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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June's Over???

Oh, it breaks my heart.  Well, we still have a good 7 weeks or so this summer before school starts back and I plan to thoroughly enjoy them.  Seriously, where did June go?

Brennan has been taking diving lessons at the Park and Rec pool.  Here he is on his first day with a high jump.  He's diving really well off the side and off our diving board but the height on this one is causing him some frustration.  He'll get it though!

Here's what his brother does during diving lessons - only minor rumblings about it being hot/boring/taking too long.  He's got the "Narnia" series that he's into so it keeps it interesting.

David snapped this one morning while I was out.  Brennan reading the Wall Street Journal Money & Investing section.

We got this book for David for Father's Day - something he can go through with the boys.  They LOVE this book.  On the way back from Mississippi it warmed David's heart to hear Brennan say, "But Thomas, I wanted to read the microeconomics book next!"

Brennan asked David a number of times if they could go see the new "Karate Kid" movie.  David took him one afternoon and when they got home Brennan dug his old Tae Kwan Do uniform out of the cedar chest, put it on, and went out in the front yard to "do his exercises".  It was so cute.  He now would like to take Kung Fu lessons.  Hmm, we'll see.

He then got a long stick and did his back exercises (apparently like the kid in the movie).

We've spent a lot of time swimming with friends over the last couple of weeks.  Because we don't live in a neighborhood with many kids, it's always fun when we can plan to have friends over. 

Thomas & Emerson

Sophia about to make a big splash.

Eating sundaes leftover from Thomas's birthday party.

It's been a beautiful summer - here's to several more weeks of the same!

Monday, June 28, 2010

101 Places to See Before You're 12 - A Hero's Home

A Hero's Home

(I don't think David was as excited as I was to pose as Abe and Mary Todd Lincoln.)

OK, here's a little more enthusiasm.

Last weekend we got to make some impromptu stops on our way back from visiting family.  One stop we made was to visit Abraham Lincoln's Birthplace and Museum

When we started looking at the "101 Places" book earlier this year, I asked the boys who they considered a "Hero".  They both agreed on Abraham Lincoln, which worked out nicely since we live in his part of the country :)

Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky and lived there until he was a young boy.  Then his family moved to Indiana, then to Illinois.  All of these states have memorials and tributes to him.

Our first stop in Hodgenville, Kentucky was the Abraham Lincoln Museum.

Then we went to the beautiful park that has a memorial to his birthplace.

This is the memorial that houses his symbolic birth home.  It is over 100 years old and is under renovation at this moment so we could not go in, but we could climb the 59 stairs that symbolize the 59 years of his life.

All around the memorial are trails and paths.  There were several families having picnics on this really hot summer day. 

This is a scan of a postcard of the symbolic first home of Abraham Lincoln - where he was born.  It's inside the building above that we could not go into.

When Abraham Lincoln was running for president, an investigator went to this area of Kentucky to see if the soon-to-be famous president's original birthplace was still intact since it would soon become a place Americans would want to visit.  There was some confusion, but it turns out that by that time the home no longer existed.  So this symbolic representation was built.

In the National Park building at the park, this beautiful bronze statue of Abe's parents, his sister Sarah, and himself as a baby greets us.

We feel like we have gotten to see quite a bit of Abraham Lincoln's tributes and important locations in our recent travels.

In October 2008 we went to Washington, D.C.  The Lincoln Memorial became Brennan's favorite memorial.  He took this photo below as a 6 year old.

Here he is in front of his favorite spot.

We also toured past the Ford Theater where Lincoln was shot.

From the Book:
#90 - A Hero's Home

Brave.  Determined.  Inspiring.  Unforgettable.  Those are all words that describe the greatest leaders, the people whom we know as heroes.  They come from different backgrounds - some rich, some poor, some well educated, others self-made.  But somehow they became people that we've all heard of and admire.  When you visit the home of a hero, you learn something about his or her story and contributions to history.  But more than that, you leave with the impression that one person really can change the world, and that's reason enough to try.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Swimming & Sundaes 2010

Thomas had a wonderful birthday party!  12 active boys for 4 hours of swimming and running around the yard.  The kids were all so good.  We were thrilled that Amelia, our sitter from last summer, was able to join us.  We missed her while she was away at school!

Thomas is blessed with wonderful friends!

Double Digits

It is hard to believe but Thomas is 10 today. 
He's got a big swimming & sundaes party planned for later this afternoon.

Ten Things about Thomas:
He adores babies and babies light up when they see him (pediatrician?).
He reads incessantly.  Can't get in the car to run a quick errand without a book handy.
He really doesn't like walking in the grass barefoot.
He'd like to be good enough to play tennis in high school.
He is super sweet and very attentive to people's feelings (but don't tell him I told you).
He is a wonderful big brother to Brennan.  They are very close.
He's not a morning person.
Is completely uninterested in girls at the moment.  I wonder if that will ever change.
Loves to talk about investing, economics, chemistry, and cars with his Dad.
Loves to play board games (like me).  His current favorites are Battleship, Clue, and Monopoly.

Happy Birthday, Thomas!
We Love You!

(Me most of all)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Patton Museum (a.k.a. Father's Day Weekend continues!)

Grandpa Laroy, this one's for you.

As if two car museums and a trip to the Space & Rocket Center weren't a dream come true this past weekend, we also took a side trip to Ft. Knox, Kentucky on our way home from our visit with family.

This is one of those places David has mentioned more than a few times as we pass the sign for the Patton Museum on I65.  I was happy to go because I lived in Ft. Knox when I was 4/5 and it was fun to see it again.

Now that I'm no longer an Army Brat I didn't have any privileges to go on the Post, but we did see it from afar. 

Since "Tank Museum" isn't on the 101 Places to Visit list, this will just be a regular post about our visit :)

I was hoping we could see the gold, but no such luck.  This is where they keep it though.  I saw several layers of barbed wire.

The cemetery and memorial at the entrance to the Patton Museum.

The boys in front of (what David is pretty sure is) a 155mm artillery piece.

It was a HOT, sunny day. 

Outside there were a number of tanks and other Armor equipment.  This is an M1 Abrams main battle tank, according to my in-house expert.

And here's Thomas inside the museum in a simulator of the tank above.  He's driving the tank here.

David had the camera most of this visit.  Here are the boys in front of a Soviet Iraqi tank.

And the boys serving as commander and gunner in the simulator.

A very happy David and the boys.

Yes, I was there!  We're in front of a North Korean T34.

And Thomas as a WWI soldier.

It really was fun to see Ft. Knox after all these years, and it was great to give David the opportunity to FINALLY see the Patton Museum (especially since we learned it'll be transitioned to Ft. Benning, Georgia later this year).

I feel pretty well linked to Patton after seeing the movie once or twice with David and visiting the Monument in Bastogne, Belgium 9 years ago.  Didn't have to travel as far this time!

101 Places to See Before You're 12 - A Space Place

A Space Place

For our most recent trip to Mississippi we had a number of unplanned stops along the way, but this one was planned - the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

(yes, I bought the photo)

The boys and I had never been to Rocket Center but David went years ago.  He was eager to show us all around. 

Back in the 1950s former German engineers and scientists went to either the US or Russia to work on their space programs.  The US set up this location in Huntsville to focus on developing the technology to take us into space.

Thomas has asked me repeatedly to caption this next photo:

"3, 2, 1 BLAST OFF!"

Inside the Rocket Center there is a huge rocket hanging on the ceiling - it's pretty impressive.

Many kids (and adults) come to the Space and Rocket Center every summer for Space Camp which I'm sure is a lot of fun.

Dad explaining the different stages of the rockets.  There's a Star Wars exhibit opening up this weekend that they were advertising.  Unfortunately, we missed it going a weekend early.

I learned a lot while we were here.  The displays are set up nicely and there is plenty to read about and see.  We also watched a 3D movie called "Fly Me to the Moon" - a cartoon depiction of the first moon landing.  It was pretty cute.

Yes, I was there too!

Looking at the rocket from the other end of the space center.

Inside a rocket.

They had 3 rides that the boys were pretty excited about but BOY was it hot outside!  Luckily we were there on a day when there were no lines.  I've heard of people waiting an hour to ride.

David and Thomas went on this ride that goes up about 75 feet in the air.  Thomas LOVED it.  David's stomach is still up there.  Unfortunately, Brennan didn't quite make the height restriction so he rode the younger kids' version.

Lots of military equipment around as well.

From the Book:
#7 - A Space Place

FOUR, THREE, TWO, ONE - BLAST OFF!  Experience 'g-force acceleration', feel what a blast-off is like, sit inside a rocket, see pictures of the sun's surface, and get a taste of life on Mars.  You can do all this and more at a space center or museum.  Space exploration is an amazing combination of science and imagination - the perfect example of what people mean when they say "if you can dream it, you can do it."  Scientists and engineers have made it possible to go places and see things that no one would have thought possible just a generation ago.  Start dreaming now, and who knows how far you can go...

As an aside, a few people have asked if I quit doing the 52 in 52 project - making sure I am in a picture every week. No - I am still doing it! It's just that I've gotten better about handing the camera over and making sure I'm in photos regularly! Then I link my post to Carin's blog each week.