Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Our Trip to Washington DC in December 2010
Part I - City Views
We had some vacation time left before Christmas 2010, and decided to visit our capital city and to see some of the Smithsonian museums and the city in winter. It was our second time in Washington DC. The first time we were there was in April 2004, during the cherry blossom festival. The link to the pictures and some descriptions in Russian is here:

We chose to stay in the downtown Holiday Inn Capitol, close to the Mall and Smithsonian Aerospace Museum. The trip to Washington DC from New Jersey took us 3 hours by car, we parked the car at the hotel garage and did not use it until we left.

We decided to try a double-decker tour bus instead. We bought the tickets at the hotel. The tour is guided, with a pre-recorded audio that is linked to a GPS, it was a very informative program. The audio was telling us the story about the buildings and monuments we were passing by. The ticket is valid for 24 (or 48) hours, and it is possible to hop-on and hop-off the bus any number of times you want. We began our journey at 9 am, and finished around 6 pm, with several stops to visit the Wax Museum of Madame Tussauds, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Capitol, Tidal Basin, Museum of American Art. To tell you that it was cold on the bus is not enough. It was even more than that: it was cold AND windy. The trip on the bus might be fun in April, but it was a real torture in December. I have to admit that we voluntarily agreed to have this experience, intending to use this unsurpassed possibility to take pictures of the city views from the elevated roof of the bus.
We are the only people sitting on the top behind the glass shield.

My husband on the top of the bus

In the evening - tired and hungry 
As you can see, the bus was completely empty on the second level during our morning trip.
Interactive museum of news with behind-the-scenes views of how and why news is made.

Aerospace Museum Entrance

Lincoln Monument
Capitol, with the Peace Monument in the foreground
A different view of the Peace Monument - what a remarkable sunset we had that evening!

Capitol, with the Christmas tree

Union Station, with the Columbus Monument on the left

Union Station Christmas Tree

Postal Museum, next to the Union Station
Washington Monument view
Approaching the Capitol Hill
Night view of the Capitol

Washington Monument Spotlight

Night View of Washington Monument

Tidal Basin View
Full Moon over Tidal Basin and Washington Monument

Jefferson Monument at sunset
Panorama of Tidal Basin with Washington Monument on the left and Jefferson Monument on the right

In spite of the cold weather we walked around the Tidal Basin and Washington Monument the first evening, and walked via many streets at night, without using the cameras.  Next day was dedicated to the museums - see my next post!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Egor celebrated his first birthday on Dec 3, 2010
During the entire past year everything in our lives was about my grandson: his monthly weight gains, his first smile, his first steps at 9 month old, new foods in his menu. Every month was documented in pictures and short video clips, taken by my daughter. I spent with him the first month of his life, helping her. It was bitterly cold in Ukraine, and those snow storms were coming one after another. Yet it was warm in the newly renovated apartment, cozy and welcoming the new addition to our family. I returned back to the US in mid-January, and was skyping with my daughter every single day since then, watching Egor growing and developing.
December 1st,  2010. 

 Little QT

My mom is the best!

This is a collage of Egor's pictures taken month after month
throughout the year. He was born at 3.7 kg and at one year
he is 12.4 kg and 80 cm tall.
The most difficult year of Egor's childhood is behind us. He will not be growing as fast now, he became more independent from his mother, and he will learn a lot of things about life very quickly. I want him to be happy!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Brigantine, an island you'll love for life!  

Brigantine is a beautiful barrier Island which is totally surrounded by water and connected by a bridge to Atlantic City. You may soak in the sun, surf, enjoy wave riding, nature walking, boating, sport fishing, or four wheeling or just relaxing on the beach. Every time we go there the day spent on the beach makes part of the best summer memories. September 19, 2010 was not an exception, the day was beautiful and we enjoyed walking on the beach.

Only clouds, water and sand...
Kite in the sky
Kite close-up
 Common sandpipers are small-sized birds, but they have relatively long legs that they put to good use. When seen running in groups the birds appear to display a remarkable coordination of movement. Sandpipers are ground feeders that dine on crustaceans, insects, worms, and other coastal creatures. They retrieve them by meticulously pecking and probing with their short bills.
I was taking pictures and video clips while Igor took my picture from the boardwalk.

Oh, I would never forget about those vicious beasts.
We went to Brigantine in August last year,
and  I still have scars from the bites...

We had lunch at the Pirates' Den restaurant, and it was nice, my crab cake was very yummi.
Clouds over the ocean
High tide - ocean waves are leaving water puddles on the beach

Walkway to the Paradise

View from the boardwalk
September fun on the beach

Crocodile on the beach

Horseshoe crab. Aren't they huge!  They look similar to crustaceans, but actually they are more closely related to spiders and scorpions. The earliest horseshoe crab fossils are found in geologic layers from the late Ordovician period, roughly 450 million years ago.

Cloud reflection and Igor walking on the desert beach. We walked for 5 hours this day, and ended up with sunburns on our faces. The sun was not as strong as in summertime, but it was breezy and we did not realize we needed sunblock.

Four-wheeler on the beach
Low tide
Remnants of an old pier
One of the Atlantic City hotels on the horizon

Total relaxation after such a busy work week

Shells on the beach

Saying goodbye to the wonderful day down the New Jersey shore...