DC Trip: Part One

Ever since Zach moved to the east coast, we've been talking about visiting him. We decided that this fall would be the perfect time to go. The weather would be cool for sightseeing, the trees would be changing and Quinn would still be under two so she could fly for free! :) So we booked our tickets and started counting down the days until our trip.

And when I say "we" I mean Mom, Dad, Stacy's family and me. Kyle isn't big on family trips, plus he has taken more vacations this year than in the past three years combined. So he missed out on the fun, but the rest of us had a blast exploring DC. Other than Mom and Dad, none of us had been there before, and we enjoyed having Zach as our personal tour guide. We packed a whole lot into our eight-day trip, so it may take me a few posts to get you caught up.

Day 1: Travel
Mom planned our flights out perfectly for the kids. We didn't have to leave Hennessey until about 10 a.m. and had plenty of time to eat at the airport while waiting to board our flight to Atlanta. Neither of the kids slept on the plane, but they did a great job entertaining themselves. It was Quinn's first time flying, and we were so impressed by her. As long as she had a window to open and close, she was a happy camper.

Of course she chooses to sleep IN BETWEEN flights!

Asher brought some TMNT villains along to entertain himself. 

And of course the iPad was great for that, too! 

I had reservations about flying Delta through Atlanta since my "Nashville Nightmare" several years ago, but I was pleasantly surprised. The workers were extremely friendly and all of our flights were not just on time, but early. When we got to DC, Zach, Maegan and Rakel (Maegan's sister) met us with pizza and we settled into our Airbnb digs. It was our first time to use it but we thought renting a house sounded a lot better than staying at a hotel. It turned out to be a great fit in a good neighborhood just a few blocks away from the metro station.

Home Sweet Home (for the moment)

It could sleep up to 14 people, eight of which would have been in this room...with a 6 ft. ceiling. Luckily, we didn't have that many people so only Zach and I had to share this room. 

If only I had pink tub at home! 

Day 2: U.S. Capitol, Museum of Natural History and the Lincoln Assassination Tour
Mom had scheduled two of our tours for the first day, which was a great way to get us going. The Capitol tour was first and had us using the metro with all the morning commuters. That was definitely our most stressful ride. Everyone was in a hurry, and we had no idea what we were doing. We figured it out, though, and made it to the Capitol in plenty of time to wait around for our turn. 

We were up early and ready to roll! When Stacy told me she was bringing a stroller for Asher, I thought she was crazy, but, even on the first day, we were glad to have it!

Quinn fell hard on the marble floor before our tour and she cried and cried. She had trouble recovering after that. Even the fancy headphones they give you only satisfied her for a few minutes. So Mom entertained her outside while the rest of us explored the Capitol and the Library of Congress. I was so disappointed in the Capitol tour. You don't really get to see much in the first place, but we really didn't get to see much since it's under construction. I guess that's a good excuse to visit again!

The dome from the inside. 

Statuary Hall - each state can send two statues for display as long as 1) the person depicted in the statue is no longer living and 2) the statue is made of marble of bronze

We spotted Oklahoma's Sequoyah from a distance. (Third from the right.)

We huddled by John Quincy Adams' desk in the round room to experience the whispering spot. Our tour guide stood feet away but you could have sworn she was right there beside us. 

The Crypt aka the foundation of the Capitol and the center of the city. 

Although the Capitol was underwhelming, I was so impressed with the Library of Congress! I had no expectations going in, but I loved the architecture and looking at all of the historic books. We didn't wait around for the official tour, which Dad thought was a mistake, but we still had a great time exploring on our own. 

Asher had to hang over the ledge to get a good view.

Thomas Jefferson's collection and some of the oldest books in the place. 

Asher wasn't the only weary traveler. 

The floor had zodiac signs, so of course this Pisces couldn't resist!

We walked a ways to a diner for lunch while Quinn rested. Afterward, we took a cab to the Museum of Natural History. Quinn loved ALL of the animals. She kept saying, "Hold! Hold!" She just couldn't understand why they were in glass boxes. Asher didn't spend much time on any of the displays. He was on the hunt for some dinosaurs, and we finally found some. On our way out, we stopped by the museum gift shop where Asher and I admired all the rocks. He's a boy after my own heart!

Our walk was lovely with plenty of flowers and row houses to admire. 

Waiting patiently on their food to arrive. 

Waiting patiently on our taxi to arrive. I'm sensing a theme here...

Quinn had to try on Aunt Abby's necklace. She wears it well! 

She loved on that panda for the rest of the trip. 

The ride back home was much less stressful! 

We got back to the house with just enough time to eat dinner and rest a bit before it was time to hit the road again. This time, our destination was the White House for our DC by Foot Lincoln Assassination Tour. This was on the top of my list because I had a slight obsession with Abraham Lincoln in middle school. (Yes, I even named my horse animal purse after him!) The tour was interesting, engaging and a fun way to mix things up. We didn't get to go inside any of the buildings, but we would pause outside of them as they walked us through the night of his assassination minute by minute. They also told the stories behind the two other assassination attempts that night, so it was a pretty full evening. I asked Asher if he was having fun listening to all these stories and he said, "Yes, but is this our last tour already?!"

We went through or representative to get a tour of the White House, but we got denied, so this is as close as we got.

Asher overheard someone saying there was a sniper on the roof, so the rest of the night, he was talking about it. I think that was his favorite part of the whole thing. 

The Department of Treasury - not a part of the tour, just something we passed on the way. 

It ended in front of the house where Lincoln died. 

Just across the street from Ford's Theatre

Next time, I'm going to a show inside just for the experience. 

Day 3: The Holocaust Museum and Royal Taj 

Day three was heavy. Mom and Dad entertained the kids at the zoo while Stacy, Josh, Zach, Rakel and I planned to hit a few museums. We slept in a bit and got a late start, so our first stop was lunch at Hawk n' Dove. This was one of Beka's recommendations and it was great. We ate on the patio but unfortunately, we didn't here any dirty little secrets like Stacy had hoped. This trip had her referencing Scandal about every other minute! 
Sweet Quinn wishing us off. 

This was my favorite row house that we passed on our way to the metro each day. 

The kids were ready for their zoo adventure! 

We became experts at the metro this day and were even brave enough to get home on our own without Zach. 

The Holocaust Museum turned out to be our first and only stop. Everyone told us how great it was and that we couldn't miss it. We knew it would be sad, but we weren't fully prepared for how emotionally draining it was. It is so well put together that you want to read everything, but we just didn't have enough time. I think we spent nearly three hours there before it was time to call it a day. I definitely recommend it if you are planning a trip to DC. It's an important piece of history that no one should ever forget.

Photos from everyday Jewish life. This may have been my favorite exhibit. Everyone talks about the shoes, but, unfortunately, those were being restored during our trip, so we didn't get to see them. Add that to the list of things under construction.

A replica of the train cars used to transport Jews to concentration camps.

As I was filling out my journal that night, I came across this page. It was very poignant to visit the Holocaust Museum at the same time that there is so much discussion and debate about Syrian refugees. My how history could have been different if countries would have accepted more Jewish refugees back then. I pray we learn from our mistakes and choose to do what is right over what is comfortable this time around.

Once we got home, we made the short yet LONG journey to Royal Taj, Zach and Maegan's favorite Indian restaurant in Maryland. Traffic was horrible, so I think we were all exhausted before we even sat down to dinner. While my hopes were not high, I discovered I really like Indian food! Everything I tried was delicious, the service was great and the atmosphere was perfect for the whole family. All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend the evening.


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