We went to DC this year for Thanksgiving. We were able to see quite a few family members during our 6 day stay. Bret and I discussed this trip last Christmas when they were visiting. Their family drove down from Ohio and we stayed with Ben’s Uncle Glen and Aunt Kim’s family. What we didn’t plan was that Kimmy and Gramma Meyers were also there during our trip. Gramma was visiting my Uncle Steve in Maryland so we had a great visit with them one afternoon. Kimmy is doing an internship in DC this semster so we spent a lot of time with her and she was a great help in navigating the city. It all worked out so well!
Waiting for our bags at the airport in D.C.
Kimmy was living at BYU’s Barlow center just off Pennsylvania Ave. I joked with Kimmy that she basically lives on the same street as the President. They’re neighbors. Probably the best thing about her living situation is the Thai restaurant next door to the East and Indi an Restaurant next door to the West. We never made it to the Indian restaurant, but the Thai food was fabulous.
At Charm Thai before checking into our hotel.
Kimmy showed us a round her place at the Barlow center. Pretty nice set-up! The kids were sad to leave when it was time to go.
We had two free Hyatt nights so we stayed at a Hyatt near the Capital Building, which was so convenient because we were able to do site-seeing and museums in the morning, go back to the hotel for naps, then hit downtown in the afternoon and evening again.
Jax anxious to embark on an adventurous day.
Poor McKay had a little bit of a cold. Could that be why he didn’t want to ever walk? No, probably wouldn’t have made a difference even it he was healthy.
We picked Kimmy up early and headed to Church in McClean. After sacrament meeting we headed to D.C. for some site-seeing. Our first stop was Arlington National Cemetery. It reminded me of our Hawaii trip, because the first thing we did there was see Pearl Harbor. I’m so happy to have gone there, but it was a very somber, cold morning. I just couldn’t believe how many grave-stones there were. Row after row seemed never-ending. I thought of the lives that were lost in defense of our freedoms, and so appreciative of each them.
At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, we saw the changing of the guard.
After the changing of the guard, we watched the soldier march back and forth for a little bit. At one point he stopped, turned to crowd, and yelled “There will be silence and respect. No talking.” I have never seen our kids so quiet before. Maybe we should bring a soldier to church. It would certainly help our kids with reverence. They often don’t listen to us parents but they weren’t going to mess with the guy with the gun.
Taking in the JFK grave and the eternal flame.
Arlington was about all our kids could handle for one morning so we hit up a pizza place and headed back to the hotel for naps. That evening’s agenda included the Lincoln Monument – probably the kids’ most anticipated site.
Standing at the place where MLK gave the “I have a dream” speech.
After finished seeing Abe, we went to Glen & Kim’s house and Kim fed us a fabulous Sunday evening dinner.
Morning cartoons. They love ‘em.
We arrived at the Air & Space Museum a little before 10 AM. Little did we know it actually didn’t open until 10 AM, so we waited patiently about 10-15 mins for the doors to open.
The Air & Space Museum is one of the most popular in the world, but it kind of fell flat for us. The kids were impressed by the first one or two airplanes, but after that they just wanted to fight over who got to ride in the stroller. Sadie wanted to go back to the hotel and watch tv.
I’m not sure if it was the naps or the subject matter, but the Museum of Natural History was a hit with kids. This was the first of three visits…
This day turned out to be a beautiful one with temps up into the 70’s. Kimmy even wore shorts!
We checked out of the Hyatt and checked into the Johnson Ritz, aka Glen & Kim’s. They were such great hosts. We had fun eating Kim’s delicious cooking, playing games (Jax was a little over-zealous wacking people with the newspaper during the fruit game but it was entertaining to say the least) , and enjoying the company of the Johnson cousins.
The next day, we headed back to the Natural History Museum, this time taking in a 3D IMAX movie about the mysteries of the unseen world. This time the dinosaur exhibit was open (not sure why it was closed the first visit). The kids loved the T-Rex and the Triceratops. Another big hit was the mummies.
While waiting in line for Georgetown cupcakes, I took the opportunity for a quick urban photoshoot. What a fun setting to shoot!
So many to choose from!
The kids wanted sprinkles, so they had just basic vanilla and chocolate. Ben’s was a pumpkin cheesecake and mine was chocolate peanut-butter. We loved the pumpkin and chocolate peanut-butter the most.
As we approached the Washington Monument, the sun had just set and the lighting was incredible.
The next morning the kids woke up to two fun surprises. Bret & Shannon’s family had arrived from Ohio, so they were thrilled when they woke up to see cousins sleeping in their same room. The other fun surprise…. SNOW!
We ventured out across the state lines to Maryland to visit Uncle Steve and Gramma Meyers. We were a little nervous about the conditions and traffic, but we had no issues thankfully.
When we arrived, we couldn’t keep the kids in the house. They just wanted to go out and play in the snow. We were very well prepared for cold, but we were not prepared for snow. That didn’t seem to matter much to the kids, especially Jax. He didn’t seem to mind wet clothes and cold hands. He was just thrilled to make his first snowman.
His poor little hands were wet, red and cold as ice cubes but he didn’t care. He just wanted to keep playing and playing. Finally we convinced him to come inside and warm up and have something to eat. We had a great visit with Steve, Mary and Gramma Meyers.
The morning of Thanksgiving, Jax wanted to go play in the snow. He just couldn’t get enough of it, and now his dream come true would be to live in Alaska.
Meanwhile, the cousins were inside working on crafts and art projects while the Thanksgiving feast was being prepared.
Thanks to Kim for a wondering Thanksgiving feast!
Breezy made surprise rolls. They were a hit.
The food left everyone with smiles.
More fun games!
The next morning Kimmy got us tickets for the Washington Monument. The kids fell asleep in the car so Ben dropped me off and I went with Kimmy, Shannon and her kids.
View of the WWII and Lincoln Monuments.
View of the Capital Building and Smithsonians.
When we were done we all piled in our rental van and headed to the Natural History Museum for our third and final visit. By the time we found a parking spot, Ben had been driving for hours. He didn’t want to pass up an opportunity so he jumped on this one. I think he kinda liked the challenge as well. It took about 4 or 5 back and forths but we made it without any damage to any vehicles.
Jax loved holding Derek’s hand in the museum.
After the museum it was time to say our goodbyes and head to the airport. What a fun trip! Thanks to Bret & Shannon’s family and to Glen & Kim’s.
The kids didn’t understand much of the history or significance of many of the things we saw, but my hope is that they will be able to remember this experience as they grow and learn more about our nation. Now whenever they see the Lincoln Memorial on the back of the penny they get excited because they’ve been there. Hopefully that excitement will grow into a deep appreciation of this great nation we live in. This country is certainly one of things I felt very grateful for during Thanksgiving 2014.
*Note: I, Alicia, started this post but Ben wrote the last 90%. Thanks to him!