Thursday, May 01, 2014

Washington DC

Family Picture
Our only family pic - at the Botanic Garden
After spending a few days in Florida, we headed to Washington DC!

Going to DC with my family was a big deal - I've been wanting to take them since before we were a family of five! It was actually my dream to take my grandfather so he could see the WWII memorial, however, he passed away before that could happen.

When I went to DC for kayaking last summer, I was glad that the WWII memorial was not on our stops. I knew it would be emotional for me to be there and that trip was already emotional, so finally getting to see it myself, in person, was the highlight of the trip for me. More on that in a bit ...

WWII Memorial
WWII Memorial
We took an Amtrak train from Florida to Washington. It took just under 24 hours, and despite one family who wasn't being considerate of others around us, it was good. Once again, I love traveling by train! It is my favorite way to travel. I wish Amtrak was paying me to tell you this, but alas, they are not, I just love it that much! LOL!

We arrived in Washington late in the afternoon. We got settled in our hotel room and decided to head out and see what we could. We actually had dinner plans, but we thought we'd walk over to the White House as we weren't too far from it!

White HouseI'm glad we did because the next day, as we passed by, they had Pennsylvania Avenue completely blocked off. I'm guessing because of the Cherry Blossom Festival. It was very fun to take the kids to the house where the President lives! They thought it was awesome. Miss 11 wants to be president someday. I let her know that President and Mrs Obama have their mother living with them and she said she would do the same for me, but I'd have to help her out with the children. I think that's a fair deal!

IMGP2587 After that we just walked around. We stopped in the American Art Museum and then headed to our dinner. I was meeting up with Kinder - she was my camp mom during my First Descents trip in August and it was fun to see her again and introduce the family! We had a great meal, and then she kindly treated us to some frozen yogurt. I mention this because I've heard a few times "we should have frozen yogurt like we did in DC!" from some of the children in this house!

Vietnam Memorial
Vietnam Memorial
The next day we slept in a little bit - well, as much as you can when 5 people are sharing one hotel room anyway ;-) And then it was monuments day. We sort of passed the White House (but it was blocked), got close to the Washington Monument (which is still closed from the earthquake), WWII, Lincoln, Vietnam, Korean, DC's WWI, and Jefferson. In there, we admired the Cherry Blossoms and ate lunch at the street festival. There was a LOT of walking. I took a lot of pictures of all of this, and so want to break this part of the trip up into their own posts! So keep an eye out for that =)

After that, because we weren't done yet! We headed to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. This was on my son's must-see list because he LOVES the Night At the Museum movies, including Battle at the Smithsonian.

T-Rex Bones He loved the dinosaurs. He loved the rocks, gems, and minerals - so did my 11yo (who has always had a love for geology). We also made DNA necklaces, with our DNA. And he loved the bugs - which I wasn't so excited about LOL! However, he missed things that were in the movie thinking he would see them. Poor guy. Regardless, he had a great time!

Next, we headed to the American History Museum. My oldest discovered she is kind of interested in learning more about the Wars. I think especially how battles were lost or won. I love when my kids stumble upon something they want to know more about (so you better bet, we walked out of there with a book she picked on WWII).

Flag art for the Star Spangled Banner Exhibition
Flag art for the Star Spangled Banner Exhibition
I especially loved the exhibition on the American Flag and the Star Spangled Banner. They had the actual flag that Francis Scott Key saw when he wrote (what was then) the poem that we now sing. It was gorgeous. I'd show you about a million pictures of it, except no pictures are allowed to be taken in that exhibit. But you have to trust me - if you can go see it, you must. {edited to add: the Smithsonian has pictures on-line if you want to look}

They also talked about the woman, Mary Pickersgill, who made that flag. What an honor (and hard work) to have to sew, by hand, the American Flag! If I could travel back in time, I'd want to go back and meet her!

IMG_1142 After that walked in a path to pass the Capitol Building. I made the family pose for a million more pictures, but the sun was setting, the moon was out. It was gorgeous and so I just had to do it! After that was dinner at the hotel and to bed to let our tired feet rest!

Mosaic at Library of Congress
Mosaic at Library of Congress
Friday we squeezed in the last bit we could. We were again meeting up with cousin J - who is attending college in DC. I split up and went into the Capitol building. The lines were very long though and I didn't want to be away from everyone else for too long, so I wandered over to the Library of Congress.

Reading Room Library of Congress
Reading Room
And, let me tell you, I'm glad I did. I loved it there. I could have spent hours, exploring, looking around, so much stuff there. The building is gorgeous! The stained glass, the painting, the mosaics - so many gorgeous things to look at. I didn't get to go in the Reading Room, but I got to look down on it. In my next life, I think I want to work there. Or live there, if that's allowed.

Amelia Earhart Then I met up with everyone else at the Air and Space Museum. There are some amazing things in that museum! My 11 year was especially taken with the Amelia Earhart display. The 8 yo was into the space stuff. I think we all were ... it's pretty amazing to think about people being in space!

Afterwards, we headed to the botanical garden, where I took another million pictures. I love photographing flowers for real. I'm not sure the kids were thrilled to go to the garden, but it was between where we were and where we were going, so it's where we stopped (did you follow that?)

Train Selfie!
After that, it was time to head to the train station to head back home. It was sad to leave - and I could have stayed for several more days and still not seen everything. But, home is a good place to be too. And well, I missed my bed ;-)

It was fabulous being there. Next time I go, I want to see the monuments at night - I think that would be very inspiring (and fun to try to photograph!)

Eric and I <3 br="">
My husband certainly was amazing to pull this off for us. I mean, just amazing! I think we all came home feeling nice and relaxed. It was just what we needed!

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