Thursday, October 5, 2017

More DC Sightseeing Pics

First stop: National Cathedral

Evensong Service

Miles took this picture -- wants us
to see where the Washington Monument is

Some planned added graffiti on the
War World II Memorial:  Kilroy was here

Miles has a dream

Their favorite monument


This frieze shows all kinds of stories throughout U.S. History,
but the stories about how it got painted (and mistakes) are the more
interesting part, IMO.

Learning about how things fly in the Smithsonian

Wright Brothers' plane

Miles almost falling off the Jefferson Memorial
Miles almost falling off the Lincoln Memorial

Gaining wisdom from MLKJr
Hoping this sinks in...
Maybe it was sinking in already:
when one brother was whining, the other carried him

Time to head home...
Final stop: The National Archives to see
the original documents

15 Random Lessons Learned on our DC trip

 Pete was invited to D.C. for a few days to do some Fulbright reviewing work, and since the boys are learning about American history this year, we jumped at the chance to tag along on the trip! The girls stayed back with Nonna and Poppa and Strider stayed with the Rentsches, so we were a light family of four on this little adventure.

Even though it was just a quick little trip -- less than 2 full days -- we made the most of it and learned a LOT. The boys and I visited, in order, the National Cathedral, the White House, the Washington Monument, the War World II Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol, the Air and Space Museum, the Jefferson Memorial, the FDR Memorial, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and the National Archives.  (Pete joined us for the last several places after his meetings were done.)

Here are 15 random things I learned on this trip:

1. The Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution were all written on much larger pieces of paper/parchment than I expected.  It was like they wrote on poster board!

2. The Vietnam War Memorial was actually designed by a college student -- who received a B- on the project for her class.  But the thought she put into it and the reasoning behind certain things are pretty impressive.

3. Martin Luther King Jr. was very wise and said many thought-provoking and profound things.

4. The Capitol rotunda/dome is so tall that the Statue of Liberty (without the base) could stand inside it.

5. When one of the boys tried to relay the above fact to Pete later, he called the statue, "Mother Liberty or whatever it's called."  It sounds like our next trip needs to be to NYC.

6. Taking tours is the way to go.  We learned so much from our tour guides -- both of which were free.  DC By Foot was a great company (you can pay at the end whatever you think it was worth).

7. A lot of the buildings and monuments were only partially done for awhile, or had big errors in them at some point.  Government  .

8. The White House is only white because after it was burned down by the British the tan sandstone walls showed so much burn marks that they decided to just paint it white.

9. An amazing place to eat right on the national mall is in the Department of Agriculture building!  Their employee cafeteria is open to the public and serves fantastic, healthy, fresh food!  And the prices are incredibly low!  This was a HUGE find.

10. Potbelly restaurants are also awesome (but not to be found on the national mall).

11. When traveling with 3 people it's cheaper to Metro.  When traveling with 4 it's cheaper to Uber.  (We did plenty of both)

12. Even in a city as exciting as Washington D.C., the kids are still going to think the escalators are the most fun attraction.

13. Since this was a work trip, Pete was able to take Wingate's car.  It turns out that kids in the back seat of a normal car sound much closer and louder than they do in a minivan.

14. Kids who have recently discovered their ability to rap will try to practice that incessantly.

15. Based on the above 2 items, it is important to bring ibuprofen on a trip, as both adults will need it.

We were very thankful for this opportunity -- for a hotel right near the White House and for perfect weather!


Wingate University's Family Weekend happened recently and our family decided to attend the event featuring a juggler named Ivan Pecel.  It ended up being a very lively evening!  Mr. Pecel was quite funny -- and talented -- and when it came time for him to get a kid volunteer from the audience, he chose Colsen!


As it turned out, Colsen's role was to be one of the juggled objects!  At first Mr. Pecel said he would juggle him as the third object -- the first two being an axe and a bowling ball.  Then he insisted that he would start off by balancing Colsen on his forehead, then flip him over behind him, kick him back up over his head, and keep juggling.  Colsen wasn't that gullible though.


But he certainly was juggled!  There's a first time for everything.

Behind the Scenes: Chinese Lantern Festival

We were hoping to go to the Chinese Lantern Festival at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens sometime this month, but when I looked up the ticket prices, and then considered the traffic trying to get out there during rush hour.... I reconsidered.  While I was on the web site, though, I saw they had a Homeschool Day scheduled that would be MUCH less expensive. Even though it would be during the day so we wouldn't get to see everything lit up, we decided to try and see if it would be good -- and it was!
 We invited my parents to join us... Mom couldn't come but Dad did.  We had a great day touring all the amazing creations and enjoying the flora as well.

Well, maybe not EVERY moment was great

This was made all from porcelain dishes!

Our guides told us that the designers of the exhibit came over to North Carolina to scope out the gardens and imagine what would work well.  Then they went back to China and created all of the lanterns and sculptures.  When they were ready, they were shipped over to America over a period of 50-something days (if I remember correctly) and then assembled by several technicians in the gardens.  Finally, they were painted on-site.

Pretty impressive!

The orchid building was cool, too.  Well, actually it was pretty steamy.

The homeschool program also included some information about a few different Asian cultures.  Besides China, the kids also learned about India, and -- BIG HIT -- got to apply some temporary Henna tattoos!

We topped it all off with a nice picnic lunch with Dad and then started the trek home.

Good field trip!