Sunday, November 08, 2009

DC trip

Here is my long-delayed post about our trip to northern Virginia/DC in September.

The day after we arrived, Rowan was baptized, and I was the godmother. (The godfather was V's husband's stepdad; he is the only adult male they know who is a practicing Catholic and is also one of Rowan's favorite people, so it made sense.) Rowan behaved very well, all things considered. He had to sit through an hour-long mass prior to the baptism, so we were there over two hours, all told.

Just after the deacon poured the water on his head, he said "I got baptized!" All the other parents (all of young infants) laughed; it was quite cute. As his father was carrying him away from the font so that the next baby could take his turn, he said "I get baptized again!" So I guess he liked it!

Here is a photo of him giving a "high five" right after being baptized:

Rowan also modeled his Halloween costume for us, which he picked out himself. In case it's not obvious, he is an old-time golfer. He had a matching golf bag with clubs, too.

Rowan "flexing" at Uncle MM's request:

My mom was at V's also for Rowan's baptism, and it was good to see her, too. She had headed home to Ohio by the time MM and I returned for our second weekend at V's.

Here is a photo I took of Mom and V that I especially like:

On Monday morning, we drove into the city with my sister and got an early start on our day. First, we visited Ford's Theater, where President Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth. MM and his parents had visited Ford's Theater before, but it had been closed for remodeling during our July 2008 visit to the city; I had never been there. We both quite enjoyed it.

We also visited Peterson House across the street and saw the bedroom where Lincoln actually died from his injuries the following morning.

We then visited the nearby International Spy Museum. Going there was my idea because neither of us had ever been there, I had seen it listed on a few different Top Ten Things to See in DC lists, and it was just blocks from Ford's Theater and from our hotel. I enjoyed it, but MM did not.

We still had the afternoon and headed over to the National Museum of American History, a favorite of both mine and MM's which was also closed for remodeling during our July 2008 visit.

After visiting the National Museum of American History, we decided to walk over and visit the World War II Memorial. It was not included on the "Monuments by Moonlight" tour we took in July 2008, and neither of us had seen it before.

I didn't bring my camera with me on Monday's outing, so I only have one crappy shot from my BlackBerry of MM at the WWII Memorial:

By the time we were finished walking around the WWII Memorial, we both had tired, sore feet, and the evening rush hour was starting, so we headed back to our hotel. We had a quick dinner at a casual dining restaurant not far from our hotel. After dinner, we walked down to the White House, both because we wanted to see how it looked at night and because we wanted to make sure that we knew how to get there for our tour on Tuesday morning.

Tuesday morning was our White House tour. Despite the fact that I had visited DC 8-9 previous times, I had never visited the White House; neither had MM. (Why is kind of a long story.) The tour was slightly disappointing: we knew we'd only see the public areas on the East Wing but didn't realize that our tour group would be so large that it would be difficult to move around in the rooms--most of which were roped off to avoid visitors touching furniture and articles in them--and that we would be rushed through. The entire tour took less than 45 minutes start to finish and was led by a young Secret Service agent who, it seemed, wished that he'd been given any other assignment but this one.

We were done by 10:00 a.m. and after a quick trip back to the hotel to fetch my camera (they aren't allowed in the White House), we took the Metro out to Arlington National Cemetery. I had visited the Cemetery twice before--once in 1995, on my first adult trip to DC, and once in 2002, when my mom and I were in town for V's law school graduation--and MM had visited it once in 1995, but we both wanted to see it again.

We got to see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns, always impressive:

We stopped off near George Washington University/Foggy Bottom for lunch. (MM got a crappy vendor hot dog, while I was lucky enough to locate a Chick-Fil-A in the student union.) We then headed back to our hotel for some rest before dinner.

That night we met my friend W and his wife for dinner. W and I became friends in law school. We were especially close during my third year. (So close, in fact, that some of her mutual acquaintances thought we were "an item," though our relationship has always been purely platonic.) I have kept in touch with W over the years since he moved away from Tucson to join the Army JAG, including a year-long stint in Iraq. We hadn't seen each other in over five years, and I had never met his wife, whom he married in October 2006. (I couldn't attend their wedding.) The four of us had a really fun time together.

Don't he and his wife make a cute couple?

Wednesday morning, MM wanted to check out the National Museum of Crime and Punishment which he had spotted on our way to dinner the night before. (Not surprising, considering he was a criminal justice major and is a history buff and a probation officer.) I wanted to save my energy for the afternoon, so I chilled at a nearby Starbucks while he checked it out.

After the National Museum of Crime and Punishment, which MM quite enjoyed, we headed to MM's favorite pizzeria for lunch: Armand's, conveniently located near Capitol Hill. No trip to DC would be complete for MM without eating at Armand's!

Wednesday afternoon was our Capitol Tour. Before heading to the Capitol, we visited our Senator's office so that we could get gallery tickets. We also walked around a little in the Senate office buildings because MM was hoping to see someone famous. (He didn't. The only famous person sighting of the week was when we saw Jesse Jackson in the lobby of the hotel adjacent to my sister's office building on Friday.)

The Capitol Tour was good, but for someone like me who toured the Capitol pre-9/11, a little disappointing. Our guide was very knowledgeable and had an obvious interest in history; in fact, we learned that he had a master's degree in history. The building was beautiful and impressive. The disappointing part was that you are watched like you're going to steal or vandalize the building and are not allowed to roam freely at all. (Also, we had to watch a LAME film about the different branches of government before starting the tour. Anyone who had taken a high school civics class wouldn't have found this to be new information. I told MM that I thought they should allow visitors to test out of it. LOL)

The (many) photos I took of the Capitol do not really do it justice, and I'm sure many (if not all) of you have seen it yourselves, either in person or in photos.

Wednesday night, at MM's suggestion, we went to a Capitals pre-season game. We were able to get great seats from a scalper for only $20 a ticket:

The game was vs. the Chicago BlackHawks and was very fun. One of the best players in NHL, Alexander Ovechkin, plays for the Capitals. It was also just a short Metro ride from our hotel, so we weren't out terribly late.

By Thursday morning, we were both quite tired of walking around. Though it wasn't hot, it was humid, and our feet hurt. At first, we had a hard time agreeing on how to spend the day because we'd both already done and see basically everything we wanted to do on this trip to the city. After checking out of our hotel room, we went to the National Portrait Gallery, which is just a couple of blocks from my sister's office building. (We only saw about half of it, but it is very cool and definitely worth a visit.) Then in the afternoon, we wanted to sit and relax somewhere, so we went to movies and saw The Informant! Once the workday ended, we rode with V back out to their home in northern Virginia to spend the rest of the visit with them.

Friday morning, we drove into DC with V and took Rowan to meet friends KH and JH and their two little ones at the National Zoo. This outing was Rowan's first-ever with just Auntie S and Uncle MM, no Mama and Daddy. Given that he is firmly in the defiant 2-almost-3-year-old stage, it was an interesting day, with a lot of crying and meltdowns.

Rowan loved the Metro ride to the zoo. He enjoyed the first trip to the panda habitat and seeing the baby gorilla. Other than that, his two favorite parts of the zoo were the Pizza Garden play area and the ice cream cone he got near the end of the day. (At one point, he told me "I don't WANT to see the animals!")

Saturday morning, I got up early (while MM slept in) to go with V and Rowan to SoccerTots. He was so cute! (Two guesses who bought him his Diamondbacks T-shirt. . . )

Saturday evening, V and her husband attended a friend's wedding while MM and I watched Rowan. He behaved much better for us on Saturday afternoon/evening than he did on Sunday; I think he had learned what he could get away with (not much), and I'm sure it helped that he was at home and not in a new place with lots of attractive, and dangerous, things to explore. We watched the movie Bolt, which we had brought for him. He liked it, but thought parts of it were "scawy."

Don't my sister and her husband look nice all dressed up?

Sunday morning, the men slept in again while V and I took Rowan to brunch and to play at a nearby park. I enjoyed getting to spend a little more time with them before we had to fly home that afternoon.

And that was our trip! We packed a lot of sightseeing into a relatively short period of time. It will probably be our last trip to DC for a while because V has accepted a new position, starting January 1, that means a move to North Carolina for them. Selfishly, MM and I are sad that we will no longer be visiting them in DC, but we'll survive. ;-)


Kristi Marie said...

I'm glad you posted a review! Rowan is a cutie - his Halloween costume was awesome! I have to agree with MM regarding the International Spy Museum, and I agree with the both of you regarding the White House tour. Sounds like your trip was a whirlwind!

E said...

great review! i've only been to DC once, and it was a whirlwind trip for a conference my husband attended, and we weren't able to fit in as many things as i wanted to do. your review makes me want to go back! glad you guys had such a nice trip!

TUWABVB said...

WOW - you guys got a lot done! I'm sorry the tours were disappointing, especially the White House. And by the way, your nephew's Halloween costume is by far the cutest thing I have ever seen!

Flying Monkeys said...

He's a cutie! We missed most of our tours, your zoo trip...yeah...that's typical and we knew there would be a lot of POed people in our groups so we just went with the flow. Hopefully we'll go back.
I'm glad you had a good time. There is so much to see.