Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mason Visits Our Nation's Capitol

We took our first official little Moore Family Vacation April 6 - 10 to Washington, D.C. and we had the best time! We usually go to the beach, but this time Marc got to pick and he had never been to D.C. and had been dying to go for sometime now. I have to admit, at first the idea of going there sounded kinda boring cuz A) I have been already like 5 times and B) I am truly a beach girl at heart! But, as I got into the planning I got sooo excited for our little adventure. I knew it would be a fun, kinda laid-back place to stroll Mason around and have him look at all the commotion going on around us. Plus, I hadn't been there since before Sept. 11 and wanted to go see how different it is now. We were advised to NOT stay in the middle of the city, but to stay in one of the outlying suburbs like Arlington or Alexandria, VA. So, like always, we did Priceline where you name your price and once you put in your credit card info the name of the hotel pops up. We got lucky (again, like always! :) ) and got the Sheraton Suites Alexandria. It was a really nice hotel right in the heart of Old Towne Alexandria, very safe and busy. There was a free shuttle that took us to the Metro subway every morning at the Reagan National Airport that would take us right into D.C. and picked us up there at night when we were completely exhausted from being tourists all day. We were also so excited because there was an indoor pool, which Mason loves, so we got in some pool time afterall on this vacation. :) We were busy from the second we got there to the very last day when we hit a couple more attractions before getting on the road to come home. We saw everything we wanted to see, except for the Ford Theatre where Lincoln was assasinated, and we packed everything in in just 5 days. We walked, walked, walked, so got great exercise while we were there! I could feel my jeans getting baggier and baggier! :) Mason loved being in his stroller and just laughed and babbled the entire time. He was so good in all of the buildings and stayed happy as long as we kept his sippy cup, bottles, and Little Puffs in his stroller tray the whole time. Of course he got the most attention from all the tourists and made the most friends. We learned that taking your baby to D.C. is the way to go because we didn't really get checked as thoroughly as the other tourists when going into each building. The security is TIGHT since 9/11 but as soon as they saw we had a baby, they security guards were so nice and friendly and sent us right on through. Well, except for the one Hulk Hogan looking man who said "Take the baby out of the stroller!" and yelled it like twice while I was standing there looking at him in shock. We had to all unbuckle Mason and get all his stuff out while that man rammed his hand down into the stroller seats, in the food crumbs and all, to make sure we didn't have any concealed weapons with us. Thank you.

To make a long story short, my car ended up being in the shop 2 days before we left and Firestone paid for us to rent a 2009 Jeep Laredo to drive to D.C. I was fuming at the situation because Firestone messed up my car, but we were so excited to be driving a brand spanking new car on our trip and not have to put the miles on our Highlander. It took about 10 hours to get there with stopping and everything, but it wasn't really that bad of a drive and the time passed pretty quickly. Well, at least for me because I read the entire 2nd book of the series "Twilight" all the way there! :)

We visited the Capitol, Library of Congress, National Archives, Supreme Court, stalked theWhite House through the front gate, Smithsonian Air & Space, Natural History, & American History Museums, Holocaust Museum, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument, Vietnam Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, Iwo Jima statue, World War II Memorial, and Mt. Vernon. We were also able to spend time with Marc's cousin, Mace, is stationed there with the military. He went to Mt. Vernon with us and we had dinner in Alexandria afterward. We also had dinner with our friends Jonathan & Lauren Haak who were in our church Life Group with us a few years ago here in Nashville. It was soooo good to see them and catch up with them! The last time we had seen them was the night Mason was born. They came and visited us at the hospital and moved to Virginia the very next day! So, Mason was definitely looking and acting a little different to them than when he was fresh out of the womb almost a year ago! :)

Of course, I'm posting a lot of pictures on here because we took soooo many and I always have a hard time narrowing them down! :) I'm gonna warn you, looking at these will make you very jealous and make you want to plan your next family vacation to Washinton, D.C.! It really is a special place to be and is very safe and family-oriented. Just let me know if you want any tourist info, cuz I got it all! :)

On the way to D.C. Mason just played and babbled the entire time while I read "New Moon" and Marc studied his notecards... Yes, while he was driving!

A very tired daddy & son after arriving to our hotel in Alexandria... We had a very busy day ahead of us the next day!

Mason's first time on the Metro subway. It was actually pretty easy. We would just tilt up his stroller while on the escalator getting up to the trains and then Marc would lift him right up and perch him up on the train. We got our system down and were pros by the end of the first day.

Our first stop... the Capitol building

In line to get tickets for our tour

We got to wear these cool headsets to hear our tour guide. We got special treatment and got to be escorted to this special elevator everytime we went to a new floor!

The Supreme Court... and thanks Ken & Brenda Hall for telling us about the yummy cafeteria in the basement! We had lunch there and it was pretty reasonably priced. We were starving, so were thankful that it was quick & easy to get to!

In the Library of Congress... it was BEAUTIFUL in there! I was really fascinated by the fact that Thomas Jefferson donated his entire library to be put in the Library of Congress to help build their supply back up after a fire. We got to see his actual books! I was fascinated.

Daddy & Mason sooo ready for the tour to be done by the end. Our guide, Paul, or I kept calling him some other wrong name, was this little foreign man who we could barely understand, but what we did get was that he LOVES the Library of Congress and kept telling us over and over that he was so passionate about his job. And his wife would tell you that if you called their house looking for him. Thank you.

The outside of the Library of Congress

Another view of the Capitol building

Our personal "tour guide" trying to figure out our next stop! Mason was enjoying it way too much.

Our first Smithsonian to visit... National Museum of Natural History... I was a little grossed out by this first exhibit we visited of these cave men finding a dead human body. I was also the most confused.

I was in awe of this Fossil Lab where REAL paleontologists were in there studying REAL fossils!!

Oooohhhh, Mason touching some of the rare gemstones

The famous Hope Diamond - the largest diamond in the world. I was kinda expecting it to be a little bigger. It was like the Mona Lisa painting at the Louvre in Paris.... Just follow the HUGE crowd of people surrounding a little tiny exhibit!

Briefly visiting the Washington Monument that day cuz it was F-R-EEZING!!! Don't worry, we went back several more times!

Ready for his big night in the indoor pool... His traditional little Hilfiger shirt he has to wear everytime he goes swimming now! Oh, and his little matching swim trunks! Our child can swim in nothing but the best!

The next morning: Stalking the White House! It was absolutely gorgeous and so peaceful.

Next stop: The National Archives where the Bill or Rights, Constitution, and Declaration of Independence are kept. I cannot believe this is the actual Constitution of the United States!!
Later that day we met up with Marc's cousin, Mace, and headed to Mt. Vernon, which was about 8 miles south of where we stayed in Old Towne Alexandria, VA. We wanted a family picture with the Washington family! Don't we fit right in??
We all know that the Washingtons needed to have just one more baby! Well, here he is!
In the little theatre watching some background on Mt. Vernon. The boys were so excited about their movie!
Marc and I walked around the plantation while Mace stood with the stroller & Mason to hold our place in the 2-hour line to get into the actual mansion. It was nice to walk around, just the 2 of us and check out random parts of the property. Here we are talking to the very brown sheep.
Will Logue, this one's for you! He told us we definitely had to go to Mt. Vernon and walk around to the back of the mansion where there was a "perfect family photo-op." Thank you. Well, we found it! Is this all you dreamed it would be?

I don't know... This random George Washington man was sitting on the porch and Mace asked him to get in a picture with us. He was so grumpy and hateful though, but we made him do it anyway. I don't even know what he was doing there if he's not a people-person!

The front view of Mt. Vernon
Back at the hotel getting ready to go out for dinner at this yummy Tex-Mex place we discovered on the main little street, King Street, in Old Towne Alexandria. Mace and I actually got their special of the night, kinda random, the Cajun Salmon. It was actually the best salmon and grilled veggies I have ever had!! Who knew?
A very exhausted baby after his day exploring D.C., Mt. Vernon, and Old Towne!

Poor baby, check out his sad windburn! It was pretty cold & windy the first couple of days and we had him covered up very well, but it's hard to cover every inch of his litte sweet face. He looked cute though with his "fake tan" and he didn't seem to be in any pain.
Back at it again: Day 3: Visiting our 2nd Smithsonian: National Museum of American History... Check out the hottie with the baby in line to get in!
Okay, so this is where my new obsession with Abraham Lincoln began. Washington, D.C. LOVES Lincoln and everywhere we went we learned the most random information about him! I was almost in tears here reading all about his assasination. I'm so much better informed on his life than I was before this trip. Here is his famous top hat.
Showing Mason who was President when Mommy was born, making our way down the row to the President he sat and watched make his Inauguration Speech back in January!
Oooh, Dorothy's red sparkly shoes!

Strolling down the National Mall. This is the area that is in the center of most of the major sites... the Library of Congress, Capitol, Supreme Court, Smithsonian Museums, National Archives, and the monuments and memorials are at the very tip of it. There was always something going on in the big field and Mason loved watching it all! It was so relaxing. We sat at a picnic bench just before his picture and ate hot dogs & potato chips from a little concession stand there. So fun!
I think this was Marc's favorite thing of our entire trip... The National Air & Space Museum... Here am I checking to see if I fit all the qualifications of a candidate to be a stewardess in the 1950s.
Marc wouldn't be a very good candidate and was a little jealous
The Wright Brothers' plane... the very first plane!! This was soooo neat to see!
I was a little distracted during our tour by this sweet little girl all dressed in the traditional Indian attire. I loved her!
Marc taken in by the information he learned on the tour... and Mason a little overwhelmed by it all
Touching a little piece of the moon.... For real!
Mason couldn't hold off any longer... He had to start giving his daddy kisses during the last little schpeal by our tour guide
The Washington Monument... this was a beautiful day!!!
Strolling along the cherry blossom trees to get to the Jefferson & Lincoln Memorials, which you see behind us

At the steps of the Jefferson Memorial

Self-portrait time... People were confused as to why we were doing this instead of looking at the Jefferson Memorial. And you can tell Marc was so excited about this picture!
Find Mason & me! We were tired and needed to rest a moment.
The Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial... now this was very interesting. I learned that he is actually sitting in a wheel chair here, but didn't want anyone to know it so he covered it with his cloak cape thang. He didn't ever want to be seen in public in the wheel chair because he was afraid it represented his weakness. Some woman standing there was telling us all about it, even though Marc had just explained it to me.

Finally at the Lincoln Memorial! One of my all-time favorites!

The Vietnam Memorial... this just tears me up every time. It was even different this time though to see Mason looking at all the names, kinda like he had an understanding of what it all meant.

World War II Memorial... something Marc was looking forward to because his Paw (Mason's namesake) fought this war... A nice couple standing there offered to take our picture, just the 2 of us. The ONLY pic without Mason! I kinda miss these!

Another beautiful view of the Washington Monument. We could pretty much see it everywhere we went.
Thursday night we met up with Jonathan & Lauren Haak for dinner at this very interesting Italian place
Love this girl!
Chillin' in our suite. Mason had his own little area outside of the "french doors" to our bedroom. Thank you. He was standing up more than ever in his crib. He had a perfect view of his daddy studying. Yes, when you're married to a resident, studying follows you everywhere you go!

Our little living area. We were impressed with our room! Normally $279 a night but we got it for a WHOLE lot less than that! We were livin' it up!
Our smooth ride
Our hotel entrance
Drive-by the Pentagon. We ran out of time to really visit it, but I did want to at least see it. It was huge!
Our last day: Arlington National Cemetary. We went to a "Changing of the Guard" ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
My sweet baby watching so intently

I love this. I found this one sweet yellow tulip in the middle of all the pink ones. I wonder if I'm the only one who noticed that??
JFK's grave at Arlington Cemetary

Our last stop: The statue of the Battle of Iwo Jima.. for some reason, this is the site that stood out to me the most from my 8th grade trip to D.C. I kept telling Marc about it the whole week and was so anxious to get to it. There's just something about it...

I really learned a lot about the soldiers in the statue by reading this... It was so sad to read the ones who did not survive the Battle of Iwo Jima. Something I've taken for granted in the past, that this was just a statue and I didn't know the names to put with the faces. Now it's more real to me.
Mason's first time to sit on grass

Stalling getting on the road for our long drive home. We were just relaxing and enjoying the moment from this great view of the city.
Fast forward just a little bit: Mason sad to be back home in his living room
Notice that he carried the umbrella from the car in with him. Thank you. One more thing, he slept almost the entire 10 hours home. We pulled into our driveway at 1 am. Up he sat, as awake and happy as ever. He was ready to start his day! So, up we stayed until 4 am.
I'm sure this is what he was thinking: "Mommy & Daddy, thank you so much for taking me on my first trip to Washington, D.C.! (And Daddy's, too!) I will never ever forget my first family vacation. I love you!"


Blessed said...

I have no idea where to start. There are so many pictures. How long did it take you to upload them?

Anyways, I love them all. I am just super jealous! I love D.C. So glad you got to go on a super fun family vacay! :) Mason is a doll. I love the picture of him sleeping.

Kim said...

What an amazing vacation. An incredible experience I know your family will always treasure!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...