Helen Grace has been studying the historic monuments in Washington, D.C., so she and I decided to follow John to D.C. on his business trip on Sept. 16-20. (We left poor Cressey home again this time.)
She was *really* into all of the historic parts and paid attention to all the tours we took, signs we read, etc. She loved it so much that she’s already making plans for our trip to take Cressey back one day. (According to HG, she’s going to be three years old when we go.)
We threw the trip together pretty quickly, but I did check out a big stack of books from the SAA library, mostly on Lincoln and Washington. The only reservations I made in advance were a Capitol tour through our representative’s office (which we prepared HG for in depth) and lunch at the American Girl store (which we kept as a surprise). HG has been soooo into her AG doll lately and asking for particular things whenever we went to the store in NYC again. It was so hard for me to keep my mouth shut!
HG treated Samantha like a VIP.
She was none too pleased to do homework while we were gone but smartly decided it was best to get it out of the way on the plane ride up there.
John had recently seen this hallway in the Atlanta airport and was excited to show it to HG. There were screens in the ceiling that showed birds flying overhead, and they’d piped in the chirping noise. Very neat!
Helen Grace and I shared a full sized bed at the Renaissance Hotel, and she was particularly snuggly that first night. I asked HG to roll over during the night, and she said, “Mama, I’m about to fall off the bed!” This is to document that another child still could slept on the other side of her. Oh well, at least I got to enjoy lots of ‘together time!’
We set out to sight see the next morning, and as we passed this building, HG asked, “Why are those big pots full of rocks instead of flowers?” We then noticed that the building was like a fortress with driveway blockades and big steel walls at the entrances. When we got to the next corner and the front of the building, we realized it was the Hoover building, the FBI headquarters. Well, duh, that made a lot more sense!
National Archives…HG started the trip being into this way of posing where she looked like she was holding things.
As we are walking around the mall in Tysons Corner, I started asking her to read me the name of the stores we are passing. We finally get to the American Girl store, and she’s distracted by some cool chairs down the way that she wants to try. And then she looks at the AG sign again…and her face lights up like a Christmas tree! She ended up deciding on a highchair with some doll food and then a little puppy dog with a customizable collar.
As Mama did a little shopping, she was still a little giddy.
How we roll at this stage of life…
A friend of mine told me the best way to see the monuments was to rent bikes from Bike and Roll, which had a tandem bike. HG was in hog heaven and did NOT want to turn them back in after two hours. When we had good cloud cover, we were pretty comfortable and enjoyed the breezy day. This was probably the highlight of our trip.
Korean War Memorial
Rolling around in the grass on the mall
Dinner at Del Frisco’s…about a block away from our hotel, we found an area called City Center with a beautiful courtyard with fountains and surrounded by high-end shopping. We ate in this area for two nights. On Saturday, we sat outside at Del Frisco’s to enjoy the fountains and nice weather but close enough to the tvs in the bar for John to watch the Ole Miss game. We were all happy! (Until HG started to crash- thank goodness we were close to home!)
The next morning, we started the day with the best brunch in town at Ted’s Bulletin on 14th with homemade Pop Tarts and a ‘cinnamon roll as big as yo head.’ It was a beautiful retro diner with delicious food. Heads up- the wait was 1-2 hours, but we immediately found seats at the bar which was first come first serve.
We were only a few blocks (10 maybe?) away from the White House, and since we were so full from breakfast, we started walking. Probably three blocks into it, HG started complaining about a blister, and it just got more dramatic by the minute. Finally, John gave up and put her on his shoulders so that we could enjoy the last few blocks in peace. Bless him. (In her defense, the blisters ended up being bad enough to make her choose tennis shoes for the rest of the trip, so you know it was serious!)
HG requested a pedi cab to get back to the hotel.
On a sunnier day, we decided to try our luck with a paddle boat in the Tidal Basin to see the Jefferson Memorial. In hindsight, we should have done this on a cloudy day because it was HOT. HG started out pedaling with John but soon asked me to switch with her.
Look how close that airplane came!
At the National Museum of Natural History, she had a blast in the Q?rius lab where you could touch a million different things and look at them under the microscope. This is a dinosaur bone!
She got to hold a caterpillar too.
Aaaannnd she crashed…
Dinner at the other restaurant in City Center, DBGB