Thursday, June 19, 2014

DC Family Vacation

We're heading out for a family vacation to DC.  Jared came with us this year and this was his first ever flight.  He was pretty nervous.  He also did something to his neck an was unable to move it for the first 5 days of the trip.  What a bummer.
We were on United and were able to pick our seats so we could sit together every time.
United started off with a huge disappointment though.  When we got to the check in counter in Little Rock, the 2 workers behind the counter disappeared and we (and many others) were left there not being able to check in or check our bags for 45 minutes.  Susan, Jared's mom who drove us to the airport, called United headquarters for help.  American Airlines tried to help us but they really couldn't do anything either.  Finally we had to have United paged.  It was not a good experience.  Finally a lady showed up.  If I had known that our baggage ticket was printed out behind the counter already, I would have gotten it and put my bag on the belt myself.  So, after that we headed to the gate.

We arrived in Chicago and grabbed lunch and the next plane to DC.  At the DC (Reagan) Airport, we found Nana and Papa there eating their lunch.  Then we all headed to the MetroRail.  I was completely lost and was glad Papa was there to help us navigate.  We transferred to a MetroBus and found Kristy, Emily, and Caleb waiting for us at the bus stop by our rental row house.  We stayed at Adam's Eden. A 3/4 bedroom, 3 bath row house 2 blocks from the main bus line to get to the National Mall. 
Our Metro cards.

WEDNESDAY
The next morning, a few of us walked to Walmart about 1/2 a mile away to buy some dinners and snacks.  It's a good thing we brought our own reusable bags for shopping because in DC, they charge $.05 per bag just about everywhere. Then we headed off for our first adventure in DC.

THE SMITHSONIAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY


The dinosaur part was closed and will be closed for 5 years.  That was a bummer but this 'walk among the dinosaurs' exhibit was working.  Originally we thought the whole museum was closed but it was only the dinosaur part so that was good.

Then to...

  THE SMITHSONIAN MUSEUM OF AMERICAN HISTORY  


We ate lunch here.  Lunch at the museum is expensive, but very tasty.
After lunch we headed to the 

WASHINGTON MONUMENT






We took lots of pictures here and cooled down and rested.  It is so hot and humid and we have done a lot of walking.  We checked on how to go into the Monument and found out free tickets for a time slot to get in are passed out very early in the morning.  We passed on doing that.
Next we walked past the 

WHITE HOUSE

We didn't get to tour the White House because you have to apply for tickets way in advance. We didn't know that so we missed the chance. 
We stopped in a park on the side of the White House and fed some too friendly squirrels.  I thought for sure we'd be taking Jared to the hospital for being bit because he was determined to feed them from his hands.
  
Crossing from the Washington Monument to the White House I snapped a picture of Canyon being goofy in front of the 

CAPITOL

We headed back to the bus and walked in front of

 FORD'S THEATER

Bus rides were one of Canyon's favorite things. He had lots of chances since the bus was our everyday way of transportation. Sometimes it was standing room only. Sometimes people were practically standing on top of each other!  

We had dinner at the house of chicken alfredo and played Stix.


THURSDAY
We woke up and got ready for our Capitol tour.  It was a long walk from the bus to the capitol.  I'm glad I brought Canyon's new shoes with his AFO's.  He was only supposed to wear them a few hours a day for the first week or 2 but was in them 8-9 hours at a time.  Poor kid.  I didn't know we would be doing so much walking.  I really thought buses would go straight to the places we were going to.

At the Capitol, we found the hall where Arizona is.
This is the stairway which is not open and viewable, it's the basic stairwell in case you don't want to or can't use the elevator.  It was all marble.  Crazy!  Kristy, Emily, and Caleb headed down it to find Alaska.  Arkansas was in a separate building. 
We got a tour guide named Gloria who was doing her first tour (US!), on her 3rd day on the job!  We walked in the underground tunnels to different buildings and got our badges for the tour.


Our passes to the House of Representatives and Senate.
They were doing work on the dome so they had tarps up covering parts of it.

Sahara and Jared with Uriah Milton Rose of Arkansas.
Kristy and Misty with a statue of  John Greenway of Arizona.
We waited for our chance to sit in the House of Representatives.  After a long wait, we sat in for about 5 minutes.  It appeared they were done with what they were doing in there and everyone was leaving for lunch.  We saw Tom Cotton of Arkansas wondering around in there.

After our tour, we ended back up where we started and Rep. Franks was there from Az.  He was excited to see Canyon there and mentioned to Kristy that he had a brother who had passed with DS and was glad to see him as part of our group touring today :) We took a picture with him and our tour guide Gloria.
We ate lunch at the Rayburn Building.  Very good food again.

Next stop was
THE SMITHSONIAN BOTANICAL GARDENS
It was hot and humid outside, so inside was even worse...but so pretty.


Papa found a flower called Robert's Delight.



Canyon decided to go on a walk-about and went missing for 10 minutes.  There were lots of rooms that had automatic doors that opened and closed.  There was no telling where he had gone.  I checked the bathrooms, the desert, Hawaii, the rain forest and back again.  No Canyon.  Everyone went separate ways and from a higher level I heard, Canyon! Canyon!  Up here!  Look up!  So I stayed down on the ground level and saw Jared running on the upper level to my side.  Sure enough he was there on the other side.  To him he probably wasn't lost.  He saw paths and just went a-walkin'. 
We left there and headed to 

THE SMITHSONIAN MUSEUM OF AIR AND SPACE 

We had a snack at McDonald's inside this museum.


All the youth on their devices.
Papa included! :)
We had dinner at home of lasagna.

FRIDAY

SMITHSONIAN HOLOCAUST MUSEUM


  It was a depressing place anyway and not what I had expected.  A lot of black and white photos and a lot of reading.  The part called Daniel's Story and the life of a child and his experience was the best part to me.  Even though it was a watered down version of what really went on during that time.

We hit the food trucks at the park for lunch after.  It wasn't so bad in the shade of the trees and we had a lot of cloud coverage today.  We ate just in time too.



Then came the down pour!  Quick!  We got out the umbrellas and everyone but Misty hid behind a tree.  Misty was sharing her umbrella with a lady who was on her way back to the Washington Monument from the drugstore where she got sunscreen.  Ha!  That storm came fast and hard. 

When it started letting up we were able to get out the rain ponchos and we headed to the

WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL

And then the 

LINCOLN MEMORIAL




Facing the LINCOLN MEMORIAL and turn around across the REFLECTING POOL to view the WASHINGTON MONUMENT

Next we walked to the 

VIETNAM MEMORIAL
Jared tried to find family names but had no luck.
Spaghetti dinner was back at the house.

SATURDAY

We were out of dinners so back to Walmart.

Then we headed to

UNION STATION


Sahara and Emily bought matching DC hoodies.
We ate lunch at Johnny Rockets.
We took the MetroRail to China Town.
I'm not exactly sure if this was the right location, but when getting off the rail at some point, we found this 2 man band.  They played pretty good for 2 people.
Jared and Caleb had shirts made at Union Station and posed for with them back at the house.

SUNDAY - FATHER'S DAY

Kristy and Misty decided today we would wear our red hats we got years back at another family vacation.
This is the first Father's Day we actually spent with dad in over a decade!!
We went to
THE SMITHSONIAN NATIONAL ZOOLOGICAL PARK

These monkey's were loose in their building.

There was an O-LINE for the Orangutan's to cross over the people walking on the zoo path.  We didn't see them do this, but I thought that was really crazy.  Who's to guarantee they wouldn't jump down or fall to the people walking below?? 

This poor guy looks dead in the picture, but he moved his head from one side to the other.  Just being lazy.
We just wanted to jump in with the seals.
Canyon got bug spray in his eye and it caused him to have a running eye and nose for most of our zoo time.  He was miserable and didn't want to walk.  I went to rent him a wheelchair but they were out so I got a stroller instead.  He looked silly in the stroller but it helped move us along better.  When checking it back in there was another family checking a stroller in too and the mom got out of it, so Canyon wasn't the only big person in a stroller that day!

We had chicken and veggies that night at the house.

MONDAY

We rented 2 cars for the trip today because it was farther away.  We went to

ARLINGTON CEMETERY 


We watched the changing of the guards.  I thought I was video taping the whole thing but apparently I had only taken a picture. :(
Papa on his way back from Kennedy's grave.
Next we drove to

MOUNT VERNON



Behind the kitchen was an area where the old kitchen was at one point.  There was a group of archaeologists there attempting to uncover new treasures.
Caleb and Jared tossed the football in Washington's backyard.

Back to the house for pizza and a nap.  Then we hit the National Mall again for some night viewing of the monuments.





TUESDAY

We got a late start this morning with no real plans for the day.  Finally we decided to check out the

SMITHSONIAN MUSEUM OF NATIVE AMERICANS



On the way there we spotted a McDonald's food truck.

Canyon liked the kids section the best at this museum.

Here we are testing our balance abilities.  Turns out Misty would not be able to stay afloat in a kayak for more than a few seconds.
Next we went to the DC USA mall. After watching a 10 minute video on how incredible it was, we wanted to check it out.  Turns out all it consisted of was a Best Buy, Target, Marshall's, and a gym.  So we just grabbed lunch and headed back to the house for a nap.

Then we were off to

NATIONALS PARK
The Nationals were playing the Astros.
Thank you Papa for treating us!
It was so expensive there.  3 hot dogs and 3 small drinks came to $30.
We left after the 7th inning to beat the crowd.  Turns out a lot of people had the same idea.
The MetroRail was very packed leaving.

The next morning, bright and early, Misty, Jared, Sahara, and Canyon got a taxi and headed to the Airport.  That too was more then what I had calculated.  Aw well, it's just money :)

We got there in plenty of time to grab some yummy muffins and board the plane.
Lucky us!  This plane has Direct TV!
Even though we didn't get to see the Pentagon up close, we got a great fly over view of it leaving out of Reagan National Airport.
We landed in Chicago just as a storm came.  He had to dash through the rain to get on a tram to take us to another terminal.  Then we were stuck on the tarmac for 40 minutes because all Southern bound flights were on hold due to the storm.  Finally we were off and got to Little Rock.
Green, green, green.  Too much green.
Even though this vacation was very expensive for us, I'm so glad we were able to get together with the family once again.
DC was very hot, lots of walking, lots to see, and pretty friendly people.

Thanks for the vacation family :)

No comments: