Wednesday, July 30, 2008

WW a first and a last (well not so last, day before last)

First day of school was yesterday. It was also the first time I didn't pick out their clothes or buy them something special to wear.
Our last breakfast before leaving (ok this is when I still thought we were leaving THAT day) -- can anyone say sunblock -- and maybe I should have worn some.
At the airport trying to figure out what we should do for the next 24 hours.

Jason looking up how many Hilton Points we have (here's a plus to all the traveling he had to do prior to going into management). And yay, we had enough to stay at a place close to the airport and with a swimming pool.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I'm a total idiot or yipee we have another day in DC

So we booked our flight quite awhile ago and I swear we were supposed to fly out on Sunday. That's how I marked it off on my calender. That's why I promised two different friends I'd watch their kiddos on Monday. That's why when my brother called to see if he could book a White House tour on Sunday we said we couldn't. Sooooo, it was quite the shock to us when after a fantastic brunch, and a nice ride to the airport from my brother, we got to the ticket counter and the agent kindly informed us that our flight out was actually the NEXT DAY.
I have never never been this stupid in my entire life! Seriously. I can't tell you how organized I was with every freakin' detail of this trip, I even had a trip folder with lots of little pockets, for ID's, Tickets, confirmation numbers. I booked hotels, attractions, rental cars and then I do this.
So rather then calling my very nice brother and his lovely bride, we used some 'Hilton Points' and are staying at the Embassy Suites by the Hotel. (Seriously J & G, we figured you'd want to spend some time with Luis without the craziness of four other people, I KNOW you wouldn't have minded...)
Did we decide to cram in one more day of sights? NOPE, we played in the pool, we're going to have room service and watch movies.
So, my second post of the day....but hey, I have plenty of down time right now to play on the I will post pictures of our very last...ok what we thought would be our last...full day in D.C.
oh and....this hotel does not offer HGTV and so I'm going to miss the finale of Design Star (gasp - the horror.....)

My two brothers, Jason, Jake and Me. Isaac was less then thrilled with the East Wing Tour that morning that he decided to go swimming with Aunt Gina while the rest of us went. We couldn't take any pictures of the inside, but let me just say the Oval Office was so COOL.

The press room

The entrance to the West Wing. When you go to the White House you enter by whatever wing door you arrive if you come from the east you enter by the North East door, that way no one is offended by arriving from the "back" door. All the doors are equal. What did Jake find most interesting? How loaded down some of the gaurds were with weapons. He's nine, he's a boy, maybe some day he'll realize the great honor we were given to be able to visit the part of the White House where policy is set and things happen. Well a mother can hope can't she.

Washington Monument, Lincoln Monument and the Mall

If you're going to visit Washington DC anytime soon, I suggest you get online and order your tickets for the monument, it saves you some time in line and ensures you get a spot. You can have them sent to you for a small fee or you can have them ready at the ticket office. The monuments and the Smithsonian are all free.
view of the White House from the Washington Monument. We were stuck up there for awhile. Someone had left a cooler with their stroller so the police had to come and check it out before more people could go up and we could come back down.

It's hard to grasp how grand the statue of Lincoln is until you go. The whole structure is white, and pristine, it's beautiful and I imagine very peaceful when it is not crawling with tourists.

I thought it was so interesting in how it represents the amount of international visitors to the Smithsonian. We, of course, given who my husband is, visited the Air and Space Museum. We didn't have time for the Art or American history museums which really would have been more my time. I think you could spend a month here and not see all of the museums.

This tree was in a sculpture garden on the Mall. You write down a wish and place it on the tree. There were some very beautiful sentiments. Jake wished for an end to global warming (and really, I had no idea he has even thought of that) he even drew a car with smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe with an x through it. Isaac wished for the end to hunger for children. That was with some prompting from me. He first wished for a DS game then we had to have an explanation of what a wish for the global good would be.....

We are now off for brunch and then the plane, I can honestly say that, while I've had a wonderful time visiting our Nation's capital and the nation's beginnings, I'm glad to be headed home. Tomorrow I'll post our White House Pictures then back to my mundane postings and of course catching up with all my friends, blogging and in the hood.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Day 4 & 5 -- Jamestown Settlement & Busch Gardens

Trying to play catch up...We arrived in DC last night from Williamsburg about 9:30pm. We drove through a torrential down pour the whole way up, that combined with having to stop for bathroom breaks, gingerale breaks (kid who gets carsick) it took us awhile to get here. I think normally it's a 2 1/2 -3 hour trip. We went to Busch Gardens yesterday. It was a fun break from history for the kiddos.

Jamestown Settlement

The Powanhat Indians would make their boats out of Cypress trees by burning the wood then scraping it out with oyster shells.

One of the settlement houses
Carrying water from the well
Jake protecting the settlement from the Indians or the Spanish
Church is so much more comfortable these days. This was also where they created law and enforced it. The appointed governor would appoint his council and when they were able to cross over to the legislative side of the building they "passed the bar" (in case you ever wondered where that term came from)

And these were the officers slept. The passengers slept on pads that were laid on top of the cargo.

The Indian Village. I found it interesting that these Indians weren't the nomadic Indians that we're used to in the Western part of the United States. They had a variety of villages with one Chief that oversaw all the villages.

Check out the shelving area...primitive ELFA shelving, my kinda home.
I thought the structure of the huts was interesting.
I think Jamestown was my favorite of the Historic triangle. It's amazing to see what the first English Settlers had to go through to get this country going, the sacrifices they made, the enterprise, the strength and the will they possessed.

Busch was hot, but they boys had a blast! The place was very clean, the gardens beautiful and a nicely laid out amusement park.

Front row!
Roman Rapids, seriously get prepared to get wet on this ride....of course this was the last ride they went on so the poor kiddos were soaked when we got in the car.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Yorktown is where one of the decisive battles of the revolution was fought. Here's the battlefield.

We walked around the battle field, to the point where Isaac was begging to go into the museum....So there's one way to get a kid to want to go to a museum is drag them around the hot humid heat of the South and then they'll so enjoy the airconditioning of the museum.
At the Victory Center at Yorktown they had a camp replicating what might have been.
They displayed all the current medical instruments and gave a talk about what people knew about germ theory (nothing) and how doctors of the time treated the ill and injured...just be very very glad you're alive now!

Officer's tent
Commander's tent
They enlisted Jake to help load the cannon

This small cannon is what won the battle. They were able to lob bombs over the enemy's barricade rather then the traditional method of breaking through the barricade. The siege at Yorktown lasted 10 days rather then the usual 30-40 days.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Day 2 -- Colonial Williamsburg

We walked to Colonial Williamsburg from the visiting center, it's a nice 10 minute walk with a side attraction of a tobacco farm, built by volunteers in the manner that they would have used in the late 1600's, early 1700's when this area was being cultivated. The visitor's center also has a shuttle service that makes a circuit around Colonial Williamsburg, the bus runs almost every 5-10 minutes.

These pictures were from one of the first mental hospitals in the U.S. (grr I can't get the inserted link thing here's a link if you want further info ) This was particularly fun for me, because the text book I chose to bring for my 'light' reading was Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing.

Everything is so green and lush here. Maybe because it's like 600 degrees and 120% humidity. I was MELTING...I will never never complain (yeah right) about our measly 95 degree weather again...I mean at least it's a dry heat.
Is Isaac upset about being under British rule? Nope, he just wants some ice-cream (did I mention it was HOT) Katrina, we took this picture for you...just in case you were feeling homesick.

This is what a tobacco plant looks like while it's growing. That was the major crop for this area. If it was regular middle class/upper middle class, non-gentry farm, the owners worked side by side with his slaves, wife and children to grow, harvest and bring the crop to market.

Some old fashioned 'canning' pretty sure they didn't call in canning though.
The kitchen at the Governor's Palace. Williamsburg was the original Capital of the Virginias. Oh by the way, Virginia was named by Lord Raleigh who was given the land, ALL the land. He named it after Queen Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen. Later, when the Crown needed more money and other younger sons and rich merchants wanted to buy land (and none was left in England because of the whole first son gets everything rule) the King brought Raleigh up for charges of treason and was able to get the deed for the land and started giving it out. Anyhow, the first three governors of Williamsburg were appointed by the king and lived at the Governor's Palace. Patrick Henry was the first elected Governor after the revolution and then Jefferson. Jefferson then moved the capitol to it's present day location in Richmond.

The boys learning how to throw grenades...old school.

Governor's Palace...(OK, not really palatial when you compare it to what's in Europe, but for one of our earlier buildings, pretty darn palatial!)

This is what happens to kids who whine too much!

I wish my garden could look like this. Hot sweaty Isaac, Hot sweaty exhausted mommy.

ooops, two pictures of the garden, I must really have liked it...
We went on a ghost tour (if you're interested we highly recommend this private service John was our guide and he's a great story teller. Along with the local history lessons, ghost stories he also had the boys enact the ending of Black Beard's life. Isaac and Jake both got a little scared, Isaac saw ghosts around every corner by the time the tour was finished. He and I actually didn't partake in the last stop where we were to meet the 15 year old ghost, Emma, who was run over by a carriage while sneaking out of a house to meet a boy. Apparently she likes to give boys ghostly kisses. Jake was all for partaking, Isaac, not so much.
This is where ghost, Grandma Peaches lives, she stands at the window looking for her grandson, who had died climbing a tree across the street (his ghost is sometimes seen in that tree). The kids need to wave and say "Hi, Grandma Peaches, I'm not your grandson" Here's Jake waving.
It was a fun day, we learned a lot, saw a lot and sweated a whole bunch!