Sunday, May 31, 2015

Family Day

Sundays…ahh… We love our weekly day of rest. The adults left for an over twenty crowd breakfast before I was out of bed. Most everyone else was up though. (I'm trying to catch up on the few hours I've missed this past week full of adventure and fun.) 

The kids watched "Ice Age 3," I believe, while I ate, had my quiet time, and caught up on other stuff like email and blog posts and such. 

Around noon the Linn herd gathered and left to spend the afternoon with long-time family friends. My Mom's family met the Barnard family when Aunt Amy was Mia's age! Aunt Liz Barnard had a fabulous lunch all set out for us when we arrived. Her daughter Robyn, son in law Ben, and their three boys joined us a little later. Aunt Amy, Uncle JC, and Rowan also came which made it all even better! 

Main topics of conversation included driving, our DC tour, New York trips, vacations in Maui, and general family news to catch up on. If we had a dollar for every person who asked us to take them with us in our suitcases to Maui we would be able to take two trips there a year instead of just one! We love telling everyone about our favorite place to be and by the end of the conversation 99.9% of our listeners want to join us there as soon as possible. 

The kids really enjoyed playing ball outside. Mia and Henry talked each others' ears off and Ava and Will played together quite a bit. A Texas Rangers ballgame may or may not have been turned on in the basement and several of the guys may or may not have casually migrated down there for part of the afternoon. 

We arrived back home just in time to thoroughly enjoy the wonderful dinner Mrs. Blair prepared for us. Showers for the outside ballplayers ensued and everyone got to chill the rest of the night. 

Chloe's reading stack for this trip, so much variety!

Aunt Liz has this charmingly adorable setup by her front porch. 

Here is a majority of the group from this afternoon:

The Herd: Quoted 

"My action sandals are giving me grief!" -Mia

"It's okay, I make the perfect gentleman." -Chloe, after opening the door for me

"I need to refill my strength." -Mia

"I want some of the brown chicken." -Mia
"That is beef." -Mom

"Have you showered yet?" -Dad
"Not quite." -Gabe
"So you have taken a partial shower?" -Dad

"What's to say the under 50 crowd can't go to bed early?" -Dad

"Yeah this would be good with vanilla ice cream…" -Mom eating a brownie

"The kids can go to bed now, right? It's after 7:00pm…" -Dad 

Saturday Fun

I was sure I set my alarm for 6:00am this morning. It's a good thing 7:00am was also set to go off. I'm pretty sure most of us slept pretty hard last night. Later in the day I did find out, "Oh my 6:00am alarm is only set for weekdays and as this was Saturday it would naturally not go off." 

I was the last out of bed. Everyone else had already been up (or down depending on if they slept upstairs or in the basement) and had consumed a majority of the donuts. While the adults sat outside discussing their angels human children, said children sat inside watching a documentary on the benefits and blessings of living a life of obedience Looney Tunes. 

Today's planned adventure was visiting the Air and Space Museum. Our friends, the Blairs, went with us and Aunt Amy, Uncle JC, and Rowan met us there. 

This is the airplane I was asked if I'd seen. (You know who you are.)

This rocket is called The Discovery and it took it's finally flight in 2011. I remember coming to this museum about 9 years ago. The rocket here last time was a different one, but even though I was smaller then, it was still very, very big today. 

Rowan enjoying the view of the underside of The Discovery. 

It didn't fit in one picture! 

This airplane is actually a manned bomb. These were dropped off larger airplanes and the barely trained pilots had to steer them into the target. Basically they knew as soon as they left the main craft, they were dead. No parachutes, no landing gear, just explosions. 

We were able to go up into an observation tower and this was part of the view! 

Mom and the Blairs left a little early, and Aunt Amy and Uncle JC and Rowan left from there, but the rest of us went to Five Guys for lunch. This is my veggie sandwich…um…or they gave me the wrong thing… Actually I can't remember the last time I had a real hamburger.

Christian bought his own drink and naturally everyone wanted to have a sip very long drink. He was very gracious to allow us to slobber all over his straw take a few lot of sips each. 

We arrived home mid-afternoon and the kids were thrilled to play. Mom had laundry going and was visiting with her friend of 28 years. Things went on for a couple of hours. Some loud, some quiet, all fun. We joined the Blairs for the Saturday night service at their church. The message on how we relate to people and learning to love was incredible and, as always, was exactly what I needed to hear based even on things I thought of on the 10 minute drive to the church. 

Back at the house this giant bag of popcorn was prepared and a "split screen" movie night ensued, a.k.a. the kids watched a thingy in the basement and the teen girls and parents watched another thingy on the main level. The chosen features were "The Lego Movie" and "Kate and Leopold". I bet most everyone can guess who watched what. 

The Herd: Quoted

"I'm waiting for her to say 'if you're not going to follow my directions then why'd you ask for them?'" -Mom referring to Siri. 

"Let's pray. Everybody put everything down. Close your eyes. *pause* Hey! Close your eyes." -Gabe at lunch.

"What is up with everyone wanting my drink?" -Christian 
"Hey, sibling tax!" -Me

"What is it?" -Me
"Root Beer." -Chloe
"Aww man! I was going to tell her something gross so she wouldn't want any!" -Christian 

"Make sure you put your finger right here on your nose *demonstrating* it helps you think." -Mom to Gabe

"Well you can always write on my arm." -Chloe
*Loooooonnnnng pause* 
"Thank you." -Me
"But I also had a notebook in my bag." -Chloe

"Can I put that on the blog?" -Me
"NO." -Mom and Dad in perfect sync.

"And that is as close to science fiction as Lydia gets." -Dad 

Friday, May 29, 2015

DC: Tour Till You Drop!

Our day began at the crack of dawn, a.k.a. 5:00am. Our sweet friends got up with us to make us the best coffee ever (because it was their version of the Island Vintage Latte in an Island Vintage coffee mug). We left the house at 6:00am and drove to the area our tour started from. Traffic was not a problem and we had plenty of time to figure out parking, use the restroom, check in, and wait in line. 

 Union Station

The View from our open top, double decker, Grayline bus. 

The tour started at 8:00am. On the drive we were given the history of the surrounding buildings and monuments. First stop, the Capitol Building. 

The Capitol Building has been under restoration for a while, hence the presence of the scaffolding.

The sign says "In God We Trust" when you walk into the Capitol. The statue is a replica of the one on top of the dome and is called "Freedom." 

We found something Hawaii related! 

We were able to get a tour inside the Capitol Building. It started with a video. Something I found interesting was that during the Civil War the dome was still under construction. President Lincoln decided to complete it despite the war to show that he still believed there would be a Union. 

The inside of the dome under construction. 

The gray pictures at the top there are actually paintings and took 75 years to complete! 

These next pictures are from the Statuary Hall. All the states donated two statues to have on display in the Capitol building. The House of Representatives use to meet in that room, however, because of its shape (which I tried to capture) the echo made it easy to hear people across the room speaking, but impossible for those in the middle of the room to hear anything. 

Texas contributed a statue of Sam Houston. 

Underneath the center of this picture is where President George Washington was supposed to be buried…only he'd been dead for 30 years…and there were laws against him being relocated. 

We were to be back at the bus at 11:00am. The clock was striking the hour as we ran across the lawn to the vehicle. Right as it came into our view it started pulling away! Mom about jumped in front of it waving not to leave us. That's the first time I've ever had to run to catch a bus. Turns out, more than half the group was missing, late, or at the wrong meeting place. Our driver was thrilled not too excited about that.

Next stop: the White House! This was as close as we were allowed to get. 

At the White House Visitor's Center we got to read about many things related to the house over the years and see it's layout and such. Evidently, nail scissors are too sharp to be in the visitor's center, as Chloe's were almost immediately confiscated. Like she was going to search the depths of her bag and unearth them to take a stab somebody. They had a spot to write down what we'd do if we were president. Here are the things Christian and I came up with:

This is the Iwo Jima Memorial. It was one of my favorite things to see. Our guide told us it took 9.5 years to complete this bronze statue and it is the largest in the world. 

Arlington National Cemetery. 
We only drove by it, but the small portion we saw was huge and sobering. 

Entering: World War II Memorial. Another of my favorites as well as Mom and Dad's. So beautiful! 

Lincoln Memorial. 

From the steps. 

Inside. The statue is 19 feet tall and if he were standing it would reach 28 feet!

From the bottom of the steps. 

Gabe, ready to strike a pose as always. 

Vietnam Memorial. 

We stopped at several other memorials, but I don't have pictures for everything. Lunch also took place somewhere in there and we were always some of the first people back to the bus. No close calls for us again! We saw and learned about so many things and walked a lot. Currently, as I sit cross-legged on my bed, my ankles and shins are screaming at me for abusing them so badly today and asking why I hate them so much a bit sore. 

The tour ended at 5:00pm back at Union Station. Getting our truck was not difficult and we made it home safely. (I refer to wherever we are sleeping that night as "home" by the way.) Dinner was all ready for us when we walked in the door ready to sink to the nearest couch in exhaustion or better yet skip that and just hit the floor inside the door ready to rest and clean up from the warm afternoon spent in the sunshine! (I even got to work on my tan while out all day…which is currently in the most gorgeous shade of lobster you will ever see.) 

The rest of the day has been spent relaxing, although you'd be surprised at how much energy kids can still have when mixed with other kids they have not seen all day. I believe the chemical equation is "crazy with a pinch of monkey juice and giggle gas".  

It was a very fun, very long, very active, very educational day. I am sure everyone will sleep like a rock. 

The Herd: Quoted

"Oh. We are at a stop light. I was like 'why are we just sitting here?'" -Me

"These bus seats aren't very good for sleeping." -Dad
"What? You wanted to drive all the way up here, pay for a bus tour, and get on it only to take a nap?!' -Me

"Oh, I would have been so mad if we'd missed it." -Mom
"Spirit of aloha. It's all good. We made it. We're okay." -Dad 
"No, this is DC. We are not okay to miss our bus. We have to be early." -Mom