Friday, January 09, 2015

New Year's Outing

Over New Year's we had the pleasure of a nice, leisurely visit from Jan. It was the first time we've seen her since Dad died in October, and it was so good to be with her, to talk, to remember, and to process how, for all of us, life continues.

On January 1st we went downtown and stood in line to see the model trains at the U.S. Botanical Gardens. I think it took about half an hour for us to get into the train room--not a bad wait, given that the line moved quickly and we never stood in one place for more than a few minutes. Here's a shot of Jan and Meg, just before we made it into the train room.

And then... Thomas. All of my pictures are blurry, but they do capture something of our Graham's excitement about seeing the engines whoosh around the tracks and through the tunnels.


There was squealing, and there was jumping up and down, and there was gasping with hand over mouth. Repeatedly. Dramatic? No, not us.


The theme of this year's exhibition was the U.S Exploring Expedition, which took place from 1838 to 1842, and of which I had never heard before. Here are Graham and Esme in front of the U.S.S. Porpoise, flagship of the expedition.

And here's Meg with a model of the Queen Anne's Revenge, a.k.a. flagship of Blackbeard.

There were many other cool things packed into the relatively small train room--more ships, lighthouses, a grotto with imbedded underwater scenes, a waterfall with mermaid. And I think, looking back (though I could be wrong), that all of the scenery was made from plant matter. It was really nifty.

Since it was January 1st, and since I am working to read the Bible straight through in 2015 (something I have not done in years), I had read Genesis 1 that morning. So it was lovely to stroll through the rest of the indoor displays, which featured a dizzying diversity of botanic life, and see for myself some of the things God spoke into existence so long ago. I wasn't really taking pictures after we left the train room, but then in the large jungle display we bumped into an orchid with a familiar name...

Then I walked into the official orchid room, and the camera flew into my hand of its own accord. As you know, I am no photographer, but orchids? Orchids defy you to take a bad picture.




The only other planty picture I took was of these gorgeous little kumquats, with which I was (and am) utterly smitten.

I don't think I've ever tasted a kumquat...

Just before we left, this lady showed our kids how to make little houses out of plant stuff.


And I had to take a picture of this impressive model of the Capitol (currently much more impressive than the real Capitol dome, which is obscured by dense scaffolding).

And here's our crew in front of the model of the Botanical Gardens itself!


OK, just two more pics, I promise.

At lunch, Esme insisted on having her portrait taken with JanJan:

And then we went over to the National Museum of Natural History, which was a mob scene. I mean, swarming with people. We didn't stay there long. But again, our daughter required a shot of the iconic elephant in the rotunda, because elephants are Esme's favorite animal. (She's alliterative that way.)

Magnificent, no?

What a fun and memorable way to spend the first day of a brand new year.

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