Why the Tree of Life?


Washington DC, Finale

Last pictures from our trip to DC. The kids all got along great! Ssshhh, but I think Kirven had a crush on Caroline by the end of the trip.

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Washington DC, Part IV

The day after the Air & Space Museum, we needed some fresh air, and the whole crew went to Great Falls National Park. It was a beautiful place, and the falls were impressive to us Texans who are used to calling any amount of water that flows off a rock 'falls'. Check out the link to see a picture of them. With the temporary loss of our camera, I'm swiping pictures from Lexi to post.

It was chilly and very, very windy. But there was plenty to capture our attention.

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Ayla's Birthday Party

Ayla's birthday party was an easygoing affair; strictly family. I made the official 'first birthday chocolate-cinnamon cake', and the boys decorated it.

We had some great BBQ from Rudy's, and then ate cake and ice cream. The boys helped blow out Ayla's candle.

You see here the birthday girl wearing vanilla ice cream. She wasn't crazy about the cake. Let me repeat that: she wasn't crazy about the chocolate cake. I know there are people out there in this great, big world who don't like chocolate, but my own daughter? Ah, well, more for the rest of us.

And then we had some present opening. The boys were itching to help unwrap, and after many failed attempts at keeping them away and interesting Ayla in her presents, we let them at it. Ayla's plastic spoon, swiped from somebody's iced tea cup, was far more important at the moment.

We finished the night with the boys and Ayla dancing for all of us to Rodrigo y Gabriella. We have video. Someday I'll post it. Listen to RodGab's music. It's amazing. Two acoustic guitars. You should see their hands.

Anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AYLA!!!!!!!!!

Enki Education

There's a new YouTube video about Enki Education. I've posted it on Tree of Life Musings.


Camp La Junta

Dad and the boys went to a Father-Son weekend at Camp La Junta this past weekend. Evan and his brother, and Grandpa before them, went to this camp out in Hunt, TX, when they were boys. Evan got to show Kirven and Dunagan his name in a patch of concrete that he helped pour one year. We're hoping to send Kirven next summer, so this was a little preview.

The boys got to fish, shoot rifles and bows, ride horses, play ping pong, eat too much sugar, go without soap, get too close to fires, and generally get to do things Dad-style. NO GIRLS ALLOWED!


Washinton, DC, Part III

The day after viewing the cherry blossoms, we headed out to the new annex of the Air and Space Museum at Dulles Airport. I don't know how many hours we spent there. The boys had to be peeled away, and our hostesses, Lexi and Michaela, were so patient with us.

I personally preferred this museum to the one downtown. It's just so BIG. Big planes.

And big space shuttle! We spent about half our time in the space area. At least, the boys did. I spent all my time chasing Ayla, who (remember) was done with the stroller. But she wasn't done with other people's strollers. Ooooh, no, she was not. She really wanted to get into everyone else's stroller. And she also wanted everyone else's sippy cups and snacks. I spent a lot of my time smiling apologetically as I picked her up and away from other people. Come on, Ayla, that's not for you. Giggle, giggle.

Dunagan was smitten with the Blackbird, fastest plane ever. There was and is no faster plane, and he will gladly tell you all about it.

They had several flight simulators. Both boys 'flew' a Wright flier. It was really very difficult! Then Evan and Dunagan went in one simulator that went through several different planes, and Kirven and I rode a space shuttle. In hindsight, the boys both enjoyed it, but I think they were both a little stunned by the experience at first.

And this is where it happened. This is where we had our backpack 'stolen'. About this time, we all met back up and headed out for home. When we got to the car, we realized there was no backpack. What a sinking feeling. Of course, it had our camera, my wallet with all my ID (how was I going to get back on the plane home, we wondered), and all of our cash. Evan headed back in, searched and searched, asked and asked, but no backpack. We were sure that it had been left at the simulators, and someone had walked off with it. We started closing all our financial accounts. We didn't let the 'stolen' backpack issue railroad the rest of our visit, but it was definitely in the back of our minds the rest of the time.

But, happily, long story short, our backpack was found! It had been left in a classroom where the Wright Flier was. Shortly after the boys had done the simulator in there, they had closed up the exhibit, and it ended up being locked up safe and tight all weekend. We had to do a bit of footwork in order to get it back, but we did, camera, id, cash and all!! Man, what a relief. I'm sure you can imagine.

More to come...


Washington DC, Part II

It was a gloomy, overcast day that we chose to see the cherry blossoms, but we did have the benefit of seeing them at their fullest blossoming. Many of the blossoms were blown away the next day, which proved to be incredibly (stroller-topplingly) windy. I had dreams of catching a great photo of the kids snuggling under the blossoms, but the above picture is the closest we could get considering that Dunagan DID NOT want to be photographed, it was crowded with other tourists, and the natural light was hiding.

For backup pictures, I swiped a couple from Lexi whose family went later in the week on a beautiful day. Thanks, Lexi!

We had originally thought we would wait in the long line to go up the Washington Monument, but our friends advised us to go to the Old Post Office instead. Their tower had bigger windows, you can stay as long as you like, and it's free!

It was chilly in the tower, but we had a great view of the District. Little Ayla was done, dooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnne, with the stroller by that point, and pretty much the rest of the trip. She took up her favored spot on my back in the Ergo and happily napped on my fuzzy hood. I wish we had gotten a shot of Ayla's orangutan hair giving us the direction of the wind up there.

We headed down to the food court in the bowels of the Reagan Center for cookies and gelato before heading back to play on the playscape at Jeff's apartment and to have the best Chinese take-out dinner with all our Miami friends.

More to come...

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Happy 1st Birthday, Ayla!!

Has it already been a year since her birth? She turned one yesterday.

Washington DC, Part I

We've been mighty quiet around here, and that's because we've been in Washington DC visiting friends from college. Dunagan and Kirven have flown before, but this was the first trip that Dunagan was old enough to appreciate and get excited about, and the wonder on his face at all the airplanes was so fun to see. We talked to the pilots, got to peek into the cockpit (benefit of being the slowest and last people off the plane) and touched the outside of the plane to see how cold it had gotten (pretty cold). Everyone did great on the flight. Since we're five, we took up our own whole row, Dad and the boys on one side, and Ayla and Mama on the other. I pretty much started feeding Ayla snacks the moment we boarded the plane; I came well-stocked, and she was happy and napped most of the way. She only fussed as we descended into DC. Overall, a huge sigh of relief from me that we weren't that family on the plane again because we have been that family... o yes sirree... we have been that family.

We were all tired from our trip, though it did take the kids awhile to settle in strange beds. Our friends, Lexi, Jeff and their daughter Michaela were so generous in allowing us to stay in their apartment. We couldn't have asked for more comfortable arrangements.

The next morning, we headed out first thing to see the cherry blossoms down around the Tidal Basin. Jeff's apartment is just a short walk from the Metro (so convenient!). It was a chilly, overcast day, but truth be told, the boys were just happy to be getting to ride the 'train' and be with Dad. Only Daddy would do for most things during the week.

Here's a little peek at the cherry blossoms coming up.
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