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Some places we've been lately

As I've mentioned before, we've been a busy crew in this house (which accounts for the sparse blog posts). Over the last week and half, we've been south to Richmond and north to D.C.--and here are a few highlights.

We have some friends in from out of town and we met them in D.C. for an afternoon--during which I finally got my first trip on the D.C. Metro (above). It is an amazing system of tunnels and trains running under the Capitol--almost like another world. It's entrances are unobtrusive and blend into the buildings and surroundings. You go down steep escalators and from the bright sun and heat of the street into the low light of the tunnels below. It's worth a ride not only for its inexpensive transportation throughout the city but also for the experience in and of itself.

The kids and I have been to the National Mall many times over the two years we've been here, and each time we see something new. This time, we saw the National Museum of the American Indian (above). Having just made his how minature bow-and-arrows out of sticks and popped balloons (that actually shoots sticks clear across the living room), my six-year-0ld son was fascinated by their collection of tomahawks and arrowheads. We also got a chance to walk through a multi-media presentation which included reflections on the influence of Christianity (both good and bad) and the intriguing Ghost Dance, which I first read about in James Calvin Schaap's excellent Touches the Sky. We also saw some beautiful art and weavings (below).

Outside the building, there was a gorgeous set of water ponds and waterfalls (which were irresistible to my son, below).

We capped off that day at Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian restaurant which serves the best flan I've ever tasted in my entire life. I actually get chills up and down my arms with each bite, it's that good.

During another trip (this ones with a good friend and her kids), we traveled south to the Science Museum of Virginia which is housed in a beautifully architechtured former train station. Both my kids were fascinated by the huge pendulum that hung from the dome of multi-storied lobby. Most of the museum was hands on, giving the kids a chance to ride in and control mechanized bumper cars that rode on air, build a replica of the St. Louis Gateway Arch out of pillow blocks, see how human joints work, see their heartbeat in jumping beads, test their ability to smell and see, examine hissing cockroaches (yuk), and touch a live shark (below) after watching an IMAX presentation on them.

Outside the museum, there was a display of some of the trains that used to come through the area when the building was a train station.

It's been a busy few weeks, but we've seen some great things, too. This has got to be one of the most amazing parts of the U.S. in which to live.
(Images: mine)