Tuesday, June 30, 2009

D.C. - Day 4

Saturday morning, we visited the National Archives. Wow!!! We saw the original Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Magna Carta, the Constitution, the Louisiana Purchase and the Emancipation Proclamation. Once again, we spent hours looking at all of the documents and reading about each one of them.

The National Archives

After visiting the National Archives, we made our way out to Nationals Park to watch the Nationals and Blue Jays play ball. The park was one of the prettiest that we have been to and the staff was incredible! Jason ranked this one at the top in the baseball stadiums that he has been to.

Jason LOVES baseball and I do too (just not to the obsessive degree that he does). I don't really remember when we made the decision to visit all 30 MLB ballparks, but it is one of our goals. I have been to 21 stadiums and Jason has been to 24. However, these baseball teams are always building new stadiums and we have yet to make it back to some of them (Yankees, Mets, and Phillies). Our current stadium count is at 15 for me and 17 for Jason. He's been to Colorado and Arizona, so we won't have the same number until I get to those stadiums.

Going to ballgames is just one of those special things that the two of us really enjoy doing. Since having our children, there is nothing more exciting than bringing our kids with us to the games, too. Fortunately, they love it just as much as we do.

While at the game, Jason and I realized that the last game that we had been to without our children was back in October of 2004. That is really hard to believe!

Jason at Nationals Park

Watching the Blue Jays take batting practice.
Jason caught a ball for Joshua!

The Racing Presidents for the Nationals!
Abe, George, Tom and Teddy
These guys were hilarious looking.

Stadium Count to Date:

Jason - Cardinals, Braves, Nationals, Pirates, Reds, Astros, Cubs, Dodgers, Rockies, Padres, Diamondbacks, Orioles, Tigers, Indians, White Sox, Rangers, and Angels

Sunny - Cardinals, Braves, Nationals, Pirates, Reds, Astros, Cubs, Dodgers, Padres, Orioles, Tigers, Indians, White Sox, Rangers, and Angels

Joshua and Abby Kate - Cardinals, Braves, Padres, and Angels

Jackson - Braves

Monday, June 29, 2009

D.C. - Day 3

On Friday, Jason and I got a much slower (and much needed) start to our day. We decided to tour the National Museum of American History. We spent nearly 4 hours at the museum and we could have probably spent all day there. It was that interesting and that big! I especially loved the First Ladies exhibit, the Photographs of the 2009 Inauguration, Abraham Lincoln, and The Star-Spangled Banner exhibits. It really was an incredible museum and I know that we did not even see it all!

We found C3PO!

Speech! Speech!

I loved this archway!
This is a building that is across from the American History Museum.

Since we had toured the White House the previous day, I had to leave my camera back at our hotel since they do not allow cameras. I wanted to get some pictures of the White House, so after touring the Smithsonian, we walked up to Pennsylvania Avenue and got several pictures of the White House.

The White House outside light fixture has always been a favorite of mine.

The White House

Funny story about this picture...
The first night that we were in D.C., after seeing the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, we walked up to the back of the White House. As soon as we reached the back, the officers had to secure the perimeter and told us all to leave. I was pretty bummed because I really wanted that picture, but we knew that we would have other opportunities to come back.

So on Friday evening, we made our way to the back after snapping pictures of the front of the White House. As soon as we got up to the fence, the officers announced that they were shutting down the perimeter and that we all needed to leave immediately. This time Jason snapped a quick picture. It is just a little off...

I have another picture from further back and you can see several of the black SUVs lined up along the drive. I don't know if the President was leaving or not, but we later saw where he was out for the evening at the Reporter's Dinner.

We walked back over to the memorials to get some more pictures as the sun was setting...

The Lincoln Memorial

The Washington Monument

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

After our time at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, we hiked back up to the Foggy Bottom metro stop in search of some dinner. We had heard a little bit about Georgetown, so we headed that way on foot. Little did we know that the walk to Georgetown was more than just a little ways away! Georgetown was a really neat area of town and we finally found (another) Johnny Rockets. Finding our food was by far the hardest challenge!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

D.C. - Day 2

We started out our day on Thursday bright and early. We had our tour for the White House scheduled at 8:00am, so we got up early to make sure that we caught our shuttle and metro and still had plenty of time to walk to the White House. Unfortunately the clouds were pretty gray and we knew that the chance of rain was going to be great.

As soon as we left the metro station, it started raining. Since we were visiting the White House, we were told exactly what we were not allowed to bring (which is pretty much everything), so we figured that an umbrella would be on that list as well. Once we got to the White House and started seeing some of the Congressmen, we overheard that an umbrella is actually one of the few things that they will allow you to bring. So, if any of you ever tour the White House, you can bring your umbrella! They do not wish for you to stand out in the rain and get soaked. :) (I don't really know what they make you do with those umbrellas, but you can have them while outside.)

We met up with our congressman's wife and she got us started on our tour. We LOVED the White House tour. It was a self guided tour and we really soaked it all up. We got to see a lot of pictures of former presidents, some of the place settings of different presidents, the Library, the East Room, the Green, Blue and Red rooms and the State Dining room. We also saw and walked through part of the Cross Hall.

The East Room was truly magnificent. The glass chandeliers date back to 1902 and the picture of George Washington, that Dolley Madison saved from the White House when the British burned it, hangs on the wall in the East Room. We spoke with the secret serviceman that was in that room and he said that President Obama had just hosted some people in that room the day before. From the East Room, we saw the Cross Hall with the red carpet that you often see the President walking down when he is addressing an audience. The East Room is also the room that Abigail Adams used to hang the family wash while the White House was still being completed.

The Green, Blue and Red rooms were really beautiful and the State Dining room was really pretty. We were able to ask a lot of questions and learned so much about each of these rooms. We finished up our tour and got ready for our tour of the Capitol.

We went into the Library of Congress and grabbed a quick bite of lunch downstairs in one of the cafeterias. By the time that we left the Library of Congress and headed over to get ready for our tour, it started pouring down rain again. We were beyond soaked when we got up to the Congressman's office and introduced ourselves to his staff and interns.

Since we had our tour lined up through our congressman's office, we were given the tour of the Capitol with a few of his interns. They were awesome and shared so much with us! We posed for a quick picture on the Capitol steps with the Congressman and then headed inside to watch the representatives vote. On the day that we were visiting, they had 27 votes! We got to sit in the house chamber (you know, the one that you see on CSPAN) and watch all of the congressmen/women vote. The room was really pretty and we were able to talk with our congressman in between his votes. We heard so many interesting stories about the Capitol. It was so beautiful and we really enjoyed our time there. The history that is in the Capitol building is so fascinating. I would love to tour it again, just to hear all of the stories again.

On the steps of the Capitol with our Congressman

The Capitol

The center of Washington, D.C.

The artwork at the top of the Rotunda

The Rotunda
The Rotunda is so tall, that they said that the Statue of Liberty could fit inside of it.

The old hall of the House of Representatives

After touring the Capitol, we walked down "The Mall" and visited the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. At the Natural History museum we saw the Hope Diamond and some dinosaur bones with a bunch of other things. The museum was heavily influenced by the concept of evolution, so we weren't really that interested in it. We spent a couple of hours looking around before we headed out to eat dinner.

The hardest and probably the most frustrating part of our trip was finding a place to eat dinner. There were plenty of different types of food around, but I guess that our cravings were all "Southern". We searched long and hard for each of our meals. We finally finished out our day on Thursday by eating a late dinner at Chili's. We ending up going down to Crystal City to find it and after getting off of the metro, we walked FOREVER until we found Chili's. To say that we were excited would be a HUGE understatement! It took us a long time to make it back to our hotel. I think that we walked off every bite of our dinner.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

D.C. - Day 1

Jason and I visited Washington, D.C. for our 10 year anniversary that we will be celebrating this August. We were so excited to get away together and visit the city of D.C. My parents are THE BEST!!!! They kept the kids for us for a week last year when we went on our cruise and they offered to keep the kids for us this year so that we could get away together. I am so appreciative for all that my parents do for our family.

We woke up around 3:30am on Wednesday and rode with my dad to the airport on his way to work. We flew out of Nashville into Baltimore, hopped a bus over to the train station, and from there caught a train over to Union Station. Union Station was absolutely gorgeous and we were able to grab a quick bite to eat. I don't think that I have ever been in a place where there was such a wide array of international food. Out of all the different choices, Jason and I chose Johnny Rockets.

Union Station

After eating lunch, we decided to go check in at our hotel. We hopped on the metro and I quickly found out that my metro card wasn't working right. Apparently if you put your metro card next to your cell phone, you will demagnetize it. After a couple of different stops and talking with a few metro workers, I got a new card and we finally got off at our stop for the hotel. Our hotel picked us up in their shuttle and took us to our hotel.

We were so excited to be in D.C.! We set off to see a few of the sights that very first night.

A church near George Washington University

This was our first glimpse of the Washington Monument near George Washington University.

On our walk down to the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, we found (and heard) this Momma duck and 5 of her ducklings. One of the little ducklings was lost from the rest of the pack and he was actually heading toward the street. He stumbled off the sidewalk onto the side of the road before the wind from a passing car actually knocked him down! Luckily, Jason was able to run over and scoop him up before he wandered farther out into the road. Jason took him to a grassy area and he took off calling (quacking) for his Momma! She came running to find him with all her little ducklings waddling along behind her - it was hilarious! Thankfully, they had a little family reunion right there and we were able to go on our way knowing that the Duck family was together again!

The Momma duck and all 6 of her ducklings
Joshua and Abby Kate love hearing us tell the story of the ducks that we met in Washington!

Jason at the Washington Monument

While at the Washington Monument taking pictures, we looked over and saw the White House!!!

The Lincoln Memorial

This is taken from the spot on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where Martin Luther King Jr. stood when he delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech.

The Lincoln Memorial

After visiting the Lincoln Memorial, we made our way over to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I didn't take any pictures that first night because the sun was long gone. As you may already know, the Memorial is made up of two black granite walls that list the names of all the soldiers either killed in action or missing in action at the time the memorial was built. We read that the memorial designer purposefully shaped it as a "V" so that as people walked through it, they would increasingly become aware of the sheer number of servicemen who lost their lives during the Vietnam War. It was really powerful to see the number of names etched on these walls. I'll post some pictures of the Vietnam War Memorial later in the week.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Jason, You Tempt Me With Your Words!

While on our trip to D.C., Jason and I finished up our last day there walking around the Tidal Basin on our way to the Jefferson Memorial from Arlington Cemetery. We were pretty tired and decided to capture a few pictures of the Washington Monument reflecting on the Tidal Basin. Jason was waiting ever so patiently for me to capture the image that I was hoping to get. I snapped this quick picture of Jason hanging on to one of the cherry trees. He knew that as soon as I took this picture that it was going to be one cheesy picture and warned me not to publish this on my blog. Well, those words were just a little too tempting....

I am working on documenting our trip to D.C. Tonight, I uploaded 484 pictures, so I guess that it will take some time. I can't wait to share about our trip!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Jackson at Two Years

24.4 pounds, 33 inches

My precious baby boy is so full of life. He never seems to tire and is always on the move. These past two years have flown by and he is changing so much each and every day. Jackson is my fearless child. He never gives up on anything and is always determined to accomplish what he has set out to do. Jackson still loves to climb, jump, and explore. He loves to question everything with his very sweet and very persistent, "why".

Even though Jackson is a very active little boy, he is almost always in my lap or in my arms. He carries around his three "night-nights" all the time and still clings to his pacy. At night, he loves to "rock-rock" before going down for the night.

Last night he led our family prayer and he was so proud of himself. He looks up to Joshua and Abby Kate SO much and they are very sweet to him.Jackson loves Elmo, Dora and Diego. He also loves horses and all kinds of farm animals and tractors. When we play outside, he really enjoys watching the bugs and feeding the horses. He absolutely loves being outside.

When you ask Jackson how old he is, he will tell you "I'mma two" and hold out his hand while crossing his ring and pinkie fingers together. Here lately he has really had a word explosion and is putting together 3 and 4 word sentences.

Jackson gives the best kisses and biggest hugs. There are a few little girls (and ladies) at church that he really loves and even claims one of them as his girlfriend. He loves to sing, loudly and gets tickled if you watch him. He really likes to be a big helper around the house, especially with the laundry.

Having known that Jackson is our last baby, I have really cherished each and every stage of his life so far. Jason and I feel so blessed that God was gracious in blessing us with our little guy. It is amazing to think back to all of the people that wrapped their arms around us and prayed for our baby as if he were their own. We will never forget all of those that surrounded us in prayer and lifted our precious child up to the Lord in prayer.

Jackson Cash, God has truly been gracious in blessing us with your life. We love you so very much! Happy 2nd Birthday, little man!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Just Keep Smiling - You'll Eventually Get One To Keep

It always takes several clicks to get that one good picture that we can keep for the photo albums.

Are we the only ones?

Shot #1

Shot #2

Shot #3

Our keeper!
It's not perfect, but it will work!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Museums, Ducks, and Fish

On the Saturday after Jackson's birthday, we decided to head downtown to the Children's Museum with my parents. We had really wanted to go to the petting zoo that was a little outside of town, but a thunderstorm had come earlier in the day and we didn't want the rain to ruin our trip. We all had such a great time at our downtown children's museum. We now have a family pass, so we are all looking forward to many more trips.

Jackson LOVED splashing around the water table.

Jackson really wanted in the water!

Abby Kate, Jackson and Joshua LOVED playing at the water table. Joshua had found a turtle costume and kept it on the entire time they were playing.

Joshua, Jackson and Abby Kate on an old wagon.

Playing dress up

Even Jason got in on the fun of dressing up

Abby Kate
I am finding it hard to believe that this little girl is about to be 5!!!

Feeding the ducks and fish
Last year I started saving all of the ends to our bread loaves. We now have quite the collection of frozen bread! The kids LOVED feeding the ducks and the fish!

Jackson and Jason