Sunday, December 20, 2015


I love visiting DC, and this spring around the time my new nephew was born I realized that it was time to get serious about a trip to my favorite city. I casually mentioned to Christy one day that she should come with me. I honestly didn't think it would work out, because trips that require that many components to come together usually just don't work out but in the end it did. I couldn't really believe it honestly and I was SO excited to go on this fun trip. I booked Stella and me ten whole days of vacation fun and also booked Brent tickets to meet us halfway through our adventure as well. It ended up feeling like three trips in one. This is Part I of our trip, which we spent with Christy and Cali.

Christy and Cali met us in Virginia. We got in late Friday night and I got Valerie to drive us by our old apartment. It is so crazy to think that we were living there together almost 15 whole years ago. Time has gone by faster than I would like to think about really.

Saturday we got up and then checked into a hotel. Then we took the metro into the city. It was a really sunny day and it was really perfect weather. It was SO busy. I guess we aren't the only people who want to enjoy the city on a beautiful fall day. The first thing we visited was the Washington Monument. We took lots of pictures, which was the beginning of us taking a TON of pictures. It was so fun to watch Cali and Stella just take off again being the besties that they are. They were such troopers with all of the walking we made them do and I think it made it more fun when they had each other to talk and talk and talk to.

We wandered to the WWII memorial and they were doing a Veteran's Day presentation. They had several veterans there and Stella went up and said hello to some of them even though she was very nervous.

Then we started walking along the reflection pond to the Lincoln Memorial. We started getting a tad hungry and I busted out the Dove chocolate covered almonds and we had a giggle about how much Christy wanted to eat them all. I always love that walk.

The Lincoln Memorial was the craziest I had ever seen it. SO many people. They were everywhere. In fact, while we had Stella taking a picture of us, Christy and I were almost run over by a group of teenagers. It was weird but I loved how busy it was. I usually don't like crowded places, and maybe it was just because it was a new way to look at the whole place, but I was surprised by how much I embraced the chaos of all of the tourists. It was such a beautiful day, I was in my favorite spot, and honestly, you couldn't get me in a bad mood if you had tried.


After being inside the monument we went over to the side, enjoying my favorite view of the city. The light was awesome and the girls modeled a bit for me and then I started to dance. The dancing provided many awesome pictures that I hope fully express my love for the DC monuments.

We had dinner plans with the only person I still see from my mission when I go to Virginia, Kim. Christy was my companion when I was teaching Kim so she was also really excited to see her. We had a long walk ahead of us to get to the metro and so we headed out of the mall.

Before we totally took off though I had the girls jump for some pictures. The light was insane and I knew the picture was going to be awesome. We had such a great time seeing the sights, and just as Christy's shirt proclaimed: it was a lovely day.

We had to wait a few minutes for the train back to the hotel so I got some shots of the girls as they looked like cool city girls rockin' the metro.

It was so great to see Kim at our catch-up. We had dinner at my beloved Panera. I just love seeing Kim when I come to visit, and having Christy with me this time made it even more special.

The next day we got a bit of a late start, but it wasn't too bad. We walked through the mall that was attached to our hotel and then went to breakfast. We also had to walk through the American Girl doll store to get to breakfast so that took a few extra minutes of admiring overpriced, beautiful dolls. Finally though, we were in the city. We headed over to the National Gallery to look at some paintings. It was Cali's first museum trip and she is a little artist so she loved it. It was fun to take Stella there again since she didn't remember her first visit. (It was four years ago!) I have never seen this museum so busy, it was crammed with people. So of course I tried to embrace it again while taking pictures. I took many I love because I don't think there is a cooler place to take pictures in the world than a museum. To start off these pictures is a comparison shot of Stella at the same spot admiring a John Singer Sargent painting:

During our visit I was trying to teach the girls a little art history. We talked about Degas and they would go into rooms and find the Monets. They picked out paintings that they liked and there were a lot of them. One of my proudest mom moments was when we were looking at a set of bridge paintings by Monet. I asked Stella to tell me about them. She said that they were the same bridge. Then I asked her if they were the same bridge then why did they all look so different and she replied: "Because he painted them at different times of day." I was like WOAH, yup, that is exactly the right answer. I don't remember ever teaching her that and she doesn't remember ever learning it. Either way, I told her she knew more about art than most seven year olds, and I'm no art expert, but I was pretty darn proud of my girl.

All of the galleries are free in The Mall, so you get used to seeing awesome things for free. So when we were walking by the Natural History Museum and it had a banner to see the live butterflies I got the hot idea to go and see them. Again, it was crazy busy there and I started to realize that either the butterflies were not free to see, or if they were they probably gave out tickets which were already gone for the day. Well it wasn't free and I was cool with skipping it, but by the time we had walked up the stairs through all the people to find it, I think we were pretty determined to see the butterflies. But before I bought the tickets I asked Stella if she was going to be scared of them like she was of the butterflies that we had grown at home, and she told me that she would be fine. SHE WAS NOT FINE. She started to freak out the second we got in there and then she started to cry because I was annoyed that we had bothered. Cali also hated them so the whole thing was a waste of money and time. Now that I look back on it, it makes me laugh but at the time I was not happy. I felt bad for losing my temper with Stella though so we made up on our walk to see the Ruby Slippers (not pictured). :)

Soon we were on our long walk to the Martin Luther King monument. By this point our girls were worn out and Christy's already hurt feet were hurting even more. So it was quite a trek. But we made it. We walked around the water and had a beautiful sunset view of the monuments. The only thing that put a damper on the beautiful view was knowing that we were going to have to walk really far to get back. :)

Christy wanted to stop at a spot to buy some silly gifts for Aedan and Em so we stopped at some stalls close to the White House. I left Christy for two minutes and found her with these giant bags full of mugs! One for everyone. I thought it was hysterical because she could barely walk to begin with and now she had to carry these heavy mugs around and then also figure out how to get them packed for the plane home. We did see the White House but it was totally night time by then so I only got one good picture.
On our walk to the Metro we stopped at McDonald's. We were tired and hungry and there it was. The most hilarious thing happened while we were eating. This group of people came in all together, obviously with a tour and we don't think anything of it UNTIL the tour guide started giving a tour of the DC pictures hanging up in the restaurant. He seriously talked about each picture like they were standing in front of the famous site. We were laughing so hard thinking if only we had known we could have saved ourselves so much energy if we had just come to that McDonald's to see everything. The group was all taking him so seriously I thought maybe it was a prank show, but it seemed legitimate. Sorry, I can't tell you how to sign up for a concise tour like that, but I didn't get the chance to ask. Notice how Christy is just ignoring this professional tour guide like she has already seen all of these places in real life or something!
When it was time for our Metro ride home it was a bit of a disaster. Our Metro stop was closed for the day so we had to go to another one and go backwards to catch our train. It took about an extra half hour to catch both trains. Then when we were almost home the train announcer said the next stop was Tyson's Corner. I thought he might have said that it was the stop we were at and so I yelled out "Is this it?" And some people on the train said that yes, it was. So we jumped off fast but it took only about two seconds (just as the train doors were closing) to realize that it was NOT Tyson's Corner. So then we had to wait another ten minutes in the cold for the next train. Anyway, we made it home safe and that is all that matters, but we tried to make it fun by taking pictures of us being mad about our missed train. 

The next morning after the girls found out that the pool was closed AGAIN, we hung out and then Valerie came to pick us up. We had lunch at Chick-fil-A, and then we dropped the kids off at the house so we could do some shopping at the outlet. It was so fun because Christy bought her first Kate Spade purse! And then I bought my fist pair of Manolos! I always love a shopping trip story with a happy ending.

My dearest Panera for dinner again, which we ate at the park, and then I think we just hung out that night...I don't really remember!

So that is the end of Part I of our DC adventure. So many beautiful pictures and such fun memories came back to me as I worked on this post. I am so beyond grateful that Christy and I were made last-minute companions way back when. It is so special to me that we still have such a close relationship and that our husbands let us go on this adventure together so that we can always have such great memories of visiting DC. Of course, the way I marched my little foot injured friend around, I am not sure she'll go on another trip with me again, but I sure hope she does.


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