Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Lincoln Memorial

It was an odd occasion I found myself in last week. Sitting at Subway (think sandwiches not NYC) with just my husband across from me. Most of our conversation was centered on the house and all the projects that needed to be done. We also talked about my oldest that had just learned about our country’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. I was telling hubby about how excited little K was when he came home telling me all the things he had learned about good ol’ Abe Lincoln. I asked hubby if there was anyway he could take the following week off. He said no. I told him I would like to take the kids to visit his family who live on the outskirts of DC. Little K has the week off from school and I thought this would be a great moment for the kids to see the family AND the Lincoln Memorial.

So I made the drive, me, my two little ones. The first day we spent at my sister-in-law’s with her two boys that are close to my oldest age. That evening we went to Chuck E Cheese with almost every one of my in-laws for dinner. My boys and their cousins had a great time. I had forgotten how expensive Chuck E Cheese is. But we all had a good time and the kids got some cheap toys that lasted less than 5 minutes.

My father in-law, who is recently retired, has volunteered to be our tour guide, which I am very grateful for. Today we took the kids to the Smithsonian, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial and the Korean War Memorial. Little K was so happy to get his picture taken with Lincoln. He is looking forward to taking it in for his share day at school. But I think the kid’s favorite part was the Bugs exhibit at the Smithsonian and of course the dinosaurs (which we go to almost every time we are here).

It is odd having to do the kids bath time all by myself. Typically hubby does that job. I am not so good at it. I got yelled at by my oldest for not doing it right. Oh, well.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

I Must Admit to Some Tree Hugger Tendencies.

As I have watched much of the forests come down in the last 3 years in my area, I have been curious about what we are doing to our environment; our air quality. My understanding of science is pretty basic, but in elementary I learned we get the oxygen we breathe from trees and other green living plants that surround us. The recent landslide that killed 1,500+ people is being blamed on the recent rains and the logging industry, even though they pulled out over 10 years ago. Recently I found a climate change calculator. It allowed me to select average household for questions such as how much electricity and natural gas does your household use (so I didn't have to go searching through all of my bills last year and figure out my average). It also took into consideration the gas mileage of my car and the amount of miles I drove last year. I drive a 4 cylinder manual transmission. My gas mileage is an average of 27 miles per gallon. With all that information it calculated my household has an annual CO2 emissions of 47.8 tons. It also calculated the annual number of new trees needed to absorb that amount of CO2, which are 144 trees. I was shocked. I was expecting something closer to 90 trees for a lifetime. If you would like to calculate the number of trees it takes to sustain your household, you can at: http://www.americanforests.org/resources/ccc/

Top 10 Reasons Why Trees Are Valuable and Important
1) Trees Produce Oxygen
1 Mature tree can give enough oxygen to support 10 living breathing people. The forest also acts as a giant filter that cleans the air we breath.

2) Trees Clean the Soil
Trees can either store harmful pollutants or actually change the pollutant into less harmful forms. Trees act as a filter for our soil.

3) Trees Control Noise Pollution
Trees muffle urban noise almost as effectively as stone walls.

4) Trees Slow Storm Water Runoff
Flash flooding can be dramatically reduced by a forest or by planting trees.

5) Trees Are Carbon Sinks
6) Trees Clean the Air
7) Trees Shade and Cool
8) Trees Act as Windbreaks
A windbreak can lower home heating bills up to 30% and have a significant effect on reducing snow drifts.

9) Trees Fight Soil Erosion
Tree roots bind the soil and their leaves break the force of wind and rain on soil. Trees fight soil erosion, conserve rainwater and reduce water runoff and sediment deposit after storms.

10) Trees Increase Property Values
Trees can increase the property value of your home by 15% or more.

Whats was your CO2 number?