Sunday, June 29, 2008

10 miles. no kidding.

this was our first full day in d.c. and i, nerd that i am, took my pedometer. and this day we ended up walking 10 miles. now i've had some looks of unbelief and doubt, but by the end of the day, we stand by that number. we saw a LOT of things and walked back and forth a few times, so please do not doubt. this was by far the day we did/saw the most, so i will have more pictures for you.

our first major stop was to get tickets for the united states holocaust memorial museum, you have to go early to get tickets for later in the day. but we did tour another of their main exhibits called daniel's story, it's set up to give children an idea of what happened before, during, and after the nazi regime. it was very well set up. you can see pictures by clicking on this link, going down the page just a bit to the daniel's story section. the holocaust museum is a powerful tribute to those who survived and a touching memorial to those who did not. the moment we entered the museum, i was hit with emotion and couldn't help but start crying. we ended up getting to our tour time a bit later and didn't get to see the entire exhibit. so we went back the last day we were in town. it was that compelling.

then we headed to the national museum of african art. my favorite part was a special exhibit featuring the african artist el anatsui. he's taken recycling to a whole new level. i wish i could have taken pictures, but since my children set off the alarm for getting too close to the exhibits, i figured i'd be pushing my luck if i did a clandestine shot or two. but you're in luck! click here and you can see a smidgeon of what he's done. my favorite one isn't featured, he used bottle caps to make a huge sheet, similar to the ones you see in the online feature. the txtStyles/Fashioning Identity exhibit was fabulous as well, especially for the scrapbooker in me. african art and clothing has a great sense of humor associated with it. i like that. :)

mid morning we made it to the smithsonian's national air and space museum. we spent about an hour there and i think i was pretty tired and hungry because i don't have much to say about it. i suppose having been to quite a few different air and space museums (boeing comes to mind), nothing really seemed wow to me. and as a kid i was all about the space shuttle programs, the planets (i had my own telescope--another story all it's own), and the stars. i LOVED anything space. i was going to be an astronaut (again, another story). so i blame my lack of speech to that fact that i was tired and hungry. ethan and kelly loved it. this is a picture of space lab. they were impressed.

the capitol building. kelly really wanted to see the capitol building, i couldn't figure out why. until he reminded me of the schoolhouse rock song, you'll have to forgive me for not knowing how to embed the youtube version here. i do not know how to do it, but i've been really thoughtful and provided a link for you. :) we were taking pictures and this really nice gentleman asked if we'd like a family picture. we wonder who he was, someone important?

after the capitol building we stopped and got a hotdog from a street vendor. i said i'd do it this once. it didn't taste any better than one i'd make at home... not impressed.

being a lot like my father, i like to read the signs on buildings and in museums, you never know what you might learn. and i do believe i found a gem, i don't know that anyone in my family agreed, but i thought it deserved a picture. see, annie has had the honor of singing the national anthem for every honors assembly in 7th grade last year and once in the 6th grade. well the sign on the building on pennslyvania avenue informed me that this exact spot was where the star spangled banner was first performed publicly. i thought that was pretty cool. so i got a picture.

we headed back to the hotel to take a little rest, it was midafternoon, i was tired. once we got to the hotel area (1.3 miles on google maps), we decided that lunch of a hotdog was not enough. so we went across the street to the spy city cafe, the dining experience for the international spy museum. the kids had MI-5 dogs, and kelly tried the havana dog. i had a mediterranean salad. nothing spy-ish about that, but it was filling and healthy, all i wanted at the moment. ethan found this bottle of leninade. he insisted on a photo.

i have to be honest here and say that by this point in the day i wasn't talking to kelly. remember the misaligned expectations in my first post about the trip? they were at a high rolling boil by this point. but do not worry fair reader, it does get better.

take a nap, walk over to your tour time at the holocaust museuem (1.2 miles), get ready to walk to the mall, lose it and start crying (me), private conference with husband, get interrupted to take pictures of newlyweds in front of monument, gather the kids, sit in the shade of the washington monument, talk about expectations, resolve issues, apologize to each other. it's all good and the trip suddenly becomes one i feel like i can honestly say was fun when i start my scrapbooking process. and it only took about 30 minutes out of our day.

want to hear our expectations? well you get to because i will want to scrap about this and it's easier to just write it out here and go back to it once i get to the actual process.

kelly: get as much done in a day as we can.
emily: be leisurely in our exploration of d.c. 3 things a day tops. eat fairly healthy as a family.
annie: be leisurely and have a fluffy bed (the kids had to share a pull out, that one never got fully resolved).
ethan: watch the discovery channel, the history channel, and the cartoon channels as much as possible.

we compromised. and everything turned out much better.

now back to pictures and commentary.

the world war two memorial. it was beautiful, and i really have nothing more to add...

the reflecting pool was not as stunning as i remember it. but i don't remember so many ducks and canada geese making that location their home. having ethan teeter on the side was the funniest part of the that location.

at the end of the reflecting pool, we took a left and went to the korean war memorial. wow. what a vivid and telling memorial.

i have to say the lincoln memorial did not have the most positive impact on me of all the memorials. i totally admire lincoln as a president and a person. i know that he was in the right place at the right time, our nation needed him and he did what needed to be done. i think he was a great president. but there were FAR too many people at that memorial. i couldn't get a very inspiring photo. i was disappointed. i think when i went as a kid there was no one there.

redeeming moment of being at the top of the stairs of the lincoln memorial can be seen in the next two pictures:

one of those three helicopters probably had the president in it. we think.

we ended the day at the vietnam memorial. very sobering to see a 6 or 7 year old boy sobbing, with his hands over his face, in front of one of the thousands of names. i wish i'd known that story. i know he wasn't throwing a fit. there was sincere sadness in his body.

we walked back to the hotel (1.7 miles), and went to bed, exhausted.

i haven't added all the mileage here, but you can tell that we did do a fair amount of walking.

how's that for more pictures?


Rachel Carlson said...

em, absolutely beautiful seeing it through your eyes as i've yet to visit d.c. - thank you for the tour. the photos are powerful and thought-provoking - truly enjoyed them! hugs, rachel

Heather said...

:-) Forgive me for laughing at your expectations. Maybe we *should* trade husbands. ;-) LOL!!!

Natasja said...

o my what an impressive trip! All those memorials. Would love to go their once. I have always been very interested in everything about WW2. We, as a family, even adopted 3 graves of US soldiers died here, so far from home, fighting for our freedom. (

Houston said...

Oh Em, that sounds like an amazing and emotional day. I always find that a thirty minute regroup can do wonders for family trips. Thanks for sharing more pictures and I cannot wait to see you in a few weeks!

AK2CO Girl said...

Beautiful pics Em, glad you were able to find a compromise, still looks like you were able to accomplish a lot. Much more than I have on several trips to DC.

ducky said...

jeez I can hardly stand making travel decisions when I'm alone, let alone with my whole family which does not include two teenagers. you done good :) I love ethan's expectations, I laughed out loud. looking forward to more photos.