Monday, May 28, 2007

Belated Travel Log

Okay, here is my revised travel log. Below,we are on our way to the airport, all with big smiles, and then, finally, the happy family at LAX Airport, ready to go! Can you believe we traveled with only two suitcases, an overnight bag for bathroom stuff, and one more for shoes?!



Shortly after we arrived in Virginia Beach we went downtown to the Nauticus museum – not to see the exhibits there, but to see the USS Wisconsin.  The Wisconsin is one of the Iowa-class anti-aircraft ships, first deployed in WWII, and later during the Korean War and Desert Storm. The ship (you don’t call Navy ships “boats”!) is going to be retired from service, but until that is official, only the deck is currently open to the public. Do you like the paint color scheme? That gray combination is the least visible to the enemy in all kinds of weather.




Unfortunately I am not one of those organized people who keeps a record of photo subjects.  Because of this I have a bunch of pictures of Navy ships and have no idea what class they are or why I took their photos.  (I am sparing you most of them!)  The same day we saw the Wisconsin we took a two-hour tour of the Elizabeth River and Virginia Beach harbor area. Among other things, we saw the largest military hospital in the USA, ships in dry-dock, shipping containers awaiting loading or unloading (now you know where all those looooonnnnggg trains go!), and several multi-million dollar condos. A couple days later we also went to the Navy base with my BIL, and those photos are included here as well, since they are sort of in the same category.  I got yelled at for taking pictures of two submarines, but I figure if it was that serious, they would have confiscated my camera. They are so low in the water that you can't see them here anyway!


 Next day we went to the botanical garden. Unfortunately we were in Virginia the week AFTER the azaleas were in bloom, but it was very pretty anyway. They have a webcam on this bald eagle’s nest, which I found interesting because I thought bald eagles nested way far away from civilization. We actually got to see the nest in the park, way up in a big tree.  The nest weighs 400 lbs and is as big as a Volkswagen Beetle!  I am such a great photographer, you can sort of see one of the parent eagles if you use your imagination.  It is on a limb, looking downward. In the other photo two of the young eagles are silhouetted. They were almost as big as their parents, and they were getting ready to fly, but we did not see them leave the nest. This is also where we saw the snake!

One beautiful afternoon we all (my family, MIL, FIL, and BIL) went down to the Virginia Beach boardwalk.  We had a great time racing bikes, splashing in the water, investigating ladybugs, and being together.  All along the boardwalk are these signs telling about various points of area history.  I took pictures of all of them, because my party was in too big a hurry to read everything :o)  This one below tells how Witchduck Road got its name. Hope you can read it -- it's an interesting story.

 Saturday morning cousins Ben and Annie made Swedish pancakes for us, yum, yum!  I posted a photo of the finished product earlier.  They were SO yummy! The girls had such a good time playing with their cousins.  This was the first time in five years that they had seen each other, so it was like making new friends all over again. We were shown fabulous hospitality. Sunday after church and a delicious rib dinner in honor of my sweet mother-in-law, we took off for Cape Henry and Fort Story.  This is the site of the First Landing of our nation's forefathers, in the year 1607, the cause for the big 400th Anniversary celebration at Jamestown.  We didn't get to Jamestown this trip, but we did get to colonial Williamsburg.  No pictures of that on this post, but maybe later.  Below is a marker commemorating the First Landing, and one of the Virginia Beach boardwalk signs telling about it.  Also at Fort Story are two lighthouses located only a few hundred yards from each other.  The old one was built in the late 1700's, and that is the one we climbed.  It is 191 steps from the ground to the top.  It not a tough climb, but this oldish, out of shape body felt the descent in my knees and thighs for several days afterwards! Cape Henry is a great site for collecting seashells and wandering on the beach.  It was a very blustery day and we desert people were freezing, but it was wonderful. This is just what I imagined the Atlantic coast to look like.

Monday my in-laws treated us to a day at Williamsburg.  We could have spent a lot more time there!  The kids really enjoyed seeing people in period costume, and they found some of the shops interesting, especially the wig-maker's.  She had one wig made of birds' feathers, which would keep one's head dry in the rain. Personally, I would settle for an umbrella...  We also got to go strawberry picking.  We picked 30 lbs of strawberries and enjoyed the "fruit" of our labors, hee hee!  Strawberries on cereal, strawberries on ice cream, strawberries on lemon bars, strawberry rhubarb pie, and of course, just plain old fresh strawberries, which were the best of all. What did you say?  Did you ask how much weight we gained while we were gone?  Nevermind.  I am still trying to lose it...

Well, that's it for tonight!  It has been a busy week and promises to be another.  My apologies to those of you to whom I owe comments and messages!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Are My Kids Weird?

Once upon a time when my kids loved doing the grocery shopping with me and I strategized to keep them from begging for every sugary thing they saw, I was in the habit of saying, “No,” “No,” and “No,” to most every request.  One time we five (maybe there were only four of us at the time) walked in the door of the store, got our cart, and proceeded to fill it.  I was heavily armed with automatic No’s. “Mom, can we have pop-tarts?” “No.” “Can we get colored marshmallows?”  “No.”  “Mommy, can we get some Oreos? Pleeeease?!”  No. Come on, keep walking.”  I typically save the produce section for last so that my peaches and bananas and tomatoes don’t get squished, and as we walked past the fresh vegetables one of my girls begged, “Oh, Mom, look! Can we get some broccoli??” “No.” And then I thought, What am I SAYING?!?! They are asking for VEGETABLES!!! Needless to say, we got the broccoli. Lots of it. It is one of the few vegetables that everyone in my immediate family likes (I see you, Dad. We know all about tasters and non-tasters!), and besides that, broccoli is very good for you.


Well, that was a long time ago, and I have had a few other requests for strange grocery items through the years, but last night the kids actually asked their dad to make a special trip into the store for some ASPARAGUS! (They also asked for some ice cream, and probably the asparagus request helped them to get a “yes” on the ice cream :o) Now, I do not feed my family whole grain everything.  I do not own a Bosch machine or a juicer, we do not eat Barley Green or even take vitamins regularly.  Hmmm… do you think maybe they are craving vitamins and minerals?  Is this like when kids eat paper or paste or dirt, and the doctor says it is because they are craving something that is missing from their diet? Hmmm. Could be a possibility... or maybe they are just weird. Who ever heard of such a thing?

Friday, May 18, 2007

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Doesn't every school kid have to write a paper on that topic when they go back to school in the fall? We went to Virginia Beach to visit my husband's parents and his sister's family. It was the first time (in memory) that we had seen the Atlantic Ocean. The Chesapeake Bay area is beautiful! Rather than bore you with the details of all the great places we saw (maybe I will write more later on all that!), I will instead bore you with pictures of things we did! So here it is:

We ATE!  (Here is the evidence.)



And we PLAYED!

We also had a wonderful time with family! Hey, I would love to figure out how to put these photos side-by-side rather than one on top of the other, so if any of you blog-smart people out there can help me, I will appeciate it. (Look! 12 yo daughter showed me.  Should have asked her in the first place!)  If I get time tomorrow, I will post some scenery pics. (No, no time yet!)

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