Saturday, June 28, 2008
I am SO proud!
She did it! She wrote her name! This is not something we've pushed because she gets very frustrated with us when we do. We learned early on to back off and let her come to these types of things when she's ready. She's been writing her E for a while. This morning she showed me that she could make an M. I told her she could make an A with one hump and a line. Then she did it and showed me. Then she made me look away while she wrote her whole name. I'm not supposed to watch.

A small thrilling moment in motherhood. I just wanted to share.

Thursday, June 26, 2008
The perfect meal...
(Inspired by DJ)

Would it be?

Crispy fried chicken, homemade macaroni and cheese, M's aunt's fruit salad and buttery biscuits, topped of with a brownie sundae.


Turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, broccoli and cheese casserole, my aunt's apple salad and a slice of toll house pie.


Country Ham, corn bread, buttery green beans and baked apples, topped off with a lemon cake.


Pulled pork BBQ sandwich, baked beans, potato chips, fresh fruit and homemade ice cream.


Homemade lasagna, caesar salad and fresh hot french bread, topped off with chocolate cake with cream cheese icing.


Pepper steak with rice and egg rolls, topped off with Pop's cake.


London broil, mashed potatoes, asparagus with Noni's cheese sauce and Noni's salad with eggs, topped off with cheesecake.


Maybe I should stop. By the way, the diet is going great. I've lost 36 lbs. Woo hoo!

(P. S. The preceding list is what is know in dieting circles as food porn. Call me a pervert. Man, I'm hungry!)
A Sunny Sunday in June
This was from a couple weeks ago. My aunt threw a party for my grandmother's 88th birthday. It turned out to be a beautiful day and the party was well attended. I got the opportunity to see family that I rarely see. I'll bet my aunt thought I had totally forgotten to share these pictures. In truth I've just been spreading things out a bit.

This first picture is just a snapshot of a corner of the activity...

The girls are following the garden stones as they explore the garden.

Over in the hayfield the kids found their own entertainment. While M. poses on one hay bale you can see other kids in the background trying to roll another one.

The birthday girl with her party swag.

The girls are all working on putting together a sand necklace.

Time for homemade ice cream.

A family portrait. Notice which ones aren't exactly with the program...

Playing on the stone wall at sundown...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Update on the foot
This was my follow-up after the last demoralizing visit. This one went much better. He agreed that the wound looked pretty good. He finally answered one question that had been nagging me. What was the gray stuff in the middle of the wound. He said it looked like a dead vein from when he had cauterized the wound earlier. Good to know. He cut away some dead skin and tried to get the dead vein too. Unfortunately when he started poking at my wound with pointy tweezers and scissors I jumped. Bad. Now my wound is bleeding and sore again. Pfffffft.

It had been doing so well that yesterday I walked on my treadmill for the first time in nearly a month. I only did it for thirty minutes because I didn't want to aggravate the wound right before seeing the doctor. It went pretty well. I was trying to alleviate the stiffness I've developed in my left hip from walking funny for weeks. Lordy, I'll be so glad when this thing is healed up and done.

He didn't schedule any more appointments. He just said to call him back in a few weeks and let him know how it turned out. If it ever gets bad again we'll take a more aggressive course of treatment. I'm hoping that won't be necessary.
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center
This museum is located next to Dulles Airport. It has an observation tower and hangars that house planes for display. It's really quite an experience to see it all.

The first thing we did when we arrived was head up to the observation tower. We were able to watch planes coming in for a landing at Dulles on both sides of the observation tower.

This is the newly built control tower at Dulles Airport.

A plane comes in for a landing.

The statue in front of the museum. It's called "Ascent." I really like it. It's a very pleasing piece, up close and far away.

When we were done in the observation tower we headed for the hangars where the planes were displayed. The next two photos were taken from a catwalk in the middle of the hangar. You can see a great view of a retired Concorde in the first picture.

The girls enjoyed seeing the planes, but really, they were their own entertainment.

We stopped for lunch and went out to the parking area for our picnic. Afterward we all got a closer look at the "Ascent."

Around the marble base there was a "fountain" where water trickled down over stones. It was pretty cool. The kids were going to throw in coins, but once we saw that there really weren't many there we realized that the trick was to throw the coins onto to marble base. I think the girls mostly kept their pennies.

After lunch we went to the IMAX theatre to see "Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag." It was Emma's first time in a movie theater. She did pretty well, but I'll say I'm glad the movie was only 45 minutes long. When the movie was over the fellas went back to look at more planes and we took the girls to the McDonald's in the museum and bought them ice cream. We also took the opportunity to hit the gift shop. I bought M another folder for his smooshed penny collection. Here the girls are catching up on some reading while waiting for their ice cream. This is the reason I still carry the big black bag (or let Noni do it ;)

Some of my favorite planes
SR71 Blackbird

Boeing 707. I mostly dig the groovy colors of this one.

Pan American Airways Boeing S-307 Stratoliner Clipper Flying Cloud

Enola Gay.

Soviet MiG-21

Space Shuttle Enterprise This one never went to space, but was used for tests within our atmosphere. Read the wiki page for details.

Monday, June 23, 2008
Like her grandpa...
My father-in-law could run around in the bitter winter in shirtsleeves. I know he owned a coat. I saw him wear it just a few times. M isn't quite as bad as his Dad, but he gets by without a coat when I wouldn't consider it. Emma is like both of them. She hates warm bath water; she'll scream like you're scalding her.

Right now they're outside swimming. The air temperature is 76, the water temperature is 76 and the indoor temperature is 76.

Yesterday, the water temperature was 71 and the air temperature was 60. We thought a quick dip would change her mind about having to swim really quickly. She didn't want to come out. We finally had to pull her out for fear of hypothermia.
First lesson
Emma has never learned to pedal. This is the hurdle she needs to overcome. She'll push the pedal forward once turn and then backward, forcing the bike to stop. She gets very frustrated. It's frustrating to watch her struggle, but I have the sure knowledge that she will master bike-riding. She's not quite so sure.

Sunday, June 22, 2008
Hains Point, West Potomac Park, Washington, D.C.
I took a couple of days off to spend time with my brother and his kids while he was off for the week. Noni and Popi decided to join us. On Thursday we drove into DC. Our plan was to go to Hains Point to see the statue "The Awakening" and to watch the planes taking off and landing across the river at Reagan National Airport. Unfortunately, a developer bought and moved "The Awakening" last year. We still managed to enjoy our trip to the park. I took lots of pictures of airplanes, the kids got to play on the playground and we enjoyed a picnic lunch. On one side of the river we could see the planes and on the other side of us helicopters were taking off and landing. We were circled numerous times by a colorful and sweaty peloton.

National Museum of Natural History
After our picnic lunch at Hains Point we drove downtown to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. We checked out the dinosaur skeletons, the insect zoo, the mammals and the kids checked out the western culture exhibit. Noni and I tried to check out the gems, but people were stacked three deep trying to get a look and we gave up. We did manage to see the Hope Diamond.

Reagan National Airport
From Hains Point we took lots of pictures of the planes taking off and landing at Reagan National. It's quite exciting to watch this from close up since you'd never be allowed to see all this from the airport anymore. I took these with the telephoto lens. Uncle B took some too.

You can track this plane in three photos of take-off.

In this photo you can see the U. S. Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Virginia.

As this plane comes in for a landing you can see the distinctive Masonic Building in Alexandria, Virginia.