Monday, December 31, 2012


We decided to take a little trip down south and stopped in Fayetteville at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum to get some of our wiggles out. It was a good museum (but not as good as the Marine's Museum in Quantico).

Poor Rachel suffers from PTSD from the warzone rooms in the Marine's Museum we went to last month so when we had to walk through the airplane to get into the Airborne/Special Ops museum she ran right through as quickly as she could and then proceeded to rush through the rest of the museum with her hands covering her ears, jumping at everything. The odd thing was that although there were "soldiers" lurking around corners there really wasn't any noise in the museum—Rachel was just afraid that she was going to walk right into some crazy reenactment.

I liked this poster that suggested that the United States and Russia were buddies once upon a time. And I know that they were allies but they've had such a rough patch in their relationship—with the Cold War behind them and the hard time they've had overcoming their feelings of animosity since it's almost funny to think that one of the forefront cannons would be decked with the USSR's sicle and hammer.

Here we are entering France:

Miriam plugged her ears a lot, too, but mostly just to copy Rachel than because she was scared.

We found a North Korean flag. I don't think I've ever seen one of them in real life before.

And these barefoot boots were from a reconnaissance patrol in Laos during the Vietnam War. We thought they were fascinating (and perhaps something that Uncle Patrick would enjoy wearing).

We went to Iraq and Afganistan where Rachel searched houses for illegal weapons and Miriam negotiated with (or asked directions from) the locals:

There was a large POW exhibit, which was at once fascinating and sickening. I can't believe the treatment the prisoners in Vietnam endured for years. Grandma knows a man who spent seven years as a POW—Larry Chesley, the author of Seven Years In Hanoi. It's incredible how effective a weapon the environment of Vietnam was: the mosquitoes, the jungle, the humidity. American soldiers had planes and boots and all sorts of technology while the Vietnamese had "pyjama-like" uniforms and sandals.

The conditions in the POW camps in Vietnam were quite horrible but I appreciated this quote by Nick Rowe—it's something I've heard before but it was still nice to read it again:

After we'd been through the exhibit we rode on the simulator (which was a most unenjoyable experience for me though everyone else seemed to enjoy it). 

Rachel was excited that she was tall enough to go on it and went with Grandma and Grandpa while I fed Benjamin and Andrew hung out with Miriam.

Miriam was devastated that she wasn't tall enough to go on the ride but she gets over things quickly and was already interested in another activity when I came back out to tell her that she was allowed to watch from the side of the ride. So Grandpa held Miriam while Andrew and I rode the simulator. 

Then Grandma and Grandpa took the girls out to watch a passing train while I fed Benjamin again...

Then Benjamin slept in the car for a while but he woke up angry and wanting to Andrew gave him sips of apple juice through a straw for the last half hour of the trip. That kept him plenty happy.

Once we got to Charleston, which was our destination, we ate a place called Moe's Southwest Grill (founded in Atlanta, which is unusual for a southwest grill, wouldn't you say?) and it was very good—probably our closest equivalent to Costa Vida (oh, Costa Vida, why did we discover you a month before we moved away from you?). After dinner we got all set up in the hotel.

We stayed in a little suite with two rooms off of a little living room. Since we can't trust the girls and Benjamin to go to sleep in the same room (no offense, children, but...yeah) we put Benjamin to sleep in the pack'n'play in our bedroom and put the girls to sleep on Grandma and Grandpa's bed. Then the adults would stay up late playing Hand and Foot (though not quite with these particular rules...) before pulling out the hide-a-bed, which is where the girls finished out their night.

They slept remarkably well together, which was quite shocking considering how well they get along when they're awake.

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