Sunday, January 22, 2017

I am Mighty Eagle.

Today was pretty cool.  We went to church in a fantastic downpour and then came home just like normal.  And also just like is becoming normal we had so many missionaries over at our house for dinner and a lesson that our boys were starting to complain we did love them as much we do the missionaries.  Complainers.  There is absolutely very little truth to that statement.

Brigham played the prelude music in Primary today.  The right hand of "Love One Another".  We slipped out of sacrament early to let him practice and he was doing quite well.  But then all of the kids started coming in.  It was kind of like the movie "Up" where the dog kept getting interrupted and yelling "Squirrel" randomly and advertently every few seconds.  I got him to slow down and focus and he did really well.  I never had the guts to try something like that at his age.  I was very proud.

When we came home we practiced piano a bit more.  Both BGB and CMB can play a single note right hand song just sight reading it.  That's like learning the sounds that the letters make, once you know that you can sound out words.  Enough sounding out words and eventually you just know them and if you know enough words you can read.  And once you can read you can understand and interpret everything from a stop sign to a Greek sonnet.  I hope that they will spend great effort in playing an instrument.  It is one of my life's regrets that I lack that ability until now. 

After piano we played a tremendous amount of Skip-Bo Jr. on the kitchen table.  Game after game after game.  Chandler came over and he got in on the action for a while too.  Mackay is a card shark.  The kid just sees numbers and faces and connects them in a way that I will never be able to.  He has something special.  Don't ever play him in memory, you will lose.  And David is remarkably good at that game and all of the complexity of its rules.  He focuses hard and tracks something until he can do it just like his brothers, who are 3 and 5 years older than he is.  I sometimes forget he is such a little man because he is such a big man. 

Our friend Chandler has been coming over for a month or so for the new member lessons with the sisters.  He is becoming a fan favorite.  The boys have absolutely accepted him as one of our own.  They started by calling him the King of the Couch Potatoes because every time he comes over it is for a lesson where he sits on the couch for an hour or so.  They mocked him relentlessly; they slugged him in the side and choked him from behind; they crushed his ego at every chance and they teamed up against him like a pack of ravenous velociraptors in Jurassic Park.  I think it means that they really like him.  It's the only way they know how to show love.

We made another music video.  It was a take on JamesTheMormon's "Tellin You Y" song he made for the last football season.  We had a world premiere for it last Monday where we FaceTime'd with the Bagley's while they watched it and then shared it to all of the Rad Rasmussen's via Facebook.  We already have 44 views (though most of those are admittedly me.)  Friday morning something cool happened.  Michelle woke up, started flipping through her phone and noticed a friend request on Instragram--from JamesTheMormon!  The boys were pretty excited.  They thought it was the coolest thing that he had seen their video and obviously liked it.

At one point one of the sisters was watching the circus play out in front of us all and she said something I really liked.  "I love to come over here, this is just wonderful."  It really is.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal.

Merry belated Christmas!  I've started to figure out this federal employee gig finally.  There was Halloween, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, a wingmen day, time off at the beginning of December to spend time with Grandma Susie here on vacation and then Christmas break which rolls solidly into New Years.  Then I scheduled my knee surgery for the 3rd of January and that comes with two weeks of convalescent leave.  I'm going to have to go to work some day and it's going to be awkward when I invariably introduce myself to people I've 'known' for 3 years. (again.)

Grandma Susie bought the greatest present, a puppy.  Aaron and G's dog, Belka, had a litter recently and they saved us the very best one of the bunch.  We love this dog very much.  He is a beautiful Cocker Spaniel/Poodle mix named Chocolate Thunder.  We've had to shorten it to Chaco to make him more responsive in training sessions. Yes, he is a Cocka-poo named Chocolate Thunder and no, he is not a professional male stripper. 

Michelle and I have been debating whether or not to get a dog for a very long time now.  The algebra changed when Brigham went up to his mother and in exasperation declared, "Mom, having a puppy is a rite of passage for a little boy!"  That's tough logic to argue with. 

We had a low-key Christmas this year.  I enjoyed sitting and watching the boys open their packages in person rather than via Skype.  BGB blasted into our room at 6:38 a.m., completely unable to contain himself another minute.  "Mom! Dad! Get up, it's Christmas!! I've been up since 4:00 and I can't wait any longer!!!!!"  He meant the last part.  We opened our stockings and one present before we had to get ready for church.  The ward put on a fantastic Sacrament meeting program with some wonderful talks and a ton of songs.  We all stood around talking longer than the kids were comfortable with.  We've built some great relationships in this little ward and appreciate having so many good friends.

Then it was back to the presents.  The thing is, our boys cherry picked their presents we opened before church and so there wasn't much surprise left under the tree.  The quote of the day was Brigham's, "Man, I wish I were like 8 or 9 again because then I wouldn't get all these stupid clothes and books."  The boxes of Pok√©mon EX cards at the end were a saving grace. 

Brigham got a U-Wing Star Wars Lego set, Mackay a Ninjago Tower Lego set and David a City Builder HH-60 helicopter and some other Lego set.  The older boys were able to go to the Santa Shoppe at school and bought each other fantastic little trinkets and David gave his brothers their first Yo-yo's.  Their still trying to figure them out.

My big gift from mOmmie was a bike so that I could take my boys on bike rides and today we went out for the first of hopefully many rides.  And boy was this one to remember.  Brigham set the stage and David ran with it.  We were a four-ship of X-wing fighters, zooming through the streets of Hidden Creek.  We would go hyper speed when we went down hill, if you threw on the brakes and rode behind someone you could shoot the tie fighters on their tail and the brick mail boxes look strangely like the defensive turrets that lined the Death Star.  We stopped to refuel and throw stuff in the creek and we drove past David's girlfriend's grandparents house--a surveillance mission if I've ever been on one before.

It was a pretty amazing ride and the imaginations never slowed until we had landed and carefully parked our X-wings back in the garage/hangar. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

"I'd kiss you, if I didn't have puke breath."

Florida is the new infection section.  It started with David last week, then it moved on through Brigham and Mackay.  Michelle picked it up this last weekend and today was my turn.  Fever, aches, liquid coming out both ends...terrible terrible things.  I personally don't handle being sick very well.  I fall and I fall hard.  I complain and grump, I get weak and I look for a kind nurse to care for my poor baby self. 

David is sort of like that but mostly with cuddles.  He has spent a grossly inordinate amount of time these last 7 days snuggling with me, cuddled in my arms, watching TV or playing a video game or sometimes just talking.  It's been an awful week and yet because of this it's been one of the best too.  Even today when he could tell that I was not feeling well he found me on the couch, crawled into the bend in knees and nestled in.  I wish I could capture the feeling in his face, the timber of his laugh or the sincerity of his embrace.  Somethings you just don't forget.

He is a special child and will be a great man.

Tonight we all went to a choir concert.  Brigham and his 4th grade school chorus put on a veterans day show that was fairly wonderful.  I suppose that this is the perfect age for teaching them about some of these basic concepts and music is a powerful instrument to do so.  The look on his face as he sang and the appreciation he craved when we met up with him afterward was palpable. 

I couldn't help but look around the cafeteria full of family members, veterans and children on the stage, the myriad red white and blue shirts, hear the words they so heartfully pronounced and then mutter some awful things about Colin Kaepernik following the National Anthem.  I'd apologize but I'm not sorry.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Sandestin Resort

I just got back from being away for a week long TDY.  It was a nice break for Michelle from me, though she probably won't admit it.  When I came back I went directly from the airport to the Sandestin resort.  The Air Force has been dealing with a lot of stress after fighting two simultaneous non-stop wars for 15 years and as such they are starting to realize that broken families cause people to get out. AFSOC gave their chaplain corps a literal truck load of money and said, "take care of those folks."

So they rented out a big section of the Bayside at Sandestin as well as the conference rooms and then provided meals, rooms, day care and a bunch of resort activities.  It was a pretty cool experience, one that we many not ever get to do again.  The marriage/family communication counseling was solid and the time together for Friday, Saturday and Sunday was really great.

We rode bikes together, walked around the wharf area and found a thousand butterflies, blue crabs, chrysalis', lizards and unidentified bugs.  We monkey walked until we almost all fell down, teased a macaw that was strictly off limits, threw a football on the golf course, made a bunch of new friends, and swam in a rather chilly outdoor pool.  We had a really nice time.

During a break we went up to the 8th floor to grab the football and I decided to take a moment to hang out with my blondies.  I laid down on the bed and pulled each of them on, one by one.  I told them that I just wanted to cuddle with my boys.  What we really did was make fart noises by blowing on our arms.  ...  for 52 minutes! Like, I'm not kidding.  I wanted a moment and I got one.  Farting. Fart jokes. Fart noises. Answers to questions in astute fart inflections.  It was nuts.

During our bike ride Brigham was doing a pretty solid job of keeping up with me when just sort of out of the blue the kid says, "Dad, when we go on these outings together as a family it makes us grow closer together.  Thank you."  That is the point I suppose.  He wins kid of the day.

When we got home we watched "The Testaments" for the first time since we had just finished reading Helaman and 3rd Nephi as a family.  Mackay told his mother, "I'm not going to cry even in an emotional movie."  Then he cried anyway. "But these aren't sad tears Mom, I'm crying because I'm happy."  He is a sweet young man.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Sack-o-potatoes

Busch Gardens, another bucket list item accomplished.  It wasn't as much fun without KK et al. but we still enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.  This weekend was my 20th high school reunion and after several weeks of attempting to get ahold of the three friends that I really was hoping to see, I finally gave up on the idea when they informed me they weren't going to be able to make it.  Ten hours in a car to see people that hardly recognize me and watch a 2A football game just didn't really seem appealing.  So instead we grabbed the boys and took SeaWorld up on their offer of an annual free pass to their parks for military.  It really was cool and we are very grateful to that company for carrying on that gracious offer for so many years.  Btw, amusement parks in early October = great idea.

David is getting big.  He is the sweetest boy you could imagine, and he thinks he is every bit as big as his older brothers (ironic because Mackay tries to act every bit as young as his little brother).  But David is at a point that I vividly remember with all of my children; I can't pick him up and carry him without effort any more.  In Utah I remember pulling Beeg out of the car one night way too late, and he was so heavy I almost considered waking him and having him walk up to bed.  I can see every detail in my minds eye.  Mackay was in Idaho when I came out to visit him while transitioning down here to Florida, I lifted him up a couple five stairs and realized I wouldn't be able to do that much longer.

It happened this weekend with David.  I don't know why this is important to me but it is.  I think it's because they stop being my physical 'babies' and their heft is how I know they have grown to become even more.  On top of that, David is my last (barring unforeseen circumstances) and that realization stings a bit sharper than the first two.  I thoroughly enjoy being a dad and am trying my best to figure out how to be a better one.  It's a pleasure with that child, I really mean that.

On another note: Mackay was stressing pretty heavily about how hard we were pushing him to put his stuff away, brush his teeth, take a bath, put on his clothes, read his scriptures and generally just get ready for bed.  So in the litany of redirection he was constantly receiving he tossed the best hand-grenade he had over his shoulder on the way out of the room. "I might as well go to the Air Force Academy!  They'd treat me just like this any how and I'd get a good meal three times a day."  Let me just tell you son ... you're right.  Good luck.  I'll write you often.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Cole Slaw Sucks

I hate cole slaw.  When I was a 3 year old child my very first memory of life was going to the next door neighbor's house and Ms. Deanna baby sitting me while my mom worked at the hospital.  I can still picture her front room and the kitchen/breakfast area quite vividly.  I used to sneak under the high chair by the sliding glass door and eat the dog food from the bowl kept under there.  Don't tell anyone.  

I remember all of this so well because that is where the I had cole slaw for the first time.  Deanna made me some for lunch and tried the shredded carrots and cabbage very tentatively.  I didn't like it.  Then she insisted, so I choked down a full spoonful.  She was so pushy that to this day I don't feel bad about puking all down her hallway as I ran to the bathroom.  I've never been able to keep the stuff down since then and really I don't care to try anymore.

Fast forward.

We do this thing in our family.  Every night we fight over getting teeth brushed, PJ's on, scriptures read and a family prayers said.  And some time's I really do mean fight.  

So after the prayer, we get up from our knees and do a big family hug.  It's a mess of blonde hair and arms trying to squeeze harder than dad can.  It's always pretty funny, particularly because David always ends up squished in the middle.  He can't read scriptures yet so he tends to float during the reading and stay floating during the prayer.  Usually he ends up in the middle of the circle because that where he can get the most attention.  

I don't know where it started but a while back we started deciding what kind of ingredients to the sandwich we were.  Like, it's a mommy-dAddie sandwich with a slice of provolone cheese, a dill pickle and mustard if they were wearing a white, green and yellow shirt that evening.  They would come up with what ever ingredient they wanted to based on their clothing color.  

So the other day it was particularly difficult to accomplish the bedtime routine and I got a bit "snippy".  I didn't make any friends and pretty much everyone was fed up with my hollering at them. But they also knew not to talk back to me any more.  So any shots had to be subversive.  

As we held close in our tight little family hug, each boy began imagining what they were.  Brigham said he was ketchup.  Mackay said he was cole slaw (despite wearing a purple shirt) and David was a pickle.  

I don't know if you caught that.  Mackay was cole slaw.  The one food that he knows makes dAddie so sick he throws up and won't even touch.  That little shit.  and I say that in the most loving Grandma B way.  He got me.  He got me good and all I could do was smile when he couldn't see my face and squeeze the whole mess of family even harder than my normal Anaconda Squeeze.  Because I really may not be able to wrap my arms around this whole group much longer.  

On a side note.  Grandma Ruth fell last week.  She broke her hip and had a replacement surgery done to try and fix it; though it doesn't look good.  I knew my Great Grandma Hicken very briefly and was as old as Brigham is now when I got the phone call that said she had passed away.  The tears I cried that afternoon in our trailer home in Provo still stick with me.  I hope Grandma Ruth kicks this but I fear for the worst.  It is sweet to hear my boys pray for her without my prodding.  They are good and she is great.







Sunday, July 24, 2016

Biggerbabyboysbradbury's

Today I sat in church and noticed that my boys were different.  Brigham's hands are changing.  They are long.  The bones have stretched.  They aren't chubby little boys hands anymore.  They are the extension of long strong arms that are becoming manipulators.  It was weird to look at that and see it for the first time. 

He argues with us a lot.  Sometimes just to argue.  Several years ago we took him in to have him tested and the child neuropsychologist came back saying two things.  "Your kid is dang smart and he has oppositional defiant disorder.  But not bad, just a touch."  The older he gets the more we can see that.  Until it is 'his' idea you can forget about making it happen.  As parents we are learning how to handle that and how to teach him within these constraints.  Really it's not too bad.  If you were just hanging out with him you might think he was a bit wild but nothing excessive.

Today after church we laid down on the couch to watch a movie Bro Burton gave us and to nap for a while.  I ended up with BGB laying on my right arm until it was well asleep; DTB was under feet slithered around both legs like a snake in a cane forest and CMB was on top.  When I say he was on top I mean he was just >plop< on top.  Kid inch-wormed his way from snuggling to laying his head on my belly to positioning himself prostrate perpendicular to my chest but completely on top.  It was all quite a sight, blondies everywhere and wonderful every one. 

The thing I didn't mention is that Mackay squished me to the point that I called 'uncle'.  He weighs more than either of his bean pole brothers and sometimes it's really funny to watch his butt as he runs down the hall.  He might be changing from a tight end to maybe a right guard.

David is kind of unlike any 4 year-old we've had to this point.  BG was the first and could stay in childhood innocence for an extended period of time.  CM was his partner in crime and all but mirrored his experience.  DT on the other hand grew up 4 years older than his is.  He wrestles and rumbles just like the big ones.  Talks back like them too.  Every once in a while though his age betrays him.  He will sing a child song or play with 'baby' toys or snuggle up to his mother and her heart will melt again.  At night he won't go to bed unless mother lays down with him.  He will allow me in the room if I sing him "Have I Done Any Good" in my native tongue.  He calls it The Portuguese Song.  I am summarily dismissed after he is satisfied.

These kids are good.  BG and CM both scored 5/5 on their end of year standardized tests.  Some of the very highest in their school and the cool thing is that they were the top 3 schools in the state, Florida is a big-ass state.  (the other two where specialty schools at Florida State Univ and some private school).  I love them and even if they were dumb as bricks I'd brag up and down a tree.

Daaaaaaaaviiiid <--- DTB typed this.

dd
david  mom haircut
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbd
ddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd
haircutouklhylhylhylhylhylhylhylhylhylhylhylhylhylhylhylhylhyl=0hylhylhylhylhylhylhylhylhylh
I love my mullet (I just tricked him into typing this too)


Sunday, April 10, 2016

My Baptizm Story by Mackay Bradbury

Below is a transcript (spelling uncorrected) of Mackay's journal entry he made today chronicling his recent baptism as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

"This is my story about me getting baptized.  I was so nervus about getting baptized.  I had the most highly contguis nervous bugs.  I felt more exicted than I felt being super nervous.  I got there and there was very few people there.  By the time we had to start there were about forty five people there.  Most of the popultaion was by the children.  Less adults came then children came to my baptizm.  I was really hoping that the children would be baptized someday.  Some kids were already baptized.  I hope that everyone in my family will be baptized someday.  I am so sure that my baby brother will be baptized like me.  The refreshments were yummy.  I had at least seven mini chocalate doughnuts.  I have had a fun time remebering my baptizum I hope that whoever reads this will aslo be baptized just like me."

It was very cute.  I'm glad he wrote it down.  Two things to note: first that he really cares for and is genuinely always concerned about his little brother's well being.  And second that he likes the doughnuts.  I just wanted to put it in here in case we ever lost that little journal that the Primary gave him.

A couple of days prior we took pictures of him out on the Soundside beach.  There were a ton of shots to try and get 3-4 where I didn't screw it up and he was smiling at the same time.  Even getting that was a friggin Christmas miracle.  His Grandma Susie came for the nearly two weeks before the baptism and his Meema and Buhpa stayed for nearly two weeks afterward.  It has been absolutely wonderful having them here and letting boys experience them.

I was surprised at how many folks did show up to the ceremony.  It was on a Friday night due to the schedules of everyone involved and soccer and taekwondo.  I don't have an exhaustive list-I just thought it notable how many showed up to support this young man whom the ward has grown to love.

I was privileged to both baptize my boy and then confirm him a member.  Michelle and Gene both spoke and the grandmothers bookended the meeting with a prayer apiece.

I love you Mackay.  Thank you for following our Savior's example.  I could not be more proud of you for it.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Cameo--Word Up:

On a much lighter note--the other day 4 year-old David disappears in my bathroom to presumably take care of some business with a man about a horse.  A couple of minutes later I see the boy with his pants down around his ankles in a downward facing dog position and I hear the little man holler out "Dad!! My bum is in the air like I just don't care!!  Could you please wipe my bum for me?"

It was an offer I just couldn't refuse.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Down with Upward

Today was our boys last basketball game at Upward basketball.  It's a program sponsored by the local baptist church.  They do a great job of making it fun by having a light and fog show for the kids to run through before each game.  Cheerleaders form a tunnel and parents make almost as much noise as the booming loudspeaker voice.  They take time to sit down and talk teamwork values with the kids and the refs are more interested in teaching 8 and 9 year-olds the game itself than making sure every call is precisely right.  In short it is a great venue for this age group and a great idea.

But the real purpose is evangelical missionary work.  Their extensive marketing creates a captive audience and at least a portion of this audience does not attend their church, so before each game some one gets up and offers a fairly extensive witness of how they came to Christ.  Because of work lately I've only had the opportunity to come to two games; the first game I enjoyed that part of the spectacle.  Today the guy giving it made me just want to spit.

Earlier this week during practice Michelle noted that during one of their team 'sit-down and preach' sessions Brigham was pulled out into the hall by one of the senior preachers/program directors.  By himself.  Without his mother or even her permission.  She saw it happen because she watches like a hawk.  She told me that she felt very uncomfortable and like she ought to get up and go see what was going on out there.  They weren't doing this with the other kids.  Just mine.  Following the conversation the preacher escorted Brigham back to the gymnasium and gave a sly but very obvious thumbs up to Brigham's coach. This had not been an incidental conversation, it was a targeted hit job.

We don't hide the fact that we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Some call us Mormon's after a prophet and author of a book we believe is scripture.  Our boys wear a lot of BYU gear and for heaven's sake #1 is named Brigham.  We are not in your face about it but it certainly not something we are ashamed about.  Evangelicals have a significant problem with us though for the life of me I can't figure out why.  Mitt Romney was vilified by them and yet Donald Trump is nigh unto Christ in their voting block--need I say more?

After practice and on the ride home Michelle spoke carefully with Briggie about the conversation he had been subjected to out in the hallway.  "Beegie-what happened out there?" "We just talked.  It felt kind of weird like I was in trouble or something."  "What did he say to you?"  "He asked me if I believed in Jesus and if I read the bible."  "And what did you tell him?"  "Oh I told him that I love Jesus very much and that I believe that the bible is true!"  

The little shit was being subversively cornered by an adult preacher--without his parents consent--and he had the gumption to bare testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  His only regret was that he didn't remember to bare witness about the Book of Mormon.  He was proud of this encounter.  Possibly his first conscious effort to share the gospel with others.  And I am very proud of him too.

I'm proud of Michelle as well.  I wanted/want to line those two dudes up against a wall and go 4-degree on their asses.  She asked me to slow down, think about it and come to a level response.  Then she forbade me from doing anything.

I'm not sure what sort of venomous seeds they feel they have the right to plant in such a dishonest way but I will tell you that pisses me off more than I can express in words.  I was there.  His mother was there.  During anyone of those games they could have very easily approached and conversed with us in regard to religion.  Invite.  Welcome.  Embrace and love.  Don't go behind my back to a minor in a one on one situation.  Don't subvert our morals and attempt to twist the views of my children without my express and implicit permission.  That is crooked and disingenuous.

We came to the Upward program for the shared christian values that could help our children become men.  But now that I know what they truly value I'm not interested.  They speak of love and they speak of truth but their actions are dishonest and their intentions are stained with dishonor.  I'll have a hard time allowing them to ever step into those churches or participate in Upward basketball ever again.

Though through it all I am very proud of BGB.  I'm glad he's proud of it.  He still doesn't know the evil intentions of that man and he won't for a long time.  Because I'd much rather he felt the goodness of that spirit he felt while baring testimony of Jesus Christ.  Well done Brigham.

And I admit, the fact that the mormon kids were some of the best on the court made me smile in a bit of an unrighteous way too.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Mr. Blondies Goes to Washington

This morning the coolest thing happened.  I slept in and then David climbed into bed with me to sort of get me awake.  We joked and laughed.  I spoke to him in portuguese and he made up a funny language to speak to me in.  We pulled the covers over our head and let the light come through in a funny gingham pattern and we talked about preschool friends and being ticklish.


Then Brigham came in.  He's had troubles sleeping for a while and so sometimes when he sleeps in, Mommie just lets him sleep in.  So there were the three of us.  I mean four of us--Briggie never goes anywhere in the morning without his stuffed animal Tigee (pronounced 'Tie-geeee).  We lay there joking playing giggling and up and out laughing for quite some time.  It was a moment I don't want to forget.  I'll always have those boys and this morning.  

I suppose it would have been nice to have a camera to take a snapshot of that moment but really I think that might have stolen a bit of it's soul.  

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I'm home from my last deployment.  Yea.  We spent two weeks just playing and being together, it was nice.  I started a few 'honey-do' jobs, though I was a pretty miserable failure at actually finishing any of them.  And then last week I had to go on a TDY to Washington D.C.  We figured, what better way to hang out as a family?  

So instead of buying a plane ticket we all climbed in the van (the one that breaks down on highways and needs engines replaced all too frequently) and we drove to D.C.  We were in a fancy Hyatt in Arlington which in many ways is worse than being in a lower level hotel just because there aren't any other families and they didn't have a pool or breakfast bar.  But we got along just fine.  

We got there a day early so that I could go to a museum with them, so of course the first day was the Air and Space.  It was pretty much all we could do to keep those crazies in line, and there were two of us.  I had both of the older boys hand in my pocket for about half the day because they were so out of control.  Poor Michelle got to keep taking them out on excursions all week and she was all by herself.  She is brave and kind of a sucker for saying yes to that idea.  

They explored the American History, Natural History, Spy, and American Indian museums as well as the White House, the Lincoln, Vietnam, and Jefferson memorials; and even tried to go to the mint (some grumpy guard turned them away).  And finally they went all the way up to the steps of the capital building.  

It was a fun town to explore though the traffic sucks and it is tremendously expensive.  We ate at a great little Brazilian steak house in Georgetown for my birthday and got a flat tire just outside of Auburn Alabama on the way home.  I hope that it is an experience the Blondies never forget.  I also hope we can do many more things like that with them in the coming years.  They are pretty amazing and we love being with them, even with all the crazy.