Friday, July 31, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday


I stumbled out of bed this morning wondering how many hours I would have to sleep to make myself feel rested and refreshed. Do you feel that way? For me, it must be more than 7 hours. Wish I could experiment to find out.


I wonder if part of the reason for my exhaustion was our American Heritage Girls cookout last night. It ended up being a "cook-in" because of all the rain. But we dithered around all day wondering if we should cancel; wondering if it anyone was coming. We made the decision to go ahead with it indoors, although the sun was shining from 6-8 as luck would have it, and the mend did the grilling outside the door while we had the party inside. No one got muddy and the guys got to use the grill. It was a lot of fun for the few families that came.

I think it was just the stress of wondering how it would turn out that wore me out!


Today, I'm wondering what on earth I'll do with myself!

Ok, not really. I have nothing on my calendar, so I'll be calling the cable guy to come back and iron out a few kinks in the system for us. (Did I not tell you that we just got cable for the first time? I guess I put that on FB!)

I'll be sitting and quilting LP's quilt while I wait. Maybe I can get a lot done today. I'm guessing that "a lot" is very relative in the quilting world. I'll be happy if I get the daisy on one square finished and can move on to the next one!


KT will be taking my car and going to UGA today to run some errands. She's doing some moving out and moving in stuff and some work orientation. She's taking my car because she's taking most of her furniture, but she's leaving her car here. That's newsworthy because she just got a new, previously owned vehicle a few days ago. She'll be paying for it with her new job at school, but it's paying for itself already in the stress reduction around here. Let me tell you.


It's going to be a great weekend around here! Dh and I will be celebrating our 23 anniversary on Sunday and we have a fun date planned for Saturday night. He found a great deal (throught Atlanta on the Cheap twitterfeed) for dinner and a concert. We get to go to the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, which is pretty close and we haven't been to yet, to hear the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra play Rogers and Hammerstein show tunes. I'm so excited!


I'd like to spend a chunk of time on Saturday learning to use some of the iwork features we got with this new computer. I want to learn to use spreadsheets and the budgeting features. Wish me luck!


I hope to spend some time today blogging our excursion to Philadelphia and cheesesteak territory. Hmmm, was it the highlight of our trip? The best day ever?

Wait and see.


Go visit Jen for more Quick Takes!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Vacation Day 4, part 2

So, yesterday when I left you we had just had a scrumptious lunch of hearty sandwiches  (and Maryland crab chowder, in my case) at The Shamrock and it was time to head dtr (down the road) to Gettysburg, which ended up being much quicker than we expected.  

Guys, if you go to one of these sites, you really should go to the other!

The areas around the visitors' center were surrounded by these happy wildflowers,

which the children wanted to frolic in,

(although Pipster looks more like a lion stalking his prey!)

even the big boys,

ummm, or NOT.

Adorable, downtown Gettysburg.  There was so much cuteness there that if it were a baby, I'd pick it up and squeeze it!

Hard to imagine these gorgeous views obscured by smoke, explosions, blood, and screams of agony.

They had this handy little tower you could climb to get a better view!

That's Little Round Top in the distance.

Hard to keep kids off stone walls when they're everywhere!

This is the site of Picket's Charge.  I think they had to make it to the 'clump of trees'.
OMG, those were some of the bravest men ever because there was no place to hide while hell rained down upon them!

No wonder this place is literally littered with monuments and memorials to different divisions.  They deserve them.  

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Vacation Day 4

Are you ready to stop in and visit St. Elizabeth Ann Seton? This was just a lovely day on our trip. Probably the best day of the whole week.

We were in the beautiful countryside of Pennsylvania, which really rivals Virginia for pastoral beauty, and the weather was perfect. Not too hot. Not too cold. Just right.

This is a little shot of the visitor's center attached to the Basilica.

I think it was just recently designated a basilica when Mother Seton's remains were moved into the church a couple of years ago.

It's one of the loveliest churches I have seen in a long time. And it was built in the early 60's. Just in time, I say, to avoid the horrendous changes that occurred in church architecture.

Some children who weren't very excited about this aspect of our trip were at least inspired to stop and pray before the tabernacle.

After the basilica, we went to the stone house where Mother Seton first started her order in 1809.

Did you know they are having bicentennial activities this weekend? We just missed it! On the other hand, it was probably a good time to visit because everything was all spruced up.

There's the new memorial garden just recently installed for the 200th anniversary of the founding. You can buy a brick if you want.

Then there's the White House which was built later with more room for the sisters, and better construction, I guess. But the stone house was very charming with its basement kitchen with brick floors!

Here we have the original mausoleum donated by Mother Seton's brother.

It's surrounded by the graves of all the sisters and a couple of bishops (next to the door).

I thought it was sad to see how many graves there were and how there were several years where there was a funeral or two every month as the sisters died off. The one who gave us the mini-tour of the basilica said they used to have enough to fill it but not anymore.

Her original resting place:

At this point everyone is getting hungry and it's time to go. It's also the time when KT told Pipster to "put the street down". As we were walking back to the car he found a broken piece of asphalt on the edge of the road and picked it up. It was a large slab---about 1' x 3'---so I think it was fair to call it "the street"!

We had to turn right getting out which is the opposite direction, but KT and I had the same thought: Let's go to the Shamrock for lunch! Just the kind of different place we wanted to try instead of the same old fast food or Cracker Barrel.

I think all the kids commented on the placemats (above). They loved the kitschy decor and there were Irish goodies everywhere. Most of them for sale.

We had the hugest, yummiest sandwiches there that we had ever had. It was awesome. You simply have to stop in if you're going to Gettysburg, or St. Elizabeth Ann's Shrine, or Mount St. Marys.

We're going to have to visit Gettysburg tomorrow. I know you're disappointed, but it has taken me all day to post this what with trips to get the oil changed, Joann's, Costco, piano, and Target.

Why Joann's, you say? Because my Little Princess is sick, sick, sick. She's been running a pretty good fever for 2 days now. That makes it really quiet around here! So I was able to finish the back of her quilt yesterday and I'm going to start quilting it!!!

Wonders never cease.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vacation Day 3

After visiting with the cousins on Sunday, we decided to tour Washington, DC a little on Monday.  Having grown up there, dh and I have been countless times with family and field trips, but our kids hadn't been to very many sites.

We took the train in because parking is so difficult in DC, but we paid through the nose for that "convenience".  8 people on the metro gets a little pricey!

We went first to the Washington Monument to get tickets

Alas, they were not to be had until 7:30 pm.  And this was at 10 a.m.   We figured we'd be long gone by then and decided to skip it.

From there we walked to the Lincoln Memorial:

This picture is deceiving.  This is the WWII Memorial which stand halfway between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.  You can't even see how long the Reflecting Pool is here.

So we walked around the WWII Memorial,

Sidestepped the goose poop alongside the Reflecting Pool, and saw this adorable little family,

And finally saw him in all his majesty.

Then we had to start the long walk back in the other direction by way of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, while we ate our ice cream sandwiches to keep us happy,

With a quick stop at the WWII Memorial, again.

And then we went to the Holocaust Museum that neither dh nor I had ever been too. We still didn't see the whole thing, namely the permanent exhibit, but we went to the children's section which is a tour of a fictional Jewish boy's life. Little Princess found that "exciting." It was very well done.

We also went to the large "Propaganda" exhibit there which I found extremely interesting from a current events perspective.

Wave 'hello' to Mr. Jefferson.  We didn't stop to see him as he was too far off the beaten path!

I don't know about you, but at this point, my feet are gettin' tired and I'm a little hungry.  I'm sure the children's tummy and foot pain was much greater than mine, so we started looking for lunch.  There are tons of street vendors in this section of the Mall, but we wanted to avoid those.  We ended up at the National Air and Space Museum because they have a McDonalds.  

Come to think of it, the street vendors might have been cheaper.  Lunch at Mickey's was easily 3x what we would have spent at a normal one.  We only saw a couple of things at Air and Space and went directly across the Mall to the National Gallery of Art.

I was enjoying this:

and this:

while the little ones enjoyed this (supervised by a tired teen):

Now, there's a ciborium worthy of Our Lord!

I loved seeing the originals of some of my favorite paintings!

I think some of the kids actually saw more of the museum than I did as they kept moving at a brisk pace, while I stopped to enjoy, rest, and take pictures.  But that's fine with me.  I don't need to make them examine every painting.  They're seeing a variety of artwork and getting exposed to it.  They'll slow down and look closely when something grabs their attention.

The walk back to the metro station went through this sculpture garden.  Some of these I remember from my youth, especially the typewriter eraser.

Wonder who did that one? 

He cracks me up sometimes!

Okay, I don't know about you, but we're exhausted and heading back to the Metro, even if it is rush hour and we have to pay $2 more per person for the trip.  We're TIRED!

Join us tomorrow for a tour of the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and Gettysburg!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

We're back!

I so glad to be home from our vacation!  It was a lot of fun, but very busy and we didn't have a chance to get bored---unless you're a child who is not interested in museums or battlefields. 

Then you might have had a chance to get bored.

I'll show you some highlights in the next couple of days, so you can
 enjoy it, too.  But maybe your feet won't get as tired as ours did!

To start with, here are a few photos from our first day with the
 family.  We went for a walk while waiting for the rest of the 16
 cousins to arrive, and played at the elementary school playground.  

This is me, wondering if I want to get on this crazy, spinney thing and get dizzy.

I've never seen one of these little "spinners" before.  It spins very quickly and easily.  If you sit on the little disc and have someone else turn you, it takes very little effort to turn and make you sick!

Yep.  It didn't take much spinning to get me nice and nauseated.

"Dizzying" pretty much describes our trip.  We were all over the place and the children never knew what we were doing next.

On this day, playing at dh's elementary school playground was a lot of fun.

I think it has been upgraded a little since he attended!

See you tomorrow!


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