Thursday, September 30, 2010

Vacation 2010: Day 4 – Mount Vernon

IMG_0129 On day four we went to tour Mount Vernon with Alana, Mitch and Madison. We cut it out of our trip last time we were here because we ran out of time, but really wanted to go.IMG_0067 IMG_0070I am so glad we went.

We were not allowed to take pictures inside the house,  due to many of the original pieces inside the home, but we were able to take pictures outside, which we took full advantage of :) IMG_0081_bwSadly, Lexa pitched a fit on the second half of the tour, which didn’t bother us (or the tour guides) any, but probably did bother the 12-15 people that were in the group with us. IMG_0079_bwWalking around the grounds went much smoother, Lexie straightened up and we were able to see, the tomb where both George and Marth Washington are buried, some of the barns and the lower gardens, which I should just say is AMAZING – certainly an inspiration to a wannabe vegetable garden grower.

IMG_0140IMG_0134The Mount Vernon has a beautiful, hilly view over the Potomac River, a perfect spot for pictures.

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IMG_0100 IMG_0103 IMG_0105After we toured the grounds we headed towards the museum and shops. We skipped the museum (due to the kids) but made it to the hands-on history section for kids. Here the kids were allowed to play with a Mount Vernon Doll House (not an exact replica from what I could tell), dress up like the revolutionary time-period, do puzzles, color, and more.      

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This is the first introduction Treyton has had to American history and he really soaked it up. We’ve never talked about any history other than Biblical history, and I think this was a GREAT way to introduce American history to him. He is certainly intrigued and realizes that history is real, and not just stories that we read about. I actually picked up a couple of books in the gift shop that I am going to start reading to him to keep the ball rolling.

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Some of the things I learned from the tour:

~ George Washington was not only our first (and only unanimously) voted president, but a great entrepreneur and farmer. He extended his Mount Vernon estate from 2000 acres to 8000 in his lifetime. IMG_0138

~ Part of his entrepreneur ventures included at distillery where he made whiskey. His distillery made 11,000 gallons of whiskey a year which was the most of any distillery in the country at that time. He also ran a mill where he ground wheat, which he could then export.

~ George Washington had no children of his own (which I knew), Martha Washington brought in two step-children into the marriage.

IMG_0114~ Washington died in 1799. And is buried on Mount Vernon. He is not buried in the original location that he was buried at after his death, but in a tomb that he had instructed in his will to be built.   

~ Washington stood at 6’ 2.5” which was considered very tall for the time. The average height at this point in history was 5’ 8”IMG_0098 ~ Mount Vernon is a 21-room mansion, that originally consisted of 4 rooms and a foyer. George Washington continued adding to and building on Mount Vernon until he died.

~ Hospitality was a huge part of the social culture during the revolutionary time period, travelers would often stay in people’s homes along the route of their journey rather than inns (which were hard to come by). Mount Vernon housed over 677 guests in one single year. IMG_0066 copy~ Mount Vernon was built with wood, but covered and made to look like bricks.

~ Mount Vernon’s gardens are surrounded by brick walls. These walls were not merely for protection, but helped to keep heat in the garden, allowing vegetables to grow longer in the “colder” Virginia weather.

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(I love this picture of Madison, it looks like she is telling me, she has had enough pictures. In reality she was clapping, but still… cute)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Vacation 2010: Day 3 – Pittsburgh

IMG_0052_1Downtown Pittsburgh, one of the most beautiful places. I’m not sure what exactly it is, but both Tim and I are taken with Pennsylvania. It’s really a beautiful state and Pittsburgh is no exception. The scenery, the history, the shopping…. all of it, we’re even considering stopping again on our way back home to visit their science museum.

IMG_0059We realized in the morning that the hotel we were at had a pool. So while Tim and Treyton went to take a quick dip in the pool, the girls and I got ready to head out. This was, as we expected, a highlight for Treyton :)

IMG_0010The first stop was the Duquesne Incline. Built in 1877 (2 years before Thomas Edison invented the light bulb). IMG_0015_bwObviously, a historical site, it’s two old cable car (they still use the original ones) provide transportation up and down the mountain. IMG_0002For $8, the family took a quick round trip down the side of the mountain and back up. IMG_0004It was a shame that it was a little overcast and drizzling that morning, but we were still able to see the Golden Triangle of downtown Pittsburgh, which was what we really wanted to see and it was still a beautiful site. We also saw Heinz Field, which is where the Steelers play. IMG_0020 IMG_0022_bw After the incline, we headed to the Station Square. A shopping center that Tim and I went to nearly 3 years ago, where I had bought some all natural sugar scrub that I LOVED. I knew that I had to stop to pick up some more. Let me just tell you…. it was totally worth the stop!! And I found even more goodies this time around.  IMG_0040We ate lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe which had a stage-like area, which, of course, the kids took full advantage of.

IMG_0046The restaurant was mostly empty, due to our late lunch, so the kids were able to dance and sing without disturbing anyone. Treyton thought he was hot stuff :) IMG_0048IMG_0051After lunch, we headed out for the 5 hour trip to Virginia to see my sister and her family.   IMG_0062We got to Quantico at about 7:00pm. My sister, had dinner waiting for us, Jumbalaya – yum!!

Vacation 2010: Day 2 – Columbus Zoo

After the Shedd Aquarium we headed to Fort Wayne to visit some close friends of ours. They were so kind to open up their home to us and not only offered us a room to stay in but fed us two meals too!! We headed out (day 2) from Fort Wayne at about 10:30am, this was a little later than we had planned, but we couldn’t help it, it’s just so hard to stop hanging out with friends!! IMG_0203Even still, better late than never, we headed towards the Columbus Zoo. After a few wrong turns, a pee accident, mama getting hungry (for those of you who know me, know what a big deal that is!!), a few traffic woes and what seemed like endless miles of nothingness we finally made it to the zoo at 2:30, 2 1/2 hours before it was supposed to close!! IMG_0214Although we weren’t able to see even half of the zoo, it was still worth all our troubles, because we were able to meet a real-life blogging friend!! IMG_0213Monica over at Discover Their Gifts and her family met us at the zoo and showed us around (In the above picture are the two of us, our children and Monica’s niece. Our hubbies are missing from this picture, but they were both there). This was a trip highlight for me, I consider Monica a friend, and it was so nice to finally meet in person.IMG_0217Monica’s family did a great job of showing us all the zoo we could fit in in 2 hours. Her older daughter, Arianna, took a real liking to Lexie and was just too sweet, holding her hand and trying her best to befriend our somewhat stubborn daughter. :) IMG_0197The kids enjoyed a few minutes at the petting zoo, which I really thought would be Lexa’s favorite part, but she seemed to still be warming up from the stressful car ride down. By the time we got to the lions she was beginning to be her normal cheery self and I think she enjoyed them a little more than anything else. IMG_0193We saw the polar bears, elephants, rhinos, tigers and lions and several other animals in between. IMG_0207The Columbus Zoo, is an amazing zoo, probably the nicest zoo I’ve ever been too. I wish we could have seen more, but now that I know how nice it is and have friends that live near by, I’m sure we’ll be back to explore a little more! IMG_0198After the zoo we drove the remaining 3 hours to Pittsburgh, and stayed overnight there.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Vacation 2010: Day 1 – Shedd Aquarium

We started our vacation off with a splash at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. We were lucky enough to get there at 9:30 before the crowds and had no problems getting in and looking around. I had no idea the type of attraction this was, when we left at 1:00 there was a line all the way out the door down the huge stairs and out to the road – unbelievable!! IMG_0141The first thing we did was see the live Fantasea show. It wasn’t up to Sea World standards (not that I’ve ever been to Sea World) but it was good, and we enjoyed seeing dolphins jump, in person. IMG_0149After the Fantasea show we did the Planet Earth 4-D movie. This was definitely my favorite part. We tried to convince Treyton that when we got sprayed by the water it was actually elephant poop, he didn’t buy it.  IMG_0152Walking through the aquarium was good, it was starting to get a little crowded, but Tim was still able to make a good friend. It’s hard, but try to guess who’s who. IMG_0155The kids did a great job paying attention and looking at the exhibits, Treyton was really interested in what each fish was called. IMG_0164After the walk through the aquarium, we hit the Polar Playland, where the kids were able to take an adventure in a  pretend submarine. IMG_0171The best animal (by far) were the beluga whales. They had a baby beluga whale, that was super cute. Here’s a picture of the kids getting an up close and personal stare down with one of the beluga's. IMG_0175 IMG_0188  IMG_0143 Treyton and I both decided to be superhero’s this day. It may be a little confusing, we’re dressed as super man but giving the spider man sign… it’s all good!

We had such a great time at the aquarium, not the best aquarium, we enjoyed the one in Tennessee a little bit more, but still great.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Alexaism: For Real

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Alexa: Mommy, I wanna hide

Me: Okay, go hide baby.

{Alexa, runs off to hide only to return 15 seconds later}

Alexa: I hide, mommy.

Me: Good job (a little bit more into what I was doing than the conversation we’re having)

Alexa: (with a little more enthusiasm this time) I hade mommy!! For real!!

Mom: (I chuckled) Did you say “for real”?

Alexa: Yeah, I say “for real” now.

Mom: Cool.

~~~~

As we’re driving down the road Lexa sees a motorcycle.

Alexa: WOW!!! Cool Bike, Mommy !!

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Alexa says Mommy alot. Anytime we’re talking she ends most sentences with ‘Mommy’

“I need to go potty, Mommy”

“Look at the lights, Mommy”

“Thank you, Mommy”

“Excuse Me, Mommy”

“Pretty, Mommy”

“Wow, Mommy”

“Look, Blue, Mommy!!”

“What, Mommy?” (How she normally responds when I call her name)

“Ewwww, Mommy” (that’s what she says when I take her diaper off in the morning)

It’s so cute the way she says my name. It’s kind of a dull /o/ sound, closer to an /u/ (but not quite). Though there are many days when I feel like Mommy is said to much, when I hear her say it when really talking to me, makes it all worth it!! 

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