Sunday, July 24, 2011

DC Trip Day 7-The Zoo and National Cathedral

After getting back to the hotel very late after our long road trip, we decided to sleep in a bit. Once we were all rested, we started the day's adventure which was Abby's choice-the zoo. It was very easy to get to on the Metro. It was a nice sunny day; perfect temperature for a zoo day. I was really excited to see the Giant Pandas, and Ab was excited to see some rare fish she knew lived there. Now, don't get me wrong, it was a great zoo, but with huge, I mean huge spring break crowds, it was impossible to even see the Pandas let alone get a picture. There were lines at least an hour long to the exhibits. So I saw a glimpse of the panda's backside, hardly blog worthy....but Ab did get to see her fish. I would love to go back on a less crowded day.Ab and Ben in front of the zoo.
I love flamingos, so here I am doing my imitation of one.

A cool looking owl
I love those Fruit Loop birds. My camera doesn't do justice to the vibrant colors of it.
I liked that the zoo does a good job of recreating natural habitats for the animals. It was a beautiful zoo, but warning, tons of walking.
My nephew Justin who lives in D.C. highly recommended Maggiano's for dinner. It was just a few metro stops from the zoo. I can't even tell you how wonderful the food was. I'm not a huge Italian food fan, but Maggiano's was the best. If you are ever in a city with a Maggiano's you must eat there!
So after we ate, I asked the waiter if there were some fun sights within walking distance we might see before we headed back to the hotel. He said that the National Cathedral was just up the road a bit. I thought great, let's go for a walk. We walked and walked more than just a bit. It had to be at least two miles away and CLOSED. Yep, by the time we got there, it was closed, so we walked around and took some pictures and enjoyed the scenery. It was amazingly beautiful!
Ben and Ab-their faces tell it all. Sorry kids, I didn't know it closed at 5!
Ab still not recovered....At least Benny is smiling....
That's better. Smiles all around. Guess I forgot to take a picture of Brian and I.
After the long walk, we decided to take a city bus back to the Metro station. The kids enjoyed that; we were the life of the bus.
Steps at the end of day 7; lots and lots of walking.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

DC Trip-Day 6 Road Trip to Baltimore

We always like to catch a major league baseball game when we are on vacation, but the Nationals were out of town, so instead we went to Baltimore and saw....the Orioles.
So we rented a car, ditched the Metro for the day and stopped at the Udvar-Hazy Space Museum and
spent some time walking the grounds of the Washington D.C. Temple.
This air and space museum was Ben's choice and he loved it. The boys took most of the pictures, so there are only a few on my camera. To me, after awhile, the airplanes all looked alike, but here are a few that were interesting. Above, Ben and Abby are in front of the Enterprise space shuttle. It didn't go to space because it was used as a test module; it was huge.
The Enola Gay dropped the bomb on Japan to end WWII. I thought it would be a huge plane,but it was actually quite small. This plane truly changed history.
After two hours looking at planes, we were off to the temple. It was so peaceful and quiet; we had the grounds all to ourselves.
The kids and I among the cherry blossoms.
Had some fun playing photographer and took some pictures of the kids.
Cute Ab; she was excited to see all the cherry blossoms.
Abby and Ben; more than halfway through the trip and still smiling and getting along!
Bri and I
Bri does not like to ask people to take our pictures so we always try and take our own. Attempt #1; okay, but not great
Attempt #2; you can see Bri trying to smile and take picture. Oh well, off we go until....
the kids spy a Utah license plate belonging to....
Ted and Bev Smith, the parents of our dear friend Karen Newman. They were serving a mission in the temple and had just finished their shift. What are the chances????
Family photo taken by Ted; now this is a good one. We were able to have lunch with them and catch up. What a fun way to end our visit to the temple.
Ben asleep; can you see a pattern of Ben on vacation? Sight see, get in car, fall asleep until next destination.
Arrived at Camden Yards to see the Orioles play the Twins. Ab's first major league baseball game!
Benny boy with another baseball pennant
Enjoying the game with Papa Bri. We had a great time, and it was fun to see Baltimore, which is nice around the park, but overall kind of a scary city. On our way to the parking lot after the game, we walked into the middle of a gang fight. Thankfully, the cops came and broke it up; I think that scared the kids a bit and they were glad we live in Salt Lake.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

DC Trip-Day 5

On Tuesday, we toured Ford's Theatre where President Lincoln was shot. It remains today much like it was in 1865.
Abby and Ben in front of a statue of Abraham Lincoln
In addition to touring the museum, we saw a play "One Destiny" which detailed the events leading up to the shooting. Here are the boys waiting for the play to begin.
The theatre stage
The box seats where President Lincoln, his wife and some Union generals were sitting. It was kind of eerie seeing the exact place where one of our greatest presidents was shot.
After shooting Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth jumped from the box to the stage, breaking his leg. This is the actual boot he wore that night.
After the serious nature of Ford's Theatre, we were off to the Smithsonian to look at a bit of history. Ab and Ben in front of the museum. This place was huge and so so crowded-not Bri's favorite place, so we went through it pretty quick. Here are just a very few of the exhibits.

Abraham Lincoln's top hat
Ben in front of CP3O and some other Star Wars memorabilia. We also saw Dorothy's slippers from the Wizard of Oz, Michael Jackson's hat, Archie Bunker's chair and Julia Child's kitchen. I thought the place was pretty interesting, but the kids got bored so off we went.....
to the Spy Museum. Ben and Abby choose a few places they wanted to visit and Ab choose this. It was actually fun and we were able to pretend we were spies and crack a case. We weren't very good spies.....
but after the tour, the kids decided to channel their inner spy. Ben's looking at a watch he doesn't have on...hum...does that make a good spy????
My favorite picture of the crazy kids....I think they really enjoyed this.
After all our tours, I introduced Abby to H & M, my absolute favorite store. She had a great time and bought some fun things. So glad H &M is coming to Utah soon.....
And that ended our day. We headed back to the hotel for some rest and ready for our road trip to Baltimore on Wednesday.

Friday, July 15, 2011

DC Trip-Day 4

After our three fun-filled days in Philadelphia with the Thomas's it was time to head to D.C., meet up with Brian and finish the rest of our trip. Lori and the kids were kind enough to drive us to DC and spend some more time with us.
Crossing into Maryland.
We planned to tour the Holocaust Museum, but the alloted tickets for the day were gone. So we looked around the museum and decided to come back early Friday and try again.
Abby and Ben saying hi to the Obamas!
Bri and I
The front of the White House; technically speaking, there is no back of the White House. Guess it's not dignified for the President to come out the back of the house, so they have two fronts. Go figure.
After our walk around DC, stopped for lunch at a restaurant a few blocks away. It was a pretty fancy place; everyone was in suits and business attire.
Saying bye to Emma-They have been friends their entire life. We miss you; come to Utah soon!
Had to get a picture of Ben in front of a statue of Ben Franklin. Lots of statues and memorials in the city.
We ended our first day in DC with a bike ride to the monuments. I think this was the highlight of the trip for all of us. We were able to see the monuments at dusk, sunset or dark. Loved pedaling through the city. Thanks Amy for telling us about this fun activity.
The kids ready to bike and roll......
Quick stop to the Washington Monument. Typical teens, didn't want picture with the orange vests!
Statue of soliders of the Vietnam War Memorial. My picture does not do it justice; the look on their faces is just amazing.
Vietnam War Memorial. Every soldier's name who lost his or her life in the battle or as a result of the war is engraved on this solid black panel. Simple, but very moving.
On to the Lincoln Memorial. This is where Martin Luther King stood when he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream Speech". The reflecting pool is under construction so no photos of that.
I could not believe how big the Lincoln Memorial was. The Gettysburg Address and other Lincoln quotes were on the walls surrounding the memorial. So glad we could see this.
For me, the most moving memorial was the Korean War Memorial. I just thought of my dad, a young man of 18 going off to war.
Again, my camera just didn't do justice to the expressions on the faces of the soldiers. The memorial is on a area of grass with soldiers in the act of marching. Very humbling experience to be able to be able to see it. We also saw the World War II memorial which was huge and the pictures didn't turn out so great and the FDR memorial which was cool but not great photos.
Last memorial stop was the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. His memorial faces the White House and we were told it was so that he could always keep an eye on the governement. We loved seeing all the memorials and learning about these great men.
My step count at the end of day 1 in DC!