January 25, 2011

DC Road-trippin'

So we went to DC again this past weekend. Call it "checking off one more thing on the all-the-things-you-want-to-do-before-leaving-for-the-mission-field" checklist.

The kids had been asking to go back to Washington, DC since our absolutely disastrous fantabulous trip last spring. They kept presenting their case: "Before we go to Argentina, can we go back to Washington, DC?"; "You know, before we move to Argentina, we should go back to DC!"; and still, "I really want to go back to the Smithsonian and see the dinosaurs and buy something at the store there you know like that T. Rex since his tail fell off last time so I now need to get a new one - I could use my own money!?".

So, before we spent the last of the blessed Christmas bonus on bills - and because time obviously aids amnesia - we said yeah, that sounds like fun.


We figured it just couldn't be any worse than last time. And it wasn't. It was slightly better. Slightly. And I am now not leaving the house with these kids until they are all over 10. And that's final.

But let's start with the good news...

Expedia.com is my new best friend {gratuitous plug}. We found a killer 4-star hotel for the price of the cheapest dump in DC. Wow, what a place! Everyone was SO nice to us. It was, "Hello, Mrs ---, how can I be of assistance to you today?" and, "Don't worry about that, Mrs. ---, we would love to give you complimentary movies for the kids during your stay" (renting a movie in your room cost 16 bucks!) and, "It's all taken care of Mrs. ---, can I get you anything else today?". Yeah, I could SO get used to that. The kids asked wide-eyed, "Can we live here?" lol!

Grand Hyatt Metro Center Hotel in downtown DC - see the floating grand piano?!?

and it even had a POOL (God save me!) -
and this is what happens when you try to get baby
to stand STILL for a photo...

So we got up early Saturday, Day One, and drove straight to our first stop: The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. My kids are obsessed with dinosaurs and Ice Age mammals - and with the 18 other museums, all free, which make up the Smithsonian complex - the only one they wanted to go back to was this one.

visiting our old friend the Giant 15-foot Ice Age Ground Sloth
Evolutionists beleve it lived during the Pleistocene.
Creationists believe it lived during the post-flood Ice Age, some 4.500 - 3500 years ago. 
the huge monument to evolution that assails visitors upon entry to the Dinosaur and Fossil Exhibit -
I say, "what-ever!"
Ice Age "terror bird", 4-5 ft. tall

 And since I love rocks , I was thrilled when the family agreed to peruse the Gems & Minerals Exhibit of the Museum of Natural History...  oh, happy day!

gems are rocks, too :)
the world's largest cut topaz (in rear), and the largest perfectly pure cut quartz crystal in the world!

the Hope Diamond

wouldn't mind playing dress-up with these blings!
I'm not a huge wearer of jewelry, but the Persian turquoise in this crown was
SO radiant and SO pure it appeared almost liquid and translucent, see?!?

Day Two: Museum of American History. Lots of boats, trains, cars, and transportation stuffs...

I really couldn't tell you if it was great or not; I spent most of my time trying not to lose 3 kids in the semi-dark interior.

Since the kids were driving me looney, especially the pre-teen with the perpetual black cloud which seems to hang over him as of late, the highlight of the whole weekend for me was leaving them with Merciful Husband and going out with my old college roomie, Abbie. 

Oh, to walk ALONE (translated quickly) several blocks down the street from our hotel towards Chinatown, at night, in the city, weaving in and out amongst all the young urban professionals out for a night on the town, was just glorious.

And you just can't have a bad time with Abbie. She is funny, smart, confident, and always the talker with a million stories. We had a blast reminiscing of our wild and crazy days repelling, hiking, hot-spring dipping studying at the University of Montana. And here we are, 17 years later! Me, stay at home homeschooling mom; she, successful lobbyist on Capitol Hill.

Day Three we visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (sorry, no pics, I was wiped). To say it was my favorite, or that I liked it the most, sounds inappropriate. But it was, and I did. I kept telling the kids that in order to not make the same mistakes in the future, one must know and learn from history. To think that entire TOWNS were wiped out, all because the majority of their inhabitants were Jews. I never understood the hatred some have for the Jews. What did they ever do to anybody? It never made sense to me. Still doesn't. The utter depths of the depravity of human sinfulness continues to confirm to me the absolute need of a good and merciful Savior.

It also happenned to be a "March on Washington" weekend for pro-lifers. We figured it out by the 100s of 1000s which swarmed the Mall, pro-life signs in hand, pro-life shirts and sweaters donned, the plethora of nuns and priests walking around. Turns out a friend of mine was there, but we didn't even know it! Check out her March for Life post for some great pics!

Finally, we rounded up Day Three with some disappointing pics taken with my crappy camera. I take back any good I ever said about it. It's just not workin' for me.

this coulda been an incredible picture of the Capitol at dusk - WAH!

see what I mean??


Denise said...

Well, it definitely sounds like a better trip than the last one! I also get the feeling that the museums weren't as crowded. True...or wishful thinking? Fantastic hotel! I love expedia, too.

Oh, and when did you add the free HS resources to your blog? Now I'll never get to bed tonight! ;)

Katie said...

Woo, those are some fancy digs! You made out like a bandit on that hotel. It sounds like you managed to have a decent time after all. I always liked the Natural History Museum the best of all the Smithsonians.

Regarding your camera, it can't work miracles in low-light situations. You need to 1) put it on a tripod or steady it on top of something and/or 2) set a longer exposure. It can be done, I promise!

Lastly, I like the new background for your blog. The mountains look very pretty.

Chris said...

Denise, no, we weren't packed in like sardines this time, but there were still a LOT of people there for such a frigid weekend! And the HS resources have been there for a long time lol!
Katie, yes, I was vaguely thinking a tripod and a better understanding of ISO would improve the pictures - but it's all very complicated with 3 kids running three different ways so close to traffic!

Annie said...

Hi Chris! My in-laws took us all on a trip to DC last spring and we had THE BEST time. The weather was beautiful, and we walked and walked and saw as much as we could. We would love to go again sometime. I took my oldest daughter to the Holocaust Museum while the rest of my family took the boys to the Air and Space. It was amazing and unbelievable and of course horrific.
I am working my way through your blog and reading posts and figuring out your journey and timeline.. I will be praying for you and your family as you do what many of us wish and dream to do or perhaps don't have the guts to do.

Chris said...

Annie, yes DC in the spring is BEAUTIFUL and hard to beat. I know what you mean about the Holocaust Museum - it really, REALLY affected Tony - he cried like a baby. It really puts one's life and "sufferings" in perspective - that we haven't really suffered AT ALL.
And thanks for the prayers about the whole missions thing. We have the guts to go, I guess, it's just all the other millions of details that seem to be getting in the way right now. I can't tell you how much we appreciate prayer!

Renata said...

What a great place!I would love to visit there with the family!
The Holocaust Museum would probably be my first stop.
Thanks for sharing!

Christy said...

The hotel is amazing!
Now the kids really want to go to the Museum of Natural History next time. We are studying rocks and minerals right now too. I am trying to make it as exciting as I can. Maybe you should talk to them. Grace was pretty impressed that you were a "rock" major at college. I don't think she thought that was possible.

Chris said...

Christy, the Museum of Natural History is GREAT! And I would love to talk to your kids about rocks next time I see them. I don't know that they would think they're as exciting as I do (most people don't:)), but that's okay. I'm used to being laughed at due to my inordinate fascination with rocks. :)

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