A fun birthday weekend with Aunt Jenny

A few weeks ago, we celebrated Noah’s 7th birthday. He’s growing up fast!

His birthday was on a Friday, and school was closed that day—and so Noah celebrated with his class the day before. Here is a photo of Noah with his birthday hat (from his teacher) that day after school.

So we had all of Friday to goof around! This birthday was extra special too because Aunt Jenny was here for the weekend. Since it was Noah’s special day, he got to choose where we went—and so we started by getting sprinkle donuts at Sugar Shack here in Alexandria.

Then we headed to Old Town. Noah wanted to show Aunt Jenny the King Street Trolley, and then we walked around the waterfront area.

That night we had a small birthday party at home. Our good friend Barbara came over too to help us celebrate. We had Papa John’s pizza (Noah’s favorite!) and a bus cake made out of cupcakes. (Noah picked the school bus theme; his bus route is #87.)

One of Noah’s presents was a geode kit, so that’s what we did after supper—we cracked them open! (Just in case earth science isn’t fresh in your mind, a geode is a rock with a cavity lined with crystals.) Each of us guessed the color of the crystals inside the rock, and then Noah would break it open to find out who was right.

Don’t worry, no fingers were harmed! There is a nice indent in my kitchen table now though. Ha. Noah has really enjoyed learning about science lately, so this was a fun activity.

The next morning we drove to Annapolis, Maryland, which is about 45 miles northeast of Alexandria. Aunt Jenny has been to DC quite a few times, but she hadn’t visited Annapolis yet—and the weather was perfect for some outdoor fun.

Our first stop was the Maryland State House. A few fun facts from the plaques: The Maryland State House is the oldest state capitol building in continuous legislative use, and it is the only state house to serve as the nation’s capitol building (from November 1783 to August 1784). Also, it was here where George Washington resigned as commander of the Continental Army and where the Treaty of Paris was ratified, marking the official end of the Revolutionary War.

We also walked around the downtown area and popped into some of the shops.

After lunch, Noah and Ryan went on a trolley tour of Annapolis. They saw the harbor area, the Maryland State House (again), the Governor’s residence, the World War II Memorial, St. John’s College, St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, numerous colonial mansions, and more. Here is the World War II Memorial…

And here are two stained glass windows in St. Anne’s Episcopal Church.

Also that afternoon, Jenny and I went on a boat tour of the Chesapeake Bay. We sailed on a 74-foot schooner called the Woodwind, and Jenny helped raise the sails—very cool! We saw the U.S. Naval Academy, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, and lots and lots of boats in Annapolis Harbor. Yeah, it was a great day to be outside!

Noah’s birthday was low key this year, but he definitely had a great time! Thanks for joining in the fun, Aunt Jenny!

Categories: Birthdays, Fun outings, Maryland, Our neighborhood, Science | Leave a comment

Fun father and son outings: weather, planes & science!

April and May were full of fun outings for Noah and Ryan. In late April, Ryan took Noah to a special “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” event at his FEMA office in Washington, DC. The theme this year was “Service Force: Agents of Positive Change.”

Here is Noah checking out a MERS truck, which provides emergency communications and support to disaster areas.

They had a flood demonstration to show what property owners and communities can do to reduce flood risk.

And they showed equipment used by Urban Search and Rescue teams. This is a thermal imaging camera—very cool!

They also discussed earthquake safety tips, canine search teams, and the importance of having a family plan for emergencies.

Around 200 kids attended this fun FEMA event. Yeah, “Take Your Child to Work Day” is pretty cool when your office has trucks and rescue equipment!

And the day’s fun didn’t end there. After they finished at FEMA, they walked a few blocks to the National Air & Space Museum, and they saw lots of planes and NASA equipment.

Noah got to “fly” this Cessna 150—he loves this plane!

They checked out a few space exhibits too, and Noah stepped on a scale to find out how much he would weigh on different planets. He would weigh 133 pounds on Jupiter. Who knew?

For another hands-on exhibit, Noah built towers to see if they would withstand high winds. They fell down, so we’ll have to go back and try again. Ha.

Noah also tried a few plane simulators…

Later that month they went to the Aviation Museum in College Park. Noah played a few flight simulators there too.

And there was a really cool hands-on demonstrator of what it takes to fly a human-powered quadrotor helicopter. The helicopter simulated here is called Gamera and was designed by students of the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering. Pedal faster, Noah!

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know that Noah loves all the air and space museums in the DC area. They’re always a sure bet for a fun outing!

Then in early May, Noah and Ryan attended the “Science Unrestricted” event that the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) hosted for local students. The event was held at the Mark Center here in Alexandria, and participants got to ride the school bus there.

Noah’s favorite thing at the science fair was seeing the robot built by students at TC Williams High School—awesome!

And here is Noah standing by a model rocket. Also very cool!

The event also had numerous hands-on activities, including making paper airplanes. Check it out!

Noah got a goody bag with fun science activities to do at home too. One of the activities was growing a mystical tree made from crystals. We did this the next day…

Noah has really enjoyed learning about science lately, so this was a great event! We look forward to attending again next year.

Stay tuned to read more about our recent adventures. The last few months have been busy!

Categories: Airplanes, DC, Fun outings, Maryland, Science, Space, Weather | 1 Comment

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