Saturday, July 25, 2009

Scary tornado!!!

We had a nasty storm sweep through last night around dinner time. We were all pretty scared, especially Alexander. Then we opened the paper this morning and saw this:

I rode by this morning to check a friend's house (which was fine). It's about 1 1/2 miles from our house, but there is debris in our street. Scary.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The home has begun!

I got a call today that our permit has finally been pulled. Here are the men and big machines working on one of the other lots.

This is ours. The living room is on the right, garage on the left.

The tree is in the "conservation area." We were relieved to find out that the living room is on that side - it will be a nicer view than the other way around.

The right side - you can see an outline of the garage, which is a bit lower than the rest of the house.

Here it is - our lot! We're so excited. They have now given us an estimated closing date of November 11th. We have our apartment lease through the 24th, so here's hoping they stay on schedule!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Movin' on up!

We are so excited that we have a contract on our house. We're scheduled to close on August 14th. Problem is, they have not broken ground on our new house. So we started to look for temporary housing. It's almost impossible to find a place that is willing to rent for less than 6 months. I finally turned to Craig's List and found three possibilities. After visiting all three, none were perfect. But we knew we had to bite the bullet and make a decision, so we decided to move to the Legacy Apartments.

A couple living there just bought a new house but have a lease that goes until November 24th. They are desparate to get out of their lease, so they offered to pay part of the rent each month. Good deal for us, good deal for them. We went to the office today and signed the lease. It's a 2 bedroom apartment, even smaller than our current house, but it's clean and in a nice area. We'll also rent a garage to store our washer/dryer/freezer/bikes, etc. Right outside our building is a playground, and it's a short walk to the community pool. We plan to move in beginning August 10th (just so happens that's the same day Chris got called for jury duty, but that's another story...) We're going to have to move twice, but I keep telling myself two moves is better than two mortgages! We'll also be moved in before school starts, which is a big plus. Check out the link to see the complex.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bike video

Here is a video of Jonathan's bike ride. This is the first time he rode up the hill. Quite impressive!!

Look who's riding a bike!!!

This afternoon, Chris went outside and took the training wheels off of Jonathan's bike. He then started him going down the sidewalk....

And Jonathan took off! He quickly got the hang of riding. Chris ran next to him at first.

But very soon Jonathan didn't need any help. He rode up and down our sidewalk over and over and over.

Proud boy!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Home, Sweet Home!

The inside of Duke's chapel

Duke campus

Duke chapel
Ready to go at 6 AM

We made it home last night around 9:30PM. We left Washington at 6AM, not bad for a family of 5. We missed all of the morning rush-hour traffic. We were a bit worried about the traffic around Richmond, but we didn't experience any delays. We took a slight detour to Durham, where we spent an hour walking around Duke University. It's never to early to visit colleges! Then we climbed back in the car for the remaining 10 hours of our trip. The boys were good, as usual. The invention of portable DVD players is a parent's dream. The key is to only use them on long trips. The boys, who are used to very strict limits on their screen time, were excited to watch movies all day.

It's great to be back home. Now we have to tackle all the details surrounding the sale of our house. First and foremost, we're looking for a place to stay temporarily while our house is being built, and we're not having much success. Most rentals want a year committment, and we only need about 3 months. Today we're running errands and making calls - back to the everyday tasks we've neglected in the past 3 weeks. Oh, and we'll be running some laundry, too...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Last day in DC

Our last day in Washington was again a busy one. We left the hotel at 8:30 and took the Metro to the Capitol. There we visited our senator, Bill Nelson's office. He wasn't in, but we got what we came for - tickets to the Senate gallery. We already had House gallery tickets from yesterday. We were not allowed to bring cameras in, so we have no pictures.
The house was a bit dull - there were a few congressmen and women there giving one minute speeches. We then moved on to the Senate, where, after about 5 minutes of debate, they called a vote! It was exciting, because all the Senators showed up to vote. We saw Al Franken, John McCain, John Kerry, and our own Bill Nelson, to name a few.

Next we walked back to Union Station, where we ate lunch. We got back on the metro to the zoo.

The exit to the zoo has one of the longest escalators in the world. Alexander timed it (by counting seconds in his head) at about a two minute ride up.

Our first stop was the pandas, which are fairly close to the entrance. We saw both of them from far away.

Then we headed for the invertabrates, where an octopus feeding was scheduled. Benjamin, Alexander, and I watched it while...

...Chris took Jonathan outside for a quick snooze.

Then on to the ape house.

We treated the boys to ice cream, which was also a treat for us, since the ice creams were so big. Benjamin ate all of his (no surprise), but it took Chris and I to finish off Alexander's.

Jonathan enjoyed the misters that were around the zoo to keep everyone cool.

A piggy-back ride up the last big hill of the day

Back on the Metro, this time to Chinatown.

We ate dinner at this restaurant. With full bellies, we walked back to the hotel, where the boys watched Horton Hears a Who while Chris packed and Karen ran. Who got the better end of that deal????

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Day 2 - and some tired feet!

After sleeping in until 730 (late for the boys!) we began the day by walking to Ford's Theater, where we made the first tour.

They have kept the box the same as it was when Lincoln was shot. Ford's Theater is still a working theater.

Then we walked to the National Archives, where we stood in line for probably an hour altogether to see the Constitution, Declaration, and Bill of Rights.

There is no flash photography allowed, so this is the best interior shot we got.

Then we walked toward the Capitol, where we had a tour at 12:50.

While on our way, we saw Joe Biden's motorcade. He had come to swear in Al Franken. We didn't see him, of course, but it was exciting all the same.

The Rotunda

Next we WALKED to Air and Space, where we saw most of the exhibits, including this original Wright Brothers airplane.

WWII fighter replicas

Showing off their toys. After two days of waiting, Jonathan finally got to buy something.

Finally, we WALKED once again to the American History Museum, where we saw C3PO

and this portrait of Steven Colbert

and Oscar and Seinfeld's puffy shirt.

Inside the "America on the Move" exhibit.

Back to the hotel, where we ate dinner. Boy, are our feet tired. Boys conked out by 9:15, and now we're off to sleep, too!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Washington, DC

Today we drove from Allentown to Washington, DC. We're staying in Hotel Harrington, which is only 3 blocks away from both the White House and the Museum of Natural History. We arrived at noon, and luckily our room was ready for us. After a quick meal in the room, we hit the museum. Those pics will come later. After the museum, we walked down the mall, past the Washington Monument, all the way to the Lincoln Memorial and back again. We were all tire. In fact, all three boys were asleep by 9:30.

Strong guy!

Strong guy #2

WWII Memorial - very peaceful. Many people had their shoes off and were cooling off their feet in the water.

WWII Memorial.

Chris explaining it to Benjamin and Alexander

Jonathan at the Korean Memorial. These faces are etched in stone.

In front of the Lincoln Memorial

The wall

Jonathan at the Vietnam Memorial

Hello, President Obama!!!