Tuesday, November 9, 2010

National Museum of American History

We really enjoyed the National Museum of American History. One of my favorite exhibits was about Lincoln. Here is Lincoln's hat! Here's what the sign said: At six feet four inches tall, Lincoln towered over most of his contemporaries. He chose to stand out even more by wearing high top hats. He acquired this hat from J.Y. Davis, a Washington hat maker. Lincoln had the black silk mourning band added in rememberance of his son Willie. The last time he wore this top hat was to go to Ford's Theatre on April 14, 1865.

 Here's Alex's hand next to a cast of Lincoln's hand.

 Alex's online history class studied quite a bit about the conspiracy theory in the murder of Abraham Lincoln. These are the masks worn by the 8 people who were executed for Lincoln's murder.

 The original Teddy Bear which got its name from Theodore Roosevelt!

 Kermit the Frog!

The museum has some 'living' times were actors/actresses appear as people from history. This young lady was teaching us about the Greensboro Four Sit In. We, the audience, were new to the passive resistance movement and learning how to act and about what we might expect. It was an amazing lesson! We even learned a song that we could use at a sit-in or other protests.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Washington Monument

Part of our trip included research (sent by the Carolina Homeschool group leader, Dianna) on some of the monuments and memorials we would be seeing. This really helped make our visit special! So, I'm adding some of what we learned beside our photos.
The Washington Monument was designed by Robert Mills. His original plan called for a "large structure, built of columns and housing a number of statues, with a 600-foot obelisk rising from the center." They basically ended up building the obelisk.

Construction was started in 1848 and completed in 1884.

 Construction was suspended for about 18 years because the money 'ran out' and the Civil War.

 The walls are composed of marble and the color changes about one third of the way up. When construction resumed after the Civil War, the marble that they were able to get was a slightly different color.

The monument is 555 feet 5 1/8 inches tall. It is estimated to weigh 90,000 tons.

Along the stairs (which are no longer open to the public) you can view memorial stones contributed by various states, civic groups, private organizations, and others. On the way down the monument, the elevator slows at several places to allow a brief view of some of these amazing memorials. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

DC - The Newseum

The Newseum was an AMAZING museum! We only spent about 4 hours there and I would have gladly went back for another day. It is kind of expensive, but it was one of our favorite stops.

The 1st Amendment is engraved onto the outside of the building. The museum is about news and how news is reported so the 1st Amendment is very important. (I'm thinking about having Alex memorize this!)

Around the outside of the building our front pages from each of the 50 states. We were excited that our very own Houston Chronicle was being featured for Texas! And, the main article was about the air show. The Newseum receives front pages from around the WORLD every day! And, you can access these pages online! Today they received 819 front pages from 78 countries! You can also choose to look at just the top 10. I enjoyed today's political comic front page from "Philadelphia Daily News."

One of the main exhibitions was about Hurricane Katrina. Alex really enjoyed this, too, because she lived through it! No, I don't mean through the hurricane, but most 'history' happened before she was born! And, we live in Houston where so many of the survivors/victims of the hurricane were transported. She remembers this event and took her time looking through this exhibit.

This was a sign explaining the markings that were left on the houses. They even had some of the boards off of the houses that were actually marked.

The Newseum has an amazing view of the capitol building. The street in the picture is Pennsylvania Avenue. Some of the networks use this area to film things happening on Pennsylvania Ave.

There are 15 theaters at the Newseum. Most of the films are between 5-15 minutes. We only watched two entire films - this one called "The Power of the Image." It was amazing! And we watched another movie about September 11th.
The September 11th exhibit mainly consisted of the film, this piece of one of the towers (I think I read it was an antenna, but I could be wrong), and a giant wall filled with front page articles about 9/11.

Another area was all about the 1st amendment. It talks about the 5 freedoms of this amendment: assembly, speech, petition, religion and the press. Alex and I enjoyed a computer game which tested your knowledge of the 1st amendment.

The museum also has one of the guard towers from the Berlin Wall. It is 3 stories tall and stood near Checkpoint Charlie. There are also 8 pieces of the Berlin Wall - the largest collection in the U.S. (I believe I actually read it was the largest collection outside of Germany, but I might not be remembering correctly.)

There was also an Elvis exhibition that was really neat. Alex and I watched part of a movie on a huge screen and looked that the exhibit. Neither of us is that interested in Elvis, but it was still fascinating. And, another exhibit I missed that I wanted to see was the Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery. So, I think I'll be asking for this book for Christmas!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Spy in the City & International Spy Museum - D.C.

On Day 2, Dianna (the lady who put the homeschool travel group together) showed us how to use the Metro system and we were on our own! Our first stop was the International Spy Museum to do the "Spy in the City" tour.
 Here's Alex as we get ready to enter the museum.

 And, Alex with her GPS machine. The "Spy in the City" tour takes you around parts of DC. We took the 1.5 hour tour (there is also a 1 hour tour). We probably walked 1.5 to 2 miles. The GPS system gives you clues about where to go next. 
One of our clues led us to Ford's Theater. Our plans included a tour of the Ford's Theater later in the week, but that ended up being the day that Alex was just too tired and needed to sleep in. So, we never got to go inside. I'm glad we stopped by on this day, though.

Another clue led us to the National Archives. There are so many beautiful buildings like this! And, yes, later we will go inside the National Archives building. As far as the tour, it helped orient us to this part of DC. However, it was a lot of walking and I am guessing we walked about 5 miles per day while in DC! So, this was quite a lot of additional walking. Everywhere you go in DC, though, involves a lot of walking! 

Here's another view of the National Archives building.I know the basics, like what type of columns these are - Corinthian, but I'd like to do a study of architecture with Alex. I learned this while taking Latin in high school, but I'd love a refresher course. So, if you have any ideas, please let me know!

DC Zoo with Martin Zoo

One of the most exciting things about our DC trip was meeting my wonderful blogging friend, Robin, and her son, Cade, from MartinZoo! We arrived in DC a little after noon and Robin picked us up in her car to head to the zoo!  

Alex took a photo of us. We had a great time! We've known each other for about 4.5 years online, but had never met in person. We felt like 'old' friends! The weather was rainy and cool, but the rain finally stopped and we enjoyed seeing the animals... and chatting!

Cade and Alex got along well. Here they are playing a game at the zoo.

And, here they are watching one of the two pandas. Alex and I have decided we want to see all of the pandas in the U.S. They are only at 4 zoos and we've seen 2 of them now!

After the zoo, we drove back to the hotel and had dinner at Chilis. We got to spend some of the evening together before Robin and Cade had to drive home. We hope to visit them again sometime!

Home from DC & Continued Prayers, Please!

We made it back from DC yesterday afternoon. We had a wonderful trip,  but are both tired! (And, a little sick... we either have colds or possibly just allergies.)
I plan on starting to blog about our trip this evening. In the meantime, we have co-op today. I had blogged about my daughters friends, two sisters, whose mom was dying. She passed away on Friday morning. I haven't got all the details, but I heard she was responsive on Thursday (she had been in a coma) and was able to respond by blinking. But, now she is in heaven and is out of pain forever! Praise God! But, she has left behind her husband and her two daughters, Maddie (12) and Kate (8). Also, lots of other family members and friends!

Please pray for the girls as they return to co-op today. Their dear friend (a mom) told me that they need to just get out and do things at this time. Pray for all of us as we come in contact with these little girls that we will do and say the right things... that the girls will feel God's love... that we will hold ourselves together and be there for them.

Specifically for my family, I also ask for prayers that I won't cry when inappropriate- especially as I try to teach Maddie, Alex, & classmataes on Thursday - and that Alex will feel secure as she comes to grasp that sometimes mommies do die!

Thank you all for your prayers!!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Next Trip...DC (Wanna Come?)

I have official signed up for our next trip. A trip to DC in late October! We are traveling with a homeschool group called Carolina Homeschooler. The trip is reasonable priced - we paid $800 for the 2 of us. A family of 4 costs about $1,000 plus airfare. Most of your expenses are included. From the site: The cost of the trip includes your registration fee; hotel for four nights; a buffet breakfast on Friday through Monday; lunch on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; and all site admissions. It also includes Metro transportation while we're there. All other meals, a $12 per night hotel parking fee if you drive to DC, and anything you do on your own will be extra. Our flights will only be $208 each! So, this is a really reasonable trip! (Oh, and if you are a small family like Alex & I, you can share a room and save even more.)

photo from wikipedia

So, the trip is from October 21st-25th... and there are still places available! I hesitated 'advertising' this as I haven't been on a trip with this group, but I've emailed several moms who have and it sounds like a great way to travel. So, if you are interested, hop over to the site and check it out. There are 16 seats left and the deadline to register is September 4th. If you do sign up, please let me know!!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Albuquerque Day 3: Museums, Old Town, and Cake!

I am going to try to finish blogging about our trip to New Mexico! It really was a wonderful trip.

On Day 3, we started by going to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. One of their temporary exhibits was on nature journals. I really enjoyed looking at these and would like to start working on mine more often.

Our favorite room had reptiles, amphibians, and fish in it. We spent most of our time here. In this sandbox, Alex & her cousin, Hunter, are making animal tracks.We actually didn't care much for the rest of the museum and went through it really quickly. It was primarily about evolution and space travel.

After lunch, we went to Old Town Albuequerque. We went through the small, but interesting, American International Rattlesnake Museum. We were proud of Nana for joining us - and she actually liked it! 

There are artists who set up to sale along the street. We were told that they get their assigned spot and time in a weekly lottery. There is a lot of jewelry and pottery are for sale, but we didn't buy anything.

This is the San Felipe de Neri Parish, the oldest Catholic parish in New Mexico. It was built in 1793 and is still used for services today. We saw nuns and monks both in the church and walking around Old Town. 

That night, one of my husband's cousins met us at the house for his 30th birthday. We made cupcakes and here is a photo of Hunter (who turned 2 in May) enjoying his dessert! He really enjoyed blowing out the candles and singing Happy Birthday, too.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Albuquerque Day 2 - Explora Museum

On Day 2, we went to an amazing children's museum - Explora. As we were pulling up, I saw this road runner! My first! And, he had a lizard in his mouth! I pulled over quickly and grabbed my camera. Unfortuantely, he was running away so this is the quality of my photo. But, I was thrilled to see this road runner! 

This was my nephew's (Hunter) favorite part of the museum. It was a water feature where you could press and release buttons and make the water shoot out in different ways. We spent a lot of time here, and we all enjoyed it.

Here Alex is creating a stop-action movie! I love how it was set up to make this really easy.

This shows heat. They had an ice bag and we rubbed it on our hands and they turned black. Fun!

This is the largest elevator we've ever seen. It had several chairs, a couch and a table. In fact, we weren't even sure it was really an elevator, but it was!

Hunter LOVED playing with the water. There was a whole area of the museum devoted to water and he loved it.

Here's Alex in the "wind" area building a car. Then, you put the car in front of a fan and see how far and fast it will go. Her car was a lot better than mine!

That night, I went jogging in the park a few blocks from our house while Nana, Alex, and Hunter went for a walk. Alex shot this photo. I am in the white shirt and gray shorts near the left corner. Isn't this a beautiful place? And, as I mentioned, I'm really getting into exercise right now. This week I ran 3 times, swam 2 times, worked out with weights 4 times, did 1 exercise video, and more! I've now lost 5 pounds and I'm feeling great!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Albuquerque Day 1 - the house, biking, and prairie dogs

First of all, it is just hard to blog this summer so sorry for not doing much! Also, I have been working out a LOT and keeping a blog at SparkPeople about my exercise, diet, etc. So, that has taken over most of my computer time lately.

While in New Mexico, we spent the week at a house my sister-in-law was renting while she taught there. She bought a fairly big, blow up pool to use. The first day we were there, Alex, her cousin Hunter, and my sil went 'swimming.' The pool was in the shade and since it gets pretty cool in NW at night, the water was cold! But, they had fun.
There was an apricot tree in the backyard. They looked ripe, but were very hard. Too bad!

Alex and her Nana made dinner that night.

That evening, my sil taught me how to ride a bike... as a grown up. This is not the same as the 5 speed I rode as a teen. And, I've only been on a bike once in the past 20+ years! We went riding 4 miles this day. The scenery was beautiful - we were at the base of a mountain and we were overlooking Albuquerque with some extinct volcanos in the distance. We rode at sunset and I wish I would have had a camera with me on the ride!
While we were riding, Alex and her cousin and Nana fed the prairie dogs! They were so cute! Alex actually had them eating out of her hand, though I didn't catch it on 'film.' They were full, I guess, by the time we got back.
There were quite a few babies and we watched this mom nursing 2 babies! I thought it was pretty funny when she had a piece of our food, though. She was eating it and the babies were trying to get it and she'd just push them away with one hand while eating with the other!

My mil had done some research that said fruit was what we should feed them. This was my best photo and he/she has some kind of fruit. Aren't they cute?

And, here is a photo of one of the mountains. Oh, how I miss New Mexico!