Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dora and the Nebulizer

Dora and the Nebulizer, hmm sounds like it could be an episode title..
I think Julia is officially addicted to Dora the Explorer. Let me explain how this happened. She has steadily begun to like Dora for a while. I don't even know where she first learned about Dora, but one day she saw a Dora book at the library and she just had to check out it (meaning, she was really excited and wouldn't put it down.) We have since checked that same book out two other times after she has seen it at the library and glued herself to it.

The big Dora addiction however came a few weeks ago after I took Julia to the doctor. She had been sick, then started to get better, then got worse. When I took her in they said there was probably not much we could do for her, but since she was also wheezing they would try to see if she would respond to a nebulizer treatment right there in the doctor's office. She did, the wheezing got a lot better. So now Julia has to use the nebulizer three times a day until she has not coughed for 24 hours.

At first it was a bit of a struggle. I would hold her on my lap and she liked to hold the face mask up to her face for a couple minutes, then she would get tired of the face mask and try to take it off and run away. So then for the next 10-20 minutes I would have to hold her in my lap and force the mask on, pause for a couple minutes to take a break, and continue until she finished breathing in the medicine.
Cough's take forever to go away completely. She doesn't cough much during the day anymore, but does cough at night, so we are still plugging away with the nebulizer. Thank goodness we figured out a better strategy. After a couple days I realized Julia did just fine sitting by herself, holding her own face mask, and watching Dora the Explorer. So now when I tell Julia it's time to take her medicine she actually gets excited and says "watch Dora!" because she gets to just sit in the rocking chair and watch Dora for the next ten minutes. She knows all the Dora songs (I think I can hear them in my sleep too), knows the characters, and can do the little happy "we did it! we did it!" dance they always do at the end.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cherry Blossoms

We went to see the cherry blossoms today on the Tidal Basin and actually saw some blossoms! It was quite beautiful, one of those things everyone should see once. It's also probably the busiest 40 degree week Washington will have all year. The sun was shining, the people were out, but it was cold!It's so hard to get a good picture with a toddler.

This is Julia's "silly face."

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Iwo Jima Memorial

Robert recently got a new phone and has been playing around with the GPS feature and GPS apps in anticipation of the awesome camping and hiking we are going to do this summer. So to test out a GPS app (test how it did measuring our elevation, average speed and location) yesterday evening Robert, Julia, and I drove down to the Tidal Basin to walk around and get an early peek at the Cherry Blossoms. Unfortunately there were just a few trees in bloom, most of the cherry trees looked just about ready to start blooming. So we decided to walk across the bridge instead and check out the Iwo Jima Memorial.

When we got to the hill by the memorial with a great view of the city we saw a whole bunch of people out with their nice camera's and tripods getting ready to take pictures. And more just kept coming and coming.
At first we were a little confused why there were so many people out. Sure it was a great view of the city, but why so many people on this particular night? Then we remember last night was a Perigee Moon and the moon was going to be 14% bigger and 30% brighter than regular full moons. That made us almost want to stick around another forty-five minutes to see it. Almost.

Picture this view with a giant full moon rising behind it. I'm sure it was very cool, but we hadn't eaten dinner yet and we were entertaining a two year-old.
Instead we saw what we had come to see. The Iwo Jima Memorial honors U.S. Marine troops killed defending the country since 1775.
The obligatory Julia picture.
We finally did get a glimpse of the moon after we got back to our car and were driving away. Here's the picture we snapped of the moon. This one is a lot cooler.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Last weekend we drove up to Antietam, the site of a Civil War battle that was the deadliest one day battle in American history. What started as a Confederate push into Maryland by General Lee in 1862 culminated into a 12 hour battle on September 17, 1862 where 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, or went missing.

This is a picture taken on the battlefield in the days after the battle by Alexander Gardner. It was the first time during the war that dead bodies were photographed and the people in the North who saw the pictures in the newspapers said they felt like the dead had been placed at their front doors.

The building in this picture is the Dunker Church. It was destroyed by wind in the early 1900's, but has since been rebuilt. It's not an active church anymore and is pretty bare inside (we got to go in), but interestingly enough, the day we visited the battlefield a wedding took place inside. I guess if you are a really big history buff...

It was a beautiful day when we visited and we were glad to be able to take a couple hikes around the battlefield and enjoy the weather and appreciate the history. Whenever I used to think of a battlefield for some reason I'd image a big field where you could see everything that took place right there. I've now come to realize how silly that is. These battles took place over miles of countryside, farms and sometimes even in the small towns. Visiting all these years later it's hard to image this peaceful place was witness to so much destruction.
The above picture collage pictures are taken from a lookout tower on the battlefield. It was built well after the battle but provided a great view for looking at all the areas of the battlefield.

Below is Robert and Julia in the visitor's center, checking out a drum and Julia wearing a Union military hat.
Below is the Burnside Bridge, one of the more recognizable landmarks from the battlefield, as seen at the time of the battle and the day we visited. It was named after the general that commanded the Union troops at the bridge, General Burnside (with conveniently distinctive side-burns). His troops were successful in seizing control of the bridge after fighting the Confederate troops for around three hours. The bridge was vital to get Union troops across the river to where the rest of the battle was taking place. The Confederate troops who were holding the bridge actually did a good job holding them off for that long because they were far outnumbered. Since the Confederate troops had the high ground and bunkers to fire from they were able to hold off the Union troops long enough for more Confederate troops to arrive from Harper's Ferry as reinforcements.

We downloaded a couple podcasts that you are suppose to listen to as you walk around some of the hiking loops in the battlefield, so we hiked a loop around Burnside Bridge and then another one nearby called the Final Attack. I'm glad I found the website with the podcasts before we went because it really added to the experience to hear so much detail about the battle as we were there, and it was free!
The bottom left picture is of the Antietam National Cemetery, the last stop of our trip. It was dedicated five years after the battle. All the Union troops buried in various places around the battlefield were dis-interred and laid to rest in this cemetery (Confederate troops were re-interred in three other cemeteries around the area).

The battle ultimately had no clear winner that day. The next day no fighting continued as both sides took care of their wounded and buried their dead. Then the Confederate troops withdrew and retreated back to Virginia, so the Union claimed victory since they had succeeded in stopping General Lee's push into Maryland. President Lincoln then took the opportunity to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.