Sunday, May 23, 2010

Business Trips May 2010

Two week long trips in the first three weeks of May. God bless Karen, right? :) In a few years from now she'll be able to join me on some of these trips while Mark and Anya take care of the kids...but that's down the road a little. This month I've been able to see two cities I've never visited before. So I took advantage of my evenings...and an afternoon here and see the sites.

How can you visit Seattle and not walk through Pike's Place Market?!? I felt like a tourist with my camera...but I got over my issues because no one I saw there would ever see me again. So I enjoyed being a tourist!
This farmer's market is massive! Level upon level and a never-ending walk was awesome to be there. And we all know about the flying fish there. Here it is:And there was live music that was actually pretty good. Seattle was a very different city than others I've visited. I loved the atmosphere. And the architecture was amazing. So unique.
I was surprised to see how the Space Needle was separated from the rest of the city. I thought it was closer to downtown. The Needle was fun to see.
The last day of the trip we got out of our meetings early in the afternoon. So I took advantage and headed south to the Capital building in Olympia. It was a beautiful setting.
And Mount Rainier. What a sight to behold! It took the entire week before I could see it. I was asking EVERYBODY where the best place to see it would be. And everyone kept saying "you can't miss it." But with the slightest overcast in the area, the active volcano blends in and is hidden from sight. It's over 14,000 feet...and from where I took this picture in Tacoma, it was easily 60 miles away. Imagine how giddy I was when I finally saw it. Yep...pretty giddy. :)
I drove and I drove and I drove...trying to soak it all in. On a clear day, you really can't miss it. And it was as beautiful as you can imagine. It was even more amazing as the sun set.
And then flying home, I was hoping to be on the side of the plane that Mount Rainier was on. But no luck. So I snapped this picture of the Cascades in the distance. From a landscape perspective, I don't think I've ever been to a more diverse city. Seattle was beautiful.
This past week, I took another business trip...this time to Philadelphia. Being enamored with history, I spent an evening at Valley Forge. If you're interested, this blog better describes my feelings. I loved walking where George Washington walked during that pivotal turning point of the Revolutionary War. This was his headquarters from December 1777-June 1778.
This is where his guards were stationed...twelve men to a cabin.
Although not a single fire was shot here, 2,000 men died for our country. This was hallowed ground.

Unlike Valley Forge, Independence Hall was crawling with tourists! I thought a Thursday afternoon would be rather quiet, but every school district in the area must have planned a field trip for the day I went. Once most of the kids started the tour and went inside, I was able to hear myself think and enjoyed the atmosphere a little more. The Declaration of Independence was signed here on July 4, 1776. Eleven years later on September 17, 1787, our Constitution was completed here at Independence Hall. Some of the best men to ever walk the earth were right here a little over 200 years ago.
On the west wing of Independence Hall, two original documents of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were on display (they weren't the ceremonial documents). They were in a dark room and no flash photography was allowed. There was an incredible spirit of reverence in that room. Following my historical treat, I walked down the road about a mile to view the future site of the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 1739 Vine St. And it appears to be a parking lot. :) I checked my coordinates on the GPS and looked at the street signs on either end of the block. If the address is correct, this has to be the place.
This is what you see looking across Vine St. It's near the heart of Philly...and only a mile from where this nation was founded. A prime location. I wonder when they plan to break ground?
And then on my drive home from Philadelphia, I saw the D.C. Temple. Yes, I took the picture while I was driving...some would say it's a talent. My wife and mother may disagree. But this was a beautiful site after being away from home so much.

Now I'm off to Virginia Beach, Newport News, Lynchburg, and Abingdon, Virginia. Followed by every city and town found on the map of North Carolina. I know...Karen deserves anything she wants after all these trips.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bonding Is More Important Than Comfort

And a pretty setting helps balance out the lack of comfort, as well. This past weekend, I took the three older boys (Mark 9, James 7, and Peter 5) to a yearly Father and Son camp out. The campground was just beyond the silo and barn in the pictures below.
And this is what was coming towards us as we drove into camp. Personally, I love rain when camping. But I prefer to get the camp set up before the rain comes. And dealing with rain while camping is much easier when I'm not responsible for three little boys. When did I grow up?

I took advantage of the scout tents and cots they had available. Scout camp begins in another two weeks so we did the camp a favor by setting up the campsite and we had the benefit of a little added comfort. Cots are so much better than rocks and roots and miscellaneous bumps in the ground. Mark and James stayed in one tent.
And I got to sleep with Peter in the other. Mark and James are certain that they stayed up till 1:15 in the morning...regardless of how many times I remind them that they had no watch in their tent. But "it was pitch black..." so in their minds, it HAD to be 1:15 in the morning. Regardless what time they fell asleep, Peter and I were out by 10:30 listening to the last drops of the evening rain.
Morning came and things were a little wet outside, but there was no more rain in the forecast. And the rain brought a little cooler weather so that was nice. We enjoyed some breakfast and other activities that morning.
Like finding walking sticks (James has an unseen power that draws him to the best walking sticks around. I think we have a collection of about six in our garage.) and hiking over creeks and on bridges.
Mark and James always stayed together as we were walking. I would love to know what they talked about! I stayed behind with Peter. As you can see, he enjoyed taking his time with his hands behind his back.
The boys got to check out the shooting range.
Since I had three boys with me, I could never find a convenient time to take a picture of them actually shooting the gun. My job was to make sure they kept the gun pointed TOWARDS the target. So I took a picture after the fact...more for them than for the they could remember. Mark and James have been to a shooting range before but this was Peter's first time. I aimed the gun and he pulled the trigger.
And then we pulled off the highway on our way home to enjoy some more scenery. Maybe next year I'll try to get in one of these pictures so it looks more like a Father and Son camp out.

Despite not having the comforts of home, I look forward to spending some time with my boys...slowing down the hectic daily schedule of life and being reminded of what really matters. And next year, I think I'll even give up the comfort of a scout tent and cots so we can all sleep in the same tent and enjoy even more bonding. Then Mark and James can prove to me that they can stay up till 1:15 in the morning. :)