Tag - Washington DC

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Basilica of the National Shrine
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Monuments on Monday
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The National Zoo
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The Secret Mount Vernon
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Rolling, Rolling, Rolling
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Hits and Misses
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B&O Railroad Museum’s Kids Fest
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Labor Day at the Air and Space Museum
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Fourth of July
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Day at the Washington Monument

Basilica of the National Shrine

Our Catholic homeschool group took the show on the road Friday with a field trip to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Or just the Basilica, for short.

After getting lost taking the scenic route in the rain, we still managed to get there in time for mass in the crypt chapel, where our group was welcomed – by name- by the officiating priest.  Then lunch in the cafeteria where it looked for a moment that we were not going to be able to find seats for the 22 of us, but by the time we’d gone through the line all sorts of tables had opened up.

After lunch we had a guided tour.  I’d love to say that it was wonderful, but our guide talked sooo fast that he was difficult to understand.  I was trying hard to hear what he had to say, and I know that the children missed most of it.  I got some great pictures, though.

The basilica contains over 70 chapels and oratories dedicated to Our Lady, and they reflect the cultures and traditions of people around the world. This one, to Our Lady of Lourdes, is a replica of the grotto in France.
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I’m not sure why it had a gate in front of it.

Bip was on a potty break when we saw the chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  I took him back to see it and asked him if he knew who it was.  “Mary!” he said in that cute preschooler way he has.

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I showed him Juan Diego, with the roses spilling out of his tilma.

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I thought Our Lady of China was beautiful –
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Walking into the main part of the church, this is the ceiling –
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And a close up of one of the domes…
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When you’re visiting DC, don’t miss the Basilica!  They have free pamphlets available to help you find your way or you can purchase a more in depth guide.  Both are available in the bookstore or gift shop.  There’s free parking, always a plus in DC!

Monuments on Monday

We’ve been doing this for a while now, going off to see the sights of DC on a Monday holiday.  Our plan is always to leave the house around 9 AM to have the best selection of parking and our strategy did not fail us today.  Our destination was to see the last of the monuments on the National Mall that we’ve missed.  Those included the Jefferson, FDR, Lincoln, Korean War and WW2 Memorials.

No matter what you do, the Jefferson Memorial is out by itself, but we thought that with some walking, we could manage not to have to move the car.  We parked on Ohio St and W Basin Dr, which ended up being almost exactly where the FDR memorial was located.  Sadly, it’s not really visible from the street, so we didn’t know how close we were until the end of the day and had backtracked at bit to find it.  So learn from us!

The first thing we saw when getting out of the car was Robert E. Lee’s house in Arlington Cemetery, sitting there majestically on a hill, overlooking the Potomac.  What a spectacular view he had.

(click on any of the pictures to enlarge them)

Our first stop was the FDR Memorial.  It’s very well done and nicely tucked into the trees along the tidal basin.  It’s different from most of the DC monuments because it is a series of “rooms” which depict the events of FDR’s terms in office.  Make sure you start at the beginning of the memorial, near the corner of Ohio St and W Basin Dr. so that you see the rooms in order.  Pick up a brochure there at the beginning so you can read a little about what each room is about.

The free brochure only gave a one or two line explanation of each room.  There is so much symbolism in the water and the large rocks all around the monuments that I would have liked to have learned more about.  Philip had seen a documentary on the memorial and was very helpful in pointing things out.

Our next stop was the Jefferson Memorial, known in our family as the Big Eraser.  That’s because most of the time we see it is from the freeway, with the Washington Monument or the Big Pencil, in the background.

The Jefferson Memorial doesn’t get as many visitors because of it’s remote location.  Not many people were there with us, so we enjoyed the peace and quiet and the cool, marble seats in the rotunda.

The next leg of our excursion was the longest.  We’d parked the car at the halfway point between the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials and now had to walk all the way the far end of the Mall where the Lincoln Memorial is located.

Just past the steps to the left of the Lincoln Memorial is the Vietnam Memorial.  We chose to skip this one since the symbolism would be mostly lost on our children.  We chose instead to visit the Korean War Memorial which is just to the right of the Lincoln Memorial  (that’s with Lincoln behind you).  Since our family spent 2 years deployed to South Korea in the name of peace keeping, this memorial is near and dear to our hearts.

And now we were more than ready for lunch.  In between the Korean War memorial and the Lincoln Memorial is a place to grab a highly non-nutritious and overly priced lunch.    We’ve not had luck with packing our lunches on our excursions and our lunches have ended up a smashed, wilted mess at the bottom of our backpack.  So we just buy something along the way.  So much is free in DC, so it makes it easier to sign over your paycheck for lunch.

After lunch we continued down the Mall along the Reflecting Pool to the World War 2 memorial.  Their brochure does a much better job explaining the various elements. The whole thing is very beautiful with all its water and marble.

I found this tucked into a corner of the memorial.  If you visit, see if you can find it too!

Now it was time to head home.  From the WW2 memorial, we headed up Independence to W Basin.  The two streets meet right where this hidden monument is.

We were walking down W Basin towards where we guessed our car was parked was when we found the entrance to the FDR Memorial.  We popped in to the bookstore which we’d skipped earlier and it was on the way out that we saw our car parked directly across the street.  At the end of the day we were very glad to find our car so close!

We had a great day!  The weather was beautiful and we’d been looking forward to seeing these monuments for a long time!  Now that we’re in our last 9 months of our assignment, we need to make sure we don’t leave without seeing all the sights.

OK, so here’s my tips.

This whole excursion took about 5 hours, that’s with a 7 and 9 year old and the 3 year old in the stroller.  DC is stroller friendly, but try to use a lightweight, umbrella stroller that is easy to maneuver.  Because of the holiday, we were able to park our car without worrying about the time restrictions.  The weather was mild and the humidity was low, so all the walking was not an issue.  We packed water bottles and snacks to keep us going.   Try to park near to where Ohio St and W Basin intersect; if you get there before 10 AM on a holiday, there is plenty of parking.  Make sure that you approach the FDR Memorial from its entrance near W Basin.

Another option for seeing these particular monuments is to go from the FDR Memorial right to the Lincoln, which is differently than how we did it. Have a snack near the Lincoln, then go on to the Vietnam War and Korean War Memorials.  Stop for lunch at the refreshment stand near the Korean War Memorial, or pack your own and eat at any one of the many park benches around.  From there, head down to the WW2 Memorial.

Now return to your car and drive South on Ohio (keep the Jefferson on your left).  Just as you pass the Jefferson and go under the freeway, you’ll see 3 parking lots marked “Memorial Parking”.  They are free and they were each about half empty as we passed them.  Parking there will make your walk to the Jefferson much shorter.  However, do not try to park there first thing in the morning, see the memorial, then try to move your car closer to FDR and other monuments.  If you try that, you will probably not find parking.  Either park where I recommend and walk the whole thing as we did, or move your car to the lots I mentioned and see the Jefferson last.

This map was helpful in our planning. I got it map here, but I’ve labeled it with the street names I mentioned so it makes more sense.

The National Zoo

No matter what kind of personality tests I take, I am always identified as being a loyal friend.  It’s true.  I’m the kind of loyal friend that will actually leave the comfort of my air conditioned house and meet you at the National Zoo.  In the afternoon.  In July.

That’s love, I tell you.

My friend Jen – the one who lives in PA, but not the one who came to help me declutter – was in town over the weekend with her family.  They only had a couple of days here, one of which they wanted to dedicate to going to the National Zoo and seeing the pandas.  Normally, I avoid being outside in DC from May through mid-September, but I’m a loyal friend, so off we went.

My advice for going to the National Zoo during summer is this – don’t.  It’s hot, it’s humid and the zoo is built on a hill.  But seeing as how most people insist anyway, here’s my tips:

1.  The zoo is free but the food is overpriced.  Pack your own lunch and snacks if at all possible.  At least bring your own water so you can avoid buying the combo meals.  If you ignore my advice, plan on spending about $8 per person on lunch. Including children.  There’s five of us – do the math.  Ouch is right.

There are also all sorts of snacks to be had around the zoo, so budget for that, too.  You’ll also need to know that lids and straws are not available for your drinks.  We like to bring a toddler cup for Bip rather than let him try to manage the lidless drink.  We also bring an empty, refillable cup to pour the soda in as we leave the restaurant.

2.  The zoo is built on a hill, so at some point you will be walking up.  Try to plan your visit so that at the end of your day, you are at the top of the hill.  Finer points to consider:  if you’re taking the Metro, you’ll be at the top of the hill at the main entrance.  Go all the way down the hill without stopping.  Then start back up, stopping to see animals along the way.  When you’re done with your day, you’ll be at the top of the hill.  Trust me, you will be be thanking me for this tip later. If you park in one of the upper lots (Lots A-C), same thing.  If you park in the lower lots (Lots D-E), it doesn’t matter how you see the zoo, it’s a downhill walk to your car.

3.  The zoo maps aren’t free.  Oh sure, there are signs with maps on them all over the zoo, but the paper ones are not free.  I’d recommend printing one out and bringing it with you.

OK, enough tips.  I’ll do some generic Washington, DC tips at a later time.  Here’s some pictures from the zoo:

On our way home, we passed under the Chinatown arch.  We were first in line at the red light, so I was able to get this great picture.

The Secret Mount Vernon

My parents have been here on a visit to see Pumpkin Girl’s ballet recital. Yesterday they suggested we go to Mount Vernon on their last day here. Our family really enjoys Mount Vernon, so of course we were happy to go. As luck would have it, another internet friend – Trish, who lives in Honduras – was also going to be there the same day, so I was hoping to meet up with her and one of my 7 Friends Named Jen there. She had mentioned that the basement area of Mount Vernon was also open and she thought she’d like to see it, too.

We arrived around 9:15 am and asked about the basement tour. Earlier in the year, a short tour of the basement was added to the regular tour of the mansion in response to the interest generated by “National Treasure 2.” We didn’t get a chance to get out there then which I thought was a bummer after we finally saw the movie just last week. What I didn’t know was that the basement was open again.

This time however, it’s not just tagged on to the end of the mansion tour. The “National Treasure Tour” as it’s now called is $5 a person, with a limit of 25 people in each group. It runs about 4 times a day.

The tour starts on the lawn behind the mansion where the presidential birthday party is held during the movie. The tour guide explained how the movie was filmed without damaging the historical property and without detracting from the authenticity with the movie making gear.

Then we moved into the basement through this locked door.

We saw the alcoves and a replica of the cornerstone that were depicted in the movie.

We were also able to see the area that was used as a kitchen and eating area for the white servants.

Then we moved to the ice house that can be seen in the movie when the Nicolas Cage character climbs up from the river. The ice house and its chute that leads to the Potomac River are the inspiration for the underground tunnel in the movie.

From the ice house we went down to the dock. We crossed a “No Visitors Beyond This Point” sign (ha!) and walked along the river. We saw where the ice house chute came out and George Washington’s dairy. Then we caught a great view of the mansion from below.

As a special non-related-to-the-movie treat, our guide showed us this 1936 Ford Fire Engine stored in a whiskey storage cave. Apparently, Henry Ford didn’t think Mount Vernon had enough fire engines in case of an emergency and donated this brand new fire truck.

The “National Treasure Tour” is running until October 31, 2008. If you have a chance to get there I highly recommend it! But see the movie before you go. The tour is about an hour and a half long. My 7 and 9 year olds both enjoyed it, but they are also really into history, especially the American Revolution. So much so that they took it upon themselves to memorize the whole paragraph of Thomas Paine’s letter about “these are the times that try men’s souls.” Our 2 year old wasn’t too into it. He was actually being kind of a pain. Not distracting to the others on the tour, just hard to manage. We had a stroller for him, but for about half of the tour, we couldn’t use. Thankfully it is light weight and has a strap to carry it over a shoulder. He would have been better in a backpack. The tour did not backtrack at all, so leaving the stroller somewhere was not a real option. Just something to note.

Also, it gets very hot and humid in DC during the summer. Bring lots of water, wear sunscreen and hats. A shuttle is available at the dock where the tour ends that returns you to the education center if you’ve had enough walking. We took the first tour of the day, then had an early lunch at the restaurant. After lunch we finished with the rest of our sightseeing.

Oh, I totally forgot to mention…we didn’t manage to meet up with my friend Trish as planned. We did find her and Jen right as they were leaving. Here’s a picture, just to prove that we were all there. Love the Giant Washington Head. Trish’s daughter got a great picture looking up his nose. Maybe she’ll put it on her blog.

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

OK, I promised pictures of our day at the White House Easter Egg Roll.

Here’s the picture I took of Philip for his Linked In profile picture.  I told him I could Photoshop George Dubya in for him, but he declined.

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Here are the children waiting for the whistle to blow.
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And there goes Pumpkin Girl!  Boo was too fast and I didn’t get a picture of him.
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Bip refused to roll his egg.  He wanted to open it up and see if there was candy inside.
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Later, we met Spot the Dog and Peter Rabbit.
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And Bip took a nap.
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A great time was had by all!

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Hits and Misses

Since moving to Washington, DC, we’ve made it a habit of using national holidays to go visit various museums and monuments. Most are open everyday except Christmas, traffic is light and parking is plentiful. Once you get past Labor Day, the museums are less crowded, too.

We’ve enjoyed all of our adventures in and around town. Except yesterday. Yesterday we chose the National Museum of the American Indian. We were looking forward to seeing it. We haven’t gotten to American history yet, but I thought it would be fun.

Boy, were we disappointed. The museum is really cool looking from the outside. They’ve got a small wetlands display, complete with ducks. Bip really liked those. “Daddy! Quack! More Quack!” Add a really great view of the Capitol dome through the autumn foilage and we were all revved up for a good time.

The atrium was awsome and soared four stories high. However, the rest of that level had very, very little in the way of displays.

We tried the second level. Nothing to see there either.

On the third level we found a display of beadwork. That was pretty cool, but the only way to tell what you were looking at was by using the interactive computers, one per display case. There were some pull out drawers with additional items, but again, you needed to be using the computer to be able to read about the items. The children became completely distracted by the computers and the drawers. They didn’t so much care about what was in the drawers as they like yanking them open. Plus, they started bickering over who got to control the computers.

The fourth floor had a little bit more to see. Most memorable was a big display of the weapons used against the native peoples – swords, rifles and bibles.

An hour after getting started, we were Done. The children had lost interest and the grown ups were disappointed.

We tried eating at the cafeteria, which we’d heard was excellent. It might have been, if you were interested in trying buffalo or frogs legs.

What we had hoped, no expected to see at the National Museum of the American Indian were signifcant displays on the various tribes of North America. I wanted the children to see how the various tribes lived – the kinds of houses they constructed, the kind of art they specialized in, how they made clothing. I wanted to see exhibits on their spiritual beliefs (admittedly, there was an spirituality exhibit, but by that time we were more than ready to leave) and on their rich tradition of story telling. We got none of that. Only a few tribes were represented in the “history” displays and those exhibits were very small. Sadly, I’m not sure what the point of the museum is. If you’re town, this is one museum to skip.

Fortunately, we were across the Mall from the National Gallery of Art. We enjoy eating at the Cascade Cafe there, watching the indoor waterfall. If you’re going to spend a small fortune on food, it might as well be something you’re not afraid to eat. As a bonus, we could go visit the Mary Cassatt paintings which were part of last month’s artist studies.

On the way we took this fun picture next to what looks like a free standing wall. How does it stay standing? I don’t know, it just does. It’s a mystery.

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After lunch and visiting the Cassatts, we headed home. Not before hitting the children’s book store, of course. Once outside, we stopped to peer down at the people in the cafe through these triangle things.

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Bip liked seeing the “awa-fall” from the outside.

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A day of hits and misses. Not too thrilled with the American Indian museum, but we got some fun books. And that’s always a good thing.

B&O Railroad Museum’s Kids Fest

The theme for Cub Scouts this month is railroads, and wouldn’t you know it, the B&O Railroad Museum was having a Kids Fest this weekend! So we loaded up the kiddos and away we went.

Our day included a free train ride and jump tents that were so much fun that Pumpkin and Boo went in them 7 times in a row! Bip was more than happy to run around, pointing to choo-choos. Any day he gets to see trains is a good day. He and I particularly enjoyed the miniature train set-up that was outside. I loved the detail of the landscape!

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Back in the roundhouse, some of the trains were available to climb aboard and explore. I let the others do that while I took way too many pictures of the Lego train display. Apparently, there is a Washington DC Metro Area Lego Train Club and they were more than happy to share their talents. Wow! Legos and trains, what an amazingly fun combination. Pumpkin Girl said, “I wish this could be our hobby!” LOL, me too! Here are just a few of the highlights:

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Isn’t this a cool diner? Do you see R2D2 in the door?  How about Hagrid and Spiderman?  Click on the picture to enlarge.

Pumpkin Girl figured out that this cornfield next to the farm house was actually a maze.  See the skeleton of a guy that couldn’t find his way out?  The guy helping with the exhibit really enjoyed watching us discovering that.
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The detail in these Lego-scapes was astounding.  Surprises were everywhere. Make sure you click on the pictures to enlarge them.cimg2433.JPG

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Working Lego trains were running around the whole thing.  I tried to catch a picture of Thomas, but he was too fast.
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We could have stayed at the Kids Fest for longer, but we needed to get Bip home for a nap and the other two off to their Mexican folk dance class.  What, I didn’t tell you about that?  Some other time, perhaps.  For now, we’re thinking about heading back to the B&O Railroad Museum another day to see all the regular displays that we missed.  A great time was had by all.

Labor Day at the Air and Space Museum

We just started studying space travel and the planets. And here we are, living in DC, with none other than the National Air and Space Museum just down the street. Figuratively, of course.

We like to use national holidays to go visit the free museums on the Mall. Parking is free on holidays and if you get there by 9:30 or so, you can park right in front of your museum of choice.

apollo11.jpg We’d been studying the Apollo space program and the missions to the moon, so we were really happy to find the Apollo 11 command module right there in the main lobby of the museum. Boo and Pumpkin Girl were amazed at how small the space for the astronauts really was. Other exhibits showed us the development of the space program, from Mercury to Apollo 17. They enjoyed seeing the real pieces of the space suits we’d talked about and how the space shuttle crew had special contraptions to help them drink their sodas from cans. Bip enjoyed this rotating model of Mars:

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“Moon! Me! More moon! Wo-ow!”

d2.jpgWe also got a chance to see a small sampling of the National Museum of American History,which is closed for renovation. A few of the exhibits are at the Air and Space Museum, including the ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz movie, Kermit the Frog, and the hat Lincolm was wearing when he was shot. The highlight of that gallery was when Bip spotted one of his favorites, R2D2. He was sitting in his stroller and couldn’t see him at first, but as soon as the crowd cleared and he spied him, he cried out, “D2!! Me!!” It really made his day.

We got off easy at the gift shop, with another key chain for Boo’s collection, another set of Presidential family paper dolls for Pumpkin Girl (she loves this series of paper dolls!), a couple of small toy planes, and of course, astronaut ice cream. Can’t forget the astronaut ice cream.

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Fourth of July

dc_fireworks.jpgSo did you hear what happened in Washington, DC on the 4th of July?

Our weather forecast was for scattered thunderstorms, but that itself was not cause for worry. It’s pretty much the forecast everyday during the summer, but it certainly doesn’t rain everyday. The day looked pretty decent in the morning. We hung up our flag, the kids rode their bikes, all was well. I made pasta salad for the party we’d being going to later. After lunch I put Bip down for a nap, Philip took Boo and Pumpkin Girl to the Freedom Fest on base. I snuck away from Bip and came downstairs. I happened to glance at our computer…ok, I was checking my email…and I saw that our Weather Channel alert button was blinking. Not good.

Turns out we were under a tornado watch until 10 pm! I checked the radar and it was clear, but still. I am terrified by tornadoes. I don’t like knowing that a day holds the potential for deadly destruction. I worry all day. Then the sky darkens with the approaching storm and my stomach gets in knots. The severe weather alert signals start sounding and I’m glued to the tv, watching the Super Cell of Death approaching. I watch the sky for signs it’s about to puke. I try to figure out where in my hastily built, WWII era, basement-less house I’m supposed to hide. Children? I have children? Sorry, it’s every coward for themselves.

I tend to panic during tornado watches. Tornado warnings? Let’s not go there.

By the time I met up with Philip and the children at our friends’ house, the sky had darkened and the radar was showing a couple of big red storm cells heading our way.

The other adults at the party were a little less concerned than I was, but were still monitoring the weather radio. By now a tornado warning had been issued for a county north of us and an even larger, angrier storm was coming at us.

By 5pm we decided to start grilling while we still had a grill before the storm arrived so that the kids (15 of them) could eat outside. By 5:45 a tornado warning had been issued for the country directly to the west of us, for a storm heading…East! And now the National Mall was being evacuated for the storms.

Evacuated – as in run for your lives, Big Killer Storm on the Way! OK, it was a little more orderly than that. Park police in golf carts telling people who’d staked their prime firework viewing spot hours ago to pack it up and move it out. People were put into 21 surrounding buildings to wait out the storm. They were anticipating letting people back on to the Mall by 7:30, if we weren’t all swept away to Oz, and have the fireworks display as scheduled.

As for me, I was quite anxious. Being around other, calmer adults helped. Listening to them tell their tornado horror stories didn’t help at all. Two different people separately suggested that perhaps I’d feel better with an amaretto slush.

Since everyone at the party was Catholic, we prayed a decade of the Rosary.

And then the approaching storm just sort of fell apart. It passed just north of us, hitting the abandoned Mall, but it was much smaller and we got only a few drops of rain. I’m telling you, prayers worked.

The rest of the evening passed without drama. We had a wonderful view of the fireworks from a grassy spot along the river, just 2 blocks from our house. We listened to the simulcast music on the radio and ooh and ahhed appropriately. The storm brought cooler temperatures and bit of a breeze. We returned to the party for round 3 of desserts and finally came home and put the kids to bed much too late.

Another Fourth of July not to be forgotten. I’m hoping next year will be far less stressful.

Day at the Washington Monument

Would you believe that we had two separate Scout events at the Washington Monument on Saturday?

Our day started off with a ride on the Metro. Any adventure that involves the Metro is a good one for our children. Not having to find parking in downtown DC is good thing for mom and dad. For our train obsessed toddler, seeing the Metro trains zoom in and out of the station was almost too good to be true. That we actually boarded one of these “choo-choos” was heavenly.

The Washington monument is about 3 blocks from the closest Metro station. Not bad for an adult or the one in the stroller, a little harder on the 6 year old who is prone to complaining anyway. Still, we made it to the base of the monument with 5 minutes to spare.

Our first event was a tour of the inside of the Washington Monument with Boo’s Cub Scout pack. They do have public tours, but it’s a hit or miss thing. You have to be inside the monument, looking through the windows and hear them announce a tour to get in on it. Or you can pre-arrange one for a group, like we did. Be warned though, this is not for the faint of knee. There are 897 steps inside, and we walked down every single one. So what’s the point of taking a tour down the stairs? Well for one, you can’t just walk down by yourself, you have to be escorted by a Park Ranger. Second, the inside is lined with memorial stones donated by all 50 states, many foreign countries and other private organizations. Some are very elaborate :

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(from the Sultan of Turkey)

and some are very simple.
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Actually, this one isn’t as simple as it appears. It is made of jade and is worth a 3 million dollars. It is the only memorial stone that you are allowed to touch. Because of vandalism like people carving their names into the stones or breaking off pieces of marble, you may not touch any of the other stones. Not even if you ask nicely.

My legs were getting a little quivery by the end of the tour, but I survived. This morning, though, my calves are quite sore.

logo.gifBy now the whole area was crawling with Girl Scouts arriving for the annual Sing-Along on the Mall. I was a little hesitant about attending this event. I don’t like crowds and I don’t like heat and humidity. I have about zero sense of adventure. But Pumpkin Girl wanted to go, plus this is Sing-Along was celebrating 95 years of Girl Scouts. And it was right here in Washington, DC. How could we pass up this opportunity? Plus, Pumpkin got a patch for her new Brownie uniform. And if you know any Girl Scouts, then you know it’s all about the patches!

We found ourselves a shady place to eat lunch. In the shade and with the wind, being outside was actually pleasant. Pumpkin got a chance to exchange swaps with the other Girl Scouts from around the country. I helped her choose a simple but cute little swap to make. I suspected that she would be hesitant to go up to girls and offer to swap, so we limited ourselves to making just 10 swaps. I thought that would be what she could handle and I didn’t want to end up with a whole bag of unused swaps. Turns out that other girls will happy to make the initial swap offer and we probably could have used another 10 or 20 more of our swaps. It was OK, though. Lots of the older girls offered her one of their swaps, even though she had run out of her own. I thought that really spoke well of the Girl Scouts as a group.

cimg2100.JPGWhen the festivities got started we couldn’t hear from where we were sitting, so we moved out of the shade to be closer to the stage. We ended up sitting directly in front of the White House. I heard that they were expecting over 100,000 people that day. Seeing all the girls moving in groups toward the stage reminded me a little of Moses and the Exodus, without the unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

Boo and Phil were still in their Boy Scoutcimg2106.JPG uniforms from the earlier tour. They got a lot of notice and waves from the Girl Scouts. Boo, being at that age where he’s not really sure about the whole girl thing, didn’t know what to do with all the attention. Once when he waved back, he set the whole gaggle of Girl Scouts giggling (say that three times fast). I overheard one of the moms say “He’s one in a million here today.”

The sun was intense and we only lasted about an hour until we needed to go home.cimg2105.JPG Pumpkin was ok with that, being quite tired and hot herself. She got her patch, did the swap thing and sang for an hour – it was a good day. We only made it halfway back to the Metro station before we needed to buy some ice cold liquid refreshments. I was getting a headache and by the time we got home, I was also feeling nauseated. Doesn’t Philip know better than to let me go outside during the summer? No matter how much water I drink, I’m destined to become a heat casualty. If God had wanted me to be outside, he wouldn’t have provided me with all this indoor air conditioned goodness.

I’m doing better today, but my legs need motrin!

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