Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Not that life isn't already crazy just by having four kids, but we have been busy doing so much lately: planning for our Nana's 50th Birthday party, helped(mostly Joel) with and attended the annual Womens Conference, lots of Fall school projects(picture to come) and of course planning, looking, and getting together Halloween costumes, birthday parties, lifegroup, etc....
We will be posting pictures soon!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
This is the last- but most certainly not the least post of our DC Adventure. After my moms prompting, we took a day trip down to Virginia to visit a place called Colonial Williamsburg. She had been there twice with my dad and loved it. We are SO glad we went!
The motto of Colonial Williamsburg is "that the future may learn from the past." and they mean it! (This is a picture of some of the bricks you walk over on a bridge to the 301 acre historic distric of the city of Williamsburg Virginia.
What is Colonial Williamsburg? Colonial Williamsburg consists of many of the buildings that, from 1699 to 1780, formed colonial Virginia's capital. For most of the 18th century, Williamsburg was the center of government, education and culture. It was here that Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, James Monroe, James Madison, George Wythe, Peyton Randolph and dozens more helped mold democracy in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States. Early in the 20th century, the restoration and recreation of Colonial Williamsburg, one of the largest historic restorations ever undertaken, was championed by the Reverend Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin and the patriarch of the Rockefeller family, John D/ Rockefeller, Jr., along with the active participation of his wife, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, who wanted to celebrate the patriots and the early history of the United States.
Many of the missing Colonial structures were reconstructed on their original sites during the 1930s. Other structures were restored to the best estimates of how they would have looked during the eighteenth century, with all traces of later buildings and improvements removed. Dependency structures and animals help complete the ambiance. Most buildings are open for tourists to look through, with the exception of several buildings that serve as residences for Colonial Williamsburg employees.
The Mission of Colonial Williamsburg
The major goal of the Restoration was not to merely preserve or recreate the physical environment of the colonial period, but to facilitate education about the origins of the idea of America, which was conceived during many decades before the American Revolution.
In this environment, Colonial Williamsburg strives to tell the story of how diverse peoples, having different and sometimes conflicting ambitions, evolved into a society that valued liberty and equality.
If you want to learn more, visit Colonial Williamsburg's website.
We were able to see, hear, taste, smell, and touch our nations history. An experience I hope our children never forget!
Here are a few pictures of the local colonial people (and us).
You could interact, intermingle, converse and play in on the life of Williamsburg. It was so hands on which is our family's love language!
Places we visited in Colonial Williamsburg:
The Govenors Palace (a place where Thomas Jefferson once lived) One picture is a real smoke house- only the rich could have that much meat! And one picture is of all the armory in the entry way of the home- just to show off, and the other pic is of a bed in one of the rooms.
The Courthouse(where Benjamin Waller read the Declaration of Independence from the steps), this is the girls getting their punishment!
Joel carrying water like it was done!
The other pics are of some construction being done like it would have in the day,
and of a typical kitchen! Im sure it got hot in there!
We stopped at a working bakery(and enjoyed the treats too!)
We vistied a gunsmiths, and a Printing & Binding Shop
Then looked through the historic, beautiful Bruton Parish Church, (which had lots of graves dated back to the 1700-1800's.)
We also passed through the Millinery shop(clothing), a trades shop(where we bought a few trinkets to bring home), and lots of nurseries and gardens.
Throughout the day performances and skits take place. Some would be political, and some would be cultural. It was great to hear and see the people of the old day.
Heres a video of a traditional dance that went on.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Just the traveling and transporting to-in-from Washington DC was so much fun.
Our Dylan is in a phase of transportation la la land- where all he wants to play with is cars, trains, and airplanes. So this trip was for him, and we think he got waaay more out of our travelings than he did of anything else.
All in all, we rode 4 airplanes, rode lots of buses, numerous-too many to count metro rail (train) rides, a cool mobile lounge, and in the Heads van with the GPS we named Marg-which was always fun- she and Joel took us safely all over the place!
Of course the airplane travels were so much fun too! This time around Dylan really enjoyed the ride and he and all the others loved seeing all the plans during our layover in Atlanta.
But we really enjoyed our metro adventures.
The Washington Metro, or simply Metro, is the rapid transit system of Washington DC and neighboring communities in Maryland and Virginia, both inside and outside the Capitol Beltway, and is the second busiest in the United States behind the New York City Subway.
Riders enter and exit the system using a stored-valued card in the form of a paper magnetic stripe farecard. This method tracks the balance paid to Metro, as well as the rider's entry and exit points. We bought the 7 day fast pass- with unlimited metro services anytime.
So needless to say, we rode it ALOT and loved every bit of it. Riding the metro brought back lots of fond memories of when I rode the TUBE during my time in London. Same concept, same type of system.
Here are three videos to sort of capture the experience of getting on and off and back to the streets.
This first video is us waiting at a station (underground) for our train to come in.
This second video is us riding- and getting off a metro train. The station we were stopping at was the Smithsonian Station.
This last video is us exiting the metro station using our fast pass card, then riding the escalators up to ground level which was right at the National Mall in front of all the Smithsonian Museums.
Here are a few pictures of the metro system and us!
Our home away from home.
The Head family kindly offered their Maryland home to us while we stayed in DC. Not only was it a beautiful home with lots of space and beds, it was a grandparents home!! The basement was full of play cars, toys, a table, a cute tent house, and lots more, there was plenty to eat and a library of movies and books. We essentially were at home. The kids would play away while we cooked our meals. We only ate out 5 times, and had most of our meals cooked at the Heads home which made the trip even more affordable!
We are forever grateful for the Head family!
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Here are some pictures of others things in DC besides monuments and memorials. Basically there is alot you can do in DC and we could have seen so much more, but in our time frame- we did pretty good!
The White House
We stopped by the White House, unfortunately we only could get as close as the rod iron fence would let us. Ahead of time, you can reserve local tickets to visit the White House, with your state representative, but its never gauranteed- and we didnt get to take a tour-which was sad. But maybe next time!
Did you know the White House is made up of six stories? The ground floor, state floor, second floor, and third floor, and well as a two-story basement.
The security was amazing, we had a police officer just watching us bystanders at the gate look as we looked at the White House. Then as Im taking pictures of the White House, I notice that theres a man on top of the roof..you can zoom in and see that he is security. They take their job seriously!
We then went on over to the Captiol, which was so beautiful too. Again, we could only get close to the fence, but it was close enough. You can see construction in the picture in front of the Capitol, they are building a visitors center, so people can have a close look and a deeper experience with the Capitol. It should be finished in Dec. 2, 2008. The CVC will contain 580,00 square feet of space below ground!! Large glass windows have been installed in the ceiling's center, which will frame the view of the Capitol rotunda. Too bad we missed it!!
Bureau of Printing and Engraving
We took a tour to see how our nations money is printed. It was against the law to take any pictures, so we wouldn't go home and print our own money I guess. Its amazing how much money is printed in a day. Two Interesting facts were:
U.S. Botanical Gardens
We love visiting gardens big and small. This was a big one filled with lots of plants! We spent some time in the huge green house, which had a walking level to oversee all the plants.
There was also children's' hands one area, that the kiddos plant, dig, sweep, pump water, etc.. We spent lots of time there! (moreso so we could sit and let the kiddos burn some energy)
The National Mall
Theres an excellent picture and description of the Mall here. We had alot of fun walking, picnicing and resting up and down the mall. Lots of greenery, birds, and squirrels. Too bad we didnt come during Cherry Blossom season- Im sure it would have been beautiful. The Mall was our walking road to all the monuments, museums and other places we visited.
This is us picnicing and being stalked by birds!
There was so much to be seen and not enough time. As you may or may not know, there are several Smithsonian museums around the mall in DC- that are all FREE it visit. We were only able to visit two. The Air & Space Museum, and the Museum of Natural History.
The Air & Space Museum
This museum maintains the largest collection of historic air and spacecraft in the world. The Wright brothers exhibit was our favorite. You can see a replica of the first ever plane flown. Check our their website and you can view their online exhibit- very intriguing!!
The one in five Wright Bicycles.
Also the First Helicopter ride around the world was pretty cool.
The girls checking out the Space Exhibit. Look at how huge it is!
Museum of Natural History
This museum was packed with a collection of over 124 million objects, displayed on two floors. The museum is dedicated to inspiring curiosity, discovery, and learning about the natural world through its unparalleled research, collections, exhibits, and educational programs. Click here to look at their virtual exhibits.
Us four on the top level.
The girls really enjoyed the butterfly exhibit. We were able to enter into a climate controlled dome full of different types of butterflies. They can land on you (which several did) and you and sort of be "one" with the butterflies in their habitat. REALLY COOL! Also there was a mammal hall, Emily loves those Elephants!
Joel really enjoyed seeing the real mummy! EEEK! The boys really liked the Dinosaur Hall, especially the triceratops and the t-rex.