Sunday, July 31, 2011

Washington D.C.

There are many who knew, and many more who did not know that Jason and I went to Washington DC this summer. Jason had the opportunity to go for the month of July to sell pest control for his brother, Kyle. Jason offerred me the chance to go with him for one of those weeks, which I quickly took. Arrangements were made for Walker and Parker to stay with Jason's Aunt Marsha, and Tatum, Jason and I left for DC on the 29th of June.




The flight was smooth sailing (except for the security guy at the Boise airport) He was rather rude to me while asking me about the two water bottles I wanted to take. Has this guy ever seen a mother nurse? Does he know how many calories that burns in a day? Does he know how much water we have to drink in a day to compensate for that? After explaining myself ( that I wasn't a criminal ) his co-worker looked at him and said, "Sounds like it's for the baby to me!" THANK YOU! Finally someone with some common sense. After that it was a much more pleasant experience.


We landed in DC at about 7pm and searched for the rental car company. After dilligently searching for about 40 minutes, we finally found it. As we were loading the car, I realized we left the car seat at baggage claim. I couldn't believe it. Tatum was conveniently hungry, so I fed him while Jason ran back and got it. We were now able to leave with our bright yellow Chevy Aveo that just screamed, "I'm a tourist!" Unfortunately, the traffic on the way to Centreville was so horrible that a 45 minute drive turned into a 2 1/2 hour drive. On the plus side, we had dinner and good company waiting for us.

As I planned out what I wanted to do for this week of blissful freedom, I knew I wanted to take a 'day of rest' for Tatum, so Thursday, Heather and I went to the grocery store and to look for a swimsuit bottom for me. Swimsuit bottom? Yes! In my frantic panic for last minute details in packing and thoughts of missing my two older boys already, I packed the top to my swimsuit, but not the bottoms. To save you all the details, Mission 'Cover the Cinnamon Buns' successful. It was a relief to have a full suit now because the pool was calling my name.

Friday, Heather and I got up and headed in to D.C. Our plan was to do the tour in the Holocaust museum, but we didn't get there early enough to get tickets for a time early enough to get Heather back to work in time. We went around to areas of the museum that we could and sauntered around the Washington Monument and walked back to the car. It might not sound like a lot, but we were parked a good mile or so away.

Saturday was, in a way, Jason's choice. Not to say I went kicking and screaming to the stadium; I was actually excited to go to a Nationals double header....that's baseball for all you unknowing women out there. I was worried about finding a decent parking spot (within a mile and not $20). It turns out we found a 'local' spot to park in an industrial area. When we asked the people behind us if we had to pay to park, they said, "in twenty years we've never had to."
Jason got in line for tickets while I waited with another person from the sales office at the side. While we were waiting, a couple of gals came up to us offering us free tickets.........(what?! free?!) They had purchased a whole bunch of $2 tickets and they couldn't use all of them, so they gave them to us. Our seats were in the blazing hot sun for the first game and then we seat hopped for the second game.
Parking: Free
Baseball game tickets: Free
Tatum's first baseball game: Priceless

Sunday we took a quick trip to church for an hour and then headed off to Mt. Vernon. This is one thing I would recommend for anyone. Our experience included a boat tour of the Potamic River, seeing George Washington's tomb, slave monument, the bowling green, slave quarters, the Mansion (this was my favorite), a nice lunch at the Inn, our traditional purchase of a Christmas ornament, the gristmill and distillery. There was so much to see, and I am a sucker for historical places.
Our day was far from over. Jason and I drove to the Battle of Iwo Jima Monument. The first time we were in DC together , this monument was one of the few things we wanted to see, but didn't get to. On our way to the monument, I heard on the radio, "a severe thunderstorm warning for Montgomery County". I asked Jason where that was. "I dunno." We both shrugged off the warning. We got to the monument and I had to feed Tatum while Jason took pictures. Not 10 minutes later, the wind started picking up. I saw the thunderstorm coming over the skyscrapers and thought, "I think we are in Montgomery County..." I told Jason I would meet him at the car. I had the stroller and Tatum to maneuver through the park. I was about 20 feet from the car when the WALL of rain came through. I was able to get Tatum in the car, but the stroller blew far enough away that I had to go out in the rain to fetch it. About 3 minutes later, Jason showed up....drenched. We were both soaked head to toe! We rode out the storm and enjoyed the monument some more, even discovering the 11th hand! Heather and David, who had caught up with us, mentioned hearing something about an extra foot or limb, so that got me counting. There are five men set in bronze so there should be 10 feet and 10 hands....but there are 11 hands! Mistake? Maybe. My own personal belief is that the artist may have wanted to represent the hand of God in things.

Monday was the 4th of July. What better place to spend the day of National Independence than that of the Nation's Capital? Again, when Jason and I were in DC six years ago, I told Jason not to even try to out do the experience we shared on that 4th of July, knowing it would never be outdone....but I never thought we would ever be there again.
Our day began at the National Air and Space Museum. It's a really cool museum with airplanes, spaceships, spacesuits, and well, just about anything that has left the earth just to come back.
We continued on to the Hirshhorn Art Museum. This place was a little more difficult to keep Tatum quiet in. And I'll be honest, while a lot of the art was pretty neat, a monkey in an ape costume could have produced the other little bit of what was there.....but it's still art.
At this point it was getting later in the day and we knew we had to get our blanket parked somewhere on the grass if we wanted to get a good spot. Jason headed back to the car to get the cooler of food (I'm sorry, I'm not about to pay $7 for a hot dog and $4 for a bottle of water) while I went to a couple other museums.
I wanted to see one of the newer additions to the Smithsonian family: Dorothy's Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz. My Grandma's name was Dorothy and one of her favorite songs was, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". Anything Wizard of Oz-ish reminds me of her. I headed into the Museum of Natural History thinking they were there, but I soon realized they were at the Museum of American History. I was already in the 'Gem' area of the Natural History Museum, so I took a picture of the Hope Diamond in its limited edition setting. At the American History Museum, I was able to see the inauguration dresses of all the first ladies, and the Ruby Slippers. Unfortunately, the museum was closing early for the 4th and I had to head out among the crowds to find my Jason among the mass millions. I soon realized the city (district) had barricaded the block surrounding the Washington and Lincoln Monuments and added security checkpoints. After an hour of filing through that, I was finally able to make it over to Jason.
We were in a great spot to see the fireworks over the would-be reflection pool under construction- between the WWII memorial and the Washington Monument with a live Army Band playing at the side of us. The band announced that Jo Dee Messina would be playing. Even if you're not a huge fan, you've got to admit that a free concert is pretty cool. I went up close while Tatum stayed back with Jason, Uncle Kyle, Aunt Heather and Uncle David.
After the A-MAZING fireworks, we headed back to the car. We had to pay $20 for parking, but after not having to pay for the baseball game the night before and not having to look for 2hours for a parking spot and being able to park there all day...it was well worth it!

During my down time at the apartments by myself, I spent some time looking up touristy things to do in the area. Nothing online appealed to me-I had either already seen it, or it was too far away, too much outside time for Tatum, too much money to spend on, or just plain wasn't interested. I grabbed one of Heather's books that she bought while downtown and started thumbing through it. I came across a page for the Ford Theater and the light bulb in my head turned on. Oh yeah! I guess that is in DC! This soon became one of my "have to see" sights. Tuesday, by default became the day to go do this.
The theater is free to see, but you have to have tickets. Jason, Heather, and I went to the 9:30...(I want to say viewing-that morbidly makes me think of a funeral). The theatre itself was pretty interesting. They presented information about how John Wilkes Booth was an actor and that's how he had such easy access to "the box". I also learned that back in 1865, there was no official presidential seal, so they used a picture of George Washington to post where the President would be. The box is still presented the same way as the night President Lincoln was shot.
Due to construction, the Peterson House where President Lincoln died was closed, so I got a nice picture of the front of it : D
After going through the museum, the three of us headed to the Washington Monument. We had split up earlier in the morning to get tickets for both events. While inside waiting for our turn to go up in the elevator, I couldn't help but notice a lot of similarities of architecture and decor between the Monument and the Mansion at Mt. Vernon. The view was stunning and you can even see the DC temple from the north view point. I was a little disappointed with the tour on the way down, however. It felt rushed and I know there was a lot of information that I knew from coming before that wasn't even mentioned....Not to mention that the tour guide might as well have been from Timbuktu with how little of what he said being understood.

Wednesday was my final day in DC. Unfortunately, Jason was working and couldn't spend every waking moment with me before I left. I gave him a kiss as he left out the door for work and did my usual home routine: dishes, laundry, shower. I knew he would be moving into another apartment, so I packed his bags for him as I got my things ready to go. My flight didn't leave until 6:30 that night, but I didn't want to take any chances. Between traffic, construction, and my lack of knowledge of how to get around downtown, I certainly didn't want to miss my flight. I decided to leave the apartment around 2pm. I was thinking an hour for the drive, half hour for getting lost, an hour for walking from the rental car return to check in, (mind you, I had Tatum in his car seat, an umbrella stroller, a large purse, and a suitcase) another half hour to get through security, that would leave me about 40 minutes until boarding. Boy! Was I WRONG! Traffic? What traffic? There was none. Lost? Who me? I've done this drive a few times on the way to downtown...piece of cake. Walking to check in? No, no, not me. The rental company saw that I was a Tatum toting queen and told me to get in...they would drive me to where I needed to go. Security idiocracy? None here. They gladly took my water, tested it, and had it back to me before I even had my shoes back on. They folded up my stroller for me and took care of the left-over bin for me. My Gate? Ten miles away? Not this one. All in all, from apartment door to the gate took and hour and ten minutes....

....You can pick your jaw up off the floor now...

It was a fabulous trip and I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to go to such a great place to make even more memories.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A little bit of excitement! Kyle and anyone else squimish should think twice about reading the first part.

A house full of 3 young boys and the word, excitement, go hand in hand. Not a dull moment here. A few weeks ago, while nursing Tatum, I hear a big thud, Walker and Parker arguing and then Walker screaming. Rolling my eyes and thinking, "what can they still argue about that has yet to be argued about today?", I pick up Tatum (still nursing-I'm talented, I know) and go toward the noise. The glass door on the entertainment center had broken in half and came down on Walker. He met me about half way into the kitchen. All I see is blood on his face. He screamed, "Mama". I screamed, "Walker". I put Tatum down and went over to see that Walker's face had a deep gash next to his eye. Quickly, I got some paper towels and made him hold it on his face. I scooped up Tatum, put him in the car, got Walker buckled in the car, and got Parker in the car. I've heard that the most unpleasant sound is that of a child screaming....well how 'bout three? Walker, because of his face, Tatum because he's still hungry, and Parker because I was the one who put him in the car. (Mr. Independent- has to do everything himself). Off to the hospital we went. Jason came to the rescue and met me to pick up the other boys while Walker and I waited things out in the E.R. Four or five stitches later, we were outta there. Walker was unable to play in the water with his little bandages over the cut, so it's a good thing I took the boys to the splash park the day before...