Thursday, October 31, 2013

Monuments and Garden

The walk from the Postal Museum to our lunch destination made for some lovely photo ops.
My parents.
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My hubby and me.
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 Senate Fountain
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Peace Monument
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Grant looking manly with his pet pigeons.
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Larkin in front of the Robert A. Taft Memorial and Carillon.
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 For lunch, we packed sandwiches and ate in the outdoor area of the United States Botanic Garden where there are benches, chairs, and small tables.  Afterward, we walked around and found this monarch caterpillar on the sidewalk and placed it on a nearby milkweed, no doubt planted just for him.
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Practicing . . .
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When we walked into the building, the smell was heavenly. It is one of the standout memories of the whole trip. I wish I could make my house smell like that. Maybe I'll start a botanical garden in my living room. photo 12432ec1-d67c-4b8d-ba7f-7ad7b67d5bf0_zpsa83a0475.jpg

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There were several rooms with different environments: orchids, desert, Hawaii, rainforest, medicinal plants, etc. (There was also a children's garden which was unfortunately closed while we were there.  I love children's gardens!) I could have spent half the day at the Botanic Garden, but we had an appointment to keep. There is so much to see in DC!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Metro and Postal Museum

We decided to take the Metro the first couple days in D.C.  Jeremiah had to figure out how to buy the farecards.
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On the Metro (subway) with Grampa.
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This is what Rohan was most looking forward to on the trip.  He was not disappointed.
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The first day on the Metro went smoothly despite accidentally returning to the hotel during rush hour.  The second day, I nearly had a heart attack and was really really OK with driving into the city the next day.  When boarding, the doors open, people get off, get on, and the doors close.  It happens really quickly and the doors are not like elevator doors.  When they close, they close, and you better get out of the way.  (People are also not especially helpful in making way for someone with a stroller.)
 So each adult had a kid partner.  Larkin was mine.  Jeremiah got on with his kids, Larkin and I started to get on, and the doors closed between us.  So Larkin, Miah, Rohan and Jeremiah were on.  My parents, Zahana, Elowen, and I were not.  I was totally fine with being separated; we all knew where we were going, and all the kids were with an adult.  What scared me was that Larkin got on and when the doors started to close, he turned around and reached for me.  I was so sure he was going to get his hand or arm stuck in the door, my heart started racing and I had to lean against a wall for a few minutes.  Every thing turned out fine, but I will be perfectly happy if I never have to ride a subway again.
So a few tips:
When boarding, make sure an adult goes first, and an adult goes last.
Make sure everyone knows the destination.
Make sure the kids know to go through the doors quickly and NOT to stick their hands out to stop the door. (There was a sign that said slipping in while the doors are closing could cost you an arm and a leg!)
There are a few free parking spaces from 10 - 4 around the mall since it is a national park.  It's OK to grab one around 9:30.  We went during the off season, and got one of the last parking spots.

Arriving in the city at Union Station.
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Our first stop: the National Postal Museum.  The best part of D.C.: all these super cool museums are free!
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Each person could choose six stamps. After watching a little video about it, Zahana was on the lookout for an Inverted Jenny.  : )
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The many modes of mail transportation.
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We got a kick out of the address on this old letter.
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The story of Owney, the mail dog, was a really neat one.  The fact that this was actually him, stuffed and in a glass case, was kind of weird.
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Elowen had been taking a few steps at a time before we left for our trip, but she really learned to walk in Washington D.C.  At 18 months old, she's finally a toddler!
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Benjamin Franklin, first postmaster general.  It really is amazing to think about all the things he did and all the people he influenced in his lifetime.  We've been reading about George Whitefield in preparation for Reformation Day, and it was interesting to find that Benjamin Franklin was one of his supporters.
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And that was Morning #1 in our nation's capital!

Setting Out

In the spring, Miah and Larkin finished three years of studying American history. We thought the perfect culmination would be a trip to Washington D.C.  Our trip was almost canceled by the government shut down, but they reopened just in time.  So off we went.
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Elowen got her first pair of shoes and put them to good use.
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Arlington National Cemetery was not in our plans, but when we arrived in DC, Jeremiah thought we might have just enough time to go check it out.  We arrived about 15 minutes before closing and got a glimpse of the tombstones and the JFK memorial.
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There were lots of oaks and so lots of squirrels too.  We saw a black one amongst all the grays.
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"Price of Freedom" by Greg Wyatt
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When we got to the hotel, we celebrated Zahana's birthday.  She was convinced that the whole trip was planned specially for her. 
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New dolls and hair stuff.
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And a scooter - the "best birthday present ever!"
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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Morocco

Morocco has been a country I've looked forward to learning about with the kids ever since I saw this post over a year ago.  We waited until we had lots of flowers in the garden to decorate the tent.  The kids decorated, and I cooked.
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We had chicken tagine pie, couscous, Moroccan roasted vegetables, dates, and olives.
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Miah provided entertainment.
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We also cooked shrimp and peppers over the fire to go with the couscous.
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A beautiful parhelion appeared in the sky as we enjoyed our meal.
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For dessert, we had homemade ice cream.
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Then to finish up, we had mint tea.  In Morocco, it's impolite not to have at least three cups!

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We did this for supper. Earlier in the day, we looked through some library books. The Bachelor and the Bean inspired us to have some yummy Moroccan beans for lunch.