Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Memorial Day Recap {Picture Heavy Post Ahead!}

This update is long overdue as I was holding out for a cute video of Nia dancing but alas, said video is unable to be uploaded off of the Droid on which it resides.


Anyway, this post shall go on . . .

We took Bolt Bus to DC the Friday before Memorial Day and while it was quite eventful getting to the bus (we missed our scheduled bus), the actual ride was a breeze and Nia was a doll. She absolutely hates being in a car seat though, and I'm very thankful that we don't have to use one regularly in NYC.

Nia on the bus during a calm moment with daddy
Nia's least preferred method of transportation
For the first time I visited Arlington National Cemetery. It was very moving. The day was gorgeous, but still very melancholy as I looked upon the rows and rows of gravestones. This really made the impact of our nation's history of war weigh heavy on my heart. I didn't cry or anything, but I was in awe. While we visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and saw the changing of the guard, it clouded over and rained briefly. It was somehow very fitting.

Approaching Arlington National Cemetery
Ariane pushed Nia for us!
What I was very surprised about was the lack of reverence many visitors had despite signs, especially in certain areas such as the Kennedy's memorial, to remain silent and respect the dead. There was one group of people in particular that sounded as though they were going to a ho-down. I was appalled! A woman spoke up and told them to be silent and they immediately did. Another man even made a joke about the current Schwarzenegger cheating scandal while at the Kennedy memorial - totally inappropriate.

Love Birds at the Kennedy Memorial
The changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
On a side note, I would not recommend wearing white when visiting Arlington National Cemetery - I was attacked by bugs compared to the rest of my family who had either worn other solid colors or prints. Not sure if it was a white thing, but I've worm white many times before and have never been attacked by bugs in that way before (later I even had a bee or something trapped near/in my ear for nearly an hour - I had been hearing a constant buzzing and finally figured it out! EWWW!)

Regardless, the visit to Arlington National Cemetery was something I'd consider for an ideal family tradition. Growing up in Ohio we'd visit the family plots and lay flowers. Memorial Day to me has always been a special day to honor all those we have lost.

On a lighter note, we were supposed to go fishing too during our trip and while that didn't work out we were at least able to make it to the zoo. It was Nia's first zoo visit, but unfortunately, she was sleep at the beginning of it but woke up just in time to see the gorillas. There was even a baby gorilla and I think she formed a special bond with it; she even kept waving at him!

Nia says hi to the gorilla (this wasn't the baby!)
Brave Nia had the best vantage point at the zoo!
I'll definitely plan a visit to the Central Park Zoo later this year. Nia's favorite book right now is Wild Alphabet. It's an animal pop-up book our neighbors gave her for her baby dedication and while it's intended for ages 3+, she can handle it with my help (otherwise she wants to rip out the pop-ups!).

Another exciting first was Nia's first time in the pool. Mr. Love Bird admitted later that he really wanted to dunk her (!), but I think that would've been too traumatic. The water was ice cold to me, but he took Nia into the water and went slowly to the deep end. She didn't cry at all (well, apart from when my brother splashed and got her in the face). In this video of her I love how she sticks her head up and chest out!

Here's a still of the pose followed by the video:

Lil Diva Swimmer!

I had heard that Shake Shack had recently opened in DC so we made a family visit there! It was around 2:30p.m. and luckily not very crowded (the original Madison Square Park location in NYC is always swamped, but I guess DC hasn't caught on yet!). Anyway, they had mentioned on Facebook that they had a limited edition Memorial Day corn dog so you know I had to try it. It was so good and served with a delish pickled corn relish! Uka and I shared a peanut butter pretzel custard too.

Mr. Love Bird happily in line at Shack Shack
After church on Sunday (8a.m. service!!! O_o) we picked up crab at the wharf. It smelled SO bad, but I enjoyed a cup of chowder anyway, and Nia enjoyed looking at the sights.

Nia enjoys the company of her silly Uncle Michael and Aunt Lauren!
We also visited Mr. Love Bird's brother and new sister-in-law! It was a fun, impromptu get together and we were able to play tennis, which was much needed after all the food we ate.

Now I pause . . .

Sadly, this is where Nia's dancing video would have been; it was so momentous because it was the first time she actually picked up each foot while dancing vs. just bobbing her whole body up and down. Here's at least a pic I captured of the occasion:

Finally we visited our niece and nephew as well as their mom and step-dad who are expecting later this summer! Seeing how tall our niece is at almost 13 years old makes me nervous for the day Nia will tower over me (according to the height predictor, she'll be 5'10 1/2!").

We had a wonderful time with my parents and Nia as usual loved Tanner, the family dog. Unfortunately, we didn't get any pictures of them together this time, but even now when I ask, "Where's Tanner?" Nia looks around. One night while we were sleeping Tanner came rushing in the bedroom and put his face up to the bed as though he suddenly remembered, "There's a baby in the house! I need to make sure she's ok!" I shooed him away and laughed.

Nia and I will be heading back down there tomorrow through Sunday to visit my parents and brother Michael who's now home for the summer from Lipscomb University (he showed up and surprised us Sunday morning driving 14 hours - he said he slept on the way. YIKES!).