Friday, October 4, 2013

Washington, D.C. Vacation ~ Days 1, 2 and 3

We just returned from a vacation in Washington D.C., where I grew up. We were fortunate to be able to stay with family who live in the area. This trip was different from others, because Goldilocks asked us to let her stay behind. She really did not want to make the trip with us. She presented valid reasons why ~ long car ride in a crowded car, the boring "school field trips" we planned, and all of her emotions with seeing relatives/distant friends. We talked it over with her therapeutic respite care provider and made the decision to leave her in respite care. Not having her along completely changed the dynamics of our family and gave us all a well needed change of pace. Goldilocks had a good time in a safe environment, and we were able to relax without behaving as a therapeutic family the whole time. My mother joined us for the trip. We also decided to take Boomer (dog) with us. I have never had a dog who wanted as much attention as he does. He is a real people dog. We knew that he wouldn't get enough attention back at home from the lovely family who came in to care for our 15 year old dog Lady. We are glad we took him. Boomer was a wonderful traveler. We couldn't have asked for an easier time managing him. If you are visiting the area, I would suggest that you accept that you will not see it all. Instead, try to create a theme or focus for your visit. Since we knew we could only see a little bit of what Washington, D.C. has to offer, we made the focus of our trip be about the United States in the 1900s, since that is what we are studying in American history lessons. To that end, we saw memorials and exhibits about the 20th Century.

Day 1 ~ We spent the entire day on the road. We stopped for a nice walk and picnic in a park. We got into town around dinner time.

Day 2 ~ We were aware that a government shutdown was looming and wanted to get to as many federal sites as possible without overwhelming the children. We started our day off with a tour of the Manassas National Battlefield. While it wasn't the time period we had targeted, my husband really wanted to see the Civil War battlefield and it was a good review for the kids. We figured that the outdoors would be relaxing and make it easier to visit museums in the afternoon.

We dropped Boomer off at my father's home and had a quick lunch. Then we were off to see a museum or two. We decided to split up for a little while. Tim and DH wanted to see the Natural History Museum. This museum never gets old for my nature loving son. I wanted to see the Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes exhibit at the National Gallery of Art with Tom Sawyer and Little Red Riding Hood. This impressive exhibit was perfect for my theater loving kids. It was filled with costumes and films of many different ballets.
What am I going to do with this 11 year old boy? I hope the funny face stage will end soon. They are with my step-mother.
After the exhibit we walked over and joined my son, father, and husband at the Museum of Natural History. We took a quick tour of a few rooms. Then it was time to get home for a barbecue to catch up with friends and family.

Day 3 ~ We visited the Air and Space Museum first. This is a huge museum. The plan was to see the Wright Brother's exhibit and let the kids wander through a few other exhibits if they were interested. The Wright Brother's exhibit was a nice review of what we learned at the beginning of this year. Then they wanted to do some hands-on activities around the museum. They especially liked the huge planes hanging in the main gallery that showed the history of flight all in one place. They also liked walking through some of the airplanes and space modules.

Next, we headed for the sculpture garden on the mall for a nice bite to eat in front of the fountain. My kids remembered playing in this fountain a few years ago. It was fun for them to see it again.
After lunch, we headed for the American History Museum. We had several exhibits on our list to see at this stop. We wanted to see the history of Food: Transforming the American Table 1950 -2000. This was right up our alley since we are constantly trying to get back to unprocessed food made from scratch. It was amazing to see the changes that have taken place in the past 50 years. We then moved on to the exhibit on Money. Little Red Riding Hood loves coins so this was a perfect exhibit for her. (She's wearing a bear hat that my step-mom bought for her.)
Lastly, we enjoyed the exhibit about presidents and first ladies. The kids were excited to find the first teddy bear which was created when President Teddy Roosevelt refused to kill a baby bear on a hunting trip. They really enjoyed the story about the original teddy bear that we read earlier this year. It was great to see it in real life.
We finished the day with a quick stop at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. I must admit that I really didn't like it. I suppose the artist was going for a look of determination, but instead he made Dr. King look angry and cold. I also didn't like the materials used by the Chinese sculptor, Lei Yixin. Unfortunately, I didn't feel a sense of peace or hope at the memorial, so I didn't think Dr. King's message was carried out well. It was a disappointment all around. (Can you tell that my mother, an artist, raised me to critique art work?) I much prefer the memorial for Martin Luther King, Jr. that I saw in Atlanta, Georgia.

The first few days were a whirlwind. As you know, the government did shutdown and we had to find non-federal things to do for the rest of the week. I will tell about those tomorrow.

Blessings, Dawn


  1. I'm enjoying hearing about your trip and so sorry that the shutdowns are happening while you were/are there. We are hoping to do this as a family sometime soon (when things reopen).

  2. gosh you fitted in so much! I'm so glad you had a good vacation. I'm glad Goldilocks had a good time too.
    We are on holiday in Turkey at the moment. My 8 yr old blonde SPD son is having to face the challenge of having many friendly Turks stroke his hair in a friendly way ... it's an interesting experience for us all...!

  3. You were quite close to us when you visited Manassas. In fact, I drive "to" the battlefield 5 days a week!

    So glad you all had a great time and that your dd is learning how to communicate her feelings/needs. That was a huge help when my kids were able to start doing that. It enabled us to head a lot of things off at the pass.

  4. How on earth did you fit all you did into just a couple of days? So glad you all had such a wonderful time!

  5. There is so much to see in DC. I am surprised at how much you were able to fit in.