Monday, April 23, 2012

Washington DC, Day THREE

On Saturday, our last full day in DC, we crammed in all the memorials that we hadn't had the opportunity to see up close. We did a LOT of walking.
We started the day with tours of the Capitol building, where the kids scared me to death with their wondering off. There were a lot of people inside and Bo was waiting outside with the stroller, food, and Derrick (no food was allowed inside), so it was just me with the older two, and I was just so scared I was going to lose them. The kids had fun but about half way through Megs was begging to go back outside. I probably didn't get as much out of it as everyone else, but it was still pretty fun.
After the Capitol we WALKED all the way to the White House. Bo says it's gotta be at least a mile and a half. I'm sure it's more. Thank goodness I had borrowed my friend's double stroller before going on this trip! Because we were doing so much walking, and with all those little kids, we pretty much loaded that stroller up with as many kids as possible. I pretty much pushed the 3 six year olds and the five year old. That's a lot of weight! Derrick sat on top of the Katz's stroller and I have an awesome picture of him falling asleep sitting up on it. haha. While walking to the White House we happened to walk past Ford's Theater. That was cool.
After the White House we walked up to the Washington Memorial and let the kids run crazy. Then it was off to the WWII memorial, then the Lincoln Memorial. I was really excited for my kids to see the Lincoln Memorial because it's in Night at the Museum, Battle of the Smithsonian. I couldn't wait to see my kids' expressions when they saw Lincoln, and they didn't disappoint. They were so excited! It was really fun watching them. Derrick had more fun running around on the lawn in front of the memorial. haha. Unfortunately they reflecting pool was gone because they are doing some upgrades to it. Bummer.
The Lincoln memorial was pretty much last on our list and by this time we were TIRED. It was like 4 or 5 in the afternoon and we were done. So done. Unfortunately the closest metro was at the Smithsonian, so we pretty much had to walk at least another mile to get back to a metro. Bo thinks that by the end of the day we walked close to 5 miles. I'm a poor judge of distance, but I don't doubt we walked that much. We really did walk a ton.
Oh yeah, my cousin Rachel joined us at the Lincoln memorial, so we got to see her again! She walked back to the metro with us and then we all headed back to the hotel to get our cars before taking off again to California Pizza Kitchen for dinner. This time I got a picture! After dinner and saying goodbye to Rachel, it was like 9:45 at night. The kids didn't go swimming on Friday, and after hearing them ask all that day, and then all Saturday about going swimming, I decided to go ahead and take them swimming. Why not. The pool was open till 11 that night, so we went swimming till 10:45. I think that right there shows how much I love my kids. :) Really it was all for me. jk.
That was our last day. Phew. The next morning we packed up while the kids played with the Easter baskets the Easter Bunny left them, hugged our friends goodbye, and headed back to Indiana. It was a way fun trip and I hope we do another group vacation next year!
The group! Bo, Ben, Serena, Doug, and Jana, who knows where the kids are. We are walking to the tour entrance in front of the Capitol.

Carter took this picture of Jana and her two girls. I think Carter had a crush on all three of them. ;)
We all had to wear headphones to listen to our tour guide, since there were tons of tours going on at the same time. Yeah Megan wore hers for like one minute.

Inside the dome of the Capitol.

They have statues of someone famous to represent each state. I can't read this one, but I'm assuming it's Indiana's, since both my kids are in front of it. I also have one of Megs in front of Sam Houston for Texas, but couldn't find Alaska's for Carter (the states where my kids were born).

Snack time, one of many.
Ford's theater. The line is for the building to the right, which I think might be the actual theater where President Lincoln was shot, and the left building is now a museum or something.
The strollers. That's a lot of kids.
The White House. I love the Secret Service Agents, I assume, on the roof.
My poor baby, that can't be comfortable.

Playing on the grass at the Washington Monument.

WWII memorial.

My cousin Rachel and me

Monday, April 16, 2012

Washington, DC Day TWO

On Friday, day two of our trip to DC, we went to The National Zoo to check out the fun animals.
The zoo, well... honestly I wasn't all that impressed. hahaa. The animals were great and had wonderful "homes" or whatever, but the layout of the whole place was poorly designed, I thought. Maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't so packed, but wow there were way too many people there. We had fun though, and the kids got to see some pretty neat things.
Our first fun experience was when we were at the panda exhibit. We first showed up and there was this huge crowed blocking the entrance to the pandas and the elephants. We fought our way through only to find out that the panda and the elephant exhibits were both empty. LAME. So instead we decided to sit down and take a break and eat our lunch. WELL, while we were eating the panda came out and walked right. by. us. We had the best view in the place! It was pretty rad and the kids were so excited. I think we stayed there for a half hour just watching the panda walk around and eating bamboo.
After that we had to fight the crowd again to get out of there and then we were off to check out the tigers and lions. When we got to the lions one of the lions actually roared a couple times for us and that was cool.
So there we were, at the end of the day, tired, sick of crowds, but happy of our awesome experience with the animals, when we realized that to get back to the metro it was going to brutal. haha.
See, The zoo is downhill. You start at the front entrance, which is by the metros AND the parking, but for our case it was the metro, and then you walk through the zoo, always going downhill to see all the animals. There is an entrance at the end, and we thought this was a sweet layout of the zoo because we wouldn't have to go back up the hill, but once out of the zoo, and after talking to some cops and traffic directors, we found out that the shortest route back to the metro was to walk back. up. that. HILL. UGH, with 7 kids, three strollers, and the busy, crowded zoo. Almost all the zoo's I've been too have kind of a circle layout, but the National Zoo's layout was pretty much just a one way thing.
Going back up that hill with my stroller, loaded with 4! kids, was so hard and exhausting. By the end of the day my legs were shaking. Bo had offered to push the stroller (he was holding Derrick), but I'd honestly rather push then hold a squirming tired baby.
My cousin Rachel joined up with us at the end of our zoo day, and the poor girl walked all the way through the zoo to meet us at the bottom, only to turn around and walk back up with us. I had fun catching up with her and seeing how she was though.
So after the zoo we headed back to the hotel, took a break, and then headed off to Cafe Rio for dinner. YUM. We were so excited when we realized there was one close by. Funny side note, while we were there you could pretty much tell that at least 75% of the costumers were LDS. haha. My cousin Ty and his very pregnant wife (it was her due date), Michelle, joined us for dinner and it was fun socializing with them and Rachel. It was great seeing some family. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture. DARN.
When dinner was over everyone headed back to the hotel and Jana and I jumped into her car to go to Georgetown. Jana needed to pick up a desk at a store there, and we both were excited to get some cupcakes at Georgetown Cupcakes. While she got the desk, I waited in line at the cupcake place. That's right, I waited in line to eat a cupcake. It was worth it too! We got pictures with Jana's phone, but I don't have them yet. Later. Anyways I think I finally got into bed at about 11, which doesn't seem so late, but man was I exhausted. The kids and Bo were already asleep too, so I saved the cupcakes and we had them for breakfast. Mother of the year award right there.
Here's some pictures of the day!

Jaime, Carter, Serena, some random people, and Bo
Elie and Megan watching the panda
Awesome shots of the panda.

The kids were so excited.

Carter, me and Megan watching the Tiger

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Washington, DC Day ONE

For Spring Break, Bo and I took the kids to Washington, D.C. We met up with two other families that we knew back in Medical School, both families having kids right around the ages of ours. We had been planning this trip since back in July, and it was so much fun to have it finally happen. We did lots of searching and studying, finally coming up with the best hotel, what places we wanted to see, and where we wanted to eat. :) For the hotel we all had rooms right next to each other, in our own little hallway, and it was the best. We stayed in Arlington, VA at a Marriott that had a complimentary shuttle to the Metro. Loved that. Bo and I only got one room, and I think we can pretty much say we're pro's at handling how to get 5 people, one of them a 13 month old, to sleep in the same room at about the same time. It's called exhaustion, lack of naps, and the power of a little crying it out and putting a blanket OVER the pack n' play to make it look pitch black for Derrick. Oh yeah, and a sound machine (a MUST) to make background noise to drown out all other noises. :)
We all drove in Wednesday night, said a couple hellos at 10 pm, hit the beds, and were up and out to the Metro, and adventure in itself, by about 10:30 the next morning.
Thursday was the Smithsonian day.
First we went to The Natural History museum. We saw dinosaurs, mammal fossils, oceanic things, the Hope diamond, paintings, and the Titanaboa, which was a new exhibit and totally awesome. The Titanaboa was an exhibit of a giant snake that scientists have discovered that lived way long ago (don't ask me to remember how long ago--google it). They made a model of how big it was, complete with it swallowing an alligator (crocodile?) whole. RAD.
After that much touring, the kids were tired and hungry, so we headed down to the cafeteria and got food. I love any food I don't have to make. Okay not any, but pretty close... :)
After The Natural History Museum we crossed the National Mall grass and headed over to The Air and Space Museum. In this museum the kids got to look at rockets, airplanes, and do lots of hands on science project sort of stuff. Megs and Carter liked the old Wright Brothers' airplanes the best, mostly because they recognized them from The Night at the Museum, Battle of the Smithsonian. They LOVE that movie, and I have used that movie to really get the kids excited about our trip. It worked.
After leaving that museum we headed back out onto the lawns and just sat around and relaxed while the kids ran crazy and got all the jiggles out. We then took the Metro back to the hotel, ordered Chinese take-out, swam, and then crashed in bed.
Warning: picture overload. :)

Our big group of kids, minus Derrick (in Bo's arms) waiting for the Metro and the day to begin!
L to R: Elie Katz(age 3), Ben Heiner(5), Megan(3), Ashley Heiner(3), Carter (6), Jamie Heiner(6), and Ava Katz (age 6)
Carter, trying to make it look like he is holding The Washington Monument in his hands.

Megan and Ashley Heiner, both girls are about 3 months apart.
The Bums! From L to R: Carter, Jaime Heiner (she's like 15 days older than Carter), Ashley Heiner, and Megs.
Carter and the Titanaboa. Notice the alligator in the mouth. This thing was massive.
Serena Heiner and me. Serena was awesome. She's 20 weeks pregnant and it didn't wipe her at all. She had so much energy. I would've been wiped out if that were me. I was anyways. wiped out, not pregnant. NO.
The men folk. Doug Heiner with Jamie, Bo, and Ben Katz is back there on the phone. Where is Jana?
Carter and the Titanaboa again.
I love this picture.
The Capital!!!
Carter and Ben Heiner at Air and Space.
More bums! Ava Katz (she's 6 days younger then Carter, so all 6 year olds are about 20 days apart. awesome!), Megan, and Elie Katz (she's about 3 months older then Megs, making it 3 - 3 year old girls all within 6 months of each other. loving it more.)
Carter, Megan, Me, and Ben Heiner That double stroller was a life saver. Thanks Lindsay D!
The famous Wright Brothers airplane, or as my kids called it, "Amelia Earhart's plane!"

Jamie Heiner and Carter taking pictures of each other. Carter and Megan LOVED having their friends back and playing with them.
The gang on the lawn. Doug Heiner, Elie Katz, Jana Katz, Ava Katz, Ben Katz, and Bo.
Derrick. Yes, he was there too. He fell over on the lawn and couldn't/wouldn't get himself to stand back up because he HATES touching grass, or any ground that isn't carpet or similar floors found INSIDE. Funny kid. As you can see below, he will sit in it, he just doesn't like having his hands full on the ground.
Derrick and Ben Heiner having a deep conversation. I'm pretty sure they are discussing something significant, like the laws of physics and it's importance in aeronautical engineering. Yes, definitely that.

The Beus Gang

Bo, Cassidy, and Carter Beus