Friday, March 27, 2015

In the East Wing

What house was the biggest house in the United States until the Civil War?
The White House.
With names like the "President's Palace", "President's House", and the "Executive Mansion" 
this house is certainly one to see. 
We had our fingers crossed whether of not we would get into the White House. 
You do not hear until 2 weeks before your stated date whether you will get a visit or not. 
Rosie was ecstatic when she heard the news. 
There is unfortunately no photography in the White House.  
You can't even take a camera in, or a purse, or a bag.  
All you can take in is a wallet, cell phone (which can't be used) and 
an umbrella.  I guess for instances of bad weather. 
So I kept my phone in my pocket through the whole tour afraid the many 
Secret Service members wouldn't be so kind if I tried to snap a pic of the Red Room. 
For all the security procedures and waiting in line, the tour is relatively short.
But to say you've been IN the White House.... priceless.
We stopped at the White House Visitors Center to get another stamp in our 
National Park passports and got a surprise when they said the kids could become 
Junior Park Rangers. 
The kids were all about that, and quickly did the activities to get a badge. 
My son used this badge to engage in conversation with every police officer he saw the rest of the day. 
After a delicious breakfast at Lincoln's Waffle House, we headed to
the Smithsonians.  There are many Smithsonian museums. 
We stepped into 3. 
The Castle, the Air and Space, and the American History Museum.
Everyone says you must see the Air and Space Museum.
We agree.  It is pretty hard to top. 

Rosie wrote a book report about Amelia Earhart last year, and 
was excited to see her plane in all its red glory.
Future President of the United States
The American History Museum houses all of the First Lady's Inaugural dresses, and 
special memorabilia such as Dorothy's ruby red slippers. 

DC was pretty fun.  
We all had our favorite parts, but the best was all being together. 

We left DC just as the snow was coming down. 
As pretty as it was, we were all glad we were spared from 
walking around DC in the cold. 
It is nice to be home.
But the memories we will have forever. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

We the people of the United States of America...

DC. the nation's capital. 
The city of presidents. 
The city of American history. 
The most powerful city in the United States. 

Both Nate and I had been to this beautiful city before 
but neither of us had remembered much and didn't know how to navigate 
this metropolis with children in tow. 
But somehow we did it. 
We saw everything we came to see. 
We walked more than I thought my kids were possible. 
We observed so much of American history and the kids had fun. 
Mission accomplished. 
In 3 full days we saw the following:
National Archives
Ford's Theater 
The Capitol
Senate Office Buildings
The International Spy Museum
 and that was just in the first day! 

Here is a glimpse into our trip! 
This girl was on cloud 9 as we took the metro into DC the first day. 
She was talking in nonstop sentences without taking breaths about 
what she wanted to see and why we had to see it. 
When we walked up to the National Archives and stood in line to get in 
she was somewhat irritated that this wasn't on her list.  
Then we told her this is where the actual, the real Constitution and Declaration Independence and 
Bill of Rights is held.  
The girl who spent her hard earned money buying a book with the Constitution written in it (most of which is too hard for her to read or understand) was ecstatic.  
She even volunteered to be in a picture!  
Mommy's wish can come true to!
I have stated our love for all things Lincoln so 
of course Ford's Theatre was on the top of her list. 
Oh, and the house across the street he died in. 
(she told us that there was still blood on the sheets.... there wasn't thank goodness)
{Holding the Washington Monument in her hand}
Being in this powerful city made everyone feel like a super hero. 
With all the walking between monuments and museums we had to take
numerous sanity breaks.  
Sometimes those were dance parties in front of the Capitol. 

Our afternoon was scheduled with a visit with our Senator from Iowa, Senator Chuck Grassley.
While this wasn't the most exciting part of our trip for the kids, Nate and I both thought the tour 
of the Capitol was one of our favorites. 
I was slightly disappointed that the view of the Capitol building was marred by the scaffolding around the iconic dome.  
{Family picture #2 of our trip}
From our meeting with the Senator we hopped in the mini tram under the streets that run from the senate buildings to the Capitol and got our tour of the magnificent building. 
Lil Miss slept through most of this part.  
We didn't bring our stroller into the city any of the days, 
so her little feet had to carry her on every excursion that we all went on. 
Sometimes though mommy and daddy had to carry her when her feet couldn't walk any farther. 
After all day in the city the kids were worn out (mommy was too) we had plans to 
go see the Lincoln memorial that day but none of us could walk any further so 
Daddy surprised us with calling an Uber and getting us to Shake Shack for burgers and milkshakes. 
It made us ALL happy. 
Milkshakes and burgers gave us enough energy to walk next door to the International Spy Museum. 
This was number 1 in Bubba's book. 
We climbed into heating ducts, deciphered codes, and learned all about Bond, James Bond.
By the time we were heading back to the hotel that night we had spent over 10 hours in the city.
They still had smiles on their faces. 
Only on the East Coast, surrounded by culture for 24 hours and my littlest starts reading 
the paper.  Washington suited us. 
Day 2 started with a trip to Arlington National Cemetery.
I had never been here, so this was something I was excited to see just as much as Rosie. 
The day was beautiful with the sunny skies to visit these holy grounds. 

{Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Changing of the Guard}

{my mini me photographer}
To continue our day of deep thought and remembrance, our next stop was the Holocaust Museum. 
Now I had read all the recommendations on ages and what is appropriate for visiting this 
particular museum.  We had decided that since it was something Daddy really wanted to see that 
he and Rosie would go through the tour and the other kids and I would do the children's part and meet them at the Washington Monument.  
There was so much to talk about and explain while going through Daniel's Story.
I loved that at the end they have a space where children can write down their thoughts about what they saw and how they feel about it. 

My son the compassionate one, wrote this after hearing Daniel's Story.
I couldn't have written it any better.  Why can't the world 
all get along?
 After that deep and emotionally draining 30 minutes... we need another sanity break. 
So running around the Washington Monument sounded like perfection. 
And ran we did. 
A hint to any families that visit DC. 
There is the most perfect climbing tree right below the Monument on the Lincoln Memorial side. 
The kids and I sat and played in that tree like we were on a jungle gym while we 
waited for the rest of our party. 
Then the long awaited walk to the Lincoln Memorial.  
There is no easy way to get to the Lincoln Memorial but walking but it is so worth it.

 Remember our love for Lincoln. 
A gigantic Lincoln Statue... very cool in our book. 
 On the steps of the Lincoln memorial is where Dr. Martin Luther King spoke his famous
"I have a dream speech".  It gave me chills to place my hands on the words in the 
very spot he stood.  
 Speaking of MLK... his memorial is pretty cool. 
The kids all took there best shot at doing the MLK pose trying to look as commanding 
as he does.

Our trip wasn't over, but in just two days we had seen some of the most important 
places in the United States.  
It was hard to wrap our head around it.
That the places we saw on TV and in the movies were right at our finger tips. 
Places we could walk into for free. 
DC is a pretty amazing place when you think about it. 
Where you can see Prince Charles motorcade as you walk out of the Smithsonian? 
Like who does that? 
We hadn't yet even walked into the White House yet... 
and because I don't want to bog down your computers, I will leave the White House for tomorrow. 

to be continued...