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Knucklehead’s First Day of School and Pvt. Cole Reports for Duty

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I know, you are wondering where my next DC Trip post is, and hold your horses, because it’s coming!  First, I had to take a couple of days away from the computer and spend it with my kids and get caught up on chores around the house.

The first thing I did was hug on these two boys!  I missed them while I was gone!

JT and Knucklehead

The Hubs is on 60 hour weeks, so with him only home one day a week, it’s just not feasible for him to do much around here.  He needs at least one day of rest with the schedule he is keeping so there were quite a few things to get done.

While I was gone, and enjoyed near perfect weather in DC, it rained here at home almost every day and my grass was so tall, the mower kept bogging down.  We had no choice but to bust out the tractor and get the heaping piles of grass up.  I was being smart and raking down hill!

Yard Work

Knucklehead had his first day of school on Monday, and you know we had to prepare for that, had to attend open house and get all his stuff ready and together.  Here’s the big 6th grader on that first morning.

First Day of School

Not a happy camper can you tell?  His stomach hurt, the grass was wet, he wanted to get down to the end of the driveway and wait for the bus even though he had 15 more minutes, and he did not want to smile.  AT ALL.  But I made him.  So then this is what I got.

First Day of School Smile

Totally fake, but at least it wasn’t that frown!  After I snapped the shot, he went right back to his frown and walked down to wait for the bus.  He did have a great first day though and was very glad to see his friends.  He has been getting his homework done easily enough.  So far, so good.

Then on Monday evening, the first day of school, and Justin’s last day at home before leaving for boot camp, we had a small, family gathering to say goodbye to him, and to say goodbye to my nephew William who is going back to Colorado for High School this year.

But first, I should back up a bit and tell you that Justin’s Dad drove all the way up here from Alabama to spend the weekend with him before boot camp.  He picked him up and they went to stay with his Dad’s family in Sherwood for the weekend.

Justin with his Dad

They came back on Monday and his Dad stayed and had dinner with us.  After we all had dinner, since Justin and William both were leaving we all decided to load up and head over to the Romance Cliffs to get good pictures of everyone.

This is my favorite picture of my family.  I wish The Hubs had been here, but he had to work. :(

Us Romance 2013

My friends David and Diane took this picture of all of us, and I think it turned out great. From left to right is Justin, Knucklehead, William, Mom, Dad, Me, brother John, and Addie.

This is a great shot of the boys.

JT Knucklehad William

I love this shot of Mom and Dad.

Mom and Dad

This is a great shot of my brother John, William and Addie.

John William and Addie

These are my friends, David and Diane.

David and Diane

Did I mention that I love these boys?

Michael and Justin

This is Justin with his Dad, Junior Cole.

Junior and Justin

And here folks, you are looking at a rarity.  One of probably three pictures of Junior and I together with Justin since we divorced, oh, I’d say about 15 years ago.  But Justin wanted a picture of us with him so we did.  Luckily, we get along great most of the time and it was no problem.

Junior Susie Justin

The next morning JT had to be up at the Armory in Heber Springs by 6 am. It was still dark when we got there and we took some last, going away shots.

Me JT Knucklehead

Junior and Justin

JT and Knucklehead

I have mentioned my love for those boys, right?  Yeah, I thought so.

Sgt. Gipson arrived and I got this shot, then they got in the car and drove off.  Headed to Camp Robinson where Justin would be processed in and leave from.

Sgt. Gipson

Justin’s Dad left to make the drive back to Alabama, I got knucklehead off to school and guess what?  I didn’t cry!  I made it all day without crying, and I was doing great. Then Justin sent me this picture from the plane that night as he was boarded and waiting for takeoff to Oklahoma City. I admit I did cry for a bit.  But, it wasn’t tears of sadness.  I’m so proud and happy for him.  This is what he has wanted to do since he was a little boy.

JT on the plane

He arrived in OKC about 8:30 and had a two-hour bus trip to Fort Sill.  I did get to talk to him last night, and he’s doing ok. It’s a lot more than he thought, but he is brave and strong and he’s making it.  From what I understand, he is processing in and the real deal boot camp starts on Monday, and then it will be three or more weeks before I can talk to him again.

Since he left, I’ve been just keeping up with the normal compound chores and duties and resting up from the trip and chores and stress of getting everyone where they have to be. Now, I’m back to the computer and settled into a routine with Knucklehead in school and I will get back to posting about my trip.  There’s still some sight-seeing, my trip to the National Archives, and my trip to Richmond, Virginia coming up so stay tuned!

Susie

Day Five of My DC Trip

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Up early again, on this, the 5th day of my trip, Tuesday, Aug 6th.  Leslie dropped me back off at the DAR headquarters on her way to work.

Same scenario, I milled around outside until they opened.

I got my pass for the day.

DAR Pass

The dot means, I’m a member, and the green means it’s Tuesday.  There were still a few things on my ancestors I wanted to print, and I had promised my friends David and Diane that I would look in their Ancestor files, and print the documentation for them as well.

So I headed back to the computer room and printed, printed, printed.  Then I took a brief lunch break to eat, and then came back and printed, printed, printed.  When I got done, this is what I had printed.  This does not include the prints from the day before.

Copies from DAR

Wowza, right!?!

That combined with what I printed yesterday, was 35.5 lbs, and $215 worth of copies.

Want to know how I know?

I weighed those suckers, and 25 cents a copy add’s up, y’all!

I’m also glad to report that a lot of that cost was David and Diane’s.  I’m not so sure they were glad though.  OK, they were. They were thrilled when I gave them the copies. You guys know, it’s always exciting to get stuff on your ancestors.

Oh, and I could only check two bags on the way home, each had to weigh less than 50 lbs, and after carrying all this paper around for the rest of the day, let’s just say I was concerned about getting all this home.  I had to borrow a suitcase from Leslie to do it.  Both suitcases combined, weighed 90 lbs when they weighed them at the airport.

Whew!

OK, back to the recap.

Then I bought a few things in the DAR gift shop and waited on Leslie.  She got off work early and picked me up and we drove out to Arlington Cemetery.

This was amazing!

We paid for the shuttle, and just let me tell you, “Thank Goodness!”  I would have never made those hills.  It just goes on and on and on.  Plus, it rained on us.  I had an umbrella though, so that was all good.

Arlington Cemetery

If you have visited here and this doesn’t move you, and make you understand or at least see the magnitude of the sacrifice that our soldiers and their families make for us every single day, then I’d be really worried about you.

Seriously.

Arlington Cemetery

Some of these have multiple family members in them.  Buried one on top of the other.

Arlington Cemetery

Then we headed to the Kennedy Memorial.  I’ve seen this on TV, but it’s a whole other ball game to stand here and see first hand the final resting place of John F. Kennedy, and think about the sacrifice he made on behalf of our country.

Arlington Cemetery

The final resting place of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline B. Kennedy Onassis., with two of their infant children.

Arlington Cemetery

Then we saw Robert Kennedy’s final resting place.

Arlington Cemetery

Just up at the top of the hill, above Edward Kennedy’s final resting place, is Robert E. Lee’s house.  There was one point when Leslie and I were driving through D.C. and I could see Robert E. Lee’s house way up on top of the hill, all the way across the city.  It looked as if it was looking down on everything.

Arlington Cemetery

And boy, was I right.  Here is the view from Robert E. Lee’s front yard.

Arlington Cemetery

Amazing!

This is a map of what Arlington Estate looked like back in 1860.

Arlington Cemetery

This is what it looks like now.  This is walking up the path toward the front of the house. You can see the garden, which is on the back side of the house.

Arlington Estate

This is the side of the house.

Arlington Estate

This is the front of the house.

Arlington House

This is a garden out to the side of the house.

Arlington Estate

And another one.  I’m not really even sure what this was used for.

Arlington Estate

This monument is near the Arlington Estate, and it is the Civil War Unknowns Monument. It was placed here in 1866, and is the first monument at Arlington dedicated to unknown solider’s.  This was the move by Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs that prevented Robert E. Lee and his family from inhabiting the house again.  He knew when he ordered the graves to be moved here, that would be the outcome.

Arlington Cemetery

The inscription reads:

BENEATH THIS STONE
REPOSE THE BONES OF TWO THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN UNKNOWN SOLDIERS
GATHERED AFTER THE WAR
FROM THE FIELDS OF BULL RUN, AND THE ROUTE TO THE RAPPAHANOCK,
THEIR REMAINS COULD NOT BE IDENTIFIED. BUT THEIR NAMES AND DEATHS ARE
RECORDED IN THE ARCHIVES OF THEIR COUNTRY, AND ITS GRATEFUL CITIZENS
HONOR THEM AS OF THEIR NOBLE ARMY OF MARTYRS. MAY THEY REST IN PEACE.
SEPTEMBER. A. D. 1866

Then we decided to go see the changing of the guards and on our way to do so, we saw the grave of Audie L. Murphy.  Movie star, and most decorated WWII Soldier.  He received 28 medals during the war.

Arlington Cemetery Audie Murphy

Audie’s final resting place is across from the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater.

Arlington Memorial Amphitheater

This is where we saw the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Changing of the Guards.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard

Then after we watched this, we went over to where the Memorials were for the Challenger Space Shuttle, the Space Shuttle Columbia, and the Iran Rescue Mission Monument.

Arlington Cemetery

The Challenger Space Shuttle Memorial.

Arlington Cemetery

The Iran Rescue Mission Monument.

Arlington Cemetery

The Space Shuttle Columbia Memorial.

Arlington Cemetery

Then we took our obligatory selfie.

Arlington Cemetery

Then, we went back to Leslie’s apartment, had a little supper and then we went to see the movie “White House Down”.

Totally appropriate for me to be in D.C. and watch this movie.  The best part of it was the movie theater that we went to, has recliners.

Yep, recliners baybeeeee!

I’m so surprised I stayed awake throughout the whole movie, because let me tell you, recliners in a movie theater is the way to go!  I was comfy!

Anyway, the movie was good, and we went back to the apartment and crashed.

End of this day.

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