Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving

We made the crowded, but beautiful drive down to Richmond for Thanksgiving this year. What an enjoyable few days we had with Matt's parents and aunt & uncle! Most of our time was spent visiting in front of the TV with a plateful of food in our laps. (Isn't that how the majority of Americans spend the holiday?) Thursday we watched the parade (well, I did at least) ate turkey, ham, dressing, potatoes, green beans, broccoli & rice, squash casserole and crescent rolls. As did many other thankful Americans, we went on a walk before driving out to the movin' picture show. Girls saw The Blind Side and guys saw 2012. Friday involved nooo shopping for any of us. Just more food, visiting and anticipation of the AU vs AL game. Might I say, "War Eagle!" Though we did end up losing (barely), it was an extremely surprising and fun game! That night Matt and I set up our tent in the backyard hoping to get one more fun use out of it before winter set in. It was going to be perfect, chilly, sleep outside weather... until a thunderstorm canceled our plans. Saturday we, you guesed it, slept in, ate and visited before making the beautiful drive back home.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good first week of December :o)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

DC with the Beverlys

Saturday, once again armed with good shoes, cameras and snacks, the four of us rode the metro into DC for a full day of sightseeing. First stop, the White House! We were also able to go to the top of the Washington Monument to see amazing views of the city. A random highlight right after this was catching a glimpse at the 15 car Presidential motorcade. Next we ate lunch inside the Museum of Natural History then took the metro out to Arlington National Cemetery where we were in awe of it all. The graves, the views, the leaves... all of it. From there we made the trek down from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier across the Potomac River all the way to the National Archives Building, stopping at the Lincoln, Viet Nam and World War Two Memorials along the way. We wore ourselves out to the max, but it was worth it! An absolutely fantastic day with fantastic friends.
Leaving our apartment

We saw the White House!

Inside the top of the Washington Monument





One of many who served in both WWI and WWII

Arlington & The Pentagon

The view from Arlington House (Robert E. Lee's House)
Majestic Arlington
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier


National Archives Building
Mustering up one last burst of energy after an exhausting but wonderful day!

Annapolis with the Beverlys

We started planning the trip in July, set the date in September and finally, two weekends ago Sarah Grace & Patrick flew up for a visit! Friday I took Matt to work so the three of us could have the car, cooked breakfast for our vacationers (their trip was an early Christmas present to each other) and we headed downtown armed with cameras and comfy shoes. We had perfect fall weather and a fun time seeing the sights. Later, after picking Matt up from work, we had a yummy seafood dinner at Cantler's.

At Annapolis City Dock
Naval Academy Fun
We felt sloppy in our blue jeans compared to the students uniforms.
John Paul Jones' crypt
Maryland State House Dome
Pretty fancy crown molding
Goofing around on the State House steps
Main Street, USA
Go Navy!
Stopped for a milkshake & cookie at Chick & Ruth's
Neat skyline & sky
Another adventure added to the list!
Snow crab for him & blackened tuna over blue cheese risotto and asparagus for her.
Snow crab for him too.
Fun times cracking crab, laughing & visiting at Cantler's!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Zoo

Yesterday the weather was perrrfect! It would have been just plain wrong to not get out in it, so we headed to the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. The animals were entertaining, leaves beautiful, and surrounding downtown Baltimore neighborhoods freaking phenomenal!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tug Of War

While at the Seafood Festival earlier in September, Matt and I got to talking with a man from Eastport, essentially a neighborhood of Annapolis. He was full of fun local information for us newbies and was very proud of his MRE, or Maritime Republic of Eastport. Among other things, we learned about the upcoming "Slaughter Across the Water" tug-of-war game between Annapolis and Eastport. (You can read more about the 2009 results here.) This good natured game has now been going on for 12 years and is the amusing outcome of Eastport semi-threatening to succeed from the city of Annapolis. Being the instigators, Eastport seemed to know how to have fun, so last weekend we joined them on their side in the Saturday sunshine while they ate, drank, and pulled with all their might. Afterward Matt & I walked back across the bridge to Annapolis for sushi and ice cream. Oh, the emcee of the event happened to be our local seafood festival buddy!

Setting the rope up across the water

Guarding the rope. This was serious business.

The crowds!

The music!

The effort!

video
The victory!

Honor Flight

Great things happened this past Tuesday. The lesser one being that I made it into (and out of) DC all by myself. Since I rarely drive or go anywhere this felt like a big accomplishment. Another point on my adulthood scorecard.

Though I did not come back home with the exact experience I hoped to, it was still a day that warmed my heart and exceeded my expectations. I think my Grandad feels the same way.

Grandad was one of many WWII Veterans who were blessed with the gift of a one-day whirlwind trip to Washington DC, the highlight of which being a tour of the World War II Memorial. A synopsis of this amazing program, the Honor Flight, can be seen on this video and this second one. Unfortunatley, his tour bus group had some major delays and despite my 4.5 hour wait at the memorial, we were not able to meet at planned. We probably missed each other by 30 or 45 minutes, but it was getting late and for safety reasons I needed to start my trek back home to pick Matt up from work. Sad though it was, the day was not lost. Grandad had a marvelous time and I did get to see and visit with other Honor Flight groups that came through.

The video clips above capture what I was able to feel and learn more than I could ever try to write. I can't come up with the words to describe what it was like to be there with the men who knew the war firsthand. Men told me things like, "I served under Patton," and "I thanked ole Harry countless times for pushing that button. I was next to go to Japan and if the bomb hadn't gone off, surely I woldn't be here today." I asked one man if he had been to DC before and his happy reply was yes, but I was surprised to learn it was only because he had made a pact with a war buddy that if either of them died that the other would go visit their family. And so, this dear boy at the time flew from Moline, IA to Mt. Airy, MD to spend quality time with his friend's family and girlfriend in their state of grief. Afterward he made a side trip into Washington.

Words just can not describe. So emotionally stirring and by far one of my best life experiences. Honor these men and all veterans. They will always deserve it.

View of a Smithsonian while sitting on a bench.

Yellow shirts are veterans and blue shirts are guardians (the helpers). It was so amazing and emotional to see the veterans arrive.

They were so grateful to be there and in awe that they were actually there.

Being the day before Veterans Day, there were many other WWII groups there and also lots of Viet Nam veterans.

Getting to see their Memorial

Group picture

A WWI memorial around the corner.

Half mast flags around the Washington Monument.


Another Smithsonian view & POW flag at the Memorial.

Where's Waldo... I mean Kilroy.

There are computers with a database of WWII veterans at the memorial. It can also be accessed here where you can look for or add an honoree to the list.