Last Summer in Chicago

May 30, 2013

I recently stumbled upon these shots from last summer and realized that I never wrote anything about our Chicago adventure. So here goes.

Just a few weeks after arriving back in the States, we hopped on the Metro, headed down to Union Station, and took an overnight train to Chicago. It was a fast and furious four days and it was FUN. We went for a Taiwan ROCks adoption reunion weekend and had a great time meeting up with old and new friends. We also fell in love with Chicago and took advantage of the Blue Star Museums (Art Institute, The Field Museum). But what we really loved was Millennium Park and that famous bean (this is one of my favorite family portraits!)  Can't wait to return to the Windy City!

If you are a military family, be sure to check out the listings for Blue Star Museums. The season has started and there are some amazing museums on the list. There's also a cool contest happening this summer.

If you are a family with a connection to Taiwanese Adoption, try to make it to this summer's Taiwan ROCks reunion in Disneyland. Sadly, we'll miss this year's gathering, but are already looking forward to next summer in New York City.

If you are thinking about doing a train trip with your kids, do it. It is a unique and memorable way to travel. My kids are still giggling about the snoring man in the row ahead of us and I still have fond memories of the summer my family traveled all over the States by train. There are discounts for kids and military families and it pays to book your tickets far in advance.

 Hope you all have some exciting summer plans in the works!

One Today

May 27, 2013

I had never heard of Richard Blanco until Inaugural Day 2013 when he stepped up to the podium, emerging into focus on our tv screen. I sat on a couch in our basement surrounded by my kids, my 8th grade English teacher, Pris, and her husband, Eddie (who are some of our dearest friends in the world), and Adam. Blanco's carefully crafted words flooded our basement with images, tastes, and emotions and it made me proud to be an American. An American sitting in a basement witnessing a gay, Cuban-American man describe our country in such a beautiful,soulful way. 

Last weekend we had the opportunity to hear Richard Blanco at The Writer's Center. He wooed us with his wit, his family, his dual identities, and his love of food. And he closed the evening with a reading of One Day. His ingaural poem. It was just as wonderful as the first time we heard it and the only thing missing were Pris and Eddie. And my dad. He would have loved Richard Blanco's words, too.  

Memorial Day is and will always be a sad day for me. My dad was buried on Memorial Day. It was both perfect and heartbreaking to listen to that haunting gun salute; a tribute from fellow Korean War Veterans in a small cemetery surrounded by rice fields. He was a man who loved this country with all of its flavors and textures and like Blanco his life was shaped by a passionate desire to weave those fibers into something with meaning and weight.  

Memorial Day is about remembering and I do.

Tuesday Snippet

May 21, 2013

 Barefeet. Dinners on the screened porch. Humid-frizzy hair*. Summer is quickly approaching. 

*My hair, not Camille's. I am jealous of her beautiful, silky-smooth hair.

Stone Angels and Chipmunks

May 18, 2013

Hilly, historic, and populated with angels, famous folks, and chipmunks. Lots of chipmunks. I was glad they were there. Darting out of ferns, dashing between stone markers, and daring me to approach. Like tiny little jesters, they added a bit of humor and life to the greyness of walking alone in a quiet cemetary on an overcast day.

Oak Hill Cemetary
Washington , DC

Cloud Terrace

May 17, 2013

A sight that surely would have made Pollyanna gasp with delight: thousands of prisms hung in netting like big dewy drops waiting for the sun to turn them into millions of rainbows. Beautiful and ethereal and yet, I didn't love it as much as I thought I would. The space wasn't quite right. Or maybe the problem was me since I was rushing to make sure I had enough time to deal with traffic and pick up the kids at school. But even more pressing than the time, were the expectations that had led me there in the first place: this Post article and a quick peek at Cao | Perrot's portfolio. I wonder if I had just stumbled upon these clouds on my own, if I would have had more of a Pollyanna reaction?  I don't know, but if you want to see it for yourself, hurry. This is the last weekend. 

Cloud Terrace
Dumbarton Oaks Gardens
Washington, D.C.


May 16, 2013

 Yes, we saw a clump of wild ponies, but the real highlights were flying a kite on the beach,  learning how to hunt for mussels on the side of the road with some friendly strangers, finding two letterboxes, and stopping for ice cream at Mr. Whippy. The poison ivy souvenir that Adam brought home (via letterboxing) was not a highlight. 

March 2013

May List

May 15, 2013

For Small Living: We the Tiny House People
For Maternal Musing: Isabella Rosselini and Mammas
For Attending: Picture Book Panel Discussion
For Tracking: Cicada Tracker
For Deconstructing: The Cardboard Bernini
For Kitchen Dancing: Ho Hey and anything else by Lennon and Maisy
For Exploring: Andre Bluemel Meadow
For Documenting: David Guttenfelder in North Korea
For Finding:  A May List at The Natural Capital
For Light Reading: Shel Silverstein
For Hefty Reading:  Brick Books

In Praise of Duct Tape

May 8, 2013

His pants were made of duct tape. I loved them.  
2013 Kinetic Sculpture Race
Baltimore, Maryland

In Praise of Spelling

May 7, 2013

Now that we live in the age of spell check,  it's easy to fall prey to the tantalizing ease of merely typing and clicking on the red highlight to select the correct word.  And I will confess that there have been times when I found myself wondering why we all torture ourselves with the weekly spelling drills. But, a recent incident has clearly shown me the importance of continuing to teach spelling.

A few weeks ago when I was attempting to make it home for my grandfather's funeral, I sent a text to a cousin. Here's the transcript:

Hi Sharon, It's Lucia. I am wondering if you are heading to St. Martinville tomorrow morning. If so, could I get a ride with you? I am trying to fly into NOLA (New Orleans) tonight.

Wrong # hoe

Thanks for letting me know. Sorry to bother you. I was trying to get to a funeral.

Ya Ya hoe

Thanks to the wonders of autocorrect and/or lack of spelling profiency, the rude texter (clearly and happily NOT my cousin, Sharon) thought that they would be offensive? funny? mean? by calling me a garden tool. 

I wish I had been quick (and brave) enough to have responded with:  Shovel it up yours.

Time Traveling: St. Mary's City, Maryland

May 3, 2013

One rainy spring day, 3 busloads of fourth graders and their brave chaperones traveled back in time to visit St. Mary's City, Maryland's first capital. Despite the mud, the drizzle, and the noise that fourth graders can produce, it was a surprisingly pleasant day. In fact, I think I enjoyed our trip there even more than our trips to Jamestown and Williamsburg. It is a bit more remote so there weren't swarms of tourists, the staff/guides were excellent, and the whole place had a nice feel to it. Simple, authentic, and without any of the cheesiness or commercial aspects that some living history parks seem to have. As an anthropology student, I had some mixed feelings about this attempt to re-create snippets of time and culture, but as a parent those reservations were quickly tossed out the window. There is something so appealing to kids and adults of all ages about temporarily sneaking a peek back in time and when it is done well, it is really worth the trip. 

***It reminded me of our trip to Houston and how much we enjoyed the Fort Bend Museum and the George Ranch Historical Park.

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