Sunday, June 30, 2013

Cpl. Alexander, of the Confederate Army

I'm too tired to write much more about today, but let's just say that so far, my hard work and advance planning has been a HUGE success.

We're having a fantastic time together as a family, and the boys are learning a lot.

And my trip folders have been a HIT. So take that, Danger Daddy, for scoffing at me when I spent so much time making them up for everyone.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Day 1: Blackbirds, Canals and Poison Ivy

We made our ungodly early flight and arrived perfectly well. It took us an hour to get the rental car, but we had left the airport by noon and were on our way.

First stop: the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum.

This was a big hit with Team Danger. I liked seeing some of the historical planes. And the Concorde was cool - much smaller than I would have thought, though. They also had a space shuttle. Oh, and an SR-71. Pretty much as soon as Carl read that they had one, we had to go here. I know WAY more than I ever wanted to know about SR-71s.

 And a LOT of other planes.


The part I liked the best was the Observation tower - you can see the planes take off and land at Dulles airport, as well as beautiful vistas for 40 miles.

Then we had about an hour's drive to our hotel. I had picked Frederick, Maryland as our civil war sites base, since its in the middle of a triangle of some big places, and I didn't want us moving hotels too much.
The drive was absolutely lovely, taking us on quaint, pastoral roads, past Southern mansions, and rolling farms.

 We stopped along the way in a part of the C&O Canal National Park, to stretch our legs. It was right after we had crossed this lovely bridge along the Potomac, with Virginia on one side, and Maryland on the other.

So naturally I manage to trip just a teensy little bit, and I reach out to steady myself by touching a tree with some greenery on it. A few seconds later, I'm screaming in pain. "Is this poison ivy?" Carl, Scout leader, assures me it is not. Since its big and on a tree, how could it be? Alex, my little Webelo Scout, looks at the plant and says, 'that furry part is not good. That's poisonous. They told us to always avoid furry plants.' Greeeaat.
 So I sit out the geocaching adventure the boys are heading on, and google my pain away. (above photo taken before tree attacked me)

 Ryan found the geocache - look at his happy face!

 And, it has LOTS of goodies, including the boys current favorite thing in the world, DC Dollars. (Not really DC dollars, but play money that is exactly the same size as the boys DC dollars).

 Since you have to leave something when you take something, Ryan left one of HIS DC dollars behind.

 By this time, my arm was starting to have welts from my point of contact with the deadly bush.

 Maryland, perhaps the last state I will enter if my arm and fingers don't get better.

 Did I mention I loved the drive? When I wasn't crying with my tingling pain, that is.

 Finally: Frederick. This town was way more adorably perfect than I had thought. I'll have to do more exploring and take more pictures over the next few days, because we didn't really get here until it was almost dark.

 But I think I'm ready to move. I love it here!

 Our dinner spot tonight. I had an apple and Marlyand ham pizza - yum!

And lest you feel that death is coming my way soon, Google has since confirmed that it was, in fact, poison ivy. Maryland Poison Ivy. Which looks a lot different than Texas poison ivy.

Day 1: Blackbirds, Canals, and Poison Ivy
Day 2: Antietam and Monocacy National Battlefields

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Wild, Wild West Cub Scout Camp

Before Art Camp, our first week of the summer was spent at Cub Scout Camp, where the theme this year was the Wild, Wild, West.

We have a LOT more photos of Ryan at Cub Scout camp than Alexander, thanks to the wonderful den leaders we had for Ryan who took pictures of practically every activity they did and even started our own private blog with real-time updates.

Whereas Alexander's den leader for the week sent us all of about two wrap-up emails, that were mostly like, "Don't forget water bottles" and "pick up is at 4:30 sharp."

I did get a few of Alexander on the last day of camp.

He made this lamp all by himself, and gave it to Carl for a Fathers Day present.

Alexander was, how do you say it, lukewarm on Scout camp this year. He still really loves scouts, and he loved what they did, but our den got shafted when it came to placing the kids. The four boys who went were divided up into two dens, and he really only had one friend with him, and its certainly not one of his best friends by any stretch. So. Crappy den leader who gave us no details, no photos, and a not so happy Alex.

Otherwise... welcome to the Ryan Show.

Ryan was with his whole den.

Plus some of his best friends.

And he had two den leaders, including his good friend's mom.

His other den leader started a blog for us, so we were given real-time updates throughout the day of everything they were doing.


I have so many photos, I don't know what to do with them.

The best part? Lana and Ann-Marie are planning to do it again, next year, for our kids. Finding the all-week den leader volunteers is hard, and we scored big time with them.

Both boys were kept very busy during their week - here is just one day's schedule!

And check out the bling they came home with. Ryan loves his patches.

Still - I'm going to think twice before automatically signing Alex up for Scout camp in the future.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Government of the People, by the People, for the People

Last night, something truly amazing happened. It made me proud to be a woman, to be an American, to be a Democrat, and to be a Texan.

And as we are set to embark on two-week voyage to the heart of American liberty and democracy with the children, this couldn't have come at a better time. All the history books we've been reading and all the movies we've been watching, and right here in Austin, we get the best demonstration of democracy in action. Ever.

As Abraham Lincoln said in his Gettysburg address, we are truly a government of the people, by the people, for the people, and we shall not perish from this earth. No matter how hard and illegal the Republicans play, the people have spoken, and we will continue to speak. You can call us an angry mob if it makes you feel better, David Dewhurst. I'm proud to be a member of this group of people. And MY mob didn't violate the Texas Constitution with its illegal votes and unconstitutional shutting down of dissenting female senators speaking. Nor did we spend three hours trying to change the clock.

Thank you, Sen. Wendy Davis. You are a true Superhero.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Art Camp 2013, Starring Penguins, Koalas, and ... Snakes

Our second week of summer vacation was spent at the art camp hosted by our school's art teacher. The boys went last year, and LOVED this camp, so it was a natural do-over choice. I even managed a few "in progress" pictures during a drop-off this year.

And for the finished work... Alex made the larger penguin and the polar bear. Ryan made the smaller penguin, along with a monster. He gave the monster to Al for Father's Day and I somehow didn't get a good picture of it, but you can see it in the top picture when he's holding it.

Love this koala scratch art by Ryan.

And more Ryan originals:

These are Ryan's "trading cards."

And Alexander's artwork. I love the penguin.

And this snake painting is incredible.

But there were more snakes to come, because almost all of Alexander's trading cards featured snakes.

His drawing skills impress me to no end, and I love, love his work. Its just that they are, you know, SNAKES.

And I'm more than a little afraid he might ending up getting sorted into Slytherin.


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