First of all let me mention that when we first decided to take this trip we had left it open ended. We didn’t have an exact plan for how long we would stay, we just wanted to wait and see how the kids did. As our week in DC progressed we kept deciding to stay another day, and another. It is a testament to how incredible our kids our at travelling that we even stayed till Thursday. We felt like Friday was even pushing it. Especially considering the long drive home and Mckay having school on Monday. But when my brother Adam called from work letting us know he had tickets to the White House Garden Tour for Saturday if we were interested we ultimately decided to stay an extra day and drive home Sunday. That’s 8 days guys. With a crazy toddler and a 5 month old. Sharing one bedroom. We were tired, to say the least but had the absolute best time. It was such a wonderful trip and we couldn’t have done it at all, without the help of our families. We love ‘em. And we love our kids. and our eternally grateful for how easy going they are. It just makes me that more excited for all our future family travelling.
Back to Saturday. Like I said, Adam got tickets to a Private Garden Tour at the White House. We actually got to go onto the grounds, which only happens twice a year. It was interesting to be that close to the building itself. And also to see a playground where the Obama girls play. I loved seeing Michelle Obama’s garden. If only…We were so glad we stayed the extra day to see it. The weather was cold and windy so we headed back to Alexandria for lunch and finally tried this place that Adam and Carley kept mentioning, (even though I cant remember the name) and for the first time in a restaurant, we ordered a chili dog. Seriously, that chili. They have 5 different kinds and basically every item on the menu comes topped with a chili of your choice. It was delish.
Friday morning we spent the day at Arlington Cemetery. It was sobering, and special to see. The endless rows of tombstones is staggering. But it was important to go and I’m so glad we went. The trees were beautiful, and again, we were grateful to soak in the family time together.
After that cold morning we headed to East End Market and got hot dogs at DC3. We had just picked this place off of yelp and it was surprisingly good! and the fact that they had fried Oreos was a definite plus.
Later we drove down Embassy Row (wish I had pictures), and tried to guess which Country it was based on the flag. Pretty fun. We picked up Adam and got ShopHouse Kitchen (an Asian Chipotle spin off) to go.
The Udvar Hazy was another recommendation by a friend (seriously, she nailed it with her advice). The Udvar Hazy Center is sort of the sister museum to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. It’s a little ways out of the city but definitely worth the drive. This might top the list at being our favorite thing we did. This museum is huge, and free. It took the entire day to explore. Honestly planes and rockets are interesting sure, but not really my thing. But I was fascinated with this place. The planes were organized by time period and by World Wars. They also had foreign planes and bombers, including ones used by the Nazis and the Japanese in WWII. Along with that, the hangar also houses the space shuttle Discovery. It really was incredible to see up close. And so interesting to read about what life was like for astronauts before, during and after a trip into space. We would recommend this museum to anyone.
Adam and Carley offered to babysit so Mckay could take me out on a date :) we went to this cute little cafe they recommended called Cafe Berlin. We love trying new things and this was our first time trying authentic German food. It was so good and so fun to go out on a date with my love.
Wednesday was a sad day. We had to say goodbye to Lysa and Chris who were on their way to New York. I just have to say right now that while we saw and did some amazing things in DC by far the best thing was just being with our families. We were so happy that Mairin and Chad came down from New York, even if it was only for the weekend. It was so amazing to see Chris again (after being in Chile for 2 years) and we loved spending time with Lysa and were so grateful for how much she helped us with the kids. And Henry just adored being around his Grandma and so many aunts and uncles. We were seriously spoiled. We were also so lucky to stay with Adam and Carley, who generously let the 4 of us crash in their little apartment for 10 days. We are truly blessed with such amazing families.
Anyways… having dropped them off it was the first time our little family of 4 had been alone together on this trip. We felt like taking it easy a little bit. We got the idea from a friend to go to the Portrait Gallery. There’s an enclosed courtyard in the center of the museum with tables and running along the middle of the courtyard are these rivers of water only a centimeter deep, called scrims. The warm water is constantly flowing and we thought it would be the perfect place to relax and let Henry go nuts. It was seriously one of our favorite things. Henry was in heaven and honestly so were we. He was entertained and we could just sit and chat and enjoy the beautiful courtyard. We finished off that outing with the most delicious crepes we bought at a stand near the museum.
Later in the day we went back and explored more of the Air and Space Museum since there was so much we still hadn’t seen. It was such a joy seeing Henry, wide eyed, and so enthralled with the rockets and air planes.
We ended the night with a delicious bowl of pho and a game of Catan. perfect.
One of the things that I absolutely loved about DC was that so many of the museums had free admission. It made up for having to pay for parking all the time. We knew Henry would love this museum so we just let him loose and followed him while he explored. This museum was cool, mostly just seeing Henry react to everything. I swear my heart nearly burst, watching him running around so excited. But having been to the Natural History Museum in New York Mckay and I were just a little underwhelmed by this one. Still, an afternoon well spent. I should also mention the amazing burgers we had at Ray’s Hell Burger for lunch. As well our wonderful mom Lysa watching the kids (again) while we went to see Gravity. Which Mckay completely flipped over.
(updating this blog I’m realizing what a sorry state our photos are in. blurry, and way too saturated. We just recently realized we had been shooting all our pictures with some random filter on our lens. Shooting a constantly moving toddler is hard enough as it is. so bummed.)
While we were in DC my brother was interning for a Senator so we were treated to a personalized tour of the Capitol Building. The building of course is beautiful but I was most impressed by my sweet little brother, who blew me away with how much history and information he knew. Seriously, I was one proud big sister. I’ll be honest trying to keep a curious, independent 2 year old in check during a tour is nearly impossible. Henry was pretty miserable at being detained (he at several different points in the tour just flat out refused to get up off the ground) and we were pretty exhausted from hauling him around but it was worth it I suppose.
Afterwards we enjoyed a late lunch at District of Pi, recommended by a friend. By that point the kids were pretty much done for the day. Mckay’s mom generously offered to watch the kids while Mckay, Chris and I met Adam and Carley at Old Ebbits Grill for dinner. The food was great and the atmosphere was even better. The restaurant is famous for being DC’s oldest saloon (built in 1856!), and has served numerous political figures as well as past presidents. I can’t remember what I even ordered, but we had a blast spending time with our siblings. Being so close to the White House we of course had to walk over to get a glance of it all lit up.
Our second day in DC we actually took a drive over to Maryland to visit Butlers Orchard. We had heard of the pumpkin patch, all the fun fall inspired kid activities and homemade treats. What better way to celebrate Autumn and the Halloween season? And aside from the shockingly expensive admission price it was a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.