DC trip- Mount Vernon!

When we left DC we drove to Mount Vernon, the home of none other than George Washington. 

We decided to go without the stroller, which was a good move. Violet was super excited about the map. 

While the family waited in line for our turn to go inside, I let Violet walk around a bit. She decided to use this moment to be her first time to stand and pose for the camera while saying "Cheese!" I took about 3,000 photos. 

There were no photos allowed inside the actual house, but I snuck a selfie of the family in the mirror. Check out that paint color!

One of my favorite parts were these tiles in the bathroom. I mean, printmaking on tiles? Awesome! 

There were a bunch of different ones!

It really is amazing to think that this man's body rests here. The scripture on the wall of his tomb is John 11:25-26: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die."

Thanks for letting us stop by, George!


Washington DC! Days 2 and 3

Our first morning in DC we got up and packed lunches and headed for the subway again, to ride out to the National Zoo. Even though I had checked and double checked my pockets, somehow I only had 2 of 7 subway cards with me. Frustrating as it was, we had to buy more. And because of the extra ride to seek out lost Jackson, our cards didn't have even amounts on them anymore. The whole subway experience overall was complicated and exhausting. But it did save us some miles on our feet, so there it is.

The pandas were out! One of them at least. It really was pretty amazing to see in real life what you've only ever seen in pictures. They are quiet and hungry. 

Love these kiddos.

Hello Bei Bei. Now goodnight. 

After the Zoo we headed to the White House Visitors Center which was really very cool and for some reason I took no photos. Then we walked the few blocks to see the house itself. 

You can see it, but from far away. And there were a lot of people gathered around. It's amazing to think about the decisions that have been made here over the course of history. 

After the White House we headed to the National Archives. This, sadly, was a bit disappointing. It was amazing to see the documents, (no photos allowed) but there were throngs of people and a little baby and tired kids don't really care as much as you'd like them to. When large groups of high school groups are pushing on you as you try to keep track of all your kids, it's hard to exactly feel one with Thomas Jefferson, ya know?

After that we walked through the sculpture garden and then headed toward the National Museum of American History. On the way, Violet fell and sliced her forehead open. Good times. Probably could have used a stitch, but there was no way I was doing that. It stopped bleeding (after getting all over her jacket) and we went forward. 

I had prepared the kids for Julia Child's kitchen by reading a short bio of her and showing them a video of her making an omelet. It was cool!

We didn't see much more when everyone was starting to get really hungry. We considered eating in the museum, but the only food options were not good. The museum was open another two hours, but we just didn't have the mental or physical energy to tackle it. And Jimmy said, "I really want to enjoy this. Let's call it a day and come back tomorrow."

So we headed back to our subway stop and ate at District Taco. 

It hit the spot and did not disappoint!!

That night the girls went to bed with their pandas! Thanks for the spending money Nana and Pop Pop!!

The next morning we drove in (genius, Christopher!) and hit the museum again and REALLY enjoyed it. 

Everyone enjoyed the Thomas Edison/light/electricity exhibit. I enjoyed drawings, photos, and etchings like this one. Even though we didn't make it to an art museum, there was a lot of cool art!

Violet and Juliet enjoyed playing in a room just for little ones and it was one of my favorite parts of the whole trip, just watching them enjoy a place like that when they had been in an environment for adults most of the time. 

I mean, come on! Love this girl. 

After eating a packed lunch in the cafeteria we had to say farewell to Christopher and Ranen. It was such a pleasure to have them join us!!! 

We had tickets at Fords Theater so we started walking. 

Violet fell asleep on the way. She was so good considering she was pretty sleep deprived over all. 

We walked through a museum that was a timeline of Lincoln's assassination and full of artifacts and documents and such that explained what led up to that day. 

The Gun. 

After walking through the museum we sat in the theater and listened to a park ranger (it's part of the National Park Service) give a play by play of how it went down. 

Then we went across the street to the house where he died. 

It was very interesting and much like I remembered it from when I was a kid. 

At the very end of the Peterson House they had this really cool tower of books that were not really books, they were made out of metal. They were all books written about Abraham Lincoln. It is said that there have been more than 15,000 books written about him. Amazing!  The placard next to the books had this quote from Honest Abe himself:

"Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren't very new at all." 

What an interesting man he was.

Next we headed back to our van and apartment, took an hour to regroup and headed out to Burke, Virginia to visit some old friends of Jimmy's that he has known for over 25 years. They were gracious and kind and fed our brood yummy dinner and we had a great night visiting and catching up with them and their three boys.

We got home late that night ready to check out the next day!


Washington DC Trip! Day One

Oh, where to begin?  Maybe with this, our selfie as we headed out- we had finally made it. DC bound!

We stayed in Wilson, NC the first night. Got up that morning and rocked the free breakfast like only a family of 8 can, and we were on our way. Violet fell asleep almost immediately, and so begins the life of a toddler on the road. Translation: she was tired. But she did great and really rolled with the schedule pretty amazingly.

I took a lot of photos of her sleeping. It was too cute.

Here she is while Jackson and Libby pass the time while playing cats cradle. 

We made it to our apartment in DC after getting groceries and then ate a quick dinner, loaded up and walked to the subway, ready to meet up with Christopher and Ranen Bennage, who were waiting at the Smithsonian stop on the National Mall. 

Excited to be on the subway! Getting a family of 8 paid for and legit was no easy task. This photo was our very first ride...shortly after we got off at our stop...all but Jackson that is. He didn't make it before the doors closed. They don't keep the doors open long enough for an 8 person family pushing a stroller!! But at least it was the 14 year old. He kept his cool and Ranen is actually the one who found him. 

All our people accounted for, we headed to the Washington Monument. 

We were all pretty excited to see it! And it's impressive even close up!!

After that we walked to the World War 2 Memorial. Which is beautiful. It began at this point, though, hard to really experience it with the many tourists and the task of making sure we didn't lose anyone. 

Now we headed to the Lincoln Memorial. 

We got a view of the Washington Monument from the other side. 

I told Juliet what to do with her hands and then just took one single photo. She had no idea. I love her. 

We made it up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It was full of people and school groups but I managed to gaze up at him and tried to take a moment to appreciate his service to our country. 

And then, we took a selfie. Managed to get everyone in. Good times. I'd like to think Lincoln would love it. 

After this we headed toward the Vietnam Memorial. This one is hard for little kids. I walked the youngest through quickly. You want to be quiet. It's overwhelming when you understand it.

We headed home after this, but had to stop by the Washington Monument once more because now it was dusk and it looked beautiful with the flags blowing and the lights. 

What a terrible photo, but hopefully it will help us remember how cool it looked. 

We were all tired of walking already but we made it home and geared up for another day!