Friday, September 19, 2014

Air & Space Museum in Chantilly


This museum in practically across the street from our house.  It is the most amazing place if you are into anything that has been in the air.  It even has a plane that detaches from the wings and drives away as a car.  This is one awesome place!

Air Force planes from the different wars...

 Concorde, Air France

This picture also shows how they displayed a lot of the air crafts...
By hanging them from the ceiling.  Wow!

Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

This is one intense flying machine!
So cool!

Space Shuttle Discovery

 This was really cool to stand next to the shuttle that was actually in space!

One of the Apollo Command Modules

There is also an observation tower that takes you way up in the air like the ones at airports.  The Dulles Airport is right next to this museum and you can watch the planes come and land.  They fly right by the tower, almost flying right at the same level.  We also got to listen to the air traffic controllers and the pilots talk to each other. 
We all had tons of fun! 

~July 10, 2014~

Shenandoah National Park

Our next day trip was to go up to Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive to take in the views, go on a small hike, and have a picnic.  This was a great day!

Being in nature rejuvenates the soul!

Fox Hollow Trail

This was a fun little hike that had some leftover remnants of the Fox family who lived and farmed in the mountains before they made it into a national park.

Skyline Drive

~July 9, 2014~

Washington D.C. Day Trip 1

On July 5th my dad came out to visit us in our new home and help break up the time while I was without another adult around and Oh thank goodness he came!
I totally underestimated how hard it was going to be for me to be on my own getting to know the area and helping the kids adjust.

The first on our list was to go into D.C. and let me just say we had and adventure filled with lots of firsts, excitement, and lots and lots of walking!

To start the trip of we decided to try and ride the metro. My dad and I thought this would be a lot of fun and the easiest way to experience D.C.  Let me just start by saying that the YouTube video made it look super easy.  So I thought to myself, "I've got this!"  Well, no I didn't;)  I walked right up to the kiosk and then, "Say what?"  It made no sense to me at all! I then proceeded to try and get one of the nice workers to help me.  We got our tickets and headed to our destination. The kids loved it!

I looked at the wonderful map I picked up at Barnes and Noble and thought the kids would love to start with the White House.  I thought that it would be the perfect start. 

Our plan for the day was to get off at one of the metro stations that was close to the White House, see the White House then walk over to the Smithsonian to check out a couple of museums and be back before the rush hour of the metro when the price of the tickets go up.  My dad wanted to see the National Museum of the American Indian and I thought the kids would love to see National Air & Space Museum.  Well when you look at the map everything looks a whole lot closer than in real life. The stations close to the White House are not actually that close.  
That was my first rookie mistake! 
It was a hot and humid day and our plan involved a lot of walking, which we didn't know we were headed for.

We loved seeing the White House and all the other old buildings that surrounded it.  The architecture, the statues, everything was so amazing!  I just loved thinking of all the people throughout our history walking the same sidewalks we were walking.
By the time we got to the Air and Space Museum  the line to get in was all the way out the front and down the street.  At that point the kids were at their end and all we had really seen was the White House and the Washington Monument.  My dad saved the day and bought the kids each an ice cream and me a Diet Coke which gave us the energy to fight the heat and make it to the Indian Museum.  Which was not at all crowded and had AC!!  We loved looking at all the different native cultures from our country and even found an amazing statue that was made by a man from St. George, Utah.  Small world!  When we left the Indian Museum and before we started for home, we thought we'd see what the Air and Space Museum was like.  There wasn't a line anymore, but it was still busy. We decided we needed to head home before the kids lost it and ran though one exhibit on air lift.  A lot of the stuff in there was hands on and the kids had a blast.

All in all it was a great day and it was so exciting being in this great city surrounded by our Country's rich history and beautiful buildings.  When we asked the kids what they last best about the day, they all agreed riding the Metro was the best!

Here are the few pictures I took that day...Not many because I was a little overwhelmed by all the walking and keeping the kids spirits up.

~July 7, 2014~

Thursday, September 18, 2014

4th Week of June - Unpacking & Happy Birthday/Goodbye to Kevin

One Crazy Week!

The movers came Monday, June 23rd and Kevin was leaving for the month of July on June 30th.  We had one week to get everything unpacked, put away, setup utilities, and grocery shop before he left.  It made for one crazy busy week, but we got it all done! Cole was a great help throughout the week!  He helped catalog boxes coming off the truck and I've never seen a better job of compacting packing paper and collapsing boxes...Way to weld a knife Cole! 
I didn't get any pictures of us moving in...sorry we were too busy.

Here are some before move-in pictures...
Living room





We were welcomed by the great neighbors and critters as well.

Rat Snake
First and last time see saw this guy

Deer are very frequent visitors

Mama Deer and her triplets

We are in the middle of big cities and tons of people, but you'd never know it from our backyard.  We might as well back up to a national forest.  We even see foxes come through our yard.  Have yet to get a good enough picture of one.

Yard pictures...This is why we got this house!

Costco Milk...
This took some getting used to, but it's the cheapest so we keep buying them:)

Happy 40th Birthday Kevin!
On Sunday we celebrated as a family and relaxed being pretty tired from the crazy week.  
Even Cole took a nap! 

Good Bye Kevin..the next day he was off to cot in Montgomery Alabama!

3rd Week of June- Our Cross Country Drive to Virginia

10 States in 6 days

We left St. George, Utah and headed back to where our family started...

It felt so good to be on I-70 again.  I really do love that drive.

Our first stop was Glenwood Springs, CO

I've always wanted to stop there and really wish we had more time to stay and play.

Our plan was to rent bikes for the morning and ride up the canyon and have a picnic. However, spring run off had the banks of the Colorado River overflowing.  The bike trails were closed, so we had to come up with another plan.
We started to do some research and found out that Glenwood Springs has an amusement park at the top of the canyon and some caves to explore as well.  We thought this sounded like fun and we were even within walking distance from our hotel to the park entrance.  To get up to the park you ride a tram and take in the amazing views.  While we were up there we walked through the two caves and rode the alpine coaster.  It was a lot of fun.  

The winds picked up and they had to close the tram, it was a big disappointment and it started us on a path to being late getting us into Denver.  We waited and rode the dusty bus down the mountain and had a quick late lunch and hit the road.  As we were headed down the road we saw warning signs telling us about road closures for blasting starting at 4:30 pm.  Well we got there, 5th in line, at 4:20. We were stuck.  When they let us go again we hit terrible traffic in Denver and we met our friends late but at least we got there!
It felt so great to see our old friends!!  We had missed them so much!
Thanks to all those that were able to come and see us! It really meant so much to us!!!

After we said our goodbyes we hit the road.
Next stop was...


We got to the border really late at night and landed at our hotel in North Platte at 3am.  
We slept in, missed the breakfast, and had to scramble to get on the road again.

Nebraska is so Beautiful!

Omaha, NE for dinner at Culver's.
At this point Kevin and I were rethinking this driving two cars thing!
Also, in Omaha we finally got to feel what hot humidity is all about...Ugh!
My hair has been curly almost every day after we left Nebraska.


I didn't get any pictures of Iowa other than this.  I really wish I had, it was amazing!
Rolling hills, farms with the cutest little farms houses, and white gravel roads set beside green fields.
I could totally live there.  Maybe I should see if Kevin wants to farm for his third career:)

We drove again into the late night to get to Iowa City, Iowa then turn south to get to a little town in Missouri.  Keokuk, MO is where we spent the night so we could explore Carthage Jail and Nauvoo in the morning.

Carthage Jail


Loved seeing these water towers all over the Midwest:)

After having fun in the Blacksmith's shop we went into Brigham Young's Nauvoo home.  Little did we know while we were having our tour a huge storm had started.  We stayed there for a little while until there was a small break in the rain and wind.  We made a mad dash for the cars and that ended our Nauvoo site seeing.

Waiting out the storm.  The storm was intense.  
Tree branches were coming down along with tons of rain.

Wet and ready to drive to St. Louis, MO 

As we left Nauvoo, Illinois the storm was getting even stronger.  At one point the rain made it hard for us to see.  The rain lightened up a little bit enough for me to catch the sign.


With all the rain and wind in the area, I couldn't help but worry about seeing a tornado.  Well it wasn't too long before we did see one.


I saw this drop from the sky.  I called Kevin on the phone and told him to look at the strange cloud in the sky.  It looked like nothing I'd ever seen.  He agreed and no later did we hang up it turned into a tornado!!  We were trying to stay calm for the kids and we actually thought it was pretty exciting.  As long as it stayed far away. I kept thinking...What do we do?  The cars around us kept going so we should we.  It disappeared almost as fast as it appeared.  Made for one crazy drive through Missouri!

St. Louis, MO

Looking at the Mississippi River and Illinois

It was a great experience and was a big hit with the kids!
If you don't like to be in a small area with complete strangers I wouldn't recommend this:)

Looking down at the city St. Louis

After the Arch we walked through the Western Expansion Museum

Illinois and Indiana

Travels with Ethan!
This rest stop was our only stop in Indiana.  Another beautiful state and I have to say our kids have got to be the best long distant travelers!  
They were enjoying seeing every new state as much as I was.


Crossing the Ohio River near Louisville!  These big rivers are intense! The kids kept thinking they were lakes! 

Our last night in a hotel was in Lexington Kentucky.  With all the hotel stays we had up to this point, this was the first chance we had to order in dinner and let the kids swim.  It was the smallest pool I've ever seen in a hotel, but the kids still has fun!

A drive by picture of Kentucky horse country!
I could totally plant myself here....Beautiful!

Home Stretch...The last day of driving.
West Virginia

Pictures from the road showing how green West Virginia is.
I have never seen such green in my life!  This thick green forest was crazy beautiful.  
The pictures do not do it justice!

The Coal River near Charleston, WV

I'm smiling, but on the inside I'm screaming....


YAHOO!  We made it to our new home state!

We got to our new house about 10 pm that night and crashed!
We did the drive!
It was hard, but I would did it all over again. Even in two cars, believe it or not?
America is beautiful!
We feel so lucky to have seen at least a little bit of it!