Skip to main content

The trip

Last Thursday night, with the help of “Mappy” (our borrowed GPS unit, so christened by the girls), we drove up to Washington, DC, for a few days of fun with Aimee and her family. And millions of other people, as it turns out, although why I expected the crowds to be thinner in July I do not know. Lesson learned, along with the cardinal lesson of parenting, which is that your children will never enjoy the parts of the vacation that you think they will most benefit from. Also: food in museum cafes is very expensive.

On Friday we went to the Natural History museum, where we saw the elephant

And the blue whale

And my favorite animal, the penguin.

From 2009-07-20

Then we paid $22 (!) to see butterflies.

It was around this time that Phoebe stated she wanted to go back to the hotel. Instead, we pressed on to the National Air & Space Museum to find Amelia Earhart’s plane, which unfortunately was not on display due to exhibit maintenance. Also, the museum was absolutely thronged with people (had something to do with the anniversary of the moon landing, I’m sure.)

Mallory’s favorite thing: playing with magnets in the gift shop:

Phoebe’s favorite thing: chasing pigeons on the Mall:

I would have liked to have gone on to the American History museum, but the children were done. So we went back to the hotel and swam, and then had dinner, and then let the kids run around in a park near the hotel. My nephews, by the way, are just wonderful kids. Funny and sweet and easy-going; Mallory and Phoebe, who were initially disappointed that their only girl cousin wasn’t along on the vacation, ended up having a great time with Rhett and Noah. Not one argument amongst the four of them in two-and-a-half days together, which is pretty amazing.

The next day, it was off to the zoo!

We waited a long time for a train:

And by the way – my children in particular were incredibly whiny both at the museums and at the zoo (My feet hurt! I’m tired! I want ice cream!) but all four of them were perfectly well-behaved when we were doing less exciting things, like waiting for a train or sitting in restaurants. I don’t understand it, but there it is.

The National Zoo is a lovely placed, well-planned, with spacious enclosures for the animals. This means, of course, that the animals are very difficult to actually see, especially if you’re a little short person. Mallory’s favorite animal is the giant panda, so we had to wait in, if memory serves, three different lines to try to catch a glimpse of it from three different viewpoints. I think she was a bit disappointed in what she was able to see:

But she was excited by this:

I forget what Rhett and Phoebe were doing here, but it’s funny:

Here they are in a T-rex skull:

Mallory loved seeing the baby gorilla; Phoebe enjoyed the “ephelants.” These moments of pleasure, however, were interspersed with oh so much whining; we finally had to rent a stroller to quell some of it:

But the girls really only cheered up when we shelled out cash for these:

...followed by twenty dollars worth of ice cream.

But this is my favorite picture of the day:

This was taken when we were leaving the zoo – and look how happy the kids are! Look at those smiles! They forgot about the heat and the crowds and the difficulty of actually seeing the animals we came to see. They loved the zoo! they said. They didn’t want to leave!

We adults knew better, though, and my advice to anyone out there reading this is – do not go to the National Zoo on a Saturday in July. You’re welcome!

Our trip back to the zoo was horrid; due to maintenance on the line, we had to wait almost an hour for a train, and the one that eventually came was packed with people. We were squished together like sardines; Aimee, Noah, Phoebe and I ended up on one end of the car, just hoping that Chris, Mallory, Seth and Rhett were somewhere on the other side – we couldn’t see through the crowds. The kids were troopers, though (Mallory told me later, “I just kept saying to myself, soon we’ll be to Boston, to Boston, to Boston” – our stop was “Ballston”) and we all managed to get off at the right stop without being crushed by the doors.

The next morning Aimee and I got up early to go see the memorials on the Mall. It was nice being child-free for a while, and the views were great too:

Then, alas, we had to go our separate ways. Aimee and family went off to a baseball game, while we headed north to Geppi’s Entertainment Museum in Baltimore, which was full of pop culture memorabilia like this (three guesses as to whose idea it was to go to this museum):

If you guessed Chris, you're right!

But it was pretty cool, and the girls liked it too:

The museum was right by Orioles Park; here is Phoebe on the “4” representing some player or another – because she’s 4, of course.

And here is Mallory on the 8 (for Cal Ripken) even though, as she kept saying, she’s not 8 -- but apparently the Orioles haven't retired the number 7 yet.

Traffic was awful on the way back, and we didn’t get home until almost 11 p.m. I have yet to recover, but the laundry at least has been done and I’m at the point where I can start repacking our bags for our next adventure, next week.

It was a great trip, despite the whininess and the crowds and the fact that I got to see almost nothing of what I really wanted to see (there was an exhibit on the Lost Colony! I love the Lost Colony! Couldn’t drag the kids through it, though). But I got to see my sister, so that’s good enough for me.


Anonymous said…
Great pictures! And I think it is amazing that you saw as much as you did with four kids.

aimee said…
We just got home a few hours ago and after a well-needed nap (getting up at 2 am central time only carries you so far in the day), I loved reading your recap of our adventure and the pictures were awesome. I loved seeing you and your family and maybe next time we can take a girls' trip (and the zoo will not even be thought of!) :)
H Noble said…
Good pictures!! Glad you guys got to go, but I'm thanking God that we got to go without kids- ha! :)

Popular posts from this blog

New Math

This word problem was on Mallory's math homework last week:

Lesia has 32 stickers. Diana has a few stickers. Lesia adds their stickers. She has to regroup when she adds. How many stickers does Lesia have? Circle the number.

We puzzled til our puzzlers were sore, but we still couldn't figure out the answer. I wrote a note beside the problem: "Mrs. G., this problem didn't make sense to either Mallory or her parents."

The next day the paper came back with a note from Mrs. G. She circled the last line of the problem and wrote:

"Misprint! This should have said Diana."

Okay! Whew! I was relieved to know that I wasn't, in fact, dumber than a second grader.

Except then I realized that I still didn't understand how the answer could be 3, 5, 6, or 8.*

I can't wait til she gets to algebra.

*Unless what they're calling "regrouping" is what we used to call "carrying the ones." In which case the answer would be 8. I think. Maybe.

Yard Sale. YARD SALE!

Anyone who doesn’t hear Tom-Hanks-as-Woody-the-Cowboy screaming that line…hasn’t spent much time around small children. Or at least around small children who like to watch Disney movies.

We had a yard sale this weekend – we being me, Chris, his sister Amy, and his mom. Yikes, it was exhausting. There was much hauling of boxes and furniture and standing around and chasing Mallory and Phoebe about the driveway all Saturday long. I made a hundred bucks – not too shabby, I guess. Chris made about $75 selling the “dregs” of his toy collection. The main point, however, was to sell our old living room furniture because we’re getting a new sofa and chair today (it’s being delivered as we speak!). We did sell our beat-up love seat for $25, but there were no takers for the beat-up sofa sleeper or the recliner. Alas, but that’s the way it goes.

Most of what I sold was baby stuff – clothes, bouncy seats, playmats, and so forth. It was a relief to see it go. Right after Phoebe was born I had the urg…

Confederation, confederation, confederation

Mallory has a big Social Studies test today. She’s not doing well in Social Studies, this year. When I asked her why her grades were so low, she said, “I don’t like Social Studies. Besides, no one can be good at everything.” I thought this was a fair point, but let her know that it was not acceptable for her to do quite so poorly, whether she liked it or not.

We studied for hours for this test. We read the chapter twice, summarized main points, went over vocabulary words, filled in blanks and did true/false quizzes. There were moments when I despaired – as when I asked, “The villages of the Cherokee people came together to form a...” and she said, “Um...bison?” But I think she knows the material pretty well; honestly I’m not even sure what else we could have done to get her prepared. I told her we would like for her to get at least a B.

I know she’s nervous. I’m nervous for her. I slept poorly all night.

But, I also know more than I really wanted to know about the early peoples of …