Sunday, March 26, 2017

Spring Break DC Vacation, Day 3

It has been 20 years since I've been Washington DC.  There for a few years, my sis and I went every year. We had our favorite spots to visit, and I couldn't wait to introduce my kids to this town!
We had a great busy insanely awesome day on Monday.  
And believe it or not, this is the shortened bunch of photos from that day's trip!

We started the day with a ride on the Metro. 
Our apartment is about 2 blocks (1/4 mile) from the Dunn Loring Station on the Orange Metro Line.
So we loaded up and got to the station just in time to board the train headed into town. 

We quickly learned that Christopher likes to face in the direction the train is going.  
The opposite makes him ill... and extra whiny.  

We also learned Jacob was not a fan of underground Metro lines.  
Most of the Metro is underground until you get pretty far out, we're the third stop after it comes above ground.  Jake was less than enthusiastic with this surprise.  He thought the train would stay in the sunshine the whole ride in.  When it didn't, his face darkened... and that's saying something, with the giant welt on his head, it's dark enough.  

We got off at the Federal Triangle. 
It was Breathtaking to come above ground and see this view.  

The kids were so happy to play on this grassy knoll after being in the dark, 
they didn't care where we were. 
We still had a couple blocks to go before we hit our first Smithsonian Museum. 
The road spit us out between Natural History and American History, so we decided to turn right. 

Here we are approaching the entrance to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. 
All my Boyz. 

The inside of American History has changed a bit since the last time I was there.  
It used to be that the Star Spangled Banner was hanging in the center of the museum for all to see.  
Now, they have it in a dark room, where no cameras are allowed.   Along the walls, they document the history of the Star Spangled Banner, the battle, the hangings, the holes.   It's really interesting.  
All I kept thinking, was the pictures that my Dad took of us looking at up it, are now part of the Smithsonian History. 
Did you know the Star Spangled Banner had 15 stars and stripes?  
It was more square than the traditional rectangle of our current flag.  

One of the Best pieces! 
I always love the Ruby Slippers!  
But they are looking a little worn, they're trying to do a fundraiser to conserve them. They will be putting together a new exhibit next year to show off some of film history's most popular artifacts. 
We'll just have to come back and see that too!

Bert and Ernie!
All the boys thought that Jim Henson's original Bert and Ernie Muppets were cool!

After American History, we stepped outside for a lunch break on the mall!

The boys thought this Mall was Completely Different from any other mall they'd ever been in. 
A kind family took a picture of all 5 of us in front of the Washington Monument.

All my Sweetboys. <3

Turn around and Blammo - there's the Capitol! 
See how much greenery between there and  where we're standing. 
Sorry Trumpy, there's no way all that was covered in your inauguration! 

OK, Mommy caved at the Gift Shop. 
I wanted some Flag earrings for patriotic holidays as a souvenir. I always try to pick up some sort of jewelry bauble when we're on vacation.  I am now the proud ownder of some Star Spangled Banner earrings, which are more square like, dangly, and fabulous.  I put them on right away! 
This chocolate, well it was a spontaneous purchase made at the counter.  Eric and I nibbled on half of it all day.  This is the first time I've been in DC during Cherry Blossom Time.  And with all the snow, this isn't even supposed to be a good year. But I love how festive the town is, everything advertises it.  
I love Cherry Blossom Time! 

My Boyz at the center of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the Elephant. 
This African Elephant is the largest one ever displayed.  

The boys wanted to check out the Oceans exhibit first. 
They loved this huge whale hanging from the ceiling. 
Jacob was great, he identified a ton of the animals.  He spotted the oarfish before any of us! 
Thank you Octonauts! 

And then we went on to Mommy's Favorite... minerals and gemstones! 
We started at the beginning of rock formation, and 

Jacob reaches out and touches the world's oldest known rock. 
It is 3.96 Billion years old! 

Christopher found his Birthstone!
Chris checks out the Blue Topaz section of the gemstones.  

Sam finds his favorites too. 
He loves all the Emeralds, but here it was next to the prettiest Aquamarine too!
Both are in the Beryl family.

The Hope Diamond.
The reason for the section. 
They say it's cursed, but it was only for a while.   It's been fine in the Smithsonian since Harry Winston bought it and donated it.  Though I was waiting for someone to say, "talk to me Harry Winston". 

After the Natural History, we went walking towards the Art Museum. 
As soon as we left the Natural History Museum the kids were screaming for food. 
We'd opted to skip a sit down lunch, and I'd just packed two boxes of bars.  We had my new chocolate too, so we stopped at 2 for bars and snacks.  I suspected if we filled Jake's belly, and strapped him down in the stroller he'd be Out.  But first a picnic in the Gardens. 

We found a butterfly garden just off the mall.  Too early for butterflies, obviously, but perfect for some new spring growth.  

The First Tulip I've seen this year! 

After our butterfly garden, we walked through a Sculpture Garden. 

When we arrived at the Art Museum, I was thrilled to find they had a giant Azalea exhibit on display in their rotunda.   They were all in the fullest of bloom!  Gorgeous! 

My favorite shot of the Azaleas! 

Sam was on a Mission. 
Our reason for going to the Art Museum was prompted by a project at school. His class was reading the book 'Chasing Vermeer'.   Apparently, only DC and NYC have actual Vermeer paintings.  Sam was the navigator of the museum map to figure out where in the Art Museum we could find the Vermeers.  It was our own Chasing Vermeer adventure.  One of them was specifically mentioned in Chasing Vermeer.  So we went on a mission to the Art Museum to find it.  Unfortunately, the one Chris was excited to see, Woman with a Balance, was not on display, but there were a couple portraits.  One was one of my favorites, Girl With a Red Hat.  

I find that when exploring Art Galleries, it helps to have the kids find their favorites. 
One suggestion was to make the Gift Shop their first stop instead of the last, have them pick a postcard, and explore the museum looking for it.  We've done that at the Eiteljorg.  But now they are old enough we can walk in a room, and just pick a favorite.  
This trip, I'd done a bit of research on their Collection, so we knew we wanted to see the Self Portrait of Van Gogh.  I'd seen it last year in Chicago.  Sam expressed a desire to see Van Gogh's works.  So we checked out the room with all the Van Gogh's.  It also had some Gaugin (did you know they were buddies?) and Degas.  And a bench.  While we rested a moment (we were getting tired) we all picked a Favorite.  This was Sam's favorite, big surprise, Van Gogh with a lot of green! 

This was Christopher's Favorite! 
Self Portrait with Halo and Snake by Paul Guaguin.
It reminds me of some kind of Joker or Harlequin thing.  Whatever, it's art, and Chris liked it.  

Like I mentioned, last year, I'd seen a Van Gogh and Degas exhibit in Chicago.
While we rested I noticed that two of the big headliners from Chicago were there right in the same room. The Jockey fallen off his Horse on the Left is by Degas, and if you look closely on the right is the self portrait by Van Gogh.  Jacob had fallen asleep, but began to wake in this room.  Sam liked this one because he knew it was painted after he'd lost his ear, so it only shows one ear, but he was feeling good enough to do some painting.

After a moment's rest, we ventured on too.  We found Degas sculptures in the basement and headed out. Turns out the only handicapped entrances in the museum are on the back side usually ground floor.  We began to find it easier to just let Jacob out and let him run down the steps while Eric carried the stroller down the stairs.  

We had decided to head towards the Smithsonian Train Station. As it just so happens, there is a Carousel on the mall (I don't remember that being there before!) just in front of Smithsonian Castle.  
So we promised if the boys were good in the Art Museum, they could have a ride.  They were steller.  Daddy doesn't ride carousels.  But Mommy enjoyed with Chris and Jacob.  Sam was riding a green seahorse further up and not able to get in the same picture with all of us. 
Turns out 3 Museums in one day is a lot!
Clouds had moved in, it had gotten cold.  And my feet were hurting so bad, they were beyond pain.
By the time we rode the subway home, they were numb.  And it occurred to us, that we were Hungry. 
Really Hungry.  
We found a small strip right next to the Metro station, full of what they called Fast Casual. 
I had never heard the phrase until we were going on Spring Break. Eric had gone to a place right before we left, Smash Burger with work fellas, and they called it Fast Casual, it's like an upgrade from Fast Food, where you get to kind of create your own, like Chipotle.  It's all the rage.  

We this strip was full of places like it.   So we stopped at the pizza place, Arosto Pizza.  The kids choice.  They were doing a deal for a pizza and a beer for $10.  Sold.  Since we were walking, we could each enjoy a beer.  Very Nice.  I asked the counter gal what her favorite was, and she told me the Pork BBQ with cole slaw on top.  So I went with that, I was too hungry to narrow it down. 
We'd walked right by a BBQ joint on the way in, so BBQ sounded perfect.  Tasted Perfect too!  
We didn't have much energy.  We went home watched an episode of Star Wars Rebels (did I mention Eric packed the Roku box so we could have all our tv shows, brilliant?!)  and went straight to bed, all of us.