Vacation-Day 3 (Or the 4th of July!!)

Sorry for the long delay in this post. We lost internet connection for a while and well, for a while I just haven’t felt like blogging. But without further ado… here is Day 3 of our family vacation, the 4th of July in Washington, DC.

We thought we would go downtown for the parade, but we got out of the hotel later than anticipated and therefore couldn’t find a spot along the route where could actually see anything. Which, wasn’t a major loss since that day the temp got up to 104 degrees, and by the time the parade began at 11:45 it was roasting! We hung around for a while but then decided to duck into the courtyard at the old Post Office building to rest and cool off and eat some Ben and Jerry’s. Once the parade had passed by and we could cross Constitution Avenue we decided to go spend some time in the Natural History Museum. Jonah wanted to see some dinosaurs, and I wanted to see the Hope Diamond. 
Jonah got to see his dinosaurs, I however, did not get to see the Hope Diamond. The room was PACKED where it was being held so I decided it was time to split and go meet my mom. We decided to head to the hotel room that my brother had gotten for the day to rest and let the kids swim. It was just too hot to do anything else! Around 6:30 we hopped on the Metro and went back downtown to scope out a place to watch the fireworks. This was the first time the kids had ever been on the subway and they loved it!
“Choo-choo!” We just couldn’t get Jonah to understand we weren’t on a choo-choo train!
We passed through the check point to get onto the National Mall fairly quickly and walked straight towards the Washington Monument. The fireworks are put off between the Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument. Not a bad bit of scenery don’t you think?!?! Especially when we looked off to our right, and there’s the White House! “Hi President Obama!”
Micah’s first fourth of July- my poor hot, sweaty baby! 
My cuddle bug and I. 
The kids made friends with the kids sitting by us (of course they did!) The family is from Louisiana and they had fun playing and reading together until it started to get dark. 

And then it was time for fireworks! They were pretty good, although nothing compared to the fireworks we have here over Labor Day weekend. But it was incredible to be sitting there with thousands of people in Washington, DC celebrating the 4th of July. It was quite a party and quite an experience!
It was about 1:30 am when we got back to our hotel by the Dulles Airport. We were exhausted! But it was a great day!
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Our Vacation-Day 2

Saturday, July 3rd was our second day in Washington, DC and also my mom’s 50th birthday. So because it was her day she got to choose what we did that day. She chose to go to the National Zoo. This zoo is incredible! And huge! And was crowded of course, but not nearly as bad as I thought it would be! And it was free…like all the other Smithsonian’s (you just end up paying $20 to park by the time that you are done there!!!) 
We got to see Andean (speckled) bear cubs, (the first that had been born in the zoo in 20 years!) the Giant Pandas (which were really giant!!!), some gorgeous tigers and lions, and other really fun things. The kids loved the zoo and we spent a fun morning there. 

Brianna and Jonah in the petting zoo.
Micah loved the fish in the aquariums!
Brianna and Jonah with the Andean bear cubs (which you can’t really see but that’s what is in that cage!!!)
She’s on a frog, in case you can’t see what that is!
For lunch we picked up picnic stuff and drove out to Great Falls National Park. I had no idea that this place existed in DC until I started doing research and planning for our trip. It is an incredible park built around the falls that occur along the Potomic river at that point in Maryland and Virginia. We were on the Maryland side along the C & O canal. We hiked out and found a spot for lunch and then surprised mom with a cake. (Who knew cakes from Whole Foods were so incredibly delicious?!?!?!) After lunch and cake we walked out to the falls, which were beautiful and felt like such a well kept secret.
Steven and I with the kids in front of the waterfall. You can’t see them very well in the background, but they actually are really big! 
My mom with her kids: my brother Michael, me and my brother Chris. 
“My Buddy…my buddy! My buddy and me!”
Mommy and her baby!
 One of my favorite pictures from the trip!
Nina with her crazy grandkiddos!
After our afternoon in the park we decided to take Steven and the kids back to the hotel to swim and we went out to Capitol Hill to watch the dress rehearsal for the Capitol 4th concert. The temp for the 4th of July was 103 degrees and we knew we’d never be able to sit out in that heat all day just to see the concert that night. So we caught the dress rehearsal instead. We got there just as the sun was setting behind the Washington Monument. 
We missed Darius Rucker, but got there right in time to see this guy:
If you can’t tell, that’s David Archuletta! We LOVED him on Idol! He was awesome! We also got to see Reba McIntire, who have loved for years! She was amazing, and did one of my favorite songs of hers, “Fancy”, which made me really happy! We had a great time sitting on the Capitol Lawn and listening to the great music. And of course, since the Capitol building is one of my favorites I had to get some pictures at night.
This is one of my favorites!
Of course I had to get some group shots too of us with the Capitol in the background all lit up (it’s soo pretty!!!)
Mom with her boys!
Mom and her girl. 
It was a great day in our Nation’s Capitol. Definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity! Happy 50th Birthday mom! I hope it was great and all you were hoping it would be! We love you!

Vacation 2010

We’ve been home from our vacation for almost a week and this is the first time that I’ve sat down to write about our crazy adventures in family vacationdom. I’ll probably break it into several parts because there are a lot of pictures and videos to share. 

The first stop on our trip was the Washington, DC. My brother Chris now lives there while he is working on Capitol Hill. My mom wanted to have all her kids together for her 50th birthday, and she wanted to be in DC for the 4th of July. So we went. We left at midnight on the 1st and drove straight through all night. Our kids are ROCK STARS! They slept all night long, waking up occasionally when we would stop, but they fell back asleep as soon as we started moving again. The only problem was that when we got there they were rearing to go and we were all exhausted! But we started our time in DC by getting a personal tour of the Capitol Building. 
Then we spent some time hanging out in a park by the Capitol Building while we tried to decide where we were going to go for dinner. The kids had fun running wild after being locked up in the car for 8 and a half hours and then being on a tour for 2+ hours. 
Our almost one year old exploring a stick.
The wheel of family-my mom wanted this shot so bad! And much to Chris’s dismay, she got it 🙂
Such a pretty fountain with the Capitol Building in the background.
Our Capitol..it’s such a beautiful building! 
We went to a little eatery called the Good Stuff eatery (very good, but expensive! We’re talking $14+ per person for burgers and fries. But they were excellent burgers!) Then we called it a day! We were all exhausted and ready to crash. It was a good way to start off the trip though and I’m glad we got that tour because we learned a lot from our guide, Caroline that we’d never heard before. 
Coming tomorrow…Day II.