July 9, 2016

Road Trip 2016: Our Nation's Capitol

Day One: Union Station, US Capitol, Library of Congress

We arrived in Washington DC as all visitors should: via Union Station.  We parked our car and had lunch before going to our tour of the Capitol building, then we walked through the tunnel to the Library of Congress.

After miles of walking and hours of sightseeing, we had a relaxing evening in our awesome airbnb apartment in Eastern Market.  We ordered take-out Italian from Lavagna, a fabulous little restaurant on 8th St that specializes in homemade pasta and locally sourced ingredients.  Delish!

Before the photos hit the fan, I'm just going to say that I took hundreds of pictures that have no people in them, but they are pretty horrible since I have zero ability as a photographer.  Most of the time I don't even include those.  I'm always more interested in the people in the frame than the background, so it's all about my family here.  My family in awesome places, obviously.  So prepare to see our smiling faces A LOT.

Ella, Kate, and Anne in Union Station!

A handsome man and his adoring wife.

Hello, Washington DC!

Welcome to our nation's Capitol!
Under scaffolding.  Naturally.  Happens everywhere we go.

Inside the Capitol with an actual-size copy of Freedom.
(She's on the top of the Capitol dome in bronze.)

Inside the rotunda.
Scaffolding inside and scaffolding outside.

Teensiest glimpse of the dome's interior.

Eight proud Oklahomans.

Abe Lincoln's chair location in the original legislature.

Windows inside the Capitol.
It used to be the outside, but they left it in place when they expanded the building.

Super fancy room.

Ella was more interested in the view outside.

Wannabe librarians like me LOVE the Library of Congress!

I mean, c'mon.

See us up there?
(That's me pulling a Michael Jackson.)

Clowning around in the library.


Day Two: Metro Madness, Air and Space, White House, Nats Game, and National Kissing Day 

Here's the thing about a trip to DC.  You wake up every morning and take your pick of awesome, amazing, incredible sights and activities.  We let the girls choose our first adventure, and they opted to go to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum followed by the White House.  Easy peasy.

The adults were super excited about the two other events of the day:  Ella's Wood Fired Pizza for lunch and Nats tickets for the evening.  And adults and kids agree that 2:00 might as well be called ice cream o'clock when you're on vacation.

My girls love riding trains.
They were super impressed that the "American tube" doesn't give you black bogeys.

Metro expert.

My parents are total Trekkies and they passed the love of the best show of all tine (TNG, not the original series) on to their firstborn daughter (that's me).
Needless to say, seeing the actual USS Enterprise model used on the show made my freaking day.
(I solemnly swear I will raise my girls to love Star Trek if it's the last thing I do.)  

Check it out!!!

Annie picks her nose in front of the lunar lander.

Quick family pick as we walk across the Mall.

Lunch at Ella's!
Last time we ate here Ella was just a tiny babe.

Annie thinks the White House is a total snoozefest.

So fun to take the girls to see Barack's house.

Selfie with my main man.

Don't let their bored expressions fool you, the White House Visitors Center was AWESOME!
We weren't able to get a tour of the White House on this trip (Nick and I did it years ago, but my parents and the girls have never gone) but the visitors center totally made up for it.  I might have actually liked this better than the tour!


We popped into a Baskin Robins for ice cream and found that President Obama came there recently.
So bummed we missed him!

Sweet little Washington Nationals fan.

Sporting the red dresses again to support the Nats.

Kate was all over the game for the first five innings...

...and then she fell asleep in her seat.
Maybe not the most hard core Nats fan in the world.
She's saving herself for the Orioles.  :)

This church -- CHRIST CHURCH EPISCOPAL -- was right across the street from our flat.
(We go to Christ Church Episcopal in Tulsa.)

The museum and the pizza and the White House and the Nats game were cool, but National Kissing Day was a bonus.

The best part of my day is this right here.  ❤︎

They are too cute for words.

Day Three: National Zoo, Natural History Museum, and Sonoma

Even though the zoo is a huge time commitment, the girls were dying to go.  I am SO GLAD they insisted, because the National Zoo is a amazing.  It is a Smithsonian institution, which means it's awesome and it's free!  Going there was a total no-brainer, especially since it's one place Nick and I never went while we lived there.  

After the zoo we decided to make it a total animal day and finish up at the Natural History Museum.  The girls were totally blown away even though the dinosaur exhibit wasn't at full strength.  There were a few dino skeletons, so they were satisfied.  And they loved the Hope Diamond and the gemological hall as well as the butterfly exhibit and the hall of mammals.  But most of all they liked the gift shop.  :)

National Zoo!

Love my little monkeys.

Ella was over the freaking moon because they had a Clouded Leopard.
She did her Explorers report about Clouded Leopards at the end of the year, so this was a dream come true for my biggest girl.

Look at that smile!

The pandas!

This one is called Lucy.  She kept my girls entertained for a solid 20 minutes.

Dip'n'Dots o'clock.

They loved this so much.

Annie (aka Colors the Cat) was super impressed with this "color patter."

Inside the butterfly pavilion with Grandpa.

Nick and his buddy the dead giraffe.


So cool!

I had two requests for our time in DC.
1)  The National Gallery of Art.  Did not happen.
2)  A really nice dinner out.  This did happen.

Nick enjoying his flight of wine at Sonoma.
The wine was superb and the food was INCREDIBLE.

Our crew at Sonoma in DC.

Nick and his mini-me walking around DC.

Day Four: Farmer's Market, National Mall, Monumental Monuments, American History Museum

On the fourth day in DC my mom revealed that she had been monitoring our walking on some phone or watch app.  We had walked between 6 and 9 miles every single day.  Annie rode in the stroller, but Ella and Kate were totally afoot for a minimum of 6 miles a day!  Those girls are such troopers.  They never complained except to ask occasionally "is our next destination air conditioned??"  

We resolved to take it easy on our feet on our last full day in the District...and then we proceeded to walk 7 miles.  

It's so easy to do that in DC.  The landmarks are so HUGE that they look close together.  But that is an illusion.  They are not.  What began as a quick walk to the Washington and WWII monuments turned into a very long, hot, sweaty walk to Lincoln and back.  Over three miles in total.  Yikes!

We enjoyed the monumental monuments, an unexpected snack at the USDA Farmers Market, a visit with the one and only Maddie Megatron, a brief look at the American History Museum, and delicious tacos followed by even more delicious gelato.

Super cool Farmers Market outside the USDA building.

That's us in front of the Washington Monument.

Hey, Abe!

Ella wanted to take our photo at WWII.

My Oklahoma crew.

Annie at the Vietnam Wall.

Family picture with Headless Abe.

Lincoln has his whole head, but Nick and Kate are missing most of theirs.
We can't win.

Ruby slippers at American History.

The original Elmo.


Nick is the baby whisperer for sure.
Tony was taking notes.

Maddie was less impressed with Ella...

She might not love babies, but she adores GELATO.

Nom nom nom.

Quick pic in our DC house!

I love Washington DC so much!  We did a ton, but there were so many things we didn't even get to.  Four days simply isn't enough, which means we'll have to visit again soon!