After studying U.S. history and all the presidents this year, we decided to take a little "introductory trip" to Washington, D.C. We have some dear friends in Maryland and Virginia so it was also a good excuse to see them!
A glimpse of the capitol building, driving into D.C. our first day there.
The White House. We had been reading a lot of books about this historic mansion. The kids observed that the flag was flying over The White House, which means that President Obama is at his residence.
The Jefferson Memorial.
I had to take this picture of Clara in the stroller, as we walked along the Potomac river. Sophia walked most of D.C., while her big sister took it easy! (Incidentally, Kevin tore his ACL playing basketball a few days before we took this trip. The doctor okayed his walking around D.C., but his knee was still sore a little and I will never forget this trip with three little kids and a husband with a torn-ACL. Kevin did great!)
Here are a few cherry blossoms. We were hoping for a better show but it was an early spring so the peak was definitely past.
Meredith at the Lincoln Memorial.
There was a lot of commotion at the Supreme Court because arguments were being heard concerning Obamacare. It was great for the kids to get a visual on the three branches of our government.
It was fun to see that everything was the same at Union Station. (Kevin and I lived outside of D.C. for several years and would go downtown somewhat regularly.) Here we are at the food court in the basement. We let the kids pick whatever they wanted. They picked Taco Bell and Kevin and I had gyros.
The United States Capitol.
Behind us is the Library of Congress. All the spring flowers were beautiful.
On a tour of the capitol building, Meredith stands on a star representing the center of the whole city.
Here we are at the National Cathedral where our family's story began. Yes, Kevin proposed here. It was all very romantic and fun to show the kids. Saying "yes" was the best thing I ever did.
Kevin tells the girls the story of it all.
The gardens there are pretty and the kids loved exploring all the passageways and finding hiding places.
Clara was not in a mood to smile!
There is a beautiful view from the National Cathedral, especially in winter when the leaves are off the trees. :) We also love this part of town because it's where all the foreign embassies are and the architecture is so fun.
We stayed with the wonderful Gazo family. Natalie was sweet to the girls and made them breakfast with strawberries and chocolate milk every morning.
On Day 2 in D.C., we hit up the American History Museum. Here, Meredith looks at all the White House china. Her favorite was Sarah Polk's.
Meredith's favorite First Ladies' dress was Michelle Obama's. It was very beatiful!!
Here is Clara with Mary Todd Lincoln's dress.
We enjoyed seeing various personal items owned by different presidents. Here is Meredith with President Clinton's saxophone and Lincoln's rifle.
One of the more famous pieces at the museum--here is Clara with the top hat worn by President Lincoln on the night he was assassinated.
The picture here is dark but it was fun to see the famous flag from the War of 1812 that inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star Spangled Banner." The kids got a kick out of this because they learned our national anthem this year.
Do you see all the pebbles and rocks on the National Mall? This was probably Sophia's favorite part of the trip: playing in the rocks.
On our second day in D.C. we rode the Metro into town. We knew the kids would love it. It was probably Clara's favorite part of the whole trip.
We decided to spend our last afternoon at the National Zoo, which the kids loved.
On our walk from the zoo back to the metro, I saw all these flowers. Aren't they amazing? Spring is a beautiful time to travel.
On the third day of our trip, we headed down to Mount Vernon to see George Washington's home, plantation, and burial site. I was impressed by how kid-friendly it was. The kids were given "Adventure Maps" and there were nine different spots for them to visit on the map. They were given clues and had to answer a question about each place. If they got the answers right, they could get a prize at the gift shop. They loved it and learned so much because of the maps.
Here is Washington's greenhouse.
Mount Vernon is one of the most peaceful places that I have been, with is spaciousness, and view of the Potomac. I can see why Washington loved his home so much.
Clara loved the baby lambs at Mount Vernon.
It was a beautiful spring day, despite some drizzle toward the end of the day.
Our last stop in Virginia was beautiful Loudoun County. Here we are at Home School Legal Defense / Patrick Henry College. We stopped by to say "hi" to some friends.
Our wonderful friends, the Halls, grilled out and had a get-together, inviting the old friends who are still in town. Actually, they were all people who lived in their basement at one time (including Kevin). It was great to see everyone. We also had a lot of fun having our own "Game Night" with the Halls. It brought back a lot of good memories.
On our way out of Purcellville the next day, we drove north to Lovettsville to show the kids the country church where we got married. This is such a pretty drive, alongside the Blue Ridge Mountains. Pictures don't do it justice.
The church where we got married.
We hope to go back to D.C. in another 4-5 years to "conquer D.C." and help the kids learn even more, but this was such a fun little adventure, enjoyed by all.