Sunday, March 20, 2011

Monroe and the Super Moon

James Monroe became close friends with George Washington during the Revolutionary War. He was 18 years old. He's in that famous painting of Washington crossing the Delaware River. He also camped at Valley Forge. After the war, Monroe met Thomas Jefferson, who was Governor of Virginia. They became lifelong friends...and neighbors. Jefferson's Monticello is adjacent to Highland, Monroe's plantation. James Monroe was the fifth president of the United States from 1817-1825. He died in his daughter's home in New York City on July 4, 1831. His home is 15 minutes from we decided to take advantage of a beautiful day and explore.
Since living here in Virginia, we have visited the Monticello and Mount Vernon. Both are situated on beautiful land and are large estates. We were surprised at how small James Monroe's house was. It was very practical...but small. As we walked from the dining room to one of the bedrooms, there was a tiny toilet. The kids noticed there was no flushing mechanism...and the bowl of the toilet looked like a pot we cook Macaroni and Cheese in. They were curious how they cleaned the toilet. And I was reminded how many blessings we have because we live today.
The yellow two-story portion of the estate was built after the Monroe's sold the plantation in 1825.
The property was beautiful with a large garden surrounded by a white picket fence. The next time Karen and I plant a garden, we want it to be surrounded by a white picket fence. It added so much charm. And there were plenty of fields for the kids to run around.
The kids got to see peacocks, chickens, and sheep (with cute little lambs). I don't think Eliza has ever been to a we'll be planning a trip to the National Zoo soon.
The trees were majestic. And perfect for climbing. Hopefully, we'll own property some day with a HUGE tree for the kids to climb. The trees in our neighborhood are sticks that go straight up.
Completely unrelated to James Monroe...we heard that tonight would be a super moon. The moon would appear larger and brighter than it has in 19 years. I love the night sky so I wanted to watch the moon rise with the kids. At 7:45, we drove down the street to an open field, pulled off to the side of the road, and everyone got out.
Of course, pictures never do nature justice. But in the picture above, depending on the angle of your computer screen, you might be able to see a fence below and a tree to the right. The moon really was big and I was trying to provide perspective. It didn't really work. :)

In the picture below, I zoomed in as much as I possibly could. It was a very red it looks like Mars. But it was beautiful, big, and fun to watch. We were all surprised at how quickly the moon rises. The kids were excited. And that always gets Karen and I excited, too.

Friday, March 11, 2011


For some reason the time between mid February and mid March is essentially a boring time. There just hasn't been anything blog-worthy going on. Or maybe I just haven't been paying attention. Hmm . . . well in any case here is a short of what has been happening around here.
Mark decorated this cake (with only a tiny bit of help from Mom) for the Blue and Gold Banquet in February. He was pretty proud of himself:)
James (my doesn't sit still and read kid) has become a real bookworm and his older siblings gladly introduced him to Fablehaven which he is loving.
I love getting shots when they don't know I'm there. The first picture both of them were unaware, in this one Anya is trying not to smile because she noticed me with the camera.
Eventually they do notice the flashes.
Peter and Luke are great buddies and spend a lot of time getting into trouble together.
Beans prefers Luke's clothes bin to anyone else's. She unloads his clean clothes and gets comfortable. She will sit there for an amazing amount of time considering she is an active little 18 month old. She is one cute little stinker.