Epic Road Trip (Day 3, August 26, 2016)

Touring Mount Vernon
(click here for pictures)

I woke up at 3 this morning when Anderson was making some noises and Reagan was about to fall off of the bed.  I put his head on his pillow and shoved her to the middle of the bed and went on back to sleep myself.  The next thing I knew, it was after 7 and Robby was in the shower and everyone else was sleeping soundly.

He got out of the shower and started waking everyone else up and I climbed in the shower.  And let me tell you, I am pretty sure that shower will be the best shower that we have on this entire trip.  It was nice, nice-hot with lots of water pressure and that was a wonderful way to start the day.

Soon all of the kids were dressed and we were heading to breakfast.  Holiday Inn Express breakfast and my big boys were the only ones to eat a cinnamon roll.  What in the world? The girls had toast and bagels-we could have had those at home but we sure never get cinnamon rolls at home.  I had one and they were indeed delicious and then like the girls, I heated myself up a bagel!

Robby took a few kiddos and they started loading up the van and the rest of us soon joined.  Whitman had already guzzled about 4 cups of juice and quickly became upset when I would get him any more and his bad mood lasted for quite some time today.  Once in the car, we passed out school work and started our drive for the morning. School work lasted for a bit and that was fine-nice quiet way to start the morning.  The kids took turns coming up to the front seat for me to help them-I don’t think they all really needed help but I believe that really liked changing seats for a bit.

After we finished school work, I passed out a little piece of candy and then we listened to a preacher man that Robby was listening to.  Despite the traffic, our drive just took a bit over 2 hours to get to Mt. Vernon.  The kids finished up their Lego movie while we zooned on through Virginia.  Robby is already practicing driving like someone from the East coast-he has been crossing 3-4 lanes of traffic to exit.

We made it to Mr. Vernon around noon and walked right towards the entrance.  It was a bit far and we immediately realized our mistake of not bringing Whitman’s stroller.  We had it in the car and debated but when he is hot and it is sunny, he does not want to walk at all.  We survived and after a potty stop, we made it to the main entrance for our mansion tour.  Robby and I went to Mt. Vernon years earlier but we did not do the mansion tour because the line was crazy long but we did manage to take a back picture in the front lawn.  When we took that back picture, Robby is almost in midair as he ran to join me after starting his camera timer.  We did recreate the back picture but this time Robby was able to join the family in time.

The kids were very interested in the house tour and Whitman even attended well.  My favorite areas are always the kitchen and all the rooms dealing with the preparing of the food.  We saw Washington’s grave along with many gardens and even watched some archeologists dig up some remains.  We had walked quite a hike so we took the shuttle bus back to the other side of the mansion.  From there, we walked around some more and the kids finished their workbooks on the back steps of Washington’s home.  

We then walked through the museum and watched a film about George and his battles.  It was pretty good-lights flashed, the seats shook, there was smoke and even snow falling from the sky.  At one point, Whitman had his hands over his ears while shouting “this is really good.”  

We did go in one room where the kids made a spy wheel.  As the lady explained the projectl, she asked if anyone knew what a spy was.  Whitman was the Dennie that started talking and he said “a detective.”  Um, yes, thanks to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse the child is brilliant.  We were really hot and the kids were pretty tired so Robby splurged and bought them an ice cream treat.  Then Robby, Graham and Whitman headed back to the car to cool it off for us.  The rest of us went to the gift shop.

Anderson bought a little pencil sharpener cannon, Keaton bought a change purse, Campbell purchased a plastic spyglass and I bought a Christmas ornament and a few postcards.  My ornament was a bit on the large size so I thought I better let Robby decide between it and a magnet.  He must not have been able to see the accurate size and picked the large one that I secretly wanted-it won’t be any larger than the antlers or tambourine hanging on our tree.

Robby picked us up and the car was cool.  Then we stopped at a park and had our lunch.  It was a bit late to accurately call it lunch since it was 4.  The kids didn’t mind because we ate near a playground-they were able to run over and play for just a little bit.  They played while I fixed lunch and Robby did his work.  The flies were pretty bad so we ate while shooing away flies.

Then we continued our drive down the Potomac river towards D.C.  When we approached D,C, we started to point out the Washington Monument and the Capitol building.  When Campbell saw this she exclaimed, “What? We are going here, we have just been here!”  It is true, we were here last year for a bit but Robby can never get enough of D.C.  We made it into town right around 5:30 so of course the traffic was bad.  We quickly found our hotel and then had to circle and circle and circle trying to figure out the parking situation.

Once we did, Robby checked into the hotel.  When he returned to the car, he said that it was just a “studio” and seemed a bit concerned about the space.  But when the door opened, we were shocked-we have a queen bed, pull out couch, full kitchen and plenty of space.  While Robby went to park the car, I organized the room and the kids quickly started to work-Graham and Anderson on legos, Reagan on a postcard and everyone else on their ipads.  We had a snack from Nonna and rested for a bit as the sun went down.

When we left the hotel, the kids really had no idea how much walking they would be doing in the next few hours-Robby and I were as prepared as we could be to walk mile after mile.  We weren’t too prepared for how hot it would still be, not just hot but hot and muggy.  We were nasty sweaty after just the first block.

Just about 2 blocks from our hotel is the White House.  Last year when we were here, as soon as we made it near the White House something happened and the Secret Service people started shouting at us to back up.  I had to hold one of the kids up so they could at least see the White House as we backed up.  This year was nothing like that-we were able to take a few pictures and take in the president’s home.  Then we headed to the WWII memorial and walked around it for a bit.  We were so hot that by this time, we had already bought a bottle of water and filled it up numerous times and even let the kids put their hands in the reflecting pool.  It shouldn’t be that hot at 9:00.

Then it was just a short-ish walk to the Lincoln Memorial.  I do believe that is my favorite memorial and the kids seemed to enjoy it as well.  Everyone stamped their National Park Passport books and then we headed towards the Vietnam Memorial.  I tried to get Robby to walk on to the Washington monument but since it was nearing 10 and we hadn’t had supper and still had a mile and a half to walk back to the hotel, he wisely said we needed to head back.  There is always tomorrow.

There is a CVS on the bottom floor of this hotel and we bought 3 microwave pizzas, a microwave mac and cheese, a stouffers meatloaf meal for Robby and a lean cuisine sweet and sour chicken meal for me along with some ice cream and headed back to our room.  Robby started the shower rotations while I started heating up meal after meal.  Soon we were all clean and sitting around eating our late, late supper-11 is probably too late for folks to be eating supper but no one complained since they were all starving.

Once everyone was bedded down, we started the dishwasher (chores never end-even on vacation) and sat down to do the blog.  I probably should go right to sleep now since Robby will be up at the crack of dawn ready to explore this city (and to feed his meter.)  Once when we were near D.C., a kid briefly woke up at 4 in the morning and instead of trying to get them back to sleep, Robby just woke them up and put them in the bathtub.  By 5, we were loading up and driving to D.C-there are few crowds at 6 in the morning and lots of parking that early but I am hopeful that tomorrrow we don’t start just that early!

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