Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Saving Me - WW

AZ saved me from a HUGE bug at the US Botanical Gardens

More statutes from the Botanical Gardens

I love me my Butterflies!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Different View of the Nations Monuments

Our trip to Washington was SO hot we couldn't do much during the day.  We would have just roasted.  We tried but it was just HOT.

So after a day at the Air Conditioned Capitol Building, we relaxed until the sun went down, then took the Metro over to the Monuments.  We'd been told to make sure we saw them at night because it was lovely.  I have to agree!

I need to work on my night time picture taking because most of them are blurry.  Sorry!

The Washington Monument wrapped in Scaffolding
As soon as you step out of the Metro station, this is what you see.   The Washington Monument was wrapped in scaffolding as they are making repairs from the earthquake 18 months ago.  We had hoped to be able to go to the top but since its under repair, no one is allowed up.  Next time we're visiting, we'll see what we can do about going up.

The World War II Memorial
 The World War II memorial is a beautiful testament in the daylight.  At night, its lit up and is a new level of beauty. I  really wish my pictures did it justice.  Off to the side of the memorial is a place where you can look up people who served in the war.  We looked up AZ's grandfather which made him and his mother happy.  I took a picture of the computer screen and texted it to her.
The Lincoln Memorial
 I think this is my favorite memorial, in daylight and at night.  Before we arrived in DC, I was saying I wanted to see this one at night.  I knew it would be impressive.  A week after we came home, I saw on the news where someone had thrown green paint on it.  Such a shame that people can't respect things.

The Washington Monument with the Capitol Building peaking out the side
 Jakes found this fabulous place on the Lincoln Memorial where you can get pictures of the Washington Monument with the Capitol Building peaking out.  I wish I'd been there during the day to get this one.  But I love that I got this.  Good Job Jakes!

Vietnam War Memorial
We went to the Vietnam War Memorial.  I think everyone who has a chance to go to DC should see this memorial.  It's a WALL of NAMES.  These are names of men and women who died or are still listed as missing in action from this conflict.  The wall starts out short, about a foot high.  By the time you get to the middle, its about 15 feet high, maybe taller. When we start walking you can hear the sounds of the city, traffic and talking.  When you are in the middle of it, there is absolute quiet.  Its a very solemn experience.

The walk to the Lincoln Memorial is 1.5 miles from the Metro Station so all in all we walked over three miles that night.  We didn't get back to the hotel until almost 1 am.  But we enjoyed it! 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Rainy Day Fun

Yesterday was my last day of vacation.  I spent it getting organized to go back to work.  You know, making sure the glasses are in the pocketbook, that there is stuff for lunches and munchies.  All the fun stuff.

Then it started raining.  When I looked at the weather map, it didn't look like it was going to be too bad, just a passing shower with maybe some thunder with it.  An hour and a half it was STILL raining.  And I don't mean a little shower.  There was WALLS of water coming down.  According to the news today, we had over 4 inches of rain in an hour and a half.  The water just didn't have anywhere to go.

So what did we do while it was raining?  We grabbed umbrella's, my camera and went to play in the rain!  Here is some of the fun we had:

No flooding in the camper, just lots of water around it

One road over had more water than ours.  This kid had a good idea!
Singin' in the Rain! AZ was dancing around like Gene Kelly.
Jaxon loved being out in the water, not when it was raining
Jerks who think its okay to drive through flooded streets
After it stopped raining, it only took about an hour before the road was passable.  I've been looking at pictures on the local news website and many people lost cars and had water in their homes.  Such a shame!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Vacation Sucks the Life out of You

I have been on vacation from work since July 18th.  We took a trip to Washington DC and saw death smelling flowers.  Jakes has spent a lot of time at the Farm and became a true Horseman.

Through all this, I have not had time to visit my friends blogs!  So for my true readers, thank you for stopping by even though I was out.  I will be getting back to a normal schedule with work and no Jakes to run to the farm this week.  I will be stopping by to check out your week!

See Ya Soon!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Its Official - He's an Authentic Rider

Since we've been back from the Nations Capital, Jakes has been spending as much time at the Farm as possible. And loving it!  On Monday, Jill had a meeting with all the helpers which included Ride Time and pizza. Perfect!

During the ride time, Jakes had set up an obstacle course for everyone to try out.  They kept points and who ever got the most points won a farm hat.  Jakes mounted Milkshake, his current favorite buddy and off they went.  Shakes was full of himself and wanted to GO Go GO!  Next thing we see is Shake rounding a bend with Jakes off balance and heading for the ground.

For more details, check out Jill's Blog Post at Raise Your Dreams Farm

Jakes urging Shake into a Canter

Jakes is fine.  Once everyone did their jobs of checking him out, holding the horse and cheering him on as he walked out of the ring, the contest continued.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Stinky Plants in the Nations Capital

After our tour at the Capitol Building, we stopped in to the US Botanical Gardens.

US Botanical Gardens
In the US Botanical Gardens Museum, they are showcasing a plant called the Amorphophallus Titanum or Corpse Plant.  It is unusual for it to bloom as it takes a certain energy and conditions for it to bloom.  The last time one bloomed at the Botanical Gardens was in 2007.

Here's the link to the Botanical Gardens Website.  They had a live streaming video of the plant as well.

It wasn't open when we were there but I got some awesome pictures of it.

Corpse Plant 7/20/2013

Info Sheet on the Corpse Plant

We wandered around the rest of the place to check things out. I love that most DC museums are free!  I wish we were closer so that we could enjoy some day trips there to take advantage of the museums more often.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Camera Fights

Jakes and I had lots of camera fights over the weekend.

I won this one!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Visit to the Capitol Building

We started our visit to DC with getting lost!  YIKES!  I'll share a little secret with you, I think I told Pinky the GPS to go to SE instead of SW for our hotel directions.  And in DC that makes a BIG difference! ooops!

Anyway, we found the hotel and were able to check in early!  LOVE that! 

Parking in DC costs a premium.  Fortunately, I scored cheap parking just down the block.  If you're heading to DC and need parking, I highly recommend  They allow people and businesses to advertise their parking spaces for rent.  I paid $34 for the ENTIRE weekend.  The hotel wanted to charge us $30 per NIGHT.  Parking Panda is in several cities around the country so you might want to check them out if you're heading somewhere. (parking panda didn't compensate me for this, I just loved the service so much!)

After getting everything settled, we headed out to our Senators office to get passes to visit the galleries in the Capitol Building. TIP: Don't let the men be in charge of the maps and directions.  Jakes and AZ fought over the orientation of the map so they would know how to get us there.  I knew where I was going so I just kept walking and let them catch up.

It was HOT.  We hadn't gotten to the corner and sweat was pouring off of us.  I did take a water bottle that we shared. We turned a corner and saw this.......

US Capitol Building
A fabulous site to behold.  We walked around to the back where the visitors entrance is.  Across the street from the Visitors Center is the Library of Congress buildings.  AZ said to me "You could live there, couldn't you?"  Oh yeah Baby!  I love books!

Visitors Center in the Capitol Building
We joined our tour group and thanked the guide for the AC.   The Capitol Building is a work in progress.  They haven't really stopped construction on it since it was conceived in the early 1800's.  We were shown the different "completed" domes and how they compare to what is there now.

The Capitol Dome - Its Dizzying to look up!
It was impossible for me to get a really good picture of the dome.  The camera batteries were fighting with me because of the heat.

They took us into the original Senate chambers where everyone was cramped together.  We got to experience the "Whisper Spot".  The spot in the room where John Quincy Adams sat and could hear every word that was said in a whisper on the other side of the room.  It was pretty cool!

The Whisper Spot
After the tour, we wandered through all the exhibits and the gift shop, just wasting time because we really didn't want to go back out into the heat of the day.  One the way back we paused to get pictures.....

Me and Jakes - AZ needs more practice with the camera so he can get US and the building in the picture.
Me and Huny.  Jakes does pretty good with the camera
Jakes and Huny
We stopped in the Botanical Gardens to check out the Corpse Plant which was working on blooming. I'll share that tomorrow.  Its AMAZING!

Monday, July 22, 2013

We're BACK!

We're back from a long hot weekend wandering around the Nations Capital. Here's a pic to tease you with until I can get back on my feet, laundry done and everything else all caught up!

I took so many pictures, I have to decide which ones I want to share with you!  Which wonderful and funny stories from our trip.  More tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Rant

When did I become responsible for giving up something that I love because it hurts you?  I have been reading the Wall Street Journal for a couple of weeks now and I've come across two articles that have really pi$$ed me off.

Because this is just "my rant" I am not going to cite any sources or any specifics.

The first article was about a restaurant called Bacon, Bacon in CA.  They had been granted permits and had been open for a while.  Then the permits were up for renewal and certain neighbors (they interviewed two for the article) complained about the smell of bacon.  First, who doesn't LOVE the smell of bacon? Second, why can't this business continue to operate as long as its operating within the guidelines and laws of the city?  Why is it that 2 people can control the fate of a business that is operating within the guidelines just because they don't like the smell of bacon in the neighborhood? 

Ok, suppose you get sick of the smell of bacon EVERY day, does that still give you the right to tell ME I can't cook bacon every day if I want?  No.  I have a right to cook that bacon every day if I want, provided I am not breaking any laws.  Right?

The second article is about changes to a law concerning the fire pits on the beach in Southern CA.  People have complained about the fact that bon fires have aggravated their allergies and so the law was changed to place restrictions on fires on the beaches.  These fires have been taking place for YEARS.  If you have moved there recently and have allergies, maybe you should be the one to move?

I have allergies to corn, you don't see me telling the farmers they can't plant corn because I'm allergic.  I just take my allergy medicine and avoid the corn stalks as much as possible.  Do I have to right to control what the farmers do?

I am frustrated with the level of control certain groups of people seem to think they have over other groups.  Isn't America a place where we live and let others live?  

What gives these people the right to control me as long as I am not violating any laws?

To Quote Dennis Miller: "Of course that's just my opinion, I could be wrong"

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Its That Time of Year

Fields of this

Make me do this

But I LOVE to eat this!

Monday, July 15, 2013

DC Bound

We are taking a family vacation to DC this coming weekend!  I can't wait!  Jakes went there for his 8th Grade class trip but didn't get to see much of the great city.  So for his graduation present I promised to take him for a weekend.  He wants to get lots of pictures of everything.

I have done so much research to find the right hotel (free breakfast!), in just the right spot (4 blocks from the National Mall!) and with parking.  Parking is SO expensive in DC.  

I can't believe how hot the weathermen are predicting its going to be.  We'll be taking water bottles and refilling at as many places as we can.

Since there is a fridge in the room, I will be taking things for lunches and we'll take a break mid-day to cool off.   I think a nap will be in order or at least a quick trip to the hotel pool before heading back out.  Hoping to find a way to miss hottest part of the day......

I have made reservations for us at the Capitol Building and we're going to stop in to see our state senator to get passes for the galleries of the senate and house.  AZ is looking forward to that more than Jakes or myself. 

I know it will be a wonderful, exhausting and educational weekend for all of us! And I promise to share pictures when we get back!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

With Attitude

With just getting back from vacation, you'd think I'd be all nice and relaxed but I've been filled with attitude.  Why?  Cause when we got home from vacation, the house was clean, the lawn was mowed and JR was super helpful with getting the camper back in place and unpacked.  I suppose I should have been suspicious that something was up but I wasn't.

I mean I did the same thing when I was his age and had a party where we burned the junkyard down.

Come to find out, JR had a little party while we were gone and one of his wonderful "friends" stole my old iPhone. Supposedly, he's interrogated everyone but no one is copping to taking it.  Why would they? JR has offered me $30 to replace it.

I am SO angry and full of attitude.  AZ asked me what my problem was.  Ummm....  Your KID has once again done something stupid that has affected me.  Yes, it was my old iPhone and I can do everything with my new phone.  But its the principal that it shouldn't have been touched AT ALL.  My first thought after being told was that I was happy we'd taken the new camera and my iPad with us!  Oh and I immediately checked on my jewelry to make sure everything was still there. 

I (we) should not have to feel as though I (we) have to lock things up when we are out of the house.

This is not the first time JR has been involved in injuring me or my stuff.  I've had to put my bike in the shop twice because he has taken it and returned it broken.

The camper has been practically destroyed by JR and his friends.  The inside of the camper was immaculate when we got it.  Now, both mattresses and the dining area seats are full of cigarette burn holes.  There are burns on the counter.  None of which were there before JR and his friends partied in it.  And AZ had to spend TWO days hosing everything down so that we could go away in it.

I have a HUGE problem with JR's lack of boundaries and consequences.  He's been suspended and expelled from school with no consequences, such as being grounded (made to stay home, giving up his cell phone).  He has been suspended twice from the alternative school with no consequences.

I have bitten my tongue because JR is not my kid.  When JR has been suspended from school, I have asked if AZ is going to ground him and invariably, the answer has been no.  AZ doesn't want to be the bad guy.  Personally, I think JR is begging for some boundaries. 

When I went home from work yesterday, JR arrived with my old phone.  He also paid me for the repairs to the bike.  AND apologized for all of it.  I reminded him that the kids who were there the night the phone was taken are still not welcome in my house and that they really are not friends.  JR agreed.  But only time will tell if  he will actually change his ways and choices of friends.

While I would love to not allow JR in the house when we're not there, its not realistic.  I have to compromise with what AZ wants for rules in the house as well.  I can only hope that AZ has discussed this situation with him and that JR has learned something from this.  I can only hope that the next time we go away and JR doesn't go with us, that he will exercise better judgement in who he invites over.

Because if we go away again and something else happens, I will go ballistic!  And that's a promise!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

We're BACK!!!

After spending a week at the Campground with the family and the Dog, it was nice to come home.  AZ spent Tuesday and Wednesday scrubbing the camper from top to bottom and he did a wonderful job! 

AZ checking the Electrical connections before we pull out.

After a quick stop at Wal-mart for grill gas and ice, we were on our way!  Once at the Campground, we set up the camper and unloaded everything from the truck and car.  I felt like I'd packed everything but the kitchen sink.....

All set up and ready to camp!

Jakes set up his room in the camper......

Can't take the Laptop away

At the Campground, 4:30 is Bloody Mary Hour at the Gparents campsite.

Gparents Camper
I had to work on Friday so its good that we were local still.  Jakes worked at the Farm Friday afternoon and Saturday.  Fortunately, the Farm was just around the corner and across the highway from the campground.

Relaxing around the Campfire

I love sitting around the camp fire in the evenings.  While it was hot, the fire kept some of the bugs away.

Friday evening, AZ put the chicken on the rotisserie and boiled water for some corn on the cob.  It was the BEST chicken!  I had put it in marinade Thursday morning before we left and it just sat sucking up the flavors in the cooler.   

On Saturday, we had dinner with the Gparents.  Daddy got the MOST AWESOME steaks and cooked them over the campfire.  OMG when I say melt in your mouth, don't need teeth to chew it, good super yummy steak, it STILL doesn't describe how good the steaks were. Potato salad, tomatoes and cucumbers, mac n' cheese and wine rounded out the menu.  Can you say "STUFFED"?  YUM!

After dinner, we pulled the chairs over to the field to watch the 4th of July fireworks and we weren't disappointed.  I didn't take any pictures but trust me they were lovely and right over our heads!  We almost had to lay down to see them!  Nothing like front row seats......

We decided to stay an extra day so instead of packing up on Sunday, Jakes and I floated around the lake for the afternoon.  He didn't put sunscreen on and boy did he complain about it later!

Lazy Lake
Jaxon loved being at the campground, except that he had to be on a leash.  At home, he sticks close so we don't use a leash unless we're taking him out of the yard.  At the campground, he had to be on a leash.  Poor baby!  But we took him up to the empty field to toss the ball and make sure he got lots of attention.  Jaxon was a super good dog!  He didn't bark at everyone who walked by the camp site, he didn't run off, he was SO well behaved!

Jaxon's play ground and where the fireworks were set up.  LOTS of room!

Jaxon and AZ at the end of the day. Camping is such hard work

Sunday left us with one more chance for a campfire.  We didn't want to bring any wood back with us so we started early, like before dark!

Monday morning found me running Jakes to the Farm then coming home to help AZ pack up the camper.  By noon, we were home and unpacking again .

All done and ready to be towed.

I loved being at the campground but in a way, I was also ready to come home.  I wanted a shower that I didn't have to share with the potato beetles or other black crawly things. I wanted to get the sand out of my shoes and to be able to walk around without shoes.

We are in discussion for the next camping trip....  Hopefully somewhere with a pool!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Glowing Glasses

All dressed up for FireWorks

Friday, July 5, 2013

Vacation time

We're all set up at the campground!  Come sit a spell by the fire and shoot the breeze with me!