Thursday, May 1, 2014

Flat Damien in South Carolina

Flat Damien arrived a bit affected by rain, but we fixed him up as best we could.  We are so glad he came to visit us.  South Carolina is where the Civil War started, and, at the moment, is a rainy place.  We rarely get snow in the winter.  This winter it snowed twice, which was a big deal.  No one could go to work or school, or even drive on the roads until the snow melted a couple days later.  Since we don't usually have snow, very few people own sleds.  We all went sledding anyway on trashcan lids and even our kiddie swimming pool.  It was great!

We have six people in our family: Mom, Dad, and four boys, and lots of pets. 

Pictured above and below, Flat Damien is with our pond where our fish and turtle live.  The owl likes to perch on the fence and watch them swim.  See Turtly coming up to say, "Hi!"

We are master fort builders, with a little help from our parents, so Flat Damien enjoyed taking a look inside.

We introduced Flat Damien to "Liz," our leopard gecko.  (We named Liz before we knew he was a boy.)

 Here is we are at our favorite place, the Riverbanks Zoo.  Mr. Skalicky has been there!  Just ask him!  We love it because of all of the animals.

We home school, which means we have a wonderful teacher (aka: Mom), and we get to have lots of recess between lessons to enjoy our forts and animals.  Thank you for sending your alter ego, Flat Damien, to visit us.


Wewhoshouldnotbenamed.  (ha!)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Flat Andy in New York City

Flat Andy took a trip from Brooklyn to Manhattan in New York.

He was excited to see a NYFD Fire Truck near the Guggenheim Museum, a famous Art Museum.

He visited the Lego Store at Rockefeller Center. They have every type of Lego block.

Then he visited the World Trade Center Memorial and Freedom tower where he enjoyed the views of Manhattan's tall building skyline.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Flat Andy Made it to Brooklyn

Flat Andy Finally arrived in Brooklyn, New York!
We took him on the subway to eat some Pommes Frites (French Fries)

Downtown Nashvegas

As you know, music is a big part of life in Nashville. However, it isn't all about country music! Nashville is proud to have it's very own Symphony. The building is named in honor of the late Maestro Kenneth Schermerhorn, who led the GRAMMY Award-winning Nashville Symphony for 22 years, Schermerhorn Symphony Center is home of the Nashville Symphony. Located in downtown Nashville's SoBro (South of Broadway) neighborhood, across from the Country Music Hal of Fame and Museum, the building hosts a wide range of musical events, including classical, pops, jazz, and world music. The building is designed to resembled the great music halls of Europe. 

Speaking of the Hall of Fame, here she is! To the left is a nod to an old radio tower, the windows resemble piano keys and the shape looks like Elvis's Cadillac. From an airplane, the building is in the shape of a bass clef. Inside, you can see Dolly Parton's wigs, Taylor Swift's microphone and many other pieces of music history.

Speaking of shapes and symbolism, this is the most iconic building in Nashville's skyline, the AT&T building. But if you come to Nashville, you know it as the Batman Building. We hope you can see it in person very soon!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Madelyn in the Mountains, Madelyn in the Plains

Miss Madelyn has been on exciting adventure to Colorado. So many sites! So many places! Where to begin! You can see a map of our adventures here.

First, Miss Madelyn had a long journey to Denver, Colorado, where she joined her friend Hailey. Their first stop was to visit the campus at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.  Fort Collins is a sleepy town, built on the banks of the Cache La Poudre River just to the east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.
A visit to CSU

Helping Dr. Maria teach her class at CSU
At Colorado State Madelyn helped Hailey and her professor, Dr. Maria teach a class. We knew that Madelyn might want to be a teacher one day, so we thought she could help us with one class. Madelyn helped teach in front of over 35 college seniors.  The class talked about natural resources. A natural resource is something (perhaps a mineral, waterpower source, forest, grassland, or kind of animal) found in nature that is valuable to humans. Natural resources provide energy, recreation, and scenic beauty.

Is it spring yet?

Colorado is where mountains and prairies meet
Next, we hopped in the car to visit our friend the beagle (dog), Rudy.  Rudy lives on a small farm on the banks of Dry Creek. Madelyn and Rudy had a great time exploring the creek. In early spring, the trees are just waking up, and the ducks are begging to make their nests. Soon there will be ducklings along the creek.  Behind us, you can see a storm coming in over the Rocky Mountains.  This is a picture of where the plains and the mountains meet. In foothills of Colorado we find all sorts of beautiful plant and animal species.  While going for a hike, we might see elk, deer, moose, many types of birds, as well as forests and open grasslands.

Vail, Colorado
Next, we got back in the car, but this time we packed our skis. We went on a skiing adventure in Vail, Colorado. First we drove into the mountains. Then we bundled up in all of our warm winter clothes.  We put on our skis and got on the chair lift..... up and up, until we reached the top of the mountain. At the top of the mountain it was very windy, so Madelyn stayed bundled inside a warm jacket pocket. We didn't want her to blow away!   Here you can see the beautiful Gore Mountain Range. The Gore Range is where many people in Colorado like to travel and recreate. Skiing, snowmobiling, fishing, hunting, camping and hiking are all popular sports.  Can you see the people in this photo of Vail?

After a very windy day on the mountain, Madelyn and Hailey were very tired.

 A big storm is coming!

We decided it was time to enjoy some hot chocolate and watch a storm roll across the mountains.  Even though it was springtime, snow was building up in the mountains. It will keep sonwing until it is almost summer time.  Almost all of the water in the creeks of Colorado flow from snowmelt- and in the spring the big melt helps fish, like brown trout and cutthroat trout, spawn. Spawning is when the female trout produce eggs that will become fry, or baby trout. Later in the summer, when the water slows and the snow is gone from the hills, the trout will hide in deep, cold pools. Eventually, all the snow that falls here, and the water that runs in the creeks in Vail, Colorado will flow to the Pacific Ocean. Water that runs on the east side of the continental divide, towards Denver, will flow to the Atlantic Ocean.

Finally, it was time to head back East. We got in the car and drove through the night (in very bad weather) back to Fort Collins. The next day, Flat Madelyn met another scientists, Chantsa. Chantsa is from Mongolia (picture on right). She studies the ecology of Mongolia. She studies how plants, animals and people interact there. Mongolia is a very large country with very few people.  This picture includes a book about Mongolia that researchers and herders wrote. Herders are nomadic people who tend livestock on the steppes (or plains) of Mongolia. Can you see the photo of the girl in the photo? She is a young girl who lives in Mongolia. Chantsa was not able to take Flat Madelyn to Mongolia, but maybe one day Madelyn can travel across the world and visit Chantsa's homeland.

Whew! That was a lot of traveling. We'll be signing off for now to get some rest!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Teresa at the State Capitol

Teresa made it to downtown Nashville today! She got to take a walk around the grounds of the state capitol. The Tennessee State Capitol is the seat of the Tennessee legislature, the location of the governor's office, and a National Historic Landmark. Unlike Minnesota's state capitol, it is one of only ten state capitols that does not have a dome

Teresa saw many monuments on the grounds, including statues of two of the three Tennessee residents who served as President of the United States: Andrew Jackson and Andrew Johnson. The second President from Tennessee, James K. Polk, is buried in a tomb on the grounds, alongside his wife, Sarah Childress Polk. Other monuments on the grounds include the Sargent Alvin C. York Memorial, the Tennessee Holocaust Commission Memorial, the Sam Davis Memorial, the Senator Edward Ward Carmack Memorial and the Memorial to Africans of the Middle Passage.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A flat visitor to Razdolna village school!

Amazing!  A flat visitor has come along to see the little Russian Old Believer village of Razdolna!

Razdolna is a small, unicorporated community about 18 miles east from Homer, Alaska.  My wife, Ali, works in the school there, and took our favorite flat visitor to see what goes on at Razdolna School.

There are only about 30 families in this little village, but the views they have from their schoolyard are pretty amazing!

Sunrise at school.  What a view!

Time for a lesson in Russian language

Wishing it was time for recess!

The snow is almost melted, and we have over 12 hours of sun every day now

Razdolna's playground is ready for some recess fun

Friday, March 28, 2014

Flat Teresa Finally Makes it to Nashville!

We've had a very cold and rainy spring, making it difficult to see the sights around town. We're happy to have Teresa here with us at the quintessential Nashville, Tennessee site, the Ryman Auditorium!

The auditorium first opened as the Union Gospel Tabernacle in 1892. It was built by Thomas Ryman, a riverboat captain and Nashville businessman. The building was home to the Grand Ole Opry radio broadcasts from 1943 until 1974. During this time, famous country music artists like Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash performed here. It was reopened as an intimate performance venue and museum in 1994 and audiences still enjoy music in many of the original pews. The pews serve as a reminder of the auditoriums origins as a house of worship, giving it the nickname "The Mother Church of Country Music."

The Ryman Auditorium is still a favorite music venue thanks to its pitch perfect acoustics. Today, you can see bands such as Weezer, The Lumineers and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. While Nashville is still known as being the home of country music, many rock, folk and Americana artists are building their roots here thanks to the industry experts and many recording studios all over town.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Flat Mokee Meets the TUFFY the TITAN and goes to a Cal State Fullerton Baseball Game

I went to school at Cal State Fullerton and graduated with a business degree. During my studies there I was very involved with a business club. That involvement and school spirit carried over after graduation. As a result, I took you to an Alumni Association Baseball Tailgate.  The festivities started at the Golleher Alumni House. This is where you made a many new friends. 

This is a picture you took with two of your new friends. One of them being Tuffy the Titan (our mascot). 

 You also had the opportunity to be meet many other alumni. Not only that but we had Thomas Eshelman join us. He one of our best pitchers. 

You made many new friends and everyone was very pleased to meet you Flat Mokee!
After the festivities we made our way to Goodwin Field for the game.  We played against Cal State Long Beach, they're a crosstown rival. It was an intense game.

Here you are at the "Titans" wall.

Let's go check the lineups
Long Beach up to bat. HEY BATTER, BATTER!

Cal State Fullerton up to bat. GO TITANS!

Here you are at Goodwin Field with a panoramic view.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Flat Soua Rides on the "Tube"!

Do you know what else is funny here?... I went to ride on the subway today and they call it "the Tube"!!  They have lots of trains which travel underground all around London so you can get from one place to another without having to sit in traffic.  London is the biggest city in England (and about the third biggest city in Europe after Moscow and Istanbul) so there are lots of people and LOTS of cars and buses and bikes on the roads.  So, it's much quicker for me to take "the Tube"!

Here I am at a station called Moorgate which is where lots of people in London work.  It is quite Central (a little bit East) and has lots of big office buildings...

Oh, and here I am outside one of the big offices!

It's bedtime for me now though so I'll have to tell you about more of my travels soon!  Oh, one more thing... did you know that the time in England is different to the time in America? Funny huh? It's my bedtime here now but you are probably just going home from school and playing with your friends! How crazy!!

Good night!

Flat Soua goes to a soccer game...

So I see you've been talking about soccer... Well, in England they call soccer "football" which is funny because it's not like the football we have in America!  Anyway, I was able to go to a game the other day and watched Chelsea FC play against Tottenham Hotspur.  Chelsea FC is a team from London and they wear blue shirts and blue shorts and they are my favourite team!!  They won the match 4-0 - it was great!  

Go Blues!! 

Soccer (or football!) is the most popular sport in England.  They don't play baseball or American football in England, just lots of soccer and rugby!  Hmm... maybe I should try it some time.