Since our last post, we have been active explorers in and around the DC area. Most of our activities have been limited to weekends, as Carter's school year ended only in mid-June (quite a departure from Kansas where summer vacation begins in May). Carter has taken on the primary role of family photographer, so many of the images that follow are his.
Over the last three months, Carter has returned to his Irish roots, seeking out four-leaf clovers. Although he is only about 1/4 Irish, he has found eleven of them since May. One of his specimens is above.
In early May, embassies from all over the world held open houses on two consecutive weekends. We visited fourteen, including Cote d'Ivoire (above) which had spectacular entertainment and food.
Later in May, we traveled to Monticello. We had a lovely day, wandering through the grounds, picnicking in Jefferson's vegetable garden, and learning about the history of this important site.
On Memorial Day weekend, we attended a concert in front of the Capitol. Unfortunately, our evening was cut short by inclement weather - we were evacuated from the lawn halfway through the show.
In June, we took a short drive to West Virginia with Scott, a graduate school chum of Erik's. Scott is co-owner of thoroughbred horses that race in Charles Town. In addition to watching the races, we had a tour of the stables. Above, Carter is petting Queen McRace.
Later in June, Carter's grandfather Leo came for a visit. We went to the National Arboretum and took time to feed the koi, gaze in wonder at the bonsai (the tree below has been in training since 1625!), and even watch a "distant relative" stalk the koi later in the day.
Carter, Lea, and Leo spent an afternoon bird-watching at Dyke Marsh while Erik was at work. Carter especially enjoyed watching the young osprey learning to fly (see below).
In late June and early July, we were on the road again. We stopped in Cleveland to see Lea's relatives, made a pit stop on South Bass Island to visit Perry's Monument (Erik is currently obsessed with the War of 1812), and then traveled to Michigan to attend our good friend Todd's wedding and stay for a couple of days with Erik's parents. The stop at Perry's Monument was especially fruitful. Not only did Carter attend a free harmonica lesson with a fabulous teacher (he was given a really nice harmonica), but one of the creators of Carter's favorite show (Phineas and Ferb) re-tweeted a picture featuring Carter in front of the monument wearing his Perry the Platypus t-shirt.
We hurried back home to participate in Fourth of July celebrations. Although it was oppressively hot in DC, we spent the whole day at events. First, we watched the parade.
In addition to participants from (almost) every state, Bermuda and Bolivia also had delegations.
Second, we stopped in the White House Visitors' Center where Carter participated in a re-enactment of the Continental Congress and signing of the Declaration of Independence. He got to play the role of Thomas Jefferson, announcing his support for independence and signing the document.
Third, we dropped in on the Air and Space Museum to watch the Air Force's rock band (and cool down). Finally, we headed to a spot of grass to camp out and watch fireworks. It is hard to beat the Fourth in DC!