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New York, New York!

OK folks- get ready for lots of pictures and lots of rambling from me! This past weekend my wonderful husband once again did the amazing and took me to New York for my birthday.  Granted we would never had been able to do this if we weren’t already so close, found a bus ticket for around 30 bucks, and had free hotel night stays.  However, we were able to go and we had a blast!!! We did so much that it will be better for me to just post bunches of pictures and discuss them as I go.  Over the course of three days Justin took me to every borough in New York City, except the Bronx because of safety and time issues.  Justin loves New York and I was able to simply follow him to places he knew well.  So here we go-

On Friday we decided to do the not so touristy things.  First was Ground Zero where they are building the new Freedom Tower.  It’s not done yet but it was pretty spectacular.

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We also got a chance to visit the church where everyone ran to on the day of the attacks.  It’s a fairly old church and is quite beautiful. 

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Afterwards we had to go get tickets for our next days Broadway show so we went down to South Street Seaport.  Its basically a hopping place right on the water where you can get cruises and boat tours of the city as well as get some seafood and entertainment.  We waited in line for half off tickets and got to see this.

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The ships were really neat and we enjoyed wandering around and looking at them.

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We wandered down to Wall street and saw some of our current events.  The occupy people were everywhere and as a result there were NYC policemen EVERYWHERE!! They have the stock exchange blocked off, the famous bull blocked off, and the protesters blocked into a certain area to try to prevent too many problems.  Because of that you cant get too close to many of these places but we did manage to see them from afar.

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Having been to New York several times before, Justin has some favorite haunts that he likes to visit, one of which is Little Italy/Chinatown.  We went there for dinner and it was wonderful! The atmosphere was truly unique and I think we were the only people in our restaurant not speaking Italian. In Chinatown, We saw this cool little park where all of the locals were hanging out and playing games at little stone tables, just like see in the movies. It was neat.  Once again we were the only people speaking English as most of the locals were in the park. 

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The place where we ate some of the best Italian food I have ever had!

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Sign welcoming you to Little Italy

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Little Italy

Being that Justin is a sports fanatic, the one other place we visited on Friday was of course, Radio City Music Hall.  Unbeknownst to me the NFL draft was going on and he wanted to try to get in. Thankfully, the line was too long and we had to settle for looking at the Hall and all of the crazily dressed people trying to get in.

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Saturday was an absolutely awesome day! I think I spent the whole day on the high of life, simply enjoying being with my husband and going to a Broadway show! We hung around Times Square, took pictures, and went to a matinee of the Phantom of the Opera. It was absolutely incredible, not that I would expect anything less of a Broadway show. We got to sit in the orchestra, near the back, but still close enough to experience everything.

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Justin snapped this pic while we were waiting in line to get into the show- Excited much?

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Standing in front of a picture of my favorite scene, “Masquerade”

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The stage

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The chandelier

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The theatre

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The Marquee

Needless to say I loved the show.  Since we went to a matinee we had to the opportunity to go a few  other places on Saturday as well.  One of which was Central Park.  It’s hard to believe you are still in a huge city when you are in Central Park. It’s beautiful and huge. 

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We also had fun roaming around the shops in Times Square, going to the more famous ones, like M and M’s, Hershey’s, Disney, and many others. Of course, my favorite was . . . .

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We acted like kids and roamed around the store playing with all of the toys. We didn’t dance on the big piano but we did watch these adorable little kids dance on it for awhile.

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Its Lego Johnny Depp!

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Times Square by day . . .

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Times Square by night!

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The New Years Eve ball

SO after an extremely wonderful and long day on Saturday we headed out again for another one on Sunday.  We decided to go to none other than Coney Island.  We ate at the famous Nathans Hot Dogs where they have the hot dog eating contest every year, walked the pier out to the Atlantic Ocean, and rode the Wonder Wheel (see Facebook for the video of our ride). 

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He’s thinking ” My beach and gulf are way better than this.”

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The Wonder Wheel, one of the oldest attractions at Coney Island.

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Coney Island in the background.

After a relaxing and fun morning at Coney Island we rode to the complete opposite side of the city to end our trip on the Staten Island Ferry.  We thought it fitting to ride out and see the New York skyline and the Statue of Liberty.  It was cold, but fun, and we are now both coming down with colds because of our detour, but it was totally worth it.

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Lady Liberty

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The Brooklyn Bridge

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I hate this picture, but it the only one of the both of us on the ferry, so there ya go.

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The Skyline- the mirrored looking building with the black cloth at the top is the new Freedom Tower.

Well folks, that’s our trip in a nutshell. I am sure there are other things I could say about it, but all in all it was an amazing trip. a wonderful adventure and one of the coolest things I have ever done.  I cannot help but thank God for a wonderful husband who has these impulses to do fun things like go on this trip.  Who knows when our little family is going to grow by one, and we are enjoying our last adventures as a childless couple immensely.  We miss you all and look forward to seeing you soon.  Just one more month till we return!  Continue to keep our adoption efforts in your prayers and remember that we love and pray for you all daily!  Justin and Sarah

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A quick report

Hey folks! There isn’t much to update here other than our continuing good time.  It seems that the time has flown by and I cannot believe we only have a month and a week left in DC.  We have both been so blessed being here, Justin in his job and me in the ability to relax and rejuvenate.  It has become our routine to venture out on weekends and simply end up wherever we end up.  Thankfully, my husband has a fantastic sense of direction so we rarely get lost!  Last weekend we had the privilege to visit the National Archives.  It’s one of the more traditionally beautiful buildings we have seen and seems to get overlooked by many tourists. 

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Photos inside the Archives are forbidden but if you have ever seen the first National Treasure movie, just remember the scene where they have the party at the very beginning of the movie.  That is where we were, looking at the Declaration of Independence, the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.  It was very cool!

It seems like we stumble upon the niftiest things whenever we don’t plan to go anywhere.  This was true of this past weekend when we went to Georgetown after dinner.  To understand the uniqueness of Georgetown its best to understand that the town is not named after George Washington as many assume, but after King George. It’s that old! We saw buildings and architecture that has been around since the early 1700’s.

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A very old church

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A view of Georgetown University

Living in DC provides for some unique experiences of its own.  Anyone paying attention to the news the last few weeks will have seen that the shuttle made its final “fight” to its new home here in DC.  The plane carrying the retired shuttle happened to fly over Downtown DC about four times and we were able to see the monumental event first hand. Nearly everyone here in DC was out on the street and on rooftops for the flyovers, so it was almost like a holiday. Here are some pictures we took of the flight. 

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So living in DC has its up and downs.  Since we are staying in a hotel for the duration of our time here, I don;t have to clean or do any other normal wife like chores.  However, being without a car and completely reliant on Flintstones transportation, aka our feet, pesky little things like rain tend to keep us pinned in the hotel.  As a result of said rain we don’t have any fun stories from this past weekend.  Pray that the rain lets up soon so I can get back to my regular routine and Justin doesn’t have to go to work in the rain! 

Also If i can indulge, please continue to keep our hopes for a family in your prayers.  We are always thinking that this day will be the day when we will get the call telling us we will be parents.  The waiting for our child gets harder, the more time that goes by, and we would appreciate all of the prayers as we continue to walk this journey.  It helps to be on this DC adventure, but as it gets closer to the end, we look forward to our next adventure that will hopefully be parenthood! 

We will be traveling to New York in the next few days so look forward to a  fun filled post next week!  Love you all!

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Tom Goes to the Natural History Museum

Hey kids! Are you having a good week this week? I know I am! Even though there has been some rain here this week, Mrs. Sarah still took me to our surprise location.  We went to another awesome museum!! This time we visited a place called the Natural History Museum.  This museum is special because it focuses on the history of things found in the natural world.  There are special rooms in the museum where you can see ancient animals, things from the ocean, and even dinosaur bones! Mrs. Sarah told me that you had all studied dinosaurs earlier this year, so we took some pictures of the dinosaur fossils in the museum to show you what real fossils look like.

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This is a Diplodochus fossil.

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Can you name this dinosaur? Here’s a hint, its NOT a Triceratops.

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This is a T-Rex fossil.

One of the rooms in the museum has different animals from all over the world that you may not get to see in real life. The animals are no longer alive, but they are real.  The scientists at the museum study the animals and when they die, they preserve them for the museum.  Here are some of the animals we saw.

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This is a Walrus.  Walrus’ are difficult to see in the wold because they live so far away from people.  They are also dangerous because of their big tusks.

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This is a warthog.  They live in Africa and are difficult to see because of their coats. They blend into their surroundings.

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This is a picture of a real tiger, just like me!

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This is a rhinoceros.  They have big horns on the front of their faces that are made up of hair!

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This is a moose. They are so big that they make horses look small.

There is another room in the museum where there are all kinds of sea animals.  One of the things you can see in this room is a life size blue whale.  It hangs from the ceiling.  See if you can find it in this picture.

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Anther thing I saw was a giant African elephant. I got to see how big an elephant is compared to me, and I learned that elephants have been around for a long time. How long do you think elephants have been around? Do you think they were here when dinosaurs were here?

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In this picture I am sitting next to an elephants leg bone.  Do you see how tall the elephant is in comparison to me!

Another room in there are scientists who study bones.  There are skeletons and bones from humans and animals from more than a hundred and even a thousand years ago!

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This is the jaw bone of a great white shark.  They have such a big mouth that they can swallow some fish whole.

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This is a skeleton of a sea turtle. Can you see how his shell is actually made of bone?

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Can you guess what kind of animal this skeleton is from?

We saw so many things in the museum: butterflies, mummies, giant diamonds, photos from around the world, and even a big snake! We had such a fun time and might even get to go back soon.  Next week we are going to meet some people who live here in this city.  We will share their stories and pictures after we meet them.  Mrs. Deborah told me you are all practicing for graduation! Mrs. Sarah and I want you all to do a great job, so keep up the practice!! We miss you and love you all! 

 

 

 

 

 

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My new favorite place in DC and a unique Easter experience.

Hello family and friends! I hope everyone had a fantastic Easter weekend and is enjoying the more spring like weather we all seem to be having.  Justin and I are loving the weather here in DC. It feels more like spring everyday.  Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us as we have been up here.  We can definitely feel God working on our lives in different ways.  For one, we were able to find an Easter service to attend this past weekend.  We went to the basilica at Catholic University, which is one of the largest basilicas in the US.  There were so many people attending the mass that we had to stand for the entire two hour service.  It was worth it though as we were able to see how an Easter mass is conducted. We loved the experience, although it was quite different from what we are used to.  We were reminded of the majesty and wonder of our God while standing in this beautiful basilica listening to deafeningly beautiful organ music and watching the ceremonies associated with mass. It was beautiful and awesome at the same time.

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The nuns at the service.

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The amazing organ that took up the entire back wall.

After the service we did the typical Easter thing and took some pictures.

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On another note, I have found a new favorite place in Washington DC.  Monday was such a beautiful day here weather wise that I decided to venture out into the city, searching for something to do outside. I found the National Botanic Garden. Needless to say, the place is absolutely beautiful in so many ways.  Not only are there plants, flowers, and genus’ of every kind in the gardens, the place itself is so peaceful and welcoming that I found it to be a kind of sanctuary. I took about a million pictures and am going to use the rest of the post sharing these beautiful photos, fledgling photographer that I am. SO if you have no desire to see pretty flower pictures, I recommend you stop reading now! We love you all and miss you all and will see you all soon!

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I have so many more pictures, but will stop there! Have a super week!

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Tom goes to the Zoo

Hey kids! I hope you are all having a great time learning about pets this month.  Did you know that there are some dogs that live in the hotel where Mrs. Sarah and I live?  I get to see them everyday walking down the hall.  Since you guys are studying pets right now, Mrs. Sarah and I thought it would be a good idea to go to the Zoo and see what big animals looked like.  I had such a great time wandering through the National Zoo.  Here are a few facts about the National Zoo.

The National Zoo is what is called a conservation zoo. That means that all of the zookeepers and researchers do everything they can to save animals all throughout the world. There are always a lot of new baby animals at the zoo, and there are usually different kind of animals at the zoo that you don’t always see in regular zoos. 

Also there are scientists who work for the National Zoo that study and observe, or watch, animals all over the world.  This way they learn the best ways to take care of animals in the Zoo.

Mrs. Sarah and I had such a great time at the zoo and we took a bunch of pictures so we are going to share them with you and tell you about them as we go!

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That’s me with two boys I met on the way into the zoo.

One of the first things we got to see was the Big Cats Exhibit. This part of the zoo had all kinds of cats you might see in the wild, like tigers, lions, and cheetahs.

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Can you see the Cheetah?

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There he is! Cheetahs usually live in groups if they are boys and by themselves if they are girls. The cheetahs at the Zoo all brothers and have lived together for 7 years.

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Can you see the real tiger in this photo? Here’s a hint: he is hiding behind me by a ladder.

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There he is! Tigers have special stripes that help them hide in tall grasses and trees where they live.  They make is very hard to see the tiger.

After the big cats exhibit we got to see some amazing apes and orangutans. Apes and orangutans are some of the biggest types of monkeys you will ever see.  We got to see the orangutans swinging on ropes above our heads. It was really cool! Here are some pictures of the orangutans and apes we saw.

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That’s the male orangutan swinging high above our heads.

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The great apes recently had a baby. This picture is the daddy ape.

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This is the mother ape.

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And that is the baby ape!

After we saw the apes and orangutans we went to the small mammal house. Small mammals are animals like squirrels, small monkeys, and other animals that are around the size of cats and dogs.  Here are some examples of small mammals.

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Can you name any of those animals?

After the small mammal house we went to the bird house. we got to see all kinds of different birds from all over the world. Here are some of my favorites.

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Toucan Sam!

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A peacock.

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and Flamingos!

The last thing we saw was my favorite! We saw three elephants that were playing! IT was one of the best parts of the day.

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So that was my trip to the National Zoo! I hope you all have a wonderful week! Mrs. Sarah and I are going to a surprise place next week so watch to see what it is the next time you check the blog!  Tom the Tiger

 

 

 

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A nature filled weekend

Hey folks! So this past weekend Justin endured my childlike nature and indulged me. WE WENT TO THE ZOO!!!! No matter how old I get I will always love the zoo. Any zoo, anywhere and I am so there! So it was only a matter of time before we went to the zoo here.  I LOVED IT! And while, we didn’t take many pictures of ourselves, we did take some of the unique animals that are housed at the National Zoo. For one they have a rehabilitation program for pretty much any animal you can think of, so there are always babies at the zoo. Liek this cute little howler monkey baby-

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Can you see it?

One of the funniest parts of our day was when a stupid tourist threw a brown bag of food to the giant panda.  We got to watch him tear into the bag, stuffing french fries, a sandwich and parts of the bag into his mouth. It was hilarious.

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And just for fun, we saw an emu trying to escape his pen by pecking through the fence.

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Watchoo lookin at?

So all in all the zoo was a blast.  And since we hadn’t had enough of nature on Saturday, we decided to join the throngs of tourists at the Natural History Museum on Sunday afternoon. For anyone who is wondering, every eight grader in the world seems to be in Washington DC right now. No lie, I passed by a group of German 8th graders the other day.  Its ridiculous.  So the museum was rather packed but we had fun running around adn seeing all the nifty stuff in there. Including-

A huge elephant

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Dinosaurs!

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A great white shark jaw bone- and yes that is Justin standing inside of it!

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And my greatest fear come to life-

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For anyone wondering, no I did not go up to a real giant man eating snake.  Smithsonian researchers recently found a skeleton in a buried rainforest dig that has proved to be the biggest snake on record, hence the name Titanoboa.  They have recreated the snake, as seen here.

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And yes, they recreated the snake eating a prehistoric crocodile- it is that big. Needless to say, if this snake was still alive and well in the world, I WOULD NEVER go outside AGAIN!

SO we had a nature filled weekend, and we had a great time! With Easter coming this weekend, we will most likely be light on the touring and picture taking.  We wish you all a Happy Easter weekend, filled with the love of Jesus and remembrance of His most awesome sacrifice for us.  Please remember us as we try to find a service to attend!  Love from us both, Justin and Sarah

 

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Tom learns about the Presidents

Hey kids! This week we get to learn about three new Presidents.  Remember when I showed you the pictures of the Washington monument? Well this week Mrs. Sarah and I went to three more presidential monuments.  We learned about three different presidents and what made them special.  They were Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.  First we went to the Lincoln memorial. 

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Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States.  He is special because he was president during the Civil War, and he helped end slavery in the United States.  Many people think he was one of the greatest presidents in our history.  His monument is HUGE! We had to climb a whole bunch of stairs to reach his statue.

After the Lincoln memorial we went to the Roosevelt memorial. 

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Franklin D. Roosevelt was the 32nd President of the United States. He was special for so many reasons! For one, he was president for 12 years! That is a long time to be a president, and during his time in office, Roosevelt did many amazing things.  He saw our country through WW2, and did a lot of things that made our country the country it is today! He even had a dog.

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His memorial was super cool because it had waterfalls all throughout. Just like this one-

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I had fun playing in the water!

The last memorial we went to was the Jefferson memorial.

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Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States. Some of the special things he did include started the United States military academy, adding Ohio to the United States and buying the land that became the state of Louisiana. He did so much to help expand the United States. His memorial was cool because it is on an island surrounded by a lake. 

So that was what I got to learn about this week.  I enjoyed learning some of the history of our United States and hope that you did too! Next week Mrs. Sarah promised to take me to the zoo, so next time be ready to learn about all kinds of animals! 

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Cheery Blossom Pictures

Hey folks! Just wanted to put up some more beautiful pictures of the cherry blossom! Have a super week!

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Tom the Tiger goes to the Aquarium

Hey Kids! How are you? I am doing great! I am having a great time here in Washington DC this week.  Before I tell you about what I got to do this week, I want to answer Jamie’s questions about what the Secret Service policemen look like. Here they are!

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These are the secret service men who protect the driveway to the White House.They were nice enough to talk to me about how much they love their job. 

So, guess what I got to do this week? I got to go to the National Aquarium! I got to see all kinds of cool things and I want to share them with you.  The National Aquarium is a big building that is underground.  Inside the building there are all kinds of animals that you would find in the ocean, rivers and lakes all around the world. We took a bunch of pictures so I am going to show them to you and explain them as I go!

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This is a spotted sting ray. It lives in the ocean around islands, especially in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands.  Even though the name Sting Ray sounds scary, they are actually harmless.

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This is a coral reef, a place where lots of fish live in the ocean. The coral reef is actually a living organism that has thousands of tiny animals living all throughout.

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This is a picture of me with the fish from finding Nemo, or at least with Dori from finding Nemo!

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This is a picture of a starfish, in the background, and an anemone, at front, both animals that live in the ocean.  An anemone is special because fish can live inside it and around it for protection.

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This is a Lion Fish. Can you guess why they call it that?

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This is a picture of a fish you might find in the Caribbean Sea.

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Have you ever heard of a puffer fish? Well this is what a puffer fish looks like when is puffs up. normally a puffer fish is small. But it can make itself big, or puffed up, in order to scare away predators, or fish that want to eat it. 

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This is a special animal called a Nautilus. The Nautilus is an animal that lives in a shell and swims by using its tentacles.  It will live in one single shell until it dies, and then shed its shell for people to collect.

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This is a Tiger shark. He was kind of hiding in the corner, but you can still see him. Can you guess why he is called a Tiger shark?

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This is a Snapping Turtle. You can find these types of turtles in rivers and lakes near our town!

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And speaking of turtles these are all pictures of baby sea turtles, just like Crush and Squirt in Finding Nemo! The National Aquarium has a program, kind of like a school, where they house baby sea turtles until they are big enough and smart enough to go back into the ocean.  Right now they have three baby sea turtles.

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Jellyfish! Even though they look harmless, Jellyfish can be very harmful if you step on them or get stung by them in the ocean.

Finally, these last pictures are things you might find in or around rivers instead of the ocean.

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That’s an albino alligator. They live in swamps and are very rare because there are not many of them left in the world.  Because they are bright white, they cannot blend into their surroundings and so it is easier for predators to find them. 

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This is a green tree boa constrictor, a snake that lives in the Amazon.  They are very dangerous and usually hard to find because they look like the trees they live in.

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And finally, can you find the frog? Here’s a hint he has yellow eyes. He lives in the Amazon too.

Well that we my trip to the national Aquarium. I hope you liked all of the pictures! Hope you all have a great week, and remember if you have any questions, just ask!

 

 

 

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Family and Friends- the beauty of Washington DC

Hey folks! So today as I rode on the metro headed out to take pictures of the beautiful cherry blossoms that have suddenly burst forth in our lovely city, I was struck by several things.  Among these was the fact that we are surrounded by beauty in our new surroundings, and not just necessarily the beauty of the city and the monuments, but beauty of a different kind. The beauty I am talking about is the fact that everyday as I walk through the streets I am surrounded by a barrage of cultures, races and diversity that is a continual example of how wonderful God made our world. I get to talk to random people on the train everyday and wave at complete strangers (thanks for the quality Mom!) that I pass on my wanderings, and these people happily and almost eagerly talk and wave back.  I have had some truly incredible conversations in these last few days.  One of the ones that comes most readily to mind is a conversation that I had with my seat mate on the train just two days ago.  You see, I was hungry for some good Christian fellowship and discussion (we have yet to find a church we can reach by Metro). This vivacious and talkative woman sits next to me on the train, despite the fact that I was sweaty from walking all day, and she immediately says ” It’s so nice to meet you.  Do you know Jesus?” Talk about a God thing.  We talked for our entire train ride about our love for Jesus and our similarities.  It turned out she was here in DC with her children, because her husband, just like Justin, had been moved here  for a few months. She had even lived in Memphis for a time!  That one experience made my whole day, and reinforced the wonderfulness of God’s connecting us all. 

All that to say we are still loving our time here.  TO keep myself from rambling any further, I will get to what you really want and post some pictures!

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The cherry blossoms in bloom

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Close up!

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In front of the White House.(Notice the fountain dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day)

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A view from Arlington Cemetery.

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Justin in front of the Old Post Office- This building is by far one of our favorites so far! It was beautiful and had a tower where you could see the whole of DC. As seen here-

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Well folks, that’s all for now! Hopefully we will have more “us” pictures next time, if I can convince my hubby to take a few pictures! Love you all!

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