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Exploring DC: National Arboretum

2018 May 18
by Becky

Hello! We’re still here! My computer hours have been few these days, what with the beautiful weather, school activities, work, and friends…I’d rather watch a show and tuck into bed a little earlier with a good book lately. If I am at the keyboard, it’s been to review and splice together old family videos…a huge project I’m determined to get done.

One area I’m not slacking is exploring, we’re still adventuring in our incredible city, which is event better in the sunny days. We’ve hit the National Zoo, Jones Point Park, Gravely Point, Mount Vernon Bike Trail, and had another fancy night out, this time to honor military spouses and the USO. Last weekend our calendar was marked for the peak azalea bloom at the National Arboretum, so we headed across the river for a walk through the woods.

In all honesty, I played the Mother’s Day card on this one. Everyone was really tired on Sunday after a busy week and extra busy Saturday, so feet were dragging all morning. Not to mention it had been raining since dawn! But come 10:30am, the sun was shining and I guilt-tripped us out the door.

Once we arrived and were surrounded by bright green grass and gorgeous trees, not another complaint was made. We walked up the shady path to inspect the most beautiful azalea’s I’ve ever seen. I had no idea so many varieties existed.

National Arboretum

National Arboretum

National Arboretum-SmellingAzaleas

NationalArboretum-TurtleFriend

We even found a turtle friend amongst the leaves and petals, spotted by Stu of course. He can spot a turtle anywhere. Weird talent, but take a walk with him through any park or wooded area and he’ll find at least one turtle.

Under the cover of trees, walking mulched paths in the cool humid air, we felt transported. I said it reminded me a little of our trip to Muir Woods, Ethan thought it was like our favorite St. Louis hiking spot Powder Valley. Hard to believe this nature escape is a couple short miles from the US Capitol.

Hey look! They graced me with a picture.

After meandering out of the azaleas and through the herb garden, a huge surprise—and probably our favorite part of this park—was the Bonsai Museum. Through a lovely Japanese garden was the most amazing collection of tiny trees! I’ve never seen such exquisite living works of art. Each tree was more beautiful and impossible than the one before. Many were very old, the oldest from 1625!!! And there were dozens to see.

I think this one was my favorite. It’s a “forest” bonsai. We learned so many bonsai facts we never knew we’d want to know.

And no trip to the Arboretum would be complete without a shot of the columns. Too bad they were under some construction this weekend, with orange plastic fencing around the base, so we just looked from afar, making plans to go back for more pictures soon.

Just as we headed back to the car, Stu pointed to the sky and exclaimed, “Look at that eagle! It’s got a fish!” Again, Stu, our nature spotter. We looked up to find a HUGE eagle swooping over our heads and she is, indeed, clasping a large fish in it’s crazy-sharp talons. This bird was so close, we could see everything. She—I’m saying she’s the mother because it was Mother’s Day after all—did another circle and headed over the tall trees of the azalea forest.

It was amazing to see.

I’d read about the eagle nest before our visit, and knew it held two new, fuzzy, hungry babies. We’d also passed a few signs closing off areas of the park for eagle protection. I remembered there was an Eagle-Cam and quickly loaded it up on my phone as we reached the car. Sure enough, there was Mama Eagle, shredding that fresh fish and feeding her wee ones. You can catch a glimpse of the azaleas below. We watched the whole way home!

While cleaning up the back yard later that day, we wandered out the back fence to our “secret alley” to check on our herbs and lettuce. This is the only spot on our property that gets a lot of sun, so it’s the perfect spot to keep sun-loving plants. That’s when we realized the peonies had bloomed.

I love irises, tulips, daffodils, and crab apples, but the King of Spring is the peony. I added a few to the gorgeous hot pink ones Stu had brought home from the market the day before. Now we will visit them at a each day till they’re gone.

Pretty good weekend.

 

Year in Review: 2017 Family Video

2018 April 22
by Becky

I’m a little (lot) late this year with our family video, but it’s done and I’m pleased. In all truth, I finished it a couple months ago and snuck it out on my videos page without a mention, mostly because it didn’t feel quite right. It was just ok. Turns out, I wasn’t following my own video editing advice, because it was too long, too draggy. So this week I revisited, cut cut cut, and it’s much better. Funny how all you need is a tiny glimpse of an event to satisfy that need to capture the moment.

Finding the right music always seems an impossible task, no year is easy. I even try to collect songs through the year, ones I hear and thing “That’s inspiring!”, saving them to a playlist, hoping it will make my video-making days easier. But it usually doesn’t help much. I just do my best to use song we loved that year, ones that are hopefully semi-current, and songs that are upbeat…though I have used a few slow songs that just worked perfectly. Whatever feels right is what I use.

This felt like an epic year, one with so many highs and far too many lows. It’s like a time-lapse video, where you see us move to a different state, different schools, different jobs, different everything…funny what can change in a year. While these videos consume so much time, I’m always grateful for these little, quick views of our lives each year.