Friday, November 6, 2009

A Trip Downtown

Though there are a couple of downers (a.k.a. the cost of living), there are many (many, many, many) perks about living near DC. My favorite perk is the Smithsonian. If you drive into DC and get there right at 10:00 am, you can park on the street free for three hours. You have to get there right at 10:00 though.

London was out of school on Tuesday so we took a little drive downtown. Though I had gotten directions from a friend, and they seemed fairly easy, I was getting nervous about the parking aspect because it was 10:15 before we made it across the Potomac, and I had forgotten the GPS (which, for all of you west-coasters, can cause major anxiety out here for even the most directionally-inclined). Luckily, we got the last spot on the street (I kid you not), and I can tell you I breathed much easier after my flawless parallel parking job. That's when the sheer joy of wandering the nation's capitol with my kids kicked in.

Our parking spot was right in front of the Washington monument, the Lincoln monument was taunting us from the next block over, and the American History Museum (Smithsonian) was calling to us from across the street. And at that point, I didn't even realize that the White House was a mere block-and-a-half away. Though it may not be my strongest subject, I am a history geek when it comes to our amazing country. In college I even flirted with the idea of majoring in it. The reason I didn't is because there aren't a lot of job prospects with such a degree. So I majored in English. Don't quote me on my logic.

But I digress.

So after London and Brandt debated the finer points of where to go first ("This way!" "No!" "Yes!" "No!" "Yes!" "No!" "Yes!" "No!" "Yes!" "No!" Etc.), I opted to go to the Natural History Museum. On the way, we saw an advertisement for Night at the Museum: the Smithsonian, and to save time I'll just say London tested all my history knowledge by asking about Napoleon, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, Betsy Ross, and well you get the picture. I must have passed the test because London finally said, "Wow, Mom, you even know more than me!"

In the museum, we went straight for the elevator, and after fighting a valiant fight to get to the 3rd floor, we finally settled for the 2nd. Turns out the 3rd is for employees only. Oops. But the 2nd floor was very cool.

There was an Egyptian mummy ("Mom, is the person still in there?"), Roman pottery, a Forensics section with buried bones and reconstructed skeletons. London wanted to know who each and every skeleton was (which of course was the point of the exhibit, that sometimes we can only guess using the clues that the bones leave behind). There was also an animal exhibit showing the bones of various animals. The Whale was pretty impressive (though London really liked the swordfish).

After talking about the two kinds of snake skeletons (poisonous vs. non-poisonous), Brandt turned to the next kid who had just come up with his mom and told him all about it.

The boys really enjoyed it. And I shouldn't be so surprised about that.

We planned to go to the Aeronautical Museum next, but got sidetracked by "The Carousel on the Mall." I gave London and Brandt the option: "We can get something to eat here, or we can ride the Carousel. But we can't do both." I'm sure it's not hard to guess what they chose.

Even Khyah seemed to enjoy the ride. I suppose you have to splurge every now and again.

Our three hours were running out, so we headed toward the car and decided we had just enough time to go see the White House. London asked, "Is the President there?" I told him I didn't know, but probably not. So he asked, "Where is he working then?" I told him I didn't have the President's schedule, so I didn't know. London seemed rather disappointed.

When we got there, a bunch of people were playing football on the grass right next to the building (which is far enough away that we couldn't make out faces). There were cameras and a couple of men in suits with the footballers. And based on "The Picture of the Day" for Nov. 3rd on the White House website, I feel fairly confident (not certain), that we saw Mr. President from a distance. London asked me: "Mom, will they be in trouble for playing there?" I told him they most likely had permission. London wanted to get permission, too. I told him I'd look into it for next time. Turns out you have to get permission from your state legislator. I'll have to work on that. (So if any of you plan to visit [hint, hint, hint], and want to go there, plan ahead! It takes at least 30 days to get permission).

The drive home was smooth except that Khyah cried the entire time (seriously). She had been perfect all morning, so I guess this was payback. ;) But it was a fun little day trip. Definitely on our docket for future daytrips. Though we're far from family, DC is a great place to be.


Jorgensen Family Blog said...

Janet, Looks like we both have the same double stroller. Does yours have the back seat, or the jump seat? Ours has the Jump Seat. I love that stroller :) Looks like you guys are having a great time. I might just have to come visit you, because I've wanted to go to D.C. for the longest time!

Simba's Sabertooths said...

I am so jealous! We can't wait to see you guys in a couple of weeks!!!

Melanie said...

What!?! Which airport do I have to get to? I miss you all soooo much! I'm especially jealous of your DC trip because I just finished "The Lost Symbol" and am itching to go exploring around there!!! Loffs to all of you!!!

Janet Johnson said...

Both Dulles and Reagan are pretty close. We love visitors, so come! You're all welcome.

Unknown said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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