Lucky for us, Dave is training for a marathon.
So he got up to run a few mornings and was able to get us hard-to-get-unless-you-get-there-super-early tickets to a few things while he was out.
He got us tickets to go up in the Washington Memorial (one of the things our kids wanted to do the most in discussing plans before we left).They were giddy to get there.
Have you ever seen that "Where in the world is Mike?" thing where that guy does a funky dance in front all the amazing places he's been in the world? Well, Dave and I saw it a while back and thought it'd be fun to do our own thing in front of new places we visit (since if I have my druthers we'll be visiting a whole slew of interesting places in our lives).
Well, since we're not very creative the only thing we could come up with is the "jumping" picture. Maybe it'll get old, but hey, we had to start with something.
(And obviously we may need a little practice...my brother may need to give us some lessons...)Even with tickets we had to wait a little bit and enjoy the gorgeous views from there before we went up.
We had time for a little jumping practice too...
Here we are waiting for the elevator (they wouldn't let us take the seven hundred plus steps to get up there, darn it...)
Crowding in to see the views from the teeny windows at the top:...which were, I might add, quite dim to look through, but here are the views from the four different windows up there:
We sure love that memorial.
Next on our agenda was the White House tour.
Yep, we totally lucked out because at first we were denied access because those tickets are so darn tough to get. But then our congressman's office e-mailed late the night before and told us something opened up for us.
We were so excited.
The drawback: no cameras allowed. And they were serious about that one. But they never said anything about iPhones, and although I didn't dare pull it out inside, here we are in the "front yard":
The tour itself wasn't anything spectacular...we just got to go in a bunch of the main rooms.
But man alive, our kids were over the moon about it. They were INSIDE the very White House and that was enough for them. Although we assured them over and over that it wouldn't happen, they were just sure President Obama just might happen to be strolling around one of the rooms. (I remember feeling that EXACT same way when I was their age and we got to have a tour...it was right after Reagan got shot and I figured he must be home, wanting to meander around with the tourists.)
Unfortunately, those darn Presidents seem to stay away from the crowds.
BUT, as luck would have it, Claire was a little gem and was super nice and friendly to all the security guards and secret service people there, abounding with smiles and good questions. As we were leaving one of them asked Dave and I if we were her parents, and told us he wasn't supposed to say anything, but that in 20 minutes the President would be landing in Marine One on the South Lawn.
Now, if they were excited before that, I don't even know a word to describe how they felt after getting that little tidbit of info.
It was totally raining when we came out, but we made our way back to the South Lawn to see what we could see.
Sure enough, a helicopter came and circled the White House four times to make sure all was clear. Then the buzz of three humongo helicopters filled the air coming toward the White House.
The middle one was the President:
Although all I had was my little iPhone at least you can sort of see what happened after that:
We could see a little speck of the President get out, go over and salute some people on the lawn and head inside.
And then the helicopter left.
It was funny how exhilarating it was to watch that. We were all smiling from ear to ear. It was probably the highlight of the trip for all of us.
Next we went to the National Archives, and sat in another long line. The kids were pretty worn out by this time, and weren't overjoyed to be in another line, but can you really go to D.C. without seeing the Constitution of the United States of America and the Declaration of Independence?
I don't think so.
Plus there were no "Lucy shenanigans" going on (we all silently praised my Mom and Dad again for having her) so we endured just fine. (Claire begged to try her hand at photography while we waited above.)
...and Elle and I caught some architecture pictures.I must say, we all agreed it was worth the wait (even though, again, we couldn't take pictures). Dave and I especially loved thinking about those amazing forefathers and the insight they had to do all that they did.
Awe inspiring stuff.
We got to visit the Jefferson Memorial next:
Again, the spirit in these gorgeous monuments is so tangeable.
Eli and Julie joined us for this one.
They are master jumpers:
(Yes, Dave, you can tell you're not really jumping in that one...)
Here's our family picture posing as specs:
There we go a little more close-up:
Ok, last wrap-up coming tomorrow...