Capitol Tour

As it turns out, Memorial Day is an awesome day for a tour of the Capitol building.  Most tourists are outside waiting for the Memorial Day parade to start.

Our flight did not leave until 5:30 PM  so we needed a short, fun activity to fill our time before heading to the airport.  I was able to reserve 4 tickets for a Capitol tour at noon.  When we checked in for our tour we were able to change our time to 11 AM due to the low volume of visitors.  It was perfect!

We had just enough time to cruise the visitor center to see some of the statues before our group was called in to watch a short movie about the history of the Capitol.

Helen Keller is one of the newest additions to the visitor center’s collection.  She is the only person depicted as a child and the only one with disabilities.

May I just say that our Capitol is a breathtaking building?   Simply stunning.   Brumidi’s Apotheosis of Washington was reminiscent of the Sistine Chapel for me.  The fresco was so lovely, yet so far away!  It was hard to see all of the beautiful details of the masterpiece at the top of the dome.

All of the details in the Rotunda were almost too much to take in.  I was on artistry overload.  It was all so beautiful.  I love how the band of scenes from our country’s history is painted to look like a relief sculpture.  Amazing!

The above photo is just because I read The Lost Symbol…  Those who have read it will get it 🙂

We saw other cool things like the exact spot where John Quincy Adams sat during his time as a House Representative.

Ronald Reagan’s statue was particularly interesting because it had pieces of the Berlin Wall embedded into the pedestal in a thin band.

I liked this unfinished bust of Abraham Lincoln.  Half of his face has one expression and half has another.

When we finished our tour we had enough time to take the tunnel over to the Library of Congress.  I have seen photos of it’s famous Reading Room and wanted to see it for myself.  Unfortunately, it was closed to the public.  I was able to snap a quick photo through a window in a door.  It’s not the best picture but you get the idea.

We had a quick lunch back at the visitor center before heading for the airport.  Let me just say that the restaurant over there is outstanding!  So many healthy and organic food choices.  I was very impressed especially after consuming so many unhealthy things while on vacation.  It was a welcomed treat for us.

This concludes my five part vacay re-cap.  Hope you enjoyed reliving the trip with me!


Museum Mania

You would think that after torturing our kids with an epic walk around DC J and I would have taken it easy on them.

You would be wrong.

When the taxi dropped us off at the Air and Space Museum it was go time for the Smithsonian museums.  The boys perked up quite a bit after lunch and were happy to spend time exploring all the amazing displays and exhibits.  The truly amaze me with their resilience.

We could have spent all day at the Air and Space Museum alone.  There were so many wonderful, monumental, revolutionary things to behold.  I have many, many pictures that I won’t bore you with.  I’ll just say that I am a museum/history/information junkie and I loved every second of being there.

I will share this one photo though.  Oh, to be a stewardess in the 1960’s!!!  How cool is that pom-pom hat?  Don’t get me started on the serape.  Fabulous!  Airlines should bring this stuff back.  I could maybe do without seeing the go-go boots and hot pants making a comeback though…

We stayed just long enough for the boys to catch story and craft time.  A lovely Indian lady read a myth about how the constellations were formed.  The the children were given black paper, crayons and star stickers to make their own Big Dipper to take home.  My boys loved it!  They made two drawings each.


On our way to the Museum of Natural History we made a little detour through the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden to relax by the fountain.  It was a hot afternoon and the brisk water felt so refreshing on our tired feet.  We stayed for quite a while people watching.  There was a lone duck in the water circling around like he was king of the fountain   As you can see, many other people had the same idea…


We eventually made it to the Museum of Natural History where we saw everything from dinosaur bones to the Hope Diamond.  The building that houses the museum is stunning.  I spent more time admiring the architecture than anything else.  I had had enough of rocks, fossils and moths after about an hour and suggested that we head toward the American History Museum before it closed for the day.


This was my primary reason for wanting to stop by the American History Museum.

Julia Child’s kitchen!

I love to cook and remember watching her show when I was little.  I enjoyed the movie Julie and Julia too.  So, I just had to see the kitchen for myself.  It was quite a custom set up for its day.  The quirky touches, like the painting of three cats hanging from the cabinet door, were charming.

For some reason, all I could think about was her cooking up aspics in this very room.  Aspics gross me out.  Gelatinous meat?  Why?

Anyway, it was cool to also see the shunned Greenough statue of George Washington.  By coincidence, mom had given me a copy of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol several weeks before our trip.  I finished reading it right before we left.  So, it was interesting to see the statue discussed in the book in person.

I went to check out the pop culture artifacts while J took the boys to see the locomotives and ships.

I rejoined my family in the transportation section of the museum.  We spent a lot of time roaming around the old cars, trains, trucks and buses.  I found the audio accounts of a rural bus driver and his family particularly fascinating.  I listened to all three stories trying to imagine what it was like to travel 1 hour from a farm to school each morning with only a hot brick wrapped in newspaper to keep you warm.

It was all very interesting.  I love this kind of stuff but it doesn’t make for very fascinating blog reading so I tried to stick to the highlights.  Stay tuned for more DC trip stories including an Internet person I met I.R.L!

Testing the Limits of How Much Walking Our Kids Can Endure

I’m continuing our Washington, DC family vacation re-cap with the seemingly endless trek we took to see some monuments and memorials.  The boys are good walkers.  We go stroller-less to theme parks, zoos and on long shopping excursions.  They can hang all day as long as we take breaks here and there.   Given our confidence in their walking ability, we thought we would take them to see some sights when the Metro dropped us off smack in the middle of the National Mall.

The walk to the Washington Monument didn’t look that far in person.  So, we set out to see it.  We thought we’d see if there were still tickets available to ride up to the top.  That is a joke!  Apparently the line for tickets begins forming at 6 AM and it was about 10 AM when we showed up.  They were, of course, sold out.

So, we decided to continue on to the World War II Memorial since it was just on the other side of the Washington Monument.  I’m so glad we did because it is breathtaking.  The boys got to sit down and rest their tired feet for a while.

It was the Saturday before Memorial Day so there were red, white and blue flower arrangements laid out everywhere.  It was a perfect spot to take some time out to reflect on those who paid the ultimate price for our country and our freedom.

The photo above might be the best in terms of framing, lighting, editing, what have you.  But I wanted to post it here because this was my favorite part of the WWII Memorial.  The Freedom Wall with the 4,000 stars reflected in the still water of the pool below was so beautiful.  The stars commemorate the more that 400,000 Americans who sacrificed their lives.

Since we had already walked so far, we figured we would continue our westward journey to the Lincoln Memorial.  I showed the boys the backside of a penny and told them that was where we were going.  They thought that was pretty cool.  So, off we went walking along the side of the Washington Monument Reflecting Pool.  Dodging duck poo left and right…

The boys were quite tired by the time we’d reached the halfway point of the Reflecting Pool.  J and I did our best to stop for drinks, sit on benches and take turns carrying the boys toward our final destination.  It was slow going and HOT but we finally made it!

The boys looked like they wanted an air conditioned nap when we arrived!  Poor boys!  They were such troopers.  I was proud of them for making it all that way.

The Lincoln Memorial was so crowded!  We had to inch our way through the people to get a decent shot of Abe.

After a few more quick photos, J and I decided to have mercy on Wildman and Cutie Pie.  We hailed a taxi to take us back to the Air and Space Museum!  The boys were so happy!!!  It was an opportunity to sit down and it was their first ride in a cab.

It was the best $9.50 we have ever spent.

Previous Older Entries