Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Jefferson Memorial (Mon.10/29)

Our “bigger than life” family is still no match for...

...bigger than life Jefferson

Bureau of engraving & printing, D.C. (Mon.10/29)

No free samples on the Harley Davidson tour, and none at the Bureau of engraving and printing... A must see tour in my opinion.

How much are you worth in bills stacked to your height?

Some old ones they have on display are worth quite a bit more than their face value

This is how they "make" their money. They don't charge to take the tour, but the tour ends and they dump you into the gift shop and here is where we payed good money to buy their old , worthless money that has been shredded up. (p.s. kids who buy the fake money are happy but the parents who supply the allowance for the kids to buy the fake money are the ones who take it in the shorts)

Here's a picture of the new 5 dollar bill coming out in a few months - I did mention that I'm a Lincoln fan?! The big "5" is for seeing impaired - it won't be a 6 foot one as shown however...

Library of Congress / Thomas Jefferson Building, D.C. (Fri.10/26)

The Library of Congress, probably along with the Capitol, is the most ornate, but tastefully done building I've seen. This library unlike most these days has books in it, not just computer terminals.

I suggest using one of the free tour guides to see the place, but ours had a thick German accent and didn't project her voice very well. Combine that with the fact that 2 of the 4 boys don't appreciate architecture at all – unless you can climb on it -- and Kim and I needed to split up our time tracking with the tour.

They have a Gutenberg Bible, there are just a couple in good condition. It's a two-volume set, one shown, they carefully turn the pages periodically.

Smithsonian, Washington DC (Wed.10/24)

There's not much better than the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. The first stop was the simulator rides. Shae, Kobe and I did the milder simulator ride taking us through the history of flights from WW1 to modern jets. Levi and Elan had the aggressive version where one fires and one pilots. They spent more time upside down (for real!) than not. They got one kill and augured themselves into the ground once. Just another day...

The Kid's interactive area gathered a good chunk of our time. I tried to explain the conservation of rotational momentum, so far so good, but I realized I really don't understand how gyro's work, much less can I explain it. Another grade or two and they'll be teaching me in all the subjects.

Zipping through the American History section... Here's the actual hat that Abraham Lincoln was wearing the night he was shot. Have I mentioned that he's a hero of mine?

Here's a picture of the boys with a couple heroes of theirs – C-3PO and R2-D2... sigh...

Three of the boys (the ones with the cold noses) in front of the infrared camera.

Smithsonian - Museum of Natural History (Thur.10/25)

Lions spend about 80% of their lives laying around, not watching football or day-time soaps, just laying there or sleeping. When they are in a zoo, they don't even get to run and hunt down their food, they get it handed to them, so the sleep ratio goes up even further. Wouldn't it be cool to have the antelope in the same cage as the lions? It's not more violent than football and it's legal... Well, until they develop that, the museum of natural history has some great “action”-dead-animal shots

1 monkey and 4 monkey-like animals

Contemplative Kobe

the Hope diamond – with all the hype it's pretty close to a Plymouth rock moment... yawn...

Disc Golf - Greenbelt, MD (Tue.10/23)

With a few minor injuries, a few stop-everything and help find so and so's disc, we enjoy the game. Kobe had more fun with a soccer ball, but hey...

Vietnam Memorial (Thur.10/18)

Kim's second cousin died in the Vietnam war. In visiting the memorial, though Kim never met him, we all felt a bit of a personal connection.

We found his name David J Barduson about half way down the second wall.

Kim “rubbed” his name onto a piece of paper.

David had volunteered for the war. He was asked why he would go, when he didn't have to and, having brothers, he replied that if one of his brothers were in trouble, he would go and “those guys over there are my 'brothers'”.

The Memorial is unique in that the number of people that died all have names and for us the names became a particular name. The boys talked about whether they would volunteer or not, though we weren't recruiting, it was a good discussion.

Woodstown, NJ (Fri.10/19-Mon.10/21)

Four Seasons Campground
It's the stalkers...I mean the Bollackes...

After almost 20 days of fellowship and 8 1/2 hours of traveling (5 hours of traffic--ugh!) just to be able to see this precious family, we figured we have earned some real estate on this blog. Although we are trying REALLY hard to detain them in the Northeast (and we are actually doing a really good job—having them back track to PA a couple of weeks ago and now back tracking to good 'ol “New Joi-zee”), we recognize that we will have to at some point say “good-bye” for awhile. Although we are hoping to be able to see them one more time—perhaps for Thanksgiving in North Carolina?? (Christian did put in a birthday request—November 25th—and we wouldn't want to disappoint him!! Besides, the standing score in Rodeo Golf is Graham—9, Michael—5, and Michael is looking to even up the score...) All kidding aside, we just wanted to take the opportunity to say what a blessing Graham, Kim, Levi, Elan, Shae and Kobe have been to us. Words simply cannot express how thankful we are to have met and had the time to spend with each one of these Nelsons. And for those of you who were concerned that we might be serial killers...no worries...Michael and I did try to pass as Graham and Kim 'look alikes' and make off with the kids...but we didn't have any stilts. Mission 'unaccomplished,' but we do make their clothes look good.

No, really we just want to praise God for His goodness. I think the song goes something like this:

Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost and now am found, and they back tracked just for me...Praise God!

-Mike and Lisa

I can't really add to that... but I'll tag on a photo from the weekend of a paper boat on fire - going down...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

WW2 Memorial, Washington DC (Thur.10/18)

The WW2 memorial is new in '04. This made me think of my other hero - my dad. After being trained as a Navy pilot, the end of the war mostly needed people on the ground. So Bud served in the South Pacific at the end of the war in the Philippines and Japan.

With over 16 million Americans in the war, this wall has 4,048 gold stars, each representing approximately 100 American deaths incurred. He had several good friends that didn't return and I have very obvious selfish reasons that I'm thankful my dad survived the war, but more than I am thankful, I am very proud of his enlisting, his service, and his bravery.

I pray my boys understand freedom and don't take it lightly.

A funny exchange between my dad and I on the phone went...
Dad: There is a program where they would pay for me as a ww2 vet to be flown out to see the memorial in Washington and fly you back all in the same day. They do require that you be able to walk the length of a football field... What are we going to be doing on a football field anyway?
Graham: Hopefully it's 2 hand touch and not tackle...

I love you dad,

Washington D.C. (Thur.10/18)

The White House has an excellent visitors' center explaining the history and the many additions and maintenance, but as far as actually seeing the real thing, well, we circled the outside (as we didn't plan ahead 6 months to get the background check, permission from our senator, and a note from my mom).

Gravity Check Washington DC

yep, still working, demonstrated by Kobe, further confirmed by Shae seconds later...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Lincoln - Washington D.C. (Thur.10/18)

Here's some pics from Ford Theater where Lincoln was shot, but it's closed until 2009 (couldn't wait that long even with a Barns&Noble and McDonald's nearby), and some from the House / room across the street from the theater where Lincoln died the following day

I don't have many heroes, but here's one. The monument depicts a larger than life Lincoln to be sure – this is not everyone's favorite but it's perfect for a hero.

Lincoln is quite popular today, but I don't think he would be if he were alive. Much like some of the founding fathers, Lincoln was blatant in how his Christian faith affected his decision making and a true conservative – seeking a strong country by greatly limiting government. To some this doesn't sound very compassionate, but I truly believe that a rising tide raises all boats, and this is the best corporate way to help the poor. The best personal way to help the poor is to pray and give time and money and I think we should do all the above. That's the view through the Graham glasses. Sorry, he's my hero, I had to say something. The kids liked the monument because he was a big cement dude.

My favorite Lincoln quotes

“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right.”

The 10 Cannot's

#1 You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrifts.
#2 You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
#3 You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
#4 You cannot lift the wage earner by tearing down the wage payer.
#5 You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
#6 You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
#7 You cannot further the brotherhood of men by inciting class hatred.
#8 You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
#9 You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.
#10 You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.