Thursday, May 29, 2008

Our Backyard

We live on Main Street and love it even more than we ever would've guessed. We love our backyard and it's often a hopping place. Friends from our homeschool group often come by to visit in the backyard and play and play and play. We love it. How cute are these kids?

Playing Tag

Ready . . . set . . .


These pictures were taken in February. Since then, trees and flowers have bloomed, we've planted grapes, berry bushes, and a vegetable garden. We have all kinds of fun friends visit us (though these pictures mainly highlight one family--our wonderful friends and neighbors). Soon, we're getting chickens and bunnies. Oh, and we naturally have baby bunnies in a little nest in front of our carriage house--they're so tiny and we're being careful not to touch them when they're so small! We see so many birds that the kids keep a log using their bird book and love to look up the birds they see. We have a patio where we like to sit and read. We have a fun swing set. We have a long sidewalk for bike riding and skateboarding. We love our backyard.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Memorial Day Parade

We live in the coolest town! It's not too small, not too big, and such a throwback to how things used to be. It's enchanting!

The Mechams invited us and the Laudermilchs over to watch the parade from their front lawn and enjoy the most amazing breakfast spread that they and their neighbors put together--a TON of food!

The parade was great (and the biggest in PA!) and it was nice to get back from DC and enjoy this with our friends. And this parade makes Halloween look like a full-time job. You simply sit and they literally throw candy at you! Lots of fun as kids grab and catch candy and fill their bags delightfully!

M hangs out with the librarians --smart kid, he got LOADS of candy with little kid competition on that side of the street!

The PA beauty queens complimenting K on her dance moves and telling her she should be up on their float!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Our D.C. Field Trip!

Omigosh, we've had so much fun in D.C.! Here's a run down:

* Some families backed out right before the trip, but 6 families attended just the same, so about 30 of us total

* First day--park at hotel in Arlington, VA where we got group rate, meet group, take Metro to D.C. and attend tours and demonstrations at the Museum of the Native American and the Air and Space Museum (Smithsonian). You can spend days in D.C. at the museums alone! Lunch at the museum and then off to the Capitol for our tour (which was very cool).

K and Page chatting up books!! Enlarge this one to see how much fun they're having--big smiles!

* We also got to go into the Senate Gallery and that was fascinating (though we're bummed about their "no one under 6 allowed" policy--M is quieter and better behaved than some teens I saw in there!). So, we switched off with the Brights and the kids got to play. It was interesting to see something so relevant and current being discussed (energy crisis, oil prices, drilling in Alaska). There was one senator from WY who informed us that a secret that the American people and media don't know is that we're winning the war in Iraq. That almost prompted a loud noise from me, but I limited myself to an eye roll and confused look at Mark and Christy (which is good, because they could've thrown me out for audibly disagreeing in the gallery). We also heard from other senators including Orrin Hatch. And we got to see the leaders and pages reading the paper, surfing the web, and spinning their pens during the speeches. Good times.

They were setting up for the Memorial Day D.C. Concert

* We saw some cool outdoor exhibits at the Botanical Gardens with the Deiners as well. Lots of stuff on recycling and saving the earth. Very neat. We stopped at the Air and Space Museum again for a bit of fun and caught up with the Brights.

Riding the Metro!

* We got back to the hotel (Oh, our aching feet! Brilliant to break in new sandals on a walking trip, eh?) and checked in and freshened up and went out for a fabulous Thai dinner with the Brights! That was really fun!! And delicious. Oh my goodness, curry with coconut milk? Fabulous. We had a great time with them and the kids loved all the food. We're fans of Thai food! Woohoo!

* We got back to the hotel again and the Deiners were up so we and the Brights joined them in the hotel lobby and Christy taught the kids Blackjack! Good times. A well-rounded homeschool trip to be sure. M seems to have a propensity for the game, too. Sweet!

"Hit me!"

* After a night's sleep, we got up, checked out of the hotel, and rode the metro into the city again (lots of escalators, lots of subways). We enjoyed a really great presentation at the Supreme Court and enjoyed walking around and seeing the spiral staircase and informational displays about the Court. It was fascinating!

Stopping at the Library of Congress

M loves to figure out the maps and is quite good at it, too!

On the steps of the Supreme Court

We got to go in, but only take pictures from the doorway

One of only 200 engraved copies of the Declaration of Independence

The magnificent spiral staircase

Some activists outside the Supreme Court

* We enjoyed lunch with the Deiners and Brights and then we and the Deiners thoroughly enjoyed doing the walking tour of all the monuments. It was great! There were at least 3 new ones since I'd done them as a kid. We all walked over 6 miles and we hardly gave the kids piggy back rides at all! We're impressed -- they are troopers!! What a fun walk and such great monuments (worth it for the FDR one alone!).

On the Metro!

Washington Monument

Clearly the no-fly zone, we assume the copters were escorting some first family or VP family member to the White House . . . or something like that anyway.

There's the White House in the distance

Jefferson Memorial

Gorgeous weather, beautiful walk

From the Jefferson Memorial (you can get at least a sense of how much walking is involved!)

I really love the quotes on the monuments . . .

Very cool picture--you can see the Thomas Jefferson statue through the columns

Gorgeous day! From the Jefferson Memorial to the FDR Memorial

The beautiful "4-room" (one for every one of his terms) FDR Memorial

I'm fascinated by Eleanor Roosevelt and interested in reading a biography about her.

The "I Hate War" section--beautiful and poignant quotes

The Great Depression

Yeah, we walked it backwards, but you get the idea. Gorgeous. Magnificent. I really love what they've done with the FDR Memorial.

Korean War Memorial

Each statue weighs 1,000 pounds
Actual photographs lasered onto the wall

From the Lincoln Memorial (lots of walking, I tell you!)

The sculptor has Abe's hands signing--"A" and "L"

Vietnam War Memorial

Honoring the women of the war

Pausing to play with baby ducks . . .

. . . and get a drink of COLD water (and watch the birdies eat crumbs from our cookies)

World War II Memorial

Back around, about 6 miles later, to the Washington Monument again

* We got some souvenirs, got back on the metro, got some cookies at the hotel, ate some food in the car, and drove around D.C. a bit more seeing things like the Iwo Jima sculpture as well as the White House, Ford's Theater, the FBI building, and much, much more! Lots of vets rallying for Memorial Day weekend as well.

* We had a lovely drive back through Gettysburg and got home late and exhausted. We got right to bed to get up early and enjoy the local parade. What a great, great trip and so fun to do it with our good friends! We're so glad to be so close to so many neat things!