Saturday, June 30, 2012

Moving out of the house.

It was tougher leaving our house than I expected.  The packers took 2 full days to pack everything we own into 2 trucks worth of space, with much of day 2 packed loose and not in crates.  If we ever see it in Jordan I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

The house is still ours for two more weeks.  We’ll need to mow the lawn and collect my parents’ lamp before we pass over the keys, and hopefully the trouble with the neighbor-who-targets-us won’t continue in our absence.  Who am I kidding… with the house clearly vacant I’m sure there will be something.  I’ll just hope it’s not too bad.

Last box of odds and ends
Tandoori is safely ensconced with my parents.  The packers on day 1 stayed in the basement and kitchen.  Tandoori was hidden way in the back under Nicholas’s bed.  When the movers moved upstairs we figured it was safer for him to be elsewhere.  Even though the townhouse is new to him, it’s also quiet and my mom and the gerbil live there, so somewhat familiar.  He’s doing fine.

 With the packers gone, it was time to move on.  School finally ended the same day, and we overloaded the car for the short trip to Washington DC.  Ian booked us into the Embassy Suites on 22nd and M Street.  We’re in two rooms down the hall from each other, Ian and I in a king executive suite and the kids in a double queen suite.

For our first day in DC I planned a free tour through Walkabout DC of five monuments.  It may seem like an odd choice for people who have lived near DC for so long, but as is common with folks who live near tourist hotspots, often you don’t take the time to see the hotspots yourself.  We meandered our long way from the hotel to the Jefferson Memorial, stopping along the way to take photos and simply enjoy our time.  

We first walked past the White House where street hockey is played on Saturday mornings.  I guess if the streets are blocked as they will be forevermore, then street hockey is as good a use of the space as any.  Nicholas had recently seen photos on Facebook of sites in DC matched with their representative image on money so he made his own attempts.  It's hard getting a decent match with short arms and a point-n-shoot camera that doesn't like focusing.

In front of the White House is the absent National Christmas Tree.

At the Washington Monument we giggled loudly while the kids did YMCA and I had to lay full out on the grass in order to get the whole monument in the photo.  Two Scotsmen offered to take a family photo, and told us we’d given them their first smile during their time in DC.  They were only in DC for the day, coming over from Scotland on one of the ships participating in the Tall Ships festival in Baltimore. 
Two awesome Scotsmen.

I so wish we’d taken a photo with them, they were friendly, charming and unique.  They encouraged us to visit Scotland especially during a particular festival (which I didn’t catch the name of, their accents were incredible). The gentleman in red was such a sight, and though they didn't give us our first smiles of the day, they certainly gave us our biggest ones.

Hanging with George Mason.
Once we made it to the Jefferson Memorial we met up with our guide and toured the Jefferson, talked about the Washington, and visited the George Mason, FDR, MLK and Lincoln Memorials.  It was years since I'd seen FDR and with the unveiling of MLK just last year they were places I wanted to visit.  FDR is a stunning tribute to our wartime president, an area for each of his terms with flowing water, lovely sculptures and engraved words of wisdom.  It's one of my favorites along the shady walk by the tidal basin.

There were loads of old people. Loads.

But not just any old people.  They were wearing Big Sky Honor Flight tshirts and parts of their military uniform.  I stopped a younger older person to ask what it meant.  The Honor Flight program honors all vets, Big Sky is primarily WWII vets, by offering every one of them a trip to Washington DC, especially to see the WWII memorial.

The day was warm but beautiful. Our tour was at 2 p.m. and lasted a couple hours, so we walked back towards the hotel and found dinner along the way.  Bobby's Burger Palace on K Street.  Communal tables, better than decent burgers, and way too many fries.  It's worth a visit.

We moved out, but not yet moved on.

We've been traveling and vacationing the past couple weeks so the next blogs will be catching up what we've been up to.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Rebecca's Night.

For 8th grade awards night we waited and waited and waited for Rebecca to get called up.  The list was long.  And we continued to wait.  Kids who got commendations in P.E. and Spanish and Language Arts.  Kids who showed marked improvement in their grades over the past 3 years.  Kids who got President's Academic Awards for 3.5GPA for the past year and half.

And then my kid and a small group like her.  President's Awards, commendations in classes, and straight As for the 3 years.

To say we are proud is an understatement.

Rebecca getting congrats from her science teacher.
Becca and one of her best friends, Alison.
The evening was a dress-up affair and just about every kid looked so very sharp.  Grandma even brought Rebecca flowers.

The crew, minus dad and grandpa.
After the awards we went out for ice cream.

Tried to get a decent DQ photo.  Take 1.
And Take 2.  Never mind. 

With far too much time waiting for stuff in the MS gym....

The following night we were back in the Saunders gym for Becca's final chorus concert.  She wasn't very happy with it, but made it through.

Starting the last 8th grade chorus concert.
And today I had a few minutes and a project I've been meaning to do for a while. The kids were on the Frogs summer swim team for the past 3 years and have amassed quite a few ribbons.  The cap tore at one point but Becca didn't want to throw it out, and what do you do with all those ribbons anyway?  Well, here's an idea and a little something for Rebecca's room in Jordan:

A quick framing job to display many of Becca's ribbons.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Coming up this week.

Yesterday we "celebrated" Father's Day and our upcoming July birthdays.  Why now? you may ask.  Well, I'm glad you did.

Because in two weeks we have packers here. For gifts that don't fit in a suitcase, they need to be given now so they can be shipped out in our UAB or HHE.  Which means these gifts to Ian:

They needed to be given now.

What do you think?  I'm quite proud of the map one.  I bought maps from the 19th century (replicas, of course) of the places we've lived abroad, including our upcoming Jordan post.  He seemed genuinely pleased by it.  And it doesn't plug in or explode or anything. The Comfort Revolution Hydraluxe pillow will hopefully be a good thing, once we air out the overwhelming chemical smell.  It was boxed and bagged, I didn't know!  And if it is wonderful, I'll get a few more.  Rebecca has expressed an interest.

His gift to me didn't really need to be given yet, but he's giddy and out of patience.  He wants it set up right away, so in order to frustrate him I let it charge overnight and will work with it tonight.  Or maybe tomorrow.  It'll drive him nuts that there's a new toy in the house and it's not immediately put to use:

Nicholas has wondered at least 5 times out loud and in my presence what could possibly happen with my current Kindle.  I keep ignoring him.  This is the kid that doesn't like reading much and keeps asking for an iPod Touch or a Fire, neither for their reading apps.  My Kindle is 1st Generation, keyboard and all, and only offers books.  What would he do with it?  Becca is against the idea of a Kindle at all.  Katherine hasn't read for enjoyment in probably a year.  But then I think, maybe having a Kindle would encourage Nicholas to read because it would be something techy.  Maybe.

No chair photo, so here's one of a microwaved rabbit Peep.
So yes, we removed a number of items from the house in our yard sale, then promptly replaced some with new items.  Including one he picked out for himself, a new one of these. (Can't link to an image, sorry.)  Which means that the one we still have in the house will go to storage and the new one comes to post with us.  He was sad when his old, crappy one got carted away, and truly, having "his" seat means a lot to him.  One must be comfortable when spending hours gaming.

So that's done.

This weekend we also celebrated my dad's retirement a bit with a lunch out.  He really does have big plans and he's taking the summer to investigate various ideas.  I'm excited for him.

Oh, and here's Katherine and Becca at the band awards, and Katherine's band letter:

This coming week isn't all that busy aside from laundry and cleaning out the house a little more each day.  Katherine is home early each day since it's finals week.  She's taking them with the seniors so she won't have class at all next week. There are good and bad sides to that.

Tonight is 8th grade awards for Rebecca and it's a dressy evening thing (at the school, so not that dressy, but dressier than normal).  This has been one of the best years ever for Becca.  She has excelled in her classes including her HS Arabic class and her two HS level English and Algebra classes at the MS.  She excelled on her standardized SOLs, apparently she earned a perfect score on her Science exam (scores haven't officially come out yet, her teacher peeked).  She has a ton of nice, good friends, and though not many formal activities, she still kept busy.  It's been a good year for her.

Tomorrow night will be Rebecca's final chorus concert.  Chorus was supposed to be her primary formal activity this year, yet it was a huge disappointment.  Her teacher was ill most of the year, missing days out of every week until he took full medical leave the last quarter, concerts were canceled, opportunities were missed. Their big NYC trip was canceled, and then they weren't invited to the Busch Gardens trip that the other classes were taking a few weeks later.  Yes, it was a sad choral year.  Still, she's going to give chorus in Jordan a whirl and see what happens.

Thursday is Katherine's last round in the ER as a Junior Auxiliary Volunteer.  It's one of the best things she's done during our time in the States.  She felt responsible and capable and was held accountable by people not us.

Friday she plays with the band at GFHS graduation at the Patriot Center.

Saturday we have plans for the Virginia Renaissance Festival in Spotsylvania.

Sunday might find us at King's Dominion.  That or I'll be panicking at home about all the stuff left to do before the packers arrive next Thursday.  Better to be away and not thinking about that, right?  Avoidance and procrastination work for me.

Today is all about laundry and I'm tackling it like it's nobody's business.

Bring on the week.  I'm ready for it.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Yard Sale #2 went fine.

We're now down a 10 year old heated recliner, a 4-piece set of 25 year old little girl's bedroom furniture,a 3-piece set of 15 year old living room tables, a 15 year old bedside table with attached lamp, a tiny IKEA nightstand, a GPS I wanted to kill more often than not, a 1st edition Asus Eee PC (the white one), a 7 year old iMac, a brand new youth guitar.... you get the idea.  We got rid of some big items and some big ticket items.

Over the coming week I get to go room by room once again with the primary purpose of filling our enormous black trash can.  All those items I kept thinking we might need during the past 3 years and most certainly won't use in the next 2 weeks can now be safely dumped.  Piles for donation to our handy Goodwill box.  Every drawer and every closet gone through with a fine-toothed comb.  Books returned to schools.  Suitcases packed for our 3 weeks past move out: hello touristy DC, hello beach.  Laundry laundry laundry.

And cleaning.  Lots of cleaning.

Bring it on.