Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween from the Wards

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Trevor's Arrow of Light

When Trevor turned 11 years old he entered a new phase of scouting. A special pack meeting was held to honor his accomplishments as a cub scout and celebrate his passage into 11-year old scouts. 11-year old scouts are no longer cub scouts. They are Boy Scouts.

Trevor was awarded his Arrow of Light award at this pack meeting. The Arrow of Light award is the highest award available to Cub Scouts. It requires the Scout to have earned the Webelos Scout badge and eight activity badges. The Arrow of Light award is the only Cub Scout award that can be worn on a Boy Scout uniform.

Along with his arrow of light patch, Trevor was presented with an actual Arrow of Light, made by his dad.

Trevor and his best buddy, Jacob, were both awarded on the same night. After they finished the Arrow of Light ceremony they made the symbolic journey through the tunnel to the new world of Boy Scouts. They were greeted by their new scout leaders on the other side. It was a special moment. A HUGE moment to be more specific. This award was the last one Trevor would receive as a cub scout!

This upcoming year will be full of "lasts and firsts" for our Trevor boy. He is growing up so quickly. We are excited to see him mature and grow, but wish we could hold on to those younger moments just a little bit longer. Since Trevor was a baby, people have been offering the advice, "Enjoy them while they're young. They grow so fast." It is only now that I am finally realizing the brutal truth in that statement that I heard over and over as a young mother.

For now, we will look forward to many more years of scouting in Boy Scouts! Trevor will learn and grow so much in the coming years. We are proud of him for making so many good choices and working so hard to earn this highest award in Cub Scouts.

Congratulations Trevor!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

DC 2010 Day 2

September 12, 2010

It was only one month before this trip we jumped into the Alias TV series. That show is all about spies, CIA, and bad guys. To say the least, we feel like we know spy work up and down, backwards and forwards because of our dedication to this show. As it turns out, there is an International Spy Museum in Washington DC. We had never before visited the Spy Museum, but now that we had this new obsession with Alias, and all things spy related, we knew we had to do it. We were not allowed to take pictures inside due to Top Secret stuff on display throughout. The very end of the museum experience is a video presentation about real life international spies - all bad guys - that have been caught and found guilty of so many crimes. We were wholly entertained and enlightened about the world of spies. This museum was a fun experience for all ages (just maybe not for those younger kids).

On this day of our trip we saw many people on the metro and groups of people walking the streets of DC wearing matching t-shirts and carrying flags. We came to find out that there was a Tea Party rally happening today at the Capitol. After the Spy Museum we made our way to the National Mall and found this great crowd of protesters out in front of the Capitol. It was a peaceful gathering that lasted the entire day. Special guest speakers and musicians took the stage this day to protest big government and support lower taxes, less government and more freedom!

We had planned to visit a few National Smithsonian Museums on this day. (The Capitol, Smithsonians, and Spy Museum are all within walking distance of each other.) The U.S. Botanic Garden, established by Congress in 1820, is a living plant museum located on the National Mall across from the U.S. Capitol. Neither of us had ever been there and wanted to walk through for a quick tour. We saw a few fun plants, real bananas growing on a tree, and a Venus Fly Trap.

We visited two different art museums today. The first was the American Art Museum which had been advertised all over the city with banners of Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas showing their Norman Rockwell collections. The name of their exhibit was called "Telling Stories". "Lucas and Spielberg recognized a kindred spirit in Rockwell and formed significant collections of his work. Rockwell’s paintings and the films of Lucas and Spielberg evoke love of country, small town values, children growing up, unlikely heroes, acts of imagination and life’s ironies." (No pictures were allowed at this exhibit.) It was fascinating to see the vastness of their combined collections and enjoy them.

The second art museum we visited was the National Gallery of Art. We specifically located the Impressionist Era paintings so Jeremy could see some Monets for the first time! Look at these lovely works of art. They are original paintings!

Monet . . . . . . . . . . & . . . . . . . . . . . .Picasso

In the evening, we made our way over to the Natural History Museum. We got there at the end of visiting hours and had time to see one thing, a 40 foot squid! This picture is of a real life - dead/preserved squid. Ew!

We were allowed to stay in the building longer than the other guests because we had tickets to see the IMAX movie The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest.

Outside the theater was a statue that inspired the character from the Night at the Museum movies. "Dum dum, you give me gum gum."

Ben's Chili Bowl was our destination of choice for dinner tonight. Ben's is famous for it's chili and having been visited by many different celebrities; namely, Bill Cosby and Barack Obama. We went to experience the food and the atmosphere. And boy did we get both! We ordered so much food: A chili hot link, a chili burger, and chili cheese fries!

Thank heavens for those late night food joints. We had a hard time adjusting to East Coast Time and wound up eating dinner at 9 and 10 every night! Dinner left us stuffed and overly full. We rolled ourselves back to hotel to soak in the hotel hot tub to rest and rejuvenate our weary legs for the next day's adventures.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

DC 2010 Day 1

September 11, 2010

Back in September, Jeremy and I got to take a second trip to Washington DC. (Our last trip was last November in 2009. Check out our last adventure here, here, here, here, here, and here.) This year, Jeremy's school was a finalist for the Intel School of Distinction Award. Intel invited Jeremy and some of his coworkers out to Washington DC for a 3-day event surrounding the award proceedings. We wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to see more sights than we got to see last time. We booked our flight and hotel so we could arrive a few days before the Intel itinerary began so we could have more time to see and do what we wanted. We arrived late September 10th and began our touring on September 11th.

Mount Vernon was our first destination on this trip. We chose to take public transportation and ended up on the metro and bus system for over 2 hours each way! The time travel was definitely worth it as we very much enjoyed touring the grounds and the new museum.

I was overwhelmed with the reverent feeling at all of the burial sites especially at the unmarked graves in the slaves' cemetery. A small monument was inscribed with "Faith, Hope, and Love" to honor those men and women who worked at Mt. Vernon.

Jeremy's favorite part of our Mt. Vernon tour was walking the forest path. He feels so at home and content in the woods.

We finished our visit to Mt. Vernon in the new museum. We saw many of Washington's old letters, clothing, weapons, and even his own dentures! Ew!

We finished up at Mt. Vernon and took our 2 1/2 hour ride back into the city. Once there, we made our way to Old Ebbitt Grill. It is a famous restaurant in Washington D.C. This eatery was the #1 recommended dining experience from everyone we asked. It is literally steps from the White House and many former presidents have eaten here. Jeremy chose the gnocchi dish while Jennifer went for the traditional fish and chips platter. Both entrees were delicious as you can see by the satisfied look on Jeremy's face.

Following our fine dinner at Old Ebbitt Grill we walked over to the White House. We noticed that the flag was at half mast, in honor of September 11th today. We also saw a guard perched on the roof!

We stayed only a short time at the White House and then hopped on the metro to ride out to Georgetown - a destination we'd never been before. We saw beautiful homes and hoards of people walking the streets of this swanky upscale historical neighborhood.
This picture doesn't do justice to the neighborhood. The homes were so beautiful with their colonial doors, brick work, wrought iron, and painted shutters. We've always wanted to have a house that has all of these characteristics. Maybe someday... but for now, we will be content to dream.

Day 1 of our trip ended back in the hotel room. Jeremy & Jennifer snuggled in front of the laptop watching an entire disc (4 episodes) of Alias - our latest obsession. We brought 3 Alias Netflix discs on this trip to occupy any down time and to watch on our flights. After that first night we knew we needed to pace ourselves or we'd finish off all those episodes before we left for home!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It wouldn't be Halloween without...


Jackson got stitches today. Here's the story:

This morning was our annual "Donuts with Dad"
event at our school. Not everyone in our family likes donuts (Logan, specifically, who eats zero sweets) so daddy and the kids headed over for a delicious breakfast at McDonald's. As they were getting out of the car, kids hopping out, doors flying open, and Jackson ran smack! into the edge of the open door! And *thud* landed on his back. Blood dripped everywhere. Jeremy tried desperately to get it to stop, but head injuries like to bleed forever. He finally got things under control long enough to order the kids' food to eat in the car and head for home. What a special treat that was.

As soon as they walked through the door we headed back out to the urgent care. It was quickly confirmed that, yes, Jackson needed stitches. This fact may be hard to believe, but Jackson, child #4 at 4 years old, is the first of our children to need stitches. It is quite the miracle that it has taken our kids this long to be injured enough to require stitching.

Jackson knew he was wounded. He milked it to his advantage - big puppy dog eyes, pouty lip and all, fingers promptly inserted into mouth soothing his soul... Jeremy and I were both there and we were feeling just as bad as he was! Here he is in the waiting room:

After checking for any sign of concussion (there were none), Jackson was mounted flat onto a child sized stretcher. Then he was wrapped up like a burrito in restraints from neck to toe. Finally, they laid a sheet over his face to keep a sterile work environment. Good grief! Talk about a claustrophobic moment! Oh how Jackson screamed when
the doctor injected the needle into his wound 4 times filling it with anesthesia. Oh, my goodness! It was so painful just to watch! The doctor assured us that the relief would be almost instant. And it was. He quieted right down and doctor went to work.

2 inner stitches and 8 outer stitches later and Jackson was a free man. Look at that handiwork. The doctor has had many years to practice his stitching technique. He bragged that he'd given his own daughter stitches 21 times!

"Neosporin 2 times a day and do not get those stitches wet" were our only orders. We'll be back to see the doctor on Halloween to get them removed.
For now, Jackson will be happy he survived his first surgical experience especially with his new "shoot gun" from the gas station in his pocket. Didn't you know? A treat from the gas station always makes everything better - even a head wound.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Crazy hair = crazy girl!

For Red Ribbon Week our kids' school likes to have the students come in a themed dress each day of the week. Monday was "wear your pjs", Tuesday was "crazy hair day", Wednesday was "wear your clothes backwards day"... you get the idea. Lizzie was quite proud of her crazy hair and had a great time modeling for the camera at the end of the day. (This hairdo stayed nicely in place from 7:15 AM - 8:15 PM!!)

Thank you Red Ribbon Week for all the fun and crazy mornings this week.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Trevor's take on "romance"

Yesterday, I came across an abandoned vocabulary card. Trevor had left this 4x6 index card on the desk and I picked it up to return to his binder. I quickly glanced at his work and literally laughed out loud when I read his definition and coordinating sentence. Here is what he wrote:

Romance: a love affair (as taken from the thesaurus)
this was his sentence: Romance is gross.

I like Trevor's added illustration of the guy that looks like he's about to hurl.

Well, we know where Trevor stands on the whole "romance" topic. That's good. Girls should still have cooties in 6th grade. I know the day is not far off when he will change his opinion about all things romantic. Until then, I am quite satisfied with his view, "romance is gross."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Logan the runner

Logan has begun his first season of Cross Country running. He had his first invitational meet at the high school a month ago and surprise to us all - LOGAN WON HIS FIRST RACE! He came in first place while competing against several other schools! Wow!

Logan has had Cross Country meets almost every week since that first race. And he has done very well at every one. We like to brag that he's collected all the first, second, and 3rd place honors in gold, silver, and bronze. He is lightning fast!

He enjoys running and he also enjoys winning. He has expressed concern that it is a lot of pressure to win and he gets really nervous before he runs. We always remind him that we don't care if he wins or not (it is exciting when he wins - that's for sure), but that we simply want him to do his best out there. "You can come in last place every single time. We don't care what place you get, just as long as you don't give up and try your best," we like to tell him. That's all that matters to us.

And we will always be seen cheering our running boy. Go Logan, Go!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Trevor turns ELEVEN!

Trevor's 11th birthday was last month. He had the traditional awesome week-long celebration. Here are some of the fun things he did:

1. Woke up to a birthday party, a pile of presents, and donuts in place of cake

2. Went out to lunch (during school!!) with his best buddies to Panda Express

3. Had a birthday party at McDonald's with the Durans

4. His friend party was a NERF Battle Royale, followed with pizza and a movie at home

It is hard to believe that this boy is 11 years old already! Where has the time gone? We like to measure the kids' height along with their age each year. It gives us a better reality of how much they've grown - physically and in maturity. Check out our measuring board here:

On the morning of his 11th birthday we measured Trevor. He had grown 3 inches in one year! He is officially 5' 1". Good grief! He is only 5 inches shorter than his mama! When did he turn into a person instead of a kid? To prove that Trevor is on his way out of childhood and into adolescence, here is a list of some of Trevor's interests these days:

nerf guns
xbox - halo original game
reading - action packed books and/or fantasy
talking with his buddies
learning how to babysit
11 year old scouts
golf, snow skiing

That list is full of all things boy, for sure, and also things that teenagers enjoy. Seriously, he LOVES reading!

We tried making a deal with Trevor this year. The deal was this: instead of getting older on birthdays, he would age backwards and get younger instead. He's grown up so fast that we want to reverse time to go back to when he was younger. Trevor was not going for it. He would rather be 11 than 9 this year. Bummer!

It is true what they say, "they really do grow up so fast."