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Two Year Travel Anniversary: Museums

Wednesday, April 1st. was our 2 year anniversary of traveling. You can read about our 1 year anniversary here or here. If you haven’t read the other two posts, or you want to read them again, I would suggest going back and reading them all in order. But if you just want to read this one, than go on ahead!

At 6:00 in the morning Dad woke us up. Gordon was tired, as he always is when waking up before noon, but I wasn’t! I jumped out of bed and got dressed in a long sleeve T-shirt, jeans, a sweater, and a jacket. It’s cold here in Williamsburg, Virginia, and I’m not planning on freezing to death! At 6:30 we were all ready to go. Gordon and I grabbed blankets, and Mom handed us our breakfasts. (A chocolate-banana shake and a bagel with cream cheese for Gordon, and a shake and banana for me). We got in the car and started to drive. I brushed and braided my hair, and then we played the license-plate game. (A game in which you find license plates from different states). It was a 2 and a half hour drive, but it didn’t seem too long. At 8:30 A.M. we crossed the border and read the sign. It said:

“Welcome to Washington D.C.”

A Picture I Took of a Water Fountain
A Picture I Took of a Water Fountain

Soon after arriving, I saw the Capitol Building from the highway. I was a little disappointed to find that the dome was under construction, so we couldn’t really see it. But it was alright, because we could see so many other things! The first thing we went to was the American History Museum at the Smithsonian. There was one exhibit that had stuff from movies, like Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz. That was fun to see, but in the upper floor there were things I liked better. I can’t limit my favorite thing to just one, so I’ll tell my top three favorites.

One thing I saw that was really exciting was Thomas Jefferson’s writing desk. It was the one that he wrote the Declaration of Independence on! There was a note in it that said that he knew it would become something of great value and something that people came from all over to see.
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Another thing of Thomas Jefferson’s was a Polygraph. Now Polygraph means lie detector, but back then it was something else entirely. A polygraph use to be a brilliant device that had two arms with a fountain pen on the end of each. The idea was that you would hold one pen and write with it, and the other pen would copy your actions, because the arms were connected. There were also two ink pots. When you dipped your pen, the other pen dipped. It was a genius idea, and I can’t imagine why people don’t still use it today. Not only does it copy your words, it copies your handwriting!

The Polygraph
The Polygraph

Last, but  most certainly not least, is the most famous thing in the museum. Of course you’ve heard of it! You probably see at least one replica every single day! The last thing we saw in the American History Museum of the Smithsonian was The Original American Flag, sewn by Betsy Ross herself. The Flag!! The Flag That Francis Scott Key was looking at when he wrote the National Anthem!! How cool is that??? (Answer: Pretty Darn Cool)

The flag had fifteen stars and fifteen stripes, because at that time there were fifteen colonies. I saw “had” because somebody cut off one of the stars years ago as a keepsake. That was before the flag was in a museum, and since nobody really thought to preserve it, it was just fine to take a piece. There are little chunks cut off of edges, too.

When people were preparing the flag to be put in the museum, they had to cut 1.7 million stitches to get off the linen backing that was beginning to wear too much.


The other museum we went to was a Japanese drawing and tea museum.

I really liked looking at the tiny, detailed drawings to try to find people. Some were fishing, carrying water, walking, or hunting. Some were just sitting inside houses, or out on boats. Sometimes there were animals, too. Little birds, or a few rabbits. They were really pretty. Sorry for the size of this next picture. It would be impossible to see the detail if it was any smaller.

This is not a Japanese drawing, but it is similar in the way that it is very small and detailed. This was one of a dozen small drawings of the style.
This is not a Japanese drawing, but it is similar in the way that it is very small and detailed. This was one of a dozen small drawings of the style.

There were little tea bowls, in another room, and clay serving trays. Some were made with two different colors of clay, each taking up half of the space diagonally. Some were weird geometric shapes, and some had drawing on them or scratched into them. They were all beautiful, each in their own way.

I won’t write about the monuments, because I’m sure this is long enough already. Next week, though, Gordon will tell about them. So stay tuned!

– Lillian

A Day in my Life: When There’s not Much to do

A while back I wrote “A Day in my Life: Chesapeake Meetup.” We haven’t been doing much, so I decided to write another one about what I’m doing now. Although there’s not much going on, I still have a busy day!

Every morning at 8:00, Gordon and I get up and get ready for the day: Get dressed, clean room, brush teeth, etc. Then, at 8:30, Mom, Dad, Gordon, and I eat breakfast and read the Bible.

Gordon and I have a great app on our computers called “Evernote.” It allows people to send notes and checklists to each other.  Mom has it too, and uses it to send school work checklists to us. We can then mark off the boxes of things that we have done as we finish them. Gordon and I do our school work, but I’ve talked about that plenty in “What we Study.”

I always finish school quickly, because I have stuff to work on! This winter in the Florida Keys, we met the Ragers, a family who goes down south for the winter, but lives in Indiana, on their farm. Mrs. Rager is starting a farm stand  this April, and she wanted to sell things that homeschoolers had made. After she had seen our work, she invited Cali and I to be those homeschoolers! Of course we said yes!

We are making three things, at least to start out. The first is headbands. Cali and I are both making them, and some are reversible. They are held on with elastic, and very comfortable.
The second thing is book bags. Only Cali is making these. They are all reversible, with a thick strap, and big enough to fit an iPad.
And finally, the third thing that we sell is aprons. Right now I am the only one making these. I will have ten done; 5 kid’s size and 5 adult.

My Favorite Headband. Cartoon Whales!!!
My Favorite Headband. Cartoon Whales!!!
The Matching Apron!
The Matching Apron!

I better be going now! I’ve got sewing to do!
-Lillian

The South Carolina State Capitol

We’re currently in South Carolina, as Instagram followers know, and today we went to a very interesting and famous landmark: The South Carolina State Capitol Building!

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This is the third capitol building of South Carolina. The current  building was started in 1855. When it was interrupted by the Civil War in 1861, construction was put on hold. It was resumed in 1865, and finally finished in 1907. South Carolina had previously had the capital in Charleston, but it was moved to its more central location when those who lived inland complained of it being too far away. Construction was started on a small wooden building in Columbia, but it burned down.  A new building was built, much larger, and as fire-proof as possible. The outside is made of the state rock: blue granite. The floors inside are made of alternating diamonds of pink and white marble. The staircases are wrought-iron with sheet-metal decorations. It’s not likely to burn down any time soon.

Gordon and I with John. C. Calhoun
Gordon and I with John. C. Calhoun

I have only seen three capitol buildings, but this one was my favorite. The large copper dome on top is pretty, but the littler dome inside is just magnificent. It is built underneath the large dome, but instead of being in the middle it is far over to the left (when facing the capitol building). This is so that it can be in the middle of a large room inside the building.

As the building was finished in the Victorian Era, it is decorated in the “Modern Style” of the time. The ceilings are brightly painted, intricate works of art, and there is stained glass and glass mosaics, along with many various paintings.
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During the Civil War, several cannon-balls were shot at the building. They did only very minor damage, and the small busted sections were never fixed. Now there are six bronze stars in the outside walls of the capitol, marking what was done by the Civil War cannonballs.
-Lillian

The most and least successful cannon-ball shots.
The most and least successful cannon-ball shots.

The Winner!

We’ve been busy for a while here at Miles of Smiles Foundation.  We had a major project going. We’ll share all about it next week.

In the meantime, we were having a contest. If you told a friend about TurtleTells, you could comment and tell us, and then you would be entered. And today we’re going to tell you who won the drawing.  Here goes…

Congratulations to Vagabond Gentleman, a Mysterious Traveler and Instagrammer! (Link to his Instagram here.)
-Lillian

Marathon Key Turtle Hospital

In the town of Marathon there are sea turtles, lots of sea turtles, and if there are lots of sea turtles some of them are going to get injured. That’s why there is a sea turtle hospital.

We went on a tour of it with a few friends and learned a little about the turtles and the things they get hospitalized for:

First off are the regular things like damaged shells from getting hit by boats or hurt limbs from fishing line entanglement. But then there are the weird things like air bubbles inside of their shells (from getting hit by boats) that make it hard for them to dive or tumors that grow over their eyes so they can no longer find food.

The turtle hospital is where they can get all that fixed. They have lasers to remove the tumors and weights to put on the turtles’ shells to help them dive again.

But sometimes they don’t recover well enough to go back into the wild  and they need to stay at then hospital and live there with the other turtles who have also become permanent residents. The most common turtles to become permanent residents are the ones who get air bubbles in their shells. The weights are helpful, but when the shell grows it sheds the scales so the weights can’t stay on. The hospital workers always have to put a new weight on, meaning the turtles need to stay at the hospital.

This was a great place to go to learn about turtles and how they live, in and out of the hospital.

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Our group meeting the turtles
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This guy is all healed from his tumors and ready to go back into the wild
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This guy has a weight on his shell to help him dive