Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Da Plane, Da Plane

As we've mentioned before, Caleb is obsessed with airplanes. He loves to watch them land, take-off, taxi, sit, fly and whatever else they do. He loves toy airplanes and books about airplanes and especially to watch video clips of airplanes on YouTube. I appreciate all the people who stand at airports and take video of the airplanes as they fly in and out and then post these gems on YouTube because I would never have the patience for such an occupation.

While in DC we took a trip, our first, to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center a companion facility to the National Air and Space Museum. The Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Virginia near the Dulles airport and as we drove, and drove, and drove to get there I couldn't imagine why it was so very far away from the other museums located on the National Mall. Then we arrived and I discovered why this facility is where it is -- the building is ENORMOUS. It houses as astonishing collection of aircraft including a Concorde, a prototype of the 707, the Enola Gay and the space shuttle Enterprise -- I'd never seeen a space shuttle up close and it was MASSIVE. Additionally, there is an IMAX theatre, space simulator rides and a 7 storey observation tower where visitors can watch planes flying in and out of Dulles airport. The center in built inside a hangar and planes are displayed on three levels with catwalks around the entire facility so visitors can view the aircraft from different perspectives. I have no good shots of Caleb because he wouldn't or couldn't stand still long enough to have his picture taken. He was absolutely thrilled with everything. Admission is free and there is a free shuttle that takes you to the museum directly from the National Mall. If you haven't been and live in the area or are planning a trip to DC in the future, this museum is not to be missed.
The museum exterior

Proof that Isaac was with us, though clearly not as enthused
about our outing as Caleb

Caleb and the space shuttle

A better view of the space shuttle

The museum interior from above

Caleb in front of the landing gear of an Airbus A380
(I can only imagine how big the plane is that goes with these wheels)

The Enola Gay - obviously

A view from the observation tower -- it has 360 degrees
of windows for optimal viewing

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Love is in the Air

Caracas is full to overflowing with shopping centers - not strips malls, but miniature shopping malls. There are no stand alone stores, or very few anyway, nearly everything is connected to one of these shopping center. These "smalls" are usually several floors tall and almost always include a parking garage and a grocery store. Most people refer to them by their location followed by the name of the resident grocery store. Additionally, there are several more traditional malls where the people crowd en masse each weekend. The largest of these, and in fact the largest shopping mall in South America, is the Centro Comercial Sambil. It is enormous, true, but not when compared with your average North American mall. The major difference is there aren't any anchor/department stores in this country so it is just row upon row of stores - 5 stories tall with a movie theatre, a food court and an indoor amusement park (Mall of America it is not) as well.

Since everything in this country is imported and therefore RIDICULOUSLY expensive, we went to the mall expressly to eat and have a look around - not to shop. And, we were not alone. The hallways were bursting with people, the escalators were packed and there were lines for the elevators, but the stores were empty. We walked past Nine West and Hilfiger and Zara and not a customer in sight. How these businesses stay afloat is anybody's guess.

My favorite part of our visit to Sambil was the tango show, or what we thought was a tango show, that greeted us as we exited the elevator from the parking lot. Turns out, it was an elaborate advertisement for a new air freshener fragrance by Glade called "With Love." On either side of the dance floor was a raised, circular platform and periodically the dancers would tango (is that a verb?) over to the platforms, scoop up the can of Glade strategically placed there and in very obviously choreographed movements spray the new fragrance into the air as they continued their dancing. It was brilliant. And it smelled pretty good too.
A view from the top

Caleb waiting in line for a ride at the indoor amusement park

We didn't go in, but probably will at some point

The back drop says "love is in the air," clever, no?

Sidling up to the can of Glade

If you look closely you can see the can in his right hand

Ah, the Tango

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Picture Me

I saw this on Sina's blog and thought it would be a great way to spend an hour or so (more like or so because I am sometimes multi-media challenged). And, since Sina was so kind as to share the instructions for how to create this gem, I thought I would follow suit. Now you too can make a photo mosaic all about YOU!

How to:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.
d. Copy the mosaic image (right click, save image as -- or just drag image to desktop) to your computer.
e. Upload image to blog and voila!

Here are the questions:
1. What is your first name? Linsey
2. What is your favorite food? Pizza
3. What high school did you go to? Kahuku High School
4. What is your favorite color? Red
5. Who is your celebrity crush? George Clooney
6. Favorite drink? Root Beer Floats
7. Dream vacation? Agra, India, to see the Taj Mahal
8. Favorite dessert? Pie - all varieties
9. What you want to be when you grow up? Travel Writer
10. What do you love most in life? Kenny
11. One word to describe you? Outspoken
12. Where do you live? Caracas

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Just 7 More and We Can Field a Team

In 2005, Washington, DC, became the new home of the Washington Nationals (formerly the Montreal Expos) National League baseball team. Part of the deal to secure the franchise being "sent" to DC was the building of a new stadium for the team to call home. Nationals Park became a reality in March of this year with a final cost of $611 million dollars (the residents of DC will be paying for the privilege of having a baseball team for years). Kenny is an avid baseball fan and since learning that we were expecting a boy - way back before Caleb was born - has been talking about taking his little boy, and now boys, to a baseball game. Last month, he finally got his wish when we went with our good friends, their daughter, and our sons to the brand-spanking-new Nationals Park. We had a great time! The stadium is beautiful and it seemed there wasn't a bad seat in the house. The kids definitely enjoyed themselves, and Kenny was in heaven.
Nationals Park (um yeah, not exactly sold out).

I can't remember, but I think the Nats might have even won that night.

Matt, Cassidy and baby Nancy

A very happy Daddy with Caleb...

and Issac.
(I know it's blurry, but I couldn't resist, Isaac's expression is pure joy.)

Play Ball!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fancy Nancy

Our talented and wonderful friend Nancy took some family pictures for us back in June. Since we were not blogging then, we are happily posting them now. Nancy is a terrific photographer and despite the DC heat (it was broiling) and two less than cooperative children, she was patient and kind and got some great shots. If you are in her neighborhood, look her up, she'll do an equally bang up job for you and yours. Here is just a sampling from our rendezvous with Nancy:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Caleb's First, First Day of School

We enrolled Caleb in preschool and today was his, and our, first day. We are very pleased with the school's curriculum and the location couldn't be better - right across the street from our apartment. The school requires first time students to be accompanied by their parents all day for the first 4 days. So, Kenny and I walked Caleb to school and then Kenny left me there to observe - or try to anyway. I did my best, but sometimes it was hard not to intervene when Caleb decided not to share or threw a tantrum when he didn't get his way. For the most part, he was very good and had a great time. I think he will enjoy preschool and we are happy that he has other children to play with and that he will spend 4 hours a day immersed in Spanish.
with his uniform on and lunch box in hand he is ready to go

singing time

snack time

outside play

story time

inside play

family photo to commemorate the day

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

More From the Road

What follows are pictures from our aforementioned road trip to Arizona.
Issac met two of his great aunts for the first time - neither of whom was willing to look at the camera. First Auntie Jeanette

and then Auntie Jane E.

Here is Isaac examining the contents of a cup and sticking out his tongue to indicate he wants what he sees.

Drinking from a cup for the first time, he was an instant pro!

Hanging out on the floor of the restaurant while Mommy and Grandest finished their meals.

Proof that the floor was probably not the best place for him - I don't think the picture does justice to the absolute blackness of his toes, GROSS!!
This throws the 5 second rule right out the window.

Thrilled to be out of the car - even if that meant a blanket on the grass of a cemetery. Only 2 hours of driving left after this last stop, but I was forced to sing him every song I know before we were finally home.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Visit to Gebby

My paternal grandmother lives in Chandler, AZ, and I wanted her to meet Isaac (she has already met Caleb). My Dad, Issac and I took a road trip from Provo, UT, to visit her. It was a long trip, especially for Isaac strapped into his car seat with limited diversions. But, he performed remarkably well and I was glad we made the trip. Gebby, as she is called by the grandchildren (an older cousin invented it trying to say grandma) has had a long and in many respects fascinating life. Some interesting facts about my grandmother:

* she is 91 years old
* her first name is Valentine (but she was born Val and later changed it and gave herself a middle name)
* she loves John Wayne and has seen every movie he ever made
* she has lived in over 50 different homes (her first husband was in the military and they changed residences often)

* she only ever wears purple - really - everything is purple, clothes, stockings, shoes, accessories, EVERYTHING
* she plays the piano
* she does not make long distance phone calls, never has
* her memory is like a steel trap, until only very recently she was able to remember astonishing details from her childhood
* she is an avid genealogist
* she used to write down all of her bequests on a yellow legal pad and regularly remind her various descendants of what they would be receiving upon her death - she has since parceled everything out
* she knows a MILLION finger plays and taught them all to us when we were kids and now teaches them to our children
* she is a great, great grandmother several times over
* for years she collected ceramic rabbits - she must have had more than a thousand when she finally stopped

Me, my Dad, Isaac and Gebby - our 4 generation shot
(notice all the purple?)

* she is 5'10" and has a son who is 6'7"

* her knowledge of LDS church history is astounding as she has read nearly everything ever printed

* her favorite movie is "San Francisco" about the 1906 earthquake - the movie stars Clark Gable and Jeanette MacDonald and was made in 1936 (she watches movies all the the time, so I guess nothing made since then has eclipsed it in her estimation)

* she has been married and divorced 4 times (twice from the same man)

* she once worked as a reporter for the local newspaper and also at a fabric factory called Spotlight - their signature fabric was polka dot prints in various colors - for years my Mom had remnants of this fabric in her sewing room and may still

* she is the oldest of 5 and her younger siblings called her 'Bag Sassa'

* she is my only living grandparent

Still Here

Today I went to a "Welcome to Venezuela" brunch at the Ambassador's residence. It is a beautiful hacienda style home recently purchased and refurbished by the US Government. It has extensive, lush grounds and an enormous pool reminiscent of stateside resorts. I have not yet met the current US Ambassador to Venezuela, Ambassador Patrick Duddy,

and it is likely that I will not as President Hugo Chavez had him expelled from the country yesterday - he was given 72 hours to get out. Our favorite would be dictator said that he was sending Ambassador Duddy home as a sign of solidarity with Bolivian President Evo Morales, who, the day before, expelled the US Ambassdor to Bolivia and threatened to shut down our embassy there. Chavez also called his ambassador to the US back home to Venezuela saying he would not send another ambassador to America until there was a new administration in the White House. In the past, Chavez has occasionally threatened to close the embassy in Venezuela but at this point no one is predicting that eventuality so we are still open for business and our family is still in Caracas for the forseeable future.

At present, things in Bolivia are very bad with the country seemingly on the verge of civil war. Luckily and thankfully that is not the situation in Venezuela. We have heard from many of our friends and readers and just want to assure you all that we are still here and safe.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lane is 30!

Today my sister Lane turns 30. In honor of her and this momentous birthday, here are 30 things about Lane that you probably don't know.

1) Her first name is Courtney - but, my parents decided to give us all names that started with "L" (Lil, Loren, Linsey, Lane, Lyon, Lance, Lyman) and Lane Courtney just didn't sound as nice as Courtney Lane.
2) Lane loves to play board games, especially Scrabble.
3) She just bought her first house!
4) She is an avid reader and has probably read just about anything you can think of.
5) She is a licensed massage therapist.
6) Lane has been to Alaska, twice - this is a big deal in our family because she is the only one and our Dad has been to all other 49 states.
7) Her cars never seem to have a functioning air conditioner.
8) She eats hot dogs cold right out of the package - "what, they're pre-cooked!"
9) When she was a baby, she used to soundlessly open and shut her mouth, because she couldn't hear and thought that's what everyone else was doing. (She later had tubes put in her ears and her hearing is just fine).
10) She writes poetry and short stories.

11) People often assume Lane is short for Elaine, but she always corrects them and says, "No, it's Lane, like a road."
12) Lane is extremely thoughtful. For Christmas one year she contacted everyone's alma mater (high school or college) - including the in-laws - and bought them a sweatshirt. Note: if you need a great gift idea, this is it, everybody was thrilled.
13) Caleb calls her Uncle Lane - he thought of that all on his own.
14) One of her friends named her daughter after Lane.
15) She took private voice lessons in Junior High and nearly fell off the stage during her recital.
16) Lane loves children and is endlessly patient with them.
17) In the past she has worked for companies that made kitchens, produced fireworks, wrapped buses and did event planning.
18) She attended both BYU Hawaii and BYU Provo before graduating from the University of Utah.
19) Lane is a great singer and remembers the lyrics to everything.
20) For years Lane collected Barbies - she still has most of them - including several years worth of Holiday Barbies.

21) She is fearless and will try anything.
22) Astrology is one of her hobbies and she is very good at assessing people's true nature.
23) She never goes anywhere (even overnight) without her hair dryer and regimen of hair care products.
24) She has had the same best friend for over 20 years.
25) When we were kids we used to act out scenes from various musicals. One of our better performances was "Sisters" from "White Christmas."
26) When she was 4 she told her first joke -
Lane: Knock, Knock
Us: Who's There
Lane: Pink
Us: Pink Who
Lane: Pink Horse
She started laughing hysterically and we all laughed right along with her.
27) At 30 she can still do a mean cartwheel.
28) Lane has been to 5 continents.
29) Her birthday is fraught with disaster. We once had a major hurricane hit on her birthday and the roads were so flooded people were moving around in kayaks. And, of course, 9/11 happened on Lane's big day.
30) Lane is very funny and very good-natured and she has an infectious laugh.

Happy Birthday Lane!

(She does not have a blog or I would send you there to wish her Happy Birthday yourself. Sorry there aren't more pictures, but they are all in transit.)

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