Sunday, May 14, 2017

Visiting Italian, Danish and British Embassies

We decided to spend the day touring Europe, without leaving the area.  We visited three foreign territories: Italy, Denmark, and the UK.  

To celebrate Europe Day, each of the embassies in Washington DC representing countries in the EU hold an Open House.  The city fills with people, excited to share in the history and culture of these European countries.

We started with the Italian Embassy, then walked to the Danish and British Embassies.  It was a fascinating experience that all of us enjoyed.

The Italian Embassy:

The members of the Italian military were very friendly.

They had a Moto Guzzi, Aprilia, and Vespa on display.

They had various presentations including live Italian singing, dancing, and even a martial arts exhibition.

They even had a virtual reality tour of Italy that the kids enjoyed:

All of us really enjoyed the Embassy of Denmark.  We were able to tour the Ambassadors residence, which was modern and beautiful, but also homey and comfortable.  They even had a trampoline and swimming pool for the Ambassador's children.  They had small Danish treats for everyone and samples of Danish cheeses.  Delicious!

Each place setting was unique at the Ambassadors table.


The kids were hesitant at first, but they really liked the Danish National Treat.

Then we headed to the UK Embassy.

A Rolls Royce, some Bentleys, Land Rovers, Jaguars...  Beautiful cars on display.

What a day!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

DC Motorcade

In DC, you get used to motorcades of dignitary's heading to and from the White House.  I figured I would take a quick video and share it.

Carson's Boy Scout Court of Honor

Carson has really been working hard on his Boy Scout work.  At the Court of Honor, he received an astounding 12 merit badges and two rank advancements.  Congratulations Carson!

Pinning on the Mother's pin:

Driveway Fishing

Savannah asked, "Can I use the sled?"  I got it for her and a few minutes later she was in the drive way "fishing" in her "boat".  A few minutes later Tucker joined her.

They probably spent 15-20 minutes fishing.

Celebrating Birthdays

Angela and I celebrated our birthdays recently.  Angela had a turtle frozen custard cake (carmel, chocolate, nuts) on top of layers of frozen custard and vanilla cake.  It was delicious.

Angela made me a Lemon Jello cake that tasted so good!  We also went out to dinner at a nice steak / seafood place.

We're not sure where that missing section of the cake went.  We brought it home and some of it just disappeared before we actually had the birthday party!  (just kidding, it looked too good)

Building Robots

The boys have been fascinated with robots recently, so they have checked our every relevant book from the library, studied, designed, saved up money, purchased parts, and have begun building their robots.

It amazes me how much they have learned about electronics and the role of each component.  They are designing their robots from scratch (without a kit or any instructions) and so far are doing pretty well.  They have even been researching how to program the robots once they are built.

Tucker practicing soldering:

Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

It was 'Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day' a couple of weeks ago, so all three kids went with me.  We took the subway into the city, then walked a few blocks to my office.

The office had pizza, chips, soda and juice, candy, and cupcakes for the kids to enjoy while they observed what there parents do.  The kids had a great time and left thinking what a fun place work. I had to explain to them that it wasn't exactly a typical day in the office, but the people really are nice.

The cupcakes were delicious, but most of the kids there didn't seem to care for them.

One of our dry-erase walls:

Carson's artwork on my glass desktop.  It describes how electricity flows from the ground, to the power plant, to the electronics on my computer.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Angela's birthday surprises

We went out for a Thai food lunch, yum!

Tucker gave me an Almond Joy candy bar with this sweet card

Savannah added a '3' to this figure 8 to celebrate my new age

Savannah was eating chips and came up to me to give me this heart chip she found.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Smithsonians, Natural and American History

We went to a 'Special Collection' exhibit at the Museum of Natural History; they have lots of cool stuff and they can't display all of it I guess, so this exhibit allows them to display some of the cool things that are in their storage room. This is a Samurai uniform. It is hard to see the face mask; it has a furry black mustache. 

After seeing this, we went next door to the Museum of American History. They have a huge exhibit for the Star Spangled Banner. When I went in the early 90s, the flag was hanging and you could take a picture of it; now, they've built a whole new home for it, under very low light, for less light damage. There are two ramps up to the viewing room and it's all pretty dark, and when you get to the window to view the flag, it's basically in the dark and the flag is huge, and not hanging up anymore. On the walk-up ramps, there are plaques with text and pictures and paintings and artifacts describing the War of 1812 and the conditions that lead to the writing of the national anthem. They have a huge ipad type thing that shows a zoomed-in picture of the flag, and you can touch different parts of the screen to move around the different parts of the flag. There are circles here and there and you put your hand on those to see text boxes that have photos and information about the preservation of the flag over the years. Of course, no photos allowed. We spent a lot of time there, because that ipad thing was so cool. You could go there just for that alone. 

The museum is under a lot of construction, so quite a few wings were closed. We went to the 'American Stories' section, with memorabilia from American culture. Lots of cool things in there to see, and the ruby slippers would have been in there, but they were taken out just about a week ago for special cleaning and preservation. They did replace them with Indiana Jones' hat and whip, so that was cool. We went downstairs where they have a 'Innovation and Inventions' room, with different sections by area. This one was labled 'Hartford' as in Connecticut. The kids are making wire picture holders. 

This exhibit has a heartbeat sound you have to regulate with the knobs Tucker is turning. 

This was in the "Bronx" section. I thought it was funny there was an old 80s boombox in the Smithsonian. 

Turntables that made the DJ sounds. 

This is in the 'Hollywood' section. An old technicolor motion picture camera. 

Tucker was overlaying different layers of color to see a picture come to life.

This was in a different memorabilia exhibit. This bike was insane. Super fancy. 

Old fashioned hangers. 

Old thermostats.

A fancy old toilet

One of the Tucker Torpedos is here, really cool. 

On our way out, the kids wanted to 'hold' the Washington monument. 

and then have fun on the grass. 

Whenever we went before, there were ropes all around the grass, keeping people from hanging out on the grass. Now that it's spring, the ropes are gone and the grass is like a thick, soft carpet.