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Monday, November 17, 2014

A Washington, DC birthday!

Peter wanted to go to Washington, D.C. for his birthday this year.  He also took him when he was 8 and when he was 10 so it just seemed right that we should do it again for 12!

Dan's sister, Cathy, lives in Alexandria which is mere minutes from D.C. so we stayed with her again.  And Dan's brother, Bob, also lives in Alexandria so we got to see him as well.  Both my kids were very happy!

We brought Peter's friend Joe along this year.  What a great kid!  Peter and Joe had a great time together and Joe is just the nicest guy!  On the drive home, Dan and I decided we should just keep Joe, but ultimately, we gave him back to his parents.

We left our house around 4:30 on Thursday evening and arrived in Virginia at 10:30.  We were up at at 'em early on Friday morning.  Cathy made breakfast and then we headed over to the Wasington Monument.  We had 10:00 AM reservations to go up to the top.  (I highly recommend reservations.  It only cost $1.50 per person for the reservation which beat just walking up, waiting in line, and hoping for a spot.  Totally worth the $9!  And it was especially nice since it was cold on Friday.  We literally walked right in to the monument.)

And the views were spectacular.

After the trip to the top of the Washington Monument we visited the American History Museum.  We then grabbed some lunch and then headed to the International Spy Museum.  The boys really enjoyed this museum.  And actually, so did the grownups.   There were a lot of hands on activities as well as lots and lots of exhibits.  The people at the ticket counter said it would take about 2 hours to go through but if you looked at everything in this museum, you could easily spend 4 hours in there.  The kids were bored after about an hour and a half which I thought was pretty good.  So then we headed outside for the Spy in the City.  You have to pay extra for this but it was worth it.

The museum issued us a tablet and it was programmed with a spy mission.  We were walking through the city tracking a spy, decoding clues, and transmitting data.  This mission was aimed for kids 10 - 12 and I think it was just perfect for us.  The kids had lots of fun doing it even though they knew it wasn't real. 

Heading into some duct work to do some spying1

After the Spy Musuem, we headed to Ford's Theatre.  Unfortunately, they wouldn't let us see into the theater because they were preparing for a play.  But we got to go through the museum and we also went into the house across the street and got to see the room Abraham Lincoln died in.

After that we headed back to Cathy's house for a delicious steak dinner and homemade chocolate birthday cake!

On Saturday morning, we headed out to see a few monuments.  We hit the USMC Monument, the WWII Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.

After that, we went to the White House.  We had a tour scheduled for Noon and we had to be there by 11:45.  We literally ran but got there in plenty of time.  We went through multiple security check points and finally made it inside.  The tour was self guided through the East Wing.  We did not get to see the president. The kids joked that he was probably on the gold course anyway and weren't too disappointed.  The kids however, were disappointed that we didn't  get to see their dog, Bo. 

 After the White House tour we grabbed some lunch and then stopped in to the Air and Space Museum and the National Gallery briefly. (The kids weren't at all interested in looking at paintings.  I would have liked to have spent some more time there however.)

And then, we headed to the open air ice skating rink at the Sculpture Garden.  This was at Sarah's request.  We were tired, but she had been such a trooper on this trip that we couldn't say no.  And, Joe was excited to try ice skating because he had never done it before.  They all had a great time!

After ice skating, we went to Mass at St. Patrick's which was built in 1792!  After Mass, we went to dinner at Ted's Bulletin and of course, got the best milkshakes known to man.  (They use all cream in their shakes - not milk!) 

And believe it or not, that was all we did!  :)


Mari said...

What a wonderful trip. You are so lucky to know someone who lives close by. The pictures you got are wonderful!

deborah said...

How fun! Your photos are so pretty. You did have a great view from the top of the monument!

The birthday cake looks delicious! Love the tall skinny candles!

The ice skating rink looks fun. Our kids have skated at rinks a few different times and always enjoy it.

Busy Bee Suz said...

"That was all you did"??? Wow. You guys packed a lot into a weekend. It looks fabulous and makes me want to visit D.D even more. SO glad Peter had a nice birthday!!!

Pam said...

Wow, you all do trips the way we do. Pack as much in as possible. Looks like an amazing time. We did DC a few years ago and it was pretty amazing. We had the other extreme for weather tho. It was pretty hot when we were there. Early June. Which I think I prefer over being cold. You got better shots from top of the monument than we did..clearer air for you. But when we went, you had to get a ticket. Thankful we did that. Great trip, great trip. Thanks for reminding me that we did that. LOL

Madeline said...

What a wonderful birthday weekend Peter had! Sounds like the trip was a resounding success! Do you think you'll go again for his 14th?

Kelli said...

What a fun birthday trip!
We are thinking of visiting Washington DC this summer. If we decide to make the trip I may have some questions for you.

Kelli said...

What a fun birthday trip!
We are thinking of visiting Washington DC this summer. If we decide to make the trip I may have some questions for you.

Elise said...

Wow, looks like such a great trip, Beth! I'd be really interested in going to Ford's Theatre. Very cool.