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.