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Sorry - Can't get today's post up quite yet!

I just wanted to post a quick note to apologize that I'm sorry that I couldn't get today's post up from visiting D.C. today! We visited so many places with so many details and so many different amazing awe-inspiring, breathtaking moments today! I'll hopefully get that up tomorrow. Talk to everyone soon!

Lions, Tigers, and Bears (and snakes) Oh My!

     We are kind of zoo fanatics so today we ventured out to see our National Zoo. I don't know how much you know about DC or the Smithsonian, but the Smithsonian consists of 22 huge museums, in all, for free. The National Zoo also falls under the Smithsonian. (Note: Almost everything in the DC area is free. What they don't tell you, is that it'll cost you around $20 to park!)

     We kind of got a late start, as evidenced by our terrible far away parking spot! After finally making our way from our parking spot, up the zoo pathway, we ended up seeing lions, tigers, and bears, oh my! LOL! Actually, the first few "animals" we got to see were prairie dogs and turtles. So much for seeing unique animals! After that we started seeing some pretty interesting animals. At the lion habitat, Brad used his observation skills and saw a black snake deep inside the bush. It was even close enough to touch. Not knowing if it was poisonous or not, we didn't want to get any closer to take a picture! Very good eye Brad! It was so hot and muggy today! The heat, humidity, and rain have been so hard on us! I think only fellow east coasters could know how extremely hot it is. It's crazy! We love summer and the sun but it's just so miserable when it's this humid. It turns out many of the animals feel the same way as they were hiding and sleeping away from the sun and our view. :(  We saw as many animals as we could; but, more and more habitats appeared to be empty because of their hiding. We couldn't leave the National Zoo without seeing one of the animals it is well known for, the panda!
This is the map of the zoo. (To get an actual souvenir map
to look at and find your way around or take home cost $2!)

This describes what animals are within the park.

Brad and Kristi as we were coming into the park. :)
     On our way across the zoo, my scooter started dying! Well, it started going very S.L.O.W. anyway. Dad got a pretty good workout pushing me! Did I mention the zoo has been completely uphill so far? The panda looked so fluffy and beautiful. It's too bad she was more interested in eating than turning around and posing for us. We learned to be a little sneaky and took our pictures from the right at an angle and got a few decent shots. While looking at the panda, Frank charged the scooter for a few minutes which ended up lasting long enough to get us to our parking spot! Yay!

     After leaving the zoo, we had to stop by the grocery store to pick up something for dinner and maybe a dessert snack. The kids have been getting good at cooking/baking and Brad enjoys making brownies.It's hot; but, maybe we should make some more snacks for tomorrow. It is going to be a long day downtown DC. It's our last day here and there is still so much to see. We've had a lot of rain days or days off in between visits because it is easier for our family to have a beak in between our days out and about. So we have to pick and choose out of the many things left to see and decide what our must sees are and try to hit them tomorrow.
Kids in front of a small pretty
waterfall (even though it looks
like it's bouncing off Kristi's head).
Don't they look enthused that I want
to take a "another" picture?
A turtle! What a "unique animal," right? Just kidding!

We love how the turtles all huddle together in the same areas!

This is the top of what they call the
O-Line or something like that. The
orangutans get to travel across
the top of the zoo on these "vines"
into another orangutan home.
(See the example on the right.)
The rest of the Orangutan transportation system! They
actually climb to the top of that and swing across it!

I love watching them... they look so graceful and peaceful.

Can't get enough of them!
Kristi and Brad chilling!

This little guy was so fast we could only get a blur on
camera! He was so pretty though and looked soft and
cuddly like your everyday house cat! I wish I could have
gotten a pic! This is my second favorite after the Meerkat!
They have these cute little statues throughout
 the zoo. We had to get some pics of them!

Interesting looking squirrel! They are called a Prevost Squirrel!
We had seen a very similar one in Florida and someone had
thought they were called a Fox Squirrel or a Monkey Squirrel.
Now we know! :)
Just thought this was beautiful and creative all-in-one!
More Orangutans.

These are all the FEMALE Giant Panda. We didn't get to
see the male Giant Panda because my scooter was almost
completely dead so we had to make it to the parking lot! :)
Seeing her was good enough to me! 
We loved looking at all these neat
statues throughout the zoo.
Isn't she so beautiful?
I forgot to see how much she eats in a day! I
guess its another area we can look up and
learn from!

 Don't forget that you can enlarge the pics by clicking on them!

It was neat just to watch her chilling and eating. It was
almost surreal that we could be looking at such wholesome
beautiful nature! :) Another of God's creations.
Our location today: National Zoo - Smithsonian
There is also a helpful app. Just search the app store for "National Zoo app" and it will come up. Unfortunately it costs $1.99. Hopefully, it is used for a good cause for the animals!  :-)

Six Flags

(First off, this is a bit long and if you want to skip ahead just to the photos of the fam at Six Flags, feel free to... although you will miss some interesting facts - including the fact that the kids EARNED the tickets!)

     We finally made it to a Six Flags! Frank and I have wanted to go to Six Flags since we were so young! We've wanted to go since back in the day when I could actually ride ALL rollercoasters! LOL Now a days, I have to see if it will hurt my back first! Most of today I said, “You try it, and let me know if it will be easy on my back or not!” lol Anyway, Six Flags was a blast! The kids had a great time. We went from rollercoaster to rollercoaster throughout the park then headed over to the waterpark! I used to LOVE rollercoasters! I especially loved upside down loop to loop rollercoasters! Unfortunately, about twelve years ago, I was with my husband on my favorite local upside down rollercoaster, which had two loops. As we were going up the gigantic first hill (right before a loop), I checked the seat belt restraint (bars that go over your head and across your stomach) and it went straight up in the air!!! I tried getting my husband’s attention since he was right next to me but the rollercoaster was SO loud he couldn't hear me (let alone trying to get any attendant’s attention since we were already on our way up the first hill). I also couldn't reach him either around my seat edge!!! Since I’m still here, I obviously got his attention, thank goodness! He saw my restraint up above my head and slammed it tight up against me right as we got to the top of the hill (before we went down and into the loop)! So, needless to say, ever since then I've been a bit traumatized when it comes to rollercoasters! So, now that I have kids and while I’m in line for a rollercoaster, thoughts go through my head… hmmm… is it worth the fun of the rollercoaster for my kids to possibly lose their mom? LOL! Then, my kids are saying come on mom, ride the rollercoaster with me! I feel so bad that I’m sooooo scared to ride them! That’s on top of the fact that it might possibly hurt my back. That’s a whole other discussion of how I hate that I can’t do all the things that I used to be able to do, or be able to be the hands-on mom that I used to be able to be!

     Anyway, it’s not all about me; it's about the kids, what they did to earn this day, and the fun we had today! :) First, the kids EARNED this amusement trip today by reading books! Can you believe it? They earned all of this fun by reading books! Six Flags has this program called Read To Succeed. All you have to do is read so many books each week and document it. It is submitted to Six Flags by either a public/private school teacher or a homeschool teacher. Once the information is submitted and it is verified that you have met the requirements, you get a FREE ticket to the Six Flags of your choice for each child that completed the requirements along with ONE teacher (even one homeschool teacher)! So, this trip was an awesome earned trip for the kids and very cheap entertainment for us! We only had to buy one adult ticket to complete this fun! I did have to do a lot of watching today because the rollercoasters were a bit on the extreme side; but, that’s okay! I enjoyed every minute watching my kids having a great time (even my big kid Frank)! Toward the end of riding the rides (before heading to the water park, it began to rain! Kristi was extremely disappointed because we had just told her that she could try this interesting game along the concession area! She wanted to try this thing where they had a ladder tied up and you just had to balance on the ladder (without using your knees or legs on the bars) and make it to the second to the top rung and ring the bell! Kristi and Brad thought for sure they could do it! Mom encouraged them too, telling them how balanced they were in life! :) Unfortunately, since it was raining they shut it down and we had to wait for it to quit raining. So we bought some dot ice cream and some fries and waited! It was still raining so the kids tried the Tower of Doom for a second or third time (which is like the Shooting Star or whatever that straight up one is at Adventureland... lol)! By the time we were done with all that, it quit raining; but, for safety purposes, they said we had to wait another twenty minutes for the equipment to dry off. We waited some more. They didn't quite make it to the top but they had a pretty good time trying to get up there!

     After all the rollercoasters were ridden at least once, if not more, we moved onto the water park! I was so happy when we finally got to the water park! I could get into the water and just relax! R.E.L.A.X. We all grabbed a tube and got into the lazy river just glided around the lazy pool once and then the kids were ready to take off and GO! LOL! So, as a family we went to the wave pool and enjoyed the waves for a while! This was the first time the kids could remember being in a wave pool so they had a lot of fun with it! They only have the waves going for a short time then a fifteen minute break then a short time and a break and so forth. After riding the waves the kids were ready to try some of the water slides! So off they went! Since the water slides are right in the middle of the lazy river, we let them buddy up and go to the slides while Frank and I enjoyed some alone down time around the lazy river a few quite a few more times! :)

     As the day winded down and we knew it was time to head home and take care of responsibilities (yes, we haven’t forgotten about Christian!), the kids were not quite happy that it was time to go! They wanted to try this one more time and that just one more time… how about just one more ride! No, no, no… but how about a funnel cake instead? It was a deal! :)  Overall, we had a great time! The guys were VERY beat up from the rides though. For all those that loved the pictures of the rides that I put on Facebook, both Frank and Brad said, “Although they were fun, they weren't smooth riding at all. It was neat that they had different types of rides (i.e., stand up, laying on your back, speed, etc.); but, the majority of them beat up your head back and forth or were very jerky. From our time around the United States, Frank and the kids have ridden lots of rides and have found a lot smoother rides. They would prefer to try other parks including other Six Flags to see if they have smoother rides. None-the-less, it was an action-packed tiring day.  

This is the normal giant swing! It goes sooooo high!
Brad and Kristi both look like this is no big deal!
Yikes! I'm scared of heights! I know I"ve never let that
stop me; but, yikes!
Dad is really making it look like it is no big deal as he took
pics of all of us while going around in circles way up in the sky!
The Riddle Me This Ride - Dad and the kids
The Riddle Me This Ride - Dad and the kids
The Joker Jinx Ride - Frank and Brad rode it!
The Superman Ride - Goes 75 miles an hour... 
and almost straight down!
Batman Ride - You lay down and it and it goes upside down
(you are lying looking down) so you are just hanging and
enjoying the ride!
More of the Batman Ride
More of the Batman Ride
More of the Batman Ride
Porky Pig!!!
The Apocalypse - A Stand Up Ride!
More of The Apocalypse (see you can see them standing up)!
More of The Apocalypse (see you can see them standing up)!
This guy was acting silly (making his job fun) and snuk up
on Kristi so I had to get a pic of him with the kids!
Stuntman Show! (Kristi was picked as a volunteer to throw
some fake punches at them - I was afraid she was going to
actually punch them. Watch for the video if I get it uploaded)!!!
Tweety and us!
This is the Tower of Doom. Brad and Kristi LOVED it so much
they rode it several times! I have it on video. Watch for this to
be uploaded too!
This is the game Brad and Kristi (esp. Kristi) could not wait
to go on! I was sure Kristi could do it!
She has always been so balanced between dance classes & even
in everyday life. I'm sure with a little practice she could do it!!!
Good try!
Brad was so determined to give it a good try!
Just a bit more balance to go along with that determination...
And I'm sure he could do it! He has PLENTY of determination...
if I just had enough money to give them a little practice, that
determination would have gone a LONG way! :)

George Washington's Birthplace National Monument

     We were pretty excited to go to George Washington’s Birthplace. Unfortunately, when we got there we found out the house had burned down when he was three years old. So, he only lived there until he was three, then he moved because his parents decided not to rebuild. His family moved six miles away in a log cabin. We did learn some interesting facts though!
This is the view upon arriving! It looks
like a mini- DC Monument!
Family arriving at George Washington's Birthplace.
- They showed us the Washington Coat of Arms and how there were specific items from the coat of arms on the Washington DC license plates. We were especially interested in his coat of arms because we had recently learned about our coat of arms in our schooling.   :)
Beautiful view from the homestead.
George and Martha Washington's Coat of Arms!
 - The kitchen was in a SEPARATE dwelling because it burnt down approximately every five years. They said that the kitchen represented such a huge fire hazard with all the pots cooking all over the floor at the same time, not to mention so many people cooking at the same time.
The white outline represents the original Washington home-
stead. The white building in the back is the separate kitchen
dwelling with the home in the back. 
This is the slave area in a corner of
the kitchen. Five slaves were expected
to sleep in that small bed. We were told
that it was more comfortable to sleep on
the floor (if that tells you anything about
the comfort of that bed)!

Candle Making!

- George Washington never had his own children. He only adopted Martha’s grandchild.

- He inherited ten slaves & some land from his dad when he passed away (George was only 11 years old.

- Brad noticed that the buildings weren't true to their times/originals because they had plug-ins and air conditioning!

- He inherited more than half his slaves (he had approx. 300) when he married Martha.

- I was amazed that any of this was here because everywhere I look I hear about him at Mt. Vernon. Well, he eventually inherited Mt. Vernon from his brother (where he wanted to be buried and was).

- We also learned about guinea foals! They look like they are part turkey and part quail but were around a lot back then.

     We've read many books about the great George Washington so we are always interested in learning more. We were a little let down to hear about him owning slaves. When we were in the kitchen and saw a very small bed that 5 slaves were expected to live in, the kids asked the reenactor if they knew when slavery started and a few other questions and unfortunately she was new and didn't have any idea. We were reminded that was how things were back then. (We kind of wondered if slavery started when colonists arrived in Jamestown or if it predated Jamestown.) It did bring about a class in learning more about slavery and lack of civil rights from that time. I’m glad that we have evolved in humanity since that time! :)  Overall, we are continually reminded what a strong and courageous man the first president of the United States is in all he did throughout his life.

     We are also loving that there is sooooo much history on the east coast! There is so much to see and do and learn here! Hopefully Stacey’s back will hold up (we usually take a little time off in between or explore a little while she rests back up) and we can continue to explore the east coast and learn all we can while we are here! Look for more blog posts! :)
Kristi having fun taking our picture!
Beautiful view from the homestead
(right outside the back door).
A view from the backside of the home.
Good picture of us from our budding photographer Kristi!

Guinea foals!
An interesting bedroom with
sewing wheel.

Information about George's Dad.
Information about George's Great Grandfather.
A little information about George Washington.
Various items found through archaeological finds!
Us playing around in the visitor center! Kristi had to try out
this George Washington setup! :)