Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Washington, DC (Part 1)

Our final big family vacation/field trip for the year finally came. We had planned a trip to Washington, DC. A week after booking our hotel rooms (my husband's parents were joining us on this trip), I received a jury summons. After a failed attempt to get it deferred or excused, I thought I'd have to cancel. Luckily, Monday I was only on call and on Tuesday I only had to stay until noon. I received a phone call that night letting me know I was free for the rest of the week. Thursday came quickly and I rushed to get everything packed (I really thought I was going to have to cancel the trip). We made the 4 1/2 hour drive to DC on September 17th. The hotel was able to get adjoining rooms for us, which was great. Because it was also my husband's birthday, we went out for pizza that evening. And because most of our family is vegan, it had to be zpizza (click on the link for my review from a different location).
It was very difficult to get the kids to calm down and go to sleep that night. They were far too excited. They finally crashed around 11 o'clock and woke up bright and early the next morning. Our first stop was the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. This was my husband's only request during the trip. We took the metro down from our hotel, waited in line, and an hour later it was time for our tour. They do not allow pictures to be taken during the tour so I have none. It was somewhat interesting, if that's what you're into. I'm glad we were able to do it, though.
By the time the tour got out, it was time for lunch. I had heard about a restaurant chain that was mostly vegan and had to give it a try. So we walked down to L'Enfant Plaza and found the Amsterdam Falafel Shop. They were located at a food court and the concept of the restaurant is very simple: falafel sandwich or falafel bowl, with fries. I opted for the bowl and got 8 falafel (to share with the kids). There were numerous Mediterranean toppings to add to the bowl (hummus, baba ganoush, roasted eggplant--just to name a few). You then pay for your bowl by how much is weighs. I also got a side of pita, tahini sauce, and spicy peanut sauce. The kids mainly ate the hummus, pita, and fries. The falafel was very tasty, but a little too spicy for the kids (I leave out the spice when I make it at home and tend to forget that restaurants don't do the same). I ended up eating almost all of the falafel while the kids enjoyed the hummus (I was not impressed by the hummus but the kids liked it). No pictures of the food this time. We were so hungry, we dug right in. I didn't remember to take a picture until the food was nearly gone.
After lunch, we went through the Smithsonian Castle and on to the Museum of Natural History.
At the museum, Bridget was most fascinated by the bones exhibit. He enjoyed guessing what animal it was by the bone structure. She got quite a few correct. Here she is with the skeleton of a very large sea turtle.

We also saw dinosaur bones. I think George liked that exhibit. We also saw a real mummy. I wanted to get a picture of Bridget with the mummy since we had just studied them, but she wasn't having that. I think she was scared of it.

Another highlight for Bridget was seeing the Hope Diamond. Being a girl, she loves anything that sparkles. By this time, George and Liam were done, so it was time to leave.

That night for dinner, we had leftover pizza. Since the night was still young, we headed up to Kensington, Maryland to see the Washington DC Temple. The temple itself is currently closed for repairs and renovations, but the grounds and Visitor's Center were still open. We were able to get a family picture of us in front of the temple. All three of the children are looking in the general direction of the camera. That's about as good as it's gonna get.

Inside the Temple Visitor's Center, the sister missionaries showed us one of the newest exhibits, which was this very detailed model of the temple, which showed all of the various rooms inside the temple. I took many pictures of it to keep for the kids. My favorite part was the "solemn assembly" room on the top floor. We assumed that it never really got used anymore, but we were informed that it was used at least 2-3 times per year. The stakes in the area actually hold a session of stake conference in the temple, and that they had just had one just before the temple closed for renovation in August. I thought that was the neatest thing ever. I wonder of hubby can get a job in Washington, DC for a year or two so that I could have the experience of being in one of the stakes that get to do this.

George was mesmerized by this smaller scale model of the temple. He couldn't get close enough!

Finally before we left, I was able to get the kids to sit still for a picture in front of the Christus. The last time this happened was in Hawaii in 2010. It was just Bridget at the time. I love how our family has grown.

All three of the children fell asleep on the drive back to the hotel. Liam stayed asleep even after we got up to our room. The other children were able to get into their pajamas, but they were sound asleep again shortly after. It was a busy day!

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