Friday, November 14, 2008

Washington, D. C.

After New York, our next destination was the Washington, D. C., area to visit Uncle Dan and family, and Uncle Don. We stayed with Uncle Dan's family outside of D. C. on the Virginia side. We felt very welcome, and we had a great time with them. It was nice to spend all of Sunday with them, and to have the opportunity to go to their church for morning and evening worship. We had blocked out Monday for sightseeing around the National Mall. We got a fairly early start and headed into the city on the Metro. After picking up tickets for the Washington Monument, we walked around the Capitol. We couldn't go in, because you can only go in on tours, and the tours for the day were already filled up. Walking around the outside was fun anyway.

There's a directory with phone numbers for all kinds of people at the Capitol just standing next to the sidewalk.
From senators... the Capitol plumber.

They were doing work on the windows of the Capitol. Looks like an interesting job.

Here's Christina in front of the House of Representatives side of the building.

The Supreme Court Building

Union Station, where we had lunch. All the nice restaurants are in the pretty part; then there's all the fast food places in the basement part. We ate in the basement.

We visited the Museum of Natural History (no pics of that), and then split up to see two more museums. Mom and Dad went to the Air and Space Museum, and Christina and I went to the National Art Gallery.

The Art Gallery has covered courtyards surrounded by the actual rooms where all the artwork is. This is one of them.

This is the main hall at the center of the building.

After that we walked from the Washington Monument down the side of the reflecting pool to the Lincoln Memorial. On our way we passed the new World War II Memorial.

The Lincoln Memorial

Looking back from Lincoln Memorial towards the Washington Monument.

We ended by going up inside the Washington Monument.

This statue was next to the elevator to go up to the top. While we were waiting for the elevator, we also noticed that the floor was covered in beautiful mosaics.

At the top you can look out in all directions at the D. C. area.

Looking towards the White House.

Down the Mall towards the Capitol.

Towards the Jefferson Memorial.

Christina and I agreed that in order not to look like tourists, one must show no excitement about being on the Mall. So here's me trying to look the part.

We left the Mall and met my Uncle Don not far away for dinner at a nice place called Old Ebbits Grill for dinner. It was a good end to a long day in downtown D. C.
We left D. C. on Tuesday for another good but brief visit, this time with Uncle Dale and family in Pennsylvania. Then Wednesday we drove back to Newark and flew back home.

New York City

Our first stop was New York City, where my Aunt Nancy lives.  Because of weather delays, we didn't land at Nework Airport until about 2 a. m.  We crashed in our hotel room until later that morning.  This was the view from our hotel room window on the eigth floor--a train yard and Jersey City (I think).           
We decided that though we would not go to the island it's on, we wanted to at least see the Statue of Liberty, so on our way to Aunt Nancy's in the Bronx, we stopped at Liberty State Park.  It's on the New Jersey side, but it's right next to the water, so you can see across to Manhattan, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty--her back, that is.  It was cloudy that day, so things look a little dull.     
Below is Ellis Island.  The bridge is some sort of access bridge to the island--but not for tourists!  There were security guards there to make sure no one got on the bridge who wasn't allowed to.   On the far right of the picture is the Statue of Liberty.
The skyscrapers rising up in the background are Manhattan. As you can see from this picture, the park was pretty big.     
After that we met up with Aunt Nancy, who took us on a tour of the New York Botanical Garden.  It was really beautiful, and much more expansive than I had imagined.  It contains acres of gardens and forest that have been preserved for about two hundred years, so it's a kind of oasis in the city.   
I was fascinated by the black squirrels that seemed to be everywhere.  I had no idea black squirrels existed!  They were really pretty.  This one looks kind of scarry, though, with the light reflecting off its eye like that.   
This is one of the beautiful, historical buildings in the graden.
We ended the day by having dinner with Aunt Nancy and family at their apartment.  It was great to see everyone again.     

East Coast Trip

We returned late Wednesday night from a quick trip to the East Coast to visit some of Mom and Dad's siblings. We had a great time, though we were all pretty tired by the time we got home. We flew out to the East Coast last Thursday and made a quick loop through New York, the D.C. area, and Pennsylvania. We were really thankful for the time to catch up with family. Everyone was so kind to host us or take time out of their busy schedules to see us. In addition to visiting family, though, we got to do something a little different this time. We actually went sight-seeing. Imagine that! We weren't able to do that much, but it was fun. I'll be primarily posting on that part of the trip.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Alpaca Photo Shoot

Last week I had the opportunity to do a photo shoot for a friend. She raises alpacas and I agreed to try to get some pictures of them, so we headed out there and spent almost two hours snapping shots of them all. In case you're not familiar with alpacas--and I'm sure you all are!--they're a smaller relative of the llama. They're really cute, kind of funny-looking things. Mostly they didn't pay much attention to the camera, but sometimes they would get curious. If I got too close, though, they would shy away.

First we did the the females and babies (called crias). The crias were really cute. It was fun trying to catch action shots of them running and jumping around the pasture.

I loved getting up-close face shots. Their expressions are so hilarious! These were some of my favorites.

After that we took pictures of the males. We got some wide shots, and as well as some nice up close shots.

It was a lot of fun. Thanks, Mrs. Miller, for the great opportunity. Hopefully the pictures will be useful to you!