Sunday, July 18, 2010

God is Bigger than the Boogie Man

Katie sings the Veggie Tales song at church after the service, inspired to sing at the microphone by Mom who had just sung a solo in the service.

Right after Mom finished singing the solo, Katie ran to meet her halfway and gave her a big hug!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Katie and Mommy's Big Adventure - National Zoo (Day 4)

After our adventure at the National Mall, Katie and I took an even longer metro ride to the National Zoo.  Katie has been really excited about watching Go Diego, Go recently and one of the episodes includes giant pandas.  The National Zoo in Washington, DC has two of the few giant pandas that are not in China so we wanted to go see them while we had the chance.

 This is a very cool place.  I didn't realize that this zoo is entirely free to the public (minus $2 for the map) and I am amazed that such a place exists for free.  The animals there include the usual elephants, monkeys, etc but also include animals that are harder to come by such as sloth bears and the giant panda.  Unfortunately for us, it was such a hot day (100 degrees again) that many of the animals weren't out and about.  For the first 20 minutes of wandering the zoo, this picture of the sloth bear is as close as we got to any animals.

Just when I had started to despair that our whole long walk in the hot weather had been for naught, we came upon the red panda.  Although it is called a panda and comes from the same area of China as the giant panda, it actually looks more like a fox or a raccoon. 
Fortunately, the main attraction of the zoo (at least for us) had a nicely air conditioned home where they could eat and rest in peace during the hot days, and lots of windows that we tourists could gawk through to see them.  Behold, the giant panda:

 This is one of my first attempts at using the manual focus on my new camera and lens.  Still needs a bit of work since this is the only one that allows you to actually see both subjects and still had to be edited some.  Even after editing it isn't really clear, but, I found that taking a picture of a child who was hot and not especially cooperative, the crowds of tourists flocking around in waves, and thick glass with limited lighting in the room I was standing in, was difficult.  I'm kind of pleased I got a picture this nice.  More training is needed on manual focus.  At least the panda didn't move. :)

After the pandas we stopped to eat lunch and some flavored ice and then hunted down the elephants.

I had watched the weather that morning and noticed that it had called for scattered afternoon thunderstorms and, noting that it was afternoon, I decided to call my resourceful husband back home to get an idea of whether there were thunderstorms headed our way or not.  My call was just in time as he told me that there was a cell with a red center headed our way within 15 minutes. We headed back toward the entrance of the zoo, knowing we wouldn't make it before the rain but we wanted to see a few more animals.  On our way to shelter we managed to see zebras and a pacing cheetah.   I was also pleased to see a maned wolf (which I actually recognized by the picture on the map because Katie is not the only one who has been watching Diego save animals...) although he was hot and all we could see of him was the back of his ears.

We managed to take shelter under a canopy where talks are held when the first raindrops hit.  After the first blitz, we continued to head toward the front of the zoo but stopped at the entrance to look at the gift shop again and go to the bathroom.  Jim then called to tell me that the second cell was coming our way so we needed to go quickly to the metro station.  As I looked outside from the gift shop, the downpour had already begun.  I'm glad that we made it to the building because we were there for a good 30 minutes watching the downpour.  Katie amused herself pretending to be an animal and running up and down the stairs and I amused myself spending too much money in the gift shop (have to support such a lovely zoo!).  At long last, the rain cleared and we headed back to the hotel to pick up the car and head to our next destination...Williamsburg!

(Did I mention that, after a long, hot day of walking around the zoo and riding the metro back to the hotel, the hotel shuttle from the metro stop had been in an accident and couldn't take us to the hotel?  We walked a mile to the hotel and we were POOPED.  Katie wanted TV and I wanted her to nap.  We both got what we wanted as she fell asleep in less than two minutes to the opening song of Diego.  Another funny note:  When we were standing in line to eat dinner at Golden Corral that night, Katie commented that something smelled bad as she held her nose in distaste.  After our long hot day of lots of walking, I told her I thought it was us.)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Katie and Mommy's Big Adventure - National Mall (Picture overload!)

As promised!

In honor of my grandfather, who fought in the Atlantic theater during WWII.

First, we started at the Washington Monument.

We had a long walk to the Lincoln Memorial and it was SO HOT!  We had to cool down with a popsicle and a ball.

Of course there was more of this...
...than this.

After a long walk, there were loooots of steps...
But they were worth it to see Mr. Lincoln!
Then we stopped by the Korean War Memorial and patted a police horse before heading back to the metro station. 
This is by far my favorite pic of the day.

Good night Washington...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The best singer

We've taken to singing a song for Katie before we turn her music on at night to sleep.  Since neither of us have many songs memorized, we have a hymnal stashed in her room to help.  Tonight, I decided to sing an old favorite of mine, "Hymn of Promise."  (In the bulb, there is a flower, in the seed, an apple tree...)

After I finished tonight Katie sat up and gave me a really tight squeeze hug and said,
"You're the best singer.  More than church, more than Daddy, more than everyone.  Even me!  You're the bestest singer in the whole world!

What more could I ask for?

(PS, more trip pics coming soon, I promise!)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bachin' it

What does one do while the ladies are out? All the the things that require disruptions to the house and schedule, of course!

  • Meet the financial planner for lunch
  • Old Habits Bluegrass Band free outdoor concert (as long as you don't mind 91° at 7:30 P.M., which I and a great many others didn't)


  • Fasten the garage door properly. The builders stopped when they got to the brick at the bottom cubit of the track. That's fine if you don't mind the bottom of the track wobbling a bit, but that pesky infrared beam at the bottom kept getting broken by misaligned track. I used masonry screws to fasten track to brick. Duh.
  • Blog about our evening walks
  • Try again to fasten the household surge suppressor to the wall. No joy. Maybe next time.
  • Free concert: Triangle Brass Band. A small amphitheater full of people did not turn from 95° at 7:00! For the Star Spangled Banner, the euphoniums played the piccolo part! They did a pretty good job, too!
  • Walk around the lake
  • Shop for thermostats and a replacement battery for the porch light timer
  • Install and program thermostats and battery
  • Prep for promotion Sunday. This is insane because 1) I didn't have the manual before class 2) I changed rooms and got a different set of materials than the set I was familiar with 3) I wasn't even sure which room I was supposed to be in!
  • Teach Sunday School - 3 kids, 2 teachers. Good ratio :)
  • Attend the 11:10 Church service - good sermon on how we are/should be interrupted by God. (Oh, and a funny ministry moment video about how people should teach Sunday School including the bit where I explain how easy it is to follow the material and, "if you mess up a word while reading [the lesson book] to them, the 3 year olds don't care.")
  • Go to Michael's house for lunch and an MST3K movie. Thanks, Amy!
  • Shop for a ceiling fan
  • Rearrange light switches - the motion detector didn't work in the foyer, so I moved it to the top of the back stairs.
  • Install the ceiling fan
  • Return camera accessories we didn't actually need
  • Buy light bulbs, get free ones for the ceiling fan since it didn't come with any
  • Buy more light bulbs ($1.05 for a 4-pack of 2700k CFL bulbs is AWESOME!)
  • Install some of those light bulbs
  • Grouse about the oil spill while watching Antiques Roadshow and History Detectives
  • Install a dimmer switch where we had a broken one before
  • Spackle and paint where a thermostat used to be. (There's still a thermostat very near there, but the new one is smaller.)
  • Work on Wikipedia related to LeapFrog Enterprises. There was nothing much on the Tag.
  • Exchange and install more CFL bulbs. Gotta love that $1.05 sale!
  • Freecycle stuff

  • Clean up the mess I made
  • Do dishes
  • Get ready for the ladies' return!
  • Share hugs and kisses with the weary travellers!