Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Licking our way across the Nation's Capital

It was a spur of the moment trip.  2 weeks ago, Lindsey comes to me and says “Lets go to Washington D.C.”  We both had to work during our kids spring break and we haven't been on a family vacation in years, so I said, “sure, why not?”  So, on Friday we surprised the kids at school and picked them up at lunch time on April 1st and told them we were going to D.C.  Drew was the most excited, Zachary didn’t believe us because he thought it was an April’s fool day joke, and Nate asked “Whats Washington D.C.?”  It took some time to actually convince Zachary that we really were going on a vacation.  Even with the bags packed, the dogs boarded, and 4 hours into the 7 hour trip, he still was not convinced.  When did he finally believe us?  According to him, “April 2.”  

On our way!

The drive itself was pretty uneventful.  But word to the wise, there is literally no where to stop in Pennsylvania when it is dinner time and everyone has to go to the bathroom.  We also learned that only in Ohio are restaurants and gas stations right off the highway.  Apparently in Pennsylvania, the state agreed upon an elaborate tourism scam to make all bathrooms and eateries at least 3 miles off the highway and into small villages so that one can “see our beautiful state” while trying not to wet themselves.  

Fun with a selfie stick.

We got to our hotel in Crystal City, a suburb of D.C., and the kids immediately went to the pool.  This was the highlight of Nate’s vacation.  We knew it was either going to be this or a gift shop, both of which we could have seen at home.  It’s like at Christmas when children are less excited about the toy and more excited about the box it came in.  We enjoyed a quick dip in the pool after a 7 hour car trip and enjoyed the shower after even more.  Especially when this pool contained 1 part water and 9 parts chlorine.  Drew’s eyes were so bloodshot after the pool, he looked like we had just been to a Dave Matthew’s concert in Colorado.  

Our kids hate sleeping in.  They have never grasped his concept despite my multiple attempts, through tears, begging and pleading.  But nonetheless, at 7 am they were ready to start the day.  Our hotel offered a free continental breakfast to which Drew took full advantage of never-ending bacon and Zachary with 4 sweet rolls and no protein.  But between the 2 of them, they had enough carbs and protein for 2 people.  

Can I get a side of bacon with my bacon?

Doesn't the metro look so delicious?

We took the metro into D.C. to the Smithsonian.  The metro was where the boys started their real vacation.  Even though we had surprised the kids with the trip, how they vacationed was up to them.  And the 2 younger boys, decided to experience our nation’s capital by licking every surface they could get their mouths/tongues on.  If you have read my Disney blog, you would know that this is not a new thing for them.  As Drew managed to taste his way through the Disney bus transit system, I don't know why I thought this would be different.  But sure enough, when we got to the metro, arguably the dirtiest part of Washington, Drew and Nate had a “lick off” to see who could not get caught by their parents licking things in the metro.  Now to me it looks like a dirty train handle bar that millions of people grab each day to hold themselves up bringing with them God only knows what on their hands.  But to my children, it must look like a magical, giant silver sprinkle made by Willy Wonka that must taste like heaven.  I don't know how many times we uttered the phrases “Please get your mouth off of the that” and “Stop licking it, just stop!  Why do you keep licking it?”  Washington is not only known for its monuments but also for its Washington D.C’seases.  And I am sure my kids contracted at least 5 of them.  

After tasting the metro, we first went to the National Air and Space Museum.  We started with the flight simulators which were so much fun because Nate and I spent the whole time upside down trying to shoot down planes.  Now the rest of the museum I enjoyed but having a 6 year old who can barely read made it unbearable.   There was a lot of reading, a lot.  And after 45 minutes, Nate was more than done.  He wanted to go back to the hotel pool.  Which was amazing timing, considering we just started our day in D.C.  It really set the tone for the rest of the day touring.  We probably stayed another hour there but we were done with that museum by lunch.  

We hit up the food trucks outside where we met up with some friends from Ohio by accident.  In a city with a million people, we ran into our Ohio friends at a random food truck.  They had 2 little guys with them our kids ages, so our kids caught their second wind, running around with them.  After lunch and ice cream, we next went to the Natural History Museum.  And boy, was it crowded.  We found out that this was the Cherry Blossom Festival and peak season for all the spring breakers making it the busiest time in D.C.  After wading through a sea of people in the geological section we were able to see the Hope Diamond.  Surprisingly, we really enjoyed all the different minerals and rock formations they displayed.  And Nate’s favorite part:  the penis rocks.  Rocks in the shape of.. well, you know.  The crowds finally got to us, and we decided to head back to the hotel for some breathing room and much needed R&R.  Upon arriving back, we had some pizza in the room and we finally did what Nate had wanted all day, go back to the pool.  I was hoping the mass amounts of chlorine would burn away the D.C’seases they had picked up that day, because even though I didn't see it, I am sure they licked several WW2 fighter planes and 5 different types of Quartz formations. 

Nate's favorite D.C. attraction

A Megalodon can eat a lot of bacon, but not as much as me -Drew

The next day we started with an early morning progressive dinner of train poles at all the metro stations from the Pentagon to the Smithsonian, and finally ended back at the Natural History Museum.  We saw more of the Oceans exhibit and Drew found an actual Megalodon jaw.  We also watched an awesome Imax movie about the National Parks in 3D.  We met up with some more friends who live in the area and who also have a cool little guy our boys loved hanging out with.  

The number one museum in the world, huh?  Color me not impressed. -Nate

Next we went touring the monuments.  When we walked up the Lincoln Memorial, Drew had the most honest reaction of “Whoa, I didn't know it was so big!”  We then walked next to the reflecting pool and luckily no one fell in, but not for lack of trying.  I stopped them for jumping in to collect the coins only by telling them they would get arrested.  They really enjoyed squawking at the ducks and pigeons on the way to the WW2 memorial.  We only had to yell at them once for wrestling and attempting to climb the WW2 memorial.  We continued our long walk past the Washington monument, picked up some ice cream, and headed back to the metro.  

We said good bye to our friends and made one more stop at Arlington National cemetery.  Now we had been walking literally all day and this was our last stop.  We didn't want them to miss the changing of the guard at Arlington but after a long day, it wasn't the best idea to do Arlington at 6:30 pm.  There is a lot of walking to get back to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Plus there was some construction, so there was more walking to take the detour.  We did make it in time to see the changing of the guard and our boys were surprisingly very respectful and quiet.  It was one of my favorite moments to share with them.  But then we had to walk back.  And then the complaining began.  In our nation’s most revered and sacred shrine to our fallen heroes, the cries of children rose to the heavens.  But it was because of sore feet and annoying brothers.  Men who fought so valiantly for our country, had to put up my children’s wails of sore tootsies.  

Are we there yet?

We made it out of Arlington and back to Pentagon City to eat at a wonderful barbecue joint and returned exhausted to the hotel.  But rather than falling into bed after 10 straight hours of walking, guess what the kids wanted to do?  Thats right: pool time!  Lindsey and I just laughed at the ridiculousness of the situation.  We were now 2 hours past bedtime and they got their second wind.  So off to the pool we went, because it was vacation.  We only spent 20 minutes down there but they loved every minute.  

"I'm not tired."  

Now you would think going to bed late after a 10 hour day of walking would mean the children would need to get their rest, but as I stated earlier, they don't know what sleeping in means.  So up at 6:30 the next day, they were ready to go.  After 3 pounds of bacon for breakfast, we loaded up the car and headed home.  

The trip home went pretty quick.  Except for one instance traveling in Maryland, down the side of mountain at 80 mph, in the rain, Nate decides he wants me to throw out his full cup of water out my driver’s side window.  And while trying not to crash or go off the side of the mountain, I spill half of the water on my lap while trying to dump the cup outside.  It was refreshing!  

We returned home safe with many memories of penis rocks, over-chlorinated hotel pools and the sweet taste of D.C. literally still in our mouths.  

Drew recommends the blue line metro with extra sprinkles,
The Joyful and Tired Dad