Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Disneyland Trip 2012

Today we headed to the "Happiest Place on Earth" - Disneyland! This is our second trip to Disneyland as a family, and we came with the Taggart Family, just like we did in 2008. Wow, 4 years ago! Does time sure go by quickly.

We flew on JetBlue, leaving from SeaTac. Here is shot of Cole and Jack Taggart with Kevin Taggart in the background. Our friend Kevin "The Engergizer Bunny" Taggart, MD was on the phone with Labor and Delivery until the very last second of boarding the plane. Mary Kaye told us that on the way to the gate from security, she took the people mover that moves at twice the normal walking speed while Kevin walked next to her on the carpet. She said that this was the first time she walked beside Kevin while traveling through an airport! Normally he is about 80 yards in the lead.

Here is a shot of Kate and Katie sitting on the plane. The photo directly below the photo is from our trip in 2008. The girls have changed a little, eh?

We flew into Long Beach, CA airport. To say that it is a little smaller than LAX or John Wayne Airport is an understatement. As you can see from the picture below, they don't have jetways leading to the terminal. Therefore, you get to debark the old fashion way! Here is Cole and Jack getting off the plane.

Speaking of the terminal, here is a shot of the terminal (portables). They are under construction of a real terminal, but it won't be done for another year. The baggage claim is actually outside under a cover. I guess that it's not a problem unless the wind really blows!

Once we got our rental cars, we headed to a late dinner at a local favorite of the Taggart's: In-N-Out Burgers. Here is a shot of the boys downing burgers and shakes. We then stopped at a grocery store and gots some snacks and water to take with us into the park.

The Taggarts stayed at The Grand Californian Hotel in the park. We are staying at the Holiday Inn Aneheim Resort near the park. We got a room that fits us all. The kids are in a sort of odd little cubby with bunk beds. They have their own TV, but they prefer to use their iPods, Kindles, and iPads instead. Times they are a changin'...

We are heading to the park early tomorrow morning at 8:30. More pictures to come!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First Day of School 2010

Today was the kid's first day of school. Kate had to be at school at 7am in her cheerleading outfit with the rest of her squad to greet all of the students to the Junior/Senior High. She starts 8th grade this year and it is her first year as a cheerleader. The boys get to school around 8:15am, Cole going to 6th grade and Jack entering 3rd grade. Here are some photos from today.

First a shot of Kate and Cole in 2005 on the back porch.

Jack in 2005 on the front porch.

All the kids (including Tucker) in 2007.

Here is a shot of Kate from this morning in her cheerleading outfit.

The boys this morning, ready to go!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Washington National Cathedral

Today the kids stayed behind at the Horch home and spent the day swimming with Buzz and Joanna. I don't think that we could have drug them through one more museum or memorial! Therefore, Teresa and I took a trip to the Washington National Cathedral by ourselves. We took a more rural highway to D.C. and it was a beautiful drive. Along the way we saw the towns of Gaithersburg, Rockville, Chevy Chase, Bethesda, and then Washington D.C. We saw the Bethesda Naval Hospital, the National Institute of Health, Georgetown University and right before downtown Washington D.C. we drove along the section of road that has all of the Embassies. I didn't even recognize some of the countries that had embassies there. Very neat! The National Cathedral was really gorgeous and not very crowded at all. The weather was in the 80's and no humidity. After the tour, we drove into town for dinner and enjoyed one last look around the capitol city. Tomorrow morning we take off for home so this will probably be the last blog post for a couple of days. Take a look at today's photos.

A shot of the cathedral.

The light coming through the stained glass window made a beautiful light show.

President Woodrow Wilson is buried in this tomb.

A shot of the inside of the cathedral.

A Chapel dedicated to Mary.

One of the chapel under the main sanctuary.

Apparently all cathedrals have a cat that lives and roams at-will around the building and grounds. This is Katherine of Tarragon. She was there somewhere but we didn't see her.
There were thousands of gargoyles on the exterior of the building. Since the Cathedral wasn't official completed until 1990, they added some suggestions of gargoyle designs from school children. Someone suggested a representative of FUTURE evil. Can you spot the famous evil character in the middle of the picture? Check out a close-up on the next photo.
Darth Vader! Dum dum dum-dum.....
Another exterior shot.

Another view.

A parting shot of the front of the Cathedral.

Downtown we went by the Department of Agriculture. They turned the lawn in front of the entrance into a full fledged garden with just about every vegetable you would want. I thought that was pretty cool.

A shot of the original Smithsonian building, known as "The Castle". It had a bunch of beautiful gardens around it and a rose garden that filled the air with fragrance.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Downtown Washington D.C.

Today we headed downtown, to see some more museums and memorials. The weather was just beautiful - high 70's and only a little humid. It was also very busy! The guys headed to the downtown Air and Space Museum. Of course, I was thrilled since I missed this museum on the day Buzz and I saw the Spy Museum. We even got a chance to talk with a Tuskegee Airmen while we were there. We met up with the girls for lunch and then we all headed to the WWII monument. The girls had visited the Smithsonian "Castle" which the Horches had never been to before. We walked up to the Lincoln Memorial and then by the Vietnam Memorial before heading home to dinner. Here are some photos of the day.

The boys get a chance to look through a telescope at the surface of the sun. They had it set up in their new observatory that they built last year. The astronomer on staff showed them sun spots and explained how they formed on the surface of the sun.

Space Ship One, the first private space plane to reach outer space.

Chuck Yeager's "Glamorous Glennis" which was the first aircraft to break the sound barrier.

The boys get to touch a real moon rock!

Cole poses with Lucille Ball, a frequent flyer of the early airlines.

In front of a Japanese Zero!

Charles Lindbergh's "Spirit of St. Louis" which made the first non-stop air crossing of the Atlantic.

A German V-2 rocket.

At the World War II memorial.

Of course the highlight of the day for the kids was the "Ninja Squirrel" that entertained them for several minutes.

Jack poses at the Lincoln Memorial.
From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial looking out towards the reflecting pool

Taking a break.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Air and Space Museum - Dulles Airport, Virginia

Today the boys went to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. There are two Air and Space Museums, but this was one next to Dulles International Airport. The girls had to stay home and relax today, which suited them just fine anyway!

The museum was the highlight of my trip so far. I saw all the planes and spacecraft that I had read about and saw in pictures my whole life. It even had a McDonald's inside of it (with free refills of Diet Coke). We even saw a real life astronaut! His name was Tom Jones (not the singer) and he was signing some books and I thought he was sticking around. There weren't that many people at the museum today so I probably would have had plenty of chances to talk with him but he had left by the time we got back his way. Oh well! Check out some photos from the trip (only a small sample as I took over 300 today)!

Here is the outside of the museum. You can see the "control tower" section in the middle.

Dad likes the "old-school" planes, but the boys thought the F-15 was pretty cool. They also had the first X-35 prototype which will probably be the plane that they will see flown when they are my age.

Charles Lindbergh's flight suit.

One of my favorite German planes from WWII. One of the only jet planes in the world at the time, and very advanced for its day.

A shot of one wing of the museum. Lots to look at. I could have stayed there for hours more and never got it all in!

Another wing...(pun intended).

Still another wing!

Finally a break for a quarter pounder meal!
A shot of my favorite civilian plane: the Piper Cub.

The actual Enola Gay, which dropped the first nuclear bomb on Japan.

Not the Starship Enterprise, but an Enterprise none the less! This is the first Space Shuttle, which never flew in space but they did fly it off the back of a special 747 and used it to test the glider and flight controls before they built the rest of the fleet.

This was in the "Space" wing of the museum. This is the model of the mother ship used in the filming of "Close Encounters". I had heard that they put some special "additions" to the outside of the hull. I found a few of them and show them on the next few photos.

I found an R2-D2!

Here is a miniature graveyard in the center of the photo. Click on the photo for a closeup.

Can you see the two WWII aircraft ready for take-off?

This is the actual trailer they put the crew of Apollo 11 in after splashdown, just in case they carried "moon fever" or some other biological contaminant after they stepped on the moon.
Here is a shot of a young aviator in the gift shop.

A view of a wing of the museum from the 7th floor observation tower.

The boys try and spot the rental car from the tower. Since it was next to the airport, you got to see jets come streaking by as they landed. They also had a speaker playing the control tower radio so you could hear the pilots of those same jets.

The best part of the day for the boys was playing with the "Mars Mud" silly goop that Cole bought at the gift shop, ALL THE WAY HOME.