Sunday, October 5, 2008

Willy Birthday 2008

Willy Turned 11 this week. He's very happy to go from cubbies to boy scouts. He got a bicycle to get him back and forth to school.

Here are a couple more shots from Oatlands

These are other images from Oatlands. The weather was perfect.

Oatland's invitational Race

Emily is running cross country this year and doing quite well. Yesterday she had her personal best. She ran 3.1 miles in 24 min and 40 seconds. Her personal goal for the end of the running season was to be under 25 min. She has had a wonderful time and likes to show off her "gun show" by flexing her biceps and her calf muscles.
We've only been able to attend one of her races but expect to go next weekend to her race at Albermarle invitational. The last two invitational meets she has run Varsity. She is a freshman so she has quite a bit time to continue to improve. She has made a lot of social growth as well.

While she was warming up for the race, we went on an outside tour of the Qatland's plantation. It is so beautify that they often hold weddings there. It was one of the plantations owned by the Carter King family. They were the wealthiest family in all of Virginia and owned most of the northern region. Many of the sites we visit have some connection to the Kings.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Here are some more

Here are some more shots from Sky Meadows State Park. It is located on land once owned by Lord Fairfax. It is a beautiful place.

Wow!! its been a long time...

It has been over 4 months since we've blogged. We have continued to do things but have not kept up on this blog. Bill just got a new camera so we'll want to showcase new pictures. Yesterday we went to a place called sky meadows state park. it was a beautiful day.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Lydia's Birthday

Lydia has been having a fun time getting ready to be three. Here is a quick video of her in different activities over the month of April.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Lauril's Birthday

Tuesday the 8th was Lauril's birthday and I'd been telling her for a couple of weeks not to schedule herself for anything and not to leave the house because she had a delivery coming. I left at my normal time in the morning but instead of going to work I returned just before the boys left for school. She seemed very surprised. We got the boys off to school and left. We drove to Leesburg and had a very nice visit. It was a peaceful day but humerously we kept stopping at stores a few minutes before they opened. We missed AC Moore (a craft store), an Antique store, and a Bead store all before they opened. Probably saved me a lot of money. We went to the visitors center and got some neat brochures. We found about Ball's Bluff battlefield. It was a very peaceful walk and Lydia handled it fine. We looked across the Potomac river into Maryland. We were about 40 miles from Harper's Ferry where John Brown had his famous rebellion for which he was hanged. In the evening we went to Bonefish restaurant.
We had a gift certificate. It is a very very nice restaurant in the area. We went to a movie afterward which was Leatherheads which is about professional football in 1925. It stars George Clooney and Renee Zellwiger. It was pretty good but mostly it was just good to be alone together.

Liberia Mansion Service Project

Lauril saw in the paper that there was an opportunity to do a service project cleaning up the grounds at the historic Liberia Mansion owned by the Wier family at the time of the civil war. The Wiers were related to the famous Carter family who owned most of northern Virginia and were very wealthy. The proximety of the mansion to the rail station (which was the coveted prize of the1st and 2nd battles of Manassas or Bull Run) made it a central point for the war. The owners of the home were devout people who advocated sending their slaves to Liberia but didn't free them, hence their naming their home as such. This home also served as the post office and they owned the general store. After the South won the first battle at Manassas Junction they made Liberia Mansion their headquarters and set up there. President Jefferson Davis visited this home during that time. When called upon to leave to go to the south, they left so quickly the left three bodies behind and their battle plans. After the second battle the next year the victorious North occupied the building, discovered the bodies and the plans. It was at this time that Abraham Lincoln visited the home after General McDowell was injured. This is the only building that the presidents of both sides of the war ever visited. The pictures here are of the home during a celebration in 1993. Currently the front is missing the columns.

Frederickburg visit

On the same day we went to James Monroe's law office in Fredericksburg we went to the Fredericksburg Battlefield. It was the sight of the bloodiest battle (over several days) in the Civil War. This is the battle where Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson was accidentally wounded by his own men when his hand was shot. His arm was amputated but he died anyway. We walked along the sunken road which is pictured here taken right after the battle. As you can see there were many men who died at this spot. There is a very interesting story a soldier from this battle named Richard Kirkland. After a day of battle he ran across the battlefield and brought water to men from both sides to the wounded and dying. He's been called the Angel of Marye's Hill. Read more about it at this link. The reason Fredericksburg is a target for this type of battle is that it lies halfway between Washington DC, the Union Capital and Richmond VA, the capital of the Confederacy.

Another pic of Bill shooting

I just got this email from one of the guys at our shoot out activity.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Shooting Merit badge

Willy is the only webelo and will be almost until his birthday. There is a leader assigned to him but the leader of the 11 year old scouts invited Willy to come with the whole scout troop for the shooting merit badge outting. Willy and Bill camped along the Occoquan river in Warner's back yard. That was a late night... Then we drove to the farm of Brother Padilla's friend near Leesburg. They shot .22 caliber rifles and shotguns to accomplish the merit badge. After this the men who had some guns along brought them out and let the boys and other men take some shots. Willy and i shot this .50 caliber anti-tank gun that brother Padilla brought. It was the grand finale of our outing but this thing has quite a precussion and gives a huge rush. The casing for these bullets are 6 inches long. Willy and I shot most of the same guns which include a .40 cal handgun, a Glock 9mm handgun. Willy shot a 30.06 rifle. He was sitting with his legs in front of him and the kick laid him down. I was very pleased with how brave Willy was. He was eager to do everything and unafraid of any of them. He was only denied shooting the 30.30 rifle because of its hard kick. We both shot an AK47 which I have to say was a real kick in the pants. That was my favorite gun to shoot.

Willy and had a chance to compete against against each other shooting .22 rifles. I had a semiautomatic with 10 in the magazine. Willy had 5 loaded into his single shot .22. I must have aimed badly because even though I shot consistantly I didn't hit the target once but Willy hit the paper 5 times. He did very well at pointing out to all the men that he shamed his father. Here you also see Willy getting ready to shoot a .12 guage shotgun. He hit two pigeons. You might notice that the shotgun he has is a riot gun, owned by brother Parry who is a CIA guy and our NRA certified safety instruction. He had quite a gun collection including another machine gun that neither Willy nor I shot. There was also a .357 Magnum that neither of us shot but it was a pretty big handgun. On our way home Will was telling me about one of the boys being fairly bookish (my words). Willy claimed he thinks now he's a gun guy. We'll see. It was very generous for them to let him come and while Lauril wouldn't have let him go if I didn't, I'm sure glad I went.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sully Plantation

Sully Plantation is in Chantilly Va just two towns away where we are in Manassas. It is on property owned by the FAA where the Dulles Airport is. It is almost adjacent to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. This place was owned by Richard Blanford Lee, the Uncle of Robert E Lee of Civil War Fame. The Plantation is furnished with period pieces that were not all owned by the Lees but were authentic for the era. The home was beautiful and was also very eductional. Since there had been no slave house on the property there is a brand new slave's quarters. The site holds programs for kids from local schools and has a nice walking trail. It was cold on the day we went so we skipped the trail.


Michie (pronounced Mikie) Tavern in Charlottesville is just up the road from Monticello and is an active restaurant that serves colonial style food. We didn't eat there but we did go on the tour. Willy said its the best tour he'd ever been on. The Tavern was not in this location at the time of Jefferson but was located across town. Noone of fame is known to have been here but the woman who moved it to the new location used to tell people that Washington had slept there as well as many other people. The building was reassembled just as it had been originally put together and looks quite natural in its setting.

Along with the Restaurant and the original tavern there is a clothier and a gift shop. Of course the items are quite costly but they are sure nice to look at. It was a very educational tour and we had quite a good Docent that reminded us of Aunt Ginger.

Spring Break-2008

The kids had spring break this week so Bill took off Thursday and Friday. We went to Fredericksburg and saw the original law office of James Monroe, 5th president of the US. The next day we went to Charlottesville to his home next to Monticello (Jefferson's home). We learned a couple of things about James Monroe. Of course he's famous for the Monroe Doctrine and for the missouri compromise that held off the Civil War for a time. He is actually the one who made the arrangements and completed the Louisianna Purchase. He didn't come from wealth but his Uncle had enough means to send him to William and Mary where he studied law under and became friends with Thomas Jefferson. Monroe was ambassadore to France and England and was the Virginia Governor. Of all people who were ever president, Monroe held more public offices than any other.

The famous painting of Washington crossing the Delaware depicts Monroe as the bearer of the flag. While he wasn't in the boat with Washington he had crossed the night before and fought with Washington. Monroe was the last of our presidents who had fought in the revolution. When he ran for his second term he got all Electoral votes but one, which went to John Quincy Adams (who would become the next president).

Because he had spent so much time in France and had impressed the French by learning to speak fluent French, he was loved by the French. When the wife of the Lafayette was imprisoned at the beginning of the French revolution along with many other well known Frenchmen, Mrs Monroe went in her fine dress to visit her in the prison which was such a source of shame to the French that the people demanded that Mrs Lafayette be released.

The younger daughter of the Monroes best friend was Hortence, step daughter of Napoleon and later became queen Hortence of Holland.

He had to supervise the renovation and repair of the white house after the war of 1812 and refurnish it. The styles of furniture in the white house are largely those remaining from his purchases. Several pieces that he originally bought are still in use and most of it is french or has french influence.

It seems a shame that this president is largely forgotten. He died on July 4, 1831.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Austin's Performance

Austin is in the second grade and had a patreotic singing performances which was very cute they sang/said:
  • Star Spangeled Banner
  • My Country Tis of Thee
  • Pledge of Alegeince
  • This Land is Your Land
We made funny faces during the prefomance.
Jessica Ward

Barry and Julie's Family

Barry's Family came over on friday at about eleven o'clockat night and we dinked around by playing on the Wii and on on our Wii we played DDRHP (dance dance revolution hottest party).

On Saturday went to our BBall game and went to olde town of Manassas.

Sunday we went to Arlington cemetary where we saw the changing of the guard and the eternal flame of John F. kennedy in the cemetaryand saw the Iwo jima monument.
CLick to see changing of the guard

JesSICa WarD

The Girls Basketball game

Jessica (me) and Emily had a church basketball game and we had a lot of good effort but last badly 13 to 30(aganist Manassas 2nd). I was a forward and Emily was a guard. This our first season of playing BBall but this was our second we also lost 14 to 41 (against the Centerville 2nd Ward)the first game and we've had no practices in between. But BBall is still very fun and calorie burning.
JeSsIcA WaRd

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Out With the Old and in with the New Living Room

This is our living room. That is, after it was repainted and rearranged. Mom and Dad spent two long Saturdays in a row tapeing and painting and putting up the chair rail molding. It was a lot of work, and they were very tired after they finshed, but it was well worth it. The ceiling was painted a whitish yellow color all of the trim was painted since the ceiling and floor molding was an ugly grey color. The old walls were an old peachy color and the ceiling was grey I would say from the looks of it, it is much better, with artwork and color. Mom and Dad were very very very pleased with it when they put up the last two pieces of art and stood back to take a look. Personally I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
EMilY WArd