Capital Wheel

A very fun father and son day!

A few weeks ago, Ryan took a day off from work to have a special “Daddy-Noah Day” before school started. Noah got to choose what to do – he was so excited!

They took the bus to our metro station and then rode the metro to DC to visit the National Air & Space Museum. They saw lots of planes and NASA equipment. Noah got to “fly” this Cessna 150 too – very cool!

After they finished at the museum, they hopped on the metro again and met me for lunch at a restaurant near my office. So yeah, I got in on the fun too!

After lunch Ryan and Noah headed to Old Town Alexandria. They took the metro to the King Street station and then rode the trolley to the waterfront area. Then they took the water taxi across the Potomac River to National Harbor, MD.

They passed sailboats along the way and saw planes flying overhead too. And of course, Noah always loves going under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

As you can tell, it was a nice day for a boat ride! Here’s a selfie photo of the happy duo on the boat…

When they got off the water taxi, they headed straight to the Capital Wheel.

The top of the wheel is 185 feet high, so they had a great view of the buildings and boats below and the Wilson Bridge in the distance. Yeah, they had a bird’s-eye view of their water taxi too. Ha.

Next they visited the Awakening, which is a giant cast-aluminum sculpture of a man buried in the sand. Check it out!

Then they boarded the water taxi again to return to Alexandria…

Ryan joked that it would have taken him 15 minutes to drive home from National Harbor. But instead, they took the water taxi to the King Street Trolley…rode the trolley to the metro…rode the metro to our station…and then took the bus home. For a boy that loves all things transportation, it was a perfect day!

Categories: Airplanes, Capital Wheel, DC, Fun outings, Maryland, Summer | 1 Comment

Celebrating Ryan’s birthday at National Harbor

A few weekends ago, we spent the night in nearby National Harbor, MD to celebrate Ryan’s 40th birthday – yep, a big day! National Harbor is right across the Potomac River from Alexandria…just a short drive over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

We started the weekend fun with swimming at the hotel pool. Here are a few photos that Ryan snapped…

We worked up quite an appetite, so after we cleaned up, we headed to the waterfront area for supper. We had pizza at Fiorella’s Italian Kitchen – and yep, with chocolate milk for the little kid and wine for the big kids!

After supper we did a quick stroll through the harbor area. We didn’t stay too long because a storm was rolling in. Here are a few photos we took as we were dashing back to the hotel. Yeah, we had a great view of the Capital Wheel and the Wilson Bridge against the dark sky.

After the weather cleared up, we headed back to the harbor area for a ride on the Capital Wheel. We’ve been on the wheel quite a few times over the past few years (we often take visitors there), but this was our first ride at night.

The nighttime view from the top was AWESOME! Our pictures didn’t turn out too well since the gondola windows were wet with raindrops, but you can still make out the buildings and boats below. Check it out!

The next morning after we checked out of the hotel, we walked around the harbor area again…because we of course had to visit the Awakening sculpture and the Peeps car too!

Then we met up with our good friends Dan, Lindsay, and their son for lunch at Brother Jimmy’s BBQ – messy but sooooo yummy!

Oh, and we can’t forget about Ryan’s birthday present. Noah picked out a Lego set of a Coast Guard airplane – who would have guessed, right?!?!

Thanks, Ryan, for giving us a fun reason for a weekend getaway!

Categories: Birthdays, Capital Wheel, Fun outings, Maryland | 1 Comment

More fun with the South Dakota crew!

As we mentioned in our previous blog post, the last week of May, Grandma Debbie, Grandpa Rod, Aunt Jenny and Cory (Noah’s cousin) flew out from South Dakota to visit us and see the sights. If you missed our previous post about our quick trip to New York City while they were here, you can read it here. We had many fun adventures around the DC area too!

On their first full day here, we met our relatives Tom and Robin at Adventure Park in Sandy Spring, MD. Ryan, Cory, Aunt Jenny, Grandpa Rod, Tom and Robin all went on the zip lines and traversed the ropes courses – yep, they’re fearless! The rest of us watched from below…safe on the ground. Ha.

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Noah and Grandma Debbie had a great time cheering them on!

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Here’s a fun video too. As a quick reminder: If you’re reading this post in an email, you may need to open the blog webpage in order to view the video. To do so, just click on the title of the post (the link in blue) at the top of the email to open the blog in your web browser.

The Fishies and Froggies preschool classes had a field trip to the Natural History Museum that week, and Grandma Debbie tagged along as a chaperone. She got to ride the school bus with Noah too – so fun! Ryan and Grandpa Rod met the group at the museum too. The kids got to listen to a special presentation about tarantulas. I don’t think Grandma thought the taratula was as cool as Noah did. Ha.

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The kids had a great time exploring the rest of the museum too!

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After the field trip, they said goodbye to the preschool classes and met up with Cory and Aunt Jenny…and then they all headed to Old Town Alexandria for lunch. They ate lunch at one of our favorite restaurants – Chadwicks! Noah loves their grilled cheese sandwiches!

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After lunch Noah, Cory, Grandma Debbie and Aunt Jenny took the water tax from Old Town Alexandria across the Potomac River to National Harbor.

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Ryan and Grandpa Rod drove to National Harbor and watched as the water taxi docked at the harbor.

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Then they headed to the main attraction: the Capital Wheel! If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know that Noah loves the Capital Wheel, and he was especially excited to ride with all the boys.

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Noah went to preschool the other weekdays, and the South Dakota crew explored all the sights. So what did they see? They visited the White House, the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, Union Station, Ford’s Theatre, the National Archives, the Air & Space Museum, the Museum of American History, Mount Vernon and much more. Whew, they were busy! Here are just a few photos from their sightseeing extravaganza. Check it out!

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An especially exciting outing: On Memorial Day, Cory, Aunt Jenny and Grandpa Rod went to the special service at Arlington National Cemetery, and they got to hear President Obama speak. It’s not every day that you can get that close to the President…and what an important occasion too!

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Don’t worry, while the South Dakota crew had lots of things to see and do, Noah got in a lot of family fun time too. We had a great time playing games, riding bikes and just monkeying around. Check it out!

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Noah got to show everyone the park and baseball diamond at his elementary school too.

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And before you ask, yes, we played lots and lots of Legos too! Even the train in the lower photos is made of Legos. Cool, huh?

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Some of us even played Legos after Noah went to bed. Shhh, don’t tell Noah…

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We had an AWESOME week with Cory, Aunt Jenny, Grandma Debbie and Grandpa Rod! They weren’t able to see everything on their wish list, so that just means that they’ll have to come back – hint, hint, hint. We’ll see you all again soon!

Categories: Capital Wheel, Cousins, DC, Fun outings, Grandparents, Holidays, Legos, Our neighborhood, Preschool | 1 Comment

A surprise visit from Jewel and Jenson!

Last week Ryan’s brother Jeff and his family stopped by National Harbor, MD for a few days as part of their vacation. They were so close by – we really lucked out – and Noah was so excited to see his cousins Jewel and Jenson!

So Wednesday morning Noah and I took the water taxi from Old Town Alexandria across the Potomac River to National Harbor. Yep, Noah loves the water taxi!

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After we docked, we met up with Uncle Jeff, Aunt Jill, Jewel and Jenson. Our first stop was lunch at Potbelly – so yummy – and then we walked around the harbor area. The kids of course wanted to check out the Peeps car. So cool!

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It was a beautiful day to be outside, so we decided to walk to the south end of the harbor.Yeah, the kids definitely had a fun time goofing around!

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We decided to take the short water taxi ride back to the north end of the harbor. We could have easily walked back – it’s not that far – but the kids wanted to go on the boat. Who wouldn’t? It was a short boat ride, but the kids had a blast!

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Next we headed to the main attraction: the Capital Wheel! Noah loves riding the Wheel, so he was especially excited to go with Jewel and Jenson.

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The kids had fun looking at the buildings and boats from 185 feet above the harbor – so fun!

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The kids worked up quite an appetite, so next we walked back to the hotel for a quick snack. Donuts!

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We relaxed for a while and then headed to the pool for a swim.

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Ryan met up with us that evening, and we ordered pizza for supper and just hung out in the hotel.

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We had a great time – what an AWESOME surprise visit! We’ll see you all again soon!

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Categories: Capital Wheel, Cousins, Fun outings, Maryland | Leave a comment

A fun weekend with Uncle Chris: Part 1

Two weeks ago Uncle Chris (Noah’s godfather) flew to DC to hang out with Noah for a long weekend. Noah was so excited for Chris’ airplane to land!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThat first afternoon, we took Chris on the water taxi from Old Town Alexandria across the Potomac River to National Harbor, Maryland. It was a beautiful day for a boat ride!

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IMG951225So what did we do at National Harbor? We rode the Capital Wheel!

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESGreat views, huh? As you can see, we even got a good view of our water taxi from above. This was Noah’s fourth time on the wheel – he loves it and Chris did too!

Chris and NoahThe next morning we took Chris to Gravelly Point to watch the airplanes take off and land at National Airport. We probably saw twenty planes land in the 45 or so minutes that we were there. They were so close!

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We even saw a plane that had turboprops!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe sky was overcast that day, so we were able to hear the sound of the engines spiral through the clouds – what a cool experience!

Here are two short videos of planes that we saw coming in for landing. As a quick reminder: If you’re reading this post in an email, you may need to open the blog webpage in order to view the video. To do so, just click on the title of the post (the link in blue) at the top of the email to open the blog in your web browser.

We played soccer while we waited for the next plane to fly overhead. Yep, it was another great day to be outside!

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IMG951250After lunch we went to the Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA – another one of our favorite local outing spots. Our first stop was the observation tower that gives a 360-degree bird’s-eye view of planes taking off and landing at nearby Dulles International Airport – what a great view!

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESNext we headed to the space hangar to see the Space Shuttle Discovery. Seeing that will never get old!

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSome of the highlights from the aviation hangar were Air France’s Concorde (the first supersonic commuter airliner) and “The Spirit of Texas” helicopter flown by Ross Perot.

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe saw many other planes and helicopters too. As you can tell from the photos, they were parked on the ground and suspended from the ceiling – so many planes!

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESNoah also got to “fly” a Cessna plane like the one that Ryan trained on – so cool!

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIf you read this blog frequently, you know that Noah LOVES airplanes and space shuttles. Who doesn’t? So it was fun listening to Noah talk about the planes with Chris.

For better descriptions of Noah’s favorite planes and NASA equipment at the Udvar-Hazy Center, check out our blog post from our first visit…just click on the link. And stay tuned to read more about Noah’s recent adventures with Uncle Chris!

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Categories: Airplanes, Capital Wheel, Fun outings, Summer | Leave a comment

Planes, trains, automobiles, a boat, & a giant wheel – whew!

Grandma Debbie and Grandpa Rod flew in from South Dakota to spend the week of Thanksgiving with us. Here’s a photo of Noah anxiously awaiting their arrival. They were in the second plane.

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On their first full day here, Grandma and Grandpa took Noah on the water taxi from Old Town Alexandria across the Potomac River to National Harbor, Maryland.

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So what did they do when they docked? They rode the Capital Wheel! They were in gondola #3.

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They of course had to take a photo of us watching them from below…

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This was Noah’s third time on the wheel – he’s a pro now! And don’t let Grandma fool you; she had a great time (though maybe a little squeamish). Come on, 185 feet isn’t really that high!

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We had to check out the Peeps car while we were at National Harbor too.  Cheese!

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The next day, Grandma Debbie and Grandpa Rod took Noah on an Amtrak train from DC’s Union Station to Baltimore’s Penn Station. Ryan and I drove up to meet them…and even with a head start, they still beat us! Pesky DC traffic…

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After a quick lunch, we all went to the Baltimore & Ohio (B & O) Railroad Museum. Here’s a quick background: The B & O Railroad was started in 1829 and is known for many firsts in America’s history. The company built the first commercial long-distance track and the first passenger station. It also operated the first American-built steam locomotive and had the first air conditioned train. Pretty cool!

OK, back to the present…

The museum spans 40 acres – yep, lots of space for lots of trains! We saw many B & O locomotives in the museum’s large round house and rail yard. There were quite a few trains from the Chesapeake & Ohio and Western Maryland railroads too. Noah’s favorite trains were the ones we could walk through – all aboard!

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We also saw lots of railroad tools, uniforms, and other memorabilia. And of course, there were plenty of model trains and toy trains too!

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We didn’t have time to explore all the trains and exhibits (there was A LOT to see), so we definitely plan to visit again.

Later that week, we took Grandma and Grandpa to Gravelly Point to watch the airplanes take off and land at National Airport. This is one of Noah’s favorite outdoor activities. We saw a dozen or so planes take off and land while we were there. We saw Airbus jets, Boeing jets, and smaller regional jets. It was cold out – burrrrr – but planes are too cool to miss. Check it out!

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Notice the Washington Monument in the background in he photo above.

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The only mode of transportation that Noah didn’t get to enjoy with Grandma and Grandpa was the bus. We’ll save that excitement for next time!

Stay tuned for more on Noah’s recent adventures with Grandma Debbie and Grandpa Rod…

Categories: Airplanes, Capital Wheel, Fun outings, Grandparents, Trains | Leave a comment

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