Monday, March 26, 2012

Visiting the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum

A few weeks ago we met some friends at the Air and Space Museum.  The kids had a great time running around looking at all the aircraft.  We got to see the Enterprise shuttle one last time before it moves to New York.

This museum will be the lucky recipient of Discovery, arriving on April 17, 2012.  The plan is to fly it in to Dulles that morning.  I would love to see it being flown in, what a site that would be!  They haven't, and probably will not, announced the time it will be arriving.  According to some sources Discovery will be flown around the city before it lands but that has not been confirmed, nor would they confirm a route.  My guess is that anywhere near Dulles airport or the museum would offer up a view of the plane with the shuttle.  I am not sure if we are up to camping out with two little ones in order to catch a glimpse, we will have to make that decision later on.

On April 19, 2012 the festivities start for welcoming Discovery to the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum.  The parking lot and building will open two hours early that day and visitors are encouraged to arrive early in order to park.  The schedule of events is as follows:

11:00 am Discovery arrives
       They will have the U.S. Marine Drum & Bugle Corps and Discovery crew members
       Nose-to-nose meeting of Discovery and Enterprise

11:30 am  Ceremony starts
From noon till 4:00 pm people will be able to view both Discovery and Enterprise and take photographs.
At 4:00 pm the shuttles will be moved. Enterprise will be moved out of the Space Hanger and Discovery will be moved into the hanger for permanent display. 

The website for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum has more information about welcoming Discovery.

I am hoping we can attend some of the events but I haven't yet figured out how to spend all day at a museum with a 2 and 3 year old.  Here are a few of our photos from our recent visit. 

My son was "impressed" with the airplanes and helicopters. 

It would seem we are raising very studious children, they were very interested to "read"  the details about each exhibit.  

My son was excited to see the space shuttle.  They were actually working on Enterprise that day in preparation of the move. Enterprise has been here on display since 2003 but will be arriving  in New York on April 23, 2012. 

Wythe and his buddy

My kids checking out the Enola Gay.  They liked this plane because "it is shiny".  I really haven't taken the time to explain World War II history to my two-year-old and three-year-old yet, so they do not realize this is just a pretty killing machine.  I figured I should probably wait another year or two to explain that part of history.  

Saying goodbye to Enterprise. 

'til next time...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How to potty train two toddlers at the same time

Tip #1:    do not attempt to do this.

Tip#2:     if you ignore Tip#1  go directly to the store and buy lots of wine

In January I decided it was once again time to potty train my son.  I say "once again" because we have had numerous failed attempts.  But this time I figured he was actually ready so decided to give it another go.  I really wasn't planning to train both kids at once but they do everything together so train one, train both.

For the record, I do not advise this.

Should you choose to do it this way you may find men in white coats carting you out of your front door with your arms strapped to your sides.

On the plus side, the quiet time in the padded room may come as a welcome relief.

There are many stories I could tell about this experience, but frankly I'm not sure if I'm ready. Some memories are still too raw, and there are some things I'm not sure I want to remember.

I'm not sure that I want to remember how many days my daughter refused to wear a diaper yet refused to go in the potty. The amount of messes I cleaned up....did you know children pee about 20 times a day?

I think I would prefer to not remember the bathroom disasters as my children attempted to clean out their potty chairs. Apparently one must pour buckets of water over the toilet, on the floor, then use one half roll of toilet paper to attempt to wipe it up, but when the toilet paper turns into a soggy mess you just leave the room.

Speaking of cleaning toilets...I choose to not dwell on the memory of finding my daughter cleaning out her potty with my toothbrush.

I also choose to believe that was the first time it had ever happened.

I could tell you about my kids saying "look mommy, we are washing our cars!"  Then me explaining to my kids that "we do not 'wash' our matchbox cars in the pee in the potty."

I would like to forget about finding my children dipping their crackers into the pee in their potty...and eating them.  Don't really want to remember that one.

I would rather not remember the embarrassment of my children asking strangers at the store "do you go potty in your underwear???"

I would like to shopping with two toddlers that are potty training.  I believe I spent more time cleaning up puddles and changing wet clothes than actually shopping.

I would like to forget...having your kids fall asleep in the car and having to make the choice of letting them sleep knowing they will flood their car seat, or waking them so that you do not have to wash the car seat covers yet again.

I would rather forget having our Valentine's dinner interrupted numerous times by taking a child to the toilet. Actually that would apply to all the meals we have had since January 24th.

I would rather forget the amount of treats I have let my children consume all in the spirit of pure bribery

I would like to forget the amount of times I have had to cheer enthusiastically for that 1/2 teaspoon of pee in the potty

Or the dorky smiles I have had to paste on my face as I say "congratulations on your cacca (poop), yes that is a big one......yes, that does look like a caterpillar......yes, I am impressed that you can make a caterpillar cacca"     ?????          I do not remember a single parenting book that warned you that you would have to compliment the appearance/shape of your child's poop.

Yes, there are many stories I could share about the past 57 days but I think I will just try to forget all that and instead be glad that we have arrived at the stage of only a few accidents a day.

yes, having identical potty chairs does help!

'til next time...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Reading...Death Comes to Pemberley

Death Comes To Pemberley by P.D. James.

I received this book for Christmas and was eager and hesitant to read it.  This book is a murder mystery involving the characters from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.  There have been a number of books that are take-offs on Jane Austen's book characters, I am always hesitant to read them because I fear they will ruin Jane Austen's characters for me.

Having read P. D. James books previously I felt sure that she would take care with such beloved characters. I enjoyed the book, it is a glimpse into the lives of the Bingham's and Darcy's but it does not give so much information that would change the basic story line.  Although I enjoyed this book I may still stay away from other books written about the Pride and Prejudice characters.

'til next time...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Margaret Evelyn Johnson Cotten 1929-2012

One week ago today Margaret Cotten left this life and went home to be with her Lord.  She was a remarkable woman, wife to Claude for almost 62 years, mother to six children (one deceased), grandmother to twenty (one deceased), and great-grandmother to twenty-seven.

I was one of the lucky ones who got to call her "Grandma".   I am sad that she is gone but I am thankful to have had her for so many years and for having so many good memories. Yesterday we attended a memorial service for her, there were many memories shared about her. All week long I have been reflecting on some of my memories of her.

 As children we got to visit her a lot.  Although she lived in a different town we were able to go spend a couple nights with her or stay the weekend at their house. My grandparents moved many times, I do not know the number but I remember my grandmother talking about how many different houses she had lived in during her lifetime.  I remember several of their houses, and although I have good memories of each, I think my favorite is the log house. I remember visits there with just my family, staying there with some of my girl cousins and staying there with all the aunts and uncle and cousins.  Those were crazy times, so many people staying under one roof. As a child these were wonderful times, having several days of playing 24/7 with your cousins. While the adults played Trivial Pursuit or Risk upstairs, the kids would play in the basement. We would put on records of marching bands or patriotic music and spend hours marching around the basement, running around in our socks and shocking each other with the static electricity.

There were times I spent several days at Grandma's house with some of my girl cousins. Grandma would let us play in her sewing room, rearranging her sewing notions.  Sometimes she would make us something, I remember one time she made me a thin, pink robe. I thought it was just like what a princess would wear.
One thing I always remember was that she always treated us like guests in her house. Even as a young girl staying at her house you felt like you were a guest. There were pretty sheets on the bed, towels laid out for you. Sometimes she brought you a cup of tea in the morning. I remember how she would read out loud to us. Sometimes books that were for our age, sometimes excerpts out of books she was reading.  I remember her reading Little Women and Under the Lilacs to us. I remember her reading parts from the Little Colonel series. I remember her reading chapters out of Claudia and David, though she cautioned us that the book was not appropriate yet for our age.

I remember being fascinated with her collector plates she had sitting on her bookcase, especially the ones depicting scenes from Gone with the Wind. I remember that when she sold her collection she did not get a high price for the collection because she didn't sell the entire set, she saved the "Melanie" plate for me.

I remember how sentimental she was, how she saved letters and things you made for her. She saved trinkets and mementos from her parents and ancestors. I remember how sad she was when the police officer came to the house to tell her that although they had located a few pieces of silver that had been stolen from the house they had not recovered the keepsakes taken from her dresser.

Grandma loved flowers, she almost always had some sort of fresh flower in her house. Whether a bouquet, or a couple pansies in a tiny vase. She would take us to visit gardens during garden week. I can hardly think about Grandma without thinking of flowers. Or music, she loved music too. She liked to play and sing at her piano, she liked to listen to music, hymns or classical.  I remember her taking us to hear classical music at the local school.

Many people have reflected on how ladylike she was. She was gentle, she was kind. She was old fashioned even for her time. At times we took delight in shocking her, it took very little effort to get a gasp from her. Her manners, politeness were an influence on those around her, she inspired good behavior.  I often thought she could have been transported back 100 years and fit into that culture easily. Losing Grandma really does seem like an end to an era. She did not have an easy life but she led a life of gratitude for her blessings, commitment to her husband and family and commitment to her Lord. She was truly a lady and she will be missed. 

'til next time...