Winter is Here

November 12, 2014 at 11:01 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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It is seventeen degrees right now. Seventeen! And the wind makes it feel even colder. The Halloween pumpkins still adorning my porch are probably frozen solid now. Poor Liam just ran from the car to the school’s front door this morning, whining, “My nose hurts!” all the way. He does look super cute in his new red coat and hat, though. So there’s that.

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We had a long Veteran’s Day weekend with temperatures in the 70s before this awful cold front blew through, and we took full advantage. We took a leisurely bike ride to High Park, probably our last of the season. Ever since our experiment on two wheels, Liam’s been super timid about hills and bumps. Hills he used to love sailing down now cause him to brake, disembark, and gingerly walk his way down to the bottom. I’m hoping next spring he’ll get his confidence up again.

We also spent a lovely afternoon at Botanica, where we saw the employees gearing up for the Christmas light show. Liam had fun following the trails of lights along the pathways, even though they were unlit. The roses were still in full bloom, but the butterflies were long gone. I’m curious to see it all lit up at night. I’m told it’s quite spectacular.

Afterward we popped over to Exploration Place. (I’m telling ya, these season passes are totally worth it!) I talked him into seeing a movie in the Dome Theater for a change of pace. It was all about black holes, supernovas and comets, kind of a doom and gloom “what would happen if a comet hit Earth?” film called Violent Universe. Liam held my hand almost the whole time, kept peppering me with questions, (Is that the comet that killed the dinosaurs? No? How about this one?), and at one point leaned over and whispered, “Space is kind of a dangerous place!” This kid cracks me up.

Now they’re calling for snow this weekend. It’s strange to think about going from smelling the roses at Botanica one weekend to sledding the next. I guess that’s Kansas for ya!

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Liam’s Long Weekend

October 27, 2014 at 12:58 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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We had parent-teacher conferences last week, so Liam had both Thursday and Friday off school. His teacher had nothing but good things to say, of course, and a couple of minor things we could work on. But faced with a four-day weekend, I decided it was time we had some fun!

First up, a trip to the zoo with his friend Amia on Thursday. Tracy had two guest passes that she graciously used on our behalf, so it was a free trip to the zoo, even better! The kids had a great time running all over the place, and Liam even paused briefly to look at some animals. But mostly he was running too fast to see anything. This child! We ended the afternoon at the playground, and because Liam threw a fit about leaving, we had to end our play date there. Once I got him rested and watered, we circled back to the tiger exhibit on our own before we headed to the parking lot. Without the distraction of a friend to chase, he actually pressed his little face against the glass and watched the tiger stroll around its paddock.

The afternoon was still young, and I’d heard they were setting up a viewing of the solar eclipse at Exploration Place, so we headed there for the rest of the afternoon. I love going to the museum at that hour – there’s hardly anyone there, and Liam can have the run of the place. After running around the castle, driving the harvester, flying some simulated aircraft into the tarmac, and crawling through a giant colon, we headed outside to see the eclipse. I explained that the moon’s shadow was passing in front of the sun, but I’m not sure he fully understood. There were two telescopes set up outside, but because it was so hazy, it was hard to see. Liam was unimpressed. Oh well.

Friday morning I made a list of fun outings, and I let Liam decide our itinerary. He chose a bike ride on the trail to downtown Wichita (with him on the child seat), and a trip to Botanica. At first I wasn’t sure how we’d fit both of those in, but after consulting a map, I realized that the trail went right by Botanica. So I packed us a lunch and brought along the bike lock. I’ve been dying to show someone this trail – it goes by some really pretty bridges, hugs the Arkansas River, and eventually winds its way through all the museums on the river. (Incidentally, I took a bunch of photos that I plan to post once I’ve worked a little magic on them. Stay tuned for that.) Liam loves bridges and museums, so this worked out nicely. Liam hasn’t ridden in the child seat since this summer, so we were both a little timid at first about the balance. I think Liam’s gained a pound or two since August! But once we got going, all was good. Though every time we went down a hill, he’d grab the back of my shirt and holler, “Put on your brakes, Mommy!” It was kind of hilarious. We stopped at the playground outside of Exploration Place for awhile, then headed up river. After a picnic lunch on the front porch of the Old Cowtown Museum, we took a few surface streets over to Botanica. This time Liam literally stopped to smell the roses, which made me happy. He also stopped to smell the chrysanthemums, which were quite fragrant as well. Then we spent about an hour in the children’s garden, by far his favorite section of the grounds. We noticed a lot of Christmas lights were already up, and I told him I’d take him back for Illuminations in December. I decided to spring for a membership while we were there – he just loves walking around the trails so much, and I enjoy all of the seasonal flora. Plus we can use these passes at Powell Gardens when we visit my parents.

Then it was back on the bike for the 10-mile trip home, which invariably feels longer than the ride there. By the time we made it back to the car, I was hankering for my and dad’s post-bike-ride traditional half-price soda at Sonic. Luckily, there was a Sonic just down the street. And I couldn’t say no to a large fry when Liam requested it. This might become my and Liam’s tradition, too. 

There was more fun to be had on Saturday, this time in Kansas City! We met my parents at the new Ikea for lunch. It was, of course, mobbed, but we still managed to eat and pick up a few things. Man, I love those meatballs! Then Liam and I went to my friend Jessaca’s house for a little Halloween party. It was just her son, Vincent, and our friend Angela’s daughter, Maya, so a perfect little low-key gathering. The kids decorated Halloween-themed gingerbread houses, decorated and gobbled up pumpkin and bat-shaped sugar cookies, and made little crafts. I wasn’t sure how Liam would react to the other kids – he hadn’t played with Vincent in a couple of years, and he’d never met Maya. But Kindergarten has really opened him up socially, and before long he was running around the house and playing with the other two like they’d been friends forever. It was great for me to catch up with my friends, and also to see all of the lovely décor Jessaca had in her house. She’s so crafty! Or at least more crafty than me, heh.

On Sunday Liam and I stopped by his FAVORITE restaurant in Kansas City, Fritz’s at Union Station, then on to Science City to play for awhile before we had to head back home. We had this museum almost all to ourselves, too, and it was great to see him get to play with some of his favorite exhibits that they don’t have in Wichita. He loves that magnetic wall with the pipes you can construct for a ball to roll down through. We must have spent a full 30 minutes there. And they still had a full-sized Union Pacific train engine to crawl around on and pretend to drive. That was another 20 minutes. I wondered if I’d get some push-back when it was time to go, but my offer to get us some chocolates at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate store defused any protests. And because we still had a little time and I’m a sucker for model trains, we took a still stroll through the model train exhibit before we headed to the car. This kid could spend hours at Union Station!

Next weekend, more fun! Jill is bringing the kids up for Halloween, so Liam will get to trick-or-treat with his cousins. We can’t wait!

The Ol’ Cowtown Museum

October 6, 2013 at 11:24 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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We spent a lovely Sunday afternoon at The Old Cowtown Museum today. I lugged around my Nikon, looking full-on Japanese tourist, and Liam did his best to ruin every photo I attempted by refusing to hold still or pose. No matter – once he settled down a bit (after running from house to house to house like a chicken with its head cut off) I managed to snap a few decent ones. The shops and artifacts were super interesting, and we even stumbled into an old fashioned baseball game in progress. My favorite was the apothecary, complete with dentist and doctor’s office upstairs. All the instruments of torture were on display…shudder. They also had a working printing press, an old farmstead, and lots of tradesman’s shops. Liam loved working the old water pumps. We had to fill up his watering can three times to water the vegetable garden. Then we had to stop to water the trough. DSC_0044DSC_0048DSC_0049DSC_0016

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We stopped in the saloon for some refreshing sarsaparilla, and Liam finally held still long enough for me to get one good close up. We ended the afternoon with a gun show – a dime-store tale reenacted on the main street. Very cute!

It looks like they host a Victorian Christmas program in December, which I’m hoping I can talk my mom into going to with me. James already volunteered to stay home with Liam – I doubt either of them would enjoy it like I would. It’s times like these I wish I had a daughter. Perhaps I can borrow my niece for the occasion.

 

  

Exploring Wichita

June 26, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Staying at home is not my strong suit. After cleaning the house (bloody thing takes all day, this monstrosity!), doing laundry, playing in the backyard, biking to the park, and flying kites in this crazy Kansas wind, I decided Liam and I needed to venture out…more for my own sanity, but he benefits, too.

Our first stop, Exploration Place, Wichita’s science museum. Truth be told, I wasn’t expecting much. I mean, I’m used to the Smithsonian and Disney World. But I have to say this little museum surprised me. Out front we were greeted by an animated T-Rex surrounded by a security fence, all part of the dinosaur exhibit currently on for the summer. The dinos were so realistic, Liam grabbed my hand and made me run through it, lest we get eaten. Another section featured a castle where the kids could climb around on the ramparts, shoot a catapult, prepare medieval meals in the kitchen, create their own stained glass, and ride the ponies. In yet another section devoted to air travel, Liam flew his own little Cessna in large form…

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and small…

No way I’m flying with this pilot.

In another section devoted to farming, Liam particularly loved driving the harvester. On the video screen you could move bales of hay, harvest soybeans, wheat, or cotton. No mistaking we’re in central Kansas!

By far our favorite part of the museum was the Kansas In Miniature exhibit, complete with train. They’d taken all of these historical buildings and sites all around the state and recreated them as one mini town. And if you looked closely, you could see a bunch of them moving. Kids on swings, a whole carnival, a farmer swinging an axe. And the lights would change for night and day, with a rooster announcing each sunrise. We spent a good deal of time in this dark room. Very relaxing.

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We liked this museum so much, we bought a membership. We’ve already been twice, and James promised to go with us again this weekend. We discovered a trail along the river and a bunch of playgrounds outside, which I’m sure we’ll explore more when the weather is better. It topped 100 degrees today, yikes! Our membership also included free mini golf, something else we plan to explore once the weather cooperates. My kid loves mini golf!

I was a delighted to discover that there are several museums along the river in downtown Wichita, and when you visit one, they give you a discount card to the others that you can use within the week. So Liam and I have been in museum mode. On Friday we visited the Museum of World Treasures, a kitschy little museum devoted to an eclectic array of subjects. We found dino bones, mummies, military garb, cannons, ancient Greek and Roman reliefs, and more. But the real treasure was the kids activity room. We had the place all to ourselves, and Liam spent a great deal of time playing with the puppets on this awesome stage. Though I’m not sure he understood the concept…

The most boring puppet show in the world.

Liam rushed me through most of the more boring exhibits, so I decided to spring for a year membership here, as well, so James and I can take our time perusing at our leisure. They sponsor evening events, as well, so might be a fun date night in it for us. We’re such nerds.

It’s so abysmally hot here right now, so we decided to forego the Zoo, the Botanical Garden and the Cowtown for another week. Lots to look forward to in the fall!

Yesterday Liam and I ventured to the Kansas Aviation Museum, housed with all of the other airplane manufacturing facilities in the “Aviation Capital of the US.” With all that prestige, I was expecting…more. But it was pretty underwhelming. It wasn’t nearly as neat as the Maryland Aviation Museum in College Park that we used to go to all the time when Liam was smaller. Although there were a couple of impressive exhibits. We got to sit in a few old cockpits and pretend to fly. I found it particularly hilarious when Liam asked me what the ashtrays were for.

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They also had a decommissioned FedEx plane that you could walk up into. Liam chickened out at the stairs, but I walked all the way down to the cockpit from the back. A rather dark walk, so maybe best Liam didn’t come along. But I thought it was pretty cool.

And today we visited the Wichita Art Museum, a wonderful way to spend a hot afternoon. Liam did better than I thought, and I tried my best to explain the artwork we were seeing. When his interest started to wane, he entertained himself by pushing his stroller around and pointing out the elevators and stairways. But then we discovered the a glass bridge that you could walk on, sans shoes, and see the colorful glass shapes of the sculpture we’d seen on the first floor. Liam definitely liked that best. I had to carry him away kicking and screaming when I was ready to move on.

Aside from the museums, we’ve also done a little exploring closer to home. I took Liam to Derby Bowl to partake in another of his favorite pastimes. They rented him the cutest little shoes.

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These lanes weren’t nearly as “sophisticated” as the ones in Lee’s Summit, so I was stuck bowling with the bumpers, and Liam managed to get in a few gutter balls in spite of them. His ball kept getting stuck – at one point in actually bounced off the pins and rolled away – so I had to help him give his ball a little push down the alley. There’s another bowling alley I want to try sometime that might suit us better.

I discovered the Farmer’s Market a couple of weekends back. The one in Derby was pitiful, so I drove 20 extra minutes to downtown Wichita for the bigger one. I guess I didn’t realize how good I had it in Takoma Park, MD and Overland Park, KS. Even the one in Orlando had more actual vegetables and fruits for sale. There were a lot of stands selling lots of things, but only two produce stands. Weird. I did get some tasty lemonade and an awesome breakfast burrito. Oh, and some delicious homemade cookies. Maybe later in the season I’ll see more produce. I’m particularly interested in the tomatoes and okra, which usually hit in July. So we’ll see.

One evening as I was enjoying some wine on my new porch swing, Liam and I heard a ruckus on the other side of the trees. Come to find out there was a carnival in the high school parking lot. I couldn’t convince Liam to ride anything, not even the Ferris wheel, but we did play some games and win some toys. And we left with some cotton candy to share with daddy. I made it a condition that he had to retreat from playing video games and eat it outside with us. The only time he sees the light of day, sheesh.

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Well, there was also this time that he played soccer with Liam in the backyard.

And I made him promise to come to the fireworks show in High Park on the 4th. It’s very close to our house, and I told him we didn’t have to go until 9. Baby steps. Baby steps.

Next week Liam starts swim lessons at the Y. I signed him up for private lessons with the head honcho, a swim coach veteran named Clarence who I’ve been assured is good with young kids who hate swimming. We’re going once a week instead of every morning for two weeks, which I’m hoping will help. And I set them up for later in the day because we can’t seem to get out of bed until 9 these days. Liam was impossible to rush out the door to our morning appointments last summer.

We’ve officially given Pull-ups the boot. Liam’s doing much better pooping in the potty, but after waking up with a load in his Pull-up one morning, my mom suggested I just put him in underwear and see what happens. We’ve been at this potty training thing for more than a year, so I have high hopes. So far he’s mostly just peeing in his bed and my new washer/dryer is getting a daily workout. But one morning, miraculously, the bed was dry. We’re going to keep at this, though I have a feeling we’ll keep the Pull-ups on reserve for trips to my mom’s and our upcoming trip to DC in July.

I met some more neighbors! But, of course, Liam was wailing and flailing in my arms, insisting that he wanted to go home RIGHT NOW. So it was more of a hello/goodbye/hope-to-talk-with-you-more-next-time meet and greet. And with temperatures climbing into the hundreds this week, I doubt the neighborhood kids will be playing outside much. But we’ll get there, I’m sure.

I think I found a preschool for Liam! It’s church-based, but their website didn’t seem as “churchy” as some of the others, so I’ll take that as a good sign. They don’t serve food and don’t hold classes over lunch, which is a plus for my picky eater (who I’m sick of packing lunch for), and they offer afternoon classes, which is a double plus. And, egad, is the price right! I’m waiting for them to get back to me about class sizes and availability. They also encourage parents to volunteer, and they take field trips, so that sounds like fun. Crossing my fingers this works out.

That pretty much sums up our last few weeks. Well, and this: 

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Orlando Science Center

August 21, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Liam’s been to many museums in his lifetime: The Portrait Gallery, The Air & Space Museum, the National Geographic, the Goddard Space Center. We spent several play dates at the College Park Aviation Museum. I’d venture to guess he’s been inside every Smithsonian museum. And, sadly, I doubt he remembers any of it. But now, at three and a half, he’s really starting to take part in the action. Today I took him to the Orlando Science Center, and he absolutely loved it! His favorite was the magnetized wall with tubes the kids could configure for little wooden balls to plunk their way down.

There was an entire room devoted to planes, trains, and cars that he loved, too. And he got a kick out of the miniature race track, where little model cars could go zooming down a giant hill to the finish line. A perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon! I just wish we could have stayed longer. But he pooped out after a few hours. Too bad it’s looking so likely we’re moving…this would be a great place to get a yearly membership. In October, OSC is hosting a traveling Star Wars exhibit. Needless to say, we’ll be coming back then. Can’t wait!

St. Augustine

November 11, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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James had Veteran’s Day off, so we headed to St. Augustine for a day trip. While there we saw the Castillo de San Marcos, a 17th century Spanish fort with the distinction of being the oldest one of its kind. Liam had a great time climbing around on the battlements, and we made it there just in time to see the re-enactment guys shoot off a cannon. Sweet!

After a walk through the old historic district, we grabbed a quick bite to eat at Crazy Dogs (yum!), then we hiked to Whetstone Chocolates for some dessert and a tour. We ended up skipping the tour – we just missed one, and we’d have to wait around awhile for the next one – but we did partake in some pralines and fudge. Liam had a marshmallow dipped in chocolate and sprinkles on a stick. He enjoyed it very much. What’s not to love?

Bellies full, we trekked back to the new Pirate and Treasure Museum, which was totally awesome! Liam could steer the ship and light a cannon (complete with sound-effects. Boom!). They had a bunch of genuine artifacts recently found right in St. Augustine. And a lot of cool animatronic pirates fashioned by the guys at Disney. We had quite a shipping spree in the gift shop. Liam’s been into wearing hats at home, so we bought him a pirate hat for his  collection. And a pirate ship bath toy, which is amusing him as I write this.

Here are some more photos from our trip. Enjoy!

Geckos!

October 12, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Liam and I took our own little field trip to the National Geographic Museum to see their new Gecko exhibit this morning. Unsurprisingly, Liam sat enrapt for the train ride to Farragut North, and rode happily on my back to the museum. Inside we found several glass cases with sluggish geckos inside. We found most of them nocturnal and sleeping the day away. Some of them were very hard to spot, and I found Liam staring at the wrong spot on more than one occasion. But we found some other more interactive activities to partake in – Liam’s favorite was the touch screen game where you had to pick out the gecko hidden in camouflage, and if you touched it correctly, it would play a sloppy chomping and swallowing sound that just cracked him up every time.

We had even more fun at the next exhibit, Wild Music: Sounds & Songs of Life. At the entrance we found a giant wooden xylophone, which of course we had to bang on. And inside a special room we found a cornucopia of percussion instruments, both natural and electronic, that set Liam off in fits and giggles at every new strange sound his mallet produced. The IMG_0194rest of the exhibit was geared toward adults and older kids, so Liam just set off running back and forth across the fairly empty room. He’s easy to please.

For lunch we took the train to Union Station for burgers and fries at Johnny Rockets, where he learned an essential skill: dipping his fries in ketchup. He liked that. A lot.

A Wonderful (and exhausting) Visit

March 25, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Charissa arrived on Monday, and we hit the ground running. We took a rainy tour of Old Town Alexandria, popped into the Torpedo Factory to admire local artwork and dry off, then spent the afternoon indoors admiring big ol’ airplanes (and a space shuttle!) at the Air & Space Annex at Dulles. Tuesday, up bright and early, we took the train down to the White House, and were rudely escorted off the premises right as Charissa was taking her shot from the front lawn. We’re still not sure why…The photo might not turn out, but the caption should be amusing. We hit the highlights: Washington Monument, WWII Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Natural History and Modern Art Smithsonians. On a lark we stopped in at the National Building Museum gift shop, and they had some really great baby and kids toys there. Who knew? Liam had just about had it by 3:30, so we headed home for some much-needed rest for our aching feet. After kiddo’s bedtime, Charissa and I went to The General Store for dinner, a tiny little home-cookin’ place by my house that my yoga teacher recommended. Best. Fried. Chicken. Ever. And the mac n’ cheese and corn bread hit the spot, too. We finished with a chocolate pecan pie that I’m still having dreams about. Next time I go (and, believe me, there will be a next time), I’m going to give the highly-recommended shrimp tacos a go.

On Wednesday, up brighter and earlier, we secured Liam in my new Boba and took the Metro down to the Newseum, a new museum all about journalism that I’ve been wanting to visit. They had some really cool exhibits that appealed to us J-schoolers. (Charissa went to KU, and I went to MU, but we still manage to be civil) We saw a giant hunk of one of the Twin Towers, another giant hunk of the Berlin Wall, and Ted Kazinski’s actual cabin. We even got mistaken for high school students. I’m guessing the teacher thought Liam was a backpack, lol. Liam snacked most of the time, then fell asleep and drooled all down my back. But he woke up in a cheery mood just in time for burgers at Matchbox, my #1 burger place. Charissa and I enjoyed our sliders and onion straws, and Liam chowed on garlic mashed potatoes and corn puree, then smiled and waved at every single person in the restaurant. We took a quick stroll through the Portrait Gallery (where Liam instead screamed at everyone), and popped into the Spy Museum gift shop. Then we headed down to the Mall for some dessert at the Native American Museum, Charissa tried motherhood for awhile with Liam in the Boba (ha ha), and we took a refreshing stroll through the Botanical Garden to admire the Orchid display. Again, Liam made his opinion known at 3:30, and we made it home before the evening rush. We ended the night with some sushi in downtown Silver Spring, and Charissa boarded her flight first thing Thursday morning. She’s got a long trek home, and I’m glad she took all the trouble to come visit us. We had a stupendous time!

I’m resting up as best I can this weekend, and then I’m off to KC on Monday. In the meantime, Liam is enjoying his new rocking chair, a gift from Ma-Ma and Pa-Pa Texas (Kentucky?) that arrived this week. Our shorty’s still a little small for it, but that doesn’t stop him from playing with it. Thanks, guys!

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Best museum ever

August 21, 2009 at 11:42 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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I’ve always been a fan of the Air & Space Museum down on the mall, but it’s always crawling with tourists. I’ve been several times, and had heard there was an annex out by the airport that housed the really big aircraft. I’ve been wanting to go for years now, but thought it best to wait for my dad (remember, space nut) to come to town. Little did I know that the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center was about the awesomest museum ever! In the biggest hanger I’ve ever seen in my life, the whole family and I saw the first Boeing 707, the now decommissioned Concord, the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and the Space Shuttle Enterprise. Yes, the real space shuttle. Whoa. We also saw a plethora of early aircraft, German WWII fighters, bombers, and spy craft, satallites and rockets, and so many other aviation artifacts, it would take us days to see the whole thing. We spent a few hours and probably only saw half of the museum. My dad would have spent two hours in the space portion alone, but we had a cranky baby and rush hour traffic to contend with, so we had to cut it short. No worries, though — I’m sure I’ll be recommending this museum to all of my friends coming to visit, so we’ll be back again soon. (My airforce friend Tori would LOVE this place!) And I know my dad will want to go again when he comes back.

Some grandson bonding time

August 21, 2009 at 9:04 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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My parents arrived Monday night, driving up from Lexington, KY, in the second leg of their long drive from Kansas City. They caught Liam right at bathtime, at his cutest. Splashing, blowing raspberries, giggling, mouthing all the toys, and slapping that washcloth on every available surface. I think he’d live in the bathtub if we let him. He was a little perturbed by all of the visitors standing around his room while I put him in jammies. “Who are all these people in my room?!” But by Tuesday morning Liam and Grandpa were fast friends. He still wasn’t sure about Grandma. While in Grandpa’s arms, he’d give him this look like, “She came with you, right?”

Alice and Cam came over Tuesday morning, so my parents got to meet them. I had to work, regretfully, but the boys had fun with all of the extra attention. Cameron, being the friendly baby he is, just came right on up to say hello. Liam sat in his usually spot amongst his toys, eyeing Grandma suspiciously. I took my parents to lunch at Eggspectations in downtown Silver Spring — as the name implies, they’re known for their egg dishes. I think I finally found a good egg salad sandwich. I dropped off my parents at the metro with a map and some careful instructions, and while I went back to work, they went down to the Holocaust Museum, a new addition since their last trip here in 1993. They had a great, although sobering, time, and successfully navigated back to our house without event.

Wednesday James took off the day to do some sightseeing while I worked some more. They made the obligatory trip to Matchbox for burgers and pizzas, then off to the Spy Museum, another must-see for all our guests. Such a fun museum! Dad got a kick out of the spy gadgets, and Mom loved the gift shop. Then they perused the Presidential wing of the Portrait Gallery, and took a tour of Ford’s Theater, which was open to the public for once. I guess they only open the theater part during the off-season in the late summer. I might have to make a trip there myself soon. After my long day at work, we were off to the Ikea for dinner and shopping extravaganza! yes, I said dinner. They have a full-service cafeteria. I highly recommend the swedish meatballs, served with mashed potatoes and lindenberries. Delish. It’s a very kid-friendly place, so we were even able to feed the baby some Ikea babyfood, lol. Then we toured the ginormous showroom, and my mom got her second wind. We were disappointed to see they were out of some of our choice items, but James and I managed to pick up a whole new set of pots and pans, which we were in desperate need of. Nothing like flaked teflon to season your hamburger helper. Mmmm.

Thursday James had to work, but I managed to take a half day, so dad and I went to the Goddard Space Center while mom watched Liam. My dad is a real space nut, so he was super excited. Goddard is where they build and monitor all of the satellites launched by NASA. The exhibit was pretty disappointing — more like a neglected kid’s discovery museum, with only some of the machines even working. You could tell they had funneled all of their funds into their snazzy new video exhibit, Science on a Sphere. Four projectors displayed a seamless presentation on a globe-shaped screen in the round. I kind of wish we’d just stayed and watched that the whole time. They even had a weather feed from a couple of weeks ago, and we got to see Hurricane Bill. We stopped by the gift shop on the way out and picked up a few things. I even saw the most adorable astronaut halloween costume for babies. May have to go back and pick it up.

Grandma got some bonding time while we were away, and by the time we got back, Liam was over his grandma qualms. She even gave him a bath that night, and they were both in a fit of giggles by the end. James and I thought about seeing a movie, but he was late coming home from work, so we watch our Bluray version of Indiana Jones downstairs on the big screen instead. I have a feeling we’ll be doing that a lot in the coming years.

Aaaa, must finish, hungry baby. More later.

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