Check out my new blog

July 2nd, 2010

10000things

I’ve started a new blog.  www.10000thingsthatmakemehappy.blogspot.com.  The name may be long, but the entries are short.  Each one is just a little something that makes me smile.  Check it out!

Gettysburg

June 4th, 2010

My favorite day of our trip was Wednesday, the 26th.  That is our actual anniversary.  After a couple of quick mission errands in the morning, Richard and Carol were free to spend the day with us.  One of the errands took us right into Baltimore.   While there we went to Ft. McHenry.  We saw a film that told of the events leading up to the British withdrawal in the war of 1812 and of the morning when Francis Scott Key looked out to see the flag still flying over the fort, inspiring our national anthem.  When the movie was over, a curtain was drawn and out the window was the fort with the flag waving proudly.  Over the speakers was a military chorus singing The Star Spangled Banner.

Ft. McHenry

You can see that the flag flown over the fort today is a replica of the one that flew then, with 15 stars and 15 stripes.

From there we went to Gettysburg.  When I was in Middle School, I really enjoyed learning about the Civil War.  I remember memorizing pages worth of trivia of people, places and events related to the war.  Sadly, I don’t remember much of that information now, but the Civil War has always intrigued me.  Yet somehow, I always pictured Gettysburg as just a big battlefield.  As in one large field.  I was surprised when I realized how wrong I was.  In the three days of fighting there, the action moved over quite a lot of ground.  Richard and Carol have a CD-tour that takes you all over Gettysburg explaining each day of fighting and what happened where.  I think the CD’s take about 90 minutes to listen to as you drive and stop at the various locations.  We ended up taking closer to 4 hours because we stopped and looked around so much.  It was amazing.  It was sobering.  Can you imagine being a mother during that time?  Another thing that surprised me is the number of monuments.  Usually, you have a significant event that takes place and someone builds a monument.  But in Gettysburg there are literally hundreds of monuments.  There were so many significant events, battalions, people, etc. that there are monuments all over Gettysburg to pay tribute to them.  I took a lot of pictures at Gettysburg.  Here are my favorites:

overlooking battlefield from first day of fighting

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part of lee's regimen

fallen soldier

Valley of Death

valley of death

monument

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After spending the entire late afternoon/evening in Pennsylvania, we tried to find a place to eat before returning to Maryland.  In the end, we decided to get on the road and we’d surely find a place on the way.  After one place or another was either closed or not exactly what we were looking for, we somehow ended up at Arby’s for a late anniversary dinner.  I’m sure it was the company more than the food, but we all left surprisingly satisfied.  It was a great day.

Maryland and DC

June 2nd, 2010

Last week, Jeff and I did something we’ve never done before. We dropped the kids off with friends and drove out to Maryland to see his parents for a few days. It was our 15th Anniversary on Wednesday and their Anniversary on Thursday.  They have been serving in the Maryland Baltimore mission since last Spring and we finally made it out to see them. Part of the fun was surprising Jeff’s Mom. She had no idea we were coming. After the 11.5 hour drive, we took it easy the evening of our arrival. But the next day Jeff and I took the MARC train into DC and went to everything we could manage in a day. Here are a few highlights (mouse over the pictures for location):
Capitol Building

A beautiful building, for sure.  I was not as impressed by the huge luxury vehicles various politicians were getting out of and their self-important air.  Nor was I impressed by the Presidential motorcade we saw three times, stopping traffic with the multiple police escorts and more large vehicles surrounding their 2 or 3 limousines.  Give me a break!

Lincoln Memorial

We got to DC pretty early, before most museums were open, so we walked from the train all the way down to the Lincoln Memorial.  It was a beautiful, cool morning.  That afternoon when it warmed up, we were glad we’d made the long trek early on.  It was worth it.

Vietnam Memorial & Washington Monument

We didn’t go up into the Washington Monument, but enjoyed the various war memorials in the area surrounding it.

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Night at the Museum, anyone?  We also visited the American History museum, but somehow didn’t end up with any pictures worth posting.  My favorite exhibit there was the actual flag that flew over Ft. McHenry that inspired The Star Spangled Banner.

Real bird in a fake tree

This was in a sculpture garden.  The bird doesn’t seem to mind at all that the tree is made of metal.

National Archives

We saw the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence.  The constitution is huge.  I guess I never realized it was written on such big paper!  And the men had such beautiful handwriting!!  The document is in surprisingly good condition.  Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the others.  They are so faded that the names are completely unreadable.

Monet (museum of art)

At the museum of art, we saw several Picasso’s, Monet’s (like this one), Renoir’s, Van Gogh’s, etc.  Many of the pieces were so beautiful.  Others resembled things my kids have brought home from elementary school art class.  What do I know!?

After a long day in the city, we walked back to the train.  We were lucky enough to catch an express and I was even luckier to be sitting next to a man who, in telling me about his son, said, “He’s about your age, 25? 26?”  I laughed and told him I’m 39.  He leaned over later in the ride and said, “You’re not really 39 are you?”  Considering the fact that I felt more like I was 60 after walking all day in flip flops (don’t ask), I was happy to have found a new best friend.  Ha!!

Overall, it was a great day.  We slept great that night, air mattress and all.  More to come.

6,477,923

May 19th, 2010

blue eyesThat’s how many words Spencer read this year.  In fact, he read the most of anyone in the school district and was recognized at the board meeting tonight.  Our schools participate in the Reading Counts program and Spencer had 1,430 points!!  If you want to get technical, he actually had 1,443 points (and a few more words) but he selected the wrong author on one test and inadvertently took the test for a retelling of Treasure Island worth 4 points instead of the original book which was worth 17.  In all, he read 75 books, and these are books like the Harry Potter series, the Redwall books, Fablehaven, and the Chronicles of Narnia, to name a few.  Not exactly quick reads!

Fifth grade wasn’t very challenging so Spencer would usually come home from school homework free and climb into his “comfy place” on the couch.  Some days he’d read for hours, always tuning out the world around him.  He definitely inherited his Grandpa’s love of reading.  Way to go, Spencer!

I’m sure Spencer would be up for some recommendations since he’s read everything in our house (at least once) and then some.  Reading is obviously his favorite pastime and we’ve got the whole Summer ahead of us…

Say What?

May 7th, 2010

blue eyesLast Sunday Sam volunteered to say the dinner prayer.  Savannah mentioned that Sam had said a lot of prayers already at church and that he was sure to have a pretty wife!  According to one of Savannah’s friends, each time you say a prayer it means your future spouse will be that much better looking.

Listening in, Sterling didn’t miss a beat before saying,

“Wow.  My future wife sure must be saying a lot of prayers.”

What a funny (and handsome) guy.

Dancing in Circles

April 3rd, 2010

I heard this song in the car the other day.  It’s a good one!  I love the message.

Happy Easter

March 29th, 2010

mybutthurts_fullpic_1

What are those things for?

February 23rd, 2010

Imagine here the photo of a bra.  Not surprisingly, I was unsuccessful in my attempt to find a picture of a bra, alone, without the sexy model.  This post is about bras only, not the busty women wearing them.  That said, I guess I could have taken a picture of my own bra, but thought better of it.  Besides, it’s probably too small to show up on film.

Onto the point of this post…

Miss Sadie innocently posed the following question:  Mom, what are those things for that people wear on these things (pointing to her chest)?

Me:  Oh, you mean a bra?

Sadie:  Yes.

Me:   Well, some girls have really big… um… things and need a bra so that their back doesn’t hurt.

Sadie:  Oh.  Then why does Savannah wear one?

In order to save Savannah any embarrasment, I won’t post my answer to that question.  But really it was the next question that got me.

Sadie:  Then why do you wear one?

What do I say to that?  Let’s see, how about:

  • “peer pressure!”  or
  • “to make my…um…things look bigger because obviously I need all the help I can get.”   or
  • as my mother-in-law once so eloquently said, ” ‘Once you hit 40, you just roll ‘em up and tuck ‘em in.’  And you have to have a place to tuck ‘em into.”

But I thought better of it so I just said,

“I don’t know, honey.”  (But thanks for asking!)

Say What?

February 11th, 2010

Sadie: “Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Who is the hairiest of them all?  Daddy!”

Tissues are so overrated

February 11th, 2010

sadie-nose