Friday, April 30, 2010

And now it is Friday :)

Once again it was a late night - reviewing the Revolutionary War with Matthew (younger son) and finishing up projects with Robert (older son). But had a nice afternoon and evening, visiting with my parents.

My parents arrived from Minnesota around 2pm at my house after checking into the hotel and getting settled there. It was enough time to give them a snack (LOL...who is the child and who are the parents) and then start the afterschool activity taxi - first stop to pick up Robert from school for a track meet, which we dropped him off at the location of the meet (second stop) and then headed back to pick up Matthew from his school (third stop) and then back to the track meet. This was the first time my parents were able to see Robert run in a track meet - they enjoyed watching him run the 400 (which he placed 1st with a time of 59.8), the 100 and the 4x400 relay. Due to the track meet and the homework load, we decided to skip the hockey clinic again, grab some take out and head home.

Friday and the weekend upon us and my parents in town, we are planning a nice bbq dinner tonight...and then to bed at a decent time ---- YAHOO. Tomorrow morning is our only hockey committments and then we will use the remainder of the weekend to do some fun things with my parents as well as get in a little R&R.

BTW...the mailperson was a sight for sore eyes yesterday as she delivered some "stash".  First was the next installation of the Little House Needleworks Monthly Samplers - May and June. I received a gift certificate to and I have been using it to purchase this collection of  these LHN kits. While I have not made time to start any of them, I did purchase the fabric, so when I am ready I can. My plan is to stitch all of them on one piece of maybe I will collect/purchase them all this year and make this the project of 2011.

The other "stash" item in my mail box, was the second to the last piece for the Society of Soie Surfine Series #1. You can read about Series #1 and get information on the whole program on the Society of Soie Surfine blog. The item I received was

Soie Surfine - Northern Lights
Northern Lights is a beautiful blue and fits very well with the other colors from Series #1. The last part to arrive is the brown color floss - Cocolat. Again, I have just been 'collecting' these; haven't had or made the time to stitch with them or the fabric that was also part of the series. The Soie Surfine blog has some examples of stitching projects which one of the ladies at Needle in a Haystack (my not so LNS) has completed. I saw them in person when I went statsh shopping at NiaH a few months is very tiny stitches - but beautiful!

Well, my blog friends I wish you a wonderful weekend. May it be filled with a lot of love and laughter...and time to sit and stitch!
Take care!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Everything I needed to know...I learned in Kindergarten

Cut and Paste and Categorize - I was up until 12:30am with Robert (oldest son) helping him out with his Science Standards Portfolio Project. The project consisted of identifying the the 8 different topics they have been learning about in 8th grade science so far this year (only 6 more weeks of school left), identify the California Education Standard it covers, write 2 paragraphs stating "what you learned" and "how you apply it to life", find 3 pictures to represent the science topic and then find 4 example of work for each. While Robert did all the "academic work": the identifying the California standards, the writing of the paragraphs and finding pictures for the divides he had to create for each topic...I helped out with the "busy work": cutting of the pictures, cutting of the standards and cutting out of the paragraphs, which then needed to be glued onto a piece of brightly colored construction paper. Together we located 4 examples of his work for each of the topic. And at 12-midnight, while he went to go brush his teeth, I inserted all the "stuff" into plastic sleeves. I guess this serves as a good review prior to the State Testing (which starts up next week), but in combination with all the other work that has been assigned to prepare them for State Testing, they definitely could do without all this last minute busy work. If they have to study for a test that really doesn't have much bearing on their grades, there should be a better way than cramming in everything the week before, causing them to loose sleep. (ranting about all state testing preparations is done)

Say you're sorry when you hurt someone - as per the guidelines of exchanges, I did alert the moderators of each, that I might be a tad bit late on the 2 exchanges. I have finished stitching the L*K exchange and have stitched 75% of the Seasonal Exchange...then I am hoping to make some time over the weekend to finish each of them so that I can get them in the mail on Monday, May 3 (2 days later than the deadline).  Making and keeping a committment is very important to me - and it bothers me that I couldn't make a deadline. I will be able to fullfill my "obligations" but not within the assigned time. So, I publically apologize up front that I will be a little late to mail the exchanges...but will do my best to not let this happen again.

Clean up your [own] mess - yesterday I came home from work to start working in the house: cleaning and straightening up. My parents are visiting from Minnesota over the weekend. And while my mother says, "we are coming to see you, DH and the kids" - I know that there is a little part of her that checks out the house. My mother is a clean freak (and I say that with lots of love). I grew up in a very clean environment. There was never any dust on the tables, tooth paste grime in the sinks...and whatever you wore to bed, it was cleaned and folded on your bed when you got home from school to put away before you started your homework. I started out that way - when I was first married, when the kids were young...before I had to drive to the hockey rink 4-5 days a week after working 4 hours outside of the house, help with the homework and organize everyone's activites. I finally learned that, while it is important to have a certain level of cleanliness in the house, spotlessness is not a priority. Anyway, in preparation for my mom & dad's visit, I did manage to get 90% of the house clean, before I needed to make dinner, help study for a 5th grade history test and work on a 8th grade science project.

Remember to say "Please" and "Thank you" - I would like to thank you all for visiting and reading my blog. I would like to acknowledge with much appreciation your comments, especially the very supportive ones on my last post. I do find jounalling on my blog - about my passion of stitching or the trials and tribulations of my life - very helpful in my daily living; and to have you sweet blogfriends actually read and comment, well it makes me feel good. So, dear blog friend: "Thank you" and "please" do come back again!

Well, as I conclude the posting for today, please remember: don't run with scissors in your hands and...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often! Lisa

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Little by will eventually work out.

One stitch at a time, it seems that I am making a dent in my exchange stitches. I have finished stitching the one for the L*K exchange and working feverously on the one for the seasonal exchange. I have found patterns and fabric for each with are beautiful and quick/easy to stitch on. The only issue I seem to have is TIME. I will see how far I can get over the next couple of days and if it looks like I am running out of time, I will contact the moderators of each exchange and just let them know I will be a little late...but my partners will receive a beautiful finished exchange - might just be a little late.

School and homework issue
We have only dealt with Monday of this week, but there seems to be so much going on in our lives and more changes on the horizon, that I am feeling very anxious. First...Robert has had a ton of homework the last couple of weeks - since coming back home from DC. No, it wasn't make up work because the teachers were nice enough to either assign the work over spring break prior to the kids leaving on the trip, or give the kids something "special" to work on while they were on the they would all be caught up when they came back (assuming that they took advantage of the "nice" offerings of the teachers - which Robert did). The homework is coming as a precursor to State Testing. Several of the teachers seem to be a little behind prior to the testing and feel the need to assign a lot of reading, assessment questions, portfolio projects (a summary of all the chapters covered up to this point put in a binder - include two to three paragraphs per subject and there are 9 subjects in all), etc. So Robert has been spending about 5-6 hours on homework every night during the last week and a half. Last week he skipped the hockey clinic on Thursday to do homework - and he was still up at 11pm. With this issue, we just need to get through this week and with State testing occuring over the next 2 weeks, the homework load shouldn't be too bad.

Job Change
The job DH has had the last 3.5 years has been a unique one. After DH left the company that moved us from MN to CA, he got a job with a company that was new to this area. Basically an investment firm put some money in a great concept that provides dentistry to underprivileged children. DH's boss opened an office here and hired DH to work in the financial side of the business. The office here was more of the administrative part - the clinics were in other states. Any way, this business was suppose to run for 5 years, but due to the positive results, it is coming to an end much quicker as the parent company and the one here is going to merge this summer and DH will be done. He has started the job search - got the resume written and started to send that out; has talked with several of his contacts from previous work experiences; and started to investigate businesses that are for sale - for owning our own company has been somewhat of a dream of ours. But just knowing what is coming up in a month is very unsettling. We do have some ideas and options that just need to be investigated further - but change, at this moment, is scary. So, if I seem to be more of a downer or ramble on more in my  posts, please be patient with me.

Parents Visiting
My parents are coming for a visit (they live in MN) this Thursday and staying until Monday. I love them dearly, but just don't feel ready to have them here. I haven't seen them since September 2009, when Robert and I were in MN for a hockey tournament. And I think that it has been over a year since they have seen DH and Matthew. They will be totally shocked to see the boys because they have definitely grew since the visits. So, there is a need to clean and straighten up the house before they arrive (even though they are staying in a hotel). I am not the best housecleaner in the world - I use to be obsessed about it, until the obsession got in the way of living. So with my priorities set on dealing with the kids (getting them to/from school; making sure their homework is done; getting them to/from hockey) - I am never really at home long enough to get much of anything done and when I am home, cleaning and dusting is really not high on my list of things to do. And paying for someone else to clean the house....well, that is definitely not the answer, especially now with the job issue. So...I think that after I get home from work Wednesday - before I have to pick up the kids, I will spend sometime cleaning. At least I can get the house looking presentable (just don't look in my closets).

Well...I know that is a lot of complaining in this post. I just need to get it all out - not sit on these feelings and thoughts and that makes for a cranky hockeymom. So thank you for being there for me while I have these emotional brain dumps. I am sure that there will be more coming as I try to deal with "change"...but in the mean time...remember (I will try, too):
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sharing on Saturday

NOTE...if you are visiting my blog to read about the 8th grade Washington DC trip - above this post are links for each specific day. Enjoy and thank you for stopping by :)

I finished stitching my heart on April's Friendship Sampler RR last night and will be trying to make it to the post office so that I can send it along...little by little the RRs are finding their way home. I just have one more to stitch on...and mine is still in the Netherlands. Mine is trailing behind due to a situation last summer, where the original one I started and sent out 'got stuck' at one of the RR members house; since no one could reach her, we assumed that she dropped out - and unfortunately was holding my RR and one other members. I made the choice to start over with a new piece of fabric, so it will be home in another few months.

April requested every stitch in teals, limes, purples...kind of an ocean and springy feel to her RR. It is beautiful. I stitched my heart (you can see it on the bottom - 2nd one in) in a DMC varigated-type and white. I love the way it turned out...and I hope April does too.

Well, Saturday is here and without any early morning activities, everyone will have this opportunity to sleep in. I slept in extra hour at least...but I am on the stationary bike right now as I type out this post. I gotta get in my spin!
Today is Clean Up Dublin Day (Dublin, California that is). Robert (older son) is in a scholorship group at school which focuses on community service activities throughout the year. So, this morning, he will be going up to his school to help clean up the campus for a few hours. I think that Matthew's (younger son) school is also having an activity like that - but he hasn't mentioned anything about it. We are planning to walk with Robert to his school and then thought it would be fun to walk up to Matthew's school so that he could show DH and I the class garden that he has been working on with his fellow classmates. He is very proud of this garden. I am hoping that it survives over the summer (might have to talk with his teacher to see what we can do to help out during the summer vacation).

Working outside, which is something that I need to do here at home as well (clean out the garden and mow the lawn) is tricky right now as allergy season is horrible. Matthew has a persistant cough and runny nose...and now I have a cough that is developing. While he feels run down, I don't feel too bad as long as it doesn't seem to affect my breathing (that would really be a problem...LOL). Are allergies bad where you live? Listening to the news, it sound like allergy season is bad everywhere and more appearent now a days. Well, if you are suffering - take care!

Back to that the RR is complete, I have started the Lizzie Kate Exchange project and found some fabric that is easy to stitch on and will help the project get stitched faster. My goal is to be done stitching this one by this evening...and then I can start on my Seasonal Exchange. If I can keep on this schedule, I will definitely be able to make the May 1 mail date deadline. Keep your fingers crossed :)

Well, my blogging friends, thank you for taking time out of your busy day to visit. I hope that you have a wonderful weekend and remember:
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Finally it is Friday

NOTE...if you are visiting my blog to read about the 8th grade Washington DC trip - above this post are links for each specific day. Enjoy and thank you for stopping by :)

Friday has arrived here and with it, brings a weekend without too many committments - YAHOO! After getting back from DC I feel like I have been playing "catch up" home and at work; with sleep and with stitching.

Just a quick note about the "note" you know I have blogged about the DC trip I chaperoned (something that I loved doing: chaperoning and blogging). Well, many of the kids who went on the trip as well as their families, were interested in reading what I had posted - so since I would like to get back into my normal blogging routine, I thought I would put a link on top of the blog to provide easy access to the daily trip posts.

First...while in DC....I found out that I won a giveaway that Marjorie (the Pumpkin Patch Stitcher) held - and I received the package yesterday. Here is what I won (I had to borrow the photo from Marjorie's camera is low on battery power right now):
Isn't it cute? I love the Strawberry print, the red & white gingham and the denim looking bottom. But that is only one side of the tote, it is reversable (inside is more of the strawberry print and gingham). It is a nice summery bag to haul stitching stuff to and from the rink :) Thank you Marjorie!

So, where am I in my stitching...well, I am in stitching stress-ville right now; hoping to make a lot of time to sit and stitch over the weekend.

Friendship RR - I finally received the second to last RR to stitch on. It is April's. It took over 3 weeks for the package to get from the last RR member (who was in AZ) to me and several tries to send it. For some reason the package was deemed "undeliverable" the first time Kathy sent it. It traveled from Arizonia, to the city where I live in Northern California only to be "undeliverable", went back to AZ and then back here and finally arrived back in Kathy's hands. The post office didn't offer any logical reasons for the well travelled package - so Kathy sent it back out and it did arrive here safe & sound. So, stitching my heart on April's Friendship RR is my first priority so that I can get it sent out to the next person on the list ASAP!

Exchange Stitching - ugh, the May 1 deadline for 2 exchanges is rapidly approaching. I have the patterns picked out for both exchanges (Lizzie Kate and Seasonal Exchange) and got them kitted up for the DC trip - as I figured we had a lot of travel time (airplane rides and sitting in airports). However, for the life of me, I just couldn't stitch on the fabric that I chose for each project. So, as soon as I finish the RR I will either need to find different fabric or try to make the chosen fabs to work.

Well, that should catch you up with the happenings in my life right now. This weekend, as mentioned, will be pretty low key with the only committment being a hockey team party for Matthew (younger son) on Sunday evening. That should give us time to rest and regroup as a family.

So, blogging buddies, until next time...remember:
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often! Lisa

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Washington DC Trip - Day 5 and 6 (the last day)

Home now - Robert's at school; he struggled a little to get up, but did a good job getting around and packing up his backpack for school. We did arrive back at the school about on time - close to the scheduled 1:10am - not bad for a little maintainance issue prior to taking off from Dallas. But all are home safe and sound.

This post will be about the last two days of the amazing 8th grade trip to Washington DC - (note: if you have just arrived at my blog - you can find the earlier days (Days 1, 2 and 3-4) if you scroll down further).

Day 5 - Sunday, April 18, 2010
Early wake up call, breakfast and board the bus (the standard routine of activites that allow us to get a good start to our day and on the bus by 8:15-8:30am). The day started out a little chillier than we had experienced earlier in the trip, but all seemed prepared for the day by wearing warmer clothing and bringing nicer attire for our visit to Arlington Cemetery later in the day.

First stop brought us to Iwo Jima. During the bus ride there we learned about the 6 men (5 Marines and 1 Army Corp) who were the inspiration for this memorial.

Along the base of the memorial, there is a list of all the battles/wars fought and the dates. Robert pointed out right away that there was no mention of the "Civil War" as it was noted as the "War Between the States".  The monument took 7 years to sculpt and it is based on the 2nd raising of the flag (we did learn about the story of the 2 flag raisings at Iwo Jima during the tour).

(side note...yes, I was on the trip with my son; it just took a few days for him to "allow" me to get a photo with him :) )

Next, it was time to visit the Obamas - thought we would stop by for Sunday brunch...or at least get an opportunity to learn about Layfette Park and the White House. Layfette Park is located outside the White House area and is surrounded by many historical houses, which was restored during the time the Kennedy's were in office. Now they are currently offices.

In the park there is a statue of Andrew Jackson (photo below) and another of Baron Von Stuben (who George Washington brought in to whoop the British).
As we made our way through and around Layfette Park, we finally got a chance to look at the White House and take photos. It is a very impressive looking house.

Before leaving the White House, there was ample time for photo opportunities.
First up was the group (kids & teachers)
Next...teachers, tour guide and chaperons...
And then I got "lucky" again, for here is another photo of Robert and I in front of the White House.

We left the White House and headed to Ford Theater (the theater where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated). When you enter into the theature, you first go downstairs to the museum which tells all about Lincolns life and the times he lived. When directed, we filed into the theater to hear one of the park rangers tell us the story of the night Lincoln was assassinated. It was the end of the Civil War - a joyous time - and everyone in Washington DC was celebrating nightly. The Lincolns, who enjoyed going to the theater, decided to go the night of April 14 to see the play "Our American Cousin". Ford, the theater own, heard that the President was going to attend the play, so he decided to make it a special event by dressing up the box - to make it look Presidental.
He had the partician removed (making the box in to one room), added flags, a photo of George Washington and special seats (the love seat in the box today is the original one). Well, I am sure that most of you know the outcome of that evening, so I will not bore you with what we all learned - but the presentation of that night by the ranger was very informative. He was so animated that he really drew the audience in.

We left Ford Theater and headed to the Old Post Office Pavillion for lunch before we made our way to the Holocaust Museum. Now if you haven't been to the Holocaust Museum, I (and I believe that all the kids) would recommend going if you go to Washington DC. It is very moving...very haunting...very distrubing. Upon entering the museum, you are given a identity card of someone who was there. It might be a women, it might be a might be someone who was in one of the concentration camps and made it out...or might have died. Throughout your travels in the museum, you read their story and come to know the war through their experience. After 2 hours, we all met in the lobby - all of us emotionally drained. It had effected all of us and the kids in a very profound way. Tear were shed...anger was felt. The group I walked with, asked questions and raised arguements ("why did they believe Hitler", "why didn't someone stop him sooner?"). All good questions!

From there we headed out, boarding the bus where it was a quiet drive to our next stop -
 Arlington national Cemetery.

We walked all around the cemetery learning about who was buried here and how one earned their right to be buried here in this special place...there are over 330,000 honorable people buried here. As we continued to walk to the heart of the cemetary - to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Before we went to the actual site, we got an opportunity to sit for a bit and listen to our tour guide explain what we were going to see and experience. On the other side of this auditorium was the tomb, where at 6pm (15 minutes from the time we sat at the auditorium) the changing of the guards was going to take place and then we were going to participate in a wreath laying ceremony.

First, the changing of the guards...

Twenty-four hours a days a week...through rain, snow, sleet; during night and day - the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is guarded. Each guard takes 21 steps, turns & pauses 21 seconds and then proceeds to walk the other way taking those 21 steps turning and pausing 21 seconds. When it is time for the guard to change, there is a formal ceremony which we witnessed:

Once the Changing of the Guards was complete, it was time for the wreath-laying ceremony. Four of the kids were chosen from the group, based on an essay they wrote telling what it would mean to them to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier...Robert was one of the kids chosen (a mother couldn't have been more proud). First, the 4 kids has to be inspected by the Sargent before allowing to lay the wreath; they they followed him down to the Tomb where they were presented with the school wreath to be layed. When the wreath was placed on the stand, taps was blown.

When the ceremony was complete, the kids were lead back up the steps by the Sargent. He acknowledged their participating with a handshake and gratitude. It was a really wonderful event and, not only did our four representatives do a wonderful job laying the wreath, but the remaining 26 in the audience were very well behaved :).
We walked our way back through the cementery to where our bus was waiting for us. We boarded and made our way to dinner at Buca de Beppo (family style Italian salad, fresh warm bread, chicken parmesan, speghetti and a chocolate chip cookie for dessert). What a nice way to replunish one's self - a nice warm meal and good company...for it was an emotional afternoon between the Holocaust Museum and the wreath laying at Arlington. However, our day wasn't quite done as we ended the evening with a trip to the
Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial

Jefferson Memorial

Another great day comes to an end as we load up the bus and head to the hotel; where messages of packing up and taking a little time before "lights out" to work on some more homework. Tomorrow would be an early wake up call, earlier than the previous days, as we were going to the capital for a tour.

Day 6 - Monday, April 19, 2010...the last day of the trip

The wake up call came at 6am and everyone was instructed to be at breakfast around 6:45am with their packed suitcase. Today we were going to take a tour of the Capitol building and, due to the popularity of this tour, it was important to be there early to get a good spot in line.
Well our timing couldn't have been better as we were the first (school) group in line and only about 10 other people were in line before us. We were able to get into the building around 9am, giving us plenty of time to visit the Capital museum and the gift shop before starting the tour. The first part of the tour was a movie before going through 3 different parts of the Capitol building

Room 1 - the Crypt: this was were Washington was suppose to have been buried, but was buried on the grounds of Mount Vernon as we learn several days back.

Room 2 - The Rotunda - the core of the Capitol. Above us was the dome, below the top of the dome was a band showing over 400 years of history and below that were paintings. Around the room were statues - each state is represented throughout the Capitol by 1-2 of Californias was a statue of Ronald Reagan.

Room 3 - the Old Hall of the House or also referred to as the Echo Room

After finishing up the tour of the Capitol we walked back to the bus and boarded so that we could head off to the National Air and Space Museum, where we had lunch as well as had time to look through the museum.

This was my group I was responsible son, Robert is on the left and these are his friends & roommates during the trip. It was a great group of boys!

After the Air & Space Museum, we has some time to enjoy the National Museum of Natural History before boarding the bus on last time as we headed to the airport. All of us couldn't believe that this trip came to an end so quickly. The 30 kids who had the privilege of coming to DC were wonderful - well behaved and respectful. They were full of intellegent questions throughout and just soaked up the atmosphere and the information given. Aside from the education aspect of the trip, special friendships were made as they are all part of this wonderful experience.
I am so grateful that I was able to go and be a part of it all.

From the 8th grade class, teachers and chaperons...thank you for taking interest in our trip!
Take care!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Washington DC Trip - Days 3 and 4

I am sitting on the airplane right now...heading back from DC to California. I have been absent for the last few days as I haven't had time nor internet connection to update the blog. The weather has been fantastic - nice and warm Friday and Saturday, but cooling after that; yet the sun has been out making it perfect weather for touring! So, at this time I will continue telling you about the 8th grade trip to DC.

DAY 3 - Friday April 16, 2010
Once more we woke up at 6:30am with a wake up call and headed down to breakfast. It was time to make our way toward Washington DC, so everyone had to pack up their belongings after breakfast and get them on the bus.
We loaded up the bus and left the hotel around 9am - and headed to Richmond, the present day capitol of Virginia. We stopped and picked up another tour guide here, named Jim. He took us on a driving tour of downtown Richmond pointing out historic buildings as well as telling us all about the history of the city as it pertained to the beginning of the Civil War. We crossed over the James River and stopped on a bridge so that we could look over where the old iron foundries and flour mills use to be back in the late 1800s. 
We finally made our way to the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier and Pamplin Park. Here we learned what it would be like to have been a soldier in the Civil War - first by walking around the grounds and seeing a replica of a "winter camp" (not much fighting went on during the winter - the cold weather made it difficult to fire a gun and snow/rain made it difficult to travel).

We learned from Captain Ryan how muskets were loaded and how soldiers were disciplined...for example if they trailed behind the group during a march, holding up the group, they would be publically humiliated in front of their company - standing with a sign hung around their neck ("straggler" the sign would say) and they would have to hold bucket of heavy rocks for 24 hours or so.

After Captain Ryan educated us, we walked over to gain an understanding of what earth works were and how they were built up. Basically this was the defense system of an army to keep the other side out. It consisted of an earth wall, a trench and other structures made from logs.

Next it was time to head into the Museum of the Civil War Soldier. Here we learned what it would be like to have served in this war as each of us took on an identity of a solider who served back then; I was a boy from Wisconsin who was 16 - since you couldn't serve until you were 18, he had to lie in order to serve. Throughout the museum you listened to his story and how he felt, lived, survived...yes, I was lucky my soldier identity lived.  Between listening to the story, looking at the exhibits which included some artifacts from the war and the special effects - it moving. At times you really felt like you were in battle.
The exhibit was called "Duty Called Me Here..." and was based on a poem written by a soldier from the 34th North Carolina Infantry:
"I feel that Duty called me here, to fight for home and friends most dear,
and if I should be called to stand in bloody conflict hand to hand,
I'll trust in God my only stand, and fight until I win the day, or if it be my Master's will that I a soldier's grave must fill,
I trust that even in that event, I'll be resigned and fall content."
It was a very moving way to learn about the civil war...through the eyes of a soldier.

After lunch at a restaurant called Bottoms Up Pizza, we headed over to the White House of Confederacy (the home of Jefferson Davis - the Confederate President)

The Davis family had 6 children, whom all seemed to be problem children. It was built in 1818, but the Davis family only lived there between 1861-1865 (Civil War years). All the furniture was period pieces with over 50% original to the house.  It was a very beautiful house and the kids in the group loved the stories about the Davis children, especially because they seemed pretty spoiled and bad behaved :)
After we were done, it was time get to DC so that we could make it to the National Baseball game (which was what is a hockey mom doing at a baseball game anyway; no one drops their gloves...and we got rained on, something that doesn't happen at a hockey rink) and then to the hotel.

Day 4 - April 17, 2010
As per the routine...the wake up call came at around 6:30am, breakfast at 7:15am and board the bus at 8:00am. Today we are officially touring Washington DC. First up was Newseum - the museum of News. Here were able to go back into time and relive specific events by reading headlines of news papers. The first exhibit was one on the Berlin Wall. The museum actually had some part of the wall to look at and information to read about the event.

The building was 4 stories...and beginning on the forth floor, we had the chance to read about history looking at the headlines of papers written back in the 1500s to the present. As you continue to walk around and down through the museum, another exhibit which was very powerful was the one about 9/11. One of the antenae from atop the tower was here with a back drop of all the newspapers printed around the world regarding that event/day. There was also a newsreel that you could watch, which caused some tears to fall from some of our eyes.
By the way...even the bathroom had headlines to read. This one caught my eye:
"School testing mushrooms"
From the museum, we headed to the National Archives to see the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence and so on. All the kids thought it really "neat" to see the official documents and the signatures of the founding fathers/authors.
Then it was time to take a formal photo in front of the US Capitol and on to lunch at the Pentagon City Mall Food Court (there were a lot of good choices - from salads to pasta, hamburgers to sandwichs, Chinese and Sushi), before heading on to Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon - home to Mr. and Mrs. George Washington. We were able to take a tour of the house, which was very interesting and beautiful inside. I think the kids really enjoyed walking through it and seeing where George spent some of his life.
Dinner at Phillips Flagship (a HUGE buffet of anything you could ever want - especially seafood...just ask one of the teacher chaparones of the trip) and onto all the different memorials (at night and in the chill of the evening). Here are some photos from those sights.

First-The Vietnam Veterans Memorial 

Second-The Korean War Veterans Memorial

Third-The World War II Veterans Memorial
Each Memorial was special and unique. Before walking around each, Dennis, our tour guide, gave us a brief introduction to the it was designed, what the symbolism was and so on. Then we all were able to walk around to get a feel for it. Some had lists of people who served and/or who died and some had quotes chiseled in stone. I think for me, while they all were beautiful and moving, there was something about being at the WWII memorial in the evening with all the lights and water/fountains (speaking of water, one of the kids was walking around observing and accidentally stepped into one of the "ponds" - it did lighten the mood).

The next place we went was the Lincoln Monument
Walking up the steps and seeing Mr. Lincoln sitting in front of you all light up was incredible. It was a wonderful way to end a perfect day of touring! We started the day learning about the Civil War and the part that Lincoln played and in the evening, we stood in front of him...felt the power of his presence.

At the end of day 4, reflecting on the trip so far, it is overwhelming to watch the kids take in all the information they are given, process it and ask for more. They respect the places we have been so far and will forever share the memories and bond they are establishing as they visit these places together. 
Well, it is time to put the finishing touches on this post as my battery is running low, but I will leave you with this photo of DC at night..
Thank you for visiting - come back soon as I will finish up with Day 5 and 6 very, very soon!