Monthly Archives: November 2012

Experience 30 of 52: Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

As the most visited natural history museum in the world, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is a fascinating walk through, you guessed it, natural history.  Although we barely scratched the surface of history (how could we, really, considering the age of the earth) we enjoyed walking through the Mammals Hall, the Human Origins hall and seeing the Dinosaur exhibits.  Seeing so much history can sometimes help us realize we are but small parts in the long journey of the universe.

In addition to the exhibits, we were enthralled with the Flying Monsters 3D Imax movie that taught us about the pterosaurs – the great flying reptiles of the prehistoric skies.  Some of these creatures had wingspans the size of a modern-day jet!

In preparation for our trip to Cancun (and in anticipation of our planned snorkeling adventure), we followed up the Flying Monsters film with the Coral Reef Adventure film that reminded us that “We don’t inherit the earth from our parents.  We borrow it from our children.”  This film journeyed us alongside oceanographers trying to determine why some coral reefs in the south pacific were dying off.  In doing so, the film also explained the importance of coral reefs and why they are essential to humans

  • Coral reefs support jobs and businesses that provide tourism and recreation
  • Coral reefs present a buffer to the shoreline to protect the shores from erosion and property damage
  • Coral reefs are important sources of current and promising medicinal opportunities.

There is so much to see at this museum and so much to learn that we promised ourselves we would come back on a later adventure and spend a leisurely time trying to absorb the immensity of the history of our world.  We can never comprehend it all but maybe we can help nourish the seeds of curiosity in our children and continue to cultivate a sense of awe and wonder about the world we live in.

Categories: Educational, Museum | Leave a comment

Experience 29 of 52: Rotunda of the Charters of Freedom

The National Archives “Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom” in Washington D.C. exhibits the most valued documents of our Republic: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.  Although the girls may not yet fully appreciate there value, on our way to Experience 30 of 52, we took a short detour to view these hallowed documents.

On this experience the girls learned the basics behind the documents and saw the originals first hand.  They learned:

  • The Declaration of Independence announced the 13 American Colonies (which Grace is studying in Social Studies) would form a separate nation apart from Great Britain.
  • The Constitution defined the scope of the American government system
  • The Bill of Rights explicitly defines the rights that are granted to the citizens of this great country including freedom of the press, of religion, of the right to bear arms and of assembly (and we learned what these are).

This was actually our second trip to see the documents (the other being prior to the start of our 52-in-52 adventure) but the girls were just as patient and willing to wait in line in cold weather before seeing the documents again.  They were also just as curious to see if they could read any of the original handwriting or recognize any of the signatures.  This reinforces our belief that our 52-in-52 adventure is teaching our girls that learning is living and living is learning.  As Gandhi once said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever.”  We hope that through our continued adventures our gals will enjoy absorbing all that life has to offer them, will appreciate history and will be convinced that living and learning go hand in hand.


Categories: Educational, Museum, Personal Thoughts | Leave a comment

Experience 28 of 52: Thanksgiving

This was the third consecutive year we hosted the Thanksgiving meal for Susan’s family.  Hosting is an experience in and of itself and requires the help of everyone.  We definitely have a new appreciation for the work our parents did hosting the meal in years past.  Lucky for us, from cleaning to cooking and baking to basting the entire family prepared and produced a feast fit for a king.  Thanks to everyone who set the table, brought sides to share and helped to clean the dishes we were able to spend more time visiting with our family than in the kitchen.

Added to our typical crew from Susan’s family (dad and step-mom,  mom, sister and brother-in-law with a niece and a nephew, and brother and sister-in-law) this year allowed us to enjoy the holiday with the addition of Susan’s Aunt Pat and cousin Lauren.  Pat, it turns out, is quite good at ping-pong and Paul very much enjoyed the competition.  We also had unseasonably mild temperatures this year that allowed us to spend time outdoors.

This experience was all about family, being together and, of course, appreciating all that life has brought our way.

Categories: Celebration | Leave a comment

Blog at