Saturday, March 10, 2012

In Which the Kotlii Go to Richmond

Studying the states and capitals this year, we were so thankful that our friend, Delegate Rich Anderson, was named "Rich" because it helped us remember "Richmond"! You were a visual aid, Delegate Anderson!  3-ish years ago we first met Rich, who did not laugh me off when I showed up in the GOP offices in Woodbridge wanting to help with a campaign with Savannah in a Moby Wrap, Logan in a stroller, and Riley holding my hand.

He's a brave man.

As it turns out, I was able to help with Facebook, and Riley loves knocking on doors!  The children were delighted to go down to Richmond for a tour of the grounds, and, of course, to see their friend Delegate Anderson.

 Riley and Delegate Anderson had a lovely chat about current events, including several of the homeschool bills that have hit the house floor this session.  Delegate Anderson also patiently answered Riley's questions about the page program, which Riley has decided he's "definitely definitely doing" when he's old enough.
 I took somewhere around 30 of these pictures of the kids and Delegate Anderson, this is the best one.  It's tough to get all 3 kids to look cute and in the same direction!!  The picture Riley is holding is of him and Delegate Anderson in our kitchen after the polls closed when he was first elected.  On the other side is a crayon drawing of Riley and "Mr. Rich" knocking on doors.  Riley, then 6, told him that he could only keep the picture if he won.  He's apparently kept it on his desk this whole time.
 We didn't want to take up too much of Delegate Anderson's time, but he kindly helped us arrange a tour of the capital, which is both lovely and designed by Thomas Jefferson, who is the love of my life.  (Sorry, Austin) Our American History memory work served them well.  The first thing we saw (not pictured) was Henry Clay, which prompted a song, and then when we came upon the statue above (of a pair of brothers, one Union and one Confederate who found each other after the war) the boys were happy to rattle off their knowledge of the Civil War including dates, battles, and the surrender at Appomattox Court House.

Our tour guide was fantastic and gave outstanding history along with being very patient of the children's questions.  The large doorways, for example, are so wide because the underlying stone is 4 feet thick!
 Apparently when they renovated the building (adding a new underground portion to add several thousand square feet of usable space, one additional renovation was done adding what are now the chambers), they uncovered this old elevator shaft.
 The marble used to make the checkerboard floors is FULL of fossils! The kids were crawling all over having a blast finding them! We found mostly ferns and snails/mollusks, but it was exciting!
 It happened to be that the Sergeant at Arms was carrying out the ceremonial mace to begin a session of the House of Delegates. Apparently, we used to have a silver mace, sent from England as a reminder that we were ruled by the king.  Following the Revolutionary War, the silver was sold for scrap and the mace lost.  Later, it was decided that we should have another mace as a reminder, and a gold one was commissioned.
 After our tour, we had seats reserved for us in the gallery above the House of Delegates so that we could observe a session.  Riley was so excited by the voting boards (which hang to the right and left, but cannot be seen in this picture) because you can see the vote tally changing.  We saw one bill pass, one bill be defeated, and one bill narrowly be defeated by 1 vote.  Savannah and Logan were less impressed and more hungry, though, so we headed down to the main corridor to grab some lunch and head out.
Again, getting all three of my children to smile and look normal in any one picture takes an act of Congress.  And God.  Apparently both of them were busy, so this is the best I've got.  On our way out the tour guide commented on how well-read and behaved the children were, which made my day.  She rewarded them with some coloring books and posters, which made their day.

We're very thankful for all of the people we've been able to meet in our adventures, and appreciate it when they remember us! Delegate Anderson was very kind to allow us to interrupt his day and ensure we'd have a lovely tour.
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