Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

We are, once again, keeping Easter simple around here. A quiet morning with a small chocolate egg hunt, a couple of new toys, pajamas and family time. We hope that you are all having a great Easter!

Chocolate eggs hidden by dad land all over the house, like on clocks...

...and on bookshelves.

I so wish that I could look and be this happy right after climbing out of bed.

We wouldn't let the boys out of their room until we were ready. Joel had to hold them back!

The hunt is on.

Pile of goods from us, Grandma Ricki and Gammy.

Noah's new Lego Ninjago.

Gammy, much to the boy's delight, fills her eggs with dollar bills!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Smartphone at the Chinese Garden

Spring break happened during the first week of April. We decided to try and take the boys to OMSI one day but when we showed up the parking, the overflow parking and the overflows overflow parking were all full and crawling with folks trying to find a spot. We, much to the boys dismay, decided that we would not be doing OMSI that day. Trying to quickly come up with something to do we decided to visit the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Downtown Portland. We parked in the Lloyd Center area and rode the MAX train down to Chinatown. Walked a block and entered a beautiful oasis amidst the hustle and bustle of the city. The only problem that day, I did not have my camera! I decided not to take it to OMSI and then we ended up in place that begged for my camera. I did have my Droid2 Smartphone with me though and used that camera to capture a few shots. Not the best quality but the beauty is still worth sharing.

This picture makes my heart go pitter-pat. My poor husband has to hear how much I love this picture each and every time I view it.

My Birthday

Thought I would share a couple of quick pictures from my birthday...

Grandma Ricki and Oliver made me a birthday cake. It had lots and lots and lots and lots of sprinkles. My Ollie-man does love his sprinkles! I made him put his finger in the sprinkles so you could see that they came up to his first knuckle joint...SPRINKLES!

Joel lit the candles and they sang happy birthday to me. Getting close to the big 4-0 but not quite there yet.

And since the anticipation of five pounds of sprinkles weren't enough, we hit Voodoo Doughnuts that morning!

Speaking of Flying

There is this really cool playground at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. It has a helicopter, a spaceship and a bi-plane! There were some swings, of course, and Noah decided to try and put what he had learned in the museum to work. Let's see how he did...

A quick glance at part of the playground.

Noah couldn't get this one off the ground so he took things into his own hands and headed for the swings!

Fly boy! Fly like the wind!

(radio crackling) Landing gear down, ready for approach.

Noah's just trying to overshoot the runway now!

Nice form!

My boy had a lot of fun practicing his flying and I had a lot of fun capturing the moment!

Spruce Goose

Since the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum has done all the research on this HUGE aircraft for me I am just going to take quotes from their website...
At the center of our museum stands the original Spruce Goose. Built entirely of wood due to wartime restrictions on metals, this massive airplane stands as a symbol of American industry during World War II. Learn more about the history, first flight, and legacy of this mammoth plane.
The largest airplane ever constructed, and flown only one time, the Spruce Goose represents one of man’s greatest attempts to conquer the skies. It was born out of a need to move troops and material across the Atlantic Ocean, where in 1942, German submarines were sinking hundreds of Allied ships. Henry Kaiser, steel magnate and shipbuilder, conceived the idea of a massive flying transport and turned to Howard Hughes to design and build it. Hughes took on the task, made even more challenging by the government’s restrictions on materials critical to the war effort, such as steel and aluminum. Six times larger than any aircraft of its time, the Spruce Goose, also known as the Flying Boat, is made entirely of wood.
Originally designated HK-1 for the first aircraft built by Hughes-Kaiser, the giant was re-designated H-4 when Henry Kaiser withdrew from the project in 1944. Nevertheless, the press insisted on calling it the “Spruce Goose” despite the fact that the plane is made almost entirely of birch.
The winged giant made only one flight on November 2, 1947. The unannounced decision to fly was made by Hughes during a taxi test. With Hughes at the controls, David Grant as co-pilot, and several engineers, crewmen and journalists on board, the Spruce Goose flew just over one mile at an altitude of 70 feet for one minute. The short hop proved to skeptics that the gigantic machine could fly.
Perhaps always dreaming of a second flight, Hughes retained a full crew to maintain the mammoth plane in a climate-controlled hanger up until his death in 1976.
The Spruce Goose was kept out of the public eye for 33 years. After Hughes’ death in 1976, it was purchased by entrepreneur Jack Wrather and moved into a domed hangar in Long Beach, California.
In 1988, the Walt Disney Company bought the aircraft from the Wrather Corporation. Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum co-founders, Michael King Smith and Delford M. Smith, submitted the winning proposal in 1992 to provide the aviation icon with a proper home. The Flying Boat was disassembled and transported by barge up the West Coast, then down the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, to Portland, Oregon. It remained there for several months, until water levels permitted the huge structures to safely pass under the Willamette’s many bridges. Finally, in February 1993, the aircraft was transported by truck for the last 7.5 miles to McMinnville, Oregon. Temporary hangars were built as housing for the aircraft, while volunteers worked on the aircraft’s restoration. In 2001, re-assembly of the Hughes Flying Boat was completed in its new home.

That is no small plane under the wing of the Spruce Goose.

Tail you see the volunteer walking under the tail?

This area had little to no light so it was hard to get a good shot. This is inside the Spruce Goose, looking towards the tail of the plane. The ribs/skeleton of the plane are incedible and to the lower right of the picture the mannequin pilot gives you an idea of perspective. It was amazing.

This is looking forward. The cockpit is up those stairs on the right.

Fun fact!

Park the Goose then bring in all the other planes around it!

Another shot to hopefully give some perspective, fighter jet bottom left, people gawking below.

This shot was taken from the second story above the gift shop.

Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum

Over Spring Break we took the boys down to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville OR. The museum is incredible, so many planes and plane related items in the aviation building and then you get to wander over to the space building and look at a ton more. I will say this really quickly though, it is expensive, really expensive. On one hand I understand the need to charge such high prices (upkeep and such) but on the other hand when you have to pay $76 for a family of four it seems like it could be putting it out of the reach of many mid to lower income families. Not researching it much, I don't know if they have programs or options so that the museum can be seen by all but I sure hope they do. We had a great day though, learned a lot, saw a lot and had fun. I could have spent a few days playing with camera angles and lighting too! The big draw and attraction at the museum is the Spruce Goose. I decided to give the GIANT floating plane a post of it's own on another day.

Started out the morning with a quick cuddle.
This doesn't happen much so we HAD to document the moment.
Loved the colors on this plane.
So many beautifully built planes. The craftsmanship is out of this world.
Oooooh, shiny!
Oliver LOVED that this one was hanging upside down from the ceiling.
A little area for the kids to play and learn.
Another shiny beautiful plane.
So many planes there, this barely scratches the surface. There are also volunteers, many of them Veterans, all over the museum. You don't even have to ask a question, a quick glance their way and they are more than willing to share a story or three with you.
Noah loved this plane and I loved how the sunlight was glowing through the wings.

And now over to the Space side of things. My "Star Wars" loving Noah looked at this space pod and said, "Look! It's like the Death Star."
The Titan rocket thing-a-ma-jig...yes, that's a technical term, sheesh!
This was actually really neat, you could take the spiral staircase or elevator down to the bottom and look up, way, way up.
I made a joke that the space program seems to have some VERY feminine looking features. It looks like a prom dress to me, not some fancy rocket engine baffle whatever-ma-bob...yes, more technical terms!
The lighting on the space capsule made me happy.
HUGE windows in both buildings that let in a ton of natural light. This is what it looked like the entire time we were there. Gorgeous!
This is a little cockpit type place that you climbed into and then drive and dock your vehicle into the space station. Well at least that's what I think they were doing. I giggle at the look of concentration on their faces.
Hello Mr. Moonwalker
This is the engine to the SR-71 plane that Joel's Grand-Dad worked on while he was in the military.
Another shot of the SR-71