First thing we did when we got to DC was head to the Washington Monument to see if any tickets were still available. For the record, I've been trying to get there since my first visit back in 2000 when it was closed for renovation. I tried again when I visited in 2001, still closed. Then again at each subsequent visit downtown, but there were never tickets available by the time I got there.
So hallelujah and hurray, there were tickets, but the first available time was 1:30. We went for it.
I have to say, this was the highlight of our trip. SO cool. The views are amazing, and I learned all kinds of interesting and funny tidbits. And I took a picture of every direction for your viewing pleasure.
First of all, London and I counted the flags around the monument. Exactly 50. And the monument is 555 feet tall. The viewing deck is at 500 ft.
Also, the elevator was first installed in 1874. It took 20 minutes for the elevator to get to the top. However, it was deemed unsafe for women and children, so they made them walk the 900 steps while the men rode the elevator eating cheese and drinking wine. Uh huh. Nice. Their chivalry astounds me.
Unfortunately, the stairs where closed to the public in 1979. We only got to look at them from behind a locked gate.
Also, you can see the advancement of technology with the building. The first two hundred feet of the building (or so) they had to hand cut the limestone. But they were able to finish the last 335 (or so) feet with machine cut stone. You can see a definitive line where the style of cutting changes. (Okay, this is an old picture, but you can see the line if you look close.)
On the inside, they allowed different groups to purchase stones that were engraved with their names (or the association's name). There is one red stone that came from Egypt (though I can't remember the group, and I don't believe you can see it from the outside . . . only the inside).
This display is on the floor below the viewing level. Washington was so cool.
For your benefit, I took a picture up into the point of the monument. While it may look like Rick is about to fall off the edge or something, he isn't. I promise.
I highly recommend a visit to this site to anyone who comes. Very cool.
One of the things I love about living here is that it's so easy to head downtown and enjoy our nation's history. On Wednesday, it was rainy, giving us a small break in the wretched heat we get here, so we profited. Rick had the night shift, so he was able to come with us to see a couple of museum's and the Washington Monument (that'll be part 2).
Khyah was so excited to be going on a family outing.
And of course, you can't take someone's picture and NOT take Brandt's so here he is, too. :)
We stopped in front of the Hirshorn museum, but try as I might, I couldn't get the kids to pose for a decent picture. It was raining, and then the wind changed directing the fountain at us as well, so I gave up.
Next, we stopped at the Aerospace museum. London told me he LOVED this picture, and was hesitant to let me share it because he wanted to keep it, but I convinced him we could do both.
The boys were in heaven with all the planes and rockets and such. London wanted a tour so he could hear all about it (though he changed his mind when he heard how long it was), and Brandt absolutely had to visit this airplane.
(Sorry for the glare, but I'm not the best picture taker.) So once London determined the tour was too long, he wanted to see the first airplanes. Here they are learning about the models Orville and Wilbur Wright made before building the real deal.
And here is the real (authentically replicated) deal (you have to look past the little sweetie up front). Khyah was pleased as punch to get out of the stroller.
And just to prove I was there . . . but once we let Khyah out, this was my job: baby-wrangling.
I had originally planned to leave by noon, so I didn't pack a lunch. Luckily, McDonald's has infiltrated the government and has taken over the Smithsonian cafeterias. I would have preferred this outdoor one, but we ate at the indoor McDonald's instead. They charge almost double their normal prices, except the whole supersizing deal which is still 59 cents. We got 2 meals and supersized both, so I felt proud of "cheating" the system (although who cheated who I leave up for debate).
While I moved the car, Rick took the kids to the Natural History Museum. Rick didn't take any pictures though. But they saw the same exhibits we saw last time (the Forensics exhibit, and the mummy). Of course, Rick was at work when London woke up in the middle of the night screaming: "Mommy! Daddy! I need you NOW!"
Yup, he was having nightmares about mummies. Fun times.
We have a Lego Store nearby, and needless to say, this is one of the kids' favorite places to visit. Well, the Lego Store has some pretty smart people working for them, and they have these monthly mini-projects that they let kids do for free. So here we are waiting in line for our turn. I think we waited about an hour. I KNOW! My kids better love me. ;) You can see the long line behind us.
So yes, I, and a few other insane parents waited while our kids took turns drooling over all the lego sets and begging us for "just this one? I promise [fill in some promise that they obviously won't remember more than two seconds after exiting the store]."
Once we finally got to the front, the kids were given the pieces and shown the instructions. While this slice of watermelon may look simple, it is deceptively so. About 30 minutes in, they finally announced that parents with children under 6 should take the project to go. No kidding!
Here London is, hard at work on his project.
I thought the kids might be a little underwhelmed by the project (I mean, what can you really do with a slice of watermelon?), but they were both thrilled. They are already begging to go to the next one. Whoever invented Legos (and perhaps the people they hired to develop the product and market it) is a genius!
So, we had a small little birthday party for Khyah (finally!), and here is our picture diary of the event:
We weren't sure if Khyah was a chocolate girl or a vanilla, so we made a yellow cake with both colors. And yes, she managed to get her hand in the frosting before we cut the cake (isn't that tradition?). And no, she did not personally get to blow out her candle . . . too many "experts" sitting near the cake. We tried twice though.
So we gave her some cake, and Khyah actually has this thing with silverware, so we gave her a fork, and let her have at it.
She's one smart cookie. You never eat food unless you kill it first.
But once it was dead, she cleaned the cake right up. And notice how clean she is, considering.
And this is Khyah saying, "I think I ate too much . . . I better undo my button!"
Yes, that is Brandt eating ice-cream with a fork.
We invited over our next door neighbors to enjoy cake with us. Yeah, I'm a lousy picture taker.
The boys had the presents open before Khyah was cleaned up from the cake, but I don't think Khyah really minded.
And here she is, sweetness herself, enjoying her presents.
With Khyah turning 1 last month (and no we haven't celebrated, so that's why there's no post), we decided that we were ready for a little more space for our family. We did a lot of house hunting, and then our good friends called to tell us the townhome next to them was going up for rent.
It is the perfect place for us. Same school for London, same ward for Church, next door to friends, LOTS more space, and with all the trees, it feels more like we're in the country (even though we're literally just down the street from where we were).
Amazingly, we all managed to get sick the weekend of our move. And all different illnesses. But fortunately we had a lot of great friends to help out. So here's the tour (and please excuse the mess!).
This is the dining/kitchen area. Lots of space. Recently updated. Granite countertops. Tile floors. Very nice.
Here is a wangy picture of our room. Two closets!
And the boys room. We have since put up blinds.
This is Khyah's room. Not much to see, but it's bigger than the picture makes it look.
And here are the boys (all 3 of them) and Khyah playing Mario Karts in the living room. Yay for carpet! The hardwood was going to drive me nuts.
We have a basement, too. The door you see in the living room picture leads to it. But I didn't take a picture, so you'll have to imagine.
As a post note. Khyah slept through the night last night! Cause to celebrate, and makes the move more than worth it. She loves her room and having a quiet space to herself. She crawls in there on her own when she's ready for a nap or bed. What a sweetie. :)
My husband (a.k.a. Jedi Master Daddy) and I (a.k.a. Princess Mommy) are raising three energetic Jedi: Master London, Jedi Brandt, and Padowan Khyah. I have mastered the use of my purple light-saber (inherited from Mace Windoo himself, Master London tells me), the art of identifying the bad guys (they drink prune juice, NOT water), and the ability of crafting bases and ships from scraps (aka legos).