Monday, July 30, 2012

Julia Says

Julia has been testing my patience lately. It's all normal stuff for being a three-year-old. I feel like I am constantly having to tell her no and don't do that. Another thing is she was completely potty trained, and recently decided she wants to go pee "like a dog" on the floor. So now she's back in pull-ups because I'm tired of cleaning pee up off the floor.

But despite it all she is still pretty cute. It's mostly after she has gone to bed and I'm thinking back on the day that I appreciate it. Here is one such example.

Last Friday she got to go to work with Robert for PWC kids day. After I picked her up and while we were driving home I asked her if she had fun and she said "Yeah, Daddy's cool and he's beautiful."

"Oh, Daddy's beautiful?"

She thought about it for a second. "He's handsome."

They were supposed to have had Heal the Bay there for a presentation, so I asked her if she learned about the ocean. At first she said no. Then she said she learned about the animals.

"What did you learn about the animals?"

"Umm, they BITE! Like the sharks bite."

I told Robert about what she said and he has no idea how she got that from their presentation about keeping the water clean.

Random thoughts from the mind of a three-year-old but I have to admit she's right, daddy is handsome and sharks do bite.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Blue Angels

After we left D.C. we headed up to Baltimore for their celebration of the bicentennial of the the start of the War of 1812. This is a big deal for Baltimore because it's the war when the Star-Spangled Banner was written in Baltimore Harbor during the siege on Fort McHenry. As part of the bicentennial celebration Baltimore had a free airshow over the river in front of Ft. McHenry. You could go to the fort to see it, but there were also other spots along the river that they advertised as being good alternative spots to view the air show that would be less crowded. We went to a hospital parking lot that was directly across the river from the fort. We got there early enough to stake out a spot right on the river with a perfect view of the entire show. It was a little uncomfortable because it was all rocks and trash, but we commandeered a log to sit on so it wasn't too bad.

They had some other planes come through before the Blue Angels came out, but it was really the Blue Angels that stole the show. This was the first time either of us had seen (or can remember seeing) the Blue Angels perform, so we were really impressed by all their maneuvers. Julia was excited to see them at first as well, but by the end of the show I think she had gotten used to the planes and was more interested in playing on the rocks by the river.

Just to give you an idea how low they fly, and two of them are flying upside down here!

I like how you can almost see the pilot here.
I screamed every time they did these dives, it just looks so scary!
This is Ft. McHenry with it's giant "Star-Spangled Banner" and crowds of people.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Goodbye Virginia!

We moved! Okay, so it's been over a month, but most of the boxes have finally been unpacked (and those that aren't will probably stay that way for a while) and I finally have some time to blog about our adventures moving back to California. This post is mostly for us to remember our last few days in Virginia. So now we see what I can remember about our move.

The movers came on Tuesday to pack us up. Robert spent the two days chit chatting with the movers while I did errands, had a play date, and took the kids swimming to stay out of their way. By the end of the first day they still hadn't finished packing us all up, so the next day they had a little more packing to do before they could load the truck. And they got there a little late. And it rained half the day. So they were there for a long time the second day.

The movers had a huge semi-truck that was taking three different households across the country, so fitting it into our little parking lot was a bit of an issue. They were able to back it up close to our door, but blocked 1/4 of the parking lot. That was fine during the day when no one is home, but the movers didn't leave until 8:00 pm (or possibly later...) so I felt bad for the people who had to find street parking that night because we were blocking the lot. By then the moving truck couldn't maneuver around the parked cars either so they had to leave their huge trailer in our parking lot in the fire lane until morning when most of the cars were gone again.

Wednesday night we stayed at the historic Renaissance Mayflower down the street from the White House, and the next day Robert went back to the townhouse early and did most of the cleaning while I entertained the kids again at the hotel until Robert came to pick us up in the rental car. The one time we actually could have used our two cars and they were halfway across the country by then! This is Julia pointing to our townhouse, the "red house" while Robert was inside doing the walk through with the new owners (our original landlord sold the home the last month we were there, so we had a new landlord for one week and we had our walk through with them. It was kind of weird.)

Julia understood pretty well what was going on, she's smart like that. 

After that we spent Thursday night in DC again. The next morning we went to breakfast at Founding Farmers, and I mention this because it was delicious! If you are ever in DC I would highly recommend it, but you must make a reservation or come during an non-busy time. We went to breakfast at like 10:00 am so most people were already done with breakfast by then and the lunch crowd hadn't come in yet. We tried for dinner the night before without reservations and it was like an hour and a half wait, so we went somewhere else.

We checked one last thing off our DC bucket list: The Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Since they don't allow pictures inside we just have this one of us waiting for the tour and another of Julia and Micah in the gift shop. Julia is as tall of a stack of $100 bills worth $885,400. I'm glad we got to see it before we left, it was kind of cool to see stacks and stacks of millions of dollars being made.

Then we left DC and Virginia for good and headed up to Baltimore, MD!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Star Trails from the Reunion

This past month at Melarie's family reunion was my first attempt at taking a star trail photograph.  I figured the spot would be ideal because their is no light pollution, but it just happened to be during a nearly full moon so it did not help much.  Also, I have a cheaper camera with a maximum shutter speed of 30 second unless I time it manually on a bulb setting.  I did not want to stay up all night manually timing each exposure, so I bumped up the ISO speed to 800 and took continuous 30 second exposures at f/3.5.  The setup was not ideal but the results were better than I expected.

The camera battery died at about 4:00 am and I did not wake up to replace it till 4:30am so you will see a little gap in the time lapse video at the end. You will also see in the time lapse that the moon set around 3:00am.  I put together star trails of all images as well as separate stacks of before and after the moon set.

First, here is a stacked photo of all 565 images including the eventual sunrise which really washes out the image.  Next time I will only include a few images to the beginning of twilight.  It appears that either the north star rotates slightly or my tripod was not very stable during the night.

Next, Here is a stack of all the images while the moon was up.  The mountain and trees are well illuminated by the moon.  I like this one but it still looks like too much light.

And finally, here is a stack using only images taken after the moon set at 3am.  

I put the following time lapse video together using all images. You may notice a skip around the 30 second mark when the camera battery died.  I really liked the beginning of twilight so I kept the final 7 seconds in the video.  Next time I will just start shooting later in the evening so that the camera battery lasts all the way through twilight.  I was able to shoot continuously for almost 4.5 hours (480 images) by turning off the display and image review.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Happy 4 months Micah!

Micah is 4 months today! Here are his stats from his 4 mo. checkup:

Length: 25 in. (38th per)
Weight: 15.5 lbs (50th per)
Head Cir: 16.5 in. (29th per)

So small to average all around right now.

Some things about Micah right now:

- He is usually pretty smiley especially when someone is playing with him. He knows what he wants though and gets mad when he can't have it. For example, if he is playing with his ball or a teether and drops it, he will immediately burst into tears like it's the end of the world. Otherwise he usually works up to a cry, a little grunting and whining and sticking out his lip before he actually gets upset enough to cry,

- I have been saying for the past month that he must be teething because he drools so much and always has his hand or a binkie or a teether in his mouth. But, no pearly whites yet. You can usually find him wearing a bib that is soaked through with drool or spit up.

- This kid eats and then spits half of it back up. But he is gaining weight fine and is happy, so the doctor described him as a "happy spitter" and said he was fine. We should expect the spitting-up to peak at 6 mo. when he is taking in the most liquid and then tapper off until he turns a year. So, for the next year, laundry every other day continues.
- He's a good sport about letting Julia hug him and hold him and be a little too loveable.
- He loves the water. He likes to splash around in his bath and is always content to hang out on my arm in the pool.
- He rolled over for the first time a few weeks ago back to front, and true to being the second child, no one was even watching when he did it. He does wiggle around a lot but still doesn't completely roll over much because he always gets stuck on his arm. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

What An Eventful June

We are back on our house in Claremont now. We are still unpacking, but getting close to feeling like we really live here now. Now I'm not even sure where to begin blogging about last month, so mostly to help me organize my posts, here is a list of what we did last month:

•Moved out of our Fairlington Townhouse.
•Stayed at the historic Renaissance Mayflower in Washington D.C. for a couple days, ate at Founding Farmers, and took a tour of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing
•Stayed in Baltimore Inner Harbor for another couple days and celebrated the bicentennial start of the War of 1812 by touring a plethora of ships from all over the world and seeing the Blue Angels perform over the river.
• Fly back to LA and move into our house
•Drive up to Utah, stay at my parent's house for one night and then get evacuated from their house the next morning. Visit with some of my relatives that day, go to my cousin's Quince Anos, stay at a hotel with Robert's parents that night, next day visit more relatives and finally get word we can go back to my parent's house.
• Micah's baby blessing
•Park City with Robert's parents and drive to Elko
• Sandberg Family Reunion at the Ranch in Southern Utah
• Return home to many surprises.

Aren't you excited to read all about it?