Sunday, March 31, 2013

Non-camping, Part II

On Saturday we took the girls to Wilmington Raleigh to enjoy some beachfront museums. Had the forecast been a little drier and warmer, our plan was to drive to the beach after ballet lessons and enjoy the day there. As it turned out, the forecast was wet and cold so instead we struck off for Raleigh to visit the North Carolina Museum of History.

Our girls both managed to be remarkably cool-headed through all our plan-changing.

Ballet was wonderful and the car ride to Raleigh didn't even feel too long. Rachel read to herself for a while (what did we do before literacy happened?) and she and Rachel played with some fluffy toy chicks they scored at the Sunbeam Egg Hunt.

We had a picnic outside of the capitol building and enjoyed playing around on the grounds outside.

Here are Rachel, Miriam, and Benjamin playing Roll Your Hands together:



Sometimes Benjamin likes to play a game called "Put your arms up! Put your arms down!" (Though he wouldn't play it on Skype today, silly boy!)



We had fun playing with the cannons out in front. Miriam was all about pretending to shoot them.


Rachel was all about pretending to get blown up. It was a peaceful game...



Benjamin enjoyed the cannons, too.


He fit inside quite nicely.



We took this picture of Andrew with both presidents named Andrew. Perhaps one day Andrew will be the third president named Andrew.



On second thought, I'm not sure I'd want him to pursue such a busy career. We rather like having him around.


I didn't take many pictures inside the museum, but it was really fun. We learned about where the term Tar Heel comes from (and later looked up the history behind Duke's mascot (even though the term Tar Heel refers to North Carolinians in general, not just UNC fans, it got us wondering about the decision to use Blue Devils for what was originally a rather religious school)). We also learned that there were several U-boats just off the coast of North Carolina during WWII and they sank so many ships that Cape Hatteras became known as "torpedo junction."

Cape Hatteras, home to the tallest (brick) lighthouse in America, is a crazy little island on the outer banks. Andrew wants to plan a trip out there sometime—stopping in Kitty Hawk and then driving down to Cape Hatteras and camping out. It's way out there on a tiny little island but there are cities and gas stations and everything along the way. I'm sure they're the first to be evacuated during hurricane season! (We spent a long time looking at the big map of North Carolina in the Museum of Natural Sciences, discussing the geography of North Carolina (though we didn't actually spend much time there, we did wander around the first floor and Benjamin was quite enraptured by all the animals; we'll have to go back sometime when we're less exhausted from walking around the history museum)).

Rachel and Miriam were fascinated by the pirate exhibit. They thought it was terribly spooky. Later (in a well-lit and less spooky hallway) we found a portrait of ol' Blackbeard the pirate:


We also found a couple of post cards:


They had a children's exhibit, which our girls were just a little too young for, but there were a lot of hands-on things throughout the museum to keep their attention anyway.


Taking Rachel-the-reader to museums is a new experience. At one point she came up to me solemnly and gave me a hug.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"I just read a sign that said that slaves had to give their babies to their owners and then the owners would sell them away. I don't think I'd like that very much," she sniffed. "I'd want to stay with you!"

"Fortunately," I pointed out. "We're not slaves...and that doesn't happen anymore anyway so you don't need to worry about it happening to you."

It was nice to nip her pestering in the bud; whenever she asked what anything was we'd say, "Find a sign and read it." Every artifact was numbered and each number could be found on a nearby sign. She did some serious reading in the museums!

***

On our way back to the car we realized that we'd made it to Wilmington after all!


We stopped at Duke to see the Easter preparations at the chapel. Andrew had been caught in the Good Friday processional on Friday morning and had wanted to follow it into the chapel but was due to meet us at the Museum of Life and Science so he couldn't.

They had so many lilies set out at the front; it smelled divine!


Benjamin was very impressed with the stained glass windows and when we walked into the chapel his eyes got big and round and he said, "Oooh!"



Miriam wanted her picture taken in front of the alter and for some reasons insisted that she be doing "sailboat legs" in said picture:


The chapel was pretty much empty except for us and a few people setting up for midnight mass (I think they were doing a Catholic mass in the chapel last night). One of the women setting things up approached us to ask that we hold Miriam's hand. "The chapel can get pretty crowded and we wouldn't want her to get separated from you," she said.

"Okay," we said, and held her hand for a few minutes until we stopped and let her wander a bit on her own because...



...clearly the chance of her being separated from us in a crowd was currently rather low.

We decided to treat the kids to McDonald's, which they thought was terribly exciting. So exciting that Rachel wrote this in her journal last night: "We went to Duke for dinner today. Did you know there is a McDonald's at Duke? There is!" The fact that they didn't have toys didn't even bother the girls because there's a McDonald's at Duke!

We used the bathroom twice while we were there. We also used the bathrooms at the Natural Science Museum, the History Museum, the capitol building, ballet, and home. It felt like we spent half the day finding bathrooms to use! Miriam enjoyed dancing in front of this big mirror.


She loves the song Gangnam Style and will often start singing and dancing it at random. She thinks the words are "Whomp, whomp! Whomping Gangnam Stir!"


This is her Gangnam Style face:


She's so funny.

And that sweater she's wearing? The label definitely says 18 months and she's definitely been wearing it since before she was a year old and it doesn't look like she'll be giving it up anytime soon. It's her "Hermione sweater" and she will probably wear it until it's nothing but rags.

Rachel pushed Benjamin all the way to the car by herself.



She drove him right into the bushes a few times, but other than that she did great!


The most shocking part of the entire day was that Miriam stayed awake, super happy and hyper, while Rachel took a nap in the car. Let me say that again: Rachel. Took. A. Nap. 

Crazy, right?

1 comment:

  1. Andrew and I went to Wilmington last weekend. I hate you were unable to go, but I loved reading about your time in Raleigh and seeing the chapel at Duke. I'm so glad Miriam wasn't lost...hahahaha!

    By the way, y'all make great postcards and I love Benjamin in the cannon.

    I enjoy taking these field trips with you through your blog. :)

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