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d.c. trip

Hopefully, all 57 of these fine photos show up here, but if they do not, and you prefer a visual tour of our trip to our linguistic tale, please visit my facebook page. The photos should be available shortly. Oh what a trip it was.
We arrived in d.c. before lunch on Thursday, met with Jake and Chelsea, got ourselves Metro passes and we were on our way. To the zoo! Luckily, we had Chelsea with us. Chelsea, the boys and myself (Jenny) headed to the zoo, while Bryce and Jake were off to Capitol Hill. Too bad for them. We saw the pandas, the octopus feeding, the red pandas, the cool big cats, and then back to the metro. The boys were quite enamered with the whole idea of the Metro, the fact that it can travel through the city, go underground, over water and even UNDER the Potomac River!?! What a train!
After the zoo-age, it was time to get back on the train and meet up with the boys for a feast our first night in D.C. We tested out Ethiopian cuisine with the boys and they were in! What a hit. No utensils. All food is eaten with hands, by scooping up delicious lamb, spicy chicken, collard greens, lentils, and tomatoey stuff with a soft, yummy steamed gigantic (thing the size of a large pizza pan) pancake thingy. I think Henry ate all the collard greens before we could even get a bite, leaving me with a pancake the size of, well, a pancake. As if this was not exotic enough, Wynne decided that taking off his shirt in the middle of the meal and swinging it over his head saying, "Hey guys!" was a great idea! While Bryce tried to explain the concept of "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service" to no avail. It was back to the Metro, to the hotel and a bit of shut eye, before a Big friday, full of adventure.

We were on the metro by 7:30 and ready for action. The big boys were busy with a meeting with Claire (McCaskill) while Chelsea, the boys and I headed to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural HIstory in the pouring, windy, rainy day that it was. We saw dinosaurs, the Hope diamond, lava rocks, asteroids, meteorites, grizzly bears, evolution exhibits (where I am sure Henry would have stayed for good, if we'd have let him. ( Henry and Darwin met, and it was love, love, love at first sight. "What?! You mean our ancestors were apes! That's awesome!!") After this exhausting morning, it was on to the Native American Museum for lunch. We met Jake and Bryce, walked and walked in the rain to the the museum and got to choose native american food from around the continent at the cafeteria, where it was prepared by real chefs. YUM! This was not enough for Wynne. He fell asleep due to culture overload and missed out on lunch. When he awoke, he found Bryce at the gift shop register buying a book for the boys. Thinking that the book was for Henry, and he was gyped of a gift shop trinket, he decided to RUN AWAY. And clever he was. He had us searching all over and with the museum in lock down, when he was discovered riding the elevator to the 4th floor, "to show us."
We finished here, walked to the Arboretum, saw amazing orchids, other flowers, cacao trees, banana trees and other cool stuff. To the Enid Garden (in front of the Smithsonian Castle) to play among the gorgeous Cherry blossoms, run around, and be goofy before walking to "Barrack's House" as Wynne calls it, to take some photos and enjoy the atmosphere. We put our names on the list at the Historic Old Ebbitt Grille (steps away from the White House), then walked to the Renwick Portrait Gallery, where Henry filled out an ISpy card and won a button. They, meaning H & W, somehow had the energy to run around some historic statues being crazy and getting other kids in trouble doing the same thing, when our number was called and it was dinner! Fresh oysters, some drinks and good company made it all worth it. What a day! Back on the Metro, to the hotel to rest up for one more day...which I will have to tell you about tomorrow, because bedtime is upon us here, and chaos is all around. Good night folks, more stories tomorrow.
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House photos


Okay, okay. After many requests, I finally put together a quick view of what the house we are staying in actually looks like. The first floor anyway. The upstairs only houses the bedrooms and those aren't that impressive. Besides, these are the photos I had. I think they give you a little picture of what we are calling home for the time being.

We're still boo-hooing the MU loss from yesterday, but managed to spend the day planning an upcoming jaunt to D.C. along with biking, getting dirty, building ramps, painting, writing, reading and a bit of sewing. The usual. I am going to try to escape up to my makeshift sewing studio as the boys build a fire in the fireplace. That snow some of you received in Missouri is heading our way, and the cooler temps along with it. Darn. That's it here. Oh Mondays.
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into the woods


Friday's big Mizzou win, led us into the weekend in high spirits, and hoping for the best in the upcoming game Sunday.
Saturday we were back in Floyd, enjoying a great breakfast at the Blue Ridge Restaurant, which is THE place for breakfast in the fine town of Floyd. Following this, we headed on a twisty, turny drive to the Rock Castle Creek Nat'l Recreation Area for some hiking and exploring. On the way, we wound around and over mountains, great views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, preparing to burst with spring. We even spotted a "wild" toilet out in the woods on the way. Kinda wondered how it got there considering there was no remaining home nearby. Hmm? I digress.
The Rock Castle Creek trail might have indeed led us to a Rock castle, well...if we had remained on the trail. We stayed on the trail, progressing nicely alongside the creek for sometime, until the trail forked and turned away from the clear, bubbling water of the creek. That's where we lost the trail. The boys insisted on following the creek, which proved a great way for spending the day, discovering new ways to cross a creek on a fallen log, finding rocks we don't see in Missouri, we believe to be a pink quartz and some shiny, glittery galena. The boys were one skipped rock away from removing their shirts and diving in, when we followed the trail back, to head home for some all important cupcake baking and scootering, before a dinner invitation.
The Groot family welcomed us to their gorgeous home and farm with generosity galore. It was an evening of delicious food, lots of fun and many races around the barn. They had a band of "wild" Naraganset (sp) heritage turkeys, some fainting goats, more heritage breed hens and goat mothers-to-be. Henry and Wynne even got to search for eggs and assist with feeding chores. The boys asked Gail and Harry many times if they could just stay. This earned the boys an invite for goat milking time, coming soon. It was tempting to leave the boys with them...but alas, we feared for Harry and Gail's survival, so home it was with two very worn out boys. And sweet farm and wilderness dreams for those two very adventurous boys.
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Sickness and Skate parks

Its been a different week around here. Shortly after my last picture post, I ended up with the flu. Wynne had a bit of it on Thursday, so I should've known I was in for it. I spent Saturday eve and all Sunday stuck in bed as Bryce took on full duties as dad, chef, housekeeper, activities coordinator and chaos police. He did superbly, so I think I am ready for a little trip away. It took me a few days to get back in the saddle. We did enjoy some story time, lunch out at a great new find called Gillies (in Blacksburg.) The boys thought it was a twist on Cafe Berlin, Main Squeeze and the Brewery, only without the meat.
Wednesday brought us so much sunshine we couldn't bear to stay in. We joined a playgroup, made some new friends, hit the Christiansburg skatepark, and signed Henry up for a Homeschooler Gymnastics class, which was a great success. He enjoyed being in a class with kids his age again and getting instruction from someone other than myself.

Before I get too ahead of myself, a word (or way too many) on skateparks. Now, I know we came from Columbia, so we thought our high ranking opinion of this course was swayed by the fact that its our hometown and...well, what's not to love about Columbia? Truth be told, it is the best course we've seen thus far. Fort Collins, CO has a skate park too, and although I did not attend this outing, I am told that Fort Collins has a lot going for it, but just not in the way of skate parks. Gig Harbor, WA has the best location for keeping teen crime down being as it is in the parking lot of the police department and city hall and across the street from the fire department. Very good idea in my opinion, in case of emergencies, especially. It is second on our list. Also, because it has a great bench in the shape of a giant skateboard. Now that's just fun. In St. Louis there are several, but Webster Groves has a really stupid one set up in their rec center area. Too many ramps, too close together and all that metal crap. no good. This skate park here (Christiansburg, VA) is fun, but one must take a steep, foot traffic only trail down, down, down to the park, which is small, but does, however, have a half pipe. This is a nice feature, but the patrons (due to it's path down shady lane, I believe) could, perhaps, refrain from being themselves if only for a short while. At least while kids under 10 are around. And we were there in the middle of the day, on a school day. I could also do without the college folks sending me the stink eye for bringing my kids. Its a public place people! Get over it. More reviews later. Just keep it in mind.

We are loving the sun here and I am sure to write more, but a Classic (Hair) Rock dance party has just begun on Wynne's request. Beginning with "Life's Been Good."
I don't think I ever want him to get his drivers license. Funny note: This week he told the ladies spinning society (a bunch of ladies sitting around spinning wool on spinning wheels) at the library that "Yeah, I like spinning wheels. I am going to have one in my race car someday, so when they change my tires, then I will spin wool." You can only imagine the looks on their faces.



3.2.1...Blast off!


Finally, we have internet! Hooray! We have missed keeping up with all of you. Today makes 3 weeks we've been here in Virginia and we are really growing to love this place, despite the cold, wind and snow. With all that, it must have a lot going for it, right?

We have made some new friends, been new places and located all the libraries in the area. We even caught a Dr. Suess Birthday party last week and learned some new moves at an open gym program, and thank goodness for all of this because early on I thought I might just release the children into the wild out here based on their outlandish, alien behavior.
Apparently, all they needed was to get away from me (who'd a thunk?) and to be challenged a bit. Henry has learned to do some weaving and sewing, but more importantly, has developed an all new passion. Chess! He starts and ends everyday with a game, sneaking in as many as possible in between. The fact that he's already beat me, suggests that perhaps I should be sneaking in a few extra games myself. Meanwhile, Wynne is turning into a lego-maniac, building all the time. He has also learned to do a flip on the bar and a cartwheel. Singing rhyming songs is also a specialty. And Bryce, well, we don't see too much of him. He's too busy wandering the woods and talking on the phone. We do spend mornings and evenings and weekends with him, and for that, we feel pretty lucky. Today, its off to see a play and to check out the parks in the area, as it is finally going to be 50 degrees and sunny. Yippee!!!
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