Monday, August 11, 2014

Grandma and Grandpa visit

My parents came to Indiana to visit us for a week. My dad had a conference to attend at Purdue for work, so both mom and dad came out to stay with us.
Dallin and Connor were so excited for Grandma and Grandpa to come visit. They loved all the extra attention and story times.

We went blueberry picking one day. I love having so many local farms just outside of town, only a 10 minute drive from us.
Connor was a pretty good helper. Dallin kept insisting we were done and asked for lunch several times.

The boys carried the 6 pounds of blueberries for us.

We made a lot of delicious food while my parents were here, including blueberry pie, blueberry syrup and peach cobbler.

Mckay treated us to a selection of thai dishes.
Of course, we had to eat in traditional thai style by sitting on the floor.

He made two different main dishes (basil chicken and a spicy coconut curry), thai fried eggs, and rice.
and a delicious mango sorbet for dessert.

Hmmm, we had a lot of really good fruit desserts...

We went to Fair Oaks Farms, the best agro-tourism destination in central Indiana. We got to tour a dairy farm and a pig farm.

The pig farm specializes in breeding and birthing and you get to see newborn little piglets.
Dallin was really good at this exhibit: using ultrasound to see how many piglets the mom is carrying. We had the ultrasound for our baby #3 the day before, so Dallin knew exactly what to do. (Oh, I guess I should do a separate post about the baby's ultrasound...)

Part of the dairy farm experience is seeing the live birth of a cow.

We had delicious grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch from the cafe, and then enjoyed a few of the outdoor toys, like the train ride.

On the last day of their visit with us, we took grandma and grandpa to our local, free zoo.
Dallin played in the water for a bit.

And Connor slept.

We saw the monkeys.

There are several chickens who walk around free at the zoo and Dallin chased them.

Connor woke up just in time to see his favorite animals at the zoo: the goats.
He gets a little too friendly and we have to remind him not to pick up the goats.

We fed the goats some little food pellets and tried not to get pushed over by the wave of hungry goats that hit us when they saw food.

Connor loves getting as close as possible to the goats.

Dallin prefers a little space sometimes.

We rode on the zoo train.

I feel I hardly need to mention how much Connor loves riding the train.

After the train ride, we had my dad take a few pictures of our family.

The sun was working against us, so we didn't get many great shots.

Dallin in this one makes me laugh so hard everytime I see it.

Ahhhh, this way was so much easier for the eyes.

We had such a wonderful time with my mom and dad. We loved being able to spend time with them and we're really happy they could come out for a visit.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Washington D.C. - The National Mall

We spent a good amount of time at the National Mall. For those who are confused (as I was the first time hearing it), the National Mall is not full of stores for shopping, it's an outdoor national park that houses many famous memorials and monuments. 
We saw the Washington Monument.

And then the boys started break dancing for no reason. 
It was extremely cute.

We gazed up at the tall monument for a while. 

We got lunch from some of the many food trucks parked right by the mall.
This was my first exposure to food trucks and I know that's a small sample size, but I was not impressed. The food was decent (nothing spectacular) and way overpriced. Maybe it's just because we were in D.C. where I'm sure the cost of food is way more than Indiana, but that's still no excuse to charge 9 bucks for a simple cheese quesadilla. At least that price included a soda!

We walked from the Washington Monument across the rest of the mall to the Lincoln Memorial.
The Lincoln memorial is that building waaaaay off in the distance.

We passed the war memorials on the way. 
The World War II memorial.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
I think this memorial is beautiful and Dallin enjoyed tracing the letters in the names of the soldiers.
He was busy finding all the "D" letters.

 The Korean War veterans memorial.
It was a very sobering experience to be reminded of the wars and all the people who fought to protect our country in those wars. I felt extreme gratitude for those soldiers, especially when surrounded by other tourists who seemed less than grateful. At the Korean War memorial, we overheard one person say, "Wow, they'll make a memorial for anything, won't they?" Yes, when hundreds of thousands of people go to war (including my own grandpa) to protect the freedom of others, I think that merits a memorial and a little respect. 

The Lincoln Memorial.
Connor seemed less than impressed by it. I think he was hot and sick of walking by this point. He was in the stroller for half the time, and carried on shoulders for another quarter of it, so I had little sympathy for his fatigue.

The view from the Lincoln Memorial, looking back across the mall to the Washington Monument. 

Last stop was the White House. 
It doesn't seem like it in the picture because of the zoom on the camera, but we were about 1/2 mile away from the White House. That is the closest we were allowed to get. (Seriously, I took one step closer on the grass across the imaginary line and was told by the secret service to step back please.) Apparently, they close the lawn in front of the White House for various security reasons at any given time. The secret service officer we talked to wasn't at liberty to say why, but just that it happens from time to time. Weird... 

On the walk back, we stopped to let Dallin get a Spongebob popsicle.
It was $3 (more food truck rip offs!!) but so worth it to see him enjoy it. It only took 5 baby wipes to clean up the resulting stickiness.

That was the end of our trip! Every day was long and exhausting (and hot!) but we got to see some really cool places learn a lot of American history. And we checked some things off our summer list!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Washington D.C. - The Smithsonians

During our trip in June, we went to the Smithsonian National Zoo in DC.

(You can kind of see my 16 week pregnant belly barely poking out in this picture.)

We somehow chose the hottest day of our entire trip to spend outside at the zoo all day. We each brought a water bottle and had to stop for refills about every 30 minutes, but we stayed hydrated! We really liked the zoo. The pandas were really neat to see and the boys always love to see gorillas.

One of the best memories of our zoo visit was seeing the orb weaver spiders in the Invertebrate house. (So memorable that I didn't think to take any pictures of it.) The spider "enclosure" is separated from the rest of the room only by a 2 foot ledge. It is an open display with no glass, nothing to physically keep the large spiders from roaming free around the zoo. We could literally have reached out and touched the spiders, but most people would be too frightened to do that, so the spiders stay safe. Once the female has built her web, these 4 or 5 inch long spiders will never leave their web. They are mostly blind, so they stay on their web and wait until bugs are caught, then they follow the web vibrations to their prey. We happened to be there when the spiders were being fed. A volunteer zoo keeper had a container of small crickets and he would try to gently place one cricket at a time on the web for the spider to eat. He wasn't having any luck getting the crickets to stick to the web, so the spider never made it down the web far enough to eat the cricket, and the cricket would fall down into the bushes and mulch below (The real reason for the 2 foot ledge around the spiders: to keep the fallen crickets contained.) Eventually, the container of crickets ran out and we still did not get to see the spider eat. Mckay saw a cricket walking by in the mulch in the open of the enclosure, so he reached down and caught it quickly, I think intending to give the volunteer another shot at feeding, but by this time, the volunteer had already walked away. Now Mckay was standing there with his hands cupped around a cricket, wondering what to do with it. So he threw it into the web of one of the spiders. The cricket stuck and the spider instantly slid down the web and began to eat the cricket! It was amazing to watch! Several fellow bystanders cheered, quietly applauded Mckay and patted him on the back. He finally gave us the show we had all been waiting for! And then we quickly got out of there before Mckay tried to catch another cricket. 

 Another day, we saw the rest of the Smithsonian Museums. There were a few we were interested in seeing in a short span of time, so we planned an hour in each one. That's not nearly enough time to really see each one, but it gave us a little taste.
 The Air and Space Museum was a hit.

 The boys really liked all the "skeletons" at the Natural history museum.

The American history museum was also really cool. I wish we'd been able to spend more time there.

 This Spongebob mail box we found was definitely worth photographing.

Inside the Smithsonian Castle, there was a replica of said castle on display made from Legos.
An otherwise uninteresting building was now very interesting to the kids.

We also stopped by the Library of Congress.
This is as close as you can get. This picture was taken from the viewing room, which you can enter and see into the library from behind a thick glass wall. We really thought we'd get to go in and see shelves and shelves of books, so we were a little bummed. The movie National Treasure is suddenly seeming very unrealistic. (The plot was still totally plausible in my mind until now. :)  )

We did go to the gift shop thought and Mckay tried to steal the Declaration of Independence.

More on D.C. and the national mall to come. I'm almost done blogging about June!