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