Jonathan and I at the metro. Riding this was a whole adventure in itself. The kids were pretty excited about it, and Grandma was too...
...until she realized that she is a little bit claustrophobic. But she did fine.
Miss Char insisted on carrying the chair.
Oh the adventures we had. It wasn't all fun and games at the time, for example when we got to the airport to pick up the rental van at 7:00 a.m. only to be told they had no record of our reservation. Luckily they still had a 7 passenger vehicle...lucky, but expensive. Come to find out I had the wrong rental agency, oops my bad. I did walk down the whole line of those agencies, and none that were open had any reservations in our name.
The ride itself was mostly uneventful, except for when I sped up nicely to sneak in and change lanes, only to have a nice Audi pull in front of me at the same time, dang it was close.
We found the Army base, pulled into the gate...and found out that civilians are no longer allowed entrance at this gate. The nice M.P. gave us directions to way out in East Jesus, as Grandma Eleanor likes to say, back on the highway and all the way around...after getting just a tiny bit lost, we made our way to a different gate. Again, not allowed. This M.P. told me to calm down, it's not that bad, and sent us on our way with more directions. Directions tend to go in one ear and out the other with me, especially when I seriously have to pee, after drinking too much coffee on a long trip.
Gate # 3! We found it, and didn't even have our vehicle searched...I guess we looked harmless enough.
Samuel!!! Yay, it was nice to see Sam.
He navigated to our hotel, and I drove through that horrendous traffic....(after a quick run into the bathroom at the commisary). We found the hotel, grabbed some luggage, and....no, no record of any reservations at this hotel in our name...Eleanor and I just looked at each other. We had just gotten through saying, that if THIS place also had no record of us....
Seems we were at the right hotel in the wrong location. I didn't realize there were two Homewood Suites right in the same vicinity.
oops. Back to the car.
Our hotel was delightful. We mostly enjoyed the 24 hour coffee/tea station. Those three youngest kids of mine had so much tea with vanilla creamer...in fact, they were drinking those little creamers straight.
Char, Samuel, Jonathan, Camille...at the metro station.
There is nothing on God's green earth as beautiful as a big brother with his younger siblings.
Camille's feet hurt...we had walked enough miles! Samuel does ruck marches through D.C., carrying a heavy pack. This particular pack looked nice and comfy on his back.
We took a trip to the battlefield at Manassas. It was a beautiful day, and I enjoyed walking around and resting on a bench with Grandma.
I know, I know, I am not the best photographer. But this is with Stonewall Jackson.
We saw a giraffe in the Natural History Museum.
These three had lots of fun.
Camille needed shade! She just loves umbrellas.
At the parade! It was fantastic. We had a good spot to watch, and the intermittent breeze saved us from dying in the hot sun.
And the very very best part of the parade....
Samuel in uniform!! He was in the front row, second from right. They looked so spiffy, the Honor Guard.
Grandma took us out to dinner...milk shakes for kids!
Paul and Sam and Paul's mom (Eleanor, Grandma:))
It was nice to see Samuel. We went to Arlington, and saw the changing of the guard at the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier. We saw the flags that were lovingly placed on each and every grave there, by Sam and other soldiers...over two hundred thousand!
Arlington is huge. Rolling hills, filled with row after row of gravestones. And to see those flags waving in the breeze...Sam told me how tedious it is to place those flags...it really is something. We had to get him back to base at a reasonable time last evening, because he had to be up while it was still dark this morning...to take all the flags back off.
As much as we enjoyed our trip, it was nice to be home again. The kids like visiting cities, but wouldn't want to live in one.
The washing machine wouldn't turn on when we got home, Paul with laundry from France as well as this trip...well, a bird built a nice little nest AND laid eggs in it...in the hose that leads from the dryer to outside. That was causing the dryer to be too hot, the room to be hot, and the washer has a sensor that won't let it run when it's too hot. So. Problem solved. yay. Just what we love, Paul operating on appliances right when he walks in the door.
Davian is here with us today. The girls have showed him pictures from my phone from the trip, and are now doing a huge underwater creatures puzzle with him. Jonathan is reading his new book from the gift shop at Manassas (thank you, Grandma!). They have already played Thomas the Train, but picked it all up, and office, but not picked that up yet...and a marble game, and dollhouse. It is hot in here, but the fan is humming, and making me sleepy.
All in all, I would give our trip an A+. The crowds weren't bad, we rode the subway okay, didn't get lost or mugged or too tired out...and, we had fun. Seeing Sam was the best part, but the rest was enjoyable too. The pool and the hot tub, oh especially that hot tub, after traipsing around the city...it felt fine.
And now, back to Real Life. There is a soccer tournament this weekend, which means planning and shopping and there are people to drive places, and we need groceries...and and and....