Thursday, April 30, 2009

BONSAI! A day at the National Arboretum

Today I discovered my righteous desire for bonsai trees during our spur of the moment, Will woke up early from an early nap, what do we do with the afternoon trip to the National Arboretum. Most of the display trees have been in bonsai state since the early 1950s.
I told Brigham about their wonder and he smiled and told me that his dad had once gone through a brief phase in which he thought Bonsai trees were pretty cool, too. Then he told me that we are not Bonsai sort of people. Maybe he isn't meticiulous, detail-oriented or dedicated to quietly snipping branches off of miniature and highly expensive trees, but he can speak for himself. I still think it would make a cool gift. A little tree and a Bonsai manual.
We were the only people in the place. The boys got to run like crazy. We pretended that the miniature trees were magical mini forests, sheltering magical dragons that would miniaturize when people came around. Andrew, in a Scooby-Doo phase, searched everywhere for "clues" pertaining to these majestic creatures. Oh how I wanted to believe, too. If you enlarge the photo you can see all the detail: rocks with real moss clinging to the sides, flowers, a stone person that comes to life as soon as your back is turned and will grant you three wishes.
The place was great for jumping.
There were enormous Japanese carp that would surface and beg for food. There is a feeding station, too, but there was no feed in it today. (Warning: if you pick your child up and pretend to throw him into the water, the fish will dart away with so much splashing that you will feel guilty for startling the hideous little things.)
If I were in an alternative music band, this would be our album cover. Don't you think? (I am referring to the photo of Andrew with the flower bush).
Very artistic. In-dEEd.
The best shot I could get of this pretty little entrance.
My dad and I talked about the passage of time (sure, what do you talk to your parents about on an ordinary afternoon?) and he remarked that it is strange to reach a point in life where you know that you are doing things for the last time; ie driving the last car you will ever buy, a warranty that will expire after you do, etc. He joked this would be the last time he ever went to the National Arboretum. (Sure, death jokes are always funny!) I include all of this because it was funny and we laughed, but someday the kids will look at these photos when all of the people pictured really are gone, including the little selves they were. Their Papa comes on most of our little ventures around DC and he and Nana are otherwise very much a central part of the kids' lives. How wonderful to be so loved by so many.
There is a fountain in the courtyard at the top of this hill and it flows down into a murky little pond at the bottom. Lots of fun for the boys to splash and play and injest bacteria. The columns were taken from the Capitol Building in 1951 and then dedicated at the Aboretum in 1990.
We had a really nice little time.


Jenny said...

Alexandra, you are such a cute mom. I'm going to take Justin there to look for those magical people and dragons. I like your rock album cover of Andrew--that's hilarious. If your band still needs a name, I always thought a good alternative rock name would be Emergency Poncho.

Michelle said...

what fun pictures! where is that place? It looks like such a fun place. I love your boys and what a fun grandpa to go on these little outings with you. It majorly makes me miss my parents! love you!

Momo Cannon said...

It is true that Grandpa Cannon had a bonsai episode. We still have the scissors and manual but the poor tree did die. It looks like a wonderful day. I think it is great that your Dad can go with you on these memory making excursions.

Lyndsay said...

It's a testament to your motherhood skills that you have so many pics of your kids with huge [obviously sincere] smiles. I'm so jealous that your kids will be able to grow up near their grandparents!

Allie said...

I LOVE seeing pictures of your dad with the grandkids. He must be loving the ability to go on fun outings with them.

You are far more adventurous as I am when it comes to outings with the kids. I feel like I deserve a medal just for a successful trip to the local park.

I was laughing when reading the part about passage of time, especially about the car part. I was thinking there is no way that your dad could at this point purchase a car that would outlive him. Then I remembered your suburban (I think it was a suburban) and your mom vowed it would NEVER die.

Jacqueline Auna and family said...

I really love that pic of Andrew, your dad and Will behind that magical bonsai bc it looks normal-sized that way. The dark clouds are beautiful above the arboretum - it draws the bright colors out somehow.

Sarah said...

That really is fun that you and your boys can go on so many outings with your dad. We wish we had some family nearby! Andrew and Will will have lots of wonderful memories with them. You are a wonderful mom.

I've never been to the National Arboretum, but I'm sure I'd love it! These pictures are beautiful!

Also, I can't wait to see you guys again this Summer. Benjamin talks all the time about going to Utah after his birthday. July is coming up so fast! It will be wonderful to get the boys together again!

Katie Cannon said...

OH Alexandra I always look at your blog when I need a grand smile. I can't believe I never went there while i was living with you. I love your blog and I love you. I can't wait to see you this summer. It will be an amazing trip I hope.
and yes my dad Had bonsai tree phase I believe my mom and I are the reason it died.

Alisha said...

I'm glad you went and on a much more pleasant day too! Each time I go I only see one thing. Next time I'll have to check out the Bonsai exhibit.

Yes - I agree with the album cover. Your boys are so photogenic. Can I do a photo shoot with them?

Alexandra said...

Alisha, please do! Anytime. I would seriously love it.

Tat said...

I wish I lived in your life. If our lives were a Venn diagram, the circles would barely touch every year or so, on the day we take our boys to the dinosaur museum at Thanksgiving point, for example. I want more overlap.

Alexandra said...

Tat, it has been too long since we last saw each other. I remember thinking that Andrew would probably skip the dinosaur phase since he was so fascinated with cars and trucks. I was wrong.

I wish we could go to London. It feels like London today, so rainy and grey here.

Carrie said...

We'll meet you there next time. I grow more and more attached to this area the longer I live here and the more of it I see.

robaran said...

I love what you've done with your blog Alex. I just got caught up. The boys are looking adorable and so happy with their grandpa. As fun as Malawi is, that is the thing we miss the most. Having the kids see their grandparents. What a blessing for you guys to have your parents so close.

ps. I miss you!