Tuesday, April 22, 2014

First Day - Washington D.C.

The first day was pretty successful, although we learned a few things:

1. When I ask if we should bring a backpack of water and snacks and someone says "nah", I shouldn't listen to them.

2. The semi-private driving tour was awesome!  But it was more getting out and walking than we thought it would be (hence I had not packed the backpack).

3. If you bring sunblock...you should probably USE it.  (To be fair, this was the first over 60 degree and sunny day we have had for a while!)

4. Although the Metro is pretty cool...the card system takes some getting used to.  (This could be because we hardly use the subway in Boston anymore--maybe we are just rusty!)

5. If your tour guide offers to give you suggestions on where to eat, make sure the kids are NOT in earshot so you don't end up at Fuddruckers (which was nice and all--but we have one close to where we live!)


So, it was a fun day and we saw lots of the memorials, etc.  We were originally going to go to the Air and Space Museum after the tour, but realized that everyone (especially Willow) was not going to be able to do that.  Luckily, we have a pretty flexible agenda--so, we will do Air & Space later this week.  (That was probably good because it was Easter Monday off for most of the schools around here so it probably was way more crowded than usual).  (Also why we did not go to near the White House--the Easter Egg event was today!)

We met a couple of nice people, too.  We met Meghan on the Metro.  Willow was a bit apprehensive to go on the subway, and Meghan was using it to go to an interview.  She struck up a conversation with us and was very pleasant and helpful...no wonder, she had been a nanny for three years!  Towards the end of the ride, Willow sat next to Meghan and they talked about such things and birthdays and dolls.  Eddie was our tour guide and he was very nice and funny.  While we were waiting for the other couple to join us, he told us about his three girls and how he had just taken them to the Lego movie at the drive-in.  He noted Michael's behavior through the tour and surprised us by saying that not only did he have a special needs kid too, but he used to work in special education...so, he totally got Michael.  And Willow--well, towards the end, Willow was jumping on Eddie's shadow and trying to play with him.  He was very knowledgeable about the history around him and knew right where and when for us to go.  He also found a small bag of items we had bought and will be mailing them to us.

We ended the day a little early and came back to the hotel.  Chewy found an ARBYS (!) and we had that for dinner.

Some photos from the first day:

First Stop: The Capitol










Next, the Lincoln Memorial:





The one picture I have of both of them at the Lincoln Monument...and they are not smiling!  They were impressed though!

Next, Arlington Cementary:







The Pentagon Memorial (very impressive):






The benches point away from the building if the victim was on the plane, towards the building if they were at the Pentagon.  They are spread out chronologically by the date of birth of each victim.  The victims ranged from age 3 years old to age 71.


Random Photos:

Eddie our Tour Guide at the FDR Memorial

FDR Memorial is in four "rooms" each telling a different part of his presidency.  This is a sculpture of a food line in the Depression.

This is a part talking about the paid work programs and the interesting thing about this is it is set up for the blind to be able to feel it and touch it, with Braille captions.


I love seeing bronze statutes that have been touched.

For kids, this is the popular statue!










At FuddRuckers for lunch after a long day of sight seeing!


On the Metro back to the hotel!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Laundry, Groceries, Packing, Oh My!

Getting ready for our trip to D.C.  Got a tentative agenda, a Grou@pn for a private tour for five hours the first day...tons of laundry, groceries to get, packing to do....and then a 7 hour road trip on Easter Sunday!

Meanwhile, regular life goes on.  Took Willow to Girl Scouts tonight, Michael got his report card (all A's and one B!!) this past Friday...the kids have Friday off.

Starting to just want to get on the road...and its only Tuesday night!

This vacation is going to be a bit more of an adventure than relaxing...but it will be fun!

BTW, the last time we went to Washington D.C.:




Yeah.  Time flies.  




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Saturday, April 05, 2014

Stories

I believe in the power of family stories.  That is a lot of why I write this blog, because I want to write the down the adventures and stories that happen before I forget them.  So that I can look back, so that my children can look back.

Tonight, I was putting Willow to bed. She wanted a story.  What she wanted was one of the imaginative stories her father tells her at bedtime.  He has characters and everything.  I am not good at making up stories like that.  And she knows this, so we have started a tradition that I tell her stories of my past.  I have told her the story of how her dad and I met.  Tonight, I told her about my Grammie and how she used to have a metal tin of peanuts that she would use to feed squirrels in her back yard. It was something that made me feel good--to relive something from my past, to make her live again.  To share and hope that some day my child will share that story with others.

--------------------------

Michael had to write an essay about a personal hero.  It is hard to see his work--he is protective of it and doesn't really let us look at his homework.  (I figure as long as he is getting good grades, its okay)  I did inquire, like I usually do, and he let me know it was going to be about his Grandpa Michael.  I let Chewy know it was going to be about his father.  A figure that Michael only knows about through stories that Chewy has told him...because he died before Michael was born.  Chewy was able to find the essay (I think the rough draft).  He writes some stories that about him and then explains the adversity in his Grandfathers life, how there were certain things he wanted to do, but was not able to do.  He concludes with:

"It taught me that there are always things there to stop you from getting to your goal (and you can't let them). It taught me that a real hero doesn't even have to be well known or recognized. A real hero is a someone who means something to you. They stand as a symbol for what is right and what you can do. Most of all my Grandfather's story is what encourages me to do the kind of things he dreamed of, to go the distance he went, and to leave a mark for the good of society where he couldn't. My Grandfather is my greatest hero. May he rest in peace."

I guess one never knows where those stories can lead.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Age(less)

She touches her hands.  She remarks on how different they are from her own.  The generous woman lets her touch her skin.  She says she is eighty-one years old.  (She doesn't look it...very spry)

I am reminded of other hands and other times when I was the young girl looking at the future.

Now I am the future-middle.  The woman asks her how old her mom is.  She remarks I am almost half her age.

As we drive home I think how the year is moving toward spring.  How April is such an important month for me (for her).  How time works its way through the trees we drive past...the snow still on the ground, chill still in the air.

Age and time.  My daughter and my mother.  And this woman who generously spent time with my daughter today and taught me an important lesson in time.


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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Gilligan's Island vs. Frozen; Universal Monsters vs Riff Trax

Both kids have been obsessed lately with the above mentioned subjects.  Living vicariously through your kids can mean you have the nostalgia factor going for Gilligan's Island and the Universal Monsters.

Yesterday, Willow woke up sick.  I stayed home with my little sickie girl.  She was so listless and feeling awful...only Gilligan's Island would make her feel better.  We watched every single one on our DVR (that is eight of them...not all at once!)  I have a greater appreciation for this show as an adult...which surprised me actually.

When she felt a little better in the evening...it was the (almost) daily viewing of Frozen.  She loves this movie...she loves singing the songs and she is transfixed each time.  We snuggled up (me hoping not to get what virus she has) and watched it yet again.

Michael came home from school...and the atmosphere changed.  To Frankenstein's House!  It was time to watch Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney, Jr.  and I was brought back to my teenage years again.  I loved watching this with Michael!

And then there is Riff Trax.  Almost every day, Michael ends his evening with a Riff Trax short.  It is sometimes annoying how much he wants to watch them.  But most times--it is like a nice end to the day.


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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Coming up for Air

The last couple of weeks have flown by.  Work has been hectic and busy and stressful.  Life has been chaotic.  It has been COLD.

Lately, Willow has been having trouble sleeping.  Well, mainly getting to sleep.  She gets anxious and she worries about things.  Now, sometimes they are the typical almost six year old things--you know, monsters under the bed, it being to dark in her room, needing to have a glass of water.

Other times...her serious side smacks me across the head.  She has asked about death and dying.  She has worried about going on a boat tour and sinking (when we don't have any such adventure planned at all).  Last night she was worried that when she goes away to college, she won't be able to find her way back home.  Most of the time these worries turn out into interesting discussions.  Last night we talked about what she wants to be when she grows up (a teacher).  Luckily, we seem to have a handle on this and I am sure that as time goes on she will get back to being able to go to sleep without the anxiousness.  But that seriousness...it is nice to see this side of her, this thoughtful side.

Michael seems to be getting the hang of teenager-ness.  He is also being less prickly.  He has been spending more time interacting with Willow like he used to.  Last year, he was kinda hands off with everyone.  Now, he is spending time with her on his own and helping her with her homework.  He is starting to get back into being that big brother that he usually has been.

I miss not being with them as much during the work week...and weekend time is short.  Let's be honest...my kids are growing up!  (and I cannot wait for April vacation!)



Friday, February 28, 2014

Accomplishments

How they happen so quickly, and how we acknowledge at the time...and yet...no honorific, no plaque...not even a Facebook status....

So, here, on my blog I put them...so that are not totally lost.

  • Willow has stopped sucking her thumb (well, she may do it at night, but that is a comfort thing, not sure if that can be stopped).  She did it without pressure from me.  She did it on her own.  She knew it was important to stop, we had talked to her.  And then she just stopped. 
  • Willow also plunged herself into the water this past weekend--her head all the way down, holding her breath!  She did it two times and was very proud of herself!  She cannot wait to take more swimming lessons.
  • Michael has been babysitting Willow with skill and perception.  It was nice to be able to celebrate Valentine's Day with a night out, realizing that Willow would be in capable hands.