Shabby blogs

Saturday, April 26, 2008

DC at night

I think my favorite activity of the Alexandria part of the trip was the visit to DC at night. We all had dinner at Mike and Kendra's house and then the two of them drove us downtown to go see the monuments at night. In all the years that I lived in the DC area, this is one thing that we had never done. It was beautiful with them all lit up. We went to the Lincoln Monument, the Korean War Memorial (awesome), and the Vietnam Memorial. We also drove by the WWII Memorial, the White House, the Washington Monument, and The Jefferson Memorial. Surprisingly, we were not even close to the only people there. Night monument viewing must be a popular DC pastime.
I was really glad to see the Vietnam Memorial especially. We looked up a family friend, Harley Hall who flew with my father and was shot down just a couple of hours before the armistice was signed to end the war. They never found him. He was MIA for years and my father happened to be on the board that pronounced him dead. My dad just couldn't do it and so declined his part in that action. When we got back my Dad filled me in on some details on Capt. Hall. There was a place (I cannot remember the name of it now) that they all used to make drops - at night they'd make three runs. One night, my Dad was flying and by the grace of God he turned the plane sideways just for fun. At the same time, shots blew up next to the left side of the plane. Had he not made his turn, he wouldv'e been hit. Just three weeks later, Capt. Hall was hit in the same location. They recovered his co-pilot, but never saw Capt. Hall again. He had previously told my dad that he'd never let them take him alive. We'll never know if he was captured or if he was killed on his descent. It was nice seeing his name in the book. His kids were my friends growing up.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Washington, D.C.

Kendra and the cousins met the kids, my mom, and I down in DC at the Mall (not sure why exaclty they call that the mall when there is no shopping - not even a Starbucks) to visit the Smithsonians (see photos here). We all rode the Metro in - such a fun experience - and visited some of the museums. First was the Museum of Natural History. I have been telling my kids for a long time about the huge, blue whale that they have in there and they were all so excited to see it. We get there and the ocean exhibit is closed - nice. We did see the Dinosaurs (awesome) and the things that crawled up on the Earth 40 billion years ago (yeah, right!) and the Hope Diamond. For any of you that have not seen the Hope Diamond, it is a great sight to behold, but it is a bit of a disappointment. I remember as a kid, knowing that the Hope Diamond is the largest blue diamond in the world, thinking that it would be this enormous rock. However, it is not. It IS a completely flawless rock and I guess saying that it is small is kind of nonsense, because if it was MY small diamond, I would not complain.
Our next stop was the National Gallery of Art which was a treat for Josiah and I. Everyone else stopped having fun after the first hour. My favorites were the Monets, especially one that I had never seen before. There were Mary Cassats and even a Van Gogh that I had never seen either. Unfortunately the British and American exhibits were closed. We were hoping to see some Western art.
Kendra and the cousins went home and my mom stuck it out with the rest of us to see the National Archives. We had to stand in live for quite a while, but it was worth every second. WOW! To actually see the Declaration of Independance and the Constitution and Bill of Rights was amazing. The Declaration is so faded that you cannot even read it any longer. It is encased in many inches of bullet proof glass. I asked the armed guards (yep, 2 of them) there if they really secure it just like in National Treasure. He assured me that they did indeed keep it just as in the movie until recently. Now, however, it does not descend three stories and then go into a vault. It is still vaulted with teh same way (surrounded by steel), but doesn't travel into the dark recesses of the building any longer. There was also a copy (one of only 4) of the Magna Carta on loan from England. In addition, there are two enormous and beautiful paintings of the document signers on the walls of the rotunda with a key to help you identify them all. We all loved looking them up. If you follow the link I inserted here, you can view them interactively.

We were planning on returning the next day to do the Air and Space Museum and another art gallery, but we were so pooped, that we decided to stay home. On another trip, when the youngest kids are a little older, we will take a few days to go and see all the DC sights.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Let the Wild Rumpus Begin

We were met here on day 2 by my sister-in-law and the niece and nephews....they are so cute. Wes was 2 and Silas was just months old when we last saw the Riggs (I still am not used to THEM being the Riggs and not me....when they say "Riggs' kids come here" I always look at my kids and wonder why they stand there not coming!). There has been the addition of sweet baby Asher since then. The cousins are having a great time. They all goofed around and then my brother showed up for dinner was quite a crowd and I am not sure my parents knew what hit them - well, they knew WHAT it was, but I think that it was a little shocking. :) The favorite activity was sliding down the stairs - any which way. It was the in-house super slide. They went head first, feet first, backwards, sideways (Silas), and Wesley decided to jump all the way down - bad idea. Micah had so many rug burns that she looked tortured - one was even a big, nasty scab a few days later. We put a stop to the VERY LOUD sliding down the stairs game.
See photos of some of our trip while we were in Alexandria here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Traveling Life for Me

We are Washington D.C. The kids and I flew across the country on Tuesday. Josiah, Elisha, and Isaiah have flown before when we came out for my brother's wedding, but they remember little. Josiah was around 2 yrs. 9mo. old and actually does remember that he had lunch on the plane. That was his best memory - he liked the little snack boxes that they gave (these days you are lucky if you get a pack of pretzels). He remembers that he had yogurt and a banana and that he didn't eat anything else in there. Elisha was 22 months and remembered that they had little tables (the little pull down trays).....and presents. I gave the kids each a backpack last time with little, tiny wrapped gifts so that they had something fun to do. They got to unwrap a little thing every hour. Nothing big - things like a sucker, a little tiny baby doll, crayons and a note pad. It made things go more quickly for them (and me!). Isaiah was 6 months old and, of course, remembers nothing - he didn't get a backpack!

This trip was fun for them; they were great and loved flying. They took turns sitting in the coveted window seat and got many compliments on their very good behavior. The flight attendants on both flights made a point to come over and tell me how well behaved and polite they were. One came over and told me that all the flight attendants were so impressed and talking about it and wanted to know my secret. I was so dumbfounded that I missed a great opportunity to tell them that God gives grace for every day. Not that I expected them to misbehave, but I guess I didn't realize it was that out of the ordinary behavior. Even the passengers around us commented to me as they got off the plane. I am sure that it was a relief for them. When they got to their seats and saw my entire "basketball team" sitting there, they probably thought "oh, great!! I get the daycare area!" and were expecting a long and miserable day.

We started off our very LONG day by driving to Spokane, WA. Flights out of our little Kalispell airport are about $250 more per person than they are out of Spokane. Brad drove us all over (4 1/2 hours over) and we left him at security which was NO fun. Dad is way more fun than mom and would have made the day much more exciting. We were awaiting our first plane, wondering why the plane wasn't there yet and why the airline staff wasn't at the gate when we were supposed to be boarding. It was then that we realized there is a time difference between MT and WA....we were an EXTRA hour early. We arrived at the airport just before noon and our flight left at 2:19. Well, we THOUGHT we arrived at 12. It was really 11. So....we had a long wait. We found a corner and I read aloud (trying to finish Cyrus the Persian) and then we finally got to board.

We stopped in Denver and played on the moving sidewalks for a while (nice time waster) then got some pretzels - the big, soft kind that they dip in butter and then roll in cinnamon sugar - wow. I got a coffee at Seattle's Best (thinking of you, Peggy Sue) which I desperately needed and which the indifferent girl at the counter, with no customer service skills, severely messed up (no extra shot, AND wrong size). Can you tell I was just a bit upset? Don't mess with my coffee or you just may get unattractive representation on my blog!!!

We finally boarded for Baltimore (we flew into Baltimore, MD, but my folks live in Alexandria, VA). Here's the part that got a little tricky. Micah and Elias both fell asleep about 45 minutes before we landed. We arrived at 12:26am!!! argh. That's only 10:26 MT time, but still (and we still had an hour drive to get to my parents' house)! They wouldn't wake up. We tried and tried. Elias looked awake, but was still asleep freaking out and trying to claw through the airplane window. Micah was dead to the world. Their stuff was everywhere. Everyone else was off the plane, thankfully, or they would have retracted their former comments. One flight attendant carried Micah off for me (also a mother of 5 grown kids, praise God) while Isaiah crawled around on the floor gathering anything that might be left. I carried Elias and the rest of the gang carried the stuff. I am so thankful for helpful flight attendants. They were all so nice, even with it being so late and them, no doubt, wanting to be off the plane and on their way home.
So, the day was pretty eventful for all, but mostly in a good way. I was hoping to get some reading done on the plane, but did not even so much as crack a book. Duh - travelling alone with 5 kids - reading? What was I thinking?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Three Questions

Every night for the past two years (appx - maybe more!), Isaiah has asked "the three questions" at bedtime. Now, I guess I cannot say EVERY night, because I am sure that he has missed some here and there, but almost EVERY night.
Question #1 - "Can I sleep with you?".
Question #2 - "Can I sleep in the girls' room?" (when Q.1 fails).
Question #3 - "Can I have some ice cream?".
He is like that woman whom Jesus told about who continually badgered the judge until she got the answer that she wanted (did I use my pronouns correctly there? - I have just learned the proper use of who/whom this year thanks to 4th grade Rod and Staff English). It has gotten to the point where Brad, when he sees Isaiah approaching at bedtime, will say "No....No....and No. Now go to bed". Every once in a great while, Isaiah's persistence pays off with a yes to Question #1 and all the rest of the kids get all bent out of shape complaining that Isaiah got to sleep with us LAST time. Our response is always, "well, YOU didn't ask". They hate that, but no one else has figured out that if you ask enough times, you might eventually get a yes. :)


One thing that I have come to appreciate now that we live in Montana is socks!! In San Diego, I never gave a rip about socks.....I wore no show, ped-type socks; bought them at Costco and didn't care what they looked like because......they didn't show. Socks were just a necessity so that your feet didn't sweat and your shoes didn't get stinky. Not so any longer. It is ALL about socks. I write about this now, because I just got two new pairs of socks. The Army Navy store here in Columbia Falls is going out of business and everything is 30% off!! Now, you people in other states may think - Army/Navy store - big deal. Well, here in MT they sell great gear - boots, shoes, ski clothes, hats, scarves, packs, socks, long underwear, Smartwool everything. There are two other Army/Navy stores in the vicinity as well (within about a 15 mile radius), but only this one is going out of business. I went in and got two pairs of Smartwool socks. If you live in any kind of cold weather and haven't discovered Smartwool socks, you are missing out. Not all socks are created equal and these are glorious. You probably think I am a wacko, but you have to understand that Smartwool socks are between $14.99 and $19.99 A PAIR..... and worth every penny. At 30% off, that is a real bargain. These are my favorites, aren't they cute? I am so excited about my socks. I am going to miss them when it gets hot outside.