with the kits too :-).

Friday, October 01, 2010

Student of the Month

So yesterday when I picked Sydney up from school, she informed me that next week they are having a special reading day at school. She needs an adult to come read to her class for about 20 minutes. She chose Grandma Forest Park, and then proceeded to tell me how excited she was for reading day. She mentioned nothing else about school.

We went and picked up Donnie and then went to the natural history museum. We watched an I-Max movie, looked at all of the exhibits, and then, at closing time, we headed back to the car. So it had been a good 3 1/2 hours with Sydney...

As we were leaving the parking lot she said (VERY grumpily), "I had to go to a party today during rest time." Donnie and I exchanged confused looks and he asked, "What kind of party did you go to?"

She picked up her bookbag and pulled out a certificate and a bumper sticker. Sydney went to the cafeteria to have ice cream with her teacher and principal because she was chosen as student of the month!

She didn't really understand until Donnie told her how special it is to be a student of the month, and how proud of her we are. He totally talked it up, and we took her out for frozen yogurt. Once she understood it was a good thing, she was really happy.

That's when the problems came... she now expects us to put the bumper sticker on our car, and doesn't understand why we said we could find a "better place" for her award.