Last Thursday we boarded an airplane and headed to Washington D.C. for a week long stay with my parents who reside in Northern Virginia. I spent weeks, okay months, worrying about flying with our 2 year old son. It's not that he is poorly behaved, but he's an active boy and neither child has ever flown before. Turns out all the time spent worrying was time wasted. The kids could not have been more perfect on the 2 hour flight to Dallas and then the 3 hour flight into Reagan. Both loved flying (a lot more than their mother who hates it) and spent much of the time looking out the window.
I could write a book about all we did, but I'll try to keep it as concise as possible. First of all, we went in knowing that there would be quite a bit of walking involved. However, I think my husband and I severely underestimated the amount of walking that truly was involved. Our 4 year old daughter walked the entire time for the entire week. I still don't know how she did it. Our son did the best he could, but fortunately my husband was able to carry him for much of it.
We spent Friday visiting my dad at his office, then headed in to the Natural History Museum and the Air and Space Museum. The Air and Space was a hit, especially with our son. He is obsessed with airplanes. The Natural History was a bit disappointing. We had everyone tell us it was a must-see, but I guess as a whole I was a little underwhelmed. The other thing that took some getting used to was the crowds. The sheer number of people in DC is shocking. I thought Arizona was crowded, but it is nothing compared to the crowds we fought through in DC. We drove by the memorials and White House later that night and it was great to see everything lit up.
Saturday we rented a car and drove into Baltimore to visit the aquarium. Our son loved the dolphin show and we really liked the stingray and shark exhibit. After being to Sea World, though, the aquarium just doesn't compare. I'm glad we went and I enjoyed Baltimore and the weather was absolutely gorgeous.
Sunday started off with a hitch as our rental car was towed from my parents' parking garage. We got it back relatively quickly and headed to Mt. Vernon. It was beautiful and walking the same grounds George Washington walked was amazing. I would kill for a house and yard like that!
Monday we toured the Capitol and then the Holocaust Museum. That was hard. We had the kids with us and were asked a lot of questions by our daughter about why someone would want to kill all those people. I'm thankful that some of the more graphic depictions had walls to block the kids from seeing them. When I was ten and living in Germany we visited Dachau. I still have very vivid memories of the gas chambers, incinerators, and the bunks. So seeing something to this magnitude put it all in perspective and really was hard to wrap my brain around. It is hard to believe that that type of evil existed in the world. We spent two hours there and could have easily spent another two if we were sans kids. The one thing that really haunted me was how anyone (and there are many) could deny that the Holocaust happened considering how well documented it was by the Nazi's. The other thing that was disturbing is that Denmark was the only country who refused to participate and who helped "rescue" the Jewish people who were escaping.
By the end of day 4 we were exhausted. We were tired and I was in quite a bit of pain. I have lower back problems that have worsened as this pregnancy has progressed and I also have a knee injury that will require surgery to fix that I re -injured days before leaving, so I was truly the Walking Wounded. We had planned to spent Tuesday at the DC Zoo, but the mere thought of an hour commute on the Metro and then actually walking the grounds of the zoo was not really that appealing so I did a google search and discovered something called the Reston Zoo. It was a petting zoo about 20 minutes from my parents and it was so much fun. I highly recommend it! There were ostrich, emu, sheep, goats, antelopes, kangaroos, bison, camels, and a plethora of other animals that you could feed and pet. The kids loved it and it didn't require much walking at all.
Our final day we stayed close to home again so I could get some laundry and packing done. We did drive into George Mason University. I wanted to see the campus and it was a good chance for the kids to run free and not disturb anyone.
Overall, the trip was amazing. The kids were beyond great, we had a ton of fun, ate great ethic food and seafood, and the weather was PERFECT!
I can see why my dad loves it so much out there. Truthfully, I'd probably move there in a heartbeat. I made the comment multiple times that people on the east coast seem to be a more civilized people. They aren't necessarily more friendly but they are more polite. People would bump into me and immediately say, "Excuse me" or "I'm sorry." In Arizona if that happens people either don't say anything or they say something like, "Eff you, asshole." That was made apparently clear as I was grocery shopping today. I almost screamed out, "Oh, please send me back to Virginia!"